TV Recap: (Monday Night) RAW is Halftime

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Paul Heyman vs. John Cena in an Opening Promo Battle: One of few times I enjoy opening RAW with a promo is when Paul Heyman is in the ring. Heyman is such a brilliant mic worker and his mocking of Cena, saying he plays the “hero character” better than anyone in WWE history was a great. And just like his in-ring work, when Cena’s in the ring with a legitimate talent, he really can hit a home run. His promo started out so hokey and happy-go-lucky, but then he got intense and he turned the tables on Heyman which resulted in Heyman tucking tale and going complete cowardly heel. It was one of the better Cena promos I’ve seen in ages.

What We Learned From The WWE App: 1.) The WWE has “halftime.” 2.) John Cena can speak punjabi. 3.) The Great Khali will undoubtedly fail as a guard.

Chris Jericho vs. Corporate Kane in a ‘Hey, Pop-Break Interviewed One of These Guys’ Match: That’s right, be on the look out for my interview with “Y2J” Chris Jericho coming to the site very, very soon. To the match. I don’t understand why we have two different Kanes. Also, is it me or does this run for Jericho feel absolutely worthless? I think they did nothing with him that made an impact — his feud with Randy Orton seems forced and his Bray Wyatt program was way too rushed to mean anything. Also, it seems like Jericho jus started getting back to prime form in the ring and now he’s out of the ring again. The crowd was absolutely dead for the match until Jericho dropkicked Kane who was coming off the top rope about 3/4 of the way through the match. Then the climax of the match came from the “Memphis Moment of the Night” as Kane pulled the covering off the turnbuckle. Once the turnbuckle came off it was like everyone forgot how to wrestle as the two sloppily moved from spot-to-spot botching reverse after reverse.
Winner: Chris Jericho via a sloppy bump into the exposed turnbuckle and an equally sloppy school boy roll-up.

Thought: Why the hell are we still using arm wrestling as a way to set up angles? It was silly back in 1993 when WCW had the arm wrestling tournament. Remember that? No? Just me? Thought so.

Roman Reigns Interview: I could really care less what Jason Momoa has to say. Why? Because RENEE YOUNG IS ON MY SCREEN. She’s my favorite thing about WWE right now, hands down.

Jack Swagger vs. Bo Dallas in a He Ain’t Pretty, But He’s Bo Dallas Match: I don’t get why the Bo Dallas undefeated streak ended so unceremoniously. I can’t believe there was actually a “We the People” vs. “We Bo-Lieve” dueling chant. The match itself was about as plodding as you can imagine and seemed like something you’d see on Velocity or Shotgun Saturday Night. There also wasn’t enough, “Bo Dallas-ing” in the match hence why there was no heat in the match at all. People got behind Swagger a little bit, but the match needed Bo to be a heel because people still don’t buy Swagger as a face yet. I mean he is a face, right? The end sequence was actually pretty fun, but the match itself was “meh” at best.
Result: Jack Swagger wins via The Patriot Lock after reversing a sunset flip.

In a ‘Shit, It’s a Divas Match’: Brie “Mode” Bella & AJ Lee-Punk vs. “Fearless” Nikki Bella & “The Palest Girl Alive” Paige: Question – why is Nikki Bella “Fearless?” Paige as a heel is much better than her initial face run. Her mafia kick to Brie’s chest was STIFF. As for the rest of the “match” it was basically Paige knocking Brie around and looking tough, but it was really a backdrop to the announcers hyping the damn Brie/Nikki feud.
Winner: Paige & Nikki Bella with a sick “RamPAIGE” DDT

Note: Can we stop with the skipping? It’s just done. Stop it.

Note: The Great Khali can’t even pretend to break a phone right. God he’s the worst. They’ve spent so much money on this guy, it’s absurd.

Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt in a Bray Deserves Better Match: Why? Why? Why? Why, the hell does Bray Wyatt have to be in a program with The Big Show. Not that The Big Show sucks, but Bray should be a main dude. I also fear he’s going to do the J-O-B to the former son of Andre. Two points if you get that reference. I love the fact Bray caught Show’s big boot and basically gave him a “leg stunner” and then brought Show down to his knees and began to dominate. It’s smart, logical in-ring storytelling. Douche points to the guy who chanted “Husky Harris.” Sadly the match ends with the inevitable Wyatt Family interference so Bray could save face. Harper and Rowan ate a double chokeslam to continue their slide down the ladder. It boggles the mind why two over guys keep getting shit on by WWE.
Winner: Big Show by DQ

The Usos & Sheamus vs. The Dust Brothers & Cesaro in a Quest for Cosmic Key Match: Why the hell are Goldust and Stardust heels? That entrance by Stardust is hilarious and super baby face. I actually love the work these six guys do, they’re all tough, smart workers who put it all on the line in the ring. I also think they’re all tremendously underrated. Cesaro stealing Sheamus’ moves and then trolling him the entire match, talking crap to him throughout was great, old school stuff. His stopping of the Big Swing was great for heat. Sheamus is at his best when he’s fired up and he really showed something tonight. I think the WWE is missing something with him here. The end sequence with hot tags, super kicks and dives was a lot fun.
Winners: The Usos & Sheamus with the big splash on Cesar…who always gets pinned

Randy Orton Interview Segment: Renee Young returns! Hooray! Oh, wait “Human Valium” Randy Orton is here. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

John Cena vs. Paul Heyman II: The Electric Boogaloo: Oh this great. First, we get the Mickey Mouse Cena promo, which annoyed the crap out of me. Even when he was saying he’d kick Heyman’s ass it was still sugary sweet. Then Heyman makes the turn. It was almost Shakespearean in nature. He calls Cena out on his bullshit. He says Cena won’t kick his ass because he lives by a code, because his parents raised him right. And you know what, Heyman’s right! And Cena realizes it, too. This was really tense stuff particularly Heyman begging Cena to hit him and become a Paul Heyman guy. And then, to quote Tazz..

Well, here comes the pain.

Brock’s the man. Seriously, the big fight atmosphere he creates every time he walks out is just off the charts. His German suplex was INSANE. Cena sold it like a million bucks. I like the fact Cena got some blows in, looking much stronger than he did at Summerslam.

Naomi vs. Cameron in a Shit, We Forgot To Promote Total Divas Match: Naomi can really work, but Cameron…meh. No one cared about this match all because wrestling fans don’t watch Total Divas, reality television fans do. And then HOLY SHIT CAMERON PINS NAOMI WRONG. God, if that doesn’t get someone sent to NXT or released, I don’t know what will. The majority of this match was rest holds.
Winner: Naomi with the “thank God it’s over”

Dolph Ziggler & R-Ziggler vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow in a Well, At Least These Guys are on RAW Match: The entire match was the commentators basically pulling a “Who’s On First” series of puns-a-plenty. I miss Jim Ross. So much. The tag match could’ve been awesome, but it was kinda just there.
Winner: R-Ziggler and Dolph Ziggler with The Zig Zag

Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns in a So, we give this PPV match away for free…the week of the pay-per-view: Right off the bat – I love Seth Rollins’ theme song. Last month Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose tore the house down. However, Roman isn’t Ambrose, so no houses will be torn down. Not saying Roman isn’t a solid wrestler, but he lacks that main event impact, at least for me. He’s explosive, but to create a dynamic, memorable main event — he’s not there yet. Luckily, Seth’s a damn god in the ring and makes Roman look better than he is. At one point Rollins looked like he was going for CM Punk’s old finisher The Pepsi Plunge (top rope pedigree), but after a great top rope struggle he ends up delivering a running, cross-ring buckle bomb. I have to say the finisher was kinda out of nowhere. An obvious miss on the Curb Stomp and then a spear…and that’s it? I can’t believe they’re wrestling on PPV this Sunday. Seems like a waste of time to me.
Winner: Roman Reigns via The Spear

The Main Event (?): The Mark Henry vs. Alexander Rusev “Talk Off”: This whole thing is so utterly dopey, but Mark Henry’s sincerity is just palpable. That’s one thing about Henry that’s really be understated — he’s believable in every sense of the word. Okay, “Sexual Chocolate” aside, he’s been a believable bad ass and a believable good guy. However, as soon as Lana and Rusev came out this main event went from zero to awful in two seconds. Lana, who’s usually dynamic on the mic, sounded like someone gave her 30 valium.

But why the hell is the main event/closing segment of Monday Night RAW? This is an undeclared feud at best. This is not headlining the pay-per-view, so why close the show out with this? Is it a way to set us up for a Kurt Angle return in a few weeks? Anyway you slice this, this was absolutely terrible.

Show Thoughts: Ugh, this was another rough episode of Monday Night RAW. Yes, there was some good in-ring work, but man they need to shake some things up. The “halftime” concept, like the “season premiere” last week, was pretty weak sauce. Here’s hoping Night of Champions can be a good show.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites