Fresh off Bad News Barrett becoming King of the Ring which means...something, it's time for another edition of RAW.
Last week saw a pretty decent show and a good tag match. Smackdown is also starting to be consistently good as well. Hopefully, this means WWE is starting to find their rhythm again. Rollins is good chicken shit heel which is gonna equal a good payoff when the belt is finally taken off of him.
Thankfully, Creative finally came to the logical conclusion that Roman Reigns was still doughy and needed some more baking -- and that's paid off. He's no longer getting booed out of the building and the fans seem to finally be getting behind him...though, whether that good will carries into an inevitable championship push remains to be seen.
We're a couple weeks from Payback with a pretty good main event set up for that card.
I think split-screening this is gonna be the idea for me tonight. Madison Bumgarner has a no-no going into the 4th inning...
Let's see where this goes...
We are LIVE(!!!) from Montreal, Quebec, Canada for Monday Night RAW!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the guys talking.
Randy Orton starts us off and gets a nice ovation and dim SUSPENSE LIGHTING. Cole gives us our first Kane reference at about 34 seconds in because, as everyone knows, HE is the REASON we have such a spectacular main event at Payback! Orton says that the name of the next PPV is fitting because he'll have "payback against Seth Rollins". At Payback, he'll be champion. There isn't anything Reigns or Rollins can do about it.
That brings out Reigns. He says that if anyone gets "payback", it will be HIM. Orton begs to differ by basically saying "nuh-uh", then reminds Reigns of how many championships he's won and how many Triple Threat Matches he's been in. He says that Reigns has "catching up" to do. Reigns says the last time HE checked, he beat Orton. He won't mind breaking Orton in half one more time. The crowd doesn't care and chants for an RKO.
The New Day appears. Orton dances to the theme. Xavier Woods says that they're the only "champions" out there right now. Woods says that Reigns and Orton are negative and nobody cares. Woods says this is a NEW DAY! Crowd: SUCKS!!! They joke around and preach positivity and tell Orton and Reigns to clap with them. But, there's one more thing: Kane has authorized a match between the New Day and Orton/Reigns. NOW!!!
Good opening here. New Day stole the show from the usual drab, "No, you" back-and-forth between the three top guys.
MATCH #1: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E) vs. Roman Reigns & Randy Orton in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match (non-title)
Woods ends up in the ring with Reigns. Woods puts Reigns in a headlock but Reigns breaks and runs him over with a shoulderblock. Woods goes for a Leapfrog and ends up in a Samoan Drop. Orton tags in and stomps Woods in the stomach, then hits a suplex for two. Woods crawls for his corner but Orton yanks him back, stomping at him. Reigns tags in and stomps Woods in the head. Both wrestlers stomp at Woods' stomach, splitting his legs while they do it, almost in homage to the Sharpshooter. Orton tags back in and the stomping continues. Woods finally fights back and tags E who hits a nice belly to belly suplex on a distraction by Kofi. Kofi tags in and starts working over Orton. Two count. Woods gets back in the ring and applies a headlock. Orton breaks but Woods hits a dropkick for two. After the break, we learn that Big E took over by shoulderblocking Reigns to death. Kofi has Reigns in the ring and he dropkicks Reigns, getting two. Tag to E. Punch to the chest. E hits a suplex and a belly to belly and it's a two count. Tag to Woods who comes in with a flying legdrop. Two count. Reigns fights back but Woods hits a Swinging Neckbreaker. Two count. Tag to Kofi and he punches Reigns in the chest. It's more Reigns peril with Kofi putting on an armbar. Reigns breaks so Kofi tosses Reigns to the mat and we start all over again with Woods coming in with a headlock. Crowd loves this so much, they chant, "WE WANT RANDY". Reigns picks Woods up and just tosses him clear across the ring. Hot tags on both sides and Orton is all over Kofi, who comes back with a kick and flies at Orton. Orton hits a Powerslam in Stride and it's a spot-fest with everyone hitting their stuff. The ring clears and Orton hits the Elevated DDT. He calls for the RKO but Woods gets in to interfere. Orton hits the RKO on him -- then goes for Kofi. Reigns gets in and tries for a Spear on Kofi -- but hits Orton. E pulls Reigns out of the ring and Kofi gets the pin on Orton (something I don't think I have typed ever) at 13:14.
