RAW Thoughts

Lennon & FlairWe’re in Buffalo, New York and we’re ready to kick-start the longest weekly episodic program in blah blah blah history. I just hope it’s a better show than last week.

– We kick off the show with a recap of the “feud” between Kane and Seth Rollins since Night of Champions. Of course, this culminated with Kane dragging Rollins underneath the ring to finish the program last Monday night. Uhhhh….yeah. 

John Cena US Open Challenge– In a decision that I’m totally okay with, we kick off live festivites on RAW with a John Cena U.S. Open Challenge. As I’ve repeatedly said that John Cena has had the best in-ring performances of his entire life in 2015, so I’m excited to see this weekly challenge take place, as it generates fresh match-ups.

Out to answer the challenge is THE NEW DAY!!! The New Day 1

It’s kind of a shame, actually…because there was somebody else waiting to accept Cena’s challenge at the very same time.

After a lengthy, but VERY entertaining pre-match promo, we’re set to see Cena take on Xavier Woods…definitely a fresh match-up and one that should (hopefully) showcase what Woods can do. 

John Cena vs Xavier Woods 1Fortunately, after some early interference, the referee kicked Big E and Kofi Kingston out from the ringside area. I say “fortunately” because now I’m hoping we’ll see what Woods is made of and if Cena can help elevate him with a competitive match-up.

John Cena vs Xavier Woods 2UNfortunately, though, the vast majority of this match is nothing but Super Cena decimating Woods. Poor Xavier would get in one or two moves, but then get stopped and decimated some more. It was a very weird way to put over Woods as a serious competitor, though the announcers did try to put over Woods as best they could. The problem is that Woods didn’t have any offense that lasted for any length of time, only going to show that everything he was doing on offense was just a fluke.

Cena locked in the STF when Kingston and E made the save for the disqualification. This brought out the Dudley Boyz, who helped Cena clear the ring of the baddies. This, though, only went to help set-up an apparent 6-man tag match. It would be nice to see a General Manager of some kind actually “make the match official”.

Tag Match!Dudleyz & Cena vs New Day 2For whatever reason, Cena played the “babyface in peril” during the heel beat-down part of the match. That surprises me only because Devon would have been my first choice. Still…Cena’s got enough gas in the tank to take the beating for awhile and still kick ass when all is said and done.

After Cena made the hot tag, the Dudleyz cleaned house and his their signature spots. Just as they were about to hit the 3D, a distraction to Devon allowed Kingston to hit “Trouble in Paradise” for the pinfall and the surprise victory.

Backstage HR segment– In a backstage segment, Triple H and Stephanie have “Ashley”, their HR representative present so she can discuss an “anonymous complaint” about Corporate Kane concerning an “unsafe environment”. Basically, Ashley will do a performance review with Kane during the show to ensure that he’s fit to have the job that, technically, he’s not supposed to have anymore.

– In another backstage segment, Roman Reigns talks to Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton about his one-on-one match against Bray Wyatt in the main event later. It was a good segment.

Big Show vs Mark Henry– Umm…again???

Mark Henry vs Big ShowListen, I understand the reason why they are pushing Big Show over the past few weeks. They’re trying to build him up as a potential threat to Brock Lesnar at their match at Madison Square Garden on the WWE Network this weekend. The problem, though, is that nobody is buying it. Not at this stage, anyway. I mean…just get the match over with and move on.

Thankfully, this was a squash match and Show won.

Miz TV 1– Now it’s time for Miz TV…and I have to wonder if this will set-up the end of the Divas Revolution for good? I mean, the last time they were on, both Miz and WWE Creative almost completely ruined the entire Divas division in one segment.

Charlotte and Becky Lynch get booed as they’re introduced by Miz. Ugh…that should tell you all you need to know about how WWE has handled the Divas division ’til now.

PaigeCharlotte then calls out Paige to have a discussion about what she said last week when Team Bella came out to cause trouble. Charlotte did an incredible job on the mic in response to Team Bella (as did Becky). Just as they were all about to throw down, out came Paige to cause even MORE issues.

“If you have two boyfriends like yours, who really needs ambition?”Paige to the Bellas. Holy shit…whether she believes it or not, I love the fact that she said what I’ve been saying for months now.

NatalyaEverybody’s arguing about who started the Divas Revolution. Nobody mentions Natalya, which is odd since she was actually wrestling during a time when her competitors could only roll around in bikinis.

Then this happened on Twitter…

Yeah…that could be true if anybody actually knew or cared about who you are.

– This suddenly turned into a 6-person tag match by Corporate Kane during the commercial break. Tag Match!PCB vs Team Bella 1It was odd to watch because Paige doesn’t seem to hate Charlotte and Lynch, but doesn’t appear to want to be their friends any more, either. She hates Team Bella more and still feels the same way about them. Does this make Paige a lone wolf? Does somebody else join her to start yet another Diva faction? I just don’t know where all of this is going…but that’s okay. This is now intriguing me. For all of the shitty segment writing and match booking that WWE has done over the past few months, I’m interested to see what is going on with Paige…so if there’s nothing else, there’s that, I guess.

PCB vs Team Bella 2During the match, Paige decided to just up and leave. Natalya came out to ask Paige what she was doing before she was attacked by Paige. Nikki Bella then hit the Rack Attack and pinned Charlotte to a pretty big pop from the live crowd. I mean…this is exactly opposite what WWE Creative is trying to do, isn’t it?? It’s completely backfiring on them. The whole thing is ridiculous.

