Just making sure you're awake.
In other news, Kevin Owens has come into his own, beating John Cena -- which, hopefully, still means something in two weeks when WWE puts that steak back on the grill at Money in the Bank.
In any case, things seem to be getting interesting heading into the summer...let's see what goes down...
We start with a slow-motion montage of the Ambrose/Rollins Dusty Finish.
We are LIVE(!!!) from San Antonio, Texas for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the guys at the talking table.
The New Day starts us off! Just kidding. Triple H, Steph, Rollins, Kane and J&J all head to the ring with sour faces and no World Title. Steph introduces Rollins as champion but Rollins just folds his arms and pouts. Steph says that Ambrose has the belt and that doesn't mean anything because all he can do is steal stuff and commit assault. Steph says maybe they should fine or fire Ambrose.
Triple H says they won't have to do that. Ambrose is crazy but not stupid. He says that he gave Ambrose until tonight to bring back the belt. So, he calls out Ambrose. He says he would be willing to discuss things. Nothing happens. The crowd chants their "Justin Bieber" chant. Triple H tells the crowd to shut up and says he's waiting -- then, it's angry Triple Hulk as he growls for Ambrose to get out to the ring.
Roman Reigns answers instead. He comes to ring with a smug smirk on his face. He says the Authority doesn't seem happy to see him -- but San Antonio is. He says that Ambrose isn't here and won't be back -- unless he's granted a rematch. Specifically, a ladder match. Steph says that they don't negotiate as the mics go all funky and start feeding back. Reigns says that he saw Ambrose pin Rollins. Rollins loses his shit and says Ambrose didn't beat him. Reigns says Ambrose beat him and so did Reigns. Reigns says that Rollins was cool when he was in The Shield but not now that he works for Mom and Dad and the world's smallest security team.
Rollins has had it and says that Ambrose will get his rematch. Triple H gets in the way of things but Rollins isn't having it. He says he doesn't need anyone but himself. He trashes Kane and Security and the rest of The Authority. Rollins storms off by himself.
Steph turns to Reigns and tells him that he's smug as hell. Triple H gets between Reigns and Steph the Insane Wife. He says that Reigns is the man going to Money in the Bank, something that he should be familiar with, since Rollins used it to smash his hopes at WrestleMania. He says that, after tonight, Reigns may not BE in Money in the Bank. If he loses, he's out. Triple H says he will find Reigns an opponent and they will be here in a few.
With that, the segment concludes. Actually, very nicely done. Reigns was great on the mic tonight.
When we come back from break, Roman Reigns' opponent is King Barrett. Oh, yeah. Triple H is soooo "mad".
MATCH #1: Roman Reigns vs. King Barrett
Some grappling to start, then a side headlock by Barrett that almost culminates in a Samoan Drop. Barrett escapes but Roman kicks Barrett in the jaw, then splashes him in the corner. Roman kicks at the chest of Barrett who ends up on the bottom rope. Roman goes for the Missile Dropkick outside but Barrett rolls out of the way. Roman presses his attack and rolls Barrett back in the ring -- then clotheslines him back out again. Reigns goes after him and Barrett fights back. Barrett kicks the steel steps at Reigns which Reigns sells like he broke his knee. Barrett gets back into the ring and we're going right back to break after just five minutes. During commercial break, Barrett did something awful to Reigns and has him in a headlock. Reigns comes back and tries a splash but misses. Barrett kicks him in the stomach and gets a two count. Another long headlock spot. Reigns breaks again and finally hits the Samoan Drop. Both men are down, but get to their feet. Boo/Yay punch exchange ends with Reigns hitting a Running Clothesline. Barrett takes two more of those and Reigns puts him in a corner and just wails away. Barrett fights back but Reigns just belts him in the mouth. Reigns gets a near fall after a cross body off an Irish Whip. Barrett tries for Wasteland. Reigns escapes and runs at Barrett who catches him for Winds of Change for two. Barrett sets up for the Bullhammer but Reigns moves and rolls Barrett up, then picks him up and Powerbombs him with one arm. Two count. Reigns sets up for the Spear but Barrett rolls out of the ring again. Reigns chases and Barrett rakes Reigns' eyes, then goes for the Bullhammer. Another miss and it's the Spear for the win at 14:07.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Spear
RATING: **3/4. Better than expected but not much velocity to it and needlessly long at near 15 minutes. Why is Reigns taking so long to beat a guy who jobs left and right? In any case, I don't know what they're gonna do with King Costume Shop next...but maybe it's time to forget KOTR ever happened.
