Raw came to you LIVEEEE from the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Arizona tonight (110 degrees? God help them). After Money In The Bank rocked the wrestling world last night, how will WWE follow up? You had three monumental occurrences happen: AJ Styles pinned John Cena (I don’t care how, he pinned him. That’s noteworthy), Roman Reigns lost clean to a returning Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose walked away as World Champion by cashing in his newly-won MITB briefcase. WWE’s summer season is always full of excitement and surprises, and there is no shortage of that this year. Let’s talk about it.
Dean Ambrose promo with Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Shane McMahon
“You deserve it!” chants rang through that arena. That doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it gives me chills. I’m not Ambrose’s biggest fan, but the guy is a damn workhorse and he earned that win.
Last week, he was the afterthought with Roman and Seth in the ring. Tonight, they were all on somewhat equal footing. Seth and Roman went back and forth about the same stuff that (excellent) promo revisited, while not really focusing their anger onto Dean, who again, just stood there and laughed. Shane came out to try and settle things, announcing a #1 contenders match for later in the night. Last night’s main event, being given away for free. Fantastic.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Wasn’t too thrilled about this match being given away for free on TV, but I was excited to see it nonetheless. Both came out on the losing end of last nights brutal Money In The Bank ladder match so it makes sense to have them continue to battle it out. The match itself was good, as matches between them always are, but it was the brawls after Zayn snagged the win with the roll-up that really made it riveting. They also say that they’re destined to fight forever, and after their last feud didn’t feel like it had a definite ending, a continuation is good for everyone involved. I especially love backstage brawls, so if that’s any indication of the level of intensity this is going to be at, I’m all for it.
Winner: Sami Zayn
John Laurinitis promo with Shane McMahon
John Laurinitis, who I never gave two shits about, had a Teddy Long moment, putting his name in the hat of potential General Managers of the new brands. Shane McMahon did exactly what I would have done, in a much nicer fashion, and escorted him out. Praise.
Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillians
I decided to go clean my room a bit while this was happening. Oops. But from what I saw on YouTube, Enzo took some bumps, tagged Cass in, and they won a minute or so later. Cool.
Winners: Enzo and Cass
AJ Styles promo with Anderson, Gallows and John Cena
AJ came out to boast about his win, but quickly acknowledged (sort of) that he didn’t do it on his own. He had Anderson and Gallows come down to the ring and apologize to him for not allowing him to win the match on his own, and to Cena as well for some reason. Cena wasn’t having it, his usual demeanor replaced by a stone-cold stare. No messing around, all business.
I for one wasn’t a huge fan of the finish last night. Kevin Owens scored a clean win over Cena in the first match of their trilogy, so I don’t understand why AJ couldn’t have done the same. It would’ve made the storyline that much more interesting; not only is it not nearly as predictable as what actually happened, it really cements AJ as one of the biggest names in the company. He is already of course, but a clean win over Cena would have gone a long way.
John Cena vs Karl Anderson
A complete squash match. Carl Anderson is obviously a great competitor, but didn’t get a chance to show that in a high-profile singles match against the biggest star in the company. Instead, we had another predictable DQ finish and another beatdown. All Cena did was look at the ramp, just asking for AJ and Luke Gallows to come out there to attack him. Hopefully this isn’t all we’ll get for the next four weeks.
Winner: John Cena (by DQ)
Baron Corbin vs Zack Ryder
With the exception of some minimal offense from Ryder, including a nice Missile Dropkick on the outside, this was another squash. Corbin looked strong last night in that 12-minute marathon (at least for him it was, in my eyes) against Dolph Ziggler, and I really like that they’re pushing the “boxer” aspect of him. As long as it doesn’t completely overwhelm his offense, I’m fine with it. He hit the End Of Days for the win, and shout-out to the cameraman for getting an excellent angle on that.
Winner: Baron Corbin
WWE Women’s Championship
Charlotte vs Paige
From everyone we’ve seen Charlotte wrestle so far during her reign, Paige is the one who brings the best out of her. And that’s saying something, considering she’s been in a program with Natalya for the better part of 4 months now. There’s just an intensity that the two of them wrestle with together that I really enjoy. The match was good, I just hated the predictable finish of Paige hitting the Rampaige near the rope, Dana Brook being unable to even put Charlotte’s foot on the rope, and allowing Charlotte to pick up the win via Natural Selection. A finisher that I hate.
Sasha Banks emerged after the match, officially sparking the Charlotte/Banks feud that will eventually blow off at Summerslam. She hit the Banks Statement on Charlotte, and teamed with Paige to fend off her and Dana. We’ll probably get a tag match between the four of them at Battleground, and I’m actually ok with it.
Wyatt Family promo with New Day
The Wyatt Family returned to a rousing ovation from the Phoenix crowd (ok fine, it was all for Bray). They were quickly interrupted by New Day, and a program between the two teams is clearly being set up for the near future. I don’t see them winning the tag-titles from New Day, but it’s a good way to get Bray (yes, the only one who really matters) in the ring again without having to do a majority of the work.
Rusev vs Titus O’Neil
Titus looked WAY stronger tonight then he ever has. Even after Rusev started to get the upperhand in their brawl, which usually results in a Pump Kick/Accolade combo, Titus fought back and got the better of Rusev tonight. I don’t see this ending in anything surprising, but it’s nice to see Titus look like the monster he is.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contendership
Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns
For two guys who wrestled for 26 minutes last night, this was quite good. Especially for Seth, who’s still in that phase of getting back into the groove of wrestling in front of crowds. There seems to be no trepidation from him whatsoever of doing anything involving the knee, which is good, considering a majority of his offense includes using his legs for high-impact moves, so it’s really great to see the confidence is there.
During the match, Ambrose kept going on and on and on, particularly about not caring who he faced next, even if it was both of them. That made me nervous, because I think a Shield main event should be saved for the grand stage of Summerslam. It’s going to be epic, but just like the first Shield vs Wyatts match, it’ll be an epic match on a B-rate show. Speaking of the Shield, I loved that the stat of each member being champion at one point last night was brought up. I wasn’t sure if it would be, but whether it was or it wasn’t, that’s a legendary feat, and something that every NXT kid should be striving for.
Roman hit Rollins with a Spear over the table and both were unable to get in the ring to beat the 10 count, prompting Shane to come out there and adhere to Dean’s request for a Triple Threat at Battleground. We’re in for a classic with that one for sure.
Winner: Double Count-out
The overall wrestling on this show was a little to be desired, with the exception of the first and last match, but other then that, we had some long-awaited returns, and some real follow-up to last night. The World Title picture hasn’t been this riveting since Daniel Bryan’s rise at WrestleMania 30, Charlotte finally has a credible threat to her title, Owens and Zayn can’t stay away from each other, and quite a few other interesting scenarios. Between all that and the impending brand split/draft to be held on the first live Smackdown, wrestling is really at a peak right now.