RAW Thoughts: 08-03-15

In Memory of Roddy PiperA few days after losing one of my legit childhood heroes, WWE presents RAW live from San Jose, California. How will the night go? How will WWE pick up the pieces and move on?

– This show is in memory of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The entire WWE roster is on stage in Hot Rod t-shirts. They toll the bell 10 times in honor of a fallen hero. I can’t tell you just how much his passing affected me. I loved him as a young teenager and this death hit me hard. Thankfully, WWE has gone the classy route with his passing.WWE roster

Okay…NOW we’re ready to kick off RAW in San Jose!

– Seth Rollins makes his way out to the ring. A video package highlights how Rollins broke John Cena’s nose last week.

Needless to say, Rollins has a smile on his face.

Seth RollinsThey show another video of Cena’s nose getting broken, and San Jose starts a “Thank you, Rollins!” chant. Classless? Perhaps…but I think it’s okay knowing now that Cena’s fine. If Cena was seriously hurt or if (shudder) he actually died, then that’s another story. But Rollins broke his nose…let the crowd cheer if they want.

In an unusual move, heel World champion Rollins challenges babyface United States champion Cena in a title vs. title match at SummerSlam. This is only unusual since it’s a heel making the challenge. In storyline, though…Rollins feels that he has a major advantage over Cena due to the broken nose. It makes total sense. I love it!

In ANOTHER unusual move…

Very cool. I don’t know who mocks Cena better…Rollins or Kevin Owens.

Of course, there’s a couple of caveats to the “open challenge”…the challenger must be under six feet tall and must be under 200lbs. So basically, this means Rollins calls out El Torito.

BUT WAIT!!!

Neville vs Rollins 1– Seth Rollins is now defending his WWE World Heavyweight Title against Neville.  I know the crowd is looking forward to a competitive match, but WWE has done nothing to really make Neville appear to be a legitimate threat to unseat Rollins. Every time people get excited to watch him win a big match, he doesn’t. Sure, he pulls off some incredibly flashy moves that pop the crowd, but he doesn’t win…so he’s basically Evan Bourne.

As expected, though, Neville and Rollins put on one hell of a show…

Neville vs Rollins 2

Neville vs Rollins 4

Neville vs Rollins 3There were two times in the match where the crowd ABSOLUTELY believed that Neville had won the WWE title. I mean…it was incredible! What a fantastic match! In the end, Neville went up to hit a SECOND Red Arrow, but Rollins rolled out of the way and then quickly hit the Pedigree to retain the title.

The announcers called Neville’s performance “heroic” and even showed a replay of the first near-fall that even had JBL believing that it was a 3-count. The problem was that Rollins couldn’t see the referee make the count, so he was anticipating the count based on sound alone. I think this means the referee was the one out of position. He probably should have jumped to get into position so that Rollins could see him. JBL went off saying that the referee stopped his 3-count in anticipation of Rollins kicking out. Ummm…I don’t think that helped the situation, John.

But as much as I want to say that big-time matches don’t help make stars, I see something like this where the argument could be made that Neville should be the WWE champion right now. Will this help people forget the fact that he’s under six feet tall and weighs less than 200 pounds? It’s possible…but Neville is increasingly getting a reputation for being an under-achiever in a very short period of time.

8 Man Tag Match– With the Prime Time Players on commentary, we’re now ready for an 8-man tag team match with The Lucha Dragons joining up with Los Matadores to take on The Ascension and The New Day team of Kofi & Big E.

“On commentary again? I’m glad that you’re fighting champions!” – Xavier Woods

I think Woods is becoming the new-age Jimmy Hart, as he’s outside the ring talking NON-STOP while the match is going on. It’s entertaining as hell and annoys the babyfaces.

8 man tag match 2The match itself was the spotfest you expected from these four teams. And really, with these teams…that’s probably a good idea as there are very good few workers in those four teams (basically, Kingston and E are the only two really good workers of the entire bunch).

Due to outside interference from Woods and El Torito, Kalisto got caught by Kingston and the heels picked up the pinfall.

Team Paige vs Team Bella– Listen…Nikki Bella can brag about being Divas champion for as long as she has and she might actually believe she’s as good as she thinks she is, but I’ve said it before and will continue to say it…Bella has been champion this long ONLY because of who she sleeps with. Period.

So Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Paige are now calling themselves the Submission Sorority. I like it…it’s got a ring to it.

Of course, not everybody’s impressed with the name…

I can’t lie…I’ve got a massive crush on all three women because I think they’re all sexy, they’re all EXTREMELY talented wrestlers, and they all can kick some ass…which makes them even sexier.

Bella vs CharlotteI find it extremely interesting that, again, the backstage agents decide that Charlotte should be the “babyface in peril” during the match. I find it interesting because, realistically, she IS the future of the entire Divas division and is such a dominating physical force.

