WWE rolls into Everett, WA tonight at the XFinity Arena. On their social media platforms, WWE announced that Daniel Bryan will be on the show to appear in a Miz TV segment (likely to promote his book?). But beyond that, Stephen Amell will be there – the actor who plays “Arrow” – and he might confront Stardust. Is that a scene we will see again at SummerSlam? Seth Rollins issued a “winner take all” challenge to John Cena last week. He proposed a title-vs-title match at SummerSlam – will Cena accept this challenge?
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Show Open, Live from the XFinity Arena in Everett, WA
We get the Raw opening video package, then Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton introduce the show. They shill the segments previously advertised, as well as Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper for tonight.
Seth Rollins’ music hits, and here comes our WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The fans tell him he sold out, but Rollins isn’t bothered. “So what?” Rollins asks why John Cena hasn’t responded to his challenge yet and wonders what he’s so busy with. He asks if he is listening to Dr. Dre’s new album or trying to revive his rap career.
Rollins says that Cena is “Straight outta action” because Rollins broke his face with his knee. Rollins says if Cena doesn’t want to show up on Raw and respond like a man, he can go to Brooklyn and forfeit the United States Championship. Rollins says that either way, he will be the first man to hold both belts simultaneously. He says the funny thing is that Cena is rumored to show up on Tough Enough tomorrow night (he is advertised). Rollins wishes that Cena had the guts to show up. He stops momentarily, acting surprised that someone at ringside that yelled Cena was there.
Rollins tells that person that he is mistaken and Cena will appear via satellite. They show Cena’s face with the broken nose on the Tron, and Rollins’ mouth runs the commentary. Rollins then turns to Neville, saying that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a champion or the man in WWE.
Cesaro’s music hits, and he comes out to a good pop. Cesaro talks about interrupting Rollins going “on and on and on and on…” Cesaro says that Rollins mentioned last week’s open challenge, and he’s there to challenge him tonight. Rollins says that he didn’t say anything about an open challenge, which draws boos. He says it was last week when he said that, and it was a one time thing. He asks Cesaro what he has done to earn a title shot.
Kevin Owens’ music hits and he cuts his promo on the way to the ring. He says Cesaro hasn’t done anything to earn a shot, but Owens has beaten Cena. He points out that Cena made Rollins tap out two weeks ago on Raw. He says that if anyone deserves a shot, he has it on good authority that it’s him. Rollins asks if they are deaf and dumb. He calls both men morons and says he said nothing about defending his title.
Randy Orton’s music hits and he starts to talk about the situation. Orton asks Owens if he has put on weight lately. “No,” Owens no-sells back. Orton says that he has it on good authority that he deserves the shot. Rollins says that he doesn’t care what the Authority thinks. He says Tom Brady has a better shot of getting a free meal in Seattle than any of the three “jerk-offs” have of getting a title shot on Raw. That brings out Triple H.
Triple H takes issue with Rollins saying he doesn’t care what the Authority thinks. He mentions Cena, saying that he is a “less than 50/50” for SummerSlam. He says that this turmoil leads to competition. He books Cesaro vs. Owens vs. Orton, with the winner getting a shot at Rollins later.
The commentators talk about the triple threat, then predict winners. They each pick different winners. They hype Miz TV, then the camera goes backstage where Team BAD is getting ready to face Team Bella after the break.
Rollins has done better on the mic than he did here, but this was still good. The highlight of the segment was setting up the triple threat match, with the winner getting a shot at Rollins. “Jerk-off” might get Rollins some heat, since that might be on the WWE “no-no” list. And I loved how Owens no-sold the fat joke too.
Match #1 – Team Bella (Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, and Alicia Fox) vs. Team BAD (Sasha Banks, Naomi, and Tamina):
They point out that Nikki is 35 days away from eclipsing AJ’s record for longest Diva’s Championship reign. Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch are with the commentary team. Their faction name is now PCB – apparently “Submission Sorority” (which did kinda sound cool since they all have finishers that are submission holds) is tied up with a porno site. Cole hypes Becky Lynch vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Slot on the NXT live special from Brooklyn.
