RAW Thoughts

Piper & HoganHot on the heels of a racist Hulk Hogan rant (and endless stories about the man), how will WWE respond so that the focus is back on SummerSlam? We’re in Oklahoma City and we’re about to find out!

The Authority– After a recap of last week’s brawl between Brock Lesnar and Undertaker, we’re treated with the trio of Triple H, Stephanie, and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins making their way down to the ring. In a very odd situation, Triple H and Steph run down “a night of firsts” and announce the big matches for the night. Rollins then takes over and begins to tell the world about how awesome he is as world champion, perhaps the greatest of all time. But then…

Cena challenges Rollins…this brings out John Cena, who proceeds to tell him that he’s an arrogant jackass and a joke. He then asks The Authority for a world title shot against Rollins, who immediately shoots down the idea. Stephanie then interrupts Rollins and “puts it to the people”. The crowd goes nuts and then Stephanie swerves them by saying…

Triple H then says that, instead, a match will take place for Cena’s United States championship. Obviously, this is all designed to set-up the inevitable SummerSlam title match between the two where Cena somehow becomes world champion yet again (yawn).

Ambrose vs Show– For the “first time ever on RAW”, Dean Ambrose is taking on Big Show. To continue storylines, The Miz is sitting in on commentary at ringside. This whole feud is kinda silly without Ryback involved. Miz is talking about the IC title but there’s nothing he can do about it…so he’s stuck wrestling in a feud alone with Show.

Ambrose vs Show 2While far from a “barn burner”, kudos to both men for this match. Show did what he could to make Ambrose seem like a legitimate threat. Ambrose had the right type of offense that made him seem like a legitimate threat. Ambrose took quite the beating, but there was enough back-n-forth to make it a competitive contest.

I thought it was over after Show hit a chokeslam. I was actually quite impressed that they booked the match so that Ambrose kicked out of the pin attempt.

Show then hit a second chokeslam and Ambrose rolled out of the ring to avoid the pin, but then somehow made it back inside the ring before being counted out. A superkick and a spear later, and Ambrose was finally counted out..but he wasn’t!! Show hit a massive knockout punch and Ambrose was FINALLY counted out.

Chalk up another loss for Dean Ambrose. Once the match was over, though…Show attempted to spear Ambrose outside of the ring, but the Lunatic Fringe side-stepped him and Show went crashing through the outside barricade.

So yeah…Ambrose is tough. He can’t win anything, but he’s tough. Sigh.

@wwefandango gets in one last practice dance before facing #Neville, right now on #RAW!

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Neville vs FandangoFandango, a man we haven’t seen wrestle on RAW in weeks, is shown in the ring trying to sell his “Fandango-ing” dance to people who probably can’t remember he’s supposed to be a babyface. What a waste of fantastic talent. Out comes Neville, and we’ve got a battle of babyfaces (I guess). After about 30 seconds of impressive offense by Fandango, Neville responded and ended the match about two minutes later with the Red Arrow.

Stardust appeared on the screen and delivered a promo on Neville. Inside the ring, Neville acted like Stardust was speaking Klingon.

Paige delivers a promo backstage with Charlotte and Becky Lynch, before being interrupted by Sasha Banks and Team BAD.

Paige vs Sasha BanksAnd funny enough, the match is up next! If given time, this could be awesome!

Banks comes out with Naomi and Tamina, and they immediately look like her stooges. I mean, she just shines like a superstar while “the other two” look like tag-alongs. It’s a shame that she’s aligned with two cast-offs. The only apt comparison I can make is that Sasha Banks joining Team BAD is akin to the Rock joining the Nation of Domination.

As expected, these two really went at it. The women know that they are in the middle of something special and really wanted to put on a display that was better than your “average” match on RAW. And thankfully, that is exactly what happened.

Damn…everything about Banks just oozes superstar. Her in-ring is fantastic and she has such control of her gimmick and character that you see her as a legitimate threat to beat Paige even though most WWE fans have never seen her before. THAT is the sign of a true superstar…when the fans buy-in from the beginning.

Paige vs Sasha Banks 2And it’s the little things, too. This wasn’t just two women trying to hit moves that they learned that day. This was two women WRESTLING in a match that was extremely entertaining. Both women pulled out all the stops in an attempt to put on an athletic display that would put their match on par with the men’s. And y’know what? I truly believe they did it. There are a select few women who have impressed me in terms of in-ring performances, and these two women are on that list. This was really good.

In the end, Banks hit the Bank Statement and made Paige tap out clean inside the middle of the ring.

Similar to having Kevin Owens cleanly pin John Cena, THIS is how you create a star in wrestling. Let’s just hope things continue for Banks. This was a really good match.