WINNERS: The New Day.
RATING: ***. Not a bad start to things and a good idea to arbitrarily book The New Day against WWE's top guys. New Day worked well here and it was nice to see them get a win without the usual "cheating heel" spot for a change. Still, while New Day is hitting on all cylinders, Reigns and Orton seemed to be mailing it in here.
And, fuck, it's HEEL KANE. He knows that Orton and Reigns hate one another so, hold on a second, playa: it's Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns in the main event tonight. Cole reminds us that OMG: THEY'RE IN THE TRIPLE THREAT SO THAT'S HUGE! Orton and Reigns leave the ring and stare at each other.
Backstage, New Day celebrates and they tell Kane (who's walking by) that they're so happy and tell him that they told him they would "win". Kane rolls his eyes and walks past them, running into Seth Rollins. Rollins shoots his mouth off at Kane, telling him that he's a spoiled kid. Triple H and Steph will return and punish Kane. But, now, it's FACEKANE. Kane says he wasn't much for being a kid. He didn't leave milk and cookies for Santa. He waited in the chimney with a blowtorch to "burn his chestnuts". He's making a match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. Also, J&J are banned from ringside. Seth is beside himself and, pretty much stating the obvious, says that there's "no point" to having that match since he already beat Ambrose. Kane tells him to complain some more and he'll make life real hard for Seth. Seth storms off.
Renee Young brings Ryback to the ring. He goes off, telling everyone he doesn't know why Bray's going after him while, somehow, killing a "GOLDBERG" chant. Then he lists about 110 injuries and obstacles he's been through. He just keeps coming out and yelling "FEED ME MORE". He says that talking time is done. It's now "feeding time".
That brings out Bray in his Backstage Boiler Room Set of Doom. Bray says that Ryback puts on a good front but that he's a scared little boy. He says that Ryback will lose everything he loves. In time, Ryback will fade away, too.
This feud isn't doing it for me. I kinda like Bray. I really don't care for Ryback. I mean, they had potential with a Bray/Bo link...but we're not seeing that.
MATCH #2: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Konnor and Viktor ambush Kidd in the corner. Quick clothesline. Two count. Viktor stomps at Kidd and tags in Konnor. Stomps. Two count. Tag to Viktor. Stomps. Two count. Headlock by Viktor as Natalya frowns, breaking every ounce of Botox forcing her to do otherwise. Konnor tags in and hits a suplex. Two count. Tag to Viktor and he hits a dropkick for two. Konnor tags in and misses an elbow drop, but tags in Vitkor. Kidd tags Cesaro and he levels both of the Ascension with HUGE boots and a seires of uppercuts to Viktor. Cesaro whips Viktor from post to post with Uppercut after Uppercut, totaling around 8 to 10, then hits a Gut Wrench. Konnor tries to save the day but Cesaro dumps him. Kidd takes out Konnor outside. Cesaro hits a Swing on Viktor. Kidd hits the dropkick to the head and we're done at 4:07.
WINNERS: Cesaro & Kidd
RATING: *1/2. Worth it for Cesaro having more worth than everyone else here. Speaking of: does The Ascension have anything left?
Seth Rollins is backstage. Renee Young comes out of nowhere like a Wallmaster in The Legend of Zelda to get his "thoughts" on the match coming up. Rollins calls Kane a moron.
ON SMACKDOWN: Rollins won his match against Ambrose because of Kane, which Kane is gonna fix by barring everyone but himself from ringside.
Ambrose and Rollins hit the ring...but Kane's music interrupts things. Kane says that he's taking Rollins' sentiments to heart...so, if Ambrose wins the match tonight, Ambrose will be added to the main event at Payback. Crowd LOVES this.
Rollins goes on a temper tantrum. Ambrose interrupts and says he likes this idea. He asks if anyone here has an issue. Rollins grabs his mic and yells some more, telling Canada that they don't matter. Kane says that Rollins's thoughts don't matter. RING THE BELL, PAL.
