We start with The Price is Rollins from last week and, even for a two minute recap, it runs too long.
We are LIVE(!!!) in Chicago, Illinois for Monday Night RAW!!!
Cole, JBL and Saxton are the guys at the desk.
Brock is here with Paul Heyman to start us out. Paul does his usual intro and calls Brock “The Night Mayor of Suplex City”. Heyman says that Rollins and his “band of merrymen” still think Brock’s in Japan. He says that Rollins lucked his way into the championship. He says that Brock is the king of retribution: he destroyed and conquered The Undertaker’s streak and took Cena to Suplex City. He didn’t respect Cena at all — and he doesn’t respect Rollins. He says the only way that Brock could be beaten was because he succumbed to the pack of hyenas that was Rollins and his guys — but they left Brock alive and breathing — and that’s a mistake. He says Brock will take the title back at Battleground. The fight may be in St. Louis, but the beatings and suplexes begin tonight. He calls the All-State Arena “City Hall of Suplex City”. He says that Rollins will be here tonight and they will have their retribution. “The beatings begin TONIGHT.” Brock leaves the ring with Paul and they go backstage.
Cole and the guys talk about this and, hey, Kane’s in Hawaii and, holy shit, we get Kane with “pictures” showing him in Hawaii. Hoaxers who fake UFO and alien photos are more convincing than this.
And with irony firmly propped up and showing off, Big Show comes out for a match.
And when we come back, The Miz is at ringside and he has a mic. Am I seeing things or is this exactly what happened last week?
MATCH #1: Big Show vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback (non-title)
Immediately, Miz starts barking at the two of them. Show shoves Ryback to begin. Ryback comes back with a headlock but Show shoves him into the corner again. Show nails him with a chop to the chest and Miz cheers him on, getting the crowd into this. Miz tells Show to do it again. Show lunges at Miz and Ryback fights out of the corner. Ryback hits a press and kicks at Show but Show belts Ryback and begins beating on him in the corner. He lunges at Ryback but misses a body splash. Ryback climbs the buckle and punches at Show but Show grabs him and drops him on his face. Show has Ryback in a leglock when we come back from a break. Miz continues to yell and it’s at this point that I hope Brock Lesnar is serious about “beginning the beatings”. Ryback attacks Show who confronts Miz but Show STILL manages to fall on Ryback after his legs give out. Irish Whip by Show and Ryback clips Show’s knee. Ryback punches at Show and then tackles him. Miz tries a distraction but Ryback chases him off, spears Show and hits a big splash. Ryback misses a splash off the top rope and Show hits a Chokeslam. Show hits an elbow from the second rope — but Miz is here to fuck the whole thing up at around 10 minutes.
WINNER: No contest
RATING: *1/2. The same as last week — only long, with a commercial break. Thanks for that.
Post-match, Show and Ryback gang up on Miz. Ryback hits Shell Shock. Show hits a Chokeslam, then gets taken out with a forearm by Ryback.
TONIGHT: United States Open Challenge with John Cena
Cole plugs Total Divas and calls it “the most controversial season ever”. I don’t even know anyone can tell one episode from the other.
J&J drive around in their new car. This, after we see pics of Kane in Hawaii.
And, now: a Bellas match just in case you were debating on this vs. Tanked on Animal Planet.
MATCH #2: Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox) vs. Paige
Paige roughs up Brie in the corner. Brie elbows out and tosses Paige outside the ropes, then drops her neck on the ropes. She tosses Paige back in and a two count. Meanwhile, Naomi and Tamina watch backstage because they matter in this intense Divas Division. Paige breaks an armlock by pinning Brie for two, then clotheslines Brie on a charge. Brie backs Paige into Nikki and Fox who attack Paige with impunity. Brie runs at Paige for the running knee but misses and hits Nikki and Fox instead. Fox rolls her up for two, then hits a Superkick. She sets up for a PTO but Brie breaks out and it’s a fight in the corner. Brie misses her Missile Dropkick and Paige goes for the PTO again. Fox gets on the apron, so Paige tosses Brie at her, then kicks Nikki. Brie grabs Paige and hits the Bella Buster for the win at 3:13.
RATING: *1/2. Same as the last few weeks. We’re just trading wins and losses at this point and hoping for a “story” to come to fruition.
Post-match, it’s Fox kicking Paige and Nikki hitting the Rack Attack.
We get a montage of the whole Reigns/Wyatt feud and Reigns hits the ring.
