We are coming off of one of the better RAW shows in recent memory. The Payback main event is shaping up to be a nice one -- featuring Dean Ambrose, a guy who should have been a part of this picture a long time ago if WWE hadn't been booking him to job to Star Wars holograms and exploding TV sets. The tag team division has The New Day leading the way and is looking strong with Kidd and Cesaro and Lucha Dragons in the background. John Cena leads the mid-card (I can't believe I'm saying that) while simultaneously dominating it. And Sami Zayn's injured. And so is Hideo Itami. Despite this, the Giant Wrestling Company That Did chugs along on this, the "going home" show, despite the fact that we really, only, have two official Payback matches set up. So, I guess we're gonna book the other 6 or 7 tonight and on Smackdown.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Cincinnati, Ohio!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the usual guys.
Triple H starts us off, declaring that "Daddy's home". He says that when he comes home to his kids and says "Daddy's home", (DANIELLE: They boo me!), they're happy. But he's not happy with Kane and his bullshit booking because he's Triple H and there's no way for him to stop his employees from doing stuff he doesn't want done or reverse the main event booking. He tells Kane to come out here -- but here comes Rollins instead.
Rollins rants about Kane and reviews all the bullshit Triple H just said and all the shit we've gone through in the past few weeks while the crowd chants Ambrose's name in several different variations. Rollins tells Triple H that Kane isn't the same person and it's time to "take the old dog out back and put him out of his misery."
That's enough of that. Kane shows up -- and actually gets a pop. Kane says that he's older than Rollins and with age comes wisdom. He wants to strangle Rollins right the fuck now. They bicker back and forth and Triple H gets between them. Triple H says he respects Kane -- but Kane needs to get on the same page as The Authority. He says that he knows Rollins is irritating and you just wanna punch him in the face...but you don't. He says that Kane's job is on the line. If Rollins doesn't leave Payback as champion, his services won't be needed.
Kane says that's a shame...but it's all worth it to eviscerate Rollins. Rollins argues again and Triple H tells him to shut up. Triple H says that Kane should speak up because this is the point where a break would be "amicable". Kane is quiet. Triple H accepts the silence and says that the Fatal 4-Way will go on -- and they'll all see action tonight. So, tonight he wants to test Kane. Tonight, it's Kane vs. Reigns. He orders Rollins to take on Randy Orton. Rollins is furious.
Then, Jamie Noble decides to get brave and criticizes Triple H, telling him that he's just some rich guy who rides in limos and watches a big screen. Triple H mocks Noble and Mercury, saying that he "didn't know they were still around". He gets into Noble's face, taking care to, mockingly, kneel down to match Noble's height. He puts Noble and Mercury into a handicap match...against Dean Ambrose.
Triple H tells Kane and Rollins to come with him as Ambrose makes his way to the ring.
MATCH #1: Dean Ambrose vs. Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Ambrose manhandles Mercury who tags in Ambrose. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds but Noble escapes and the fight continues outside. Mercury and Noble double team Ambrose until Ambrose puts both guys over the announce table. Back in the ring, Ambrose tries to go top rope on Mercury but Mercury pulls him down. It's a couple quick tags as Noble puts Ambrose in an armbar. Mercury comes in and hits a dropkick and headlock. Ambrose breaks and the two men collide and butt heads. Tag to Noble. Ambrose gets up and works him over, hitting a couple mean tackles. He goes for a bulldog but Mercury pulls Noble outside the ring. Ambrose hits the Flying Psycho and puts Noble back in the ring, hitting a flying clothesline. Mercury makes the save. The boys beat on Ambrose, who hits a Double Rebound Clothesline and Dirty Deeds to finish it at 5:17 as Booker, frustratingly, says "We have a new champion!"
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via Dirty Deeds
RATING: *3/4. Better than expected, but big deal. Why are we wasting Dean Ambrose on these guys when Ambrose is main eventing Payback? Quick action and no commercial break for a change, so there's that.
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan is here.
When we come back from break, Ziggler is out here, dressed like what white 80's TV Execs thought gang members looked like. Sheamus is at ringside with the guys, doing commentary. Cole welcomes Sheamus to commentary and, because he just can't let it die, continues to berate him for not "kissing Ziggler's arse" three weeks ago.