Cole puts us through a recap of Cena/Owens. Apparently, THE CHAMP IS HERE. Which one? STAY TUNED!!!
Roman Reigns wanders around, all triumphant, backstage. He bumps into Triple H and Steph -- who tell him that was only his FIRST opponent. He's gonna face Mark Henry next. They wish him luck.
Byron interviews Nikki who is like, just, like, sooooo proud of herself! Paige interrupts and says that there was a Divas Battle Royal awhile back but she never got to face Nikki because Naomi beat her up. Now she's back and she wants her title shot. Nikki accepts all heel-like, I guess. I have no idea what the Bellas are besides models who wrestle. Anyhow, that match is tonight.
Ryback is out to the ring to talk to the fans. He says that he's proud to be the Intercontinental Champion. And that's pretty much it. The Miz is out to face him next.
When we come back, Miz and Ryback are ready to throw down...and here comes the Big Show to crash the show into the mountain. Show cocks his fist, ready to strike Ryback...but slugs Miz instead and I can't believe I actually approve of that. Not so fast, though: Show grabs a mic and says that he wants to be the one to face Ryback for the title. Show says Ryback ain't "The Big Guy". He says Ryback has nothing on him. They go nose to nose. Instead of attacking, Show leaves after what I'm sure was both a face turn and a heel turn in the space of 48 seconds. Anyhow, nobody in the arena cares. And nothing happening with the title, I guess.
TONIGHT: Hey! We still have a Divas Title Match...so, y'know, there's that...
NEXT: Kevin Owens is here.
When we get back, Owens is here. He says he does what he claims he is going to do. He beat Zayn, won the NXT Title and he also beat John Cena. He delivers on his promises. Owens says he spoke to his kid about Cena. His kid wanted to know how Cena was after Owens beat him. He says he doesn't blame his son for liking Cena because WWE has been portrayed as a real-life superhero. All Cena's done is talk and spew catchphrases while Owens traveled and fought. He says he beat Super Cena last night. He says that he's gonna show that a real role model doesn't rely on bright colors and catchphrases. Real role models deliver on promises like he does.
Cena's music hits as Owens does that weird grimace thing. Crowd doesn't sound as enthused as they have been. Cena calls him a jackass, then tells Owens to be humble. Careful, John! Owens' son is watching! Cena says all he's heard about in the past 24 hours is Elimination Chamber. Cena says he admits that he got beat. He says that Owens doesn't deserve a shot at the United States Championship or the NXT Title. He says that Owens is concerned about being a real role model when he should be concerned about being a real MAN. Cena says Owens' son likes him because he delivers and beats people. Otherwise, his son would be wearing "an Adam Rose t-shirt and be worshipping the Funkydactyls while wishing he could play in the XFL." Sheesh, the XFL is long gone, Adam Rose is booked if he's lucky and Naomi's already been buried by Paige. Cena's assholishness knows no bounds, it seems. He says that everyone likes him because he doesn't give up -- then points out a young fan with Cena gear waving a sign that reads "I AM BEATING CANCER". Cena tells that kid not to give up. He challenges Owens to a fight but Owens won't have it and leaves.
It's irritating that Cena did his usual, "I'm still better than you" thing -- and it got obnoxious with the "I'm still a real man", "that kid has cancer and doesn't give up" pandering...but I like that we're showing Owens being a human being, albeit sooner than I would have liked, but ok. On the one hand, it's brilliant that Owens is human and Cena picked him apart like a roasted chicken...but on the other, this is the guy that wasn't afraid of Cena and manhandled him the last couple of weeks and seeing him chicken out, looking visibly afraid is really a step down for me. It's a bit of a sharp left turn. Still, good promo.
STILL TO COME:
- Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
- Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods)
Whoa, a match. We're having these tonight? Ziggler and Kofi lock up as the crowd chants for Lana who stands on the entrance ramp because that's suddenly what she does as a valet. Ziggler hits a dropkick after some running around and it's a Ziggler Splash in the corner. Kofi misses one of his own. Ziggler tries another splash but Kofi boots him in the face. Kofi applies a headlock but Ziggler breaks and hits another Ziggler splash and elbow drop. Two count. (DANIELLE: Where's Lana? ME: Top of the ramp. DANIELLE: What, are her heels so high, she can't get to the ring?) Ziggler hits a nice DDT that should win the match but Kofi kicks out...only to have Ziggler win the match on a roll-up at 3:15.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
RATING: 1/2 a *, if that.
Post-match, E and Woods run in for a mudhole stomp on Ziggler. Prime Time Players show up and save the day. We go to break.
When we come back, HOLD ON A MINUTE, PLAYA! It's a six-man tag match...
MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young) (non-title)
When we come back from break, Titus drops Darren Young on top of Woods, which gets a two count. Young stomps at Kofi and hits an armbar. Woods escapes and tags in E. E attacks and ends up with a Belly to Belly on a distraction by Woods, who tags in to stomp at Young. All three guys get the mudhole stomp spot but the ref doesn't DQ anyone for Wrestling Too Hard, so this continues. E tosses Kofi at Young and Kofi hits a dropkcik on the way in. Kofi kicks Young and it's a two count. Kofi hits a dropkick and it's a tag to Woods who hits a flying fist drop. Woods puts Young in a Cobra Clutch of sorts but Young breaks because DiBiase did that better years ago. Tag to E who hits Snake Eyes with Young on the buckle. Near fall. E tags in, attacks Ziggler, knocking him off the mat, then misses a Warrior Splash on Young. Hot tag to Titus who is all over Xavier Woods. He turns and clotheslines E out of the ring, then hits a backbreaker and toss on Kofi. HUGE Powerslam to Woods nearly gets a fall but Kofi saves the pin. Young hits the neckbreaker on him and they leave the ring. Woods rolls up Titus for two. Titus gets up and Ziggler hits a Superkick on Woods before Titus finishes with the Pump-Handle Slam to finish it at 5:34.
WINNERS: Ziggler and PTP
RATING: *1/2. Not wholly necessary abut not bad either. Better than the last match.
TONIGHT: The Divas Title match
NEXT: Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry. Winner goes to MITB.
EARLIER TONIGHT: Roman Reigns confronted The Authority.
AT MITB: Dean Ambrose faces Seth Rollins.
MATCH #4: Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
Lemme just axe a quesshun: why doesn't Triple H just say, "Fuck you, Roman. You're out of MITB for helping Ambrose"? I mean, that would make a shit-ton more sense to me than putting him through a bunch of mid-card crap. Henry just stomps at Reigns in the corner, then clutches at Reigns' left eye, which seems to be hurt. He puts Reigns in the corner and just shoulder-rams him. Big clothesline and an Irish Whip into the corner. Henry misses a splash. Reigns hits a clothesline and lariats. Reigns knocks him down with a running clothesline and then tries the Samoan Drop, hitting it on the second try. Henry rolls out of the ring. Reigns chases but Henry rams him into the ringpost. Reigns comes back with a Superman Punch and Henry is down. Reigns crawls to the ring and wins via countout at 3:45. Yay?
WINNER: Roman Reigns via countout
RATING: 1/2 a *. I almost wanna see Kane face Reigns instead of this. Almost.
Post-match, Henry is suddenly conscious and attacks Reigns, hitting the WSS before leaving the ring.
TONIGHT: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Roman Reigns wanders by Triple H and Steph in the hallway. They congratulate him again. Reigns asks them if he should keep his vest on to fight again. Triple H tells him yes...and to Follow the Buzzards. *SUDDEN ANGRY TRIPLE H CUT*
Then, it's The New Mega-Powers, New Day and Big Show doing Sonic Shake ads...for three minutes. I mean, why not just hire one of these teams or guys to do the ads instead of putting us through Superstars acting like they're fucking up?
