Well, all right...after my hernia surgery, I am surprisingly good enough to finally sit at a laptop and write. I don't think I've used a computer at all except for just now. Everything's been on my phone.
In any case, hope you're all well.
We have a Going Home Show coming tonight and there have been rumors ranging from a Reigns heel turn to Lesnar showing up at Money in the Bank to have some sort of impact on the big ladder match.
We are LIVE(!!!) from New Orleans, Louisiana for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!
Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton are the guys at the desk.
John Cena starts us off which is a welcome change which, I suppose, might be the lesser of two evils. He basically gives a mini version of what he said last week, pandering and yelling at the top of his lungs about how he's gonna prove himself because he's "the face blah blah blah". This brings out Kevin Owens who the announcers kinda shit on. Owens says that the fans are tired of Cena and his Open Challenge. Instead, they should have an NXT Title Open Challenge. (DANIELLE: Isn't challenging for, and possibly winning, the NXT Title a step backwards for a WWE superstar? I'm just saying. It's like watching a Major League Baseball team challenging their minor league affiliate for a division title. It's hard to be excited for the result.)
John Cena condescends and then says he accepts Owens' challenge. Owens says that Cena's delusional. They won't fight tonight. Cena says that it's kinda weak that Owens won't accept just anyone's challenge. He rants and raves about the situation. Owens: "Ok...so, we're just gonna ignore all of that...and let's let the person coming from the back decide which title he wants." We wait for that Superstar and it's...
Neville. Neville has the mic and tells Cena that they'll fight again someday. Neville says that Owens likes to mock the fans and the other Superstars. He can't let that stand. So, he chooses to take on Owens.
Cena is gonna join the guys on commentary for the love of god...
MATCH #1: Kevin Owens (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the NXT Championship
The fight immediately starts outside the ring. Neville chases back in, then hits a nice Hurricarana, tossing Owens outside. Neville dives outside, knocking Owens down. Neville rolls him back in the ring and pins for a one count. Owens goes on the attack, hitting a short-arm clothesline. Neville fights back but Owens shoves Neville in the corner and hits a splash as well as a Cannonball Splash. Two count. Owens flips Neville up and drops his stomach on the top rope. Owens hits a headlock as John Cena won't shut up about himself and even compares himself to Babe Ruth. Neville punches away at Owens but Owens catches him and drops Neville's stomach right on his knee. Two count. Owens chokes Neville against the bottom rope, then hits a Side Suplex for two. When we come back from breaks, Owens has Neville on his shoulders but Neville counters with a nice DDT. Owens rolls out of the ring. Neville dives at him and the fight continues. Neville rolls him back inside the ring. A couple of counters and Neville hits a Springboard Missile Dropkick. Neville tries to hit a high kick but Owens counters with a Pump Handle Slam and a near fall. Neville comes back, kicking Owens in the face on a whip, then hits a German Suplex for two. Neville goes for the Red Arrow but Owens gets to his feet. Neville knocks him down with an Enzuguri and tries the Arrow again. He misses. Neville lands on his feet, then hits a Superkick. Another Red Arrow attempt fails as Owens gets up, knocks him off the top buckle, then hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb to retain at 13:53.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Kevin Owens via Pop-Up Powerbomb
RATING: **3/4. Not a bad match. Was slow to start, then picked up. Neville didn't get a whole lot of offense and this match could have been light years better if they had worked to their potential.
Post-match, Owens invites Cena into the ring. Cena obliges but Owens leaves the ring, bragging about how he's NXT Champion.
Cole, JBL and Byron all talk about the situation with Ambrose and Rollins. We get a long segment detailing Elimination Chamber.
AT MONEY IN THE BANK: Ambrose vs. Rollins for the WWE Title.
Ambrose has been walking around New Orleans with the title.
Triple H and Steph are backstage. Rollins interrupts and he's so disgusted by Dean Ambrose! Just DISGUSTED! ACTING!!! They mock Rollins about not needing help from The Authority. Steph tells Rollins to deal with this shit and they tell Rollins to pick an opponent to face to prove that he can handle himself.
We review the idiotic "Twin Magic" spot the Bellas pulled last week. On Smackdown, Paige ridicules the Bellas for "always using that trick".
Renee Young brings in Nikki Bella. Nikki says that Paige is projecting her frustration. She thinks that Paige is, like, so ny-eve! Like OMG! Nikki says that this IS Paige's house...but she lives in the Bellas' world.
Next, Summer Rae vs. Nikki Bella.
MATCH #2: Summer Rae vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (non-title)
Nikki stiffly slams Summer, then does push-ups because that's what she always does during matches. Summer comes back with a forearm and a Cobra Clutch. Nikki breaks because that shit only works if you're Ted DiBiase. She somehow knocks Nikki down and gets a two count. Summer chokes Nikki against the buckle. Nikki comes back and hits the Rack Attack to get the win at 2:18.
WINNER: Nikki via Rack Attack.
RATING: DUD. (Danielle: Oh, come on. Nikki's entrance music was longer than that match.)
Cole can't even be bothered to recap any of that. Instead, we take a look at Roman Reigns running the Gauntlet last week.
More Instagram photos of Dean Ambrose just hanging out in various spots in New Orleans.
Roman Reigns is out here to talk. He says that he hated the MITB case and the contract because it was tied to a guy he detests. He says he's gonna make history when he climbs the ladder and gets the contract. Aaaaaand here comes Kane to dead silence. Kane says that he believes that anyone else stands a better chance than Roman. He says that Reigns is full of weakness, not strength. Reigns just invites Kane into the ring and he'll show people how to break a jaw. That brings out Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler says that Kane can't do a thing unless The Authority pulls his string. He says that Kane is a human hardware store because he throws "wrenches" into peoples' plans and "hammers" things out and "screws" people and he's a "tool" because he "tools away". Oh, jesus, please cut away to anything. He says he has a hot Russian chick and he'll win the MITB case. Kane goes with the "tool" thing. He says that Ziggler and Reigns better watch their mouths because the MITB foes will be in singles action tonight.
That brings out R-Truth as this segment just takes a turn. Kane: "What are you doing out here? You're not even IN the match!" Truth: "I'm not? You sure? This one's on me. My bad." Oh...fuck. Wow. Truth leaves.
Then The New Day shows up. They insult Kane. Kofi says that when he wins MITB, all of The New Day will be the winners of that case. Kane interrupts their chant again -- only to bring out Sheamus. Sheamus says that the thought of winning the MITB case brings a smile to his face. More ranting. Kane interrupts again and says that everyone's forgetting about Neville and Randy Orton.
Orton's music hits. (DANIELLE: So...we had to sit through all that, plus R-Truth, just so Kane could introduce Randy Orton?)
When we come back, it's Orton and Sheamus...
MATCH #3: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
The match starts outside but continues inside with Randy Orton hitting a back breaker and Garvin Stomp. Sheamus rolls outside to recover but Orton attacks with a clothesline, then rolls Sheamus back inside. Sheamus attacks with shots in the corner but Orton hits uppercuts and a headbutt. Sheamus hits quick uppercuts. Orton fights back and knocks Sheamus down. Sheamus rolls out of the ring again. Orton goes outside and shoves him back in. Orton whips him into the corner but Sheamus elbows him on a charge, then hits a short-arm clothesline for two. Sheamus puts on an armbar but Orton breaks it and hits a dropkick. Sheamus comes back with some shots, then puts Orton outside. When we come back from break, Orton breaks a headlock only to see Sheamus powerslam him for two. Orton fights back as the two men trade punches. Sheamus knees Orton in the gut and whips him to the ropes. Orton comes back with a knee to the gut and clothesline along with a Powerslam in Stride. Sheamus regains momentum only to fly into the corner post. Orton hits a leghook suplex and goes for the Vintage Orton DDT. RKO attempt by Orton goes awry. Sheamus tries a Brogue but misses and Orton clotheslines him outside. It's a brawl as Sheamus tries to toss Orton into the table. Orton manages to fly over it and lands on his feet. Sheamus grabs a chair but Orton punches Sheamus, then hits Sheamus in the stomach with the chair for the DQ at 13:09.
