RAW is in Montreal tonight, so while we will not understand half the chants, we know it is a lively crowd!
Before I get to it, I must acknowledge the news revealed earlier as Santino Marella is retiring from in-ring competition. He cites mounting injuries and a possible repeat neck surgery. Smart move. I really believe since Edge made his public retirement speech following WrestleMania 28, and revealed his own injuries and desire not to wind up like some washed up wrestler in a wheelchair, others have been, wisely, following suit. Santino might have been a joke for majority of his career, but he was always entertaining and was quite the titleholder as well. I salute you Santino, good career and a good man. Wish him the best of luck.
Bret Hart is at RAW tonight!
Kicking off the show Roman Reigns addresses The Authority and his goal of winning the WWE World Championship at Battleground. Of course, his promo is interrupted, and it is by Kane. Few words are not exchanged, as Reigns calls Kane “Orton’s b***h” and the exchange is with fists. Officials rush out to break it up, and for some reason it is easy to spot Fit Finlay, Jamie Noble, and Mike Rotunda. Chokeslam by Kane, and in the end, Finlay eats a spear and Kane is dropped with a Superman Punch.
Decent segment, but Reigns seems to still be in search of “his voice” behind the mic. As with many big men, speaking is not a strong suit. Reigns, I believe in time will develop his skills. As evidenced by Batista, even being champion does not improve mic skills. The brawl was good though. Reigns vs. Kane has potential.
In yet another rematch between the Usos and Wyatts, it is Luke Harper and Erick Rowan who earn the non-title victory when it seems like the wrong Uso was pinned following a huge lariat by Harper. Match, as always was dead-on near-perfect. I say it before and I say it again, these are the talents you showcase. Guys who are versatile and can compete against any wrestler, regardless of size or skill set.
Backstage: Randy Orton convinces Kane he has his back, although Kane wonders why Orton did not come out to help. Seth Rollins interrupts and belittles the duo, saying they cannot do what he could. Orton tells Kane he hates Rollins, but Kane replies his own disdain of Orton. Oops.
Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox in what was supposed to be a one-armed match. I think. Broke down into the worst catfight I have ever witnessed. No idea what the point of this was supposed to be, except Fox did her crazy bit again. So, there is that for you. I really do not understand when these segments are put on. Does WWE Creative not realize these segments are usually a miss and not a hit?
Lovely Lana and Alexander Rusev are out, bashing Canada and putting over Vladimir Putin. Not too late Canada, join us! Well, Rob Van Dam comes out and I could not be the only one shocked as to how often Rusev no-sold his moveset and wound up crushing RVD in a matter of minutes. Dare I say RVD sleptwalk through? At points there was no denying he simply went through the motions, maybe one or two lively spots, but you could tell the purpose was for Rusev to defeat a “big name” talent and be put over.
Let’s think about this. He has a match with Jack Swagger. I love the guy, but he does not stand out as top-tier talent these days. But to have RVD do the job, to build up Rusev for a match with Swagger at Battleground? Perhaps Swagger is bigger in WWE than we think? Is Swagger once again main event material?
Alright, alright. Who screwed up? Randy Orton or Dean Ambrose. If you were not watching, or at least listening, then you did not hear the Montreal chant of “You f****d” up” over and over. The match was actually really good, except for this one little moment of confusion, where Ambrose left Orton dazed. Ready? Ambrose heads to the top turnbuckle, jumps, and… nothing. He lands on his feet, and then Orton turns around and dropkicks him. This leads me to believe Orton was supposed to hit Ambrose on the way down. Ambrose made up for it by lobbing six chairs into the ring, crowd loving it, but did not do jack as Orton dropped Ambrose with the RKO for the victory, and Ambrose sold it like a champ. Regardless of the loss, huge chants for Crazy Dean Ambrose, the “Lunatic Fringe” of WWE. Interesting look, tank top and jeans. Ambrose has potential for main event, but mounting losses could hinder him.
Backstage: Roman Reigns interrupts Renee Young and John Cena, and share an intense, or romantic staredown. Your pick.
Fandango sits nicely at commentary, watching Alberto del Rio take on Dolph Ziggler in a number one contenders match for the United States Championship. More like the “two guys who are main event but we need to keep them held at mid-card” match. Obviously not everyone can always be world champion, but come on, Del Rio and Ziggler deserve better. In fact, they deserve each other as they killed it in the time they were allotted. Sadly, Alberto del Ro picked up a tarnished win, thanks to Fandango who chose to gyrate in front of JBL which for whatever reason was a distraction to Ziggler, allowing Del Rio to crack him in the head and claim victory. Seriously though, give them five minutes or give them 20. Ziggler and Del Rio will outclass any Cena/Orton match.
Up next is the scariest and weirdest segment ever. No, not from BrayWyatt, but from Gold and Star Dust. Alright, doesn’t work. Goldust and Stardust. Mumbling about cosmic rays and linear paths of light, it seems the former Cody Rhodes was talking to Goldust’s wig.
Jerry Lawler comes out and thanks the fans as his last time in the area he was hospitalized from his heart attack. He then introduces Bret Hart to a standing ovation. He tells the crowd he wishes he could lace up the boots one more time. His promo is pretty damn solid. Must be feeling good. Hang on… his theme hits again, and is interrupted by Bret “The Hitman” Sandhart! Wow. Damien Sandow. He immediately goes after Bret and the “Montreal Screwjob” and bashing Bret for tapping out to his own hold. Sandow gets uber-heat, and this is exactly what I have been saying Sandow is capable of. He pulled this off awesomely. He winds up getting clocked by Bret for his efforts, and then is trounced by Sheamus in a one-on-one. What really made this match great, is how Sandow competed in Bret’s classic ring gear. Kudos to you Sandow.
Backstage: The Miz is playing the arrogant Hollywood star and reads a letter from “Johnny Russo” who apparently is extremely distressed over Chris Jericho attacking the returning Miz. Well, Miz takes on Jericho in a match, and winds up tapping out to the Walls of Jericho in a good match, but Miz did the whole “don’t hurt my face” bit which felt overplayed. The real good stuff took place afterwards, when Bray Wyatt dominated the mic, bringing up parts of Jericho’s past, his “savior” gimmick and how Bray actually seeks to save the world in his own way, even using Jericho’s own catchphrases. Excellent promo, excellent build for this feud. I hope it goes to SummerSlam and not rushed to Battleground.
Who sends letters in the mail anymore? Really?
Up next is the “Whoa, RAW got too exciting, we need to kill the momentum a bit” match, where the Funkadactyls take on Paige and AJ Lee. This was a head-scratcher, since I thought Cameron and Naomi had already split up. I guess WWE Creative felt no one cared enough, so they had to stage it again and make it as obvious as a brick to the damn skull. Cameron played the disinterested arrogant one. Refused to tag in, and when she did, Paige pinned her in seconds. Paige, I should add, is playing the whole cynical-respect bit with AJ. Wonderful. No one cares.
Paul Heyman and Cesaro come out, antagonizing the Montreal crowd, and Cesaro says something in French to piss them all off. Unfortunately his confidence is shattered as he loses by surprise rollup to Kofi Kingston. Way too short of a match, and Michael Cole plays up how this is the second week in a row Kofi pinned him in the same fashion. Cesaro attempts a revenge sneak attack, but Kofi is saved by Big E. Langston. Wow. WWE has absolutely nothing for them to do. I give them credit through, they are trying to keep Kofi, Cesaro, and Langston busy. Is it just me, or are Battle Royals becoming commonplace in order to keep half the roster busy?
Announced for SmackDown: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev
More cringing ensues as Bo Dallas defeats El Torito. I am not making this up. It was kinda funny though. He knocked the little bull over while running his inspirational victory lap around the ring. JBL on commentary was hysterical.
We get a preview of the series Monday Night War, featuring WWE vs. WCW. I have the original DVD, this must be an expanded view at its history.
Main event time! WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena takes on Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins. Rollins got to show off his stuff while Cena did his standard stuff, including a hip toss! Sadly, the match does not go for long as Cena has Rollins in the STF, but is then ambushed by Orton and Kane, ending the match. Reigns rushes down for the save, but Rollins clocks everyone with the briefcase. However, before Rollins could cash in, Dean Ambrose arrives and beats him senseless. Show closes with Cena and Reigns standing tall in the ring. Seemed a bit anti climatic to me. Jim Ross agrees.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) July 8, 2014
This whole tease of cashing in every week is getting old, fast. It is supposed to be a novelty. You wait and wait, and maybe they cash in sooner, maybe later, but someone tell Michael Cole to shut up and stop shouting about it so much. It loses the novelty and becomes a “here we go again” moment.
No Triple H or Stephanie this week. Guess shlepping to Canada is a bit much for the heirs to the WWE fortune?
All in all, not a bad show. The undercard definitely was the highlight as the main event was all just a builder for Battleground. At this point there is heavy emphasis on the possibility of Roman Reigns walking away from the main event as WWE Champion, but that does not mean he will walk away from Battleground with the title. He could win, and Rollins could cash in right away. You know what that could mean? A triple threat match at SummerSlam, Seth Rollins defending against former champion Roman Reigns and rival Dean Ambrose. Now that is a main event I would pay for.