RAW Thoughts

I’m back from vacation and we’re less than a week away from SummerSlam. We’re at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and I’m looking forward to seeing how WWE’s go-home show will turn out. Are you?

– As you would expect, the show kicks off with The Authority (Triple H & Stephanie) making their way down to the ring.

Get ready #WWEUniverse, tonight's #RAW starts off with…#TheAuthority!

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I’m assuming that they’ll be playing heels this week (it’s hard to tell these days). They proceed to run down the SummerSlam card with a rare hard-sell of the biggest matches. I guess it’s smart because so many eyes would be watching the show from the beginning, but as a regular viewer who already knows the rundown I was bored immediately.

At least they were able to provide some interesting information before moving on with the program…

Randy Orton makes his way to the ring to tag with Cesaro as they team to take on Sheamus and Kevin Owens. This should be a great way to kick off the show!

Cesaro SectionThere was a very large “Cesaro Section” in Minneapolis tonight, who got a nice “Cesaro” chant when he was in the ring. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to see Cesaro finally getting the push he has deserved for so long. People have wanted to cheer for Cesaro for MONTHS, but they couldn’t because of the abysmal way he was being booked. He is very similar to Daniel Bryan in the sense that the people are making him right now, NOT Vince.

CESARO  section

Cesaro vs OwensThe great thing about this match was the psychology of it all. It wasn’t just four guys fighting; it was four men who have their own battles going on. It was just a really well put together story that helped to set-up SummerSlam matches.

In the end, Orton scored the pinfall on Sheamus after an Owens-assisted RKO.

– The Undertaker gave a pre-recorded promo to tell Brock Lesnar that he has to answer to the reaper.

The Wyatt Family is backstage preparing for the next match. #FollowTheBuzzards

Wyatt & Harper

Dean Ambrose has joined the commentators and we are prepared for Roman Reigns to take on Luke Harper (with Bray Wyatt).

Ambrose on commentaryI actually enjoyed the match more because Ambrose was on commentary. He was phenomenal and really helped push the storyline along in addition to being entertaining. The match itself was entertaining as hell, too. Reigns has improved as an in-ring performer to the point that he doesn’t need to be in tag matches for “protection”. And I’ve said it a million times…Luke Harper is simply one of the best big men I’ve ever seen in my 30 years as a wrestling fan, so the match was super entertaining.

Reigns vs Harper 2

Reigns vs Harper 3

After a REALLY good match (highlights below), Reigns ended up with the win after a Superman punch and a spear (to the crowd’s delight, I may add). Really good stuff here. Good to see Reigns getting over with the crowds again based on his ability and natural charisma, not because Vince is pulling his strings.

Now my heart is skipping a beat because Team PCB is preparing to come out to the ring next…

Team PCB

Becky Lynch (#swoon) is taking on the pretty untalented Tamina (sorry…but I don’t see much other than her size; a one-trick pony) in a battle of Team PCB vs Team BAD.

SWOON

DIS ARM HERThis was booked as the classic “big vs small” match, with Lynch taking the vast majority of the punishment. In the end, though, she clamped on the Dis-Arm-Her submission and made Tamina submit. Nothing special, but the match put over Lynch so I’m happy.

Lana is at the commentator’s table yet again as Rusev (yet again) is ready to take on Mark Henry. Thankfully, the match didn’t last long and Rusev put Henry away with the Accolade.

Rusev wins

After the match, Rusev and Summer Rae were making their way to the back when Lana got into the ring and screamed for Summer to come get a piece of her.

Lana proceeded to slap the sperm out of Summer’s mouth.

THE SLAP

She then called out Rusev, who entered the ring and attempted to intimidate his former flame. However (as expected)…

Rusev then put Summer Rae in front of him to prevent himself from getting his head kicked off by Dolph Ziggler. Lana took exception to that, though, and gave her a jumping high kick that popped the crowd.

THE KICKTHE KICK 2Then Ziggler ended up superkicking Rusev, which WWE.com caught in the background of a pretty spectacular photo: GREAT shot

It was a nice segment that has been building for a few weeks now. Obviously, WWE ruined the momentum of both Lana and Rusev after WrestleMania, but this was a pretty good spot. After the commercial, Ziggler asked for a match at SummerSlam

And you gotta love Lana…

– No offense to either competitor, but I have ZERO desire to watch or review the following match:

…so I won’t.

