TV Recap: (Monday Night) RAW is Pre-Gaming

Once in a while you see something which shocks. Shocks you to the point where you are impressed enough to forget this is a scripted show. We kicked off the 1100th episode of WWE Monday Night RAW with a very angry Stephanie McMahon who confronts Vickie Guerrero over her debacle last week of serving spiked coffee and allowing Roman Reigns to enter, and win a Battle Royal to claim a spot in the WWE World Championship Ladder Match at Money in the Bank. Vickie is groveling for her life, until Steph trashes the name “Guerrero” by saying Vickie shames the name and has been riding Eddie’s legacy for the past nine years. Vickie hulks up as she is booked in a match, against the booker, Stephanie McMahon! Vickie says people respect the name Guerrero more than McMahon. She gets a huge ovation from the crowd as she storms off.

Using the Eddie Legacy, huh? Better than some other guy who some of us remember. Oh yeah, seven years ago tomorrow, since some disaster with a Canadian.

We get some fun out of The Wyatts and The Usos. Luke Harper defeats Jimmy Uso, and then Jey Uso picks up a win over Erick Rowan in back-to-back bouts. Both singles matches were short, but damn solid. This Sunday all four go to what I imagine will be a war for the WWE Tag Team Championships. This match could be a show-stealer. Depending on how over Goldust and Stardust are, I would not be shocked if the Usos lost the belts, only for the ‘Dusts to challenge at SummerSlam. Or, Usos retain, and we get a four-way match between Usos, Wyatts, ‘Dusts, and hell with it, Rybaxel.

After the match, The Wyatts clean house and cradle the tag belts. Bray Wyatt pops-up on the Titantron, promising the family will have the whole world, once he wins the WWE Championship and his charges win the Tag Titles. Damn creepy, and damn awesome if you think about the prospect of Bray being WWE Champion.

Just when we thought there would be more excitement, a Divas match ruins it. Paige and Cameron are on commentary, blah, blah, blah. Cameron plays the witch, while Alicia Fox does the job to Naomi. Anyone notice how nearly all Diva matches are the same? All against Alicia Fox, who dominates 99% of the match, only to get countered and hit with some sort of finishing move and loses to whomever is being pushed. Post match Paige shakes Naomi’s hand. Not a single $%&# was given.

Is it 9pm yet? Once again, the second half of the hour is a mood-killer. Why? I just watched Bo Dallas make short work, and I mean way too short work of Titus O’Neal. Post-match Titus plays the sore loser, but Dallas no-sells it, and doles some heartfelt advice to the big man. The gimmick is over, which is great. But he is plowing through decent talent as fast as Samoa Joe did in TNA. Except Joe is a behemoth. Dallas… well, I guess I just need to Bo-Lieve. Aw hell. He’s got me doing it now.

Triple H is out now, and he explains the whole concept of the Money in the Bank contract. Good for one year, the winner can cash it in for a match anytime, anywhere against the WWE Champion. The Game reminds us Seth Rollins is already in it, and now reveals the other competitors: Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, and Wade Barrett. Triple H has some fun as he announces each one, mocking RVD and Barrett, Kofi is just there to be the stuntman, even taunting the crowd regarding his thoughts on whether Ziggler is talented or not. He then publically announces his endorsement of Seth Rollins winning the match. Rollins then comes out and tells the fans to thank him for being the “architect” to push Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to be their best. He destroyed the Shield because he could, since he created it and had no further use for it. He promises to be the winner this Sunday. Rob Van Dam interrupts, and wonders if he isn’t taken seriously. Rollins, with a genius line says he would have taken RVD seriously if it was still 2005. In response, RVD reminds us all he was a MITB winner, and cashed in to win the title. He also reminds everyone, especially Triple H about nearly crushing his larynx at the first-ever Elimination Chamber in 2002. Ouch. Big ouch. RVD and Rollins banter their way into an impromptu match. Again, top of the hour always delivers. Great match in which Rollins nearly picks up victory by pinfall, but has to settle by DQ as Dean Ambrose rushes in. Ambrose says he will be at Money in the Bank, and will stop Rollins from winning.

Backstage: Rollins pleads with Triple H to put Ambrose IN the Money in the Bank match. Triple H is confused, but Rollins rationalizes it as otherwise Ambrose will ruin everything. Rollins needs to see Ambrose at all times. Triple H acquiesces, and now Dean Ambrose is in the match.

In the “How is this not a main event” match of the night, Bad News Barrett retains the Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. Epic match. BNB begins his pre-match speech by bashing the resident “racist NFL team” which I think got more cheers than boos. Go Washington. This match was incredible, but I would have expected nothing less. Barrett delivered the heavy hitting while Ziggler took every hit and sold it like a million bucks. When Ziggler had control, he flew around the ring like a Cruiserweight and nearly won the title on multiple occasions. Barrett crushed Ziggler with all his signatures, and came damn close to winning off Wasteland. Ziggler hit the Famouser off a missed Bull Hammer, but it was Bad News for Ziggler as after a second leap, Barrett cracked the challenger with the Bull Hammer for the hard fought win. I will say, Barrett got just as many cheers as Ziggler, dare I say more. This was a match between two of the most talented in the company.

So, Vickie walks past a bunch of low-tier midcards for no apparent reason until Renee Young catches up with her. They are interrupted by Randy Orton who wishes Vickie all the best in her future endeavors. Wow.

Coming out to Eddie’s theme. Nice touch. You know this is it for her. Vickie is in the ring, but Steph is not dressed to compete. She then points out the mudpit near the stage. She then sends Layla, Rosa Mendes, and Alicia Fox to do the dirty work. Vickie turns the tables and dumps each one in the pit, but gets too excited, allowing Steph to charge and shove Vickie into the pit. Stephanie then fires her. Vickie gets the last laugh by dumping Steph into the mud. She then flops around. The other Divas managed to crawl out, yet Steph slips on everything, even pulling a ref in with her. “Thank You Vickie” chants echo the arena as she pays tribute to the late Eddie Guerrero doing the shake as she leaves.

Nine years Vickie, good job. Probably one of the best heel managers of all-time.

Backstage: Goldust and Stardust. I love it.

Jack Swagger makes quick work of Kofi Kingston. The look on the face of Zeb Colter as Swagger earned the submission victory was prices. We The People indeed. Kingston flew around the ring, which is exactly what he will do at Money in the Bank. If Kofi wins, I will eat bacon.

Announced is Paige defending the Divas Title against Naomi. Cameron will be at ringside. So yeah, if it wasn’t beaten to death already, it will jump the shark on Sunday as Cameron will cost Naomi the title. Boring!

Backstage, Renee Young talks to Alberto del Rio, who is interrupted by the Rabbi of Wrestling, Paul Heyman who cuts a fantastic promo, and is followed up with a short shot from Cesaro. A match between Del Rio and Cesaro would be awesome.

We have our wind-down segment with Damien Sandow as “Honest” Abe Lincoln. Apparently he would rather be back in Ford’s Theatre than allow the WWE Universe control his career. Weird. Sandow is interrupted and defeated in minutes by Big E. Langston, who then cuts a pro-USA promo against Alexander Rusev. Well, his voice isn’t scary at all. Lana comes out, as a distraction as Rusev attacks Big E. from behind. Lana succeeds well at being a distraction. I know there is a reason why Sandow is suddenly the new Santino, but come on, give the guy a break! Please?

Pre-match backstage promo: John Cena is hyped up to win the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. Primus please no. I do not want to see him become a 15-time champion. Please. No. Ric Flair might return to wrestle. We have our main event, featuring John Cena, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns against Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Alberto del Rio, and Randy Orton. Cena takes the beat down early, until he manages a hot tag to Reigns who Superman Punches everyone into next week, but is blindsided by Alberto del Rio. Reigns then takes the collective beating. Reigns manages to tag out to Sheamus who cleans house, until Cena comes into clean house also. Cena eats the Very European Uppercut from Cesaro, who then eats Brough Kick from Sheamus. Three count later, Sheamus pins Cesaro for the victory. Post match, Kane comes out and chokeslams everyone.

Triple H enters and announces the eighth participant in the WWE Championship ladder match… KANE. When the pyro goes off, Michael Cole, in moron mode asks “who could that be?”

Well, this Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV is stacked. I will get more into the PPV in my preview column, so let’s look at a solid RAW show.

Vickie’s farewell was not as good as I would have hoped. Yeah, I read the dirtsheets before RAW, and it was revealed Vickie was likely retiring tonight as she did not renew her contract. Was this the way she should have gone out? Being fired after thrown in a mud-pit? She did not have to win, but still, a mud-pit out of all things? Have her go out with some dignity. At least they pushed her as a face towards the end.

Damien Sandow. I am waiting for what WWE Creative has in mind.

Dolph Ziggler and Wade Barrett. They absolutely killed it in the ring tonight. Once again, further proof you do not need to look at John Cena or Randy Orton for the main event. There is a reason why guys like Ziggler and Barrett are on every show, because they consistently deliver a good show. Sorry, a GREAT show.

Tonight’s RAW was a solid build for Money in the Bank, we will get the cool-down on Main Event, and probably some more build on SmackDown, but it is clear RAW once again is the go-home show and pulled it off.