By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
I apologize to anyone who is looking for a WWE Money in the Bank review. I was invited to a Cleveland Cavaliers viewing party at the Quicken Loans Arena to watch game 5 of the NBA finals and had to miss watching the Pay-Per-View. Ironically, RAW was held in Cleveland tonight.
At WWE Money in the Bank, fans saw the newest generation of stars clash. After beating the United States Champion at Elimination Chamber, NXT champion Kevin Owens saw defeat in his rematch. In a wave of unpredictability, Sheamus managed to win the Money in the Bank contract — guaranteeing him a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at any time in any place over the course of the next year. Fans also saw Seth Rollins defeat Dean Ambrose in a ladder match to determine once and for all who is the true WWE World Heavyweight Champion. When will Sheamus cash in his championship opportunity? Will we see Owens face Cena in third match to determine who is the better competitor? And who will be next in line to face off against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins?
Once again, it is time to get RAW.
RAW began with a recap of the tribute at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View to “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who passed away last Thursday.
Following the tribute, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came out with the championship around his waist for the first time in weeks. He highlighted the ladder match from the Pay-Per-View and put over Ambrose, but also touted how far has come in the wrestling business. He repeatedly thanked himself for all of his success.
Rollins touted that he won his championship match all by himself, and that he didn’t need The Authority because he’s that good. He said they should look at his championship and that LeBron James and Johnny Manziel will never bring a championship to Cleveland.
With the NBA Finals series 3-2 in favor of Golden State, this was an easy way for Rollins to get instant boos. The easiest way to get jeered by the crowd is always to insult the hometown hero. [editor’s note: i’m not into sports, but even i felt the heel energy from that one]
Dean Ambrose came out and started to attack Rollins. Rollins began to attack the injured knee of Ambrose, but Ambrose fought back until Rollins retreated to the back. Ambrose set up a chair in the ring, and refused to leave until Rollins came back out.
Backstage, The Authority talked to Rollins about everything he said in the ring. They mentioned how Rollins said he doesn’t need The Authority, but Rollins was in denial. The Authority announced that they will determine the number one contender for Rollins’ title by the end of the night.
Back in the ring, Ambrose continued to sit in the ring. Sheamus’ music hit and he came out with a microphone and his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Sheamus said that they’re both alike and made bold predictions for Money in the Bank. However, Sheamus won his match and Ambrose lost his match. Sheamus touted that he has a guaranteed championship match whenever he wants. He said that The Authority sent him out for a match with Ambrose.
Sheamus proceeded to beat down Ambrose and work on his injured knee. Ambrose tried to fight back but Sheamus continued to work on the left leg of Ambrose. Ambrose began to make a comeback, but Sheamus continued to fight back with more offense.
Sheamus repeatedly applied his Cloverleaf submission, putting pressure on the legs of Ambrose. He crawled to the ropes, which forced Sheamus to break the hold.
Ambrose began to fight back and hit a diving elbow off of the top rope for the two count. Ambrose hit a clothesline on Sheamus and went for dirty deeds but Sheamus got out of it and grabbed his Money in the Bank briefcase and tried to leave the ring. However, Randy Orton came out and distracted Sheamus and Ambrose rolled up Sheamus for the pin and the win.
Immediately after Ambrose’s victory, Orton attacked Sheamus and continued to beat him down. He hit his signature DDT off of the ropes and went for the RKO but Sheamus got out of it and ran to the back.
This match and segment was a good way to establish Sheamus as Mr. Money in the Bank, a feud between Sheamus and Randy Orton, and a possible third match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
Backstage, J&J Security confronted Seth Rollins. They reminded Rollins that J&J Security beat Rollins in a match last week on RAW. They told Rollins that it is not a question of “if” he will lose his WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but “when.”
R-Truth came out dressed as a king, with a bed sheet as a cape, a plunger as a scepter and a crown that looked like it was made of tin foil.
King Barrett came out as Truth sat at commentary. The commentators told Truth that he was scheduled to be in the match, not at commentary. Barrett began to beat down R-Truth and began to set up for his Bullhammer finisher but Truth rolled him up for the win. Barrett immediately hit Truth with the Bullhammer after his loss and tore up Truth’s king costume.
NXT Champion Kevin Owens came out to the ring. He said that Cena isn’t at RAW tonight, and that despite his loss at the Pay-Per-View he took Cena out at Money in the Bank. Owens said that Cena tried to hog the spotlight because he always has to be the hero. Owens said that he wants Cena’s United States Championship and emphasized that Cena won’t be here tonight, so he’s holding an Open Challenge.
Dolph Ziggler came out to answer the challenge. He talked about sacrifice, and promoted his hometown of Cleveland as a city that scratches and claws for a championship. He told Owens that he will give Owens the championship that he deserves and challenged him for the championship.
Owens interrupted Ziggler and told him that it is an open challenge, but it will be a nontitle match. Owens quickly gained control of the match as RAW went to commercial.
The NXT champion continued his onslaught as RAW came back from commercial. Ziggler began to fight back but Owens regained control of the match. Owens repeatedly attacked Ziggler as Ziggler writhed in pain. Owens began to trash talk and taunt Ziggler as he threw him around like a rag doll.
Ziggler made a comeback and managed to knock Owens out of the ring. Owens began attacking Ziggler outside of the ring, but Ziggler fought back with a series of punches. Owens proceeded to throw Ziggler over the barricade and roll back into the ring. Ziggler made it back into the ring at the count of nine and hit a DDT on Owens as RAW went to another commercial.
Owens continued to wear Ziggler down in the ring as RAW came back from commercial. Ziggler managed to hit a super kick out of nowhere for a two count. Ziggler went for the famouser for another two count. Owens hit a cannonball in the corner on Ziggler for another two count. Owens went for the pop up powerbomb but Ziggler countered with the Zig Zag for a two count.
Owens managed to hit the pop up powerbomb on Ziggler to win the match.
Refusing to defend his championship was a great way to get the crowd to boo Owens, but the fact that he won the match anyway and can back up everything he said builds him as a strong competitor.
Backstage, the divas had a meeting about taking a stand against The Bella Twins. She promoted the idea of standing together against The Bellas. However, the divas pointed out that Paige has turned on every partner she ever had.
Paige promoted the idea of togetherness and proving they are just as good as The Bella Twins. Paige announced that she will face both Bella Twins tonight and asked for the divas to join her. The divas walked out on Paige one by one as The Bella Twins looked on.
This was different than most divas segments, however, that isn’t a bad thing. The fans are not buying what the Bellas are selling, and haven’t been for quite some time. The idea of all of the divas ganging up on WWE’s resident Mean Girls is something that I wouldn’t mind.
Randy Orton fought against Kane in a one-on-one matchup. After some back and forth, Sheamus came out and walked down to the ring. Kane grabbed a microphone and used his power as Director of Operations to make the match a no holds barred match. Sheamus attacked Orton with a Brogue kick and Kane pinned Orton to win the match.
Backstage, Seth Rollins walked up to and said that Kane was the biggest doubter of them all. Kane said that Rollins has to win every match he’s in to be the man.
These segments are a great way to build towards Rollins’ inevitable break up from The Authority, and it also helps show how he can shine on his own.
The Miz came out for a match with The Big Show as WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback sat at commentary.
Early in the match, Big Show seemed to show signs of a leg injury, but he revealed it as a ruse as he began to attack Miz. Miz tried to hold his own, but the much larger Big Show used his strength to overpower The Miz. Big Show proceeded to throw The Miz at Ryback and Miz managed to crawl back into the ring as Ryback and Big Show argued before the 10 count to win the match.
Ryback went for a meat hook clothesline on The Big Show but Big Show slid out of the ring.
Roman Reigns made his way to the ring to address Bray Wyatt interfering in his match at Money in the Bank as the commentators announced that he would face Wyatt at WWE’s next Pay-Per-View, Battleground.
Wyatt appeared on the titantron and said that he is the yin to Reigns’ yang. He said that they need each other. Wyatt said that he will haunt Reigns and ultimately destroy him. He held a photo of Reigns and his daughter while singing “I’m a little teapot” in a maniacal way before warning Reigns to run.
This was a great segment, as it was just the right amount of creepy and bizarre. Wyatt is arguably one of the best talkers in the modern era, and can work a great program with anyone on the roster. My only issue with this matchup is the fact that they just faced off in a match two weeks ago for free on RAW. Why should fans pay for something they saw for free on RAW? It is a tough sell for me.
Paige made her way out to the ring for a two-on-one handicap match against The Bella Twins. The Bellas made their way to the ring and the match started with Brie and Paige locking up. Brie tagged in Nikki and Paige and Nikki fought back and forth. Paige got the advantage, but Brie hit a cheap shot on Paige while the referee was turned. Nikki tagged in Brie, and Brie began to attack Paige. Paige began to regain momentum, but Brie fought back and got a two count on Paige.
Brie tagged in Nikki and they double teamed Paige. Nikki held Paige in a submission hold, but Paige managed to get out of it. Brie tagged herself in and went for a clothesline, but Paige dodged it and The Bella Twins bumped into each other. Paige began to fight Brie one on one as she regained momentum. Paige threw Brie into Nikki and hit Rampaige on Brie for a close two count before Nikki broke it up. Nikki tagged in and hit an elbow followed by the Rack Attack for the pin and the win.
WWE needs to find a way to reenergize the divas division, as The Bella Twins are not believable as credible wrestlers. With the potential of such divas as Naomi, Tamina, Natalya, and countless NXT stars, there can be so much done to make things better. This isn’t one of those situations where you love to hate the bad guy; this is a situation where you’re so sick of seeing the same shtick that they need to mix it up.
Machine Gun Kelly came out next for a musical performance that lasted a few minutes.
While musical acts blend in well during halftime shows at sporting events, on an episode of WWE RAW it feels out of place and contributes nothing to the show. WWE did this with Wiz Khalifa a while ago and it just didn’t feel right. It’s like if you watched an episode of Breaking Bad and suddenly Skrillex held a five minute concert. Instead of showcasing their talent or promoting their events, WWE wasted an entire segment that did nothing for their show.
After the performance, Kevin Owens came out and attacked MGK as the fans cheered. He power bombed MGK on the stage as the fans roared. This is probably the one and only time a musical act has ever contributed to a WWE storyline. While the entire mini concert did nothing for the WWE, Owens attacking MGK is something that could get into the mainstream media. Owens has been red hot as the next big thing, and news of a mainstream star taking a wrestling bump completely out of the blue is something that could trend on social media.
Former WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day were in the ring as RAW came back from a commercial break. Neville came to the ring along with the new WWE Tag Team Champions, The Prime Time Players.
Xavier Woods of The New Day and Darren Young of The Prime Time Players started off the match with some back and forth action. Young began to hit a series of offense before Woods managed to tag in Kofi Kingston. Kingston hit some offense before tagging Woods back into the match. Young hit some offense before tagging in Titus O’ Neil. O’Neil began to hit a series of offense, throwing all three members out of the ring before Neville dove out onto all three of them as RAW went to commercial.
New Day regained control as Xavier Woods hit offense on Darren Young. The New Day hit frequent tags and began to isolate Darren Young. Young struggled to regain momentum as Woods knocked Titus O’Neil off of the ropes. Young was able to tag in Neville who took out The New Day, and began to hit a series of offense on Woods. After some chaos between the teams, Neville tagged in Young who hit Kingston with knees to the ribs followed by Neville hitting The Red Arrow for the pin. The Prime Time Players and Neville won the match.
This was a good exhibition match, as the tag team division continues to show promise. Neville has also been a sensation since joining the main roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a main event player within the next few years.
The Authority leaders Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their way to the ring to announce a number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After Triple H assured fans that it won’t be Joey Mercury of J&J Security, Director of Operations Kane, or Dean Ambrose, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came to the ring. The Authority touted how Rollins won his match against Dean Ambrose without any help, but that he continues to test The Authority.
Triple H said that they invested a lot in Rollins, but they have to take a look at their investment. He told Rollins that the pressure is on as Brock Lesnar came out. Lesnar stared down Rollins as Rollins took a few steps back.
Rollins began to leave the ring as Lesnar stared him down from the ring. Lesnar’s music hit and Rollins began to walk towards the back as RAW went off the air.
That was completely unexpected and made me wish I was in “The Q” watching it live.
- I love that Seth Rollins is getting a chance to prove himself without The Authority. Villainous characters don’t have to be cowardly or rely on outside interference every time.
- Sheamus was one of the last people I ever expected to hold the Money in the Bank contract, which makes him a great Money in the Bank holder. It is not often that a powerhouse wins the contract, which makes him a deadly force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks.
- While Wyatt and Reigns are both becoming established stars within the WWE, it will be hard to sell a Pay-Per-View match that we saw for free on RAW two weeks ago. It is understandable that WWE only has a certain amount of stars to work with each other, but why start this feud so soon after they fought in a similar match up.
- I loathe any concert segment that is held on RAW, because I feel that the music acts often benefit way more than the WWE. However, it was refreshing to see Kevin Owens come out and for an artist to contribute to a storyline. I’m sure this will trend on social media.
- Brock’s unannounced appearance caught me completely off guard. I expected Triple H to say he’d fight Rollins himself or something similar. It was bittersweet as I love Lesnar but was sad that I didn’t buy a ticket to the show. I didn’t expect a Lesnar comeback until Summerslam. I guess this proves that you can’t miss Raw, because you never know what will happen.