September 22, 2015 by Joey Keogh
Night Of Champions was an uneven show, but there were still some notable shocks including a personal favourite of mine: Bray Wyatt actually winning a match for once. It’s he who opens tonight’s RAW, in some sort of Devil horns-adorned hat that is later revealed to be a hood. Check your local Hot Topic to purchase something similar but by no means less cool. He’s clearly thrilled to be there, and delivers a gut-wrenching promo, calling out Roman Reigns. Unfortunately for us, Reigns comes out and makes fun of Wyatt and his bros for hailing from the swamp. He suggests fighting in a non-match with no ref, and Wyatt reluctantly agrees. They unload on each other for a bit before the other Wyatts, Ambrose and, oddly, Orton get involved.
The whole point of this opening is to showcase how nobody stands a chance against Brown Strongman besides Roman Reigns. You see, only Reigns’s patented Superman Punch (the most exciting and innovative move since the KO Punch) can stop the big man in his tracks. That means Reigns is our only hope! God help us all. Backstage, Rollins is working up the nerve to enter The Authority‘s dressing room and is shocked to discover it is Kane waiting on the other side for him once he does. Jovial and welcoming, the DOO doesn’t recall what happened last night and, now that he’s rested up after his Hawaiian vacation, he wants to get back to work and has scheduled Rollins for the Main Event tonight.
Before that, though, we have the curtain-jerker, starring Neville, The Lucha Dragons, Stardust and The Ascension. The heels get jobber entrances and there’s a weird “slippery rope” botch that reminds me of a spell Aunt Zelda did once to stop a guy from leaving her. This match is over-long and nothing of interest really happens, but at least the crowd are awake enough to chant for Cody. The faces win because sure. Why is this first, exactly? Backstage again, Rollins has located Ma and Pa and is regaling them with his run-in with Kane earlier. They’re all like “why you ackin’ so cray cray?” because they reckon his re-match with Cena for the US title is a good thing and that he should be focusing on it instead of telling these lies about Kane and masks and people making matches who have absolutely no authority to do so.
Bo Dallas faces Ryback in the second match of the night, and actually comes off remarkably well from it considering it’s a pile of festering garbage. This is mostly because he hitches his positivity wagon to new IC champ Kevin Owens, who is on commentary and is already the hero of the night because he refuses to acknowledge Michael Cole. Dallas tells The Big Guy he sucks, but he doesn’t end up paying for it too much because he does actually suck. And, after Dallas inevitably loses, Owens rushes the ring and attacks Ryback. Next up, Ric Flair is here to celebrate his daughter winning the Divas championship last night, calling it “the proudest moment of his entire life/wrestling career”.
Things get a bit emotional when she comes out to bask in the glory of it all, until Paige, resplendent in cleavage-enhancing new ring gear, turns heel on her ass and calls Charlotte, and the rest of the division, out for sucking dick to get ahead, relying on their daddies to win the belt and just plain sucking. It’s a very AJ Lee-esque moment, but she makes it her own and fucking hell it’s good to see the girls finally getting some sort of story-line. Nikki and her crew show up soon after and the Queen BITCH cuts a great promo too, but sadly it’s her sister in the next match against the champ, not her, and it goes a bit slowly as a result.
To be fair to Brie, she does the best she can here, but let’s face it, if her opponent weren’t as good of a fighter, she’d look a hell of a lot worse. They get enough time to show off a bit, she does kind of heel it up, and the ending, which sees her tapping out of the Figure-8, makes total sense. The match that follows, on the other hand, features Sheamus opposite Mark Henry and is about as entertaining as you’d expect. After he’s cleaned house, Sheamo opines, while clutching his briefcase protectively to his chest, that he’s the real world heavyweight champion and that it’s only a matter of time. He gets very red. Even redder than usual. So you know he means business.
Kane has a “world’s greatest DOO” mug and it’s amazing but Steph and Trips treat him like he’s a special case when they sidle up to him backstage for a quick chat about where the hell his mask is. He’s all like “what mask?” They understand he wants to get revenge on Rollins, because that’s totally normal, but he has to be good otherwise. Elsewhere, Paige runs into Nattie who seems confused about whether she’s heel or face in spite of her Beyond Thunderdome getup. On the one hand, she thinks she was right to speak out like she did. On the other, being mean to people is mean. Apparently, the joke is on Paige anyway because Nattie has her own match tonight, opposite, er, Naomi.
What’s the best way to get some heat for a feud that has absolutely none? Combine it with a feud that has loads! Thus we get a 6-man tag, pitching The New Day and Dolph Ziggler against The Dudley Boyz and Rusev. It’s an absolute mess of a match, with Xavier Woods stealing the show from the outset with a show-and-tell segment involving a piece of wood he says the doctors removed from his “buttocks” after last night. It’s a lively introduction that the match itself just cannot live up to, particularly with Ziggler hitting moves that look about as powerful as Stinger’s after he’s had a big meal. He and The New Day win anyway because Vince wants us to like him again real bad, you guys.
Nattie takes on Naomi, just as she said she would, in a bout that lasts about five minutes too long and needs 100% more Sasha Banks and 100% less women dressed entirely in bandanas. The crowd are dead throughout, but we can’t even be offended on the ladies’ behalf because Nattie deserves more than this and Naomi is calling shit so loudly we can hear her over the commentators. She wins anyway, in spite of her strange attire and lack of proper in-ring etiquette. Backstage, The Authority explain to Rollins that it’s okay for people to seek revenge once they turn up for work in suits. Back in the ring, poor Big Show has something to say after his match with Cesaro that has nothing to do with explaining to us why the hell we had to sit through it in the first place.
Basically, he’s shilling his upcoming bout against Lesnar at MSG but nobody cares and my heart kind of breaks for him because he drove a monster truck through a big vat of slime at the Kids Choice Awards and he seems like a nice person deep down. But that match should not be the Main Event of anything, and Cesaro is much too talented to be jobbing to him on RAW, no matter what he has to sell to us. A spooky, ominously-scored Wyatt promo follows, during which Harper looks in danger of being swallowed by his own beard and V-Neck Von Crazy Eyes tells a story about a snake that wouldn’t frighten a toddler. Bray is good as always and seems out of place as a result.
The Main Event is the much-discussed re-match for the US title, with Rollins selling like a champ as he limps out to the ring to take on Cena. Again. He attacks him before Lilian is even done talking, which is just brilliant because she takes her role so goddamn seriously. The two of them really get into it, with Rollins locking Cena into the STF so he can power out and look stronger than…himself? It’s a hard-fought battle that Cena inevitably wins but, once it’s all said and done and he’s returned to the safety of the backstage area, Kane shows up on the Titantron to offer a thinly-veiled threat that is soon followed up by a totally different man in a mask emerging from beneath the ring and dragging Rollins down under it. A few measly puffs of smoke signal that RAW is over and we all have to go home now.
How long do you reckon they have to nearly suffocate under there before it’s safe to leg it to the locker room?