Around the Ring w/Ring Rap 09/15/2015: A look at WWE Raw heading into Night of Champions, analysis of the Divas Championship Match, how it hurts the title and division, plus more!

iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn RSS | MP3

Drew Koscelek takes the chair for this Tuesday edition of ATR, and talks about:

  • WWE Raw’s Season Premiere
  • How Sting’s Raw debut was mishandled
  • How the Divas Championship match undercuts the division
  • …plus more!

We welcome your feedback!  Let us know what you like and what you’d like to hear!

Be sure to check out our weekly show, Ring Rap Audio! (iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS)

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

You can also follow us on Facebook and Google+!

Continue reading


WWE Monday Night Raw Coverage for 9/14/2015 – The “Season Premiere” Edition, Nikki Bella Defends the Divas Championship Against Charlotte, Prime Time Players vs. New Day for the Tag Team Championship, Miz TV, and More

Tonight and live from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, it’s the “season premiere” edition of Monday Night Raw.  Going head to head against the juggernaut that is Monday Night Football for the first time, Raw features two championship matches.  First, Nikki Bella defends her Divas Championship against Charlotte.  Will Charlotte end Nikki’s record setting run early, or will Nikki break AJ’s title reign record and go on to Night of Champions?  Also, the Prime Time Players take their rematch shot against New Day.  Will New Day hang on to the titles, and who will get the Dudleys at Night of Champions?

Show Open, Live from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN

Standard programming intro welcomes us, then we get a recap of the story between Seth Rollins and Sting.  Rollins accused Sting of stealing his statue and touching the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.   They replay the angle last week where Sting crushed Rollins’ statue in a garbage truck.

“King of Kings” hits and here comes Triple H and Stephanie.  They allegedly have a major announcement for us.  Cole and the commentators check in as the  “power couple” makes their way to the ring.  Stephanie welcomes us to Raw.  Stephanie talks about the past year, running down the list of new talent that has made their impact on Raw.

Hunter says these new stars have risen and will take the WWE into the future.  They will be led by “one man, the man.”  Hunter hypes up Seth Rollins as being the US and WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  “This Sunday, live and only on WWE Network, Seth Rollins has an opportunity to cement his legacy forever.”  Hunter hypes up the title matches against John Cena and Sting.

Stephanie talks about the Divas Revolution, saying that we will see history tonight.  She talks about Nikki’s 295-day title reign and says that Charlotte has rocked the division and “done it with flair.”  She says that either Nikki will break the Divas title reign record or Charlotte will become the Divas champion.

Hunter says “but wait there’s more.”  He hypes Sting’s accolades and says that “for the first time in history” Sting will compete on Raw.  “Tonight, history is made as Sting steps into this ring to go one on one with the world’s largest athlete, the Big Show.”  Hunter says he has just one question for all of us – “Are you ready?  No, Memphis, I said ARE YOU READY?”

Stephanie says the fans better be ready because they’re making history.  “It’s a new season, and it’s a new day.”  Big E bellows out at us to not be sour and feel the power.  Here comes New Day to defend their tag team championship in the first match.  Stephanie dances with Big E and Hunter ponders it at first, then starts dancing too.  That match is next.

This was good hype for those seeing it, but I guarantee given last week’s show there are a TON of people watching the NFL Monday Night Football double header.  This should have been sold better last week as well.  I am betting that the Sting/Big Show match is more an angle than it will be a match, which  is fine.  You don’t want to expose Sting and make him look bad going into the pay per view.  Also, VERY happy to see them get in and get out – the long promos just suck the life out of the show.  Not to mention they heard people chanting “boring” last week.

Match #1 – New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston, c) vs. The Prime Time Players; WWE Tag Team Championship

New Day is still getting down after the break.  The Players get a good reaction as they come out.  In the early action, the Players get the advantage.  Titus hits a leg drop.  Big E comes back with a belly to belly suplex and Kofi tags in.  He does a mini-seal bark.  They show the Dudleys watching on a monitor backstage.

Darren Young gets the tag and he’s on fire.  He hits a nice throw then plays to the fans.  Kofi tries the SOS but Young escapes and tries for the GutCheck.  Kofi escapes and tags to Big E.  Xavier gets on the apron and plays trombone, which lets Kofi trip Young against the ropes.  Big E throws Young to the post and Xavier yells “what happened to you?”  New Day takes over going into the break.

Back live, Darren Young is fighting back against Kofi but gets dumped outside.  Xavier Woods plays a bad rendition of the Pink Panther as he and Big E stalk Young.   Big E and Kofi double team Young at ringside, then Big E goes back to work again, driving Young to the barrier.

The action moves back to the ring.  Young tries to get a tag but Kofi stops him.  Dueling chants for New Day start, and Young hits a weak counter.  Hot tag to Titus and Big E and the action picks up.

Titus tosses Kofi to ringside and hits a big boot on Big E.  Kofi tries a springboard move only to get caught and hit with a series of backbreakers.  Titus plays to the fans and barks then double splashes Kofi and Big E.  He hits a slam for a near fall.

Big E tries the Big Ending, but Titus escapes. Spinebuster from Titus.  Kofi tries for Trouble in Paradise, but misses.  Xavier distracts Titus again, and he rips the trombone apart.  Big E clubs Titus from behind, then he and Kofi team up for the finish.  Afterward, the Dudleys come out and jaw at New Day from the ramp.

The PTP were in a tough spot here.  How do you get them over as a face team when you put them with a team that is more entertaining than they are?  The match was fine though, and a good open to the show.

Cole and Saxton hype up the Divas Championship match, and the Wyatt family appearing on Miz TV.  They run a clip of Sting and Dusty Rhodes defeating the Road Warriors for the NWA Tag Team Championship in the 1980s and hype his match against Big Show for later.

Some good hype for Sting here.  They are making him seem like a big deal and the match feel important.

Backstage, Seth Rollins talks to Hunter and Stephanie.  He talked about their dancing earlier, and Sting’s destroying his trophy last week.  He praises them for booking Sting vs. Big Show, assuming that Show will destroy Sting and solve “one problem” for him.

He asks about Cena and Sheamus.  Hunter tells Rollins he solved his own problem.  He books Cena vs. Sheamus for later.  JBL gushes about Hunter and Stephanie being able to book matches, sing and dance and do anything.  Cole moves it on to talking about the Divas Championship, thankfully.

JBL has gotten really annoying.

Backstage, Renee Young interviews Charlotte and Ric Flair.  Charlotte talks about how great it is to have her father at ringside for her title match tonight.  Flair says that he lives vicariously through his daughter.

Ric calls the Divas Revolution phenomenal and says that they’ve been putting on world class matches.  He says Nikki and Charlotte will put on a world class match and watch them work all night long.  Renee turns back to Charlotte and asks if there’s pressure to end Nikki’s record reign tonight.  She says that her focus is on the title and that the Bella Army will crumble to Natural Selection.  Wooo!

This was fine, but I really need more from Charlotte than her wooing like her father.  The Figure 8 is a nice nod to Ric’s Figure Four, so they need to do more with her character from there.  That’s been an issue across the board with the ladies.  I do think the match will be decent though.

Match #2 – Paige (w/Becky Lynch) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Tamina and Naomi):

The two brawl to start, then Sasha  settles into control of the offense.  She works on Paige’s right arm as the announcers talk about Cena vs. Sheamus and Rollins’ concern over the two of them.  Banks hits her double knee in the buckle for two.  Sasha settles back in to working on the arm.

Sasha charges but Paige side-steps her.  Paige rolls Sasha up, but Sasha rolls through for two.  Paige comes back with a German that lands Sasha hard on her head.  Sasha rolls to ringside.  Paige tries a rolling senton off the apron, but Tamina pulls Sasha out of harm’s way.  Back in the ring, Sasha locks on the Bank Statement for the win.  Afterward, Team BAD teams up on Becky Lynch and Paige to take over the ring.

Not terrible, but not great either.  Better than the normal I would say.  That German suplex was NASTY.  I do like the feud that they’re building between Paige and Sasha Banks, which is beyond the factions and six-woman tags.

They recap the Wyatts taking out Orton on Raw, and Jimmy Uso on Smackdown.  The announcers hype up that we will see the Wyatts on Miz TV, up next.

Horrible planning.  Starting hour 2 with Miz TV, a long talking segment?  That’s not keeping the audience…

Back live, they hype up Connor’s Cure with a video package featuring Connor Michalek.  They mix in Daniel Bryan’s speech at the Hall of Fame among other things.  With the announcers, they note that the sale of a bracelet on will help raise money for Connor’s Cure.

This is a great gesture on behalf of WWE to use their popularity for good.  And, let’s be honest, this stuff brings me to tears.

Miz TV

Miz is in the ring and says he has rubbed elbows with A-listers

The Wyatts come to the ring.  Miz says he appreciates the lighting effect and welcomes them to the show.  Wyatt tells him to not sit down as he is not safe.  “But please, continue your interview.”  Miz assures them he is not Reigns and Ambrose’s partner for “Hell in a Cell” (OOPS!).  He asks Wyatt who Braun Stroman is.

Wyatt tells him that Stroman is here, and he can ask him himself.  Miz asks Stroman who he is, but Wyatt cuts him off and says that Miz always wants the scoop.  Miz asks Wyatt what he wants.  Wyatt says that he wants Miz to suffer.  He wants Reigns and Ambrose to suffer.  He says he has already shown Randy Orton and Jimmy Uso about suffering.  “At Night of Champions, they all fall.”

Roman Reigns’ music hits.  He and Ambrose make their way through the crowd, just the two of them.  The announcers debate where the third man is, putting over Stroman for destroying the two of them over the past couple weeks.  Miz introduces them, but Ambrose grabs Miz and tosses him out of the ring.

Off mic, Reigns says something, then he gets the mic and tells Wyatt he makes Reigns sick.  “You think you’re the king of the world?”  Reigns recalls the Wyatts beating down Orton and Uso.  “You’re gonna pay for that one,” Reigns says.

He tells Wyatt that he has to surround himself with monsters because he can’t get the job done himself.  Reigns recounts their one on one match that ended with Harper interfering, and the tag match that the Wyatts lost at SummerSlam.  “How’d that end, not to well.”  Reigns tells Wyatt that he wants it 3 on 2.

Reigns tells the Wyatts that they found a third man, so it won’t be three on two.  He says it will be three on three “and we’re going to whip ya’ll’s ass.”  Reigns tells the Wyatts that they are bringing the big fight, and will make it a war.  “Believe that.”  Wyatt laughs, the sounder hits, and they vanish.

For what it was, the Miz announcement was really overhyped.  The segment came off well though, with Miz being intimidated by the Wyatts, and Reigns establishing himself on the mic to set up the third man.  There are a lot of options – but Samoa Joe stands out to me for some reason.  It would be a fun payoff on Sunday, but I would rather see some hype for his appearance.

The announcers feed it to footage of Sting defeating Ric Flair for his first World Championship at the 1990 Great American Bash.  They hype Sting vs. Big Show and Cena vs. Sheamus

Match #3 – Sheamus vs. John Cena

Cena leans in to the camera and says “no matter the colors the message is the same.”  Sheamus comes to the ring and confronts a fan who touches him.  Sheamus gets the early advantage while the announcers bicker about the Authority’s role in making this match.

Out of the break Sheamus gets a two count then hits a shoulder block off the top.  He locks in a sleeper but settles in to a chinlock.  Cena starts to fire back with his trademark offense.  He hits the Five Knuckle and loads the AA, but Sheamus escapes and hits an uppercut.

Cena shoots a look of confidence then stalks.  Cena looks for the AA again but Sheamus slides through with a roll-up for two.  He follows with the an attempt into the Cloverleaf, but it’s not really.  Cena breaks it in the ropes.  Cena tries to shake it off on the apron but Sheamus grabs him for Ten Beats of the Battern.  “You will respect the hawk!” Sheamus yells.

Sheamus loads a rolling senton but Cena counters into the STF.  Sheamus drags himself to the ropes to break it.  “Ce-na sucks!” chants start in New Day Style.  Cena lands his own version of the Ten Beats to Sheamus.  Cena loads the AA but Sheamus holds on to the ropes then lands a running high knee.

Sheamus calls for the Brogue as Cena sells.  Cena catches a clothesline instead and both men sell.  A strike exchange ensues mid ring.  Cena loads an AA again, but Sheamus escapes again and hits a suplex for a good near fall.  “What the hell?!”  Sheamus yells.

Sheamus goes top rope looking for the Battering Ram.  Cena sidesteps and looks for the STF, but instead turns it into an electric chair.  He plants Sheamus face first then locks on the STF.  Sheamus powers out and hits a rolling senton, but Cena comes back with the AA for the victory.  Cena plays to the fans.

This was a solid match that the fans seemed to be into.  Very minimal story to build off of here other than two men who are intertwined somehow with the Authority and Seth Rollins going into Sunday.  It’s not always something that’s needed to have a storyline between two talents, but it certainly helps keep interest going.

The announcers hype Night of Champions, saying that it’s the one time a year that every title is defended.  JBL reminds fans that it is available on pay per view, but you can get it on WWE Network for $9.95 rather than the normal pay per view price.  They shill the Network a bit.

They show Nikki Bella warming  up backstage getting ready for her title match.  They hype that she will be the longest reigning Divas Champion at midnight if she wins her match later.

Out of break, they recap the match from Smackdown between Ryback and Seth Rollins, where Kevin Owens cost him the match.

In-Ring Segment:

Ryback is in the ring for a promo.  He says he is proud to stand in the ring as the Intercontinental Champion.  He says it’s fitting that they’re in Memphis, because Kevin Owens thinks he has the Big Guy “all shook up.”  He tries to do his best Elvis but it’s really bad.  Ryback points out that a real champion doesn’t attack from behind.

Kevin Owens’ music hits.  He says he doesn’t mean to interrupt…”oh wait, that’s not true.”  Owens talks about how Ryback said “The Secret” played a big part in Ryback’s life as he returned from injury and tough times in his life.  Owens says that it made him curious and he picked up a copy.

Ryback asks Owens if he can read it, and Owens says he could probably do so better than Ryback.  Owens says that after reading it, he feels sorry for Ryback and all of the other “delusional idiots who believe this garbage.”  Ryback says that the only garbage he sees is Owens.

Owens gets in the ring and says the book is a crutch for weak people.  He says he doesn’t blame Ryback for reading it, but does blame him for being weak.  He says Ryback might be the strongest guy in the locker room but he is also the weakest.

Owens calls it a travesty that someone like Ryback is champion, then throws the book at him.  Ryback laughs and says Owens doesn’t know who he is or what he’s about.  Ryback says he kicks the day in the ass, then goes to bed, says thank you, and wakes up again to say Feed Me More.

Ryback says there are ways to the top of the mountain, and he respects that Owens took the long road – calling his story inspirational.  Ryback admits to getting an elevator ride to the top but he fell on his face once he got  there.  He says he brushed himself off and climbed back to the top of the mountain.

Owens says that when he gets the chance, he will take the title from Ryback and show the world that the Big Guy is nothing more than a little boy.  Ryback says that he went to the Authority.  He says that at Night of Champions every title must be defended, so it will be “Fight Owens Fight” Kevin Owens against “The Big Guy, the Master of Feed Me More, Ryback.” Owens exits, and Ryback plays to the fans with the belt.

This wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t greatness.  It did make me interested in the match on Sunday though.  The book tossing bit ended up being improvised along the way too.

They show a recap of Sting defeating Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Championship.  They point out Big Show (then known as Giant) holding him up.  They hype Sting vs. Big Show for later.

Match #4 – Stardust (w/The Ascension) vs. Neville (w/Lucha Dragons)

Stardust comes out with the Ascension in tow.  Neville comes to the ramp and waits for the Dragons to join him.  They charge the ring and the brawl is on.  The Dragons and Neville get the better of the heels, chasing them to the floor.  Neville sets up a dive, but The Ascension pull him away before the dive can happen.  The faces stare down the Cosmic Wasteland as they escape up the ramp

They air a hype package for Nikki Bella, where she lays claim to becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion in history.  In the video, Nikki says that she gave fans the revolution and carried the division on her back.  That match is next.

Match #5 – Nikki Bella (c, w/ Brie and Alicia Fox) vs. Charlotte (w/Paige and Becky Lynch); WWE Divas Championship

As Charlotte comes out they show a picture of her with her father, Ric, holding the NWA Championship.  Trish Stratus has sent tweets to both women about this match.  Lilian Garcia gives us the in-ring introductions.

Early tie up backs the women into the ropes.  Woo! from the crowd.  Charlotte locks a go-behind and works Nikki to the mat to get a one count.  Charlotte lands a knee drop then uses a leg scissor style suplex a couple times.  Charlotte hits a shoulder block in the corner but Nikki starts to focus on the left arm.

Nikki locks Charlotte’s arm in the ropes and works it over.  The attack continues on the left arm as Nikki drops Charlotte on her arm on the apron.  Nikki poses as we go into break.

Coming out of break, Nikki continues to focus on the arm.  The announcers recap what happened before the break as Nikki locks on an arm bar.  Charlotte powers Nikki up and drops her to break the hold.  Both women sell in the ring.  Charlotte starts to fire up with chops and shots.  She hits a big boot for two.

Nikki goes back to the arm again, but Charlotte comes back with a back breaker.  Nikki cuts off a spear with a drop kick to the shoulder.  She follows with a face plant on her knee for two.  Cole hypes that Nikki has had her critics but she has proven them wrong.

Nikki tries for the Alabama Slam but Charlotte counters with a roll-up.  Charlotte hits the spear, and chaos breaks loose.  In the scrum, the Bellas try playing Twin Magic.  Charlotte rolls Brie up and the official doesn’t realize it.  Pinfall…1…2…3….Charlotte has won?!

PCB celebrates in the ring, and Ric Flair runs out to celebrate as well.  Cue the Authority.  Stephanie McMahon comes to the stage.  She says she hates to interrupt, but she has to “preserve the integrity of the Divas Division.”   She tells Charlotte that when Brie laid hands on Charlotte, Nikki should have been disqualified.

Stephanie continues.  She says that Charlotte won by disqualification but the title will remain with Nikki.  Nikki starts celebrating, but Stephanie tells her to not get too carried away.  She tells Nikki Charlotte will get a rematch at Night of Champions, and if Nikki loses by pinfall, submission, disqualification or count out, she will lose the title.

The Bellas celebrate and taunt Charlotte, who looks despondent in the ring.

This was good, but I saw this finish a mile away.  Charlotte did a good job selling the emotions of winning to the disappointment of losing the title because of the finish.  that adds to the title’s value.  This finish sucked pretty hard and as Drew said “this is why we can’t have nice things.”  I guess it’s how you get to the rematch on Sunday.  Now, let’s see if we get some legit heel gloating out of Nikki.

Match #6 – Rusev (w/Summer Rae) vs. Cesaro:

They discuss the love triangle drama as Rusev comes to the ring.  Early on they talk about the strength of the two men.  Cesaro and Rusev trade some early arm bars, then Rusev settles in to a reverse headlock.  Cesaro runs the ropes and hits a leg scissor that sends Rusev to the mat.

Later, Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring.  He offers a gift to Summer Rae, which she refuses.  Dolph puts it ont he announce table and walks away.  Off the distraction, Cesaro rolls up Rusev for the win.  Afterward, Ziggler hits Rusev with a superkick.  Summer grabs the package and helps Rusev to the back.  The announcers hype their Night of Champions match.

Point blank, that was shit.  Cesaro has been on a streak of losing big matches, which they could tell a great story off of.  In this case, he loses because Dolph Ziggler brought Summer Rae a gift.  Seriously?

They run a video package highlighting WWE’s work with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  They show a young lady who was recently declared cancer free in the audience.

Bacsktage, they show Seth Rollins talking to Big Show.  Rollins is smiling as we go to break.

After the break, the announcers recap what happened with Summer Rae and Rusev.  Rusev is pissed backstage and storms to his locker room.  Summer opens the gift and smiles.  Rusev then demands she join him and she hides the gift quickly.

The announcers recap the tag team championship match from the open of the show, and hype the Dudleys vs. New Day for Sunday.  They move on to run down the rest of the Night of Champions card.

Ring Rap will preview the Night of Champions card on Saturday’s show so be sure to watch for that release. The full Ring Rap crew will be by for that.

Bacsktage, Triple H and Stephanie talk about the Divas Championship, with Hunter saying he can’t wait for the match on Sunday.  Big Show enters, and Stephanie says all anyone has talked about tonight is Sting,  but after the match they will be talking about Big Show.  Hunter calls him the problem solver, and Sting is the problem.

They again recap the moment where Sting destroyed Seth Rollins’ statue last week to end Raw.  They hype Sting vs. Big Show for next.

Back live, they show Hunter and Stephanie at ringside.  The announcers hype it as “a momentous match” for them to be at ringside.  Big Show makes his entrance, then there’s a long pregnant pause.  Sting’s music hits to a good reaction.  He does his yell from the stage, which gets returned by the fans.

Match #7 – Sting vs.  Big Show:

Cole hypes the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Seth Rollins as Sting makes his way to the ring.  Sting plays to the fans, then Lilian Garcia gives us the in-ring introductions.

Sting jumps on Show early, landing shots.  Show tries to splash Sting in the corner but he gets out of the way and starts firing away.  Sting lands ten corner punches off the buckle as JBL mentions that Sting got a start in Memphis.  Show goozles Sting but Sting coutners to a DDT.

Sting stays on the offense, attacking Show with kicks.  He hits Show with the Stinger Splash, and here comes Seth Rollins.  This match is over as Rollins attacks Sting.  He and Show try to work over Sting until John Cena runs out for the save.  Cena dumps Rollins to ringside, then he and Sting team up on Show.  Show ducks out of the ring, and Rollins tries to jump Sting from behind.  He turns around, and Rollins rolls back out.

Hunter says we’ve had enough controversy for one night.  He books this into a tag team match, starting right now.  Well…after the commercial break.

Match #8 – Big Show and Seth Rollins vs. John Cena and Sting

Back live, we’re into the match.  Cena lands hands but Show lands a shoulder block.  Cena sells for Show, taking a slam as Show jaws at Sting.   Cena tries to pick Show up, but can’t get it done.  Show lands a big headbutt as Cena continues to sell.  Rollins tags in and lands the boots to Cena.

Rollins agitates Sting, only to run into Cena backdropping Rollins all the way to the floor.  Show got the tag though and he continues to control Cena with slow and plodding offense.  Cena tries to load the AA on Show, but can’t get him up.  Rollins hits a driveby kick on Cena.

Top of the hour, so Cole gives us a reset of the show.  Cena gets some separation, but can’t get the tag.  He continues to sell for Show as Show taunts Sting.  Show hits a Vader Bomb off the second rope for two.  Show argues that it was three but it’s not.

Rollins tags in and he taunts Cena and Sting.  Cena turns him inside out with a clothesline but Rollins gets the tag to Show first.  Show sets up another splash, but Cena rolls out of the way.    Hot tags and here we go.

Sting fires off on Rollins, hitting a pair of Stinger Splashes and a running bulldog. Show interjects, and Cena loads the AA on Show.  He connects, and Show rolls out of the ring.  Rollins tries to set Cena up for the Pedigree, but Sting grabs Rollins and hits the Scorpion Death Drop.  Sting follows up with the Scorpion Death Lock to get the submission victory.

Cole hypes that if Sting and Cena hit their moves, title changes could happen.  Saxton says this isn’t what the Authority expected to happen.  Stephanie and Hunter tend to Rollins, who is limp against the announce table.  Sting and Cena play to the fans.  Sting and Cena jaw at Rollins as the show ends.

I expected a bigger reaction for Sting, especially with his Memphis roots.  Then again, maybe that’s something that a lot of folks don’t really know about his career at this point – especially casual fans.  With Sting going up against the hated Rollins on Sunday, I would have expected more of a reaction.  This could be two-fold…a foregone conclusion in most people’s minds that Rollins will win, or perhaps just some of the traditional three hour burnout.

I was actually glad to NOT see Rollins do a lot of talking tonight.  I think he’s doing a fine job, it just danced over the line of being repetitive and overexposed.  You don’t want to do that to a strong talent, or the crowd will turn on them or create “go away” heat.

The overall Sting hype fell a bit short with me.  They made it seem like Sting has never been on Raw, but we’ve seen him interact during Wrestlemania season in angles on Raw, and we saw him work Wrestlemania against Triple H.  It’s a fair point to say that the “moment many didn’t think would happen” is true because it is.  But to truly do this right, they should have sold it LAST WEEK, when they really didn’t do much to hype anything for tonight beyond title matches.  So my feeling is mixed on this.

Overall, this show was “above average.”  The finish of the Divas Championship left a sour taste in my mouth, even though I get why they were doing it.  New Day is still entertaining as hell.  But the overall hype going to Night of Champions felt lacking in the end.  A good Raw broadcast, but not a good go-home show I guess is where I leave it.

Drew and I at a minimum will be by on Saturday to preview Night of Champions on Ring Rap Audio, and in the meantime Drew will hit you with more Raw thoughts on Around the Ring tomorrow.  I’ll be back with ROH on Wednesday and my own Around the Ring on Thursday.  Thanks for following along tonight.


WWE Officially Announces Signing of Japanese Female Wrestler to NXT

Today via their website, WWE has announced that they have signed another Japanese talent.  Kana (a/k/a Kanako Urai) has joined the roster officially.  She made a brief appearance on camera at the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event, seated with Ric Flair and others.  Triple H commented on the signing by saying:

“We are very excited to have Kana join the NXT roster.  Her exciting in-ring style will make an immediate impact on the already impressive NXT women’s division.”

Kana also gave an interview to Sporting News regarding the decision to sign now.  She said that she has been in the business for ten years, and felt that she has accomplished almost everything there is to accomplish.  “I was looking for a new challenge and when the opportunity came up with WWE, the timing just felt right.”

The WWE story notes that Kana will be reporting to Orlando and the Performance Center later this month, so it shouldn’t be a long wait before we see the newest Diva appear on NXT television.   You can read much more on the story by following both provided links.




WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 9/7/2015 – Seth Rollins in a Jam, Charlotte Gets Her Shot Early?, Wyatts Continue to Dominate Reigns and Ambrose, and More

Raw rolls in to Baltimore, MD tonight on this Labor Day edition.  The show ended last week with Seth Rollins being put in a jam.  He has to defend both his titles now at Night of Champions in two separate matches.  Will Sting appear and cause him a headache?  Will John Cena somehow get the better of Rollins?  Also, it’s being teased that the #1 Contender to the Divas Championship – Charlotte – might get her shot on tonight’s show.  Will they go through with it, or will it end up in a convoluted mess?

The Wyatts and Reigns and Ambrose will surely continue their story, as will the love triangle mess of Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Lana and Summer Rae.  The Dudleys will also be looking to testify, and break tables.  Night of Champions is two weeks away, as well.

Show Open, Live from Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD

Standard programming intro videos hit, then Michael Cole welcomes us to the Labor Day edition of Raw.  Immediately, Seth Rollins’ music hits and he comes out to a chorus of boos.  Cole resets that Stephanie McMahon put Rollins in a spot last week, then they hype Rollins vs. Sting and Rollins vs. Cena.

Rollins calls for a reality check and says that he is special.  He says he’s not just ordinary special. Short bus special?  He clarifies that he is once in a lifetime special.  He says that before him no one had the guts to cash in Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania.  “Before me, every single one of you believed Brock Lesnar was invincible.”  He says that people wanted to see someone knock Cena off the top of the WWE Mountain.  Mixed reaction.  He says that’s what he did at SummerSlam, being the first man to carry both the WWE Heavyweight and US Championships at the same time.

He calls it greatness and says Baltimore isn’t familiar with greatness.  Well, they are when the Steelers come to town.  Anyhow.  Rollins talks about the statue that was made for him, saying it inspired so much jealousy that a face painted freak….”  Baltimore wants Sting, and Rollins waits them out.  “You and I both.”  Rollins accuses Sting of stealing his statue two weeks ago.  He also “put his little filthy hands on this.”

“Sting, be careful what you wish for.”  He tells Sting he has an opportunity to validate his career, but Rollins has the chance to crush his legacy.  Rollins says he will do that, and make sure Sting never gets his hands on the title ever again.  He continues, saying that last week it became apparent that at Night of Champions that every title will have to be defended.  A “boring” chant gets some traction and Rollins says that he could go on all night.

He accuses Cena for politicking his way into a rematch for the US Championship.  He admits to being upset at first and says he searched for a solution.  “Guys, I’m Seth Rollins.  In case you didn’t hear me, I’m Seth Freaking Rollins.”  He says Night of Champions will be his night because he will defend his titles against “two future first ballot Hall of Famers.”  He says he will turn them into opportunities.  He says he will own Sting, John Cena, his legacy, his generation, “and if it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to get my statue back.”

He says the statue wasn’t stolen just from him, but from the fans.  He says the fans deserve to see it on the stage, next to the commentators, and in the Authority’s office.  He says they deserve to see it everywhere.

The crow flies by and Sting appears on the Tron.  The camera pans back and Sting has the statue with him.  Sting says that Rollins is the man, a man without a statue.  Sting tells Rollins that he’s here, and the statue is here.  Rollins can come and get it.  Sting tells Rollins he is taking good care of it, and dusts it off with a duster.  “Come and get it.”  Screen goes dark.

Sheamus’ music hits and he comes to the stage.  Sheamus tells Seth he looks agitated, and Baltimore tells him he looks stupid.  Sheamus asks if it’s about his two matches and Rollins says he’s not worried about either match, or Sheamus.  Rollins says he has a statue to go rescue.  Sheamus asks if he realizes how stupid he sounds, and Seth retorts that he looks stupid.  Babyface move.  Rollins tells Sheamus to get to the point.

Sheamus holds the briefcase up and says that’s his point.  He could make his point tonight, on Smackdown, or at Night of Champions.  “Seth, if you miraculously win both your matches, you could have a third – against me.”  Cole hypes that Rollins is in an unenviable position.

Cole moves over to talk about the love triangle situation and hypes that we’ll hear from Summer Rae in a “Summer Time Sadness” segment where she will apologize to Rusev.  I’m sad hearing about that.  Then they show Team PCB backstage, and Paige gets Sasha Banks, next.

I like Rollins a lot.  But those boring chants are not surprising.  He is a good promo, but he gets overexposed in long talking segments.  He can fill the time, and he played the chants off well, but it ends up turning into too much of a good thing.  I blame a lot of that on the three hour format though.

Backstage, Stephanie is checking her phone.  So much for no Authority tonight.  Rollins barges in and talks about Sting and Sheamus trying to get in his head.  He asks if Triple H is in the building.  Stephanie talks briefly about the situation, then Rollins asks again if Hunter is in the building.

Hunter is behind him – oh fucking great, definitely a strong Authority presence tonight.  Hunter tells Rollins to not worry because he’s the man.  He tells Rollins that Sheamus will have his hands full with Randy Orton, which drew an audible live crowd groan.  He tells Rollins that Sting is trying to get under his skin, but he needs to focus on his title matches.

Hunter goes on and books two matches for Rollins.  He says this is to prepare him for the two matches at Night of Champions.  He says Rollins will face Ryback in a champion vs. champion match, then Rollins will team with New Day to face Prime Time Players and John Cena.

Stephanie smiles, and says she was going to tell Rollins to go after Sting, but Hunter’s plan is better.  Rollins didn’t look thrilled about it, but they pumped him up and told him he’s the man.

Match #1 – Paige (w/Charlotte and Becky Lynch) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi and Tamina)

Early going, Paige gets some offense in but Sasha takes over going into the break.  Back live, Paige hits a Thesz Press and unloads some shots but Sasha takes back over.  Tamina gets a cheap shot in on Paige while Sasha has the official distracted.  Sasha yanks Paige off the ropes as she tries for a move a bit later.

Paige throws a kick then sidesteps a charge.  She follows with a knee and covers for two.   Paige tries a slam, but Sasha counters and tries a running cross body.  Paige counters and tries to set up the RamPaige, but Sasha slips away and rolls to ringside.  Paige takes out Tamina.

Back in the ring, Paige hits a wheelbarrow into a German suplex for two.  Paige steps through and tries to set up the PTO, but Naomi and Tamina get in the ring.  Banks uses a small package to get the victory.  The heels gloat on the ramp while Paige, Charlotte, and Becky talk in the ring.

The action was fine here, but Baltimore didn’t seem to into it.  A huge part of it is the convoluted booking.  Hopefully the budding frustration from Paige leads to the factions starting to split off.  They just aren’t working.

Cole hypes that Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are in action, next.

Match #2 – Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. The Ascension.

The Ascension get the jobber entrance.  As Reigns and Ambrose come to the ring under one entrance – Roman Reigns’ music and through the crowd – the commentators recap the challenge issued by the Wyatts on Smackdown.

Ambrose starts off with some offense then tags in Reigns.  The Legion of Cosmic Wasteland work over Reigns in the corner.  Reigns hits a Samoan drop but ends up at ringside.  Ambrose hits a suicide dive and Reigns hits his driveby kick.  Reigns follows with a back suplex and a series of corner clotheslines.  Baltimore can count to ten!

Superman punch from Reigns, then a tag.  Time for the Doomsday Device.  Reigns spears Konnor, Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Viktor, and they win.  The announcers hype that the two of them need a partner.  Here comes Wyatt to cut in.

Stroman tells them it’s okay to be afraid, as he is their destruction.  Wyatt tells him to take this as a warning, and to anyone who is foolish to join them.  The apocalypse is coming.  Harper tells them to run.

I like it that Reigns and Ambrose went over strong here.  The past couple weeks, the pair has been dominated pretty badly by Stroman and the Wyatts, so you need to get their fans excited so giving Reigns and Ambrose a strong win here is good.  Stroman still needs to work on his facial expressions.

Backstage, Ryback cuts a promo talking about the match against Seth Rollins, up next.  He emphasizes he is a fighting champion, but calls Rollins a weasel.

Enter Kevin Owens.  He says he wants to wish Ryback luck.  Ryback thanks him but calls him full of crap.  Owens says whatever, and tells Ryback that he hopes he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew.

I like the idea of a Ryback/Owens feud for the IC Championship.  I think Ryback is doing a fine job so far as the IC Champion – while not lighting the world on fire – but Owens would be a better pick and could be a better champion.  Not to mention needing key wins.

They move on to talk about the angle between Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Lana, and Summer Rae.  They dedicate a fully produced video package for this.  Yes, they invested several minutes into this.

Coming out of break, we get hype for the Stone Cold Podcast, up next after Raw and featuring Edge and Christian.

Match #3 – Ryback  (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Seth Rollins (US and WWE World Heavyweight Champion); Champion vs. Champion (non-title)

Rollins ducks out right off the go and says he wants none of this match.    Ryback paces, then gets a shot in on Rollins.  He rolls out for a powder again.  Ryback settles in to the offense in the early going.  Rollins starts to get some shots in along the way.

Ryback hits a Thesz press and lands some shots.  Off the ropes, Ryback lands a big chop.  Big whip across the ring into the corner  by Ryback.  He lands some shots and chops in the corner, then a delayed vertical suplex for two.

Rollins starts to land some shots on Ryback and taunts him.  Ryback comes back with a gorilla press, and Rollins rolls to ringside.  Ryback gives chase, but Rollins ducks in the ring and kicks Ryback.  Rollins tries a dive but Ryback catches him.  Ryback sets up to drive him into the post, but Rollins slips away and drives Ryback into the post.  Rollins throws him into the stairs going to break.

Rollins is on Ryback’s back out of break.  Ryback tries a charge but takes the ring post instead.  Rollins follows with a neckbreaker for two.  Rollins settles in with a headlock as the announcers talk about Sting telling Rollins if he wants the statue to come and get it.  Ryback lands a haymaker right but Rollins comes back with a springboard knee for two.

Rollins charges the corner and taunts some more.  Another charge, but Ryback comes back with a back body drop.  The fans start to rally behind Ryback a bit.  Ryback fires back with a shoulder tackle, but Rollins tries to set the Pedigree.  Ryback counters and tries for a powerbomb, but Rollins counters.  Moments later, Ryback gets the powerbomb for two.

Ryback goes top rope and Rollins meets him to try a superplex.  Ryback fights him off and tries the splash but misses, giving Ryback a two count.  Rollins uses a sliding kick to send Ryback to ringside.  Ryback gets on the apron and Seth knees him back to the floor.  Rollins hits a suicide dive and the count starts a third time.

Every time Ryback gets to the ring, Rollins knocks him down.  Fourth time’s a charm, and Ryback hits Rollins with a spinebuster in the ring.  Ryback sets up the Meathook and delivers.  Ryback tries to load Shellshocked but Rollins slips away.  Rollins hits an enzugiri.

Sting appears and tells Rollins he’s here and he’s waiting.  Off the distraction, Ryback hooks a small package and gets the win.  Ryback rolls out and retrieves his belt from the fan he gave it to in the beginning.  JBL says Rollins was robbed.

Sting appears on the Tron again.  He pulls out a mask, then puts it on the statue.  Rollins flips out, yelling that Sting is defacing his property.  Rollins throws a fit in the ring as Cole hypes the main event.  JBL hypes Orton vs. Sheamus for later.

Right now, the Sting mind games haven’t felt all that compelling.  It’s almost like we’re seeing too much from him, if that makes any sense?  Going into Wrestlemania, we needed a promo from Sting, but this time it feels like it should be a “less is more” approach.  Silent and brooding Sting might have worked better here.

Monday Night Football starts next Monday, and right now WWE isn’t giving us any sort of strong hook for next Monday to keep viewers interested.  It’s not good when the live crowd is chanting “boring” through segments.  I’m scratching my head right now.

Backstage, Seth Rollins is yelling and looking for Sting and his statue.  Enter New Day, telling him to not be sour and feel the power.  New Day Rocks.  Rollins asks why he said why and tells them he has a lot on his  plate.  Enter Edge and Christian.

Edge asks Rollins if he remembers the last time they crossed paths, saying that Rollins had his goon squad beat him and Christian down then tried to paralyze him.  Rollins insists that he did what he had to to get the Authority back in power and assumed Edge would understand as the “ultimate opportunist.”

Edge says he does, but invites Rollins to try again right now.  Rollins gets frustrated and yells he has a lot on his plate and leaves.  Woods says he has been waiting for this and plays a few notes on the trombone.  He says “battle.”  Christian says you can’t have a battle without a kazoo.  He and Edge do “New Day Sucks.”

Big E grabs the kazoo, chews on it, then slams it to the ground.  The Dudleys show up.  Bubba says that New Day will defend the titles against Prime Time Players next week, then The Dudleys get the winner.  New Day says they have plans and are leaving.  Edge and Christian and the Dudleys do a “get the tables” song.

That’s not the hot match I was hoping to see next week, but it is a hook.  I am also good with the Dudleys getting a straight up match rather than a triple threat – at least it seems that way.

Summer Rae makes her way to the ring, and we’ll see her “Summer Sadness” segment next.

In-Ring Segment:

They air the same promo package from earlier about the love triangle.  Summer cuts a promo, saying that it has been the most horrific week of her life.  She says that Rusev is the victim in this situation, and she needs to apologize to Rusev.  She asks him to come to the ring, and he obliges.

Summer puts Rusev over, and brags about how she has done so much for him.  “I’ve tried to get my body in condition to your liking.”  She hypes her photo shoot in Iron Man Magazine and shows some of it on the screen.  She writes some fan fiction about Dolph being in the shower, and cries.  She says she betrayed him.

Rusev agrees that she did, “You betrayed me, but I accept your apology.”  He calls her “my sweet submissive Summer” and says that it’s Dolph Ziggler’s fault as to what happened.  Rusev says that Lana isn’t there because she broke her wrist, but he claims it is because Dolph broke her heart.  He says he would never make Lana feel like Ziggler has.

Ziggler makes his entrance, and says that Lana said last night that Rusev never makes her feel like Ziggler does.  Some “ooh!” for that.  Rusev barks at Ziggler about tending to Lana and Ziggler says he has checked in on her a couple of times last night.  He says Lana told him to give Rusev a message.  “She told me to give that overgrown circus ape with a bikini wax a message.”  Dolph tosses his mic at Rusev and superkicks him.  Dolph lands some shots but Rusev rolls out.  He and Summer retreat as Ziggler stares them down from the ring.

The fans were chanting “boring” all over this while Summer was talking and deservedly so.  It’s bad, and it’s a bad use of Ziggler and Rusev.  Will WWE listen, or just plod on along, laughing with the audience of one who thinks this is awesome.

Backstage, Randy Orton is talking to Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.  Orton gets Sheamus, next.

Match #4 – Randy Orton vs. Sheamus:

The early offense is slow and plodding.  Sheamus rolls out once to stall, then gets back in the ring.  Another offensive exchange ends up sending Sheamus back to ringside agiain.

Sheamus grabs a mic and yells “what is the matter with you people?  I do not…”  Orton turns him around and hits a back suplex onto the barrier. Back inside, Orton lands an uppercut and ten punches off the buckle.  Sheamus counters with an atomic drop but eats a drop kick from Orton.

Outside the ring, Sheamus is frustrated.  Orton tries a clothesline, but Sheamus duck and hits an Irish Curse backbreaker going to break.

Back live, Sheamus controls the offense.  He yells “You will respect the hawk!”   No, it still looks stupid.  Orton starts to fire up some offense of his own.  He gets Sheamus in the ropes and tries to hit the elevated DDT but Sheamus counters to the Ten Beats of the Battern.

Sheamus goes top rope and hits the Battering Ram for a two count.  Sheamus hits a knee but Orton lands a powerslam for two.   Sheamus locks on the Cloverleaf.  Sheamus taunts and demands he tap, but Orton breaks it in the bottom rope.

Late,  Orton hits the elevated DDT.  He goes for the RKO but Sheamus hits White Noise instead.  Sheamus insists it should have been three.  Orton tried an RKO, but Sheamus rolled him up for two.  Orton came right back with the RKO for the win.

We get the Wyatt cut in.  The lights go out, and they show up at ringside to surround Orton.  Harper kicks him and the family beats him down.  Harper feeds Orton in to Stroman, who uses that choke hold to take Orton out.    He follows with an awkward looking torture rack slam.  Wyatt kneels next to Orton and poses to some heat.  “Follow the buzzards!”

The fans were pretty quiet for this.  If Orton got on offense, they popped for him and his spots, but aside from taunting Sheamus with “you look stupid” they didn’t have much to say.  This feud has no life left – it’s beyond overexposed…even more than Miley Cyrus’ boobs.

The post match angle was good though.  Made a lot of sense if they want to pair Orton with Reigns and Ambrose for Night of Champions.

Back live, the announcers recap what just went down prior to the break.  Time to go to Dudleyville!

Match #5 – The Dudleys vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torit0)

Early on, the Matadores get in some offense.  Matadore clubs his own teammate and knocks him from the apron.  The other Matadore gets upset and El Torito yells from ringside.  Matadore turns around into 3D and it’s over.

After the match, Matadore is upset, and roughs up El Torito.  The Dudleys return, rough up one  of the Matadores at ringside, then hit the Bubba Bomb through a table in the ring.  Oh my brother, testify!  The Dudleys celebrate at ringside.

Typical squash to get the Dudleys some shine.  I’m fine with it.  Are they teasing the breaking up of the Matadores, or are we going to just get a full dose of El Torito getting revenge?

Back live, they tell us Rusev vs. Ziggler will happen again at Night of Champions.  They move into recapping the pre-show angle between Miz and Cesaro that sets up this next match.

Match #6 – The Miz vs. Cesaro:

Cesaro roughs Miz up early.  He catches Miz and hits a tilt-o-whirl back breaker.  Upper cut train gets the wheels rolling briefly, but Miz ducks out to get a break.  Cesaro grabs JBL’s hat and hits another one against the barrier  then plays to the fans.

Back in the ring, Miz lands a kick and works the midsection.  He runs Cesaro into the barrier a couple times out by the ramp.  Here comes Big Show, and Miz runs like a scared school girl.   He and Show run around the ring a bit, and the match ends in a double count out.

As Show leaves, he hits Cesaro with the WMD Punch and heads up the ramp.

Cole shows the BellaTron, with Nikki only seven days and some odd hours and minutes left to become the longest reigning Divas champion.  She’ll be out next.

In-Ring Segment:

The Bellas and Alicia Fox come to the ring.  Alicia and Brie give Nikki a big build up introduction.  Nikki asks if we can feel it.  No, I can’t feel your fake boobs.  She says the “Bella Army” is counting down the days and minutes to her becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion.

Nikki says that she will re-write the history books and invites everyone to a “Bellabration.”  She tells everyone to get their Bella gear and party with them, and bottles will be popping.  Charlotte’s music hits, and Team PCB makes their way to the ring.

Charlotte takes the mic.  She says they love a party, but they weren’t invited.  Charlotte says that she went to the Authority and they granted her petition.  She will get her match next Monday, beat “that clock,” and take the Divas Championship.

The brawl is on.  PCB sends the Bellas from the ring.  Becky hits Alicia with what looked like a t-bone suplex, then Paige feeds Nikki back in.  Charlotte hits a spear and locks on the Figure 8.  The announcers hype up that if she does that next week, Nikki will lose the title.

I like that there is now some surrounding intrigue to the match.  I thought they would end up coasting into Nikki beating the run because they would just have Nikki defend at Night of Champions.  Now, there’s intrigue – will Charlotte cut it off, or will Nikki make it?  This match means a hell of a lot more if Nikki is a true heel though.

Match #7 – John Cena and the Prime Time Players vs. New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E w/Xavier Woods) and Seth Rollins

Faces first, then the heels.  Barking and jawing ensues in the ring between all the team members.   The announcers hype up the matches that will happen at Night of Champions during the entrances.  Xavier plays us a tune on the trombone as things get started.

Rollins teases working with Cena, then tags in Big E.   Early power exchanges back and forth between Cena and Big E.  They try shoulder blocks on each other.  Cena hits one, then tries a second but Big E catches him and plants him.  Rollins tags in, puts the boots to Cena a bit, then tags Kofi in.  Big E helps him with a whip move that puts the boots to Cena again.  Two count.  Xavier Woods plays us a tune going to break.

New Day and Rollins controlled the action through the break.  Cena takes a cross body from Kofi for two as we come back live.  Woods is still talking.  Kingston hits the SOS for two.  Tag out to Big E, who goes for a splash but Cena backdrops him to the floor instead.  Baltimore has woken up now.

Rollins gets the tag and hits a knee for two.  Darren Young breaks the fall up.  Cena continues to sell as the heels beat down Cena in the corner.   Big E scoops Cena up for a side slam, but dances with him first.  Cena continues to sell for the heels.

Cena gets the hot tag to Titus.  He starts his flurry with a big boot.  Rollins gets involved and takes a side slam on the apron from Young.   Seal barking and a big splash from Titus.  Woods taunts but gets gut checked by Young.  Titus ends up taking a belly to belly.

Hot tags.  Cena tries the AA, but Rollins lands on his feet.  Cena teases the Pedigree, but Cena trips him and locks in the STF.  Rollins struggles toward the corner and gets the tag to Kofi.  Kofi hits a cross body but Cena rolls it through and hits the AA.  Cena and the PTP win. The announcers recap it for us after showing a despondent Rollins who lost both his matches tonight.

The PTP and Cena do the “millions of dollars” dance and play to fans.  Rollins is still upset, and he crawls into the ring.  JBL says this isn’t what Rollins had in mind, but it might be what the Authority had in mind.  The crow flies by again.

“Rough night, huh Seth?  And you never came to get this?”  He says there’s something else he has to show Rollins and demands the lights brought up.  There’s a trash truck.  “Man, it stinks.”   Sting asks for them to start their motors, and dumps the statue into it.  Rollins is furious, and Sting jumps on the garbage truck as it rolls away.

Rollins throws a fit in the  ring.  JBL says “that painted up freak stole  his statue and destroyed it.”  Baltimore tells Rollins goodbye as Rollins grabs his belts and poses on the announce table.  Cole gives us a shill for the Stone Cold Podcast, which is happening next.  We get a shot of them getting ready as Raw ends.

New Day made this fun, but that’s also a danger.  Exchanging words with the “Podcast about Nothing” boys (@PANPodcast), it’s that dangerous territory of being so good at being bad that the gimmick gets them over as faces.  This match was what it was – nothing really all that memorable ultimately, but it sent the fans home happy.

This was a long night.  WWE mentioned in the hype for next week that it’s “the season premiere” seeing as they’re going up against Monday Night Football, but there was no good solid hype or hook to really tune in.  The tag team championship should be fine, and the women’s match has some intrigue, but let’s be honest – that’s not enough.  The NFL (my disdain for it aside) is a juggernaut, and will OWN WWE through the fall.

And what’s really crazy?  They know it’s coming!  Since I’ve been writing on, I can’t recall a year where WWE has done a great job of setting a hook for the first show going up against Monday Night Football.  Just seems like they plan to roll over and die on Monday Nights and trust the Network and other programming to carry enough interest.

Drew will be by with Around the Ring tomorrow to break down this show and talk about other things in wrestling.  I’ll be back with Ring of Honor on Wednesday, and my own Around the Ring segment on Thursday.  Send me questions for ATR – @Bill_SoonerFan – and I’ll do my best to address them on the air.  Thanks for reading along tonight.


WWE Monday Night Raw Live Report for 8/31/2015 – Sting Appears to Address Seth Rollins, Follow-up on The Dudleys Returning, Divas “Beat the Clock” Challenge, More

Raw rolls in to Tampa, FL and chases away Tropical Storm Erika this week.  Last week we saw two surprise returns.  The Dudleys are back in WWE, and it appears they have their sights set on the new tag team champions, The New Day.  Will they make their presence felt tonight?  Also, Sting shocked a lot of people and interrupted Seth Rollins’ statue ceremony.  Looks like Sting will take his shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Night of Champions.  What does Sting have to say?  A Divas “Beat the Clock” challenge is being advertised, where the winner will get a shot at Nikki Bella’s Divas Championship at Night of Champions as well.  Who will emerge victorious?

Show Open, Live from the Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

We get a recap of last week’s show closing, where Sting was under the “statue” cover and attacked Seth Rollins.  Sting held up the title afterward, and he will get his shot at Night of Champions.  They run the Raw open and pyro goes off.  Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton check in and run down the previously announced matches to give them some hype.  They put some focus on the Divas “Beat the Clock” challenge, the Dudleys taking on New Day, and Ryback defending the Intercontinental Championship against Big Show.

Sting’s music hits and he heads out to the ring.  He stops on the stage and howls for the fans, who popped big for him, and makes the walk down the ramp.  Sting says that Triple H took him to his limit at Wrestlemania, and he knows he pushed Triple H to his.  Sting says that no matter what, he will have respect for Hunter.

Odd line there.  Babyface Sting, feuding with heel Rollins who is a part of heel Authority run by heel Triple H, praising heel Hunter?  I guess they could be trying to set up tension between Rollins and Hunter…

Sting continues, saying Rollins is no Triple H.  He complains about how Rollins has held on to the title, calling it an injustice for Rollins to think he should be mentioned in the same breath as legends like Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant and Ultimate Warrior.  Sting talks about having won titles all over the world, but the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has always eluded him.  He says that will change at Night of Champions, when the last chapter of his career is written and he beats Rollins for the title.

Sting says that Triple H was man enough to shake hands after he beat Sting at Mania.  He says he will prove that Rollins on his best day is not half the man Hunter is.  Sting says he will prove that Rollins is not a man, but a little boy living in his world, and he is now in for one heck of a ride.

The delivery was fine, but it felt like a real “kiss Hunter’s ass” segment.  It did nothing to really push the NOC match between the two.  I will say I think there is some story there, but this didn’t fit the overall narrative – especially with all the crap that went down at Wrestlemania with DX and the NWO and what not.

Backstage, Seth Rollins vents to Stephanie McMahon about Sting’s promo.  Rollins boasts about his bigger wins as champion and scoffs at Sting saying he doesn’t belong with legends.  Rollins says that he is better than anyone when he is in the ring.

Stephanie points out that Sting says that Rollins isn’t half the man Hunter is.  Stephanie agrees with Sting on this, but adds that she hopes Rollins gets to that point.  “With all due respect, they build statues for legends,” Rollins says.  He asks where his is, and she tells him to go ask Sting.

Why do I feel right now like they’re moving to the next feud for Rollins, rather than focusing on the match with Sting?  There’s money in that match, and WWE is missing out to jump ahead to what seems like Rollins vs. Hunter in the somewhat near future.  Let’s see if we find a purpose for this one.

Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring with Lana for the first match.

Match #1 – Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) vs. Rusev (w/Summer Rae):

They show a shot of Dolph and Lana at Disney Land.  She has her hair down – not something we’re used to seeing.  Lana has leather on this week over what looks like a denim top and skirt.  Early on in this one, Rusev dumps Ziggler to ringside as we go to a commercial.

Back live, Rusev locks in a bear hug.  Ziggler fights out and hits a superkick, then the fight spills to ringside.  Rusev gets run into the ring steps when Dolph sidesteps a charge.  The official starts the count, and both men beat it.

Rusev isn’t happy with this development.  He kicks Ziggler, makes a face, then stomps on his back.  Rusev sets up the Accolade but Ziggler gets up. He tries a superkick but Rusev catches it.  Ziggler hits Zig Zag and has the cover, but Summer runs in for the DQ.  Lana attacks Summer after the match, but the men separate the ladies.  Dolph and Lana kiss on the stage afterward.

Well, we’re off to a bit of a sluggish start.  And full disclosure here, my cable carrier is in the middle of service upgrades and apparently one of them is going on at the moment where I have internet, but no television, so I’m leaning on an assist in the most crazy of ways.  More on that on another day.  Anyhow, this feud continues and I can’t say I care.  Both men deserve more than this.  And when will Dolph get some new entrance music?

The announcers hype Ryback vs.  Big Show for the IC title, and the Beat the Clock Challenge.

(I’m told this) A graphic touts how many followers the Divas have on Instagram.  And I can’t imagine how many of those 17 million are horny creepy perverts.  Anyhow.

Backstage, Renee Young talks to Dolph Ziggler.  He says he wants Summer to stay out of his matches, then goes into his dressing room.  Renee puts some hype on the upcoming matches.  In the background, Summer is entering Dolph’s locker room.

OOOOOOOOOOO!  More love triangle drama?

The Bellas and Alicia Fox are in the ring.  Nikki cuts a promo, boasting about being the “fearless face” of the division.  She introduces the countdown clock for her to become the longest reigning Divas Champion.  The countdown clock shows 14 days, three hours, and some odd seconds.  Cole points out that AJ holds the record title reign of 295 days.

Didn’t they do this same thing with CM Punk at one point?

Match #2 – Becky Lynch (w/Paige and Charlotte) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Nikki and Brie Bella); Beat the Clock Challenge match:

Becky cuts a picture-in-picture promo saying that the “B” in PCB can be a real B.  Cole explains the rules of the Beat the Clock Challenge to us.  He openly says “when Becky wins” then corrected himself to say “If Becky wins…”.  Lynch makes quick work of Fox, getting her to tap out to the Disarmer in 3:21.

Byron Saxton hypes that New Day will face the Dudleys in a non-title match later.

Backstage, Rich Brennan interviews Ryback.  He talks about how he has overcome a lot of obstacles, including a staph infection.  He mocks Big Show and Miz, saying he will prove that he is bigger and better than Big Show.  He pauses when he hears giggling behind him.  Summer is running off.   Ziggler walks out of his dressing room, wrapped in a towel, and looking flustered.

Match #3 – Ryback (c) vs. Big Show; WWE Intercontinental Championship

We get the entrances, then Lilian takes care of the ring introductions for us.  Miz sits in on commentary for this one. Big Show gets some “please retire” chants.  He gets a mic and tells the fans to find someone that can retire him.

Ryback tries a running splash, but Show goozles him.  Ryback puts him down with a spinebuster for two.  Show comes back with a chokeslam for two.  Show goes top rope, but Ryback meets him there and throws him off like they used to do with Ric Flair.

Ryback pulls the straps of his singlet down and plays to the fans.  Show hits him with a spear for a near fall.  Show sets up for the WMD punch, but Miz gets on the apron and distracts him.  Ryback gets Show up for the Shellshock and hits it to win and retain.

This was fine for a big man match.  Show bumping from the ropes is a little bit scary.

They hype Dean Ambrose taking on Braun Stroman later, and Charlotte taking on Brie Bella in the next Beat the Clock challenge match, next.

Match #4 – Charlotte (w/Paige and Becky Lynch) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox)

Nikki tries to run away from Charlotte to waste away the clock.  Charlotte ends up putting her away in 1:40 with Natural Selection to take the lead in the challenge.

After, JBL says that Brie spent so much time stalling that she forgot to fight.  Charlotte stares at Nikki as Cole says that her time was 1:40, which Paige will have to beat.  Becky looks a bit frustrated but still raises Charlotte’s arm.  The Bellas sell frustration and concern.

Nothing memorable here.  Then again, when you’re only given 1:40…

The announcers talk about the Dudley’s making their return last week.  Backstage, Renee Young interviews the Dudleys.  Bubba says they haven’t competed on Raw in ten years.  Bubba says they are there to put everyone through a table, but the most important reason is to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship.  He talks about how New Day is at the head of the table, but they are going to put them through a table.

Bully talks about being a nine-time WWE Tag Team Champion and the most decorated in history.  He says the magic number is ten, and prompts the fans to help with the “Get the Tables!” line.  D-Von says “oh my brother, testify!” to end the promo.

Split screen, we see Kevin Owens and Cesaro heading to the ring.  We get them in the ring, next.

Match #5 – Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens:

As Cesaro makes his way to the ring, Cole hypes that this is Raw #1162.  They talk about this being a SummerSlam rematch and that Cesaro wants to teach Owens a lesson.  Owens is smiling as he heads to the ring.  They hype that Owens had the “biggest debut match in history” when he defeated John Cena.

Owens mouths off at Cesaro, and he gets uppercuts in return.  Cesaro fires away on Owens in the corner with chops, but Owens returns some strikes of his own.  The two men continue to trade offense in the early going.

Owens continues the onslaught with strikes, then locks on a headlock.   JBL puts over Owens for defeating John Cena in his first match in WWE.  Owens throws Cesaro shoulder-first to the ring post.  Owens covers for a near fall as we go into the commercial.

Back live the two men fight on top.  Owens shoves him off, but Cesaro lands uppercuts then tries for a superplex again.  Owens shoves Cesaro off but he hits a drop kick.  Cesaro comes back with a gutwrench suplex off the top for a two count.  The announcers replay it.

Owens starts the “Uppercut Train,” bouncing between corners.  Owens tries to stop him with a boot but Cesaro counters with what resembles an Angle Slam for two.   Cesaro looks for the Neutralizer but Owens backdrops out.  Cesaro hangs on and looks for the Sharpshooter but Owens counters and hits a superkick for two.

Owens yells at Cole to “watch this you litle jerk.”  Owens tries the cannonball again but Cesaro moves.  Strikes from Owens, and he yells “stay down!”  Cesaro fires back, then Owens tries a tornado DDT.  Cesaro counters in a great spot and locks on the Crossface.  Owens crawls to the ropes and gets a leg on the rope to break it.

Cesaro ends up on the apron, and Owens eats a boot on a charge.  Cesaro tries to suplex Owens to the outside but gets hung out to dry over the ropes.  Owens charges again and Cesaro bumps to the announce table and takes a shot to the ribs.  The official checks on him.

Cesaro gets in the ring and tries for the sharpshooter again but his ribs won’t let him.  After a kick to the ribs, Owens finishes him off with the pop-up powerbomb.  We get highlights.   Owens plays to the fans.

I liked a lot of things about this.  The guys got plenty of time, which let them tell a good story and including the story that Cesaro lost because of a rib injury.  I also like the lack of “even steven” booking here – it’s a good way to set up a longer arc for Cesaro.  I really would like to see Owens get some promo time as he’s such a good promo.

JBL hypes up that we will see Braun Stroman take on Dean Ambrose, next.

We get more love triangle drama backstage, as Dolph talks to Lana.  He says that Summer only saw him naked for two seconds before he grabbed a towel and chased her off.  “So, she saw you naked coming out of the shower?  How do you think that makes me feel?” Lana asks.  Dolph assures her nothing happened, but Lana walks off.

Wyatt cut in.  Here comes the Wyatt Family for our next match.  As the Wyatts prepare to cut a promo they recap the introduction of Braun Stroman.  Wyatt thanks Sister Abigail for giving her greatest gift, the black sheep Braun Stroman.  He tells Stroman that this is his moment to show the universe why he exists.

Wyatt says that for years men have tried to predict the end of the world.  He says that tonight the seventh trumpet sounds and “we walk among you undisguised.”  He tells Stroman to show them the face of their destruction.  Stroman unmasks, then says this isn’t the beginning.  “It’s the end.  The apocalypse.”

I think Wyatt is a great promo…truly.  But the problem is it seems in the end they’re never backed up.  No one really believes what Wyatt is saying here.

Match #6 – Braun Stroman (w/Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper) vs. Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns)

Ambrose comes to the ring with the Wyatts watching as he makes the walk.  Here comes Roman Reigns for the assist though, down through the crowd.

In the early going, Stroman dominates Ambrose.  He tosses him around like a rag doll in the early going.  Ambrose tries to get a flurry in but Stroman grabs him by the face.  He hits a big boot on a kneeling Ambrose that sends him to ringside.  Stroman goes out after him and squeezes his face against the barrier.  Reigns talks smack and Stroman slaps him away.

Reigns attacks Stroman from behind and that throws the match out.  Stroman overpowers Reigns then throws Ambrose across the announce position.  Reigns fights back, but gets tossed in the ring.  Stroman locks on that submission hold, but Ambrose grabs a chair.

Ambrose breaks the hold with the chair but it really doesn’t phase Stroman.  The assault continues, and Stroman locks on his hold on Ambrose.  He hits a backbreaker off his shoulder then sets up Reigns for Sister Abigail for Wyatt.  He looks up and thanks Sister Abigail then hits it.

Stroman looked a little lost in a couple places, especially when Reigns was setting up for his punch.  If they’d have built up the more groomed and talented Luke Harper, would they have needed to bring this guy in now in this prominent spot?  Probably not.  I do think they’re doing a good job of building him up though.

The announcers move on to talk about Rollins winning at SummerSlam and the statue would be unveiled, but Sting interrupted that situation.  They recap Sting’s show opening promo, then go backstage for an interview.  Renee Young asks if Seth has found his statue yet. Rollins asks if she’s making light of the situation.

He goes on to say that the statue represents all the hard work that everyone in the company has put in to make WWE what it is.  He says that he is the champ, and it’s his show now.

Rollins says he will call out Sting later and demand that Sting return the statue.  Renee says she has to ask about what Sting said earlier, referencing how Sting said Rollins is half the man Hunter is.  Rollins laughs and says that “back in his day” Hunter was the king of kings and the cerebral assassin, but now, Rollins is the man as he holds both titles.

They hype Paige vs. Sasha Banks in the final Beat the Clock challenge.

Match #7 – Paige (w/Charlotte and Becky Lynch) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Tamina and Naomi)

Picture in picture promo from Paige.  She says the Divas have been misrepresented too long, and it’s not about high heels and high school drama.  She says this is her first step toward taking back the Divas Championship and taking back her house.  The time to beat is 1:40.

Quick takedown to open for Paige.  Sasha takes over with some shots and a quick cover of her own.  Paige and Sasha go through some roll-up covers.  Paige hits a couple of running knees for a two count.   Sasha lands some strikes then tries a move but Paige catches her.  Paige turns it into the Rampaige.

Team BAD pulls Sasha from the ring with 9 seconds.  Paige pulls her back in and tries for the PTO but time runs out.  Charlotte is the new #1 contender.  Afterward, Nikki Bella comes out and holds the title belt up as PCB exchange an awkward celebration in the ring.

There wasn’t much reaction to any of this.  They really flopped with this challenge tonight.  Some might get upset about Sasha looking vulnerable here so quickly, but what else could they do here?  And no one will remember tomorrow.

Backstage, Renee Young interviews Lana.  She says that she interviewed Summer during the break and wanted her reaction.  Summer says that Dolph summoned her in and wanted to bury the hatchet between the four.  She tells a story of Dolph stripping down and such.  “I will never forget that image of Dolph.”  Back with Lana, she sniffles and exits.

The New Day comes out.  Xavier Woods calls the Dudley Boys a menace to society, the tag team championship, and furniture across the world.  Kofi says the fans’ support could save a table’s life.  They talk about spending time at various tables, including the periodic tables and times tables.  Kofi says they wouldn’t have memories if the Dudleys broke their tables.

They pull a table out from under the ring that’s wrapped in bubble wrap.  Xavier says it’s the last table here, and the New Day will do everything they can to protect it from the table poachers, the Dudleys.  He asks the fans to clap along with a “save the tables” chant.

New Day is fun, and the gimmick is working more and more these days, but they got too cute there.  It kind of fell flat and didn’t draw much of a reaction.

Match #8  – The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston, w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Dudleys

The Prime Time Players sit in on commentary.  Titus reminds us that they get a rematch after losing at SummerSlam.  Early on, the Dudleys take control, clearing New Day from the ring.  They look at Woods who is protecting the “last table left in here” at ringside.

Back live, the Players are upset that Cole hasn’t mentioned their rematch yet.  Woods pulls the top rope down and D-Von falls to ringside.  Bubba rants, and Woods brushes his hair while Kofi splashes D-Von.  Big E runs him into the  barrier.  D-Von continues to sell for the New Day as they make frequent tags, and Woods runs on at the mouth.

D-Von starts to fight back as Darren Young asks Byron Saxton to help them against the New Day.  Big E hits an elbow and New Day takes back over on offense.  Xavier tries to lead a chant but the fans finish it with “sucks.”  Kofi tries a move off the ropes but gets a clothesline from D-Von.

Hot tag to Bubba.  He comes in with clotheslines and splashes.  He drags in Xavier by the hair, then D-Von hip tosses him to ringside.  Some strikes from Bubba to Big E and they set up Whassup, but Kofi sticks his nose in it.  D-Von tags in and they hit Kofi with the 3D to get the win.

Bubba goes out to get the table.  They drag it in and set it up and Big E looks like their victim, but Xavier drags him out.  He yells “save the tables, no one is going through a table tonight.”  New Day sells as the Dudleys celebrate.

This was a fun match even though the overall show has seemed a bit flat so far.  Not sure if the Players needed to be out on commentary, but they did a decent job of helping put over the return of the Dudleys.  I think there’s some money in making people wait for the table spots on live specials and live events, rather than over-exposing that spot on television.

Cole hypes that Seth Rollins will call out Sting to get his statue back, next.

In-Ring Segment:

Seth Rollins’ music plays and he makes his way to the ring.  They hype the Night of Champions match between Sting and Seth Rollins for Houston in a couple weeks.

Rollins starts by saying he had no issue with Sting up until last week.  He admits that he even revered Sting.  He accuses Sting of hijacking his moment last week.  He proposes that it’s why WCW went out of business.  Some boos in response to that.

Rollins says he doesn’t hide in the shadows like Sting.  He says he is in the center of the ring, and he’s going to call Sting out right now.  Rollins says he has two things he wants from Sting.  “I want Sting to take it back that Triple H is better than me.”  He proposes that he is just as good as Triple H, and some day he may be even better.

“Second and most importantly, Sting has something that belongs to me.”  Rollins says the statue is representative of the greatest champion in WWE history.  “So Sting, if you’ve got the guts, I dare you to bring yourself to my ring and tell me where you put my statue.”

Rather than Sting’s music, we get Stephanie McMahon.  Rollins isn’t amused and Stephanie looks like all business here.  Steph says she’s the one that told him to call out Sting, “but I strongly advise you to stop talking about my husband, Triple H.”

Rollins talks about Evolution, saying that people compared him to Ric Flair, “one of the greatest of all time.”  He says Hunter would have flipped his lid if anyone dared compare him to Flair, because back then Hunter was the man.  He admits Hunter was the man back then.  He goes on to say that that time has passed, and he is now the man.

Stephanie builds Rollins up, saying that Sting has gotten in his head and is playing mind games with him.  She gets Rollins fired up and tells him to not be distracted.  Rollins tells Stephanie she’s right and demands that Sting come out and tell him where the statue is.  Rather than Sting, we get John Cena.

He charges the ring and gets a mic.  “Aw, Seth, I’m probably the last person you want to see tonight.”  Rollins tells Cena he has no business being out there right now.  Cena says he needs to give credit where due and praises Rollins for his in ring work, but calls him a fool.  He says that Triple H and Stephanie picked him from the Shield because they knew he would be the guy that would stab his friends in the back.  A brief “you sold out” chant gets started and Rollins yells for them to shut up.  Cena cites Batista and Kane as guys that the Authority has used then turned on.

Cena says that if the Authority really had his back, they wouldn’t let him do what he’s going to do next.  Cena points out the fact that Rollins has both title belts.  Cena also points out that at Night of Champions, every title is to be defended.  He says that he has a rematch coming for the United States Championship, and he plans to cash that in at Night of Champions.

Cena acknowledges the Rollins vs. Sting match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and says that Rollins will also defend the US Championship now against Cena.  Cena tells Stephanie that it would require a one word answer.  “Do I have a match against Captain Morgan at Night of Champions for the United States Championship?”  Stephanie says yes, Cena drops his mic and leaves the ring.  Rollins pitches a fit in the ring as Stephanie tries to calm him down.

Cena makes his way up the ramp, holding his arms up.  Once at the stage he turns back to the ring and looks at Rollins, who is upset.  Sting’s music hits and he walks out to the stage and stands next to Cena.  Cole hypes it up that Rollins will have two matches in one night – one to defend the US Championship against John Cena and the other to face Sting for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.   Rollins holds the belts and yells at the two men as they pose to end the show.

I like this scenario, though I wasn’t totally crazy about how they got there.  It was awkward to me to put Stephanie in the position to approve the match between Cena and Rollins, given that it’s Night of Champions (where every title is to be defended) and they have the rematch clause to work with.  That said, I think there’s a bigger arc being set up here between Rollins and Hunter and these are just intermediate steps to getting there.  These matches aren’t likely to be as important.

This show seemed good on paper, but it just didn’t seem to have the same energy.  Sting didn’t have good material to start the show with though I thought his promo was just fine, and from there it never really picked up steam.  The Beat the Clock challenge left a lot to be desired in my mind, and there wasn’t anything that got the show really hot.  Nothing was horribly offensive, just didn’t feel important I guess.

Next week’s show is the last show before the return of Monday Night Football (for our overseas readers, American Football played on Monday nights).  It’s the WWE’s chance to hook viewers in to the build to Night of Champions and beyond with no competition from the NFL so it will be interesting to see what they try to do here.

Drew will be by with Around the Ring tomorrow, talking about Raw and surely some of the other newsworthy events of the day.  I’ll be back later in the week with Around the Ring on Thursday and other news and notes along the way.  Thanks for watching along tonight.


WWE NXT Announces “Takeover: London” Event for December

Yesterday, Triple H took to his Twitter to announce that NXT will air a live event special from London, UK.  “Takeover: London” will air on WWE Network on December 16, 2015 from the SSE Arena in London.  The event start time locally is 8:30PM, which would result in airing here in the eastern part of the US at 3:30PM EST.

There has been no official start time given for the event yet.  SSE Arena seats 12,500 normally, so it will be interesting to see how full the building is for wrestling.  Further interesting will be how the UK fans react to the NXT product, which has been well received here in the US given the sell-out at Barclays Center.

Triple H’s tweet is below:



Around the Ring w/Ring Rap 08/25/2015: Extensive thoughts on all things WWE – NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, SummerSlam, and Raw, plus more!

iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn RSS | MP3

It’s a WWE-Heavy episode of ATR with Drew Koscelek.  Topics include:

  • NXT Takeover: Brooklyn
  • WWE SummerSlam
  • WWE Raw
  • …plus more!

We welcome your feedback!  Let us know what you like and what you’d like to hear!

Be sure to check out our weekly show, Ring Rap Audio! (iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS)

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

You can also follow us on Facebook and Google+!

Continue reading


WWE Raw Live Reactions and Results for 08/24/15 – Fallout from WWE Summerslam, with Controversy from Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, plus John Cena, Seth Rollins, and lots more!

WWE is in Brooklyn, NY one more night for WWE Raw, and with Summerslam airing just 24 hours prior, it’s looking to be a hot show with plenty of follow-up.  The main event with Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker ended with a controversial finish.  The Undertaker clearly tapped out, but the referee declared Taker the winner after Lesnar passed out.  What will Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar have to say?

Plus, Jon Stewart did the unthinkable and attacked John Cena with a steel chair, costing him his United States Title during his match against Seth Rollins.  Now Seth is dual-wielding both the US Title and the WWE World Heavyweight Title.  Will he be forced to relinquish one of the titles?  Can we expect him to defend both at Night of Champions?

All this, plus lots more starting at 8pm Eastern.  Tune in and join us for all the fun!

Continue reading


WWE “SummerSlam” Live Report for 8/23/2015 – Seth Rollins vs. John Cena “Winner Takes All”, Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, Divas Elimination Match, Green Arrow and Neville vs. Stardust and King Barrett, More

WWE’s main roster has their work cut out for them tonight at the Biggest Party of the Summer.  “Little Brother” NXT blew the roof off the Barclays Center last night  at “Takeover: Brooklyn” so tonight’s show will really have to deliver.  But, as we previewed on Ring Rap Audio yesterday, this does seem to be a solid card from top top bottom.  Will Undertaker get his revenge on Brock Lesnar for breaking The Streak and crowing about it so much?  Who will take all when Seth Rollins and John Cena clash?  Will actor Stephen Amell and Neville put an end to Stardust and King Barrett?  The card is as follows:

The Prime Time Players (c) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. The New Day vs. Lucha Dragons; WWE Tag Team Championship

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Team BAD (Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha Banks) vs. PCB (Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch) vs. Team Bella (Brie and Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox); Divas Elimination Match (one member of the team pinned or submits, that team is out)

Arrow (Stephen Amell) and Neville vs. Stardust and King Barrett

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) vs. Rusev (w/Summer Rae)

Ryback (c) vs. Big Show vs. The Miz; WWE Intercontinental Championship under Triple Threat rules

John Cena (United States Champion) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Champion); “Winner Take All” Championship match (winner will claim both the US Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)


They show fans entering as Renee Young welcomes us to the event.  She’s got Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Booker T riding shotgun.  Saxton sings “Let’s Get it On.”  Ugh.  They immediately cut to Tom Phillips in the social media lounge.  He hypes Stardust and Stephen Amell joining him later on, taking fan questions.

The panel hypes Jon Stewart as the host of the event tonight.  They feed it into a video package to hype up Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose facing Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper.  Back live, the panel discusses the match and offers predictions.

They go backstage, and Jon Stewart is with John Cena.  He volunteers to help Cena given his history with Seth Rollins.  Stewart asks for Cena to autograph something for his son, who is standing there.  Cena asks if he should personalize it, but Stewart says no.  Cena walks off, and Stewart tells his son he is going to hock the autograph on eBay.  “Daddy’s retired and needs the money,” he cracks.  Funny.

They run a hype video for Rollins vs. Cena, then the panel talks about the match.  Booker says that Cena is fighting for his legacy, while Rollins is the now.  Graves says that Rollins doesn’t get enough respect and that people are acting like a Cena win is a foregone conclusion.  Graves notes that Cena can tie Ric Flair’s title reign record and points out that Flair is Triple H’s hero.  Saxton says that Hunter has given Rollins a chance to win both titles simultaneously, which no one has done before.  Young mentions Cena’s nose injury and Graves says that it should not be forgotten how it was shattered.

They run a video highlighting the mainstream media attention SummerSlam has gotten.

They move on to talking about Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro.  Booker says Owens is jealous of Cesaro.  In walks Kevin Owens to disrupt the conversation.  Owens asks what he should be jealous of.  He says as great as Cesaro looks and as hard as he works, he is the complete opposite and yet he’s here.  Owens takes issue with Saxton for saying Cesaro will win.  Owens says he will turn the Cesaro Section to the Silent Section.  “Do you dig that!?” Owens yells at Booker before leaving.

Nice surprise but uneventful really.  I would liked to have seen Owens rough up someone a little bit or something.

They run a video package highlighting the Divas Triple Threat match.  Saxton talks about Owens taking his Kickstart can and thanked someone for bringing him another.  Renee Young noted that they’re trying to get Stephanie McMahon to conduct an interview a bit later.

They move on to talk about the Tag Team Championship match.  Byron and Booker get dorky on the “New Day Rocks” chant and claps.  They then move on to the Intercontinental championship match, then on to Randy Orton vs. Sheamus.  Rich Brennan talks to Sheamus backstage.  He says Randy Orton took his dream away by preventing him from cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase.

JoJo interviews Stephanie McMahon backstage.  She talks about how women are taking over sports, noting Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey.  She says she can’t wait to see what the Divas do tonight.  JoJo asks for a prediction, and Stephanie says she doesn’t think she should because she is a member of the Authority, but says to the victor goes the spoils.  With the panel, Booker says that you have to give credit to Stephanie for “masterminding this whole thing” about the Divas Revolution.  UGH!

To the social media lounge we go, and Tom Phillips interviews Stephen Amell and Neville.  Amell says he’s trying to remember the ring has four sides, the ropes hurt a bit when you run into them, and mentions something about turnbuckles.  Phillips asks if Neville will appear on “Arrow” but Amell says he doesn’t handle casting.  Phillips asks if Amell is nervous and he says they aren’t at a house show but at the Barclays Center for SummerSlam.  “Of course I’m nervous, I’m always nervous in a positive way.”  He says he knows it will hurt regardless of what he does.  He also talks about the next season of “Arrow” and says that fans of season one will appreciate some aspects of the new season.

The panelists talk briefly about Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler then focus on Undertaker vs.  Brock Lesnar.  Graves says Lesnar will win, while Saxton says that Lesnar won’t win over Undertaker twice in a row.  Booker says Lesnar will win.  Young feeds it into a Lesnar vs. Taker video package to end the pre-show.

WWE “SummerSlam,”  Live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY:

Lilian Garcia introduces Jon Stewart as the host of the show.  Stewart is already in the ring.  He plays to the fans, and they don’t give him much of a response initially.  He says that the difference between WWE and politics is that the WWE actually respects their audience.  Really?  He runs through a list of talent names, greeted by “what?” after each.  They did cheer Seth Rollins, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, and booed John Cena.

Stewart says he’s still angry about Lesnar ending the streak.  He says that he wants to talk to Lesnar, but he needs a friend as backup.  Enter Mrs. Foley’s bouncing baby boy Mick, who gets a good reaction from the Brooklyn fans.  Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler all check in on commentary.

Foley talks, saying how he couldn’t hear Stewart during a phone conversation and thought that Stewart wanted him to help him interview The Rock, not Brock.  Foley says the conversation wouldn’t even be happening if he knew it was Brock.  Stewart asks Foley if he is afraid of Brock Lesnar.  “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.  I’m terrified of Brock Lesnar.”

Stewart mentions Foley getting tossed off of Hell in a Cell by Undertaker.  Foley says that was 17 years ago, and the one place he hasn’t gone is to Suplex City.  He tells Stewart he is on his own, and Foley exits.

Nice to see Foley, but this was a tough spot for Stewart.  The live crowd didn’t want to see him.  Stewart is a legit wrestling fan, and it was a good get for WWE.  The fact that there was no action on the pre-show other than interviews may have made some fans restless.

They run an opening video package that focuses around New York City and the event.  Pyro goes off, and it’s time to get underway.

Match #1 – Randy Orton vs. Sheamus:

As Orton comes to the ring, the various foreign announce teams are introduced.  Sheamus gets some heat during his entrance.  Early on, Sheamus gets “you look stupid” chants.  He goes to ringside and stands on the announce position and gets a mic.  He tells them he doesn’t look stupid, they do.  Orton goes out after him and attacks, and the action moves back inside.

Sheamus takes over with a top rope knee drop for two.  Sheamus goes on offense, and the crowd kind of settles in to watch.  They sing the “Ole” song at one point, but Orton starts to fire up on offense and that draws a response.

At the ropes, Orton teases the elevated DDT.  Sheamus counters, and tries to set up his rolling senton, but Orton counters back again and hits an exploder suplex to the floor.  Ouch.  Back in the ring, Orton mounts the corner and pounds Sheamus, but Sheamus comes back with a slam for a near fall.

JBL teases that Sheamus might become a 4-time World Champion tonight if he cashes in.  Sheamus locks on the Cloverleaf, but Orton drags himself to the ropes to break the hold.  Orton’s got a cut above his left eye.  Sheamus tries the Brogue but Orton ducks and hits his scoop slam for a two count.

Sheamus goes for a move in the corner but Orton avoids it.  Sheamus ends up top rope and Orton hits him with the elevated DDT from there.  Orton’s hearing voices, and the fans chant for him.  Orton coils for the RKO but Sheamus rolls to the apron.  Sheamus gets him there and starts to hit the Ten Beats but Orton fights him off.

Sheamus launches himself for the Battering Ram but Orton nails him with the RKO.  Sheamus rolls to ringside.  Orton goes out to retrieve him.  Orton waits rather than covers, then backs up for the Punt.  Orton misses and Sheamus hits White Noise for a near fall.

Sheamus stumbles toward the corner as Brooklyn tells him he looks stupid again.   Sheamus calls for the Brogue as Orton gets to his feet.  Orton sidesteps it and tries for the RKO, but Sheamus shoves him away.  Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick in the corner, and Orton stumbles out of the corner into a second.  Sheamus gets the win.  The broadcasters recap it for us as Sheamus poses.

Winner – Sheamus.

If Sheamus lost, I could have guaranteed a cash in later.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I still think it’s in play, but with this win I think it’s not as iminent as it would have been otherwise.  The match was good overall, but nothing really all that memorable.  We’re not seeing the end of this feud, more than likely either.

