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Monday Night RAW Recap: Rollins defends World Title against Neville

The cool thing about this Monday’s RAW is that Danielle and I were there tonight at SAP Center in San Jose. We’ll try to post some pics as well as some select video cuts…but we had a blast. We are a couple weeks from SummerSlam and Brock Lesnar is returning tonight. John Cena’s supposed to be off-camera due to a legit broken nose during an accidental spot where Rollins clipped him with his knee. Let’s see how tonight went…

We start with the entire roster out on the entrance ramp for the memorial for “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

I can’t do it justice…so just watch this.

The crowd chants “ROWDY” following this and we get our titles to the show.

WE ARE LIVE(!!!) FROM SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA FOR MONDAY NIGHT RAW!!!

JBL, Cole and King are the guys on the mics. SAP is so loud, it’s insane.

TONIGHT: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Randy Orton vs. The Wyatts & Sheamus

Seth Rollins starts us off, wearing a new shirt that mocks John Cena’s “Never Give Up” shirt. It reads “NEVER SHUT UP” on the front and “YOU CAN’T SEE KNEE” on the back. Cole recaps when Rollins broke Cena’s nose last week. Rollins says that there’s only one person who can slow him down…and that person is himself. Rollins says he knows he has a problem. It’s been plaguing him for some time. He’s got an issue with sympathy. He presents a clip of last week when he broke Cena’s nose. The San Jose crowd chants, “THANK YOU, ROLLINS”. He says he felt Cena’s nose crack on his knee. He heard the pop when it shattered. He didn’t feel bad at first. That sort of thing happens in a WWE ring. Rollins says that’s the first time he’s “broken the face of the man who runs the place”. Rollins says that Cena rolled over and he could see what he did to Cena. We get pics of Cena’s nose, which looks distorted. He asks who wouldn’t feel sympathy for a face like that. He knew that the match needed to be stopped so Rollins could be awarded the United States title…but Cena went ahead with the match — and beat Rollins. But that won’t happen again. He has a proposition for John Cena: he knows that Cena’s at home, recovering, “looking like a cross between a raccoon and a Picasso painting”. Rollins wants to do this again — one more time. He wants the match to be title for title at SummerSlam. He says that if Cena doesn’t show up, it means he’s afraid. It doesn’t matter. Cena either won’t show or Rollins will beat him. One of them will hold both titles at the same time. As for tonight, San Jose is the place to be! The arena pops. Rollins says it’s because of HIM. He won his title here. (DANIELLE: I thought he won it in San Francisco…that’s weird.) He says that this is the time when Cena issues his Open Challenge…but HE will have one instead. For the first time, it’s a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Open Challenge.

We go to break…

When we come back from break, JoJo is in the ring with Rollins. She just can’t believe what Rollins just did. He says it’s legit. The Authority approves of this 100 percent…except there’s a couple catches:

  • His opponent has to be under 6 feet tall.
  • His opponent has to be under 200 pounds.

JoJo pretends like the entire mid-card roster doesn’t exist and says that El Torito’s the only one that matches that description. Rollins likes the way she thinks and calls out El Torito. His music hits and SAP just dies…until Neville’s music hits instead — and thank the fuck christ for that. The arena was about to riot.

MATCH #1: Seth Rollins (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
A series of counters and wristlocks to start. Rollins puts Neville in the corner and stomps at him. Neville flips out of the trouble, then hits a Hurricarana. Rollins flies out of the ring, so Neville hits a Moonsault to the outside, followed by two more. When we comes back, Rollins is in control. Neville breaks a headlock but Rollins drops his neck on the ropes and covers for two. Rollins goes for a Side Suplex but Neville lands on his feet and nails Rollins in the jaw. Neville hits a series of kicks but Rollins comes back with a Zigg Zagg for two. Rollins hits a running knee to Neville’s gut in the corner. Rollins hits a forearm, then goes top rope but Neville kicks him in the head on the way down. Neville nails Rollins with a Reverse Frankenstein and NEARLY gets the pin! Rollins tries a German Suplex. Neville counters and lands on his feet, hitting a German Suplex! Neville gets up, pulls Rollins off his stomach and hits a German Suplex PIN! TWO COUNT!!! Neville sets up for the Red Arrow but Rollins gets to his feet. Neville jumps over him and Rollins hits a HUGE clothesline that turns Neville inside out. Rollins goes for the Pedigree but Neville counters into a pin and ALMOST GETS THREE!!! HOLY SHIT!!! Crowd is PISSED, but what a match! Rollins goes top rope but Neville gets to his feet and leaps up at Rollins and hits a HUGE SUPER FRANKENSTEINER!!! Neville goes for the Red Arrow and HITS IT!!! 1…2…3!NOOOOO!!! Rollins foot was on the rope because Neville hooked the leg too deep! Man, oh, man…SAP is NUTS right now. The fans around us chant “ONE MORE TIME”! Nevill obliges…but Rollins moves and hits a Pedigree to retain at 13:04.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Rollins via Pedigree
RATING: ****. What a match. This is a dark horse for Match of the Year IMO.

TONIGHT: Brock Lesnar is here.

NEXT: 8-MAN TAG MATCH – Los Matadores & Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day & The Ascension

The Primetime Players are on commentary.

MATCH #2: Los Matadores (Fernando & Diego) (w/ El Torito) & Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) & The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods)
Kalisto and Kofi start. The two of them flip around and both land on their feet. Tag to Fernando. He nails Kofi, then tags Diego who pins for two. Fernando gets back in and does a flipping cradle pin for two. Viktor tags in and rushes at Fernando but Fernando stops him and gets in an OLE! Fernando gets dumped from the ring. When we come back from break, Kofi dropkicks Fernando as Xavier screams at ringside. Viktor gets back in the ring. He drops a knee for two. Fernando tries a Sunset Flip and gets two. Viktor gets up and puts Fernando on the mat. He attacks the face corner, then runs into a body drop by Fernando. Hot tags bring in Cara and Kofi. Cara hits a Springboard Moonsault for two. We get the obligatory Bodies Everywhere on the Floor spot where everyone hits a high risk dive outside. Kalisto tags and hits a cross body on Kofi for two. Kalisto goes top rope. Xavier tries to interfere. El Torito leaps up on the mat to bite Xavier’s leg, drawing him back down. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise off the distraction and gets the pin at 8:19.
WINNERS: The New Day/Ascension
RATING: *1/2. This was sloppy as hell. Konnor never got in the ring except when the cameras were off during the commercial break. I don’t understand why any of these men are fighting each other when the primary feud is between The New Day and Prime Time Players.

NEXT: Paige, Charlotte and Becky are in action.

Paige and her girls are now called “The Submission Sorority” just in case Team B.A.D. didn’t sound shitty enough. Is it possible to NOT have all 9 women grouped into three stables? That defeats the purpose of each one of them vying for Nikki’s title.

MATCH #3: The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella) (w/ Alicia Fox) vs. Charlotte & Becky Lynch (w/ Paige)
Brie and Becky face off first. Brie tosses Becky to the mat by her hair. Becky suddenly jumps up and hits a Drop Toehold. A couple legdrops and tag to Charlotte. The two reverse holds. Nikki kicks Charlotte in the head from behind after Brie tags her in. The two trade holds. Charlotte applies a Front Facelock. Nikki breaks and ends up in the Figure Eight. Nikki immediately kicks Charlotte away. A weird botch moment where Brie swings at Charlotte but pulls her punch. Twice. Nikki knocks Charlotte down and Brie tags in. The two women team up to drop Charlotte to the mat. Brie applies CHINLOCK CITY BITCH. Charlotte breaks the hold and tags Becky who clotheslines the hell out of Brie. Two count. Brie tries a suplex but Becky counters with the Dis-Armer. Brie’s too close to the ropes and breaks the hold. Brie rolls out of the ring. Becky Baseball Slides at Team Bella but they all move out of the way like the fucking Red Sea. Brie completely telegraphs her clothesline because she’s suddenly required to yell her own name or something before she executes a move. She hits it anyway. After a break, it’s Nikki with Becky in a headlock. Tag to Brie who pins Becky for two. Bulldog by Brie. Two count. Brie Mode Running Knee and two count. Becky breaks a headlock but both women clothesline each other. Finally, we get a hot tag that takes so long, the crowd attempting to rally the ladies just stops clapping. Finally, we get Nikki and Charlotte. Weak Flair Chops and a Spear by Charlotte. Two count. Brie comes in but Becky takes her out. Charlotte runs at Nikki and ends up in a Spinebuster for two. Nikki tries a Wristlock but Charlotte counters into a Figure Eight to win the match.
WINNERS: Charlotte & Becky Lynch
RATING: **. Got better as it went along but far too long and sloppy to boot with some horrible blown spots.

Team B.A.D. is backstage, watching this all. JoJo says that Paige and her team have taken control of the Divas Division. Team B.A.D. disagrees. Naomi says she is challenging Paige to a match tonight.

STILL TO COME: Brock Lesnar and the 6-Man Tag Main Event

BUT UP NEXT: MizTV w/ Kevin Owens and Cesaro

MizTV starts. Miz breaks kayfabe and calls his show “The 2nd Best Talk Show in WWE” because Piper’s Pit was the genesis of these spots. He says he will miss Piper — and then steps back into kayfabe.

He says he’s on fire. He’s a WWE Superstar, judge on Tough Enough and movie star. He says that once Ryback stops nursing his injury, he will be the new IC Champion. He says Ryback should vacate the IC title if he can’t fight for it. He says the title should go to him. He says that his first guest is more on fire than he is: Kevin Owens. Owens comes down and says he’s a huge fan and says that he owns “all of Miz’s movies on Bluray. Miz thanks him and asks why Cesaro has such a problem with Owens. Owens says Cesaro is jealous — and Cesaro’s music hits.

Miz says he’s a bit pissed that Cesaro couldn’t wait. Owens says that he has succeeded where Cesaro has failed. Cesaro has never beaten John Cena. Owens says that no matter how hard Cesaro works or how dedicated he is, he will never match Owens or his ability and passion for the business. Cesaro says he’s not jealous of Owens. He’s ashamed of him. He says that Owens walks away from a match. When he does it, he disrespects everyone in WWE. He calls Owens an embarrassment. Owens gets up and the chair sticks to him. Oops. Owens gets in Cesaro’s face. Cesaro tells Owens that he’s all bluster, but Cesaro wants to fight. Miz cheers them on. Cesaro and Owens both tell Miz to shut up. Owens tells Miz to shut his mouth and let the two adults “who know how to fight” mix it up. Owens says a fight isn’t happening. Cesaro tells Owens to “walk, Owens, walk”. Owens gets back in the ring and shoves Miz into Owens. He follows up the attack but Cesaro trips him and goes for the Swing. Owens escapes and the segment ends with the two jawing at each other.

TONIGHT: Naomi and Paige go at it. 

Rusev’s out to wrestle as we get clips of Rusev injuring Dolph a few weeks back.

MATCH #4: Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) vs. Mark Henry
So, we’re defaulting to old Rusev, then? Rusev with stomps and Front Facelock. Henry breaks and hits a body slam for two. Rusev kicks out and hits a Superkick. Then it’s a Thrust Kick to finish it.
WINNER: Rusev
RATING: n/a – squash

Post-match, more Super-Kicking and what-not. Summer celebrates and claps like Single White Female and that’s that.

Cole plugs SummerSlam on WWE Network. Then decides to pump us up with a clip from Swerved. (DANIELLE: This makes no more sense than it did last night.)

STILL TO COME: The 6-Man Tag Team Match

Bray edit. Wyatt plucks the petals of a flower. He says that without its petals, the flower becomes a weed. Then it’s gone. Wyatt says he will take Roman’s popularity away. Harper says that they warned Reigns. Sheamus shows up! Yay! He says he will Brogue Kick Orton in the face. Wyatt says the enemy of his enemy is his friend. Well, yeah, they’re all heels. Whatever.

Barrett is out here. Zack Ryder is alive and in the ring, apparently. Barrett calls Ryder “The King of the Internet”, a gimmick we haven’t seen since 2011 but, ok.

MATCH #5: Zack Ryder vs. King Barrett
Barrett knocks Ryder down and hits a side headlock. Ryder fights out and plants Barrett’s face into the mat on a charge. Ryder hits a Missile Dropkick and a corner splash. Broski Boot in the corner. Ryder charges at Barrett but Barrett dodges and drops Ryder on the top buckle. ROAL BULLHAMMER MIGGAL wins it.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: n/a – squash

Paul Heyman is out to speak. First, he shows us a montage from Battleground when The Undertaker beat up Brock Lesnar. He says the person who beat up Lesnar was not the same Undertaker. He calls the Undertaker “desperate”. He says that The Undertaker is just a bitch. Then he shows us the recap from last week. He says The Undertaker is doing this because he’s insecure. He knows he can never beat Lesnar. Lesnar is the “1 in 22-1”. He calls out Lesnar. In a nod to the last time they were in San Jose, Lesnar comes to the announce table and glares at Michael Cole. Lesnar just smiles and keeps walking. Then he picks up some steel steps and tosses them in the ring. He gets on top of those steps like an Olympian gladiator.

Paul Heyman reminds us of what happened at WrestleMania XXX. He claims that The Undertaker begged McMahon for a re-match at WrestleMania 31 — and that’s coming from a man who begs nobody for anything. So Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt, then came in out of nowhere to beat up Lesnar at Battleground. Heyman says that, for the first time ever, Lesnar will face The Undertaker in the “Match Too Big for WrestleMania”. It’s too big for everyone. Lesnar will stamp the “EAT” in “EAT, SLEEP, SUPLEX, REPEAT”. Undertaker is going to Suplex City. Heyman does the Latin Last Rites to end this epic segment.

MATCH #6: Paige (w/ Charlotte & Becky) vs. Naomi (w/ Tamina & NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks)
Paige and Naomi lock up. Paige puts her to the mat for two. Naomi tries to slam Paige. Paige rolls her up for two. Kick by Paige. Two count. Paige slams Naomi’s head in the corner. Naomi breaks out. Paige tries to put her back in the corner and charges but Naomi rubs her ass in Paige’s face. #DivaRevolution! Naomi goes for a Backstabber but it’s horribly botched as Paige just rolls off of it. Naomi hits a Bulldog into the second buckle for two. Side headlock by Naomi. Paige breaks, so Naomi kicks at her and hits a Running Kneedrop for two. Paige rolls into the corner and Naomi stomps at her. She begins kicking at Paige’s side from outside the ring, then rolls her back in and pins for two. Paige finally fights back and kicks Naomi. Naomi tries a Cross Body but Paige catches her for a Fallaway Slam. Paige hits clotheslines and a Dropkick. Paige runs at Naomi who dodges and drops Paige’s neck on the middle rope. Naomi goes for another Bulldog but Paige breaks it. Naomi kicks Paige away from her and tries a Cross Body. She misses. Paige hits a Superkick and hits the PTO for the win at 7:25.
WINNER: Paige via PTO
RATING: *1/2. Sloppy and boring. Look, it’s all well and good that we have some new blood in the Divas Divison…but there’s no story and, as a result, there’s no intensity or velocity. 

Earlier, Neville ALMOST won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But, he didn’t.

Cole catches us up with Stardust. He wants Neville to be his hero. Also, Arrow‘s Steve Amell will be on RAW next week.

NEXT: A repeat of the Roddy tribute.

Madison Square Garden sent out a Tweet, saying that Piper was a “friend to the Garden” and paid tribute to them on the marquee. The video tribute is as bittersweet and heartbreaking as ever no matter how many times I watch it.

Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose hang out in the back. Ambrose says they’re here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. He spits out his gum. Ambrose says he’s all out of bubblegum. Reigns says he’s ready to respond with actions. Orton shows up and says that he wants Sheamus for himself.

NEXT MONDAY: Stephen Amell is on RAW next week.

The main event begins…AND ROMAN REIGNS COMES DOWN OUR WALKWAY!!!

We are to the right of him in this image.

MATCH #7: Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus & The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper)
Ambrose and Harper start with Ambrose beating Harper in the corner. Ambrose hits a lariat, then knocks the heel corner around. Then it’s a short Pier 6. The heels leave the ring, so Ambrose hits a Flying Elbow to the outside. After break, Sheamus and Reigns go at it. Reigns just beats him up and throws him out of the ring, then beats him up outside. The two trade blows before Sheamus tosses him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Sheamus tags Wyatt — but Harper tags himself in. Reigns doesn’t care and yells, “I’ll take you out first, bitch!” They trade blows and Harper tries a suplex but Reigns counters and reverses. Tag to Ambrose who dropkicks Harper in the chest, then pummels him in the corner. Harper comes back with a dropkick. Tag to Wyatt and he hits some mean looking forearms. He puts Ambrose in the corner and then props him on the second buckle. He goes for a Superplex but Ambrose blocks it and headbutts Bray to the mat. Harper attacks but Ambrose knocks him down. Wyatt nails Ambrose — and it’s another break.

When we come back, Ambrose is still in trouble. Bray clotheslines him out of his shoes. Tag to Harper who drops a knee. He slams Ambrose and then stares. Another slam and Ambrose is in pain. Finally, Ambrose comes back with a slam of his own. Harper gets up and rushes but Ambrose dumps him from the ring. Harper gets back in but Ambrose hits a Swinging Neckbreaker. Tags to Orton and Bray. Orton hits a Powerslam in Stride, then the back to backbreaker. Vintage Orton DDT and he sets up for the RKO. Harper gets in the ring and clotheslines Orton. Ambrose runs in and hits a Sitting Dropkick. He hits a Suicide Dive, then tries to rush at Harper but Harper clotheslines him. Reigns clotheslines Harper and begs for a tag from Orton. Sheamus tags in with Reigns. Samoan Drop by Reigns and clotheslines in the corner. Reigns clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring, then hits the Sitting Dropkick outside. Reigns nails Bray with a sitting dropkick and Reigns nails Harper with a clotheslines. Back in the ring, Reigns goes for a Superman Punch on Sheamus. Wyatt climbs on the mat, so Reigns decks him. Sheamus rolls Reigns up for the Distraction Finish — but Reigns kicks out because we’re not ending the night in San Jose like that. Sheamus goes for a Powerslam. Reigns breaks and hits a Superman Punch. Harper Superkicks him. Ambrose gets in the ring and it’s a Rebound Clothesline off a slap. Wyatt gets up and tries Sister Abigail on Ambrose but Ambrose breaks, runs and dives at Harper outside. Wyatt taunts Ambrose — but doesn’t see Randy Orton creeping up behind him. Orton nails him with an RKO that blows the roof off SAP. Sheamus gets in the ring and tries a Brogue. He misses. Reigns hits the Spear and we’re done at 16:39.
WINNERS: Ambrose/Reigns/Orton
RATING: ***1/2. Loved this match. So much fun. The crowd in the arena was totally into this. It was crazy awesome. 

Paige and Stone Cold are getting ready for the Stone Cold Podcast as the heroes celebrate the win.

OVERALL: I may have some bias since we were at the event…but this was a good show WWE put on. The final tag match didn’t exactly advertise fireworks but managed to deliver a wonderfully crazy finish that the crowd just ate up with a giant spoon. The Neville/Rollins match was also great. One of the better RAW shows in quite some time.

Er…that’s it.

About Matt Perri

Matt Perri
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, We Hate Your Gimmick.

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