In the early action, the Bellas are being treated as the babyfaces. They control the action in the early going as we head to break. Back live, Brie checks in and lands a series of kicks in her husband’s (Daniel Bryan’s) fashion. She gets what I thought was a really awkward cover on Tamina to get the win. Team BAD jumps the ring and attacks, so the PCB jumps in and fights them. Team Bella stands at ringside, staring at PCB when Team BAD leaves the ring. Cole hypes up that this is what the Divas Revolution is all about.
This is a mess. WWE has NO CLUE as to what direction they want to take this in. I recall Triple H talking about bringing people up with clear plans in place and clear creative, and that hasn’t happened here. Still no clear character development, three women on commentary that did a poor job, and no clear line of heels and faces? What a disaster.
Byron Saxton hypes up the triple threat match and the winner’s title opportunity later.
They show Steven Amell at ringside.
Match #2 – New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston, w/Xavier Woods) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito):
Big E skips and claps to the ring. I gotta say I cracked up. The Prime Time Players watch the goings on from a backstage monitor, taking notes. Los Matadores and El Torito gang up on Woods at ringside. In the ring, Big E puts away Matadore #1 (because I haven’t a clue…) with the Big Ending for the win.
I can see New Day going babyface again because the heel gimmick is becoming entertaining to fans. The rest of the tag division is flat now without the Usos and Cesaro and Kidd, so that doesn’t help.
Cole hypes up Lesnar vs. Taker for SummerSlam, then says that various talent would be weighing in on the match.
Back in the day, like the early Wrestlemania days, they had talent do this – and it’s a good hype tool for these kinds of matches. Glad to see them pull this one out.
Back live, they show the PTP hanging out with members of the Seattle Seahawks (NFL team, for those not from the US).
Backstage, New Day is singing “Hey, we want some New Day.” Woods says they cemented their status as the new #1 Contenders. Renee Young tells them they will join Los Matadores and Lucha Dragons taking on the Prime Time Players in a four-way match at SummerSlam. They get Renee to do their dance.
Well, this is one way to get the belts back to New Day without having the Players lose, I suppose. And why on earth did Renee do their heel dance?
Backstage, Seth Rollins complains about defending his championship. Hunter tells him that Neville pushed Rollins to the brink, but he showed everyone who he is. Hunter tells him if he wants to be the man, he has to be the man every night.
The announcers feed it to footage of Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt on Smackdown. Cole hypes Reigns and Ambrose vs. Wyatt and Harper at SummerSlam. Saxton sells Ambrose vs. Harper for later on Raw, as well as the triple threat match.
Match #3 – Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton vs. Cesaro; Triple Threat Match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Opportunity
No televised entrances for this one. In the early going, Owens ducks from the ring when both opponents attack him. He gets back into the match quickly. Owens runs Cesaro into the post, then clotheslines Orton using the top rope. Owens gets a two count. Orton follows up a bit later with the sidewinder backbreaker on Owens. Cesaro hits him with a cross body block for two.
Orton teases the RKO, but Cesaro counters to the crossface. Orton pulls himself to the ropes to break it, but there’s no breaks in a triple threat. Orton pulls himself out to the floor, then Owens sends Cesaro to ringside. Owens follows with a flip dive on both men down on the floor. Cesaro comes up favoring his leg.
It looked like Cesaro took the brunt of Owens’ weight, and on his right knee. He wasn’t planted, fortunately, but it had to have hurt unless he was just selling.
Back from break, Cesaro and Orton team up on Owens for a double suplex. Cesaro covers but Orton pulls him off and glares. Orton and Cesaro go toe to toe with strikes. Cesaro gets the better of it, then sets up the Swing on Orton followed with the Sharpshooter. Cesaro sees Owens getting ready to break things up, so he releases it. Owens sends Cesaro into Orton, trying to set up a collision spot but it came off bad. Orton hits both opponents with an elevated DDT off the ropes.
