The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 06/06/16
Live from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this is the Raw Deal for episode #1202. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for showing some girl power in that banner above. Nice shot of Lynch and Charlotte.
Raw begins with the six men in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match all standing on ladders in the ring with the MITB briefcase hanging from the rafters. It was Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio and Dean Ambrose.
Owens talked about how they were all famous except for Zayn. Jericho said he’s the most famous. Owens said they would all be in his shadow. Ambrose told him to shut up while wondering when they could start fighting. Owens said that he will get that briefcase, cash it in and become WWE World Champion. The crowd booed. He said he’d take on anybody like the Nation of Domination, Waylon Mercy, Jean Pierre Lafitte and more. Yes Waylon Mercy! What a gimmick that was.
Zayn did the babyface promo about how he would give anybody in the locker room a title shot. Ambrose said he’d fight anybody. Ambrose mocked Jericho looking weird with his scarf on and how Jericho had his legs crossed.
Del Rio told Zayn he would never be champion in WWE – he called Zayn a dog covered in fleas. Del Rio called Zayn a paperboy.
Cesaro tried to speak, so Jericho told him to shut his mouth. Jericho bragged about creating the Money in the Bank match and that he’s an expert in this match. Cesaro said if it’s his match how come he never has. Jericho said he won one. Zayn said no. Jericho said first one and then sixth one. It was going for a comedy bit with Jericho saying it was in Stupid Idiotville, so Cesaro said that Jericho’s hometown. (Note: Jericho’s never won it.) It led to a “stupid idiot” chant.
The whole thing ended up turning into a huge brawl around ringside. They brawled around the ring and then Cesaro was the lone guy in the ring. It was interrupted by the theme song of Teddy Long.
The former Smackdown GM Teddy Long stood on the stage. The crowd chanted “Teddy” for him. He said that he got the word that Smackdown is going live on Tuesdays. He messed up the “longest running weekly episodic television show” line while Jericho called him a stupid idiot. Long rambled on about suggesting different match types sounding like a crazy old man.
Stephanie McMahon showed up on the stage to see Teddy. She wondered what Teddy was talking about. Teddy said that he wants to run Smackdown again. Stephanie said that they haven’t made any decisions about who is running Smackdown. Teddy wondered if Shane was there. She said that Shane is not there – he’s on vacation. The crowd booed a bit due to Shane not being there. She told Teddy to get to steppin’ and said not to hit his music.
Stephanie made the following matches: Zayn vs. Del Rio, Owens vs. Ambrose and Cesaro vs. Jericho is up next. They played Teddy’s music and Stephanie did her awkward white girl dancing to it. Time for a break 15 minutes into the show.
Analysis: I was hoping for Teddy to book a tag match, but they’re already doing The Club vs. The New Day so I guess that’s why they aren’t doing another six-man tag. I don’t really mind the three singles matches that were set up. As for the way Teddy did that promo, I’m sure people will think he screwed up or something. That’s not what it was. It was more like an old guy being booked to sound like he’s lost his mind a bit. That’s really all it was. Nice cameo by Teddy, who is no longer a WWE employee. Congrats to Shane having a vacation. Working one day per week must be excruciating. Did he go to Puerto Rico? It’s the shining star of the Caribbean, or so I’ve heard.
Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro
They are both in the Money in the Bank match. Cesaro with a shoulder block knocked down Jericho and then did a backbreaker for two. Jericho went for a springboard attack while Cesaro was on the apron and he was met by an uppercut by Cesaro. With Jericho on the floor, Cesaro crashed dove onto him on the floor. Running uppercut by Cesaro on the floor. Back in the ring, Cesaro jumped off the top and was met by a Jericho dropkick. Two count by CJ leads to a commercial.
Cesaro hit several uppercuts on Jericho as he did his uppercut train spot. Jericho came back, went for an attack off the top and Cesaro nailed an uppercut to knock him down again. Jericho with a small package gets two. Cesaro went for a springboard uppercut, but Cesaro countered with a Codebreaker. Cesaro rolled out of the ring. Jericho rolled him back in the ring or a two count. Cesaro came back with a uppercut, slap to the face and an awesome superplex while Jericho was standing on the apron. Jericho nailed a kick off the middle ropes for a two count. Cesaro beat on Jericho with some knees, uppercuts and a hard clothesline. Jericho avoided a pinfall attempt. Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho, but Cesaro countered it. There’s the Cesaro Swing for about 15 revolutions. Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter and Jericho tapped out after about 12 minutes of action.
Winner by submission: Cesaro
Analysis: *** A very good match by two of the best upper midcarders in WWE. It was a good clean win for Cesaro, who really has some of the best moves in all of WWE. I always say that having good moves isn’t as important as selling, but with Cesaro he really stands out with what he can do in the ring. There were a couple of instances in there where Jericho looked like he was a step slow, but it’s going to happen when you’re 45 years old like Jericho is. Still a solid match. I don’t think the winner or loser really matters at this point, but it’s a way to say that Cesaro has positive momentum going into MITB in less than two weeks.
The announce team of Michael Cole, John Layfield and Byron Saxton were shown on camera.
The AJ Styles attack on John Cena from last week was shown. It’s Cena vs. Styles at Money in the Bank.
Later on Raw in six man tag action it’s The New Day vs. The Club. Some video package about Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will air next.
As they came back from break, they paid tribute to the late, great Muhammad Ali. there were pics of tweets and Instagram posts from WWE legends like Steve Austin, Triple H, Bret Hart and Shane McMahon.
A video aired to promote the Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins match at Money in the Bank. It was the point of view of Rollins. It started with Rollins saying he knew from the beginning of The Shield in 2012 he wanted to be the best of all time. He said he was the one presented with the opportunity to take the next step as the guy in WWE. They showed clips of him winning Money in the Bank 2014. Rollins said he didn’t dislike Roman – he just thinks Roman was in the wrong place at the wrong time (WrestleMania 31). Rollins said he didn’t care about Roman’s moment – he wanted his moment. They went all the way ahead to Rollins injuring his knee in November and it put him on the shelf for seven months. He said he didn’t want to part ways with the WWE Title. Clips aired of him having the surgery. Then they showed him watching WrestleMania and how he hated it. Rollins said that Reigns thinks he’s the top dog, but he’s going to have to settle for second best. Rollins said all he wants is taking back the title – he’s obsessed with it. He noted that Reigns has never beaten him for the WWE Championship. A clip aired of Rollins’ return at Extreme Rules as he dropped Reigns with a Pedigree. Rollins said it’s not his fault that Reigns is a casualty on his path to success. He said he’s been waiting for this moment not just for seven months, but for two years to prove he’s better than Reigns. Rollins said at Money in the Bank that’s what he is going to do.
Analysis: It was a great video package that covered their history well as well as comments from Rollins talking about how he’s obsessed with being champion again. What sucks is that he’s out there saying he doesn’t hate Reigns. He’s supposed to be the heel, but this felt like one of those inspiring promos where we should feel sorry for the guy that got hurt. I assume WWE doesn’t really care that Rollins just spoke as his character should. I just think you need to make him be more of a heel in a video like that. Some of those clips from the Rollins video were from the WWE Network WWE 24 show about Rollins. I wrote a detailed review about it here.
The ravishing Russian Lana introduced the United States Champion Rusev.
Titus O’Neil joined the announcers on commentary.
Jack Swagger received a nice ovation from the crowd because he’s from Oklahoma and it’s in Oklahoma City.
Analysis: This is a rematch from Smackdown and the 247 times they did it in 2014 too. Okay so that number is a bit high, but you get my point.
Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Jack Swagger
This is not for Rusev’s US Title. O’Neil said he’d take on anybody if he was the US Champion. Rusev dropped Swagger with a boot to the face. Swagger came back with a clothesline and then he took down Rusev with a with a powerslam. Swagger with a Patriot Lock, but Rusev kicked out of it and went to the floor as O’Neil called him a running man. Swagger and Rusev did a double clothesline spot on the floor. The announcers overreacted to it as a huge spot. Rusev fought with Swagger on the floor. Rusev shoved Swagger into O’Neil. Rusev went back in the ring to win by countout after three minutes.
Winner by countout: Rusev
Analysis: * A quick match that never really got going. I get why they did that finish because it was Rusev shoving Swagger into O’Neil, but it just felt flat to me. I guess this means we’ll get Rusev vs. Swagger again because they love to repeat that match.
Post match, Swagger took out Rusev by diving at his knee. O’Neil hit a boot to the face of Rusev, which led to Rusev bailing to the floor. Swagger and O’Neil did the “We the People” salute to end it.
Analysis: It’s obviously leading to O’Neil vs. Rusev for the US Title at Money in the Bank. I think WWE has made a mistake because they haven’t really put O’Neil in matches to have him earn a title shot. He’s just confronted Rusev. It could have been built up better.
Up next is John Cena at the top of hour two.
Some guy named John Cena entered. He’s kind of a big deal, right? Here’s another replay of Styles and The Club attacking Cena.
Cena spoke about how you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. He talked about the energy last week because for the first time it was Styles and Cena looking eachother in the eye. Cena spoke about how a moment like that is once in a generation. He said that what we normally have is a rowdy crowd on Raw, but what we normally have is people chanting “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. The crowd chanted that. He pointed out that last week it was “Let’s Go Cena/AJ Styles” and it’s true. That’s what it was. He spoke about how he’s only had electricity like that with only one man – The Rock. Fair point. He said a lot of people have wanted that match for 15 years and we were going to get answer to that question, but now Cena has a question asking AJ why he took the easy way out. Cena called out Styles.
Analysis: Fired up Cena promos are the best kind of promos. Much better than his comedy bits. That was well done.
Styles appeared on the ramp along with his buddies in The Club, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. The crowd chanted “Let’s Go Cena/AJ Styles” again. Cena said they had it set and he didn’t need to involve The Bullet Club. Yes he said Bullet Club (it may have been “Pull it Club” too). Styles said that he did what he wanted to do when he punched Cena in the face. Styles talked about how Cena was good at talking in the ring, but he knows that Cena can’t compete with him in the ring. Styles said when his kids would ask him why he hasn’t faced Cena it’s because he knew he could beat him.
Cena mocked Styles for saying the same thing that everybody else does. Cena said his jokes were outdated like Cena’s jorts. He mentioned Styles failing at the Royal Rumble, failing at his first WWE Title shot and failing again. Cena mentioned that Styles couldn’t get past Roman Reigns and now he’s picking a fight with John Cena. Cena told him he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.
Styles talked about how he’s been all over the world. He said that whether it was Osaka or Tokyo he would sell it out in a second because that’s what he does when he steps in the ring. Styles added that he has nothing else to prove and nothing else to lose. He spoke about how the guy with nothing to lose is the most dangerous. Cena said he has nothing to lose every time he steps in the ring. Cena wondered why is it now Cena vs. The Club.
Styles told Cena that once you face Cena and lose, you might as well get the shovel because Cena buries guys. Styles said his buddies are like his insurance policy. Styles told Cena he has no idea what he’s dealing with.
Styles, Gallows and Anderson surrounded Cena as they stood on the apron. The New Day ran down to the ring to back up Cena before anything physical could happen. The Club jumped off the apron as the crowd chanted “New Day Rocks” for the tag team champions. Cena’s music played to end the segment.
Analysis: I thought the promos were great by both guys. There was an element of truth in what both of them were saying. You could see things from Cena’s perspective and he made a lot of sense about Styles losing those matches since he’s been there. Then with Styles, he brought out the “buried” word that a lot of online fans overuse and it leads to something of an “oh shit he went there” kind of reaction because you don’t always see people doing stuff like that. As for the lack of physicality at the end, it’s cool because they are having that six man tag match later. I’m really excited about this Styles vs. Cena feud. No matter who wins the matches, they’re going to have some awesome matches. It’s definitely a dream feud that has become a reality.
The Vaudevillains were in the ring.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. Cass busted out the Muhammad Ali “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” line in tribute to The Greatest. Enzo ranted on about some other things like he tends to do. Amore talked about how he doesn’t even remember when they knocked him out at Payback. He said that he’s got a chin like Ali. Cass said they are the next WWE tag team champions. Then Cass did the SAWFT bit to end it.
Analysis: I’m glad they always get time to do more than just the intro because not enough midcarders get that same opportunity leading up to a match.
Big Cass & Enzo Amore vs. The Vaudevillains
The heels went after Enzo right away. He was able to break free against Gotch and tagged in Cass. That led to hot tag city for Cass with the fallaway slam, splash in the corner and the Empire Elbow gets two as English makes the save. English grabbed Amore and threw him into the ropes just like when Amore got hurt at Payback. You could see Amore didn’t hit his head against the ropes this time, but he sold it like he was down. Cass pounded on English in the corner. He wouldn’t stop, so the referee disqualified Cass. The match went three minutes.
Winners by disqualification: The Vaudevillains
Post match, Cass nailed a big boot to Gotch. Cass nailed his spinning side slam on Gotch. Enzo got back to his feet to hug his partner to show that he is doing okay.
Analysis: * A quick match that was more of an angle than anything. They did the hot tag one minute into it, so it was clear they weren’t going that long. The idea was that Cass was really aggressive there with the announcers putting it over in a big way. I thought it was a flat finish.
Sami Zayn was interviewed in the locker room by Tom Phillips. He said that he’s the underdog because Del Rio’s already done what Zayn aspires to do. Zayn talked about how he knows he can beat Del Rio. Then Del Rio showed up to taunt him. He just insulted Zayn again and called him a paperboy.
Analysis: Calling Zayn an underdog is what they’ve done since he’s been there. That’s his character. He’s good in that role.
Stephanie McMahon was backstage in her office with Teddy Long in there. He suggested a fatal fourway tag match for the Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Gallows/Anderson vs. Vaudevillains vs. Enzo/Cass. She wondered how Teddy even got in there. He took out some money from his pocket to say “it’s the dolla dolla that makes you go holla holla.” She told him to leave. Then she made a call on her phone telling somebody in marketing to advertise the fatal fourway that Long just suggested. She took credit for thinking of it. The Fatal Fourway tag team match is New Day vs. Gallows/Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass vs. Vaudevillains for the tag team titles.
Analysis: So we are to assume that she isn’t aware that this segment was filmed for her television show and that she told the marketing person that she came up with it? Okay then. I get that it’s designed to be a comedy thing at the end there, but the execution was poor.
Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio had control briefly, but then it went to the floor, Zayn hit a moonsault and they went to break there. It was about one minute into the match as they went to break.
Back from break, Del Rio had Zayn in a headlock. Zayn charged in the corner, Del Rio moved, but then Zayn back with a cross body block off the top rope for two. Del Rio with a Backstabber gets two. Zayn with a rollup, Del Rio got out of it and nailed a standing side kick for a two count. Zayn came back with a clothesline. Del Rio got his feet up to avoid the Helluva Kick shot by Zayn. Del Rio with an enziguri kick to the back of the head led to Zayn getting caught upside down in the corner. Del Rio went for his double foot stomp, but Zayn knocked him down. Del Rio shoved Zayn in the back to send him into the post. Zayn was upside down again. Zayn tried to fight back again, but Del Rio connected with the double foot stomp. Del Rio covered for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: **1/2 A good match as expected from them. It would have been nice if they got more time, but it was long enough. Del Rio getting the win is fine with me because I feel like he needs the win more in order to get him some momentum going into MITB. I liked the way they did the double foot stomp because Zayn tried his best to fight it off and Del Rio was able to keep him there with a smart move sending him into the post. It didn’t look cheesy like other times when ADR has done that move. I don’t think Del Rio has any shot to win MITB while Zayn has a pretty good shot although I’m leaning towards Owens or Ambrose at this point.
Dean Ambrose was shown walking backstage. Kevin Owens was there to tell Ambrose he should be worried about him. Owens said he’s known Ambrose for a while now and that lately Ambrose has been more off the deep end than usual. Ambrose wondered if he was off when he beat Owens for the IC Title as well as other times where Owens was in pain. Owens told him he needs help. Ambrose ended it by saying Owens needs help.
Up next we hear from Roman Reigns in video package form.
They aired the WWE 2K17 commercial featuring Goldberg.
The video package aired featuring Roman Reigns talking about his history with Rollins. Reigns said that they enjoyed being teammates in The Shield even though Rollins thinks he created it. He said that competitive nature is what made them friends until Rollins turned on them two years ago. Reigns said that Rollins made the choice to end The Shield. He had brothers in WWE, but now he stands alone. Reigns talked about the Rollins cash-in at WrestleMania 31 and looked upset about it. Reigns said that his family was there and he felt angry. They showed his wife, daughter and father there looking upset. He said sometimes anger is the motivator somebody can have. The video completely omitted Roman’s first two WWE Title wins. It jumped ahead to Reigns beating Triple H for the WWE Title at WrestleMania. Reigns commented on the Rollins attack by saying that Rollins only leaves him laying when he attacks from behind. Reigns said that he wants to beat Rollins to validate the title reign. He said it’s a big fight feel in Vegas and that after Money in the Bank “the champion will be the guy.”