WINNER: Sheamus via DQ
RATING: **. This was the same match we saw last week. Still, these guys put on a great brawl.
Post-match, Orton's in a bad mood and decides to beat the holy hell out of Sheamus, putting him into the steel steps. He rolls Sheamus into the ring and hits the RKO.
Rollins is on Instagram, looking at more of Dean's pics. J&J come by and say they know that Rollins said some things he didn't mean. Rollins says he meant every single word. He calls them morons. Noble's had it. He says that they've had Rollins' back for a long time and that he wouldn't continue to be champ if it wasn't for them. Rollins says that he's gonna prove how awful they are -- because he wants to take them on in tonight's main event. He laughs at Noble, then slaps him in the face. Noble slaps him back. Rollins lunges but Mercury gets in his way and says that they've defended Rollins -- but, tonight, they're gonna kick his ass.
MATCH #4: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane
Whoa, we haven't seen this match before. I can hardly wait. Ziggler hits a dropkick, sending Kane into the corner. Ziggler goes for a splash but Kane belts him in the face. Lana, meanwhile, stands halfway down the aisle as Kane hits uppercuts. Long headlock spot with Ziggler finally hitting a chinbreaker to escape. Kane grabs him, however, and it's a Side Suplex for two. Kane punches Ziggler in the corner and then hits a hard knee to Ziggler's head. Kane hits a scoop slam for a one-count. Ziggler comes back, kicking Kane in the head but Kane picks him up and hits a Sidewalk Slam for two. When we come back from a commercial, Ziggler hits the Fame-Asser and gets a near fall. Ziggler tries the Superkick but Kane catches his foot and goes for the Chokeslam. Ziggler counters and does hit the Superkick. Both men go down...and here comes Rusev on crutches because, oh yeah, Lana's still out there on the ramp in case you care. Lana takes a weird fall off the ramp and does something to her ankle. Kane grabs Ziggler on the distraction and hits a Chokeslam to end this bullshit at 9:46.
WINNER: Kane via Chokeslam
RATING: 1/2 a *. A match that served no purpose and that ended because Ziggler was concerned about his new g/f with whom he has no chemistry whatsoever.
Post-match, trainers and Ziggler tend to Lana as Cole acts like Lana took a dive off the Titantron.
Meanwhile, Ambrose is still on Bourbon Street, touring New Orleans.
J&J are talking backstage. Noble and Mercury agree that Rollins is getting cocky.
NEXT: MizTV starring Ryback and Big Show.
A bunch of people resembling models and bodybuilders are the Top 40 Tough Enough finalists.
Backstage, trainers tend to Lana backstage.
Miz is in the ring, dressed like a Muslim woman and welcomes everyone to MizTV. He recaps last week when Big Show clocked him and robbed him of an IC Title shot. Ryback hits the ring and says that HE was robbed of a chance to beat up Miz. Miz does his "how dare you" spot. Ryback interrupts him and says that he thinks he's big but Damien Sandow outclassed him the entire time they were together. Ryback says that, had they wrestled, Ryback would have taken years off Miz's career. Miz calls him "ugly" and says there's only one pretty face and it's Miz. They argue over crowd chants until Big Show shows up. The crowd chants that the chair Show's sitting in is gonna break. Show tells them that the chair won't break. He talks up his own strength and says he can break whatever he wants and can take whatever he wants. Ryback says that he has no issue with fighting Show. He's not afraid of him...unlike Miz. Ryback stands and so does Show. Miz tries to get them to fight. Show tells him to shut up or else he'll shut Miz's mouth. Miz attacks Show. Show nails him, then tosses Ryback into his chair. He clotheslines Miz out of the ring. Ryback comes to and hits Shell Shock on Show to end the segment. Crowd liked that.
MATCH #5: Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
The announcers talk about Rowan and Harper as if they're the most awesome tag team in the entire universe even though we've seen them twice on RAW in the last month or so. Harper and Rowan beat up on one of the matadors. Harper hits a huge boot to the face and it's Rowan's turn. Rowan hits a Warrior Splash for two. Torito gets up on the mat to cheer his team but Rowan knocks him off. Diego goes to take care of Torito as Harper and Rowan hit 3D to win it at 2:18.
WINNERS: Harper & Rowan
RATING: n/a - squash
Crowd chants "3D" as Harper grabs a mic and says that the time for everyone to pay for their sins is coming. Rowan says it's ok to be afraid. Everyone should be.
Backstage, Kane laughs at Ambrose's Instagram and mocks Rollins. Rollins isn't happy. Kane says that Rollins is in a no-win situation. If Rollins wins on Sunday, Kane's gonna come down the aisle with the MITB case. Rollins says he's gonna teach J&J a lesson -- then Ambrose -- then Kane. Kane says that he's interested to see if that will happen...because he's gonna be in J&J's corner tonight.
WWE congratulates itself for having more followers than ESPN, HBO -- and GATORADE!!! SUCK IT, HYDRATION!!!
Ambrose is on his way to the arena. He has a ticket to tonight's show.
Cole plugs "Ted 2" and we get a fucking trailer.
MATCH #6: Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Titus O'Neil (w/ Darren Young)
Holy shit, this crowd is asleep. E puts Titus to the mat, then punches at him. He kicks Titus, then claps in his face. More punching and an Abdominal Stretch. Another kick to Titus's ribs and more clapping. Titus finally fights back, then punches at E in the corner. He slaps E's chest, then just throws E across the ring and hits shoulderblocks. Titus puts E in the corner and more punches. Titus hits a huge shoulderblock. Woods starts shoving Young outside. Titus grabs Woods by his hair. Kofi hits the mat. E grabs Titus and hits the Big Ending on the distraction to end it at 3:10.
WINNER: Big E via Big Ending
RATING: 1/4 of a *. Not even a match and makes the challengers look horrible heading into MITB.
The New Day celebrates as Roman Reigns' music hits. He heads to the ring. He takes on Kofi after break.
MATCH #7: Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Roman Reigns
Kofi hits a headlock. Reigns escapes and hits a shoulder tackle. More hot headlock action but Reigns escapes again and flips Kofi to the mat and outside. Kofi, Woods and E huddle. They surround the ring and Reigns just stands there and falls for it like a giant dope. Kofi attacks and puts Reigns in the corner, hitting shoulder rams while Woods rants. Kofi runs at Reigns who grabs him for a Samoan Drop. Kofi kicks out but Reigns hits a HUGE clothesline and then sends Kofi out of the ring. Reigns follows him and tosses Kofi's head into the announce table. Reigns hits the Sitting Dropkick and gets back into the ring. He goes for a Suicide Dive at the entire New Day but they move out of the way. Reigns runs at them from another angle and ends up nailing Woods. Kofi hits a missile dropkick from inside the ring. When we come back, Kofi hits a dropkick to Reigns, then kicks him in the back, getting two. Reigns escapes a headlock but Kofi trips Reigns, knocking him to the mat. Kofi goes top rope with a nice Double Axehandle for two. Reigns gets to his feet and hits clotheslines, then puts Kofi in a corner. He rushes and splashes Kofi. Reigns hits a Gut Wrench Slam for two. Kofi kicks at Reigns and tries the SOS but Reigns counters with a Sitting Powerbomb for two. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch. E interferes but Reigns sends him off the mat. Woods attacks but backs off. Kofi tries a roll-up with a handful of tights but Reigns kicks out. Kofi goes top tope but Reigns counters with a Superman Punch on the way down to win the match at 12:07.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Superman Punch
RATING: **. Kofi really carried this match with pure physicality and Woods with his verbal shenanigans and trolling. Other than that, this match was so-so with Reigns suddenly popping up and winning.
Post-match, Reigns grabs a chair at ringside and waits...Dean Ambrose arrives to take a seat at ringside. Reigns hands him the chair so he can sit down.
Triple H and Steph watch this backstage. Rollins approaches them. Steph asks if Rollins needs something. Rollins says nothing even though he wants to. He walks off for his match.
When we come back for break, it's the Handicap Match and we're two minutes into the overrun. Lovely.
MATCH #8: Seth Rollins vs. J&J Security (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) (w/ Kane)
Mercury and Rollins start. Rollins puts Mercury in a wristlock but Mercury reverses it. Rollins counters that and Noble tags in. Ambrose barks at Rollins. Already, this has gone on too long. Noble eats a shoulderblock and Rollins tosses him and Mercury out of the ring as the crowd maps the quickest way out of the building. J&J surround the ring with Kane on the other side. J&J swarm Rollins and clothesline him out of the ring as the crowd kinda wakes up. Rollins ends up next to Ambrose who dumps popcorn on Rollins' head. Rollins gets back into the ring and runs into a Mercury dropkick and an armbar. Rollins counters with a short-arm clothesline, then knocks Noble off the mat. Rollins tosses Mercury into the crowd barrier outside, then stomps a mudhole in Mercury. He tosses Mercury into the barrier in front of Ambrose, who gives not one shit. He drinks soda and laughs at Rollins. Rollins is furious and rolls Mercury back into the ring.
He splashes Mercury, then taunts Noble. He stomps at the hands of Mercury as part of the crowd half-heartedly chants for Joey Mercury by default. Rollins locks Mercury in a chinlock as Ambrose pounds the barrier in front of him to fire up J&J. Rollins misses a top rope attack, then a corner splash and Mercury makes a hot tag to Noble. Noble hits a lariat and then just crashes into Rollins. He hits a Swinging Neckbreaker and NEARLY gets a fall. Noble goes top rope but Rollins knocks him off. Rollins tries a suplex but Mercury grabs Rollins' leg. Noble falls on him for a two count. Chaos on the ring with a ton of counters before Rollins puts Mercury to the mat. He goes for a Buckle Bomb, tossing Mercury into Noble. Rollins slaps at Noble's face and goes for a Pedigree but Ambrose pops out of his seat, then tosses the title at Rollins. Rollins grabs it. Mercury rolls Rollins up to win it at 9:00.
WINNERS: J&J Security
RATING: **. This was your basic overbooking nonsense with the underdog heroes getting the unlikely win. Of course, that means Rollins is gonna close this sucker at MITB.
Post-match, Rollins hoists the belt, bragging in Kane's face -- but Ambrose attacks him and hits Dirty Deeds, taking the title away from Rollins once again. Ambrose grabs a ladder and climbs it, holding the title up while Rollins glares.
OVERALL: **. Ok RAW. I didn't expect much but I figured there was going to be more to this than what I just saw. The whole Lone Wolf Rollins angle is pointless as hell -- especially when we all know it isn't going anywhere. Money in the Bank is not something I'm looking forward to. Bayless is on the same line of thought. There's nobody there I'd like to see pull down the case and the status quo is going to continue with Rollins keeping the title, even though he jobs as much as Barrett does. I've actually really enjoyed Ambrose having the Championship. It's really too bad they didn't convince much of anyone that Ambrose should stay the "champion". Even if it's not Ambrose, the whole "Authority controls who's champion" angle needs to die soon. It weighs down everything.
And, of course...the Best of Monday Night Open Mic:
Regarding Neville and the "Man That Gravity Forgot" thing: