Kevin Owens defends the NXT title, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion pinned by geeks before his big title defence and more on the go home show for Money in the Bank…
Cena opens the show with a WWE Network promo, essentially. Bigging up that it’s the only place to see his re-match with Kevin Owens. As Rob pointed out in last week’s RAW report it was incoherent, made little sense and serves very little purpose other than to advertise. Just as Cena starts adding some cringeworthy rhyming to his promo, Kevin Owens music hits and the impressive NXT champion puts his title on the line in an open challenge. Whichever superstar comes out can pick a title to fight for: the NXT championship or Cena’s U.S. title. Neville’s music hits and he opts to take on Owens because he is a former NXT champion himself. Does he have to go back to NXT if he wins?
1. Kevin Owens vs. Neville for the NXT Championship
The match begins and, sadly, Cena is on commentary. 2 of the 3 most recent NXT champions, beginning Monday Night Raw, surely this just highlights how strong and successful NXT has become and speaks of the quality in that production. As we’ve come to expect from both Neville and Owens, it was a quality match, but unfortunately we had to listen to Cena robotically prattle on with little attention paid to the two quality performers in the ring. There was an amazing spot where Neville gave Owens the delayed German Suplex, which showed some scary strength from Neville. Owens eventually wins with the Pop-up Power Bomb, an exciting match that got the crowd going, but it was downhill from this point on.
Backstage, Rollins – on his own – tries to weasel his way back in favour with Triple H and Steph following last week’s outburst. The Authority aren’t having any of it and encourage Seth to beat Dean Ambrose on his own and to build him up they let him pick his opponent for the main event.
Nikki Bella as woeful as ever on the mic. How the NXT divas can put on so many matches that are equal to the men’s matches yet the crap served up by the main roster divas week in week out does nothing for anyone.
2. Nikki Bella vs. Summer Rae
This match really happened and it seemed like a mistake before it began. Summer is a poor performer and I yearned to hit fast forward. If you care, Nikki wins after a rack attack.
Reigns comes down to the ring and cuts a promo about winning Money in the Bank. He says that he used to hate the briefcase because Seth had it, but now he loves it because he might win it. Kane’s music hits to interrupt and explains he’s in the match to ensure the right person wins. Reigns tries to goad Kane into a fight but then Dolph comes out to start insulting Kane. This was an attempt to push his comedy shows. It didn’t work. R-Truth then came out and started talking about Money in the Bank, which was quite funny as he’s not in the match. They all point this out and it was the perfect comic relief for a pretty bog standard segment. Then guess what happened? The rest of the ladder match participants start appearing at predictable intervals and testing my interest. It goes on far too long. Again, where’s the fast forward button?
3. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
The match started after commercials. Solid and vicious as we come to expect from these two, even if we just saw this last week. Michael Cole even said he was having deja vu, which was hilarious. A heel turn is exactly what Sheamus needed and he’s revelling in it. Things heat up in the match and Sheamus tried to bring a chair into play, but Orton countered and Sheamus wins via DQ after Orton counters with the chair. Yep, another DQ between these two. If you don’t want either to lose, why book the match? Orton then beats down Sheamus in revenge from last week.
Backstage, Rollins is with J&J Security and continues with his ‘being able to do it without them’ stance. He calls them morons. J & J finally show some backbone and shout “Screw you” at Rollins, as well other insults. Rollins picks them for his match.
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane
Presumably this match came about after the insults hurled towards Kane earlier. Dolph performs well as usual, but mainly taking beat downs. His offensive skill set is still questionable and until he can deliver a believable offensive performance, this is as far as he’s ever likely to get. Rusev comes out to confront Lana, who is out supporting Ziggler, she falls off the ramp and hurts her ankle after arguing with the crutch sporting Bulgarian. At least she wasn’t hit by a train. Kane prevents Ziggler going to her aid and wins via pin fall after a choke slam.
We got a MizTV segment with Ryback and Big Show. I’m not even kidding. I’ll echo what Rob said last week – no one wants to see this rivalry. However, there were some amusing exchanges between the Miz and Ryback. Miz amusingly jumps The Big Show and a scuffle ensues, Ryback hits shell shock on The Big Show. This felt like they were heading to a three-way at the PPV, but it still seems to be just Ryback and Big Show.
5. Los Matadors vs. Rowan and Harper
While I like the latter, especially now they’re using the 3D as a finisher, I’m not sure what putting them against Los Matadors accomplishes. Quick and clean win to the big men, about as quick as it took me to write this paragraph.
We got another Rollins promo. Much like Reigns last week, this show featured too much Rollins. Kane and Rollins bicker, and it ends with Kane announcing he’ll be in J & J’s corner when they face off with Rollins in the main event.
6. Big E vs. Titus O’Neil
God will this RAW ever end?! Absolutely nothing of interest has happened. Big E wins with a big ending after distractions from his positive team mates. Another short and pointless match.
7. Reigns v Kofi
Thankfully, this wasn’t as pointless as the last match and was actually pretty decent. Good use of the heel numbers by New Day throughout the match, generating some good heat. Despite this Reigns wins with a Superman Punch.
8. Rollins V J & J Security
Finally, we’re at the main event. Before the match contenders comes out however, Dean Ambrose’s music hits and he enters the arena via the crowd, WWE World Heavyweight Championship and popcorn in hand. He takes a seat with the fans and sat through a fairly entertaining match. However, as fun as it was, having Rollins struggle to beat J & J before any interference makes a mockery of him as champion. If Brock Lesnar, or even Roman Reigns, were in that match, it would’ve been a swift massacre. Having Rollins struggle is an odd road to take. Eventually as he was about to hit the pedigree, Ambrose interferes by tossing him the Championship belt back, J & J score the win from the distraction with a roll up pin. Yep. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion was pinned by a non-active wrestler, less than a week before his big title match.
The post match saw Ambrose take the belt back and deliver Dirty Deeds to Rollins. Ambrose stands tall leading into this Sunday’s Money in the Bank.