(WHYG Writer Jared: "Hey, folks, welcome to our third PPV, WEDGIEMANIA! John Cena will defend the United States Championship against Rusev again -- but this time, in a No Holds Barred WEDGIE MATCH!" JBL: "A wedgie match?!" COLE: "That's right, John! In order to win the match, you have to give your opponent a WEDGIE!")
Barrett gets on the mic and gives a speech that just isn't the same without the "bad news" gimmick. He tells the ref to ring the bell.
MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett
Ziggler hits a Superkick and nearly gets a pin. He hits an elbow drop for another two count and dropkicks Barrett outside. When we come back from one RAW's much-needed commercial breaks, Barrett's in control with a pin and a headlock. He elbows Ziggler on the back of the head but Ziggler charges up and hits the Fame-Asser for two. Ziggler goes for another Superkick but Barrett grabs his leg and goes for Wasteland. Ziggler breaks it but Barrett knocks him down with a knee to the gut. Barrett sets up the Bullhammer but misses. Sheamus gets involved, distracting Ziggler. Barrett hits the Bullhammer to finish up at 5:52.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **. Nothing going on here except to build up the Sheamus feud.
Post-match, Sheamus kicks at Ziggler. Ziggler fights back with a press but Sheamus hits a Brogue and leaves.
- Kane vs. Roman Reigns
- Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
It's the Suddenly Evil Because Reasons Eric Rowan vs. The New and Improved Fandango You Know What Nevermind. JBL, Cole and Booker argue over how fast Rowan will win, guess 2 minutes or under because this is a thing now. Rowan destroys Fandango and hits a Full Nelson Slam for the win at around 36 seconds.
WINNER: Erick Rowan
RATING: n/a - squash. I didn't care about Rowan before. I don't care for him now. As a tag team, Rowan and Harper can kick a whole lot of ass. Let's do that instead of 15 straight solo squashes week after week. Anyhow, this whole match has an Island of Misfit Toys feel, starring a bunch of WWE's failed experiments.
Post-match, it's a Rowan/Harper beatdown.
NEXT: Cena will beat a mid-carder.
LAST WEEK: Bret Hart introduced Sami Zayn who lost to John Cena, got injured and won't return to WWE for weeks to come.
Cena graces us with his presence and is thrilled because the arena seems to cheer for him. He talks up the Franklin Mint United States Commemorative Championship and lists all the people he's beaten to keep it. The Cena U.S. Open is...uh...open...and the challenger is...
Neville. To almost no pop.
MATCH #4: John Cena (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
The two men exchange holds and wrist locks and armbars for the first couple of minutes. Cena hits a shoulderblock and side headlock as JBL says that Cena "could have anyone...like Harper and Rowan". Neville breaks the hold and sends Cena outside. When we come back, NOBODY IS IN CONTROL! Cena hits Move #1 but Neville kicks out of #3 and sends Cena out of the ring, following with a nice Baseball Slide Kick. Neville follows that up with a beautiful Springboard 450 Splash. Back in the ring, Neville gets a two count. A few counters later and Cena hits #3 and goes for the 5KS, hitting it. He goes for the AA but Neville kicks free and kicks Cena in the face. Neville hits ANOTHER beautiful 450 Splash but only gets a near fall. The two men exchange punches and Neville hits some quick low kicks before Cena grabs Neville for a nice Michinoku Driver for two. Cena sets up the AA again but Neville counters into a pin for two. Cena puts Neville in the corner. Neville jumps over Cena and does some backflips. He hits a cross body but Cena counters into an AA which Neville counters. Neville hits an Enzuguri and NEARLY gets another fall. He goes for the Red Arrow but Cena counters into the STF. Neville counters that and nearly gets another fall. Cena gets to his feet and hits a quick clothesline and both men are weary. Cena rushes at Neville but Neville dodges and kicks Cena. Cena grabs Neville anyhow and hits an AA. 1...2...NO. Both men are on their backs and struggle to get up. Cena is on his feet first as Neville rolls outside the ropes. Cena grabs Neville and puts him on his shoulders, climbing to the second buckle...but Neville counters into a Falling Powerbomb! 1...2...NO. Neville gets up and goes for the Red Arrow and hits it...and Rusev fuck this entire thing up by interfering for the DQ finish at 14:42. Fuck this fucking show.
