Monday Night RAW is…For the First Time Ever


In the Requisite Authority Opens the Show with a Long-Winded Promo Segment:  God, I hate these segments. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H flip flop their status as face and heel far too often. And frankly, it seems like they’re more concerned about getting themselves over with the fans than being logical. So after all their gland handing, they announce that tonight is a ‘Night of Firsts.’ The ‘firsts’ include:

Big Show vs. Dean Ambrose – Why? This sounds terrible.
Paige vs. Sasha Banks – I can get behind this.
Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton – Guess Owens’ losing streak continues.
Team Bella vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte – Nice!

Seth Rollins grabs the microphone and douches it up, like only he can. This, of course, OF COURSE, brings out ‘Big Match John.’ He challenges Rollins for the title – because it’d be the first time ever! Well, let’s not forget we’ve seen this match 5,000 times already, just Seth wasn’t champ. I hate this opening so much.

Trips gets on the mic, after Steph gets herself over by denying Cena, and says, ‘Yeah, let’s make it Cena vs. Rollins for the U.S. Title.’ So, WWE is ripping off Ring of Honor and unifying the belts? Is Seth Rollins the new Jay Lethal?

Dean Ambrose vs. The Big Show in a Dean Ambrose Deserves So Much More Than This Match: Dean’s shirt gets ripped open early, which means Renee Young is definitely paying close attention to this match. I actually like those two as a couple, they seem like they’d be fun to hang out with. Seriously. Oh wait, why am I not talking about the match? First, MIZ is on commentary, and he’s awful. Second, Dean Ambrose deserves better. The best part of the match is when Dean just unties Show’s boats to break a submission hold. This is why Dean is the man. Show actually pulled out one of his old finishers, the falling reverse power bomb McTwist burger splash. They keep having Dean eat big moves from Show to prove how tough and crazy he is. It’s kinda cool, but we already know he’s tough and crazy. Ambrose finally eats a KO punch while doing the ‘Flying Lunatic.’
Winner: The Big Show via count-out.

Post-Match: Ambrose side-steps Big Show and Show eats the guardrail while attempting a spear. Overall, this was an interesting way to tell a story we’ve seen a million times – Dean’s tough as hell, Show’s a monster.

Fandango vs. Neville in a ‘Neville’s DEFINITELY Going to Win This’ Match: Poor Fandango, he was once the hotel heel, now he’s pretty much an afterthought. No one even Fandango-ed with him. Fandango hits a great clothesline and a modified Gory special. Neville hits a couple quick moves and then wipes Fandango out with an amazing Red Arrow.
Winner: Neville

Post-Match Promo: Stardust cuts a really wild promo about superheroes and super villains. Of course, this leading up to the big Stephen Amell/Stardust blow off. I like the reference to his dad when he mentioned ‘dining with kings and queens.’ Glad to see Cody going full boar with this angle.

Backstage Promo: Paige, Charlotte, and Becky (with the goggles) get into it with Naomi, Sasha, and Tamina. The back and forth was a little rough, but I’ll give it a pass. All these women can wrestle, and it’s great to see them get not one, but two matches on the show.

Paige vs. Sasha Banks in a ‘Whose House is This Match?’: The video promo package before the match pretty much ensured Sasha was going to win. This was a really, really good match. As far as ‘divas’ matches go (and let’s hope they eradicate that term) this is one of the best singles matches in a long, long time. What was great about this match was that it wasn’t hair pulling and typical women’s wrestling. This was some stiff, hard-hitting stuff. Sasha really showed why she’s a great heel, and a legitimate star. Also, she looks a hell of a lot more crisper in the ring than Paige. Maybe that’s due to the level of competition Paige has had to face over the past two years.
Winner: Sasha Banks via The Bank Statement

Backstage Promo: Seth Rollins cut a solid promo. I’m a big fan of Rollins. He can talk, he can work – there’s a reason he’s the champ.

