8/3 RAW: Saying goodbye to Hot Rod

WWE Monday Night RAW Review
August 4, 2015
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

It was tough to approach Monday night with a storyline mindset given the heartbreaking and surprising news of the weekend with the passing of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

Despite the dark cloud over the WWE this weekend, they were able to provide another good episode of RAW last night featuring a great title match and a strong promo for SummerSlam.

Farewell to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

The news of Roddy Piper’s passing on Friday sent a painful jolt through the wrestling industry. At only the age of 61, Piper continued to drop in and out of WWE television providing help when needed and continuing to pass on his craft to others just coming up.

I had the opportunity to meet Piper back in 2008 when he was inducted into the George Tragos & Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. Piper showed up to an autograph signing sporting sunglasses and a tired demeanor from what appeared to be a good time the night prior. Bret Hart, who was part of the panel inducting his father Stu into the Hall of Fame, couldn’t stop chuckling at the sight of Piper with a hangover.

Even though it was an early morning, Piper spent time talking with every person that approached the table and listened intently to every story or comment thrown his way. You could tell it really meant a lot that he listened. For so long I was used to seeing wrestlers quickly sign things and brush off fans. Piper was the direct opposite and was about as genuine as you could get with an audience growing up with his character.

So long, Hot Rod. You will be missed.

Powerful title defense

First off, the troll aspect of the Seth Rollins character is great and gets better each time he does it. The tease and setup of the open challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was executed really well and opened up a great avenue to use Neville. I really enjoyed Rollins’ body language at the onset giving Neville some real value. Both guys have great chemistry in the ring and the use of a slow motion replay for the nearfall Neville had on Rollins was really well done. Kudos to WWE’s production staff and Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton on commentary for really putting that over. San Jose loved every second of this and it was a really refreshing way to open RAW on Monday night.

The good and bad of the #DivaRevolution

The last two weeks we’ve had a Divas tag team match and a Divas singles match. With the #DivaRevolution in full gear, it seems like the right time and place to continue to feature matches like that. Yet, the tag team matches seem to be working and the singles match fell flat for the second week in a row. I’m just not feeling Paige in this singles match role right now. The crowd lost interest with Sasha Banks last week and quickly again with Naomi. The mechanics of the Divas presentation seemed far stronger in a tag team presentation. Both Charlotte and Becky Lynch are developing nicely. They obviously have some timing issues and do awkward things in matches, but everything takes time. It’s working so far.

Paul Heyman hard sells for SummerSlam

It’s a broken record that deserves repeating. Paul Heyman can sell you on just about anything. The match dubbed “too big for WrestleMania” was once again broken down and neatly wrapped in a nice package of explanation by Heyman on Monday night. Even though Brock Lesnar literally did nothing but stand on top of the steel steps inside the ring, the image alone helped and enhance the story Heyman was telling to setup SummerSlam. I’ll be perfectly honest in saying I wasn’t clamouring for another rematch between Lesnar and Undertaker. Yet, I’m finding myself interested once again and in large part to the great presentation Heyman illustratates with a simple promo on a microphone.

Quick Thoughts

* Are people still going with the narrative that tag teams are dead in WWE?

* Kevin Owens and Cesaro is money. Another expected and solid addition to SummerSlam.

* Mark Henry probably should have lost. I miss angry Mark Henry. I hope he isn’t gone.

* Zack Ryder is still doing stuff, guys.

* I’ll never grow tired of a good babyfaces overcoming the heels six man tag main event.

Overall Impression

While it wasn’t as solid of a show as last week, WWE has found a way to make Monday night interesting again and at a great time with SummerSlam just three weeks away. With Lesnar vs. Undertaker headlining, John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a title vs. title scenario getting setup, Owens vs. Cesaro, Orton vs. Sheamus and Reigns vs. Wyatt, it’s starting to make sense why we got an additional hour tagged on for August 23rd. WWE has a lot of fun feuds taking place right now. Here’s hoping the momentum continues.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of RAW in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview