Raw came to you LIVEEEEE tonight from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, a place I am very familiar with: I got the chance to see the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony there :D. After the tragic events of the past few days, we needed some light-hearted entertainment to allow us to forget about all that for even just a few hours.
Of course, WWE took the time to start off the show by showing their respects in an appropriate manner. Love will ALWAYS win. No one can take that away, and if they try, we damn sure won’t let them. I STAND with Orlando and the LGTBQ+ community.
Tonight was the go-home Raw for one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the most anticipated version of MITB itself since 2011. We’re sure to be in for a ride on Sunday, but lets see how WWE closes out the storylines that will come to a head this weekend.
New Day Promo w/ Enzo and Cass, The Vaudevillians and Anderson and Gallows
The trombone stuff was funny, the shoe jokes got really old really quick, that singing bit needs to never be done again and of course there was a jab at the Saints. That is basically this whole promo in a nutshell. Of course you had each team come out one by one, talk for a bit, the usual stuff. I’d take last weeks opener any day over this. However, it did get me excited for the New Day/Enzo and Cass feud that will eventually happen. The promo work will be hysterical, as long as Cass doesn’t say anything. He just looks like a kid who lost his mom at the carnival.
New Day and Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillians and Anderson and Gallows
I really enjoyed this. The comedic shenanigans from the promo were out the window, and these guys were out there with one purpose: to get people invested in Sunday’s match. I liked that not only were members of opposite teams open to tagging in someone other then their partner, but also getting in some offense together as well. After Kofi’s excellent plancha over the top rope and the commercial break, the pace really picked up and we had some great spots in the outside from everyone involved. I particularly enjoyed Simon Gotch, who chose to not jump onto the announce table after getting kicked in the face like most (Cena) do, but rather fall to the floor realistically. Anderson and Gallows pinned Kofi with the Magic Killer….very fun match.
Winner: Anderson and Gallows and The Vaudevillians
Titus O’Neil vs ?
We’ll never know who he was going to face, because Rusev attacked him from behind as he was making his entrance. Titus tried to fight back, but was overpowered. I still don’t think he would be in this position if he hadn’t gotten suspended, but it’s nice to see a new face in the title picture.
Winner: No-contest (maybe?)
Ambrose Asylum w/ Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns
It’s always really riveting seeing these three back in any capacity together. I enjoyed this promo, but felt Roman contributed very little. That’s not unexpected, but I wanted to see him get fired up and he remained a little less then luke warm, while Rollins shined. The “My greatest memory of you two is when I hit you in the back with the chair” line was bound to happen, but I liked how they got there. Rollins started off light-hearted before revealing his true intentions: just like a good heel does. Ambrose shined as well by just bringing up the sheer fact that if he wins the Money In The Bank Ladder match (which he probably won’t) he could cash in that night on whoever wins. And wouldn’t that be a hell of a match for Summerslam?
“Hatred can be great, you just need to know how to use it”
Paige vs Charlotte
A quick, fun match with Nattie and Becky Lynch on commentary. There wasn’t a lot of diversity in the offense; Charlotte getting in very little other then some Double-Leg Takedowns, while Paige’s offense consisted mostly of kicks to the face and roll-up attempts. Dana Brooke threw Charlotte back in the ring, right into the Ram-Paige for the win.
Sheamus vs Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder, like in every one of his matches, exhausts his offense after two minutes, allowing Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick for the win. He continued to beat Ryder down, before Apollo Crews came out to make the save. They brawled to the outside, before Sheamus ran off into the crowd. Hopefully the match on Sunday is more excited then the build-up.
Sami Zayn vs Cesaro
A very fun match with a spectacular ending. These two had a match that was cut short and restarted as a tag match about a month ago, so tonight was their first full WWE match. They compliment each other so well from their time together in NXT, and tonight was just, while rather short for my liking, a showcase of two of the best all-around wrestlers in the game today taking whatever they threw at each other, countering everything else, and having fun in the ring. Sami Zayn hit a spectacular Inverted Leg-Flip Sunset Flip (at least that’s what I think it’s called I mean damn) for the quick pinfall win, and I loved seeing a move that’s usually just a 2 1/2 get the 3.
John Cena and AJ Styles Promo
See, THIS is what I wanted. Styles and Cena by themselves in the middle of the ring. While I still think the build-up could have used more time, they’re definitely ready to have a match on Sunday. Cena saying “I’ve won 15 championships in my time here, but AJ has won more in the same amount of time” made up for that slight burial last week, and I think that was the purpose (speaking of burial, WWE refuses to ever mention TNA even though it’s the only major promotion they don’t namedrop every week and I kind of love it). AJ came out and did the whole “If I was here you wouldn’t have accomplished all of that…it would’ve been me” shtick, which usually I roll my eyes at, but I would like to believe that myself. AJ was young, hungry and ready back then and could have easily been WWE’s golden boy, but ended up elsewhere. Now he’s facing the “face that runs the place” in his yard, and it’s going to be riveting. Short buildup or not, get ready for it.
I liked the option of contracts, even though I don’t believe for a second that Anderson and Gallows won’t make their presence felt anyway. Some physical interaction would have been nice too, but not totally necessary. Lets do it.
Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio vs The Lucha Dragons
If Owens and Del Rio lost, the Lucha’s would replace them in the MITB match. You knew that wasn’t happening, but it was still fun to see Owens and Del Rio get all up in each others face the whole time. Kalisto and Sin Cara flew around the ring, got beat up a lot…their typical role in a match with bigger guys like that. The match ended after Kalisto missed a suicide dive to the outside, and Owens hit a Pop-Up Powerbomb on Sin Cara. I think. I don’t remember…any segment involving Del Rio I try to tune out. As you can tell, I really just don’t like him. Wish Owens would’ve stiffed him after.
Winners: Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose
With Cesaro as special-guest ring announcer, Del Rio as special-guest timekeeper (because why not) and Owens and Zayn on commentary, there was ALOT happening here. This match got less time then their match at Payback and significantly less time then Extreme Rules (thank God), and because of that it was quite enjoyable. We’ve seen these two wrestle a bunch of times lately so there’s not a lot to be surprised by, but there wasn’t really any time filler so it felt a little more complete. The guys on the outside made it interesting…you knew it was going to break down but you didn’t know when, and I’m glad it happened after Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for the pin and the bell rang. Then all hell broke loose and that was great, but I was Zayn would’ve rolled onto his back or something after that plancha off the top. I mean damn, talk about uncomfortable. Oh, and then Jericho went up the ladder and got the briefcase. Because reasons.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
A really fun show with some great action. MITB itself will be more entertaining, but if tonight didn’t get you somewhat excited, I don’t know what will. We’re in for a hell of a show…it’s officially summer season for wrestling and I am pumped to be a part of it.