WWE Raw Commentary August 8th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary August 8th 2016

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.

Lana Flair.jpg

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…

punchable face Roman.jpg

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.

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WWE Raw Commentary August 1st 2016

WWE Raw Commentary August 1st 2016

One week into this post-draft WWE world and holy cow, did Raw deliver in its first outing. In what was probably the best edition of Raw in many years, it was also the most important episode in a good while too. Last week we saw the creation of a new championship, the WWE Universal Championship. Sasha Banks finally won the WWE Women’s Championship and Finn Balor made his debut by winning a Fatal-4-Way, then beating Roman Reigns one on one and he will now face Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to determine the first ever WWE Universal Champion.

Moving on to this week and it’s always difficult following a mammoth episode because tonight will be subconsciously compared to last week, whether that’s fair or not. SummerSlam already has its top matches set in stone, now it’s time to see how the rest of the card is going to fill out. Plus, Brock Lesnar is making his first appearance since WrestleMania and all those failed drug tests and stuff. Let’s get to the show!

Raw kicks off with the brand new WWE Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks and it doesn’t take very long at all until Charlotte interrupts. The Atlanta crowds chants “you tapped out” at Charlotte, but she says there was a fly in the ring last week, brilliant logic. Charlotte says that she was the best for over three hundred days and that Sasha only capitalised on a mistake. Which leads to this amazing back and forth…

Charlotte: “It’s one thing to take home the prom king, it’s another to get him to put a ring on your finger and that’s what you are Sasha, you’re just a one night stand.”

Sasha: “You’re the daughter of Ric Flair. If it wasn’t for a one night stand, you probably wouldn’t be standing here. WOOOOOO!”

Hot damn! That is some absolute gold right there. Bizarrely enough, Chris Jericho interrupts and puts over Charlotte by calling her royalty, while calls Sasha a little punk and ‘the boss’ of purple haired, teeny bopper stupid idiots. This brings out Enzo Amore, who starts flirting with Sasha and it gets uncomfortable to watch for a bit. The four trade insults until the new Raw General Manager Mick Foley arrives to make a mixed tag team match between the four.

The match gets under way and Kevin Owens is on commentary because… Well… I don’t really know why, but I’m happy he’s here to make me love this match even more. After a distraction from Dana Brooke, Sasha slaps Jericho across the face and Charlotte takes advantage by hitting Natural Selection to pin the Women’s Champion. After the match, Jericho hits a Codebreaker on Enzo and Cass comes out to make the save, which makes Jericho, Charlotte and Dana Brooke retreat. The referee then tries to hand the Women’s Championship to Charlotte and the look Charlotte gives the ref is hilarious.

The final shot also makes it look like Jericho is a dad during a midlife crisis, hanging out with women way younger than him. Anyway, I loved this opening so much. The first thirty minutes of Raw felt refreshing and different and I couldn’t be happier. Men and women interacting like equals, old and new being woven together seamlessly, this is what I have wanted Raw to be for a while. Plus, the match itself was pretty good too.

Following the humorous antics of the first half hour, Braun Strowman is up next to bring everyone’s mood back down to earth. My favourite part is when Braun Strowman murders this man. Braun flattens this poor guy and it’s all over. My weird, sadistic side of me is loving these murders every week. Please, let’s have some more destruction, I crave it.

You know how last week I said that I couldn’t hate on the Golden Truth/Pokemon Go stuff because at least it came to a pay off later in the night? Well this is where WWE does what it does best and completely over does it to the point where they lose me and I hate it. The Golden Truth are taking on The Shining Stars and R-Truth is too busy playing Pokemon on the apron and it costs them the match. The Shining Stars won a match, Michael Cole gets to say “Pokemon No” and I die a little inside.

Michael Cole is in the ring and is going to interview Finn Balor, who won his way into the main event of SummerSlam last week. Much like the top of the show, it takes almost no time at all for Seth Rollins interrupt. Rollins brings up instances where he did things before Balor like being the first ever NXT Champion and beating Roman Reigns on his first night back from injury. Rollins say Balor is okay, he’s just not that great, like Star Wars or Ghostbusters remakes.

Balor says that there is one difference between them, Balor earned his title opportunity while Rollins had his handed to him. Finn adds that the only thing that Seth will be handed at SummerSlam is his ass and kicks Rollins out of the ring to end the segment. This segment was fine, it brought up points that I hadn’t even thought about and it did what it needed to do. The upside is that we still have another two episodes before SummerSlam to make this even more intriguing.

Earlier in the night Mark Henry was backstage with Stephanie and Mick Foley and Stephanie was explaining to Mark that they really only drafted him to be in a mentor-ship role, not so much an active competitor. This was Stephanie being nice in saying that nobody wants to see Mark Henry wrestle in 2016. Mark says he still has a lot left in the tank and Foley gives him a United States title match against Rusev. Rusev vs. Mark Henry in this ‘New Era’ of Raw, even though it seems remarkably similar to 2014 era of Raw. Rusev beats Mark Henry and hopefully this retires him. I just realised how mean that sounds, but we just don’t need him around anymore.

Following the match, Rusev cuts a promo about how no man can take the United States Championship away from him, which brings out Roman Reigns!? Reigns takes out Rusev and forces him to retreat. Following his suspension and many decisive losses, Reigns is down to the mid-card which he leap frogged over to begin with. This is definitely the best direction they can go with Reigns as a match with Rusev certainly intrigues me. I just hope this goes over a few months and Rusev doesn’t take a loss straight off the bat.

Former Tag Team Champions collide next as Titus O’Neil goes one on one with Darren Young. Formerly known as The Prime Time Players, these two quietly split late last year with Darren Young creating this new gimmick with Bob Backlund and Titus O’Neil taking everything about The Prime Time Players which only made them mildly successful. The two were having a competitive match until Titus rolls up Darren and grabs the tights to get the cheap win.