– There was a pretty good video package on the history of the feud between Big Show and Brock Lesnar.

– There is yet another backstage segment with Kane and Seth Rollins, with Kane giving Rollins a large present (with “Ashley” watching nearby). Inside was the severed head from Seth Rollins’ destroyed statue. Rollins thought it was creepy as hell and walked off. 

– The Prime Time Players are inside the ring and it looks like the former WWE tag team champions (y’know…the team that nobody cared about) are about to be fed to the Wyatt Family combo of Luke Harper and Braun Strowman.

At this point, the Canadian channel SportsNet experienced some “technical difficulties”. Thus…I can only assume that the Wyatt Family killed the Prime Time Players. PTP Murdered

StardustStardust is set for action against Neville. As much as I feel this match-up has been done to death already, I think there are still some exciting match possibilities between the two of them. To me, this feud has been building and building…so it hasn’t run its course quite yet.

King Barrett vs StardustJust as the match was beginning to build some steam, they went straight to the finish with Neville about to hit the Red Arrow. Goddammit…this frustrates me. I mean, THIS is why people are tired of seeing the match over and over…they don’t get any time to really give the world something great that they are capable of providing.

Then King Barrett‘s music hit and he made his way down to the ring. He knocked out Neville and then knocked out Stardust to show the WWE Universe that he’s back.

Kane was about to receive his in-ring HR evaluation when Seth Rollins interrupted. Rollins proceeded to say that he wasn’t going to hell because, in a meeting with the Pope last week, he was told that he was going to heaven. Ugh. Anyway, Ashley told the world just how awesome Kane was as Director of Operations. 

Rollins then gave Kane a Pedigree before grabbing a chair and brutally assaulting Kane. Doctors came out and wheeled Kane to the back. As the ambulance was taking off, it stopped and smoke poured out of the back of the ambulance. Out came “Demon Kane”. I mean…seriously.

Kane walked to the ring, beat-up Rollins, and gave him a Chokeslam before trying to hit the Tombstone piledriver…but Rollins then ran away. Kane then looked at the WWE title still laying on the mat and picked it up. I guess we officially have our title match for Hell in a Cell? Kane - none of my businessRandy Orton is set to destroy Bo Dallas, but not before he trashed some of the Buffalo Bills sitting at ringside. Of course, Dallas knows there is one way for them to win a championship…

BOLIEVE 1Bo Dallas vs Randy OrtonI had a Twitter discussion with someone last night about “WWE failed pushes” and he included Dallas in that group of performers. And while I totally agree with that, Dallas has to be held accountable to some extent. I know, I know…I’ve been a huge fan of Dallas since his WWE debut, but I also realize that the gimmick alone wasn’t going to be enough to get him over with the back office (and/or Vince). If nothing else, dude needs to lose a few pounds and hit the gym a bit. If he doesn’t want to do that, maybe find new ring gear. Either way, Dallas has a TON of tools but he appears to be his own worst enemy.

Anyway…Orton destroyed Dallas quickly and we move on.

Owens & Rusev vs RybackRyback is inexplicably joining the commentators at ringside so he can watch Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens take on Rusev (with Summer Rae). Almost immediately after the match starts, Owens pushes Rusev into Ryback and then a brawl begins. Ryback ends up getting destroyed by both Owens and Ryback until Dolph Ziggler makes his way down to the ring for the save.

Are they short on time tonight? Because this whole segment seemed to take seconds.

– Thankfully, Paul Heyman is shown walking out to ringside so he can save the entire show.

Big Show vs Paul HeymanUnfortunately, Heyman was interrupted by Big Show after only a few minutes on the mic, who proceeded to talk smack to the point that Heyman ran out of the ring in disgust and Show finished his promo like HE was the babyface. It was all just weird.

– Now it’s time for the main event of the evening: Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt. Roman ReignsWyatt comes out with Luke Harper & Braun Strowman, but Reigns insults Wyatt and calls him a bitch…resulting in the Family being sent to the back. So for now, we’ll end up with a one-on-one match between two of the WWE’s future superstars for years to come.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 1I really enjoyed the match. It was hard-hitting and believable, as one man couldn’t maintain an advantage for too long over the other. It had a nice blend of old-school wrestling and some new-school power moves. Both men were beating the hell out of each other and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 2

Eventually, things went outside of the ring and both men were counted out, yet continued to battle each other through the arena. And these guys continued to beat the living shit out of each other. There were a couple of pretty impressive spots and the crowd seemed to quickly forget about the double-countout as they started a “This is awesome” chant. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 3

In fact, after Reigns hit a spear out of nowhere to put Wyatt through the announcers’ table, the entire crowd went into a “YES! YES! YES!” chant before the show went off the air. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 4

Highlights are shown below.

**********

Overall, again, this wasn’t the best episode of RAW by any stretch. But damn…I’m glad I stuck around until the end because the Reigns vs Wyatt match was really great, and the post-match brawl was fan-fucking-tastic. If you see anything from the show, watch that from the beginning because you’ll REALLY get into things by the time the episode is over.

But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!

TWITTER – @_ZAH_

FACEBOOK – The World According To ZAH

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