The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 08/10/15

Live from Everett, Washington (near Seattle) this is the Raw Deal for episode #1159. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top. I know WWE tends to stay guest star these days instead of guest host, but you get the idea.

I’m going to write less than normal this week. It just hasn’t been a good week and I’m going to have to change up the format because I don’t feel like writing 5,500+ words like usual.

The show intro video played and when they went live, Cole called it Seattle even though people in Everett tell me it’s 30 miles away (about an hour drive), so it’s not really a suburb.

Opening Promo Time With Seth Rollins

He was wearing the WWE Title around his waist and started by saying “Welcome To Monday Night Rollins.” He bragged about breaking John Cena’s nose. He mentioned Cena hasn’t replied to Rollins’ challenge for SummerSlam. Rollins said that Cena’s not Straight Outta Compton because he’s Straight Outta Action. Rollins said if Cena gives up the US Title or if he takes on Rollins, it will be Rollins that will hold the WWE & US Titles at the same time. Rollins mentioned that Cena will be on Tough Enough, which is a plug for that show with struggling ratings.

Rollins said that Cena was there via satellite, so they showed an image of Cena’s face with the broken nose. Then they did a bit where “Cena” did a promo with the lips moving and him saying that he gave up. He said instead of “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect” it’s “Surgery, Recovery and Rehab.” This sort of comedy was funny when Conan O’Brien was doing it 10-15 years ago. It was only mildly funny here.

Rollins told us that we need a fighting champion and he proved it last week when he beat Neville in the first ever WWE World Heavyweight Championship open challenge. Here comes Cesaro with the interruption.

Cesaro was in a suit and sunglasses. He walked down to the ring complaining about how much Rollins goes on and on. Cesaro challenged Rollins for the WWE Title. Rollins said he didn’t say anything about an open challenge tonight because last week was a one time thing. Here comes Kevin Owens.

Owens told Rollins that Cesaro has done nothing to deserve a title match. Owens mentioned the fans with the “Cesaro Section” signs and mocked people that had them. That’s one of those reverse psychology things to get people to keep bringing them. He bragged about beating John Cena (that was in May), so he thinks he should get a WWE Title match. Here comes Randy Orton to join the fun.

Orton wondered if Owens put on weight, said nice glasses to Cesaro and thinks he deserves a title shot. Rollins said Tom Brady has a better shot of getting a free meal in Seattle than any of them have a chance of getting a shot at the WWE Title.

Triple H showed up on the ramp to interrupt the proceedings. He said Cena’s 50/50 at best for SummerSlam. He said there will be a triple threat match on Raw: Cesaro vs. Owens vs. Orton. The winner of that match will compete in tonight’s main event against Seth Rollins for the WWE Title. The crowd cheered.

Analysis: It took nearly 20 minutes to get there, but they finally got to the point of setting up two matches for later. I like both matches no matter what they are because they’re all great workers capable of awesome matches. Rollins has become very good at promos, but they do have him summarize things too much and it gets boring sometimes.

The announce team of Michael Cole, JBL & Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. Daniel Bryan will be on Miz TV later.

The Team B.A.D. trio were walking to the ring for a match.

(Commercial)

The trio of Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch aka Team PCB (no more Submission Sorority) were on commentary.

Team Bella (Nikki, Brie & Alicia Fox) vs. Team B.A.D. (Sasha Banks, Naomi & Tamina)

The fans were chanting “We Want Sasha” and when she tagged in, the crowd cheered. Even though she’s a heel, fans recognize her talent. The commentary trio wasn’t adding much at all. Nikki hit a jumping kick of the middle turnbuckle to take down Naomi and it’s time for a break.

(Commercial)

Both teams are usually heel, but back from break, Banks was working over Nikki as the face in peril. Team B.A.D. did a good job of keeping Nikki in their corner. Nikki kicked Sasha away to break free and Brie got the hot tag. Why are fans cheering when they cheat so much usually? Brie got some “yes” chants following some Bryan like kicks. Tamina tagged in and nailed Brie with a clothesline. Tamina missed a superkick, Brie rolled her up sloppily (I don’t think Tamina’s shoulder was down for three) and it was good enough to get the win in nine minutes of action.

Winners by pinfall: Team Bella

Analysis: ** It was good for the time given, but the finish wasn’t that great. Tamina was barely in the match and is presented as this powerhouse diva, yet she got pinned after one simple rollup. They want to protect her as a powerful wrestler that has impactful moves and then book her to lose that easily? That’s bizarre. It was great hearing the crowd supporting Banks like that. They recognize her talent. I liked the girls on commentary, but they didn’t do a very good job of saying interesting things.

Post match, Team PCB went into the ring as well and the nine women brawled a bit. Charlotte and Becky cleared the ring of Tamina, then Brie kicked Becky out of the ring and Charlotte hit a Spear on Brie. Then Banks stared at Charlotte followed by the rest of her team staring at PCB. Team Bella walked up the ramp with Nikki holding up the title.

Analysis: That was a decent brawl that felt a bit rushed. I assume it’s leading to a 3 vs. 3 vs. 3 match at SummerSlam.

(Commercial)

They showed Stephen Amell of Arrow as the special guest star yet he was sitting at ringside. I thought guest stars are usually backstage? Weird. Cue the “angle alert” sirens.

Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito)

The New Day were in control early. The Tag Team Champions Titus O’Neil and Darren Young were shown looking at a monitor backstage taking notes. The heels kept isolating one of the Matadores on their side of the ring. Big E missed a corner charge, so he hit the turnbuckle hard and here’s the hot tag to Diego. Woods cheated, Torito took him down and after all of that, Big E hit a combo Big Ending with Kingston for the win after four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day

Analysis: *1/2 A basic match that was pretty short, but did what they need to do in the time given. The right team got the win because The New Day should be the top contenders for the titles even though they lost their rematch at Battleground. They’re clearly the best team in the company and are better when they have the titles.

There’s a special look at Undertaker vs. Lesnar coming up later.

(Commercial)

They showed pics of the Prime Time Players hanging with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

The New Day were interviewed by Renee Young backstage. She said it’s been announced that it will be The New Day vs. The PTPers vs. Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons at SummerSlam. They suggested other teams like Harlem Heat and Doom. They did their “New Day Rocks” clap and Renee joined in.

Analysis: I’m not a huge fan of four teams in a title match, but that could lead to The New Day winning by pinning a team other than the PTPers. The Usos should be back within a couple months too, so that will be a fresh feud for New Day.

Seth Rollins was talking with Triple H in the office backstage. Triple H gave Rollins a pep talk about how he has to prove he’s the man every single night. Rollins said he’s right.

A video aired of Reigns/Ambrose vs. Wyatt/Harper getting set up for SummerSlam during promos on Smackdown. The idea is that it’s “Family vs. Family” and Wyatt said he welcomes this war. Ambrose vs. Harper is later on Raw.

Triple threat number one contender for the WWE Title match is up next.

(Commercial)

All three guys were in the ring at the top of hour two.

Number One Contender to WWE Title Match: Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro

It was a pretty standard triple threat early on with all three guys getting some nearfalls in and then the other guy breaking them up. Owens tossed Cesaro into the post and then took down Orton in the ring. There were “Fight Owens Fights” chants from the crowd. Owens did the Orton pose, then Orton hit a clothesline and did his own pose. Orton sent Cesaro into the barricade with a back suplex and then a hard whip of Owens into the barricade. Orton hit Owens with a back suplex onto the barricade. In ring, Cesaro countered a RKO and then applied a Crossface. Orton went to the floor to break the hold since the rope doesn’t cause a break with no disqualification. Owens hit a dive over the top to take out both guys. Very impressive move by the big man!

(Commercial)

Back from break, the faces Orton & Cesaro did a double team move on Owens off the ropes. Cesaro gave the Cesaro Swing to Orton and then applied the Sharpshooter in honor of his injured partner Tyson Kidd. Owens broke it up. With both guys on the apron, Orton hit the DDT off the ropes spot on both guys at the same time. Owens grabbed Orton outside the ring and hit a fallaway slam sending Orton into the barricade. Fans chanted “this is awesome” after Cesaro hit a corkscrew springboard attack for two. Owens went for a top rope Swanton, but Cesaro got his knees up. Owens wanted a Popup Powerbomb, Cesaro slipped out and Orton hit a RKO on Owens. Orton hit a RKO on Cesaro and pinned him for the win. The match went 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Rollins was shown looking on backstage since he faces Orton later. JBL said it was a WrestleMania rematch. Also an Extreme Rules rematch when they had one of the most overbooked cage matches ever.

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a fantastic match as expected. I was hoping that Cesaro would win just because it would have been a big win for him, but WWE went with the bigger name with Orton. They really didn’t have that many believable nearfall spots because Orton was the first one that hit a finishing move. The ending was very well done. Owens is awesome and I’m glad he didn’t get pinned, but it sucked that Cesaro had to do the job too. I always find it weird when the announcers point out No DQ in a triple threat, yet nobody used a weapon in the match. If you can use weapons, you should. Just saying.

Ambrose did a promo backstage in a darkened room about having no friends growing up. Reigns showed up to say that he thinks he is Ambrose’s first real friend and Ambrose said yeah. Reigns said they are brothers. Ambrose said they’ll put their family ties to a test at SummerSlam and tonight. Reigns ended it with “believe that.”

Analysis: Solid promo from them. I like that Ambrose has no other friends. That way when he turns heel one day it’s going to be easy to believe in him because he has no other allies and when he attacks Reigns it will mean something.

That Lesnar/Undertaker video is coming up later.

(Commercial)

Here’s the Lesnar/Undertaker video package. Several people like John Cena, Big Show, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Roman Reigns, Steve Austin, Paul Heyman, Triple H and others talked about their history. There was a focus on Lesnar beating Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. Randy Orton said everybody was in awe and shocked that it happened. Austin said it’s a must win match for Undertaker at SummerSlam. It was outstanding like usual.

Next week on Raw, both Undertaker and Lesnar will be there in Minneapolis.

There’s a 30 minute special about their rivalry on WWE Network after Raw, which I’ll be checking out later today.

Dean Ambrose entered for his match.

(Commercial)

Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns) vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt)

They slugged it out early with Harper nailing a huge side slam to get control. JBL made a comment that Ambrose reminded him of Brian Pillman, which is a good comparison. Wyatt was sitting on a chair watching the match. Ambrose hit a dropkick and a running elbow attack to take out Harper outside the ring, so it’s floor to commercial time.

(Commercial)

After the break, Harper was in control. Ambrose nailed a Tornado DDT to start a comeback and got a two count with a sunset flip. These guys do such a great job of selling that even an Ambrose bodyslam was treated like a big deal. Harper missed a running boot to cause him to spill outside the ring. Ambrose tossed Wyatt over the announce table. Ambrose clothesline on Harper. Back in the ring, Ambrose nailed his clothesline off the ropes. Wyatt and Reigns each got knocked down outside the ring. A Wyatt distraction knocked Ambrose off the top rope and Harper hit a Discus Clothesline for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Luke Harper

Analysis: **1/4 A good match for the time given, but they’ve had better matches too. I think the right guy won because Harper is the lowest man on the totem pole, so to speak, in this SummerSlam match. The stuff outside the ring was pretty normal booking with the ref getting distracted by the faces, which allowed the heels to capitalize for the win. I don’t think the SummerSlam match is highly anticipated because we’ve seen this combination of guys so much, but it still should be a very good match.

Daniel Bryan on Miz TV after the break.

(Commercial)

Miz TV With Daniel Bryan As Guest

This was a pretty entertaining segment with the crowd really supporting Bryan a lot because they are in his home state of Washington. At one point he led them in doing a Seattle Seahawks chant. If you were hoping that Bryan would announce his in-ring return, that didn’t happen although this would have been the perfect place to do it. After some fun banter back and forth (I thought Miz was great), Miz shifted the focus to Ryback. He said Ryback should give up the Intercontinental Title like Bryan did.

That led to Big Show coming out and talking trash about The Miz. There were “please retire” chants from the crowd and Show responded that they should try to find somebody to retire him. Ryback’s music started up and he made his return after about a month off due a staph infection.

Ryback confronted Show in the ring while Miz was outside the ring. Bryan rolled Miz into the ring, which made people laugh and they had a short brawl. Ryback clotheslined Show out of the ring. Then Bryan pointed at Miz and with the crowd fully supporting him, Ryback crushed Miz with a Meathook Clothesline. Ryback celebrated with Bryan to end the segment.

Analysis: The crowd was super hot for everything Bryan did and they loved seeing Ryback too. It was an effective segment in terms of showing that Ryback was ready for action while The Miz is still a cheap heel that wants nothing to do with Ryback or Show. The SummerSlam match is Ryback vs. Miz vs. Show for the IC Title. I expect Ryback to get the win because it’s early in his reign and he deserves a decent run as IC Champion.

Orton vs. Rollins coming up later.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Charlotte that also aired on Smackdown. She said she wanted to make history by main eventing WrestleMania one day while mentioning Ronda Rousey as the top draw in her sport. I doubt it ever happens in WWE.

Mark Henry vs. Rusev (w/Summer Rae)

Lana was on commentary for match. At one point she said Dolph Ziggler will be back after SummerSlam, but the reports were that it would be next week, so she could have been lying just to make his return a surprise. They wrestled for about a minute when Summer was on the apron, Lana took her down and the girls went into the ring. The ref called for the bell and the match was over.

Match Result: No Contest

Rusev knocked Henry out of the ring. Summer tossed her suit jacket and was in some white top. Then Summer attacked Lana and applied the Accolade just like Rusev while Rusev was happy that Lana was getting “crushed” so to speak. After Summer got back up, a Bulgarian flag was displayed above the ring with Rusev’s face on it. That was pretty comical.

Analysis: No point rating that match. It was one of those situations where I would say it was an angle more than a match. Summer did a good job in her attack on Lana, who is all alone because of no Ziggler and apparently nobody else in the company must like her either. I’m joking, but that’s what it looks like when nobody wants to help an innocent woman in the ring. I think Ziggler will be back next Monday despite what Lana said.

They recapped the last week for Neville and then showed actor Stephen Amell at ringside.

(Commercial)

Neville vs. King Barrett

Neville won clean in under two minutes. He hit the Red Arrow pretty easily and that was it. It felt rushed like a divas match back when they got under three minutes all the time.

Winner by pinfall: Neville

Analysis: No rating since it was so short. I’m still wondering who Barrett pissed off to cause him to be continually booked like a total loser.

Post match, Stardust showed up to attack Neville. Stardust walked over to Amell at ringside since they have been feuding on-off for about three months. At first Stardust just stared at him, but then he shoved Amell in the face. That led Amell to jump the barrier, then when he got on the apron he jumped over the top rope and took down Stardust with a tackle or I guess it was a spear. He was throwing punches on Stardust when security guys ran in to pull him off. Stardust escaped with Barrett while Amell was restrained. The crowd was cheering for all of this, so it really worked well.

Analysis: I thought Amell did great three. Good takedown on Stardust and the punches didn’t look bad. Since he’s an action TV star on the show Arrow, he obviously knows how to do physical fight scenes, so he handled himself well in this instance. I don’t mind actors getting involved when they are lifelong fans of the product like him.

(Commercial)

There was a recap of Amell getting involved with Stardust.

Backstage, Amell was with security and Neville when Triple H showed up. Hunter ripped on Amell for getting into the ring, Amell said he wanted more of Stardust. Neville proposed a tag match at SummerSlam, which led to Hunter saying in a mocking tone that it would be Green Arrow and Red Arrow together. Hunter didn’t want to do it for legal reasons, but Amell said he’d sign any legal papers they wanted. Hunter said he’ll send them to his agent and they need to be signed by Tuesday. Amell agreed, so the SummerSlam match is Amell/Neville vs. Stardust/Barrett.

Analysis: Really good promo from Amell. No surprise since he’s a good actor that loves wrestling and he mentioned on Twitter it was a lifelong dream. He fired back at Hunter the right way while Hunter’s side made sense too since he’s the office and they don’t want legal trouble. I think doing a tag match at SummerSlam is smart. The problem is you just had Barrett losing clean in under two minutes and looks like a total jobber. They should have done a better job in setting up Stardust’s partner. The Miz would have been a better choice since he thinks he’s a great actor, so Amell could shut him up too.

The announcers plugged SummerSlam with JBL holding up the signs with the prices on them. Hey wrestling fans, they think you’re dumb. Not me. Them.

Sheamus did a short backstage promo with Jojo talking trash about Randy Orton and wondering out loud about cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase.

Analysis: A good way to keep people tuned in to see if Sheamus does cash in the briefcase during the main event of Raw.

Randy Orton entered for the WWE Title match.

(Commercial)

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

They wrestled for a few minutes with Orton nearly hitting a RKO. Rollins kept trying to escape to sell the idea that he didn’t want to have the match. They went to break a few minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Orton started to get some momentum when he hit his powerslam. Rollins tried to leave the ring again, but Orton nailed him with a clothesline in the ringside area. They went back into the ring and exchanged some nearfalls. When Orton hit a superplex, the crowd was really into it thinking that could be it for Orton. They were doing a good job of selling like they usually do. They had a slight slip up as they battled by the ropes because Rollins was supposed to get backdropped over the top onto the apron, but they messed up the first time and then went back to it. That led to Rollins going up top, he went for a diving attack and Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere to a huge pop! Wow! The crowd went wild for that. It looked awesome too. Orton reacted slowly for the cover, then did the cover with his legs by the ropes and that was the cue for Sheamus to pull him out for the finish. The match went 14 minutes.

Winner: Randy Orton by disqualification (Seth Rollins retains WWE Title)

Analysis: *** They’ve wrestled so much that it felt like a bit of a repeat at times, but the crowd was hot for it and they busted their asses trying to put on a good match. It’s not their fault that WWE books this match too much. It was done in a way that makes it seem like Orton had the win if it wasn’t for Sheamus. That’s not great for Rollins, though, because it makes him look weak going into SummerSlam.

Post match, Sheamus attacked Orton outside the ring. He tossed him into the steel steps and then tossed him over the barricade.

Sheamus had the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hands. He slid into the ring, readied himself and nailed a groggy Rollins with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus grabbed the briefcase, handed it to referee John Cone, but they were both holding onto it. It was a bit weird because if a guy wants to cash in he would let go, right? Not here. That’s because it was a cue for Randy Orton, who snuck up behind Sheamus and nailed him with a RKO.

Orton was the last man standing after all of that. Cole mentioned that the cash-in wasn’t official because the bell never rang. Sheamus wanted to cash-in, but Orton showed up to prevent him from doing it.

Raw ended with Orton posing in the ring while Rollins had the WWE Title still in his possession.

Analysis: Good ending that provided us with a possible MITB cash-in by Sheamus, who really hasn’t mentioned it much since winning it. He screwed Orton out of the WWE Title while Orton screwed him out of the briefcase, so it was sweet revenge for Orton.

The reason they did that is because WWE doesn’t know if Cena will be ready for SummerSlam. If he’s not then they can do Rollins vs. Orton vs. Sheamus based off what happened here.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Randy Orton
  2. Cesaro
  3. (tie) Seth Rollins
  4. (tie) Kevin Owens

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 7

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 7, 8.5, 6.5, 6

2015 Average: 5.88

2015 High: 9 (May 4)

2015 Low: 4 (Feb 9/June 22)

 

 

Final Thoughts

I’m giving it a 6.5 out of 10.

It’s the seventh week in a row where I gave the show an above average score. WWE is doing a good job on the road to SummerSlam. It doesn’t feel great or must see all the time, but they are putting on fun shows in general.

I thought the in-ring work was pretty solid all night long. The Orton/Cesaro/Owens match was the best and similar to the three way they did with Rusev in Orton’s spot about a month ago.

There’s nothing wrong with doing Rollins vs. Orton vs. Sheamus at SummerSlam if Cena is unable to wrestle. I hope Cena’s able to make it back, though. If Cena can’t return in time that’s fine because I’d rather see the triple threat than Orton vs. Sheamus again.

The divas took a step back this week. It was just okay, but not great. At least we know what their SummerSlam match is now.

Next week’s Raw has already been built up well with Lesnar and Undertaker in the same arena at the same time. They were smart to keep them apart for a month.

—-

This was about 1300 words less than my usual. I think my usual was too long, so this might turn into the new normal going forward.

Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.

Thanks for reading. Go Blue Jays.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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