Seth Rollins delivers promo of his career– We’re now ready for the contract signing between Seth Rollins and John Cena for their title vs. title match at SummerSlam. It’s been said that if Rollins wins, then he’ll get a statue made for him at WWE Headquarters. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? At this point, it’s pretty much a done deal that Cena will win…and that sucks because Rollins is SUPER hot right now.

Rollins then proceeded to deliver (arguably) the best promo of his entire career. I was blown away by just how charismatic and eloquent he was. Just a solid A+ job on the mic.

Cena then came out and confronted Rollins with a promo of his own. Cena & Rollins

And dammit…as much as I want to hate on Cena, he delivered a hell of a promo, too. He made this bigger than just him and Rollins; he made it about Triple H and Ric Flair and the legacy bestowed onto Rollins because Cena is going to tie Flair’s record of 16 World title wins…thus ruining a legacy (or some nonsense).

– Now we’re ready for an 8-team tag team match with the incredibly entertaining New Day tagging with Los Matadores to take on Lucha Dragons and the Prime Time Players. This was a “blink and you miss it” type of match with the Lucha Dragons getting the pinfall on the Matadores.

I really hope New Day win the title again on Sunday…they are super over right now and one of the most entertaining acts on the entire roster.

– They recapped the feud between Stardust & King Barrett vs Neville & Steven Amell with a great video (not available for viewing online, unfortunately). It was extremely well done and was followed-up by an interesting promo:

I can’t lie…I’m enjoying how they are promoting this particular match. It’s cheesy and all, but I’m more entertained and invested in the match that I probably should be.

– Now we’re ready for NXT women’s champion Sasha Banks vs Divas champion Nikki Bella, in what is shockingly the MAIN EVENT MATCH of the entire evening! We’ll see if Banks can carry Bella to something passable.

Nikki Bella vs Sasha Banks

As expected, Banks was the star of this match.

Bella was borderline awful. At one point she tried to hit a kick out of the corner on Banks, but missed by more than a foot. It was caught by the TV cameras and the announcers tried to play it off as though Banks had “partially blocked” the kick, but it was just dead awful.

Even the WWE.com photo below doesn’t really help, as you can tell that Nikki is moving to her left so can’t possibly hit Banks, plus her right hand is just waiting to slap her thigh (she is notoriously bad for not making that move less visible). I just cannot stand this untalented woman who has slept with the right person to become Divas champ.Nikki's missing kick

What’s worse was that she and Team Bella were trying to play the babyfaces, which is laughable. Thankfully, WWE went with the RIGHT finish here:

Nikki taps

Backstage, the best WWE duo of the modern era is preparing to hit the ring…

Lesnar & Heyman

– We’re now ready for The Beast’s homecoming as Brock Lesnar is back in his home state of Minnesota. After an incredible introduction by Paul Heyman, Lesnar came out to a massive ovation.

The reception was insane, as was WWE’s use of streamers and confetti to help usher in the hometown hero. Brock and Heyman

Paul Heyman then proceeded to actually sing…no shit…a changed version of “Glory Glory Hallelujah” to be dedicated to Brock Lesnar. It was pretty awesome (and I love how Lesnar tried his best to NOT laugh the entire time, noted in the first couple of minutes from the video below).

Heyman then proceeded to deliver his usual incredible promo, selling Taker vs Lesnar for SummerSlam. Undertaker then appeared and hit another low blow on Lesnar before hitting a chokeslam and a tombstone to leave Lesnar laying…possibly foreshadowing a Lesnar victory.

Undertaker wins the battle

It’s super weird to see how this is being booked. Taker should be a babyface getting revenge on the heel, but he’s being pushed as a heel who is willing to do anything to win. The crowd, though, is on fire for the program, so I shouldn’t complain. They were red hot for this…some cheering, most booing, but all making noise.

**********

The show was pretty good. The matches weren’t all spectacular, but those that weren’t good were short so I can’t complain too much. The stories, though, were the primary focus to help set up what should be an extremely entertaining PPV. Where the NXT: Takeover Brooklyn live event is the night before SummerSlam (and is sold out with over 14,000 people scheduled to be in attendance, in case you didn’t already hear), the main roster is going to be extra motivated to put on a great show.

I, for one, cannot wait. My predictions for SummerSlam go up on Sunday morning! Thanks for reading.

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