June 12, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Following last week’s incredible shock ending, Raw opens with The Authority in splendidly smug form, as they reveal that they have a “blockbuster announcement” concerning Daniel Bryan. Steph loves the boos, almost as much as the dude sitting directly behind Michael Cole loves her, as he happily brandishes a crudely-made sign each and every time he’s kind of on camera. A totally real doctor named Dr. Maroon, with a human spine displayed behind him in his office AND a book called “The Spine” on his bookshelf (so we know he’s legit) then pops up onscreen to inform us that Bryan will not be competing at Money In The Bank because he’s still in recovery.
The crowd are, understandably, not happy with this announcement, but Steph tries her best to placate them by reminding them that an A+ recovery cannot be expected from a B+ player. Trips then weighs in by succinctly stating “this is not the Daniel Bryan fan club, this is the WWE“. On that note, it’s time to strip Bryan of his title. One dude is so pissed at this development that he wipes his nose on his sleeve. Shocking. But who is he to protest? It’s best for business, the show must go on, and now that there’s no Bryan, we’re going to get to witness the first ever ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship at MITB. Speaking of which, there will be a series of qualifying matches tonight for participation.
The camera pans up to show off the two belts hanging ominously over the ring, as Trips reveals that Alberto Del Rio has already earned a spot in the match, following a bout on Smackdown, and also that Randy Orton will be taking part too, because he’s best buddies with the boss and all. Triple H then reminds us that, although we rubbed it in he and Steph’s faces when Bryan triumphed at Wrestlemania, they won in the end because he has proven himself not to be champ material and isn’t even here tonight. On another note, fuck The Shield! Seth Rollins managed to adapt, instead of perish, and now Trips believes in him instead of those other two loons.
A replay of what happened at the end of last week’s show does not go down well, but it’s awesome to watch Rollins’ betrayal unfold again. Unfortunately, his teammates now have to face The Wyatt Family in a 6-Man tag team match – since they’re down one man, it’ll be more of a handicap match, heh heh heh. Trips reckons they’re going to whimper into extinction, which doesn’t sound like a reaction either Ambrose or Reigns would have to anything, but whatever. “Rollins adapted, and tonight The Shield will perish” he finishes off by saying, as the camera pans up to reveal a guy in a Bray Wyatt cosplay that is so good, it wouldn’t be at all shocking if he stood up and started pontificating from the crowd.
World Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Match@ MITB: Sheamus -v- Bad News Barrett
The first match of the night – also the first qualifier – pitches two dudes against one another who really should be getting their own shots at this. Sheamo emerges first, proudly displaying the US Championship belt that we’d all forgotten he’d won because that match was so goddamn dull. Barrett is then introduced as “B&B” by Cole, as though he’s a charming spot by the seaside for old people to stay in, and will soon be showing up on Four In A Bed. He gets much more of a pop than his Irish opponent, obviously, and his bad news is that he’s going to destroy whoever else is trying to qualify, which again isn’t bad news at all. Also, when he wins the belts, he’s going to live at the top of the ladder forever, which sounds painful, uncomfortable and very lonely. Sheamo is distracted by the belts at first, giving Barrett the opportunity to deliver the first blow on what is, by all accounts, a brilliant, well-paced, and incredibly entertaining match (in spite of its disappointing ending). The commentators reveal that Bryan was told via voicemail that he’s no longer champ, and Cole then argues with JBL about whether Steph’s assistant is male or female – who cares, he/she is going to be fired soon enough, for no reason, anyway. Sheamo goes for the Ten Beats early on, but Barrett counters with an impressive left hook. He launches off the steps to tackle Sheamo, who turns it around to deliver the Ten Beats, followed by a brutal Suplex. The graphic for this little tournament is adorned with leaves, so it looks a bit Greek for no apparent reason, which makes it seem as though these guys should be fighting in togas. As the match builds to its conclusion, Sheamo goes for the Irish Curse, but Barrett still has more life in him and kicks out of his pin to deliver the Winds Of Change. Barrett then steals a look at the belts, visibly trying to catch his breath – there are so many near-falls this match, it’s a wonder neither of these two crawled up the ramp after. Barrett dodges the Brogue Kick and knocks Sheamo out of the ring. He recovers long enough for Barrett to deliver the Wasteland on him, which Sheamo follows up with the White Noise. It looks like it’s all over as Barrett sets up for the Bullhammer, and the crowd go absolutely nuts. He sends Sheamo flying into the barricade, but somehow, he recovers to utilise the Brogue Kick to win.
Winner: Sheamus (at least it was a great match, though)
Up next, we get a nice little Wyatt promo, during which Luke Harper gets to talk for a bit about being a pariah and satisfying certain urges and whatnot, before Bray takes over – leading the crowd to cheer as though he’s been absent for months – to tell us that The Shield suck now. The Wyatt Family will never be broken because they’re an actual family, as opposed to simply three men in combat gear who call themselves “brothers”. Also, his urges will never be satisfied, but that has nothing to do with The Shield. Poor old Erick Rowan tries to be all menacing with his “follow the buzzards” line but that damn sheep mask makes him almost inaudible, so it comes out more like “follow the beards” which could feasibly be what he’s saying, either.
Alexander Rusev -v- Zack Ryder
Woo-hoo, another bloody squash match. Not that Zack Ryder deserves any better because he’s so annoyingly one-note, but Rusev’s match with Big E was so much more involving because, for once, it seemed as though he might be up against someone who could take him. Lana emerges first, does a little twirl, and tells us that Barack Obama is not a real leader, he’s a sissy and a girly man who oozes weakness. To solidify this point, she shows footage of Obama working out, which isn’t particularly incriminating until it’s juxtaposed against photos of Vladimir Putin in full karate gear, and then riding a horse topless. After much booing and “USA” chants, Rusev emerges, with his weight announced in kilos because he’s from Europe. At least he has learned one line in English, so now he can kind of introduce himself, but he’s still too enthusiastic waving that flag around. Ryder doesn’t get an entrance, but he tries his best to fight Rusev off for the twenty seconds they’re in the ring together. The Accolade ends it again, as a giant Russian flag hangs majestically over the ring.
Winner: Alexander Rusev (again)
After refusing to speak on last week’s Smackdown, Rollins is going to break his silence tonight and explain why he left The Shield. Finally he can speak first. Take that, Ambrose!
Tag Team Match: Rybaxel -v- Goldust & R-Truth
Another stupidly short match, the intention of which is to convince us the whole Rhodes Brothers story has legs – but really, with The Shield breaking up, how can we possibly care about any other team? Cody watches backstage nervously. Rybaxel wear their friendship hats and show off just how good they’ve got as a tag team. They’re not as tight as The Usos just yet, but they’re getting there. Ryback focuses much of his energy on poor old R-Truth, before he and Axel double team him. Goldust eventually tackles them to break it up, but still somehow loses.
Winners: Rybaxel (this match was so short, they could’ve kept their hats on)
Backstage, Layla is busy getting ready and talking as though she’s auditioning for Made In Chelsea, when Summer Rae shows up to throw cream on her and ruin her hair/dress. It’s hard to hate Summer when she’s dressed like a beaded lampshade, it really is. The action quickly moves back to the ring, where 3MB are standing around, looking awesome as always. Heath Slater claims The Shield are supposed to be there to talk (about what?) but apparently they’ve pussied out. Naturally, their music hits before he’s even finished his thought and Ambrose and Reigns subsequently take them out pretty swiftly. Ambrose then grabs the mic and looks skyward, as though he wants help from a higher power. He hits Reigns for no reason as he explains that they had a cancer inside them called SETH ROLLINS and that he is a big sell-out and a suck-up and a jerky jerk.
Ambrose is going to rearrange his face and pull his stinky hair. He’s scum, and he’s going to lie later, speaking Triple H‘s words instead of his own. But that doesn’t matter, because Ambrose is going to kill him. He drops the mic, forgetting poor Roman has to speak, and the two scatter to pick it up, momentarily dropping their tough guy personas. Rollins is watching backstage in an all-black suit. He looks very turned on, it has to be said. Reigns is a bit too softly spoken to say too much, but he gets a good line in about Orton being the ass of the company soon, instead of the face. “We’re going to have our own Game Of Thrones” he finishes with, looking highly aroused by the thought of sex-and-food-fuelled carnage.
Tag Team Match: The Usos -v- Fandango & Damien Sandow
Fandango is disgusted by his lady’s cream-filled hair – which isn’t usually the case – and barely twirls her as they enter. He does, however, do a nice little dance for his tag team partner, a leotard-clad Damien Sandow. Seriously, who the hell has he pissed off? He’s basically wearing nothing. Anyway, he does some interpretative dance throughout as Fandango wiggles after each move and The Usos wonder if they’ll ever get actual opponents again. “He’s interpreting grace and beauty” JBL gushes. Fandango shows off how impressively acrobatic he is by leaping around the ring, grabbing an Uso in a headlock at one point too, as the crowd confusingly chant for Sandow. There’s a dropkick from an Uso, followed by an impressive Splash from the top rope to win it for them as Fandango is chucked out of the ring.
Winners: The Usos (whoever wins, Sandow loses)
Xavier Woods -v- Bo Dallas
Sadly, there is no Adam Rose this week, so we’re just going to have to make do with Bo Dallas. Also, apparently Woods has his own entrance music, so good for him – and a beard, too! Why is Dallas’s shirt always soaking wet when he enters? Is he supposed to look shit or what? He reckons Bryan’s secret to recovery is to bo-lieeeeve, which does not go down well with the crowd. “That should cheer Daniel up” JBL quips, reenforcing the idea of Bryan watching the show at home alone, which probably isn’t really what’s going on in his house right now. Dallas manages a cool flip over Woods as he tries to catch him in a headlock. “He’s doing his best!” he tells the crowd, before winning with the Running Bo Dog – which still looks a bit rubbish – and continuing his undefeated streak, according to Cole. Is it really an undefeated streak if he’s only had, like, three opponents?
Winner: Bo Dallas (who consoles his opponent, assuring him he’ll be a “champion of life” one day)
World Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Match@ MITB: Rob Van Dam -v- Cesaro
Heyman is in the ring before we even know what’s going on, giving his 21 and one spiel again, before tricking everyone into thinking Brock Lesnar – an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, where tonight’s show is held – is coming out to celebrate his Wrestlemania victory, when really it’s Cesaro, who won that trophy thing or whatever. It’s a neat trick, followed by a dull match during which RVD showcases his weird alien/ghoul singlet and ability to flip on cue. A spinning kick momentarily disables Cesaro, before RVD flips out of the ring to tackle him on the floor as he tries to flee into Heyman’s arms. However, once we return from commercials, Cesaro has seized the upper hand, and has his opponent in a headlock. Also, Sheamo tweeted “Money In The Brogue” earlier because he’s hilarious and clever. Heyman is disturbed by RVD chants from the crowd, and even more so as he administers a nice dropkick. A chick in a Hogan tee takes this opportunity to grab her handbag and hit the toilet because, let’s face it, nobody sexy is here at the moment. There’s a great moonsault by RVD before he issues the Rolling Thunder. It’s not enough though, as Cesaro utilises a rather impressive Neutraliser to win, and a very vocal dude in the crowd seizes the opportunity to yell what we’re all thinking – “Rob Van Dam suuuuuuuucks!”
Winner: Cesaro (now he can puff out his chest even MORE)
Up next, we get a lovely Instagram shot of Randy Orton on holidays, with his legs spread and a caption along the lines of “Wish I Was There” or something else annoying. Heeling it up on holiday like a champ, good for Orton. Following this, Michael Cole has finally been freed from behind the announce table and is in the ring with Seth Rollins, who now has his own, super awesome metalcore entrance music. Rollins reckons that he created The Shield, and that is why they are the greatest faction in the WWE. He also thinks he could destroy them if he so wished. “Ambrose is a lunatic” he reveals, stating the obvious, and Reigns has lost his tough guy persona after that tea party with his kid, right!? They’re nothing without him, they’re just the “pathetic remnants” of a once-great faction.
Backstage, Reigns and Ambrose watch, brooding silently – Cole isn’t going to get to talk at all, bless him. Rollins reveals that the others weren’t his brothers, just his business partners – the crowd take particular offence to this little nugget – and he challenges them to attack as he chucks his chair out of the ring and Cole grabs a hold of his own in fear. Before they can all get stuck in though, the Wyatts show up and attack The Shield, with Bray waiting until they have Rollins cornered to show up and break it up. John Cena then appears, sticking his nose in once again in another desperate attempt to make friends, and Rollins flees like a little bitch, because Trips told him to. The Wyatts leave too, for no apparent reason.
Divas Match: Paige -v- Alicia Fox
Aksana accompanies Alicia to the ring because she can’t be trusted to compete after she almost took that girl’s eye out. Paige dominates from the get-go, even though Alicia screeches her head off and lands several digs before getting her in a headlock. Apparently, she claims to have photos of her and JBL on their wedding night, but nobody wants to see those apart from Cole so he should probably stop bringing it up so often. There’s too much screeching and hair-pulling this match – it is Divas, after all – and it almost makes Emma seem like a less annoying prospect as a result. The crowd are totally behind Paige, especially when she tackles an interfering Aksana by using her opponent as some sort of lady-weapon (that’d be a great name for an anti-perspirant). She wins with the Scorpion, which is now called the PTO, i.e. Paige Tap Out, a shit name for a decent move. Alicia is pissed about her loss once again, responding by beating up Aksana and stealing some poor bloke’s $10 popcorn and water.
Winner: Paige (who flees, understandably so)
Jack Swagger -v- Santino Marella
The best thing about The Real Americans is still undoubtedly Zeb Colter, and tonight he’s brandishing his best sign yet, which reads: “Here’s a pizza my mind – deport Santino”. In fairness, Santino sounds like that kind of racist Dolmio ad, so surely nobody believes he’s actually Italian? No matter, because Swagger has this won within moments, after a good slapping from his manager to get him in the mood. He defeats the Cobra with a simple powerbomb to win.
Winner: Jack Swagger (whens’a your deportazione)
Backstage, the Rhodes boys are having a crisis meeting. Goldust‘s make-up is still intact. Cody reckons he has the best partner for him, but we won’t find out who it is until next week. If it isn’t Sandow cosplaying as something else humiliating, I will personally lick all that shit off Goldy’s face. Elsewhere, The Authority are discussing how impressed they are with the MITB qualifiers thus far when much-missed ex-GM Vickie Guerrero turns up, champagne in hand, to celebrate not having Bryan on Raw tonight, or indeed Brad Maddox. Steph is in no mood. She throws the champagne back at her, quite literally, before threatening to fire her again.
Main Event: 6-Man Tag Team Match: The Shield John Cena -v- The Wyatt Family
Man, how desperate must Cena be to have friends – and get involved in everyone else’s business – that he’s teamed up with The Loon and The Fist? Oh right, he’s feuding with Bray, and will square up to him about two-thirds of the way through this match, thus rendering it kind of pointless within the Shield break-up storyline. Before any of that can happen, though, The Shield wait patiently as Cena does his intro bit in the ring. Some chick yells “I LOVE YOU JOHN CENA!” as the Wyatts do their little pop for the city, because she hasn’t had enough just yet. The match erupts into total carnage even before the bell rings, and it’s a total mess of bodies until Rowan and Ambrose square up to each other. Reigns tags in next, as Cena eagerly waves his hand about ringside. We then quickly move to Bray v Ambrose and the latter almost gets pinned, but Reigns intervenes. Rowan flips backwards in an impressively graceful move, as the crowd go absolutely nuts. Cena finally gets a look-in but is soon marooned – not Dr. Maroon, he’s done for the night – in the corner, taking a beating from anyone who wants a go (so, everyone then). He’s dragged to the ropes so Harper can tackle him for a bit. Cena is then put up in a Torture Rack, before suffering the might of Harper’s neckbreaker but he kicks out, grasping at his last smidgeon of energy. Reigns tags in at the opportune moment, laying waste to everyone in his path until Harper grabs him in a pin. But he kicks out and spears him to win it for them. Trips and Rollins watch backstage in silent anger, as Cena is left out of the group hug and simply nods his approval.
Winner: The Shield & John Cena (believe in the pathetic remnants)
Although nothing could match last week’s shock ending, Raw was pretty jam-packed this episode. Of course, most of the action/excitement focused on Rollins’ heel turn, but even so the two MITB qualifying matches were great – especially BNB/Sheamo – and there were some cool spots in the lengthy Main Event, even if it did turn into a continuation of the Bray/Cena feud instead of The Shield/Wyatts like it should’ve been.
Money In The Bank is shaping up to be quite interesting, but the other qualifiers will establish whether it actually will be. The fact that Sheamo and Barrett weren’t given separate opportunities to take part is annoying, but at least their match was great. Presumably Rollins is going to have a big part in it, but only time will tell on that one too. For the moment, the aftermath of his shocking turn will sate our appetites.