September 11, 2014 by Joey Keogh
This week’s episode of Raw is the SEASON PREMIERE, but don’t worry if you didn’t catch that the first time we were told it’s the SEASON PREMIERE because we’re going to be told it’s the SEASON PREMIERE approximately seven million times before the three hours are up – it’s even part of the commentators ill-judged sign off. Tonight is kicking off with a steel cage match between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho that is being pitched to us as the culmination of a summer-long rivalry – funny, considering these two only met about two weeks ago for the first time.
Legendary talk show host Jerry Springer is in the house, and he’s going to be doing an intervention between the Bella sisters because WWE have already paid Madame Tussaud’s to use his waxwork in the show and where the hell else are they going to position it, aside from between two screaming females? The Main Event won’t feature John Cena, for the first time ever, and is instead a rematch between Roman Reigns and Randy Orton. But never fear, Cena is here, and he is going to be doing something later on, too. Hopefully it will involve his two main strengths; rapping and shilling hideous merchandise.
Steel Cage Match: Bray Wyatt -v- Chris Jericho
The cage has the best entrance music, let’s be honest – King is hard for it, he gets goosebumps every time it plays (apparently). It makes Jericho’s look dull in comparison. Speaking of entrance themes, the classic Wyatt one is still the best by far – nobody wants to hear that weird, Kid Rock knockoff. Bray has some man cuddles with his swamp brothers before he enters the cage, doing a little dance inside to psyche himself up. Jericho has no time for such trivial pursuits (though he’s a big fan of the board game, according to his stats), he’s here to fight and he’s on fire before the bell has even rung. Wyatt goes for the door early on, belying the fact that he’s supposed to be afraid of nothin’, while simultaneously pointing out that the rules of this match no longer make any sense. The crowd are totally behind Jericho throughout, but that doesn’t stop Wyatt from laying into him. There’s a cool ensigury by Jericho, leading to a near fall, as the commentators repeat the rules of a cage match over and over instead of calling the goddamn thing. Jericho scales the cage, but Wyatt remains in hot pursuit, pulling him back before he’s even popped his head over. He then gets chucked into the side for his trouble. Wyatt tries to escape over the top himself, but Jericho positions himself under him before tipping over and backdropping him into the mat. A super-cool lionsault by Jericho is the standout spot of the match but Wyatt counters his attempt to put him in the Walls, before crab-walking to the door – surely just walking normally would’ve been faster and easier? Jericho starts to go for the top again, the two spar on the top rope for a bit, he eventually makes it up but is blocked by Wyatt’s disciples, who are circling below like alligators. Or maybe crocodiles, depending on the region. Seizing the opportunity to outdo his lionsault from before, Jericho looks around, shrugs nonchalantly and then leaps off the top of the cage for a massive Splash that leaves Wyatt lying motionless on the mat, and Jericho clutching his knee in agony. As a result, he has to use the ropes to drag himself towards the door. He’s stopped by Bray, and the two hang out of the doorway fighting for a bit as Wyatt focuses on Jericho’s knee. He then falls out to win. Once he’s done celebrating for ten seconds, Wyatt and his brothers use the door itself to beat the shit out of Jericho before a Sister Abigail sends him back to the locker room in pieces. It’s worth noting that the assembled crowd in Baltimore, MD really couldn’t give a shit about this match. Sad, really, considering Wyatt never wins.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Backstage, Corporate Kane and Seth Rollins are discussing how great the match just was when Trips turns up to stress that this is the SEASON PREMIERE. The crowd go nuts for Randy Orton – probably because he’s still not wearing pants – but he’s using a weird voice tonight, almost as though he’s auditioning for a really dreadful TV movie about gambling addicts. Perhaps this is his bedroom voice? Trips gives him permission to do…something to Reigns later. It’s all very ominous. The four of them cackle maniacally as the camera fades out – okay, they don’t, but they should. Come on, would any of us actually be surprised at this point?
Next up, Dolph Ziggler is here! In a blazer! He wants to discuss the recent celeb nude photo leak, which affected everyone from A-List to Z-List stars, including everyone’s favourite nobody, The Miz. Ziggler reveals three photo leaks of Miz, all of which appear to have been taken in a spacious hotel bathroom. The first features him giving himself a facial, the next him shaving topless and finally, the one that is not revealed until Miz himself and his stunt double Damien Sandow turn up to give out about the invasion, him getting his butt fake-tanned. Miz is using a weird voice tonight too, and he looks wicked tired but how can we blame him following this invasion of privacy?
Apparently, those photos were taken in the privacy of his own home, for “medical purposes” – funniest thing Miz has ever said ever? – and JBL reckons Ziggler shouldn’t have shown them at all because “My mom watches this show!” It looks as though it’s all about to kick off, quite literally, as Sandow advances on Ziggler and is dropkicked for his efforts. Miz flees as Ziggler follows up with a Zig Zag. However, he returns just long enough to back away slowly as Ziggler dangles the belt in front of him. As you do.
Divas Tag: AJ Lee & Paige -v- Natalya & Rosa Mendes
AJ and Paige play so well off each other, even when they’re just entering the ring, that it seems unfair they didn’t get their own match to show off in advance of the PPV. Instead, they’re stuck with the Total Divas, only one of whom can actually wrestle. There’s a fat lad in the crowd waving a Union Jack as Paige enters, even though the restraining order is supposed to keep him from entering the building at all. Nat and Paige kick things off, but Rosa is tagged in before it can get interesting. She and Nat double team Paige before she flips Rosa over, climbs up her slowly and then headbutts the shit out of her. Two chicks in the front row are cheering for AJ throughout – it must really suck to be the dudes screaming for Punk behind them. Paige lands on her butt and yells “Ow!” before AJ tags herself in and wins the match easily with a Black Widow, out of which Rosa taps after a respectable two seconds of struggle. AJ and Paige squabble for a bit before each taking a turn to kiss the belt – if this moment isn’t giffed by now, we’re all doomed.
Winners: Paige & AJ Lee
Backstage, on the medical set, Jericho is chatting about his knee with the doctor when Orton shows up and pummels him, out of nowhere. The doc flees the room as Orton chooses from a variety of voices before landing on “menacing villain” and telling Jericho simply “It’s the season premiere” Paul Heyman strolls out next, to explain that he is an advocate for Brock Lesnar and he has, therefore, allowed him to go back into hiding while he speaks at length on his behalf. He’s interrupted by Cena – a bit too soon, for my liking – who, like Candyman, appears once his name has been uttered enough times in front of a massive live audience. Cena is nodding sagely at someone off camera, and some chick is really excited to show off the glossy pic of him she just spent forty quid on at the merch table, so much so that she’s waving it enthusiastically the whole time.
Heyman offers to explain to Cena how he can beat Lesnar, but he already knows, yo! After all, he’s stronger than Taker, because we haven’t heard from him in months and yet Cena was back the following night to demand a rematch. For once, Cena uses that tiny, hideous dish cloth he insists to bring to the ring every time by offering it to Heyman, as a gift for Lesnar. Heyman explains that he’s too John Cena, and that’s the crux of his problem, before chucking the towel away in disgust. To beat Lesnar, all he has to do is give into temptation and turn heel.
Heyman then attempts to get Cena to turn on the audience by goading him, and them, by going all “yo yo yo, rapadoooo” but it’s to no avail. “The Devil sold his soul to me a long time ago” Heyman cryptically tells him, “Give in to beat him. I believe in you” Is Cena kind of the Harvey Dent of this situation? How odd. He eventually tells Heyman to shut up, that he knows his game and he won’t give in because he’s in it for the kids. All he knows is “Eat. Sleep. Be John Cena. Repeat” He doesn’t want to change, because of Make A Wish and military propaganda and shit. The crowd are loving how passionate he is, but this is really just the same ol’ shit and it way overstays its welcome tonight.
Next week, either Lesnar shows up or Cena is fighting Heyman. But is that really the kind of threat that the biggest face in the company should be making?
