Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
August 19, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Fresh off the best SummerSlam WWE has produced in twelve years, I can’t remember a RAW I was anticipating more aside from a post-WrestleMania RAW. I felt like a kid again in 1999 when I’d be thinking about the show all day and not being able to wait. OK, so maybe I didn’t think about it all day, but that last half hour before it started seemed to take forever to pass.
The show kicked off with a great promo from Stephanie McMahon to gloat about her victory at SummerSlam. I must say I was impressed by Stephanie’s performance at SummerSlam. She really held her own. It was something else. Stephanie put over the entire show as well before giving a plug for the WWE Network.
She then introduced Nikki Bella, and this is where things kind of took a turn for the worse. Almost right off the bat you knew it was going downhill when Nikki lost her shoe on the way down to the ring. Nikki then recited lines about why she turned on her sister Brie at SummerSlam. To Stephanie’s credit, she massaged Nikki through the promo (not literally) and helped it keep rolling. Nikki just didn’t seem like she believed in what she was talking about. Like I said it was like she worked really hard to memorize her lines, but she never felt anything she was saying. She was basically reciting things. It just wasn’t believable at all. That’s how I felt sitting at home. Luckily the live crowd was hot for this. It was a great turn at the show so they had that working for them.
Then when Brie Bella made her way to the ring, the crowd got even hotter. Brie did a good job pleading with Nikki to stop what she was doing before saying she forgives her. Nikki then gave her an awesome slap that only those related to you can give you and get away with it. While her delivery wasn’t believable at all, the crowd responded well to Nikki’s new character. It should be a fun feud between the two sisters. I wonder if Brie will do what The Undertaker did when Kane debuted – refuse to fight her own flesh and blood. That would be interesting because then Nikki would have to coax her into fighting her. That could get fun.
Big Show and Mark Henry faced Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a rematch from Smackdown. It was a pretty decent match. I was most impressed with the body slam Rowan gave Big Show. Like I said in my quick Smackdown thoughts, Big Show and Mark Henry would be an interesting threat for Jimmy and Jey Uso. The commentators were certainly hinting at that, but what happened with Henry later in the night makes me wonder if they’re going to 86 those plans.
It was interesting to see Ric Flair backstage interacting with Dolph Ziggler before The Miz walked up. There was a big rumor that Flair was going to involve himself with Ziggler upon his return to the full time roster. Ziggler’s like about Miz not being an A-lister but an A-hole was well done.
I absolutely loved that play on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins did. That was hilarious when Rollins was cutting that promo before having the water poured on him. Ambrose then killed it with his “What? It’s for charity” line. That was absolutely fantastic.
AJ Lee cost Paige a match against Natalya in a similar fashion to how Paige was costing her matches in the build for SummerSlam. These two had an excellent match at SummerSlam, and I’m glad this feud isn’t ending yet.
Up next was the WWE World Heavyweight Championship presentation for Brock Lesnar. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon unveiled the new championship, which I have to say was a bit a disappointment in my eyes. It was the same WWE Championship as before, only with the new WWE logo and the word “champion” omitted.
Paul Heyman then slaughtered the follow up promo to Lesnar’s incredible defeat of John Cena at SummerSlam. Who could forget Heyman’s promo the night after Lesnar ended the Streak? Heyman knows how to hit a home run and follow up on the hype. This one was hit out of the ballpark. Heyman is simply one of the best managers of all time. He actually might be the best ever, and I don’t say that lightly because there have been a lot of greats, Bobby Heenan in particular. I just don’t know if any other manager could do what he does. Together Lesnar and Heyman may be the best duo in wrestling.
Heyman was fantastic as he described the beating of Cena. Heyman even managed to put Cena over big time, but he put Lesnar over even bigger, of course. It was just absolutely brilliant. Now the question becomes who is the next to challenge Lesnar after John Cena? I’m sure John Cena will get one more rematch, but who’s next after that? Who on the roster could pose a legitimate threat? After what he did to Cena at SummerSlam, I’d have a hard time even buying Roman Reigns as that guy if that’s the direction they go for WrestleMania XXXI. Who could realistically beat Lesnar? In my opinion, the answer is no one. It just wouldn’t be believable at all.
That’s the great thing about Lesnar, but it also could be a curse. When you’re watching a show he’s booked on, you know that all the matches are predetermined. Then when Lesnar comes out, there’s that thought in your head that this could be real. All the other stuff is fake, but this guy is really a killer. It’s that aura that makes it tough for him to lose believably. It’ll be interesting to see how they go about this title reign.
The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler in his Intercontinental Championship rematch by count-out. It was a decent match before the ending. It was pretty much all done to supposedly set up a rematch at Night of Champions. I think they should get another face in that match and make it a triple threat. Their match at SummerSlam was great, but I don’t know if they have enough for another five weeks to build until Night of Champions.
Jack Swagger was without Zeb Colter as he faced Cesaro. Swagger cut a very good promo before the match about how he was disappointed he lost, but because this is America, you can make a comeback. Swagger had a good match against Cesaro where he showed a lot of guts fighting through the injured ribs. In the end it cost him, but Swagger is really developing nicely into a good babyface. Bo Dallas then came out and taunted him about his loss. That looks like the next feud for Swagger. I like it. I like that they’re getting Dallas involved in something substantial now. I’m not sure if there’s a ton of room for them on the Night of Champions card since every title will be defended, but maybe instead of the triple threat idea I had for the Intercontinental Championship, they make it a fatal four way!
Chris Jericho cut a decent promo backstage about his loss to Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam. Jericho put Wyatt over as something unlike anyone he’d ever faced, including all the Hall of Famers he’s fought. Wyatt later on gloated about being a man of his word. Currently they’re even and a rubber match is rumored, but neither mentioned wanting another rematch on the show.
I really enjoyed the six-man tag that followed the Jericho promo. The crowd was hot for it, making it a very enjoyable match. Randy Orton worked well with the crowd. The crowd was chanting like mad for Ryback. They were even dusting off his old “Feed me more” catchphrase. Orton was great as he pointed to Ryback before tagging him in. I think Orton would have handled that a lot differently in his younger years. The finish was fun. It was the standard finish of a six-man where everyone runs in and hits their finishers, but it always works. Rob Van Dam picked up the win here, which is surprising since Roman Reigns was involved with the match. I guess as long as he wins, it doesn’t matter who gets the pinfall. After not doing pretty much anything since coming back, RVD is now on a mini-roll.
The match with the Usos taking on Goldust and Stardust was terribly boring. How many times can the Usos do the double axe handle, chin lock, and back suplex counters? Doing the same repetitive moves works for Brock Lesnar. For the Usos – not so much. This was so boring, and then it ended with a victory for Goldust and Stardust. I’m sure they were holding back because I’ve seen these teams have good matches in the past.
I really enjoyed Lana gloating on behalf of Rusev about the SummerSlam match. These two are just a great, classic heel duo. Mark Henry quickly interrupted them and talked about how he’s a patriot and loves America. Henry also doesn’t like how they carry on about the Russian Federation. I was surprised to see Henry come out since I thought he was going to run with the tag team with Big Show from earlier in the evening, but I like the prospect of this match. Henry is an Olympian, so it makes a lot of sense. This will be a good challenge for Rusev. Henry then laid him out, and the crowd really responded to this well.
The main event with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins fighting in a No Holds Barred match was ridiculously awesome. It may have been better than their SummerSlam match, which is saying something because that match was off the charts good. I was totally wrong. I thought the Lumberjack stipulation would hurt them, but it turned out to be way better than I expected it. They pulled out all stops in this one – nasty kendo stick shots, chair shots, and a powerbomb into a stack of chairs. The ending of the match was really well done. The Authority had to do everything in its power to keep Ambrose from winning. In the end, it was a stack of cinder blocks that Ambrose got Curb Stomped through. That was a great spot and a great way to get Ambrose off TV for a bit to do that film. When he comes back, he’ll be a house of fire and ready to continue this red hot feud. All in all, these guys were put in the main event, and they showed that they belong.
I also have to mention that I really liked the look of the show with the new logo. They updated their graphics and the whole presentation is very sleek, elegant, and modern. I really liked it. Unfortunately for those clinging to the Attitude Era like a baby to a pacifier, the last bastion of that era has died. No more scribbly W’s! Oh my god!
This was a fantastic RAW to follow up a fantastic PPV. All of the angles they started on the PPV were followed through perfectly here. It’s a very exciting time to be a wrestling fan.
Bump of the Night: Rollins hitting a sit-out powerbomb on a pile of chairs!
Match of the Night: Rollins vs. Ambrose *** 1/2
Final Rating: ****
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.