Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
July 16, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The show opened up with a rather bland segment with John Cena and Roman Reigns. The crowd was amped to see Cena when he came out, but he didn’t have any good material to deliver. Cena plugged the WWE Network with the hook that if you subscribe, you might see him lose the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday. Roman Reigns, who came out to a humungous pop from the crowd, then interrupted Cena. This guy is on fire right now and really looks like the next top guy. The question of if he’ll be able to sustain the reactions and not succumb to the pressure of the position before getting the torch at WrestleMania XXXI (presumably) remains to be seen. Reigns still has some work to do with his promos between now and that time. I’m also not really feeling that “assess and attack” is a killer tagline to give to him. Can you see a kid running around with a shirt that says, “Roman Reigns: Assess and Attack,” and all the kids at school saying, “Hey – why do you have ‘asses written’ on your back loser”? There’s some tweaking that needs to be done there.
Anyway, Dean Ambrose butted into the conversation to tell them to get on the same page since they’re all fighting in the main event against Orton, Kane, and Rollins. Unfortunately for Ambrose, he was backstage, which left him to be assaulted by – you guessed it – Orton, Kane, and Rollins. The attack was pretty well executed. I liked Ambrose doing the “Is that all you got?” line, but I think it should have come before Kane gave him the Chokeslam on the crate. A Chokeslam from a big, monster guy should knock you out, especially if it’s on a crate. That made the Chokeslam seem weak. Rollins then finished him off with the Curb Stomp on another crate. Like I said, this was well executed. However, it was clear that Ambrose was near a garage door. How many of them can there be in an arena? The entire time I was wondering why Cena and Reigns didn’t come to his rescue. They didn’t even show a reaction shot of Cena and Reigns. When we came back from commercial, the doctors and referees were all there, but Cena and Reigns still weren’t. Some teammates…
I actually really enjoyed the first match of the night between Sheamus and The Miz. The Miz might have something going here with the conceded “C-lister-but-I-think-I’m-an-A-lister” gimmick he’s got going on. I really got a kick out of his face being on the titantron the entire match. Miz did the entire match afraid of getting punched in the face just like last week, and I really got a chuckle out of it. I figured it would take a couple of months of being away from TV for him to get back in a groove. Miz was so stale with such a bad gimmick that it was painful to watch. Sheamus was great in this match as well. Sheamus has been on an absolute roll lately. I can’t remember him having one bad match in months. The guy just goes out there every week, sometimes a few times a week, and just beats the crap out of others as well as taking some major abuse to his body. His body is covered in green bruises and red marks. It’s a testament to the kind of performer he is. Anyway, both men really did great jobs in this match, and it was my favorite of the night.
Next up was a match with Fandango and Dolph Ziggler. I like Fandango, don’t get me wrong, but this storyline does absolutely nothing for me. I don’t find it funny. It’s really just a poorly put together story. Hopefully it seems like it’s winding down and then we can move on to something else. Honestly, Ziggler should be above this kind of stuff.
Damien Sandow really cracked me up as the Sonic carhop who can’t skate in that Sonic advertisement they did. Adam Rose was just ok in it. Sandow stole that scene big time.
The Usos were coming out for a match when Luke Harper and Erick Rowan attacked them during their entrance. Harper and Rowan beat them down pretty good before leaving the ring. This was a straightforward, quick and easy way to build up to their match on Sunday, which really needs no more buildup. I’ve been looking forward to the rematch since Money in the Bank, and the fact that it’s 2-out-of-3 Falls makes me feel like my $9.95 is already well spent on the WWE Network this month.
Wow… I was absolutely in love with the United States-Russia Détente. That was an awesome segment. The crowd was absolutely on fire the entire time. The “USA” chants were thunderous. Lana was awesome in her role, screaming for the people to shut up. It was Vickie Guerrero-level heat for her. That was off the charts. Zeb Colter was awesome as well. Ol’ Dutch can cut a mighty promo. The whole thing was done to get Rusev to agree to a match against Jack Swagger at WWE Battleground, and he agreed. Here’s another match I’m really looking forward to. The finish isn’t really in doubt, but if the crowd is half as cool as the one in Richmond, it should be a fun one. I was there at the Smackdown in Newark when Rusev and Jack Swagger met in the ring when it was the 4th of July Smackdown, and I thought that was an electric crowd. Richmond put Newark to shame. I’m so looking forward to this.
Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam had a real stinker of a match next. It was the definition of awful. RVD was like five steps slower than he normally is. There was a spot where he went for a sunset flip on Del Rio, but it was like watching him do it underwater. It was really slow. Then Del Rio slowly rolled through, hit an awkward kick, and then DDT’d him. They just didn’t click whatsoever at any point in this match, which is surprising because it wasn’t all that long ago that they actually had a feud. It made me kind of feel bad for RVD actually because I remember just how good he was in his heyday. Unfortunately, the milk has expired.
