July 28, 2015 by Joey Keogh
This week, we’re in Oklahoma, so you know what that means: cheers for the faces, boos for the heels, y’all. RAW OK kicks off with a replay of the Taker/Lesnar feud that seeks to ascertain why the Deadman is only mad at the Beast now, about a decade after his Streak was broken at Wrestlemania. It turns out Taker is mad that Lesnar has been bragging about breaking the Streak, not that he actually broke it, which makes way more sense when you think about it. The Authority start the shenanigans off proper with the massive, earth-shattering announcement that this year Summerslam is scheduled to be a whopping four hours long. And it’s free on the Network to new subscribers, so prepare yourselves for some filler. Tonight is, supposedly, a night of firsts, with Owens taking on Orton, Ambrose taking on Big Show (huh?) and so on. Why are Steph and Trips announcing all the matches? Was there no other way to fill this time? What kind of opening is this? And here come the questions. Rollins soon interrupts to explain how he wants all the Triads and the ugly women on one side and all the fine women on the other. Cena shows up on cue, of course, to be like “what side do I belong to?” and to demand a title shot because the writers have no memory of that promo he cut last week about the US championship being so prestigious. He’s tired of that belt now and he wants Rollins’s. Cena is doing his annoying fake Southern drawl for the crowd (who eat it up), as per usual, but he’s also kind of talking like a cowboy too so it’s even harder to take him seriously. But some bad shit happens to him later on so I won’t dwell on it too long. Steph leaves it up to the fans to decide whether he gets a shot, they vote overwhelmingly in the affirmative and then she’s all like “Gotcha!” and she and her hubby give the two lads a regular ol’ Main Event match instead.
Dean Ambrose Vs. Big Show
Please give Ambrose a proper storyline. For the love of all that is good and right and just and fair in the world, just give him something to do besides sell to a heartbreaking extent in a nothing curtain-jerker with Big Show. These two spend much of the match undressing each other, which is a bit weird. One kid really hates Show and does a sad thumbs down as he enters. Miz is on commentary and keeps making it all about him, to a mostly amusing extent. Ambrose almost wins with a DDT but Show keeps knocking him out of the ring and then he over-sells the struggle to make it back in and in the end he doesn’t after eating a KO Punch. Snore. Following the match, Show can’t resist taking another shot at him but Ambrose fakes him out and sends him flying face-first into the barricade instead.
Winner: Big Show
Fandango Vs. Neville
Fandango is still alive and he has a fucking move-set! Seriously, this match only lasts about ten seconds but he fills it with as much offence as he possibly can, in spite of the fact Neville obviously has it won from the outset. He steals the victory with the Red Arrow, but not before Fandango makes a case for himself as a force to be reckoned with – and not just on the ballroom dancing circuit. Stardust cuts a promo after the match during which he channels Leto’s Joker. It’s unfortunate. He’s out for Neville’s blood and the Geordie is understandably confused by the sudden hostility towards him.
Divas Match: Paige Vs. Sasha Banks
There are two women’s matches tonight; both lengthy, both great, both necessary. Right before this one, there’s some banter in the locker room about who’s hot and who’s not. Becky only gets one line and flubs it, but that’s okay, nobody can really make out what she’s saying anyway. There’s also a short Sasha Banks promo because, apparently, nobody knows who she is yet. The match itself is terrific, with both women showing off what they can do in spite of an annoyingly dead crowd. It’s made up of great, awe-inspiring moments of pure skill as opposed to just spots (although Paige Splashes out to tackle all of Team B.A.D at once on the outside and it’s pretty cool). Banks mocks her opponent with some ill-advised talk of home ownership but, again, nobody really takes much notice. It’s a hard-fought battle on both sides but in the end the current NXT women’s champ takes the win with the Bank Statement.
Winner: Sasha Banks
Up next, Rusev is here to shower his new lady “Hot Summer” with gifts, namely a puppy named Dog Ziggler and a dead, headless fish named Lana (“Take the fish” he instructs, like this is a totally normal situation to find oneself in with one’s new boyfriend). Its namesake soon arrives, complete with new, totally-real ponytail to call bullshit and a girl fight naturally ensues. Although this angle is kind of irritating for the most part, it’s at least a showcase for Summer Rae‘s considerable comedic talents. And, if we’re building to a match with her and the fake Russian lady, even better because they look as though they could do some serious damage to each other. Immediately after this segment, we’re given the unfortunate news that there will be no Lesnar until next week, which may go some way towards explaining why RAW is shorter than usual.
Tag Team Match: The Lucha Dragons Vs. Los Matadores
A super-colourful match, both literally and figuratively, that sees bodies flying through the air faster than candy out of a piñata (is that racist? These people aren’t really from where they claim to be from, anyway, so who cares, right?). The Prime Time Players are on commentary but they don’t really do much until The New Day show up, brandishing a sign that reads “Real Mega Dad Of The Year”, to taunt Titus for his recent win. They soon flee once he reminds them just how big he is. Kalisto utilises the distraction to grab the win for his team.
Winners: The Lucha Dragons
The newly-reformed Wyatt brothers are here next, to cut a promo about how our mommies and daddies don’t really love us because they lie to us all the time. Cole isn’t quite sure what happened with The Wyatt Family last time, thinking for some reason that Harper ran off when really his bro set him free, so to speak. Harper also says things tonight and comes across pretty well in doing so. There’s one particular shot, zoomed in, just of Wyatt’s hat and fur collar where he looks like a proper Bond villain. He and Harper blame Reigns for everything. Don’t we all? He doesn’t show up tonight, at least, so maybe they have in a basement somewhere.
Divas Tag Match: Charlotte & Becky Lynch Vs. Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox
The second ladies’ match of the night is loaded with great spots, with Nikki, in particular, hungry to show off what she can do against the NXT upstarts (who are often presumed more talented than their main roster counterparts). She and Becky lock up to start, but that’s about as slowed down as the match gets. Hopefully, some day, we can slow down on the wolf-whistles during women’s matches too, eh? Foxy hits a rad Fisherman’s Suplex, and Charlotte Spears Nikki mid-boast but there are more great moments than bad, yet again, in this match and the ending makes everyone look super-strong too as Becky nabs a win with the Disarmer.
Winners: Charlotte & Becky Lynch
Kevin Owens Vs. Randy Orton
Just in case you thought we were rid of the whole Sheamo/Orton angle that’s been prevalent for the last fucking decade or so, the Great White is on commentary, in a waistcoat, for this match and man does he have a lot to say. Owens is weird without his belt, he looks kind of sad and lonely, but that may be because of the side-eye he’s getting from the military man in the front row. He and Orton shit-talk for a bit without mics, which I kind of like because it lends a more realistic air to the proceedings even if it does mean they could just be saying “Rhubarb” over and over again. They lay into each other immediately once the bell rings, each man set on decimating the other to prove…something. Orton has had a real fire in his belly since his re-return and he comes across very well here, selling his own offence and Owens’s move-set in equal measure. Sheamo, on the other hand, calls Cole “Mick” and pronounces “viper” like “voipah”. He also enjoys Owens beating up Orton a bit too much. The Viper utilises a brilliant combo involving two clotheslines in quick succession followed by a powerslam, but just when it seems he might have it in the bag, Sheamo hits him with the Brogue Kick out of nowhere and it’s over. Then, Cesaro charges the ring and starts raining down uppercuts on everyone. Hopefully this is leading to a feud, too, because that would be really great, particularly while Kidd is still injured as it’d give Cesaro something worthwhile to do in his absence. Owens nails him with a Pop Up Powerbomb and Sheamo exits the arena looking very pleased with himself, parading the MITB briefcase as he does so.
Main Event: John Cena Vs. Seth Rollins
Unless you live under The Rock, you’ll know Cena broke his nose live on RAW this week. But before that he’s telling Renee all about why he loves the US championship again, confusing everyone who thought he wanted that other belt. There’s a load of heat for Rollins, who dominates from the outset until Cena hits a gnarly DDT, turning the tide momentarily in his direction. It’s a simple knee to the face that breaks his nose, but don’t worry if you missed the impact the first time around because we get about ten replays immediately after the fact while Cole yells “It’s definitely broken!” as though Cena just revealed he’s expecting a baby or something. To his immense credit, Cena gets his nose dabbed up a bit and then finishes the match like a trooper, blood squirting everywhere. There are a number of believable near falls as he and Rollins struggle to wrap things up as quickly as possible, without making it too obvious that they’re doing so, with Rollins hitting a Superplex followed by a Suplex in the middle of the ring. In fairness, this is probably one of the best places this unfortunate incident could possibly have happened because Cena was already over as fuck with this crowd so, by the time he finally locks Rollins into the STF, they are absolutely euphoric. There’s one final shot of the Superman, bloodied and exhausted on the mat, but only once he’s finished thanking the OK fans for sticking with him. As much as it probably pains most of us to admit it, it’s a pretty special moment from an undeniably dedicated performer.
Winner: John Cena