Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The Raw Review

I’d firstly like to start this weeks Raw Review by complimenting WWE for paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the Orlando shootings. We all know Vince McMahon still takes kayfabe too seriously but to have all of the superstars on his payroll lined up at the stage for a moment of silence was a nice touch from the old geezer.

WWE Stand With Orlando
WWE Stand With Orlando

I have to say the match I’m most looking forward to at Money In The Bank, other than the MITB ladder match itself, is the Fatal 4 Way Tag Team match for the titles. As the weeks go on it’s looking more like the New Day could actually lose the gold that they have held for nearly 10 months. The exchange between Enzo and Cass and The New Day encapsulated their two gimmicks perfectly. It was hilarious from start to finish. Both factions get creative freedom with their roles and it was a delight to hear such close to the bone remarks from both sides throughout the interaction. I was already in hysterics but by the time Xavier proclaimed “I’m the only who blows my girl” I was the one hitting high notes. It was also a smart way to continue getting The Vaudevillains some genuine heat as they interrupted Enzo and Xavier just before they could start the verbal slanging match we all want to see. It would be much easier on the ears than Aiden English trying to sing that’s for sure. As is tradition with tag team matches running up to a PPV the two faces teamed up to take on the two heels. This is where we got arguably the spot of the night where Koffi Kingston used the added air in his “Jerry Seinfeld joints” to leap over the ring post and front flip onto The Vaudevillains. The match ended with Anderson and Gallows clearing the ring and leaving us all pondering if they will become the next WWE Tag Team Champions.

Enzo and Woods playing the right notes
Enzo and Woods playing the right notes

If last week wasn’t bad enough for overselling the brand split by ruining Teddy Longs untouchable reputation then WWE went one step further. In their most recent attempt to devoid Kane of any demonic prowess they have left the Big Red Monster looking more like the Big Red Fax Machine. For many reasons it’s difficult to look at Kane but on his latest appearance for the company it was a tough segment to digest altogether. When you see how much his character has changed over the years it makes me sad to think the only thing he has left is for him to use buzz words for viewers playing along at home to Corporate Kane bingo. Full house if you got “set your house on fire” and “red hot”. He has literally gave his all for the WWE and they repay him by making him out to be some form of watered down insurance broker. He, along with The Undertaker, deserve one hell of a send off when they eventually retire… see what I did there?

"I recommend you take out a life insurance policy"
“Have you been injured at work?”

Rusev is getting a push everyone. I repeat. Rusev is getting a push! I can’t deny that I’m a fan of the Bulgarian Brute. He’s been crying out for a run as a vicious champion and what better way to carry on dominating by completely destroying a huge man in the form of Titus O’Neil with the accolade. Solid little segment that continues to gain Rusev some genuine heat for his heel antics. If he doesn’t win comfortably at Money In The Bank I’ll be more confused than Ric Flair being told he can’t say “woo”.

Paige is back… Again. I said previously on the Raw Review the three hour run time can make things seem stretched out further than your mom. It’s made painstakingly obvious in the current feud for the Women’s Championship. Without cheat tactics to win, Charlotte loses, showing her incompetence; Dana Broke looks very wooden; Becky and Natalya talk about Charlotte on commentary – It’s beginning to feel like a Women’s division tribute to Groundhog Day. I’m not sure if the injury to Emma a month ago has created a rejig in the storyline but I’m starting to get tired of hearing Natalya get on her high horse and pretend she is the mother hen of all the women in the WWE. This feud is crying out for a shock moment. I think what I’m really trying to say is that I miss Sasha Banks!

The main reason I enjoy the feud between AJ Styles and John Cena is because there is genuine emotions thrown in to it. There’s a lot of home truths being told by both men that make you realise that they are the two greatest superstars currently on the roster. Another great segment on the show which leaves me desperately wanting Styles to win in some kind of passing of the torch. Maybe he could go on and become a WWE World Champion but there’s a huge Vince McMahon shaped part of me that knows Styles wont win a single championship in the WWE. If you think Vince could never be so bitter just look at his treatment towards former WCW stars.

"Your time is up. My time is now"
“Your time is up. My time is now”

There’s many reasons why we need a brand split but none more poignant than the run time of three hours making me lose interest in potentially great feuds. Okay, so Sheamus vs Zack Ryder doesn’t make sense in the slightest. I know we need filler matches but they still need to have more relevance in a storyline that one little backstage segment. Even in the context of Sheamus vs Apollo Crews which doesn’t make sense either.

However, in the case of the MITB Ladder match contenders I feel we aren’t being told anything new. I don’t care who wins out of Zayn and Cesaro in a singles match because they will be in the ring together again on Sunday with much greater importance. The MITB match is going to be great because of the amount of depth it has to it. All of the competitors have something against one another so what would be the relevance in either of Sin Cara or Kalisto being in the ladder match? It was obvious that Del Rio and Owens would win. Reducing Cesaro and Del Rio to practically sitting ringside with the bell made it seem all the more forced. I can’t wait for the ladder match at Money In The Bank but I can’t wait for the brand split even more. I just hope when it happens the run time is condensed to just two hours so we no longer have to see the same replay of El Torito biting the ankles off John Cena again and again… Maybe that didn’t happen but it would make the repetitive replays more worthwhile.

As always we’re left wondering just who will win the matches going into Money In The Bank this Sunday. I have no idea who will win the briefcase but ideally it has to be Ambrose. He’s already demonstrated he can beat the likes of Owens and Jericho in singles matches. He’s now starting to show us he doesn’t mind going through Roman Reigns to become a champion. Like what the balding Lunatic Fringe said, there will be plenty of questions that need answers come Sunday. The biggest of all being “What does Chris Jericho sound like when he falls off a ladder?” Hopefully it sounds a little bit better than JBL’s commentary…

Room for one more?
Room for one more?

…JBL’s Best Bits:

“BALL GAME!” – I refuse to accept this as his catchphrase. It was funny the first time but not the other thousand times.

“I’ve never liked Kane” – I’ve never liked JBL

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver