Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
May 26, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It’s unbelievable that just two short weeks ago I wrote up a RAW review that was for the go home show for one PPV. Here I am writing another one and in two weeks, I’ll be writing yet another one for Elimination Chamber. This period of time in WWE is lightening quick with barely enough time to take a breath before a storyline culminates and then it’s on to the next one. In this society where instant gratification is not only the norm, it’s demanded, this short story form type of wrestling probably suits most people, especially Vince McMahon’s dreaded millennials, just fine. For someone like me who is a little more traditional, it’s frustrating. Still, there are plenty of shows that WWE puts out where there are more long form storylines, so I don’t mind them splitting it up like this. I just hope these “special events” are just that – special events that take place every few months or so.
Monday’s show was not only the go home show for the WWE Elimination Chamber special event; it was also the final show ever at the Nassau Coliseum. The arena in Long Island held many great events, including WrestleMania 2 and SummerSlam 2002, which saw the return of Shawn Michaels after a four-year absence from wrestling. Before the show started, Vince McMahon came out to address the crowd and thank them for all the years of attending WWE shows in the arena. McMahon then guaranteed it would be a good show. Did McMahon and his crack writing staff live up to the guarantee or did this show fall short of his grandiose expectations? Let’s find out!
Predictable, but good build for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
After such an awful start to this abbreviated feud last week between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose that saw Ambrose not only lose to Bray Wyatt on the show, but he was also left laying in a broken heap at the end of it, they got the feud back on track. The show opened up with a long – and I mean LONG – promo featuring The Authority running down Dean Ambrose. As they were talking about him, the crowd, which was red hot throughout this segment, was loudly chanting for Ambrose. The Authority then said they wanted to make the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WWE Elimination Chamber official, so all Ambrose has to do is walk down to the ring and sign the contract. The implication, of course, was that Ambrose would be walking into the lion’s den. Ambrose had until the end of the night to sign the contract or the match was off.
Ambrose came out to a big reception and talked about how much he enjoys kicking the crap out of Seth Rollins. Ambrose talked about how much he likes it before saying this time he wants to kick the crap out of him and take the title. This was fine for what it was, but it really started to drag after this. Ambrose insulted J&J Security and Kane (who, after weeks of teasing, they didn’t once intimate that he had a problem with Rollins) before calling Rollins “Justin Bieber.” Rollins then talked about how Bieber is successful and the best artist ever and yadda-yadda before talking about how Ambrose was a cockroach. By that point, I was thinking, “This is going way, way too long.” Ambrose then said a lame line that he’d rather be a cockroach than the wrong end of The Authority’s Human Centipede. Whoever scripts Ambrose’s jokes needs to stop. They whiff way more than they hit.
Finally, Ambrose went down to the ring and teased getting in before Roman Reigns came through the crowd and joined his side. Stephanie then booked a tag team match with Ambrose and Reigns taking on Rollins and Kane. That was about a twenty-five minute odyssey to get to that point. Once again, that’s the problem with three-hour shows. Everything is dragged out ad nauseam. The tag match itself wasn’t bad, but we’ve seen this match-up in some form a zillion times already. Ambrose picked up the pin over Rollins, which was the right move.
After that, Renee Young was interviewing Ambrose when J&J Security came up to him to taunt him. Ambrose fought them before the cameraman bumped him. Ambrose then decked the cameraman. That was actually really well done. I was wondering what happened and thought the cameraman just got too close. I initially thought that was something that was going to wind up on Botchamania because it didn’t even look like Ambrose actually punched him. This led to Triple H and Rollins convincing the cameraman to press charges against Ambrose, which got Ambrose arrested, putting his chances of signing the contract by the end of the night in doubt. The policemen who arrested him were awful, including the one reading the Miranda Rights off a card. Like come on. You haven’t watched enough cop shows to memorize those few lines?
Of course, it was never truly in doubt that Ambrose would find a way to get back to the arena to sign the contract by the end of the show. It was revealed through footage released later in the evening that Rollins shoved the cameraman. That was actually pretty funny. In the final segment, Ambrose inexplicably drove the police truck back to the arena and wound up signing the contract (with the help of Roman Reigns) to make the title match official. I’m sure they’ll have some reason for Ambrose driving back in the police truck on Smackdown. Maybe the police are actually big fans of Ambrose. It was kind of tacky, but it worked. It was basic, paint-by-numbers storytelling that was perfect for the two-week feud that is Ambrose/Rollins.
The cast of “Entourage” gets involved in the US Open Challenge
Normally I’m simply not a fan of RAW having “guest stars” because they usually are actors who would rather have their fingernails ripped off than appear on the show. These four guys didn’t appear that way. They seemed like they were having fun and at least two of them were actual wrestling fans. For some reason, I don’t think Adrian Grenier, despite sharing a last name with a former member of La Resistance, is a weekly viewer. I loved the dig at Jeremy Piven when Kevin Dillon said he was preparing for “SummerFest,” referencing Piven’s unfortunate appearance in 2009 when he misremembered the name of WWE’s second biggest show of the year. That was a great line followed by a look of incredulity on Dillon’s face. They razzed Stephanie McMahon about her run-in with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. Later in the evening they were seen talking with Zack Ryder, which plays into the next thing I’ll talk about.
John Cena was out for the US Open Challenge, and he was really playing to the crowd. Cena was talking about his relationship with the crowd and how there are some who root against him. This was not one of Cena’s better promos. This one kind of stunk up the joint. Cena tried to get chants started, but the crowd wasn’t really having it. Cena did put over Kevin Owens and tried to get his chant started, but it wasn’t that successful. The crowd just doesn’t want to be told what to chant. Still, it was the right move to put over Owens ahead of their match this Sunday.
That brought out the guys from “Entourage.” Kevin Connolly put over the fact that he was from Long Island before introducing Zack Ryder to accept the challenge. I don’t think anyone really thought Ryder had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, but I think they appreciated the fact that he was out there. The match was kept short, since Cena shouldn’t be struggling to beat a guy who is an absolute jobber now. Still, Ryder hit all of his big moves before missing a 450 splash before taking the loss. Everyone then raised their arms, and they left Cena in the ring to celebrate. That brought out Kevin Owens, who once again left Cena lying with a Pop-up Powerbomb. Owens then stomped on the US Championship and held up the NXT Championship. I absolutely loved that.
Owens got over on Cena two weeks in a row, but if they’re really serious about building him up strong (and I think they are just based on the way they talk about him on the show), he also needs to go over on Cena this Sunday. The match isn’t for the US Title, so it’s fine for Cena to lose. If they do that, Owens is an instant star in my opinion. Owens could be a top of the line main event heel. NXT has a lot of options, including Samoa Joe down there. I’m not saying take Owens away from NXT completely and keep him on the main roster. Have him do double duty. WWE once again has an opportunity to make a huge star. I hope they don’t blow it like they have so many times in the past.
Excellent stuff from Rusev and Lana
Rusev came out wearing the colors of Bulgaria. The storyline is he was so disgusted with Lana that he moved back to Bulgaria. That’s incredibly impressive. A year and a half ago, I moved in with my fiancé just a town over from where I grew up. The planning and execution of that move took way more than a week… and that was just the town over. Rusev switched countries. I want to talk to his realtor.
Rusev absolutely dispatched of R-Truth in under a minute. What in the hell is R-Truth doing in the Elimination Chamber match? Talk about a guy who is an absolute joke… Anyway, Rusev pleaded with Lana to join him in the ring. Lana eventually answered his call. Rusev was being nice to her and pretended to understand why she was doing the things she was doing. I actually laughed when he said she was acting this way because she’s a woman. Rusev plays the chauvinist character really well. Eventually he got Lana to take his hand, and they hugged. Rusev then wanted her to say the three magic words: I was wrong. Lana’s expression immediately changed. She then said that Rusev did quit, and she’s done with him. This was absolutely tremendous. The fact that they do have a real life relationship really shows here. Their chemistry is off the charts. Lana’s expressions were perfect, and Rusev was absolutely killer with his delivery and actions. Dolph Ziggler then joined Lana on the stage, and they kissed. Rusev looked like he had tears in his eyes as this happened. Absolutely brilliant stuff. I loved it.
Later in the evening, Rusev attacked Ziggler following a match with Sheamus, which I will talk about shortly. Rusev demolished Ziggler in front of Lana and shouted, “Kiss him now!” toward her. This was just great stuff.
I wasn’t too high on the King Barrett vs. Ryback match. Barrett is absolutely treading water again even after winning the King of the Ring. Ryback wasn’t tremendous in this either. Ryback’s ribs are taped up, so naturally it makes sense to hit Barrett with a big splash and not sell the ribs. Barrett lost like a chump, and Ryback looks unconvincing.
Stardust was doing something with the lead actor from “Arrow,” but the commentators didn’t really explain it properly. No one cared anyway. Stardust lost a match against Neville, who hit Stardust with the Red Arrow despite having an injured knee. Bo Dallas then attacked Neville’s knee. It was what it was.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus was given some time, but it never gained traction. The crowd wasn’t into it, and it felt like they were just going through the motions knowing it was going to be a screwy finish. The only thing I found impressive was Sheamus hitting Ziggler with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam on the floor. Sheamus is a monster. He’s got to be a favorite on Sunday.
To say that Tamina vs. Paige was atrocious wouldn’t be doing it justice. It wasn’t as bad as Cameron trying to pin Naomi despite the fact that she was on her stomach, but it was close. Tamina is absolutely awful. She was clunky, stiff, and couldn’t even get a short-arm clothesline spot right. Naomi, who has been spot on these last few weeks, missed her mark to attack Paige with the referee’s back turned (he saw the whole thing and pretended he didn’t). That led to Tamina, who isn’t in the title match this Sunday, pinning Paige, who is in the title match. Looks like “#GiveDivasAChance” is dying down.
The build was almost completely non-existent for the WWE Tag Team Championships Elimination Chamber. It was about 10:30 EST and I was wondering if they forgot about it. They didn’t. They sent The New Day out there to complain about the match being unfair. Kane then went out there and booked them in a 10-on-3 match against the five other teams in the match. Why is a heel stacking the odds against heels? The match got less than a minute of TV time, which saw The New Day getting the better of everyone, before all hell broke loose. If that was the best build they could do for the Tag Team Elimination Chamber, they should have just left it off completely and saved it for Smackdown.
I didn’t think the show was bad, but it wasn’t the “good one” as Vince McMahon claimed it would be to the Long Island crowd. It was just an average go home show for an event. The Elimination Chamber matches weren’t built up well at all. They did stuff with all six guys in the Intercontinental Title Chamber match, but they never really tied in that they would be in the chamber going for the vacant title. The Tag Team Titles Chamber… yuck. The only storylines that were built up really well were Rollins/Ambrose, Rusev/Lana, and Cena/Owens. It should be a good show on Sunday. I guess they did the best they could with the limited amount of time they had to build it.
Bump of the Night: Sheamus powerslamming Ziggler on the floor!
Match of the Night: Ambrose and Reigns vs. Rollins and Kane ** 1/4
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.
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 be sure to check out my predictions column for WWE Elimination Chamber, which will be up this Sunday afternoon. I’ll also be covering the show live starting at 8 PM EST. I’ll have a review of the show posted soon after as well.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.