It's the go-home show heading to Money in the Bank this coming Sunday. There will be a second Money in the Bank ladder match for the briefcase. Seth Rollins was granted entry by Triple H, but who will join him in the field? They settle that tonight on Raw. Also, we get final hype for the Wyatt Family challenging The Uso Brothers for the tag team titles, the seven-man Money in the Bank Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and fallout from Vickie Guerrero allowing Roman Reigns to get into the match last week, when he specifically was to be excluded.
Show Open, Live from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC
Cole welcomes us to the show, hyping that this is show #1100. Stephanie McMahon is introduced, and Cole makes a reference to her illness last week. He feeds it into a recap of the Battle Royale that brought Roman Reigns into the Money in the Bank WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. Cole hypes the match and the participants in it. Washington doesn't like Stephanie very well.
She opens saying that as the princpal owner of this multi-billion dollar corporation she cannot tolerate the gross negligence. She says Vickie Guererro couldn't get her a simple cup of coffee and asks her to come out to deal with the consequences. Vickie obliges, and she apologizes for what happened last week. She says she knows that Roman Reigns poisoned the coffee.
Stephanie says it's interesting that she mentioned Roman, as that was the biggest failure to date. She cites the instructions to not allow Roman Reigns in the over the top rope battle royale last week. She says not only did Reigns compete, but he won, and he has a one in seven chance of winning the title. Stephanie says that's on Vickie, and Vickie says it won't happen again.
Stephanie says for nine years, Vickie has ridden the coattails of Eddie Guererro. She says they felt pity, and made her a GM and she couldn't do that right. The fans chant for Eddie, and Stephanie addresses it by saying "Eddie might deserve that respect but (Vickie) doesn't." Stephanie cues up the firing but Vickie interrupts her, saying she'll do anything. The fans chant no, but Stephanie says she kind of wants to see this.
After a short begging sequence Stephanie tells her to get up because she's pathetic. Stephanie says she will give her two options - she can be fired or remain the GM of Smackdown...if she wins her match. Vickie protests, saying she's not a competitor. Vickie wonders who her opponent is, and Stephanie says it's her. The fans like that idea. Vickie initially doesn't respond, and Stephanie says she doesn't have the guts.
Cue up the firing line again, but Vickie stops her, saying that if there's one name that is more respected in the business than McMahon it's Guerrero. She says Eddie taught her to lie, cheat and steal, and she accepts. Now excuse me! Vickie exits, Stephanie smiles, and JBL says we're going to have a McMahon vs. a Guerrero tonight.
This was fine. The live crowd ate up the opportunity to see Vickie vs. Stephanie, and both ladies played up their parts well here. Steph laid it on thick, and Vickie defended herself well.
Cole and King hype up the Intercontinental Title match between Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler, and a four on three handicap match involving all seven men in the Money in the Bank WWE WHC match. Also, Triple H will introduce the remaining Money in the Bank Contract match, that already has Seth Rollins as an entrant.
Match #1 - Luke Harper (w/Erick Rowan) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)
The Harper/Rowan entrance is simple organ music of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", which is just awful honestly. Harper controls the early going. Jimmy gets some offense going, but Rowan starts to interfere with him. Jey runs around the ring and attacks him, but that costs Jimmy because he turns into a big clothesline from Harper. Harper grabs the win.
Afterward, the "family" goes to leave, but Jey grabs a mic to call out Rowan. He says they're about to get Uso-Crazy and demands he bring his stinky ass back to the ring so he can kick it all over Washington. He hits a dive on Harper and Rowan, who returned to ringside. Cole asks if we'll get Jey vs. Rowan after the break.
The entrance music for the Family as a pair is awful. Makes total sense to have the challengers go over at least strong in one match.
Match #2 - Jey Uso (w/Jimmy) vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper)
Rowan hits a fallaway slam as we come out of break, as this started in the break. Rowan controls the offense as the announcers talk about Vickie vs. Stephanie. Rowan hammers away on Jey in the corner then tries a charge. Jey moves, sending Rowan to the post. Jimmy takes out Luke Harper, who tries to get involved. Jey goes up and hits his splash to grab the win.
The Usos celebrate momentarily, but the Wyatts end up manhandling the Usos with a splash and a big boot, then they throw Jimmy into the steps. They get back in the ring and grab the tag titles and hold them up. JBL tells us to get used to this sight.
Good hype from JBL in how he sold the match on Sunday, and Jey went over but the challengers still got to stand tall.
Wyatt appears on the Tron and says that he's proud of his boys, because a leader that doesn't glory the accomplishments of his family is no leader. Wyatt talks about climbing the ladder and his victory bringing forth a new era. He says the eater of worlds will be the ruler over the souls he had to trample to get there. He says something about casting out the light of his message - follow the buzzards.
The announcers hype that Daniel Bryan will appear on the Kickoff Show on Sunday to address his status and losing the title without competing. He feeds it into a video package from earlier, where Lana and Rusev took a tour of Washington DC. Lana talks about the decisions that our leaders make that make us look like laughingstocks. She hypes the Russian Federation for being an example of leadership and calls the government and landmarks pathetic. She tells America to wake up, and the only option left is to bow down and embrace Putin. She says no one can stop the revolution of Rusev.
Rusev says a few words in his native tongue, then says "Rusev, America crush."
Paige's music hits in the arena, and she makes her way to the ring. She'll be on commentary for this next match.
Match #3 - Alicia Fox vs. Naomi (w/Cameron)
Cole greets Paige and puts her over momentarily before hyping that Total Divas Season 1 will be on the WWE Network. Paige calls Alicia Fox "crackers" and admits Naomi for being a great athlete. Cameron joins the commentary team and insults Paige. Cole reminds Cameron that Paige beat her twice. Meanwhile in the ring, Naomi is controlling the match. Fox goes out of the ring and Naomi gives chase, only to allow Fox to get some offense in. Fox hits a backbreaker.
The story they seem to be building is the split of the Funkadactyls I guess. Northern Lights Suplex from Fox, while Paige and Cameron jaw back and forth at each other. Cole inserts that Cameron has no friends on Total Divas. This is awful, plain and simple. Fox dumps Naomi out of the ring and poses on the turnbuckles. Cole asks Cameron if she understands that if she "wants to step her game up" she has to win to back it up. Back in the ring, Naomi hits a finish to get the win.
Paige gets up on the apron afterward and holds the title belt up, offering a handshake, which they do. Naomi goes back to celebrating.
Cameron is terrible. Fox and Naomi tried hard in the ring, but the story was really at the announce table. It looks like they're going Paige vs. Naomi, but Cameron will likely cost Naomi, causing a heel turn? What's the story here?
Backstage, Sheamus is taping up. In walks Roman Reigns, and Sheamus asks if he's ready for a fight. Reigns says "4 on three, sounds like they need more people." Sheamus reminds Reigns that it's every man for himself on Sunday, but Reigns says if he wanted to take him out, he'd be unconscious right now. Sheamus says it will be fun to tag tonight, but it will be magical when he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Reigns says he doesn't believe in magic - he believes in Roman Reigns, and so should Sheamus.
Simple, effective hype for tension between face characters. Roman still comes off as the coolest guy in the room.
They recap Adam Rose rolling Titus O'Neil up twice in a row on Smackdown.
Match #4 - Titus O'Neil vs. Bo Dallas
Dallas cuts a promo on Titus, saying that O'Neil might have fallen off his horse twice, but that's okay because winning isn't everything. He tells him to Bo-Lieve.
Dallas opens with a drop kick, but Dallas gets caught and O'Neil delivers a couple back breakers and throws Dallas aside. O'Neil gets a couple more moves in, but Bo comes back off a missed charge to hit his Bo-Dog off the corner for the win. Dallas takes his victory lap as the announcers run through a few "Bo" themed puns. Dallas gets in the ring and says he's 9 and Bo. He tells Titus to get back on the horse and thanks the fans. He tells Titus to not stop Bo-Lieveing.
Hard to tell but I think some adult males were embracing the Dallas character. Not sure how he's catching on otherwise.
Cole hypes that Triple H will be revealing the competitors who will join Seth Rollins in the Money in the Bank contract match next.
In-Ring Segment: The Money in the Bank Contract Competitors
The familiar "King of Kings" refrain hits as Triple H enters. Cole hypes the two ladder matches - one for the title, and one for the contract. The golden briefcase is hanging above the ring as Cole reminds us that the holder can cash in any time over the course of a year, and that holder is almost guaranteed to be champion.
H says it's funny how he can come to Washington, where leaders make the country worse and worse, and still be the bad guy. He says he simply does what is best for business. He says there will not only be the Money in the Bank ladder match for the title, but also the MITB match for a contract that allows its owner to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion - anywhere, any time, inside a WWE ring and it's good for a year. He hypes it as an opportunity for someone to write their own future.
He recalls the Wednesday interview where he announced Seth Rollins as one of the entrants. He reminds us that everyone in the match is there because it's best for business. Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler (who gets a nice pop), Rob Van Dam, Bad News Barrett. Triple H says any man is capable, but if he were asked, there's one man he thinks could win, it's Seth Rollins. He hypes Rollins up as "the future, a ring technician." Rollins comes out to the ring, eyeing up the ladders. They feed it to video of Rollins' turn on The Shield.
Rollins has a t-shirt on that incorporates the iron cross logo of Triple H. Rollins gets a "you sold out" chant that he responds to that "it's been three weeks, you haven't moved on?" He tells the fans if they love Ambrose and Reigns, they should thank him because he's responsible for their success. He took the Shield as far as they could, then he dropped the dead weight.
He says Reigns can grunt and Ambrose can get all twitchy, but it won't change anything - he created the Shield and he had the right to destroy it. He says it's no secret the Shield got him this far. This Sunday, he and he alone will climb the ladder and grab the contract. After Sunday, you can call him Mr. Money in the Bank.
RVD's music hits. He says "hi guys" and says he feels like they don't take him seriously. Seth says he takes him very seriously, and would even more so if it were 2005. RVD says "oh, that's right, you were still asking your mom and dad to stay up and watch me on Raw because you wanted to be a wrestler." RVD recalls being a former MITB holder, former WWE champion, and talks about how he crushed Hunter's throat in Elimination Chamber.
RVD says that Hunter always says it's lame to talk about the past, so let's talk in the present. He proposes that he beat Hunter's new golden boy, right now. Hunter asks for a referee and "let's get this done."
This was a good segment. Hunter's introductions were engaging, but one thing worth noting is that there were only 5 new introductions, making six total competitors. Are they saving a slot for Ambrose?
Match #5 - Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins
RVD controls the early going. He clotheslines Rollins to the floor, hits him with a dive, then a moonsault off the apron. RVD thumb-points as we go into commercial.
Out of break, Rollins controls RVD in the ropes. Rollins hits the "Three Amigos" suplex sequence, with Cole tying it in to Vickie vs. Stephanie later. Rollins throws RVD down after taking a kick, and gets two. Rollins gets in a run of offense. RVD starts to mount a comeback with a crucifix roll-up, then hitting a spin kick.
A bit later, RVD hits a big DDT and goes up top for the Five Star. Rollins moves out of the way and assaults RVD. He sends RVD into the buckle then hits the Curb Stomp. Rollins covers, but here comes Dean Ambrose. He assaults Rollins, roughing him up in the ring and all over ringside. Referees break it up, but Ambrose gets involved again. Refeees get them separated, and Rollins escapes.
Ambrose asks for a mic. He asks to be put in the ladder match. If not, he will still show up in Boston, beat up Rollins, and take the contract anyhow. He says he'll screw up the pay per view, and he's not going to play nice.
This was entertaining. RVD looks like a star by getting some promo time, even though he's not a strong talker. Rollins' new look is good and he looks like his own man now rather than still a part of the Shield. Ambrose looked good too with how he threatened to disrupt the pay per view and how he attacked Rollins.
Backstage, Vickie is stretching out and getting ready for her match. Cole hypes up that Dolph Ziggler will battle for the Intercontinental Championship against Wade Barrett later. They also hype the 4-on-3 match between all the Money in the Bank competitors for the main event.
Out of the break, they recap what happened. Backstage, Rollins and Triple H are talking. Rollins says Ambrose will screw him over at every opportunity and wants him in the ladder match. He begs Hunter for him to be in the match so he can be where he can see him. He adds that he wants to see Ambrose's face when Rollins is standing on the ladder with the contract, crushing his dream. Hunter says if this blows up it's on Rollins. Rollins insists he has it, and Hunter gives him Ambrose in the match.
I didn't really have an issue with how Ambrose got in. Rollins gave a logical explanation, saying he wanted to have Ambrose where he can see him. Beats a vomit gag, hands down.
Match #6 - Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler; WWE Intercontinental Championship
Barrett cuts a promo, saying Ziggler got lucky and his ego got out of control. He says he will win tonight, then again on Sunday, and it will embarrass Ziggler so bad he will have to change his name, just like Washington's racist NFL football team. Ziggler gets his entrance after the break and a clip of how this match got set up. Justin Roberts gives us the old-school ring introductions.
Ziggler starts off quick, hitting a nice drop kick among his offense. Barrett comes back and takes charge, hitting Winds of Change at one point to get a good two count. Ziggler comes back, hitting the Zig Zag, but he sells a shoulder that doesn't allow him to cover. Barrett rolls to the floor going into break.
Back live, Ziggler hits his ten quick elbow drops for a near fall. Barrett rolls to the ropes, hits a shoulder block through the ropes then backdropping Dolph to the floor. He follows with an elbow off the apron. Barrett gets Ziggler back in to get two as they replay the elbow off the apron (ala Mick Foley). Rest hold time as the announcers hype the Contract ladder match competitors. Barrett hits a kick on Ziggler that gets him a near fall.
Barrett goes top rope, but Ziggler runs up for an X-Factor off the ropes for a near fall. Washington starts a "this is awesome" chant. Barrett gets Ziggler up in a powerbomb position, then turns it into Wasteland for a good near fall. Barrett cues up the Bull Hammer, but he misses and Ziggler hits the Fameasser for a good near fall. Both men sell.
Ziggler tries for a sleeper and can't get it. He comes back with a roll-up pinfall for two. In the end, Barrett catches Ziggler with the Bull Hammer on a corner charge for the win. The announcers ask if Barrett will leave with the contract on Sunday.
That was solid. Great outing even in defeat for Ziggler as well. The near falls were very believable, and Ziggler spit his gum out to make the Bull Hammer shot even more realistic. Down the road, they could make a match like this a main event match on Raw, but it takes booking discipline for sure.
Backstage, Vickie is walking toward the ring. Renee Young asks what her level of concern is. She says she knows she's not the most beloved, but she has also been the Authority's doormat. She says she's going to take her dignity back and she has no regrets. Randy Orton appears and questions that. He says she will regret putting Roman Reigns in the ladder match, and she will get what she deserves tonight. He says he will get what he deserves Sunday when he takes back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He leans in and says "I would say it's been nice knowing you, but we both know that would be a lie."
Match #7 - Vickie Guerrero vs. Stephanie McMahon; if Vickie loses, she loses her job
Vickie comes out to Eddie Guerrero's music, which gives me chills. Love me some Latino Heat. They recap how this match got set up at the beginning of the show. Stephanie comes out, and she's still dressed as she was at the top of the show. Steph cuts a promo, saying that the match won't happen in the ring, but instead back by the stage. There's a pool of something set up there, and Stephanie sells it as something that stinks.
Rosa, Alicia and Layla come out. Stephanie sicks them on Vickie and they head to the ring. Vickie escapes and backs up the ramp. The three surround Vickie and try to throw her in the pit, but Vickie fights back and throws each of them in the pit. They exit after getting dumped. Stephanie knees Vickie in the back and Vickie ends up in the pool. She's done.
Stephanie gets a mic and tells Vickie she's fired. She starts singing the "na na na na hey hey good bye" song, but Vickie slowly turns around. She's got nothing to lose. Stephanie stops singing and tells Vickie to consider her retirement. Vickie grabs her and throws her in the pool. Vickie walks away, stands on the stage and dances like Eddie did before blowing a kiss and leaving. Stephanie struggles to get out of the pool, then yells at the fans that she hates every last one of them.
Vickie is not a budget cut, if you're wondering. Her exit from the company has been planned for some time now. That said, this segment took the air out of an otherwise good Raw. It was pretty bad. Will give Stephanie the credit for doing that which she expects talent to do.
We get a recap of Stardust making his debut last week.
Backstage, Byron Saxton interviews Goldust about Cody's transformation. Goldust says that's not what he saw, he saw Stardust. Stardust enters singing "When You Wish Upon a Star," and Goldust breathes on Saxton to end the segment.
Match #8 - Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
Colter simply asks us to say "we the people" this week. Cole hypes the competitors in the MITB Contract match. Swagger starts off knocking Kofi down, but Kofi comes back with a leaping elbow. Swagger controls Kofi, whipping him corner to corner and hitting a big boot. Swagger uses an armdrag throw as the announcers talk about how difficult the past couple weeks have been for Stephanie.
Kofi starts a comeback with a kick in the corner, then a clumsy spot where it looks like Kofi wanted a cross body but it didn't click. Swagger gets tossed out after a drop kick. Back in the ring, Kofi tries a cross body, but Swagger catches him. Swagger tries a powerbomb, but Kofi rolls through and gets two out of a roll-up. Swagger locks on the Patriot Lock, and after a struggle to get the ropes, Kofi taps out.
Just in - Paige will defend the Divas Championship against Naomi, with Cameron lurking in the background. Cole hypes the ladder matches up one more time from the announce position. King shills the value of the Network and Cole tells us Daniel Bryan will be on the pre-show.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio cuts in on Renee Young's interview. He says he is one of the two who has won and cashed in successfully. He says he will walk out the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In walks Paul Heyman, and he apologizes but he can't help but hear the word one. "I am the one behind the one in 21-1, and I earned that distinction when my client Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker's Streak at Wrestlemania." Heyman puts himself over as the one that will be behind the man who will claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Cesaro.
Del Rio asks if Cesaro actually talks, or if he's just Heyman's puppet. Cesaro says he would talk to Del Rio, and says he speaks five languages, but none of them is loser. Del Rio gets upset, and Heyman pulls Cesaro away.
Match #8 - Damien Sandow (posing as Abe Lincoln) vs. Big E
In the ring, it's Damien Lincoln. He reads a proclamation about not being entertaining. He says he would rather spend another night in Ford Theater rather than let the simpletons direct his destiny. He says he doesn't need anyone telling him his worth. Here comes Big E.
Abe is pretty aggressive in the early going, but Big E goes off with a series of clotheslines and the Big Ending to put this to rest pretty quickly. Thankfully.
After the match, Big E says we saw earlier where Rusev and Lana tried to denegrate everything this country stands for. He says enough is enough and this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Lana's music plays and she comes to the stage. She calls Big E a foolish American and says pride comes before the fall.
Rusev jumps him from behind, clubbing him and hitting his thrust kick. He locks Big E in the Accolade and shoves him down and celebrates afterward.
They used Sandow to get to Big E and Rusev, which was fine I suppose. Big E was all over the place with that promo - he needs to calm down a bit so he can still cut that intense promo. He was all over the map.
King hypes the 4-on-3 main event tag match next featuring all the Money in the Bank World Heavyweight Championship match.
They hype that Total Divas won a Teen Choice Award. Mildly disturbing.
