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.”
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)
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