MATCH #3: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (non-title)
Ambrose tries to roll Rollins up but Rollins kicks out. After some chops, Rollins bails from the ring. Ambrose follows and it's a fight outside with Ambrose hitting the Rebound Clothesline and tossing Rollins back into the ring. Ambrose locks Rollins's up and kicks him in the back of the head. Ambrose hits a quick lariat and quick elbow drop for a one count. Suplex by Ambrose. One count. All this while the commentary team argue over this whole fucking stipulation. Rollins takes over, putting Ambrose in the corner, punching at him. Ambrose comes back, tossing Rollins into the corner and chopping him down like a tree when Rollins comes back. Rollins regains control with a knee to the gut and slam. He drops a knee to Ambrose's head and gets a one count. Ambrose manages to regain control and tosses Rollins out of the ring as we go to break.
As we come back, Rollins is in control with a chinlock on Ambrose. Ambrose hits a headbutt and tries to clothesline Rollins but Rollins trips him and he goes flying into the second turnbuckle. Rollins goes for a Springboard move but Ambrose moves and hits a Tornado DDT. Ambrose his some shots and slaps Rollins in the face, then hits lariats and a Bulldog. Ambrose goes to the top rope but Rollins moves and rolls out of the ring. Ambrose flings himself at Rollins and hits him. He tosses Rollins back in and it's a series of counters with Ambrose hitting an Inverted Sidewalk Slam. Rollins counters and comes back with an attempt at the Buckle Bomb. He can't hit it and Ambrose hits an elbow off the top rope for two.
Crowd is loving this and starts an OLE OLE OLE chant which JBL somehow links to Star Wars. Rollins drops Ambrose's neck on the top rope and hits a Springboard Kick to Ambrose's head. Two count. Rollins taunts Ambrose who slaps Rollins. Rollins superkicks Ambrose in the head. TWO COUNT. Rollins argues with the ref and then picks Ambrose up for the Buckle Bomb. Ambrose kicks out and it's a fist-fight with Ambrose clotheslining Rollins out of the ring. Ambrose misses a Rebound Clothesline and Rollins hits a Buckle Bomb, dropping Ambrose on the crowd barrier. Rollins gets back into the ring and the ref counts. He gets to nine -- and Ambrose breaks the count.
Rollins flies at Ambrose with everything he's got, stomping Ambrose in the corner and hitting a splash. Ambrose comes back with one of his own. Rollins hits an Enzuguri -- but Ambrose hits the Rebound Clothesline. J&J make their way down to the ring because fuck stipulations, they no longer matter. But Ambrose dumps both of them! Rollins grabs Ambrose but Ambrose elbows out and rolls Rollins up for the pin!
WINNER: Dean Ambrose at 16:31
RATING: ****. THIS is the push Ambrose needs. This is LONG overdue. What a match by both guys. Why weren't we doing THIS instead of having Ambrose jobbing to holograms and TV sets?
EARLIER TONIGHT: The New Day beat Roman Reigns and Randy Orton.
MOMENTS AGO: Ambrose beat Rollins.
AT PAYBACK: It's a Fatal 4-Way.
Rollins shows up at Kane's "office" and starts threatening to kick his ass. Face Kane says that Rollins just keeps lashing out...so, he could just add more people to Seth's match at Payback. Kane says that this is all about overcoming adversity. But worry not, Suddenly Heel Again Kane says, he has a plan...
MATCH #4: Fandango vs. Rusev (w/ Lana)
Rusev kicks Fandango and knees him in the stomach, sending him outside. While out there, Fandango flirts with Lana...who, surprisingly, does the "Fandango". Rusev knocks Fandango down and screams at her, sending her back to the locker room. Fandango attacks Rusev and sends him into the ringpost. In the ring, Fandango hits quick dropkicks and punches Fandango in the corner before Rusev pushes him off. Superkick, Stomp, Accolade. Done at 2:12.
WINNER: Rusev via Accolade
RATING: n/a - squash match. Even still, I liked this match. Imagine WWE Creative actually advancing plotlines by humanizing Lana...so strange. I'm not used to this.
We get an ad for ESPN's E:60 WWE Special.
Cole takes us through audition videos for Tough Enough.
MATCH #5: R-Truth vs. Stardust
Stardust has a bag with him. Cole calls him Cody, so we're off to a great start here. Truth his a hard shoulderblock and tries for a suplex but Cody breaks and hits a reverse suplex instead. Star keeps lunging for the bag but Truth won't let him get to it. Truth tries to access it but Star attacks him and hits a legsweep. Crowd chants "CODY" as Star starts slugging away at Truth. Both men fly at each other and collide, hitting the mat. Truth comes back with dropkicks but the crowd couldn't care less. Truth hits a falling front suplex for two, then goes into Star's bag, only to find a bunch of plastic spiders, which prompts Cody to roll him up like we're in an Ambrose match for the win at 2:55.
RATING: DUD. First one of the night. Nobody was into this and this angle is lame as they come.
THIS THURSDAY AT SMACKDOWN: All the participants in the Fatal Four-Way will sign the contract for the main event. PLEASE LET THERE BE A SHIELD REUNION AT PAYBACK...
The Canadian fans welcome John Cena with the usual "John Cena sucks" chant. Cena: "I quit." The fans cheer. Cena talks about overcoming adversity and how he always does. He actually asks the crowd to stop their OLE chant -- but says that's not gonna happen. He asks the crowd if they'd quit. They say "NO". Cena asks some guy in a pink tank what he thinks and that dude holds up a sign that says "PUSH ZIGGLER" and glares at Cena like the Angry Miz Kid. TL;DR: Cena offers his usual challenge...and it is...
Bret Hart. Hart makes his way down. Hart says he's not fighting...he's here to introduce a great wrestler...and that brings out Heath Slater. Slater tries for the Foley Cheap Pop and can't even get that across. Slater enters the ring and Hart clocks him in the head. Hart introduces...
MATCH #6: John Cena (champion) vs. Sami Zayn (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
Zayn gets a MONSTROUS pop. Initial run around ends with Cena taking a dropkick and rolling out of the ring. Cena gets Move #3 twice and gets a two count. And, now, something's not right with Zayn's left shoulder and a trainer comes in to examine him. After about a minute, Zayn continues. The two raise their fists and, finally, Cena kicks Zayn in the corner, then hits Moves 1 through 3. He goes for the 5KS but Zayn rolls him up and gets two. Zayn gets up and hits a cross body, getting two. Cena rolls out of the ring, so Zayn hits a Flying 360 Splash into Cena's face. Back in the ring, Cena hits the STF. Zayn gets to the ropes and it's a break. Cena attacks him but Zayn hits the Koji Clutch! Cena counters with an AA but Zayn counters that with a German Suplex for two. Zayn charges Cena but Cena clothesline Zayn, then tries an AA. Zayn lands on his ass, not his back, then gets up and the two men run at each other. Both of them clothesline one another and roll out of the ring. Zayn runs at Cena, flies THROUGH the corner of the ring, grabs Cena, and hits a Tornado DDT! Back in the ring, Cena grabs Zayn and immediately hits an AA! 1...2...NO. Zayn kicks out. Zayn hits the Blue Thunderbomb AND NEARLY GETS THE PIN. The two men start trading shots and Cena hits the Springboard Stunner and AA to wrap this up at 10:43.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: John Cena via AA
RATING: ***1/2. A good debut for Zayn but the match just was really slightly above Cena/Ambrose, post-WM. I understand why Cena won and I understand why Zayn lost...but I see no reason why it couldn't have been reversed. The stipulation at Payback really overrides any title. It's about pride and guts, not so much gold. Either way, this was a really good match. We're being spoiled tonight.
The Bellas are backstage and run into The New Day who's lost their shit and celebrating at the top of their lungs, lifting E up in the air.
Renee Young is waiting for Sami Zayn -- but The New Day interrupts and goes nuts. The do the NEW DAY ROCKS chant. Cesaro, Kidd and Natalya shows up. Cesaro points out that the crowd thinks they suck. Natalya says TND only won because Roman and Orton hate one another. They fight over the New Day chant and New Day takes off.
Nikki and Brie come out to ringside...until Naomi shows up with WWE HALL OF FAMER JIMMY SNUKA'S DAUGHTER, Tamina Snuka and, together, they ambush the Bellas. Naomi and Tamina pick Brie up and bully her, slapping her around. Naomi grabs the mic and says that "family" is what they just witnessed. Nice to see that Tamina's gone from being AJ's valet to being Naomi's valet.
LAST TUESDAY AT KING OF THE RING: Barrett won the King of the Ring.
King Barrett makes his way down to the ring with his "king" costume from Party City. He says that he will "rule his kingdom with an iron fist" and people who don't obey will be the victim of a bullhammer. He says there are only four words everyone needs to know: "ALL HAIL KING BARRETT".
MATCH #7: King Barrett & Sheamus vs. Neville & Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler and Barrett start things off. Sheamus distracts Ziggler and Barrett hits a cheap shot from behind. Barrett sets Ziggler on the top buckle and kicks him in the chest. He gets two. Ziggler comes back with a snap DDT and two count. Sheamus tries to get involved. Sheamus tries to get in the ring but Neville comes in. Stalemate and a break. After break, Sheamus has Ziggler in a side headlock. Ziggler fights out but ends up in the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus taunts Ziggler so Ziggler hauls off and Superkicks him. Hot tags on both ends. Neville ducks out of three moves, then hits a nice Hurricarana, tossing Barrett out of the ring. Neville splashes him outside, then tosses him back in and hits the Standing Shooting Star Press for two. Neville misses an attack. Barrett goes for the Bullhammer but misses. Neville hits an Enzuguri and German Suplex for two. Sheamus gets in the ring. Ziggler boots him out and the two fight near the barrier. Neville knocks Barrett down and goes for the Red Arrow but Sheamus distracts Neville. Neville kicks him and goes up top but comes down and hits the Bullhammer. Done at 8:38.
WINNER: Barrett & Sheamus
RATING: **. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Nice to see Neville and Zayn getting some work tonight. Neville is supremely impressive and I can't wait to see him progress through the ranks.
We go straight from this to the main event -- which is a good thing, considering it's 4 minutes from the scheduled end of the show. Before we begin that, however, it's Kane, dressed for battle. Rollins follows behind him with J&J Security. Jamie Noble says he's the "special guest ring announcer" and says that Joey Mercury is the timekeeper. Kane is an "enforcer". Seth is a "guest commentator".
In the words of Dwight in Sin City: "And everything was going SO well..."
MATCH #8: Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Seth: "I trust Kane." Cole: "You TRUST him now?!" Reigns and Orton bickers over current circumstances but finally start to brawl. Orton knocks Reigns to his knee but Reigns comes back, tossing Reigns into the corner. Orton comes back with a clothesline. Orton goes to pick Reigns up but Reigns hits a Samoan Drop. Reigns dumps Orton outside as Cole declares that he wants to see Buddy Rogers wrestle. This commentary is DEATH. Noble gets involved. Reigns clocks him. Orton clocks Reigns and tosses Reigns back in the ring. Reigns comes back with a quick clothesline but can't capitalize. Orton gets up and hits clotheslines. He tries a powerslam but Reigns stops himself on the charge. Orton hits a nice backbreaker and Reigns falls outside the ring ropes. Crowd is dead for all of this. Orton goes for the Elevated DDT but Reigns drops Orton's neck on the ropes and hits the Missile Dropkick. Reigns goes for the Superman Punch but misses. Reigns runs at Orton again and Orton hits the In-Stride Powerslam, followed by the Elevated DDT. He calls for the RKO but Reigns shoves him away and hits a Superman Punch. Orton rolls out of the ring. Reigns goes for a dive but Kane trips him and all four guys go to attack Orton. Ref calls for a bell but nobody's gonna ring it because Mercury doesn't care about his post anymore.
WINNER: Reigns by DQ, presumably.
RATING: **. Eh. Barely passable. A shame, considering what we've seen tonight.
Post-match, the mudhole stomp continues until Ambrose comes out to save the day. The three Fatal 4-Way guys surround Rollins until Reigns hits a Spear, knocking him out. Reigns celebrates -- until Orton RKO's Reigns. Orton celebrates and Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds.
Ambrose celebrates and we go off the air.
OVERALL: WHAT. A. SHOW. Why can't Creative do this more often? Even the mediocre matches weren't as painful. This is the kind of show WWE needs to churn out on a regular basis. I will go ***1/4 here.
And here is the best of Monday Night Open Mic: