6/29 RAW: One great match not enough

Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
June 30, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

Well this is going to be a quick review. It’s exhausting to write about shows that aren’t good and break down the reasons why it wasn’t good. It was just another one of those shows that just seemed to drag on forever. There was one thing I really liked, some things I liked before they went on too long, and a lot of things that just fell short of being anything close to good.

John Cena and Cesaro put on a hell of a contest

After a brief hiatus with the United States Open Challenge, John Cena brought it back and put on a hell of a match with Cesaro. Before that match, Cena called for the challenge to start and Kevin Owens answered. Owens got in the ring like he was going to wrestle Cena, but he got out before the bell rang and said he’d rather wait until WWE Battleground. Great heel storytelling there. I love when Owens does that and takes the wind out of the crowd. Cesaro then answered the challenge and that match began with Owens on commentary. It’s hard to recap guest commentary during a match, but I can tell you that I thought Owens did a tremendous job on commentary. Owens had an answer for everything and sounded like a major league talent. I really got a kick out of him taking a swing at Michael Cole for cutting him off.

As for the match between Cena and Cesaro, I have yet to see them have a bad one. I’ll never forget the one they had in Denver, Colorado last year around the time of Elimination Chamber. That was an unbelievable match, which was especially incredible because they were having that match in Denver where the air is much thinner. Last night, they had another classic. Cesaro is such an incredible talent. If WWE could figure out how to present him, he’d be a major force for the company. Cena is no slouch either. I think the argument that he can’t wrestle is dead and buried and should have been for a long time. The guy can go. I said a few months ago that Cena has built up enough good will with the fans that he shouldn’t have to go out and have these barnburner matches all the time, but he continues to do so and in the process put guys over. The only thing I don’t like is that damn springboard stunner. That’s the only thing from the match I would change. Everything else was absolutely perfect from the nasty Very European Uppercut to Cena’s super strength and Cesaro’s tribute to Tyson Kidd with the Sharpshooter. I even liked the ending with Owens attacking Cesaro as it looked like he was going to beat Cena. That could possibly set up something with Owens and Cesaro. Could you imagine that match-up at SummerSlam? This was the one truly great thing on a show with not much to write home about. Last night, I underrated the match. I watched it back and added an extra star to it. *** 1/2 out of four stars, which is my top of the line match. My hat is off to Cena and Cesaro. Hell, even Owens for his work on commentary and antics before the match started.

No Brock Lesnar = The show is significantly less interesting

The title of this section says it all. Without Brock Lesnar on television, the title program is really lame. It’s been 42 weeks since RAW has opened up with a match. Yes, 42 weeks. Every single show after September 8, 2014 has opened up with a long (and usually boring) talking promo that averages about twenty minutes. Seriously, that’s a major problem. If you don’t think so, you’re kidding yourself. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. Unbelievably enough, this segment started out halfway decent. Seth Rollins was bragging about taking down Brock Lesnar last week with the help of his buddies and wanted to reward them. Rollins spent a good portion of time talking them up and even getting a babyface reaction for Jamie Noble, who was legitimately injured last week. Then Rollins started to give them actual gifts. Rollins started off with Apple Watches, which was funny to see them put on and pose with. It should have ended there, but it kept going. Then he brought out hula dancers as he was giving Kane a paid vacation to Hawaii. This is where the segment really started to get miserable. The crowd was completely dead for this. Kane tried some humor, but the scripted line missed the mark. Then Rollins gave J&J Security a new Cadillac, which is sure to be destroyed at some point. By the time this was all over, this segment was way past twenty minutes and the crowd was completely silent. No booing – just complete indifference. Just to complete the pain, the opening match that followed was Big Show vs. Mark Henry.

They explained during the opening segment that Brock Lesnar wasn’t there because he was travelling to Japan… for a show on Saturday. I was hoping that was misdirection and he’d show up in the main event to clean house, but it wasn’t to be. As for the main event, it was a No Disqualification tag team match with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns taking on Rollins and Kane. Despite it being no disqualifications and the match starting out as a tornado tag, they eventually moved to the apron and started doing a traditional tag team match. That just killed the match for me. No rules, so they follow the rules. Is it too much to ask that they don’t insult my intelligence? After that, Ambrose just disappeared and Reigns took a beating that just went on forever. After it was all said and done, Bray Wyatt came out and gave him Sister Abigail to close out the show.

Quick Thoughts

About the only thing I can say about Big Show vs. Mark Henry is I’m glad they kept it short. This was a hideous follow up to an opening segment that went far too long.

Ryback vs. The Miz had a terrible finish. What a waste of time this was. They go through the trouble of giving time to the match only for Miz to just run away and it’s over.

I was not a fan of the Divas match. The division is just such a lost cause right now. How in the world does it make any sense for Paige to go over when the storyline is she’s outnumbered against The Bella Twins?

The eight-man tag team match was flat as anything. The New Day lost a ton of steam losing the titles to the lame Prime Time Players way too soon. What a shame.

Dolph Ziggler and Lana have absolutely no chemistry. A month ago, Lana was molten hot. She’s significantly less over to the point where she was getting the “WHAT” treatment. The catfight with Lana and Summer Rae woke the crowd up for sure, but it couldn’t save this truly bad segment.

Sheamus versus Neville had hardly any steam to it. It was just there and it was over. Nothing to get excited about.

King Barrett beat Jack Swagger in a quick match. Swagger’s career in WWE seems dangerously close to being over. For that matter, so does Barrett’s. The King of the Ring has done absolutely nothing for him. His booking is worse than ever.

Overall impression

As I said in the beginning, this show just dragged on and on. The reason was a dead crowd and segments that just never ended. There’s no question that the three-hour format murders the show every single week. Even when a show gets off to a hot start, it almost always tails off in that third hour. I really think WWE should consider transitioning that first hour to be a lead in for the full RAW, which should start at 9:00 PM EST. Start it at 8, announce what you’ll see on the main show and hype that up, throw out some lower mid-card matches of no consequence, and ride it out. They’ve got to do something to break up the monotony.

The other problem with this show (and all the others) is that no one feels special. John Cena and Kevin Owens are the only guys that stand out as stars on these shows, but even Owens will taper off when he eventually loses a bunch of times to Cena. The reason why there is so much buzz around the show when Brock Lesnar shows up is because he’s the one guy that has been properly built up. He’s must see TV when he shows up. You can’t say that about anyone else. No one on this show is over. Everyone trades wins, which causes them to stay exactly where they are on the card. It’s like the company has forgotten how to book. It’s mind boggling to watch sometimes. The things that need to change are so obvious and easy to fix, but unless they shave down that writing staff or get people on there who know how to book a wrestling program (because at the end of the day, that’s what it really is). The ratings don’t lie. While there are a lot of variables that affect them, such as watching on different platforms, the bottom line is many episodes from the past few months have been among the lowest rated shows since 1997 when business wasn’t doing too hot. In fact, as I’m typing this up I just read on the main page that this was the lowest rated RAW of the year and a new low from 1997. A shake up is needed desperately. Vince McMahon is the greatest living promoter in history. The man used to be able to do this. I believe he still can if he gets back to basics. Don’t work yourself and think this kind of product is the wave of the future. The numbers say otherwise.

Bump of the Night: Roman Reigns being powerbombed through a table!
Match of the Night: John Cena vs. Cesaro *** 1/2

Final Rating: ** 1/2

Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.

I forgot to mention in my RAW recap, but I will be providing the recap for the WWE event from Japan, which takes place on July 4. I’ll be getting back from a gig around the time it starts, so I figure I’ll just recap it live! Come check it out at 5 freakin’ thirty in the morning EST!

Thanks for reading!

Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.