Sheamus -v- Seth Rollins
Sheamo is up against Cesaro at Night Of Champions, but first Rollins is going to warm him up a bit by allowing him to beat his ass all over the ring, starting by knocking his beloved briefcase out of his eager hands. This is a really random match-up, but whatever. There are a lot of kicks from Sheamo to start with, before a classic Suplex and then a flurry of uppercuts as he seeks to strand Rollins in the corner. There’s some great offence from Rollins as he turns it around to pummel Sheamo. A rolling senton from Sheamo is overshadowed by what appears, at first, to be a fire drill but is really just Cesaro entering the arena in a suit. Sheamo utilises a Battering Ram from the top rope, as his soon-to-be opponent watches quietly from ringside, looking very regal indeed. There’s a great Irish Curse as one lad dances up a storm, mistaking Raw for a mid-2000s era school disco. Cesaro distracts Sheamo by stealing the belt, leading to a near fall as Rollins seizes the opportunity to pin him. Sheamo and Cesaro then fight over the belt a bit before Sheamo unexpectedly lets go, sending Cesaro flying and allowing Rollins another opportunity to curb-stomp him to win. Cesaro picks himself up and removes some of his clothes, to the delight of one female in particular, before delivering a Neutraliser on the already-comatose Sheamo and then holding the belt aloft proudly, as he probably will do again at the PPV.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Speaking of which, Rusev is set to go up against Mark Henry at Night Of Champions so it stands to reason that he and Lana are given this allotted time to discuss Putin and play the Russian national anthem yet again, even though Rusev himself is Bulgarian. The best part of this whole bit is when King sits on the floor and sulks out of defiance. He refuses to accept any anthem apart from his own and Cole, clearly, feels the same sense of national pride.
NXT Takeover Tag: Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville -v- Tyler Breeze & Tyson Kidd
In honour of NXT Takeover this Thursday, there’s a sweet little tag team match starring four dudes who really fucking want it. The difference between it and a tag match later is kind of staggering. This one is loaded with cool spots and near falls, not to mention the fact that each participant plays a role, right down to the hilarious Breeze, who starts off the match posing on the ropes. Much like Fandango – who WWE are apparently getting a bit tired of – he can really wrestle in spite of his silly gimmick, but this is Neville’s match and the Geordie spark plug is phenomenal, even in the quick couple of minutes he’s given. A standing moonsault is incredible, while his Red Arrow, which wins the match for he and Zayn, is even more inspiring on this, bigger stage – hopefully this isn’t the last time we’ll get to see it on Raw. During this match, it’s revealed that Kenta will be debuting this week, but no word on Prince Devitt, or Fergal, as he is soon to be known.
Winners: Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville
Following that super-cool little surprise match, the mood dips significantly as the whole Jerry Springer/Bellas angle unravels. Hey, remember when Springer was on Sabrina The Teenage Witch? That was both funnier and cleverer than this. It was also about ten years ago, as was his guest spot on The Simpsons. Although it was very kind of Madame Tussaud’s to allow Springer’s waxwork to be used in this segment, and the audience go nuts as it’s wheeled out – even more so than they do for Steph who openly admits to thinking Baltimore is a bit shit – none of this makes sense, or is any fun. Brie’s new music is weird, and she can’t walk in heels, but Springer doesn’t know the difference between “stage” and “ring”, so really these are the least of our worries.
Nikki’s boobs turn up and repeat the whole “died in the womb” bit, with the emphasis sort of in the right place this time, before making a reference to being a “second class sister” because that’s totally a thing. There are some Total Divas spoilers, for those of us who are still only getting the first season on E! right now, before the opinions of Mr & Mrs Bella are revealed. Finally, brother JJ is introduced and takes Brie’s side. Brie looks kind of aroused by him, so here’s hoping he’s only her brother by blood. Her delivery is way off, as per usual, but soon it doesn’t matter as both JJ and Springer are tackled – JBL wonders aloud who cares about the brother being hit, which is amazing – and Nikki loses her shoes again. Then, she tries to steal Brie’s, and you know RIP Jerry and all that.
Tag Team Match: Goldust & Stardust -v- Los Matadores
Considering how awesome the NXT tag was, this is embarrassingly dull. Before it can get started, though, The Usos are in the little confessional box demonstrating how that wonderful sense of humour evident on their Total Divas appearances is not always so obvious. There’s a nice bit of teamwork from the brothers Dust and Stardust wins it for them with the Dark Matter. The matadors, on the other hand, are barely conscious – they don’t even have their bull with them. The Usos tackle the winners on the ramp as they try to exit following their victory and nobody cares.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
Adam Rose -v- Titus O’Neill
From one, non-match to another, this time with added bunny! If the bunny were slightly more built, one could reasonably assume that this is a bit of a Dr. Moreau situation and that Punk has infiltrated Raw for his own amusement. Sadly, it’s just some attention hog who is somehow deemed more important than the actual participants. What’s really upsetting is that the WWE think Rose is more fun than Fandango. Anyway, the bunny superkicks Heath Slater and Rose utilises the Party Foul to win and then the bunny does a Splash from the top rope and we all die a little inside.
Winner: Adam Rose
Renee is flirting up a storm with Roman Reigns, whose delivery is more assured the harder he clutches his vest. There are lots of snake metaphors during this segment. It’s very rude. A Lesnar promo follows, during which he looks a bit like a lobster and his manager Heyman a jolly walrus. There’s some grainy, black-and-white footage of his battle with Cena because of all the blood that was involved. Won’t someone please think of the children!? He’ll be on next week’s episode, though, so no Heyman match. How disappointing.
Main Event: Summerslam Rematch: Roman Reigns -v- Randy Orton
As wonderful as it is not to have a Main Event starring John fucking Cena, and as much effort as these two put in tonight, this is all a bit samey. Orton’s entrance takes so long that he’s still in the middle of it following the commercial break – if his song continues to loop, does he just keep posing or..? Reigns gets a rapturous reception, as always. To his credit, Orton is on fire tonight, ending up covered in sweat and with a blood goatee by the end of the match as Reigns tries desperately to fight him off. Kane and Rollins start by watching intently backstage, but naturally they subsequently up to intervene. Before that can happen, there are some cool spots from Reigns, including a crazy Samoan Drop that some dude is enjoying a bit too much, as he leans over the barricade, drool dripping from his chin. Orton’s defensive tactics are nuts, but Reigns refuses to let up on him. Orton tries for the RKO, Reigns counters with a Superman Punch and the match ends in a DQ as the other authority figures turn up to cause shit. They all go for Reigns as the cage is slowly lowered once more, leading to one of the scariest moments in Raw history as Rollins is centimetres away from being impaled by a massive spike as he attempts to enter the ring underneath it. Jolting back in obvious fright, he regains his composure long enough to enter the ring via the door, but is visibly shaken. Reigns Spears Orton, then hits Kane with a chair that was unknowingly supplied by one of his own cohorts. Seemingly with a death wish, Rollins delivers an awe-inspiring Splash from the top of the cage that is even more impressive given how close he was to dying just moments beforehand. Orton lays into Reigns with a chair before lining his head up for a curbstomp that Rollins is only too happy to provide.
And that, friends, is how the SEASON PREMIERE of Raw went down. It was, to be completely fair, a pretty decent show tonight with only a couple of, mercifully short, dud matches. Everything is building nicely towards Night Of Champions even though it doesn’t have the best card as of yet. Adding a Bella to the only decent Divas feud is kind of a death sentence, and nobody really cares about Cena/Lesnar unless he’s literally going to murder him this time, but Reigns/Rollins should be good and Ziggler/Miz will have some decent spots at least.
Speaking of death, Rollins’ near escape is the main talking point this week – and for good reason. He came way too close, and thankfully we didn’t learn what would happen if a wrestler became impaled on a spike live on TV but the fact we almost did is enough to give any reasonable person shivers. If you’d like to relive that moment, the gif is above. Otherwise, the SEASON PREMIERE was pretty good, in particular the NXT tag which showcased some of the best talentson that show, some of whom deserve to be moved up to the main roster sooner rather than later.
There’s just one more episode of Raw to go before the PPV, so really all bets are off right now. Night Of Champions isn’t a huge draw anyway, and with the Main Event what it is, there isn’t really enough of a push behind it. But there’s still one more week to go, and everything could change in that time.
Follow Gorilla Press on Twitter: @Gpressonline
Follow Joey on Twitter: @JoeyLDG
Check out more of Wrasslor Monkey’s awesome gifs: @WrasslorMonkey