The Terminator Promo: As dumb as it is that you can play as The Terminator in WWE 2K16, the promo, recreating the opening of Terminator 2 was awesome. I loved seeing Finn Balor, Paige, Daniel Bryan, and of course, Dean Ambrose in this one.

The Pointless Rusev Loves Summer Rae Promo: Yeah, pretty pointless. I’m glad Summer Rae is doing something. She could be an amazing heel if given the chance. I thought she had so much potential in NXT two years ago, but she’s been wasted. Rusev actually showed some personality here — ‘Dog Ziggler’ was kinda funny. Of course, Lana comes out. She cuts a semi-decent promo, and then woman-handles Summer, and smack the crap out of Rusev. Lana’s turned herself into a nice little babyface.

The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores in a ‘Hey We Got Masks..FOR THE FIRST TIME’ Match: It’s a shame that Kalisto isn’t more popular. He’s so good. The Primetime Players come out for commentary, and somewhere Pop-Break’s Michael Dworkis marks out so hard. Kalisto hits a great springboard into a pinning combo. Sadly, Titus’ commentary was better than most of the action in this match. (His comments about Matadors true identity was pretty funny). It really didn’t gel when Sin Cara was in the ring. But should we be surprised? Maybe we should his work has improved. It also didn’t help the crowd was deader than dead.

…And then a NEW DAY arrived. Kofi ‘s skipping to the ring was pure heel gold. Plus, Big E. doing the cabbage patch was fantastic.

Back to the match…Lucha Dragons wins with a rana pin.

Bray Wyatt Promo Time: So, we’ve heard Adam Rose may be turning heel (well, more of a heel than he is now) and joining The Wyatts. It could work. It’d would kind of be how Joey Mercury and Luke Gallows joined the Straight Edge Society – an outlandish character finding salvation with a cult of personality. However, we didn’t see him tonight. Bray cuts a promo about a pet leaving his home, and coming home. Harper takes the microphone, and cuts a damn good promo. Harper is a seriously underrated performer – both in the ring, and on the mic. Honestly, I don’t know why Bray and Luke team up, take the titles, and run through everyone in the tag division? Because Bray is not going anywhere in the singles division. He’s just a name that goes against the hot babyface and loses, which is a shame.

Becky Lynch (with GOGGLES) and Charlotte vs. Team Bella in a ‘Revolution is Coming’ Match: First, what the hell does Alicia Fox shake when she comes to the ring? Is is boa? A purse? A turkey? Alicia Fox and Nikki Bella actually held their own in this match, which was a bit surprising. It was also surprising that Charlotte played the Ricky Morton in the match since she’s probably the best wrestler of the four. I was really impressed with “Steam Punk” Becky Lynch who showed a lot of fire in this match.
Winner: Charlotte & Becky Lynch via tap out w/ The Disarmer.

Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton in a ‘We’re Subjected to Sheamus on Commentary’ Match: By hook or by crook, RKO was going to win. Why? Because he’s Randy Orton, and like Sheamus, he’s the most protected guy in WWE. He rarely loses. Outside of this complaint, the match was really strong. Owens and Orton knocked the crap out of each other. Of course, the big red dummy interferes and costs Owens the match…for no apparent reason other than he doesn’t like Orton. Stupid. Even stupider is the fact that Owens didn’t destroy Sheamus. Luckily, this plothole is covered up by the fact Cesaro comes in like a house on fire. He ROCKS Sheamus with a massive uppercut, and he and Owens have a nice scrape.
Winner: RKO by DQ

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena in a ‘Technically It’s The First Time Match’ This match was okay, until John Cena gets his damn nose broken by Rollins. From there, Cena pulls one of the gutsiest performances I’ve seen a long, long time. He really worked his ass despite his nose swelling three sizes. Despite being bloody and beaten, he puts on a great, almost shoot-style STF on Rollins. He finally made that move look amazing.
Winner: John Cena via tap out

Overall: The ‘for the first time’ gimmick was ‘meh’ but there was a lot of strong wrestling on this match.

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. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites