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.
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.”
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.
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