Thankfully, the match got TWO segments (kudos to WWE for this choice), so Lynch was able to play the “BIP” role herself. Who would have ever thought a year ago that RAW would be regularly featuring two-segment Divas matches that didn’t suck??

Lynch vs BellaAnd let’s not beat around the bush here, kids…this WAS a good match. It was well drawn-up and well executed. And maybe I’m biased here, but Charlotte just looks like a genuine superstar every single time I see her. She’s just got that intangible “it factor” about her that just tells you she WILL be a huge star down the road.

Charlotte picked up the submission victory over the current Divas champion. If there was anyone on the roster who should end Nikki’s reign BEFORE she breaks the record, it’s Charlotte.Figure 8

– Backstage, Team B.A.D. made fun of Ronda Rousey and Naomi challenged Paige to a match later tonight.

I’m sorry, but Naomi is just a second-rate Sasha Banks wannabe. Banks is the real star of that team. Like I said last week…her joining Team B.A.D. is akin to The Rock joining the Nation of Domination…and you remember how THAT turned out, right?

Owens, Miz, & Cesaro– Now it’s time to slow things down as it’s time for Miz TV. The Miz starts things off by giving a real tribute to Roddy Piper before getting back into character. He introduces Kevin Owens to come out and talk about his ongoing issues with Cesaro. As Owens is just beginning to talk, Cesaro comes out and interrupts him (to a pretty big pop from the crowd, by the way). 

After throwing some insults back and forth, Cesaro challenged Owens to fight right there. Miz got quite excited…

…but both men yelled for him to shut up.

“Why don’t you let the two guys who can actually fight handle this?” – Kevin Owens to The Miz

Owens, Cesaro, & Miz

As much as I want these two guys to start getting major victories over other stars, I’m all about a possible match between these two men at SummerSlam.

#Rusev prepares himself to face the World's Strongest man, @themarkhenry! #RAW

A post shared by WWE (@wwe) on

Rusev vs HenryRusev (along with Summer Rae) is out ready to face Mark Henry. This was a short match (basically a squash) which saw Rusev win with a couple of superkicks. It was a very impressive display. WWE totally dropped the ball with this guy after WrestleMania, but he continues to be one of the heel highlights of RAW on a weekly basis in spite of whatever silly drama nonsense WWE decides to throw his way.

– Nice little backstage promo to set-up tonight’s main event…

– Wow…we have a Zack Ryder appearance on RAW! My question is…WHY??? Anyway…he’s about to get his ass kicked by King Barrett.

Barrett vs RyderAaaaaaaaaaaaand he did. Fuck you, Ryder. Get a new gimmick or GTFO. You bore me.

– Already in the ring is Paul Heyman, and he’s ready to deliver yet another top-notch promo. Of course, before he can do that he needs to introduce somebody…

Lesnar & HeymanHeyman claims that Undertaker begged Vince McMahon for a rematch against Brock Lesnar at this years’ WrestleMania, but McMahon turned him down for safety purposes. Thus, the rematch between Undertaker and Lesnar at SummerSlam will be…

Heyman almost went into a seizure hyping the match but make no mistake…this promo was another GOLD STAR promo in a never-ending string of promos. Goddamn…can anybody else come close?

Paige vs Naomi– I’m hoping that Paige can carry Naomi to a passable match tonight.

PTOUnfortunately, that didn’t really happen. Paige did what she could, but Naomi is just too sloppy and is more interested in doing moves than actually do all of the little things that make wrestling believable. Thankfully, the match only lasted one segment and Paige won by submission.

– After repeating the awesome Roddy Piper tribute video, there is a short backstage promo with Ambrose, Reigns, and Orton to discuss the main event.

Main Event– The entrances take up the next 5 or 6 minutes, and I’ll be honest…I don’t really mind. Entrances help enforce that you’re watching big deals. I’m stoked to see this match so I’ll just sit back and enjoy.

Ambrose takes flightHarper vs ReignsHarper vs Ambrose

As expected, the pacing of a 6-man tag made EVERYBODY look good. I love these tag matches because there isn’t enough time to look weak. In a normal tag match, things can still slow down. In a 6-man tag, the pace is quickened even if one of the babyfaces get into trouble. It’s really a fantastic way to showcase multiple wrestlers without having one look really weak.

SpearIn the end, the babyfaces prevailed. I gotta say, Reigns was booked to be a superstar. THIS is the way he should’ve been booked leading up to WrestleMania. I understand that WWE has tried to rebuild him over the course of 2015, and I think it’s been working for the most part. Will he ever be as popular as he was when he was in the Sheild? Of course…but it’ll take another heel turn and THEN another face turn before that will happen again. In the meantime, all he can do is continue to work hard.

**********

It was a fine edition of RAW tonight. I don’t know if there was a horrible match in the entire bunch. If there was, it didn’t last more than a couple of minutes so I’m totally okay with that.

RIP Roddy…I’d like to think that WWE did you proud tonight.

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