Raw was LIVEEEE tonight from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. After the news broke last Tuesday that Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days due to his first WWE Wellness Policy violation, it should be really interesting to see how WWE goes about this. It looks like the Shield triple-threat match is still on for Battleground, but how will Roman’s absence affect the build? We’ll find out tonight, along with the new developments of the ever-exciting AJ/Cena and Owens/Zayn feuds. Lets goooo
Seth Rollins promo with Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, John Cena and Stephanie McMahon
We kick off the show with Seth Rollins, making light of the Roman Reigns situation. I appreciate that, seeing as WWE could have very easily swept the whole thing under the rug and just not mentioned Roman at all until his 30 days were up. A Shield triple-threat match was and is an extremely exciting prospect, but the thought of WWE punishing Roman by adding two of the company’s top stars into the mix would make all of this even more interesting. Even so, after all the work the three Shield members put in to get to that moment, that has to sting for Roman the most. Stephanie announces Cena/Rollins and Ambrose/Styles for later on in the night, the ladder being a first-time-ever. Should be pretty great.
Sasha Banks and Paige vs Charlotte and Dana Brooke
Sasha has barely been on TV since WrestleMania and yet she is still, by far, the most over diva in WWE. Amazing. She got a good amount of ring time tonight, mostly working with Dana Brooke, really showing that badass persona. Charlotte and Dana tried to keep Paige away from her corner, but after a few nice kicks she tagged Sasha in, who locked in the Banks Statement on Dana for the win. Since they threw this match away on Raw, perhaps they have other plans for Battleground as far as Charlotte and Sasha go. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Winners: Sasha Banks and Paige
Rusev vs Titus O’Neil
After Titus’s beatdown on Rusev last week this feud is actually somewhat interesting, so the pair would face off in another match tonight. Titus started out as aggressive as he was last week, but was stopped dead in his tracks by Rusev after a few minutes, who would dominate for a majority of the match. Titus hit none of his big moves, but scored the count-out win after throwing Rusev into the Timekeepers area during a brawl on the outside. Titus was all smiles after the match, his anger from earlier in the match and last week clearly evaporated before our eyes. Four weeks is a long time, so expect a blowoff match before Battleground. Again, I don’t see Titus winning the title, so it’ll be smart to move Rusev onto someone else sooner rather then later.
Winner (by count-out): Titus O’Neil
Seth Rollins vs John Cena- If Cena wins, he is added to the WWE Title triple threat match
As usual, these two put on an excellent match. After the matches they had last summer, they could wrestle each other every week and I’d thank them for it. They started off slow, feeling each other and the crowd out before picking up the pace a bit. Rollins countered the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and mocked Cena’s “You can’t see me” as they headed to commercial, and the excellent in-ring chemistry continued after the break. After some great offense including Rollins’s new Superplex/Mitconoku Driver combo, hard punches back and forth between the two and Cena’s AA, AJ Styles along with Anderson and Gallows came down to the ring to make sure Cena would not be in that title match. After the distraction from Styles on the apron, Rollins hit the Pedigree for the win, essentially writing the Ambrose/Styles main event for itself.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Enzo and Cass vs Local competitors
Are we kidding? The match itself lasted about .2 seconds, then they spent the next few minutes making dick jokes with the Social Outcasts. Next.
Winners: Enzo and Cass
Becky Lynch vs Summer Rae
The match never got underway, as Becky would attack Natalya, who was on commentary for the match. Becky clearly would have won, but I’m fine with this outcome. Hopefully they can keep it interesting for another few weeks of TV, since this is clearly playing second-fiddle to the Charlotte and Dana vs Sasha and Paige tag match at Battleground. I’d like to see them do well.
Chris Jericho’s ‘Highlight Reel’ with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
For the first time in a very long time, Kevin Owens didn’t completely own a promo. Reason being, he had very little mic time compared to Zayn who went on and on about how they “have” to end things. Not that there was any doubt, but Zayn really is the whole package. These guys are going to tear each other apart in their match at Battleground (which needs a stipulation by the way), and after this segment, I’d love to see Jericho as a ringside enforcer of some sort. He was pretty much there tonight for the sole purpose of Owens and Zayn kicking him in the face, and I thought it was great. Jericho is at his best comedically these days.
Kane vs The Miz- Intercontinental Title match
A returning Neville or Randy Orton would have been nice, but I guess a returning “Demon” Kane is good too? The match was relatively short and saw Kane dominate for most of it. Maryse would get involved late into the match, falling off the apron and seemingly injuring her ankle. Miz, as the concerned husband, picks her up and carries her to the back, abandoning the match. She’d reveal after the commercial that she was “acting”. Yawn. Kane will probably get another shot at the title, but he wouldn’t have been my first choice even for this match. Glad to see him back in the ring though.
Winner (by count-out): Kane
Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio vs Apollo Crews and Cesaro
Alberto Del Rio was in this match, so I had a hard time paying attention. Again, it makes no sense to me that they’d have the League of Nations break up, then stick half the faction together again and have them wrestle as a team; I don’t care how much they don’t get along during the match. Sheamus did tag himself in and stop Del Rio from hitting his Double Stomp finisher, so something good did come out of it after all. Crews didn’t get as much time as I would have liked…he could have really showcased himself against both Del Rio and Sheamus tonight, instead Cesaro ended up being the recipient of most of the offense. He hit Sheamus with the Spinning Sit-Out Powerbomb for the win after Del Rio walked out on him, but I still would have preferred to see him get more of the action.
Winners: Apollo Crews and Cesaro
New Day promo with the Wyatt Family
New Day came out dressed as the members of the Wyatt Family, which I found hysterical. Xavier Woods continued his shtick of being afraid of/possibly possessed by The Wyatt’s who were not amused by any of it. The Wyatt’s winning the tag titles will not help rejuvenate their career, but a program between the two is interesting and is fine for the summer. Perhaps WWE is holding off on Enzo and Cass’s inevitable title win for a later date.
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles with Seth Rollins on commentary
I was annoyed before this match even started, cause you knew Cena was gonna cost AJ the win. It was a great match, and a program I’d like to see in-depth somewhere down the line, but there were so many factors that took away from it being one of those first-time-ever matches that are really special. Not that what we got wasn’t, because AJ and Dean’s styles are so different, but they go together so well. I didn’t sense much of a feeling-out process, and the two of them were hitting hard. My favorite spot was, even though it was super predictable, the Pele kick from AJ into the off-the-ropes clothesline from Dean. I’ll never not mark out for that shit. Anderson and Gallows came down to the ring to help AJ, but was stopped by Cena who distracted AJ long enough for Dean to hit the Dirty Deeds for the win. Anderson and Gallows hit Cena with a sick-looking Magic Killer on the stage, and Rollins hit Ambrose with two Pedigrees, ending the show with the heels standing tall.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
I was really excited about AJ and Cena potentially being added to the title match at Battleground and holding off continuing their singles feud until Summerslam, but they squandered all of it in the most predictable of ways. The matches were excellent, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have been added. Roman got away with a drug violation with a vacation and a title match waiting for him when he gets back. At least the Sasha/Charlotte and Owens/Zayn feuds were progressed well tonight. We’ll see where the WWE Title picture goes from here, but for right now it’s all Ambrose and Rollins. Lets see how they do.
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