WINNER: Neville via DQ
RATING: I'll go ***3/4. I hate run-in finishes but that fit. This would have been an easy ***** on any PPV.
Post-match, Rusev stomps a mudhole in Cena and puts him in the Accolade and Neville doesn't do a thing about it because he's dead some place. Meanwhile, the crowd chants "WE WANT LANA".
STILL TO COME:
- Kane vs. Reigns
- Orton vs. Rollins
NEXT: Daniel Bryan is here to talk about his neck.
LAST WEEK: Tamin Snuka made an arbitrary return due to overwhelming demand. Her and Naomi beat up the Bellas, who are heels, kinda.
MATCH #5: Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) vs. Tamina Snuka (w/ Naomi)
Cole plugs the WWE App, telling us to tune in so we can see what the Bellas think about Naomi. Tamina gained some weight during her off-time and botches a punch to Brie's gut. Tamina hits a clothesline and gets a one-count as Nikki says inspirational stuff like, "C'mon, Brie, fight". Brie regains composure and hits a nice missile dropkick for two. Brie hits a running knee against the ropes but can't hit a second one, which she always tries for. Tamina blocks her and hits a Superkick for the win at 3:34.
WINNER: Tamina Snuka
TONIGHT: Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Curtis Axel is waiting for Damien Sandow. They're fighting because Axel imitated Hulk Hogan and Damien Sandow imitated Randy Savage. It's like two drag queens jockeying for stage time.
MATCH #6: Curtis Axel vs. Macho Mandow
*Sigh*. Sandow is out with Savage's theme music and costume -- and Cole has a HASHTAG FOR IT. Sandow points like Savage. Axel rips off his shirt but Mandow hits shoulderblocks and goes top rope for the big elbow...but The Ascension shows up because why the fuck not? Viktor says that this isn't entertaining. Konnor takes the ironic route and says that "dressing like a legend doesn't make you a legend". They rush the ring -- but Sandow dumps Konnor and slams Viktor to the mat. Axel hits a Hogan Legdrop. And this is DOA. JBL, Cole and Booker sit there, stunned, saying, "Well...that was...something."
WINNERS: No contest
RATING: DUD. The Ascension was just buried by Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow imitating Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage while they, themselves, imitate the Legion of Doom. My brain is gonna short circuit.
Post-match, it's a Pseudo Mega Powers handshake. Yay?
Daniel Bryan is out to speak and looks none too happy. He says that he's had a bunch of doctor visits in the last two weeks. He is sick of that and wants some energy. He says that he needed to come out here and get his usual reaction. He recalls when Steph stripped him of the World Title last year...and she was right to do it. He says that the fans deserve a fighting champion -- and that's why he's out here tonight. He says that he had an MRI and that the doctors are telling him that he's out indefinitely. Despite that, he says the fans deserve somebody fighting for the IC Championship -- and has to invoke the name of Dean Ambrose in order to get fans cheering. Tonight, he is giving up the Intercontinental Championship. He thanks the fans and leaves the belt in the center of the ring. The crowd chants "THANK YOU, DANIEL" and Bryan rewards them by leading a YES chant to finish that segment.
Cole, JBL and Booker are depressed and discuss WHAT JUST HAPPENED.
The New Day's music hits but the crowd is dead. Eventually, it's a "NEW DAY SUCKS" chant that brings them back. The three men talk about the tag teams in contention for the titles and try another "NEW DAY ROCKS" chant. It doesn't work and Cesaro and Kidd interrupt with Nattie's Giant Bewbz already having been there for 20 minutes.
MATCH #7: Big E (w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro (w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya)
JBL continues calling Cesaro and Tyson "Tyson & Kidd" as Cesaro hits a HUGE slam to start things off. Cesaro hits an uppercut and huge crossbody off the top rope for two. Cesaro beats E in the corner with kicks, then clotheslines him from the ring. After a commercial break, Cesaro fights out of an Abdominal Stretch only to fall victim to another one. Cesaro counters with a Gut Wrench Suplex but E hits a Spinebuster. He misses a Warrior Splash but hits ANOTHER Warrior Splash and gets two. E hits a shoulder tackle for two. Cesaro comes back with a Springboard Uppercut and two German Suplexes, followed by a dangerous looking Belly to Belly that sees Big E landing on the back of his neck. Cesaro goes for a Spin. Woods jumps on the mat and him and Tyson Kidd fight each other. Finally, Woods trips Kidd and taunts Cesaro. E tries to clothesline Cesaro but Cesaro counters an hits a neat cradle pin for the three count at 8:54.
