Date: September 14, 2015
Location FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield
Tonight is the season premier, as WWE throws whatever it can at Monday Night Football to try and not get completely decimated in the ratings. The big match tonight is Charlotte challenging Nikki Bella for the Divas Title in Nikki’s first televised title defense in about two and a half months. Let’s get to it.
We open Monday Night RAW with a full recap of the statue story because just having Cole explain it in fifteen seconds would be too complicated.
Here’s the Authority walking down the ramp, which now has a Connor’s Cure logo. HHH and Stephanie talk about all the new talent that have showed up in the last year and a half. That group will lead the WWE into the new generation, which will be lead by Seth Rollins. HHH explains the double title defense on Sunday and that’s about it for Seth right now.
Stephanie explains the Divas Title situation and talks about how the Revolution has rocked everything. HHH has a major announcement for tonight: Sting will be wrestling his first match ever on Raw as he faces the Big Show. Stephanie introduces New Day for their title defense and the Authority dances with them.
So wait. They announced New Day vs. the Prime Time Players and the Divas Title in advance, but STING wrestling on Raw is announced with a few hours notice? These decisions continue to amaze me every single week, but at least they made sure to get Stephanie dancing to New Day’s entrance because she’s fun and cool that way. HHH dances a bit too.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Prime Time Players
New Day is defending with Woods on the floor as usual. Darren rolls Kofi up for a quick two before it’s off to Titus for a slam on Big E. We see the Dudleyz looking on as E. comes back with a belly to belly, meaning it’s time for some trombone playing. Back to the starters with Darren escaping the SOS and loading up the Gut Check, only to have Kofi tag out to Big E. The big guy sends Young into the post and it’s time for the rotating stomps, accompanied by more tromboning as we take a break.
Back with New Day still in control and Woods tormenting him with the trombone. Titus comes after them but gets called back by the referee. Woods: “DO NOT TOUCH MY TROMBONE!” Back in and Kofi snaps Darren’s throat across the top rope but he dives into some raised boots. Titus comes in off the tag to clean house and gives Kofi three straight backbreakers. A powerslam gets two on Big E. but Kofi gives Darren Trouble in Paradise on the floor. Woods offers a distraction and gets his trombone broken up, allowing the Midnight Hour to take Titus out for the pin at 12:15.
Rating: C. This was fine and a good way to set up New Day vs. the Dudleyz on Sunday. The Players have had their moment in the sun and it’s time to move on to a more interesting team. Darren and Titus are fine for a midcard team, but I don’t think anyone really bought them as a long term threat, which means they’re left as a nice role team.
New Day celebrates but the Dudleyz come out for a staredown.
Video of Sting at Starrcade 1988, part of a series of clips of his career. Pay no attention to the fact that that was a pretty worthless match.
Seth Rollins comes in to see the Authority and after praising the dance moves, he’s told to worry about Sunday. They do the New Day clap and that’s about it. This is another good example of a segment that didn’t need to be there.
We recap Charlotte making Nikki tap in a brawl last week.
Charlotte and Ric Flair are ready for the title match tonight and Ric praises the Divas division. They’re doing a great job of making this feel like a big deal.
Paige vs. Sasha Banks
It’s just Becky at ringside while Naomi and Tamina are out with Banks. Sasha snaps Paige’s arm across the middle rope to start and bends it around to put Paige in early trouble. Banks stomps on the arm in the corner instead of dropping the double knees before putting on an armbar.
Paige comes back with a knee in the corner and some kicks to the face for two as the announcers debate women’s tennis in an attempt to tie it into the Divas Revolution. A wicked German suplex sends Sasha down onto the back of her head and out to the floor in a heap. Paige tries to dive off the apron but Tamina pulls Sasha away, sending Paige crashing down as well. Back in and the Bank Statement puts Paige away at 5:15.
Rating: C. The potential for a Paige heel turn would seem to make sense and there’s nothing wrong with a story that might be this obvious. Once this team thing is done they can actually get on to something else instead of just running around in circles like they have been for weeks. The match was fine with that German suplex looking awesome, but I’ve lost interest in seeing them fight four times in two weeks. As usual, the word overkill doesn’t exist in WWE’s world.
We recap the Wyatt Family taking out Jimmy Uso and Randy Orton last week.
Video on Connor’s Cure.
It’s time for MizTV with special guests the Wyatt Family. Miz tells them to sit down but Bray tells Miz to not sit because he’s not safe here. After assuring Bray that he’s not the partner at Hell in a Cell (yes Hell in a Cell), Miz tries to talk to Strowman but Braun doesn’t say a word. Bray gets right in Miz’s face and says they’re coming to Night of Champions to show that no matter who comes at them, they all fall down. Cue Reigns and Ambrose in the crowd with Dean beating up Miz for trying to talk. Bray sits down as the other four stare at each other. Reigns calls Wyatt out for the attacks last week and promises to make him pay.
If Wyatt really was the man, he could have beaten Roman one on one but he just can’t do it. A real man wouldn’t have to surround himself with monsters. Reigns and Ambrose have found a third man for Night of Champions and they’re ready to win. Everyone stares each other down and the camera cuts out. This would be much better if they didn’t go to the announcers, meaning they’re sitting there talking while the guys are still in the ring.
Clip of Sting winning his first World Title at Great American Bash 1990.
John Cena vs. Sheamus
Sheamus’ headlock doesn’t get that far so he elbows Cena in the face instead. John is thrown to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Sheamus dropping a top rope knee for two before slapping on a sleeper. Cena pops up and hits the ProtoBomb followed by the Shuffle. A tornado DDT gets two on Sheamus but he comes back with an Edgeucator.
Cena grabs the ropes so Sheamus busts out the ten forearms instead. We get the same sequence with Cena using the STF and hitting some forearms of his own. The AA is blocked and Sheamus ax handles Cena in the face to take over again. Cena breaks up the Brogue Kick with a hard clothesline but can’t follow up. A powerslam drops Cena again but he sidesteps the top rope shoulder. Sheamus charges but Cena powers him up into a powerbomb position, only to flip him over into an electric chair drop. Back up and Sheamus tries the Regal roll, only to have Cena roll over into the AA for the pin at 14:49.
Rating: B. Good match here and I believe the first time Cena has pinned Sheamus in a singles match on TV. This was harkening back to the days of the US Open Challenge (you know, all those weeks ago) and continues to show that Cena can work a very good match with anyone you throw out there against him. Good stuff here.
Here’s Ryback with something to say. It’s appropriate that we’re in Memphis because Kevin Owens seems to have him all shook up. Ryback does a little Elvis and the silence is so deafening that he has to acknowledge it. As he starts to talk about Kevin Owens not being a real man, Owens cuts him off. Owens comes out with a copy of The Secret, which Ryback has credited with his rise to success.
He calls the book a joke and throws it to the floor while calling it a travesty that Ryback is the Intercontinental Champion. Ryback talks about how positive he is and how he fell on his face after rocketing to the top of the company. Owens says he’d take the title the first chance he got, so Ryback offers him a shot at Night of Champions. Kevin leaves without accepting. I really like the idea of these two fighting, but Ryback crediting his success to a book really doesn’t hold up for me.
The next Sting clip is Starrcade 1997, which is possibly the bullet that they never could recover from.
Stardust vs. Neville
The Lucha Dragons come out with Nevilel to counteract the Ascension. It’s a huge brawl to start with the Dragons diving through the ropes to take Ascension out. Neville hurricanranas Stardust to the floor but Ascension drags him away before Neville can dive. No match.
Nikki Bella video where she takes credit for the Divas Revolution. This was…..bad. Yeah that’s the only way to put it. It was bad.
Divas Title: Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella
Nikki is defending in case that’s not really clear. Charlotte takes her down to the mat and drops some knees. The figure four neck lock lets Charlotte rolls Nikki around the ring and tell her to bring it on. Nikki comes back by snapping Charlotte’s arm across the top rope and wringing it down onto the apron as we take a break.
Back with Nikki staying on the arm but Charlotte lifts her out of an armbar into a powerbomb to break it up. A big boot gets two for Charlotte but a dropkick to the shoulder gets the same for the champ. Charlotte scores with the spear but Alicia gets on the apron for a distraction. It’s Twin Magic time and Charlotte rolls Brie up for the pin at 10:02.
I’m not even going to bother rating it yet because here’s Stephanie to say that doesn’t count and Charlotte wins by DQ. Charlotte gets her rematch on Sunday and the title can change hands by any means.
Rating: C-. Well that happened. The match was nothing special but I’m sure we’ll hear for weeks about how awesome it was as the NXT fans point to Sasha vs. Bayley. You had to know they were going with the record because this is all about making the Bellas into some kind of pop culture icon in WWE’s mind and they just had to get her the record, which is totally better than Trish holding the Women’s Title for over a year because reasons.
Sting was at Survivor Series 2014.
Cesaro vs. Rusev
Rusev grabs a wristlock to start but Cesaro does four or five nipups in a row to escape. A headscissors drops Rusev again and the delayed vertical suplex gets one. Rusev’s spinwheel kick gets two but here’s Dolph Ziggler with a present for Summer. The distraction lets Cesaro small package Rusev for the pin at 4:04.
Rating: C-. The booking here was a lot better as you had Cesaro get a win while Ziggler gets to cost Rusev a match. Everyone comes out looking the way they’re supposed to look and Sunday’s match gets some build. That’s the kind of smart booking that WWE lacks so often and it’s a nice touch.
Ziggler superkicks Rusev and Summer sneaks the present with her as they leave.
WWE was at a children’s hospital earlier today.
Post break Rusev is livid and goes into his dressing room. Summer opens the present and it’s……something we can’t see.
Recap of the Tag Team Title match and we run down the Night of Champions card. Owens vs. Ryback for the Intercontinental Title is confirmed, as is Neville/Lucha Dragons vs. Stardust/Ascension on the preshow.
Big Show promises the Authority that he’ll knock Sting out.
Sting vs. Big Show
These two headlined Slamboree 1996 nearly twenty years ago. The Authority is ringside to watch. Sting hammers away to start and gets in ten right hands in the corner. Show tries a chokeslam out of the corner but gets DDT’d down instead. There’s the Stinger Splash but Rollins runs in for the DQ at 1:45.
Cena comes out for the save and HHH makes it a tag match.
Sting/John Cena vs. Seth Rollins/Big Show
This is joined in progress after a break with Cena’s shoulder block bouncing off Big Show. It’s off to Rollins for some stomping but Cena backdrops him over the top to the floor for a big crash. Back in and Cena tries the AA but can’t flip Show over, meaning the beating continues. Rollins and Big Show take turns beating on Cena while they both break up the tag attempts. The slow motion Vader Bomb gets two.
Cena turns Rollins inside out with a running clothesline but Show breaks up another hot tag attempt. Show misses the second Vader Bomb though and Cena dives over for the hot tag to Sting. It’s showtime as Sting cleans house, only to be run over by Big Show. The giant takes the AA and Sting breaks up the Pedigree with a Scorpion Death Drop. The Scorpion Deathlock makes Rollins tap at 11:58.
Rating: C-. I don’t like the ending but I get the idea. Sting isn’t going to win the title on Sunday but it’s still cool to see him in the ring on Raw, just for the novelty of it if nothing else. This could be another stake in HHH and Rollins’ relationship as Rollins couldn’t beat the man that HHH could, but they’ve been teasing the split for months now so I’ll believe it when I see it.
Overall Rating: C+. This was FAR better than last week as you could feel an energy instead of the same boring show they did last week. It was also a good go home show for Night of Champions, which is looking like a pretty fun card on paper. I’m curious to see where some of the stuff goes and that’s exactly what this show was supposed to accomplish. You had some big moments and a good match here so what else more can you ask for out of a TV show? Well done this week.
New Day b. Prime Time Players – Midnight Hour to O’Neil
Sasha Banks b. Paige – Bank Statement
John Cena b. Sheamus – Attitude Adjustment
Charlotte b. Nikki Bella via DQ when Brie Bella interfered
Cesaro b. Rusev – Small package
Sting b. Big Show via DQ when Seth Rollins interfered
Sting/John Cena b. Big Show/Seth Rollins – Scorpion Deathlock to Rollins
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