WWE Monday Night RAW
The worst thing the Monday Night Wars gave us is the concept of three-hour non-PPV wrestling television programs. Here we go!
It isn’t much of a new era with Michael Cole on PBP.
Tonight: Daniel Bryan shows up at Mick Foley’s behest!
One of the best babyface acts in the world today is out first in Enzo & Cass. “How you doin’” chants. Enzo quoted Sublime talking about how “schmitten” Sasha Banks was with him last week. Yeah, so schmitten she married WWE costume designer Kid Mikaze in the week since. Enzo said “Jon Bon Jericho” gave him the Codebreaker, but he really broke the man code. He called him an Axl Rose wannabe, said he’s on the highway to hell, and welcome to the jungle.
Jericho came out. He said “Enzo Annoying” is more irritating than Achy Breaky Heart. He said his maid Cass cleans up all the messes his mouth gets him into. He said Enzo always has someone watching his back, but now Jericho does too.
Kevin Owens came out. Both guys walked to the ring. Jericho said they’re closer than brothers; close Canadian brothers. Cass asked if Jericho and Owens had each other’s backs like Bert & Ernie in the bathtub. KO said he used to like Cass in NXT, because they both had best friends who were dead weight. KO said he doesn’t like him anymore, and he doesn’t care if Cass is “seven foot tall,” he’s going to hurt him. And if he doesn’t, Jericho will. Cass asked them to go right now. Jericho called Enzo a hip hop hobbit, and said he was going to get “it.” Enzo said he didn’t know what “it” is, but when he finds out he’s going to shove it down Jericho’s throat. E & C’s music played as RAW went to commercial, with the announcers suggesting we were going to see a Jericho vs. Enzo match next. All four guys were great here. They all have excellent comic timing. Jericho and Owens have the makings of a great act.
Sure enough, the bell rings and we’re back. Tackle, tackle by Y2J; drop down, dropkick by Enzo. Full arm drag and twist, headlock, hammerlock by Enzo. This is Wrestling 101. They don’t do enough chain wrestling in WWE, but this was so basic it just made Enzo look green. Jericho takes over with chops and slaps. 2 headscissors by Enzo until Y2J cuts him off with a clothesline. Cheap shot by KO from the outside. Snap suplex by Jericho. Jericho calling spots loudly as usual. Enzo fires back but runs into a dropkick for a 2 count. Enzo skins the cat and then back body drops Jericho over the top. Baseball slide from Enzo. KO pulls Jericho away from E & C outside the ring as we go to break.
Jericho in control with chops in the corner. Irish whip to the turnbuckle, but a charging Jericho runs into a boot and Enzo hits a flying DDT from the second turnbuckle. Crossbody, clothesline, face to the knee, and a running forearm to a kneeling Jericho by Enzo. Now Enzo eats a boot in the corner. Enzo tries a hurricanrana but Y2J reverses into the Walls of Jericho, which is basically a rest hold in 2016. Jericho eats an elbow in the corner. These guys should stop charging at their opponent when they’re in the corner. Enzo with a near fall via a flying body press from the top. Pescado by Enzo. KO grabs Enzo’s leg, allowing Jericho to hit the Codebreaker. Cass runs in and nails Jericho with a big boot to the face for the obvious DQ.
Chris Jericho over Enzo Amore by DQ via outside interference.
As they leave, KO tries to imitate Enzo by saying, “How are you!” Jericho and KO have been hilarious all night. Cass challenged them to a tag match at SummerSlam. Y2J & KO accepted “because we’re winners.”
Michael Cole said Lana and Rusev would share their wedding “with all of you” tonight.
Mick Foley was shown on the phone with Stephanie McMahon. Mick said he had to go because The Boss arrived; Sasha Banks, not Vince. Sasha wanted Charlotte and Dana Brooke in a handicap match for some reason. Foley said Sasha would face Dana tonight. If Sasha wins Dana is banned from ringside at SummerSlam, but if she loses it’s a handicap match at SS. Both Sasha’s request and Foley’s decision were bizarre. This segment was poorly thought out and miles beneath Banks and Foley. Handicap matches in general need to be eighty-sixed.
Braun Strowman came out. Byron Saxton was shown backstage with jabroni of the week Jorel Nelson (@JNeez). They didn’t add his Twitter handle, but I thought I’d give him some respect since the WWE won’t. He was silent when asked a question. He came out with generic music, announced as being from Anaheim, of course.
Nelson went to the apron immediately. BS knocked him off and threw him back in. BS with a lariat. Reverse chokeslam. Strowman pins him with one hand.
Braun Strowman over Jorel Nelson by pinfall via reverse chokeslam.
I don’t mind squash matches, but they don’t need to make the jobbers look like they’re literally brain-damaged. It’s like Star Trek in the sixties, where everyone who isn’t a main character has an IQ under 40. If you make the jobbers look good, it actually makes the superstar look impressive, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Why should I be impressed with Braun Strowman when it looks like I could easily beat Nelson?
Puff Daddy was backstage with Foley. PD gave Foley front row tickets to his next show. The New Day came in, sans Big E. They were eating Booty-O’s. All four guys started eating them with their hands dry, right out of the box. PD asked how “Big E’s nuts” were. Foley said he can’t say that on TV. They all joked around a bit. The other three then left as Foley said, “Have a nice day.”
After some messages from your local sponsors, we come back and the former Prime Time Players are in the ring ready to have a match. Even Jorel Nelson got a ring entrance. Bob Backlund is such a convincing lunatic. Darren slaps Titus. They go to the outside and brawl a bit, before Titus throws him back in. Short-arm clothesline to Young, starting with Young on the mat. I call those waterskiing clotheslines. Young fires back with slaps and punches. He tries a cross body from the second turnbuckle, but Titus reverses it into an attempted British Bulldog-style running powerslam. Young slips off and rolls Titus up for the win with a schoolboy.
Darren Young over Titus O’Neil by pinfall via schoolboy cradle.
There are so many wonderful rollups and pinning combinations out there, why does the WWE insist on constantly using the same one, especially when it’s not one that requires great wrestling technique? The wrestling itself was very choppy here, especially for two guys who know each other so well.
The cruiserweight division was announced as coming soon “exclusively” to RAW. Excellent promo.
Seth Rollins came out to talk. He should have been brought back as a face. People want to cheer for him and his ability. Seth said he thought Finn Balor was the Jared Leto to Seth’s Heath Ledger. Five stars for that reference from me. They recapped last week’s confrontation on the TitanTron. The main roster debut of Finn has been handled shockingly well. Seth listed all of Finn’s strengths, but said Seth Rollins is no ordinary man, and that he’d have more gold medals than Michael Phelps if pro wrestling was in the Olympics. Seth explained the etymology of the Finn Balor name, calling him the Demon King. He made fun of it, saying it was like if Seth called himself Rambo Apocalypse. Seth called him disrespectful, and said RAW was his show and his ring. Seth said Finn is arrogant and ignorant, and he’s only won two matches. Seth became furious about Finn saying Seth has been handed things. Seth is doing a good job, but this is too long. He’s losing the crowd a bit. He brought them back slightly by getting them to cheer for him “ending the Roman Empire.” He said he’d beat Finn Balor and threw down the mic.
They showed the announcers. They tried to appear sober and serious, and it wasn’t bad. Anything is better than the fake smiling and laughing they used to do whenever they were on camera. I like them standing, and being a ways away from the ring, like Gorilla and Jesse used to be. I still hate three-man booths though.
We saw a recap of Lesnar and Orton. They’re promoting their SummerSlam match as “15 Years in the Making.” Whatever.
Sheamus came out. I really like his current entrance and music. Cesaro came out to face him. I don’t get the James Bond thing. I like him dressing well though, as he should be world champion of one of the shows. Might as well dress for the part now.
Sheamus with punches and a side headlock takeover. Sheamus with a tackle. Cesaro with a drop down, dropkick, and tope suicida. Cesaro throws him back into the ring. Sheamus cuts him off coming back in. European uppercuts by Sheamus. He went for a vertical suplex, countered into a delayed vertical suplex by Cesaro. Cesaro with a bunch of European uppercuts in the corner. Cesaro crotched as he went up top. Sheamus with a “rolling senton” (steamroller). Sheamus checks to see if his teeth are all still there as we cut to commercial.
Sheamus was in control during the break. He gets a two count, but Cesaro starts to build momentum. Flying body press off the top for 2. He runs into a knee, followed by a Rude Awakening from Sheamus. That’s an underrated move, it was great as a finisher. Cesaro gets him down and goes for the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus kicks him away. “This is awesome” chants, to my surprise. Sheamus hits White Noise for 2. Sheamus up top, but Cesaro runs over with a Euro uppercut. They exchange punches. Cesaro dropkicks him to the outside. Running uppercut on the outside and again on the inside. Sheamus with a cheap shot over the ref. Sheamus with a schoolboy, but the ref was temporarily unavailable. Sheamus complains, and the Swiss Superman rolls him up with something other than a schoolboy for the pin! See, was that so hard?
Cesaro over Sheamus by pinfall via rolling reverse cradle.
We get our hundredth recap of the imaginary 15-year feud between Brock and Randy. I’m assuming they’re just doing this to bring back Randy’s Legend Killer gimmick. Sure enough, they just brought it up. Orton is the last guy I would have given the Brock rub to. They started the video about a match “15 years in the making” by showing events from a month ago. Sigh. Brock was announced as being live in Corpus Christi, Texas next week on RAW.
The Dudley Boyz come out for a match. We’ll find out who Neville has chosen as his partner after the break.
Neville comes out. His partner: Sin Cara. SC comes out in an all-black mask, pants, and boots. Interesting.
The Dudleys pound on Sin Cara to start. Bubba knocks Neville off the apron. Sin Cara with a tope con hilo on Bubba. Back in the ring, SC with a springboard moonsault to a standing Bubba. Sin Cara appears to screw up a spot and ends up getting knocked off the apron. Back in, D-Von hits an elbow drop. Hard Irish whip to the corner. SC bumps. Another one, without the bump. Another, and SC avoids the charge. Hot tag to Neville. Kicks from Neville. Second rope dropkick into a kip up. D-Von accidentally nails Bubba with a clothesline. Enzuigiri and a schoolboy from Neville for 2. Missile dropkick off the top from Neville to D-Von. Red Arrow by Neville for the clean 3. Dissension from the Dudleys? The clothesline spot and the clean loss to a new team/random pairing would suggest something is up.
Neville (O) & Sin Cara over Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley (X) by pinfall via Red Arrow
Rusev is shown backstage in a grey wedding vest with no shirt, US Title on his shoulder. He’s trying to look his best so he and his bride can share their love with us.
Daniel Bryan was shown backstage.
Rusev’s music fired up, and he came out to stand on the stage. Lana came out to wedding music, looking spectacular in a wedding dress. She didn’t have the Rocky IV lipstick on, thankfully. She said no one in the crowd could come to their wedding, because it’s VIP only. Rusev yelled at the crowd not to disrespect his wife. They were in full heel mode. The crowd is giving them the What treatment. Rusev said Lana is “all mine.” She kissed his bicep. When is Roman jumping out of the cake? They felt like they were stalling. They showed pictures from their wedding on the beach. They came back to loud “boring” chants. Rusev said there were no more pictures, even though he said the crowd wanted “more, more, more.” Lana stumbled over her lines, with her accent fading in and out. Reigns might actually get cheered for ending this segment. Both of them made fun of Americans for being poor. Lana talked about getting coverage on TMZ. I know this segment is supposed to be bad, but this is way too long. Lana said they wrote their own wedding “vowels.” Lana told everyone to get ready to take pictures. Rusev said everyone was booing because they’re all jealous American pigs.
Roman’s music fired up. He actually got a decent reaction, with a few boos. He came out from the regular wrestler entrance.
Once he got to the ring the crowd started booing. He walked incredibly slowly to the ring, pissing off people again. Roman criticized Rusev for not having a best man. He offered to toast them. Rusev said he didn’t need Roman’s stupid toast. Roman said if he won’t accept his toast, he should accept his US Title challenge for SummerSlam. Rusev said no. Roman said if he won’t accept his challenge, he’ll have to listen to his toast. Roman drank some champagne. Roman said thank you. Roman said he’d never seen a marriage between a Bulgarian Sasquatch and a mail-order bride. Roman said to put the beef away. Roman said he was expecting more from Rusev, just like Lana was expecting more on their wedding night. Rusev attacked Roman. He unloaded with shoulders to the gut in the corner and punches. Roman punched Rusev, who accidentally knocked Lana into the cake. She got a bunch of white and red icing all over herself. Roman was satisfied with this and left. His music played. This segment was incredibly clunky and lasted for an eternity.
Backstage after the break, Lana was freaking out. Rusev was yelling at Mick Foley. Foley made Reigns vs. Rusev for the US Title at SummerSlam and said, “Have a nice day. And congratulations.”
The announcers touted the WWE Network for having 6,000 hours of programming.
Sasha Banks came out. She has STAR written all over her. Not literally. What a great gimmick, though. Dana Brooke came out with Charlotte.
Dana takes control to start, but Sasha comes back with the double knees. Dana replies with mounted punches. Sasha gives Dana an arm wringer into the second rope, followed by clotheslines and strikes. Dana with a clothesline. Good bump by Sasha. Repeated 2 counts. Dana slaps her around. Charlotte accidentally hits Dana. Sasha takes out Charlotte. Sasha hits the double knees in the corner for 3. It’s Sasha vs. Charlotte 1 on 1 at SummerSlam, to no one’s surprise.
Sasha Banks over Dana Brooke by pinfall via diving double kneedrop in the corner.
Nia Jax promo video. I miss Kharma. We’re going to learn all about Finn Balor after these words from some sponsors.
Finn gave us all a lesson in Irish mythology. He said Seth would in fact face the Demon King.
The Club did a WWE skit as doctors. They made fun of Big E by talking about a condition called ringpostitis. They did a bunch of testicle puns. It was actually funnier than most similar sketches. Gallows & Anderson had excellent delivery. WWE should let them talk more.
It’s a new day, yes it is. Kofi and Xavier came out with all of their collateral. The Club came out with their lab coats on. The New Day has held the WWE tag titles for 351 days. They announced Demolition held the “world” tag titles for 478 days, pretending these were different titles. Weird.
Anderson took out Woods outside the ring. Gallows with a fireman’s carry flapjack on Kofi for the win in 90 seconds. What? The Club tried to give Kofi ringpostitis. Xavier made the save with a chair.
Luke Gallows over Kofi Kingston by pinfall via fireman’s carry flapjack.
Earlier today, Goldust was looking for R-Truth outside. He found him in Scooby Doo’s van. This segment was unwatchable. If I was in charge of WWE, the first thing I’d do is fire R-Truth and Summer Rae. Mick Foley came out as we went to break.
Foley chants. “That wedding was fresh,” he said. He introduced Daniel Bryan. He came out to a fantastic ovation. DB said Foley has been doing a great job. Foley said DB is not only doing a great job as GM, but he and Mauro Ranallo are also doing a great job announcing the Cruiserweight Classic. DB tried to promote Smackdown Live, but Foley cut him off. Mick apologized for Brock. DB apologized for Orton, but clearly enjoyed talking about Orton attacking Lesnar. Foley showed a clip of Bryan making fun of RAW. Foley made the mood get a lot more serious by criticizing Bryan. Rusev’s music hit.
Rusev came out and said Mick Foley is the best GM ever. DB called Rusev on sucking up. Rusev said he’d crush DB like the “Smackdown Live bug you are.” Cesaro came out in a suit.
Cesaro said he wanted a title shot. He said he thought Foley was a man of his word. DB said Cesaro is being completely underutilized on RAW. Foley made an impromptu US Title match for right now. Or after ads. Ads are so weird when everyone is used to watching everything via either streaming or PVR these days. Man this show has a lot of ads.
Rusev demanded he be announced first for some reason. I hate when the champion is announced first. Euro uppercut train right off the bat. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing but Rusev makes the ropes. Cannonball off the apron. Cesaro goes for the Gotch Neutralizer but it’s blocked. Catapult from Rusev, but Cesaro lands on his feet on the second rope. He can’t mount anything though, and Rusev takes over by throwing him left shoulder-first into the ring post multiple times. Then he whips Cesaro’s right arm into the post. Then he whips Cesaro’s left arm into the apron edge. Interesting. Martial arts-style hip toss. Shoulder tackle. Stomp to the face. Kneeling Kimura used as a rest hold (?). One-arm body slam from Cesaro. Excellent power. Cesaro goes for the Cesaro Swing, can’t get it, so he hits a double stomp instead. European uppercuts in the corner. The crowd counts ten of them. Tornado DDT by Cesaro, 2 count. Elevated knee to the gut from Rusev, kick to the head, 2 count. Stomp to the back. Accolade. Cesaro fighting out. Electric chair drop from Cesaro. Rusev jumped hard to help him. They trade strikes back and forth. Beautiful springboard corkscrew European uppercut by Cesaro. Cesaro Swing. Sharpshooter.
Sheamus runs out. Cesaro releases the hold to knock Sheamus off the apron. Superkick from Rusev. Great nearfall. Ref bump. Gotch Neutralizer. No ref. Cesaro wakes him up and gets 2. Thumb to the eye from Rusev. Cheap shot from Sheamus on the outside. Kick to the back of the head by Rusev for the win.
Rusev over Cesaro by pinfall via roundhouse kick. Rusev retains the US Title.
Rusev walks away from the ring backwards with his belt. Massive spear by Roman Reigns, running all the way down the ramp and nailing Rusev at the bottom. Good spot.
Three hours is a long time for a wrestling TV show. They should really reduce it to two. Five hours in two days every week is crazy. On PPV weeks we’re talking eight hours in three days. Sheesh.
It strikes me that the WWE hasn’t had this many over acts in a long time, especially babyface ones. NXT is vital to this possible new peak period in wrestling that I feel is coming, or possibly already here. Vince’s old ideas are clearly losing influence, especially in the successful acts and segments. Nothing could be better for the wrestling industry.