MATCH #5: Paige (challenger) vs. Nikki Bella (champion) for the WWE Divas Championship
Nikki and Paige exchange grapples and shoves. Nikki hits a Fireman's Carry Takedown and armbar. Paige forearms out of the hold but Nikki immediately hits a belly to belly suplex, then acts like Dolph Ziggler, doing push-ups. Snap Suplex by Nikki. Two count. Chinlock spot by Nikki. Paige breaks but Nikki puts Paige into a leglock. Paige grabs the ropes, then hits Nikki in the boobs with a Superkick. Nikki rolls out of the ring, then starts doing crunches because that's what Nikki always does during matches. Nikki gets back in the ring. Paige catches her with a knee and it's a two count. Paige sets up for the PTO but Nikki kicks out and hits an ALBAMMA SLAMMA for two. Paige comes back with a Superkick and gets two. Paige screams in frustration and Nikki goes for the Rack Attack. Paige fights out, then hits a Ram-Paige off the second buckle. Nikki rolls out of the ring...and, fucking hell, Brie rolls out from under the ring to take Nikki's place. It's the Twin Magic spot for the win at 5:43 because the ref is too fucking stupid to realize that Nikki suddenly lacked giant plastic boobs or an ass? You'd think he'd notice that...welp...'least Parallax is happy. :-/
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Nikki Bella
RATING: *1/4. Nikki's...what? A face? Heel? Paige is...what? Face? Heel? Anyone know or care? Guess we're waiting until Total Divas comes back in July for Nikki to drop the title since that's the only time Creative seems to give a damn about the Divas Division. It's beyond ridiculous that she's still carrying it.
EARLIER TONIGHT: Roman Reigns beat Wade Barrett and Mark Henry.
STILL TO COME: Roman Reigns faces Bray Wyatt.
MATCH #6: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Sheamus locks in an armbar but Orton counters with a Side Headlock. Sheamus forces the break at the ropes. Sheamus rolls him up quickly for a one-count. Orton returns the favor. Sheamus rolls out of the ring. Sheamus puts on another side headlock. Orton breaks with an Irish Whip. Shoulder tackle by Sheamus. Orton comes back with an elbow on the second whip. The two men exchange punches. Orton starts hitting uppercuts. Sheamus hits a kneelift and an Irish Whip. Orton kicks Sheamus in the jaw and clotheslines him from the ring. Orton chases and the fight continues. Orton tries a side suplex into the crowd but Sheamus blocks it. The fight goes to the announce table where Orton hits the Side Suplex there. Clothesline by Orton and he gets back in the ring to celebrate. When we come back from break, Sheamus slams Orton to the mat for a two count. Sheamus stomps Orton in the corner. Orton kicks at him but Sheamus clotheslines him. Sheamus hits a second buckle Kneedrop for two. Sheamus hits a side headlock but Orton counters with a Side Suplex. Sheamus rolls outside the ring ropes. Orton goes for the Vintage DDT but Sheamus counters and drops his neck on the ropes. Sheamus runs back inside but Orton clotheslines him and hits the Powerslam In Stride. Orton goes for the Rope DDT but Sheamus counters and gets back in the ring. Orton counters Sheamus's grapple and hits a T-Bone Suplex, then the Rope DDT. He sets up for the RKO but Sheamus counters and hits a partial Brogue Kick, connecting with his knee. Orton rolls out of the ring. Sheamus follows and it's a brawl. Orton tosses Sheamus into the timekeeper's pit. Sheamus gets up and nails Orton with a chair for the DQ at 12:57.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
RATING: **1/4. Not terrible. I actually like these two together. They're two of the toughest guys in WWE and that makes for some great matches. Unfortunately, this one falls short. It was made even more frustrating with a DQ spot after we'd invested over ten minutes in this.
Post-match, Sheamus nails Orton with a Brogue, then tosses Orton into the crowd barrier. Orton gets back up to collect himself and Sheamus hits another Brogue, then celebrates.
Byron Saxton has Rusev backstage. Rusev is wearing a medical boot and is on crutches. Rusev says he has nothing. He doesn't have a Championship or career or Lana. He says he's a broken man with a broken ankle and spirit. He is the one who is ca-dushed this time. He knows, however, what he wants and desires and he will get back everything he had.
TONIGHT: Roman Reigns takes on Bray Wyatt.
ON SMACKDOWN: Kevin Owens is issuing an NXT Championship Open Challenge.
Bo Dallas comes to the ring and says, "I wanted to help you, Neville...now I just wanna hurt you..."
MATCH #7: Bo Dallas vs. Neville
This match again? For what it's worth, I like Bo becoming something other than what he props himself up as. He just stomps and clubs Neville in two corners, then celebrates. He tosses Neville from the ring, then goes outside to follow up, hitting a running clothesline. Bo yells in his face, telling him how much he wants to "help" Neville. He rolls Neville back in the ring and gets a one-count. Euro Headlock by Dallas that goes on for about half the match, as he screams for Neville to quit. Neville finally breaks and tackles Dallas, hitting his set of quick kicks. After flippy-floppying all over the ring, he kicks Dallas to the mat and hits the Red Arrow for the win at 3:09.
WINNER: Neville via Red Arrow.
RATING: *. Ok, fine. Great. This is pretty much a slightly more condensed version of what was seen last night. So what?
NEXT: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns is in the ring, clutching his rib cage, waiting for Bray Wyatt.
MATCH #8: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
It's a brawl to start this off with both mean taking shots at one another. Wyatt knocks him down, then props him up and punches at his throat. Bray whips Reigns into a corner but Reigns comes back with an uppercut. Reigns punches him in the back of the neck and gets a one count. Suddenly, Seth Rollins, Kane and J&J appear at the entrance ramp...soooo, I guess Rollins really does need The Authority? Bray and Reigns go back and forth. Bray tackles Reigns for two. Bray knocks Reigns out of the ring and we go to break. When we come back, Wyatt tosses Reigns outside the ring ropes. Bray follows and kicks at Reigns. Bray trips Reigns and Reigns hits the mat. Bray rolls him in the ring and nearly gets a fall. Bray hits a Corner Clothesline, but misses the second one as Reigns comes roaring out of the corner with a clothesline. Reigns gets up and Bray misses another Corner Clothesline, careening into the ringpost. Reigns hits a DDT, then gets up and hits some huge clotheslines in the corner. He sends Bray out of the ring. Reigns goes outside and hits the Sitting Dropkick as Wyatt flies into the crowd barrier. Reigns rolls him back into the ring but Wyatt goes on the attack, stomping at him. Wyatt hits a running clothesline and a Reverse Senton for two. Bray looks up at the new MITB case and then slaps at Reigns who smiles. Reigns slaps him back. Wyatt charges and Reigns hits the Samoan Drop. Reigns calls for the Superman Punch but misses and hits the Standing Spinebuster, nearly getting a fall. Wyatt does the Spider Walk, then goes for Sister Abigail. Reigns ducks it and rolls Bray up for two. Reigns hits a Superman Punch...and, suddenly, The Authority comes running down to ruin things. Reigns gets up and attacks Joey Mercury, then turns and looks at Kane. Bray gets up and attacks but Reigns sends Bray into Kane, knocking him down, then hits a Spear on Bray to finish this at 12:13.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Spear
RATING: **3/4. Remember when Bray was over as fuck, battling John Cena for his soul at WrestleMania? Yeah, those were good times. How the mighty have fallen...and was there a reason why The Authority didn't just rush down and beat on Bray Wyatt to cause a DQ? Sigh...
Post-match, The Authority surrounds the ring to pick at what's left of Reigns...but Ambrose's music hits. Rollins tells Security to get ready and waits for Ambrose to hit the ring...except he's under the Announce Table as Cole pretends he had no fucking idea Ambrose was there the entire goddamn time. Him and Reigns clean house. Rollins attacks Ambrose but Ambrose tosses the belt at him. Rollins catches it and looks at it. Ambrose uses that distraction to hit Dirty Deeds, then grabs the title again. He and Reigns book it for the crowd again as Triple H and Steph come out to the ring to join Rollins who is livid.
OVERALL: Enjoyable end. Show was fair with a lot of filler and matches that I didn't care about. I'll go **. Better luck next week.
And, of course, the Best of Monday Night Open Mic: