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

I made my return to the Raw Review this week following on from John Duffy politely stepping in my shoes. He may not be related to former Poet Laurette, Carol Anne Duffy, but he sure is one heck of a wordsmith. On to the opening of the show itself and it’s worthy to note that a week is a long time in WWE terms. Especially when there’s such slow burning feuds as the Goldren Truth vs Breezango so it come to my surprise to see such a different beginning to the show for what marked the USA’s 240th anniversary celebration of it’s Independence Day. A food fight is always rather childish but when there’s great chemistry amongst the whole roster there’s really no reason why anybody shouldn’t enjoy it. Kevin Owens thought he got away with it but someone was at hand to leave him with cream all over his face!

Owens gets his just deserts
Owens gets his just deserts

Of course the best way to spoil the celebrations was to bring Rusev out just as Lilian Garcia had finished wailing out the Star Spangled Banner. Conversely the best way to spoil Rusev’s entrance was to have Titus O’Neil walk out in the most bizarre of Uncle Sam costumes. Maybe it’s because I’m not from the US but I just don’t get why it’s so over the top. Sure, go ahead and celebrate your countries independence from the shackles of their former oppressors but please don’t wear a clown-like Uncle Sam outfit. I just can’t take someone seriously when they’re dressed from head to toe in the garments of a man that resembles a real life Willy Wonka. It was much to my delight that Rusev won this match. Mainly because he has to continue his brutal reign as the United States Champion and just because it’s USA’s day of celebration it shouldn’t stop that. In fact, it should be used to further the Bulgarian Brute’s heel status. Brilliantly so, it was! I also can’t help but think whenever Titus gets locked into the Accolade it resembles a certain scene from Pulp Fiction.

"Who's Rusev?"  "Rusev's dead baby"
“Who’s Rusev?”
“Rusev’s dead baby”

Regardless of what you think of Adam Rose it has to be said the Social Outcasts still have a place in my heart. It was great to see them return even if it was to job out to Enzo and Cass for an easy victory. There was a clear theme developing on this weeks episode and for me it was evident that it was to not always take the product so seriously. Which, if you hadn’t guessed over the previous weeks, is something I do not do. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Big Cass didn’t offer anything in the way of vocal entertainment – that’s never really been his thing. Enzo on the other hand was highly impressive with his recital of America’s 43 Presidents. Really, it was impressive not just for the fact someone who seems as bigoted as Amore could possess such historical knowledge but remarkable that considering his previous concussion he has the capacity to remember all of the men to have sat in the White House.

Probably not the greatest Champion vs Champion match to ever grace our precious little eyes but it goes without saying that the Miz, aside from Owens and Jericho, is one of the greatest heels in the company for quite some time. I don’t expect him to hold the Intercontinental title for much longer though as the brand split will surely help to legitimise the IC title once again. The match itself was in fairness pretty good. Not really the two most agile of superstars but what they lack in nimbleness they certainly make up for it in ring presence.

I feel sorry for Dolph Ziggler. As if dating Vickie Guerrero wasn’t bad enough for him he’s found himself in the permanent position of jobbing out to put over younger talent. It’s not the worst deal to have. At least he’s losing to good opponents but when he’s always losing is it really that impressive for the young talent to beat him? He even acknowledged that himself with one of the best comments I have heard on Raw in a long time by saying “yeah, I lost again” on the phone to someone who was presumably not his mother. Beating John Cena on your Raw debut is probably the benchmark for any up and comer but then again not everyone is as good as Kevin Owens. Despite this I think the match really continued to add to the nights entertainment. It wasn’t all too serious and was fun to watch Rollins berate Roman Reigns for his suspension. Although I’m questioning whether or not it is all a work because if Reigns really had broken the wellness policy then why would he be thrown straight back into a title match at Battleground?

With the impending brand spilt there has been an appearance of a former General Manager every week on Raw and this week it was the turn of your mum, Vickie Guerrero. Yuk! It just seems to be that the general rule for a GM is that if you’re going to be hated by the WWE Universe then you may as well go all out and have the most annoying voice since Charlie Chaplin made his talking film debut. My hatred for them really distracts me from properly digesting the product so I couldn’t help but notice that Eddie Guerrero’s widow sounds like the worst supply teacher you ever had. Just sickening. On a lighter note, with all these terrible GM’s making one off returns it might just be so that whoever comes in as Smackdown boss isn’t the worst human being to set foot in the WWE. I know, there’s a lot to choose from!


I couldn’t quite get my head around why the Vaudevillains lost to the Golden Truth. If you just said “because pro wrestling is a predetermined sport” then you’re right on literal terms but there’s not much sense to it. In the feud between Golden Truth and Breezango it should be the younger ones that get the push and should ideally have been the ones to beat the men from a bygone era. Not that I wanted them to lose anyway, Gotch and English are brilliant! It shouldn’t have too much of an affect on their chances at another tag title match in the coming months I suspect.

I spoke about slow burning feuds earlier but no candle is currently burning slower than John Cena vs AJ Styles (and The Club?). It’s great to see the company still hold Cena in such high regard that they feel he can take on all three members but realistically if Cena comes out as the top guy from all of this then the WWE could really be in trouble. The verbal exchanges between Cena and Styles continue to entertain even if it is a little boring watching Big Match John take on a different member of The Club every week. Like I said, I just hope Cena doesn’t come out as the winner because there really wouldn’t be much point in matching him up with Styles otherwise. More to the point I don’t feel they should be pairing him with Enzo and Cass either. Especially not at a PPV. Credit to The Club though – they make beating up John Cena look like so much fun!

"They don't want none"... So they wan't some?
“They don’t want none”… So they wan’t some?

Not much to mention about Becky Lynch beating Summer Rae other than it’s good the women’s division has more logic in it at the moment considering Dana Brook still stands out as awfully as a wolf in a sheep’s carcass.

I’m excited to see how things develop between New Day and the Wyatts. It’s not something I really would have thought about putting together because they’re both so different yet so similar in terms of charisma. I always considered Rowan and Harper as tag team champions but only as part of a Wyatt family where all of the members had a championship. That being said, if there is going to be any team to dethrone the New Day then surely it has to be the psychotic, mind-controlling, spine tingling Wyatt Family. Here’s hoping this culminates in a Matt vs Jeff Hardy-like match at the Wyatts compound that does include Xavier Woods!

"I have been waiting for you brother Nero"
“I have been waiting for you brother Nero”

A 16-man tag team elimination match is probably the most American match they could have gone with. A mass orgy of beefcakes on the American side teaming up to take on the rest of the world because Murica, right? It’s probably because I don’t celebrate American Independence Day, being the villainous Brit that I am, but it just didn’t seem like a good enough reason to break kayfabe and partner up people who would otherwise never set foot in the same ring unless it was to rip each other limb from limb. Lucha Dragons and Del Rio being one of those pairings. And why on earth were Big Show and Zack Ryder the last two men left for Team USA!? Surely they’d take the opportunity to give Apollo Crews a push? Nevertheless it did have some great little spots. Including Owens landing a Pop-up Powerbomb on Mark Henry of all people! In spite of my heel persona I have to say that it was all part of the fun as this wasn’t any typical Monday Night Raw given the occasion in the USA. Happy 4th July!

Happy 4th July
Happy 4th July

JBL’s Best Bits:

“Heath Slater would be a great Samuel Adams. He’d be a great beer!” – Sounds like you’ve had a few Samuel Adams’ already, John.

“I still can’t get over that this lunatic (Dean Ambrose) represents this great company” – As opposed to the actual lunatic that runs the company?

“Happy Birthday America!” – Not to get technical or anything but America existed a long time before that, John. Just ask the natives!

By Bradley Tiernan

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