Summer Rae & RusevRusev made his way to the ring with Summer Rae by his side. He proceeded to tell the world the he was “smitten” by the “hot and obedient” Summer. He gave Summer a gift: a tiny, ugly dog inside of a box. He decided to name it “Dolph Ziggler” because it was ugly and neutered. He then gave Summer a headless, dead, cold fish. He then decided to call it Lana.

Lana then could be heard telling him to “shut up” on a microphone as she made her way to the ring. She proceeded to run down Summer before attacking her and rubbing her face in the fish.

She then slapped Rusev…HARD…before walking away.

This was a brutal throw-away segment that does NOTHING to help Rusev OR Lana. I mean, Lana is less popular now than she was when she was WITH Rusev. It’s insane. I just don’t know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

Lucha Dragons vs Los Matadores– In another first-time battle on RAW, we get the Lucha Dragons taking on Los Matadores. From what I read, there was a rumour a couple of months ago that said the Matadores were going to turn heel and El Torito was going to join the Dragons. I hope this isn’t the case, but I guess anything’s possible at this point. I think it’s safe to assume that the Dragons are future WWE tag team champions…it’s just a matter of time.

Anyway, the tag team champions Prime Time Players were on commentary as the match progressed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that Titus O’Neil is better on commentary than he is inside of the ring. Sometimes JBL does better work when he’s got somebody new to play off of…

In the end, New Day came down to the ring to talk smack to the PTP, but somehow this ended up resulting in Kalisto rolling up a Matadore for the pin. Not that any of that matters. The only thing that matters is Kofi Kingston‘s entrance with the New Day. Is there anything more incredibly awesome than this in all of wrestling right now?

Strange end to the segment.

Bray Wyatt & Luke HarperBray Wyatt and Luke Harper made their way to the ring. I’ve said it before…I don’t know why they put Harper back with Wyatt, but it just makes sense and is a great fit. The WWE Universe tends to agree.

Wyatt delivered an incredible promo that described why Harper returned to The Family. Harper then delivered an impressive promo of his own, which was a nice change of pace from the big man.

Team paigeTeam Paige made their way down to the ring. I can’t even begin to tell you the crushes I have on Becky Lynch and Charlotte (…and Paige and Sasha Banks…). They’re beautiful and super talented. The other great thing about these two is that, similar to Paige and Banks, they both have their gimmicks and personalities down pat. Completely unique and different and memorable.

Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs Nikki Bella & Alicia FoxThey went up against 2/3 of Team Bella (Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox). Well…at least 3/4 of the match-up included talented wrestlers. You could tell that there was a little bit of hesitation on the parts of Lynch and Charlotte, which is probably because they haven’t wrestled Bella or Fox very much. But still, the match was pretty decent even though the Bellas sucked the majority of the energy out of the audience.

Just when you thought the match was going to continue for awhile…

Orton vs Owens

– With Sheamus at ringside on commentary, I don’t quite know what to expect from this match. I’m obviously hoping for something incredibly awesome…especially if Kevin Owens is involved.

#KevinOwens focuses himself backstage at #RAW before facing #TheViper @randyorton!

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Kevin Owens vs Randy Orton 3The match was fine, but nothing too awesome. In fact, I started to drift off a little bit during the match. This is unusual for me because I’m a massive fan of Owens, but there was just something about him battling Randy Orton that just creates a yawn or two from me. I don’t know what Orton can do to freshen up his gimmick or his character (another face/heel turn wouldn’t help at this point), but he seems more stale than John Cena at this point. There’s no development or progression in his gimmick or his character. There was some last year with The Authority, but that’s long gone now.

Out of nowhere, Sheamus decided to interrupt the match and attack Orton for no reason.

Just as it looked like Sheamus and Owens were going to double-team Orton, out came Cesaro to save the day…that is, of course, Owens hit him with a pop-up powerbomb.

Cena vs Rollins– Don’t ask me why Michael Cole is whining about John Cena‘s title being on the line tonight and not the title on Seth Rollins. I mean, so what? How is it unfair?? Damn that guy pisses me off.

Anyway, so we were treated to the potential main event of SummerSlam live on free television. Huh.

The match was pretty good. I don’t know if it left me wanting more, though.

Cena vs Rollins 3

In an interesting turn of events, Rollins appeared to accidentally break John Cena’s nose with an errant knee to the face. The doctor checked on him a couple of times, actually…and if you took a close look, you could see that it was broken.

John Cena's broken noseRollins went for a Phoenix Splash (I think that’s what it was, anyway) and missed, which led Cena to slapping on the crossface for the immediate submission by Rollins.

*****

All in all, this was a pretty decent episode of RAW and, in the end, better than I expected. Am I sold on SummerSlam yet? No, but I’m intrigued.

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