Armchair Booking: WWE Night of Champions 2015

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

For those who have read my articles in the past, I am a huge WWE fan. For practically my entire life, I have followed wrestling in some capacity and paid attention to most of the feuds. In addition, I have also followed independent wrestling for the past few years and on occasion converse with various wrestlers including the “Handicapped Heroes” Gregory Iron and Zach Gowen.

Night of Champions

Later this month at WWE’s Night of Champions event — which will be broadcast on Pay-Per-View and the WWE Network — Seth Rollins will defend his newly won United States Championship against former champion John Cena, while also defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against “The Icon” Sting. Rollins has already proven himself as a main eventer since winning the championship, but the upcoming Pay-Per-View event has the potential to make him an even bigger star. With that being said, I will give my opinion on what can and should be done to ensure the best outcome for all involved—and the one that can keep everybody happy.

First, Rollins will defend his United States Championship against John Cena. This will be a difficult match to book. Rollins has been booked very strong as a champion, and the WWE officials behind the scenes have avoided booking him as the typical “cowardly heel.” While he has his shortcomings, Rollins has overall been able to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Cena, on the other hand, has been booked stronger than any other wrestler in WWE history. He has far more wins than losses, and on the rare occasion that he does lose a match it is almost always due to some form of outside interference. With Rollins starting to come out as a star on his own without The Authority interfering on his behalf, it could be difficult to book Rollins in a way that makes him the victor while keeping Vince McMahon’s hand picked star strong.

What could happen is something that is incredibly rare — have Cena put Rollins over clean. A victory by Rollins without cheating or a disqualification finish would further establish him as a top face of the company for years to come, while also warming Cena up to his detractors. In recent months, Cena seems to be more willing to put over the younger stars. In the past, Cena would obliterate the young guys in the ring in order to make himself look good. A guy like Rollins would have never lasted five minutes in the ring with John Cena, but at the Summerslam event last month their match went nearly 20 minutes. Cena is an established star whether or not he holds a championship, he does not need another title reign.

Next, Sting will face off against Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In storyline, Rollins would be exhausted from facing Cena making it entirely believable that an older veteran like Sting could defeat the younger Seth Rollins one-on-one. I would continue to book Rollins strong, adding plenty of near falls and false finishes. One of the great things about WWE in recent years is that they have been bringing in stars that can electrify when given a chance to shine. At the end of the matchup, Sting should come out victorious. He can win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, exciting the many fans who never thought they would see Sting wrestle in a WWE sanctioned main event or win their world title.

But that wouldn’t be the end of the night for Sting. WWE Superstar Sheamus has the Money in the Bank contract, which grants him a championship match anytime and anywhere. Sheamus should cash in the contract and challenge the exhausted Sting. He teased it on RAW and for him to cash in would make a lot of sense. Sting would be WWE Champion for a brief time, Sheamus would win the championship and become the new poster boy for The Authority, and having Triple H begin to favor Sheamus as a champion over the former champion Seth Rollins could set the stage for the inevitable Triple H and Seth Rollins match that has been teased over the course of the past few months.

Let me know what you think of these ideas on Twitter @TimmySimko

RAW Results and Review 06/30/15

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?

WWE RAW

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.

AUTHORITY (2)

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.

OWENS CENA CESARO (2)

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.

PRIME TIME LUCHA (2)

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.

Notes

  • 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.

WWE RAW 06/15/15 Results and Review

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.

WWE 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 Champion

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.

Ambrose Chair

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.

Sheamus runs

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.

WyattReigns

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.

Powerbomb MGK

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.

Lesnar Returns (2)

Notes

  • 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.

Why WWE Should Drop Cody Rhodes’ ‘Stardust’ Gimmick

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

stardust (2)

On June 16, 2014, WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes reinvented himself when he started wearing face paint and emulating his brother Goldust with his new “Stardust” persona. However, with the recent passing of their father WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, I believe that the Stardust gimmick will be dropped as soon as next week’s RAW.

Since reinventing himself, Stardust enjoyed a meager amount of success. Along with his brother Goldust, he captured the WWE Tag Team Championships last year as well as competing in a show-stealing ladder match at Wrestlemania 31. However, in the past year of being Stardust, not much else has been memorable.

Less than two years ago, Rhodes enjoyed resurgence along with his brother as they battled The Authority head on. Accompanied by their father Dusty Rhodes, the two brothers withstood countless assaults from the WWE superpower. The duo also managed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from the muscle of The Authority, The Shield.

In 2015, Stardust has seen more losses than wins. He has gone from competing in top billed matches on Pay-Per-Views, to competing unannounced on the pre-show. In less than two years, Rhodes has gone from a memorable feud with The Authority to a forgettable feud with Arrow star Stephen Amell. At one time, he was involved in feuds that genuinely engaged the fans, but now his feuds as Stardust feel forced. While the Stardust character showed promise at first, within a year it has brought him to an all time low.

This would be the most opportune time to bring back Cody Rhodes. No one would question it, as deaths within the world of wrestling always bring out the realism in wrestling.

Cody Rhodes (2)

In 2005, former WWE Superstar Chavo Guerrero reinvented himself when his character denounced his Hispanic heritage in favor of being an Anglo-American character. Guerrero dyed his hair blond and began to refer to himself as “Kerwin White,” behaving as a stereotypical white man and driving a golf cart to the ring during his ring entrance.

Following the death of his uncle Eddie Guerrero, Chavo immediately dropped his Kerwin White act and immediately began wrestling as Chavo Guerrero once more. This led to a resurgence of his career, which saw him in a memorable wrestling feud against Rey Mysterio.

While some may see this as exploitation, I see this as a way for Rhodes to carry on his father’s legacy. He doesn’t have to come out to his father’s ring music, or use the bionic elbow, but the reality is that this Monday the fans will be cheering louder for both him and his brother Goldust as a way of sending their love and support for their family.

Goldust is 46 years old, nearing retirement age in the wrestling industry, and is more well known and popular within the wrestling business as his Goldust persona. However, Cody is 29 years old and has been able to work well under many of the various gimmicks WWE has given to him over the years.

The WWE’s best idea right now would be to let Cody Rhodes be Cody Rhodes. Fans have clamored to see him in high marquee matches, and this would be the perfect time to take that chance. He will have the backing of all of the fans, and if he can grab the brass ring that WWE could offer him, Rhodes can ride that wave of momentum and take his career to an entirely new level.

He wouldn’t just be getting more coverage within WWE, he would be living The American Dream.

 Dusty Goldust Cody (2)

Remembering The American Dream

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

Dusty (2)

WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes passed away on June 10 at the age of 69.

Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes broke out as a superstar in the mid-to-late 1970s portraying the character of a working class hero. This gimmick won over the fans, as Rhodes became a top star in various wrestling territories.

Notably, Rhodes competed in the main event of two World Wide Wrestling Entertainment’s events in 1977, competing for their World Heavyweight Championship against then champion “Superstar” Billy Graham.

Rhodes built his brand as a wrestler through the National Wrestling Alliance, feuding with wrestling legends such as Harley Race, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Terry Funk.

Later in his career, Rhodes became a wrestling booker and was credited for many of the Pay-Per-View names and gimmicks in World Championship Wrestling. One wrestling gimmick, The Dusty Finish, is named after Rhodes. In a Dusty Finish, a match ends in controversy after a referee is knocked unconscious.

On March 31, 2007, his sons Cody and Dustin “Goldust” Runnels inducted Rhodes into the WWE Hall of Fame. Since then, Rhodes had made occasional appearances on various episodes of RAW while working with the developmental talents in NXT.

Various talent within the wrestling world offered their condolences through Twitter.

“I was ever so fortunate to be a friend to this man, to learn from him as a performer and as a human being. #RIPDusty,” said WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.

In the photograph that accompanied his tweet, Rollins stood with the NXT Championship around his waist while Rhodes and WWE COO Triple H held his arms up.

Rollins NXT (2)

According to various reports, Rhodes loved working with up and coming talent and he was considered a mentor and a beloved friend of the developmental stars.

Another notable Tweet was a tribute by WWE Superstar Kevin Owens. In the tweet, Owens added polka dots—which were part of Rhodes’ gimmick during his tenure in WWE—to his T-Shirt that he wears during his matches.

“This one’s for you, Dream…#NXTPittsburgh,” said Owens.

“The American Dream” will be forever remembered as a pioneer in the wrestling business, a mentor to wrestlers and managers alike, and as a beloved friend.

WWE RAW Results and review 06/8/15

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

This Sunday at Money in the Bank, fans will witness a plethora of matches. Kevin Owens will face John Cena in a rematch from Elimination Chamber, Seth Rollins will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dean Ambrose once again and a ladder match will be held with the WWE Money in the Bank briefcase on the line. With the briefcase, a superstar can “cash it in” at any time within the next year for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. What else will happen leading into Sunday’s Pay-Per-View event? Will Owens get the upper hand on Cena once again? And who else will be added into the Money in the Bank ladder match?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

John Cena came out and promoted his match against Owens this Sunday. After awhile, Owens interrupted Cena and called him delusional for thinking he can beat Owens. Owens called Cena’s act stale, and said that instead of an open challenge for the United States Championship, he will defend his NXT championship in an open challenge.

Cena said that loved the idea, and accepted the challenge. However, Owens said that their fight is Sunday. Cena criticized Owens for holding an open challenge for everyone except him.

Cena declared that he would start his own open invitational, but Owens said that he would let a wrestler come out and choose whether he will challenge for the NXT title or the United States Championship.

Owens_Cena

Neville came out and called Owens disrespectful. Neville said that with all due respect to Cena, he would be fighting Owens for the NXT Championship. John Cena moved to the commentary desk as RAW went to commercial.

The announcer made formal introduction, and as soon as the bell rang Owens walked out of the ring. Neville pursued Owens and began to hit a variety of high-flying and fast paced moves as Cena watched on. Owens began to make a comeback and started to beat Neville down. The match became one-sided as Owens continued to beat down Neville for a close two count.

Neville tried to fight back, but Owens regained control and hit a knee to Neville’s gut for another two count. Owens hit a series of punches and began yelling at Neville. Neville fought back with a few kicks, but Owens hit more punches and continued to dominate Neville. Owens threw Neville outside of the ring and Neville laid on the outside writhing in pain as RAW went to commercial.

Neville_Owens 

As RAW came back on the air, Owens maintained control. However, Neville managed to counter a slam by Owens with a DDT. Neville began to hit a series of kicks and hit a moonsault off of the top rope onto Owens on the outside of the ring.

Back in the ring, Neville hit Owens with a kick off of the ropes for a two count. Owens fought back and slammed Neville down for a two count. Neville managed to hit a suplex on Owens before pinning Owens for a two count.

Neville went for his Red Arrow finisher off of the top rope, but Owens got to his feet. Neville hit a kick on Owens and went for his Red Arrow finisher and missed. Neville countered with a kick and went for his Red Arrow for a third time, but Owens countered and hit a pop up powerbomb for the win.

Owens and Cena taunted each other and Owens invited Cena into the ring. Cena ran into the ring, and the two stared off before Owens walked off.

This was a good segment to promote Cena and Owens’ second match, as well as a good spot to showcase the NXT system to casual fans. Both Neville and Owens went through the NXT system, and fans who enjoyed their match can subscribe to the WWE Network to see similar matches on NXT. This was a great way to promote the product while giving fans an excellent match on RAW.

Backstage, The Authority looked at Instagram photos of Dean Ambrose walking around New Orleans with Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins asked what they would do about it, but The Authority told Rollins that he is on his own. Rollins said that he didn’t need the help of J&J Security and Kane, but that he has the upmost respect for Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

McMahon and Triple H said that Rollins is on his own at Money in the Bank in his match against Ambrose. They told Rollins that he can pick an opponent and that he will have a “tune-up” match on RAW to get him ready for Sunday.

INSTAGRAM:  The Lunatic Fringe continues his tour of Bourbon Street with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship prior to RAW

The photos of Ambrose on social media were a nice touch, as Ambrose interacted with fans throughout the day in New Orleans. I am also curious to see who Rollins will pick for his opponent on RAW tonight.

Clips were shown from when The Bella Twins used their “Twin Magic” maneuver on Paige last week, and Nikki Bella gave a brief rebuttal. Nikki said that she takes on all comers, and that she will take on Summer Rae tonight and will face Paige once again at Money in the Bank. She said that Paige is living in the Bellas’ world.

Summer Rae and Nikki Bella both made their way to the ring and they locked up to start the match. Nikki went for a series of pins but Summer Rae continuously kicked out. The two divas fought back and forth, until Summer Rae held Nikki in a submission hold. Nikki fought out but Summer Rae knocked Nikki down for a two count.

Summer Rae began to gain the advantage, but Nikki countered with a kick followed by her Rack Attack finisher for the win.

This was a decent match, but it bothers me that they never have any real direction with the Divas matches. Summer Rae is rarely seen, and there is barely any buildup to the Divas championship match on Sunday.

Roman Reigns came out and promoted the WWE Money in the Bank ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase. The contract within the briefcase can be cashed in at any time and at any place within the next year for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. Reigns guaranteed that he would win the match at Money in the Bank before being interrupted by Kane.

Kane said that everyone involved in the match has a better chance of winning than Reigns, and that he has been inserted into the match to protect The Authority’s best interests.

Dolph Ziggler came out and insulted Kane’s corporate makeover over the past few years. Ziggler said that he has been on a roll lately and that he will win the Money in the Bank contract on Sunday and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

R-Truth came out to say that he would win Money in the Bank, before Kane pointed out that he is not even in the match. R-Truth walked to the back, and The New Day came out. They announced that Kofi will win the match, and Sheamus’ music hit as he came out. He said that he will win the briefcase and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion once again.

Kane asked if anyone else was about to come out before he announced that Neville would be in the match as well as Randy Orton.

This was a predictable but necessary segment. It promoted the match that the entire Pay-Per-View event is built around, as well as giving most of the wrestlers involved screen time going into the event.

After a commercial break, Orton and Sheamus began to brawl back and forth in a rematch from last week’s edition of RAW. Orton began to get the upper hand as he started to beat down Sheamus. Sheamus rolled out of the ring and began to limp as Orton looked on.

Orton threw Sheamus into the barricade on the outside and continued to beat him down. Sheamus fought back with some kicks and a series of punches. Orton hit a few punches of his own and both men began to fight back and forth with a series of uppercuts.

Sheamus rolled out of the ring again and limped in pain as Orton looked on. Orton continued to attack Sheamus, and Sheamus fought back as the two men brawled recklessly again. Sheamus took over the match and knocked Orton out of the ring as RAW went to another commercial.

Sheamus continued to maintain control, but Orton refused to give up. Orton kicked out of a few pin attempts and Sheamus continued to beat him down. Orton fought back, and the two men traded a series of punches. Orton hit a series of clotheslines followed by a powerslam on Sheamus.

Orton hit a DDT off of the ropes on Sheamus and began to call for his finisher, the RKO. Orton went for an RKO, but Sheamus countered and went for a brogue kick but Orton dodged it. The two men fought on the outside, and Sheamus threw Orton into the barricade and grabbed a steel chair.

Sheamus tried to hit Sheamus with the chair, but Orton countered and then hit Sheamus with the same chair. Orton beat down Sheamus on the outside in retaliation for what happened on last week’s RAW. He hit an RKO on Sheamus as the fans cheered.

This wasn’t a wrestling match, it was a brawl. The two men fought tooth and nail and it showed. With so many high flying and athletic wrestlers, sometimes it is fun to watch a good old-fashioned fight.

Backstage, Rollins argued with J&J Security and ended up slapping Jamie Noble. He said that he would wrestle J&J Security in a two-on-one handicap match on RAW. Joey Mercury of J&J Security announced that they would defeat Rollins in their match.

This will be a good match to watch, as Rollins continues to tease frustration within The Authority. It is very possible that Rollins could break away and shine on his own as the company’s top villain. The next chapter in Rollins’ career will be an interesting one.

After a commercial break, Kane and Ziggler fought one-on-one in a match. Kane had control of the match as Ziggler’s love interest Lana looked on from the outside. Kane held Ziggler in a sleeper hold, but Ziggler fought out of it.

Kane slammed Ziggler for a two count. He maintained control of the match as he continued to beat Ziggler down. Ziggler began to fight back, and hit Kane with a DDT for a two count. Ziggler went for a Zig Zag but Kane countered for a two count as RAW went to commercial.

Kane maintained control of the match as Lana looked on. Ziggler made a comeback with a series of kicks and hit a famouser for a two count. Kane fought back and went for a chokeslam but Ziggler countered with a kick and both men went down.

Rusev came out on crutches and began to harass Lana before inadvertently knocking her down. Lana held her ankle and Ziggler went to check on Lana but Kane took advantage of the distraction and hit a chokeslam for the pin and the win. Ziggler walked to the outside as some EMTs came out to check on Lana’s ankle.

This was a decent match by both men, but definitely not a match of the year candidate. I appreciate that Lana isn’t overacting her “injury,” likely because she is a seasoned actress who has taken part in films such as Pitch Perfect 2.

Doctors tended to Lana backstage as The Miz began an episode of his talk show, Miz TV, featuring Intercontinental Champion Ryback and Big Show. The Miz complained about the actions of Big Show last week when he punched Miz right before his Intercontinental Championship match.

Ryback came out and told the crowd to wake up. Ryback said that he was robbed of the pleasure of beating up Miz. Miz said Ryback was rude and that it was his show.

They argued back and forth and Ryback said that if he wrestled Miz that he would have taken years off of his career. Ryback looked directly at the camera as he smiled and laughed, possibly hinting at former WWE wrestle and current UFC fighter CM Punk’s claims on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast that Ryback was reckless in the ring.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/eAN6oTAP0Dc&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Big Show came out and said that he’s always hated The Miz. The three men began to argue, and after some bickering Ryback told Big Show that if he wants the WWE Intercontinental Championship it is right here.

Ryback and Big Show began to trade insults as Miz tried to egg them on. Eventually, Miz tried to hit Big Show with a cheap shot but Big Show threw him out of the ring and Ryback hit Big Show with Shellshocked as the fans chanted “Feed Me More.”

TWITTER: Yep…THAT JUST HAPPENED

I am a fan of the wrestling talk shows, but Miz TV will never be on the same level as Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel or “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s Piper’s Pit. However, it was worth waiting through the rhetoric to see Ryback hit Big Show with his finisher.

Luke Harper and Erick Rowan came out for a match against Los Matadores. Harper and Rowan used their power and strength to dominate Los Matadores throughout the match. The two men continued to hit a series of power moves and threw one of the Los Matadores. Fernando of Los Matadores went for a tag but Rowan and Harper knocked down his partner earlier. They hit him with the Dudley Death Drop (3D) for the win.

3D

It is interesting that they are using the 3D, a finisher made famous by The Dudley Boyz. Bubba Ray Dudley clashed with The Wyatt Family faction when he was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, perhaps this opens up the door for them to return and face off against Harper and Rowan. It is unlikely, but in the WWE anything is possible.

WWE showed an Instagram post of Dean Ambrose with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and a ticket for tonight’s show as RAW went to commercial.

INSTAGRAM: The Lunatic Fringe just got a ticket into The Smoothie King Center to see J&J Security vs. @WWERollins, courtesy of a ticket scalper #RAW

Big E and Titus O’Neil fought one-on-one as The New Day and O’Neil’s tag team partner Darren Young stood at ringside. There was back and forth action between the two powerhouses as Big E began to get the advantage. After O’Neil began to make a comeback, The New Day began to distract O’Neil and Big E took advantage and hit The Big Ending to win the match.

This match helped promote the WWE Tag Team Championship match between The New Day and The Prime Time Players at Money in the Bank. Sometimes less is more, and although the match was short it worked well for their program.

As The New Day celebrated their win, Reigns came down to the ring for a match against New Day member Kofi Kingston. The two men locked up, and Reigns got the advantage. Reigns began to use his strength to out power Kingston in the match. Kingston tried to use his agility to counter, however Reigns once again used his strength. Kingston escaped the ring, and after talking to his New Day partners, they surrounded the ring. Kingston took advantage of the distraction and started attacking Reigns.

Kingston attacked Reigns in the corner and began to hit a series of offense. However, Reigns countered with a clothesline and then knocked Kingston out of the ring. Reigns began to attack Kingston on the outside while watching The New Day closely. Reigns dove outside of the ring and landed on Xavier Woods of The New Day but Kingston took advantage and hit a dropkick on Reigns as RAW went to commercial.

Kingston maintained his advantage as RAW came back on the air. Reigns began to make a comeback, but Kingston started to use his speed to maintain his advantage. Kingston jumped off of the top rope and pinned Reigns for a two count.

Reigns hit a series of clotheslines on Kingston before attacking him in the corner. He went for his Superman Punch but missed, and then Reigns hit a slam for a two count. Reigns hit another slam but Kingston kicked out at two. Roman Reigns went for his Superman Punch but was distracted by The New Day. Kingston tried to take advantage but Reigns kicked out at two. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Kingston for the pin and the win.

Power against speed is always a fun match to watch. Reigns gained a lot of flack from fans for his fast rise in WWE over the past year, but he is starting to win me over. He is truly earning his stripes.

Reigns stayed at ringside as Dean Ambrose came through the audience adorned in Bourbon Street beads while carrying the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, popcorn, and a soda. Ambrose sat in the front row as Rollins watched on from backstage with The Authority.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his way to the ring for the main event of RAW. J&J Security came down, accompanied by Kane, as Joey Mercury started off the match with Rollins.

There was back and forth between Mercury and Rollins before he tagged in Noble. Rollins gained the advantage and threw both Noble and Mercury out of the ring. J&J Security proceeded to surround the ring and Kane distracted the referee as they pummeled Rollins and threw him outside of the ring.

Ambrose threw some popcorn on Rollins as J&J Security took advantage and continued to attack Rollins. Rollins began to lose his temper as he started to attack Joey Mercury at ringside. Ambrose began to taunt Rollins with the stolen WWE World Heavyweight Championship as Rollins took out his anger on Mercury.

Mercury made a comeback and had a close two count on Rollins but Rollins kicked out and began to attack Mercury again. Mercury tried to tag in Noble but Rollins kept stopping Mercury. He managed to tag in Jamie Noble and Noble hit Rollins with a series of offense. Noble managed to pin Rollins while Mercury held his legs down for a two count.

Rollins began to attack both men at once before throwing Mercury out of the ring like a rag doll. Rollins went for a pedigree on Noble, but Ambrose distracted Rollins as Mercury tagged himself in and rolled Rollins up for the win. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Rollins before standing on a ladder and taunting him with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to end the show.

This was a great main event segment. Casual fans might not know that Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble were both decorated champions within WWE. Noble is a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion, and Mercury was a former WWE Tag Team Champion as one half of the tag team MNM. Noble received “You still got it” chants toward the end of the match and they were very much deserved, as he hasn’t lost a step since transitioning into a backstage role.

Notes

  • WWE continues to show their faith in Kevin Owens by continuously booking him in a dominating fashion. I hope that his career doesn’t go in the same direction as Rusev, who was booked in a similar way.
  • Neville’s match with Owens was a great way of showcasing the NXT system to even the most casual of fans. Even something so little as a ten minute sample of NXT can give fans a reason to subscribe to the WWE Network and watch NXT every week.
  • While R-Truth coming out during the Money in the Bank segment got a chuckle out of me, it seemed random and I am still scratching my head over why that happened.
  • Erick Rowan and Luke Harper have been using the 3D as their finisher lately, and I am curious to see if this could lead to a feud with The Dudley Boyz.
  • The repeated Instagram posts of Dean Ambrose shown throughout the night were funny and contributed greatly to the storyline despite Ambrose’s absence for much of the program. This was a great example of WWE incorporating social media into the product, and this can also keep the storylines relevant with minimal effort.
  • RAW is PG, yet showed a trailer for Ted 2 live on their program. Ted 2 is a rated R movie created by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane. It seemed odd that the commentators of a family friendly program would promote a trailer for a rated R movie.
  • WWE has done a great job of turning Ambrose into a credible main event star in the last few months. With the lack of depth within the main roster, and guys like John Cena approaching 40, WWE needs to establish the next generation of stars.

I will be reviewing this Sunday’s Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View. The WWE Network is still free for new subscribers for the remainder of June and I highly recommend that any wrestling fans subscribe and watch the event, along with some of the other content in WWE’s digital library.

RAW Results and Review 06/01/15

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

At WWE Elimination Chamber, fans saw the unexpected. Kevin Owens stunned fans when he defeated John Cena in his main roster debut match, fans witnessed the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match and Dean Ambrose defeated WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins in the main event but didn’t win the championship.

Will Ambrose earn another opportunity to win the championship? How will WWE promote Kevin Owens going into his second match with John Cena in two weeks at Money in the Bank? And who else will be announced for the upcoming WWE Money in the Bank match?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

RAW started with The Authority in the ring as they recapped the previous night’s events. Dean Ambrose managed to pin WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins in the main event, however, it was later ruled that he won the match by disqualification. In the WWE, a championship cannot be won by disqualification.

Triple H of The Authority called Ambrose out but Roman Reigns came out instead. Reigns said that Ambrose isn’t in the building, but told The Authority that Ambrose wants a WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch at Money in the Bank. He said that Ambrose wants it to be a ladder match so that there is no controversy.

They argued back and forth about the ending of Elimination Chamber. Eventually, Rollins lost his temper and agreed to a rematch. He said that he doesn’t need The Authority and at Money in the Bank he will prove who the real WWE World Heavyweight Champion is once and for all.

Rollins Angry

After Rollins walked out, Triple H told Reigns that he is finding an opponent for him tonight. He also announced that if Reigns loses his match on RAW, he will be removed from the Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract in two weeks.

They had a great match last night at Elimination Chamber and I am excited to see these two compete in a ladder match. With the push Ambrose has been getting in the last two months, either man could walk out as champion. This will be an exciting Pay-Per-View main event match for sure.

Following a commercial break, King Barrett came out to face Reigns in a match. The match started with a series of back and forth grappling. After awhile, Barrett and Reigns traded a series of headlocks before Barrett started to gain control.

Reigns hit Barrett with a kick and started to make a comeback. Reigns went for his Superman Punch but Barrett dodged it. Reigns knocked Barrett out of the ring and they fought back and forth outside of the ring.

Barrett threw Reigns into the steel steps and rolled back into the ring as RAW went to a commercial.

Barrett was still in control as RAW came back on the air. Barrett continued to beat Reigns around the ring as Reigns rolled around in pain. Reigns began to make a comeback as him and Barrett traded a series of punches. Reigns hit a clothesline on Barrett to regain control of the match.

After more back and forth, Barrett hit the Winds of Change for a two-count. Barrett signaled for his Bullhammer finisher, but Reigns countered and hit Barrett with a slam for a two count.

Barrett raked Reigns’ eyes and went for a bullhammer elbow but Reigns dodged it and countered with a spear for the win. Roman Reigns is still in the Money in the Bank ladder match.

This was a good match, and Reigns seems to be slowly winning over the crowd as time goes on.

Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon announced that Reigns would wrestle again with his Money in the Bank opportunity on the line against Mark Henry.

This is a good premise, as they will likely either continue this over and over until Reigns loses tonight, or he will come out of tonight’s RAW as a winner and be built up as a legitimate contender in the match.

The interview then went to Byron Saxton who asked Divas Champion Nikki Bella what is the next chapter. Paige interrupted her and challenged her to a one-on-one championship match. Nikki accepted the challenge, on the condition that they have the match tonight.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback made his way to the ring. Ryback said that he is proud to be the Intercontinental Champion and thanked the fans. The commentary team announced that Ryback will defend his championship against The Miz after the commercial break.

The announcer made official introductions for the match. As the match was about to begin, Big Show came out. Big Show teased a fight with Ryback before knocking out The Miz with a knockout punch. He declared that if anyone is going to beat Ryback for the championship it would be him. They had a staredown until Big Show left the ring as Ryback taunted him.

Ryback Big Show

Big Show isn’t the most exciting wrestler to watch these days, but the idea of these two men feuding is intriguing. Seeing Ryback hit shellshocked on Big Show could draw some excitement.

Kevin Owens made his way to the ring as the commentators recapped how Owens beat 15 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in the center of the ring in his first WWE main roster match.

Kevin Owens

Owens said that he always delivers on his promises, and his promise to beat John Cena was no different. He said that he should feel on top of the world, but his son asked him if John Cena is okay. He said that for the last decade, Cena has been portrayed as a real-life superhero. While Owens traveled the world and honed his craft, Cena was featured on WWE television. Owens said that Cena became the Owens’ son’s hero because he was portrayed as “Super Cena.” However, Owens beat Cena.

Owens said that he is going to beat Cena again, and that a real role model doesn’t have flashy T-shirts or catchphrases but a real role model delivers just like Owens.

Cena came out and said that the whole world is talking about Kevin Owens. Cena said he was going to hand over his United States Championship, but that Owens doesn’t deserve it. He said that Owens couldn’t be a role model because he’s not a real man. Cena continued to berate Owens’ attitude and talked about respect. Cena said that Owens’ lacks respect, but that he never gives up. He said that he will beat Owens at Money in the Bank and they teased fighting, but Owens grabbed his NXT Championship and walked out.

Although I think Cena will end up winning their second match, a part of me wants to see Owens go 2-0 in this feud. This is the type of feud fans have wanted for years, as hardcore fans praise Owens heavily. While we have seen the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan defeat John Cena, this feud has the potential to escalate even further than those feuds.

RAW came back from commercial as WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day were in the ring. They promoted Kofi Kingston’s participation in the Money in the Bank ladder match and tried to start a New Day Rocks chant before Dolph Ziggler came out, accompanied by Lana. Ziggler sent Lana to the back as he prepared to go one on one with Kofi Kingston.

The match started off with a lot of back and forth action, as Kingston and Ziggler traded a series of grapples. Ziggler began to gain control of the match and hit an elbow on Kingston for a two count. After a series of fast paced action, Ziggler hit Kingston with a DDT for a two count.

Xavier Woods tried to distract the referee and Kingston took advantage and tried to roll up Ziggler but Ziggler reversed it and held on to Kingston’s tights for the pin and the win. After the match, The New Day attacked Ziggler but the Prime Time Players made the save as RAW went to commercial.

When RAW returned from commercial, a new match was in progress. The Prime Time Players and Dolph Ziggler faced off against all three members of The New Day. The New Day isolated Young and made frequent tags. They continuously stomped him in the corner, and continued to beat down the incapacitated Young.

Young began to make a comeback, but the three on one advantage led to Young being beat down once again. Big E went for a splash on young but Young countered and began to crawl towards his tag team partners.

Big E tagged in Woods as Young tagged in Titus O’ Neil. O’Neil began to make a comeback for his team as he attacked each of the three members of The New Day. After a series of chaos in the ring with all six men, Titus O’Neil hit his finisher on Xavier Woods for the pin and the win.

This was a good match, as it made each competitor look good. The Prime Time Players were also built up as legitimate tag team competitors with their matches at Elimination Chamber and on RAW.

Mark Henry made his way to the ring for his match as Roman Reigns awaited him in the ring. The bell sounded and Reigns immediately started beating down Henry. Henry began to take control and beat Reigns in the corner.

Reigns began to make a comeback as he hit Henry with a series of punches in the corner. Reigns hit Henry with a Samoan Drop and Henry rolled out of the ring. Reigns went outside of the ring and Henry shoved him into a ringpost, but Reigns attacked Mark Henry with a Superman Punch. Reigns rolled into the ring at nine and Mark Henry was counted out at 10. Roman Reigns won the match and is still in the Money in the Bank Ladder match.

After the match, Mark Henry attacked Reigns with the World’s Strongest Slam and a splash before leaving Reigns writhing in pain in the ring.

Reigns laid out

Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon congratulated Roman Reigns and told him that he will face Bray Wyatt later on RAW with his spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match on the line.

The match was shorter than it could’ve been, but with Reigns competing multiple times tonight that is understandable. Too much of one wrestler on any given night will make the crowd go mild. As for Henry attacking him after the match, it is an excellent show of how The Authority continues to stack the odds against the heroes.

After a series of Sonic shake audition tapes featuring The Mega Powers and The New Day, Paige made her way to the ring for her Divas Championship match against Nikki Bella as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, WWE Divas champion Nikki Bella made her way to the ring. They locked up to start the match, and after some back and forth Nikki gained the advantage. Nikki began to taunt Paige and continued to attack her. Nikki put Paige in a submission hold but Paige fought out of it and Nikki countered with a slam. Nikki put Paige in another submission but Paige went to the ropes. Nikki continued to taunt Paige but Paige made a comeback. Nikki raked Paige’s eyes and hit an Alabama Slammer for a two count. Paige hit her Ram-Paige finisher off of the tope rope, but Nikki rolled out of the ring. Brie Bella was under the ring and switched places with her twin sister to pin Paige and win the match.

Twin Magic

I thought the match was decent, and the Bellas are showing signs of becoming villains once again, but the finish was questionable. The “twin magic” swap worked well a few years ago when they looked identical, but in 2015 they look very different. Brie wears virtually no makeup and is all-natural, Nikki wears a lot of makeup, has highlights in her hair, and had breast augmentation surgery a few years ago. With these noticeable differences, the “Twin magic” swap doesn’t work as well as it did just a few years ago because it is not as believable.

Randy Orton and Sheamus competed next one-on-one. The match started off with the two men locking up, as they fought back and forth. The match’s pace was slow, as it featured a series of back-and-forth grapples and lock ups. Orton began to gain the advantage and hit Sheamus with a series of uppercuts; Sheamus fought back and began to hit uppercuts of his own. The two men fought back and forth. The two fought outside, and Orton slammed Sheamus onto the announce table before hitting him with a clothesline. Orton went back into the ring as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, both men continued to brawl. Sheamus managed to gain the upper hand and continued to beat down Orton. He hit a knee drop off of the top rope for a two count.

Orton managed to make a comeback as the fans cheered him on. Sheamus tried to stifle the comeback, but was stopped by a series of clotheslines. Orton hit a power slam on Sheamus and went for a DDT off of the ropes but was countered. After more back and forth Orton hit a T-bone suplex followed by a DDT off of the ropes. Orton began to signal for his RKO but Sheamus countered and hit him with a knee.

Both men started to brawl outside of the ring again, and Sheamus hit Orton with a chair. The referee called for the disqualification and Sheamus hit Orton with a brogue kick. Sheamus beat down Orton outside of the ring until the referees fended him off. Sheamus managed to hit one more brogue kick before he walked away. Orton won the match by disqualification, but was laid out by Sheamus afterward.

This match was a good brawl towards the end, but started off very slow. The beginning reminded me of a match from the 1980’s. A lot of people remember the good matches from the 80’s, but most of the matches were very generic with simple grapples and holds on the mat. The beginning of this match featured a lot of it and seemed to drag on. I also noticed that the crowd was quiet during this segment of the match. As the professional wrestling industry evolves, it is the duty of the powers that be to make sure that they can gauge the crowd in order to get the best reactions. With last night’s mishaps in the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber match and the slow pace of tonight’s match with Orton and Sheamus, WWE officials need to be careful to avoid having a dead crowd.

Byron Saxton interviewed Rusev backstage. Rusev said that he is a broken man who has lost everything, but that he will get back all of it. He walked off as RAW went to commercial.

Bo Dallas went one on one in a rematch with Neville. As soon as the bell rang, Dallas beat down Neville and completely dominated him. Dallas hit Neville with a clothesline on the outside and screamed at him repeatedly.

Neville began to fight back, as he hit a series of punches and kicks on Dallas. Neville knocked Dallas down and hit the Red Arrow for the pin and the win.

This was a good short match, and showed that even though Neville has a hurt knee that he is still a contender in the Money in the Bank ladder match. I look forward to seeing his performance at the Pay-Per-View.

Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns made their way to the ring for their main event match. Wyatt continuously took advantage of the exhausted Reigns, beating him down repeatedly. Reigns showed signs of fatigue—favoring his ribs and his injured eye—as he began to make a comeback.

Wyatt his Reigns with a cross body and Reigns rolled out of the ring. The Authority came out and began to watch the match from the stage. Wyatt continued to beat down Reigns on the outside as the Authority applauded and RAW went to commercial.

Wyatt continued to beat down Reigns as RAW came back from commercial. Reigns hit a clothesline on Wyatt in the ring and both men were knocked down. Wyatt tried to attack Reigns but Reigns sidestepped him and hit a DDT. Reigns began to pummel Wyatt in the corner before knocking him out of the ring, and he dropkicked Wyatt in the head. Wyatt managed to hit Reigns with a clothesline and hit a splash. Reigns was at a disadvantage again but hit a Samoan drop. He went for a superman punch but Wyatt countered for a two count.

Reigns rolled up Wyatt for a two count and hit a superman punch on Wyatt, but Seth Rollins sent down J&J Security to distract Reigns. Wyatt went for his Sister Abagail finisher but Reigns countered with a spear for the win. Reigns is still in the Money in the Bank ladder match.

The Authority prepared to ambush Reigns but Dean Ambrose’s music hit and he came out with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Ambrose threw the title and Rollins caught it but Ambrose took advantage of the distraction and hit Dirty Deeds on Rollins. Ambrose walked out once again with the championship to end RAW.

Ambrose

This was a good match and built Reigns as a strong competitor. This also helped to further establish Ambrose as a main event player. I can’t wait for their ladder match in two weeks.

Notes

  • I enjoyed seeing Reigns in multiple matches throughout the night, it was fun to see him in a must win situation.
  • The Divas match was average but the ending wasn’t believable. With Nikki’s cosmetic surgery and the differences in appearance, they can’t switch as seamlessly as they used to.
  • Ambrose has proved in the last few months that he deserves to be a world champion, and after his performance in the last two Pay-Per-View main events I hope that it happens for him one day.
  • I found this clip while looking for photos and I thought this was amazing. http://www.wwe.com/videos/john-cena-welcomes-a-courageous-member-of-the-wwe-universe-to-the-ring-wwecom-ex-27456089

I will also be covering the Stone Cold Podcast with Paul Heyman tonight. For those who don’t watch this live, you can also watch a replay of it anytime exclusively on the WWE Network. They are offering the month of June free to all new subscribers, and those who are subscribed can also go back in the archives and see Stone Cold interview Triple H as well as Vince McMahon. I highly recommend trying the WWE Network if you are a fan, as it is well worth the $9.99 a month price tag.

Stone Cold Podcast