WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 5/11/2015 – The Authority Returns, Payback Go-Home Show, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns Prepare for their Title Match, More

Show Open, Live from the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH

The show opens with a limo pulling in backstage at the US Bank Arena.  Out steps Triple H, and Cole says the atmosphere is about to change.  Roll the Raw intro and pyro out in the arena.  Cole hypes that we’re six days out from Payback.

Cole hypes the John Cena US Open Challenge and says that Daniel Bryan is also in the building to address the status of the Intercontinental Championship.  Triple H’s music hits and he heads to the ring as Cole runs down these items among other things for the night.

“Daddy’s home.”  Hunter says that he says the same thing to his children when he comes home from a trip.  He says they automatically fall in line and behave.  Hunter says that he has the same feeling returning to Raw, and that some people can’t follow orders.  “Namely, the Director of Operations, Kane, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.”

Hunter asks both of them to come to the ring, and Rollins makes his entrance with J&J Security.  Rollins applauds as he’s walking.  Rollins welcomes Hunter back, and immediately says that he and Hunter are on the same page.   The fans chant for Dean Ambrose (he’s from Cincy) and Rollins waits them  out.  Rollins tells Hunter to ignore the chants and says that he doesn’t know why Kane has been acting like he is.  “I kinda feel like Kane has made it his personal mission to make sure that I lose my WWE World Heavyweight Championship.”

The fans start another Ambrose chant.  Rollins runs down the decisions that Kane has made, including setting up the App vote for Rollins’ title defense, then booking Dean Ambrose in a match to make it a fatal four way.  Rollins addresses the Ambrose chants with “there, I said his stupid name.”  Rollins asks if Kane is still fit to be the director of operations and asks if it’s time to take him out  back and put him out of his misery.

Kane comes out.  He jaws at Rollins in the ring about the “old dog” comments.  Hunter gets between the two of them and says that it’s enough.  Hunter tells Kane that he needs to get on the same page.  He concedes that Rollins is annoying and “makes you want to ball your fist up and punch him in the face, but you don’t.”  Hunter tells Kane that if Rollins doesn’t walk out of Payback as champion, “then maybe your services as director of operations are no longer required.”

Kane tells Hunter that it’s a shame he feels that way, but it might be worth it to eviscerate Rollins.  Rollins yells at Kane about subordination but Hunter tells him to shut up.  Hunter tells Kane that he needs to tell him whether he could do this or if they need to amicably part ways.  Kane doesn’t respond, and Hunter assumes that means Kane doesn’t want to split.

Hunter says he needs to know if they are all on the same page, so he sets up matches with all four Payback main event participants.  Hunter books Kane vs. Roman Reigns, then Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton.  Jamie Noble gets the mic and protests the booking.  He says that Seth Rollins is the man around here.

Hunter glares at him and says “Oh, I’m sorry, were you two still here?”  He says that there is another guy in the fatal four way that needs competition tonight, and he needs it now.  Hunter makes fun of J&J’s height, then says they will face Dean Ambrose, next. Hunter tells Kane and Rollins to go with him and they make their exit.

Kinda surprised they ran Ambrose out there right off the bat.  Hunter’s return didn’t seem like a big deal since he was just around a couple weeks ago hyping Tough Enough.

Dean Ambrose’s music hits and Cincy comes unglued.  He makes his way to the ring, playing to the fans and walking smugly past Hunter, Rollins and Kane on the ramp.  He plays to the fans in the ring as we go to break.

Match #1 – Dean Ambrose vs. J&J Security

The bell rings as we come back.  Ambrose toys with both men to start, then clotheslines them to the floor.  Mercury pulls Ambrose’s arm over the rope and that gives J&J the momentary advantage.  Ambrose comes back with a bulldog but Mercury grabs his leg to stop it.

Ambrose hits a dive on the two of them at ringside.  In the end, Ambrose puts Noble away with Dirty Deeds for the win.

That was fun.  A nice treat for the hometown fans to see two men working, as Ambrose and Noble both have history working in Heartland Wrestling in the region.

Cole hypes up Daniel Bryan appearing to discuss the Intercontinental Championship and his health later.

This feels like a big deal, given Bryan’s  health concerns.

Match #2 – Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett

Sheamus is on commentary for this one.  As Ziggler comes out, Cole hypes the match between Sheamus and Ziggler at Payback.  Cole tells Sheamus that he owes Ziggler from the Kiss Me Arse match at Payback, and Sheamus says that he was never planning to go through with it.

Barrett cuts a promo as he comes to the ring.  He says that a “common peasant” Neville has tried to rise up against the king.  He says that gravity may have forgotten Neville, but he will bring him to earth with a royal bull hammer at Payback.  He tells Ziggler that he will make Ziggler a royal ass kisser. Barrett calls for the bell.

Ziggler pops Barrett right off the go with a superkick, then hits a drop kick as we go to break.  Back live, Barrett covers for a two count.  Ziggler hits a Fameasser for a two count.   Ziggler tries for a superkick again, but Barrett catches him and tries to load Wasteland.

Ziggler counters out.  Barrett cues up the Bull Hammer but Ziggler ducks.  He goes for a roll up but Barrett kicks out. Sheamus gets up from the announce position and gets on the apron.  Ziggler runs Barrett to the post then tries to superkick Sheamus.  Ziggler turns around into a Bull Hammer and Barrett gets the win.

Afterward, Sheamus gets in the ring and pie faces Ziggler around.  He tells Ziggler he’s not fit to clean his shoes, and that gets Ziggler pissed.  He rains in hands on Sheamus, but as they get up Sheamus delivers the Brogue Kick.  He poses over Ziggler and yells “Are you not entertained?”

They did a decent job here of putting heat on Sheamus and Barrett as they go into the matches with Neville and Ziggler on Sunday.  A Neville appearance would have helped a little, but perhaps they have a plan for later.

Cole hypes the matches with Reigns vs. Kane and Orton vs. Rollins for later in the show.

Coming out of break, they show a storyboard hyping the entries for Tough Enough.  Booker T says he is excited to be a coach.

Luke Harper’s music plays, and he makes his way out to the ring, with Erick Rowan.   They roll highlights from Smackdown where Harper and Rowan both attacked Fandango, posing that they’re back together and it might be the most fearsome duo since Hanson and Brody.

Match #3 – Fandango vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper)

JBL says that there are people in the crowd doing the Ickey Shuffle (for former Cincy running back Ickey Woods).  This doesn’t last long, with Fandango getting a couple early shots in but Rowan puts him away with his finisher.  Harper and Rowan get in the ring afterward to splash Fandango then Harper hits a big clothesline.  “The brothers are back together,” Booker says.  Cole puts over how dangerous this is for the locker room.

This is instantly better than these two men’s single runs.  They never should have broken this duo up, at all. 

Cole hypes that the John Cena US Championship Open is up next.

They recap John Cena vs. Sami Zayn from last week, emphasizing how game Zayn was in the match.  John Cena makes his entrance to a mixed reaction from Cincy.  Cole hypes the I Quit match between Cena and Rusev on Sunday at Payback.

He says it’s different than last week and there might be some Cena fans in the house.  He says there are also some folks who are not John Cena fans too.  He says regardless of who people like, there’s one thing that all can appreciate and holds up the US Title belt.  That draws “USA” chants.

He says he believes the US is the greatest country on earth, and “this right here is its trophy.”  He says ever since he has the title, he has been renewed with passion and purpose.  He says the fans have given it life.  He talks about the WWE Championship and calls it “so guarded and protected.”  He says there are superstars who will work their entire careers and never get a shot at that championship.

He says the US Title is one he believes in.  He calls it a symbol of excellence, sportsmanship, and opportunity.  He says every week he gives someone a chance to make history.  He says regardless if you’re a WWE star, a member of the Authority, or “like last week, an NXT guy,” everyone has a shot.

He talks about Rusev and the “I Quit” match.  He says that Rusev has vowed to confront him in the ring and tell him how he will make Cena say he quits.  Cena says he has been advised to cancel the challenge.  The fans boo a little bit, but Cena says this is a democracy and asks if they want a match.  They cheer, and Cena says it sounds like Cincy is the place to be, and Cena is still the man to beat.  “You want some, come get some.”

Neville answers the bell for the challenge to a pretty nice reaction.  Cole says that he has really taken over now that he is on the Raw roster.  JBL recounts that Neville was the longest reigning NXT Champion and the only man to hold both the NXT tag championship and NXT championship at the same time.

Match #4 – John Cena (c) vs. Neville; WWE United States Championship

Eden gives us the ring introductions.  JBL credits Cena for putting the belt up just before the pay per view.  The two men tie up as Cole debates that the odds might catch up with Cena eventually.  JBL says that “win or lose, the I Quit match will still happen at Payback.”  Dueling chants get going in full throat.  Neville hits a suplex into an arm bar in the early going.  Neville hits Cena with a thrust kick and Cena goes to ringside to regroup.

Back live, Cole says Neville gave Cena all he can handle.  Cena hits his trademark shoulder blocks, but Neville comes back with a German suplex.  Cena rolls out for a regroup, but Neville hits him with a baseball slide kick.  Neville hits Cena with a springboard dive, and both men sell on the floor.  Back in the ring, Neville covers for two.

Neville goes back up toward the corner but Cena catches him.  Side slam, and Neville can’t see the Five Knuckle.  Cena waits to load the AA and does, but too close to the ropes.  Neville boots Cena in the face on a charge then goes up for the Red Arrow.  He hits, but Cena kicks out in a good near fall.

Good near fall, but UGHHH!!! Not a good place for that.

They start exchanging strikes.  Cena hits a driver for another good near fall.  Cena loads the AA but Neville counters out with a crucifix pinfall for two.  Neville floats over a corner charge then backflips across the ring.  He tries a second rope cross body, but Cena rolls it through and loads the AA.

Neville lands on his feet out of the AA and hits Cena with a leg lariat for two.  Neville positions Cena for the Red Arrow, but Cena counters and locks on the STF.  Neville rolls Cena over for a two count.  Cena comes back with a stiff clothesline that turns Neville inside out.

Cena charges but Neville side steps.  Neville hits a kick but Cena lands the AA for a good near fall that the fans react to.   Both men sell.  Neville pulls himself toward the corner as Cena gets to his feet.  Dueling chants try to get going again.

On the ropes, Cena loads the AA but Neville slips out.  Neville slips down and carries Cena out for a powerbomb for a two count.  Neville goes back up top for the Red Arrow a third time.  He hits it perfectly, but Rusev hits the ring and attacks Neville and tosses him to ringside.  Rusev stares at Cena.

Cena weakly gets to his feet where he’s greeted with a thrust kick.  Rusev stomps on Cena’s back and locks on the Accolade.  Officials try to break it up but Rusev won’t let go.  Cena fades out as the fans chant that they want Lana.  That makes Rusev go nuts.  He grabs the title belt and poses over Cena as the Russian flag fall.

The announcers recap the finishing sequence of the match and ask if Rusev’s Accolade can make Cena say he quits.  Rusev jaws at Cena after the highlights are over.  Cole continues to hype how JBL and Booker know how tough Cena is and asks if Rusev can make Cena quit.  They move on to hype the WWE Network.

This was a good match, but it got on my nerves to see so many finishers kicked out of.  I gave it a pass last week if you listened to Ring Rap Audio, because it helped tell the story of the match.  This time, it was unnecessary and really came off flat.  The crowd didn’t even react all that strongly to it.  That aside, a quality match.  They got some heat on Rusev too in the process.  I am hoping that, no matter who wins the title on Sunday, they continue to defend the title as they are because it feels like a big deal.

Match #5 – Kane vs. Roman Reigns

Kane makes his way to the ring, looking all business.  Cole resets how Triple H questioned if Kane would continue to be director of operations.  Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring through the crowd.  Kane greets him at the barrier and takes the fight to Reigns with punches and shots to the midsection.

Kane drives Reigns into the ring post, then keeps firing away with shots.  He rams Reigns face first into the steps then tosses him in the ring.  Reigns lands a punch and starts to fire back, but Kane again drives him to the apron, then off the barrier repeatedly.  He throws Reigns over the steps then follows with a big boot.  This isn’t a match, folks.

Kane tears the announce position apart.  Reigns starts to fight back, countering Kane trying to whip him to the steps by jumping over.  Reigns tries to land a Superman punch, but Kane goozles him.  Reigns counters the chokeslam and hits a Superman punch.  Reigns spears Kane across the announce position and poses on the table.  Kane is motionless at the feet of the announce position.

Booker mentions that Reigns was truly the leader of the Shield.  Cole sets up a recap of how this all went down.  Reigns looks down at Kane and shakes his head.

This was more angle than match, obviously.  Kane came off looking determined to please Triple H, and it made Reigns look strong to fight back and overcome.

Cole hypes that we will hear from Daniel Bryan, and he will address his health and the Intercontinental Championship later.

There are times where the announce team lays it on really thick, but this time it’s hard to tell what’s going on here.

They recap the attack by Naomi and Tamina Snuka on the Bellas last Monday.

Match #6 – Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. Tamina Snuka (w/Naomi)

In the picture in picture promo, Naomi says that she would be Divas champion had it not been for Brie.  Tamina says that Payback comes early, tonight.

Tamina starts off quickly with power.  The announcers chat about how the Bellas have been served notice with the new pairing between Tamina and Naomi.  Tamina pulls Brie off the ropes and Brie lands on her feet.   Brie lands some shots but takes a clothesline.

Brie starts on a run, hitting a missile drop kick then her running knee against the ropes.  Brie tries it a second time, but Tamina turns her inside out with a superkick.  Tamina escapes as Brie tends to her sister in the ring.  The announcers recap it quickly.

This was what it was, and not terrible, but the backing story is horrible.  The Bella Twins are faces without a turn, and you have the heel Naomi cutting promos that make sense about the twins getting a taste of their own medicine.  Weird.

Cole hypes the main event of Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins for later.

These guys do good work, really.  But this match feels over exposed already.  It was my fear of Cena vs. Rollins, and now we’re getting there with Rollins vs. Orton.

Curtis Axel is in the ring.  They set up a highlight clip where they show Curtis Axel and Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow exchanging words backstage.

Match #7 – Curtis Axel vs. Damien “Macho Mandow” Sandow:

They play Macho Man’s theme and here comes Sandow, dressed like the Macho Man.  He poses on the ropes and the fans seem kinda into this.  Axel rips off his shirt like Hulk.  They exchange some early offense, but they’re interrupted by The Ascension’s music.

They come out and make fun of the pair, saying they’re two nobodies imitating a couple of relics.  Odd, given they’re Road Warrior knockoffs.  They say “Welcome to the wasteland” and charge the ring.  Sandow clears out Connor, then attacks Viktor.  They get him down, and Axel hits the leg drop a la Hulk Hogan.  Sandow sets up for the top rope elbow, but they clear.

In the ring, Sandow and Axel tease a handshake like the Mega Powers did back in the day, and eventually shake hands.  Cole says “that was a thing.”

Yes, it was a thing.  Some dumb stuff was said there by the announcers, and I didn’t cover it here.  It was a segment, and I guess it’s setting up Mega Powers vs. Ascension somewhere.

Cole hypes that there has been a lot of speculation about Daniel Bryan and his health.  He is up next to address that situation.

Back live, Cole hypes Tough Enough and feeds it into a series of submitted videos.

In-Ring Segment:

Daniel Bryan’s music hits, and he’s in street clothes.  A smile as he leads “yes” chants to ringside.    Booker says the last time we saw this it wasn’t good news.  Cole recounts Bryan’s win at Wrestlemania.  Hard to tell by the face as he waits out “Daniel Bryan” chants.

“So, last couple of weeks I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments, and other than that I’ve had a lot of down time.”  He says he needs to be where there’s action, excitement, and energy.  He waits out a “yes” chant.  He says he needed to be standing back behind the curtain and waiting for his music, to be a part of the reaction he got.

He asks how long the fans have been treating him like he’s something special.  He says that the fans have treated him better than “anyone in the back” has.  He says that’s why it was so crushing to him, almost a year ago, when Stephanie came out and stripped him of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  He says he felt like he let the fans down because they gave him that chance.  “They weren’t going to give me that opportunity, you guys gave me that opportunity.”

But the hard thing he admits is that Stephanie was right to do it, because no one knew how long he would be out nor knew if he could defend the championship.  He says the fans deserve a fighting champion, and that’s why he asked to come out tonight.  The fans chant “no.”

Bryan says that he had an MRI last week and the results show that there’s no sign of when he will be back.  “Maybe weeks, maybe months…they say I may never be able to wrestle again.”  But, despite the uncertainty in his career he says he knows what need to happen with the Intercontinental Championship.

He tells the fans they deserve to have men like Barrett, Ziggler, and Dean Ambrose fighting for the title.  He says it should not be sitting on a therapist’s chair, it should be in the ring, and in the ring is where he will leave it.  He says he relinquishes the IC title.  The fans chant “Thank you Daniel.”

He tells the fans they have it wrong, and for all they have done for him he has one thing left to say.  “Thank you.”  He lays the belt and the mic down and exits the ring.  The fans chant “thank you, Daniel” as he leaves the ring.  He stops at the stage and leads a “Yes” chant as his music plays, then exits to the back.

Wow.  I wasn’t having a good feeling in terms of how there was such a lack of medical report on Bryan.  Now it seems like we might not be seeing Bryan for an extended period of time.  I had hopes that Bryan would be the guy to give prestige to the Intercontinental Championship, but of course his health is first and foremost.  Best wishes to Bryan in his recovery, whether or not he comes back to the ring.

The announcers talk in somber tones about the segment that we just saw.  JBL says he can relate, and says he would rather see Bryan competing than in a flannel shirt.

New Day comes out.  They tell the fans to not dwell on the negativity.  “Daniel Bryan is gone, so now it’s time to embrace the positivity.”  They try to get a New Day Rocks chant going, but got “New Day Sucks” instead.   Once in the ring, Kofi says that the fans will someday get the chant right.

He says they’re all about giving opportunities and second chances.  Big E says the only exception is Pete Rose, and they make fun of his gambling situation.  New Day says they will give Kidd and Cesaro a second chance in a two out of three falls match at Payback.  “That’s Authority approved.”  Woods tries to start the “New Day Rocks” chant again, but got the usual result.  Kidd and Cesaro’s music hits and they come out for the next match.

Match #8 – Cesaro (w/Tyson Kidd and Natalya) vs. Big E (w/Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston)

Big E starts off with shots to the midsection then throws Cesaro off the ropes.  Cesaro catches him and slams him then stomps on his chest.  The announcers take shots at the NFL about the #DeflateGate situation with the New England Patriots.  Cesaro splashes E for two, then stomps away on him in the corner in rhythm of “New Day Sucks.”  Big E tumbles to ringside as we go to break.

Cesaro mounts a comeback, hitting two German suplexes then a belly to belly.  He goes on his run of uppercuts off the whip, then hits a spinebuster.  Cesaro sets up the swing, but Xavier Woods gets on the apron to distract him.  Kidd takes Woods off the apron then kicks him.  Kofi trips Kidd up.

In the ring, Big E sets a move up but Cesaro counters with a crucifix style cradle to get the win.  New Day rants from the ring as Kidd and Cesaro pose on the ramp.

Cole hypes the return of Elimination Chamber, which will take place on May 31 in Corpus Christi, TX.  This event is exclusive to WWE Network, and will not be on pay per view as I understand it.  They also hype Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow vs. The Ascension for the Payback pre-show.

I like the “network exclusive” event as an incentive to get people to tune in to WWE Network.  Though I am not thrilled about covering a second live pay per view event this month…

Cole hypes up Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins for the main event as we go to break.

Back live, Cole hypes Roman Reigns vs. Kane on Smackdown, and there must be a winner by pin or submission.

The Prime Time Players do a pre-taped imitation of the New Age Outlaws.  They mock their entrance gimmick and proclaim themselves to be the next tag team champions of the world.  Young teases the Ass Man line but Titus stops him and says it’s a PG show.  They did the Millions of Dollars dance to end it.

Ugh.  So we’ve seen the Mega Powers, the Road Warriors, and the New Age Outlaws in mock form this evening.  Sad.

In-Ring Segment:

Wyatt sounder.  Bray Wyatt’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring for a promo.  He’s greeted by cellphone lights as he comes out to the ring.

Wyatt says he feels sorry for the fans and wishes he could wake them up from the nightmare but he can’t.  He says fear has engulfed the world.  He says it’s not hard to find and all one has to do is open a news paper or turn on a television.  Yet, there are still those who refuse to accept the power of fear.  He says some have accepted the man’s way that if you work hard enough you can overcome the odds. ‘Ryback must be an inspiration to all of you.”

He recounts how Ryback shattered his ankle and the doctor told him that he might not be able to wrestle again.  Wyatt laughs.  Ryback did not accept that fate lying down and fought through the injury to do what he loves once again.  “My hero.  But then along came the spider.”

Wyatt says Ryback hasn’t seen anything like him before.  He says he’s sure that Ryback is asking himself “why me.”  The answer is simple – “He was in my way.”  Wyatt says, “hey kids, want to hear something your parents will never tell you?  These nightmares won’t stop and sometimes, the bad guy just wins.”

Ryback’s music hits and he heads to the ring with purpose.  Ryback slides in and Wyatt jumps him, but Ryback comes back with a spinebuster.  Ryback hits the Meathook and Wyatt slides out.  Ryback leads a “Feed me more” chant as Wyatt sells on the ramp.

I think Ryback beating up Wyatt took an edge off his promo.  I would rather have seen Wyatt duck out before Ryback could lay a hand on him.

Cole gives us some final sell for the main event, up next.  Randy Orton takes on Seth Rollins, next.

Match #9 – Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Orton gets a good reaction for his entrance.  JBL bellyaches about how unfair the title match is to Seth Rollins on Sunday.  Cole says J&J isn’t with Rollins because they’re still spinning from their match with Dean Ambrose earlier.

Early tie up leads into a shoulder block to knock Orton down.  Off the ropes, Orton clocks Rollins with an uppercut to knock him down.  Rollins starts landing shots on Orton, then whips him across.  Orton yanks him down by his hair then sends him to the corner on a whip.  Orton takes Rollins down mid ring and the fans build.  Orton lands some stomps on Rollins.

Orton tries a knee drop, but Rollins rolls out of the way.  That lets him take control of the offense while the announcers bicker over Rollins’ run as champion and Orton being excommunicated from the Authority.  Going into break, Rollins lands a knee to Orton’s back, sending him to the floor.

Back live, Rollins controls the offense on Orton.  Rollins charges Orton in the corner, but Orton flips him over to the apron.  Rollins goes up top,  but Orton crotches him.  Rollins sells as Orton eyes him up.  Orton joins Rollins on the ropes and hits a superplex.  Both men sell.

On their knees, the two men exchange strikes as they get to their feet.

Orton starts some offense.  Rollins counters the sidewinder back breaker by flipping over on his feet.  He flips Orton to the apron then hits an enzugiri.  He hits Orton with a dive to ringside.  Rollins feeds Orton back in then eyes up Orton for the next move.  Rollins tries a splash but Orton sidesteps it.  Orton teases the RKO but Rollins counters with a roll-up.  Rollins comes back with a superkick on a kneeling Orton for two.

Rollins mocks Orton hearing voices then loads a piledriver attempt.  Orton flips him over then sets up and hits the elevated DDT.  Now Orton’s hearing voices as Cincy wakes up.  Orton teases the RKO but here comes J&J to break things up.  The match ends in a DQ.

Noble and Mercury put the boots to Orton.  Orton fights back, throwing Noble into the ring post then taking out Mercury.  Rollins hits a big shot to Orton’s face.  He collects Security up, but Kane’s music hits.  Kane heads to ringside with purpose.

He grabs a chair but stands down.  J&J and Rollins start beating up Orton, but here comes Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to make the numbers even.  They dispose of security.  Ambrose hits Rollins with Dirty Deeds as Kane watches on.

Ambrose picks Rollins up and Reigns hits him with a spear.  Kane remains at ringside, watching on.  Reigns and Ambrose pick Rollins up for Orton, and Orton blasts him with the RKO.  Reigns blasts Orton with a spear, and Ambrose hits Reigns with Dirty Deeds.  Kane remains stoic at ringside.  “No friends on Sunday” screams Cole.  He asks if Rollins can remain champion, then moves on to sell Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens from NXT Rival, coming up on the WWE Network.  Ambrose plays to the hometown fans as the show goes off the air.

I hate to say this, because the match quality is good, but Orton vs. Rollins has been overexposed.  This match was fine, but you could tell the live crowd was either burned out or just content to watch rather than react.  They did get up for spots toward the end, especially those involving Ambrose and Reigns once they hit the ring as well.  They loved their hometown boy, Ambrose, especially.

The three faces exchanging finishers was pretty routine for a closing segment going into the match.  The fans popped for it, but it lacked that big feel.  Also, the drama surrounding Kane was just sort of “there” for me.  Last month they played the “which side is Kane on” game, and that payoff lacked muster.  So this doesn’t do much for me either.

All of that said, this was newsworthy.  The return of Elimination Chamber and the vacation of the Intercontinental Championship due to Daniel Bryan’s injury situation were both newsworthy moments.  A little concerned that the turnaround into Elimination Chamber might make it a bit of a dud, but it is a good sell for WWE Network.  My only other problem with it is that at what point do you over-expose your product and main players so much that people burn out on it?  Fine line to walk.

Drew and I will be by tomorrow night to record Ring Rap Audio where we’ll predict Payback, look at Raw and discuss other news in pro wrestling.  Give us your feedback and talking points by posting below, hitting us up on Twitter @RingRap, or posting to our Facebook page.  Thanks for following along tonight.


WWE Tough Enough Host Revealed, Plus Surprise Panel of Experts

WWE issued the following press release earlier today, featuring the announcement that Chris Jericho would be the host of WWE’s relaunch of Tough Enough, and there would be a “panel of experts” featuring Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan, and Paige.

USA Network and WWE announced today that WWE Superstar Chris Jericho will be the host of the highly-anticipated series, WWE TOUGH ENOUGH, and will be joined by a panel of experts comprised of WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan®, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan® and WWE Diva Paige™. The high-octane reality series premieres LIVE Tuesday, June 23 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on USA Network and around the world.*

This season of WWE TOUGH ENOUGH will combine the can’t-miss excitement of live television with reality-show drama, as WWE hopefuls vie for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the next WWE Superstar or Diva. Unlike anything on television today, the lightning-fast hour of entertainment and competition will include live results every week, giving fans worldwide the power to decide who stays and who goes the very same night. Each week, one cast member will be eliminated until one man and one woman are considered “Tough Enough,” with each earning a one-year, $250,000 WWE contract.

Throughout the competition, the contestants will be trained by WWE Legends Booker T™, Billy Gunn™ and Lita™. Contestants will also come face-to-face with WWE icons including WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon; Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative, Paul “Triple H®” Levesque; Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon; and WWE Superstar John Cena®, among others.

“These athletes, each with varying skill sets, will be put through a grueling boot camp that will test their physical, mental and emotional limits in a way that the series hasn’t done before,” said Jessica Sebastian, Vice President of Unscripted Series, USA Network. “Each week, their training and experience culminates in a spectacular live event where they will be put in front of their WWE heroes and an audience of fans. In this reimagined version of WWE TOUGH ENOUGH only the best will survive.”

“This season of WWE TOUGH ENOUGH will be the most innovative, unique and engaging series on television,” said Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer. “A live global telecast, real-time voting with immediate results, and unprecedented use of digital and social media during and between telecasts will all lead to a groundbreaking viewing experience.”


WWE NXT Star Hideo Itami Suffers Shoulder Injury

Mike Johnson at PWInsider.com is reporting that Hideo Itami has suffered a serious shoulder injury, and is expected to be out of action for 6-8 months.

Itami has been scheduled to be in a Number One Contenders match at NXT Takeover, on May 20th, 2015.  However with this news it appears he will not be competing in the special.

This is a major blow to the NXT brand, who is seeing Alex Riley out for knee surgery, and Sami Zayn out of action with a shoulder injury for an unknown amount of time.  In fact, Zayn’s role at Takeover is still uncertain.

There is no word if Itami requires surgery, but with a recovery timetable of 6-8 months, one would assume so.

More as it develops.


The WWE NXT Report: 05/06/15 – Itami vs. Breeze, Emma vs. Charlotte, Uhaa Nation Appears, Zayn and Owens Interviews, Banks and Lynch Contract Signing, plus more!

Last night’s episode of NXT was a great lead towards the next Takeover special, airing May 20th, 2015.

We had some good matches that started to establish some un-announced bouts, we had the first appearance of a highly hyped newcomer, we had two incredible sit-down interviews, and we had a stellar main event hyping the #1 Contenders match for the NXT Title.

Essentially, NXT is building up their special, once again, better than the main roster is building up theirs.

Granted, NXT has the benefit of a longer amount of time in-between their specials.  They can afford a slow-burn of a feud, such as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  But, even the feuds that are coming together rather quickly are shaping up at a much better pacing than anything I’m seeing on the main roster right now.

Let’s take a look at the show in greater detail, shall we?

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WWE Main Event Spoilers


Thanks to Erin Castro and lordsofpain.net for the following WWE Main Event spoilers from tonight’s tapings in Ottawa:

* Adam Rose with Rosa Mendes defeated Zack Ryder. Ryder came close to getting the win but missed coming off the second rope and Rose got the pin.

* Jack Swagger made Bo Dallas tap out with the Patriot Lock. Bo got bad heel heat it seemed.

* Curtis Axel comes out for a promo but is interrupted by Damien Sandow as “Macho Mandow.” This gets a huge pop. They worked an entertaining match until The Ascension rushed the ring and destroyed them. The Ascension cut a promo trashing them and stood tall.

* Stardust defeated R-Truth

WWE Smackdown Spoilers For 5/7


Thanks to Erin Castro and lordsofpain.net for the following WWE SmackDown spoilers from tonight’s tapings in Ottawa:

* King Barrett kicks off SmackDown. Jerry Lawler interviews Barrett in the ring and he bullies Lawler around. Barrett threatens to hit Lawler with a Bullhammer but out comes Dolph Ziggler.

* Ziggler vs. Barrett is up first. Sheamus ran out for the interference and the double team but Neville made the save to a big pop. We get a tag match next…

* Ziggler and Neville defeated Barrett and Sheamus in a very good tag match.

* Luke Harper defeated Fandango. After the match, Erick Rowan came down and beat up Fandango as Harper looked on.

* Lana comes out to a big pop but is interrupted by Rusev, who yells at her and cuts a promo on John Cena. Rusev says he will see Cena on Monday’s RAW and make him pay.

* The New Day defeated Ryback, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. Bray Wyatt made the lights go out after a solid six-man match, leading to Ryback and everyone else being distracted and the end of the match.

* Naomi defeated Emma. Naomi and Tamina Snuka beat Emma down after the match. Our correspondent noted that Naomi was impressive and definitely had some fans in the crowd.

* The Lucha Dragons defeated Los Matadores.

* Kane comes out for the Payback Fatal 4 Way contract signing. He introduces everyone and cuts a promo. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton all come out but WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins says he will not. Rollins tells Kane to sign the contract for him but Kane won’t. Seth whines but they all sign and Ambrose flips over the table, calling dibs on it for the fight that’s about to break out. They all start brawling and SmackDown goes off the air with Rollins standing tall.



WWE Smackdown Results for 05/07/15 (Spoilers)

WWE is filming Smackdown in Ontario, Canada, for airing on Thursday May 7th, 2015.  Below are the spoilers for the show.

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Ring Rap Audio: 05/05/15 – Michelle Beadle Takes a Stand, The Rumor Mill, Lana, Ambrose, Beiber, Sami Zayn, WWE Raw, Payback, plus lots more!

iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | MP3

Lots to cover today, and Bill and Drew aren’t wasting any time.  Let’s get started.

Michelle Beadle, who is the co-host of ESPN’s SportsNation, has publicly declared she is “cashing in her WWE fan card” after Triple H continued to support Floyd “Money” Mayweather.  Mayweather has a history of domestic violence, and Beadle has been very outspoken about it in the past.  Now, she doesn’t feel comfortable supporting the WWE product because of it.  Bill and Drew take an in-depth look at this situation and how it relates to WWE’s charity efforts, as well as the impact it has on the perception of WWE in the mainstream media.

Also, lots going on in the Rumor Mill, including proposed plans with Rusev and Lana, Dean Ambrose, and a report that Justin Beiber was pushing to participate in Summerslam 2014.

Plus, Sami Zayn made his Raw debut last night.  How’d it go?  In a word: awesome.  Bill and Drew break down his first time in the ring against John Cena, take a look at the rest of WWE Raw, and the build up for Payback, plus lots more!

Follow all of us on Twitter as well: @RingRapAudio and @RingRap.  Bill is on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan.  Matt is on Twitter @bigmat75.  Drew is on Twitter too @PsionStorm.

Be sure to tune in to our shorter, more frequent solo audio show, Around the Ring with Ring Rap! (iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS)

You can also follow us on Facebook and Google+!

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Sami Zayn Injured, Will Undergo MRI

WWE.com is reporting that Sami Zayn suffered a shoulder injury during his debut match on Raw last night, facing John Cena. The story states he aggravated a previous injury, but was still able to continue the match.

The injury seems to have taken place innocently enough, as Zayn seemed to favor his arm before the match even began.  It appears it may have happened when he raised his arms to hype the crowd, while standing on the steps, before entering the ring.

We will have more on the story as it develops.


WWE Monday Night Raw Live Report for 5/4/2015 – Payback Hype Continues, Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns Hype, John Cena’s Open Challenge, More

The short turnaround into the Payback pay per view continues, with only two weeks left to the show.  We know now that Seth Rollins will be forced to defend his title against both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns on that night.  How will Rollins try to get a leg up on this situation?  Will The Authority try to overturn the vote of the fans?  And will Kane do something to affect the outcome?  Also, John Cena and Rusev get set for the “I Quit” match they’ll have at the pay per view.  How will Rusev counter the man who never gives up?  WWE looks to set up the rest of the card, including their new “King of the Ring” Bad News Barrett.

Show Open, Live from the Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada:

Bill’s warning: Been a stressful seven days.  This might be more “Mystery Science Theater 3ooo” than Raw.  Let’s have fun.

Live in the arena, we hear voices.  Randy Orton comes to the ring more animated than I’ve seen him in a long time as he plays to the crowd.  Cole reminds us that Kane put it up to a vote as to who Seth Rollins would face at Payback, the fans picked a triple threat with Orton and Reigns both challenging Rollins.  Cole reminds us that Rollins doesn’t have to be involved in the finish to lose the belt.  Cole gives us the hashtag #Payback for social media.  How about #RingRap?

Orton proposes that Payback is a fitting name for a pay per view and he will get payback on Rollins in two weeks.  Orton recounts the fans getting the choice for the main event.  “Which added Roman Reigns to the fold…” Orton says to boos.  He says that Reigns will experience bitter disappointment because Orton will walk out the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  “And there’s not a thing Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins can do about it.”

Cue Roman Reigns to boos.  Canada isn’t a fan.  It’s Bizzaro World anyhow.  The announcers recap how close Reigns was to winning at Mania and his win at Extreme Rules over Big Show.   Reigns tells Orton ‘It’s not going down like that’ and if anyone gets payback on Rollins it’s going to be him.  Heavy “RKO” chants.  Reigns tells Orton that the fans don’t fight for him either.

Orton asks Reigns if he thinks Orton will just stand by and watch him take out Seth Rollins.   Reigns tells Orton he doesn’t care what he does, but if Orton comes near him “you won’t be standing.”  Ooooh.  Orton runs down his credentials, saying he has been a 12-time champion and been in 12 straight Wrestlemanias.  He asks about Reigns’ credentials and says “You got some catching up to do, kid, sorry.”

Reigns reminds Orton that Reigns won at SummerSlam.  He tells Orton he wants his payback on Rollins but won’t mind breaking him in half and pinning him for the title 1-2-3 if he has to.  The two of them jaw off mic.

New Day’s music hits for God knows why.  Xavier Woods says the negativity has to stop.  Canada tells them they suck.  “Considering the fact that we’re the only champions out here right now, we must spread the power of positivity.”  Woods tells them that they’re tired of hearing the two talking about Seth Rollins and no one cares about their “Montreal Boo Hoo Job.”  Admittedly, funny.  Woods tells them it’s a new day, and Canada adds the “Sucks” for us.

Kofi tells them they know they squandered away their opportunities.  He waits out a “New Day Sucks” chant and says everyone knows New Day Rocks.  Not really.  Big E tells Reigns that he has never won the big one, and not only does Rollins have Orton’s number, but he has it on speed dial.  He says they have a chance to do something extraordinary by clapping along.  They clap, the fans tell them they suck, and Orton and Reigns stand there and do nothing.

Woods tells them in a rhyming fashion that Kane has set up a match between the three of them against Reigns and Orton.  Cole and the other announcers hype that this match will happen after the break.

I like that they’re doing this to start off the show rather than the main event.  New Day isn’t a main event act any way you slice it.  The bickering between Orton and Reigns works in the context of the title match at Payback, but they are going to hurt Reigns by putting him in this match against Orton, who is really popular right now.

Match #1 – New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Roman Reigns and Randy Orton; 3 on 2 Match

Match joined in progress.  Reigns takes Woods down with a shoulder block then hits him with a Samoan drop.  Reigns tags in Orton, who hits a suplex and covers.  Orton stomps away on Woods and teases him about not being able to tag out.  Tag to Reigns, who uses a snapmare takedown then a big kick.  The announcers talk about the triple threat title match.  Reigns and Orton working well as a tag team with frequent tags to continue to work over Woods.

Kofi distracts Orton and Woods tags out to Big E.  He lifts weights for breakfast, according to Booker T.  The New Day gets the advantage with frequent tags and numbers game distractions.  The New Day controls the offense on Orton going into the break.

New Day continues to control the action out of break, this time on Reigns.  Kofi hits a drop kick for two on Reigns, then tags in Big E.  Big E tries to get a clap going but it baits Canada into a “New Day sucks” chant.  E hits a suplex then taunts Reigns.  He hits a second belly to belly for two.  Woods drops an elbow off the tag for two.

Reigns starts to fire back on Woods, but takes a neckbreaker for two.  The New Day keeps working the quick tags.  Canada chants for CM Punk.  The fans want Orton in the match now as Reigns continues to sell for the New Day.  Reigns tosses Woods off, then hits a big clothesline.  Both men sell.

Hot tag,  and Orton unleashes clotheslines.  Kingston catches Orton but off the ropes Orton hits his powerslam.  Big E breaks the tag up, but takes a Superman punch from Reigns.  Orton throws Woods out, then hits the elevated DDT on Kingston.  Orton’s hearing voices.

Woods takes an RKO when he hits the ring.  Kingston gets to his feet, and Reigns goes for the spear.  Kofi moves and Orton gets the spear.  Kingston covers as Woods drags Reigns from the ring.  New Day wins.  So they don’t suck!  The announcers sell it as a big win as Reigns sulks.  Orton sells the spear.

Kane comes out and tells them that there’s no shame in losing to the tag team champions.  “If you left the building right now you could do it with your heads held high.  But your night isn’t over.”  Kane says he wants to exploit the building distrust between Reigns and Orton.  He books Orton vs. Reigns for the main event “because that’s what’s best for business.”  JBL loves it, and Cole recaps the comments between Reigns and Orton.

Backstage, Kane walks past a celebrating New Day and essentially blows them off.  He approaches Seth Rollins.  Rollins says that it’s funny to him that he thinks that will make a difference.  He says Kane is acting like the spoiled little kid trying to shape up before Santa shows up.  He tells Kane to wait until his mother…err..the Authority shows up to punish him.

Kane says he’s not a Santa kind of guy, and used to sit in the chimney with a blowtorch trying to roast his chestnuts.  He talks about how the main event of Smackdown (Dean Ambrose vs. Rollins) was marred by outside interference.  Kane books Rollins vs. Ambrose again, and this time he bans J&J from ringside.  Rollins tells Kane that he was the cause of the interference.

Kane says that he made the matches he did as “best for business.”  He throws out stipulations like ankles tied together, tying Rollins to the post, or one hand behind his back.  He tells Rollins that he’s one word away from a different main event.  Rollins storms off.

Rollins could have picked any of those stipulations rather than the lame cage match they did for Extreme Rules.

In-Ring Segment:

Renee Young is looking cute as a button in the ring.  She calls out Ryback for an interview.  They recap Bray Wyatt ambushing Ryback last week on Raw.  Ryback says that Montreal sounds hungry and they chant “Feed me more.”

Ryback says he has no idea why Ryback attacked him.  The fans chant “Goldberg” and he waits it out, then says he loves them too.  That turns into a “feed me more” chant.

Ryback addresses his serious injuries, and being told he would not wrestle again.  He says he has had to face fear his entire life.  He says Wyatt doesn’t scare him, and never will. “You woke me up and I’m starving. Talking time is done, it’s feeding time.”

Wyatt cut-in.  “This human world creates human monsters.”  Wyatt tells him that Ryback is a scared little boy, scared to have his failures exposed.  Wyatt says that fear molds us all – fear of the dark, fear of the unknown.  Wyatt says he will tell Ryback a secret – everything he loves, everything he is afraid to lose, will all fade away.  “And in time, friend, so will you.  Run.”

Match #2 – Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (w/Natalya) vs. The Ascension

I don’t care what anyone says, “Rebellion” (the song that welcomes the Ascension to the ring) is pretty badass.  The announcers noted that Cesaro was tweeting derogatory comments during the New Day match.  Picture in picture promo from Ascension says that Kidd being married to a Hart doesn’t make him a part of the Hart dynasty.

The Ascension starts off fast, stomping away on Kidd and working fast tags. Viktor slams Kidd and drops a knee, covering for one.  A bit later, a big suplex from Connor, then a tag out to Viktor.  Viktor covers but Cesaro breaks up the pinfall.

Connor tries an elbow drop but Kidd rolls away.  Kidd gets the hot tag to Cesaro, who hits a big boot then a series of big uppercuts in the opposing corners, then a big clothesline for the cover and a two count.  Incredible run, and Canada loves it.  He calls for the swing, but Connor hits the ring.  Cesaro clotheslines him out.  Kidd hits a plancha dive.

Cesaro hits a spinebuster then loads the swing.  Kidd waits for his moment and hits the drop kick for the victory.  Cesaro and Kidd pose, as does Natalya, as the announcers run through highlights.

I would have guessed that they would have squashed the Ascension since Kidd and Natalya are home in Canada.  They didn’t go there – they made the Ascension look good with a strong start and giving them solid offense.  Not the worst effort from the Ascension.

Backstage, Rollins is walking down a hall.  Renee Young asks for his reaction.  Rollins says there’s no point to having it, and Kane is a moron.  Guess that’s all there is to that.  Commercial.

Out of break, they recap the Smackdown match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.  Kane got involved.  It was a mess.

Match #3 – Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins; J&J Security Banned from Ringside

Ambrose gets a nice reaction from Montreal.  Cole reminds us that this has been going on since last year when Seth turned on the Shield.  They shill some sponsors as Seth Rollins gets ready to come to the ring.  He gets booed pretty hard according to my TV.

After Rollins makes his entrance, here comes Kane.  Kane says he wants Seth to know that he has taken his sentiment to heart.  He quotes Rollins saying that there was no point, and says he needs to rectify that. He says if Ambrose wins, he gets a chance at the title as he will be added to the Payback main event, making it a fatal four way.

Rollins rants, saying that the fans voted for a triple threat.  Ambrose grabs the mic and asks if they have a problem with him being added.  The fans cheer, so they don’t have a problem.  Rollins grabs the mic back and says that he doesn’t need to listen to the fans, or to Kane.  He says he is the WWE Champion and he doesn’t have to listen to anyone, especially in Canada because they don’t matter.  Kane tells Rollins he is overruling Rollins and the match and stipulation are on.  “Now ring the bell.”

Ambrose rolls up Rollins right out of the gate for a fast two count.  The fight spills to the floor.  Rollins hammers on Ambrose at ringside then tries to throw him in.  Ambrose spins out and hits a big clothesline.  The fight moves back in the ring, with Ambrose knocking Rollins down then dropping an elbow for two.

The two men trade offense back and forth.  Rollins takes control of the match for the next few moments.  Ambrose back drops Rollins to ringside after a kick as we go into commercial.

Back live, Rollins locks on a chin lock as Cole resets the stakes of this one.  Ambrose fires back and throws Rollins with an armdrag but walks right into Rollins offense.  Rollins sets up a springboard move, but Ambrose ducks then hits a tornado DDT of his own.

On their feet the two fight back and forth with strikes, with Ambrose getting the better of it.  Corner splash into a corner bulldog, then Ambrose heads to the corner.  He goes up top and Rollins ducks out of the ring, but Ambrose comes back right away with a suicide dive to ringside.  Canada chants Holy Shit, but let’s be honest, that’s an over-used spot.

In the ring, Ambrose tries his rebound clothesline but Rollins ducks.  Rollins tries a spin kick but Ambrose ducks and takes down Rollins for a near fall.  Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds but Rollins counters.  Rollins teases a piledriver but Ambrose backdrops him out.  Rollins nearly lands on his feet and charges the corner, but Ambrose moves.  He jumps up top and hits his elbow on a standing Rollins for two.

Ole chants and Ambrose plays in.  Rollins hits him with a springboard knee for a good near fall.  Rollins yells at Ambrose to stay down as he tries to get to his feet.  Rollins jaws then gets slapped.  Rollins hits a superkick on a kneeling Ambrose for a good near fall.  Rollins argues with the official.

Rollins sets up a powerbomb that Ambrose counters and they exchange strikes.  Ambrose charges and sends both men to the floor on a clothesline over the ropes.  The fight spills outside.  Rollins throws Ambrose toward the ropes, but Ambrose counters with his spin.  Rollins ducks the clothesline but sets up the buckle bomb against the barrier.

Ambrose barely beats the count while Rollins is celebrating a win.  Celebrated too soon, Seth.  Rollins starts stomping away on Ambrose, then hits a corner charge.  Rollins hits a kick, but Ambrose hits his springboard clothesline.  Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds but J&J Security charge the ring and try to get involved.  Mercury and Noble collide, and that lets Ambrose roll Rollins up for the win.  Ambrose escapes and celebrates up the ramp.  Rollins is pissed, JBL says that Kane has made a horrible mistake, and Ambrose celebrates.

This was fun to watch.  I am liking the addition of Ambrose in the title match too.  There’s some juice there, and now you have all three Shield members in the ring too.  This main event feels better all of the sudden now, more so than the triple threat ever would have.  At some point, they’ll go to the triple threat between the three guys from The Shield, but now’s not the time for it.

The announcers talk about the match and the implications of Ambrose’s win.  They also hype the Reigns vs. Orton main event.  They recap the earlier action with Reigns spearing Orton by accident in their match against New Day.

Back live, the announcers discuss the pay per view and the new title match.

Backstage, Rollins runs in and interrupts Kane who is on the phone.  He rants and yells about the match now being a fatal four way.  Kane tells him the fans made it a triple threat, and Rollins made it a four way when he lost.  He proposes adding more men to the match.  “Maybe seven is your lucky number.” Kane tells Rollins he knows he’s upset, but the adversity will make him the man and champion they all want him to be.  Kane says he has a plan, and Rollins mocks that idea.

Byron Saxton is with Lana.  Canada loves that.  He asks her how she likes getting such a positive reaction.  She doesn’t know what he’s talking about and she’s only here for the betterment of….Fandango?  Fandango tells her that she doesn’t need to be coy, because the feeling of the fans is euphoric.  He says he will show her.  Rusev enters, barks some words in Russian, and they leave.  He destroys…errr…faces Fandango next.

Match #4 – Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Fandango:

Fandango is dancing in the ring with almost no reaction from the fans.  Lana gets a huge pop when she comes out, but Rusev’s pimp hand is strong.  It’s all Rusev from the get-go, with the fans chanting “We want Lana.”

Fandango ducks a corner charge but Rusev tosses him out.  Rusev has something going on as the official tends to him.  Fandango gets Lana to dance with him momentarily, but Rusev sends her to the back after splashing Fandango from behind.

Fandango runs Rusev into the post twice, then back in the ring hits him with a drop kick.  He mounts for punches but Rusev throws him off.  Thrust kick, couple of stomps, then the Accolade, and this is over.  Cole puts over that Cena is the only one who has broken the hold.  Rusev poses and plays to the crowd as the announcers recap.

Will this teasing of a Lana face run be a set-up to get the title back to Rusev somehow?  I can’t see Lana being a face having a really long shelf life of any sort.

The announcers hype the main event, then say that they will be showing some of the Tough Enough entries, next.

Back live, they show some clips of a documentary that will air on ESPN.  Cole feeds it into hype for Tough Enough, and shows select video packages of various competitors.

Match #5 – R-Truth vs. Stardust

Stardust gets his entrance.  He cuts a promo, talking about how Truth cost him his place in King of the Ring.  He says he will get payback tonight and he knows how he will do it.

Truth gets the better of Stardust early, but gets hit with a front suplex.  They talk about how Truth planned to ban spiders.  They talk about a bag that Stardust brought to ringside and discuss what might be in it.  Stardust cartwheels then eyes the crowd as they chant “Cody.”  The announcers don’t give a shit about this match as they talk about anything BUT it.

Truth mounts a comeback, but the two men collide and they’re both down.  Stardust crawls toward the bag.  Truth fires up and hits clotheslines then a front suplex for two.  Truth eyes up the bag and goes to retrieve it.  Truth opens it and gets scared, which lets Stardust roll him up.  Turns out there were rubber spiders in the bag.  Truth runs away, and Stardust gathers up the rubber spiders.

So far, this is the stupidest finish by WWE in 2015.

The announcers hype John Cena’s open challenge for next, then the Roman Reigns documentary that will air on the WWE Network after Raw.  They feed it to a preview clip.

Back live, Cole hypes that the four men in the title match will be in the same ring to sign the contract for the Fatal Four Way match at Payback on Smackdown.

John Cena’s US Open Challenge:

Cena’s music hits and he comes out, to get serenaded by Montreal with “John Cena Sucks!” to his tune.  Cole puts him over as the polarizing US Champion.  In the ring, Cena simply holds the belt up, then as his music fades the sing-song goes on.  He looks disturbed by it, then teases speaking.

He says he quits.  That draws cheers.  He says those words have meaning now, and the fans break out into an Ole song.  Cena smiles and plays to them.  He says there are folks in Montreal who wish he would quit and give up.  That fires up some “Yes!” chants and a rousing ovation.

“But you know me.  You know that I have dealt with this type of adversity for years.”  He says that Montreal knows that despite the hostility, whether a critic or a supporter he never gives up.  He says that he will face Rusev in two weeks at Payback, and if he says he quits, he doesn’t deserve a rematch.  More Ole song.  He says making him say I quit is tougher than getting Montreal to stop singing, because he won’t quit.

He talks about the brutal nature of the match and how it will test a man’s will.  The fans chant for Sami Zayn I think.  He says this is passion and the fans say what they want because they’re passionate.  He says that’s the difference between him and Rusev, because Rusev just wants a title.  He says he fights for everything he believes in for the past ten years.

He says the fans are rowdy and outspoken and asks what they would say if they were backed against the wall.  They say no.  He points out some fans, and asks what they say.  He points a fan out wearing a Habs jersey (hockey jersey of a team that left town) and says that fan hasn’t given up on the team.  That leads to a “Go Habs Go” chant.

He says he lost track of time, and says it sounds like Montreal is the place to be.  He says John Cena is the man to beat, and the John Cena US Open Challenge starts now.  “You want some, come get some.”

Bret Hart’s music hits and he comes down to the ring to a thunderous ovation.   JBL runs down his various accomplishments.  Hart says he’s there to introduce a great wrestler, but he gets cut off by Heath Slater’s music.  He says “wait a minute.”  He says he will not let his moment to become US Champion get stepped on again, especially in Montreal.  They don’t like him much though.

He says in the US they refer to the fans as “les incompetants.”  “That means incompetent!  I can speak French.”  He talks about getting attacked by the RKO and by Rusev.  He says he’s getting tired of getting derailed.  Bret punches out Slater.  Bret goes on to introduce “the hometown boy” Sami Zayn!  He gets a huge reaction as he comes to the ring.

What a cool moment!  A great introduction of Zayn to the main roster fans, with Hart introducing him and the enthusiastic hometown fans.  Hopefully the match lives up.

Match #6 – John Cena (c) vs. Sami Zayn; WWE United States Championship

In progress, Zayn sends Cena to ringside.  He sets up a suicide dive, but Cena moves.  Zayn hits a springboard flip to light up the fans.  Cena hits a side slam and covers for one.  Cena controls Zayn with a headlock.    Cena hits another back suplex for two.

After the suplex, the referee calls for the doc and he checks on his shoulder.  Zayn stretches and rubs it a bit then he says he wants to go.  The two stalk each other, and Cena eventually backs Zayn back to the corner and fires shots in.  Cena sets up a run off the ropes but gets hit with a clothesline.  Zayn fires off right hands but Cena fires up his trademark moves.  Two shoulder blocks, side slam, and Zayn can’t see him.

Zayn counters the “you can’t see me” with a roll up. Zayn hits a cross body for two and Cena ducks to ringside to regroup.   Zayn doesn’t wait and hits a dive on Cena at ringside.   Back in the ring, Cena locks in the STF on Zayn.  Booker tells Zayn he needs to scramble before he taps.  Zayn makes it into the ropes.

Zayn catches Cena with a face plant then locks in the Koji Clutch.  Cena’s in trouble mid-ring.  Cena breaks the hold and tries to set up the AA, but Zayn counters with a German suplex for two.  Rusev is watching on backstage on a monitor.  Cena catches Zayn with a clothesline coming off the ropes.

Cena loads the AA, but Zayn nearly lands on his feet.  He pops up and both men hit clotheslines mid ring.  They both sell, with Cena rolling out as does Zayn.   Zayn through the corner hits the DDT on the mat out on the floor.  Back in the ring, Cena hits the AA and thinks he has 3 but he doesn’t.  Good near fall.

Zayn comes back with the Blue Thunder Bomb for a good near fall.  The announcers talk about how Zayn’s emotions are running high.  Strike exchange.  Cena hits his springboard stunner, then hits the AA to get the victory.  Cole puts over Zayn as being “game” for the challenge, as does JBL.  The official checks on Zayn, and he backs to a corner.  Cena offers a handshake, then lets Zayn play to his hometown fans.  Cena backs up the ramp and says “tough kid.”

Zayn plays to the fans briefly, then rolls out of the ring holding his shoulder.  The announcers talk about how Zayn has a shot to take the NXT title from Kevin Owens in two weeks at the next NXT special.  They shill the WWE Network and various upcoming shows.

The announcers gushed over the performance of Zayn, and Cena did a nice job of stepping aside to let Zayn have the moment and show how impressed he was with Zayn.  I would rather have seen them reset Zayn a bit and put him over as an underdog.  None the less, a cool moment and a memorable debut.  Let’s see how they follow it up.

They go back to the open of the show and the match between Reigns and Orton vs. New Day.  They focus on Reigns spearing Orton, and Kane booking the match for the main event – Reigns vs. Orton.

Backstage, Renee Young wants to get a word with Sami Zayn, but New Day walks in instead.  They ask why they would want to talk to Zayn when they won their match earlier in the night.  Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya enter the picture.  Natalya says they won only because Reigns and Orton hate each other.  Kidd says that what he agrees with is that New Day sucks.  He leads a chant and New day exits.

The Bella Twins make their entrance.  They don’t even get to the ring before Naomi and Tamina jump them from behind and attack them.  They rough up both Bellas, then pick Brie up and hit her with a couple moves at ringside.

Naomi gets a mic and says that the Bella’s reign over the division is over.  “That’s what family is about.”  They walk away.  The announcers talk about how Tamina is a cousin to Naomi now by marriage.

Seems Naomi changed her look a little more.  The two look like a badass pairing, and I think I like it.

Rather than let the moment settle, they move right into the recap of the King of the Ring final where Barrett beat Neville.

“King Barrett” is introduced to the ring.  He cuts a promo on the way, talking about the birth of Princess Charlotte and the crowning of King Barrett.  Not that the Royal Family gives two damns about pro wrestling kings.  He says he plans to rule over WWE with an iron fist, and deliver the Bull Hammer.  He tells us to get used to these four words “all hail King Barrett.”  He will team with Sheamus, next.

Traditional heel King promo.  Nothing to get too excited over.

Match #7 – Neville and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus and King Barrett

Sheamus’ entrance is concluding back from break.  Neville comes out first, then Dolph.  They show a promo from Ziggler, talking about how Barrett and Sheamus are being bullies.  Ziggler says he didn’t see Sheamus laughing after he dotted the eye.

Ziggler starts with Barrett, but swings at Sheamus.  That lets Barrett take over on the offense in the early going.  Barrett drapes Ziggler on the buckle then lands some shots.  He covers for two, then mocks Neville.  Ziggler comes back with a big DDT for a two count of his own.  Sheamus enters the ring, but Ziggler and Neville get him to stand down as Barrett sells at ringside.

Back live, Sheamus is controlling the offense.  Sheamus jaws at Ziggler and tells him how he means nothing, but Ziggler rewards him with a superkick.  Hot tags to both men.  Neville hits a huracanrana, then hits a big dive outside the ring on Barrett.  Springboard drop kick to Barrett then a standing moonsault nets two for Neville.  Neville tries a float over but gets caught with a kick to the gut.

Barrett tries the Bull Hammer, but Neville ducks and hits an enzugiri, followed with a German suplex for two.   Ziggler takes Sheamus to ringside, but Sheamus gets the better of him and dumps Ziggler to the time keeper’s area.  Neville has Barrett down and starts to set up the Red Arrow.  Sheamus intervenes, so Neville hits a kick.  The distraction is enough to allow Barrett to hit Neville with a Bull Hammer when Neville springboards in.  The heels celebrate.

Neville really came off like a star last week, especially with how the announcers supported him with how they raved over him.  He has an out this time, but he lost none the less.  Hoping for better for a really talented guy.

Cole hypes up the Roman Reigns special that will air on WWE Network after Raw.  Reigns makes his entrance for the main event.  Orton gets a pretty decent reaction as he comes out.

Can’t help but feel this is an angle, not a match.

Match #8 – Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

Back live, Orton and Reigns get ready to go when Kane’s music hits.  Here comes Kane, Seth Rollins, and J&J Security to watch the proceedings.  Noble gets a mic and gets on the announce table.  He introduces himself as the special ring announcer, Mercury as the timekeeper, Kane as the “enforcer,” and “your future, everybody’s WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.”  Rollins will be the commentator.

Orton and Reigns jaw at each other in the ring while Rollins says that Kane has a plan and he trusts him now.  Orton teases an early RKO but Reigns counters.  Strike exchange ensues as Cole talks about the fatal four way and how Rollins never pinned Brock Lesnar.  Rollins says the odds are against him and it’s unfair.

Reigns hits a Samoan drop as JBL asks if we want to see Buddy Rogers defend in a fatal four way.  “No, you want to see him one on one.”  Orton drops Reigns against the barrier, then the two exchange strikes.  Noble gets struck down and Rollins mutters “Jamie, I thought you were smarter than that.”

More strike exchanging goes on at ringside, then Mercury jaws at Orton.  Orton rolls in the ring only to take a clothesline from Reigns.  Rollins says he will prove how deserving he is when he wins at Payback.  He says he will do it by himself and he will do it without Kane, The Authority, and Triple H.  Cole brings up how Rollins didn’t get it done against Ambrose, and Rollins blames J&J and says they cost him the match.

Meanwhile in the ring, Orton sets Reigns up for a move at the apron but Reigns takes Orton down.  Reigns hits his apron kick on Orton then jaws at Rollins.  Reigns sets up for the Superman punch.  Orton slides aside of it then hits his scoop slam.  He hits the elevated DDT on Reigns, which wakes the crowd up a little.

Orton’s hearing voices.  He tries for the RKO but Reigns shoves him off and hits the Superman punch.  Reigns sets up a dive, but Kane hits him.  J&J, Kane, and Seth Rollins run to the other side and attack Orton.  Reigns hits a big dive on the group.  Rollins runs Reigns into the post then sets up an attack on Orton.

They roll Orton in, and it boils down into a 4 on 1 assault.  The fans want Ambrose, and they get him.  He charges the ring and helps take out J&J.  Reigns sends Kane to the floor.  Reigns hits Rollins with a big spear, then Orton hits Reigns with the RKO.  Ambrose hits Orton with Dirty Deeds as the rest of the men sell.  Ambrose plays to the fans as Cole sends it home and to the Roman Reigns special on WWE Network.

Reigns and Orton did alright, but because they came out early in the show and had the match they had (which was good) and the fact that this crowd started to peter out as most do after three hours of Raw, the reaction to their work here was down.  When Ambrose’s music hit they did get up for that, and it looked good when they chanted for him to appear and WWE delivered on it.

Overall, not a bad show.  Sami Zayn appearing was great and he got a superstar reaction from the hometown fans.  Bret Hart also got a huge pop and it was a nice unadvertised surprise for him to show up and put over Zayn like he did.  Ambrose being added to the main event of Payback adds some flavor, and Zayn and Cena had a good match.

Drew and I will be talking all things wrestling tomorrow night on Ring Rap Audio, and we’re looking for your thoughts and questions.  Hit us up on Twitter @RingRap, or post it to our Facebook page, and we’ll discuss what’s on your mind as well as what’s on ours.  Thanks for watching along tonight.