Bill: Hey Guys! I’m filling in for Michael Dworkis for the first half of RAW this week as he’s off scouting talent for the next round of NXT signings. I hear he might be in Mexico trying to get Kevin Steen and El Generico to take a sabbatical from that orphanage they’re running Mexico.
By the way, did you know the WWE Network is available for $9.99 a month? Yes, they’re doing the hard sell for it tonight. I may make a few jokes about it tonight. But if you want to actually buy it, click here. Totally worth it!
Michael: Whoa whoa whoa. You took care of all the good stuff, leaving me with the filler?
Bill: Actually, that was most of the show.
Michael: Did Triple H hawk the WWE Network to the point where even the crowd started chanting nine-ninety-nine for everything? Even during the beat the clock challenge? I don’t know what is worse, WWE not acknowledging the Network is still down in numbers or them shoving it down our throats harder than John Cena?
Bill: That… that doesn’t sound Kosher.
Michael: Consult your local Rabbi. Get on with the show Bill!
In a We Start Every RAW with a Promo Match: The Authority comes out and Triple-H goes into super hard sell mode SummerSlam and The Network. It was almost a little DX-ish with the smart alecky-ness of the promo. Then Randall Keith Orton gets on the mic and begins to put us into a coma talking about Roman Reigns. And wouldn’t you know, Roman Reigns snaps us out of our slumber. I think Reigns has really improved on the microphone, there’s a lot of potential with this guy.
Bill: In a Last Man Standing and We’re Talking About That Bruce Willis Movie Match: I think the WWE is really de-valuing this type of match as they’ve been giving way too many of these away for free recently. I mean we just had Sheamus vs. Alberto del Rio in a LMS match on Main Event a few weeks ago. WWE has to be careful to not kill off a really good gimmick match. With that being said, this was a very solid big man plunder match. Lots of power spots and brawling — they weren’t going to empty the arsenal on RAW, so what they delivered was good. The spot with Kane channeling his inner Sandman was a nice visual. I like the uppercuts that Kane and Reigns throw. And my God, that flying dropkick/boot to the mouth that Reigns does on the apron…beauty. Love that spot. The Superman Punch counter by Kane, chokeslamming Reigns into the table was a great spot, but I think it needed to be saved for a pay-per-view.
Winner: Roman Reigns…it was inevitable.
Michael: Jim Ross? Could it be? NO! Damien Sandow comes out to the Boomer Sooner theme, pissing off everyone. Guess WWE Creative really needs him on the side of devils since he was just winning the crowd over too much by being funny. Shame on him for getting popular! In fact, so much so, they throw the returning Mark Henry at him and you can take a guess what happens next. If you said Sandow gets the surprise win, you need to book an appointment for some electroshock. No, once again, Sandow continues to follow in the footsteps of the Brooklyn Brawler by racking up more losses than Barry Horowitz. That is what has to happen next. Damien Sandow must dress up as the Brooklyn Brawler or Barry Horowitz. DO IT!!! Back to you Bill.
Bill: Alberto del Rio vs. Dean Ambrose in a You Crazy…Perrrrrrro Match: While the WWE may be milking the Last Man Standing gimmick too much, I have to say I love the Beat the Clock concept. It creates a true element of drama – Ambrose has to win as fast as possible in order to get his stipulation at SummerSlam and Alberto Dellllllllllllll RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRio just needs to stall forever. Kudos to whomever kept reinforcing the fact ADR was chosen because he’s a submission specialist, that’s a nice old school touch. The two of these guys really busted their asses. Ambrose, as a face, sells like a firey cross between Ricky Morton and Tommy Dreamer. ADR seemed to be much more fluid and refreshed in the ring. His kicks to Ambrose were brutal. Loved the finished as both men looked super strong.
Winner: Dean Ambrose.
Michael: Is it sad how even the WWE Twitter account has been playing up the $9.99 or 9.99 numeric for their matches? Either smart, cynical, or desperate. Jury is still out on that one.
Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara in a squash so fast it was only seen on the WWE App. Genius. They are pushing the Network so hard, they just opt to put more exclusives on the App. Genius. We come back from commercial in time for Lana to cut a funny-yet-serious promo only for Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger to interrupt. Eventually it breaks down into a brawl, because all feuds must have brawls as teasers these days. All of them.
