Following a bizarre Extreme Rules event, WWE Monday Night RAW kicks off with Seth Rollins, Kane, and J&J Security. Rollins gloats about using his SKO move, and then refers to Kane as the Cryptkeeper, a character from the 90’s who no one cares about. This segment was funny stuff, Kane rolled right with it and fired back comparing Rollins to Justin Bieber. Ouch. Randy Orton interrupts, demanding a rematch, but for some odd reason, Roman Reigns arrives demanding a match since he beat Big Show. Reigns is getting better on the mic. Getting better. Kane winds up pulling a Teddy Long for a tag team match tonight pitting Kane and Rollins against Orton and Reigns. He also informs Rollins the WWE Universe will choose his opponent for Payback.
Although Kane promises to be a team player, I think we know what is going to happen.
We have our first match which is the first round of the King of the Ring Tournament, which will continue tomorrow night on the WWE Network. In the first match, Dolph Ziggler comes off a humiliating win last night, yes, I meant to type that, and Wade Barrett comes off a respectable loss on the pre-show. Tonight, Ziggler once again showed he can bump, he can sell, he can energize a crowd. The only thing he can’t do is win. Sheamus comes out to distract Ziggler, allowing Barrett to blast him with the Bull Hammer.
Next up we have The New Day, oddly Xavier Woods is wearing a belt, so I guess the old rotation bit is back again. They are really embracing the church gospel, and the crowd loves to tear into them. In a short match which Big E. defeats Tyson Kidd via clothesline. Except Woods held Kidd’s foot, preventing the kick-out. Did no one notice it was Kofi Kingston who pulled the tights to win the titles last night? That would be his first act as a heel I can think of. Xavier Woods sounds a lot like Bo Dallas.
Next up, Ryback squashes Bo Dallas. Post match, the lights go out and Bray Wyatt flattens Ryback. Anyone notice Dallas sporting a Wyatt-like beard?
Lots of promos for upcoming WWE Network programming. Good job getting Foley’s comedy tour, he has a huge following which I think will translate into increased viewership.
It’s great when John Cena comes out. Exchanging crowd chants of USA and Cena Sucks. Cena addresses Rusev and their upcoming I Quit match at Payback. Cena says he will feel disgraced if he loses, so he won’t beg for a rematch. Heath Slater answers the open challenge but is mauled by Rusev who sends Lana back which angers the live crowd. Suddenly, Lana enjoys the attention. Rusev promises to make Cena quit. Huh, Cena said the same.
In the ring, Adam Rose is somehow still relevant, defeating Fandango when Rosa Mendes distracts Fandango. Michael Cole puts this over as a major feud. Oy.
Next up, Brie Bella gives an update on Daniel Bryan, but is clobbered by Naomi, who then defeats the Bella in a singles match. Brie still is a heel, right? Nikki is a heel, so Brie must be, but Naomi is a heel now too… I’m confused. As to why I care that is.
Our next King of the Ring match features Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus in a good match, with Ambrose getting pummeled but hitting his usual spots throughout the match. Action spilled to the floor where Dolph Ziggler interferes, beating up Sheamus, but costing Ambrose the match. Seems like none of the favorites catch a break these days. A lot of interference tonight.
We get a recap of Summer Rae turning on Damien Sandow and assisting her co-star, The Miz in defeating him last week. This week Damien Sandow is in the ring, recapping his career, talking about how coming to the ring in a blue bathrobe was a waste and his various impersonations, getting him nowhere until he earned the respect of the WWE Universe. Curtis Axel enters and Sandow completely mocks his gimmick, nailing the Elbow of Disdain and a Hogan Curvy Legdrop. Nice speech by Sandow, I would believe there is some truth in there, but one really wonders where he goes from here. Beating up Curtis Axel is not a major step, but perhaps it is the beginning of a slow build for Sandow. We do have Money in the Bank in July, right?
Promo cut from Bray Wyatt, informing us Ryback was not his intended target, but an example.
I don’t have the words for the next match. Adrian Neville and Luke Harper put on one hell of a match. Harper we know always delivers a solid bout, and Neville brought his A-game tonight. His high-risk/high-flying spots are incredible and rightfully earn praise. Watching Neville throw Harper with a German Suplex, and then eat a Half-Nelson Suplex is awesome. Crowd erupts with “NXT!” and “This is Awesome” chants. It wasn’t all about Neville, Harper gave the crowd a few big moments of his own. In the end, Neville hit the Red Arrow for the win, advancing in the King of the Ring. Tomorrow we get Neville vs. Sheamus and Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth. I see this coming down to Neville and Barrett with Neville winning it. Truth and Barrett have nowhere to go, and as we have seen, titles and main events have only cursed the bare-knuckle brawler. They are branding the King of the Ring as a big deal, so having Truth win to make a mockery of it does not seem likely. Sheamus has already been a KOTR winner and I expect Ziggler to once again interfere, this time costing Sheamus his spot in the tournament.
After that last match, I couldn’t have cared less about the main event. Where were the Prime Time Players tonight?
At some point, JBL loses his marbles as starts calling for Heath Slater as a write in vote on the WWE App. JBL was more entertaining than the match itself. Kane and Rollins were on the same page until Rollins botches and clocks Kane. What happens next could have been predicted by my 3-year-olds, Kane goes nuts and takes out J&J and Rollins. Orton hits an RKO for the win and then Kane announces the fan-voted result, a Triple Threat Match for Payback.
Solid show tonight, much better than the PPV last night.