Titus threatens Bob Backlund backstage until Darren Young intervenes and knocks down Titus. So it looks like they’ve turned Titus O’Neil heel and it’s probably for the best. Titus isn’t particularly likeable, while Darren Young and Bob Backlund are so crazy it’s sort of endearing. I was initially cold on the idea of this rivalry but seeing what they’ve done with it in one week, I’m listening.

Let’s turn our attention to another beautiful slaughter. Nia Jax is in her second match on Raw and she is once again brutalising a local athlete. This week Nia shows us a brand new move, turning a Samoan Drop into a Powerslam, very impressive stuff. I still absolutely adore these obliterations each week. Good lord, what is wrong with me?

Following Gallows and Anderson’s attack on The New Day last week, we have ourselves a tag match with the extra member of New Day barred from ringside. Xavier drew the short straw (or in New Day’s case, the banana) and left Kofi and Big E. to fend for themselves. When Karl Anderson gets caught up celebrating with Gallows, Big E. rolls him up and scores the surprisingly quick win. But Gallows and Anderson immediately go on the attack.

Xavier tries to make the save but is laid out too. After Gallows and Anderson hit Big E. with the Boot of Doom twice, they crotch Big E. into the ring post and finally leave. I’m not a massive fan of having the number one contenders pinned clean to start off the feud, you could have had the same result with this match ending in a disqualification. But with that point aside, Gallows and Anderson looked dominant this week.

A little earlier in the night, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley were interrupted by Sheamus and Cesaro who were both unhappy with their position in the draft. So Foley decides that whoever wins in a match between the two, they will receive a future championship match. They didn’t tell you which title, so it’s probably the United States title. To the match itself and it was a hard hitting affair, as it always is between these two. Cesaro counters a Back Breaker seamlessly into the Neutralizer to get the win and a future title opportunity.

Cesaro is probably the only opponent that makes a Sheamus match fun to watch, because they will absolutely try to take each other’s heads off. I’m so very happy with Cesaro getting the win, I have been hoping that he would be the one to take the United States title off of Rusev, but it’s looking like that honour is going to Roman Reigns. After the match, a brawl between Sheamus and Cesaro broke out during the commercial break. So until Cesaro’s title opportunity, it looks like we might be getting more Sheamus vs. Cesaro and I’m more than happy to watch it again.

Okay, so this is where Raw got a little weird. Heath Slater was the only superstar to not be drafted to either Raw or Smackdown, so he’s been turning up on shows asking for a contract. On Smackdown he turned up and asked for a contract, but was GORED by the returning Rhyno. This week Heath has brought a friend, his former team-mate in 3MB Jinder Mahal. Jinder was released from WWE with little fanfare in 2014 and hasn’t been thought about since, but he’s back for whatever reason.

Foley comes on stage and says that Slater and Mahal will face each other in a match and the winner gets a contract on Raw. Heath complains, but Jinder takes advantage by hitting Slater with a vicious looking boot to the face and getting the win. Jinder Mahal has won himself a contract for Monday Night Raw and the crowd in Atlanta reacts sort of like… “Huh? Why?”

For the first time ever on Raw, Seth Rollins goes one on one with Sami Zayn. This is a match I could watch all day everyday, but I also like that they don’t do it very often because I can tell this will be a tremendous main event rivalry in the years to come. But until that day comes, this will do just fine. As expected these two put on a great match with Seth Rollins getting a clean win over Sami with a Pedigree. I don’t ask for much in this world, but all I want is for Seth to get his own finisher.

Brock Lesnar is making his first appearance since WrestleMania and he still has Paul Heyman in tow. It’s ridiculous how much Lesnar was probably being paid to turn up, stand in the ring and jump on the spot while Heyman does all the work. Paul Heyman cuts a long and typically brilliant promo building up Lesnar again and going through Randy Orton’s accomplishments but explaining why he still doesn’t have a chance at SummerSlam. Just as Heyman says that he will never hit an RKO on Lesnar, guess what happens?

Randy Orton bursts into frame, faster than the crowd can react to it and hits an RKO on Lesnar. Michael Cole welcomes Brock Lesnar to ‘Viperville’ and the whole world cringes in unison. Orton escapes through the crowd while security, referees, the Raw roster and Stephanie and Mick Foley come to ringside to make sure he leaves. The show goes off the air with Stephanie screaming “HE’S TAKING OFF HIS SHIRT, GET HIM OUT OF HERE!”

Final Thoughts:

As I said at the top of the post, it would be hard to not compare this weeks episode to last week so I’m doing my best not to. There is a lot to like about this week such as the women opening the show and interacting as equals with the male superstars. Cesaro picking up and important win, gaining himself a future title opportunity. Those delicious beat downs from Braun Strowman and Nia Jax. Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn will never fail to entertain and the final segment with Paul Heyman’s promo and a surprise RKO from Randy Orton.

But we have to look at some of the negatives like Mark Henry wrestling, WWE hammering home the fact they know what Pokemon Go is thanks to Xavier Woods’ gaming channel and the baffling decision to bring Jinder Mahal back. Although you do have all the stuff that we need to see how those stories progress like New Day/Gallows & Anderson, Roman Reigns/Rusev & Titus O’Neil/Darren Young.

This week was a perfectly fine episode of Raw. I didn’t leave it with a sense of dread of what’s to come in the coming weeks. I must still be reeling off of the excitement and pure optimism that this brand extension has provided WWE with a new way of thinking and determination to give the viewers a fresh and more exciting product… But that may have something to do with the USA Network complaining about tanking ratings of Smackdown over the last six months. Either way, I’m still optimistic for the future.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelFarrer92 for live tweeting WWE PPV’s and Monday Night Raw’s.

WWE Raw Commentary July 25th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary July 25th 2016

Last night at Battleground we saw Dean Ambrose retain the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat, thus bringing the WWE Title to Smackdown. BAYLEY HAPPENED and Sasha Banks made Charlotte tap out. Sami Zayn finally rid himself of his biggest demon in Kevin Owens. The Wyatt Family and John Cena, Enzo & Cass were successful in their respective six man tag matches and what ever the hell that was with Bob Backlund and the finish of the Intercontinental Championship match. We should probably just ignore that.

This brings us to this edition of Monday Night Raw, it really does feel like a fresh start, a new beginning of sorts. It’s the first episode of Raw in this post-draft WWE world and I for one, am extremely excited to see what is in store for tonight. After over two months of waiting to see how this is all going to pan out, will Raw be able to live up to the hype? Let’s find out. (*SPOILER* It really does)

Of course a fresh start for Raw means a brand new intro and I’m loving it. Using Shinedown’s ‘Enemies’ as it’s new theme song, it definitely starts Raw off with a shot of adrenaline. The new logo is horrid and leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m really digging this new theme song. Big thumbs up.

Kicking off Raw tonight we have the new commentary team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves welcoming us to the show and the commentary table is now situated away from ringside, back near the stage. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon brings the entire Raw roster to the stage to announce that seeing as Smackdown now owns the WWE Championship, they have decided to create a new championship, the WWE Universal Championship.

To determine the first ever Universal Champion, there will be two Fatal-4-Way matches. The winner of those two will face each other in the main event and the winner of that match will face Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to crown the first champion. The participants are Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Rusev and the debuting Finn Balor. Also announced is Charlotte defending her WWE Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks later tonight. What a show we have ahead of ourselves and for once, that is with no hint of sarcasm.

The first of our two Fatal-4-Way’s starts off the show with Rusev vs. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor vs. Cesaro. Holy cow this match was fantastic, it went for about twenty minutes and the action never slowed down. Near falls and a steady stream of high impact moves provided the match with heightened drama, add the debuting Finn Balor factor with the importance of winning this match made the first hour of Raw must see TV.

Finn Balor managed to hit the coup de grâce on Rusev to score the win in his debut and will now be in the main event of Raw. It’s also Finn Balor’s birthday today, so happy birthday Finnie (I’m sure he doesn’t mind me calling him Finnie). The highlight video is only about four minutes long, but go watch the full match, it’s amazing.

We move our focus to the women’s division now as Nia Jax is making her Raw debut. Nia Jax is facing a local athlete, Britt Baker. This match is sheer dominance from Jax, who just has her way with Baker. Nia has it won when she lifts Baker up again, just to hit another leg drop to finally end it. Local athlete squash matches are back and I’m happy to see them again. Such a great way to build up the superstars without sacrificing the rest of your roster in the process.

Time for our second Fatal-4-Way now, with the remaining participants Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn all fighting for the right to face Finn Balor in the main event. This match was also very good, not as good as the first four way, but still very enjoyable. After clearing the ring, Roman Reigns gets the win with the spear on Jericho.

My only gripe with this match is the persistent overuse of the Superman Punch from Reigns. When the final comeback sequence for Reigns happened, he hit the punch at least six or seven times in the space of a minute. To make matters worse, it’s really irritating hearing Michael Cole scream “SUPERMAN PUNCH!” after every single one. Just a little variety would be lovely, that’s all I’m after. Reigns vs. Balor is now our main event for the evening.

The New Day are celebrating becoming the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions in history this week, so they’re having an in ring celebration. There’s balloons around the ring and New Day come out and talk about that their ‘Booty O’s’ cereal is now literally a breakfast cereal you can buy. It makes me angry knowing I won’t be able to get them here in Australia.

They start with a beautiful video package highlighting the last twelve months as champions and then go to select a member of the audience to become an honorary member of The New Day for tonight. They select a guy in a Booty O’s tee, they bring him into the ring and Big E. affectionately refers to him as ‘Sonny Boy’ and asks what his name is. He replies with ‘Sonny Boy’ and The New Day thinks he doesn’t understand the question.

They ask him again and he still says ‘Sonny Boy’. This goes on for SO LONG and nobody really gets why this is happening. They give up and just try to dance but Gallows & Anderson turn up and attack New Day from behind. There are so many better ways we could have ended this with the same result. Sonny Boy better not become for New Day what Sapphire was to Dusty Rhodes.

Curtis Axel was the last person on the roster to be drafted and is now being referred as ‘Mr. Irrelevant’. That is so mean, it sort of makes me want to root for Axel. But not tonight, because after four months away, Neville is making his return. I’ve missed Neville, he’s flippy and cool and I like him. Neville makes quick work of Axel with another picture perfect Red Arrow. A great comeback for Neville and I assume he will be the cornerstone of the upcoming cruiserweight division.

Big match feel right now with Sasha Banks challenging Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship. Dana Brooke is at ringside, but not for long as Sasha pulls out a trick from Eddie Guerrero’s playbook by pretending Dana was about to hit her with the belt and getting her ejected from ringside. With Dana gone, it’s officially one on one, who is the better woman? These two put on an absolute show tonight, a match with similar passion and intensity that Trish Stratus and Lita had back in 2004. Speaking of Lita, Sasha also does a good impression of her by almost killing herself with a dive to the outside.

With that ugly landing for Sasha, Charlotte’s picture perfect moonsault to the outside, counter after counter, this match was insane. After getting to the ropes and forcing a break from the Bank Statement, Charlotte looks Sasha right in the eyes and yells “You will never beat me!” before running right into another Bank Statement and tapping out. Sasha Banks is the NEW WWE Women’s Champion!

Sasha Champion.png

Sasha starts crying, Charlotte’s crying and hell, I’m crying! The journey of a ten year old girl who worked her entire life to achieve her dream has come full circle and damn it, that’s just the most heartwarming thing in the world. As her entrance music says, she had a dream and she made it. I can’t understate how perfect the past fifteen minutes were, an absolute highlight of the year in WWE. Congratulations Sasha.

