(Alan is away on his holidays so this week’s Linus Report is brought to you by his erstwhile tag-team partner, Chris Moyse. Enjoy!)


It’s Raw, the wrestling show that no-one, anywhere, EVER thinks is deserving of three hours of their time. Eminating tonight from Cleveland, Oh.

The show opens by playing Dusty’s Ten-Bell salute from last’s nights Money in the Bank and is followed up by a replay of the video package of Dust from the PPV. Throughout the night they promote a Dusty memorial show, airing on the Network.

After the title sequence informs me that tonight is, apparently, the night, some generic wrestlemetal announces the coming of Seth Rollins. The WWE “champio” declares the show Monday Night Rollins, kinda like Jericho did 15 years ago.
Rollins says that Ambrose brought his ‘A’ game, but it just wasn’t good enough. In full nasal mode, Rollins drones on being a team player and how he needs to acknowledge all the people who got him there. he has a list with him, but it just has one phrase written on it repeatedly: “Seth Rollins”

You know, like that list Jericho had 20 years ago.

Seth goes on to say he didn’t anyone’s help, not Kane’s, not Hunter’s, not Nick Bockwinkels’s (I added that one) and that he’s punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame. Easy, brother.

Rollins endless babbling heralds the coming of a hobbling Dean Ambrose, and the two enemies brawl immediately. No words from Ambrose, just action. Sexy Action.
Rollins runs off to the back, and Dean takes a seat in the ring, and says he ain’t leaving till Rollins faces him.

After the ad break, Ambrose is still holding his sit-in protest. Backstage, Rollins protests the actions with Hunter and Steph. Hunter’s shirt is weirdly buttoned, and he’s missing his neck. Rollins is saying something, but he’s so incredulously boring that I’m not following it.
Hunter and Steph, angered by Rollins’ slight against them earlier, subtly hint that they don’t have his back anymore.

Here’s comes Mr. Money in the Back, and, as predicted, he looks like a damn idiot doing his war cry whilst holding a gold, sparkly briefcase.
Ambrose is still in the ring, and when Sheamus gets to the ring, there’s a ref there and, are they having a match? They’re having a match.

Sheamus vs Dean Ambrose:
Sheamus targets Ambrose’ injured knee for the majority of the match, whilst Ambrose wildly fights back with desperation. Sheamus has majority control but Dean won’t let up, stud that he is, and keeps firing back with a neckbreaker.
Ambrose comes off the top with an elbow, but only gets the two count. Sheamus hits a knee lift but then eats a clothesline. Escaping the Dirty Deeds, Sheamus grabs his briefcase and leaves. His exit is blocked by Randy Orton and, returning to the ring, Sheamus is rolled up by Ambrose for the finish.
Immediately post-match, Orton pounces on Sheamus and gives him a beating, but Sheamus escapes the RKO and runs away with his new sparkly case. Brave Celtic Warrior that he is.

Backstage, Seth Rollins is studying the WWE title, as if it has a stud missing, check Paige’s jacket. Rollins runs into J&J Security. Seth tries to lord over them but they turn it around on him, Joey Mercury even cuts off Rollins’ rebuttal and makes him look like a tool, In case we weren’t completely convinced the that WWE champion is a cowardly, lucky, friendless loser.

They broadcast a PSA about being a good dad, in which Roman Reigns, with full Timotei’d hair, performs “I’m a little teapot”
……I’m a Little. Fucking. Teapot.
If this had been Cena, I’d have bought it, but this is just weird.

R-Truth is on his way to the ring, dressed like a King. By a King, I mean a king in a infant school pantomime, all cardboard crown and bed sheet cape. He’s up against King Wade Barrett who, to be fair, doesn’t look much better.
R-Truth thought he was on commentary for this match, but he is actually working it. This is such a revelation to him, he says “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?” No, really.

King Barrett vs “King” Arnold Jackson:
Getting in the ring, Barrett opens up on Truth. JBL quips that it looks like a “Larping event.” After a ground and pound session, Barrett removes his armpad, but Truth rolls him up for the win. Barrett blasts Truth with the Bull Hammer anyway, why not?
Barrett gets on the mic and says that he has earned the right to be called King, and it isn’t to be mocked. This would work a lot better if he hadn’t just lost a match in 40 seconds to a comedy wrestler wearing a bed sheet.
BnB was an immensely better gimmick and was far more over.

Backstage its MGK!! Who no-one gives two shits about three shits for!
MGK is hanging with some divas and the fruitier wrestlers. Paige interrupts them and tells the girls she’s holding a team meeting later. MGK apparently stands for Machine Gun Kelly. I am an absolute leviathan of knowledge when it comes to exploitation movies, and I can tell you that Machine Gun Kelly is a pretty good one.
This dude looks like a douche though.

Kevin Owens is on his way to the ring. So get out of the dang way.
On the mic, Owens says Cena isn’t in the building, and that its his own fault. Owens says he was disgusted by Cena’s comment to Owens that he “belongs here” as if Kevin needed to be told. The crowd are attempting to “What?” Owens but it just isn’t taking and it shuts down real quick. Nice.
Owens says seeing as Cena won’t be issuing any open challenge tonight, he’s willing to do it himself. The challenge is answered by none other Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by Lana, who is FAST losing my interest due to her terrible transition from dominant Russian ice-queen to goo-goo eyed arm candy who snogs Ziggler then wanders off.

Dolph Ziggler vs Kevin Owens:
Ziggler’s on the mic, just FIGHT guys..
The match begins and Owens takes control early beating Ziggler down. Ziggler fights back with some weak punches before both men spill to the outside, where Owens continues the beating, tossing Dolph over the barricade.
Ziggler just makes the count back to ring, where he hits his jumping DDT, and gets the upper hand after a Superkick. Dolph lands the Fameasser but only gets the two. Owens fails to get the pinfall after a German suplex and a Cannonball, but is able to kick out after Dolph hits the Zig-Zag.
The crowd chant “This is Awesome” because that’s what you do during every single above average match nowadays. A pop-up powerbomb later, Owens is your winner.

Its time for Paige’s team meeting. Paige is wearing wrestling gear, no-one else is. About eight girls have shown up, I can see Layla and Summer Rae and Rosa Mendez, I can’t remember who the others are. Paige is standing on a box because she’s in charge.
Paige is trying to stage a united front against the Bellas, but the others aren’t convinced. I don’t know why Paige is bothering, these girls are so half-ass about everything. Paige should’ve brought biscuits.
The Bellas gatecrash the meeting for mockery reasons. Given the ultimatum to side with or without Paige, all the girls choose not to. This writing of course makes Paige, our protagonist, look great.

Randy Orton vs Kane:
Kane still has his damn suit trousers on. They have a standard house show match. Kane takes control early and does all his schtick, then Orton takes over. Sheamus interrupts the match, whilst Kane simultaneously announces that the match is “No Holds Barred.”
Sheamus Brogue Kicks Orton and Kane gets the pin.
Absolutely dreadful. No one-cares.

Backstage, Seth Rollins, a man who is losing all his friends, mind, meets up with Kane and chooses to give him a barrage of insults. Kane violently grabs Rollins and gets right in his face, continuing the build of history’s biggest wiener WWE champion.

IC champion The Ryback is on commentary for the next match.
The Big Show vs The Miz:
I don’t know which of these two guys I want out the business more. (Just kidding, its Show) The Ryback has been working on his patter, and hits some very practiced quips, some of which are pretty good. Show beats on Miz for a couple of minutes, then takes him outside and throws him onto The Ryback: “I’ve got Miz all over me!” The Ryback then gets in Show’s face and Show is counted out.

Roman Reigns is here. I still think people over-exaggerate how “hated” he is. Reigns seems to get more of a subdued reaction, rather than an overly negative one. But maybe that’s worse?

Roman is here to beat up Bray Wyatt, who attacked him at last night’s show. *DYET!* Wyatt is on the big screen, where he babbles about the problems in believing in The Chosen One (Jeff Jarrett?) and goes on to say he feels an affinity with Reigns, but his motives aren’t clear, and frankly, I don’t think Wyatt knows either.
Wyatt ends by (rightfully) mocking the “I’m a little teapot” advert from earlier, which implies to me that he is threatening to go after Reigns’ infant daughter.
Either that or that he considering improving his skills as a father figure.

Paige vs The Bella Twins:
Friendless Paige is taking on The Bella Twins all on her lonesome, if she’d given me a call, I would’ve tagged with her (she’d have to do the work though, my knees are shot.)
Paige is bravely fighting but the odds are against her, and the Bellas have things well in hand, beating Paige from pillar to post. Miscommunication causes the twins to collide, and Paige desperately fights back, hitting the Rampaige on Brie for the two count. Returning to the match, there’s a NIKKI BELLA ELBOW and a Rack Attack for the finish.
Paige, arguably the most popular girl on the show, looked like a dang fool because of this writing tonight. This whole division is a complete write-off.

It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for ever since I heard about it twenty hours ago..
To be fair, he gets a really good reception off the live crowd

Then Kevin Owens comes out and powerbombs him off the stage. No, Really.

The New Day vs Neville & The Prime Time Players:
PTP have a shirt that is a pastiche of the old Prime Time Wrestling logo. That’s awesome. After some opening offence from The PTP, New Day take control of Darren Young for the majority of the match. Young is able to make the tag to Neville, who brings the crowd to its feet with his trademark high flying offence. The match fast breaks down into typical six man chaos and after a succession of quick tags, Neville hits the Red Arrow on Kofi Kingston for the win.

They replay Owens’ destruction of MGK. That’s going on my Xmas card. (I’m being mean, MGK did a genuinely great job.)

Backstage, My beloved Ambrose is playing darts with a photo of Seth Rollins, like they did in 1930’s cartoons. Kane enters the room and Ambrose has a laugh at his expense, asking where the “Hellfire and Brimstone” guy went. The joking stops when Dean goes on to passionately declare how determined he is to grab the gold from Rollins, saying that he lives for it, before asking a reflective Kane and all of us: “What do you live for?”

For you, Dean. For you.

Hunter and Steph are on their way to the ring. Put a tie on mate, you’re a CEO. Steph is wearing a nice dress that compliments her enormous shoulders.
The Authority are joined by Seth Rollins, they have made their decision, and, at WWE Battleground, Rollins’ next challenger will not be Joey Mercury, Kane, Dean Ambrose or even Nick Bockwinkel. It will be:
Brock Freakin’ Lesnar.

The live crowd love the reveal, and the smugness draining from Rollins’ face is priceless. Lesnar comes to the ring sporting his new “Suplex City” shirt. Rollins looks like he might cry. Ever the Irritatingly Determined Weasel, Seth backs away and scurries out the ring, leaving Lesnar in the adulation of the fans

This was a show. I find Raw and Smackdown to be generally tiresome and lengthy affairs, and it takes a better man than I to tune in to them weekly. I don’t feel that any motion is ever made. Once you know the care for the next PPV, you might as well just read online results to keep you up to speed, maybe checking out the go-home show for a refresher.

The Divas division is in dire straits, sometimes it’s the performers, sometimes it’s the writing, often both. But it needs CPR, and fast.
Owens is pushing over-exposure, and I think he needs dialling back just a little, what he does in-ring and on-mic is excellent. Rollins is a terrible champion, not as a wrestler, but as a promo-cutting character, he is an uncharismatic bore.
Some people like to declare WWE is worse today than its ever been, and that’s far from the truth, but they are making an abundance of mistakes from a variety of angles, and they need to tighten up their game.

Still, onwards and upwards, and see you here later in the week for NXT!

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