There was an awesome NXT Women’ invasion against the established Divas, Brock Lesnar kills J&J Security and Kane… and there were some matches to build up this Sunday’s PPV – it’s this week’s Raw Report…
Raw once again starts with The Beast’s music hitting and out stride Brock Lesnar and (My name is) Paul Heyman, with J & J’s car from last week by the ramp, looking a little worse for wear. The crowd unleash a huge “Suplex City” chant, a live Raw is always more fun with a good crowd. As he does every time he’s on Raw, Heyman lets rip with another stunning promo, only to be cut off by Seth Rollins, with Kane in tow. As good as Rollins is on the mic, no one comes close to Heyman’s stunning ability. Rollins tripped over some of his words, but he covered well. We are also treated to a one sentence line from Lesnar and Heyman then gets the crowd going against Kane with some amusing comments regarding being the “baby brother” of The Undertaker. Kane then sets up a contract signing, and Heyman threatens the heels that they should not envoke the 11th amendment: never purposfully antagonising The Beast.
1. Randy Orton & Ryback vs. The Big Show & Sheamus
A match low on high flying but high on brutality, which would’ve been more enjoyable without The Miz on commentary. There was limited lumbering from The Big Show, one big advantage of having him in a tag match is we don’t have to endure much of him. Miz interferes via the mic, and unbelievably we see The Big Show run at pace after the little motormouth. Ryback gets hit with the KO Punch from Big Show, but is up shortly after without really selling the move. Sheamus then gets hit with a RKO and a top rope big splash, Orton & Ryback win via pinfall.
Backstage, Rollins unloads his worries on Kane regarding the contract match, Kane “has a plan”.
2. Dean Ambrose Vs. Bray Wyatt
Ambrose gets an upgrade from last week’s dud match that he was forced to endure. The match, however, never happens, Reigns sneaks up and delivers a beat down on Wyatt after weeks of enduring the same from Wyatt, after a Superman punch, Bray hits Reigns with his lantern and the oddly straight to commercial.
Team Bella are in the ring as we return, and we have to suffer Nikki on the mic, prattling on about her championship reign. She’s interrupted by Stephanie McMahon, perhaps the only person capable of competing with Heyman for mic skills currently. I’ve been saying for weeks, watch NXT and the Divas in that program are a class above their Raw counterparts. Well finally, we get to see that. Paige is called out, followed by back up – Becky Lynch, a stunning performer and the Nature Boy’s daughter, the genetically superior, Charlotte Flair, Woooooooooooo. The Diva division finally gets some new blood. Naomi and Tamina then stroll out to complain and then the NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks then joins us. For the first time in years, the diva division could be genuinely exciting. The Bellas are surrounded and chaos is unleashed. Team Bella end in 3 different submission moves from the 3 NXT divas before scuttling away, leaving the other 6 women facing off. A tremendous segment.
The New Day are in the ring when we return from commercial, briefly with the crowd on the side. But they do what any good heels do and pick on the home town teams.
3. The New Day vs. Prime Time Players & Mark Henry
As if Titus wasn’t powerful enough, Mark Henry joins PTP to man handle New Day early on. Titus takes a beating from New Day, but Mark Henry eventually delivers the worlds strongest slam for the win.
4. King Barrett vs. R-Truth
Again, the talented Barrett is lost in the mid card. I’m not sure why this feud is still going on, it’s progressing neither man. If the match wasn’t bad enough, Barrett loses it too. R-Truth wins via pinfall. If WWE announce King of the Ring next year and don’t gain any new subscribers, this is the reason why.
John Cena comes out for his U.S. Open Challenge. Rusev answers the call and thank God we don’t have to sit through another helping of Dolph & Lana this week. The Bulgrian Brute is back in action, only for Kevin Owens to come out demanding a match. Owens and Rusev bicker, very amusingly, then Cesaro comes out, the three of them start brawling while Cena watches on.
5. Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Rusev
Cena is on commentary with the winner facing Cena later on. Bizarre mentality to have the babyface fight a wounded man who’s already wrestled a match, but whatever. Cena actually points this out. Three top performers should make for an exciting match, all men very athletic and we are treated to some stunning moves, cannonballs and flying uppercuts. Glorious. Unlike other triple threat matches, these three talented men find a way of interacting without one sitting out “hurt”. The match was fantastic, there was even a stunning double German suplex from Cesaro. If you don’t watch anything else on Raw, watch this match, the power and ability of all 3 men was awesome, especially Cesaro. Owens eventually has enough, leaving Cesaro and Rusev to battle it out, which they did with superb entertainment and astounding strength. If Cesaro can either get a top quality manager or polish those mic skills, he could be set for great things. Rusev wins via pinfall.
6. John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. title
Honestly, I wanted a third dose of Cena vs. the Swiss superman as their previous encounters have been the matches of the year to date. This should be a walk over, Cena fresh against a weary and battered Rusev, this can only be an anticlimax after the match that went before it. Somehow Rusev ends up with Cena in the accolade, about to tap, Owens to the rescue, delivering the pop up power bomb to Rusev, wanting his title shot at Battleground.
The competitors of Tough Enough are on stage and, when the Diva division gets a huge upgrade, one of the greatest of all time comes out, Lita! Some Tough Enough promo ensues, next match please.
Stardust gets a weird promo on his return, he’s met with a huge pop, no doubt partly for his recent loss, his Dad, the late, great Dusty Rhodes. Suprisingly, Stardust is still doing the gimmick.
7. Neville vs. Stardust
Has Neville had a bad match yet since his promotion to Raw? Of course he hasn’t. The talented Brit never fails to deliver. Stardust himself is no slouch either, he’s acrobatic, athletic and very talents. This was an extremely pretty, easy on the eyes match. Stardust is shaking his head throughout the match, perhaps signaling that he’s going to drop the character and just go back to being Cody Rhodes. It would be for the best, quite frankly. Stardust wins via a roll up and a chunk of Neville’s tights.
The main event of Raw saw Rollins comes out for the contract signing again with Kane. Rollins starts complaining, building some heat, then showing a video of his destruction of Lesnar 3 weeks ago, before delivering his own rallying call. Enter The Beast. Once again, Heyman shows everyone how to deliver on the mic, building on Lesnar’s recent babyface turn. Rollins and Lesnar sign the contract, before Heyman spots something and Lesnar turns the tables, literally, on Kane’s plan, before giving the hidden weapon to a nervous looking Rollins. Rollins bites, Suplex City is unleashed! As an F5 is imminent, Kane saves Rollins and a beat down on the Beast starts. Lesnar rallies and Kane suffers an F5 on the concrete floor, Rollins runs and destroys the helpless Kane. The Beast holds aloft the WWE championship, a sign of things to come? Rollins returns once Lesnar leaves, playing the big man on the mic, followed by picking on the pain stricken Kane. The story here is that Lesnar has killed J&J Security and Kane – so Rollins has no one to back him going into Battleground. Which was remarkably similar to the storyline going into his last match with Dean Ambrose…
A pretty decent edition of Raw, but not the killer go-home show it needed to be. Many of the matches have zero heat going into them, leaving the card to be saved by just one match.