Analysis: It was another good video just like the Rollins once was. Anybody that watches WWE regularly knows that their video packages are almost always good. Reigns is much better at talking when he’s in a pre-tape interview segment because he’s got a quiet voice and he’s not really known for being very loud on the microphone when he should. Hearing him talk like he did in this situation makes him a lot more likable. I think they should have mentioned that Reigns won his first WWE Title because he won the tournament after Rollins was out, but they completely skipped over that. Anyway, it was effective in what they were trying to do.
Dean Ambrose entered the ring as we head to the top of hour three.
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Early in the match, Owens put on Byron’s headsets and tried to talk, but Ambrose took him down with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Owens with an enziguri kick and a running senton for two. Ambrose tried coming back, but Owens knocked him back down with a superkick. JBL called Ambrose the “Energizer Dummy” as a nickname. Owens went up top, Ambrose cut him off up there and hit a superplex – it was off the middle rope rather than the top rope. Ambrose with a corner forearm shot. Owens nailed a German suplex. Owens went for a corner attack, but Ambrose nailed him with a clothesline. Ambrose went up top, Owens tripped him and Owens hit the cannonball in the corner for two. When Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, Ambrose did a hurricanrana to send Owens outside the ring. Ambrose went for a suicide dive, but Owens caught him and Owens drove him kidney first into the apron. Owens with a Six Star Frog Splash off the apron onto the floor. Fans were chanting “Fight Owens Fight” for him even though he’s the heel. Owens went for more, but Ambrose slipped out and hit Dirty Deeds for the clean win afer seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Analysis: **1/2 It was an okay match that was shorter than what their other matches have been. The finish was a bit of a surprise because Ambrose really didn’t get a lot of offense in, nor did he have much of a comeback. He just avoided an Owens attack and hit the Dirty Deeds out of nowhere to win. Once again I don’t think the match result matters that much. Everybody is winning matches on the road to MITB whether it’s in singles or tag matches.
Post match, Ambrose looked up at the briefcase that was hanging above the ring. Ambrose got a ladder from under the ring and set it up under the briefcase. Ambrose climbed up the ladder, but Owens was there to knock Ambrose off the ladder. Owens was going to climb up. Instead he just pointed at the ladder to say “that is mine!” That ended the segment.
Analysis: They did something similar on Smackdown with Cesaro climbing up to get the briefcase. In this case, Owens didn’t even bother going up. He just got his heat back by knocking Ambrose off the ladder.
Later on Raw it’s The New Day vs. The Club.
The Women’s Champion Charlotte with Dana Brooke are up next.
A commercial aired for the NXT Takeover show on Wednesday night. I’ll probably write a review, but it may not be done until Thursday morning.
A segment aired featuring Darren Young and Bob Backlund on a split screen like usual. Young mentioned running, so Backlund talked about how he stopped running back in 1978. Backlund took his keys, so Young had to walk eight hours to the next town. Backlund yelled “we’re going to make Darren Young great again.”
Analysis: I don’t know when these segments will end, but this was probably the worst one so far. They aired it originally on Smackdown last week.
The WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte entered with Dana Brooke with both of them in street clothes. A replay of Charlotte getting rid of her dad Ric Flair.
Charlotte said that every great champion admits when they are wrong. It led to her saying she wants to deliver an apology. She said “I’m sorry” but that everything she said needed to be said. She spoke about the pressure she has on her every single day. She added that when she said he was dead, she meant it professionally – she still wants to see him at Christmas, work out with him and be his best friend. She spoke about not wanting to share her spotlight as the crowd chanted “what” at her. She added that she can’t be daddy’s little girl without daddy.
Here comes Natalya for the interruption with Becky Lynch by her side. They walked down to the ring. Lynch says there’s cow dung in Ireland that smells fresher than what Charlotte is saying. Charlotte insulted Nattie’s family saying they were a trainwreck of a family. Natalya said the way Charlotte treated her father is disgusting. Lynch said that Charlotte used her, Paige and Ric Flair. Lynch said she doesn’t like Brooke, but she should realize that Charlotte will throw her in a dumpster with a knife in her back like everybody else. Charlotte said that Brooke was her protégé. Natalya told Brooke that she has options. Brooke looked at Charlotte with a serious expression on her face. It looked like what the faces said had gotten to Brooke. It led to Brooke walking away from Charlotte. Then Brooke nailed Natalya in the back.
The four women were brawling. Charlotte had Natalya trapped in a Dragon Sleeper on the mat. Brooke beat up Lynch with fists. Lynch ended up slamming Lynch to the mat. The heels posed over top of the fallen faces.
Analysis: That felt like it was a little long. It was pretty obvious that Brooke wasn’t going to leave Charlotte because it’s best for her character to still be with her. The heels beating down the faces was the right move. It’s probably leading to a tag match at Money in the Bank. I miss Sasha Banks and hope she’s back after MITB because she’s too good to be on the sideline this long. I know she had a concussion, but she’s been back at the live events. I assume they’ll bring Banks back soon to feud with Charlotte over the Women’s Title at SummerSlam.
The announcers plugged NXT Takeover: The End on Wednesday headlined by Samoa Joe defending the NXT Title against Finn Balor.
Analysis: It’s nice that they mention it, but I think it would be better if they aired a one minute or two minute video showing highlights of the key matches leading into the show.
The Club vs. The New Day later.
PLUGS: Here are links to other things I’ve written in the last week: Check out my review of the awesome Seth Rollins one hour documentary that was on WWE Network…My most recent retro review was all about King of the Ring 1996 featuring the birth of Austin 3:16 from 20 years ago…Smackdown last week featured a really good Styles vs. Kingston main event, so read all about it here…I do Q&A columns every couple of weeks. Here’s a long one with over 60 related wrestling questions…Lastly, here’s my ranking of the the 16 Money in the Bank cash-in attempts. Is the first one the best or did Seth Rollins top it? Read all about those in my Money in the Bank rankings column over at a site called The Comeback. Thanks for the support.
The Shining Stars duo of Primo & Epico did a promo into an obvious green screen talking about how people should come to Puerto Rico.
Analysis: They had one TV match against jobbers, beat them and are back to doing nothing.
The Breezango duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango entered. They had some earlier today skit where Breeze was shaving Fandango’s back. I’m not making that up. At least they have matching tag team gear now.
Tyler Breeze (w/Fandango) vs. R-Truth (w/Goldust)
I was sitting here editing something else as this started, then I start paying attention to it and the guys outside the ring ended up going in the ring. The ref called for the bell. I think it was less than one minute.
Match Result: They don’t care, so why should we?
Analysis: See my match result.
Here comes Teddy Long. He showed up with a microphone on the ramp again. Long suggested a tag match between the teams. Security came out to escort him to the back.
Stephanie McMahon showed up to see Teddy backstage. She said they’re not going to have somebody old like him to run that show. Her father wants somebody to run the show that is smart and has business acumen. She says it’s going to be her. Stephanie told Teddy to get the hell out of her building once and for all. Teddy left.
Analysis: I guess she’s back to being a heel bitch again? If she liked Smackdown so much why is she never on the show? I don’t have answers to either of those questions. It doesn’t mean she will be running Smackdown. They are just pushing the idea that she wants the job.
Up next they’re going to remember Muhammad Ali.
They showed more comments from WWE people honoring Ali like The Rock and Booker T.
A video package aired about Ali’s involvement with WWE through the years. They called him the most inspirational athlete of the 20th century. It mentioned his success in the ring and the way he tackled things in the 1960s. A clip aired of Ali talking about how he was inspired by wrestler Gorgeous George. It mentioned how after he saw George do his thing, he started talking. They showed clips of him getting involved in matches with the likes of Antonio Inoki and Gorilla Monsoon. Then it mentioned Ali being at WrestleMania 1 as well. “Muhammad Ali will always be The Greatest.”
There was a live shot of the crowd. They gave Ali a standing ovation. That’s really cool to see. Cole said that Ali and Gorilla’s interaction got him hooked on WWE.
Analysis: The video was well done. I knew about some of the Ali stuff in WWE over the years like WrestleMania 1 and the Monsoon angle, but he was involved a bit more than that too. He was a once in a lifetime athlete that was so successful as a boxer, but also did so much more as a humanitarian. It sucks that he spent the last 30 years of his life dealing with Parkinson’s. I’ve watched a lot of Ali documentaries in the last few days. His career took place before I was alive, yet his impact will be felt forever. It’s arguable that he is the most famous athlete ever.
Next week on Raw it’s the return of the Ambrose Asylum talk show segment with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as his guests.
Analysis: I’m pretty sure Stephanie cancelled the Ambrose Asylum “show” yet here it is again. I’m not sure if they care to explain things. That segment should be fun. It will be nice to see the three Shield guys in the ring together again.
The Club trio entered for the main event.
This week on Smackdown it’s Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke. They’re also doing Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho because they like to repeat matches.
The New Day made their entrance as they did a promo on their way to the ring. Kofi Kingston said if they were the Mickey Mouse club he would get autographs for his sons and himself. Xavier Woods almost sang the Mickey song, but they stopped him due to copyrights. Woods said they were in the club of WWE World Tag Team Champions. Kingston told them that their club does not matter. Big E started up the “New Day Rocks” chants.
Analysis: A basic promo from the champs. Not as funny as they usually do although good way to trash talk saying they’re the club that matters as the champions.
They started off brawling with four of them on the floor as Styles worked with Woods in the ring. Gallows nailed an uppercut on Kingston on the floor. Woods took out Gallows with a somersault dive over the top. Woods sent Styles on the apron. Anderson nailed Woods with a boot to the face. Styles capitalized with a Styles Clash on Woods on the floor. A referee checked on Woods.
Analysis: The match didn’t officially start. It was just an attack before the match to show how aggressive Styles is as a heel.
A commercial aired informing us that all nine episodes of season two of Swerved are on WWE Network after Raw tonight.
Back from break, the two remaining New Day guys wanted to do the match 2 on 3 without Woods, who was taken to the back.
AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Big E & Kofi Kingston
Kingston started with Anderson with a back body drop. Big E tagged in with a belly to belly suplex. Woods nailed a splash on Anderson on the apron. Styles went after Big E with a Pele Kick and Gallows nailed Big E to knock him down again. It led to the heels working over Big E in their corner. Gallows nailed a running splash in the corner on Big E and then it was chinlock time by Gallows on Big E. After Gallows missed an elbow, Big E tagged in Kingston. That led to Kingston going at it with Styles and Kingston was able to hit the Boom Drop on Styles. Kingston with a DDT on Gallows. Styles tried to take advantage. Kingston missed a cross body block. He avoided the Styles Clash and Kingston hit the SOS on Styles. Big E with a belly to belly on Anderson. Gallows kicked Big E out of the ring. Kingston kicked Gallows. Styles came back with the Phenomenal Forearm smash on Kingston for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Analysis: **1/4 It was a 3 on 2 match, so if the heels lost this match they would have been really hurt by it. It made sense that Styles would get the win since he’s in the featured match with Cena. I don’t think the loss really hurts New Day at all since it was a handicap tag match.
After the match, The Club attacked Kingston. Cena ran out for the save. He went after G&A. Styles was able get in a shot on Cena and then Styles was punching him. Kingston nailed Styles with a dropkick. Big E with the Big Ending on Anderson. Cena with the Attitude Adjustment on Gallows.
The heels were out of the ring, the faces were in the ring and they were all doing those evil stares on their faces as Raw ended at 11:06pmET.
Analysis: A very basic happy ending. It was so obvious that the whole thing was being built to Cena making the big save to even up the numbers game. It was a predictable finish to the show that we’ve seen many times before.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
2. John Cena
3. (tie) Cesaro
3. (tie) Chris Jericho
5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2016 Average: 5.70
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 7.5, 5, 6, 5
2016 High: 9 (April 11)
2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29/Mar. 21)
I’m giving it a 5 out of 10.
The highlight of the show was the promo by Cena and Styles. They did an excellent job of pushing the right buttons so to speak by mentioning this was a dream match and the crowds did want. They even mentioned that Cena has buried people he’s feuded with, which is what some fans might think, so I think it’s pretty clever because it’s not a normal wrestling promo.
No sign of Reigns or Rollins in the arena during the show. They were just there in video package form. I’m not sure if it’s WWE being scared of how people react to Reigns or they just want to do different things. I’m okay with not seeing Rollins in a match until MITB because it builds up the anticipation more.
The Teddy Long stuff was weird. It was as if they wanted us to forget that Stephanie was acting nice for weeks and then the acted like a control freak around Long this week. Maybe it was done to show that she’s more of a heel without brother Shane around.
In terms of matches, several of them were okay. I was just surprised that matches like the main event, Owens/Ambrose and Del Rio/Zayn didn’t run longer.
No Bray Wyatt. He was rumored to be back, but it didn’t happen this week.
Finally, great job by WWE honoring Muhammad Ali. He was such a huge figure in the sports world and even had some involvement with WWE, so I’m glad they paid tribute to him.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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