RAW Thoughts

Super Cena 3We are in a sold-out TD Garden in Boston and ready to jump-start some record low RAW ratings. How much will Vinny Mac blow his wad on tonight’s show? I guess we’re about to find out…

– Yeah…we’re kicking things off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, so Vince is pulling out all the stops first-thing. Not that I’m complaining, though…I tune in for Lesnar.

Heyman & LesnarHeyman laid down another killer promo to tell the world that Hell in a Cell will be the ending of the Undertaker. He recapped the two previous matches between the two, first with the match that ended “The Streak”. After showing a video package where Lesnar destroyed Undertaker at WrestleMania, there was a mix of boos and cheers. Heyman then talked about the rematch, where Taker tapped out but the referee didn’t see it because he was on the other side to count a pinfall. One low blow later and Taker won the match by submission after Lesnar passed out.

At this point, Heyman stated that this would be the LAST TIME that Brock Lesnar would face the Undertaker. One would be declared the winner of the war; the other wouldn’t walk out of the cell at all.

Lesnar & ShowOut of nowhere, Big Show decided to come out and interrupt the end of Heyman’s promo. Lesnar sat back and began to laugh a little bit. After a small “Please Retire!” chant, Show began to speak. He offered his hand to admit that Brock is “The Man”. Lesnar laughed it off and walked away. Show then baited Lesnar into a fight, but Lesnar QUICKLY hit an belly-to-belly overhead suplex before hitting the F5. No matter how many times I see that feat of strength, it never ceases to amaze me.

– Backstage, Seth Rollins told Stephanie McMahon that he couldn’t have his tag team match later tonight with Show as his tag team partner because Show wouldn’t be 100% (Really? Two hours from now?). Stephanie told him to “figure it out”. I wish the Authority would either be heels or babyfaces. I mean, if Rollins is “their guy”, then start acting like it. I hate that they try to act like babyface authority figures sometimes when they treat Rollins like crap. It’s ridiculous.

6-man tag teamRoman Reigns is making his way to the ring as we are about to go to commercial. Vince is REALLY trying to hit the ground running tonight. Once we come back, the babyfaces are in the ring and ready to battle the Wyatt Family, who then make their incredibly awesome entrance.

Ambrose vs StrowmanI see a lot of “Braun Strowman sucks” comments online right now and yes, they’re completely warranted. Having said that, Strowman isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Vince sees a massive man and a monster, and his old-school thinking makes him believe that is enough to get someone over in 2015. Will Strowman ever be a huge star? Probably not, but I see his career progressing similarly to the Great Khali. You all know what Khali was like at the end of his run, don’t you?

Anyway, the match had heat early to progress from the incredible end to last week’s RAW, as Reigns went after Bray outside of the ring. The faces even joined together to knock Strowman out as the heels took a powder and we went to commercial after about two minutes of action. Strange.

Harper vs OrtonThings ended up being a “normal” match…not the incredibly hot and awesome 6-man matches that we used to get with The Shield taking on the Wyatt’s. That’s probably because every time Strowman got involved, things grinded to a screeching halt so he could continue being a killer that Vince loves to put in the ring.

Reigns vs HarperThe match picked up a bit near the end once Reigns made the “hot tag”. In fact, the crowd was going crazy as the babyfaces won once Orton hit an RKO on Harper, followed by an INCREDIBLE spear by Reigns (props to Harper for making it look so good). 

I’ll be honest…I’m REALLY looking forward to the Reigns/Wyatt Hell in a Cell match. If there was any WWE match this year that deserved a bit of colour to really put the “blowoff match” over, it’s this one.

Sheamus vs Neville– “Mr. Money in the Bank” Sheamus is ready to destroy what he calls “a loser” in Neville. After a quick little promo of insults, Neville attacks Sheamus and is destroying him. King Barrett, sitting on commentary, said that he simply wanted to talk to Neville…which caused him to get caught with a Brogue Kick and a one-minute pinfall. Thanks for coming out, Neville. Thanks for continuing to put over new stars, Vince. Sigh…

Kane vs Rollins 1Corporate Kane is inside the ring and explaining to the crowd that Seth Rollins now needs a new partner because Big Show is unable to compete. At this point, Kane appoints himself as Seth’s partner. Rollins comes out and disputes the idea. As they argue, out comes Stephanie McMahon. Sigh…

Steph on my tvMcMahon proceeds to make a match at Hell in a Cell with Seth Rollins vs Demon Kane, then agrees that he should be Seth’s partner tonight. THEN she says that if Demon Kane doesn’t beat Rollins for the WWE title, then Corporate Kane will be fired. Interesting…

Seth Rollins is now backstage talking with Triple H about the Kane situation. Trips gives him more sound advice…“Do unto others before they can do unto you.” Goddamn…why are Triple H and Stephanie now playing opposite sides of the same fence??

– It’s Diva time with Natalya taking on Paige. These two are completely capable of having a killer match if given the right circumstances and time. Do you think it’ll happen? No…I don’t, either.

Natalya vs Paige 1The match was pretty good, but over a little too quickly to be considered anything more than that. They did the best they could given the time that they had and the crowd didn’t crap on them so they should consider it a win. Surprisingly, Natalya won clean by making Paige submit to the Sharpshooter. I wonder where WWE Creative is going with Paige right now because her heel turn hasn’t resulted in any wins…so what’s the point?

In a post-RAW interview, Becky Lynch talked about Paige and Charlotte and, to me at least, displayed a great deal of charisma and charm. I see big things for her and her character.

Kevin Owens– We are graced by the presence of Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens. Apparently, on the RAW pre-show there was a verbal disagreement between Owens and the Lucha Dragons, so a challenge was made and we’ve now got Kevin Owens taking on Sin Cara. Uhh…okay. At least it’s a fresh match-up.

Kevin Owens vs Sin CaraWell…the match was basically a quick squash. Whatever…at least Owens was on RAW. Once the match was over he went after Kalisto and was about to give him a powerbomb on the ring apron before Ryback ran down for the save. The crowd was indifferent to Ryback, which has been the case lately. I understand that Vince believes that Ryback can make him a ton of money, but the guy just doesn’t have the natural charisma to get the fans firmly on his side.

– Backstage, Stephanie runs into the New Day. She proceeds to make a match at Hell in a Cell between the tag team champions and the Dudley Boyz. Again, Steph was acting like a babyface. I don’t get it.

Kane & Rollins vs Dudleyz 1– In a bit of odd timing, we’re getting Seth Rollins & Corporate Kane vs the Dudley Boyz at 15 minutes before the start of the third hour. Kane tries to start off the match, but his ankle hurts too much so Rollins tags himself in. This is the story for the first part of the match, then Kane decides to “play ball” and his team start to take over. Just before we go to commercial, we get a “We want Sasha” chant…to show Vince just how popular this incredible Rollins vs Kane feud really is. Kane & Rollins vs Dudleyz 2

At one point, Kane’s ankle was so bad that the ringside doctor wanted to take Kane out back. Rollins wouldn’t let that happened and actually handcuffed Kane to the ring post.

Kane hurt 2After a bad collision, though, the cuffs broke and the doctor ended up taking him to the back…again. Realizing that this meant Demon Kane would be making an appearance, Rollins was distracted and the match continued. Bubba and Devon made a comeback and were about to bring a table into the ring when Rollins dropkicked it first, causing a disqualification (really??).

As Rollins tried to leave, Demon Kane appeared and proceeded to decimate him. Just as he was about to chokeslam Rollins, the Dudleyz hit the 3D on Kane.

Rollins was about to leave when he saw the table, re-thought things, and threw the table into the ring. Once he set it up, as you’d probably expect, Demon Kane “woke up” and chokeslammed Rollins through the table. Sigh… Kane puts Rollins through a tableSasha Banks & Team B.A.D.Team B.A.D. come out and you can tell it’s tough for Sasha Banks to hold back her giddiness at being back in her home city getting a big pop. Even better, Banks gets to deliver a promo before the match even starts. Unfortunately, Team Bella interrupt her to crap on her and Boston…drawing the cheap heat (it’s about time they actually TRIED to be heels for a change). God…the Bellas can’t promo to save their lives. Neither can Naomi. Ugh.

The match was actually a good WRESTLING match. I mean, it had story and psychology and the heels beating down a single babyface until a hot tag was made. In this case, this meant Banks. A few seconds later, Banks had Alicia Fox tapping out to the Bank Statement for the win. Bank StatementSummer Rae proposes to RusevSummer Rae is in the ring and (badly) introduces Rusev. She then introduces a video package about the “relationship” between the two of them. I mean, really? This duo isn’t getting over and simply isn’t believable. Why is it getting pushed down our throats? It’s not working.

Sigh…Summer gets down on one knee to propose to “Ru-Ru”. Seriously.

Rusev said “Yes…but not yet.” He said that once he has WWE gold around his waist, then Summer Rae will have gold around her finger.

Cena Open ChallengeJohn Cena– They’ve been pushing the US Open Challenge all damn night. If this person is a letdown in any way, I’m gonna be pissed. Give me somebody new who John Cena can put over…or at least make to look good.

Dolph Ziggler‘s music hit. Sigh. I mean, I know it’ll be a great match and all, but ugh.

Then Ziggler didn’t come out when his music played. Instead, The New Day came out…dragging a “beaten-up” Ziggler with them. They did a bit of a promo before unleashing Big E as the challenger for Cena.

Big E vs John CenaThe match was alright and all, but it really should have been an opening match and not the night’s main event. Once Cena defeated Big E, the tag champs began attacking him. Out came Ziggler to “save the day”, but he accidentally superkicked Cena…taking him out of commission.

Then the Dudley Boyz came out to help, but they were also destroyed by the champs. The show ended with New Day strutting up the aisle with their trombone while four babyfaces lay decimated in the ring…making a serious statement.

**********

All in all, the show was a giant “meh” for me. There was a lot going on, I admit…but I even asked on Twitter if I was alone in thinking that, creatively, the show was falling short. These were some of the responses I received…

So while I’m glad I’m not alone, I’m saddened to see that WWE continues to not be as imaginative in their presentation of their product as they could be. Vince may be a genius in the business, but he’s out of touch with today’s audience. Sports Entertainment doesn’t HAVE to be silliness or PG-rated nonsense. You can have great stories that are based in reality and push people that the fans want to see succeed, not who you think might have a chance at being the next big muscle-bound superstar (ex: Ryback).

I’ll be interested to see the ratings for this week. My guess is that they won’t be a lot higher than last week.

But these are all just my opinions. 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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