I apologise for missing last week’s Raw. From what I gathered it was pretty crappy, so both you and I didn’t miss much. The only major story bit from it was the fact that Seth Rollins will be pulling double duty at Night of Champions and defending the U.S. Title and the World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena and Sting respectively.
This week’s Raw was kicked off by Rollins who characteristically had more than a few words to say about his current situation. Whilst it was a standard “I’m great, so suck it” promo, Rollins delivered it well and riled up the crowd expertly. He’s straight-up delusional now, waxing lyrical about how he’s “Seth freakin’ Rollins” and how he’s not the future of the business any more- he’s “the man” instead. He went on to talk about his stolen statue and how Sting not only took it from him, but robbed the WWE Universe of its glory. On cue, Sting showed up via Titantron to taunt Rollins about the statue, showing Rollins that he and it are backstage. Sting issued a challenge for Rollins to find him and cut transmission. I’m liking the whole statue thing. It’s a complete testament to Rollins’ arrogance and complacency. Then we have Sting, a man with an established penchant for justice, morality and taking people down several pegs, involved. It makes sense, although a statue seems like an unwieldy thing to steal. Does Sting have a forklift license? This is a question that needs an answer.
Anyway, Rollins made to go backstage, but Sheamus‘ music hit and the Celtic Warrior came out to remind Rollins and the Universe that he’s still Mr. Money in the Bank and still has the potential to cash in when Rollins is at his weakest, say possibly after two matches against legit hard nuts in one night. There were a few barbs traded back and forth, including some awkwardly written comedy. Having said that, Sheamus’ “Don’t you dare bring my family into this!” after a Ronald McDonald jibe made me chuckle and then feel ashamed. Sheamus then left and the segment ended.
Seth scampered backstage to seek out Triple H, wanting some kind of plan to deal with the multiple threats he faces. Declining help from Stephanie, Hunter showed up, reasoning that if Rollins is indeed the man, he’ll have to prove it by wrestling two matches that night. They’re definitely building to something involving HHH and Rollins and it could be great. I like current Rollins but if he has a big bust up with his Authority family he will get a chance to step out on his own. I think they’ve done all they can do with the Authority poster boy angle.
First actual match of the night was Paige vs. Sasha Banks. There seems to be an attempt to cause ruptures in the three Divas factions, which is welcome. Charlotte won last week’s Beat the Clock challenge and Paige was cheated out of her shot by Sasha. The official PCB line is that they’re both happy for her, but I doubt that. I would welcome an end to the lazy three teams angle. By making such a big deal of Nikki Bella being close to passing the longest reign record, I’m hoping that a big feud breaks out when one of the rival Divas ends her reign. The match itself was alright. The only noteable thing being that Naomi and Tamina interfered at a crucial moment and Sasha won a pin off the distraction.
Up next was Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs The Ascension. In a nice touch, Reigns and Ambrose both came through the crowd in a retro Shield way. It felt stupid having full entrances for both guys. It was a pretty standard fight. The Ascension stuck to their jobber ways and Dean and Roman flattened them. The match ended and the Wyatts interrupted via Titantron to warn the pair and any potential teammate of theirs that they’ll get destroyed at Night of Champions.
The next significant thing (I’m skipping over a Ryback promo because Da Big Guy was obviously reading off cue cards and the whole thing bored me to tears despite an appearance by Kevin Owens) was a continuation of the Lana/Ziggler Summer/Rusev angle. They’ve now packaged it as some ditzy showbiz scandal which makes my teeth hurt. There was a moment last week when Summer Rae was seen entering Dolph’s dressing room and exiting sobbing. This has all blown up into accusations of sexual harassment as Summer claims the naked Ziggler kissed her. Not only that, but apparently her and Ziggler have had a thing for a while. Lana stormed off when confronted with the allegations and OH GOD I WANT THIS TO END. It’s such a wretched segment and it needs a good curbstomping. Rusev can be funny in these bits, but Dolph Ziggler and Lana have gone way down in my estimations.
Seth Rollins had his first match of the night against Ryback. It was an enjoyable scrap. It was hard fought by both men. Ryback was the dominant competitor, but Rollins hung in there and managed to turn the tables on him by hitting him with a wicked kick to the head. Before Rollins could capitalise, Sting showed up on the big screen again to taunt Rollins further. Ryback shook the cobwebs loose and rolled up the champ for a pinfall victory. After the match ended, Sting appeared again to rub the loss in his face and to put a Sting mask on the statue. Oh, that Sting! Anyway, Seth Rollins’ night was not off to the best start.
In what was my personal highlight of the night, Rollins stormed backstage looking for Sting and was cornered by his tag partners for later that night, New Day. New Day are so entertaining and I’m still not sick of Xavier Woods’ trombone antics. I loved the fact he played the Final Fantasy victory theme as one for the nerds out there. Then Edge and Christian sidled up, with Edge having a few choice words for Seth as the last time they met, Rollins threatened to paralyse him. The two groups had a musical battle when Christian whipped out a kazoo. After leading another rousing chant of “New Day sucks”, Big E hilariously grabbed the kazoo and chewed on it for a bit before throwing it to the ground. Just when I thought the section couldn’t get any more entertaining, the Dudley Boyz showed up to inform New Day that whoever held the tag titles would face them at Night of Champions. They led a chant of their own – “Get the tables!” and New Day scattered. What a fun bit it was. Any segment that features New Day just seems to be gold right now. It’s brilliant.
Summer Rae came out to formally apologise to Rusev She apologised about her involvement with Ziggler and Rusev officially forgave her. Ziggler came out to dispute Summer’s testimony and gave Rusev a superkick-themed message from the absent Lana. I think the thing I really hate about this is how completely its buried Ziggler, who used to be a favourite of mine. It’s just the same old stuff each and every week and I keep wishing it would get to an actual point.
Hold your horses, it’s only another Randy Orton/Sheamus match! We’ve only had about seven thousand so far. The one thing that gave me hope is the vague sense of finality to it. With their famous WWE maths, they described this as the third big match in their rivalry, impressing the fact that both men have won a match apiece. This one was pretty entertaining. It was nothing we’ve not seen before, but underneath it all they do have in-ring chemistry, it’s just been overexposed. I just want both men to move on to new stories. Sheamus can be a really fun heel and Orton needs a personality at this point. He’s a tall glass of water with a cool finisher. Anyway, Orton hit said cool finisher and won the match. Commentary also said some encouraging things about the feud being over. Fingers crossed.
After the match ended. Orton’s celebration was cut short by a Wyatt interference. The three beardies accosted Orton and beat him down, presumably because he was seen talking to Ambrose and Reigns earlier in the night. The segment ended with the three Wyatts posing victoriously over the unconscious Orton.
Tag action next as the Dudley Boyz took on Los Matadores. This one was surprising. I expected a standard squash match where the Dudleys hammered a lesser team. It was a squash match, but an unconventional one. The Dudleys picked up the win after Los Matadores’ Fernando accidentally hit his partner off the apron and their dwarf sidekick bull man, El Torito got riled up and clambered up the ropes to have a go. Fernando struck El Torito and turned around into the waiting Dudleys who hit him with the 3D to win the match. The Dudleys started to leave and Diego blamed El Torito for the loss and booted him and started to beat him down. Being strong animal rights advocates, the Dudleys returned and put him through a table for being a jerk. All in all a good bit. Yeah, it’s a bit odd having a whole story point around a bull man, but hey- it’s wrestling. Are the Dudleys going to gain a bull mascot? Is El Torito going to go solo? God knows what they have planned next.
The Miz took on Cesaro. It was pretty good. It didn’t really have time to play to either wrestler’s strengths, but it managed to be a fun affair. I particularly liked Cesaro mocking the Miz’s hand gestures. The Big Show turned up after a while and chased after Miz. Miz gave him the run-around, but was counted out of the actual match, promptly escaping into the crowd. Frustrated, Big Show knocked out the innocent bystander Cesaro on his way back to the locker room. OK then.
Team Bella were next. The three members came out and Nikki grabbed the mic to remind everyone that she’s incredibly close to beating the Divas record. After some gloating and preening, Team PCB came out to threaten her reign. Charlotte divulged that she has been granted a match on next week’s Raw for the title. The talking soon devolved into fighting and all six women went at each other. Charlotte tied Nikki up in a Figure 8 and won a moral victory if nothing else.
Main event time. It was champs versus contenders as New Day and Seth Rollins went up against the Prime Time Players and John Cena. The match was really great. I liked how it broke down to New Day hammering Cena and preventing him from getting the tag. Xavier Woods’ tromboning was on point too. The guy’s genuinely funny. After having the match go their way for a while, New Day’s luck turned as first Titus and then Cena were tagged. Cena got his hands on Rollins and put the STF on him. Rollins escaped as Kofi launched himself at Cena who caught him, rolled through and hoisted him up for an AA. PTP and Cena win. Good match.
The night ended with Rollins in the ring commiserating his two losses when Sting showed up again via the big screen. He expressed disappointment at Rollins not coming find him and tipped the statue into the back of a rubbish truck, complete with an insanely powerful crusher. The statue was destroyed and Sting laughed and made a very Joker-esque exit, hanging on the side of the truck as it pulled away. The show ended with Rollins throwing a super-manly tantrum in the middle of the ring.
Overall, not a bad show. There are some bits that are working like crazy and others that grind proceedings to a halt. Standard mixed bag episode, I’m afraid.