Money in the Bank is three weeks away and we have our main event and six out of the seven ladder match participants decided. We’re going into this episode of Raw in a strong position. Raw was quality last week and they have any number of directions they could go to build the excitement for the upcoming pay per view. On top of all of that, it was announced last week that the Brand Extension is returning in July. With so many unanswered questions, plus all the speculation about the future, you would think this would mean an important show. (SPOILER: You would be wrong)
Shane & Stephanie McMahon start off the show by a talking about Smackdown starting to air live on Tuesdays, before long it’s The New Day that interrupts to ask questions about their future. To which Shane and Stephanie both can’t give conclusive answers. So they start a dance battle between the two McMahon’s. Shane dances like he’s having conniptions and before Stephanie can get her groove on, The Vaudevillians arrive for their match with the New Day which is next.
This segment was fun, but ultimately pointless. They may have announced this Brand Extension a little too soon. They clearly haven’t worked out many of the specifics and now it just looks like they haven’t properly thought this through. That being said the brand split is definitely the right decision going forward, I’d just like to see that they have a clear vision on what it’s going to be.
Vaudevillians and New Day have another perfectly fine match, similar to their encounter at Extreme Rules. But it’s The Club, Gallows and Anderson who break up the match and take out The New Day at ringside and hit the Magic Killer on Big E. Following the commercial (of which there were already two in the match itself) Gallows and Anderson say that they’re putting the tag division and the entire WWE on notice.
The New Day needed new challengers and there is no better choice than The Club. They managed to escape the endless cycle of Uso rematches and they have apparently discovered that there are actually other opponents in WWE who aren’t related to Roman Reigns. Good luck to The Club, if there is ever a team to dethrone New Day, I think we have them right here.
Also, JBL said ‘Glory Hole’ on commentary. He said ‘GLORY HOLE’! What in the absolute hell!?
We head backstage to Apollo Crews doing push ups in preparation for the non-existent match he’s in tonight. Big Show walks up to him and Apollo seems defensive. It looks like just now Crews has decided he’s angry about the attack Sheamus did on him last week, because he sure as hell looked happy and smiley when he went out for his match (Yes, that lack of attention to detail still irks me).
Apollo gives some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a while. I feel like I’m super tough on Crews, but I just need to see something more than just “look at how flippy he is for his size”. Show asks him if he’s going to back down to Sheamus. This is a match heading towards Money in the Bank, and if it doesn’t pick up soon it may be in danger of just being a pre-show match.
More tag team action now as my new favourite tag team (Breezango, who now have an amazing remix of their respective themes as their entrance music) face my least favourite tag team (The Usos). I would have given WWE all of my money if Breezango defeated The Usos, but alas, they did not. Following the match The Golden Truth, who were out on commentary for the match, attack Breezeango and lay them out at ringside as it seems that Truth and Goldust are finally getting their mojo together.
The attention to detail in this rivalry has been very impressive whether you think it’s a dumb story or not. I can only hope that in this Brand Extension, all rivalries, top to bottom, will be given the same amount of time and detail that this Golden Truth story has.
Time to go to a segment that just did not work. Roman Reigns is out there doing his standard ‘The Guy’ shtick when he calls out Seth Rollins to fight right now. Rollins appears and the commentary team are already hyping that a fight is about to break out and even does the cliché of “WE WON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR MONEY IN THE BANK!” I really hate that. Because of the over hype, we knew that nothing was going to happen. Rollins goes to the ring, walks back. Grabs a microphone, puts it down. Walks back to the ring, then leaves the stage. He then sprints back to the ring and walks away once more. That was over a span of about 7 minutes. It. Was. Tedious.
The fact that it was obvious there was going to be no altercation, add that it was so drawn out and then take into account that the crowd were completely dead and it makes for a segment that flops. Seth is really good at being that smarmy heel he may actually be the person to be booed against Reigns. I mean, that’s what WWE is trying to achieve, but whether they can keep it that way remains to be seen.
We now move on to Rusev in his first appearance on Raw since his United States Championship win at Extreme Rules. He’s facing Zack Ryder in a non-title match and I can only see this ending super well for Ryder. The Long Island Iced Z succumbs to The Accolade from Rusev, which he appears to be sticking with the version he did to Kalisto. I like that a lot. Post match, Rusev says he’s a great American which prompts Titus O’Neil to come out and say something patriotic and punch him in the face because ‘Murica.
It’s the rivalry that literally no-one asked for. Titus O’Neil? Really? How far down has the US Championship gone if suddenly the likes of Titus O’Neil are in contention? I’m sorry, I’m just not a fan of Titus O’Neil. He’s a great Dad and he’s all charitable and everything but my god is he just sub-par in the ring. May we just get through this in what hopefully is a short program.
More tag team action now (wow there’s a lot of this tonight) as The Dudleyz are facing Enzo & Cass in what is Enzo’s return to competition since his injury at Payback. Enzo & Cass have had the Dudleyz number a lot lately. In fact, in some variation Big Cass has defeated one or both of the Dudleyz the last FIVE times. Oh, and they won again here too. That is SIX wins in a row, so what are they fighting about anymore? They won, and we should move on.
Also, you can tell how much WWE cares for this rivalry as there is no official link on YouTube to the match, just the promo.
It’s time for the reason so many extra viewers are tuning in this week, John Cena is back! And Cena is in fact wearing the shorts Ellen Degeneres gave him. Cena talks about ‘The New Era’ and says that they have to go through him. Which brings out AJ Styles. After a really long dual chant of Let’s Go Cena/AJ Styles, AJ welcomes Cena back to the fold and they shake hands. The Club interrupt and as it looks as if Gallows and Anderson are about to attack Styles and Cena, AJ STYLES TURNS ON CENA. The three men all gang up and assault Cena. Styles leaves the ring and returns three times to lay into Cena for good measure.
Wow! Okay WWE, well done. You managed to shock us. I take back everything I said about The Club leaving AJ last week, I was so very wrong. In fact this was what I said last week…
“There’s something annoying about WWE’s story telling at the moment and it’s the way they telegraph changes in a story. WWE have taken most of the suspense out of this AJ Styles/The Club story which just sucks.”
They did this to make me look foolish and I accept that. I really like this rivalry on paper but the only thing now is whether this will go the way of all the other initially interesting John Cena rivalries. Wade Barrett, Zack Ryder, Ryback, Damien Sandow, Bray Wyatt, Rusev and Kevin Owens are all well known examples of feuding with John Cena not ending well for your career. Let’s just hope that we don’t add AJ Styles and The Club to the list.
It’s our only women’s match (and segment) of the night and it’s 4 minutes long, yay revolution. Natalya is facing Dana Brooke, with Charlotte at ringside. There’s not a lot to say here, Charlotte distracts Natalya and Dana pins her. They attack Natalya after the match but Becky Lynch makes the save. This is fine I guess, it’s just not exactly eye catching. WHERE IS SASHA!?
Next up Dolph Ziggler kicks Baron Corbin in the balls. That is all. I can only hope this is leading to a ‘Kick My Balls’ match at Money in the Bank.
Main Event now and all six participants of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match are split into face/heel sides and competing in a Six Man Tag Match. A graphic is shown for the pay per view match and the extra spot is no longer there. Is there no longer a seventh man? Is that it? Okay then. Before I get to the match, I need to bring up how absolutely amazing Chris Jericho is at the moment. It’s the little things he does, like flicking back his non-existent long hair as he enters the arena.
Look at him, he’s killing it with this character. We may be looking at his best incarnation.
As you can expect with all six of these guys, the match was quite good. Plus the banter between Kevin Owens and Jericho is always top notch. Face team gets the win and celebrate while staring at the briefcase hanging above the ring to close the show.
Well, this show was pretty poor wasn’t it? The first two hours were stuffed with a whole lot of nothing and even when there was supposed to be intrigue (Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins segment) there was none! More of the same from the Enzo & Cass/Dudleyz and Golden Truth/Breezango stories. The women’s division isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Reigns and Rollins are stuck in this stalemate and probably won’t get at all physical until the pay per view. Rusev’s first challenger being Titus O’Neil is an uninspired choice.
The only positives from this show were the shocking heel turn of AJ Styles on John Cena and the main event and that only gets a thumbs up because the match was good and the participants are all quality, not so much for any story there. This Raw was solely booked on the shoulders of John Cena to keep the viewers interested. Why the John Cena/AJ Styles segment didn’t close the show boggles my mind. This was just a really bad show guys.
Final Rating: 4/10