RATING: **. Good power match here. Cesaro just continues to look impressive, even if you think you've seen everything he's had to offer.
WWE Network is free for the month of May...so tune in to see Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel take on The Ascension.
If you think that's fucked, OMG, another PPV has been added this month: Elimination Chamber, live from Texas on Sunday, May 31st. Shouldn't that have been Fastlane? Yeah. This isn't desperate at all.
THIS THURSDAY: Roman Reigns vs. Kane because the match nobody wanted to see in the first place MUST HAPPEN.
The Prime Time Players imitate D-X because we haven't had enough of this tonight. Parts of the crowd sadly chant along with the old D-X shit.
Bray Wyatt time. Wyatt comes to the ring and goes Alex Jones nuts, talking about Climate Change and economic collapse and global war. When he's done with the Coast 2 Coast nonsense, he trashes Ryback for reading The Secret and fighting against injury to "come back". But Ryback has never seen anything like Bray Wyatt. He says that, sometimes, the bad guy wins. He does the Raven...until Ryback shows up and heads to the ring. Ryback hits a Spinebuster and clothesline and Wyatt is dispatched outside. We go to break with Ryback standing tall.
MATCH #8: Randy Orton vs. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (non-title)
No J&J "flank" for this match. After some back and forth, Rollins hits some shots to Orton's head and gut. Orton responds, tossing Rollins to the mat and into the corner. Orton knocks him down and drops a knee for two. He misses the next one but hits a backbreaker. He rushes Rollins but Rollins trips him and sends him outside. When we come back, Rollins is in control while Cole recaps what might happen in a Fatal 4-Way in case you haven't watched wrestling since the late 90's. Rollins tosses Orton into the corner and runs but Orton dumps Rollins over the ropes. Rollins recovers and goes top rope but Orton trips him up. Orton hits a Superplex but both men are hurt. When they get to their feet, it's "boo/yay" shots. Orton tries a Powerslam in stride but Rollins holds the ropes. Rollins leaps at Orton from the top rope and Orton hits the Powerslam anyhow. Two count. Rollins dazes Orton and hits a flying knee from the top rope. Two count. Rollins tries the Buckle Bomb but Orton counters it. There's a series of counters and Orton finally hits a Fisherman's Suplex throw. Orton goes after Rollins but Rollins kicks Orton and hits a Suicide Dive to the outside. For some reason, eight guys in the crowd chant, "THIS IS AWESOME". Back in the ring, Rollins tries to splash Orton in the corner but misses. Orton misses an RKO. Rollins rolls him up for two, then hits a low Superkick for two. Both men struggle to theri feet. Rollins gets to feet first. He rushes Orton but Orton sends Rollins outside the ropes for a Vintage DDT. He sets up for the RKO but J&J Security are here to fuck this up at 15:19.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
RATING: **. Just have J&J at ringside if you're gonna end it like that.
Post-match, Rollins and J&J put Orton to the mat. Kane's music hits. He goes for a chair. Rollins & J&J stomp a mudhole in Orton. Ambrose and Reigns show up, tossing J&J from the ring. They surround Rollins. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. The three Fatal 4-Way competitors turn to face Kane. Kane does nothing. Ambrose picks up Rollins and holds him for Reigns. Reigns hits a Spear. Kane still stands there, watching. Ambrose and Reigns pick Rollins up for Orton who hits an RKO. Kane still doesn't move...so Reigns hits a Spear on Orton. That means Ambrose gets to hit Dirty Deeds on Reigns and Ambrose stands tall as we go off the air.
OVERALL: **. Blah for a "going home" show. Nowhere near as good as last week with a bunch of shit matches and a brilliant Cena/Neville match. That one match does not, a good show, make.
And, of course, it's the best of Monday Night Open Mic...