TV Recap: (Monday Night) RAW is Stripped of the Title

It happened. Daniel Bryan is no longer your WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The Authority begins the show with shit-eating grins on their faces, because NO one read the internet an hour before RAW as it was leaked that Daniel Bryan would not be medically cleared to compete. Therefore, Stephanie was happy to announce the title is now vacant, with a new champion to be crowned at Money in the Bank. Triple H then announces Alberto del Rio as the first entrant as he defeated Dolph Ziggler last week to qualify, and then announces the next entrant, qualifier-free, Randy Orton. Trips then goes on for a bit about the end of the Shield, with tonight they face the Wyatt Family in a handicap match.

Alright, we got it. Triple H and Steph are so damn happy to strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE Championship, and they reiterate he is a B+ player, while stressing how an A+ wrestler would have bounced back faster. Uh, one would think WWE would be a tad more careful addressing the severity of injuries. Need I remind anyone about how Edge had to retire due to his mounting injuries and the pace he would rush his returns? Why do you think CM Punk got burned out? I get they want to really push The Authority as uber-heel, but we get that already, the point has been made, don’t make people think wrestler injuries are trivial. They aren’t. They can end careers. Just ask Christopher Nowinski.

We got a great brawl/wrestling match between Wade Barrett and Sheamus in a qualifier for the WWE Championship ladder match. #BNB is over huge, some chants for Sheamus. These guys can deliver some huge hits. Sheamus took a huge spill off the top and to the floor, while Barrett ate the White Noise while charging with the Bull Hammer. Barrett is over huge and nothing is stopping his roll to the top… Except for Sheamus BLASTING Barrett with an out-of-nowhere Brough Kick for the hard-fought win. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news… Bad News Barrett lost.

Barrett and Sheamus are great in the ring. Barrett just brutalized Sheamus over and over, then a switch where Barrett gets crushed with some big hits. These guys can brawl, and fight, and can wrestle. Entertaining as always. Not the result I wanted, but they gave me a good show.

Backstage in the dark promo by the Wyatts. Goddamn Luke Harper is freakin’ scary. Not just the words, look at his eyes, the way he speaks, it oozes scary. You can hear the crowd cheer as Bray Wyatt returns on screen.

What did the opposite, is WWE doing another “Because they never get tired of showing us how irrelevant Zack Ryder is” match, the lovable loser is once again squashed, for the fourth time I think, by Alexander Rusev. What was best about this, was pre-match, Lana shows the YouTube video of President Obama clumsily working out in a gym, and calling him a sissy. How wonderful for WWE to be involved in politics.

In another “Cody Rhodes frowning at the TV” match, Goldust and tryout partner R-Truth lose to the team of Ryback and Curtis Axel. So, WWE wants us to understand Goldust will forever be unable to defeat Rybaxel. Sigh.

Backstage, Layla is getting dolled up and then is blindsided by Summer Rae, who dumps milk all over her. Once again. Blah segment. Noticing the trend where the second half of the hour is a complete waste of time.

Proof? Top of the hour features 3MB getting annihilated by Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Ambrose then goes on a very graphic tirade, calling Seth Rollins a “cancer” who is scum and describes the various ways he plans on rearranging his face, such as reattaching his nose where his ear “used to be” and will eliminate all his teeth. Reigns then puts out a threat to Randy Orton. Wow, uh, Ambrose can be one scary dude. Seth Rollins is backstage looking on, but does not seem fazed by the sinister promises of his former teammates. This will get interesting. I believe that.

The Usos come out for their match, and out comes a milk covered Layla and Fandango. His partner is… a guy in a ballet outfit… OH CRAP it’s Damien Sandow in his long underwear. Sandow prances to the ring, and the crowd goes bat-shit crazy. Fandango takes his beating first and tags in Sandow, who, according to JBL, performs interpretive dance while wrestling. Usos pick up the easy win, but the real important thing here, is how the crowd cheered the hell out of Damien Sandow with “let’s go Sandow” chants through the whole match.

Bo Dallas defeated Xavier Woods. Nothing of value, unless you listened to JBL on commentary, because there is nothing better than an inebriated Texan with a microphone.

The Rabbi of Wrestling, Paul Heyman is in the ring and talk about being behind the man who became the “one” to end the streak of the Undertaker. Heyman talks about how Brock Lesnar went to the University of Minnesota (they are live in Minneapolis tonight), and says it is time to celebrate, but instead brings out The King of Swing, Cesaro. Why does he march to the ring like a GoBot? His opponent is ECW original Rob Van Dam. Sluggish match. Something was not jiving well between RVD and Cesaro. However, Heyman kept pace with great reactions to everything. Cesaro pulls out a beautiful double-underhook powerbomb, while RVD seems to stick to his basic moveset. There is no question RVD can go, sell big moves, but offensively there is not much in stock. Thankfully, Cesaro fought off the boring onslaught with the Neutralizer and gains entry into the WWE Championship ladder match at Money in the Bank.

It would be a shame if RVD is doing what Orton does, which is sleep-walk through matches he is set to lose. Have some respect man.

Michael Cole introduces Seth Rollins to the ring, and boy is his theme music loud and annoying. Guess that is the point. He does rock the black on black on black suit though. Rollins takes credit for putting the Shield together, and he killed what he created. He is the true architect. He calls Ambrose a lunatic and Reigns a worthless and directionless powerhouse. We get more of the Authority rhetoric, where Rollins uses the “best for business” cliché and about how he chose to adapt than perish. After putting down Ambrose and Reigns some more, he calls them out for a fight. However, the lights go out, and the familiar sound of the Wyatts hit, as Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are in the ring as the lights go back on. Shield for a short time get their hands on Rollins, but Bray hits the ring, allowing Rollins to escape. Suddenly John Cena appears to even the odds.

Well, there is your Death of the Shield. You instantly put in John Cena. Sadly it makes sense, because clearly after beating Bray Wyatt after a major pay-per-view feud-ending match, we have this dragged out once again. This feud was DONE. OVER. FINISHED! But nooooo, let’s just toss Super-Cena-Gimmick-Killer back out. Crap in a hat.

We have Paige up against Alicia Fox with Aksana, who my wife now calls “Jiggly-Butt” at ringside. Jerry Lawler and JBL attempt humor with a Lost in Space joke, while Michael Cole makes a tasteless joke about bi-polar disorder. Once again, Paige is decimated for 97% of the match, and then wins via shitty dropkick, a flop, a scream, followed by her AWESOME submission lock, the PTO. There is just no chemistry in the ring. None. Paige was awesome in NXT, but something is going on in the ring now. In any case, post-match Fox beats up Aksana, then dumps popcorn and water on her, while the crowd takes a giant dump on this “crazy Fox” gimmick by chanting “boring” over and over. The crowd takes a

Main event: John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns vs. The Wyatt Family.

Next up, Jack Swagger gets a rare win against Santino. Best part of the match is Zeb Colter and his sign to deport Santino. Facing reality, Santino lost his heat, which he has not had any of in about a year.

Cody Rhodes surprises Goldust by revealing, next week, his new tag team partner, someone he has never met before will “magnify the magnificence” of Goldust. [Editor’s Note: This could be someone from NXT, quite possibly Tyler Breeze he has a pretty boy gimmick] Say what? To get more confusing, Vickie Guerrero interrupts a conversation with Triple H and Stephanie with champagne, but sneezes and is promptly kicked out. The Hell?

Main event with Ambrose/Reigns/Cena against the Wyatt Family. Ambrose and Reigns did just fine without Seth Rollins in case anyone was worried. Cole harping on a “reborn” Bray Wyatt. What the hell does this even mean? I really hope we are not getting a “Heroes Reborn” version of Bray Wyatt. Then Rob Liefeld will start getting involved and then things will get distorted and my eyes will hurt. Ambrose takes the big beating, as each family member takes his turn. Harper is fiercely frightening. Why in the bloody blue hell does the crowd do the dueling Cena chants when he isn’t even wrestling in the goddamn ring? Ambrose does hot tag to Cena, who is cracked by Harper with a Torture Rack/Neckbreaker combo. Yay! Cena gets beaten down for a while, then hot tags to Reigns who cleans house. What is more impressive is when Harper nails Reigns with a SUPERKICK. Reigns rebounds and spears Harper and gets the pinfall victory for his team. Awesome match. Harper gets the MVP for this main event, this guy is brutal in the ring. Dan impressive. Seeing Cena suddenly be all buddy-buddy with the Shield makes me want to puke.

If WWE was smarter, they would have built this whole thing where Reigns and Ambrose need to earn trust, because suddenly having Cena on their side just belittles everything they worked at for over a year. But, WWE has its reasons for doing what they do. Next week, Cena hosts a slumber party with The Shield.

Lots of promos for the season finale of Legends House, where all the legends tell some sob story, and the big promo is a big secret by Pat Patterson, which is likely revealing he is gay, which is something the entire wrestling world has known since the Attitude Era.

Early on in the show, a very nice “Father’s Day” promo from Titus O’Neal. Very talented.

So, I am not in such despair about Damien Sandow. His gimmick is funny, and while others have done it before, I think this is a home run.

Lastly, does this mean there is no Money in the Bank match this year? Maybe next week, when Kevin Hart hosts RAW to promote his movie, he can answer that question, or have a segment with Damien Sandow.

all photos credit: wwe

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Michael Dworkis is a man of vast talent and industry. A former writer and corporate assistant of World Wrestling Entertainment, “MSD” is the Wrestling Columnist for Pop-Break, as well as contributing columns related to comics, movies, pop-culture, and of course, anything Transformers. He recently completed and obtained his Masters degree in Mental Health in Counseling, and recently became licensed to practice as an LAC by the National Board of Certified Counselors. If you need either a therapist or your wrestling fix, come to this man. Michael also is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Media, and previously managed an internet retail company. He blames Bill for having so much wrestling on the site and pleads with his superiors to create a feature on his very own Transformer Collection and to subdue Michael Bay for a serious talk. Michael is still searching for a Japanese Grand Maximus or any Japanese Generation 1 exclusives. See more of Michael at MichaelDworkis.com and follow on Twitter @Omegax80.

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