Raw rolls into Oklahoma City tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Arena as the road to SummerSlam continues. The Authority lost control of things last week when Undertaker and Brock Lesnar broke down into a pier six brawl. How will they regain control of Raw? Also, Diva Faction Warfare continues as Team BAD, Team Bella, and Team Paige interact. Who gets the upper hand? John Cena made a number of statements last week about Seth Rollins – is he right about the WWE World Heavyweight Champion?
Show Open, Live from the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
They open by recapping the angle between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar from last Monday, including the big pull-apart brawl.
Michael Cole welcomes us in and like clockwork at the top of the hour we get “King of Kings” ringing out. The Authority makes their way out, this week being Seth Rollins, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. Cole says Rollins benefitted the most from Undertaker coming back because Taker cost Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Hunter welcomes us to the show, calling it a huge night and a night of firsts. He says it will start with a huge announcement because in a few weeks it will be SummerSlam. He hypes that it will be bigger than ever and “three hours just won’t cut it.” Hunter says SummerSlam will be a four hour “monumental event.”
We posted the press release on this earlier. Check that for all the details.
Stephanie hypes that it will be headlined by Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. Hunter says that for as big as SummerSlam is, Raw also will be because it will be a night of firsts. Hunter books Big Show vs. Dean Ambrose, and Stephanie books Paige vs. Sasha Banks. Hunter adds that Kevin Owens will face “for the first time ever” against Randy Orton.
Stephanie continues, hyping Alicia Fox and Nikki Bella going against Becky Lynch and “wooooo!” Charlotte. Seth Rollins interjects, saying he knows a thing or two about firsts and recounts cashing MITB at Wrestlemania. Rollins addresses Lesnar, saying that he and Lesnar went one on one for the first time ever and he did what he said he would. “I walked in WWE Champion, and I walked out WWE Champion.”
Rollins continues, and says that to cap the night of firsts off it involves the fans. He says he wants them to acknowledge that he is one of the greatest WWE World Heavyweight Champions of all time. John Cena’s music hits, to a decent reaction. Hunter looks a big smug as Cole puts Cena over as a 15-time world champion. Cena gets a mic.
Cena says he doesn’t mean to interrupt Hunter and Stephanie but does mean to interrupt Rollins. He calls Rollins an arrogant jackass. “All of the hall of famers that held that title, and you call yourself the greatest?” Cena calls Rollins a joke.
Cena tells Rollins to not worry and adds that he wouldn’t ask Rollins to do anything about it because last week he tried and Rollins ran. Cena tells Hunter and Steph that he knows how they feel about him, but he knows they also care about what is best for business. He says it’s time to see if Rollins can become a man by booking him as the challenger to Rollins for the title on Raw.
Rollins tells Cena to do everyone a favor “for the first time ever” shutting the hell up. Rollins tells Cena that his title is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and everyone has to earn a shot at it.
Steph interrupts, saying that it needs to be put to the people. She says it was deafening a few minutes and asks again if they want to see the match. Big reaction, including “yes!” chants. “Then for the first time ever, I say no. I say no to you, John Cena, and to all of you.” She says there will be no match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. “Seth’s right, you’ve gotta earn it.”
Hunter says the idea is valid, adding that no one wants to see Cena face Rollins for the title on Raw. He says that Cena will face Rollins, but instead it will be for Cena’s US Championship instead. “Because that’s what’s best for business.” Cole and Saxton say that Rollins has nothing to lose tonight, and JBL says that Triple H made a smart decision as a good boss.
The “first time ever” talk was really pushing it. That all said, I think they did a good job of hyping matches and giving the show a direction and a sense of importance. Let’s see if this keeps people watching. Big Show vs. Ambrose certainly isn’t must see TV for me.
The announcers recap some of the matches, saying Ambrose vs. Big Show is next. They also run an ad for the Stone Cold Podcast for next Monday. Austin’s guest will be Paige.
Paige isn’t the “big name” get for Austin – though there are so few of those yet to get. Her story is interesting though, so I’m looking forward to what she has to say.
Back live, Miz has joined the commentary team. He looks like Obi-Wan Miz, and he’ll be sitting in for the first match.
Match #1 – Big Show vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose gets a good reaction when he comes to the ring. Miz rants early on about how Ryback is ducking him for the Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose hits a dive on Show outside the ring, then tries to follow up with an elbow off the top but Show chops him.
Back live, Show controls the offense. Miz makes fun of Ryback for having a staph infection. Show locks on a leg hold but Ambrose unties his boot. Ambrose locks on a sleeper hold. Show fades out, but flips Ambrose off his back. After an exchange by the ropes, Ambrose tries a top rope move. Show catches him and flapjacks him to the mat for two.
Show calls for the chokeslam but Ambrose counters into a DDT. Ambrose gets a flurry going, but Show cues a chokeslam. Ambrose fights out and goes for his tilting clothesline. Show hits a chokeslam that Ambrose kicks out of. Show hits a second, and Ambrose rolls to ringside. JBL says Ambrose will get counted out but he gets back in on eight. Show hits him with a kick, then goes out and hits a spear.
Ambrose struggles to his feet out by the announce table as the count proceeds. On nine, Ambrose slides in, but he staggers around and falls back out of the ring. Show hoists him in, but Ambrose kicks Show then sets up a suicide dive. Show lands the WMD Punch. Miz says “those are the mistakes I don’t make.” Ambrose stirs but can’t make the count.
Cole puts Ambrose over for the effort, but JBL says it was “sheer lunacy.” They run highlights. Back live, Ambrose is leaning against the wall, and Show eyes him up. Show sets up a spear, but Ambrose slips out of the way and Show crashes and burns. Ambrose smiles, then staggers up the ramp.
This was fine – even though I’m not big on seeing Big Show anytime. Ambrose came off resilient, and Show came off dominating. The post match stuff wasn’t really all that necessary. I would rather have seen Show just walk away after eying up Ambrose. Instead, they decided to give Ambrose the last laugh.
The announcers recap the announcement of SummerSlam being extended to four hours. Saxton calls it a “Wrestlemania like” SummerSlam event. They hype Luke Harper being officially brought back to the Wyatt Family tonight, and Neville will be up next.
Match #2 – Fandango vs. Neville
Fandango is in the ring dancing as we come back, and Neville gets his entrance. They talk about the recent interactions between Neville and Stardust. Fandango hits an early clothesline, then stretches him out with a move. Neville mounts up a short comeback with some quick strikes, then a dive to the outside.
Action moves back inside and Neville sets up the Red Arrow. Neville nails it and grabs the win.
Stardust appears on the Tron and says the man that gravity forgot saves the day again. Stardust says that everyone wants a feel-good story and a story filled with heroes. He says no one wants to talk about the unknown. “Fear not, WWE Universe, I will rescue you from overprotective do-gooders.” He tells Neville there’s nothing he can do to stop him. “Be my hero.” Neville just shakes his head.
A quick win for Neville and it looks like they’re heading toward Stardust vs. Neville. Will they bring in “Arrow” (Stephen Arnell) for SummerSlam, giving some life to the Stardust/Arrow thing? It doesn’t help Stardust when Neville is just shaking his head at the bad guy. Why should I care about Stardust when his opponent doesn’t?
The announcers hype up the “for the first time ever” matches yet to come tonight between Kevin Owens and Randy Orton, Paige vs. Sasha Banks, and Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons, as well as the match between John Cena and Seth Rollins.
Gee, guys, you’re wearing out the “first time ever” stuff and it’s barely an hour in. Save that stuff for the big moments.
Backstage, Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte talk. Paige says the fans love where the Divas division is headed these days. Sasha Banks, Naomi and Tamina enter. Banks says that Stephanie brought them up and made the revolution happen. More back and forth, with Charlotte wooing at them.
Sasha boasts about being the NXT Women’s Champion. Paige says that she is the first Women’s Champion and a two time Divas Champion. Sasha tells Paige she is known for losing titles. Becky speaks up and tells Tamina to shut up. Team BAD leaves, and Charlotte says that if Naomi and Tamina get involved, things will get ugly. Paige says it already has.
It was really hokey that they were arguing but still looking toward the camera.
Paige makes her entrance with Charlotte and Becky for the next match before going to break.
Match #3 – Paige (w/Charlotte and Becky Lynch) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi and Tamina Snuka)
Team BAD makes their way out after the break. They roll a Sasha Banks promo video as they make their way to the ring.
They needed to do that a couple weeks ago.
Early lockup between Paige and Banks as the commentators talk about the two ladies’ history. The lock-up rolls outside, where the respective teams face off. Back in the ring, Paige hits a press for a cover, then a quick takeover for another cover. Paige backs Sasha to the corner and hits elbows.
Banks uses a roll-over for a cover. Arm drag takeover from both women that they bounce up from, then they both go for drop kicks. Not sure if that was a botch or not, but the fans react to it as the ladies stare each other down. Paige hits a headbutt for two then a fallaway slam for two. The Bellas are watching backstage.
Paige focuses her offense on the left arm of Banks now while the announcers talk about how great the Bellas are. Sasha hits a couple knees, but Paige hits a kick that sends Sasha to the floor. Paige goes up top and dives on Team BAD. Going to break, Paige snatches Sasha up and throws her back in the ring.
Back live, they show that during the break Naomi, Tamina, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch were sent to the back. The Bellas are still watching backstage. Sasha takes control of the offense. She mocks Paige’s entrance routine on the apron to some heat. Paige rolls her up for a quick two count.
Paige starts to fire back with some kicks and knee shots in the corner. Sasha misses a clothesline and Paige hits a superkick. Paige hits a running knee for two. Sasha uses her legs to throw Paige face-first to the corner, then follows up with running knee splash for two.
Sasha sets Paige on the buckle but Paige counters out. She locks on a submission but Sasha gets into the ropes. Paige tries a slam but Sasha counters and locks on the Bank Statement to get the win.
I didn’t see this coming, but it is what it is. This match was solid and an improvement over the normal offering. I got into a conversation with Jake Barnett briefly of ProWrestling.net on Twitter, and agreed with him though that there is a lot of untapped potential here that isn’t getting utilized well.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews Seth Rollins. She says he could potentially walk out with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the US Champion. Rollins turns it around and asks her a series of questions about how he defended his championship. He says he has never needed help to win his matches.
Rollins says that every month he beats the best that WWE has to offer, while Cena defends his title against “the rest that WWE has to offer.” Rollins tells us that he is tired of Cena saying that the future of WWE goes through him. “We’ve seen enough and I’m going to show John that the future has long passed him by.
The announcers hype WWE 2K16, noting that Stone Cold Steve Austin is on the cover. If you pre-order, you can also get the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a playable character too. They run a video to hype up Arnold in the video.
Rusev is in the ring with Summer Rae. He speaks in Bulgarian first, then says he is smitten. He says that his heart bursts for the woman who heals his soul. He says it is a woman’s privilege to obey, and a man’s privilege to reward her. He says he will show “you so called men” how to do it.
He offers Summer a dog, and she asks his name. He says because it’s ugly, with funny legs, and neutered, they’ll call it Dog Ziggler. He gives her a second gift. “it’s a fish,” Rusev says. He names the “cold fish” Lana.
Rusev continues to speak, but Lana says “enough.” She says everyone sees through Rusev. He says that he dresses Summer like her, and calls Summer an “unoriginal, pathetic, Lana.” Summer poses and says that “Rusev now has this.” Lana kicks her shoes off, then kicks Summer. She locks on an arm bar, then shoves Summer face first into the fish.
Um, did I just write that?
Lana leaves, smiling and waving to the fans. Rusev heaves the fish her direction, then helps Summer to her feet. Summer throws a tantrum over what happened to her.
I miss the Rusev that rode in on a tank at Wrestlemania. I hate what they’re doing with him right now, because I feel like there’s more there than this. Every week they do this love square thing, the harder it’s going to be to make Rusev seem like someone that could be in the main event picture.
The announcers recap the brawl between Undertaker and Lesnar from last week. They air the same video package from the top of the show. Cole hypes Taker and Lesnar for SummerSlam, then the fact that Lesnar will be in San Jose next week.
The Lucha Dragons get their entrance as they’re up for the next match. The Prime Time Players have joined commentary during the break.
Match #5 – Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito)
Kalisto hits a huracanrana then springboards into an arm drag. A rope running sequence sets Kalisto up for a knee lift. Matadores control Kalisto momentarily, then Kalisto hits a move off the buckle and locks on an armdrag. Sin Cara tags in and hits a senton. He tries a springboard cross body but gets caught.
Cara sends one of the Matadores to ringside and works with the other. He does a headstand in the corner but Matadore kicks him out of the ring. Matadore outside the ring uses the bull to help take Cara down. They continue to control the offense, working a double team move with a drop kick on Cara. The PTP and commentators talk about Puerto Rican bullfighters.
Hot tags each way. Kalisto hits a springboard DDT for two, then he hits a springboard enzugiri that’s a bit sloppy. Action continues in the ring, but here comes the New Day. They have a sign that says “Real Mega Dad of the Year” to taunt Titus. In the ring, Kalisto rolls Matadore up for the win.
It blew me out of the moment when Young asked “what’s going on?” The action was fine, but I hate to say it that the Los Matadores gimmick is terrible.
They recap Luke Harper assisting Bray Wyatt win against Roman Reigns at Battleground. He’s going to recommit to the Wyatt Family, next.
Back live, they recap the angle between Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Roman Reigns last week. Wyatt sounder hits, and it’s time for Harper to recommit.
Wyatt and Harper make their way to the ring through a sea of cellphone lights. Cole calls Wyatt a charismatic leader. Wyatt blows out the lantern and says he’s not a betting man, but if he were, it would be a safe bet to say everyone has a family. “Do you love them? Do you care for them? Do you hug them each and every day and tell them the world they live in is this wonderful paradise, and as long as you stay together everything’s going to be alright?”
He says that mommies and daddies have been force feeding lies all of their lives. “Your mommies and daddies don’t love you. If they loved you, they would tell you the truth.” He calls the truth a hard pill to swallow, shocking, and terrifying. He says it’s in the schools, the government, places of worship. The ones set to protect are the ones that should be feared the most.
Wyatt says the sooner that is realized, the sooner one can be set free. He says that freedom comes at a hefty price. He tells a story about his pet, saying he wasn’t the most charming but would give his life for Wyatt. He says he saw the curiosity was getting the better of his pet. He says he removed the chains and set his pet free. He says that his pet returned, but he had a scar. Wyatt knew his pet was changed, and it never ran away or left him. He says that his pet learned that the world has sharp teeth, and “you’ve gotta get them before they get you.”
“Luke Harper was a damaged man, but I picked him out of the dirt and I fixed him.” Wyatt talks about having to set Harper free because he would have to learn his own truth. He turns the mic over to Harper.
He says there was a time where he didn’t realize his purpose or why he was here. He says his family found him, and he showed him the truth. The truth is this is all of the fans’ fault. Each and every one made him who he is, and they shunned him. He says that Wyatt saved him. He says Wyatt opened his eyes and made him stronger than ever. “Now I know, when you pray for the rain, you best be prepared for the mud.”
He tells Wyatt “my life for you” and hands the mic back. Wyatt says it always comes back to family, saying Harper would go to hell and back for him. “But Roman Reigns.” Wyatt says he tried to warn Reigns it was only the beginning. He says that Reigns calls Ambrose brother, but if he cared he would tell Ambrose to turn and walk away, never to be heard of again.
He tells Reigns that it’s his burden to bear and his hill to die on. “Roman Reigns, we’re here.” He hits a knee and yells “follow the buzzards.”
I thought this was pretty solid. They had their own way of explaining the reunion and I actually liked the pet analogy. It all worked out pretty well.
The commentary team hypes up Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins vs. John Cena for the US Championship.
Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Paige make their entrance for the next match.
Match #6 – Charlotte and Becky Lynch (w/Paige) vs. Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox (w/Brie Bella):
Lynch starts off with Nikki. JBL throws a line in there about talking to Becky about Velvet McIntryre. Charlotte gets an early tag and throws a one-handed cartwheel out of a wristlock. Fox hits a big boot off of a distraction to take control. Charlotte sells for the heels. Nikki hits Becky and clotheslined Charlotte.
Alicia and Nikki team up for a double suplex. Alicia follows it up with a bit of a surfboard. Charlotte comes back with a jackknife cover then tags in Becky. She comes in like a house on fire. Snap suplex, then a t-bone and into the cover, but Nikki breaks up the cover.
Charlotte comes back with a spear to take out Nikki. Alicia tries to roll Becky up, but she turns it into the Disarmer for the submission win. Paige and her partners celebrate.
Oklahoma City seems very tired. The match was good, it’s just that slump in the show. Also, these three were out earlier, so that usually doesn’t help for that second time out.
Cole sends it to a recap of the elimination from Tough Enough. Patrick got sent home. They run down the final eight left in Tough Enough. He also sets up footage of Big Show chopping on the various male competitors. Cole hypes that Team BAD will be on Tough Enough tomorrow night.
Split screen shot shows Kevin Owens and Randy Orton heading to the ring. “First time ever,” and next.
During the break, Sheamus has joined the commentary team. He will be sitting in on this one to eventually interfere and cost Randy Orton the match…err…never mind.
Match #7 – Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens:
Orton starts out fast with kicks and strikes. Owens takes a powder to the outside but Orton follows. He whips Owens into the barricade outside and follows it up with a clothesline. They fight back into the ring, with Orton maintaining overall control of the match. Owens powders to the floor again, but Orton follows and lands a couple uppercuts.
Owens runs Orton to the post, then hits a fallaway slam into the barricade. They go to break. After the break, Owens is controlling the action. Orton hits a backbreaker to get some separation, but Owens lands a knee. He chokes Orton in the ropes, yelling at Cole “Cole, Cole, how you calling the shot.”
Owens sets Orton up for the cannonball, but Orton moves. He starts his trademark run – hitting clotheslines then the scoop slam. Owens lands an elbow, but off the rope Orton hits a t-bone suplex. Owens rolls to the apron but JBL says he might be in harm’s way. Owens counters, but out on the floor Orton throws Owens to the barrier.
Sheamus gets up from commentary and lands a Brogue Kick on Orton. That ends the match. Sheamus yells “are you not entertained?!” Sheamus throws Orton in the ring and Owens joins him. Cesaro charges the ring, throwing uppercuts on Sheamus and diving out on Owens. He throws hands at Cesaro, then throws Owens in the ring.
Sheamus distracts Cesaro, but he kicks Sheamus away. He turns around and charges Owens, but gets a pop-up powerbomb. Sheamus holds the briefcase up, and Owens poses over Cesaro. As he exits, Owens tells Cesaro “Walk Owens walk? No…” and tells Orton “that’s not the end, Randy.” He strikes Orton’s pose then leaves.
This was a good match, but not a “wow” match like I went into it thinking it could be. I liked the Cesaro save at the end, and I think that feud between Owens and Cesaro could be very good. Here’s hoping they handle it the right way and give the guys momentum out of it. The Sheamus interference was expected.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews John Cena. Cena says it’s put up or shut up time, and he has tried to let everyone know that the US Championship is a symbol of excellence. He says he has defended the title on television twelve times, and tonight is his biggest test. He says tonight will prove it, and he is going against Seth Rollins. He says tonight will end the debate in that Rollins will prove he is who he says, or Cena will shock the world by defeating the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
It’s a shame that Rollins hasn’t been built up better. It would really feel like an upset if Cena wins. But because Rollins hasn’t been built right, that line from Cena rang hollow with me.
Match #8 – John Cena (c) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Champion); WWE United States Championship
Cena gets his entrance first, looking into the camera and holding up his towel saying “all day every day.” Rollins gets a pretty negative reaction when he comes out. Lilian gives us the old-school introductions for this title match. Split crowd chants get going early as the two start to lock up. Cena hits an early shoulder block that sends Rollins to ringside to take a powder.
Back in, Cena hits another shoulder block. In a rope running sequence, Cena throws Rollins down with a hip toss. He tries to load the AA, but Rollins counters out and lands a stiff kick. Rollins begins to take over the offense as they go to commercial. Rollins dodges a splash and gets two out of it. They go through a good sequence where Rollins ends up getting a roll-up for two, then follows with a nice kick for two. Cole pointed that the kick caught Cena in the shoulder. Must have been his angle, looked good.
Cena cues up the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Rollins boots him in the face. Rollins tries to follow with a corner splash, but Cena moves, then he follows up with a tornado DDT for a two count. A little later, Rollins shoves Cena and he ends up out on the floor and Rollins follows with a suicide dive. Rollins follows that up with a flying knee off the ropes for two. Rollins stalks then tries to set up the Pedigree, but Cena counters and tries for the STF. Rollins gets in the ropes so Cena pulls him away. Rollins lands on his feet, and Cena hoists him up in an Electric Chair then drops him on his face for two.
Strike exchange ensues with Rollins getting the better of it. Cena’s got a bloody nose now after a high knee by Rollins. Cena to his feet he charges Rollins and attacks. Rollins hits an enzugiri off the apron. They set up a superplex spot but Rollins turns it into a buckle bomb for two. JBL says the tide has turned and we might see Rollins win both titles.
Doctor stops the match to tend to Cena’s bloody nose. Rollins tries to get the Pedigree again, but Cena drops him out. He hits a sloppy springboard stunner and tries for the AA but Rollins lands on his feet. Rollins hits a kick for a good near fall. Oklahoma City thinks it’s awesome. Cena hits the AA outta nowhere for a good near fall.
More care from the ringside doctor. Cole says his nose is definitely broken. Cena goes up top and Rollins meets him for a superplex. Rollins hits a big front suplex off a superplex into a good near fall. Rollins goes Phoenix Splash but Cena moves out of the way. Cena locks in the STF, and Rollins struggles to the ropes. Cena pulls him back and locks it back down, and Rollins taps out.
JBL calls Cena “one tough son of a bitch” as they show highlights and talk about Cena’s broken nose. Cena plays to the fans as Cole talks about how Cena is polarizing, yet made the WWE World Heavyweight Champion tap out. “Big match John did it again.” Cena poses on the ropes for the fans as Cole shills “The Kliq Rules” on WWE Network and sends it home.
I really liked the near falls down the stretch. We all have that groaning sensation about kicking out of finishers, but this was dramatic. They do need to tone back on it overall though – it plagues all of wrestling. This booking makes total sense if they’re going to Rollins vs. Cena for SummerSlam – something I sort of predicted on Twitter.
This match-up overall has been overexposed, but one thing can’t be denied and it’s that the two put on some pretty good matches. I enjoyed this main event tonight and I think the two can do good business at SummerSlam. With Lesnar vs. Taker headlining, it almost feels like this should headline a different card, but if they throw a dirty finish in there I guess it can work out.
Not a terrible show tonight. With my last judged truck show of the year in two weeks, my mind is racing with a million things to do – but this kept my attention where a bad show would not have. I feel like I got beaten over the head with the “first time ever” stuff and the announcers needed to save that stuff for when it really mattered. I feel like WWE became aware of the complaints of fans who lamented getting the same pairings over and over and tried to shake up some things, and that’s to be commended.
Drew will drop by tomorrow with his Around the Ring segment, hitting his thoughts on this show as well as other items in wrestling. I’ll be back Thursday with my Around the Ring segment to hit my thoughts on TNA, NXT, ROH, and other things as well. Look for those audios and more here on Ring-Rap.com. Thanks for reading along.