Nikki Bella was set for a tag team match when Stephanie McMahon came out and made it a handicap match because Nikki is paying for what Brie Bella did to Stephanie at WWE Payback. This is absolutely building up to Stephanie vs. Brie at Summerslam; I have no doubt in my mind about that. Brie is going to make a comeback and challenge Stephanie to get her job back. It’s so obvious now.
Cesaro came to the ring alone, which was weird and set off like a half-hour of me searching the Internet during commercial breaks to see if something really did happen with Paul Heyman. Given his track record in the past, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he really was fired. However, Heyman did show up later and offered a Plan C to The Authority should Plans A and B not work out (Triple H had been talking out of both sides of his mouth to Randy Orton, Kane, and Seth Rollins the entire evening). Plan C is obviously Brock Lesnar, who I’d bet good money would be on RAW next week. We’ll get to more on that some other time, though…
Back to the Cesaro thing. I don’t know if now that Heyman is going to be dealing with “Plan C” if that means he’ll be taking a break from Cesaro or what. Thus far, Heyman hasn’t done much for Cesaro except talk about Brock Lesnar breaking The Streak before briefly mentioning Cesaro in most cases. I think the partnership could still be lucrative, but it all depends on what happens on Sunday. Cesaro lost to Big E with an assist from Kofi Kingston. Cesaro is on a losing streak, so that leads me to believe he’s in for something good.
Chris Jericho was out next wondering why Bray Wyatt has set his sights on him. Before Jericho started the questioning however, he took me on a fun trip down memory lane. I never thought I’d get to write the name Yurple the Clown in a recap (Yurple was a clown Mick Foley as Mankind brought to the hospital to see Vince McMahon in 1998). That was hilarious. He also reminded me of Naked Mideon, which absolutely cracked me up. That reminded me of when he faced William Regal for the WWF European Championship at No Mercy in 2000, so I watched that match later in the night. I remembered Regal’s face all these years late being so afraid to touch him. It cracked me up all over again.
Jericho then got serious as he talked about how he’s never seen anyone like Wyatt before. Jericho is so good at putting people way over with his promos. He can cut you down while at the same time building you up big time. Check out his promo against Randy Orton from this past Friday’s Smackdown for another example. Jericho then talked about he can be as dark as Wyatt can, which is almost exactly the same promo he cut on Smackdown two week ago. Wyatt then cut a promo that was kind of nonsensical, but I’m sure more will come out in the coming weeks. I think the war between them is just beginning. Harper and Rowan then attacked Jericho after, but Jericho was able to escape. Jericho was then attacked from behind by Wyatt, who laid him out with Sister Abigail on the stage. This is another match I’m looking forward to this Sunday.
Eva Marie wrestled on live television… and she didn’t embarrass herself. She wasn’t awesome or anything, but the little she did do she didn’t mess up. AJ then had a weird interaction with Paige on commentary before leaving. Why they continue to put Paige on commentary is beyond me. She has no charisma on it. It’s as painful as when they went through a phase where they were putting Natalya on. I guess they’re trying to make people think that she really likes AJ before turning heel, but there’s got to be better ways of doing it than this.
Bo Dallas was great once again. There’s not much you can do with The Great Khali, who I have no clue why he is still allowed out there or how he passes his physicals with knees like that, but I felt he maximized Khali’s presence as much as he could.
Ric Flair made his return in the next segment, but it was really no different than when he came out a few months back to put The Shield over during their feud in Evolution. Flair talked about what a great time he had in Richmond in years past, exactly like he did the last time, all while acting absolutely kooky. Flair seemed like he was out of his mind at times. Flair said John Cena would win the Fatal Four Way before Roman Reigns came to the ring. It wasn’t an advertised appearance ahead of time and it didn’t really add anything to the show. I’d hate to say it because he’s a legend and he’s earned the right to have a lame segment, but this was really lame.
The main event was a decent match. Dean Ambrose wasn’t in the match stemming from the attack earlier in the evening, so it was a handicap match. It was a pretty decent match, but the big story happened after. Even though it’s been almost basically confirmed that he’s not injured, Seth Rollins seemed to be in a lot of pain at the end of the show. Rollins seemed to blow out the knee springboarding off the top rope before further injuring it after getting clotheslined out of the ring. Rollins sold it well, and they even sent doctors running over and kept him off camera to make it look good. The action in the post-match was pretty good. Reigns and Cena tried to fight off Orton and Kane before Reigns accidentally speared Cena. Kane also accidentally punched Orton. It all ended when Orton hit Kane with an RKO and Reigns speared Orton. All in all, it was a decent show with some good final build for the PPV on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.
Bump of the Night: The beat down of Dean Ambrose backstage!
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. The Miz ** 1/4
Final Rating: ** 1/2
I apologize for getting this up later than I wanted to. I played at a charity show during the day so I wasn’t able to finish before I had to leave the house.
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Friday!
On Sunday, please take a look at my WWE Battleground PPV predictions column. It should be a good show.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy WWE Battleground!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.