WWE Raw Commentary June 27th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary June 27th 2016

A lot has happened in the last eight days since Money in the Bank, but lets not pretend that anything is bigger than the unexpected suspension of Roman Reigns for violating WWE’s wellness policy. Roman Reigns is gone for thirty days and can come back to work three days before Battleground, in which he’s still scheduled to be in the main event against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Which is odd, it’s basically saying “Here, have a rest for thirty days, we’ll have the main event waiting for you when you get back.”

Elsewhere on last weeks Raw (which I missed, I’m sorry) The Wyatt Family returned after a two month absence and are entering a program with The New Day. After pinning the champion twice in the past month, Paige finally got her Women’s Championship match against Charlotte (she lost, but Sasha Banks returned so all is good) and John Laurinaitis made a surprise appearance to troll us all. Time to focus on this week.

We start off Raw with Seth Rollins and he says the phrase everyone wanted to hear “To hell with it… Let’s talk about Roman Reigns!” Seth says the Reigns’ suspension is actually an embarrassment for him as he brought Roman to WWE. He brings up Roman’s apology tweet and reads it out and says that it doesn’t matter what he says, Roman doesn’t deserve to be in the WWE Championship match at Battleground (and he has a point).

This brings out Dean Ambrose and JBL is acting like Ambrose being champion is the worst thing to happen to WWE, as if The Great Khali never existed. Also on top of that, Roman Reigns has just been suspended for drug policy violations, Seth Rollins had his dick pic leaked on Twitter last year but no, Dean Ambrose is the embarrassment. Dean says that the Triple Threat is still on. Out comes AJ Styles who wants in on the match and then Cena appears to say he wants in too. Which brings out Stephanie McMahon.

She makes Cena vs. Rollins and Styles vs. Ambrose and if either win, they’re added to the WWE Championship match. This is probably a smart decision, have the focus on other possible contenders while we try and make do with the fact that a guy has been suspended.

Sasha Banks is in her first match on Raw since April. She hasn’t been in a match on Raw since April. I’ve said it twice because I have to reiterate how stupid it is that she’s been gone for so long while Natalya is out there getting distracted by the wind and losing by roll up. Anyway, Sasha teams with Paige to face Charlotte and Dana Brooke. I have to point out that while Dana is not great in the ring, like at all, her character is on point and I always get a chuckle when she yells at the ref “I know the rules!”

Sasha and Paige score the win when Sasha forces Dana to tap out to the Banks Statement, it’s so good to have Sasha back on Raw. We’re probably heading towards Sasha vs. Paige in a number one contenders match at Battleground and I’m very happy with that.

We’re continuing on with what I hope is just a filler feud for Rusev before moving on to something more important at SummerSlam. It’s Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil and when Titus makes his entrance he gets his standard quiet response from the crowd but when Lilian Garcia announces he’s from Tampa, Florida, the crowd explodes seeing as we are in Tampa tonight. You legitimately heard the crowd go “Oh yeah! He’s from Tampa! We totally forgot!”

Titus gets the win via count-out and JBL says it’s one of the biggest victories of his career. I mean, sure, Titus won the WWE Tag Team Championship last year at Money in the Bank, but this count-out victory on a random Raw is definitely the biggest. Another JBL quote…

This could pull him into that championship match he’s been wanting for so long.”

So long? He had a title shot EIGHT DAYS AGO. Anyway, it looks like we’re getting this again at Battleground and as long as it’s the last one and Titus loses, I’m fine with it.

The first of two matches to determine if we have new contenders for the WWE Championship match is next as John Cena faces Seth Rollins. This was a really good match, these two have faced each other in main events on big shows before and they still manage to keep it fresh. While I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of John Cena again like I was when I was twelve in 2004, but I’m certainly not going to boo him at live events anymore.

Seth Rollins gets the win with the Pedigree after a distraction from AJ Styles and The Club. John Cena is NOT going to be in the WWE Championship match at Battleground, but AJ Styles still has a chance though.

It’s a good old fashioned local athlete squash match for Enzo & Cass and I genuinely miss these. Rather than using Zack Ryder or Damien Sandow every week (before they fired him) and let them lose all their credibility, get some local guys in and make people look good without sacrificing your roster. The match goes for thirty three seconds, bell to bell.

This brings out The Social Outcasts, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Bo Dallas. They’ve been off filming a movie with The Miz and Naomi and it all just sounds awful. So after two months away they’re back to say that there is only one word to describe the Social Outcasts and it’s not ‘sawft’, it’s H-A-R-D. Enzo & Cass proceed to make dick jokes and I’m going to admit I laughed at them. I’m an immature jackass, leave me be.

Becky Lynch is scheduled to take on Summer Rae next, but Natalya is on commentary so god help us all. Natalya turned on Becky following their loss at Money in the Bank and she attacked Becky again last week on Raw. Everyone seems to turn on Becky so I’m thinking that she’s doing something off screen that makes people want to attack her. Maybe she fiddles with the music too much in the car or talks in her sleep or maybe she made one too many puns, I don’t know. But Becky should definitely look within herself and see if she’s doing anything wrong.

Anyway, before the match can get started Becky leaves the ring and jumps Natalya. A wild brawl ensues at ringside until the referee is able to break them up. What’s this? A secondary women’s rivalry that doesn’t involve a championship? Will wonders never cease.

This weeks edition of The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho is going to feature Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and I don’t need to tell you that this segment is going to be amazing. Chris Jericho continues to be a shining light on Raw with his ridiculous caricature of himself as this scarf with no shirt wearing snob. It’s glorious and his default facial expression is like Ja’mie King from Summer Heights High.

ja'mie

Sami Zayn says that this bitter rivalry needs to end because neither of their careers will be able to progress until it’s finished and he wants to end it at Battleground. Sami shows some incredible passion and anger in his delivery when he yells at KO to be real for once in his life and admit why Owens stabbed Zayn in the back almost two years ago. KO simply says it was the right move for his career and blames Zayn for ruining their friendship by not being happy for him when he won the NXT title even though it was at his expense.

Jericho interrupts and keeps talking about how much better he is than either man and he gives them the gift of Jericho. “Drink it in maaaaannnn…” and then he gets superkicked by both men for his troubles. We’ve definitely got Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens one more time at Battleground and even though they will fight forever, it appears this may be the last time for a while.

Earlier in the night The Miz (along with Maryse) returned after a month away filming The Marine 5, which is a movie series that apparently needed five installments. Kane in his corporate attire turned up again to mention to Stephanie that a title holder must defend their championship at least once every thirty days which is a rule WWE only seems to pay attention to when convenient to them. Stephanie says that Miz will defend the Intercontinental Championship against a surprise opponent of her choosing.

So who could it be? Randy Orton and Neville are expected back from injuries very soon, what about a new guy from NXT? The possibilities are endless so they went with Kane. Damn it. Maryse fakes an ankle injury so Miz carries her to the back and loses by count-out. That was thoroughly pointless and underwhelming.

Last minute tag team action now as Cesaro and Apollo Crews faces Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus in a League of Nations reunion that nobody was clamouring for. Sheamus lost to Apollo Crews at Money in the Bank and that’s pretty much the only story going into this. Del Rio hits Sheamus with an Enzuigiri which is like the most painful way to tag your partner ever and walks off. Apollo pins Sheamus again.

There’s not much to say here other than I really don’t want to see Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio. We had five consecutive pay per view matches between the two in 2012 and that was pretty much all I needed to see from them for the rest of my life.

The tap water in Australia isn’t spiked is it? Because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The New Day dressed up as The Wyatt Family and used their glowing unicorn horns/dildos as their lamp. New Day roast The Wyatt’s and Xavier is noticeably anxious. The mood instantly changes when the real Wyatt Family turn up and to say that the power of positivity is a lie. He asks Xavier if he agrees with Kofi and Big E. to which he can’t reply due to being frozen in fear. Bray says that New Day falls.

I was so on the fence about this potential rivalry last week because these two groups are absolute polar opposites but after seeing this segment I am so on board. The New Day were able to mix their fun and jokes with their serious tone when the Wyatt’s came out. Xavier looks absolutely terrified and is not fully on board with what Kofi and Big E. are doing. I am very intrigued to see where this goes.

Main Event time! Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles and if AJ wins, he’s added to the WWE Championship match at Battleground. It’s also the first time these two have ever faced off one on one, so there’s freshness to this main event. The Club try to interfere again but John Cena returns the favour from earlier tonight and costs AJ Styles the match which prevents him from entering the title picture. Seth hits two Pedigree’s on Ambrose, while The Club hits Cena with the Magic Killer on the stage to end the show.

The match was fine, nothing remarkable which seems to be a standard for Raw these days. The Magic Killer on the stage looked sick, so I enjoyed that. Just a pretty standard way to finish Raw.

Final Thoughts:

In regards to the handling of Roman Reigns suspension, I think WWE did the best and most honest thing they could have done. Having the focus of this weeks Raw be the possibility of having new contenders in the match at Battleground definitely helped the show go on with the noticeably absent Reigns. The fact that WWE knew about Roman Reigns’ suspension before Money in the Bank really makes the decision to go ahead with the Triple Threat really confusing. WWE obviously have a plan going forward for the next three weeks but I’m struggling to think how you promote a three way match when one of the participants isn’t allowed to be there.

Elsewhere the show was pretty good. The Highlight Reel and the segment with The New Day and Wyatt Family were very strong and the women’s division appears to be picking up some momentum. But every week you just get the feeling that WWE are just padding time until July 19th for the draft. We have about three weeks to go and it can’t come quick enough.

Final Rating: 7/10

WWE Money in the Bank 2016 Commentary

WWE Money in the Bank 2016 Commentary

It’s the final pay per view before the highly anticipated brand extension in July and WWE have been hyping this show as the “Greatest Money in the Bank Ever” with WrestleMania-worthy main events! Because they have been promoting it as such, I think it’s fair to say that there were major expectations going into the show. We’ve paid our $9.99 for the WWE Network, we’ve tuned in and now it’s WWE’s turn to hold up their end of the bargain. Did they do it?

Like Extreme Rules, I’m not covering the kick off show. Just quickly though, Breezango were sunburned and lost to the incredibly annoying ‘Golden Truth’. The Lucha Dragons are apparently still a thing, besting the Dudleyz who probably would be better off anywhere else but WWE and Lita replaced the recently suspended Jerry Lawler on the kick off panel because sometimes we actually can have nice things, plus Corey Graves appears to be hungover. If you really want to watch the whole pre-show, here you go.

Starting off the show is The New Day defending the tag titles against Enzo & Cass, The Vaudevillians and Gallows & Anderson. Before the match, Enzo & Cass cut a promo about gambling because they’re in Las Vegas tonight. While The New Day dress down all three teams, calling The Vaudevillians “Monopoly men” and taunt Gallows & Anderson by calling themselves the *ELITE team today.

If you’re unaware, The Elite are a trio in Japan and ROH. The three members are all part of The Bullet Club, in which Gallows & Anderson were members of… How much detail do I have to go into here? You should know this already.

 

These four teams were all involved with the eight-man tag match on Raw, but this is even harder to execute because there’s so many more moving parts. While everyone involved did a great job, it was clunky at times. The referee hesitated before going to count for Enzo because Gallows (who was supposed to break it up) was out of position and had to stall. And then for the finish, Cass was out of position and Gallows just stood there and watched his partner on Big E’s shoulders, not doing anything. It was a bit of a mess, but it was exciting. New Day retain.

Next up is a rivalry that may out live us all, Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler. This rivalry stemmed from something and then it all broke down to kicking each other in the balls. Sadly though, this is not the first ever ‘Kick My Balls’ match. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t paying attention here. I went and made breakfast during this match. I think I heard the crowd chant ‘BORING!’ but I can’t be sure as I was in the other room, not watching. Anyway, Corbin wins and please let this feud be done now.

Speaking of feuds that need to end, Charlotte and Natalya. It was always a strange choice to position Natalya as the top babyface of the women’s division post-WrestleMania considering Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks were left to do practically nothing. Since then, the women’s division has been stalled by a lack of time or interest being put into them on TV. So we go to this, a tag match with Charlotte and Dana facing Becky Lynch and Natalya.

This match wasn’t bad, just nothing stood out to make it good. Dana threw Becky into Natalya and Charlotte took advantage to score the win. Post-match, Natalya turns on Becky and attacks her from behind. It looks like we have a secondary women’s rivalry on our hands which hopefully means Sasha is about to be brought back into the fold. One can hope anyway.

And just when you thought that we were getting any momentum behind this show, Sheamus is here to put a stop to it. He’s facing Apollo Crews in his pay per view debut. Now I’ve been very critical of Apollo Crews in my weekly Raw commentaries. He’s shown very little personality and purpose and he’s just been given the smiling babyface role. I can’t say much has changed here with this match, but at least we knew why Apollo wanted to beat Sheamus.

You can’t deny the in-ring ability of Crews, there were a number of very impressive spots in the match such as the moonsault off the apron. But it’s Apollo who scores the upset victory over Sheamus with an inside cradle. Sheamus was WWE champion at the end of last year. Do you remember that?

Finally, after an hour and a half (2 and a half if you started with the pre-show) we’re at our first of three main events. John Cena vs. AJ Styles for the first time ever, one of the few realistic dream matches left that can be made. Las Vegas was firmly in the corner of AJ Styles, but the crowd is electric. As the bell rings the crowd was at a fever pitch, yelling and cheering and nothing had even happened yet.

The match was very good, but it had a very different feel to it. The story told in the match was that Cena couldn’t quite get any sustained momentum against Styles. At every turn, whenever Cena would go for one of his patented sequences, AJ would be able to cut him off. False finishes galore here as you would expect with a match of this magnitude. It all came to a stop when the referee was kicked in the face, knocking him out of the ring. Gallows & Anderson snuck in and hit the ‘Magic Killer’ on Cena which allowed AJ to cover him to get the cheap win.

We all knew this wasn’t going to be a one-off match, so it gives perfect reason for a rematch. People will complain “Why couldn’t AJ beat Cena clean? AJ looks weak!” and other cringe worthy IWC common complaints. But AJ’s a heel and that’s what heels do. It’s amazing that people manage to forget simple basics like that. Anyway, the match was great, and the story is leading to another encounter so it all gets a thumbs up.

We move on to the match this show was named after, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Del Rio, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro and Chris Jericho all vying for the contract that gives them a WWE Title match whenever they want for up to one year. The match as you would expect was an absolute car crash, but not in the bad Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal way, in the this is so dangerous and exciting I can’t look away sort of way.

There’s so many incredible spots in this match that you should just go watch it again now. Dean Ambrose was lucky enough to be the one that grabbed the briefcase and can now have a championship match whenever he pleases. He teased it on Raw that he might do it straight away. It’s hard to tell how this match will stack up against the rest when we aren’t even twenty-four hours removed, but it was absolute quality.

Because you have to break up the main events, it’s time for the United States Championship match which I’m sure a lot of people (including me) forgot was even on the card. Anyway, it’s Father’s Day in America and the guy whose gimmick is “he’s a great Dad’ is getting a title match and it all makes sense now. Titus comes out to a reception from the crowd that can only resemble a surprise party where all the invitees forgot to turn up.

It’s a pretty standard match and thankfully Rusev manages to retain his title. After the match Rusev goes over to Titus’ kids (who are at ringside) to say their father is a loser and happy father’s day, I hope Rusev is champ for a long time to come.

The third and final main event of the evening as everyone’s favourite champion Roman Reigns defends against the man who never lost the title, Seth Rollins. The video package that played beforehand once again painted Rollins in a much better light than Reigns. It also made Reigns’ championship win a WrestleMania seem like the biggest celebration ever and I can tell you from firsthand experience, it was the furthest thing from that.

Las Vegas is fully behind Seth Rollins tonight and giving Roman a real hard time once again. This match was very surprising as Roman took on a very heel style of wrestling. He took control of the match, toyed with Seth and told him to quit constantly. Which lead me to thinking we were getting a double turn tonight? That didn’t quite go down but what did was pretty damn good.

After a nicely timed referee bump, Reigns goes for a spear but Rollins counters into a Pedigree in midair! He follows it up with yet another Pedigree and covers him

1… 2… 3!?!?!?!?!?

Seth Rollins has just won the WWE Championship! After being out with injury for seven months, Seth Rollins is back on top of the mountain and he did it fair and square!

Rollins Title

Goodnight everybody from Las Vegas… Wait a minute!

Dean Ambrose’s music hits and blindsided Seth from behind with the Money in the Bank briefcase. He’s cashing in! Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and just like that, Dean Ambrose is finally the WWE Champion! Here’s what I said in the most recent Raw commentaries.

“But Ambrose says if he wins the Money in the Bank, he might cash in and he’ll leave Las Vegas with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Well, they’ve telegraphed that shocker so it’s definitely not happening.”

Ambrose Title

Okay WWE I get it. I’m a smart-arse who has been proven wrong again. Leave me alone.

Final Thoughts:

As I said at the top of the article, WWE advertised it as the “Greatest Money in the Bank ever!” and did they live up to that promise? Ultimately, no. That’s not to say the show was bad, it was fine, in fact it was pretty damn good for the last half. It had a good start, a so-so middle and a great end. That so-so middle is what keeps it from being called the best ever.

It will be interesting to see what happens on Raw as we’re only four weeks away from the brand extension and WWE haven’t given us a whole lot of information about it yet and they’ve unseated their hand-picked top guy. All that’s certain is we’re getting that Shield Triple Threat soon and I’m salivating at the thought. The three main events delivered and the opener was exciting despite its sloppy execution.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

WWE Raw Commentary June 13th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary June 13th 2016

On last weeks Raw, Teddy Long literally broke into the building, paid off some security guards and tried to make tag matches on the fly. It sounds like a joke article but it legit happened. Elsewhere, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were… Elsewhere. They weren’t on the show last week, in their place were video packages that only made Seth look sympathetic and Roman look like an entitled douche.

As for the rest of the roster, the Money in the Bank participants talked to each other from the top of ladders, AJ Styles used the ‘B’ word on John Cena and the women were only given only four minutes on a three hour show. We’re six nights away from (as WWE insists on saying) “The Greatest Money in the Bank Pay Per View of All Time!”

The last Raw before a pay per view can only mean one thing. It’s the “COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY!?” edition of Raw. Let’s get to it.

Raw starts with a classy show of respect by WWE to those who were killed in the shooting in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night. All of the superstars standing on stage for a moments silence, it was very appropriate. The comments on this YouTube clip are disabled and it’s definitely for the best.

Like a lot of Raw’s nowadays, New Day are kicking us off and this weeks topic is Kofi’s choice of shoes. Enzo & Cass come out and Enzo insinuates that he had relations with Xavier’s trombone last night. The two of them begin to argue over who is sleeping with the trombone. Wrestling is weird. Vaudevillians and Gallows & Anderson turn up and singing and insulting the local sports team ensues. Gallows says “No we don’t-ski” and I’m not sure if I like that or not. Anyway, the four teams are facing each other in an eight-man tag match after the break.

Can I just say how refreshing it has to have a tag division rivalry not involving The Uso’s? They aren’t even on TV at the moment and I’m enjoying that. Eight-man tag matches are hard to execute well but I think all four teams did a good job to make sure they all got their stuff in. Gallows & Anderson hit the Magic Killer on Kofi to score the win. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

This weeks former authority figure making their case to run Smackdown is none other than ‘Corporate’ Kane! Kane is full of references about fire and his past. He hands Shane and Stephanie his resume and says “And if THAT doesn’t set your house on fire…” he has a written reference from his brother, The Undertaker. Which gives us an amazing image of The Undertaker sitting down at a computer trying to think of all the positive qualities of his psychotic, pyromaniac brother.

Hmm… He’s definitely driven. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. He has great attention for detail and he’s stopped killing people in the last five years.”

Steph leaves this responsibility to interview him in Shane’s hands. Let’s check in on them later.

Titus O’Neil appears to be relevant this month and is coming out for a match when Rusev attacks him from behind. Throwing him into parts of the stage, kicking him in the back of the head and locking in The Accolade on the stage. Rusev has saved us from having to watch Titus wrestle, we’ll just have to sit through it at Money in the Bank. Following the attack, Rusev stands over Titus and raises the United States Championship in the air. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

Here’s yet another Primo & Epico vignette. Poor guys, I can actually see their eyes are screaming, hoping somebody or something will come and help them out of this dead end. It was four weeks ago they returned from Puerto Rico, and since then they’ve been relocated to ‘Green Screen Island’. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

It’s a Shield reunion! All three members in the ring at the same time during the Ambrose Asylum which for some reason is back because WWE can use the “by popular demand’ card to get them out of every situation under the sun. It starts off as nice as it could possibly be, but the crowd is all over Roman whenever he tries to speak. For example this gem…

Ambrose: “Roman, how’s New Orleans treating you?”

Reigns: “Pretty good.”

Crowd: “BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

They do talk and laugh about old times, like finding Ambrose unconscious near a dumpster. That’s mean guys, that’s his house. But Rollins says his favourite moment was breaking up The Shield. Rollins gets a massive pop when he says the only reason Reigns is champ is because his knee blew out after carrying the company for the better part of last year. Ambrose asks the crowd who is going to win, Rollins or Reigns and at 3:19 in the video above, you can actually hear Kevin Dunn hitting the mute button on the boo’s.

But Ambrose says if he wins the Money in the Bank, he might cash in and he’ll leave Las Vegas with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Well, they’ve telegraphed that shocker so it’s definitely not happening. The three fight and Ambrose leaves on top. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

We go to the women’s division now as Charlotte is facing Paige with Natalya and Becky Lynch on commentary. Nobody apparently remembers this but a number of weeks ago Paige pinned Charlotte and never got a title match for it. I have major gripes whenever that happens. Charlotte and Paige have a competitive match and Charlotte gets knocked out to ringside so Dana Brooke throws her back in too early and Charlotte walks right into a kick and a Rampaige. Paige has pinned the Women’s Champion again! COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

If Paige doesn’t get a title match soon, it’s a conspiracy. Charlotte and Dana will face Becky and Natalya at Money in the Bank. This story is only happening to kill time until we get to SummerSlam. The women only got three minutes this week. How are we already back to this?

Sheamus and Zack Ryder happens and Ryder got a surprising amount of offense in. Like you can definitely say it was a competitive match. Sheamus gets the win with the Brogue Kick though and looks to continue the assault after the match but Apollo Crews comes out to make the save. Apollo is aggressive, he’s showing purpose. It’s progress for Apollo and I’ll take it! The two will face off on the Money in the Bank pre-show.

My NXT heart is full as Sami Zayn faces Cesaro one on one for the first time on the main roster. It’s a random episode of Raw so it’s not going to top their NXT encounters, but I could watch them go an hour and a half every night if I had my way. The match was very good, as you’d expect but it’s Sami Zayn who gets a big win with his super impressive Sunset Flip Powerbomb.

I’ve always loved that move from Sami and I had hoped it would end a match or two because it looks so impactful, so I’m a very happy man. It’s tough to see Cesaro take a loss, but he got a big win over Jericho last week so he’ll be fine. Still, a massive win for Sami Zayn. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

It’s contract signing time! John Cena and AJ Styles will be in the ring, scribbling on some pieces of paper quickly mocked up by the current intern. Cena comes out first and talks about the very different careers he and Styles have had. To which AJ Styles comes out and says at Money in the Bank he will run circles around Cena. John has two contracts for AJ to choose from, one that allows The Club at ringside or the other that bans them from ringside.

Styles says this is all because Cena doesn’t think AJ can beat him one on one. He asks what if he was in WWE fifteen years ago? Then Cena wouldn’t have been a fifteen time World Champion and AJ would’ve been the face that runs the place. Cena responds by saying he’s just like every other indie guy who’s said “it should have been me!” (Hey CM Punk, how you going?). AJ Styles signs the contract that bans The Club from ringside and tells Cena that maybe he’ll get the message that his time is up and AJ’s time is now. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

I quite enjoyed that segment. John Cena is at his very best when he’s passionate about what he’s saying and who he’s facing. Plus WWE have done a good job in making all of AJ Styles accolades outside of WWE seem equally as important. I also find it funny that WWE will happily talk about PWG, ROH and New Japan but there ain’t no way in hell they’ll mention TNA. It’s just interesting to me, who cares about TNA anyway? But this match at Money in the Bank should be excellent and it obviously will be the first of at least three consecutive pay per view encounters between the two.

Earlier in the night, Kane gave the idea to Shane that Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio help reconcile their differences by teaming up to face the Lucha Dragons and if they lose, Kalisto and Sin Cara will replace them in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Del Rio and KO were constantly bickering and fighting throughout the match but they still came away with the win. Del Rio then kicks Kevin in the face after the match and points to the briefcase. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

Also, Kalisto was United States Champion a couple of weeks ago. Do you remember?

Let’s check back into the McMahon’s and see how they’re going. They’re arguing about them one upping each other and the topic moves to Kane and his application to run Smackdown, but they’re after someone with a little more stability, so Kane is definitely not getting the job. Kane asks Shane if this about the whole car battery to the testicles thing, he thought they had past that. I wonder which former authority figure will be back next to try and run Smackdown? My money is on the Anonymous GM Laptop. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

Before we get to the main event I almost forgot we got ANOTHER “Make Darren Young Great Again” vignette. This weeks topic, money! This is still very bad. This is like off-off-off-off broadway. Somebody still needs to introduce these two in person. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY?

Dean Ambrose is facing Chris Jericho in the main event for what is apparently the first time ever on Raw, which is weird because I swear this is encounter number forty seven. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are on commentary. Alberto Del Rio is the guest time keeper and Cesaro is the guest ring announcer. That’s a lot of bodies out at ringside. I’d comment about the match but I didn’t pay attention, Kevin Owens was busy being brilliant on commentary.

Despite everyone being at ringside, Ambrose got a clean win over Jericho. After the match everyone brawls and Sami Zayn takes out everyone with a dive to the outside. While everyone is on the floor, Jericho climbs a ladder and grabs the briefcase to close the show. COULD THIS HAPPEN ON SUNDAY? (That’s not a joke anymore, that’s actually what Michael Cole said)

Final Thoughts:

This show was all over the shop. It started off weird as all hell with Enzo and Xavier fighting over the affections of a trombone. The Shield reunion was entertaining enough even though it just further solidified how unlikable Roman Reigns is. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro can never disappoint. The AJ Styles and John Cena contract signing was well executed. It was nice to have Corporate Kane back for one night only. But it ended on a whimper with yet another Ambrose/Jericho match.

It’s weird, I think WWE have just given up on making the third hour matter anymore. It now seems that the top of the third hour is the main event slot and everything that follows it is just there to fill time. With the upcoming brand extension, it would have been a perfect time to reduce Raw back to two hours. But they won’t because when else will they get all their commercials in?

Tonight’s Raw was the cliché go home show. The commentators overly hammered home all the possibilities of what could happen until they were blue in the face and I wanted to tear my ears off in frustration over hearing the same buzz words over and over again! Story wise, Raw did a serviceable job and I’m excited for Money in the Bank, but it will not top the 2011 edition.

Final Rating: 6/10

WWE Raw Commentary June 5th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary June 5th 2016

Previously on Raw, good god it was awful. The only thing of note that happened was AJ Styles turning heel on John Cena and rejoining The Club. Over three hours of TV and that was the only take away. Honestly, go back and look at last weeks Raw and I’ll challenge you to find anything else worth mentioning.

Rollins and Reigns have done nothing in a few weeks and it seems that WWE have completely abandoned the seventh man in the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match (although a surprise last minute addition on the show is possible). WWE aren’t usually very subtle with their promotion for match based pay per views, so they’ll probably start the show with all the participants standing on top of separate ladders.

Oh man, I was kidding! Anyway, yeah they did this and to their credit it was quite entertaining. Kevin Owens took control for most of this segment by saying he was going to win and he wouldn’t give any of the other participants a shot at the WWE title once he’s champion. The six of them trade verbal barbs but it’s Chris Jericho that remains the greatest character on TV right now. He’s egotistical, conceited and arrogantly unaware that he’s past his prime. WWE may have retired the term ‘Diva’ to describe the female performers, but it accurately describes Jericho too. I mean, look at him sitting on that ladder with his legs crossed.

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That man continues to nail his character even after twenty years. I encourage you to go watch the entire segment between these six because it’s hilarious. Jericho trying to explain where he won a previous Money in the Bank match and even quoting his famous phrase “I’m from Winnipeg you idiot!” it’s all top notch stuff. Please go watch it. But it’s here where things fell apart.

A fight breaks out (as you’d expect) but a familiar music hits and Teddy Long is inexplicably here! The longest running Smackdown GM wants to run it when it goes live in July. Teddy messes up the line about Smackdown (obviously on purpose), referencing his famous botch from five years ago. He’s rambling off matches he would make that don’t make any sense unless you’re Vince Russo. Stephanie cuts him off and tells him to leave and makes all six ladder match participants face off against each other in separate singles matches. We go to commercial.

What the hell did I just watch!?

The first of those three matches is Cesaro against Chris Jericho. This is a cool match I don’t believe we’ve seen (It might have been on Smackdown, but no-one was watching, nor will watch until July). As you would expect, the match was very good and got the perfect amount of time. I enjoy watching Cesaro uppercut everything in sight, that being said I’d hate to be in the same store as Cesaro during Black Friday sales. Cesaro gets with win, making Jericho tap out to the Sharpshooter. It’s nice to see that move finish off people again, I’m looking at you Natalya.

Both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns aren’t on the show tonight (no, seriously) so in their place are two video packages highlighting their near four year history together, each told from their respective perspectives. The videos are very well put together as WWE are masters at this now. For example, the Roman Reigns/Triple H WrestleMania package before their match this year ALMOST made me care.

From where we’re at now, it looks like WWE still wants us to get behind Roman as the ass kicking babyface and Seth as the smarmy heel, but I didn’t get that from these promos. Seth Rollins came across as a guy who had a dream as a child to be the best, he achieved it and then worked his butt off to come back when a horrible injury came his way, cutting his reign short. Meanwhile Roman came off as a self entitled douche. Surely I’m not the only person who saw this right? Anyway, in two weeks at Money in the Bank in Las Vegas, it will be very interesting to see what the crowd does. I don’t think WWE have done enough to offset any negative reactions for Roman.

We move on now to Rusev, who is being forced into a program with Titus O’Neil and Jack Swagger. Poor guy, I would want none of that. Someone told Jack Swagger that it’s safe to come out of the janitors closet as WWE have finished cutting people for the year and now he’s back on Raw. Rusev gets a count out victory over Swagger thanks to pushing him into Titus who was at ringside for the match. Titus and Jack team up and attack Rusev to get a small measure of revenge.

It’s more “_____ vs USA” stuff and I honestly could not give a damn.

Back to something a little more interesting now as John Cena is here to address what happened to him last week at the hands of AJ Styles and The Club. Cena is angry that this WrestleMania-worthy dream match now has a purpose rather than just “lets respectfully see who’s the better man”. AJ comes out and explains that it was all part of his plan to just punch him in the face, that’s pretty simple. A verbal sparring session ensues with AJ getting some killer lines in like…

“You’re great on the mic. You’re great on your morning shows, late night shows, your movies. Not necessarily the ones you star in but your cameos are very entertaining.”

“Anyone who knows this place knows that once you wrestle John Cena and lose, it’s time to get out the shovels because guys like you, bury guys like me.”

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Oh snap! As it looks like The Club are about to attack Cena, The New Day appear to fend them off. New Day will face The Club in the main event tonight. This was a really enjoyable segment as even Cena had his moments. It’s 2016 and I’m giving John Cena praise. My 2006-self hates me right now.

Tag team action now as it’s Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains. Praise be, Enzo & Cass have moved on from the endless cycle of Dudley Boyz matches. It’s the first encounter between these two teams since Enzo’s injury at Payback. Enzo & Cass cut a Mohammad Ali-style promo before that match which is a nice touch. The Vaudevillains try to do the same thing as last time as English sends Amore into the ropes in the same style as Payback. Even though they’re doing this on purpose, Enzo nearly hurts himself again but it wasn’t at the same veracity as Payback. Anyway, Cass sees it and goes nuts to cause a DQ victory for the Vaudevillains.

Backstage now and Teddy Long is still on the loose. He enters Stephanie’s office dancing and playing his entrance music on his phone, I’ve missed him. He offers Steph some advice with this tag team division situation. Teddy says he would make it a Fatal-4-Way at Money in the Bank, New Day vs. The Club vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains for the tag titles. Stephanie appreciates that but asks how Teddy got past security all night, Teddy paid them off and she asks him to leave. Steph then calls marketing to make the match and she takes credit for the idea.

I’m loving that Teddy Long is back for just one night, he’s been quality all show. As for the match, I love it. Multi-person matches are hard to execute but if done right, they’re fantastic. Another quality match to add to this already stacked card.

More stuff from ‘Make Darren Young Great Again’ with Bob Backlund and it’s the same promo they aired on Smackdown. Didn’t watch that either huh? I have no idea where this is going. Have these two ever actually met in person yet?

Sami Zayn is facing Alberto Del Rio in another Money in the Bank commercial match. Another perfectly adequate match, it’s really hard for any of these guys to have a bad match. Del Rio has Sami in that tree of woe for so long it’s almost comical and he STILL connects with that stomp. Alberto pins Zayn clean. Yay New Era!

And the final Money in the Bank commercial match goes to Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose. See the Del Rio vs. Zayn match because the same thing applies. Perfectly fine match and Ambrose pins KO with Dirty Deeds. After the match, Ambrose tries to climb the ladder to grab the briefcase (which is inexplicably hanging above the ring just so people can point at it) but KO knocks him off. KO points at it (see?) and screams “THAT IS MINE!”. I hope it is Kevin, I hope so too.

Elsewhere, The Shining Stars are talking about the benefits of hibiscus. Why is this still happening to us!? Do these guys even wrestle anymore? We went through 6 weeks of promos to get to their debut and now they’re back to promos. Does WWE think we don’t get it yet?

“Okay, their debut didn’t quite work. Maybe we didn’t explain it well enough. MORE PROMOS! They’re from Puerto Rico you see! We’ll re-debut them in three weeks, it’ll be fine.”

It’s time for the only women’s segment of the night, there isn’t even a women’s match on the show… Not even on the bloody Superstars taping! This women’s revolution is working wonders. Anyway, Charlotte is in the ring with Dana and is clearing the air with her father saying that when she said that Ric was dead to her, she only meant professionally. But Becky Lynch and Natalya interrupt to try to talk some sense into Dana Brooke. Saying that Charlotte will throw her to the side eventually.

When it looks like Dana is about to have a change of heart, she blindsides Natalya. Becky tries to help but she accidentally trips over Natalya’s body and it’s unintentionally hilarious.Dana and Charlotte lay the two of them out and they leave. It’s fine, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this, but it’s just kind of… happening.

We move on to the most consistent story on the show, whether you like it or not, it’s Golden Truth vs. Breezango time and this week it’s R-Truth vs. Tyler Breeze. Before the match we went backstage to footage earlier today of Breeze shaving Fandango’s back and it was amazing. It’s not on the video above, but go find it somehow. It’s full of incredible lines. These two are stealing the show in the rivalry.

The match gets thrown out thanks to the four starting to brawl, but then Teddy Long’s music hits again (he’s back again!) and says to restart this match as a TAG TEAM MATCH! Nothing happens and security escort him off the stage. I think that may be the last we see from Teddy. Backstage, Stephanie kicks Teddy out of the building and Teddy walks off dejectedly, it’s heartbreaking… Holla holla!

It’s time for our main event, The Club vs. The New Day and before the match can get properly started, AJ Styles delivers the Styles Clash to Xavier on the outside of the ring and that keeps him out of the match. Despite the handicap, it’s still a back and forth contest but it ends with Styles landing the Phenomenal Forearm on Kofi to get the pin. The Club lay the boots into Kingston after the match which leads to John Cena making the save and the show closes with The Club in retreat as Cena and New Day stand tall.

People are going to poo-poo this ending but like you didn’t know it was coming. The Club looked great last week and still did this week as AJ held his own in a promo with John Cena and then The Club went on to look dominant against The New Day. You won’t remember the way Raw ended, but you’ll remember The Club looking bad-ass this week.

Final Thoughts:

This edition of Raw was certainly an improvement from last week. Did a whole lot happen that mattered this week? No, but I think there was a lot more to enjoy on this show. AJ delivered a great promo and The Club looked strong even if the show closed with Cena and The New Day standing tall. Plus it’s still anyone’s game when it comes to predicting a winner for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Also, a shout out to Teddy Long, it was great to see you again.

As negatives go, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns managed to go from doing nothing physically last week to not even being physically there this week. The video packages were fine but I think they made Seth look way better than Roman which doesn’t make sense considering what WWE have done with Reigns over the last few weeks/months/years.

This weeks Raw wasn’t awful and it wasn’t particularly great either, it was just there. Money in the Bank appears to be a stacked pay per view and all their energy seems to be going into making that a major success. As for the TV shows go, I think they’re holding on to their ideas until we get to the Draft.

Final Rating: 5.5/10