Coming off a ridiculously awesome episode, last week’s Raw certainly wasn’t as exciting or particularly noteworthy. That’s not to say it was bad, it just had little to no chance of following that up with an episode of the same level. But we’ll have a quick run-through of last week’s events which included the first forty minutes being devoted to the women, Randy Orton RKO’d Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns became Rusev’s next challenger, Titus O’Neil turned heel because of reasons, Big E’s balls were destroyed and R-Truth (like most of the world, including myself) is still playing Pokemon Go rather than working.
Which brings us to this week, what’s next for Seth Rollins and Finn Balor before they collide for the first time at SummerSlam? How many video packages will be played because Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton both probably won’t be on the show this week? What is the latest on Big E’s groin? Did R-Truth catch them all? Answers to those (maybe) and more tonight, so let’s get to it.
Kicking off the show is Enzo & Big Cass and Enzo is talking about how he’s mad at Chris Jericho for ruining his chance with Sasha Banks last week, despite Sasha looking a tiny bit repulsed at times. Imagine a walking, talking raccoon with aftershave hitting on you, it’s not pretty. This brings out Jericho, who brings out his new back-up, Kevin Owens. Enzo & Cass make a gay joke about them, which is disappointing because I like those guys and they’re better than that. Jericho challenges Enzo to a match.
On to the match itself and it was fine. It just really showed that Enzo is definitely best in his tag team role at the moment and that goes for Cass too. These two shouldn’t be split up any time in the near future. Jericho hits a Codebreaker on Enzo but Cass runs in with a big boot to cause a disqualification. Cass challenges the Canadian dad’s to a tag match at SummerSlam, which they accept. This should be a very fun match, which I would imagine will kick off the pay per view.
More delectable murder’s from Braun Strowman this week. Am I a bad person for enjoying these?
In a rematch from last week, former tag team partners collide as Titus O’Neil goes one on one with Darren Young. Last week Titus cheated by grabbing the tights to get the win. This week the exact same thing happens only Darren gets the win. Bob Backlund had his back turned during the tight pulling, so Backlund thinks Darren won fair and square. I don’t quite know what is happening and I’m not sure that I care.
Seth Rollins is in the ring and cuts a promo about Finn Balor, where he got his name and how Seth is going to add to his legend by becoming the first WWE Universal Champion. This promo was pretty bad actually, which is surprising from Seth but I think it comes down to it being totally scripted and not at all written by him, or at least I hope it wasn’t. Rollins sounded like he was trying out at an open mic night at a comedy club.
“Did you guys know that Finn Balor isn’t actually his real name? And while we’re at it, what’s the deal with airline food?”
Okay he didn’t actually say that, but it was certainly within the tone of his voice. Seth says that Finn means ‘Famous Warrior’ and Balor means ‘Demon King’. Seth likens that to him naming himself ‘Rambo Apocalypse’. Which sounds funny but in all seriousness, there’s probably a guy in an independent promotion somewhere in South Carolina wrestling as Rambo Apocalypse who thought it was a really cool name. Anyway, I’ve gotten so off track but this promo sort of missed the mark and I was certainly hoping for more conflict between the two men.
Another rematch from last week as Cesaro faces Sheamus. After Cesaro picked up the win, thus earning him a future title opportunity, the two men had a brawl through the commercial break. Which brings us to this week and Cesaro picks up another win over Sheamus with a roll up. Another good match between these two, probably a better encounter than last week and like I said last week, I think I only like Sheamus when he’s wrestling Cesaro as they bring out the best out of each other. Cesaro has two wins in a row over Sheamus.
Because Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman aren’t on the show this week, a video package will have to carry the story progression for us. With that being said, it’s a really good video package but it’s actually unintentionally hilarious too. Because Brock Lesnar doesn’t even pretend to give a f**k about Randy Orton or take him seriously. I am looking forward to their SummerSlam match, but I do want to hear Brock Lesnar say something about how he’s going to beat something gross out of Orton.
On the Raw Pre-show, The Dudley Boyz challenged Neville to a tag match and Neville should find any partner he wants. Neville, out of the entire roster he could have chosen from, chose Sin Cara because apparently Neville hates us for some reason. Seriously, you have Sami Zayn just sitting in the back doing nothing this week and you choose Sin Cara? Use your brain, Neville! Neville gets the win with the Red Arrow and Bubba Ray looks at D-Von angrily, so it looks like we’re getting that Dudley Boyz feud that no-one asked for.
A few weeks ago, Rusev and Lana were married (in real life) and this week they will celebrate in the ring, like a wedding reception of sorts, I guess? Raw has had a long history of weddings from Stephanie McMahon & Test to Lita & Edge to AJ Lee & Daniel Bryan and you know what they all have in common? They all ended in disaster, so Rusev and Lana were smart to have there ceremony as far away from a wrestling ring as possible.
Anyway, good lord was the segment bad. It ran so long, poor Lana was noticeably struggling, trying to remember her meticulously scripted promo. Then Roman Reigns came out to ruin the newlyweds day because he’s just that sort of guy. Roman makes some bad jokes and pushes Rusev into Lana who goes flying into the cake. Literally about fifteen minutes of build up went into that cake spot and to Lana’s credit, she went all in with the cake to the point it looked like she bladed like Ric Flair.
I don’t think this segment would have been anywhere near as bad if it was cut short by five minutes. It just seemed to drag, especially when we knew that a bride with three cakes in the ring was going to lead to only one thing. Also, Roman Reigns going back to his hokey jokey stuff is literally the worst thing that they could have done with him. Right when Reigns was only being a super serious, ass-kicker he reverts back to what people hated about him in the first place. Anyway, Rusev will defend the United States Championship against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam but good lord I hated this and now I will finish up this segment with this image…
Doesn’t he just have the most punch-able face?
Earlier in the night, Sasha Banks asked Mick Foley to make her Women’s Championship match against Charlotte at SummerSlam a handicap match so she can keep her eye on Dana Brooke. So Foley says that if she can beat Dana tonight, Dana is banned from ringside at SummerSlam. Honestly, none of that makes any sense. Why wouldn’t Sasha just ask for Dana to be banned from ringside to begin with? Why are all babyfaces so stupid? Anyway, Sasha wins and gets the better deal that she for some reason didn’t ask for to begin with, oh well!
Before Luke Gallows goes one on one with Kofi Kingston, Gallows and Anderson (wearing white coats) pretend to be doctors and explain Big E’s injury from last week as ‘ringpostitis’. Karl literally holds up a jar of Big E’s testicles and proceeds to make many jokes on Big E’s groin and I will not apologise for laughing at all of them.
Luke: “We recently completed emergency surgery on Big E and the results of which were nuts.”
Karl: “It kind of makes you want to ball your eyes out, doesn’t it doctor?”
Luke: “It does make me a little bit testie.”
Now the immaturity is out of the way, Gallows hits a flapjack on Kingston to score the win. After the match, Gallows and Anderson try to do the same thing to Kofi as they did to Big E. but are chased off by Xavier who comes running with a steel chair.
Following Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton invading the other’s show to attack each other last week, Raw General Manager Mick Foley invited the Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan to Raw tonight to clear the air. Many backhanded compliments later, Mick Foley replays footage of Daniel Bryan making fun of Raw’s new Universal Championship. Foley says the title isn’t a joke which brings out Rusev who says that Raw doesn’t need another champion because he’s the top champion on Raw. Rusev starts sucking up to Mick Foley to try and get out of his match with Roman Reigns at SummerSlam.
Cesaro interrupts and mentions that Mick Foley told him that if he won his match against Sheamus last week, he’d get a title match. Mick Foley seems hesitant at first but Cesaro asks if Foley is indeed a man of his word. Daniel Bryan interrupts and says he thinks that Cesaro is being totally underutilised on Raw, which Cesaro agrees. So Mick Foley makes Cesaro vs. Rusev for the United States Championship right now.
This was a fun little segment, teasing tension between the two opposing authority figures plus bringing some superstars into it too. Cesaro appears to be very unhappy with his spot on Raw and with Daniel Bryan also sucking up to Cesaro, could we see our first defection of this brand split? I certainly hope so as Smackdown desperately needs more people.
I don’t know what I did to earn this, but it’s a second Cesaro match for the night and its a title match too. Cesaro was wrestling like he didn’t even compete earlier because he’s superhuman like that. As to be expected, these two put on a very entertaining match but it’s all ruined when Sheamus arrives on the scene. Distractions and ref bumps later, Sheamus lands a Brogue Kick on Cesaro, which leads to another kick from Rusev to keep Cesaro down for the three count. Following the match as Rusev is walking backwards up the ramp, Roman Reigns spears Rusev to close the show.
Instead of going into two separate singles matches at SummerSlam with Cesaro/Sheamus and Rusev/Reigns, I would prefer them to throw them all together for a Fatal-4-Way for the United States Title. Especially considering Cesaro was cheated out of his shot and Roman Reigns hasn’t actually earned his, it would make a lot more sense. But the cynical side of me believes Roman will just beat Rusev one on one for the title and do it for America. Yay America.
Even taking the last two Raw’s out of the equation, this episode was objectively bad. There were very few positives to come out of it, the only ones I can think of are the chemistry between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, the quality video package promoting Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton, Gallows & Anderson pretending to be doctors, more tension between the opposing authority figures and Cesaro being pretty much the MVP of the night by wrestling two quality matches and looking like a star.
Meanwhile the negatives are through the roof with Seth Rollins’ promo sort of missing the mark, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young’s story hitting a stalemate, the lacklustre surprise partner of Neville’s being Sin Cara, new stars like Nia Jax, Sami Zayn and Finn Balor were all not in action plus that horrendously long segment with Rusev, Lana and Roman Reigns. I guess this new era of Raw is only good two out of three times.
All is not lost though, WWE were obviously rushing this show because most of it’s stars are heading off to Australia and New Zealand that night and we’ve still got one more episode before SummerSlam. Using a term that’s thrown around a lot, I’m cautiously optimistic that this horrible Raw was a one off due to time and circumstance and we’ll be back to normal next week.
Final Rating: 4/10
WWE are in Adelaide on Friday night, which I will be in attendance for and I can’t wait.
I’ll be tweeting a bunch from there plus you can find my usual live tweets from Raw at @MichaelFarrer92 on Twitter.
I’ll see you soon.