Mr. Money in the Bank gets a new fued, Kevin Owens reiterates his undeniable brilliance and Brock Lesnar powers back onto our screens…
Raw opened recapping the previous night’s touching tribute to The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. WWE got this right at Money in the Bank with an emotional moment of silence and another excellent video tribute package. As Luke Owen wrote in his MITB report, if you didn’t cry at WWE’s tribute, then you’re a robot. Even after seeing it for the fourth time, I was on the edge.
After the opening titles, Seth Rollins, as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, comes down to the ring. He happily cackles and shouts “What I tell ya?! All by myself!” He says that his best is better than Ambrose’s best and that it is crazy just how far he has come. Bringing out a tiny scrap of paper, claiming he wants to thank all those that have got him where he is, he repeatedly thanks himself, reiterating that he can now be independent. It’s nice to see Rollins strong for once, and not the sniveling sell-out we’ve been given so far. Not that I’m expecting it to last long. Then, unsurprisingly, Rollins is interrupted as Dean Ambrose’s music hits to a nice pop. The two brawl on the ramp and Ambrose gets the early upper hand. Rollins attacks the injured knee before scampering off with the title. Ambrose gets a chair, places it in the ring and says he won’t leave the ring until Rollins returns.
We’re then cut to the Authority, as Rollins complains to Papa Paul, who says he has everything under control. The power couple argue with Rollins about whether he needs their help anymore and claim that they’ll have a new challenger by the end of the evening.
Sheamus’ music hits, interrupting Ambrose’s sit-in. Personally I’m very happy that Sheamus is the new Mr. Money in the Bank, even if he doesn’t know what to do with it yet. He cuts a boring promo, telling us again what the contract can do.
1. Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose
Sheamus goes straight for the injured knee, as the commentators comment on Ambrose’s tricky situation. The action is back and forth, with Ambrose wincing with pain after each offensive move. Ambrose goes to the top rope, but Sheamus hits the bad knee, turning the situation into a rolling senton. A Cloverleaf submission is applied, further injuring the knee, and the commentators remark on Sheamus’ ruthless nature. Ambrose inevitably rallies, “on one leg!”, before Sheamus decides he’s going to leave. Orton then charges down the ramp distracting the Irishman, who misses with a Brogue and gets rolled up, allowing Dean to get the win. Another brawl then erupts between Orton and Sheamus, with the former getting the upper hand. An RKO is blocked, as Sheamus runs away with his new shiny briefcase. Well, there’s a new rivalry. At least we might see Orton on TV for a while.
Another backstage segment with Rollins, as he rubs his victory in J&J’s faces. He offers to bring them back on board, but Jamie says Joey should be number one contender. Seth laughs it off and Joey finds his voice, getting in the champ’s face.
Another short Dusty Rhodes tribute follows, showing his World Heavyweight Championship victory, and promoting the Celebrating the Dream documentary following RAW.
2. R-Truth vs. King Barrett
Truth comes out as King What’s Up, fully dressed in bargain-basement regal attire. Barrett, dressed in most of his MITB outfit, is in a foul mood as usual. Truth gets on commentary, not realising that he is in the match. Truth has certainly hit a rich vein of form, entertaining every time he’s on screen. The match is quicker than a hiccup. Barrett mauls Truth, swiftly setting up a Bull-Hammer, before Truth gets a roll up victory. 2 matches, 2 roll-ups. Yippee. King Barrett then lays out Truth, shouting that he is making a “mockery” of his kingship.
There’s then a crappy backstage segment with Machine Gun Kelly and all the superstars and Divas nobody cares about.
Someone everybody cares about however, is Kevin Owens, who strides to the ring. Apprently Cena is injured, but whilst Zayn was out for months, it seems Cena will be back a lot sooner. He is Super-Cena after all. Owens says Cena disrespected him after the MITB match when he said “You belong here.” Owens doesn’t need any ‘veteran’ to endorse his presence. Owens is his own man. Owens calls for a rematch, for the US title, which will surely be the rubber match between the pair. As there’s no Cena this week, Owens issues another open challenge.
3. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler
As the match is being announced as a NXT Championship match, Owens holds up proceedings saying he never offered to put the title on the line. A very different Owens match ensures, as he dominates the smaller man, throwing him around and onto the ropes with expert heel tactics. Ziggler takes some shots too, dumping himself and Owens over the top rope. Though this is a decent match, with Owens tossing Ziggler around like a ragdoll, it isn’t quite of the quality we were treated to the night previous. Dolph skips out of the way of a Pop-Up Powerbomb, hitting the NXT Champ with a Zig-Zag. Owens kicks out after Ziggler takes time to cover him, and Owens wins with his finisher. A very entertaining ending to a decent match with a result that will do no harm to either man.
Backstage again with the Divas, as Paige has called a meeting. She calls for the Divas to take a stand against the Bella Twins, essentially calling on the continuing Give Divas a Chance trend. Paige asks for help in her 2-on-1 match against the Bellas later, before they interrupt and trash-talk. Nobody will help Paige after the twins name-drop Stephanie.
4. Randy Orton vs. Kane
An odd match between two of the Money in the Bank losers, with little importance other than to sell Orton vs. Sheamus, and give Cole opportunity to bring up issues yet to be discussed. We are treated to all of Orton’s standard move-set, just in case we’d forgotten it due to his in ring inactivity. We hadn’t. As Orton sets up the DDT through the ropes, Sheamus comes down and Kane, as the Director of Operations, turns the match into a No Holds Barred match. Sheamus attacks Orton, hitting him with a Brogue and allowing Kane to score the pinfall victory.
After a short backstage segment between Kane and Rollins, where Kane grabs Rollins by the throat after the Champ mentioned his family, we see another classic Dusty moment; this time for his highly-emotional Hall of Fame induction.
5. Big Show vs. The Miz
On commentary is the Intercontinental Champion Ryback who makes a amusing point about the “Please Retire” chants Big Show is receiving. With Ryback rather humorous on commentary, Miz runs circles around the ring, making Big Show play possum. The World’s Largest Athlete catches the Miz and goes to town. Show ends up tossing the Miz into Ryback, resulting in the Big Guy getting in Show’s face. As the two square off, Miz rolls back into the ring, winning via count-out. Though the match was awfully tiresome, the three-way rivalry is becoming surprisingly entertaining.
To promote Wyatt vs. Reigns at Battleground, Reigns cuts a promo before the match. He is “pissed off” after MITB, and calls out the Eater of Worlds. A ‘live’ Wyatt video plays instead, with Bray as cryptic as ever. A summary of the main points: Wyatt is good. Roman is bad. Bray is entertaining to watch, but his speech is nothing new, until he brings out a family photo of Roman. He claims “Our fun is just getting started.” An odd feud awaits.
6. Paige vs. The Bella Twins
#TotalDivas used to promote this match. Typical 2-on-1 affair as the commentators ignore the in-ring action to discuss MITB. The Bellas dominate early on, making use of their numbers, before Paige gains the upper-hand. She isolates Brie, knocking Nikki off the apron, and would have won if not for Nikki breaking up the pin. A Rack-Attack seals a pinfall victory. Keep moving… Nothing new to see here…
Thanks to a lot of mid-card mess, that’s six matches down and only one worth watching…
The fast-forward button is required in the next segment as Machine Gun Kelly performs, and a lot of shouting occurs from his backing person. Trust me, it’s worse than Flo-Rida. However, Owens comes out to antagonise MGK at the end of the performance, ending with the rapper being Power-bombed off the stage. An pleasurable end to an awful segment.
7. The New Day vs. Neville and The Prime Time Players
The New Day are chipper despite losing their titles, inciting the Power of Positivity. A quick PTP video shows the pair’s innate charisma, even if they do look strange with the titles. Despite an enjoyable affair, the show by this point was severely dragging. Three hours is a long time. Neville bounces around the ring before the match descends into anarchy, with a Darren Young Gut-Buster setting up Kofi for a Red Arrow. Nothing special, even if all six men are worth watching.
Ambrose and Kane then chat about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship before a final Dusty Rhodes video.
The main event segment saw The Authority come down to the ring to announce a new #1 contender. The commentators discuss the many possible challengers to Rollins title, before The Authority apologise for Owens’ actions. Unfortunately, we may not see him on Raw for a few weeks. Hunter dashes our dreams claiming that Joey Mercury won’t get his title shot, and neither will Jamie, Kane or Ambrose. Rollins steams down the ring before the Authority can announce who hi challenger is. Rollins claims it doesn’t matter who his challenger is, and Hunter agrees, praising the champ for having beaten Orton, Reigns and Ambrose. They talk about Rollins like an “investment”, questioning whether it is worthwhile them pursuing.
As Hunter claims “The pressure is on”, Lesnar’s music hits to the biggest pop of the night. Lesnar and Heyman enter to a truly impressive reaction and take their mantle as the hottest product in sports entertainment. Lesnar stalks around the ring, burning his eyes into the champ. Heyman ominously shakes Hunter’s hand, as the champ and challenger stand silently in the ring. Rollins can’t meet Lesnar’s stare, looking more sheepish than ever. The exchange is an overwhelmingly tense moment, as Rollins slowly retreats and Lesnar advances. Lesnar reclaims his spot as the top dog in the yard, as Rollins, terrified, skulks backstage. Cole confirms that in five weeks at WWE Battleground it is Lesnar vs. Rollins.
A wordless statement from the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion speaks volumes.