Hey, it’s WWE Raw! A must-see for fans of Top Gear!
The show started with Brock Lesnar – and his advocate Paul Heyman – coming down to the ring for the opening talky segment. Unlike the last time they came out, they looked troubled and determined. Getting beat up by Seth Rollins will do that to a man.
Heyman introduced himself, and then introduced the “night-Mayor” of Suplex City. Heyman said that Rollins and his associates thought Lesnar was still in Japan (where he killed Kofi Kingston on Saturday). Meanwhile, a Justin Bieber-wannabe was walking around with the WWE World Heavyweight title that he lucked into. He said Lesnar was Old Testament, and had decided to bring vengeance at Battleground.
Heyman gave a history lesson. He said that when Lesnar ended the streak, he did not respect The Undertaker. He did not disrespect him, he just wanted the streak to end. When he took Cena to Suplex City, he did not respect Cena. Again, he did not disrespect him, either, he just wanted the title. And when Lesnar fought Roman Reigns he did not respect him, or disrespect him, he was just wanted to give him a beating.
Heyman said Rollins had broken the eleventh commandment – thought shalt not provoke the beast. He said this had happened three times now, yet the beast was still alive, breathing, and salivating for revenge. Heyman said Lesnar would take the title back at Battleground but that the beatings and suplexes begin tonight.
The crowd chanted “Suplex City” and Heyman said that his client had heard that Rollins would be at Raw tonight. And since Rollins was here, his client was going nowhere…
This was a magnificent opening promo. Not overlong, to the point but with colour, and selling Lesnar as a monster who will KILL Seth Rollins. Great work by Heyman and good bouncing up and down by Lesnar.
The announcers hyped tonight’s show and then said that Kane was not at Raw tonight because he was vacationing in Hawaii. Then they showed hilariously badly photoshopped photos of Kane doing Hawaiian stuff. And then they showed a badly-animated depiction of J&J Security’s journey to the show in their new Cadillac. Okay.
Hey, it’s The Big Show! He came down to the ring for the opening match, and they went to a commercial break. During the break, The Big Show took part in an impromptu Q&A session with fans, but restricted them to questions about Cormac McCarthy’s All The Pretty Horses.
After the break, The Big Show was in the ring and The Miz was on a director’s chair at ringside. Then The Ryback came out to fight The Big Show. Joy!
So The Big Show and The Ryback had a match and it wasn’t a very good match, made even worse by The Miz interrupting it every now and then to give encouragement and advice over the house mic’. And after NINE minutes of this crap, The Miz jumped in the ring for what I suppose was a no-contest.
The Miz beat both men down but then The Big Show stood up, and dropped his straps. Then The Ryback stood up and The Miz ran between them both, trying to leave the ring but unable to do so for some unbelievable reason. He got Shell Shocked by The Ryback, and then The Ryback and The Big Show fought some more. The segment ended with The Miz outside recovering, The Big Show outside seething, and The Ryback inside the ring pumping his arms and moving his weird mouth.
The announcers introduced more photos of Kane, and a skit with J&J Security calling Wrigley Field a dump. Okay.
Hey, it’s The Bella Twins & Alicia Fox! They were all in the ring and out came Paige to fight Brie Bella. I think Team Bella are heels tonight, though who the Hell knows or cares.
So Brie and Paige had a match and it was a bad match. Naomi and Tamina were shown watching backstage, the poor fuckers. Despite Paige at one point dominating all three members of Team Bella, Brie somehow got the win with a facebuster after a distraction. Fuck this division. After the match, Team Bella beat on Paige and Nikki hit the Rack Attack. I feel no sympathy or empathy for Paige, she’s brought this on herself by being a friendless freak.
The announcers reflected on the state of the Divas division, though probably not in the same way you or I did, and then Roman Reigns came down to the ring for a match with Sheamus. Before Sheamus came out, they went to a commercial break.
During the break, Roman Reigns played a hand of Top Trumps with a fan in the front row. It ended in a draw, because you can’t really play a game of Top Trumps in three minutes.
After the break, Sheamus came out to continue the least-anticipated feud in wrestling history. It’s so little of a feud that one of the men in it is actually feuding with somebody else, on the side.
After last week’s match, when they went sixteen minutes only for Reigns to be distracted by the faint possibility that Bray Wyatt was having a tea party with Reigns’s daughter (hey, I didn’t write it!), this week they went eleven minutes before Bray Wyatt’s music hit and Wyatt came out to the top of the ramp. Reigns took him down with a Superman Punch but then realised it was just someone dressed up as Wyatt. Wyatt then appeared on the big screen, laughing – presumably at us for watching this shit – and Sheamus won the match by count-out.
Sheamus celebrated like he’d won the world title but then Randy Orton’s music hit and they brawled. Sheamus ran Orton into the ringpost and then rolled him into the ring but Orton popped up and hit an RKO. He posed for the crowd as the announcers speculated about a match between the two. Can we not and say they did?
Backstage, in The Authority’s office, HHH was on the ‘phone to someone. Seth Rollins and J&J Security walked in. HHH sent J&J away and gave Rollins a pep talk on how to deal with Lesnar. He said that Heyman had given him a clue when he invoked the eleventh commandment, and Rollins said that he would provoke the beast. HHH told him, “yeah, show him!” as Rollins walked off.
Hey, it’s Rusev! He was in the ring, still on crutches, with Summer Rae. He said Summer Rae was so gracious on Smackdown when she apologised, so he would give an apology, too. He apologised for wasting a year of his life on “that witch who calls herself a woman, Lana.” He apologised for all the stupid Americans who had embraced Lana, and for lowering himself to Dolph Ziggler’s level. He said Ziggler could not match his integrity, strengths, looks, or passion.
Rusev and Summer Rae were about to kiss when Ziggler and Lana came out. Ziggler was wearing a jacket and jeans. Enough said. Ziggler wondered if Rusev’s brain was as broken as his ankle, and said that everything Rusev had in WWE was down to Lana. He said Rusev lost the best thing that ever happened to him, and he had found it. Ziggler and Lana kissed, and Rusev freaked out.
Lana stepped up to Summer Rae and both women took their heels off. Rusev stepped between them to diffuse the situation and then SMASHED ZIGGLER WITH HIS CRUTCH! YES! HIT HIM, RUSEV! HIT HIM FOR EVERY MAN WHO HAS EVER LOST A GIRL TO A PRETTY BOY! REAL OR IMAGINARY! RUSEV IS OUR CHAMPION!
Rusev kept beating on Ziggler and even kicked him with his boot. He then took the boot off, revealing his wrestling boot underneath and then stomped on Ziggler some more. Summer Rae threw Lana out of the ring and then Rusev dropped Ziggler’s throat across the handle of his crutch. Ziggler writhed in pain and Rusev celebrated. Some goons checked on Ziggler but Rusev chased them away and beat him some more. Paramedics ran out as the show went to a commercial break…
After the break, they showed that Ziggler had been stretchered out by paramedics, to the delight of the Chicago crowd. They’ve got this angle so wrong.
Bo Dallas came down to the ring and said that what had just happened to Ziggler was horrible. He said it was a reminder that bad things happen to bad people. But good things happened to good people, too. Good people like Dallas. All you had to do is Bo-lieve. Heh.
Dean Ambrose’s music interrupted him and Ambrose came out eager for action. They had a match and it was an okay match, effectively a squash after Dallas took the very early part. Ambrose got the win with Dirty Deeds, and that’s your lot for the most over babyface on the regular roster right now. Four minutes of a three-hour show. Christ.
They showed more footage of J&J Security driving their Cadillac around Chicago. Okay.
After a break, Bad News Barrett and R-Truth were in the ring, yelling at each other about who was the real king. GYAC: neither of you. Then they had a match, and Barrett won, with the Bullhammer. I saw the match so it must have happened but I think I’m already forgetting it…
Backstage, Seth Rollins and J&J Security were shown walking down a corridor, carrying axe handles.
After a break, during which Rollins and J&J Security had a three-minute adventure after walking through the back of a wardrobe into a land called Narnia, the announcers plugged the Dusty Rhodes special on the WWE Network after Raw (which actually looks really good) and then said that Ziggler had gone to hospital. Ehhh.
Hey, it’s Seth Rollins! He finally made it down that corridor! Hey Seth, how was Narnia? Rollins waited on the top of the ramp, and J&J Security drove their Cadillac out and parked it under the big screen. Yeah, it’ll be safe there. Then all three walked down to the ring carrying those axe handles.
Rollins bragged about taking out Lesnar on Raw two weeks ago, and they played video showing that very thing. Then he said he was the only man on Earth who could beat Lesnar and that he was walking out of Battleground with the title. And then he wondered if Lesnar was his own man or Heyman’s bitch…?
That brought Lesnar out, with Heyman. He walked down to the ring and Rollins and J&J brandished their axe handles. Smiling, he turned around and walked back up to the Cadillac. He sent Heyman off for something and still stood there, smiling. Heyman returned with a fire safety box and Lesnar reached inside and took out two axes. Not axe handles, AXES.
Then, with a look of sadistic glee on his face, Lesnar began destroying the car. Michael Cole called him a one-man Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Good line. He hacked away at the car with axes, and smashed the windows. Then he ripped a door off its hinges and threw it aside, nearly taking out someone in the crowd.
This brought Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble rushing up the ramp, and Lesnar took them out, axe handles or no axe handles. He “broke” Noble’s arm with a Kimura armlock, and then suplexed Mercury through the windscreen of the car. IN the ring, Rollins freaked out and, when Lesnar marched down towards him, he ran off through the crowd and into the Chicago night.
Lesnar returned to the car, like a lion to his kill, and posed on top of it, as Heyman bowed down before him. Incredible segment.
After a break, the announcers hyped this week’s episode of Tough Enough, and the return of Total Divas. I watched an episode of that on Saturday while I was waiting for Beast In The East to come on. It’s an odd show.
Hey, it’s The Lucha Dragons! They came down to the ring, past the wrecked Cadillac, for a match with The New Day, who came out next. After their own destruction at the hands of Lesnar on Saturday, they were unnerved by the state of the car.
The Prime Time Players were sitting in on commentary. Titus O’Neil may be a shitty wrestler but he’s a hoot on commentary, schooling JBL to the point where JBL sounded genuinely annoyed with him. Good stuff.
Meanwhile, in the ring, The Lucha Dragons and The New Day had a decent ten minute match, which managed to highlight the luchadors’ flying, Big E’s strength, Kofi Kingston’s sunken chest, and Xavier Woods’s trash-talking. Doing such a simple job well shouldn’t be surprising but it really was.
The New Day got the win, with their double-team finish thingy, after they’d avoided twin topé suicidas from the Lucha Dragons. After the match, The Prime Time Players posed with their WWE Tag-Team title belts as The New Day stared down at them from the ring.
The announcers hyped the new WWE computer game, which will have “Stone Cold” Steve Austin amongst a roster of 120 playable characters, including NXT superstars. If I weren’t a luddite, I’d be all over that.
Hey, it’s John Cena! He came for the latest in his series of WWE US title open challenges. But first he talked about Kevin Owens losing his NXT title to Finn Bálor on the Beast In The East live special, and how happy that made him. He said that if anyone was upset about Owens losing his title, they shouldn’t worry because the champ was there. He said he wanted to add to his list of memories in that arena, and said whoever came out should bring his A-game.
Kevin Owens came out. He looked pissed. That’s American pissed, not British pissed. He said he was sick of listening to Cena say the same things week after week and said he was going to take the US title from him just to shut him up. He said he was willing to wait for Battleground but now he didn’t have the NXT title he wanted it right now.
A referee, and Lilian Garcia, climbed into the ring but Cesaro’s music hit and the Swiss Superman came down to the ring. Cesaro said no-one wanted to listen to Owens whine about losing the NXT title and told him to step aside so he could have his re-match from last week, when Owens caused a DQ just as Cena was about to submit. Owens left, keeping his powder dry, and the US title open challenge was on!
So Cena and Cesaro had a match, just like they had a match on last week’s Raw. And just like last week, it was GREAT. For me, it wasn’t as great – somehow doing a little less last week meant more – but it was a HELL of a match. They went THIRTY minutes, going fifteen minutes into the overrun of Raw’s third hour, and the fans gave them a standing ovation at the end.
Cena won – of course he did – with a top rope Attitude Adjustment after they’d done a bazillion other things, and it’s frustrating that this probably won’t lift Cesaro to where he could have these matches time after time on PPV, but the business is the business.
After the match, Kevin Owens ran in and tried to hit a pop-up powerbomb on Cena, but he avoided it and hit an AA. Owens took a powder and seethed on the ramp as Cena saluted the crowd and that’s your show.
This was a Good Show. From Rusev killing Ziggler onwards, it was a Great Show, but the first hour and a bit really dragged it down. Hopefully, they’ll kick on from the strong finish and the next three shows before Battleground will be a critical success. Hey, a man can dream!