“Monday Night Rollins” opened up with the smug champ talking about his MitB victory and informing us of the show’s name change. He reeled off a list of people he’d like to thank for his victory and all of them were “Seth Rollins”. Rollins ranted about how he didn’t need any of the Authority’s help and how he won on his own. His Money in the Bank opponent, Dean Ambrose came out to to put a cap on his unfinished business with Seth and wasted no time attacking him. The two brawled for a bit before Rollins escaped, leaving a pissed-off Ambrose at a loose end. Ambrose picked up a steel chair and a microphone and staged a sit-in, refusing to leave the ring until Rollins came back out to face him.
Rollins scampered backstage to Triple H and Stephanie, asking them to sort out the Ambrose situation. Possessing ears, both Trips and Steph had heard Rollins talk about how he didn’t need them and were less than sympathetic. They stated the problem was being dealt with, but made it painfully clear that the shine may have gone from their golden boy. I like this angle. Rollins needs space to work being a different kind of heel to the cowardly corporate poster boy he’s been since he was last year’s Mr. Money in the Bank.
We rejoined Ambrose and this year’s Mr. Money in the Bank, Sheamus, made his way to the ring. The pair put on a decent show. It was a sequel to the Ambrose/Rollins fight as most of the focus for Sheamus was Ambrose’s injured knee. When it looked like Ambrose was done, Randy Orton interrupted, distracting Sheamus enough to allow Ambrose to roll him up and get the three count. Orton moved in and smacked Sheamus around a little. Sheamus countered the RKO attempt and retreated backstage. I keep forgetting that Orton and Sheamus have a thing. It just glances clean off my brain.
Next we had R-Truth vs. King Barrett. Fresh from his surprising victory on the Money in the Bank preshow, R-Truth came out in a paper crown, bedsheet and brandishing a plunger as a sceptre. King Barrett then made his surly way to the ring. Truth had made himself comfortable on commentary, only to be told he was meant to be fighting. He cautiously entered the ring and was immediately set upon by Barrett. As Barrett was gearing up for the Bull Hammer, Truth rolled him up in a surprise pin and won. Barrett went apeshit and beat Truth down to the ground, tearing his paper crown into tiny pieces for disrespecting the King of the Ring. I really hate how Barrett’s been treated. He’s a joke wrestler now and it bums me out. Wrestling has always got to have goofy comedic bits, but having Barrett be the punchline is a complete waste of what’s so good about Wade Barrett.
Kevin Owens came out to speak to the audience. He bragged about injuring Cena and went on to say that he’d be holding an open challenge in Cena’s absence. Dolph Ziggler answered the challenge and confronted Owens. I knew this was going to be good from the moment Ziggler’s music hit. Everyone knows that Ziggler is one of the best at selling moves and pain and him squaring off against Owens was only going to go one way. I loved Owens interrupting the announcer, stating that he said “open challenge” but said nothing about putting the NXT title on the line.
Even without the promise of gold, Ziggler still wanted a piece of Owens. They put on an awesome match. It was pretty one-sided, but still exciting. Owens practically destroyed Ziggler, but Dolph got a few moves in of his own before finally relenting. Owens finally hit the Pop-up Powerbomb and Ziggler was done. I know not every match should have a feud come from it, especially as Owens has about 4 concurrent rivalries going on, but I would happily see more of these two.
Backstage, Paige had gathered all the Divas to try and get them to join her in taking down the Bellas. She made a speech, but it fell on deaf ears. She divulged that for some reason, she was taking on both Bellas in an handicap match to prove…something. Then the Bellas showed up and Paige was left with no-one in her corner. The problems with the womens’ division were clear to see when they were all gathered together. They’re all basically the same character. They’re all selfish, catty bitches who will turn on each other at the drop of a hat. I’m getting seriously bored of how these segments are written and treated. This storyline does seem to be teasing a new element entering the fray and allying with Paige. Perhaps an NXT call-up? Just please give us something different.
Randy Orton took on Kane in a “Who Gives a Shit?” match next. It was fairly standard stuff. The only interesting moment came when Sheamus interrupted. Kane ducked out of the ring and announced on the fly that the match was now a No Holds Barred match, which meant Sheamus was a legal part of the match. Sheamus Brogue Kicked Orton’s head off and Kane pinned him for the easy victory.
Backstage, Seth Rollins continued to alienate any and all of his associates. He’d pissed off J&J Security earlier in the night and not one for learning from his mistakes, Rollins went to get up in Kane’s face. I thought they were hitting Rollins alienating the Authority a little too hard, even for professional wrestling. We saw from his opening speech that he feels he’s accomplished everything on his own. We didn’t need to see two more segments of Rollins emphasising how he’s a lone wolf. We got all the info from his opening monologue. His interaction with Triple H and Stephanie cemented that information, in case any of the kids and/or numbbrains didn’t get it. We didn’t need two more segments going over the same bullet points. Fucking Sesame Street doesn’t repeat stuff as much as this.
Big Show took on the Miz next in a What the Fuck Ever match whereas Ryback took commentary duties. Miz and Big Show went at it for a bit, but Show’s attention soon turned to the seated Ryback. Big Show threw Miz at Ryback, leading him to say the line of the night: “I got Miz all over me!”. The two argued, Big Show unaware he was being counted out, Miz slid under the bottom rope just in time and was awarded a victory over Big Show. You may have detected my tone or read my previous writeups, but I really don’t care about Big Show/Ryback. It’s so arbitrary. The Miz needs to be treated better too. He’s a proper heel and doesn’t get enough credit for it.
Roman Reigns had something to say next. Thankfully it wasn’t a nursery rhyme or any bullshit like that. He was angry and wanted payback. He called out Bray Wyatt to explain his actions at Money in the Bank, but Wyatt chose to remain backstage in a smoky room like he always does. Wyatt is always best when he’s got something to focus his ranting on and for the most part it was good, if a little wishy-washy as Reigns still hasn’t got a proper character written for him yet. Wyatt took pages from The Joker and is now feels that he and Roman are two sides of the same coin. However, the moment when Wyatt held up a screencap of Reigns and his daughter from his fatherhood PSA he did (found below) whilst mockingly singing “I’m a little teapot” was truly fantastic. There was a genuine “oooh!” from the crowd. I can see the rivalry working, but they need to use this opportunity to build Roman. He’s just a strong surly guy at the moment. Give us more.
Paige’s match with the Bellas happened. Predictably, Paige put up a good fight, but the numbers game screwed her over and she lost. I’m hoping Charlotte from NXT comes up the ranks to help her, because this whole writing situation is dire.
Raw had a celebrity guest in the form of rapper Machine Gun Kelly and I had a sudden urge to do anything and everything else than watch it. After an eternity, MGK finished and walked back up the ramp. Kevin Owens was stood around, applauding. They had a few heated words and Owens picked up Kelly and powerbombed him off the stage. I may not know who Machine Gun Kelly is, but props to him, he took a wicked powerbomb. Kevin Owens is just my hero right now.
All three members of New Day went up against new tag champs Prime Time Players and Neville. I loved this match. It was so much fun. Also, I feel bad about saying there wasn’t much that interested me about the PTP. They make me smile, that should be enough. Teamed with Neville, they were the biggest heroes of the night. Months in and I’m still not sick of the Red Arrow yet. What an incredible move.
The Authority made their way to the ring to announce the next contender to the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H flatly stated that Rollins’ next opponent wouldn’t be Dean Ambrose, as people had thought. Rollins then came out all smiles to find out who he’d face next, clearly relieved that it wasn’t Ambrose. Trips likened Rollins to a lump of coal, needing intense pressure to turn into a diamond. The instantly recognisable opening echo of Brock Lesnar‘s entrance music hit and it was clear which horse the Authority was backing. Lesnar confronted Rollins and Seth didn’t even dare to look him in the eye. He slowly backed off and Lesnar was left silent and looking intimidating in the ring.
I’m sick of calling episodes of Raw “mixed” but this really was, this time tipping the needle into “good”. We had some go-nowhere matches, shit writing and the like, but we also had fun matches and some decent mic time for some of the best in the business. I was hyped up by the end, but looking back over my notes, it was a very schizophrenic show.