Winner: Rusev and the WWE App
Bill: Cesaro vs. Dolph in a This is the Backdrop for The Miz vs. Ziggler Feud and That’a Shame So, it’s official, Cesaro is now the WWE’s “Good Hand.” The guy who still has some juice to his name and can seem like a formidable opponent, but ultimately jobs out to whomever the WWE needs to push. Cesaro, as always, looked strong here, especially with his one-armed standing suplex, but as per usual Cesaro, gets pinned…by the guy who has occupied that same role for over a year, Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler looked like a complete beaten down babyface here and the fact a competitive match was used a backdrop for his feud with The Miz was a real shame. The Miz as the “Hollywood heel” is basically the same character he’s played for most of his career, now he’s just overtly stating it.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler.
Michael: The ‘Dusts vs. Rybaxel in a Hallucinatory Experience: I am very grateful Bill didn’t rob me of this one. I LOVE the ‘Dusts right now. They aren’t going by an official team name, which is fine. This gimmick of searching space for the “Cosmic Key” is brilliantly done, the only people who could pull this off are Dustin and Cody Rhodes. I never knew until the Stardust gimmick Cody even had this side. This guy is funny. The past few weeks of bizarre and trippy segments have left me laughing after each one. Nothing makes sense, which means it all makes sense. Cody always inserts some Star Trek or Star Wars line in his rants, although this week I am certain there may have been a Guardians of the Galaxy reference. I haven’t seen the movie yet. Cody hits his new Dark Matter finisher, not bad, but I preferred the Diamond Dust. Ryback and Curtis Axel are still going nowhere. They remind me of the Beverly Brothers or Well Dunn. Win some, lose some, but ultimately just another team on the roster to fill air time.
Winner: The ‘Dusts
Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper in the Same Stipulation From Last Week Match: Which is, if Jericho wins, Harper is banned from ringside for Jericho/Bray II at SummerSlam. Harper continues to impress me every week. Jericho has slowed down a bit, but against Harper he had to bring his A-game back. Harper dominated most of the match, until Erick Rowan arrived to interfere. Then, in confusement, I invented that word, Bray Wyatt strikes before Jericho wins, thus getting Harper DQ’d, and still giving Jericho the win. So, both members of the family are banned from ringside. Clearly mind-games from Bray Wyatt. I still worry about his future right now, he continues to lose marquee matches, and Jericho already won the first round.
Winner by Confusing DQ: Jericho
Backstage: Kane ditches the mask, again. Uhm, wha?
Diego w/El Torito, Layla, & Summer Rae vs. Fandango w/Hornswoggle: Bill? Bill? Where are you? I have no catchy snide jab for this one because it flat out sucks. Diego wins thanks to interference from Layla, Summer Rae, El Torito, and Hornswoggle. Yeah, the star of the new Leprechaun film turns on Fandango. This is pathetic. Moving on.
Bill: I don’t understand why the WWE hasn’t brought back Tito Santana for a special appearance with Los Matadores. Come on WWE, this gold!
Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth where winning will not erase history: So Mr. Dallas is still a bit miffed over his first loss, but will negate it from our minds with an inspirational comeback victory this week. Which he does after three minutes by pulling the tights. R-Truth however is ticked off and tries to beat up Bo, but winds up getting his rear handed to him. Huh. Not a bad segment after all.
Winner: Bo Dallas
Up next is supposed to be Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins, but we soon learn the Authority have made an abrupt change.
Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam who is actually Heath Slater in disguise: Just kidding. RVD is pulled from the match, and Heath Slater comes out to some big cheers. Something brewing here? Rollins tries to convince Slater to lay down or leave the ring, but Slater opts to fight. Because sure, who wouldn’t want to win a Beat the Clock Challenge easily as possible? Slater has help from Dean Ambrose who becomes tonight’s King of Comedy. Steals the briefcase, rips up the papers in it, pours soda, puts JBL’s hat in there and all sorts of shenanigans ensure. Rollins is so distraught, Slater pulls a fast one and nets the biggest victory of his career.
Winner via Ambrose Antics: Heath Slater
Bill: SLATER WINS! SLATER WINS! BAH GAWD ALMIGHTY SLATER WINS!
At this point, I turn it back over to Bill, because I’m mentally checked out.
Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon in a “They Deserve the Main Event Spot” Promo: One thing I liked about the promo is that Brie Bella brought up all the names The Authority screwed over. Hey, we remembered guys! The crowd chanting CM Punk was priceless. But, man, she is absolutely wooden on the microphone. She actually makes Stephanie McMahon look like Ric Flair on the microphone. And to be honest Stephanie probably had her best in-ring showing to date — good mic work and she NAILED the pedigree. When she said “I’m going to rip your heart out” who else expects a Nikki Bella heel turn? Don’t let that Pedigree fool you, that turn could totally be coming. My big problem with these two in the main event the last two weeks on RAW is that this isn’t what’s selling people to buy SummerSlam. It’s Cena/Brock and the rest of the card, this is just a cherry on top.