Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
June 16, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Before I start off my review of Monday Night RAW (review being the operative word, which means I’ll be giving a critical appraisal of the show a.k.a. my opinion), I like to make mention of this every year. This past Saturday marked my seven year anniversary with Wrestleview.com. Seven years of recapping wrestling, and I still love it. When I started, I was but a young whippersnapper with a desire to write about a product I’ve loved all my life. Now I’m dangerously close to 30 and will soon be married. A lot has changed for me, but the enjoyment I get out of recapping has not. Thanks to Adam Martin and Paul Nemer for giving me the opportunity all those years ago. I like to think I haven’t let them down.
This episode of Monday Night RAW sees WWE getting back to the more traditional ways of booking wrestling. Coming off a rapid fire pace of three special events in five weeks, we now have a full five weeks before the next PPV, which is WWE Battleground, meaning WWE actually has to come at us with storylines that can stretch that far. How did WWE do introducing those storylines? Let’s find out!
Seth Rollins had a hell of a night… and Brock Lesnar is back!
Seth Rollins kicked off the show with what I thought was one of the better heel promos he’s done. Rollins was aided by the fact that the Cleveland crowd was red hot (and they stayed that way for all of the big angles on the show). Rollins was fantastic gloating about how he delivered on what he said he was going to do, which was beat Dean Ambrose at Money in the Bank all by himself. Rollins then produced a list of people he wanted to thank, which drew boos from the crowd. Rollins then proceeded to thank himself over and over again to great heat. Rollins then ran down J&J Security and Kane before saying that he didn’t need Triple H and Stephanie either, which would be a key line to play into the end of the show. Rollins then lit the crowd on fire by poking fun at Johnny Manziel, who was at ringside, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers. That got a huge amount of boos. While it was easy heat, it really worked and made him sound like a super heel.
Dean Ambrose came out to brawl with Rollins after that. Ambrose sold the knee injury from the ladder match the night before on the way down the ramp, but he hardly ever sold it after that. Rollins would quickly work the knee, which would hobble Ambrose, but then seconds later Ambrose is diving off the commentary table onto the injured knee like nothing ever happened. I love Ambrose, but his selling is very, very suspect. That’s an area that really needs to be worked on throughout wrestling. It was just egregious in this opening segment. Rollins eventually escaped like a true heel should. Ambrose held the show hostage for a little while after, but I’ll talk about that in a bit. I’d like to continue focusing on the great work Rollins did.
Rollins would be seen in a few backstage segments throughout the night where he’d get himself in trouble with his mouth. First we saw him with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who called him out for saying he didn’t need them. Rollins was great as he was trying to backtrack what he originally said. Triple H then informed him that they would announce who his next opponent for the title would be later in the evening. We’d later see him in a segment with J&J Security, where Rollins tried gloating to them that he didn’t need them. Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury then dressed him down by saying they fully expect him to lose the title very soon. Finally, the final backstage segment saw him trying to antagonize Kane before being terrified when Kane grabbed him for talking about his family. All great stuff with Rollins constantly backing himself into a corner.
The final segment saw Triple H and Stephanie McMahon announce who Rollins’ next opponent would be. They started off by talking who it wouldn’t be, which was all the people Rollins had a run in with tonight on the show. Rollins then came out looking very confident and talking about how The Authority was right about him. Triple H then talked about how they were going to see if Rollins was a lump of coal or a diamond before telling him the pressure was on, which I thought was a very good set up for Brock Lesnar’s music to hit. Lesnar made his way to the ring to a massive pop with Paul Heyman by his side. Absolutely fantastic set up to get him out there, and the reaction from the crowd really made this segment memorable. I loved Rollins’ face the entire time. Rollins looked equal parts stunned and terrified. When Lesnar got right in his face, Rollins couldn’t even make eye contact with him. There was a lot of electricity in that stare down and definitely made me want to see this match. I’m glad we have to wait a few weeks to see it to build the suspense even more.
While this was a great segment and a very good build throughout the show to lead up to it, I’m surprised that they’re going with Rollins vs. Lesnar at WWE Battleground instead of SummerSlam. I can’t see Lesnar being pinned at the show no matter how much interference. The guy hasn’t been pinned since Triple H pinned him at WrestleMania 29. It seems like they were teasing that The Authority is starting to finish up with Rollins, so maybe it’ll wind up being Triple H vs. Rollins at SummerSlam while Lesnar takes on Reigns in a rematch. That would be a fun card, but we’ll see how it shapes up as time goes on. Those are just a few interesting scenarios that could take place based on how things stand at the moment.
Kevin Owens is the man
Coming off a loss to John Cena the night before, the question was how they were going to follow up with Kevin Owens. WWE did the right thing by keeping Cena off this show to sell the apron powerbomb Owens gave him after losing to him the night before. Owens avoided talking too much about the loss and rather flipped it to talking about how what he did to Cena after the match was Cena’s fault, not his. Owens talked about how Cena disrespected him after the match by telling him he belongs in WWE. Owens says he already knew that and didn’t need Cena’s endorsement. This was a great way to spin things and really made Owens sound like a completely cocky heel.