They show a Draft Kings segment where two fans won the opportunity to have a SummerSlam experience.

“Awww, Brooklyn, don’t be sour…”  Big E bellows out and it’s time for the Tag Team Championship.  Xavier Woods asks for a moment and he says he knows how Brooklyn is used to feeling dirty and disgusting, so they brought positivity.  He touts their new gear and says “look how good we look.” Kofi says they will teach them about hip hop, because New York knows nothing about it.

Kofi says it goes like this.  They do a pitch pipe moment and sing a song putting themselves over the other teams.  This is actually kind of funny.  “New Day, New Champs.” they end.  Introductions for the remaining teams take place.

Match #2 – The Prime Time Players (c) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito), The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi Kingston) vs. Lucha Dragons; WWE Tag Team Championship

Cole mentions it’s been ten years since the titles have changed hands in New York.  Early, Big E and Kofi try to pin each other to end it fast.  Titus breaks up the pinfall.  It settles in to the Lucha Dragons working with Kofi.  Sin Cara monkey flips Kalisto into Kofi for a two count.

Big E tags in, and he works with Kalisto.  Kalisto springs off the ropes and hits an enzugiri, and Big E tags out to Darren Young.  He and Kalisto work some offense,which draws a round of applause from the crowd once they back off and stalemate.  Kofi tags in.  At the ropes, Young hits a big forearm on Kofi and he slides out of the ring.  Young reaches through the ropes to grab him, but Big E squashes him with a splash on the apron.

Young sells for the next several minutes for other opponents.  Woods keeps yapping at ringside.  Young starts to fire up with chops but Big E runs him over with an elbow.  Xavier runs on at ringside about tricep meat.   Young fights out of the corner, drapes Big E over the ropes, then catches a springboarding Kofi with an atomic drop.  Young gets the hot tag to Titus.

Titus goes on a run, taking out everything in his path.  He hits one of the Matadores with repeated backbreakers, seal barks, then splashes a Matadore and Kofi in the corner.  He takes out one of the Matadores off the top but Sin Cara breaks up the cover.

Action starts to pick up and get fast and furious. Xavier Woods gets in the mix, causing a distraction.  El Torito tries to splash him  but Woods catches him and plants him face first.  Woods jumps on the apron and Young grabs him and hits a back suplex on the apron.  Big E follows with a spear to Young.  Bodies everywhere and I’ve lost track of the call here.

After a lot of chaos, Matadore is up on the rope.  Lucha Dragons join them, and they set up a big spot out of the tower of doom.  Titus comes into the fray and hits one armed powerbombs on the Dragons.   Late, Titus hits Clash of the Titus, but somehow Kofi tags himself in and covers to get the win.

Winner – The New Day to win the WWE Tag Team Championship

This turned into a fun spotfest.  The New Day antics are fun, and the right team went over here.  I called it on Ring Rap Audio when I said that New Day would cover someone other than PTP to get the win to protect PTP for future feuds.  Now, we need to get a meaningful tag team going in order to start reasonable feuds.

Backstage, Jon Stewart is talking to Neville and Amell.  Stewart says he’s there for Undertaker and says they’re friends.  The lights go out, and Taker’s sihloutte wanders  by.  Stewart gets nervous and asks the two to sign  his son’s shirt.

Back with the commentary team, they set up Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev with a video package.

Match #3 – Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) vs. Rusev (w/Summer Rae)

Lana is wearing denim this time.  Good lordie.  Summer Rae has a sparkly business suit.  Never will come up with an entrance like that tank at Wrestlemania.   We’re off and running early with Ziggler being the aggressor, hitting a big drop kick and strikes.

Rusev takes control in the early going.  Dolph tries to mount a comeback, but Rusev spin kicks him to end that.  He gets a two from it.

Rusev hoists Ziggler up for a gorilla press, but Ziggler counters with a DDT that dazes Rusev.  Both men sell but get to their feet.  They exchange strikes mid ring, then Ziggler ducks a corner charge and goes on a flurry, hitting a clothesline, a corner splash, and a neckbreaker.  All of that and an elbow drop gets Ziggler a one count.

Off the ropes, Ziggler slides between Rusev’s legs and gets greeted with a heel kick for two.  Rusev goes to the corner and goes up top.  Ziggler meets him and face plants Rusev for two.

Rusev cues up for a thrust kick.  Ziggler avoids it and hits a sunset flip for two, then locks on a sleeper hold.  Rusev gets to the rope but stumbles away.  JBL rants about the official not breaking it.  Rusev backs into the corner and breaks it but Ziggler comes back with a Fameasser for a near fall.

Ziggler bounces off the rope but gets face planted by Rusev.  “Rusev, crush!”  He locks on the Accolade.  Lana begs for Dolph to not tap.  Summer runs over and gets in Lana’s face, but she gets slapped.  Rusev breaks the hold and rants at Lana.  The fans chant for her, and Ziggler rolls to ringside.

Rusev barks at Lana, and Summer Rae plants her from behind.  Dolph manages to hit a superkick that lays Rusev out across the announce position.  Dolph tries to beat the count, but can’t.  The match ends in a double count out.

Afterward, Rusev roughs Dolph up, but Dolph takes him down and beats on him.  Summer Rae jumps in and beats on Dolph, and Lana gets in and takes it to Summer.  Dolph and Rusev pull the women apart, with Summer and Rusev exiting and Dolph and Lana staying in the ring.

Winner:  Match ends in a double count out, no winner

Brooklyn hated this finish, and I did too.  I guess it’s no surprise they’re trying to continue this story but right now I’m not looking forward to seeing this unfold.  Rusev is better, as is Ziggler.  The ’80’s Rocker Chick look for Lana isn’t good either.

The announcers talk about it briefly, saying this feud isn’t over.

They move on to talk about Stephen Amell and Neville vs. King Barrett and Stardust.  They roll a comic-book themed video package for the tag match.

Match #4 – Stephen Amell and Neville vs. King Barrett and Stardust

Barrett is wearing the Cosmic King shoulder pads.  Stardust is in sleeveless body gear.  Amell is in black shorts and wrestling boots.  After some initial offense from Neville, they tag in Amell.  Stardust shoves him down and taunts.  Amell kips up but Stardust takes control of him.

Stardust sets up a back body drop but Amell lands on his feet and delivers a decent looking arm drag.  Stardust is shocked and tags in Barrett.  Amell leapfrogs but Barrett hits a back kick.  Barrett and Stardust stomp on Amell and control him in the heel corner.

The heels continue to control Amell.  JBL mentions that it’s time to tag in the stunt double but there isn’t one to tag in.  Stardust and Barrett continue to control him, but Amell hits an enzugiri.  Both men sell as the fans rally behind Amell.

Hot tag to Neville and Barrett.  Neville fires off with rapid fire kicks on offense, then a splash and a kick in the corner.  Neville fires off a 450 splash and covers but Stardust breaks it up.  Neville dumps both heels to ringside, then Amell hits a cross body.

Back in the ring, Barrett is in position and Neville hits the Red Arrow to get the victory.  JBL gives Amell credit for getting in the ring.  Stardust sells disgust at ringside as the announcers go back to recap highlights.

Winner – Stephen Amell and Neville

Stephen clearly took this seriously, worked hard to pull some things together, and presented himself well here.  He looked good.  This match was solid, with the expected result of the celebrity team going over.  The live crowd was receptive to it as well, especially when Amell showed off his athleticism.

They roll a video package highlighting all the various WWE-related events that went on during SummerSlam week.

Match #5 – Ryback (c) vs. The Miz vs. Big Show; WWE Intercontinental Championship

Big Show comes out first, then The Miz, then the champion Ryback.  They run highlights of the three men roughing each other up on Raw a couple weeks ago.  Ryback gets a decent reaction as he plays to the fans.  The announcers debate if the infection will have an effect on Ryback tonight.

The big men battle early with Ryback hitting shoulder blocks and Show slapping him down.  Miz gets in a cheap shot from the floor, then slides in the ring.  Show goozles both men, but Ryback and Miz team up to try a suplex.  Show suplexes them instead and says “I’m a giant!’

Show goes second rope and hits what looks like a senton on Ryback.  Miz sneaks in for the cover but it gets broken  up.  Show slaps Miz in one corner, then runs back and forth with splashes.  Ryback hits a spear on Show’s leg, then slams Miz for two.

Ryback follows with a splash off the ropes but walks right into a chokeslam from Show onto Miz.  That gets Show a two count.  Ryback struggles to his feet and Show cues the WMD Punch.  Ryback ducks, hits a spinebuster, then splashes Show.  He sets up the Meathook, but Show goozles him.  Ryback counters and hits Shellshock.

Miz sneaks in, hits Ryback with the Skull Crushing Finale, then tries to pin.  Only gets two.  He covers Show, and only gets two.  He tries multiple pins but none work.  Miz gets confronted by Ryback, and ducks out, then Show hits the WMD Punch on Ryback.  Near fall that Miz breaks up.

WMD Punch from Show to Miz.  Show tries to load another one for Ryback, but he ducks.  Ryback clotheslines Show over the ropes and covers Miz to get the victory.  The announcers recap it for us, and Ryback leads “Feed Me More” chants.

Winner – Ryback to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship

The crowd liked the near falls, and they responded to Ryback, which is shocking because it’s a New York Crowd.   The senton from Show was just bad.  Painless, and hopefully the end of the line for these three together.

The announcers say that Jon Stewart is about to talk to Lesnar.  He knocks on the door and Paul Heyman greets him.  He wants to talk to Lesnar, but Heyman says it’s not a good time.  Stewart tells a story about relating Christmas to how Heyman and Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s streak.  He asks Heyman what he has to say about it, and Heyman responds “Glory, glory, Brock Lesnar.”  Heyman says “I guess they couldn’t get David Letterman to host the show.”  Heyman retreats to the locker room where you can hear him telling Lesnar about the exchange.

Amell is more over than Stewart is tonight, I am afraid to say.

Match #6 – Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

Wyatt cut in strikes, and here comes the Wyatt Family into the sea of cellphone lights.  Wyatt blows the lantern out and the announcers reset how the story got set up between these men.  Ambrose gets his entrance, then Reigns makes his way through the crowd.  He gets booed fairly heavily, even though he’s the face.

Early, Ambrose and Reigns jump out to the early advantage.  The match settles into a pace, and Bray yells “Look how mad I am!” at ringside.  Reigns greets him and they brawl.  Reigns gets the  better for a moment but Wyatt hits him with a one armed slam against the apron.  Harper follows with a suicide dive.

Ambrose follows up with a dive  on the heels, but the Wyatts catch him and hit him with a slam against the apron.  Reigns takes a superkick and is done for a bit.  Ambrose is left to fend for himself.  Harper and Wyatt dominate Ambrose, ripping his shirt off and suplexing him on the floor.  Harper hits a boot to the face.

Harper sends Ambrose into the ropes.  The live crowd starts a “Roman’s Sleeping” chant while he sells at ringside. Funny.  Reigns makes his way back to the corner for Ambrose to make the tag.

Reigns fires up, getting the better of Harper.  The Wyatts set up a double team that Reigns counters, then he and Ambrose set up a double team of their own.  They hit a version of the Doomsday Device.  Harper goes at Ambrose and Reigns punches him.  They team up on Harper for a double powerbomb.

Wyatt gets to his feet and tries to get Ambrose with Sister Abigail, but Ambrose counters and hits Dirty Deeds.  He covers for the clean victory.

Winner – Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.

Surprising that this ended so decisively.  I am expecting that this story goes on, but how does it when you have a finish like this?  Wyatt is fast becoming the guy who talks a lot but never backs it up.  A shame for such an amazing character.

At the announce position, Cole says it has been a great night.  He moves it into a hype package for John Cena vs. Seth Rollins and the “Winner take all” match which is coming up next.

Wow, not a co-main event.  Interesting.  Also leads to a dirty finish or other shenanigans, not wanting to send the crowd home unhappy.

Match #7 – John Cena (United States Champion) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Champion); Winner Takes All Champion vs. Champion Match

Cena comes out first, and he gets jeered by the Brooklyn faithful.  Rollins has white gear on this night, and gets the “adult male” pop as he makes his way to the ring.  Lilian gives us our ring introductions for this one.  Big moment here as the crowd lights up with different chants.

Early lockup and they back off.  Dueling Cena chants in full throat now.  Another lock up that leads into a hip toss takedown with Cena in control.    After some rope running, Rollins hits an arm drag and a drop kick.  Rollins mocks the “You can’t see me” wave.  Cena punches him, Rollins backs off, then Cena controls him again.

The action slows down as the announcers discuss Flair and his title reigns and the chance for Cena to make history.  Rollins ducks a corner charge and hits a neckbreaker, following it up with a trio of suicide dives to the outside.    Rollins throws Cena in.

Cena starts to fire up with his traditional shoulder blocks, but he counters the side slam and gets a two count.  After selling, Rollins charges but Cena flips him to the apron.  Rollins tries a springboard but Cena catches him and goes for the STF.  Rollins immediately scampers to the ropes to break it, but Cena comes back with the side slam.  He motions that “You can’t see me” but Rollins kicks him.

Cena tries to load the AA, but they back into the corner.  Rollins hits a Thesz Press off the ropes then follows with a running moonsault for two.   Rollins splashes Cena in the corner then perches Cena up top.   Rollins sets a move up  but Cena elbows him off.  Rollins returns and hammers on Cena, setting up a tree of woe spot.  Rollins motions “You can’t see me” and hits a double stomp off the top for a near fall.

Rollins talks to the official, and Cena crawls to his feet.  Rollins jaws at Cena, but Cena loads the AA for a two count.  Both men sell as Cole talks about how Rollins wants a statue if he wins tonight.   The two men exchange strikes mid ring, then Rollins sets up the Pedigree.  Cena counters and whips Rollins toward the corner but Rollins hits the brakes.  Cena ends up setting up the electric chair and dropping Rollins on the mat for a near fall.

