Monday Night RAW Review: RAW is Awesome (Clap Clap Clap-Clap-Clap)
It really grinds my gears when they show promos for Total Divas. Completely dominated by this Eva Marie, who I think has spent all of four minutes on actual wrestling programs in her entire career. I just do not get the appeal. This season, they promise it will be the most shocking season ever!!!
I never had any interest in watching a WWE Films production, until now. I have just read on their website, Dean Ambrose will be in the movie 12 Rounds, Part 3: Lockdown. I honestly do not recall any knowledge about the first two, but knowing The Loose Lunatic gets to star in his own film, makes me happy.
This does not mean I will watch it. Chances are, I’ll probably forget by the end of this column as four-year-old twins take a toll on the memory.
We kick off RAW to the cult-courting voice of Rabbi Paul Heyman who has some fun with the live Chicago crowd, as Brock Lesnar does what he does best, jump and shimmy around the ring, and does not utter a single word. However, Heyman does promise us that tonight begins the road to Suplex City… with suplexes, of course.
We are treated to lame photoshopped visuals of Kane in Hawaii.
Our first match sees Big Show take on Ryback, with The Miz on the microphone taunting most Ryback during the contest. Decent back-and-forth, until Big Show hits a second-rope elbow, prompting Miz to dive in and attack his Battleground opponents. In typical comedy, Miz suddenly finds his assault to be ineffective, and is served a Shellshock and Chokeslam. However, Ryback immediately clobbers Show with the Meathook, once again, clearly gaining the upper hand.
I cannot recall the last time a face champion was pushed so hard to the point of being the dominant wrestler for an upcoming pay-per-view championship bout.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) July 7, 2015
Up next we get yet another Paige vs. Team Bellas, this time against Brie. Paige puts up a great match, but this time she is unable to overcome the odds as Nikki and Alicia Fox put up enough of a distraction to allow Brie to gain the pinfall win. Naomi and Tamina are shownbackstage as neutrals. Waiting for Paige to bring up some NXT women to maul the Divas. Just waiting.
For some odd reason, I enjoy hearing the theme for Sheamus. It really has grown on me. I like what they did to his character to give a sense of new life. He is a warrior, a soldier, a brute. Tonight, he and Roman Reigns put on what the announce team love to repeat, a “physical match” or “a fight.” The funny part is hearing the live Chicago crowd chant for JBL during the match. He must love it. Mid-match, the lights go out and Bray Wyatt creeps his way to ringside, and eats a running Superman Punch. Except it wasn’t Bray. The Cult of Creepy then appears on the Titantron, taunting Reings who has already gone backstage to find him. Sheamus wins by count out. However his celebration is short lived as Randy Orton charges the ring and drops him with an RKO… “Outta Nowhere.”
It was a good brawl, but it was expected Bray to distract Reigns at some point. I would have liked to see a clear winner, but this is a drama after all.
Our next soap opera moment is brought to you by Rusev and Summer. They do a little tirade, until Dolph Ziggler and Lana interrupt with a nice short promo. Rusev surprises us all by attacking Ziggler, revealing the leg is healed and breaks the crutches over Ziggles. Lana is mauled by Summer and dumped from the ring after a catfight tease. Nice segment actually, Rusev does not look like a wuss anymore. The only thing I do not like is Summer Rae. Her face is permanently in some sort of twisted state, she cannot cut a promo to save her life. I enjoyed Rusev’s line about Lana to the crowd, how she once ridiculed America but now we suddenly had a change of heart. Funny stuff.
Speaking of funny, JBL goes loony as Bo Dallas jogs to the ring and then runs down Dolph Ziggler. I love his s***-eating grin. He calls Ziggles a bad person, putting himself over as a good guy, and good things happen to good guys. Well, Dallas’ smile flipped around as Dean Ambrose is announced as his opponent tonight. Michael Cole puts over the newest tagline, the “Ambrose Asylum” in some sort of spin of Arkham Asylum? Shocking dueling crowd chant of “let’s go Ambrose” versus “We Bo-Lieve!” Dallas gets some offense, until Ambrose goes on a tear and squashes him.
The comedy rolls on as King What’s Up takes on King Barrett. Love Truth and his nod to T.L. Hopper. Barrett goes on a tear, giving Truth a hard beatdown around the ringside area. Following a commercial, Truth takes over and gets a few near falls. Barrett misses a Bull Hammer, allowing Truth to hit a leg lariat. Truth went for a top rope leap, but was met by the Royal Bull Hammer (thanks JBL!) for the decisive victory. Finally, Barrett earns a win.
Seth Rollins, Jamie Noble, and Joey Mercury drive into the arena in their Cadillac, following a pep talk from Triple H earlier tonight, he opts to call out Brock Lesnar, and he has J&J Security armed with wooden sticks. Brock and Heyman answer the challenge, however Brock does not seem interested in hitting the ring. Instead, Heyman rolls out a cart, armed with two axes. Lesnar opts to destroy the car, at one point ripping a door off a nearly hurling it into the crowd. J&J attempt to stop the destruction, except Noble is crippled via Kimura Lock and Mercury is thrown, Belly-to-Back Suplex-style through the front windshield.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) July 7, 2015
What made my night, is the crowd chanting “Suplex! Suplex! Suplex!” Beautiful.
Up next, the Prime Time Players join the commentary team as the Lucha Dragons take on The New Day, who will face the champs in their rematch at Battleground. More focus on the annihilated Cadillac than on the match. Luchas hit some nice fancy footwork and flight on their opponents. Lots of crazy spots from the Dragons, but not enough as missing a dual suicide dive led to New Day capitalizing and taking the win.
Our final segment of the night is John Cena and his Open U.S. Championship Challenge. You just know Kevin Owens is going to show up. He just lost the NXT Championship days ago to Finn Balor (Prince Devitt), so he will likely be irate.
They show highlights from Owens/Balor from the NXT Championship match in Japan. John Cena is in the ring, and slightly taunts the crowd with Owen’s loss, and “the champ is here!” John Cena offers the challenge, and of course Kevin Owens does come out. He lays it out, calling John Cena “the worst part of Monday Night RAW” as Cena repeats himself over and over, and never wants to hear “his stupid crap ever again.” Kevin Owens is in the ring, demanding the match begins, except…
… CESARO shows up! He verbally tears into Owens, calling him a whiner and the reason why Cesaro did not win last week. Telling Owens to leave or earn his wrath, Owens does in fact leave the ring allowing Cesaro to take on John Cena for the United States Championship. Cesaro blows my mind with the stuff he does in a match. He squats while holding Cena for a vertical Suplex, some fantastic power moves, and my favorite, countering the Five Knuckle Shuffle into the Crossface. After surviving the STF, he throws Cena with rolling Gut-Wrench suplexes. Cesaro put it all out there. Reminder, he can be main event. Cena managed to counter the Swing with a DDT. Later on, Cena busts out some sort of flip-out facebuster, countering a powerbomb with a solid hurricanrana. Cesaro blasts Cena with tons of those stiff European Uppercuts. Both, most importantly, selling each move like it is a big finish. “This is Awesome” chants ring out multiple points. Cesaro eats an AA, kicks out at two, crowd JUMPS! Cesaro quickly grabs Cena, spins with the Cesaro Swing ten times, locks on the Sharpshooter, Cena tries an escape, so Cesaro switches to the Crossface, until Cena counters into the STF, to which Cesaro stands up, rotates, and SUPLEXES CENA! Cena botches the springboard stunner, so Cesaro answers back with the Neutralizer, but Cena kicks out at two!!!
This is Cena from ten years ago. Cesaro hits the powerlift Suplex over the top turnbuckle, Cena hits a powerbomb. They go upstairs, Cesaro teases a Neutralizer off the second rope, but Cena counters into the Attitude Adjustment and hurls Cesaro to the mat, makes the cover, and retains the United States Championship.
Cesaro and Cena OWNED the ring tonight. Absolutely killed it, blowing up the arena, the crowd on their feet the whole time. I usually do not include move-by-move in my recaps, but this match earned it.
I have to admit, half-way through, it did not matter who came out on top. Both Cena and Cesaro put on a match-of-the-year candidate. Cena, with each viable challenge, puts on a match which reminds us of how good he really is at wrestling, and how good he is at putting another guy over. Cesaro has been buried near the bottom for too long, and granted he and Tyson Kidd enjoyed a short championship run as champs, but not long enough. This is where Cesaro can shine. In a main event match, putting on 120%.
Tonight’s RAW was fantastic. We got the crazy/intense segment with Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins. Big pushes for the matches at Battleground, and all matches tonight were solid.
Tonight’s RAW earned the “This is Awesome” chants from the Chicago crowd.