By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
Last week on RAW, fans saw the unthinkable as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins took out the returning Brock Lesnar with the help of The Authority. Kevin Owens and John Cena further promoted the third match in their feud for the United States Championship. In the aftermath of these events, and with the next WWE Pay-Per-View taking place in a few short weeks what other feuds will be furthered? Will Seth Rollins continue to have the upper hand on Brock Lesnar? Will Owens becoming the United States Champion become more of a possibility? And is there still tension within The Authority despite the collaboration last week?
Once again, it is time to get RAW.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins walked down to the ring with J&J Security to open the show. He said that last week he conquered the conqueror, Brock Lesnar.
Rollins said that Lesnar is not here tonight. He said that Lesnar is boarding a plane to Japan for the upcoming Beast in the East WWE Network special and he hopes that Lesnar is thinking about what happened last week.
Rollins told the crowd to show Jamie Noble of J&J Security respect for breaking his ribs last week. Rollins revealed a plethora of gifts for his Authority comrades for their help on last week’s RAW. After showing off their new gifts, including a brand new car for J&J Security, The Big Show made his entrance for his upcoming match as RAW went to commercial.
This was a good opening segment. Most people don’t care for the promos opening the show, but I think a promo makes a better opener than just a match. After all, a huge part of professional wrestling is telling a story.
As RAW came back from commercial, The Big Show prepared for a match against Mark Henry as The Miz sat at ringside on commentary.
The two exchanged punches before Henry hit a shoulder tackle and then a splash for two count. Big Show made a comeback and hit Henry twice with his knockout punch finisher and pinned Henry for the win.
This match was confusing as it didn’t last long at all. Both men were promoted as quality world champions just a few years ago, but their match tonight was incredibly short. It was definitely a head scratcher.
After the match, Ryback ran down to the ring and they started to brawl. Miz ran in and hit Ryback with a big boot before running to the stage. Ryback grabbed a microphone and demanded that his match with Miz scheduled for later tonight start right now.
Miz ran around the ring as Ryback chased him down. Ryback beat down Miz repeatedly. The Miz tried to escape through the crowd, but he was caught and sent shoulder first into the barricade.
The Miz managed to hit a DDT on Ryback for a two count. Ryback hit a spinebuster on Miz but Miz ran to the back and was counted out, therefore Ryback won the match.
Having a powerhouse like Ryback as the Intercontinental Champion is an interesting change, but I wish his opponents were just as believable as unstoppable forces. The Miz has become more of a comedy act with his “Hollywood” gimmick, and The Big Show is a superstar that has a lot more losses than wins.
After a commercial break, Paige and Alicia came out for a Divas matchup. Fox got the upper hand on Paige and followed it up with some punches. Paige reversed an Irish whip attempt by Fox and hit the Thesz press. Fox rolled to the floor and The Bella Twins distracted Paige while Fox hit her from behind as RAW went to commercial.
Fox hit a suplex on Paige for a two count. She then put a headlock on Paige, but when Paige fought out of it, Fox hit her with a backbreaker for a near fall. Paige reversed another Irish whip attempt and hit a series of knees to the face of Fox in the corner.
Paige hit a superkick for a close two count. Nikki Bella distracted Paige and Fox tried to take advantage and roll up Paige for a quick pin, but Paige ended up pinning Fox instead to win the match.
These divas matches have been lacking the “it” factor to draw in fans, however there are rumors that some of NXT’s best Divas will be called up to the roster. In addition, some of the names that have been rumored on the dirtsheets aren’t just models that are taught to wrestle but are legitimately passionate about wrestling. If these rumors come to fruition, it will only lead to more success for the ailing Divas division.
John Cena came out for his weekly United States Championship challenge and Cesaro answered the challenge. WWE NXT Champion Kevin Owens sat at ringside on commentary during this match.
The two men hit back and forth offense in the early part of the match. Cesaro hit a series of uppercuts, but Cena fought back with a drop kick. Cena missed a splash in the corner and Cesaro hit a stomp to the chest of Cena. Cesaro with an elbow drop off the rope for a two count as RAW went to commercial.
As RAW came back from commercial, Cesaro went for a leg submission, but Cena blocked it and hit a sidewalk slam. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Cesaro dodged it and hit a clothesline for a two count
Cesaro went for the giant swing, but Cena blocked it and hit the Springboard Stunner for a close two count. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Cesaro fought out of it and hit an uppercut for a two count. Cena locked in his STF submission hold, but Cesaro reversed it and locked in the sharpshooter. Cena made it to the ropes to break the hold.
The two men continued to hit back and forth offense as Kevin Owens began to get up from the commentary table at ringside. Owens sat back down as Cesaro hit a running uppercut on Cena.
Cena went for the AA, but Cesaro blocked it and hit the neutralizer for a close two count.
Cesaro locked in another sharpshooter, but Kevin Owens ran in and attacked Cena and Cesaro.
This was an excellent match, and even the commentators said it could easily be a match of the year candidate. Owens has easily become one of the best bad guys in the business today, perhaps only second to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. I also appreciated Cesaro’s tribute to his injured tag team partner Tyson Kidd through his pink and black trunks and the use of the sharpshooter. Class act.
The Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons took on The New Day and Bo Dallas in an right man tag team match.
Kalisto and Xavier Woods started the match off, Kalisto hit an arm drag then tagged in Sin Cara, who hit a springboard senton on Woods. Woods tripped Sin Cara and then tagged in Bo Dallas. Cara tripped him, and then focused on Dallas’ left arm and tagged in Darren Young. Young hit a splash on Dallas then tagged in Titus O’Neil, who hit a slam on Dallas. Kalisto tagged in, and continued the offense on Dallas.
Dallas began to fight back and hit a clothesline for a two count. Kalisto tagged in Young, who hit a clothesline on Dallas. Young hits a back breaker on Dallas as RAW went to commercial.
As RAW came back from commercial, Sin Cara hit a series of high flying moves on Big E. Young got the tag and hit a splash on Big E for a two count. Big E sent Young to the floor and Dallas hit him with a clothesline then sent him back into the ring. O’Neil got the tag and hit a clothesline on Kofi Kingston.
The New Day made the save, and it became chaotic in the ring as both teams began to clash. After the commotion, Titus caught Kofi Kingston and hit a powerbomb for the win.
The tag team division has many teams with a lot of potential, but the crowd was dead for most of this match. Between the creative team and the talent themselves, they need to find out what makes the audience tick and apply it to these tag team matches. WWE has the talent pool for this division, they just need to find a way to utilize it to the best of their ability.
Dolph Ziggler walked down to the ring with Lana and cut a promo about how he and Lana are now a couple. Lana said that Rusev told her everything to do, but now she is her own person. Rusev walked to the ring with Summer Rae. Rusev and Ziggler traded insults back and forth. Summer Rae told Lana that she is a two-faced phony, and then slapped Lana.
Lana proceeded to attack her and a cat fight broke out. Summer Rae and Rusev walked to the back while Lana and Ziggler stood in the ring.
There have been rumors that Ziggler may not renew his WWE contract when it expires in a few months. With a storyline like this, it seems more likely that Ziggler may take the opportunity to leave and work for other wrestling promotions. Love triangle stories only seem to work when there is an element of realism to it, such as Matt Hardy’s feud with Edge 11 years ago.
Also, I hate when people say wrestling is fake, but that catfight was fake. I love when a fight looks genuine, there are so many ways that the talent can throw punches or slaps without connecting. Perhaps it is the old soul in me, but watching this made me miss the days of true catfights in ECW between Francine and Beulah McGillicutty,
Neville and Sheamus came out for their match. Sheamus hit a series of right hands to take control. Neville ducked a clothesline attempt and sent Sheamus out to the floor as RAW went to commercial.
As RAW came back from commercial, Sheamus hit a suplex for a two count. Sheamus and Neville continued to hit back and forth offense.
Neville went for his Red Arrow finisher, but Sheamus kicked him off the ropes. Sheamus missed the Brogue kick and Neville rolled up Sheamus for a two count. Sheamus then hit the Brogue kick for the win.
The match overall was a good match, and it was one that was worth watching. It wasn’t a match of the year candidate by any means, but watching an unstoppable brute go up against a speedy athlete like Neville makes for an interesting bout.
The team of Seth Rollins and Kane came out followed by the team of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns for their no disqualification tag team main event match.
The match began with an all out brawl between the two teams. Amid the chaos, Rollins sent Ambrose into the barricade as RAW went to commercial.
The chaos calmed down as RAW came back from commercial. Rollins missed a splash in the corner, but ended up tagging in Kane. Reigns hit a big boot to Kane then a clothesline off the middle rope. Ambrose got the tag and beat up Rollins. Ambrose hit a bulldog on Rollins then drop kicked Kane off the apron. Ambrose sent Rollins to the floor, and hit Rollins and Kane with an elbow drop.
Ambrose grabbed a table from under the ring, but Rollins hit Ambrose with a super kick. Reigns attacked Rollins and then hit a powerbomb.
Reigns hit Kane with a clothesline. Mercury tried to hit Reigns with a kendo stick, but Reigns stopped him and hit him with it. He also started hitting Kane with it. Reigns hit the Superman Punch to Kane then Rollins.
Reigns called for the spear, but then Bray Wyatt showed up and started attacking Reigns. Wyatt threw Reigns into the steel steps, then chokeslammed him on the announce table.
Kane went for a chokeslam on Ambrose, but Ambrose blocked it and hit a clothesline. Rollins attacked him from behind, Kane hit a chokeslam on Ambrose and then Rollins hit a pedigree for the pin and the win.
After the match, Rollins was about to put Ambrose through a table, but Roman Reigns ran into the ring to make the save. Kane caught him and hit a chokeslam to Reigns.
Reigns tried to make a comeback, but the numbers game caught up to him. The Authority beat down Reigns and then Rollins powerbombed him through a table. Rollins hit another pedigree. Bray Wyatt then re-entered the ring to hit Sister Abgail on Reigns to end the show.
- I am excited for the WWE Network special, Beast in the East. However, I will likely not do a review of it as it takes place at 5:30 a.m. and I have work this weekend. I still encourage any and all wrestling fans to watch replays of it on the WWE Network.
- With The Authority back together, it is only a matter of time before they start to show the cracks once again. Despite the reunion, a break up is inevitable and the tension has already been teased multiple times.
- Dolph Ziggler is one of the best performers on the roster, yet he is involved in a love triangle angle that fans can’t really connect with. This is a man who was the sole survivor of the traditional Survivor Series tag team match a year ago, and now he is feuding with a man who can barely walk at the moment.
- Kevin Owens is so good at being bad. He defends his NXT Championship against Finn Balor at the upcoming Beast in the East special, and I believe that if he loses that match he will end up beating Cena for the United States Championship. He is supported by the powers that be, the fans connect to his character, and he even has endorsements from the likes of Mick Foley.
- Brock Lesnar against Seth Rollins will be an interesting contest to watch. We saw them compete in a triple threat match at the Royal Rumble where Rollins held his own, however in a one-on-one match I am curious to see how their two styles will meld. WWE likes to promote “cowardly heels” that weasel their way to a victory, however, Rollins can use dirty tactics to win without looking like a coward.