Cena goes up top.   He hits the leg drop off the top for a near fall.  Rollins has lost his belt off his White Power Ranger gear.  Both men sell, then Cena scoops Rollins up and perches him on the top rope.  Cena tries for the AA off the second rope but Rollins slips away.  Rollins ends up loading the Buckle Bomb on Cena and hitting it.

Rollins goes up top this time.   He hits a splash (like Eddie Guerrero) for a good near fall.  Cena picks up Rollins out of the lateral press and loads the AA and delivers.  Rollins lands on his feet and hits an enzugiri.  Cena hits a cross body but Rollins rolls it through and picks Cena up and hits it with his own AA for a near fall.

Rollins goes back to the ropes again.  He looks for the Phoenix Splash, but Cena rolls out of the way.  Rollins rolls through and Cena gets him into the STF.  Rollins counters and tries to set up the Pedigree, but Cena ends up countering again and locks on the Figure 4.  The announcers go crazy, saying Cena will win his 16th with Flair’s move.

Rollins rolls it over successfully, and Rollins yells “TAP!!!” at Cena.  Cena struggles into the ropes to get the break.  Both men sell the action.  Cena is on the apron getting to his feet.  Cena throws a straight right, then goes to the top rope.

Rollins goes up with Cena and hits a superplex for a great near fall.  Rollins goes top rope again for the Phoenix Splash.  Cena rolls away, and Rollins bumps.  Cena loads the AA  but the official gets bumped.  He hits the AA, but there’s no official.  Cena goes over and tells the doc to tend to the official.  Rollins hits Cena with a knee to the face just like the one that broke his nose.

Jon Stewart runs to the ring with a steel chair.  He looks indecisive about all of this.  He baits the idea of hitting Rollins with a chair, then turns on Cena and hits him.  He throws the chair down for Rollins, who hits the Pedigree on the chair.  Rollins disposes the evidence, covers, and the official recovers.  He counts three, and he is now the double champion.  Rollins celebrates.

Winner – Seth Rollins to become the WWE United States Champion and retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship

This match was fantastic.  This finish fucking sucked.  I knew something was wrong the minute the official got bumped, and we got the worst possible moment that could have happened.  I was fine with Rollins winning, but the way they got there was absolute garbage.  What a way to put a damper on what was otherwise an amazing match.

They go to the panel to talk about the night so far.  Corey Graves encourages them to be happy over history, but Saxton is disgusted.  Booker gives it up to New Day for winning the titles back.  Renee feeds it back into a video package for the Divas match.

Match #8 – Team BAD (Naomi, Sasha Banks, and Tamina) vs. Team Bella (Nikki and Brie Bella and Alicia Fox) vs. PCB (Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch); Divas Elimination Match

If one member of the team gets pinned or submitted, the entire team is eliminated.  The Bellas come out first, then Team BAD, then PCB.  Cole recounts Sasha Banks losing the NXT Women’s Championship in a sensational match against Bayley last night.  Steampunk gear for Becky Lynch.  They talk about how Paige led the revolution alone until Stephanie changed things.

Brie starts off against Becky Lynch.  King says it’s a good thing that SummerSlam is not in California, because this match will be so hot it will start another wildfire.  Yawn, King.

Team BAD controls the early going, working on Becky.  Charlotte spears Tamina out on the floor.  Sasha and Naomi hit dives on Charlotte and Becky.  The Bellas hold up fingers and wait for a reaction that never really comes, then they hit dives as well.  Alicia goes second rope but Paige shoves her off.  Paige follows with a flip off the ropes to the women at ringside.

The action moves back inside.  Brie hits a second rope facebuster on Tamina, and that gets her to pick up the elimination.  Team BAD eliminated.  Brie holds up her hand and smiles, but there’s not a lot of reaction.

Nikki loads a forearm shot for Becky.  Becky ducks, but Nikki loads the Rack Attack and hits it.  She gets a near fall but Paige and Charlotte save the matchup.  Paige gets the tag and goes to work on Nikki.  She hits a fallaway slam but Nikki rolls out.  Paige tries a baseball slide kick.  Nikki hits an Alabama Slam outside the ring and rolls back in.

Paige barely beats the count into the ring.  Team Bella continues to control Paige.  Alicia hits a drop kick.  JBL says this might be the end of the revolution right now and the Bellas are the cream of the crop.  Nikki hits a suplex and covers for two.

Hot tag to Charlotte. She hits chops, a neck breaker, and a spear.   She locks in the Figure 8, but Nikki breaks it up.  She poses and Paige takes her down to ringside.  A bit later, both Charlotte and Alicia go for the same move and collide.   After some selling, both tag out to the fresh women.

Becky hits a snapmare into the corner but gets a boot on the follow up charge.  Brie goes for a missile drop kick but Becky moves.  She hits a pumphandle slam and gets the victory for her team.  We get highlights, and they show the Bellas backing away slowly, not sure of what is next.  Team PCB celebrates in the ring.

Winner – Team PCB (Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte)

Watching the Twitter traffic while I solved my network issues, a lot of people were down on this match.  What I got to see of it, well, it was alright but not great.  I guess I’m spoiled by what we saw last night from the NXT ladies.  Add in all the storyline mess that surrounds this so-called revolution, and it just ended up being a dud.  I don’t know what it will take to get this on track.  I guess, if I had to, that Becky Lynch will get the next title shot?

We get a 2K16 ad featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The announcers talk about it briefly then discuss the show to this point.

Match #9 – Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens

Cesaro Section in full effect for this one as he makes his entrance.  As Owens comes to the ring, they show highlights of Balor vs. Owens from last night, saying they’re not sure where Owens is physically for this match tonight.

They go right to work, exchanging strikes.  Cesaro teases an early swing but Owens escapes.    Owens comes back with a dive out onto Cesaro on the floor.  Owens jaws at the announcers a bit, then Cesaro comes back with a spinning plancha of his own.  Owens comes back with a cannonball on Cesaro, who was seated against the ringside barrier.

A bit later, Owens goes up top, and Cesaro greets him with an uppercut.  Off the top rope, Cesaro hits a gutwrench suplex.  After some selling, Cesaro tries to load the Neutralizer but can’t.  After some strikes he tries it again but Owens counters with a backdrop.  Cesaro charges him but Owens hits an uppercut and a springboard tornado DDT for a two count.

Owens sets Cesaro up and goes top rope. He tries a moonsault but Cesaro rolls out of the way.   Cesaro charges and hits an uppercut, then whips Owens across.  He charges but gets a superkick instead for a near fall.  Owens is frustrated.

“This is for you, that’s it.”  Owens tries to set up the pop up powerbomb, but Cesaro holds on. He tries for it again, but Cesaro springboards off and hits an uppercut instead.  Owens rolls out and Cesaro runs around the ring and hits a running uppercut.  Back in the ring, Cesaro calls for and hits the Swing.

Cesaro locks on the Sharpshooter, middle of the ring.   Owens drags himself to the ropes and gets there successfully to break it.   Back to the top, the two fight.  Owens knocks Cesaro off, but he comes back with an uppercut.  They set up a suplex spot but Cesaro fights it off, then comes back with a big jumping suplex.

Back to the top, but Owens crotches Cesaro on the top rope.   Owens comes back with a suplex off the ropes, and Owens follows with the pop-up powerbomb for the win.  The announcers talk about how it was a character win for Owens.  We get highlights as Owens plays to the fans.

Winner – Kevin Owens

That was a solid match.  The fans responded to the various spots favorably though they weren’t on fire for all of it from what I could tell.  It could be that the fans liked both guys and were content to see a good match and weren’t all in for one man over the other.  I hope they don’t use the reaction against either guy.

They run an ad for Night of Champions, which comes to us on September 20.  Back with the announcers, they set up the main event, a match “too big for Wrestlemania,” Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker.  They feed it to a video package to recap the story.

Match #10 – Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)

Lesnar is the first one out, no pyro for his entrance except at the ring.  Cole says that Lesnar has not been submitted or pinned since Wrestlemania 29.  JBL runs down his accolades.  The gong sounds, and here comes the Deadman through the fog.  JBL notes how Taker has destroyed a lot of men, but has not beaten Lesnar.

Lesnar doesn’t wait for the theatrics to finish and attacks Undertaker before he even gets his coat off.  Lesnar momentarily gets the better of it, but Undertaker hits a big boot and sends Lesnar tumbling up the aisle.  Lesnar paces around the ring then gets in.  The bell rings quickly, and the two go after each other again.  Brock lands elbows but Taker lands a straight right.

Taker works the arm and sets up Old School, but Lesnar counters by loading an F5.  Taker counters out and locks on a chokeslam but Taker gets away.  In the corner, Lesnar tries to advance but takes a boot.  Taker ends up getting a belly to belly suplex, followed with a German suplex.  “Suplex City, bitch!”

Lesnar drives Taker to the turnbuckle face first.  A bit later, Taker hits Snake Eyes and a big boot.  Lesnar rolls outside and Taker goes out to pursue.  He drives Lesnar into the barrier, then into the ring apron.  Lesnar is busted open above his eye.  He sets Lesnar up and hits the leg drop on the apron.  Cole says that Undertaker is pulling out all the stops.  Fans chant “you still got it.”

Lesnar is on dream street and Taker jabs.  Lesnar fires back, but Taker goozles him for a chokeslam.  Brock slips out and hits a pair of German suplexes.  On ramp to Suplex City, just ahead.  Taker pulls himself to his feet.  Another German suplex, and Lesnar does his war dance.

Taker rolls out to the floor.  Lesnar gives chase but Undertaker was waiting.  Taker rips the announce table apart and sets up for a Last Ride through the table.  Lesnar counters and hits the F5 through the announce table.  JBL calls this a war of attrition.   The count begins as Lesnar gets back in the ring.  Taker just beats the count.

Lesnar says “I’ll kill you, you son of a bitch.”  Taker struggles toward Brock as he smiles.  Taker says “you’re gonna have to” and blasts Lesnar with a chokeslam.  Taker loads the Tombstone and hits it.  Lesnar kicks out in 2-1/2.  They recap the sequence in split screen as both men sell.

Lesnar laughs, and Undertaker sits up.  The two men exchange shots from a seated position, then they get to their feet.  Lesnar turns it around and lands shoulder blocks, then locks on the Kimura from the second rope.  JBL yells for the official to break the hold.  Taker hits the Last Ride out of the corner for a good two count.

Back to their feet again, and Lesnar hits the F5 again.  A good near fall, again.  Lesnar isn’t happy about it.  They point out that Heyman is “uncharacteristically quiet” at ringside.   To their feet again, and a third F5 from Brock.  Another good near fall, and Brock is in disbelief.

Undertaker sets Brock up for the Gogoplata (Hell’s Gate).  He’s got Lesnar stuck mid ring.  Lesnar muscles out and goes for the Kimura lock.  The official counts because Lesnar’s shoulders are down but the bell rings.  Heyman jumps in the ring in disbelief, thinking Taker tapped out.  The official demands to know why the bell was rung because he never called for it.

Undertaker hits Lesnar with a low blow from behind.  Heyman exits, and the match continues.  He locks on Hell’s Gate again after the low blow.  Brock flips Undertaker the bird, then eventually fades out.  Undertaker gets the submission victory.  He exits the ring and makes his way up to the stage.

After the match, they show a different angle of the situation.  The official is on the wrong side to see that Taker did indeed tap out to the Kimura hold.  JBL notes that the timekeeper can’t go into business for himself though and that’s why the match continued.  They point out that the match has ended in controversy but Undertaker is the official winner tonight.

Heyman walks over to the timekeeper’s area and rings the bell repeatedly.  He gets a mic and says “no, no, no, no, no.”  He says that he saw it, and everyone else saw it that Undertaker tapped out.  He declares Brock the winner by “tap out submission.”  Lesnar’s music plays, and Cole gives us a final send off to end the show.

This was another good match that ended up being kind of squashed by a weird finish.  I thought that it ended up being a letdown to an otherwise entertaining match.  I guess this is one way to keep Lesnar looking strong because the finish was not clean, and the re-start ends up making Taker look a bit heelish.  I don’t know how that plays off going into the future, especially if there’s plans for a third match at Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas, which is Taker’s home state.  And yes, I’m calling it now: Taker vs. Brock III in Dallas.

Overall show thoughts:  Well, this was entertaining for the most part.  I really felt like there was a lot of good on this show (I know someone’s on Twitter saying I hated everything about the show…not necessarily true).  The undercard was solid, and the work of the matches for the most part fun and entertaining, but nothing there came off memorable or “wow” for me.  I would liked to have seen at least one of the two big matches end clean though.  I think the Undertaker/Lesnar finish ended up taking a bit of an edge off the show.  They put on a good match and this was how the show ended?  Kind of annoying.

Drew has your Monday Night Raw coverage tomorrow night, then Around the Ring on Tuesday where he will discuss this show, NXT, and Raw among other things.  I’ll be back on Thursday with my Around the Ring cast, and other news and notes along the way.  Thanks for watching along tonight.


WWE Monday Night Raw Report for 8/17/2015 – SummerSlam “Go-Home” Show, John Cena Responds to Seth Rollins’ Challenge, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar Under One Roof, and More

It’s the go-home show heading into SummerSlam in Brooklyn, NY this coming Sunday.  Tonight, WWE stops in Minneapolis, MN as the last stop before the biggest party of the summer.  Seth Rollins has challenged John Cena to a “winner takes all” match pitting the United States Champion against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  Will Cena show up, and will he accept the challenge?  Also, Minneapolis’ own Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker are supposed to be under the same roof at this show.  We saw what happened between them the last time, will another crazy brawl break out, or will they stay apart until the big show?

All this and more as we bring you the Raw report starting around 8PM EST right here on  Also join in the conversation on Twitter @RingRap.

Continue reading