RAW Thoughts

Flair was there - NirvanaLadies and gentlemen, welcome to Monday Night Rollins…where we’ve got more than just two weeks to promote a WWE event, so it should be interesting to see where RAW goes tonight.

Seth Rollins, Kane, and J&J Security came out to kick off the festivities. “I took a trip to Suplex City and I burned it to the ground!”

As a token of his appreciation for all that his three flunkies have done for him, Rollins gave each one of them a new Apple watch.

Hawaii 5-KaneRollins then moved to Kane specifically, where he said that for the past 17 years he was the glue that held the WWE together. As a special gift, Rollins decided to give Kane a vacation to Hawaii. This is where the segment turned weird for me. I get that Rollins is trying to take Triple H’s advice and mend fences, but this was a little bit over the top.

But before Kane goes on vacation, Rollins asks that they team up to destroy Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a no DQ match in the main event tonight.

The Price is RollinsThen Rollins decided to give J&J Security a brand new Cadillac 2015 CTS so they could roll around in style. He continued to repeat his thankfulness to the point that Michael Cole pointed out that he wondered just how much Chapstick that Rollins was using. Rollins then described every single incredible feature of this $56,000 car like he was the announcer on The Price is Right.

Honestly…this reminded me of a classic 80’s heel champion promo. A little over-the-top, obviously, but still…what a great segment. And just when I think Rollins can’t get any better on the mic, he does. Fun opening segment that really told a story.

Big Show vs Mark Henry– Big Show made his way to the ring and The Miz joined the boys on commentary. Out came Mark Henry to take on Show for the 1000th time. It was a nothing match; a squash, actually. Two knockout punches later and Show picked up the win. Ryback then made his way to the ring to attack Show.

Miz vs RybackRyback and Miz are next to face each other. I gotta tell you…Miz is one of those guys who may not have all the tools in the world and people LOVE to give him shit (myself included), but you cannot deny that he is one of the hardest workers in the entire business. Here is a guy who “gets it” when it comes to sports entertainment. How many incarnations have we seen of him over the past few years? He’ll never be a Bret Hart or a Ric Flair, but he’ll work his ass off to be as entertaining as possible. I respect the hell out of him for that.

And Miz did his damn best to make the match decent, considering his much less talented opponent. One spot in particular was a suspended vertical suplex for about 30 seconds. Ryback did next to nothing to actually perform it, even though he got all of the credit for “holding” Miz up there. That was 90% Miz, kids. VERY impressive.

When Ryback was about to win, Miz took a powder and literally ran to the back and lost by count-out.

Alicia Fox vs Paige– A member of “Team Bella”, Alicia Fox, was set to take on Paige. Since these two are best friends in real life, I expect this to be a pretty decent match inside of the ring (trust helps to make better matches). In fact, these two got two segments on RAW and didn’t stink up the joint (at all). The storyline is that Paige is a one-woman crusade against Team Bella, hopefully setting up the eventual call-up of either Charlotte or Sasha Banks (or both!).

I’ll give Alicia Fox credit where it’s due…she has improved TREMENDOUSLY over the past few years inside of the ring. As a wrestler, she’s better than BOTH Bellas.

John Cena came out to do his little “U.S. title open challenge” thing, but as a huge surprise out came Kevin Owens. Just when it looked like Owens was going to accept the challenge, he grabbed the mic and said he didn’t want to do it. So out came Cesaro. Mind games by Owens.

Cesaro vs Cena 3Let me say this about Cesaro: he’s got ALL of the talent in the world but is missing “something”. I think one of the things he’s missing is a decent look. I know he wants to be a “throwback” and all, but he just doesn’t jump off the screen when you look at him. It’s a shame, too, because Cesaro could be a frickin’ BEAST if they let him loose.

Owens joined the boys on commentary, so this match just got a whole lot better.

Cesaro vs Cena 4Honestly…you can’t go wrong with Cena vs Cesaro. Here’s the thing with Cena: he’ll dial it up when properly motivated. People like Neville and Owens and Cesaro motivate him, thus this was a pretty damn good match. As the match went on, the crowd went nuts. They were REALLY hot for this, which helped make it even better than it probably deserved to be.

Cesaro vs Cena 2If this kind of performance doesn’t help “make” Cesaro as a singles performer in the eyes of Vince McMahon, I don’t know what will. He was absolutely on fire tonight and delivered a killer performance with Cena. Hell…I saw Cena pull out a couple of moves I’ve NEVER seen him do before. I was totally impressed. Seriously…this was a PPV-quality match. Simply fantastic.

Just when it looked like Cesaro might actually win this thing, Owens jumped in the ring and caused Cesaro to get disqualified. He then hit a pop-up powerbomb on BOTH men before walking out. If anybody’s going to be Cena for the United States championship…Cesaro vs Cena 1

Bray Wyatt delivered a pretty bad-ass promo. This one wasn’t overly rambling, as many of his recent promos have tended to be. It was concise and focused.

8 man tag– The Lucha Dragons made their way to the ring. Big pop, lots of arms in the air. I’ve seen them at a live event and I see the crowd reactions on TV. Anybody who claims that they’re not “over” simply isn’t paying attention. They’re teaming up with the tag champions, the Prime Time Players, to take on the New Day and Bo Dallas. An interesting combination, but this should be a fun match.

Bo Dallas basically got his ass kicked for the first half of the match before the heels got to take over. All-in-all, this was an entertaining match. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was good. O’Neil pinned Kingston for the win.

Dolph Ziggler and Lana made their way to the ring, arm-in-arm. Apparently, this is their way of “going public”. This will be VERY interesting. They began to tell the world that they were more than just friends and that Dolph was “very passionate”.

Out came Rusev, but he wasn’t alone: he came out with Summer Rae, looking her slutty best.

Going PublicThere was a little back-n-forth on the mic (VERY little) before there was a face-off between Rusev and Ziggler. Just as Rusev was beginning to leave, Summer Rae grabbed the mic and insulted Lana before slapping the taste out of her mouth (HARD). Then we had a great little catfight before the heels retreated and the segment ended. Interesting turn, though not unexpected.

Dean Ambrose delivered a promo backstage with Roman Reigns. Ambrose was actually happy to see Reigns in a bad mood as they hyped the main event.

– “The New Sensation” Neville makes his way out to a pretty decent pop and is going up against “Mr. Money in the Bank” Sheamus.

@wwesheamus heads to the ring to face #Neville right now on #RAW!

A post shared by WWE (@wwe) on

Neville vs SheamusUpon first glance, this might be a mis-match or something uninteresting. But the way Sheamus is wrestling lately, I expected this to be a pretty good two-segment match and it was. The match wasn’t fantastic at all, but it was solid. I was a little surprised to see Sheamus pick up the clean pin, but that’s the way it goes. No sign of Randy Orton anywhere nor any mention of him. Odd. I thought they were in a feud?

Bull HammerJack Swagger was sent out to be fed to King Barrett, which is good because Barrett needs to beat SOMEBODY these days. It’s ridiculous just how often Barrett loses matches, in spite of winning titles or crowns. Swagger went down in a matter of minutes, so there really isn’t much to say here. Thanks for coming out, Swagger.

– With over 20 minutes left in the show, we’re ready for our main event of the evening…

Main EventReigns vs AuthorityAfter a quick start by Reigns and Ambrose, the heels quickly took over as we went to our first commercial break. After about ten minutes, things began to break down and the crowd was getting hot. Because it was a NO DQ match, this was basically a brawl.

At one point Roman Reigns was clearing house, first with a kendo stick and then with multiple Superman punches on everybody. The crowd was going nuts and were really anticipating a hot finish.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman ReignsOut of nowhere came Bray Wyatt, who ambushed Reigns and attacked him outside of the ring. This left Ambrose alone to take on Rollins and Kane on his own. One chokeslam and a Pedigree later, and Ambrose took the pinfall for his team.

Powerbomb!J&J brought a table into the ring at the behest of Rollins. They picked up Ambrose and were about to powerbomb him into the table when Reigns made the save. The numbers game, however, was too great. Reigns tried multiple times to fight back, but The Authority was just too much for him. To end the show, Rollins delivered a MASSIVE powerbomb to Reigns and put him through a table.

Actually, to end the show Bray Wyatt made his way back down to the ring to deliver a Sister Abigail to Reigns, who had already suffered two chokeslams and a Pedigree in addition to going through the table.Follow the Buzzards

#FollowTheBuzzards

All in all, this was a pretty entertaining show. There were three really good matches (including a better-than-expected Divas match and a spectacular match between Cena and Cesaro) and only one real dud (Barrett vs Swagger). Storylines continued and progressed and I didn’t find a ton of downtime, just more advertising for Terminator: Genysis than I would like. If that’s the worst WWE does, then they’ve had a pretty damn good night.

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