Braun Strowman makes a fresh start with a new look and new entrance music and it’s unintentionally hilarious. It’s just him yelling “BRRRAUN!” and then generic music starts. It’s sort of fantastic. Strowman destroys this little guy with a reverse chokeslam and I’ll be honest, if he just destroys tiny people for a few months, I’ll be entertained. I’m kind of sick like that.

Enzo and Big Cass are coming off a big win over The Club at Battleground and The Shining Stars are coming off an escape from the green screen room. This is Primo and Epico’s first in ring appearance on Raw since the May 16th edition and I can’t see this going well for them. The finish comes when R-Truth stumbles into the ring playing Pokemon Go (he’s been going around backstage with Goldust all night playing it) and distracts Primo long enough to get kicked in the face and pinned by Cass.

I can’t hate on this because at least there was a pay off for The Golden Truth playing Pokemon Go all night, it lead to something and that sort of makes me happy. My prediction is that next week, The Shining Stars cut a promo (back in front of a green screen) talking about how great the Pokemon are in Puerto Rico.

Main event time, Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns with the winner facing Seth Rollins at SummerSlam to crown the first ever WWE Universal Champion. I can tell you that I never thought I would see this match this quickly into Balor’s main roster run. The match starts with Reigns throwing Balor almost into the bleachers, I forget that Balor is less than two hundred pounds and Reigns can do that, it looked cool as hell. These two have already wrestled full length, high quality matches tonight and they still managed to put on another great match, so credit where credit is due.

Balor reverses a spear with a sling blade, drop kick and follows it up with a coup de grâce. Finn Balor, in his first night on Raw has pinned Roman Reigns! This means that Raw’s main event at SummerSlam will be Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor to determine the first ever WWE Universal Champion. That sound you can hear is me emptying my bank account and telling WWE that they can take all of my money. Balor celebrates in the ring to close an incredible show.

Final Thoughts:

Wow! I genuinely don’t know where to start. What a roller-coaster of emotions this show was, from start to finish. This is the first time in so long that WWE made proper use of its entire three hours. I still have my hesitations about creating a new championship knowing that this is exactly how people like Jack Swagger became champion, but for now I’m going to stay cautiously optimistic and know that Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor is a brilliant way to start off that new title’s lineage.

Elsewhere on the show, almost everything else was strong. Squash matches for Neville, Nia Jax and even Braun Strowman made them look like stars. And I think I said all that I can say about that brilliant WWE Women’s Championship match. It was the personification of fantastic booking, the match was off the charts and I’m still sort of emotional about Sasha’s win. The only real negative of the show was the way New Day ended their segment and even then it’s not enough to bring the show down.

Both Fatal-4-Way’s were fantastic and well executed but what a debut for Finn Balor. After about nine months of waiting to see how Balor will make his main roster debut, it’s so great to see that it wasn’t a wasted opportunity. Finn is a mega-star now and this entire show has made me super excited to see what the future holds for Raw. Smackdown has an incredible amount to live up to tomorrow. Just quickly too, it’s amazing how much more I enjoyed this episode simply because JBL isn’t commentating it anymore.

Final Rating: 10/10 (Best episode of Raw in years.)

WWE Raw Commentary July 18th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary July 18th 2016

We’re almost there! Just six days until Battleground and it’s the night before the WWE Draft and it sort of feels like Christmas Eve doesn’t it? The only difference is you genuinely don’t know if the presents are going to suck or not. The brand extension has been months in the making, in fact we found out that this was happening back on May 25th. We’ve been sitting around for almost two months waiting for this brand split to get here and the wait is almost over. But we have one last episode of Raw to get to before we get caught up in all this draft excitement.

Last week on Raw it was… Hey it was better than the Fourth of July special. Darren Young finally (FINALLY) made his re-debut by accidentally winning a Battle Royal and will now face The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground. Seth Rollins sat down for an ‘interview’ with the still-suspended Roman Reigns and it was genius. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship is set to be our main event for tonight. The less said about The New Day visiting The Wyatt Family’s compound the better. Finally, Shane and Stephanie were announced as Commissioners for Smackdown and Raw respectively and they must both name a General Manager for their shows tonight. It appears to be a big night coming up, so let’s get to the final edition of Raw before the brand extension.

Not wasting any time this week as Shane and Stephanie McMahon kick off the show to announce who they’ve chosen as their General Managers. After an uncomfortable amount of time discussing each others genitals (yes, that was discussed for some reason) Stephanie announces that after the Draft, Raw will be creating a Cruiserweight Division. Following on from that, Stephanie goes first and announces that the new General Manager of Raw will be… MICK FOLEY! The WWE Hall of Famer thanks the crowd and likens this new rivalry between Raw and Smackdown to the Monday Night Wars.

Shane congratulates Mick on his appointment and announces his pick for General Manager of Smackdown… DANIEL BRYAN! Bryan returns to an incredible pop, one that I haven’t heard in a long time. Daniel also thanks the fans and says that when his career was cut short back in February, he didn’t know if he could stand in the ring again. But Shane called him and he wanted to make the show about the superstars and not management. The segment ends with Shane and Bryan running around the ring to massive ‘YES’ chants.

Very smart way to start off Raw this week with big surprises and returns. We now have the team of Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley running Raw and Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan running Smackdown. Very different dynamics from both teams could lead to some interesting television in the coming weeks.

Time for the first match of the night and it’s four of my absolute favourites in a tag match. Cesaro and Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. This match didn’t really mean a lot, but it may be the last time we have this combination of four people on one show for a long time, so I’m happy just to watch. Sami Zayn scores a surprise pin fall over Jericho to get the win for his team. But a big highlight was Cesaro’s evil gesture before going on an uppercut rampage.

Cesaro Evil

Look at it, isn’t it brilliant?

Moving on now and it’s time to ‘Make Darren Young Wrestle Again’. After accidentally winning last weeks Battle Royal, it’s Darren Young’s first one on one match since this new gimmick of his started over three months ago. Despite interference from The Miz, Darren manages to pin Alberto Del Rio to keep the momentum going into his Intercontinental Championship match at Battleground. I would like to see Darren Young get a decisive win one of these days instead of accidentally winning all of them. Maybe Smackdown?

Okay, this segment went for like eighty four years so I’m going to try and condense it as much as possible. Before the 12-man tag team match pitting The New Day, John Cena, Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Club & The Wyatt Family, a war of words breaks out between all the trios. Enzo’s insults were much better than the last few weeks, The Club were surprisingly entertaining on the mic with their #BeatUpJohnCena shtick and Xavier Woods reveals he’s on level 21 on Pokemon Go which is extremely impressive. Props to Woods on that one. The fun and games end with The Wyatt Family’s arrival and we get to the match.

Twelve people is way too many for one match and this went over three segments, it was too much. Slow paced at the start, but the finishing sequence was great. Enzo accidentally clobbered Cena, which allowed AJ Styles to take advantage and get the win for his team. Two six man tag matches are coming up at Battleground, I’d imagine they’d be both better than this.

Oh, and an update. It’s been almost a year since Braun Strowman was plucked from obscurity in NXT to join The Wyatt Family and he’s still absolute garbage in the ring.

Earlier in the day, it was announced over social media that Kalisto and Sin Cara (known collectively as The Lucha Dragons) would be splitting up to pursue singles careers and nobody besides their parents gave a damn. So we move on to Sin Cara facing Baron Corbin and Corbin squashes Sin Cara in quick fashion and nobody cares. Corbin tires to attack Sin Cara more after the match until Kalisto appears, to which nobody cares. Baron Corbin then lays out Kalisto and still nobody cares. This has Battleground Kick-Off show written all over it.

To the Women’s Division now and coming up at Battleground there will be two matches. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya and Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and a partner of her choosing. So this week Becky will be teaming with Sasha to take on the blonde duo. The match is thrown out when Natalya runs down to ringside to attack Becky, which allows Charlotte and Dana to double team Sasha. Who will Sasha pick as her partner at Battleground? Could we see someone return from injury? Maybe a legend returns for one night only? Perhaps an upstart from NXT? It could be anyone, but it’s going to be Bayley.

We started off with a tag team match, we just got through a marathon 12-man tag team match so screw it, one more tag match won’t hurt anybody! Zack Ryder & Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus & Rusev. I somehow wanted to find a way to have Rusev win and everybody else lose, even Sheamus. It’s announced that Zack Ryder will challenge Rusev for the United States Championship at Battleground despite not really doing a lot to earn it. Rusev makes Ziggler tap out to The Accolade. Now watch me as I totally forget that the US title match is on the card come Battleground.

Main event time! Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship in the first WWE Championship match on Raw since January. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have had a ridiculous number of matches on WWE television the last two years, so it’s easy to become numb to how good these two are together. The match goes for about half an hour with no interference until the referee is knocked loopy and a superplex lands into a pinning combination with both men’s shoulders down for the count.

Stephanie runs into the ring and says Seth Rollins is the new WWE Champion but Shane isn’t convinced. We go off the air in confusion, with no official result declared on this championship match. Looks like we’ll have to wait for some answers tomorrow on Smackdown.

No, wait. They just called it a draw and gave the title back to Ambrose after the show went off the air. That was dumb as all hell.

Final Thoughts:

Having the WWE Championship match end in confusion over who really won was a smart booking decision. Where it all fell apart was the way they just fixed the issue after the show was over. Why go to the effort of booking a finish like that when you’re not going to use it as drama going into the next show, let alone the pay per view on Sunday! Having the title declared vacant and the true champion decided in the Shield Triple Threat at Battleground would’ve been the best decision. That way the Draft would’ve had to happen with Shane and Stephanie not knowing who is going to be WWE Champion. But instead, they resolved it too soon.

Elsewhere the show was quite good. Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan being announced as the new General Managers for Raw and Smackdown respectively were great decisions and provided a couple of great moments for both men and seeds have been planted for friction between Stephanie and Mick Foley. Both of the Women’s Division’s rivalries are going in positive directions. There appears to be a lack of cohesive team work with John Cena, Enzo & Cass, which could cause issues with their match with The Club. Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens always provide great TV with each other and up until what happened after the show went off the air, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins provided a great match with an intriguing finish.

The Draft is finally tomorrow and I’ll be breaking that down too. See you tomorrow!

Final Rating: 6.5/10

WWE Commentary July 11th 2016

WWE Commentary July 11th 2016

Less than two weeks until Battleground and we are just over one week away until the brand extension and boy did it take its sweet time getting here. In just eight days we will know all of the WWE Superstars’ new homes. Despite it being just around the corner, we don’t actually know much about how it’s going to work. Who will be running each show? How many pay per views are we going to have? How exactly will the draft work? Is anyone exempt? Can we please, for the love of god, get some answers this week?

Last week on Raw, it was the special Fourth of July edition and I would like to pretend that it never happened. But to summarise, America is still the best, Rusev did away with Titus O’Neil for good (hopefully), Enzo & Cass have aligned themselves with John Cena, New Day have accepted The Wyatt Family’s challenge to meet them in their compound and Zack Ryder won in the main event. It was a strange episode, but this week looks better as Vince McMahon is in the house tonight, so let’s get to it!

We start with a good old fashioned Battle Royal and the winner will be the number one contender for The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship at Battleground. From the outset, it looked more like a tag team Battle Royal when you saw the participants. The Vaudevillians, Ascension, Social Outcasts, Usos, Golden Truth and Dudley Boyz were all in it so you only had a handful of realistic winners to choose from and no it wasn’t Jack Swagger (It’s never Jack Swagger).

