Happy Memorial Day ya’ll! Thank you to our troops, both fallen and still here with us today.
Raw took place live from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. On last years Memorial Day edition of Raw, I sat in the audience for Nassau Coliseum’s very last WWE event, and tonight, we saw the television return of one of wrestling’s biggest stars, John Cena. With a brand split announced to take place in mid-July, WWE’s usually stellar summer season upon us, and the impending return of other huge stars like Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, and Brock Lesnar, it is a very good time to be a wrestling fan.
Memorial Day Tribute
We start off the show with a 10-bell salute for our fallen troops with the entire roster on the ramp paying their respects. A beautiful tribute video commemorating the lives of the fallen followed, featuring commentary from WWE superstars reciting a Ronald Reagan speech. Again, WWE proves that their production team is the best in the business, with another truly memorable package. Well done.
Shane and Stephanie McMahon promo with the New Day
Shane and Stephanie both come down to the ring and pander to the crowd, Stephanie, as usual receiving more boos then cheers. I’m not sure what her motive is with this, but if it doesn’t lead to something bigger down the line, it will have been a waste of an angle. Shane hypes the impending brand split while Stephanie hypes John Cena’s return later in the night. They’re interrupted by New Day, questioning whether or not they will be split up (which clearly they won’t) and who will be running Smackdown. New Day calls for a dance-off between the two, and before you know it, Shane is twerking in the middle of the ring for some reason. Before Stephanie can retaliate, The Vaudevillians come down to the ring, and a match between the two teams is announced.
The Vaudevillians vs New Day
The match was average, but the Vaudevillians did show some improvement. They looked more confident tonight, hitting harder and looking meaner then ever before. They apparently dominated during the commercial break and looked good in the back half of the match, before Anderson and Gallows ran out to attack Xavier Woods and Kofi, causing the DQ, before attacking Big E. Hopefully, this will lead to a Anderson and Gallows/New Day program that will hopefully end with the former team winning the titles. I don’t think Anderson and Gallows have been booked as poorly as some people do, but I am excited to see them in a fresh match.
Winners: New Day
Breezango vs The Usos
With Golden Truth on commentary, this was never going to last longer. It lasted longer then the Golden Truth/Breezango matches we’ve seen in recent weeks, but after what seemed like less then five minutes, Tyler Breeze was getting Superkicked in the face and Fandango was hit with the Crucifix Pin for the win. They attacked Golden Truth after the bell, but to no avail, as Goldust hit a sick scoop powerslam on the outside. Not bad really. I don’t want this feud to continue though….but does anyone really?
Winners: The Usos
Roman Reigns Promo with Seth Rollins
Roman calls Seth Rollins out and tells him to prove that he really is “THE guy” like he’s been saying he is. Seth comes out, teases getting in the ring multiple times, but pulls a Chris Jericho and doesn’t say a word. Roman sort of just stood there, so it was kind of awkward. I heard “boring” chants coming from the front, and I agreed with that sentiment. I feel like I get less and less excited for this feud every day, since I just don’t see Seth winning the title back yet. He’s going to eventually, but definitely not against Roman. Not yet.
Rusev vs Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder might be a homeboy (we’re both from Long Island), but his offense is terrible. Even after the years he spent developing his skills. He lost to Rusev in another quick match, but got all of his major offense in, even with Rusev dominating most of it. I really do want to get behind him like most fans are, but he’s just not good in the ring and it’s sad to see, because he has such a great personality for it. He went to the Rough-Ryder, but Rusev dodged and locked in the Accolade for the win.
Rusev Promo with Titus O’Neil
Rusev got on the mic and did his “I’m better then all you American’s!”” shtick, and was interrupted by John Cena!! Just kidding, it was Titus O’Neil. He defended America a bit, punched Rusev in the face, and that was pretty much it. Yawn.
Enzo and Cass Promo
Enzo and Cass come out and talk about how they’re going to beat the Dudley Boyz by listing off a bunch of cheeses. Because you know, Green Bay, Very entertaining. Well, at least Enzo is.
Enzo and Cass vs The Dudley Boyz
Enzo got a decent amount of time in there tonight. Not only does he make his offense work despite his smaller stature, he sells really well too. He took a lot of punishment from the Dudley’s before tagging in Cass, who cleaned house with big boots, elbow drops, and all the usual stuff. Bubba went up to the top rope, but was thrown off, and Enzo and Cass hit the Rocket Launcher for the win.
I really don’t see how it helps Enzo and Cass for them to repeatedly beat the team that could teach them so much, both in victory but especially in defeat. I understand that they’re trying to get Enzo and Cass over, but they already are over. What’s the point of having them face the same legendary team and beat them over and over? The effect wears off after the first time.
John Cena Promo with AJ Styles and Anderson and Gallows
John Cena made his long-awaited return to Raw tonight and after he proved once again just how articulate he is in his tribute to the troops. He then made it clear that the boys of this “new era” would have to go through him before he rolls over and dies. We’ve seen him outlast some of the brightest WWE has seen over the years, and prove again and again that he (and The Undertaker) is the stepping stone.
AJ Styles comes down to the ring, and once the fans realized what they were seeing, they kind of lost their minds, as did I. AJ welcomed Cena back, and was interrupted by Anderson and Gallows. It looked like there’d be a face off between the sets of two, but AJ realigned with Anderson and Gallows and brutally attacked Cena. Repeatedly. It was actually kind of brilliant.
An AJ/Cena feud is something we’ve wanted to see for a very long time. Cena’s been gone ever since AJ came in, so is it a bit premature to be happening the minute Cena gets back? Probably, but really, Summerslam is without a doubt the place for that match. They have a long time to get there, and if they do it right, they can build it up slowly and surely so that by the time we get to Brooklyn, it could be the most anticipated match of the past 10 years.
Natalya vs Dana Brook w/Charlotte
Ok fine, I didn’t pay much attention to this. But really, besides Charlotte interfering allowing Brook to hit a shitty Michinoku Driver for the win, was there really anything else? Becky Lynch’s involvement doesn’t make in anymore interesting….we’ve seen this before.
Winner: Dana Brook
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
I didn’t know what a “technical wrestling match” was going to mean, but I was pleasantly surprised. A quick low-blow to score Corbin the quick DQ win, but like Ziggler said, the real winner there was clearly not Corbin
Winner: Baron Corbin
Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Dean Ambrose
While it wasn’t the most mind-blowing match ever that we could have gotten from these guys, it was still an enjoyable watch. It was nice to see the faces tagging in and out instead of the typical “we’re going to keep Dean Ambrose in here for 10-12 minutes straight and beat the crap out of him the whole time.” Like no, we got to see a few minutes of Owens/Zayn, a few minutes of Jericho/Ambrose and some other combos. The finish was really cool and old-school: Ambrose took a Codebreaker, Cesaro took sort of an armbar/backbreaker, Del Rio took a Helluva Kick, Zayn took a Superkick but was able to avoid the Pop-up Powerbomb, allowing Ambrose to hit Dirty Deeds for the win.
No one turned on each other after the match, which is weird cause that’s usually what happens. They have another few weeks for that, but this was the perfect time to start building to the MITB match now that the 7th competitor idea has apparently been scrapped.
Honestly, Raw was kind of weak tonight except for the AJ/Cena segments and the main event which really stand out to me. Other then that it was a lot of pointless squash matches and slight builds to feuds that we’re not interested in seeing. Hopefully Smackdown and the upcoming Raw’s will give the pay-per view a little more presence.