On this Memorial Day (here in the United States), it’s the “go-home” edition of Raw as we get ready for Elimination Chamber this Sunday on WWE Network. On a very short turnaround, we’ve seen Dean Ambrose rise to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. He forced his way into the picture last week, roughing up Seth Rollins during the “Architect of a Dream” segment that closed the show. How will these two hype what should be a good in-ring match? Kevin Owens, the NXT Champion, got the better of John Cena last week. Word is that John Cena has words for Owens – what will he say? Nikki Bella prepares to defend her Divas Championship against two competitors, the Intercontinental Championship contenders square off, and much more.
Show Open, Live from the Nassau County Coliseum on Long Island, NY
The show opens with a Memorial Day tribute video (that you may have seen earlier in the day as it was publicized). Eden Styles is in the ring, and asks for fans to please rise and observe a moment of silence in honor of those lost. The bell rings ten times. They move on to the standard Raw open and Cole welcomes us in.
The familiar “King of Kings” refrain hits, and here comes The Authority to open the show with a talking segment. They run footage of last week’s closing segment. Rollins asks for a round of applause for Ambrose, but gets “you sold out” chants also. Rollins says this isn’t about him, but it’s about Ambrose.
Rollins says that The Authority made a decision to give Ambrose his title match under duress. Rollins says that Ambrose didn’t earn, nor does he deserve, a title shot. He encourages Hunter and Stephanie to take the title match away. “In fact, given your position you could even fire him.”
Rollins calls himself a benevolent human being, and says that Ambrose isn’t on his level. “To be honest, he was riding my coat tails the whole time we were in the Shield.” He says it was obvious why they picked Rollins over Ambrose to be a part of the Authority. Hunter says that it was an easy choice.
Hunter goes on and says that they have something verbal, but they need something “a little more concrete.” Hunter tells Ambrose that if he wants his world title shot, all he has to do is come down to the ring and sign a contract. Booker says “yeah, Ambrose, come down to the ring and get your brains beaten in.”
Ambrose’s music hits and he makes his way to the stage to a good cheer. He says that there must be something wrong with him, because he can’t sleep. He says that instead of counting sheep, he counts how many times he punches Seth Rollins. Once he gets to about 200 punches, he sleeps like a baby.
Ambrose talks about becoming the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion and face of the company. He says that J&J Security will be barefoot like respectable hobbits. He says Kane will wear a collar like any good obedient lap dog. He adds that Rollins will drunk dial Selena Gomez, since he “will always be our little Justin Bieber.”
That draws a “Justin Bieber” chant. Rollins yells at them to shut up. Rollins praises Bieber for being rich, famous, and needing to fight off women. Rollins calls Ambrose a cockroach, and says they can survive a nuclear holocaust. He says that cockroaches never win. They never thrive, they just survive.
Ambrose says that he would rather be a cockroach than the wrong end of the Authority’s centipede. He ponders his options, and says that he might be crazy, and he might be stupid, but it might be worth a shot. “I guess there’s only one way to find out.” Ambrose drops the mic and makes his way down to the ring. JBL says that Ambrose is walking to the gallows. Roman Reigns’ music hits, and he makes his way down through the crowd.
Reigns jumps the barrier, and Stephanie says that it’s so cute that the “Shield boys” get together and that everyone loves it. Stephanie tells Ambrose that he has until the end of the night to sign the contract, but in the meantime she is going to book a match. She sets up Reigns and Ambrose vs. Kane and Rollins as the main event. “And you don’t have to wait for the end of the night because that match will happen right now.”
Good move to label it as a main event, but have it happen right after the break. The live crowd didn’t seem to like it, but when Steph said it would happen right away, they cheered.
We’ll see how this goes tonight. They have work to do to get to Elimination Chamber, so they might not mail this show in tonight.
Match #1 – Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (w/J&J Security) and Kane
Early on, Booker makes a comment that if Ambrose doesn’t get the title shot without signing the contract is a case of the Authority being an “Indian giver.” The heels get the better of the faces in the early going.
That’s a pretty shocking line from Booker. Who is producing him?
Reigns and Kane get the hot tags after the break. Reigns goes to work, beating Kane down. In the corner, Reigns stomps Kane down but Mercury gets involved. Reigns takes him out, cues the Superman Punch, but unloads it on Jamie Noble instead who got on the other apron. Reigns runs into a big boot, then Kane sets the chokeslam. Reigns fights out of it, backing into the ropes where Ambrose tags him Reigns hits the Superman Punch and Ambrose comes off the ropes to hit the flying elbow.
Later, Ambrose takes a flying knee from Rollins. A bit later, Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds. Rollins counters out, hitting an enzugiri. Ambrose staggers backward into the ropes, then sets up his pendulum clothesline. Rollins ducks and hooks him at the same time, looking for a move. Ambrose turns it into a backslide and picks up the win.
Rollins is shocked, and protests to the official that it was only a two count. JBL puts over how he can’t believe this happened and hopes it doesn’t on Sunday.
Logical to have Ambrose go over on Rollins here.
The announcers hype a free month of WWE Network and also the Entourage stars appearing tonight.
Backstage, Renee interviews Dean Ambrose. She congratulates him on his win and says he still has to sign the contract. He says not to worry, and by the end of the night he will have a signed contract. J&J Security appears and says they have the contract for him to sign. Mercury pats himself down. “Well slap my head and call me Sally, he forgot it.”
Ambrose laughs, calls Noble Sally, then slaps him. The three men scrum, with Ambrose letting them lying. Unfortunately, a camera man also got tagged. Ambrose checks on him. JBL points to it as a case of Ambrose being completely unstable and shouldn’t be the champion.
Cole switches gears to talk about the John Cena open challenge from last week. He says there was no challenge but Cena had a run-in with Kevin Owens. They run a video package highlighting Kevin Owens. Back live, the announcers hype Cena vs. Owens for Elimination Chamber.
Here comes Rusev for the next match. He’s no longer Russian, apparently as he brings the Bulgarian flag to the ring. He will be in action, next.
They show the cast of Entourage getting out of a limo backstage.
Match #2 – Rusev vs. R-Truth
Back live, they show the Intercontinental Championship on a table at ringside. R-Truth makes his entrance and gets a few early shots in, but Rusev locks Truth in the Accolade for the submission win.
Afterward, Rusev gets a mic. “Lana! Lana! We need to talk. Lana, can you please come to the ring, we need to talk.” Rusev says he won’t leave until Lana shows up. Back from break, Rusev is still pleading with Lana to come to the ring, breaking between Bulgarian and English. Lana has her own entrance now and she comes to the ring. Rusev holds the rope, but she uses the opposite corner.
“You asked me to come, I came. Now I’m waiting.” Rusev says he knows Lana cares despite her actions at Wrestlemania and mistaking his “I quit” at Payback and because she kissed Ziggler. He says he knows why she’s doing all these things is to make him pay attention. She says that all she has done is because she cares. He says “I know you want to crush America and the American spirit as bad as you do.” That draws a “USA” chant.
Rusev asks her to take his hand, and all will be forgotten. “We can make America fall down before Rusev, and his Ravishing Lana.” Booker says he’s lying. The fans chant no. Lana takes his hand and the fans boo, but Rusev and Lana hug. Rusev and Lana pose in the ring. Rusev says “all I need you to say is the three little words – the three magical words – ‘I was wrong’.”
Lana shoves him off and walks to the apron. He says all she has to do is admit it was her fault. “I was not wrong, you said ‘I quit’.” Rusev says she’s a liar and she needs to know her place. “I own you, so get back in here now.” Lana gets back in the ring.
Lana gets in Rusev’s face. “You’re a liar and a quitter.” She says she won’t listen to his “cruel, caveman, brutish, thick headed, moronic mouth again.” Lana leaves the ring. Dolph Ziggler’s music hits and he makes his way to the stage. He motions at Lana, then the two kiss. Rusev flips out in the ring as Ziggler smiles with Lana.
The only woman who could have taken all of the steam off of Rusev better is Stephanie McMahon. Was waiting for her to come out and continue the abuse.
Backstage, Ambrose is sitting in his locker room when Triple H and Seth Rollins walk in. “Let me guess, you two brought me my contract, or are we trying to do this the fun way.” Hunter says there’s no fun in what’s about to happen. In walks two officers and the cameraman from earlier.
Hunter asks him if this is the man who assaulted him earlier. “Yes, but I could have sworn I felt a shove from my side.” Rollins tells him to shut up, and says Hunter asked a question. The man looks at the floor and says “yes.” The officers arrest Ambrose and read him his rights. As he’s led away, Ambrose says “I guess we’re going to do this the fun way.” Hunter and Rollins laugh.
Back from break, Ambrose is led to a waiting police vehicle. Rollins, J&J, and Kane mock Ambrose and say that he’s not good enough for jail and should be taken to the zoo. As the vehicle drives off they laugh and celebrate.
Remember the Corporation days with Austin? Yup, exact replay. Yawn. Fuck this booking.
Match #3 – Ryback vs. King Barrett
Barrett is in the ring already, eyeing up the title belt. Ryback still has taped ribs. Early on Ryback hits a Thesz Press and controls the offense. He slams Barrett then teases the Meathook clothesline. Barrett rolls out and Ryback gives chase. Barrett takes a shot at Ryback’s ribs, then throws him into the barrier. On the apron, Barrett runs Ryback into the corner then delivers shots across Ryback’s ribs as he lays on the buckle.
Barrett hits Winds of Change for a near fall. He cues up the Bull Hammer, but Ryback’s not getting up. Barrett bad mouths, and Ryback pops up. He hits Shellshocked for the win. Ryback plays to the fans, then looks at the Intercontinental Championship and chants “Feed Me More.”
Backstage, Triple H is on the phone. He thanks whoever he’s speaking with then hangs up. He tells Stephanie that Dean Ambrose is on his way to central booking and probably won’t make it back to sign the contract. Stephanie says that Rollins won’t have an opponent. In walks the cast of Entourage. They share greetings
They ask if Ambrose will be on the show. “Turtle” talks about getting his ass handed to him by Ronda Rousey and says Stephanie can relate. He asks if her arm is okay and thought it might have gotten snapped in a couple places. Stephanie didn’t care for the humor and sent them to their dressing room down the hall.
They run an ad for Steve Austin’s interview with Paul Heyman on June 1 after Raw. They then show Tough Enough tryout videos.
Stardust is making his way to the ring back live. He spies Steven Darnell at ringside (star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and mocks him. The two exchange words. Neville makes his way to the ring for the next match.
Match #4 – Neville vs. Stardust
As Neville comes to the ring, they hype that Neville will face Bo Dallas at Elimination Chamber. As the match starts, there’s NXT chants. After some early jockeying, Stardust drapes Neville’s knee over the ropes. He holds Neville up for a delay vertical suplex, then focuses on the knee.
Bo Dallas makes his way to the ring. Neville starts to deliver shots, but Stardust attempts a belly to back suplex. Neville sells the knee as he lands on his feet. Stardust perches him on the ropes and tries a superplex. Neville fights out then hits a tornado DDT.
Neville sets up the Red Arrow. He delivers for the win. Dallas gets in the ring and says “come on buddy, you can pick yourself back up. All you have to do is Bo-Lieve!” Dallas hits a low drop kick to the bad knee and leaves. Dallas takes a victory lap.
Fine enough and got some hype on Dallas going into the match with Neville on Sunday.
Backstage the Entourage guys are talking about their faux-pas with Stephanie earlier. They come across Divas, and start playing to them. One of them is talking to Zack Ryder, which gets a mild pop from the hometown crowd. He says “you gotta do it, bro, this is the last time WWE is going to be in the Coliseum.” The others introduce him to the ladies, and Ryder says “really bro?” The Entourage cast convenes with Ryder and tells the ladies they will see them later.
Dolph and Lana are shown, and he’s up next against Sheamus.
Back live, they show the history surrounding Seth Rollins and Money in the Bank. They hype the Money in the Bank pay per view on June 14.
Match #5 – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler is playing to fans and the announcers recap his history with Money in the Bank. Sheamus comes to the ring next and the announcers hype that he has never held the Intercontinental Championship.
Sheamus controls the early going. About 3 minutes in, Ziggler clotheslines Sheamus to the floor and both men tumble to ringside. Ziggler tweaks his knee a bit and Sheamus hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on the floor. Lana makes her way to the stage for a look at the action. Sheamus yells “Are you not entertained!” as we go to break.
Later in the match, Ziggler hits a superkick for a near fall. Rusev comes out. He smiles as he passes Lana, but Ziggler sees him. Ziggler hits a superkick, but the distraction lets Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick. Sheamus wins. Sheamus leaves the ring and eyes Rusev. He motions toward the ring and Rusev gets in. Lana heads to the ring.
Rusev eyes up Lana then knees Ziggler a couple times in the head. Lana watches on stoically. Ziggler starts to fight back, but Rusev cuts him off, stomps on him then locks him in the Accolade. Rusev taunts Lana, yelling “kiss him now!” He jumps out of the ring and walks away as Ziggler sells.
Fine enough again, but Sheamus and Ziggler have worked so often that I sort of checked out. It’s not the guys in question – I like what both guys are doing, but the fact is that they’ve worked too often and it takes a lot off the match.
Cole moves right on to hyping the John Cena US Open Challenge, up next.
I wonder – Zack Ryder?
They recap last week’s US Open Challenge segment, where Kevin Owens interrupted John Cena and hit him with the pop up powerbomb.
The John Cena US Open Challenge:
Cena’s music hits and he makes his way out. He says “apparently the remix is a popular song” as the fans sing “John Cena Sucks” along with his song. Cena charges the ring as the announcers hype Owens vs. Cena at Elimination Chamber on Sunday. They’re calling it “Champion vs. Champion.”
“For over ten years now, you, the WWE Universe, can be summed up in five words – Let’s Go Cena, Cena Sucks.” He says there are fans who fight with him, and fight against him. He pauses to listen to the various chants that solidify into “Let’s Go Cena, Cena Sucks.”
He addresses his supporters, saying they believe in what he believes in – hustle, loyalty, and respect. He says that they believe that no matter the odds they never give up. Over ten years they have shared in the agony of defeat and the triumph of victory. “Most importantly…” Cena waits out a “We want Ryder.” chant. He says over ten years they have formed a bond that allows them to survive an atmosphere no matter how hostile. He thanks those who support him.
He then addresses “the others” who chant “Cena sucks” among other things. He asks why, and says that for ten years they have clamored for someone to knock him down and keep him down. “Here is where the story gets difficult for those who chant Cena sucks.” He says name after name has tried and failed.
He says he was forcefully introduced to “the newest hopeful” last week on Raw, referencing Kevin Owens. He recounts Owens debuting, breaking the internet, then going to the NXT special and breaking Sami Zayn in half. He says that those who chant Cena Sucks believe that Kevin Owens is the man to create change around here.
He says on Sunday they will be able to chant “Fight Owens Fight.” He says for the first time you might not hear “Let’s Go Cena – Cena Sucks” but you might hear “Let’s Go Cena – Fight Owens Fight.” He says it doesn’t promise “Win Owens Win.” He says Owens proved he knows how to start a fight, but let’s see if he can finish one.
He moves on to talking about Monday Night Raw, hyping the final WWE event in the Nassau County Coliseum. He says it gives him great pride to put the US Championship on the line on Memorial Day. He says Long Island is the place to be, and by looking at the hardware John Cena is still the man to beat. “You want some, come get some.”
The cast of Entourage makes their way out. Cena eyes them up then introduces them to a chorus of boos. He tells them the challenge is open to anyone and asks who it will be. One of them speaks up and says that as much as they would like to fulfill a childhood dream, they’re there to introduce a superstar, “a Long Island Boy, just like me,” Zack Ryder.
Match #6 – John Cena (c) vs. Zack Ryder; WWE United States Championship
Back live, the match gets underway. The commentators talk about the history of Nassau Coliseum with the Nets and Islanders. Ryder cues up the Broski Boot but Cena escapes. Cena hits his shoulder blocks, the side slam, and sets up the Five Knuckle. Someone on the movie cast gets in the ring and Cena turns to him.
Ryder uses the distraction to roll Cena up for two. A bit later, Ryder hits the Unprettier for a two count. He comes back with the Broski Boot for two, then hits the Rough Ryder for another two count. Ryder goes up to the top and goes for a 450, but Cena rolls out of the way. Cena hits the AA and picks up the win.
Cena gets the belt back, but hands it back to the official. He helps Ryder up and raises his arm in the ring. the two men play to the fans, then the movie cast gets in the ring and also plays to the fans. Ryder and the movie cast exit and Cena plays to the fans a bit too.
Kevin Owens pops up through the fans. He hits the ring and kicks Cena, throwing him off the rope and hitting the Pop Up Powerbomb again. Owens stomps on the US Championship and poses with his belt. The adult males cheer for Owens, the women and kids are silent. Booker says Owens is good at taking the cheap shot but he’ll have to face Cena eye to eye on Sunday. Owens struts up the ramp and poses with the belt again.
Ryder got his moment and it was fun for the hometown fans and I’m sure for him since it’s the last time in Nassau Coliseum for WWE. They missed a chance to make some money with Ryder when he was hot and that’s a shame. WWE beat us into submission with the way they handled him for him getting himself over. The Owens angle was a simple rinse and repeat from last week.
Backstage, Stephanie says that Owens is impressive and it’s scary. Rollins says that he is great, but no one should get ahead of themselves, because he’s still the present and future of WWE. Renee Young asks for an update on Ambrose. Stephanie says that he will have every opportunity to come to the ring and sign the contract by the end of the night. Renee asks if it’s a formality because they had Ambrose arrested.
Rollins speaks up and says that Ambrose got himself arrested. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” At the announce table, Cole feeds it to a recap of the story through the night.
The Bella Twins’ music hits and they head to ringside for the next match. Tamina will take on Paige in a one-on-one match.
Jobber entrance for Tamina, who is waiting in the ring. Paige gets an entrance. They recount Naomi and Tamina beating Nikki down before Paige made the save. Paige then turned on Nikki and hit the RamPaige. Cole hypes the three ladies facing off in a triple threat. Nikki says she’s ready for it.
Match #7 – Paige vs. Tamina (w/Naomi)
Tamina throws some shots at Paige. Cole talks about the counseling that Brie got sent to last week. Brie says Bryan is in good spirits and the counseling was good for her. Tamina controls the offense on Paige in the early going while the announcers talk about Tamina and Naomi “taking over” the Divas division.
Paige fires up with strikes, and hits a kick off the ropes. Naomi gets on the apron but because of the distraction Tamina ends up getting rolled up. Paige hits a drop kick, then a senton off the apron to a nice reaction. Coming back in, Tamina throws some shots. Naomi backs Tamina off, and Naomi hits a cheap shot. Tamina hits a Samoan drop to get the win. Booker says it reminds him of Twin Magic, and Nikki says it’s not as good.
Naomi and Tamina pose in the ring and the Bellas stand up, with Nikki holding the belt up.
The announcers hype Elimination Chamber and say the WWE Network is the only place you can see the event in the US. Big E’s voice rings out and he says to not be sour and tells us to clap for the tag team champions. Nassau greets them with “New Day Sucks” chants. They’re up next.
Back live, the announcers hype The Rock’s new movie, San Andreas, and his moment at TCH Chinese Theater. San Andreas opens May 29.
New Day complains about having to face five other teams in the Elimination Chamber. Kofi says the fans don’t want to see it and the fans chant yes. Big E says that even the fans in this decrepit old building that is about to be torn down can recognize champions. They make fun of Long Island for losing their hockey team and calls them losers.
Kane comes out. He says that all the teams have a 1 in 6 chance of winning, and that’s very fair. What’s not fair is the match he books for him next. He sets up New Day against the other competitors of the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. Each team gets an entrance, then we go back to break again.
Match #8 – New Day vs. The Ascension, The Prime Time Players, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya), Los Matadores (w/El Torito) and The Lucha Dragons; 10-on-3 Handicap Match
Woods is controlling Kalisto in the early going. He talks trash at the other teams, and they jump the ring and mug him. That’s the end of the match right there. It breaks down into a full on brawl, with The Ascension hitting a double team move. The teams end up out on the floor, and Lucha Dragons hit a big dive on the remaining men on the floor. New Day climbs back in the ring to celebrate winning by DQ.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro attack them, hitting their swing into kick move on Woods. Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya pose in the ring.
Cole again hypes Elimination Chamber, then sells a Daniel Bryan special airing on WWE Network tonight after Raw. He feeds it to preview.
Miz TV will return on Sunday at Elimination Chamber, and his guest will be Daniel Bryan. Cole feeds it to a recap of the segment where Ambrose accidentally roughed up the cameraman (by Rollins pushing the cameraman in the way) and shows the footage of another worker showing Rollins shoving the cameraman into the mix.
“King of Kings” hits again and here comes Triple H, Stephanie, Rollins, Kane, and J&J. JBL tries to defend what Rollins did. Rollins says what some idiot did with a cellphone doesn’t matter and Ambrose was justifiably arrested earlier tonight. Rollins calls him a common thug and says he takes pride in the Lunatic Fringe nickname.
He says that it sometimes pays off, and it almost got him a shot at his championship. Instead, he finds himself behind bars. Stephanie gets on the mic (AAAHHH!) and
Roman Reigns’ music hits, and he makes his way to the ring. He attacks Rollins, but it quickly turns into a five on one beatdown by J&J, Rollins and Kane on Reigns. Reigns hits one Superman punch, but Kane chokeslams him. Sirens ring out.
Dean Ambrose is driving the paddywagon from earlier, a la Stone Cold driving a Zamboni. I know there’s nothing new in wrestling these days, but geez. He drives the paddywagon out into the arena then gets out, wearing a cop jacket and hat. He heads to the ring with billy clubs in hand and the fight is on.
He and Reigns work together to clear Kane and J&J out. They each have clubs, so they take turns jabbing Rollins in the gut with them. J&J and Kane hit the ring again, and Rollins escapes. They scrum some more, with Reigns hitting a double spear on J&J. Kane throws Reigns out, and Reigns hits him with a Superman punch at the ropes. Ambrose hits a wobbly Kane with Dirty Deeds.
Reigns gets back in the ring with the contract, smiling. Rollins, Vin…errr, Triple H, and Stephanie stand on the stage with disgust. Reigns laughs and hands it to him. JBL says “quick, end the show” but Ambrose signs. He plays to the three of them as Rollins grabs his head in disgust. Cole gives a final sell for Elimination Chamber as the show ends.
Well, all we needed there was Jim Ross yelling “STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!” and a legitimately hot crowd. Ambrose has a unique character that is fun and interesting and something I really like. But they’re booking him in a way that is a total rehash of the Corporation angle from 1998. This was just not inspiring at all.
This show killed my interest in Elimination Chamber. Nothing felt important – it was “just okay” at best. I thought the Owens/Cena angle was decent enough, but it was a repeat more than it was something fresh. I think Elimination Chamber will be good, but this show didn’t do it any favors at all.
Drew and I will be getting together tomorrow night to talk Elimination Chamber, Raw, and everything else wrestling on Ring Rap Audio. Be sure to comment, and ask your questions for discussion either in the comments, on Twitter @RingRap, or on our Facebook page. Thanks for watching along tonight.