June 9, 2015 by Joey Keogh
This week, for the first time in recorded history, The Authority do not open RAW. Instead, our old buddy John Cena is here to kick off yet another go-home show with a twenty-minute long promo about how much he believes in that teeny, tiny little Never Give Up tea towel. He’s in extra-smug mode tonight, blatantly wanting to piss everyone off by reminding us that he is still John Cena, y’all. In his defence, at least Cena knows when the goddamn PPV is, unlike Cole who reckons it’s in two weeks in spite of all the ladders stacked proudly around the ramp. Just when we’re all about to collectively check out, Kevin Owens shows up to once again show Cena how to cut a promo. We are tired of Cena, Kevin Owens, we are so tired. Please wake us up by killing him on Sunday. Owens sets an NXT Open Challenge, the first of its kind, and immediately Cena is like “I want a go!” like that stupid rich kid who always got to the playground late and yet seemed to be first on the slide no matter what. Owens correctly points out that they can’t fight tonight because they’re fighting on Sunday and it’s like can we give this man a medal because he is reading our minds. There’s some more bullshit about how Cena can say people suck but still be a face and, when he’s finally done talking, Owens once again says what we’re all thinking, telling him “I’m gonna ignore all that”. Whoever comes out to challenge him will have his choice of titles and, as it happens, Neville is the man who considers himself up to the task and it’s the NXT title he wants because, well, maybe he wanted the other one but we just couldn’t understand him too well?
NXT Championship Match: Kevin Owens Vs. Neville
Cena is on commentary throughout this match and, in case you’re wondering, he is exactly as dull and hammy as you probably imagine (and in that order, too). Owens stares him out of it as he raises the belt, but hops out of the ring immediately once the bell has rung. Neville, to his credit, follows and unloads on him, taking the lead in what is an enjoyably fast-paced and involving match-up (arguably the best of the night, on a crowded and disjointed card). The NXT champ is relentless, unleashing an assault of clotheslines, boots and heel classic headlocks on the Geordie powerhouse. Neville manages to reverse a fireman’s carry into a sweet DDT, before hitting a moonsault from the top rope to tackle Owens on the outside, who later manages to roll out of harm’s way when it comes time for the inevitable Red Arrow. Neville superkicks him but Owens hits the Pop-up Powerbomb to win and Cena rises slowly out of his chair in disgust. Once Neville‘s mangled corpse has been dragged safely away, Owens teases Cena by perching nonchalantly on the ropes, causing the meatiest of meatheads to roll in, in an attempt to ambush him. Naturally, Owens is too quick for him and slides out of harm’s way, knocking out a snide “U Can’t C Me” as he does so.
Winner: Kevin Owens (retaining)
Next up, we get a long-ass replay of the events of the Rollins/Ambrose feud thus far. Cole manages to mix the two of them up, which is the most exciting part of the whole thing because we’ve already fucking seen it, we watch this show every week god damn you. Backstage, Rollins is giving out about “embarrassing” Instagram pics (no, not those ones) but Ma and Pa are having none of it after he sullied their good name last week by pretending he doesn’t need them. Tonight, he’s going to have to go it alone. And if Ambrose wants to take well-placed photo ops with the belt on the rainy streets of New Orleans then so be it. Elsewhere, Nikki Bella needs to stay away from her man’s tanning supplies because she’s starting to look like a Curly Wurly. She tells Renee that she feels sorry for pasty Goths like Paige and that she looks forward to facing her for the title at Money In The Bank, because she hopes some of her fake tan will rub off on her and give her cleavage a bit more definition.
Divas Match: Nikki Bella Vs. Summer Rae
Remember that blonde girl who could actually wrestle but for some reason was buried and relegated to the girlfriend role months ago after an unsuccessful stint on Total Divas? She’s back and she has a score to settle with the WWE. Er, I mean, with Nikki. In all seriousness though, Summer Rae is a pretty great wrestler and her short time on the main roster belies her obvious talent. Tonight she launches a full-frontal attack on Nikki with a combination of kicks, boots, locks and clotheslines and, for a while at least, it seems like she might actually have the jump on the Divas champ. But naturally, the lady in charge has a match on Sunday and she must win so sadly the Rack Attack seals Summer’s fate. At least for now. Paige has seemingly been posing for her action figure during this match, as she’s in full ring gear and looks super pissed but does nothing to intervene.
Winner: Nikki Bella
This Sunday, the Money In The Bank ladder match features seven dudes but only one of them has a shot at winning and his name is not Kofi Kingston. Hot favourite Roman Reigns‘s new shirt sucks and so do his mic skills. Kane announced on Smackdown that he’s a last-minute entry into the bout but nobody cared because none of us watch that show, so he finds himself repeating himself here, in a lengthy, half-assed promo. Gems such as “I see your failures as…failures” abound. Seriously, who wants this? Who is this for? Show yourselves and let us judge you publicly for your bad taste. We know the drill by now with this kind of event; everybody takes turns coming out to wax lyrical (usually unconvincingly) about how they deserve to win. The highlight is R-Truth who emerges to celebrate having conquered his fear of ladders to take part, only for Kane to deadpan “What are you doing here? You’re not even in the match!” And, oh my god you guys Reigns is so good at fake-laughing. Almost as good as he is at descending stairs or hopping barriers or wearing creepy contact lenses. The New Day reiterate that they will all be Mr. Money In The Bank come Sunday and, as per usual, they’re too clever and funny for this bit. Orton shows up last and Sheamo looks like he’s seeing his ex for the first time after a particularly ugly break-up.
Randy Orton Vs. Sheamus
As it happens, they’re having the exact same match they had on last week’s show so if you missed it then you’re in luck. If not, then all you need to know is that both of these guys are still competent fighters, with good in-ring chemistry, who deserve much better than this but sadly there’s no real place for them right now so they have to keep having the same match over and over. The end comes when Orton scores a DQ by grabbing a chair, much like Sheamo did last week. Oh, and JBL seals Neville‘s fate by claiming he’s going to win on Sunday.
Backstage, Mercury and Noble are trying to talk to Rollins but he’s still obsessing over Instagram. When he finally does turn his attention to them, he’s super mean and, as a result, Noble is all like “Tarnation!” and “Screw you!” and somehow the three of them end up in a 2-on-1 handicap in tonight’s Main Event. And then Mercury finally speaks for long enough to tell Rollins he’s about to kick his ass. He also bitch-slaps him around a little but, hey, whatever you’re into.
Dolph Ziggler Vs. Kane
The strange booking continues with this nothing bout, which Lana watches from the ramp in a pink pyjama suit thing. Kane is super-red tonight, even more so than usual, but he hits a cool DDT early on and he somehow manages to make every near fall actually feel as though it might be the end too, which isn’t easily done. A Fame Asser by Ziggler signals the end is in sight, particularly after he reverses his opponent’s attempt at a chokeslam into a superkick, but then Rusev shows up and Lana “falls” off the ramp like the stupid woman she is and Ziggler loses as a result.
Mercury and Noble are discussing tactics backstage as the former laces up his boots under his suit. Elsewhere, Ziggler gives Lana his hoodie as she ices her foot. Up next, it’s the return of Miz TV and tonight The Miz seems to be channelling Jared Leto. His guest tonight is Ryback who, still visibly uncomfortable at his face status, momentarily considers bonding with the crowd but then thinks better of it and continues into the ring. The crowd are DOA, of course, with just a handful of bros chanting his stupid refrain about binge-eating even when you’re full and the pizza is growing stuff on it. “You’re ugly” Miz tells him, “You don’t know the value of a good face. None of these people do”. New Orleans are offended at being called unattractive but soon cheer up when Show arrives to ask whether anyone wants to see him face The Big Guy on Sunday. Miz takes a cheap shot at him from behind, after trying unsuccessfully to set the two of them off against each other (they’re already fighting in a few days!) and it all kicks off rather predictably. Happily, Ryback finds a chicken leg and finds his appetite sated, at least for the time being.
Tag Team Match: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan Vs. Los Matadores
Just before this match kicks off, Harper removes Rowan’s mask rather tenderly for him, as though the two of them are playing misunderstood villains in a silent movie. Let’s be honest, the matadors don’t stand a chance here and the commentators random references to, among other things, Beetlejuice and A Nightmare On Elm Street don’t really help matters. This bout comes to a swift end when Harper and Rowan hit a super-cool, old-school 3-D on one of the matadors (Franco? Marco? Pacino?). Afterwards, they grab a mic and chat about being scared and judged and the end is nigh and whatever else comes into their twisted brains. Their look is so unique, it’s easy to forget how good these two are at talking. Hopefully they reunite with poor Wyatt soon to give him the little push he needs, too.
Winners: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
Backstage, Lobster Kane makes fun of Rollins for being totally fucked for his match later. Rollins, in turn, confidently quotes Punk but seems slightly apprehensive regardless. Still, it could be worse, it’s not like his title has been stolen from him and is being paraded around like a Mardi Gras float, right?
Titus O’Neill Vs. Big E
The all-black tag team championship match on Sunday feels much more progressive than perhaps it should in this day and age, but no matter, all five of the competitors are fantastic and, even though they get two non-entity matches tonight, it’s still better than nothing. E dominates this bout from the start, timing some slaps during an abominal stretch so they’re in time with the chants for/against his team. Both of these guys are so huge that it just makes everything look good. There’s a crazy shoulder tackle by Titus towards the end, but E manages to steal a victory with the Big Ending.
Winner: Big E
Kofi Kingston Vs. Roman Reigns
Kofi is up next, opposite soon-to-be Mr. Money In The Bank Reigns who just ruins everything at this point, even when he’s doing something as simple as taking part in a match. Even so, Kingston seems to be kicking his ass at the start while Xavier Woods, who isn’t taking part in a match tonight, helps out by preaching from the sidelines. Reigns fights back pretty strong, but he gets double-teamed and then he laughs while he’s in a headlock, which is weirdly off-putting. Eventually, The New Day manage to distract him long enough for Kingston to nab him in a roll-up but he wins with the Superman Punch anyway because he’s Roman fucking Reigns.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Reigns waits around once his match is finished, at first seemingly to bask in the glory of his win, but then Ambrose shows up with a load of souvenirs, including a giant bag of popcorn which he offers to those around him, in hand and grabs a spot ringside so he can watch the Main Event action unfold. Backstage, The Authority are visibly displeased but they rub it in about the belt and Rollins stubbornly refuses to ask for help and stomps off to get his ass handed to him.
Main Event: 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury Vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins looks kind of lonely and naked without his buddies and his belt, while Mercury and Noble have chosen to wrestle in their suits tonight for reasons known only to them. Mercury takes the lead opposite Rollins and, in fairness to The Shield‘s trainer, he lets him have it right off the bat. Rollins manages to chuck both of his ex-security team out but they soon manage to join together and do the same to him, as Ambrose laughs maniacally and later steals the opportunity to dump popcorn on his old buddy’s head. Mercury hits a cool arm-drag, which Noble follows up with a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. However, Rollins fights back with a running powerbomb, chucking Mercury into Noble in the corner. Finally, Ambrose is pushed to intervene as Rollins lines Noble up for the Pedigree. He chucks the belt in, allowing Mercury just enough time to roll Rollins up for the win. He at least seems happy to have his belt back, until Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds and steals it once more.
Winners: Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury
The final shot of this week’s RAW, the go-home show for Money In The Bank 2015, is Dean Ambrose sat atop a ladder basking in the glory of the title. Take from that what you will.