Backstage, John Cena cuts a promo. He says that we'll hear the announcer say there's a new world heavyweight champion on Sunday. He puts over that the men he is teaming with tonight will be his enemies on Sunday. He talks about the match and how it will be in Boston, and puts over the color green and says it's the color of money. He cuts his "the champ is here" catchphrase and tells Renee to bank on that.
Match #9 - John Cena, Sheamus and Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman) and Alberto Del Rio
Cena comes out first to his mixed reaction, then Sheamus and Reigns. Wyatt is the first of the heels, and the announcers talk about the sea of cellphone lights and how that could get in someone's head. The rest of the heel team makes their entrance going into break.
Cena and Orton start it off. Sheamus hits a quick tag and works Orton a bit. Cena tags back in, and he ends up selling for the heels. He takes a backbreaker from Cesaro, then Wyatt gets the tag. They do their dance spot as the announcers talk about the matches that Cena and Wyatt have had. Cena continues to sell for the heels going into break.
Out of break, Del Rio is working Cena. He covers for two, then Cesaro tags himself in. Cesaro sets up the swing but decides for the Boston Crab instead. Cena drags himself toward his corner but Cesaro drags him back. Cena tries the STF to no avail. Cesaro comes back with the Neutralizer but Cena backdrops out and gets the hot tag to Roman Reigns.
Reigns goes off, taking out the entire heel team, finishing off Del Rio with his apron kick. He cues the superman punch, but delivers it to Cesaro instead, then Orton. Del Rio hits the backstabber on Reigns and tags to Wyatt. Wyatt crashes into him with his cross body move, then Cesaro delivers a gutwrench throw. Orton tags and Cesaro isn't happy about it. Orton hits a suplex.
Reigns continues to sell, taking a side suplex from Del Rio, then takes offense from Wyatt. Reigns comes out of the corner with a big Superman punch to create separation. Cesaro got the tag but shoved Reigns to Sheamus for the tag. Sheamus goes off, hitting Cesaro with a high knee and running Cesaro to Del Rio's gut to take him out. Sheamus delivers Ten Beats of the Battern then a tilt-a-whirl slam.
Finish blast time! Orton hits a backbreaker, Cena hits two AA's, one on Orton and one on Del Rio. Cesaro hits Cena with a big uppercut, but takes the Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Cesaro and Sheamus are legal, so Sheamus covers for the win. Bodies everywhere.
Explosion at the stage and Kane's music hits. He comes to the ring, throws Reigns to the barrier, hits Cena and Sheamus with chokeslams. Orton has magically escaped to the stage as Kane lays waste to everyone. Triple H's music hits and he comes to the stage with mic in hand. He says "the eighth competitor in the Money in the Bank World Heavyweight Championship match, the Demon Kane." Kane does his pyro pose, but he takes a big spear from Reigns.
Reigns stares up the ramp at Triple H as Cole reminds us that Reigns said no man will stop him from winning the WWE Championship, not even Kane. That's the show.
This was a solid sell for the match Sunday. Adding Kane does little for me personally as I think eight guys might be a bit tough to navigate to produce a good ladder match. That said, some fans will buy in to the legitimate threat of Kane or Orton winning, seeing as they both side with the Authority.
All in all, this show was an improvement over last week, but it didn't deliver quite like I was hoping it would for a go-home show. We didn't get puking bits, which was good. The "pool" match was dumb and unnecessary, but I guess they had to write Vickie off somehow and let her get her just desserts on Stephanie in the process. Meh. Whatever. There were some good matches in there - Dolph and Barrett was very good, and I thought RVD and Seth Rollins entertained. Ambrose logically got into the MITB contract match as well.
I'll have a lot more to say tomorrow in Raw Afterthoughts, and in RingRap Audio on Wednesday night. Join us then! And be sure to ask your questions about Raw, Ring Of Honor's Best in the World, TNA, and anything else wrestling before then by tweeting us @RingRap or @RingRapAudio with the hashtag #AskRingRap. Thanks for watching along tonight!