Orton tries for the RKO again, but Cesaro counters and sends Orton to ringside. Owens is there, and he hits Orton with a fallaway slam into the barrier. Cesaro follows that up with a twisting dive on Owens. The fight moves back in the ring, where Cesaro hits a springboard uppercut for a good near fall. The fans chant that it’s awesome, and in this case they’re right.
Cesaro takes over, controlling the action on Owens. Owens hits a superkick, then tries to set up the pop-up powerbomb. Cesaro floats over and Orton hits the RKO on Owens. Owens rolls to ringside, and Orton hits Cesaro with a second RKO to get the win. Afterward, they show Rollins snickering backstage.
This was fantastic. Good solid match with a unique finish sequence. They could easily tell a solid story of Cesaro losing all of these really great matches and have it go somewhere meaningful – but I’d really like to see the guy win some of these.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose cuts a promo about how it would have been nice to have a friend when he was growing up. Roman Reigns interrupts and says that Ambrose was trying to say that he’s the only friend he has ever had. Ambrose said “pretty much.” Reigns says that Wyatt can talk about family and how Harper would do anything for him, but the same is not true for Reigns. Reigns talks about liking his beer ice cold and says that they will put the Wyatt’s family ties to the test.
Saxton hypes a Lesnar/Taker segment with various wrestlers and Hall of Famers commenting on the match.
Cole feeds us to a video package hyping Lesnar vs. Undertaker. There are comments from various wrestlers about the Streak, and having faced Lesnar. There are also fresh comments from Steve Austin, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Show, JBL, Triple H, Dean Ambrose, and Paul Heyman talking about the SummerSlam match.
I thought this was pretty strong. At first, I worried that it might just be regurgitated comments, but the new material that talked about the upcoming match took care of that. A really effective piece of business here. Have to admit, Seth Rollins blowing them off would have been more true to his character though.
Cole hypes up that Lesnar and Undertaker will both be on Raw next Monday in Minneapolis. Dean Ambrose comes to the ring for the next match. Roman Reigns joins at ringside, making his entrance through the crowd. Wyatt and Harper make their way to the ring.
Match #4 – Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns) vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt):
Before the match, Harper chases Saxton from his chair so that Wyatt would have somewhere to sit. Ambrose hits a drop kick through the ropes then an elbow off the apron onto a standing Harper. Saxton is still standing, so fans chant “sit down Byron” at him. He says he wishes he could. Gee, aren’t there a million folding chairs under the ring?
Harper takes control of the match until Ambrose hits him with a DDT. He then gets a sunset flip for two. Harper tries for a powerbomb, but Ambrose slips out and slams him. The fight spills back to ringside. Ambrose throws Wyatt over the announce position. Wyatt recovers and goes after Ambrose, but he moves and Reigns hits him with the Superman Punch. Harper attacks Reigns, but Ambrose hits a dive. Ambrose gets tripped in the ropes and that lets Harper hit his discus clothesline for the win.
The action here was fine, but I think we’re closing in on the “three hour wall” where the live crowd is tiring out. If this match goes on an hour ago, it gets a much better live reaction than what I heard during this segment.
Cole hypes up Daniel Bryan being on Miz TV after the break.
The Miz is in the ring and he welcomes us to his show. He points out Steven Amell in the front row. He tells Amell to call him once Stardust is finished with him. He claims he will rebrand Amell and teach him how to act. He then introduces Daniel Bryan, who gets a huge hometown pop. The fans chant for him as he sits down. Miz welcomes Bryan to Miz TV and Bryan smiles as fans chant for him.