But it’s a shocker, Darren Young has escaped the split screen and managed to accidentally win the Battle Royal after Corbin and Crews fell out together. Bob Backlund who was at ringside is so excited that he runs into the ring and lifts Darren up like a newlywed. I think this is the first time they’ve been in the same room together, so they may have been excited for that too.

It’s the second to last week where I can say this, it’s time for a Smackdown rematch because for another eight days, Smackdown doesn’t matter. Zack Ryder won the main event of Raw last week and then defeated Sheamus on Smackdown, so it’s Zack Ryder vs. Sheamus once again. Backstage earlier, Ryder challenged Rusev to a U.S Title match but Sheamus attacked him from behind. Ryder needs to keep the momentum going this week…

So naturally, Sheamus beats him clean with a Brogue Kick. For the second time in four months, Ryder’s momentum has been completely derailed for no reason. Rusev appears after the match and locks in The Accolade and screams “I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE”. Guess this will be an easy defense for Rusev, we just saw the challenger beaten decisively.

Moving on to tag team action as The Lucha Dragons face Breezango and Breezango continue to be a shining light in the tag division. On the Raw pre-show, Sin Cara threw a drink in Breeze’s face and his fur coat, Tyler screamed “THIS IS MONGOLIAN CHINCHILLA!” They are brilliant and you should love them as much as I do. Anyway, commentary don’t give a damn about this match as it’s only happening so they can talk about the draft and how tag teams like these are vulnerable to being split up. Breezango gets the win with a beautiful kick from Tyler to Kalisto and I’m smiling a lot right now.

I’m just going to leave this post match interview with Breezango here as to why I love Breezango so much. Also Tyler Breeze is Team Instinct on Pokemon Go, so I now have a deeper allegiance to him.

In WWE at the moment, we have many talk shows. The Highlight Reel, MizTV and The Ambrose Asylum but tonight we’re debuting a new one with “The Rollins Report”. Seth will be “interviewing” Roman Reigns about his suspension and it’s smarmy Seth Rollins at his absolute best. Clipping past interviews from Roman Reigns together like it’s Homer Simpson on an episode of ‘Rock Bottom’. Following the video Dean Ambrose appears.

Seth still wants his one on one match for the WWE Title and Dean Ambrose says he can have it, anytime and any place. But Seth says not tonight and he’ll see him next week. Later on in the night it’s confirmed that next week it will be Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship the night before the draft. I loved this segment, everything about it was fantastic. Dean Ambrose gave his best promo in an extremely long time and Seth campaigning for Reigns to be removed from Battleground has been entertaining every week. Sadly though, Roman is still in it and we won’t see him until Battleground. I hope he’s enjoying his rest.

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro is up next and Sami Zayn is out at ringside for commentary for the match, or so we thought. Kevin Owens refuses to go out there until Sami is ejected from ringside, so Stephanie sends out some referees to remove Sami from commentary. As Sami is leaving he crosses paths with Owens. So naturally they fight like cats and dogs until they’re separated. Time for the match itself now!

I don’t think that Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens could ever disappoint and this is no exception. Kevin Owens gets the win with a neckbreaker and goes over to the commentary table and starts saying how he’s the best in the world at everything until Sami Zayn literally flies into shot and attacks KO. He sends Owens into the ring where Cesaro swings him a bunch. Lovely.

Moving on now to Heath Slater vs. Titus O’Neil and this match doesn’t matter as it’s more time for commentators to talk about the draft. Titus wins and no-one cares.

Do you remember Matt & Jeff Hardy? Those two brothers who jumped off ladders for WWE fifteen years ago and both have gone balls out insane these last 6 years? Well last week on TNA Impact Wrestling (where they now compete) they did a thing called ‘The Final Deletion’. It was stupid backyard wrestling with bad acting, horrible camera work and it was just awful. It’s the Sharknado of wrestling. For better or worse, it generated a lot of buzz on social media and WWE can’t let anyone upstage them at anything so now they’re doing… This.

Last week The New Day accepted the challenge from The Wyatts to go to their compound. This week we see what went down and the production of it is so shaky it’s hard to work out everything that’s happening. Just watch it so you’re as lost as I am. I just wish both companies would stop doing these things, I’m really not a fan of it. Stop making me hate wrestling you guys, it’s one of the only things I have in life!

On to the ongoing saga of John Cena vs. The Club. This week Cena’s new allies Enzo & Big Cass will be facing Gallows & Anderson. Since last week, the #BeatUpJohnCena took off and it’s sort of amazing. The match was going quite well but it gets thrown out once AJ Styles interferes on the outside, throwing Cass into the crowd. This leaves the three members of The Club circling Enzo until John Cena’s music hits. Cena was previously thought to be in LA where he was rehearsing to host The ESPYS. Cena, Enzo & Big Cass clear the ring.

Nice story progression here. There’s not a lot to fault as both teams were kept relatively strong going into their six-man tag encounter at Battleground. AJ Styles is really coming into his own as a top heel for WWE.

Finally after two and a half hours we’re getting to the women’s division. Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke this week as Sasha is looking to prove that she is indeed worthy to challenge for the Womens Championship. Thankfully in the two months that Dana has been on the main roster, she has improved and considering her prominent role on the show, she had no choice but to. Perfectly fine match with Sasha getting the win with the Banks Statement.

Charlotte tells Sasha that if she beats Dana again on Smackdown this week that maybe she might see Sasha as being a worthy contender. Charlotte’s promo was pretty good until the very end where they had a small exchange that sort of ended abruptly. It was weird but other than that, I’d give this a thumbs up. The only thing is Charlotte still needs to not SHOUT AT THE END OF HER SENTENCES. It’s super annoying. Volume control, girl.

Mr. McMahon makes his return for the first time since Payback where he put Shane and Stephanie both in charge of Raw and he’s here tonight to name the new Commissioner of Smackdown. All three McMahon’s are in the ring and Vince starts off by saying how disappointed he is in Shane and Stephanie. Vince says Stephanie was no longer the person she used to be, trying to act all nice and get along with her brother while Shane has lost the ruthless aggression he used to have. Both Shane and Stephanie plead their case to run Smackdown. Vince ultimately decides that Shane will run Smackdown and Stephanie will run Raw.

After their respective celebrations, Vince tells them that this time he really wants them to compete for real this time in every facet from television ratings, social media to merchandise sales and he doesn’t care if they break the law because one of them just might inherit the company in the future. Vince also adds that both shows will also need a General Manager too. Shane and Stephanie will each name their own GM’s next week and if they don’t, Vince will choose someone for them. Stephanie slaps Shane while Shane kisses Stephanie on the cheek. Let the games begin!

I was initially disappointed with the lackluster announcement that it would just be a McMahon on each side, but the fact that now there will be General Managers added to the fold means a new layer of unpredictability. Hopefully they are face authority figures because the standard heel authority dynamic has been in effect since AJ Lee was replaced by Vickie Guerrero at the end of 2012. Also the old school fan in me loves they’ve brought the ‘Commissioner’ title back.

Final Thoughts:

Hey, at least it was better than last week. I saw so many people on Twitter crapping on the show this week and honestly I think it was quite undeserved. I’m not saying it was great but it really wasn’t as bad as people were making it out to be. Let’s look at the positives of the show.

Darren Young made his re-debut in a surprising and entertaining fashion, Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro was fun to watch as always, we’re getting some answers as to how this brand extension is going to function, The Rollins Report segment was fantastic and we have a massive championship main event booked for next week. Plus most importantly, Breezango won.

Not a week to write home about, but let’s remember how bad last week was. Remember? Remember how bad it was? Good, now look at this week. Seems a bit better right? Bring on the draft and lets get this over with!

Final Rating: 6/10

WWE Raw Commentary July 4th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary July 4th 2016

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! It’s a special Fourth of July episode of Raw this week which means the overindulgent love of America is in full force. We have a sixteen-man elimination tag match pitting Team USA against Team World for no logical reason other than “meh, why not?” Plus a United States Championship match with Rusev defending against Titus O’Neil. If America can only lose one match tonight, please let it be Titus. But before we get into this week, let’s look back and remember what happened last week on Raw.

Last week on Raw in order to compensate for Roman Reigns’ real life suspension, AJ Styles and John Cena tried to earn their place into the WWE Championship match at Battleground but both cost each other their respective matches. New Day dressed up as The Wyatt’s, The Miz and Maryse returned from filming The Marine 5, as did the Social Outcasts who for some reason were also included in the movie. With it being a holiday and WWE expecting a record low viewership, I’m not expecting them to try tonight. But I’m more than happy to be proven wrong. Let’s get to the show!

Kicking off the show we’re taken back to footage shot earlier in the day with all the WWE Superstars celebrating the Fourth of July when The Vaudevillians and Miz & Maryse interrupt. A food fight of epic proportions breaks out and it’s fantastic. WWE do food fights so well as they had so many things going at once that I couldn’t keep track. But I did see Chris Jericho find a band-aid in his food and react in disgust. So we have that gem.

But just quickly, it was great to see The Shining Stars and Darren Young escape the green screen and allowed to associate with other superstars. Funnily enough they were on the same table, so they were obviously discussing their respective awful gimmicks.

Raw properly starts off with the United States Championship bout. Titus O’Neil comes out dressed as Uncle Sam and it’s nauseating. We go to commercial and come back to Titus wrestling in red and white striped pants, so it just looks like Titus is cosplaying tonight as Virgil. The match is mercifully short and Rusev retains off The Accolade. Titus’ run at the title appears to be over for good and Rusev taunts the USA after the match. God bless America.

The Social Outcasts come out for tag team action and they’re dressed as revolutionaries, because of course they are. Enzo & Big Cass interrupt and Enzo recites every U.S. President in order which is genuinely impressive. They defeat the Social Outcasts relatively quickly and Enzo puts on one of their wigs and runs around in circles like it just gave him an energy booster.

Moving on to the women’s division with Charlotte and Dana Brooke in the ring and Charlotte talks about everyone being jealous of her, but no-one as much as Sasha Banks. Cue Sasha Banks to come out and she says that since arriving on the main roster, Charlotte hasn’t beaten her. Sasha also mentions that while Charlotte is the champion, if it wasn’t for Ric Flair at WrestleMania she would be Womens Champion right now. Dana tries to attack Sasha, but she nails her with an elbow. Sasha locks in the Banks Statement on Charlotte to close the segment.

This story is very simple in premise and was well executed. Sasha delivered her promo so well even if at times it sounded like it was too scripted. While Charlotte seems to think that IF SHE SCREAMS LOUD ENOUGH that constitutes a good promo. I like Charlotte, I really do but she needs to learn volume control in order for people to really listen to what she’s saying and not immediately turn off. That was Vickie Guerrero’s schtick.

I’m going to lump these two matches together as they happened back to back and pretty much the same thing happened in each. Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz in a copy and paste job from last weeks Smackdown and Seth Rollins bested Dolph Ziggler in quite a good match. There’s not a lot to report on here other than WWE just doing the bare minimum to get by without Roman Reigns in this story. The matches were fine but seeing as they had zero stakes to them and went about 5 minutes too long each, I was zoning out by then end of them.

After Rollins’ victory he stood on the announce table and said that Roman Reigns shouldn’t be in the WWE Championship match at Battleground, which gets quite a supportive reaction from the crowd in Columbus, Ohio. The segment ends with Dean Ambrose hitting Seth with Dirty Deeds onto the announce table. It’s fine, there’s just not a lot of story here other than ‘Roman Reigns can’t be here, you know why, we just don’t want to keep saying the reason’.

We’re taken to a video package promoting Baron Corbin who appears to be too busy bullying the indie guys backstage to come out and have a match. It looks like WWE’s only plan for Corbin was ‘wrestle Dolph Ziggler for three months and we might think of something else later but no promises.’

The steady stream of former general managers returning keep coming and this week was definitely my favourite. EXCUSE ME!!! Vickie Guerrero is here! She’s here to also put her name into the conversation to be the new Smackdown general manager. She does a demonic cackle half way through and it’s deliciously evil. Security escorts her off the stage and while backstage, runs into her former client Dolph Ziggler, who says that he has never seen this woman before in his entire life. Vickie is taken off screen, screaming in the background.

For what it’s worth, I would love to see #VickieRunsSmackdownLive.

More tag team action now as The Golden Truth take on The Vaudevillians with Breezango at ringside. Inexplicably, Golden Truth get the win with their new finishing move ‘Solid Gold’. Meanwhile Breezango are being defeated by The Shining Stars on WWE Superstars and I openly weep for both teams.

This is by far the biggest shocker of the night, John Cena DID NOT cut a patriotic promo on the Fourth of July. I know, I’m at a loss for words too. He actually gets straight to the point and calls out The Club. AJ Styles, along with Gallows and Anderson, stand on top of the stage and says that no matter how hard Cena tries to bury him, The Club will always save him. They say that their favourite thing to do is to beat up John Cena. There’s a weird exchange where AJ asks Anderson what he would do on Labour Day and says something about having a hot Asian wife and then beating up John Cena. While Styles asks Gallows would do on Halloween and says he’ll dress up like a Bushwacker, lick the AJ’s face and then beat up John Cena. AJ wouldn’t like that, he’s been very firm in his stance on the gay community.

Anyway, The Club circle the ring and start beating on John Cena when Enzo & Cass come out to make the save for an undisclosed reason. Cena, Enzo & Cass clear the ring and it’s at that moment I realise that Enzo has a poo emoji on his butt. What a weird man.

It’s revealed later in the night that we’re not getting AJ Styles vs. John Cena for the second time at Battleground, instead we’re getting a six-man tag match. I guess it makes sense so they can save Styles and Cena for SummerSlam in August, but it’s just very much out of left field.

Back to the women’s division now as Becky Lynch is taking on Summer Rae in a match that should have happened last week, but Becky went nuts on Natalya. There’s a bit of a botched suplex and if they just called it a Brainbuster, it would’ve been fine. Becky scores the win with the Dis-Arm-Her while Natalya watches sideways on a TV backstage. Natalya and Becky will face off at Battleground.

Can we talk about Summer Rae though? She’s just the most overlooked gem from NXT. Her character work, facial expressions, everything is on point with her. I hope they can find more of a spot for her following the draft in two weeks.

Earlier in the night, The Wyatt Family invited The New Day to visit their compound. Basically acting like the worlds creepiest camp councilors. So The New Day come to the ring to antagonize The Wyatt’s even further until they pop up on the ‘tron. Bray says that New Day started this and he must end it, after telling them to find him. Kofi and Big E. accept their challenge until Xavier screams at them to listen. He doesn’t understand why they can’t see that they’re walking into a trap. Xavier says if they do this, he doesn’t think The New Day will be able to survive and he leaves the ring.

And the plot thickens. I think this may be the first ever rivalry in the three years of The Wyatt Family being around to be done to absolute perfection. The Wyatt Family have never appeared more intimidating and dangerous and for once, one of their opponents is taking them very seriously. I’m very intrigued to find out how their visit to the compound goes next week.

Before I get to the main event, throughout the night we were treated to more vignettes for The Shining Stars and Darren Young. The Shining Stars are dead in the water, the beautiful waters of Puerto Rico’s beaches they lie absolutely dead. Their vignettes keep appearing, but they haven’t had a match on Raw since the May 16th edition. Meanwhile Darren Young may never actually see a debut. His segments have been running for three months straight with no end in sight. I hope they change the slogan to “We’re going to make Darren Young wrestle again”.

It’s time for the main event. A sixteen-man elimination tag team match pitting Team USA vs. Team World. On Team USA you had the team of Big Show, Zack Ryder, Kane, The Dudley Boyz, Apollo Crews, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry making his first appearance since WrestleMania (he wasn’t missed, I thought he just retired). On Team World you had Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, The Lucha Dragons, Sheamus, Del Rio and Cesaro. Team World obviously being comprised of all the relevant superstars in WWE.

Good god was this match a mess, it was bad. Very bad. Only highlight was Kevin Owens hitting a Pop-

Up Powerbomb on Mark Henry, that was impressive. But it fell apart when Kevin Owens hit his own partner (and mortal enemy) Sami Zayn with a chair, which for some reason disqualified Owens. Kane then hits KO with a chair which disqualifies Kane for some reason, despite Owens no longer being part of the match. Then after all of that Kane, while not in the match either, hit a Chokeslam on Sami who actually was still in the match, and no disqualification was made for the USA team. What the hell just happened!?

Zack Ryder ends up pinning Sheamus to get the win for Team USA to bring this dumpster fire of a match to a close. Happy Fourth of July everybody, please forget this Raw happened.

Final Thoughts:

Well, I was right wasn’t I? It was a holiday and WWE didn’t even try this week. That was by far the longest three hours I’ve had to sit through in a while. Let’s try and find some positives though. The New Day/Wyatt Family story is traveling along perfectly, the women’s division appears to be going in a positive direction, Vickie Guerrero was supremely entertaining and she can come back anytime she pleases and the food fight to start the show was fun. I can’t find any other positives outside of those few.

I’ve said it week in and week out, WWE are padding for time until July 19th and the Draft comes along and this week it was even more glaringly obvious. They were expecting a record low viewership this week and boy do they deserve it. Can July 19th please just happen already? For a Raw with very few positives, a dumpster fire of a main event and almost no memorable moments, this may be the worst Raw of 2016 thus far.

Final Rating: 2.5/10

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.

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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