By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
Sunday night, WWE presented their Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View. There were a lot of twists and turns, and even some surprises. On RAW, fans will see the fallout from the Pay-Per-View event. Which feuds will continue? Which feuds will end? What awaits us in the coming weeks?
Once again, it is time to get RAW.
The show started off with a video package highlighting clips from past King of the Ring tournaments. It seems that the tournament is making a grand return, which will be exciting to watch in the coming week.
The announcers confirmed the return of the King of the Ring tournament and a graphic was posted highlighting the participants. It’s a great concept, and will generate more interest in the WWE’s product.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came out to the ring accompanied by J&J Security and Kane. Photos from the previous night’s Extreme Rules event highlighting the main event match between Rollins and Randy Orton were shown.
“You cannot outsmart Seth Rollins,” Rollins said.
He cut a promo and described how he was the architect of wrestling group The Shield before he destroyed it and beat Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Wrestlemania 31. Rollins received massive boos from the crowd as he claimed that he singlehandedly defeated Orton at the Extreme Rules event.
Rollins showed the photo of him RKO-ing Orton at Extreme Rules and thanked Kane for his help as the “Crypt Keeper.” Rollins sarcastically apologized for the pop culture reference, and claimed it was an honest mistake. Kane accepted the apology and said that if it wasn’t for his actions as gatekeeper, Orton would be the champion.
Kane said he would rather be the WWE’s crypt keeper than WWE’s version of Justin Bieber. They went back and forth with insults as Orton’s music hit and Orton stood on the stage.
Orton said that since Kane is admitting that Rollins cheated, that he deserves a rematch. Kane said that Orton has a point before he is cut off by Reigns’ theme music. Reigns walked through the crowd and made his way to the ring.
Rollins started to complain asking why Reigns is there.
“I’ll tell you why I’m out here if you shut the hell up,” Reigns said.
Reigns stood on the broadcast table and said that Orton had his shot . He said if anyone deserves a title match it’s Reigns. The crowd started chanting Justin Bieber at Rollins.
Rollins said that they both lost matches against him, so neither of them deserve a title opportunity. Kane interrupted them, and said that they both make compelling arguments. Kane set up a tag team match featuring himself and Rollins against Reigns and Orton. Kane then said that he will let the fans decide who faces Rollins at Payback.
It was a good opening segment, I sense that there will be either a triple threat match with both Reigns and Orton or a fatal four way with Kane involved at Payback. I can’t see Rollins losing before Lesnar returns, however, this could be a good finale for the Rollins/Orton feud and elevate Reigns while adding to the Rollins/Kane feud that is slowly building.
The first match of the King of the Ring tournament featured Bad News Barrett against Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler made his entrance first to a good ovation, followed by Barrett. A video package showed a previously recorded interview where he said there will be “payback for Sheamus.” It looks like Ziggler will likely face Sheamus again at Payback.
The match began with Ziggler throwing punches but Barrett regained control of the match. There was a lot of fast paced action as Barrett hit Ziggler with elbows and kicks. Ziggler countered Barrett with a kick to the face followed by a dropkick as Barrett rolled out of the ring as the show went to commercial.
This is a great matchup so far, but it is hard to keep up with the action. In the wrestling world, that isn’t always a bad thing. With Ziggler teasing a rematch with Sheamus I see them either facing each other in a later round of the tournament, or them losing their spots and facing off in a regular match.
The match came back on as Barrett had Ziggler in a headlock, after some back and forth Barrett tried to shoulder him in the corner and missed. Ziggler and Barrett fought back and forth before hitting a clothesline. Barrett went for his Wasteland finisher but Ziggler countered with a DDT for a two-count. Ziggler went for a kick but Barrett countered and slingshot him into the corner. Barrett hit Wasteland but only got a two-count.
Barrett went for a Bullhammer elbow but Ziggler dodged and hit a kick. Sheamus came out and distracted Ziggler as Barrett hit his Bullhammer elbow for the win.
It was a competitive match, not a match of the year candidate but still good. The distraction from Sheamus was predictable, but it will be interesting to see what will happen with their feud. After their traditional matchup at Extreme Rules, I hope there will be some type of stipulation added at Payback.
RAW came back from commercial as new WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day came out. Although New Day member Xavier Woods didn’t win the title at Extreme Rules, he was wearing the belt. New Day is using the Freebird Rule, where all of the members of the group are considered champions. Woods tried to start a “New Day Rocks” chant but they kept chanting “New Day Sucks.”
Tyson Kidd came out accompanied by his wife Natalya and his tag team partner Cesaro for a match against New Day member Big E. Kidd dominated the match early on, and seemed to be angry about losing the tag team titles at Extreme Rules. Out of nowhere, Big E hit a clothesline as Xavier Woods held Kidd’s ankle down preventing him from kicking out of the pin attempt before the three-count.
It was a good way to keep the fans irate at The New Day, however, the match felt a bit rushed. There will likely be a rematch at Payback, but I am not sure whether Kidd and Cesaro are still classified as villains or if they are transitioning into heroes. They are in that grey area right now along with The Bella Twins as characters who aren’t established as heroes or villains.
Ryback came out next for a matchup as the show went to commercial. Ryback is often compared to former WCW star Goldberg because they both essentially have the same gimmick. They are intense, well-built bodybuilder types that show ruthless aggression in the ring. As generic as the gimmick sounds, it is something that fans can always get behind. Ryback has been building momentum since his failed run as a villain two years ago, hopefully WWE doesn’t drop the ball with this character again.
Ryback usually competes in short matches, but I hope that he is in a feud with a well established star by the Payback Pay-Per-View. While he is fun to watch when he dominates short matches, he can also compete in longer matches and further developing his character will only get the fans behind him more.
As the show came back from commercial, Bo Dallas came out for the match with Ryback. Dallas said that Ryback’s actions at Extreme Rules were reprehensible and said he would be the bigger man and give Ryback the chance to walk away. Ryback refused as the match started. Ryback immediately started attacking Dallas. Dallas fought back and dropped Ryback down. He went for a pin but Ryback kicked out at one. Another pin attempt but Ryback kicked out at one again. Dallas put Ryback in a headlock but Ryback picked up Dallas and slammed him on the mat. Dallas tried to jump off the turnbuckle onto Ryback but he countered with a spinebuster. Ryback hit his meathook clothesline signature move and shellshocked finisher for the win.
Although I’d like to see them further develop Ryback’s character, I will never get sick of seeing him beat up guys for two to three minutes.
The screen went black after the match and when the lights came back on Bray Wyatt appeared behind Ryback and hit him with his Sister Abagail finisher. Wyatt posed as Ryback laid on the mat.
There were rumors for a couple of weeks that this feud would happen, but I don’t like to incorporate hearsay into my reviews. Now that it is confirmed, I can say that I am happy to see this feud as Wyatt is a big star who has fought the likes of John Cena and The Undertaker and that this will be a big challenge for both men. It doesn’t matter who wins and who loses in this feud, as both men will come out better once it ends.
Following the commercial, WWE United States Champion John Cena came out for his Championship Invitational.
“The Champ is here,” said Cena.
Cena said he respects Rusev for refusing to quit, but that at Payback they will face off in an “I Quit” match. He said that he will not say “I Quit” while defending his US Championship on American soil. He said he will never surrender as the crowd started a loud “USA” chant. He announced that Payback is the final chapter between Rusev and John Cena.
Cena said he is providing opportunity and invites someone to come out and face him for the championship. Heath Slater came out to answer the challenge. Slater declared that he will become the United States champion, and will create his own variation of the discount double check. Rusev attacked Slater and had a staredown with John Cena.
Rusev said that the audience is full of quitters—that all of the fans in the audience gave up on their dreams. He said that at Payback, Cena will quit too. He taunted Cena as his music hit and the Russian flag dropped down from the ceiling to end the segment.
It added some much needed build-up to Cena/Rusev IV, which is hard to do when two people face off at four consecutive Pay-Per-Views. I also missed Slater’s comedy act.
Rollins and Kane were talking backstage as Rollins seemed to complain about the fans having the ability to choose an opponent. Kane said that since Rollins doesn’t seem to enjoy having the fans pick either Orton or Reigns for the title match at Payback he will now be adding the option of Rollins facing both of them in a triple threat match. Kane said that fans can vote exclusively on the WWE App, and that the results of the poll will be shown after their tag team match.
It appears that the triple threat match at Payback is the most likely option. With WWE teasing Kane as the next person to break away from The Authority super group, I am curious to see if he will be involved in the matchup at Payback. What is more interesting is that in a traditional triple threat match there are no disqualifications, which would allow for the possibility of outside interference in the matchup. I only hope that Big Show doesn’t show up for another feud with Reigns.
R-Truth and Stardust came out next for another King of the Ring Tournament match. Both of them are unique characters, which will make for an interesting match. Stardust dominated the match early, as he repeatedly attacked Truth. Stardust had Truth in a headlock, but Truth fought out. Stardust regained control with a series of kicks. He tried to pin Truth again but Truth kicked out. Stardust with another headlock, and then he raked Truth in the eyes. Stardust repeatedly used a headlock variation, but Truth tried to fight Stardust off again. Stardust punched Truth and did a cartwheel before attacking Truth again. Truth regained some offense with a series of clotheslines before going for a scissors kick. Both competitors were back and forth with roll ups. Truth hit his Lie Detector finisher out of nowhere for the win.
I was shocked to see Truth win, as Truth hasn’t had much exposure on WWE television in recent years. The last time he was featured on a main show was in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match at Wrestlemania 31, but he was just there. Truth is a talented individual, but he has been used mostly as an enhancement talent to make the other wrestlers look good in recent years. It will be interesting to see if this could lead to Truth getting more TV time on RAW in the future.
Fandango came out for a matchup against Adam Rose, who was already in the ring. They locked up as Rose gained control with a headlock. There was fast paced action with some back and forth. Rose soon gained control and was choking Fandango against the ropes. Fandango regained control with some chops to Rose’s chest and then clotheslined Rose over the roped. Fandango then jumped over the ropes and took out Rose. Fandango’s ex girlfriend Rosa Mendes then danced outside of the ring to distract Fandango. Rose took advantage of the distraction to hit his Party Foul finisher and win the match.
“I can’t believe you chose them (the fans) over me,” Mendes said.
Mendes then started making out with Rose as Fandango looked on in disgust.
Interviewer Renee Young was backstage with Daniel Bryan’s real-life wife Brie Bella. Young asked Brie about Bryan’s health. She explained how Bryan loves WWE so much and the injury is killing him because of how bad he wants to compete. She said he loves the fans and he loves wrestling as Naomi knocked Brie down.
“No one cares about you or your husband,” she said as she walked off.
For storytelling purposes, I can understand interviewing Brie and even incorporating the story into the Naomi/Bellas feud. However, I think it would’ve been better if the announcers simply gave the health update. I paid close attention because I am curious about the condition of one of my favorite wrestlers, and I don’t know any more information than I knew prior to Brie’s interview. If there was any sort of medical update, they didn’t do well in conveying that to the fans. If someone like me, who watched closely, didn’t catch it I can’t see a casual fan catching it either.
RAW came back from commercial, with Brie Bella already in the ring and her sister Nikki at ringside. Naomi made her entrance next.
The match started with a catfight, as both divas started attacking each other. The referee pulled Brie off of Naomi as Naomi got in a cheap shot on Brie. Naomi hit a bulldog variation with Brie’s head hitting the turnbuckle.
Why isn’t that her finisher?! That move was way more impressive than that “Rear View” nonsense.
Naomi was in control and hit a legdrop for a two count. She started pulling Brie’s hair as Brie tried to fight her way out. She managed to escape and started getting in some offense. Brie hit a clothesline and a dropkick before hitting another dropkick off of the top turnbuckle for a close two-count. Naomi hit Brie with a kick and a roll up for the win.
Those who have read my previous reviews know that I am not high on the Divas division at the moment, however, I was impressed by that bulldog variation. In a world where everything has been done before, I have never seen a bulldog done like that. Naomi’s current Rear View finisher isn’t believable in any sense, but that finisher is one that could win over the crowd.
Dean Ambrose came out next for another King of the Ring tournament matchup as the show went to commercial. When the show comes back, photos were shown highlighting the Chicago Street fight from Extreme Rules. Sheamus made his way to the ring next.
The matchup started as both men locked up. There was a lot of grappling between both men, as the action went back and forth. I like that this match has more of a technical aspect, interesting to see between two men who as known as brawlers. Ambrose started to stretch Sheamus as the referee broke it up. Sheamus hit Ambrose with a right hand and took control. More grappling and then Ambrose made a comeback with some chops. Ambrose went for a bulldog but Sheamus countered, Sheamus went for a clothesline but Ambrose knocked him out of the ring. Ambrose was about to dive out of the ring but stopped himself as Sheamus ran away before the commercial break.
This match has captured my interest with all of the grappling. I am used to seeing these two wrestlers in all out brawls, so seeing something like this is completely different. Grappling types of matches are hard to pull off, as it typically slows down the action and can lose fan interest but this match has been a good combination of grapples with punches and chops thrown in the mix to help keep the pace.
RAW came back from commercial as Sheamus had Ambrose in a headlock. Sheamus took control of the match as he showboated to the fans. The fans booed Sheamus as he started to kick Ambrose around. Sheamus hit a series of punches. Ambrose made a comeback with a clothesline.
Ambrose and Sheamus sped the match up as they started brawling. Ambrose ran towards Sheamus but Sheamus countered with a slam. Sheamus started to signal for his Brogue Kick finisher, but Ambrose sidestepped it and rolled Sheamus up for a two-count. Sheamus tried to shoulder Ambrose into the corner, but Ambrose sidestepped it. He dove out of the ring onto Sheamus before bringing it back into the ring. There was more back and forth action as both men traded blows. Sheamus put Ambrose in a Cloverleaf submission hold, and Ambrose crawled to the ropes to force the referee to break the hold.
Ambrose hit Sheamus with a series of elbows and hit him with a diving elbow from the top rope for the two-count. Sheamus stepped out of the ring and Ambrose chased him but Sheamus threw Ambrose into the announce table. Ambrose tried to throw Sheamus into the post but Sheamus countered with a brogue kick.
Ziggler came out and started attacking Sheamus as the referee rang the bell and ended the matchup. Sheamus officially won the match by disqualification, and advances to the next round in the tournament. Ambrose heard the announcement and was frustrated as he had nothing to do with it.
That match was easily the match of the night so far. There was a great combination of traditional on-the-mat wrestling as well as unorthodox brawling that the fans have grown to love in the past two decades. I am questioning the idea of having Sheamus advance in the tournament while he is feuding with Ziggler, but with some of the semifinal matches taking place on Main Event it is possible that the tournament could be finished within a week or two. Sheamus was known as King Sheamus when he won his first King of the Ring tournament a few years ago, and it could be interesting to see WWE explore that character change once again.
A video recap showed Damien Sandow losing to Miz last week, losing the rights to Miz’s music and gimmick.
Sandow was in the ring and explained how when he first came to WWE, he was told that he wasn’t entertaining enough. He said that some people may have thought he lost his mind, but he was on a quest to entertain. He showed some photos of some of his old gimmicks he did in the past year.
Sandow explained that he lost the respect of a lot of his peers while he was Mizdow, but that he gained the respect of the fans. He explained that without the fans, he wouldn’t be a WWE superstar right now. The fans thanked Sandow as he said “You’re Welcome”, an homage to one of his previous gimmicks. Before being interrupted by Curtis Axel.
Axel said that nothing bothers him more than a guy that tries to be someone else, so he asked Sandow “whatcha gonna do-“ as Sandow began to mimic Axel’s dialogue and movements. Axel told Sandow to get out but Sandow continued to mock him.
Sandow began to emulate Hulk Hogan’s taunt much like Axel before he hit an elbow on Axel. Sandow showboated for the fans as they cheered him.
Bray Wyatt appeared on screen for another cryptic promo. He said that what happened tonight is only the beginning. Everything that comes out of Wyatt’s mouth is gold, even though its difficult to explain through text. It is truly something that must be seen on live TV or through YouTube clips to be understood.
RAW returned from commercial as the announcers showed some audition tapes for Tough Enough.
Neville made his way to the ring for the final King of the Ring first round matchup. The winner of this match will face Sheamus in the next round. Harper made his way to the ring next.
The match started as Harper picked up Neville but Neville escaped. Neville hit Harper with a hurricanrana that knocked Harper out of the ring. He hit another one outside of the ring. The action went back into the ring and Harper regained control. The match went to commercial as the action continued.
The match is unique, as Harper is taller, stronger, and has been on the main roster longer than Neville. However, Neville is quick and can pull off maneuvers that Harper cannot. I like this clash of styles, and I truly don’t know who will win this match. Neville looks to be making an impact, which is a good thing as most wrestlers seem to be in a sink or swim situation when they make their main roster debuts. With Neville competing in some matches against high-profile superstars since his main roster debut after Wrestlemania, the future looks bright for the young star.
The match came back from commercial with Neville in a headlock. I feel like that is always the situation when a match comes back from commercial. Neville regained control and jumped off the ropes to dropkick Harper. Neville hit a standing moonsault on Harper in the ring for a two-count. Neville charged at Harper but Harper countered with a kick. Harper attempted to pin Neville, but only got a two-count.
Harper called for a powerbomb as Neville escaped and suplexed Harper. Neville hit another dropkick that put Harper on his knees. He charged at Harper but Harper countered with a powerbomb for a two-count.
The crowd started to chant “This Is Awesome” ad the match continued. Neville began to make a comeback and then Harper regained control. Harper set up Neville on the top turnbuckle for a suplex. Neville started hitting Harper as Harper knocked him off the turnbuckle. Neville hit a kick before powerbombing Harper off the turnbuckle. Instead of pinning Harper, Neville hit his Red Arrow finisher off of the top turnbuckle for the win.
This match was exciting to watch, and has surpassed Ambrose/Sheamus as match of the night. Neville is a representative of the NXT developmental system under Triple H, and shows great promise for future WWE superstars to come.
With the popularity of superstars like Neville, Seth Rollins, and Daniel Bryan and NXT focusing on more athletic individuals, I think that the days of larger WWE superstars may be over in favor of smaller athletes with a larger variety of moves in their repertoires.
Roman Reigns made his way out to the ring next for the main event of RAW as the show went to commercial. The show came back from commercial and the announcers hyped that fans can still vote for Rollins opponent at WWE Payback. The choices are Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, or Both. Orton made his way to the ring next, followed by Kane and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. J&J Security accompanied Rollins to the ring. Rollins and Kane shook hands before walking to the ring.
The bell rang as the fans chanted Justin Bieber at Rollins. Rollins and Reigns started off the match. Rollins wrapped Reigns around in a series of grapples. Reigns countered as Rollins rolled out of the ring for a short breather. Rollins slowly made his way back into the ring and locked up with Reigns before kicking him in the chest. Rollins charged at Reigns but Reigns countered with a slam. Reigns threw Rollins into the turnbuckle before tagging in Orton.
Orton hit a series of offensive maneuvers, including stomps to the chest. Orton hit a series of uppercuts and tagged in Reigns.
Reigns picked up Rollins but Rollins escaped and slid out of the ring. Rollins slid back into the ring and then tagged in Kane.
Kane wrapped Reigns in a headlock but Reigns picked him up and slammed him before Reigns tagged in Orton. Orton started kicking Kane and hitting uppercuts on him in the corner. Orton charged at Kane but Kane hit a big boot on Orton. Kane hit a series of punches on Orton in the corner before tagging in Rollins. Rollins kicked Orton in the corner before throwing him out of the ring as RAW went to commercial.
This is a traditional tag team match, and has been an average match so far. It’s not extraordinary, but it is not bad either. Perhaps it is because the main event of RAW has been a tag team match in most episodes lately. I don’t love the match, but I don’t hate it either. For the purpose of storytelling, it does the job of helping sell the idea of Reigns and Orton competing against Rollins, and can perhaps fuel the inevitable feud between Kane and Rollins.
The match came back from commercial and Orton was in a headlock. Orton fought out of it as Rollins took Orton down and attempted a pin. Orton kicked out as Rollins got in more offense. Rollins hit Orton with a clothesline before showboating to a chorus of boos. Orton managed to get in some offense as he crawled to Roman Reigns and tagged him in as Rollins tagged in Kane. Reigns started dominating Kane in the ring, getting in a large variety of offense. Rollins ran in for an assist but Reigns hit him with a Samoan drop before knocking him out of the ring. Reigns threw Kane out of the ring and attempted to dive out of the ring but J&J Security grabbed his leg.
Kane took advantage and slammed Reigns into the ring post. Kane brought the action back into the ring before kicking Reigns on the ground. Kane threw Reigns into the corner before kicking him again and tagging in Rollins.
Rollins hit a series of kicks on a downed Reigns, but as Reigns stood up he started exchanging blows with Rollins. Rollins managed to hit a kick to the head of Reigns before tagging in Kane. Kane started to dominate Reigns again before putting Reigns in a bear hug as Reigns screamed in pain.
Reigns started to fight his way out of the bear hug and started to make a comeback before Kane hit a big clothesline for a two-count. Rollins tagged himself into the match and continued to stomp the back of Reigns. Rollins tagged in Kane and Kane and Reigns started to exchange punches back and forth.
Kane quickly took control and tried to suplex Reigns, however Reigns countered with a suplex of his own. Reigns began to crawl towards Orton but Kane tagged in Rollins who stopped Reigns. After some back and forth action Reigns managed to slam Rollins down and tag in Orton.
Orton started punching Rollins and hit a series of clotheslines. He went for a powerslam but Rollins avoided it. Rollins jumped off of the roped but was caught in a powerslam. He went for a pin but Kane stopped it. Reigns went into the ring to save Orton. Kane tried to chokeslam Reigns but he blocked it. Reigns hit J&J Security with a superman punch as Rollins threw Reigns out of the ring.
Orton came back into the ring amid the chaos and tried to hit an RKO, however Rollins reversed it into the roll up for a two count. Rollins tried to dive out of the ring onto Orton but Orton sidestepped and Rollins accidentally grazed Kane. Kane started to lose his temper as he hit J&J Security followed by Rollins. Reigns and Orton took advantage as Reigns hit his superman punch on Rollins followed by an RKO by Orton for the win.
Kane announces that it is time to se who Rollins defends his title against at Payback, and the result is that 78% of the fans want a triple threat match featuring Orton, Reigns, and Rollins.
Reigns hit a spear on Rollins to end the show.
- I still think Reigns should spend more time feuding with other wrestlers before he is put into another title match, however, I don’t see him winning the title so I’m not going to complain about it too much.
- Randy Orton does a good job as an antihero. He hasn’t changed anything about his character since coming back, he simply fights the bad guys now—and that’s not a bad thing.
- Out of all the nonwrestling segments, Sandow’s segment was the most fun to watch. There was a level of realness in his promo, you can tell he wants to be there. I hope WWE can find a way to make Sandow a top star because he has taken so many bad gimmicks in the past year and turned them into gold.
- Where are Triple H and Stephanie McMahon? RAW isn’t the same without the two main faces of The Authority. I miss seeing them on RAW.
- I am excited for the King of the Ring tournament’s return, but I wish there would’ve been some hype for it. They could’ve easily promoted it in a 30 second video package last Monday, or even during the Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View.
- I plan on doing coverage and reviews for all future RAW episodes and WWE Pay-Per-Views. If my schedule permits it, I may expand upon this over time and include recaps and reviews of NXT, Smackdown, or even WWE Network Specials. However, I will have to play those ones by ear.
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