June 30, 2015 by Joey Keogh
After the travesty that was last week’s show, anything would seem amazing in comparison. With that in mind, this instalment of RAW opens with one of the weirdest segments in recent memory, during which Seth Rollins gifts his Authority buddies with brand new Apple watches (italicised for emphasis because that is how he delivered those words), a vacation to Hawaii and a car. He’s super smug tonight because he sees last week’s take-down of Brock Lesnar as the end of the war, instead of the beginning as it quite obviously is. Cole is all “The beast is mortal!” Poor Jamie “By God” Noble suffered three broken ribs as a result of the tussle, but this setback is worked and turned into a slight against the supposedly lazy-ass Washington, DC crowd. To be fair to Rollins, who has to cut a good, five-minute promo here, the fans don’t give him a whole lot to work with here (they cheer up later, for, of all things, a Lana segment) but he still does remarkably well. Likewise, Kane gets a good line in about lying on the beach in Hawaii and fantasising about which cute little animals he could most easily toss into a volcano, while Mercury and Noble cream their pants over the car they supposedly have to share, honking the horn and running around it in circles like little kids on Christmas morning. Later on, Kane and Rollins are going to team up for a no disqualification tag team match against Ambrose and Reigns, which will be his bon voyage present. This whole goddamn thing plays out like a Mega64 skit and it’s glorious.
Big Show Vs. Mark Henry
And now for something completely fucking dull. Why oh why are these two fighting yet again? Why is Miz on commentary? Why should any of us care? It’s the usual from these two big ol’ lumps of Play Doh; nothing too exciting happens and they mostly show off how strong they are by pushing each other down a lot. Show wins, Ryback shows up on cue, he’s all “I want Miz NOW” and Miz is like “No, later! We have a match later on!” like he’s just read the schedule wrong.
Winner: Big Show
Ryback Vs. The Miz
Miz is scared shitless of Ryback – so much so that he flees the ring almost as soon as the bell rings – but that doesn’t stop him staging a kind-of comeback in the second half of the match. Of course, The Big Guy is a Big Dummy and ruins it all by really obviously calling shit without even bothering to hide behind the privacy of his hand, thus rendering everything that comes after (Miz runs away, essentially getting himself counted out on purpose) totally pointless. Who’s excited for their stupid match at Battleground!? Hello? Anyone?
Winner: Ryback (by count-out)
Divas Match: Paige Vs. Alicia Fox
Paige is back! And she’s brought her BFF, Foxy, who has a match all on her own tonight instead of just valeting the stupid Bellas who, by the way, are the worst dressed women in the history of women dressing themselves. This is a decent match, with some good back-and-forth, a respectable amount of interference from the attention-seeking Bellas that doesn’t overshadow what these two actual competitors are getting up to in the ring, and a nicely nasty ending when, after hitting a gnarly combo of a running knee, succession of clotheslines and superkicks, Paige steals the win with a simple roll-up pin.
Cena’s Neverending Open Challenge: John Cena Vs. Cesaro
Cena is yelling at the cameraman again. This time, he wants to share his recipe for home-made kale crisps. At first, it seems our old buddy Kevin Owens is about to take up the challenge but then he loudly thinks better of it, wisely deciding to save their fight for the upcoming PPV. Instead, the always welcome Cesaro is here to take a whack at it and what transpires is easily the match of the night; a cruel, furious, and rough and tumble bout that, although the Swissman doesn’t stand a chance of winning, still puts him over as one to watch. We look forward to the day when Owens is the US champ and can fight Cesaro for real. For the moment, he’s kicking ass on commentary, consistently steering the conversation back towards himself by constantly reiterating how capable he is of beating Cena, infuriating a totally confused Cole in the process. There are some gnarly spots, including a couple of sharpshooters, a springboard stunner, the Swing, a mental Canadian Destroyer by Cena (again) and a crazy Superplex by Cesaro that almost breaks Cena in half. Funnily enough, though, it’s the quieter moments when the two are trading simple blows in the centre of the ring that translate best. The end comes when Owens interrupts just as Cesaro is set to steal the victory (okay not really, but you know) and hits him with the Pop Up Powerbomb. He knocks Cena out too and then hops on the mic to reiterate, once more, that the title is his at Battleground.
Up next, Bray Wyatt cuts a creepy-ass promo from his broom closet lair during which it is evident he has major daddy issues. Hopefully he’ll turn up later and elevate this RAW from “okay” to “decent”. We can but dream.
8-Man Tag Team Match: The New Day & Bo Dallas Vs. The Lucha Dragons & The Prime Time Players
In case you live under The Rock, Bo Dallas got his ass beat by Rocky at a house show a few days ago. This has no bearing on what happens in this match but then again neither does the fucking Terminator movie and that’s sponsoring the Main Event. It’s great to see so much great talent on display and this is a solid bout from start to finish, with cool spot after cool spot after cool spot. PTP dominate from the outset, particularly Titus, who dwarfs everyone around him. It’s nice to see the Luchas back in action, too, as their presence was sorely missed in the fledgling tag division (unlike the – dare we speak its name – Usos). It’s lengthy, there are some great double team moves and the ending makes total sense. It’s anyone’s game at the PPV, as well it should be.
Winners: The Lucha Dragons & The Prime Time Players
The following segment suggests that Ziggler and Lana intend to “go public” with their blossoming relationship, which begs the question: what were they doing up until this point? Do PG make-outs on national TV not count as “public” nowadays? It wouldn’t surprise me if Ziggler was holding off re-signing his contract because of being stuck with bullshit angles like this. Seriously, who cares about this shit? Even Rusev doesn’t seem particularly invested and he’s the most convincing actor of the lot. His ace card is Summer Rae, who can work the mic better than a Bella and has the moves in the ring too, slapping Lana and brawling with her on the mat for a bit. Hopefully they get a match after this, because that would be awesome. Elsewhere, Ambrose is talking to some Terminators when Reigns shows up and he morphs into a Mafia don right in front of our eyes in order to give him some guidance for their match later. Speaking of which, are they legally required to use the full title of the match every time they mention it? It doesn’t seem very natural to be like “later on in our this kind of match opposite all of these people I will now name” but maybe that’s how people talk when they’re trying to impress robot replicas, I don’t know. To me, Ambrose is like Poison Ivy to Reigns’s Bane and he’s obviously managed to push his big button because the Superman storms off, full of fire, to beat up some punks and steal their Turkish baths-set lair.
Neville Vs. Sheamus
Before we can get to the Main Event, we have this odd little match to endure. It mostly involves Sheamo waving around his clearly Tayto-filled briefcase for a bit before pummelling the hell out of poor Neville simply because he can. He obviously relishes being heel and he does a good job of selling the two of them during this, even when he’s pounding the Geordie into the ground. In fairness, this is the way it always should’ve been. Sheamo beating up dudes half his size just makes sense. As JBL is wont to remind us, he used to do it every Saturday night in Temple Bar for free.
King Barrett Vs. Jack Swagger
A lot of jobbers are being dragged away from their shopping mall duties to appear on RAW tonight, with the latest being poor ol’ Swagger who does not look at all impressed to be here. Barrett reckons all of his opponents should bow down to him as the King, but Swagger would rather launch himself at him instead and he soon pays for it by eating a Bullhammer. At the very least, it’s good to see Barrett winning. Even when it makes no sense and doesn’t advance his storyline whatsoever.
Winner: King Barrett
Main Event: No Disqualification Tag Team Match: Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns Vs. Seth Rollins & Kane
I am happy to report that, unlike every other supposedly no-DQ match in modern WWE history, this one does not involve polite tagging in and out. It’s a mess from the outset and that is exactly how we like it. Cole yells about it being no disqualification throughout, as though he can’t quite believe it himself. There are Kendo sticks and tables and mental spots galore, but the most exciting moments come towards the end when Wyatt interrupts, stopping Reigns from pulling his stupid succession of Superman Punches on everyone and allowing Kane and Rollins to double team Ambrose with a chokeslam and a Pedigree to win. However, it doesn’t end there as, weirdly, the action continues with Reigns magically making a recovery from whatever stopped him saving his buddy from a beating, and cleaning house. But then Kane chokeslams him too and Rollins gets in his face and taunts his unconscious body and he wakes up and there’s more running away but then The Authority realise Reigns is outnumbered and round on him again. Even Noble gets some kicks in, bless his heart. Reigns is chucked into a strategically-placed table and Rollins is shocked he’s still alive. He hits another Pedigree on him for good measure. The crowd are totally asleep and want to go home. The match ended, like, ten minutes ago but suddenly Wyatt is here again to hit the Sister Abigail on Reigns and then drag his lifeless corpse around for a bit like a weirdo. It’s not the worst end to a show, but the fact that it was one of many means RAW ends on a whimper, instead of a scream.
Winners: Seth Rollins & Kane