Miz holds his hand up and says when he does that, the fans’ mouths go shut. They stop chanting and boo him, but then start a “yes” chant. Bryan cracks that Miz wants them to shut up, so they need to be quiet. Miz does the hand bit again. Bryan asks the fans if they really thought he would miss Raw in his own home state. Miz tells the fans he is a Cleveland Browns fan. Bryan says Miz likes to take credit for his success and says Miz can take credit for the movie Santa’s Little Helper and his wardrobe.
Bryan says that his accomplishments are the result of hard work and the fans who have supported him, not due to the Miz. Miz points out that Bryan is still not medically cleared and is like the broken toy that no one wants to play with. Miz laughs and says he has never had an injury in WWE and wonders what it’s like to sit home and dream about the past.
Bryan talks about Mick Foley, saying he is at home writing a book that happens to be a New York Times best seller. Bryan says he is a judge on the greatest show in the history of shows, Tough Enough. He cracks a smile as he says it. Miz says Bryan didn’t dedicate enough of his book to him, and he is a judge on “the greatest show there is.”
Miz credits Bryan for doing the right thing when he got injured. He says Ryback should do the same by canceling the triple threat match at SummerSlam. Big Show interrupts, and asks if Miz thinks he will honestly win the Intercontinental Championship. Ryback then makes his entrance, wearing new merch. The leg looks much better. Ryback and Show stare at each other, and Miz and Bryan look on from ringside.
Bryan throws Miz in the ring between the two big men. Miz gets squashed and tossed by Show. Ryback gets the better of Big Show, hitting a clothesline. Bryan gets in the ring and points at Miz. Ryback hits Miz with a clothesline, and Bryan gives Ryback the IC Championship belt. They do the “Yes!” chant together.
This was fun. Bryan got a huge reaction and the fans loved him, and Miz’s schtick (which I normally puke at) worked here. Ryback got a decent return reaction, but let’s be honest, nothing would compare to the pop Bryan got unless it was someone like Austin or Rock. Ryback and Bryan celebrating at the end of the segment was important here.
Cole hypes up Orton vs. Rollins coming up later.
A “Before the Battle” preview of Undertaker vs. Lesnar is hyped up for WWE Network. Much of it contained comments from the earlier video package.
Cole announces Team BAD vs. Team Bella vs. PCB in a three-team elimination match that will take place at SummerSlam.
Match #5 – Rusev (w/Summer Rae) vs. Mark Henry:
Lana joins the commentary team for this. Henry carries an American flag to the ring and waves it before the match. Because ‘Murica! Anyhow, late in this one Summer causes a distraction which lets Rusev catch Henry with a kick.
Lana gets involved, attacking Summer. Summer rolls her in the ring where Rusev is standing. Summer attacks her from behind, and the bell rings for the disqualifcation (?). Summer slams Lana’s face into the match a couple times then puts her in the Accolade. Rusev has a flag drop that has his image on it.
If I had a girlfriend, and she spent half of the amount of time that Lana does in meddling in the affairs of her “ex-boyfriend”, it’d be creepy. Summer’s version of the Accolade looked like a legit submission hold, which is a plus.
The announcers talk about the angle. Saxton says Rusev needs to move on, which makes zero sense because it was Lana getting involved in his business.
They recap Rollins vs. Neville from last week using the comic book theme to be consistent with Neville’s character. They also include Stardust. They show Steven Amell at ringside, shaking his head about Stardust being shown. Cole hypes Neville up, and asks if the Green Arrow will get a front row view of the Red Arrow.
Match #6 – Neville vs. King Barrett:
This doesn’t last long. Cole says that Stardust can’t come to grips that Amell plays a character and isn’t a real superhero. Meanwhile, Neville puts Barrett away quickly with the Red Arrow.
Afterward, Stardust runs in and puts the boots to Neville. Stardust sees Amell and approaches him. He pie faces Amell, and Amell hops the rail and attacks Stardust. Security breaks them up. Cole points out that Amell is a guest who entered a WWE ring “and that’s not good no matter who you are.” Security backs off, and Amell holds his arms up. The follow him out of the ring as the show goes to break.
The live crowd did enjoy this angle.
They air an ad for NXT, then recap the angle from the previous segment.
Backstage, Triple H asks Amell if he’s alright, and he says he’s fine. Hunter says he’s lucky he walked out of there because he’s not a participant. Neville says that Stardust has started this. Hunter says he will deal with Stardust. “Let us deal with Stardust,” says Amell. Hunter says he is not now and will never be “one of us.”
Amell says he gets it but he’s an actor and a man. He says if someone puts his hands on him, he will fight back. He asks Hunter to let “the two of us” take care of Barrett and Stardust. Hunter asks if it will be Red Arrow and Green Arrow. Hunter was reluctant at first, but Amell insisted, saying he would sign anything the lawyers wanted signed. Hunter smiled and asks if he wants to play tough guy. He tells Amell the papers will be in his hands tomorrow and he is washing his hands of it. Hunter books it officially as Stardust and Barrett vs. Neville and Green Arrow for SummerSlam.
Amell came off believable here, and they really did a good job of selling how Amell was putting himself in harm’s way working a match against professional wrestlers. A decent segment that led to a match we all sort of saw coming.
Cole hypes up WWE Network, calling it the equivalent of Netflix, “Only a better value.”
JoJo interviews Sheamus backstage. He talks about the main event and says that when the time is right he will become WWE World Heavyweight champion. He says the right time “may be tonight.”
Randy Orton makes his entrance, then they cut away to the footage of Lesnar and Taker brawling a couple weeks ago. Cole wonders what will happen when the two are in the building together next week on Raw. Seth Rollins then makes his entrance.
Match #7 – Seth Rollins (c) vs. Randy Orton; WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Lilian gives us the in-ring introductions. Rollins stalls in the early going, but Orton bounces him to the outside. Coming out of the commercial break, Rollins takes over control of the match.
Orton mounts a comeback. Rollins tries to exit but gets clotheslined and slammed into the announce position. Orton slams Rollins on the table again then rolls him in the ring. Rollins shoves Orton toward the official, but Orton stops short. Rollins rolls Orton up for two. Rollins hits a superkick on a kneeling Orton, then goes top rope. Orton cuts him off and hits a superplex.
Rollins goes for the Pedigree, but Orton counters. Orton tries a hanging DDT, but Rollins counters out and hits a kick. Rollins tries his own version of the hanging DDT and connects. Rollins mocks Orton, hitting the Viper pose then kicks Orton. He sets up the Pedigree again, but Orton counters. Rollins ties a springboard move, but Orton hits him with the RKO on the way down.
Orton has the cover, but Sheamus runs out and pulls Orton to ringside. That causes a DQ. After the match, Sheamus roughs Orton up, then gets in the ring. He hits Rollins with a Brogue Kick then attempts to cash in his MITB briefcase. The bell never rings, and Sheamus turns around into an RKO from Orton. Cole reminds us that because the bell didn’t ring, the cash-in didn’t happen. Orton poses as his music plays to end it.
This was fine. I thought they did a good job of making Rollins look vulnerable, yet not the guy who needs someone to run out and save him at the slightest bit of trouble. The teased cash-in was done well too and keeps the briefcase in play, which it hadn’t been since Sheamus won it. I still think giving it to Sheamus was wrong (there were better choices) but I think if he keeps doing things like this tonight, he’ll be fine with it.
All in all a good show. They’re doing a nice job of pacing out the SummerSlam match announcements so they can focus on them and give them good attention every time they announce one. They’re clearly putting some effort into the show, and so far it seems to be shaping up pretty well.
Drew will be by tomorrow with an Around the Ring podcast, breaking down tonight’s show in more detail and talking about other things pro wrestling. You’ll hear from me again on Thursday with an Around the Ring segment, as well as other print stuff along the way. Thanks for reading along tonight.