8/17 RAW: Paul Heyman is the real beast

WWE RAW Review
August 18, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

First of all, I’d like to apologize for not doing a review of last week’s RAW. There was a sudden death in the family so I had other obligations to tend to. That being said, it’s nice to be back recapping and reviewing the show. I got married three weeks ago, so my life has been pretty interesting. It’s nice to have a little normalcy back.

For those interested in my thoughts on last week’s show, I can tell you that I had to skim through my recap because nothing really stuck with me. Looking back on it, the triple threat with Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Randy Orton was very good, but I don’t think it was mind-blowingly great. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Seth Rollins and Orton was a lot of fun with a predictable ending (and a very cool RKO), and the Daniel Bryan segment was awesome. Other than that, it was just a show.

This week, it’s the go home show for SummerSlam. It’s the biggest card they may have ever had for the show with a four hour time frame allotted to fit it all in. With ten matches booked by the end of the night, they had a lot of final promotion touch on. Did they succeed or did they fall short in hyping the show? Let’s find out!

The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar collide ahead of SummerSlam

The entire build to SummerSlam has been built around one epic rematch. It’s The Undertaker taking on Brock Lesnar in their first match since the streak ended at WrestleMania XXX. The build for it got off to an unbelievable start with the surprise return of The Undertaker followed by an incredible and highly memorable brawl the next night on RAW. Since then, it’s just been hype videos and a promo from Paul Heyman.

Last night would be the third and final time they would meet in the ring before their match at SummerSlam. Before the main event segment, which they billed as Lesnar’s homecoming, there was a very quick backstage promo with The Undertaker. I’ve been watching old episodes of RAW in order. I’m right at the end of 1993 when Undertaker was gearing up to face Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble (yes, he’s been around that long!). This promo video reminded me of some of those really old school Undertaker promos. I liked it a lot. It was short and sweet.

It had nothing on the main event segment, though. We all know Paul Heyman is carving himself a spot in wrestling history as arguably one of the greatest talkers ever, but the argument against him is getting harder and harder to make after what he did last night. Brock Lesnar is a physical beast, and Heyman is the verbal beast. It’s absolutely incredible. The crowd was completely fired up for Lesnar coming back “home,” and Heyman brought them to a fever pitch with his introduction of them. After minutes of listening to the roar of the crowd, Heyman got on his knees to bow to Lesnar before executing one of the most amazing promos I’ve ever heard – and I’ve heard a lot of them. Heyman redid the lines to “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic,” screaming every updated line before getting the crowd to sing along to “Glory, glory Brock Lesnar!” It was absolutely phenomenal. Thank god they re-signed Lesnar back in March. Could you imagine the product without Lesnar and Heyman segments?

The lights went out, but Undertaker wasn’t there. Heyman then cut down The Undertaker some more before the lights went out a second time. When they came back on, Undertaker was in the ring. Undertaker gave Lesnar a low blow before giving him a Chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver. Undertaker was loudly booed, but that was to be expected in Lesnar’s hometown. Undertaker has been around for twenty-five years. I don’t think he minds. This will certainly be an interesting encounter on Sunday. There’s a couple of ways it could go, which I’ll detail in my predictions piece on Sunday. I thought it was a very good way to put a bow on the build.

John Cena verbally destroys Seth Rollins while signing a contract

John Cena made his return to RAW after having his nose relocated to another side of his face on July 27. As seen on Tough Enough last Tuesday, Cena’s nose amazingly looks like nothing ever happened to it. He must have went to one hell of a plastic surgeon.

Before Cena came out for the contract signing, Seth Rollins was out there with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rollins cut a decent promo where he was mostly cheered except when going for cheap heat. Rollins ran down the Minnesota Twins and their inability to hit, which was ironic because they were beating the Yankees at the time 7-5 (they lost on a walk-off groundout in the 10th however). Other than that, he was pretty over. There was one moment of his speech where I just straight up felt bad for society. Rollins worked in a Bob Dylan reference, who is from Minnesota, but there was no big cheer or any name recognition. Come on, people. Everyone should know Bob Dylan.

After running down Cena, the man of the hour made his appearance. Cena cut a very good promo on Rollins, running down his manhood and title reign before promoting the fact that if he is victorious on Sunday, it will tie Ric Flair’s (fake) record of 16 World Championships (it’s over 20 at least). Cena then called Rollins a bitch and signed the contract. If there was one thing I didn’t like about this, it was the fact that Rollins never said a word to defend himself. This isn’t just a problem in this promo. It’s an epidemic in WWE with these scripted promos. One person says their speech while the other person waits their turn. Then the other person says their rebuttal while the other person stares at them. In real life situations, that doesn’t happen. If someone calls me a bitch or runs down my manhood, I’m going to have something to say. It can still end with Cena calling him a bitch, but I’d like to see some back and forth before that happens.

One interesting thing to note, I never saw Rollins sign the contract. Could that be worked into the finish if Rollins were to lose? Overall, this was a great segment. I’d just like to see more back and forth.

Quick Thoughts

It’s been 49 weeks – almost a full year – since RAW has opened up with a match. To me, that is absolutely ridiculous. At least in the last few weeks (certainly not last week though), the opening segments have been much more entertaining. Still, maybe it’s time to switch up the predictable formula they’ve been running these shows on. The one thing I can say about the opening segment is that it was quick and useful. The Authority (playing faces) ran down the four major matches on the SummerSlam card, which included the Divas Elimination Tag Match. It was over in ten minutes.

The tag match with Randy Orton and Cesaro beating Sheamus and Kevin Owens was very good. I’m really amped up to see the Cesaro/Owens match at SummerSlam. There were a couple of great spots in this and a few cringe-worthy moments. The power Cesaro showed with the delayed vertical suplex on Owens and the uppercut counter to a diving Sheamus was awesome. Cesaro not making it over the ropes while trying to twist to the apron wasn’t awesome. I also think Orton was supposed to hit Owens with an RKO, but it was mistimed so Owens threw him off, which was better than selling a move that didn’t connect. Still, it was a good way to get some quick promotion for these two matches that have the potential to be the two best wrestled matches on the card.

Roman Reigns and Luke Harper had a decent match, but the crowd was asleep the entire time. They didn’t really get amped up for Reigns’ big comeback either. Reigns just isn’t connecting whatsoever. Everyone thinks Dean Ambrose is turning on him at SummerSlam, but I think it’ll be the other way around. If he’s not getting over as a face, try him as a heel. Maybe a heel Reigns dominating in the fall will be just what the doctor ordered for his career. I’ll talk more about that in my predictions piece this Sunday.

Becky Lynch and Tamina had a short, but decent match that saw Lynch win with the Dis-arm-her. Not a bad first singles match for Lynch on RAW.

Rusev beat Mark Henry in relatively short order with Lana on commentary. Lana then challenged Summer Rae to get into the ring, and she laid her out with a slap. The fans were really hot for that. Then Lana challenged Rusev to fight her. It was a ruse to set up the return of Dolph Ziggler, who came out to a very nice reception. Ziggler took Rusev out before challenging him to a match at SummerSlam.

Ryback beat The Miz in another quick match. Before the match began, Miz ran down both Ryback and Big Show, who was on commentary. Ryback challenged Big Show to get in the ring and fight, but Big Show walked off instead. This segment was there. It happened and we moved on.

The New Day is probably the most entertaining act on the roster right now. Kingston with the ridiculous clapping, Woods with the trash talk outside the ring, and Big E with his gyrations are a dangerous trio. The crowd is really sweet on them. I can’t wait to be part of the crowd this Sunday at SummerSlam to see what they do. There wasn’t much to comment on with the tag match itself. It seemed like it got time cut due to the contract signing.

You’d think they’d get Stephen Amell back to do another segment with Stardust on the go home show, but then you’d be wrong. At least Stardust and King Barrett were relegated to a backstage segment. I liked what Amell brought to the table last week as he brought a lot of energy, but this feud stinks to high heaven with the inclusion of the jobber for life Barrett.

In a match they were hyping up all night as the NXT Women’s Champion vs. the WWE Divas Champion, it was a big disappointment. Nikki Bella and Sasha Banks went out there and didn’t really do anything. Nikki admitted on Twitter that she’s been rehabbing a back injury, so why cart her out there to do a singles match where she can’t really bump that much? It was very boring complete with an embarrassing flying kick from Nikki that missed by a country mile. The fans were chanting, “We want Lesnar” near the end. I’ll give the Divas Revolution some more time to build before making a total judgment, but this wasn’t good at all.

Overall Impression

This was a very strong and entertaining go home show for SummerSlam. Paul Heyman’s beastly promo definitely put the cherry on this sundae. It didn’t drag at any point, which three-hour RAWs always tend to do. It left me feeling very excited for SummerSlam, which I would be even if I wasn’t already going.

Bump of the Night: Sheamus diving into an uppercut from Cesaro
Match of the Night: Orton and Cesaro vs. Sheamus and Owens **

Final Rating: *** 3/4

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.

Also check out my predictions piece on WWE SummerSlam, which will be up this Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for reading!

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