Owens then issued an open challenge since Cena wouldn’t be able to that night. Dolph Ziggler came out (with Lana for a moment, who isn’t selling the twisted ankle from last week) to accept the challenge. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the show right here. Lilian Garcia started to announce that this was for the NXT Championship, but Owens cut her off and said that he never said that. It was simply a non-title open challenge. That was awesome and another great heel move. It also put doubt in my mind as to whether they were going to have Owens lose again. I was definitely worried about that.
Owens didn’t lose this one. Owens and Ziggler had a very good match against one another. There was an ill-timed commercial break within the first twenty seconds of the match, but after that it was fine. It wound up going through two commercial breaks, which goes to show you how they feel about Owens when they give him so much time despite debuting just about a month ago. Owens dominated a good portion of this one before Ziggler made the comeback. There was one awesome spot when Owens absolutely launched him with a release German Suplex followed by a cannonball in the corner. Owens then capped it all off by doing the “You Can’t See Me” taunt to a young kid in Cena merchandise as he was walking to the back.
That wouldn’t be the last we saw of Owens, though. MGK came out to perform a single, which wasn’t very good at all. I thought the performance was severely lacking. That’s the problem with these overly produced songs – they don’t translate well to a live performance. Before the uneducated chime in that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll have you know that I’ve been in a professional band for years now with an agent and have played some of the best clubs and casinos throughout New York and New Jersey. I know what good music is and what a good live show is after playing a couple hundred shows. I’m an authority on this.
I also know that what Kevin Owens did to MGK after the performance is something many bands have wanted to do to a lead singer after a poor performance. Owens came out to sarcastically applaud MGK. MGK extended his hand, but Owens wouldn’t shake it. MGK then shoved Owens, who responded by powerbombing him off the stage. That was pretty nuts. MGK had dedicated his set to John Cena before he started, so that’s the tie in. This was just plain awesome. It’s a huge angle and vote of confidence for Owens to be involved in that. It was definitely an interesting bump for MGK because for a moment there he was really flailing as Owens hoisted him up. That could have been a very bad landing if he didn’t get himself right. This was just an awesome angle and one I’ll be showing to the lead singer of my band later at rehearsal as a warning.
I thought it was odd pairing up Dean Ambrose and Sheamus to fight. Ambrose needs a win to save face, but Sheamus shouldn’t be taking a loss. Sheamus was sent out by The Authority to end Ambrose’s short sit in. Ambrose did the sit in so Rollins would come back out. Ambrose was bad selling his knee and the match was just ok. Randy Orton caused the distraction, and Sheamus lost the match the night after winning Money in the Bank. Ambrose also just went about his business and the sit in was forgotten about. Shouldn’t he have continued the sit in after beating Sheamus? Orton did get a tremendous reaction as he beat up Sheamus afterward.
Who the hell did Wade Barrett piss off? Barrett lost to R-Truth on the Kickoff Show and then lost to R-Truth last night in about 10 seconds. R-Truth wasn’t even dressed to compete. He came out not knowing he was in the match. I didn’t think it was possible for Barrett’s career to become even more pathetic than it had.
Randy Orton and Kane had a match that should be the number one source sleep clinics use to correct those with insomnia. I don’t know why they keep marching Kane out there show after show to compete. Kane changed the match to a No Holds Barred match halfway through, which begs the question of why he doesn’t do that every match. That set up the Sheamus interference that got Kane the win. It looks like it’ll be Orton vs. Sheamus at Battleground.
Big Show fought The Miz in a nothing match that saw Miz win by count-out. Ryback was on commentary for this. They’re setting up a triple threat for Battleground. I’m not looking forward to this build at all. Ryback and Big Show was pretty pathetic at Money in the Bank.
I thought the promo between Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt showcased everything that’s wrong with these scripted promos. Reigns said his piece and then waited like a good little boy for Wyatt to babble on about whatever the hell he was talking about. I’m glad they did make mention of the fact that Reigns had already beaten him two weeks ago to keep him out of Money in the Bank. All the while Reigns said nothing. Then Wyatt held up a picture of Reigns and his daughter while singing “I’m A Little Teapot” from the fatherhood commercial they’ve aired, which they did air earlier in the night. That was good for a creepy spot, but if they want to add drama, Reigns should have been shouting about how Wyatt is sick and demanding to know why he had a picture of him and his daughter. I know I’d have been doing that. To make it worse, the camera showed Reigns as Wyatt was holding the picture and his face didn’t change one bit. It’s ok to be a human!
The handicap match between Paige and The Bella Twins was boring, as was the backstage segment with Paige trying to rally the Divas. The Divas division is right back to where it always was.
It was good to see Neville get such a great reaction coming out for the six-man with The Prime Time Players to take on The New Day. Neville’s reactions hadn’t been exactly thrilling these past few weeks. I don’t think it was the right time to take the titles off The New Day, but what can you do?
This show was a big improvement over the offerings of the past few weeks. The writing staff finally has time to create stories that actually build to something, and they got those angles off to good starts last night, particularly the Lesnar/Rollins angle. That being said there were times when the show dragged. If this were a two-hour show, this would have been perfect. There’s just too much time they have to kill. Anyway, I’m just glad next week isn’t another go home show.
Bump of the Night: Kevin Owens powerbombing MGK off the stage!
Match of the Night: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler ** 1/4
Final Rating: ***
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.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.