RAW kicked off with the “Hall of Fame” panel featuring Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels. Flair and Michaels commented on how John Cena was viciously outgunned, so to speak, and doubted whether he could rebound and reclaim the WWE Championship. Hogan was the only one who felt Cena has what it takes to be champion. Then Cena himself interrupts and offers his own rebuttal, at least admitting he was the recipient of an ass-whoppin’ at SummerSlam. Notice how he is sporting the red and yellow like his idol, the Hulkster?
The segment was typical blathering, once again trying to legitimize something we all know is fictional. If I were to “keep it real” here, why on Earth was Cena allowed to interrupt the segment? I thought the whole idea was for just the three HOF classmates to spit and spat over Brock vs. Cena III?
If it were The Rabbi of Wrestling, Paul Heyman to interrupt, it would have been a whole other story.
Once again, WWE is building something on a shaky foundation with this next match. Great showing by Jack Swagger, really pulled out all the amateur moves, tossing Rusev the big Russian brute with a few belly-to-belly suplexes. Sadly, this good match ends as Alexander Rusev defeats Jack Swagger when the referee stops the match due to being “concerned” over Swagger’s well-being. Well, it did appear the beating Rusev gave to Swagger was somewhat comparable to Brock’s demolishing of Cena. Said no one. Seriously, Rusev was kicking at Swagger over and over, something we see half the talented roster from Ring of Honor do and no one ever blinks an eye. They’re doing this… “thing” because I have no other method of describing it, where Swagger is being blamed for “letting America down” only to have Bo Dallas pester him to Bo-Lieve. This where multiple gimmicks may turn for worse. Swagger is made to appear weak and I’m not even making a joke here, but suffering from depression. If the latter is true, that is NOT funny by WWE and I will get pissed. Then Bo Dallas. Unless he is going to brainwash Swagger into being one of his disciples or something stupid of that nature, Dallas will become annoying, not to the point where it’s good for the gimmick, but overplayed and will become stale faster than the Adam Rose crap. Rusev continues to look like a beast though. Good for him.
We next have a match where two guys who have been jobbers for the past three months go up against each other for the third time in a row. There is some purpose and meaning here, as the winner will challenge Sheamus for the United States Championship. Forgot he had that, right? Cesaro defeats Rob Van Dam because I called up WWE Creative and disguised my voice as Vince McMahon. If you believe that, you’ll believe AJ and Paige are going to have a creepy romantic tease of a gimmick.
Natalya loses to Paige, is a sore loser, clotheslining the crap out of her. AJ comes out to congratulate Paige, and gives her a great big hug, followed by a long gaze, and a kiss on the hand. CM Punk chants ensue. Because, why not?
Holy crap. They are doing the romantic tease angle. I saw this ten years ago between Mickie James and Trish Stratus! Holy regurgitated storylines Batman!
Corporate Kane and Seth Rollins come out to deliver a eulogy of sorts for Dean Ambrose. Rollins talks about how it was he who selected Ambrose for the Shield. Again with the “I made the Shield and I destroyed it” bit. Replays from last week where Rollins stomped his face through the pile of cinderblocks. Kane and Rollins do some faux crying, then laugh it up until Roman Reigns charges the ring and takes them both out. So, the segment was supposed to make you hate Rollins and Kane even more than we already do. I don’t know about you, but Rollins’ promo was pretty damn good, so I like him. A lot. Kane is still a goof. But he’s improving!
Backstage: Stardust talks about cataclysmic cosmic eruptions at the concept of winning the WWE World Tag Team Championships tonight. Title bout? This ought to be good!
The Dusts vs. The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships! Awesome! Great back and forth match which ends in a count out? Wha? Jey takes a hard bump, and both he and Goldust take a spill to the floor. Jey winds up getting counted out, causing The Dusts to snap and attack post match! Heel turn!? Seriously?! Did I just flip the question mark and exclamation point! Gadzooks! Goldy and Starry beat up on the Usos. If WWE was expecting the live crowd to boo the Dusts, they expected wrong. I am a bit confused as to what to think. I really like the cooky gimmick, but going heel? I dunno. Goldust had accused the Usos of getting counted out on purpose… yet it seems they are playing up the injury agle.
Michael Cole stated tonight The Usos are the fifth longest reigning tag team titleholders in WWE history. WRONG. He is referencing a column on WWE.com this week which also inaccurately details the top ten tag team championship reigns in history. I will not get into that now, but will get into it as a main focal point for the upcoming WWE-EK column. Messing with history does not sit well with me.
Backstage: Rollins angry. Kane books a handicap match for Roman Reigns to take them both on.
In a pre-taped segment, Brock Lesnar speaks about his onslaught at SummerSlam. He speaks slow enough, and the camera does not stay on his face, cutting repeatedly to promos, which tells me he is reading off a teleprompter. I guess it’s the only way Brock can sound somewhat intelligent. Meh segment anyway. Not enough Heyman.
We come back from commercial to see Dolph Ziggler make his way to the ring, and we go back to commercial. Back from commercial, Miz says he is not competing tonight, because in Hollywood, a perk is having a stunt double on call. So out comes Damien Mizdow dressed in the same ridiculous tablecloth, and still has a beard. He copies Miz’s whole entrance perfectly, and I am laughing hysterically. Sandow is still awesome in the ring, pulling off the figure-four better than the Miz could ever do it. Ziggler rebounds and counters to hit a Zig Zag for the win. Sandow is pinned to which Miz reacts calmly, “well, he’s fired.” Loving this gimmick. All of it.
What I don’t love is another episode of the soap opera which has become the Bella Family Feud. Nikki comes out in her widdle tight black dress with her two differentiating features exposed while Brie dressed a bit less whorish. Nikki claims Brie has always been looking out for herself. Nikki then picks some hate on her “scraggly hair, her save the world attitude, and her troll-faced husband.” I thought it was goat-faced, but we get it. It’s getting back towards Daniel Bryan. Ends with Brie crying and breaking down into a catfight. Yawn.
Best line from Nikki to Jerry Lawler: “You stay out of this old man!”
Roman Reigns defeats Seth Rollins and Kane by DQ. Way too short of a match, Reigns hits the spear on Kane, but Rollins clobbers his former partner with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Post match, the Authority members run a demolition derby over Reigns. They do the same set up, with cinderblocks under a table, but this time Reigns fights out, hurling one of the cinderblocks at Rollins. Missing it shatters on a ring post and apparently shrapnel hit Lawler. The King is not having a very good night.
Titus O’Neal and Heath Slater lose to Los Matadores in a filler. Post-match, they replay the Legends panel for the seventh time tonight. They are really pushing Hogan’s support for Cena.
Bo Dallas gets a win over Kofi Kingston in a solid match. Dallas nearly botches his own finisher. JBL remarks post-match that a “almost home-run is still a home-run.” Drinking during matches again, are we? Dallas gets on the mic and compares Kofi to Swagger, however Swagger charges in and splatters Mr. Inspirational with a bigtime belly-to-back Suplex.
The main event, for the second week in a row, is an actual match. Must be pressed for time as they rush the Wyatt Family entrance with Bray Wyatt materializing in the ring. Cena starts it with a huge lariat, followed by a massive German Suplex, following by a twisting side-suplex. Now, THIS is getting interesting. Watching Cena maul Bray, while interesting, is bothersome. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan interfere, ending the match by way of DQ. Suddenly, a wild Big Show and Mark Henry try to rush the ring but run out of breath halfway down. They eventually get there a RAW cuts to commercial.
We return and the match is now a six-man tag with Cena, Henry, and Show versus the Wyatt Family. Rowan bodyslams Henry hard enough to force my eyes to bug out of my skull. Harper flies around with dropkicks, and Wyatts are now the dominators here. We even get a “Cena!” chant going. Wow. Show chokeslams Bray while Cena forces Harper to tap out. Cena then goes to town on the whole family as the show closes. Not sure if it was meant for television, but I happened to notice Bray being helped to the back. Was it for show or was there a problem?.
Cena dominating Bray Wyatt is supposed to mirror the domination he endured at SummerSlam. Problem. Bray is not Brock. Granted, Wyatt is a top-tier heel, but having Cena wreck him fierce is not good for the Wyatt Family. They have been on a steady decline, and even Bray’s recent win over Chris Jericho did not help their stock.
Here is what I don’t fully understand. Extreme Rules 2012, Cena and Lesnar had a fairly even match. Yes it was under Extreme Rules. Fair game. But now, SummerSlam 2014, Lesnar slaughters Cena in a Suplex machine munching frenzy. Suddenly, we’re promised an epic rematch with Cena fighting back. This makes no sense. Then they play up how Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels say Cena has no chance in hell, while Hulk Hogan is a passionate advocate. Cena’s new motto is “Never Give Up” going into Night of Champions. I highly doubt they will take the title off Lesnar so fast. They are not making a big deal about a victory for Cena would tie Flair’s record-holding reigns. Should Cena suddenly put up a major fight against Lesnar would only serve to discredit the “behemoth” they are branding Lesnar to be. Now, with Cena seemingly destroying Bray Wyatt with Suplex after Suplex would have us Bo-lieve, we will see Player Two Ready for Night of Champions.
Major focus back on John Cena and Brock, while it seems Roman Reigns has his sights set on Kane and Seth Rollins. Ziggler and Miz are heading for another pay-per-view while Sheamus has his contender in Cesaro. My guess is The Dusts will get a second chance at the WWE Tag Team Championships, which will pretty much set the lineup for Night of Champions.