We are two weeks from Battleground and it looks as though The Authority is on the same page as Seth Rollins as he looks to defend the title against Brock Lesnar. Smackdown proved to be a fairly solid show which is ironic since last Monday’s RAW was a dud.
Let’s see if RAW recovers…
We begin with clips from LAST MONDAY, scored by Emotional Theme #87 From Full House.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Washington, D.C. for Monday Night RAW!!!
JBL, Cole and Saxton are your guys on the mics.
Rollins comes out to the ring with Kane and J&J Security. Rollins says that Washington is obsessed with power. He says he took power last week when he conquered “The Conqueror” last week. John Cena and The Undertaker couldn’t do that, he says. He burned Suplex City to the ground. He says that Brock isn’t here tonight. He’s going to Japan for the big WWE show. Rollins says that Brock injured Jamie Noble by breaking three of his ribs. But Jamie’s here with us tonight because he’s braver than everyone in the arena and he wouldn’t miss any of this for the world.
Rollins says he has gifts for each one of them. He lifts a red velvet blanket off a table and there are three Apple Watches. They all wear them. Rollins asks them what they think. Noble’s totally stoked. Rollins says that he “broke Lesnar” and asks for #BrokenBeast to trend on Twitter which even JBL has trouble repeating. Rollins says he is giving Kane something special for all his hard work all these long years: a trip to Hawaii. He calls down a hula dancer and a dude playing the ukelele. (DANIELLE: What is this, “The Price is Right”?!) Kane is totally thankful and says he’s always wanted to relax on a beach and think of what animal he’d like to toss into a volcano. Rollins says that they’re gonna send Kane off in style tonight with a great tag match for the ages. (DANIELLE: Doesn’t Kane outrank Rollins? Isn’t he a director? Why is he giving his boss permission to go on vacation?)
But, there’s more, which is GREAT since I wanted to watch 10 more minutes of whatever the hell this is supposed to be. Rollins says that J&J are going to travel in style from here on out. He points to some random blonde chick in a black dress. She ushers in a brand-new Cadillac CTS. J&J give Rollins a group head as we get a modified version of The Dating Game theme. Rollins follows them down the ramp and describes how awesome this car is. Rollins goes over the specs which includes a nice engine, leather interior and (DANIELLE: “…uh…technology and stuff…”) a sun roof which Mercury puts his body through.
Rollins thanks Kane and J&J as Rollins screams how awesome the last 17 minutes has been. J&J honk the horn loudly.
Big Show’s music hits…and…I guess we’re having a match after ALL of that. Mark Henry heads to the ring.
MATCH #1: Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Miz is on commentary because, remember? He’s still a part of the Show/Ryback feud for some reason. Show boots Henry in the head and punches him in the corner. Henry kicks at Show and knocks him down with a huge clothesline. Henry boots Show to the mat and headbutts him. Henry hits a weak-looking Warrior Splash and gets a two count. Henry kicks at Show but Show stands up and nails Henry with the KO Punch to win this at 1:24.
WINNER: Big Show via KO Punch
RATING: DUD. The review speaks for itself.
Post-match, Ryback runs down to the ring and attacks Show, knocking him from the ring. Miz attacks Ryback right after this and then runs away when Ryback chases him. Ryback says they have a match later but he wants Miz in the ring NOW.
MATCH #2: The Miz vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback (non-title)
Miz runs away which never fucking gets old. Ryback chases him back into the ring and slams him to the mat which Miz half-sells and nearly snaps himself in half. Ryback beats him in a couple corners before Miz regains control with fists to his head. Ryback goes for a delayed suplex and holds Miz upside down for nearly a minute. Ryback marches around and finally drops him, getting two. Miz bails from the ring and tries to go into the crowd but Ryback grabs him and tosses him into the crowd barricade. Ryback drags Miz into the ring and Miz quickly hits a DDT, getting two. He hits a running boot to Ryback’s face, getting two. Neckbreaker. Two count. Miz kicks at Ryback who grabs the foot of Miz and then just runs him over twice, hitting a Spinebuster after two shoulderblocks. Ryback tries for a Meat Hook but Miz runs off and…ok, the match just stops at a count of like 5 because The Miz isn’t even worth a full countout these days. Mark it at 5:26.
WINNER: Ryback via countout
RATING: *. A 20-minute QVC spot followed by two matches featuring a weak feud that’s so vaporous, it makes Reigns and Wyatt look important. This is gonna be a long night. That said, Ryback is over as he’s ever been, so that’s good.
Oh lord…the fucking Bellas are in the ring and we didn’t even get the Nikki twirl to make it worthwhile.
MATCH #3: Paige vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Brie Bella & WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella)
Paige hits a couple of Snap Mares and an arm bar. Page hits a drop toehold off a whip. Fox comes back with a slap to Paige and punches. She rams Paige into the buckle. Paige comes back and punches Fox who dashes from the ring. Paige chases but gets distracted by THEBELLABRAND™. Fox wallops her from behind and — a BREAK?! For THIS match?! After the break, Fox is “complete control” of this compelling feud. She kicks Paige in the head and gets two. Long headlock and Paige breaks, hitting a Spinning Backbreaker for a fall that Paige botches by kicking out late. Fox elbows Paige in the head and it’s another headlock spot. Paige busts free and hits a running knee, followed by several others in the corner. Paige hits clotheslines and a Superkick. Two count. The Bellas have had enough and try for a distraction. Fox rolls her up for the pin — but Paige reverses to get the win at 9:35.
RATING: **1/4. Match of the night if you can believe it. Fox and Paige are perfectly matched here.
TONIGHT: Ambrose & Reigns vs. Rollins and Kane in a No-DQ Match.
John Cena comes out to the ring, saying that the Open Challenge is on — but Kevin Owens’ music hits. Owens gets in the ring as Garcia starts to announce the match. Owens goes outside and grabs a mic. He says he’s gonna wait until Battleground. He promises to beat Cena…but, maybe, somebody else will be first…and Cesaro’s music hits.
MATCH #4: John Cena (champion) vs. Cesaro (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
We get a headlock by both guys as Owens joins the commentary team. Cesaro hits a powerslam in stride. Two count. Another long headlock spot. Cena breaks but Cesaro his a backbreaker for two. Gut Wrench by Cesaro gets two. Cesaro puts on another headlock but Cena breaks. Cesaro counters, punching away, then hits an uppercut. ANOTHER headlock which Cena counters with a pin for two. Cesaro whips Cena into the corner but Cena comes back with a dropkick. Cena misses a running elbow and Cesaro stomps Cena’s chest after he falls. Cesaro punches at Cena and hits an elbow drop from the buckle. When we come back, Cesaro has a two count. Cena comes alive and hits his first few Moves of Doom but Cesaro hits a MEAN clothesline as Cena goes for the 5KS. Two count by Cesaro. Cesaro goes for the Swing but Cena counters with a Springboard Stunner after Cesaro converts it to a Slingshot. Two count. Cena goes for the AA but Cesaro lands on his feet and hits a sloppy Euro Uppercut for a near fall. Cena comes back with the STF but Cesaro counters with a Sharpshooter. Cena gets to the ropes to break. Cesaro puts Cena up on the buckle for a Superplex for another near fall. Cesaro hits a Running Uppercut. He tries again but Cena boots him in the head and hits a Bulldog for a VERY close fall. Cesaro hits a Cross Body but Cena counters with a DDT for a close fall. At around 17 minutes, Kevin Owens stands up and tries to take a swipe at Michael Cole who looks legit pissed off. Meanwhile, Cesaro dropkicks Cena off the turnbuckle and goes outside, hitting a running uppercut for two. Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer which we haven’t seen since 2012, I think. Cena counters into a Sunset Powerbomb, getting two. Cena sets up for the AA but Cesaro kicks out and hits the Neutralizer for two. He can’t believe it and starts uppercutting Cena. He hits a big one, then the Swing, getting nine rotations. He goes for the Sharpshooter after that but Owens gets into the ring and attacks Cesaro, ending 20 minutes of this in a DQ.
WINNER: No contest
RATING: ***1/4. Good match here, even with a crap ending. Even still, it’s the most logical ending, keeping Cena, Cesaro and Owens all red hot. Still a shame it had to end the way it did.
Post-match, Owens hits the PUPB on both Cesaro and Cena and then says Cesaro won’t get the title tonight because Owens will be the only one with the title.
TONIGHT: Ziggler and Lana “go public” with an IPO or something.
ALSO: The No-DQ Tag Match brought to you by Terminator: Stretching the Premise.
We get a recap of The Authority vs. Brock.
Then it’s another Wyatt segment right as this show was beginning to regain a pulse.. He talks about his Dad and how he’s making IRS proud. Wyatt says that Reigns won’t succeed. He won’t let Reigns succeed. Run.
The Rock showed up in Boston once to beat up Bo Dallas. Yay?
MATCH #5: Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) & WWE Tag Team Champions The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) vs. Bo Dallas & The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston)
Woods and Kalisto exchange counters and armbars before Woods belts Kalisto in the head. Kalisto comes back with chest slaps and a goofy armdrag involving the top rope as a Springboard. Tag to Sin Cara who punches at Woods. Woods tags in Dallas and Cara puts him in an armbar. Tag to Young who knees Dallas in the gut. One count. Tag to Titus who sends Young into Dallas’s stomach, then he tosses Dallas across the ring. Tag to Kalisto and Dallas works him over with kneedrops. Dallas comes back with a short-arm clothesline and a front facelock. Kalisto shoves Dallas into the Face corner and it’s a tag to Young again. Young gets knocked down by Dallas but nobody in the crowd cares. Young comes back, hitting a Sidewalk Slam on the mat outside. We go to break as it nearly turns into a Pier Six.
When we come back, Woods has Kalisto in a Million Dollar Dream. Kalisto breaks and ends up in Belly to Belly by E. Kalisto lands on his feet and rolls over to tag Sin Cara who goes Flip City, knocking E around the ring. Tag to Young who elbows E in the head. E breaks out of a hold and goes for a tag. Young picks on E again but E just tosses him out of the ring. Dallas attacks Young outside, then rolls him back into the ring for a mudhole stomp in the heel corner. Kofi hits a dropkick and the ref finally gets involved, pulling Kofi off Young. Young escapes the hold but Dallas catches him in a headlock. Young breaks and chops at Dallas’s chest. Both guys run at one another and collide. Both men make a hot tag with Titus and Kofi the legal guys. Titus takes out the heels, then clotheslines Kofi. Chaos hits as everyone’s in the ring. The Luchas help Titus clear the ring, then they dive at the remainder of The New Day. Kofi flies at Titus who counters with Clash of the Titus for the merciful end at 14:29.
WINNERS: Luchas and PTP
RATING: **. Not bad, not good and hey, look: Luchas because reasons! Match was overlong at near 15 minutes. Dallas and the Luchas are DOA after building up massive heat.
LAST WEEK: Summer hit on Rusev, kinda.
Out comes Dolph for a long promo which pretty much tells you the state of the roster this week. Ziggler explains making out with Lana as if that needs an explanation. Lana takes over. She says Rusev isn’t a real man because Ziggler’s that man. This goes on two minutes too long until Rusev emerges with Summer in tow. Lana doesn’t look happy as they head to the ring. Rusev says he doesn’t care about Lana anymore. He never did. He calls Lana a “cold fish”. Ziggler stops him and says that Rusev’s a scumbag. Ziggler says Lana belongs to him. Ziggler tells Rusev that he blew it. He says that he can arrange the breaking of Rusev’s other ankle. The two face off with the crowd finally deciding that Ziggler’s a face, they guess. They start chanting “USA” even though Bulgaria is a NATO ally. ‘Murica! Summer calls Lana a gold digger and says that Rusev cared about Lana. But this whole thing proves that Lana is a phony. Summer slaps the taste out of Lana’s mouth. Lana’s furious and lunges at Summer. The two fight. Ziggler separates them and — oops, there goes Lana’s skirt. Summer escapes the ring. So, I guess we’re getting a mixed tag with these four in the near future.
Dean Ambrose hangs out with some T-800’s from Terminator backstage BECAUSE WE HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH PRODUCT PLUGS TONIGHT. Reigns approaches him and wants to know if Ambrose is ready. Ambrose asks the same question. Reigns looks pensive. Ambrose says Reigns SHOULD be angry and tense. That’s the way he likes Reigns. They leave for the ring as LOOK AT THE ROBOTS AND GO SEE TERMINATOR 7 or whatever this one is.
We come back — and get a commercial for the new Terminator flick.
MATCH #6: Neville vs. Sheamus
Neville and Sheamus fight into two corners until Sheamus snapmares him to the mat. Neville breaks but Sheamus punches him. Neville flips around and hits a Frankensteiner. He tries again but Sheamus catches him. Neville counters and they both spill out of the ring. Neville goes for a dive but Sheamus runs. When we come back, Neville is in control for a change. He runs at Sheamus but Sheamus tosses him over the top rope. Neville lands on his feet and jumps at Sheamus who catches him and hits the Rolling Senton. He kicks at Neville and then hits a nice suplex throw. Sheamus hits a headlock. Neville breaks but Sheamus kicks at Neville in the corner. The ref shoves Sheamus off of Neville but Sheamus won’t listen and lunges repeatedly until Neville flies out of the corner, forcing Sheamus to eat a Superkick. Neville tries to follow up but Sheamus grabs him and gives him a trio of Irish Curse Backbreakers. Sheamus slaps Neville and Neville returns the favor and hits his set of roundhouse kicks. Sheamus lunges at Neville and Neville sends him outside, then hits a Springboard Moonsault to the outside. Neville hits a sitting dropkick and then it’s a series of counters. Finally, Neville catches Sheamus in the head with a high kick and goes for the Red Arrow. Sheamus manages to get up and kick at the ropes which knocks Neville to the mat. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue but misses. Neville rolls up Sheamus for a near fall but Sheamus kicks out and hits the Brogue anyhow to win this at 12:42.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
RATING: ***. A much better showing for Sheamus than last week’s march through apathy.
Backstage, a worker shines J&J’s car.
Hulk Hogan’s in Sports Illustrated. Wonder if they’ll mention the ‘roids and weird family life.
Holy shit, it’s Jack Swagger! Barrett says that all his opponents will bow down to him.
MATCH #7: Jack Swagger vs. King Barrett
Swagger chases Barrett around the ring. Barrett exits and re-enters, only to get slammed by Swagger. Swagger beats him in the corner, then tosses him across the ring. Swagger goes for the Patriot Lock but Barrett is next to the ropes and escapes the ring. Swagger chases and he tosses Barrett into the barricades. When the fight gets back in the ring, it’s the ROAL BULLHAMMER MIGGAL to finish this at about 90 seconds or so.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: DUD. Barrett’s character is pointless…and wasn’t Swagger supposed to bow? Oh well. Never mind that.
NEXT: The No-DQ tag match.
MATCH #8: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Kane & WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (with J&J Security – Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) in a No Disqualification Match
Chaos to start. Ambrose knocks Rollins out of the ring and dives at him while Reigns and Kane fight in a corner. Ambrose joins the fight and the two hit a double suplex. Ambrose goes for a top rope move but Rollins knocks him off. Rollins lures Reigns out of the ring and back in so that Kane can kick his head off when he gets back in. Ambrose gets tossed into the barricade. When we come back from break, it’s Rollins with a headlock on Reigns. Kane is tagged in but Reigns comes off the top rope with a clothesline as, suddenly, we’re in a tag match with rules. Ambrose tags in and he stomps the shit out of Rollins and hits a Bulldog. Kane goes for a distraction but Ambrose knocks him off the mat, then dumps Rollins, then dives at two of them AND takes out J&J. Ambrose marches after Noble who runs. Ambrose grabs Rollins instead and then clotheslines him. Ambrose rolls Rollins into the ring, then goes for a table under the ring. He slides the table in but J&J pull the table back out. Rollins hits a high kick to Ambrose after a cheap roll-up and gets two. Reigns saves the day and powerbombs Rollins, then clotheslines Kane. Mercury gets into the ring with a Kendo Stick and attacks Reigns who no-sells it. He grabs the stick and destroys Kane with it and breaks it over Mercury’s back. Reigns Superman Punches every single heel he sees and goes for a Spear — but Wyatt Cut to fuck up another match in a feud nobody gives a shit about. Wyatt beats up Reigns and hits Sister Abigail into the announce table. The refs send Bray away despite the fact that this is NO-DQ. Meanwhile, Ambrose is alone in the ring. Kane grabs him for a Chokeslam but Ambrose breaks and hits the Rebound Clothesline. A series of counters ends with a Chokeslam by Kane and Pedigree by Rollins and we are done at around 12 minutes.
WINNERS: Kane and Rollins
RATING: ***. Entertaining match for the most part but the shit finishes involving Bray are becoming irritating. The crowd really liked Reigns here.
Post-match, the Authority tries to put Ambrose through a table but Reigns attacks. The Authority disposes of him. Rollins taunts Reigns who comes back to life and clears the ring by himself.
And, with that, we go off the ai–oh…no, we don’t.
The Authority swarms the ring again and Reigns gets his ass kicked again. Reigns fights back and prevents a Chokeslam. Rollins hits a horribly botched “knee clip” spot and it’s a mudhole stomp. Rollins tells his guys to pick Reigns up. They do and it’s a Buckle Bomb into the table in the corner.
And as the Authority stands tall, we go off the ai–wait. Nope. ANOTHER peril spot.
Reigns aiin’t through and actually struggles to get up and we’re STILL on this. Rollins hits another Pedigree.
And we go off the a–.
Oh. Nope. Bray Wyatt is back. He re-enters the ring and hits Sister Abigail just in case you haven’t had enough of Wyatt getting involved. He yells “FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS” as we finally go off the air.
OVERALL: Better than last week by far and a solid show to boot. It somehow survived a weak opening and a horrible Ziggler segment to finish with some decent matches. I’m still not a fan of Reigns/Wyatt but I do like the idea of Rollins and his guys all being back together and on the same page. It sets up a nice payoff at Battleground.
And, before we go, we have this week’s Best of Monday Night Open Mic: