It’s the night after Battleground. Last night became very interesting when Undertaker made his presence felt in the main event between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins. Is he back for revenge on Lesnar for breaking the Streak? Is he back to go after Seth Rollins for belittling his brother, Kane? Or is he after both men? Also, John Cena successfully defended his US Championship against Kevin Owens. Will Owens try one more time? Where do those men go from here?
Show Open, Live from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO.
They open with a recap of the main event from Battleground last night. Undertaker’s familiar gong and music plays, and he makes his way to the ring. Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton check in on commentary. They talk about Taker’s accomplishments and history, highlighting that Lesnar ended the streak at Wrestlemania 30.
Taker takes a deep breath into the mic and says “I stand here tonight a relentless, remorseless, cold-blooded, vengeful, grim reaper.” He says streaks are made to be broken, “that is the painful truth.” He says that Lesnar continuously, week after week, month after month, reminded everyone of Lesnar’s greatest accomplishment. “And now I say, enough.”
Taker talks about Lesnar taking what was smoldering ash and turned it back into a raging inferno. “Last night was my true resurrection. You see, Lesnar, you can’t kill what won’t die.” Taker talks about how the two of them have a new destiny.
“And I will challenge your mortality. I will conquer what has yet to be conquered.” Taker says that like all living things, man or beast, Lesnar will rest in peace. Taker’s music plays and he exits. As he leaves, Cole says that Undertaker has been thinking about the loss at Wrestlemania 30 every minute of every day. JBL says that “Wyatt Earp has returned to Tombstone.”
Taker was good here, and the live crowd reacted positively to him throughout the segment. I’m surprised that they didn’t talk about Lesnar attacking Kane, but they can build off of this. Small thing here though is that Cole’s commentary wasn’t lining up with the narrative Taker was telling. Taker had accepted the loss, but was irritated that Heyman and Lesnar were continually boasting over it.
Backstage, Triple H is watching on a monitor and he says he hasn’t seen that look in Taker’s eyes in a long time. Stephanie says that the SummerSlam main event has fallen into their lap, and she says she will call marketing. Hunter says that he wants to keep Taker and Lesnar apart, so he will call Heyman and tell them to not bother showing up tonight. The fans didn’t like that.
The announcers hype Cena, Orton and Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens, Rusev, and Sheamus for the main event, and Charlotte taking on Brie Bella to start the show.
Back live, Tamina Snuka, Naomi, and Sasha Banks have joined the announcers for this first match. Cole sends it into a recap of the segment from last Monday when the three ladies were introduced to the Raw audience.
Match #1 – Charlotte (w/Paige and Becky Lynch) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox)
Early on, the commentary team talks to Team BAD. Naomi says that Tamina and she did not join Paige because while they want change and don’t like the Bellas, they want it on their terms. In the ring, Charlotte no-sells a chop from Brie, then sends her to ringside. She tries a follow-up dive, but no one is home.
Brie gets a run of offense in. She hits some kicks like Daniel Bryan does, but the crowd mildly chants no at it. She hits a two count off of a drop kick, then comes back with a kick attempt but Charlotte avoids it.
Charlotte fires up on Brie with chops and a running kick for a near fall. She sets up the Figure 8, but Nikki gets on the apron. Charlotte sends her to the floor and Brie tries to take advantage, but Charlotte is up to the task. Charlotte lands a spear, then locks on the Figure 8, and Brie taps out. Team BAD gives them credit but look unimpressed. The commentary team runs down the highlights.
They did a good job of establishing why the factions exist, but I don’t want them to. Establish the three NXT ladies as characters of their own rather than this group warfare stuff. That said, a good television match from the ladies again tonight.
The announcers hype that Lesnar vs. Undertaker is now official, and they show some storyboard work. Cole hypes that SummerSlam is sold out, then moves on to a WWE Network shill. Cole then moves on to hype Harper vs. Reigns.
Backstage, Triple H is on the phone with Heyman, telling him that the deal is done for Lesnar vs. Undertaker. Miz is trying to get a word in but Hunter ignores him and tells Heyman that it’s a lucrative deal. Hunter finally gets assertive, saying “grow a pair, tell your client not to come here tonight. Thank you.”
Miz gets Hunter’s attention and complains about being knocked out by Big Show last night. Hunter tells him he isn’t listening and doesn’t care, then books Miz against Big Show for tonight. “Now get out of here, Obi-Wan.” Miz leaves, complaining his face still hurts. Hunter gets back on the phone.
Match #2 – The Prime Time Players vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito)
Typical PTP match to start. Darren Young sells for the Matadores in the early going. He finally gets the hot tag to Titus, and he goes on his run of dominant offense. He clears the Matadores from the ring.
New Day interrupts. Xavier Woods says they are there to congratulate, and the power of positivity is found in the most unlikely of places. That lets Matadore hit a backstabber on Titus to get the win. New Day mocks the PTP “millions of dollars” dance and yells that they’re terrible.
I can’t help but think that we’re getting some sort of multi-team tag match at SummerSlam. And your champions losing to Los Matadores is not a good situation, even with the distraction.
Cole sells Reigns vs. Wyatt for later, and the six man tag match main event.
Match #3 – Big Show vs. The Miz
Miz is already in the ring when we come back live. Cole reminds us that Ryback is out of action due to an infection and recounts how Miz ran his mouth last night then again back in Triple H’s office. Show dominates the early going, rag dolling Miz around the ring and slapping him across the chest. Miz tries to fight back but gets body slammed for his troubles. JBL says Miz is out there unfairly.
Show sets up and hits a second rope elbow drop. “Oh no, stop the match,” JBL exclaims. Show hits the elbow drop for the win. The announcers recap it.
Show cuts a promo and asks Miz what he said last night. “Big Show’s been missing since the Attitude Era? Is that what you said? Can you feel me now? The only thing that’s missing is Ryback with my Intercontinental Championship.”
The fans chant “feed me more” and Show says he will feed him his fist and take his title. He says he doesn’t care where it is, he will take it. He hypes his appearance on Tough Enough tomorrow night and says he can even take the title there. “Because all of those little male wanna be’s, I’m going to see if they’re tough enough for this.” Show exits.
That’s not exactly creative work there. Show won’t be destroying anyone at Tough Enough either.
Backstage, Stephanie and Hunter are with Rob (the artist dude, I’m not sure of his last name) looking over a painting of John Cena. Stephanie asks if they he can do one of Undertaker and Lesnar for SummerSlam. He says he’d be happy to do one.
Hunter spots Heyman. “Heyman!” They walk over to Paul Heyman. He says that Lesnar accepts the main event of SummerSlam and he isn’t there tonight. He says that he is simply there to deliver a retort for Lesnar and he will be out of there. Hunter and Steph agree to let him deliver it. After Heyman walks off, Stephanie says Heyman can’t be trusted as far as one can throw him. “Yeah, and that’s not far.” Hunter says they need more security, and half the locker room.
Backstage, Hunter and Stephanie address the locker room. Hunter tells them they can’t let Taker and Lesnar destroy each other. “SummerSlam depends on it, which means we’re depending on it. That means your livelihood depends on it.” Hunter closes by saying “We’re not asking you, we’re telling you.”
Lilian Garcia introduces Paul Heyman, who introduces himself. He talks that Lesnar should be WWE Champion but he isn’t. He says it’s not because Seth Rollins out wrestled his client, or survived his trip to Suplex City. “My client, Brock Lesnar, is not the WWE World Heavyweight Champion because of the demonic resurrection of The Undertaker.”
He says that WWE Network viewers got to see history last night because Lesnar went face to face with Undertaker for the first time since April 6, 2014. He says the date is meaningful because Lesnar defeated the Streak on that date at Wrestlemania 30. The fans boo mildly and Heyman says that it bothers them but it obviously has the Undertaker pissed off.
Heyman asks why wouldn’t he brag about Lesnar conquering the Streak because it’s Lesnar’s greatest accomplishment. He talks about the names that have tried to end the Streak – Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Triple H, Edge, Batista, etc. He says that his client did not fail – he succeeded. “Now, the Undertaker comes back for his revenge.” He says that Taker picked his spot because Lesnar took the Streak away, so Taker took away Lesnar’s chance to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
“So now it comes to this, SummerSlam 2015.” Heyman says since the Undertaker wants to make this personal, “my client, Brock Lesnar, conquered YOUR Streak at Wrestlemania.” He accuses Undertaker of selling his soul to the devil, “but your ass belongs to Brock Lesnar.”
The gong sounds and the lights go out. When they come up, Undertaker is in the ring with Heyman. Heyman begs off, yelling “I’m just an advocate.” Lesnar’s music hits and he charges the ring. This fight is on! The two scrum in the ring for a bit, then Hunter is seen on the ramp sending security by the dozens to the ring.
They momentarily get the two men pulled apart, but it doesn’t last long. They start brawling again as the ring now fills up with superstars trying to pull them apart. The fans want them to fight. Lesnar escapes the ring and runs to the other side, and the brawl is on again. Now there’s a “let them fight.” chant going. Hunter yells to “get him out” but Lesnar charges the ring again.
Kansas City thinks it’s awesome. Taker breaks free and he goes after Lesnar now. More people separate them. Lesnar yells “I’m gonna kill you!” and Taker retorts “you’re gonna have to.” Finally, a group of men get Lesnar backstage, and Taker slowly walks up the ramp as we go to break.
Backstage, a bunch of mid-carders are with Brock when Taker attacks him again. The brawl continues, with various talent trying to keep them apart, and failing. Finally, a bunch of cops surround Lesnar. “Don’t touch me.” He offers to have his hands tied and walks off willingly.
This was a pretty fantastic pull-apart. There wasn’t much contact between Lesnar and Taker, but the visuals were really impressive and made this rematch feel huge. The live crowd loved it and it was quite the spectacle. I’m not sure how you put the genie back in the bottle in terms of Taker getting a win back, or a good finish to this match, but none the less this WILL sell the match.
Back live, the announcers talk about the spectacle we just saw. Backstage, Stephanie asks why Lesnar was arrested. Hunter says he won’t press charges, but just wanted to get Lesnar to cool off. In walks Seth Rollins, and and he asks if both men are gone. Hunter nods.
Rollins says that he has a lot to say to both of them, but it’s probably good that they are gone. He says he doesn’t want to lose his temper. He says he has a lot to get off his chest, and asks if he can have promo time tonight. “Sure, it’s all yours.” Rollins smiles and leaves.
Wyatt cut in. They focus on a dartboard with Roman Reigns’ image on it, and it’s on Harper’s jacket. Wyatt says he is never alone because his family knows that he is more than just a man. He talks about how he is the revolution that sees through Roman’s lies. He says that “you all” chose Reigns, and will burn for it. He says that it’s just the beginning.
Harper interjects, saying that brick by brick they will take Reigns down until there’s nothing left. Wyatt closes by saying “anyone but you, Roman…anyone but you.”
Match #4 – Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Roman Reigns:
Wyatt’s intro hits and here comes Harper with him. JBL says that the family is back together again. Cole recounts the promo that Wyatt cut moments ago, and Byron says that he will stop Reigns at every turn. Reigns makes his way through the crowd for this next match. Reigns stares down the duo as Cole plays stats, saying that Reigns hasn’t won by pinfall or submission since Wyatt cost him Money in the Bank.
Reigns jaws at Wyatt, then Dean Ambrose’s music hits to a big reaction. Now the sides are even. Wyatt and Harper regroup at ringside as Ambrose tells Reigns he has his back. Early offensive exchanges between the two men with kicks and punches. Reigns hits a suplex and Harper rolls to ringside to regroup going into break.
Back after break, the announcers focus on the Taker vs. Lesnar match and the brawl that we saw earlier. Harper focuses his offense on Roman’s left arm. Reigns beats a count-out, then Harper goes back after the arm again. Reigns gets in a flurry, but Harper cuts him off.
Reigns starts a comeback with a clothesline. He fires up on Harper, landing a series of kicks and punches, then hitting a Samoan drop with one arm. Reigns ends up out on the floor and he confronts Wyatt. He sets both of them up for a double “drive by” kick.
Reigns cues up the Superman punch, but Wyatt pulls him out. That throws the match out. Wyatt attacks Reigns from behind, but Ambrose runs over and joins the fray. Harper runs Reigns into the table, then Wyatt and Harper gang up on Ambrose. They dominate Reigns, and throw him in the ring.
Ambrose jumps Wyatt from behind, then takes out Harper. Wyatt tries for Sister Abigail, but Reigns hits a Superman punch. Wyatt and Harper exit through the crowd as Reigns and Ambrose stand tall.
A good match. Reigns wasn’t consistent in how he was selling the arm injury, but it’s a small nit-pick. Harper has some great moves for a big man, so the two ended up putting on a good time filling match.
Seth Rollins is walking backstage, and the announcers remind us that he wanted to talk to Lesnar and Taker but won’t get that chance. He will address the fans, next.
Back live, they recap the title match from last night yet again.
Seth Rollins comes to the ring with no one alongside. JBL says that Rollins was out there by himself, and we’ll never know if Rollins was good enough to beat Lesnar alone.
Rollins eyes up the title belt and smiles. He says it’s good to see Kansas City too but he has to ask. He asks how it feels to be wrong about Seth Rollins yet again. He tells them that they bought into Heyman’s bullcrap propaganda just like the rest of the fans did. He makes fun of the fans wearing Suplex City shirts and how the fans cheered when Lesnar took an axe to the Cadillac.
He goes on, saying they cheered when Lesnar took out J&J Security and Kane. He says that they all thought Rollins had punched a ticket to Suplex City and he’d be lucky if he got out alive, let alone with the WWE Championship. “Well surprise, I’m alive and well, and still the reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion.”
He puts over Lesnar’s accomplishments, talking about how he rag-dolled John Cena and conquered the Streak. He says he doesn’t give a damn about Lesnar and says he is the most underappreciated champion in WWE. He says he took everything Lesnar had and the fans still disrespect him just like they always did. He says they don’t understand what it takes to keep the title around his waist, and everything he does is centered around being champion.
“Since I won this title at Wrestlemania, I have faced every challenge put in front of me and walked away with my title.” He says people can talk about the means but the end is all that matters. He says that Lesnar’s past caught up with him last night. If he had half the brain that Rollins has, he would have gotten out of there when he saw the look in the Undertaker’s eyes.
He asks for Lilian to come to the ring. He says that one thing was missing from the match, and says there was an announcement that should have been made after his title match. She makes the announcement – “Your winner, by disqualification, Brock Lesnar, however still your WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins.”
John Cena’s music hits and he comes to the ring. He thanks Lilian but says she no longer has to put up with Rollins’ crap. “In fact, all of you don’t have to put up with his crap, because that’s all it is.” Rollins says he has no idea why Cena is out there and none of his business concerns him. He goes on to congratulate Cena on his big win over Kevin Owens last night.
“You’ve carved out a niche for yourself with that US Open Challenge. In fact, that’s what you’re probably here for.” Rollins gives the floor to Cena. Cena asks that he stay. He says that fans know when they see the US Championship they see excellence from challenger and champion. Cena calls Rollins a slimy, weasel-faced, suck-up sell out poor excuse of a champion.
Rollins laughs and says that Cena acts like the US Championship is a symbol of excellence despite defending it against any Joe Schmoe. He says people have to earn their shots against him. Rollins tells Cena to not talk down to him, because he isn’t a boy – he is the World Heavyweight Champion.
Rollins says that Cena does the open challenges to placate the fans that hate his guts. Rollins tells Cena that he can have his challenges, while he keeps being the WWE Champion. Cena tells him to keep running like he has ever since he became champion. Cena holds up his belt and says the champ is here. He says it’s not the title that makes the man, but the man that makes the title. He calls Rollins a joke and says “you ready to man up now, paartner?”
The two square off for a few moments, but Rollins smiles and backs off to boos. Cena calls him the champion and Rollins smiles and says “yes I am” from the ramp. Cena holds up the US Championship and yells “The champ is here!” Cena’s music hits as Cole says that it’s not the last we’ll see of Cena tonight. He and Byron Saxton hype the six-man tag main event.
It feels like they’re going to Cena vs. Rollins for SummerSlam, and I don’t like it. I think Cena is doing a good job of elevating talent and doing the US Championship challenges. It’s not time for him to enter the WWE Championship picture again, at least at the moment. If this is what they had in mind, perhaps Owens needed to win last night, somehow.
The Bellas are on commentary for the next match.
Match #5 – Becky Lynch and Paige (w/Charlotte) vs. Sasha Banks and Naomi (w/Tamina Snuka)
In the early going, Banks and Naomi control Becky Lynch. The commentary team chats with the Bellas about the revolution. Nikki says she welcomes it. Back from break, Lynch continues to sell for the heel duo while the announcers continue to hype Nikki up, and continue to talk about “the revolution.”
Sasha gets the tag and slaps Becky before covering for two. Becky continues to sell for the heels. She teases one tag but gets cut off by Sasha. Becky finally kicks Sasha away.
Hot tag to Paige. She goes off on a flurry against Naomi. Superkick, then she rolls Naomi over into the PTO. Sasha Banks breaks things up, but Paige dumps her to ringside. Tamina takes a forearm shot when she gets on the apron. Naomi gets the cheap shot by draping Paige onto the ropes. Tag to Sasha, she locks on the Bank Statement for the submission win.
The more they say “revolution” the less impact it has. The presentation is still a mess overall. That said, another good women’s match that was given time. I stand by my earlier statements though that they needed to give Lynch, Banks, and Charlotte individual introductions and characters. This faction thing isn’t working. They did a great job in the ring tonight, but it still seems like they’re just good hands in the ring and not stars. It’s week 2, so hence my continued skepticism.
Back live, they hype that Sasha and Naomi will take on the Bellas on Smackdown. They move on into a recap of the brawl between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.
They move on to recap the attack by Rusev on Dolph Ziggler from two weeks ago. Ziggler has been out a couple weeks now. Renee Young is with Lana backstage, and she says that Ziggler is healing and is wating to be medically cleared. Summer Rae pops up, dressed similar to Lana.
She asks if Lana likes it, saying that it makes her look smarter. Rusev enters and tells her she looks angelic. He says his actions will speak louder though, and kisses Summer. He tells Lana she looks tired then laughs and leaves. Summer slaps her, and Lana cries.
Congratulations, WWE. You gave me my nightly “Zero Fucks Given” segment.
Match #6 – Cesaro, John Cena, and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens, Sheamus and Rusev (w/Summer Rae)
Cesaro gets the first entrance and the announcers put him over for how he has performed of late. They also hype Orton’s performance from last night at the pay per view, calling it classic. Commercial break. Cena got his entrance during the break. After break, the heels get their entrance.
Cena and Owens start it off, but he immediately tags out to Rusev. Rusev teases a test of strength but they tie up instead. Rusev hits a fallaway slam on Cena. Rusev tags out to Owens, and he takes advantage of a downed Cena. Cena sells for Owens in the early going. Cena locks on the STF, but Owens is able to get out and create separation.
Owens tries for a cannonball after a DDT, but Cena moves. Tags out to Sheamus and Cesaro. Cesaro starts off with a cross body then unloads a series of uppercuts. He looks to go swinging with Sheamus, but Owens breaks it up. Cesaro back body drops him, then Rusev lands a kick. We go to break.
Back live, the heels continue to generally control the flow of the match. Cole points out that it’s Raw #1156. In the 3-hour format, it feels like Raw #11,156. Anyhow. Sheamus gets the better of Cesaro and asks the crowd if they’re entertained. They seemed to be. Cesaro hits uppercuts, but Sheamus cuts off the comeback and pushes him to the corner. Rusev checked and Cesaro puts him down. Owens tags in and cuts off Cesar from tagging.
Cesaro starts shoving back, and as a result Owens knocks Sheamus from the apron. Sheamus and Owens start arguing. “What the hell was that?!” They scrum momentarily, then Sheamus goes out and grabs his MITB briefcase and leaves. Cesaro and Owens scrum in the follow up with Owens getting the better of it, and Owens forcefully tags Rusev into the match. He makes a comment about a Lana wanna be. Owens and Rusev get into it momentarily, and Owens tags him with a superkick. Owens leaves the ring, and Rusev is on his own.
Orton gets the tag and he hits a couple of clotheslines, then a power slam. Rusev comes back with a knee but Orton tags him with an exploder suplex. Rusev’s on the apron so it’s Elevated DDT time. Orton is hearing voices, and he coils up for the RKO. Rusev shoves him off and kicks Orton.
Lana comes walking down the ramp, with purpose. She throws a shoe at Summer and spears her down. KC loves it, Rusev hates it. Lana smiles and fixes herself, then walks away. Back in the ring, Cena hits the AA, Cesaro sends him swinging, and out of a slingshot from Cesaro Orton hits the RKO to pick up the victory.
They show Summer selling the Lana attack as the faces celebrate in the ring. Cole hypes Undertaker vs. Lesnar one more time to send the show home.
I guess this is “Book Rusev Poorly” month. The guy goes from having what I considered to be a good feud with John Cena (even if he came up on the short end of it and it went one match too long) to having to face Cena in a title match after working a 20 minute qualifier match, then he gets left to the wolves here with his tag partners exiting like this. Very, very strange booking for a guy that I think has a lot of promise.
This had the feel of a dark main event, given the feel good ending. All the babyfaces got their finishers in, and they got a lot of shine at the end of the match. The live crowd loved all of it, and it was fine for what it was. I think at the core this show was about setting up Taker vs. Lesnar, and the rest of the show wasn’t nearly as important.
And yes, that was the highlight of the night. As I said earlier, the genie is out of the bottle for really recapturing the energy off of Lesnar taking the Streak from Taker, but I am definitely paying attention and interested in where they go with this and what kind of match they come up with. You’ll never get the Streak back, but I’m at least intrigued. I would presume we’ll see the card continue to come together over the coming week.
Drew will be by tomorrow night with Around the Ring – we’re flip-flopping nights – to give his thoughts on this show and talk other things pro wrestling and more. I’ll be by Thursday with my Around the Ring segment with more discussion of the week in wrestling. Thanks for following along tonight.