MATCH #3: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
Reigns runs Sheamus over so Sheamus goes outside to regroup. After getting back in, he drops some shots over Reigns and puts on a side headlock. Sheamus hits a knee to Reigns’ gut and drops a knee to his head. He goes second rope but Reigns gets up and pulls him to the mat, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Reigns chases Sheamus and hits a nice forearm to his head. He puts Sheamus’s head into a barrier and rolls him back into the ring. Sheamus gets up and hits a Running Kneelift. The two exchange blows until Roman is knocked out of the ring. When we come back from a break, Sheamus has Reigns in a headlock, so the crowd gives us our first “CM PUNK” chant in about four months. Reigns breaks and hits falling faceslam. Sheamus runs at Reigns and flies out of the ring. He gets back in but Reigns clotheslines the shit out of him. Reigns goes for a Samoan Drop but it’s a series of counters as both men exchange move attempts. Finally, Reigns sends Sheamus to the bottom rope and hits the Hanging Missile Dropkick, then a Samoan Drop. He goes for the Superman Punch but Sheamus blocks and hits a backbreaker. Two count. Sheamus goes to the top rope and Reigns hits the Superman Punch on the way down. Spear attempt — and wouldn’t ya’ know it? Another Bray video spot because this act never gets old. Reigns isn’t waiting to get his ass handed to him and he attacks Bray on his way down to the ring. But it isn’t Bray. It’s some guy wearing a Bray wig, because now the backstage crew not only helps him with his video clips, they willingly dress up like Bray to get their asses kicked. Bray appears on the big screen saying, “Anyone but you, Roman,” then the ref counts out Reigns because and we’re done around 12 minutes.
WINNER: Sheamus via countout
RATING: *1/2. Bored of this feud. Both this one and the fight between Sheamus and Reigns.
Post-match, Orton’s music hits and he beats the holy hell out of Sheamus, puts him in the ring and hits the RKO. He celebrates. That makes it all better, I guess.
Cole plugs the Network.
Rollins and J&J show up backstage and talk to Triple H. Triple H wants to talk to Rollins alone. Triple H wants to know what Rollins is gonna do about Lesnar. Rollins has no idea. Triple H says he wants to see Rollins be the champ after Battleground. Rollins says he has it in the bag. Triple H says that Rollins is cocky but he should do something nobody expects. Rollins says he doesn’t know what that means. Triple H says Heyman gave him a hint with the 11th Commandment: “Never intentionally antagonize The Beast”. Rollins says he’s gonna call out Lesnar and then he’s gonna beat up Lesnar which makes sense if you’re high.
Rusev is in the ring with Summer. Rusev would like to apologize about what happened last week. He calls Lana a “blonde snake” and for how much time he wasted with her. He calls Ziggler a weasel. Summer tries to help Rusev out but Rusev tells her not to waste her time. Out comes Ziggler with Lana. Ziggler says that he knows Rusev’s leg is broken but says his brain must be broken, too. Everything he’s gotten has been because of Lana. He says that Lana was the one who gave him everything. They make out. Summer is pissed and confronts Lana. Rusev blocks Summer. Ziggler holds Lana back. Suddenly, Rusev attacks with his crutch and beats Ziggler senseless and hits a Superkick. He removes the ankle boot from his right foot (DANIELLE: He’s healed! It’s a miracle! Man, JBL needs to study Heenan-isms.) and stomps at Ziggler. Ziggler fights back but Rusev clubs him with the crutch and then drops his throat on it. Refs and medics get into the ring but Rusev just keeps clubbing.
After the break, Cole shows us clips of Rusev’s wrath and informs us that Ziggler was wheeled to the back on a stretcher.
Bo Dallas hits the ring. He says that the attack on Ziggler was terrible. It just goes to show that bad things happen to BAD PEOPLE. Good things happen to good people. Good people, like him. All you have to do is BO-LIEVE!
MATCH #4: Bo Dallas vs. Dean Ambrose
Crowd is hot as Bo Dallas attacks and locks in a headlock. Ambrose breaks but gets clotheslined. He does a victory lap and tries for a kneedrop. He misses. Ambrose gets up and clubs away. He hits lariats and a Bulldog. He goes top rope and hits an elbow drop. He tries a neckbreaker and Bo shoves him for the requisite Rebound Clothesline, followed by Dirty Deeds for the win at 3:00.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
RATING: N/A – squash – I can dig keeping Ambrose strong but he needs a real feud. Even against Dallas, though, the crowd is white hot for him.
When we come back from a break, R-Truth is wearing his bed sheet and has a plunger. Him and Barrett are gonna face off because this feud is just red velvet on a stick.
MATCH #5: King Barrett vs. R-Truth
Truth hits a beautiful body scissors pin off an Irish Whip. Barrett kicks out and the fight spills to the corner. Barrett beats on Truth and yells “BOOM”. Truth retaliates and sends him over the top rope. Truth chases and Barrett runs Truth into the edge of the mat, then tosses him into the ring post. Barrett isn’t content and whips into another one, then rolls him into the ring for a two count. Barrett beats on Truth, then puts him in a side headlock. Truth fights out and kicks Barrett in the head. He charges again but Barrett just runs him over with a big boot. When we come back from a break (yes, even Truth’s matches get breaks now), Barrett puts Truth in a Surfboard. Truth breaks and hits a lariat. Barrett charges Truth in the corner but Truth hits a series of clotheslines and kick to the gut. He hits a Scissors Kick and Barrett just escapes a pinfall. Truth hits a splash in the corner and tries a suplex but Barrett counters. Truth pins Barrett for two but Barrett kicks out, kicks Truth and tries for the Bullhammer, missing. Truth rolls him up for a two count. Truth goes top rope but, on the way down, it’s a ROAL BULLHAMMER OUTTA NOWHERE MIGGAL to win this thing at 8:41.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **1/4. This is the match of the night thus far. Beautifully wrestled for what it was. Both guys looked good with none of the corny “King” bullshit or prop warfare getting in the way. I enjoyed this.
Backstage, Rollins and J&J walk to the ring.
Cole recaps Rusev beating the snot out of Ziggler earlier tonight.
Seth Rollins hits the ring, carrying an axehandle. J&J drive out in their Cadillac. Can’t imagine why. They also have axehandles. (DANIELLE: Brock’s out there. It’s a trick. Get an actual AXE.)
Rollins says that Lesnar was chosen to be his opponent at Battleground because they know that Rollins is the man and the Future of WWE — something the crowd “doesn’t understand”. He says he even proved it last week when him and The Authority beat up Brock Lesnar. Then Rollins shows us an actual montage which is confusing when he can just explain it. Rollins says that he has beaten everyone in his way and he will walk out of Battleground the champion. He tells Brock that he’s right there in the middle of the ring as the crowd chants “JUSTIN BIEBER”. He calls Brock “Paul Heyman’s bitch”, then stands tall.
Brock’s music hits as the heels stand there with their weapons and egg him on. Brock slowly approaches the ring…then stops and backs up to the car. He motions to Paul and Paul rolls a production crate over. Lesnar reaches into the crate and grabs an actual goddamn axe. He grins and “accidentally” backs up into the car, then starts wrecking the shit out of the car. He bashes all the windows and the crowd loves every second. He starts swinging at the rear of the car (DANIELLE: Oh shit…that’s the gas tank…and everyone’s afraid to tell Brock he’s about to die and take everyone in the entire first section with him…) and then takes the driver’s side rear door, rips it from the hinges and tosses it away, fan safety be damned. J&J come down to face him. Brock kicks Mercury, then puts him in the Kimura Lock and “breaks his arm”. Noble attacks but Brock just beats him and tosses him into the car’s front windshield. Rollins tells Brock to bring it on so Brock runs to the ring and hops in. Rollins bails from the ring and runs into the crowd. Brock gets into the ring and holds up the title belt that Rollins left behind. The crowd eats this up
TONIGHT: John Cena’s Open Challenge
TOMORROW: Both Tough Enough and Total Divas are on…jesus…and I thought I’d get some sleep.
MOMENTS AGO: Lesnar Street Fighter II’ed J&J’s new car.
The Prime Time Players are on the commentary side of things for the net match.
MATCH #6: Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w. Xavier Woods)
The New Day looks at the damage inflicted by Lesnar and dances down to the ring anyhow. Kofi and Cara starts off. Cara avoids a corner splash by Kofi and tags Kalisto. Kofi punches him and it’s E in on the tag. Kalisto hits a beautiful shoulderblock off an Irish Whip. Too bad E practically no-sells it. E is pushed from the ring anyhow. Kofi comes in but he’s sent from the ring. They go for a dive but Xavier gets in the way. They dropkick his ass, then do twin dives off the buckle. We actually get a commercial break after that. After the break, Kalisto breaks a hold by Kofi. E tags in and he takes out Cara, then belly to belly suplexes Kalisto. Abdominal Stretch by E and it’s a tag to Kofi as the commentary gets weird with Titus telling JBL he’s smarter than JBL. Hot tag to Cara and Cara knocks down Kofi and hits a springboard moonsault for two. Kofi tries to fly at Cara who grabs him and counters into a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Cara dumps Kofi from the ring and the two dive at the New Day. Cara misses and E hits a belly to belly on Kalisto. Back in the ring, it’s the 11th Hour for the win at 10:17.
WINNERS: The New Day
RATING: **. Not bad at all. New Day and Lucha Dragons look great here.
New Day and PTP taunt one another after the match.
Cole plugs Dusty’s special on the WWE Network.
NEXT: John Cena’s Open Challenge
Out comes Cena. He stops to look at the destroyed car and smiles. Cole gives us clips of Beast in the East where Finn Balor beat Kevin Owens to become NXT Champ. Cena basically asks the crowd, “U MAD BRO?” after mentioning Owens losing the NXT Championship. He praises the Chicago crowd and says he wants them nice and loud. He issues the challenge and out comes…
Owens says the worst part of RAW is when Cena comes out and talks. He’s sick of it, so he’s ending it. He needs the United States Title because, that way, Cena will finally shut up. He says he was content on waiting for Battleground but, no longer. As they’re about to get started, Cesaro’s music hits.
Cesaro says that nobody wants to see Owens whine about losing in Japan. He says that Cesaro is the only person who deserves the title shot. He says that he had Cena ready to tap out last week and Owens screwed it up. He did it because he was jealous. Owens wasn’t able to beat Cena at the last PPV and he won’t be able to do it at Battleground. He tells Owens to leave the ring or else the two of them will have a problem. Owens leaves.
MATCH #7: John Cena (champion) vs. Cesaro (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
Crowd is white hot for this match. After a break, Cena hits a side suplex and goes for the 5KS but Cesaro gets up and knocks him down, then taunts him. He hits a dropkick and tries to charge Cesaro but Cesaro moves and hits a Delayed Standing Suplex, showing off by squatting while holding him up. He tries another suplex but Cena counters and puts Cesaro on his shoulders, hitting an Electric Chair Drop. The two trade shots until Cena tries the AA. Cesaro counters with a DDT. Cesaro locks in a Cobra Clutch. After a break, Cena starts hitting shoulder tackles but Cesaro catches him in a backbreaker. Cesaro tries a splash in the corner but Cena moves and hits the Side Slam. He goes for the 5KS but Cesaro gets up. Cena grabs him for another Side Slam and another 5KS but Cesaro counters with a Crossface. Cena breaks it and locks in the STF but Cesaro breaks the hold with the bottom rope. Cesaro gets up and walks over to Cena who hits a back body drop. Cena goes for a suplex but Cesaro hits three straight Gut Wrench Suplexes. Two count. Cesaro hits uppercuts in the corner and then goes for the Swing. Cena pulls himself up, grabs Cesaro and hits a DDT to counter. Two count.
Cena goes top rope but Cesaro hits a dropkick, sending Cena out of the ring. Cesaro walks outside, then hits a running uppercut. Cesaro tosses Cena back into the ring and goes top rope with a cross body but Cena catches him and goes for the AA. Cesaro lands on his feet. Counter after counter and Cena hits a Frankensteiner and a Reverse Sitting Suplex. Two count! Cesaro gets to his feet and hits an uppercut! Two count! Both men are outside the ring ropes and Cesaro nearly powerbombs Cena to the outside. Cena kicks out but Cesaro pulls him into the barricade. Cesaro runs at Cena but Cena ducks and sends him into the timekeeper’s pit. Cesaro escapes and Cena rolls him into the ring. He goes top rope but Cesaro jumps up and hits a mean uppercut. Cesaro tries a Superplex but Cena breaks out with headbutts, then hits the Flying Legdrop for a close fall.
Cena runs at Cesaro but Cesaro pushes Cena up and hits the uppercut! Close fall! Cesaro calls for the Swing but Cena stands up and hits an AA for two. Cena runs at Cesaro but Cesaro hits the Swing, getting about 10 rotations before letting go. Cesaro hits a Sharpshooter and Cena starts dragging him to the ropes, so Cesaro drops the Sharpshooter and hits a Crossface. Cena rolls over but Cesaro keeps it locked. Finally, Cena kicks out and hits the STF. Cesaro gets to his feet and counters into a suplex that looks like it wrenches his neck. He gets two. Cesaro slings Cena into a corner but Cena tries the Stunner. Cesaro counters into the Neutralizer! Two count! Cena goes for a Tornado DDT but Cesaro counters into a Crossface! Cena drags Cesaro to the ropes and breaks the hold. Cena rolls outside the ring ropes — and Cesaro suplexes him back in as Cena stands up, getting two. Cena hits a Sitting Powerbomb on a rush and HE nearly gets a fall. Both men get to their feet. Cena hits some punches and puts Cesaro on his shoulders, climbing the buckle. Cesaro elbows out and goes for the Neutralizer but Cena punches out of it. The two exchange shots but Cena grabs Cesaro for an AA to retain!
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: John Cena via AA
RATING: *****. What a match. Beautifully wrestled by both guys and a hell of an effort.
Post-match, Kevin Owens attacks Cena but Cena fends him off and hits an AA. Owens flees. Cena celebrates as we go off the air.
OVERALL: Another show that started awful and got better as it went along. It’s nice to see the fans getting a payoff for sitting through Rollins giving gifts like it was Christmas. Brock destroying the car and the Cena/Cesaro epic were the reasons to watch and I can’t believe I’m gonna say that R-Truth and Barrett was a match worth watching.
This week’s Best of Monday Night Open Mic has some of the funniest comments I’ve ever read. Either that or I had too much wine last night: