RAW Recap/Analysis – July 11, 2016

Hi, everyone, I’m back from my mini vacation! So is, it seems, RAW.

No. 1 Contender’s Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Title

RAW opened up with the entrance of Apollo Crews to participate in the battle royal to determine the Miz’s opponent at Battleground. Miz welcomed everyone to the show and joined the commentary team

Chaos ensued. The Ascension, Aiden English, R-Truth and D-Von Dudley went early, and Simon Gotch was quick to follow. Jey Uso was eliminated, as was Goldust. Apollo Crews tossed Bo Dallas out next. Jimmy Uso and Jack Swagger were the next to go, both eliminated by Baron Corbin.

Bubba Ray was Corbin’s next victim before Del Rio took control before being eliminated by Apollo Crews. Corbin eliminated Ziggler, but he and Apollo Crews eliminated each other, making Darren Young the accidental winner.

Backstage, Seth Rollins interrupted Stephanie and Shane discussing Vince’s impending arrival, and was given his own talk show: the Rollins Report. Elsewhere, Sheamus ambushed a fired up Zack Ryder, informing him they would be going at it next. Randy Orton’s return was also announced, on The Highlight Reel at Battleground.

Zack Ryder vs. Sheamus

In a SmackDown rematch, a passionate Zack Ryder took early control, but Sheamus would not fall so easily, catching Zack Ryder with a Brogue for the win.

Rusev emerged, but an invigorated Ryder attacked him, only to be put in the Accolade as Rusev yelled, “I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE!”

Breezango vs. The Lucha Dragons

Fandango took control early on, working well and efficiently with Tyler Breeze to wear down Sin Cara. They tagged each other in frequently, isolating Sin Cara from Kalisto. When Kalisto finally tagged in, he took control quickly.

Breeze nearly rolled up Kalisto, but luckily, he got the win more definitively, pinning Kalisto in the center of the ring.

The Rollins Report

Seth Rollins emerged, smug as ever, and proud of himself for his scoop on Roman Reigns. He then aired a clearly doctored “interview”and demanded that Roman Reigns be taken out of the match. Ambrose gave Rollins credit for letting lose, and the two traded insults.

Rollins prclaimed himself the best Shield member, and an impassioned Ambrose responded with the kind of fire we haven’t seen since last year. It wasn’t wacky Ambrose who replied to Rollins, it was serious Dean, who said that Rollins would have to pry the title from his cold, dead hands.

Dean said that he would fight Dean anytime, any place, and Rollins teased a match for that night before putting it off until next week.

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro

Kevin Owens wormed out of a match against Cesaro as long as Sami Zayn was there, and as Sami Zayn, who was to be on commentary left, Owens came out anyways. The two briefly exchanged blows and traded insults and challenges before Zayn was forced away from the match.

Owens avoided locking up with Cesaro early on, and Cesaro took advantage, catching him with a suplex.  The match left the ring, and Owens sent Cesaro barreling into and over the barricade. Owens threw Cesaro back into the ring, hitting a back splash.

Owens mocked Zayn, and Cesaro took advantage, hitting a standing back suplex. Owens went for a Superkick, but Cesaro dodged, only to be thrown clean over the ropes and into the barricade.

Owens kept control until Cesaro managed to dodge a canonball into the turnbuckle. Cesaro fired up, taking Owens on a ride on the Uppercut train. He nearly pinned Owens with a corkscrew, but Owens kicked out, rolling out of the ring. Cesaro stole JBL’s hat and hit a crossbody on Owens back in the ring.

But it was Owens who would emerge victorious. Going back to the commentary table, Owens proclaimed himself the best in the world, only to be caught by a Sami Zayn out of nowhere right into Cesaro, who took him swinging.

Titus O’Neil vs. Heath Slater

O’Neil maintained dominance throughout the match, only looking weakened when Slater brought his knees up during a turnbuckle move. But O’Neil’s raw power proved to be too much for Slater, and he picked up an easy victory.

The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family

At the Wyatt family compound, the two teams brawled in a confusingly edited video that is impossible to properly recap.

Gallows & Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass

Before the match, both teams exchanged insults, with Styles warning Enzo & Cass to leave before Gallows and Anderson dropped them where they stood.

Gallows and Anderson controlled the match early, dominating poor Enzo Amore for a lengthy period as AJ Styles cheerfully talked trash at ringside. The Club dominated  all the way up until Big Cass tagged in, taking control right back and nearly pinning Anderson.

Gallows broke the pin, and Styles threw Cass over the barricade, causing the disqualification. They looked to beat down on Enzo until John Cena emerged to everyone’s surprise to make the save.

Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke

Sasha immediately caught Brooke off-guard, scaring her right out of the ring repeatedly. Sasha caught Brooke with an impressive deep arm drag, keeping momentum until Brooke caught her with a series of strikes that sent Banks clear out of the ring.

Brooke maintained control until Banks caught her with a kick to the face. Brooke sent her into the mat, but Banks managed to kick out of a cover. Brooke continued to keep Banks in check until Banks caught her with legs to the face from the turnbuckle. Banks hit Brooke with knees to the ribs in the corner, but that wouldn’t keep Brooke down for the count.

Banks hit a lateral crossbody on Brooke, but even that wouldn’t put her away. Brooke countered with a series of clotheslines until Banks locked Brooke into the Banks Statement, forcing her to tap.

Following the match, Charlotte took to the mic and told Sasha she wouldn’t be worthy of a title shot unless she took Brooke on again on SmackDown.

Vince

Vince said to his children that he was disappointed in them, making fun of Stephanie’s passive aggressive behavior and saying that he wanted competition, not this cooperation that he had been seeing.

Shane and Stephanie both presented their cases for being the new Commissioner of SmackDown Live, and Vince made his decision:

Shane McMahon.

Steph would be running RAW. Vince told them that RAW and SmackDown would be going to war. He wanted them to compete at all costs for ratings, for ticket sales, for everything. He said they would choose General Managers the next week.

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RAW Recap/Analysis – June 27, 2016

WWE has long been able to rely on the charisma of its talent to drive even the most subpar storylines, and that trend continued on June 27’s RAW, which broadcasted from Tampa, Florida.

SUSPENDED!

Seth Rollins immediately addressed the elephant in the room, bringing up Roman Reigns’ suspension and demanding that Reigns be taken out of the Battleground main event. He was interrupted by Dean Ambrose, who asked Rollins what it was all really about.

They were interrupted in turn by AJ Styles, who suggested that he be put in the match in Roman’s place. He reminded everyone that he had a victory over John Cena, and said he deserved a spot in the match. John Cena then emerged, proclaiming Dean Ambrose to be a fighting champion.

Cena suggested that Ambrose fight against him, reminding Ambrose that he beat him the last time they fought. Rollins objected, and Stephanie McMahon emerged. She set two matches to give John Cena and AJ Styles the chance to put themselves in the main event of Battleground.

Rollins was fun on the mic as always. His promos during his title reign could get old, but only because of overexposure. This was short, sweet, and Rollins’ charisma had the crowd listening raptly to everything he said. He and Ambrose have wonderful chemistry, so they will not have any issues building up to their match at Battleground.

The introduction of Cena and Styles into the storyline certainly got a pop from the crowd. WWE would be wise to continue putting the two veterans against the likes of Ambrose and Rollins.

Sasha Banks & Paige vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke

Sasha started things off against Charlotte, but the champion tagged herself out right away, tagging Brooke in. Banks threw her right into the turnbuckle, tagging in Paige to double-team on Brooke with a double dropkick, making both blondes retreat to recover.

Charlotte and Brooke regained control with underhanded tactics, brutalizing Paige in the ring. Charlotte locked Paige into a chokehold, showing off her athleticism and cheapshotting Banks. Banks went after Charlotte, having to be restrained by the referee.

Paige finally tagged in Banks as Brooke tagged in, and Sasha went crazy, dropping Brooke with clotheslines and knees to the midsection from the ropes. She hit Brooke with the Backstabber into the Banks Statement, forcing Brooke to tap.

Banks and Paige were both supremely over. I hope the brand split forces WWE to utilize Paige to the fullest. She certainly deserves it. But the match was all about Banks.

The former NXT Women’s Champion was all fire and attitude, and the audience soaked it up. Sasha Banks was as over as can be and didn’t skip a beat throughout the match. Her title shot, whether it comes at Battleground or SummerSlam, better come with a lengthy title reign!

Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil

O’Neil did not even wait for the match to start, going right after Rusev before the bell could be rung. He rammed Rusev with a series of clotheslines and right hooks, slamming Rusev onto the mat with ferocity.

Rusev made a comeback, bearing down on O’Neil with a series of kicks. He locked O’Neil into a chokehold and continued to wear down on him until O’Neil caught him with an elbow and shoulder tackle.

Rusev retreated from the ring, grabbing his belt with the intention of leaving, but he and O’Neil collided outside the ring. O’Neil sent Rusev into the timekeeping area, where he was counted out.

Backstage, Kane approached Stephanie McMahon asking to be considered for SmackDown GM, but both were interrupted by the Miz. Kane brought up the fact that the Miz hadn’t defended his title in a long time, bringing up the ever-forgotten 30-day rule. Stephanie booked a title match for later that night.

Funny how a feud can pick up steam after the title match, huh?

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

Cena looked to start off strong, but Rollins had him well-scouted, responding with a shoulder tackle of his own. As the crowds chanted wildly for both men, Rollins gained the upper hand, hitting Cena with a series of strikes and a dropkick.

Cena looked for a comeback, but Rollins once again responded with ferocity, hitting him with a quick move from the ropes and blows to the head. Cena finally managed to get some shoulder tackles in, but Rollins caught Cena with a kick to the face, mocking the franchise man.

Cena took control once more, hitting the Five Knucle Shuffle, but Rollins managed to escape an AA. Cena caught Rollins with a Tornado DDT, but Rollins stayed alive, hitting a dropkick and going for an unsuccessful pin. The two traded blows in the center of the ring, with Rollins gaining the upper hand.

Rollins hit Cena with a corner powerbomb, but Cena dodged his Frog Splash. Cena ascended the ropes, but Rollins caught him, landing a Superplex into a Falcon’s Arrow. Rollins went for the Pedigree, but Cena reversed into the AA, with Rollins staying alive enough to put his foot on the ropes.

Cena caught Rollins in the STF, but then the Club emerged, distracting Cena and allowing Rollins to hit the Pedigree and pick up the win.

“You owe me one,” AJ said to Seth with a smile on his face.

Rollins and Cena have fantastic chemistry in the ring, and although that chemistry wasn’t on full display, it was evident throughout the match. Rollins is looking fantastic, his incorporation of more high-flying moves a very welcome addition to his hard-hitting moveset.

The dynamic between Styles and Rollins at the match’s conclusion was about as intriguing as the ongoing developments between Styles and Cena. I’m looking forward to seeing those two clash someday.

Enzo & Cass vs. Local Competitors

After getting a wave going, Enzo and Cass picked up an easy win over two local jobbrts within seconds. They looked to celebrate, but were cut short by the Social Outcasts. They proclaimed themselves hard (yeah, for real.) and went right for Enzo and Cass.

Well, not exactly. After a big boot from Cass sent Heath Slater packing, Dallas and Axel refused to enter the ring and retreated.

Enzo and Cass are great. The addition/return of the Social Outcasts into the fray is somewhat refreshing, as it’s something other than the Vaudevillains or Dudley Boyz.

Becky Lynch vs. Summer Rae

With Natalya on commentary, Becky Lynch simply went right after the third-generation star, looking for some sweet revenge as she drove Nattie into the barricade with ferocity, screaming to Natalya that she had messed with the wrong girl.

This was far too short for my tastes, but it’s encouraging to see WWE pushing this feud and storyline. Non-title stories for women that aren’t centered around men are all-too rare these days.

The Highlight Reel (with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn)

After complaining about Ambrose being champion, Jericho brought out both Owens and Zayn.

Jericho relished in the tension between the two, bringing up their past as friends and the fact that Zayn was Owens’ best man at his wedding. Zayn refused to play into Jericho’s game, saying that neither he nor Owens would get anywhere until they moved on from each other.

Zayn implored Owens to put an end once and for all to their rivalry at Battleground. Owens just stared at Zayn in silence, and Zayn called him a coward, demanding that Owens admit that he betrayed him because of resentment and envy.

Owens denied it, saying he did what he did for business.He said Zayn is the one who ruined their friendship. He said that he was happy for Zayn when he signed to WWE, and that Zayn should have been happy for him when he won the NXT Title.

“I was always a better friend to you than you were to me,” Owens said, accepting Zayn’s challenge.

Jericho agreed with Owens, calling Zayn pathetic before giving everyone the gift of Jericho. Instead of drinking it in, Owens and Zayn both Superkicked Jericho over, and Owens left without saying another word to Zayn.

I would honestly not mind seeing Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens fight forever. What they have together is the stuff of legend, the kind of rivalry that could put either one of them into the Hall of Fame someday. Their storied past combined with their current chemistry has made this feud, which has been building for over five months now, one of the most enthralling stories on WWE television today.

The Miz vs. Kane (Intercontinental Championship match)

Kane immediately caught Miz with a right hook, blasting the champ into the turnbuckle and hitting him with a boot to the face. Kane kept control easily early on, hitting a vertical suplex and dropkick.

But then Maryse fell off the apron, clearly feigning injury, and Miz carried her backstage, giving Kane the victory by countout, but no title belt.

Backstage, Maryse revealed to Miz that she had been acting the whole time, and he certainly approved.

WWE had us all thinking we were fixing to see a debut. How naive and stupid we were.

Cesaro & Apollo Crews vs. Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus

Cesaro started off strong against Del Rio, hitting a series of uppercuts after a beautiful crossbody. He looked to take Del Rio or even Sheamus swinging, but Del Rio took control, planting Cesaro with a DDT.

Sheamus continued his team’s momentum until Cesaro managed to reverse a backbreaker into a back body drop of sorts, allowing Crews and Del Rio to tag in. Del Rio hit Sheamus with a dropkick, quite enjoying himself, and walked out as Crews hit the sit-out powerbomb on Sheamus for the victory.

Backstage, Jojo interviewed Dean Ambrose, but was cut off by an unhappy Stephanie McMahon, who berated Ambrose. The champ, however, was unaffected.

I hope Cesaro and Del Rio are given an actual story sometime soon. It would be a shame to have them wasting away into the cluster f*@k that is this storyline.

New Day falls…?

Dressed as the Wyatts and hilariously spoofing the Wyatt family, the New Day came out to the ring. They roasted the Wyatts cheerfully, though Xavier Woods wanted to wrap things up early. Then, the real Wyatts emerged.

Bray offered a little spoof of his own before saying that the world wasn’t all positivity and rainbows He said the power of positivity was a lie. Wyatt acknowledged how shaken Xavier Woods looked with a sinister laugh, and then repeated… New Day falls.

Backstage, Renee Young asked the New Day if they thought messing with the Wyatts was a good idea. Woods just kind of…walked away.

Woods’ terror is a stark reminder of how talented he really is. He can bring it when called upon, and his team’s worry over him brings an interesting pathos to the entire story. Bray Wyatt’s logic in going after the New Day, also explained, was sound.

This rivalry seems to be finding its footing. Here’s hoping Creative doesn’t ruin it.

Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles

Ambrose and Styles locked up early on, wrestling mat-style. Ambrose looked to roll up Styles, but then the match became a battle of headlocks. Styles took control, driving Ambrose back with a series of chops, looking for Dirty Deeds early on, but Styles dodged, always a step ahead.

He kept control, hitting a wicked dropkick on Ambrose and hitting a series of hard hits on Ambrose, working him into the ground. Ambrose looked to stage a comeback with a clever reversal, going for a back body drop, but Ambrose hit a Codebreaker on Styles, nearly getting a three-count.

Ambrose and Styles exchanged rollups and near-falls. Styles ascended the ropes, but Ambrose caught him, landing a huge superplex. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Ambrose caught him, looking for Dirty Deeds, but Styles caught him once more, the two remaining at a painful stalemate.

Styles rolled Ambrose into the Calf Crusher, but the Lunatic Fringe escaped, hitting a Suicide Dive on Styles out of the ring. Styles hit Ambrose with a pelee kick, but Ambrose responded with a clothesline as the Club emerged. Styles took advantage of the distraction, but Ambrose stayed alive as John Cena ran out.

Ambrose planted Styles with Dirty Deeds, and a relieved Rollins applauded him. Anderson and Gallows, upset, attacked Cena and a distracted Ambrose was planted by Rollins. The Club hit the Magic Killer on the stage, and Rollins planted Ambrose yet again with a second Pedigree.

A fresh match between two stars you’d never offhandedly imagine together proved to be an exciting mesh of different styles, resulting in an entertaining main event. Rollins’ commentary, and reluctant support of Ambrose for his own sake, was a welcome addition to the match. Styles and Ambrose told an entertaining story, complementing each other surprisingly well, and despite the predictable ending, it was fun to watch all the same.

 

 

RAW Recap/Analysis – June 20, 2016

Dean Ambrose is on top of the mountain, and we’re enjoying the view as much as he is. Tonight’s episode of RAW was a good time to be sure, featuring a title match, two thrilling returns, and yeah.

SASHA BANKS.

Between brothers

The New WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Dean Ambrose, kicked off Monday Night RAW, title in hand and a massive grin on his face. The crowd chanted “YOU DESERVE IT” at full blast and he soaked it in. The exuberant Ambrose recapped his actions at Money in the Bank, saying that what goes around comes back around in reference to the man he cashed in on: Seth Rollins.

“Hard work pays off,” he proclaimed. He discussed his two-year chase for the title, but was interrupted by Roman Reigns.

Reigns said that Money in the Bank was Ambrose’s night and offered his congratulations, asking how good it felt to cash in on Seth Rollins. Ambrose admitted that he would have cashed in on Reigns as well. Reigns asked for his rematch, but an infuriated Seth Rollins emerged, demanding his rematch.

Reigns and Rollins faced off over who deserved the rematch more, and Shane McMahon came out, setting up a match between the two for RAW to determine who would face Ambrose for the title first.

Every time these three share the ring, there is electricity in the air. They promised they would take over the company, and they have.

Ambrose is already an exciting champion. His joy is infectious, and the crowd is willingly rallying behind him. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to have an over babyface champion. If this promo was anything to go by, his title reign, however long or short it may be, will be a pleasure to witness.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Looking to settle their rivalry (at least for the moment), Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens went right at it in RAW’s opening match, with Zayn taking Owens down at ringside and sending him back-first into the barricade. Owens looked to leave, but Zayn threw him back to ringside, where Owens took control.

Back in the ring, Owens dropped right on Zayn, targeting his back. He retained full control until Zayn managed to counter a drop, sending Owens out of the ring. He followed, taking to the air to take him out. Returning to the ring, Owens landed a Superkick, nearly getting a pinfall on Zayn.

Zayn countered with a back suplex, setting Owens up for the Helluva Kick, but Owens hit a Superkick. Owens looked to hit the Pop-up Powerbomb, but Zayn countered, rolling Owens up to score the win. He celebrated on the ramp, but Owens cut the fun times off, and the two brawled on the entrance ramp, having to be torn off each other by officials.

The brawl continued backstage, and yeah. It looks like these two really will fight forever.

Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains

John Laurinitis emerged, discussing the WWE Draft to take place on July 19th, and was interrupted by Shane. Laurinitis declared his intentions to be the manager of SmackDown, and Shane said that no, it would be HIM running SmackDown.

This all was interrupted by Enzo and Cass. Enzo and Shane danced together, and Enzo introduced himself with his usual energy. The duo made fun of Laurinitis, calling him SAWFT before entering the ring.

The Vaudevillains started off strong against Enzo Amore in the match, isolating him from Big Cass until a well-timed counter from Amore allowed him to tag in Big Cass, who dropped English with an Empire Elbow and Gotch with a boot to the face.

Enzo was tagged in, and the two double-teamed to score the pinfall victory.

Enzo and Cass’s hot streak continues. I love it.

John Cena vs. Karl Anderson

An unrepentant AJ Styles emerged to a very welcoming crowd. He talked about his victory over Cena, and how it was “tainted” by the interference from the Club. He demanded that Gallows and Anderson come out and give him a public apology.

The two came out, and Styles told them that he hadn’t needed their help, saying they had given Cena an excuse and had dragged his name through the mud. Anderson complied, as did Gallows, albeit a bit more reluctantly. Styles requested that they apologize to Cena as well.

Cena emerged, puzzled, and said he didn’t need an apology. Gallows and Anderson offered them up, but Cena rejected it all, saying Styles simply wasn’t as good as he says he is. Styles offered him the opportunity to fight Gallows or Anderson, and Cena said it didn’t matter, as he would be fighting the entire club either way.

Anderson turned out to be the one to face Cena, and Styles promised he would knock his teeth out on his own.

Cena started off strong against Anderson, constantly glancing towards the entrance. He hit the AA fairly easily, but before he could pin Anderson, the rest of the Club emerged, ambushing Cena, hitting the Magic Killer and the Styles Clash.

As satisfying as it was to see Cena take the Clash yet again, I do wish Anderson hadn’t been squashed with the Five Moves of Doom. He’s too good for that.

That being said, AJ Styles is doing a wonderful job as a heel. He fills the role with polished ease, sounding more comfortable on the mic every night and clearly having a good time messing with the crowd.  He looks right at home sharing the mic and ring with John Cena, and it’s a beautiful sight to see.

Backstage, Rollins said that he proved his worth to be champion at Money in the Bank. He said that he beat Roman at Money in the Bank. Elsewhere, Becky Lynch that if she was the last woman in the division with integrity, so be it, and was attacked from behind by Natalya, who declared that for the first time in years, she would take care of herself.

Baron Corbin vs. Zack Ryder

Ryder looked to start off strong against Corbin, but Corbin managed to dodge a Broski boot. Ryder hit a dropkick off the apron into the barricade, setting Corbin up for the el-bro drop.

But that was the end of his momentum, as Corbin caught Ryder with End of Days for the win.

Eh. This happened. Poor Ryder.

Charlotte vs. Paige (WWE Women’s Championship match)

Paige was fired up at the match’s start, tackling the champion to the ground and landing a wicked kick. She drove Charlotte into the turnbuckle before Dana Brooke dragged Charlotte out, allowing the heel duo to take control back from the Brit.

Back in the ring, Paige staged a bit of a comeback, wearing Charlotte down with a series of kicks and a running knee to the face. Charlotte responded with a boot of her own, but Paige caught her with a fallaway slam.

Paige looked for a superplex, but Charlotte slammed her down, landing a moonsault for a near-fall. Charlotte looked to lock in the Figure-Eight, but Paige rolled her up. Paige managed to hit the Ram-Paige, but Dana Brooke pulled Charlotte’s foot under the ropes. The ref looked to kick Brooke out, distracting Paige enough to let Charlotte hit Natural Selection to retain.

Brooke and Charlotte began beating down on Paige, but then Sasha Banks emerged to a monstrous ovation, taking Charlotte down and holding the title up with purpose.

Before I get to keyboard-smashing, let me say this: Paige and Charlotte put on an excellent match, and I am glad they were given time. Paige had the crowd fully behind her, and Charlotte’s moonsaults are a thing of beauty.

Now.

SASHA BANKS IS BACK! And what a welcome she got! Hopefully this is the start of a strong and respectable title program that ends with the kind of momentous victory she deserves.

Bray Wyatt returns

Backstage, Bray Wyatt and his boys stood in their familiar dark room.

“We’re here,” Wyatt said simply.

Bray Wyatt came out to the ring, the thrilled crowd giving him his much-missed firefly entrance.

“WELCOME BACK!” the crowd chanted.

Wyatt declared that he had never forgotten what he stood for, saying that the Wyatts were as strong as they had ever been. But that’s just about all he got out before the New Day interrupted. They cracked a few jokes.

Bray merely told them to run.

Xavier Woods being hypnotized was hilarious, and seeing Wyatt back was absolutely fantastic. These groups being put together is wonderful to see. It’s unexpected, what with them being so different. And frankly, I wouldn’t be mad if the Wyatts ended up dethroning the New Day.

New….Day falls!

Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil

O’Neil went right after Rusev, furiously pummeling the champion before driving him straight into the barricade like a man possessed. Again and again, he drove the Bulgarian brute into every art of the barricade, driving him over and out into the crowd. Rusev retreated through the crowd as O’Neil stood tall in the ring.

Backstage, Shane McMahon stumbled upon an angered Chris Jericho, who said that he deserved a shot at Ambrose’s title. Shane brushed him aside.

Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (No. 1 Contender’s match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

With Ambrose on commentary, Reigns went right after Seth Rollins, taking him down with a shoulder tackle. Rollins retreated from the ring, pulling Reigns out only to be shoved into the barricade and bouncing him off the announce table.

Back in the ring, Rollins landed a neckbreaker from the ropes and then in the center of the ring. He hit a dropkick on Reigns’ face, locking him into a chokehold. The fight left the ring, and Rollins kept momentum back into the ring, taking a moment to look down on Ambrose.

Reigns caught Rollins with a kick, with Rollins going for a series of high-flying moves before Reigns caught him again. Rollins took over with a boot of his own, locking in a sleeper hold on Reigns back in the ring, but Reigns caught Rollins with a right hand, hitting him with abandon.

Rollins got to his feet, stunning Reigns with a dropkick, and the two exchanged strikes and headbutts. Reigns hit Rollins with a series of clotheslines, but Rollins caught Reigns out of the ring with a suicide dive. Reigns slammed Rollins with a powerbomb, nearly getting him, but Rollins refused to surrender.

Reigns caught Rollins with a Superman Punch after Rollins went for a Pedigree, but Rollins stayed alive, catching an attempted Spear with a kick and hitting a flying knee and kick. Reigns stayed in the match. Rollins looked for a Frog Splash, but Reigns dodged.

Reigns caught Rollins onto the announce table, but Rollins caught him with another kick. Reigns drove Rollins over the announce table with a Spear, and neither man made it back to the ring in time, with both being counted out. Shane McMahon emerged, setting the inevitable Shield triple threat for Battleground.

Ambrose planted both Reigns and Rollins with Dirty Deeds, standing tall to end the night.

I’m conflicted.

On one hand, I am THRILLED about finally getting this Shield triple threat match. This is the stuff of legends, the kind of match that can transcend this generation and go into the history books. This match is the culmination of years and years of storytelling, the start of a new chapter in a story that began years ago at Survivor Series.

So why put it on a smaller pay-per-view like Battleground? This match could put butts in the seats of WrestleMania or SummerSlam. It deserves that kind of stage.

But I digress. I’m excited either way.

 

Money in the Bank 2016 Recap/Analysis

Believe in the Shield. Or at least, believe in what all three of its former members can do, because they truly stole the show at this year’s Money in the Bank, changing the landscape of the title scene profoundly and turning the WWE upside-down. Just as they promised all those years ago.

The New Day vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Club vs. The Vaudevillains (WWE Tag Team Championship match)

Chaos soon erupted between all four teams, but soon enough it was the Vaudevillains who began to target Kofi Kingston. Gallows & Anderson injected themselves into the fight, until Kofi Kingston managed to tag in Enzo Amore to face off against English. Gallows sent Amore out of the ring, tagging English out and bringing Amore back into the ring, beating down mercilessly on the smaller man.

Enzo managed to counter, tagging Big Cass in as Anderson was tagged in himself. Cass cleaned house, throwing Big E away from the ring and using Enzo to wipe everyone out. They looked to have Anderson down for the count, but Gallows “broke” the tag. The Vaudevillains hit the Dervish, but Anderson broke the count.

The duo looked to have the match won, but Big E broke the count, double-teaming with Kingston to retain the titles.

Backstage, Kevin Owens proclaimed to Tom Phillips and Chris Jericho both that he would win the Money in the Bank briefcase, trash-talking to an injecting Alberto Del Rio as well.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Ziggler targeted Corbin’s legs early on, starting strong and fast before Corbin countered with a single right hand to the face, knocking Ziggler right to the ground. Corbin proceeded to wear him down with an easy cruelty using knees to the gut.

Ziggler looked to send Corbin into the turnbuckle, but Corbin ducked under the ropes, sneaking back up on Ziggler for a clothesline. He kept control from there, taking his sweet time in inflicting punishment on Ziggler.

Ziggler looked to stage a fiery comeback with a series of clotheslines, dropping an elbow for a pinfall, but Corbin kicked out. Ziggler went for a Superkick, but Corbin blocked it. Ziggler got another near-fall, but Corbin hit a Deep-Six outside the ring. Ziggler beat the countout, only to go into another beating from Corbin.

Ziggler hit the Superkick, but Corbin kicked out, landing the End of Days for the victory.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya

Dana Brooke started off against Natalya, struggling early on against the seasoned vet until she managed to tag Charlotte in. Lynch tagged in soon after, and she and Natalya double-teamed on the champ with ease, sending her out of the ring.

Lynch got Charlotte back into the ring, tagging Natalya in, but the Canadian Superstar struggled against the double-teaming antics of Dana and Charlotte.Natalya managed to make it to Becky Lynch, who was fired up against Charlotte, targeting both her and Dana and hitting them with a double missile dropkick.

Natalya tagged in, nearly getting rolled up, but locked in the SHarpshooter. brooke broke it up, and Charlotte hit Natural Sleection for the win.

After the match, a furious Natalya blindsided Becky, dropping her in the ring. The crowd gave the redhead a huge ovation as the segment ended.

Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

The match hadn’t even started before the two began to brawl. Crews caught Sheamus in a headlock, and took the fight out of the ring, where Sheamus took control.

Back in the ring, Sheamus continued to wear Crews down, locking in a headlock of his own. Crews looked to pick the pace of the match up, but Sheamus caught him. Crews managed to create some separation, striking back quickly with running clotheslines.

Crews dropped Sheamus with a dropkick, but couldn’t get the pinfall. He send Sheamus flying out of the ring, hitting a moonsault off the apron. Back in the ring, Crews looked to further his momentum, but Sheamus powered back, hitting White Noise from the second rope.

Crews managed to survive, rolling Sheamus up for the win.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

Styles locked Cena in a headlock to start off the match, starting off the match in control and actually running circles around Cena, just as he promised. Cena caught Styles with a series of arm drags, sending Styles flying. He mocked Styles, who responded with a forearm to the face.

Styles drove Cena into the ropes, hitting a series of strikes and dodging everything Cena had to throw at him, throwing the WWE vet off balance with smug ease. He hit a suplex in the center of the ring, but Cena began to power back. He sent STyles into the turnbuckle, but the indy vet dodged a dive.

Cena managed to hit a desperate back body drop, but Styles regained his momentum soon enough, caught in another headlock from Styles. Cena made it back to his feet, catching STyles with flying shoulder tackles, but Styles caught him with a dropkick.

Styles kept control, locking int he Calf Crusher, but Cena made it to the ropes. Styles wasn’t fazed, targeting the damaged calf, but Cena countered with a clothesline. He hit the AA, but Styles kicked out. Cena ascended to the ropes, jumping off, but Styles countered it into a powerbomb.

Styles hit the Styles Clash, but Cena managed to kick out. Styles went for a shooting star press, but Cena countered it. He picked STyles up, hitting the AA, but the referee was knocked down. The Club emerged, hitting the Magic Killer, dragging Styles onto Cena for the cover, and granting him the win.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio (Money in the Bank ladder match)

Jericho brought the ladder out first as Ambrose wiped out Kevin Owens with a suicide dive. Cesaro then found Del Rio in the ring, targeting him and then wiping Jericho out with a dive onto the ladder Jericho was carrying.

Zayn went flying, taking out Ambrose and Cesaro both. Owens kicked Zayn down and threw Ambrose into the barricade, only to be attacked by Jericho. He and Ambrose brawled in the ring, with Ambrose being suplexed onto a ladder. Del Rio broke up the beating, but suffered as a part of Cesaro’s uppercut train stopped only by Kevin Owens, who began hitting canonballs, broken up by Sami Zayn, who hit the helluva Kick on Jericho, Owens and Ambrose.

Zayn ascended the ladder, but was pulled down by Del Rio, who targeted both him and Kevin Owens before taking Cesaro out. He was pulled down.

Ambrose kept Cesaro and Jericho both from climbing to the top of the ladder before Jericho planted Ambrose with the Codebreaker. He and Sami Zayn brawled on the ladder, but Owens knocked them both over. He looked to climb, and was planted by a Backstabber from Del Rio. Cesaro caught him with an uppercut and took him swinging. He took Jericho for a ride as well, sending him right into the ladder.

Ambrose climbed that ladder, hitting a flying elbow on Cesaro from the top. Owens threw a ladder at Ambrose, hitting a frog splash on Ambrose on the ladder. In the center of the ring, Zayn and Owens exchanged blows, with Zayn driving Owens right into the ladder. Zayn looked to climb, but was caught by Del Rio. Zayn, Jericho, and Del Rio ascended, and soon all six men were battling on the ladders.

Ambrose, Owens, Zayn and Jericho all fought at the top of the ladder, soon joined by Cesaro and Del Rio, who were knocked down. Soon, Zayn and Owens remained alone. Jericho knocked Zayn off, and Ambrose took out Jericho. Zayn looked to grab the briefcase, but Owens powerbombed him onto the ladder.

Owens and Ambrose fought atop the ladder, but it was Ambrose who emerged victorious at long last.

Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil (United States Championship match)

The two titans collided first out of the ring, with O’Neil throwing Rusev right into the barricade. Rusev responded by sending O’Neil crashing into the steel steps headfirst.

Back in the ring, Rusev took control, soundly beating O’Neil down and roaring like a madman with a singular focus. O’Neil looked to power back, planting Rusev for a near-fall, but Rusev caught him by the arm, nearly locking in the Accolade before O’Neil escaped.

O’Neil hit a pump handle slam, but Rusev kicked out, and O’Neil continued his assault outside the ring, tossing him around before returning to the ring, only to walk into a stunning kick from Rusev. He locked in the Accolade to retain, telling O’Neils kids that their father was a loser.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Reigns powered Rollins into the turnbuckle right away, using his power to gain an early advantage over Rollins before the challenger responded with a dropkick, flying out of the ring to take Reigns down.

Reigns managed to stop Rollins in his tracks, suplexing him and hitting a wicked clothesline. Reigns taunted Rollins, beating him down in the turnbuckle and then landing a tilt-a-whirl slam. Seth looked to rally, but Reigns dropped him with a mean right hand before throwing him over the announce table and then face-first into it.

He crashed Rollins into the ring apron, but Rollins sent Reigns crashing into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a wicked powerbomb, but Rollins kicked out of the pinfall. Reigns went for the Superman Punch, but Rollins countered, sending Reigns out of the ring with a dropkick before flying over the top rope, taking him down.

In the ring, Rollins went for the Pedigree, but Reigns hit the Superman Punch. Rollins kicked out. Reigns went for the Spear, but Rollins caught him with a knee. He hit a frog splash, but Reigns kicked out. Rollins climbed the ropes again, but Reigns caught him with another right hook.

But, with the knee that cost him his title, Rollins threw Reigns into the turnbuckle before hitting a Superplex into a Falcon Arrow. Reigns kicked out. Rollins prepped for the Pedigree, but Reigns powered out, hitting a powerbomb.

The two stared each other down, exchanging blows. Rollins hit a turnbuckle powerbomb, which Reigns used to hit a Superman Punch, nearly pinning Rollins. Rollins retreated from the ring, baiting Reigns into spearing himself into the barricade.

Officials came to tend to Reigns, whom Rollins threw back into the ring. Reigns accidentally took out the ref and hit the Spear, but Seth managed to kick out by the time the ref came to. Reigns went for a Spear right into a Pedigree, but kicked out. Rollins hit the Pedigree, and finally got the three-count.

And then came Ambrose, who cashed in TO BECOME THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

 

 

 

 

RAW Recap/Analysis – June 13, 2016

RAW began with a moment of silence for the victims of the horrific shooting in Orlando, Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with Orlando. I’ve written my local congressman about my thoughts on gun control. I hope that change happens, and soon.

Overall, RAW was above average. Two beyond stellar segments supported by a lack of Golden Truth made this week’s episode entertaining despite a dismal allowance of time for the women.

The New Day & Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains &  Gallows & Anderson

The New Day kicked off the show in earnest, declaring with their usual cheer that they would remain WWE Tag Team Champions after Money in the Bank after poking fun at Kofi Kingston’s shoes. They were interrupted by a very energized Enzo Amore and Big Cass. The two said that they liked what New Day were doing, joining in on the fun of making fun of Kingston.

They poked fun at each other, and were soon interrupted by the unamused Vaudevillains. Even more unamused were Gallows and Anderson, who called everyone idiots. Big Cass and a very enthusiastic New Day called them S-A-W-F-T, and the match began.

Kingston started off strong for his team before tagging Big E in to begin a Unicorn Stampede on Simon Gotch. Enzo Amore tagged in next, letting Cass toss him right into a suffering Gotch, who responded with a suplex. Gallows came into the fray next, throwing Enzo around with practiced ease. Anderson continued the carnage before handing the reigns over to English.

English continued the beating, but Enzo persevered, finally tagging Cass in red hot. Cass cleaned house, throwing Gallows off the apron and beating down English before tagging Kingston in, who launched himself over the ropes and out of the ring to wipe out the heels. The New Day took easy control from there, Big E cheerfully slapping Gotch to a beat.

However, Gallows & Anderson took the reigns back with a distraction to the ref, allowing English to tag back in before handing the match back over to Gotch, who was tagged out by Gallows, who wore down on Big E viciously with Anderson.

Big E managed to tag Kingston in, who went wild on a tagged in Anderson, hitting a boom drop and crossbody. Gotch broke the pin, launching a helping Enzo out of the ring, but was sent out himself by Cass. Big E hit English, but was hit by Gallows, who secretly tagged in. The Club hit the Magic Killer for the win.

This segment showed how truly deep WWE’s tag team roster truly is. Gallows and Anderson looked fantastic even without Styles by their side. The New Day was charismatic as ever. Enzo and Cass proved that they could talk trash with them any day of the week. Even the Vaudevillains looked as if they belonged.

Look for these eight men to sneak up on Money in the Bank and make a loud statement.

Blindsided

Backstage, Shane and Stephanie argued about who would run RAW and SmackDown, and Kane interjected, offering his services. Stephanie left Shane to deal with Kane, who had a letter of recommendation  from the Undertaker.

Titus O’Neil emerged for his match, but he wasn’t even off the stage before Rusev blindsided him, throwing him into the ramp with animalistic rage, kicking O’Neil right in the head and locking in the Accolade. It took half a dozen officials to even attempt to remove the Bulgarian Brute.

The Shield “reunite”

Ambrose emerged first, very thrilled to have the Ambrose Asylum back. He introduced first, Seth Rollins, and then Roman Reigns. The three simply stood in the ring together for a while, Dean wearing a bright smile.

Dean first asked Seth Rollins how his knee was, doing his best to get his former brother to lighten up. Seth acquiesced, reminiscing about their battle in WrestleMania. The three then recounted some of their good times together. But the good times didn’t roll for too long, as Seth then brought up his turn on the Shield and his cash-in at WrestleMania.

Dean steered the conversation back to their upcoming title match, and Roman said he would walk in and out of Money in the Bank . Seth brought up Roman defeating Ambrose himself and Triple H, saying he had earned the title, but he still hadn’t beaten him. Seth said that he got where he is on his own, and he would take his title back on his own.

Roman said that if Seth wanted the spotlight, he would have it, and that he would defeat him with ease. Dean asked if it would be the guy, the man, but then brought up the fact that he could very well win the Money in the Bank contract and walk out with the title himself.

Rollins went after Ambrose, shoving him into Reigns, and Reigns and Ambrose both went after Rollins, downing him, before Ambrose downed Reigns with Dirty Deeds.

I had chills this entire segment. Seth Rollins spoke with passion and conviction befitting a man possessed. Roman Reigns delivered his best mic work in months. And Ambrose was the unpredictable glue that held it all together.

These three have grown beyond the Shield in their own ways. Seth Rollins has emerged as the company’s top heel who has now reached crowd favorite status. Dean Ambrose earns huge pops wherever he goes, headlining shows often. Roman Reigns has grown the least, character-wise, but every Shield callback is electric.

I want Ambrose to win that briefcase. I want that Shield Triple Threat. GIVE IT TO ME.

Charlotte vs. Paige

Paige started off strong, nailing Charlotte with a kick to the face and running knee. Charlotte looked to lock in the Figure Eight, , but Paige struck her right out of the ring. Dana brooke threw her back in, right into Paige’s arms for the Ram-Paige.

Backstage, Renee Young looked to interview Cesaro, but Sami Zayn arrived, just in case Renee wanted his opinion on their upcoming match as well. Cesaro called Zayn childish for interrupting, and said that Zayn had a lot to prove still.

Elsewhere, a furious Charlotte told Dana that there was no room for failure at the top, telling her that they had work to do.

So much for the damn Divas Revolution.

Sheamus vs. Zack Ryder

Ryder started off strong, throwing Sheamus into the barricade and then landing the Broski Boot. He connected with an elbow drop from the ropes. But his momentum didn’t last too long, as Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick, ending the match soon after.

The punishment looked to continue, but Apollo Crews arrived to make the save, knocking the Celtic Warrior right out of the ring and sending him running into the crowd.

Backstage, Kevin Owens found Shane backstage looking for Stephanie, saying that Del Rio had just arrived to the show and requested that he be taken out of the Money in the Bank. Del Rio arrived, furiously accusing him of causing his holdup, and Kane set up a match of them against the Lucha Dragons for the right to remain in the ladder match.

Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro

Zayn and Cesaro looked to be fairly evenly matched early on in the match. Zayn hit Cesaro with a series of arm drags and the Swiss Superman hit a backbreaker.

Cesaro looked to gain momentum by taking Zayn on the Uppercut train, and went to take Zayn for a swing, but Zayn escaped, landing a driver on Cesaro for a near-fall. But Cesaro battled back wit a superplex, getting a near-fall of his own. But it was Sami Zayn who would fight back for the win, reversing a huge move from Cesaro and gaining huge momentum going into Money in the Bank.

Signed

In the ring, John Cena talked about AJ Styles’ illustrious career before arriving in WWE, name-dropping ROH, PWG and New Japan before proclaiming their upcoming match historic. AJ Styles arrived soon after, reveling in the dueling chants with heelish pride.

Styles said he had turned Cena’s world upside-down over the past few weeks, and said that he would do it once again at Money in the Bank, running circles around him in the ring. He asked where to sign, and Cena gave him the option of signing any of two contracts: one with a singles match and then one with him and the Club. He said the choice was his, but the Club would make him, “Captain of the bitch club.”

Styles, angered, said that if he had been in WWE 15 years ago, he would have been the face that runs the place. Cena cut him off, calling him an entitled whiner, just like all the other “indy boys” that had come to the company.

Styles signed the contract for the singles match.

Kevin Owens & Alberto Del Rio vs. The Lucha Dragons

Del Rio started things off, beating Sin Cara into the turnbuckle until Owens tagged himself in. Del Rio tagged right back in, and Owens threatened to walk off, leading to a near-pinfall. The two bickered in the ring, and the Lucha Dragons took advantage, landing a double dropkick on them.

Del Rio and Owens regained control soon enough, tagging in and out aggressively nearly trading blows. Kalisto took advantage, hitting a Salida Del Sol, but Del Rio rolled out of the ring. Owens rolled him back in the ring, and Sin Cara his a move from the ropes. Owens broke the pin, tagging himself in. Sin Cara hit a series of aerial moves on Owens, and Del Rio launched Kalisto into the barricade.

Owens caught Sin Cara with the Op-up Powerbomb for the win, securing himself and Del Rio spots in Money int he Bank. Immediately after, Del Rio dropped him with a kick.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens both joined the announce team for commentary, and ALberto Del Rio was the guest timekeeper. Cesaro was the guest ring announcer, because Shane and Stephanie don’t know where to stop, apparently.

Ambrose started off strong, landing a series of strikes and a suplex, knocking the veteran right off the apron. Annoyed with Owens, Ambrose ripped off his headset, but the distraction allowed Jericho to fling Ambrose into the barricade and then land an elbow back in the ring.

Jericho hit another dropkick, knocking Ambrose out of the ring, and Zayn and Owens looked to be confronting each other. Cesaro stood up, and Del Rio rose as well.

The action continued in the ring, with Ambrose leaping right into the Walls of Jericho. Ambrose powered to the ropes, forcing the break, and looked to hit Dirty Deeds, but Jericho dodged. Ambrose survived a Lionsault, ascending to the ropes and hitting a wicked flying elbow, but Jericho once again kicked out.

Jericho looked to hit the Codebreaker, but Ambrose reversed into Dirty Deeds for the pinfall. Chaos erupted, with Owens starting things off by attacking Ambrose in the ring. Violence broke out between all six men, but it was Chris Jericho who would end the night sitting primly atop the ladder.

RAW Recap/Analysis – June 6, 2016

RAW opened with the participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match all perched atop ladders in the center of the ring. Kevin Owens spoke the most, saying that he would be the one making history at Money in the Bank. Sami Zayn cut him off, saying he would give opportunities to anyone as champion. Dean Ambrose just wanted to fight. Alberto Del Rio told everyone that they are nothing compared to him.

Chris Jericho said that he made the Money in the Bank match, but everyone pointed out that he never even won it. Jericho gave everyone the gift of Jericho, but Ambrose knocked him off. Zayn and Owent went at it, and chaos broke out, but then Teddy Long emerged.

He spouted off match ideas, but Stephanie came out to cut him off. Long asked Steph if he could run SmackDown, and she refused, setting matches for the night and sending Long on his way.

Teddy Long was a cute surprise, and the sight of Chris Jericho sitting primly ont he ladder was highly amusing, so I can’t complain much.

Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho started off strong, but Cesaro soon staged a quick comeback, locking in a headlock before hitting a backbreaker on Jericho. Jericho looked to fight back, but ran right into an uppercut from Cesaro.

The action continued outside the ring, with Cesaro flinging Jericho into the barricade and hitting another uppercut. Back in the ring, Jericho fought back into control with a well-timed reversal, driving Cesaro into the mat. However, his advantage only lasted so long, as Cesaro took Jericho for a ride on the uppercut express. Jericho looked to reverse into a move from the ropes, but Cesaro caught him yet again.

Jericho hit a Codebreaker out of the ring, but Cesaro was able to kick out once Jericho dragged him back into the ring. Jericho drove Cesaro into the corner, but Cesaro reversed it into a superplex from the second rope.

Cesaro defeated a future Hall of Famer, you guys. This is the world we’re living in. The match was very entertaining, with the two performers playing their roles well. Cesaro’s momentum looks to be building well, and a win over Jericho only furthers that.

WWE then aired a video package about Seth Rollins and his obsession with regaining his title, which was basically just a condensed version of his WWE 24. So yeah, I don’t know how we can be expected to boo him.

Rusev vs. Jack Swagger

Yeah, Jack Swagger still exists, that poor man.

Titus O’Neil joined Michael Cole and co on commentary as Rusev looked to crush Jack Swagger in his own home state.

Rusev immediately took full advantage of Swagger, beating, kicking and striking him with practiced ease. He drove Swagger into the turnbuckle, and the hometown boy looked to stage a comeback with a powerslam.

Swagger looked for the Patriot Lock, but Rusev rolled out of the ring. He and Swagger went after each other, hitting two clotheslines on each other. Rusev pushed Swagger into Titus O’Neil, just managing to roll into the ring in time to win by countout.

In the ring, Swagger and Titus both went after Rusev, standing tall in the ring as Rusev retreated to end the segment.

This was short, sweet and to the point, which is really all I can ask for in this feud. it furthered the storyline without too much fanfare, ensuring that its two participants aren’t too overexposed and playing to their strengths easily.

John Cena said WHAT?

John Cena talked about his moment in the ring with AJ Styles before his attack, calling it a once in a generation moment. He talks about the dueling chants for himself and Styles, comparing the electricity he felt to what he felt with the Rock. Having said that, Cena asked why in the world Styles would take the “easy way out” and asked Styles to come out.

Styles answered the call with Gallows and Anderson at his side. The chants broke out again, and Styles said that, plain and simple, he had a plan. Styles said that Cena is an insult to him every time he’s in the ring, saying that even on his best day, he wouldn’t be able to beat him.

Cena said that Styles was desperate, but Styles, furious, retorted that he could go anywhere else in the world. He said, “Guys like you bury guys like me,” to justify having the Club at his side, and the three surrounded the ring. However, it was the New Day who would come out to give Cena some backup, and the three retreated.

Yeah, that’s right you guys. In one segment, John Cena name-dropped the Bullet Club and AJ Styles called him out for burying people. This segment is everything that makes wrestling so compelling, to me. It had that touch of realism that made CM Punk’s own MITB feud with Cena so exciting.

Also, Styles was better on the mic than he’s been his entire WWE run so far. You could tell how at ease he felt in his new role, and every word he spoke felt sincere. The same went for Cena, who clearly felt invigorated back in the ring.

Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudevillains

The Vaudevillains entered first, smug over the injury they “caused” Enzo at Payback. Soon after, Enzo and Cass came out to their usual massive ovation, cutting an impassioned promo with Enzo declaring that he was unbreakable. Big Cass, in his wonderful way, declared the pair of heels S-A-W-F-T and the match was set.

Enzo started things off, and the Vaudevillains both went right after him, double-teaming to take advantage of him, but Enzo was able to tag Cass in with little trouble. Cass hit the Empire Elbow on Gotch, and English broke it up, sending Enzo right through the ropes in the same move that injured him.

But unfortunately for him, Cass saw it, and the big man absolutely snapped, beating English so intensely that the ref called for the bell. Cass continued his carnage, infuriated, and Enzo joined him back in the ring. The two hugged and stood tall to close the segment.

Backstage, Teddy Long suggested that Stephanie book Enzo & Cass, the Vaudevillains, Anderson & Gallows AND the New Day for the titles at Money in the Bank.

Big Cass’s love for Enzo is the stuff of fairytales.

Booking this match allows WWE to go many directions after Money int he Bank. In my opinion, the titles are destined to be around Gallows & Anderson’s waists before long. They are the best choice to dethrone the New Day, who have become so big they don’t need the titles to remain huge players in the game.

Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio

Zayn started off with vigor, hitting a hurricarana and then landing a moonsault off the barricade out of the ring. Del Rio took control during the commercial break, but Zayn battled back with a huge crossbody. He went for a suplex, but Del Rio reversed it into the backstabber.

Zayn rolled him up, but Del Rio countered with a kick, slapping Zayn silly until the underdog hit a desperate clothesline. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, but Del Rio countered with a kick of his own, setting Zayn up on the ropes for his finisher, but Zayn reversed it at the last second. However, Del Rio got more kicks in, finally hitting his finisher to put Zayn away.

Backstage, Owens trashed Ambrose, saying that he was worried for Ambrose, calling him crazier than usual lately. Ambrose brushed his “worries” aside, bringing up his multiple victories over Owens last year.

Well, we can’t win them all.

This match built well, though the ending did seem to suck the life out of everyone. I get that Del Rio needed some momentum heading into Money int he Bank, but I wish it didn’t come at Zayn’t expense.

WWE aired the Reigns video package…and I still don’t feel any desire to root for him.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens

Ambrose started off strong, sending Owens out of the ring only to be thrown over the announce table by the prizefighter himself. Owens grabbed a headset to talk trash, but Ambrose went right back after Owens, hitting a side suplex in the ring and going for Dirty Deeds.

Owens hit a dropkick, slamming on Ambrose from behind, but Ambrose managed to reverse a clothesline, landing him on the mat. He ran right into a kick from Owens, however, who then locked in one of his beloved headlocks.

Ambrose managed to hit a superplex, but Owens managed to knock him off the ropes  before hitting his running canonball. He went for the Pop-up Powerbomb, but Ambrose reversed, sending Owens out of the ring. He went for a suicide dive, but Owens caught him, slamming him onto the apron before hitting a frog splash.

However, Ambrose managed to hit Dirty Deeds out of nowhere, scoring a win. He ascended a ladder to grab the briefcase and make a statement, but Owens knocked him off, pointing at the briefcase and declaring it his.

These two have fantastic chemistry, and I love to see their old rivalry revisited. between the two of them, a wildly entertaining match was had, and the crowd definitely enjoyed it. Ambrose looks to continue to be on the upswing, and Owens isn’t slowing down int he slightest.

I have a feeling that the next Mr. Money in the Bank was in this match.

Friends forever

Mic in hand, Charlotte apologized for what she said, but wouldn’t retract anything she said. No one understands the pressure she’s under, she claimed. She said that she still wanted him as her family, but that she wanted to stand on her own as WWE Women’s Champion.

This was interrupted by Natalya and Becky Lynch, who berated Charlotte for using others to get to the top and warning Dana Brooke that she was just using her as well.

Brooke looked to be seriously contemplating what the two women said, stepping away from Charlotte only to sucker punch Natalya. Chaos erupted in the ring, with the four women brawling. Charlotte and Dana stood tall to close the segment.

I miss the days of multiple women’s segments. Or the women wrestling in a match over five minutes. I miss the buildup to WrestleMania.

Here’s hoping the brand split forces WWE to give its women the time they deserve to tell multiple stories. Right now, it’s just a waste.

Tyler Breeze vs. R-Truth

R-Truth seemed to be starting off strong against Tyler Breeze, and Fandango distracted him. The match itself didn’t last much longer, with both teams brawling in the ring and Breezango retreating.

Teddy Long interfered, looking to restart the match as a tag match, but was escorted away. Backstage, a furious Stephanie McMahon informed Teddy that it would be her running SmackDown, not anyone else and not Shane.

FINALLY, Stephanie is showing her true colors. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops as July 19th inches closer and closer.

WWE then aired a tribute to Muhammad Ali.

The New Day vs. The Club

The action started immediately, with Woods and Styles going at it int he ring while their comrades brawled at ringside. Woods gained momentum against Styles at first, flying around the ring with surprising speed, but Anderson caught him off guard, allowing STyles to land the Styles Clash at ringside.

The match finally began with Woods prone at ringside, and a furious Kingston started off fired up against Anderson. Woods knocked AJ off the corner, landing a drop on Anderson before tagging in Big E, who landed a huge back body drop. He then hit a splash on the apron, but Styles hit a pelee kick to E with the ref not looking, allowing Anderson to tag in Gallows.

Styles tagged in briefly before letting Gallows go to work on E, locking in a fierce headlock. Big E tried powering out, but Gallows kept him grounded, tagging in Anderson, who looked for a leg drop, but Big E dodged.

Kingston and Styles both tagged in, with Kofi flying in with a fury, hitting a boom drop. He planted Gallows, looking to hit a crossbody, but Styles dodged, looking for the Styles Clash. Anderson broke the pin when Kingston hit SOS, and the ensuing chaos let Styles hit Kingston with the Phenomenal Forearm. The violence went on after, but John Cena emerged to even the odds, heading right for Styles, who retreated from the ring.

Styles attacked Cena from behind, taking him out, but Kingston and Big E interfered, allowing Cena to plant Galows with the AA. The babyfaces stood tall to end the segment.

A fitting main event in every way, this match gave us a glimpse of heel AJ Styles in all his glory. The Styles Clash early on and the Phenomenal Forearm both had the crowd going nuts. Gallows & Anderson looked wonderful as well, and though I’m not thrilled to see them fall to Cena, they still beat the tag champs clean.

The New Day is absolutely shining as top babyfaces. Kofi Kingston, especially, is shining in the ring. Even Xavier Woods has seriously stepped up his game. It says a lot that WWE had them stand tall with John Cena to end the night.

Overall, RAW was a good time. Nothing earth-shattering happened, but it was entertaining across the board, if a tad predictable.

Gabby Books It: The Return of Rollins

It’s happened, folks. After six agonizing months without the evil laugh or knowing smirk, SETH FREAKING ROLLINS IS FREAKING BACK! That’s right, you guys, our favorite trash king is back and is picking up right where he left off: feuding with Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

I was very excited about his return.

Fun fact: my very first RAW recap on this blog was of Seth’s final RAW episode before his injury. Back in October, I said:

“So, Roman and Seth fighting for the title? I definitely can dig it. Reigns has performed like a true star in his feud with Wyatt, and has won over the WWE Universe. My only beef? That Ambrose isn’t in the running. But who knows, there’s still time to fix that.”

Guess not much has changed, huh? Except for the fact that Roman’s popularity has plummeted. Poor, poor Roman.

Rollins’ much-anticipated return carried a lot of questions with it. We wondered if he would take advantage of the fans’ obvious good will towards him and turn face.

No.

We wondered if he would go right into the main event scene.

YES. And thank goodness, too!

I’m a little disappointed that Seth seems to be falling back right into his old heel persona, but if booked right, I can see him slowly morphing into an anti-hero with an edge. A Stone Cold-esque hero who doesn’t care about what anyone else wants or expects. So, without further ado, here’s how I would make that dream a reality.

So, as Money in the Bank draws closer and closer, Seth Rollins grows more and more aggressive. Stephanie, to his utter bewilderment, books him in increasingly difficult matches against the likes of Kevin Owens, Karl Anderson and Chris Jericho. Rollins wins them all (Sami Zayn interferes, costing Owens his match). Finally, a frustrated Rollins approaches a sympathetic Shane McMahon.

Shane tells Seth that he can’t do anything to help him, and that he’s going to have to stand on his own two feet for the first time in his WWE career. Seth storms away, furious, presumably to throw a tantrum.

Cameras follow Rollins, and to everyone’s surprise, he runs right into a waiting Dean Ambrose. Rollins, tense, prepares for a fight, but Dean assures him he’s not looking for one…yet. In fact, he has some advice for his former Shield brother.

“The only person you can ever truly rely on is yourself,” Dean tells Seth. Seth scoffs.

“Yeah? Well, look where it got you, huh?” he fires back. Dean shrugs, unaffected.

“I’m still standing, aren’t I?” he asks, turning and walking away. The camera focuses in on Rollins, deep in thought and unsure.

The next week, Roman Reigns opens RAW, reminding the jeering crowd that he wasn’t the one who turned on his brothers for the sake of getting ahead. He wasn’t the one who hid behind the likes of The Authority and J & J Security. He says that Seth Rollins is a weasel who doesn’t have the courage or ability to fight his own battles.

Cue Rollins himself, who charges down the ramp, mic in hand. Furious, he tells Roman that he didn’t have The Authority OR J & J by his side when he pinned HIM to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No, he did it all by himself.

“And at Money in the Bank,” he proclaims brashly, “I’m going to do it all over again. You might be the guy, Roman, but I am the MAN. I always have been, and I always will be. And you can believe that.”

Money in the Bank arrives, and Rollins looks poised to reclaim the title that he never lost. He puts on an instant classic with Reigns, a match which looks pretty even throughout. The two former brothers dish out everything they have, with Rollins returning to his more babyface-esque flying style.

At the match’s conclusion, Rollins hits a stunning Phoenix Splash on Reigns, following it with a Pedigree for good measure. The crowd goes absolutely mental as Rollins covers Reigns for the 1, 2-

Then, the lights go out. Seconds later, they come back on, and Triple H is standing there, in the center of the ring. Rollins looks frozen with shock, and Triple H takes advantage, immediately attacking the Architect. Reigns rises, dazed, and sees what’s happening. Triple H stops, and looks at him, and everyone wonders if he will help his helpless foe or join in on the carnage.

He joins in.

(I should note that Ambrose wins the Money in the Bank briefcase.)

Triple H opens RAW the next week, announcing that he plans on having the Authority control both RAW and SmackDown. WWE builds on the real-life tension between Shane and Triple H, with Triple H looking to exert total control over WWE television. Then, Seth Rollins storms the ring, attacking Triple H, flinging curses all the while. Even after, Roman Reigns emerges, pulling Seth off of Triple H, to everyone’s shock.

Later that night, Reigns cuts a promo, saying he would never support Triple H, but he won’t stand for Seth running rampant around RAW. He says that as long as he’s champion, people are going to do things the right way. His way. The crowd, of course, boos him to infinity, and Seth Rollins emerges.

Seth Rollins, mic in hand, slams Reigns for interfering in HIS business. He tells him to mind his own or suffer the consequences.

The WWE Draft rolls along, and Rollins is drafted to SmackDown. He is granted his rematch against Reigns at Battleground. In the buildup to Battleground, Triple H begins to interfere in Shane McMahon’s running of the blue brand. He exerts his authority (pun very much intended) over both RAW and SmackDown, booking matches without Shane’s consent.

However, curiously, whenever he books a match against Shane’s wishes, Seth Rollins appears to mix things up. He interferes in matches, goes on commentary, and causes general mayhem for Triple H’s favorites like Kevin Owens and the returning Randy Orton, who is serving as an enforcer of sorts for Triple H, having secretly reconciled while he was injured.

Rollins makes life such a  living hell for Triple H that he injects Randy Orton into Rollins’ Battleground rematch. Shane asks him to stop, saying he’s only making things worse, but Rollins doesn’t care. At this point, he’s just pissed and out for vengeance. Rogue Rollins is in full force.

Come Battleground, Reigns wins by pinning Orton, who costs Rollins the match when he breaks a pin from Seth hitting the Pedigree on Reigns. He refuses to give Seth another chance at his precious title.

On SmackDown, Rollins goes right after Triple H, decimating him backstage. Randy Orton comes to Triple H’s rescue, and the two begin to team up on Rollins, but in a shocking turn of events, the Lunatic Fringe himself, Dean Ambrose, comes to Rollins’ rescue. Rollins is wary of Ambrose’s intentions, but Ambrose merely tells Seth he owes him a favor.

The next week, an infuriated Triple H brings Rollins out to the ring and fires him, but Shane McMahon comes out. He tells Triple H that if he fires Rollins, he’s missing out on a golden opportunity. He then books a blockbuster match for SummerSlam: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins. The loser leaves SmackDown for good.

In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Rollins and Ambrose become uneasy allies, arguing constantly but watching each other’s backs nonetheless. Like the Shield of old, they become unstoppable together, teaming up to further both Rollins’ feud with Triple H and Ambrose’s feud with Randy Orton.

Triple H taunts Rollins throughout, telling him that without the Authority, without him, he’d be nothing. He tells Seth that he was always his second choice, and that he would always be one step behind Roman Reigns.

This finally comes to an explosive conclusion at SummerSlam. Rollins and Triple H take each other to hell and back, and Rollins finally works like he did in his babyface days, flying around the ring like a superhero. He beats Triple H with a whopping two finishers: first, the Pedigree, then a Phoenix Splash. The crowd goes wild, and Rollins revels in it, finally the babyface rogue he is meant to be.

This feud allows Rollins to step away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene for a while and teases a Shield reunion just slightly. He doesn’t return to stake a claim for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until the Royal Rumble, facing Reigns and reclaiming the title that he never lost at long last.

Reigns gets his rematch at Fastlane and Rollins comes out on top. However, Rollins only wins when Reigns’ fury finally drives him over the edge into a full heel turn, and he attacks Rollins with a steel chair. That night, Stephanie and Shane announce that the two will face each other one more time: at WrestleMania.

The next week on SmackDown, Ambrose opens the show, and tells Rollins that he still owes him a favor. He says that he wants to cash that in, and tells Seth that he will be cashing in his briefcase at WrestleMania, thus turning it into a Shield Triple Threat. The crowd, naturally goes nuts. Rollins comes out, entering the ring wordlessly, and merely holds out his hand. Ambrose shakes it. The match is on.

The conclusion of THAT bout…well. Let’s just say that Ambrose will FINALLY get his WrestleMania moment. Seth got 31, Reigns got 32, and Ambrose will get 33. This will allow Rollins and Ambrose to feud for the title over the summer, with Rollins finally taking it back at oh, SummerSlam?

This booking allows Seth Rollins to not only cement himself as one of the faces of WWE and capitalize on the crowd’s good will towards him, it also lets Roman Reigns have a long run on top of the company. That’s not ideal for me, but it’s realistic as I can get.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments and be sure to share this on Facebook and Twitter!

 

RAW Recap/Analysis – May 30, 2016

Sometimes, RAW is worth pointless comedy segments and time-killing promos. Sometimes, RAW offers something truly special. Tonight’s episode of RAW was one of those episodes, a truly thrilling surprise smack dab in the middle of the show featuring one of the most dream-like and shocking moments of 2016 so far.

Dance off

RAW kicked off with the entire roster, Cena and Rollins included, I might add, standing on the stage for a salute, and a short video package honoring those who gave their lives for America.

Shane opened the show, and Stephanie was not too far behind. She welcomed Green Bay to Monday Night RAW. Shane McMahon acknowledged the upcoming brand split, and Stephanie acknowledged the return of John Cena.

They were both interrupted by The New Day, who were wondering about what the brand extension would mean for them. Stephanie dodged their questions, and the New Day demanded that they not be split up. They pointed out Shane and Stephanie’s rivalry, and challenged the two to a dance challenge.

And yeah, Shane twerked.

Stephanie was about to dance herself, but the Vaudevillains interrupted this, emerging for their match against The New Day.

Nothing more heelish than keeping us from seeing Stephanie McMahon twerking. You VILE VAUDEVILLAINS!

The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains

English and Gotch worked to not allow the New Day’s numbers game to give their opponents the advantage this time, wearing Kofi Kingston down with purpose. Kofi looked to fight back and tag in Big E, but was sent out of the ring by Simon Gotch.

In the ring, Big E took control. However, Gallows & Anderson interjected, taking Woods and Kingston out before doing the same to Big E. Backstage, the fearsome duo declared that everyone on the WWE roster should be on notice.

Before I get to everything else, I feel the need to commend the Vaudevillains on their excellent work. They are looking more and more like a threat the more we see them. That being said, Gallows & Anderson are exactly the opponents The New Day have needed.

Their title reign has been very memorable, but mostly because of the New Day themselves, not because of any of their defenses or feuds. Their most memorable rivals were the Prime Time Players. Now, however, they have the perfect foils in Gallows & Anderson: two imposing, serious juggernauts in need of gold around their waists.

This will be a very, very interesting rivalry going forward.

Breezango vs. The Usos

With the Golden Truth on commentary, Breezango took on the Samoan superteam.  The Usos seemed firmly in control, but some sly working by Fandango allowed Tyler Breeze to get an advantage before tagging Fandango in.

However, it wasn’t enough, as The Usos got a victory, which Breeze and Fandango blamed on Golden Truth.

Golden Truth and Breezango brawled at ringside, with Golden Truth double-teaming to take Breezango out.

I mean…this happened. I don’t have much else to offer int he way of analysis because this entire storyline just seems to pointless.

Mind Games

Roman Reigns cut a promo on Seth Rollins, calling him a coward for always running away, and challenged him to come out to the ring. He did, but didn’t even come out to the ring, retreating back down the ramp and grabbing a mic.

He paused, but then dropped the mic, approaching the ring…and backing off again, smirking. He kept teasing charging the ring, and speaking, but finally just left.

Reigns’ music started playing, and Seth charged out, but retreated once more.

Here’s what I don’t understand.

In Seth Rollins, you have one of the best in-ring workers in the entire WWE who is dynamite on the mic. He is riding a tidal wave of support from the WWE Universe as he bravely returns from injury. Even as a heel, he has the ability to work a crowd into a chorus of boos as he goes up against a tepid at best, hated at worst babyface.

So, mere weeks before their massive pay-per-view match, you do a segment where the beloved heel says nothing and never even enters the ring.

I don’t get it. Please, someone explain the logic of this to me. Enlighten my poor, amateur mind. Make my day.

Rusev vs. Zack Ryder

Rusev dominated from the top of the match, catching Ryder with a knee to the gut. Ryder looked to power back with a missile dropkick, fighting to the point of covering Rusev, but Rusev locked in the Accolade soon after for the pinfall.

In the ring, Rusev looked to cut a promo about himself, calling himself a great American, but Titus O’Neil cut him off, berating him for daring to say such a thing and then punching him so hard he flew out of the ring.

When all else fails, always resort to the ‘Murica-loving babyface against an evil foreign heel dynamic. That way, you don’t have to put any actual effort into crafting a real storyline.

In all seriousness, O’Neil seems like the next challenger to Rusev’s throne. He’s a good choice. The fans like him well enough, and he looks like a real threat, physically.

And Rusev is wonderful as he plows over the roster, of course.

Backstage, Stephanie berated Charlotte for her behavior to her father.

Enzo & Cass vs. The Dudley Boyz

Enzo & Cass dominated from the start of the match to the finish, although the Dudleys did look to regain some momentum by targeting Enzo Amore. However, it looks as if the Realest Guys in the Room are about to move onto greener pastures, as they decimated the Dudleys in no time at all.

John Cena

John Cena returned to RAW in a big way, coming out to cut the most patriotic promo I think I have ever heard in my life. He switched gears after, discussing whether or not he truly had a place in this new era. Then, to Green Bay’s delight, AJ Styles’ music hit, and the Phenomenal One emerged.

For several minutes, neither performer could get a word out as dueling chants of delight rang through the arena. Styles told Cena he respected him, shaking his hand. But soon after, Gallows & Anderson emerged, calling Styles an ass-kisser. They charged the ring, and Styles and Cena both prepared for battle.

But in a HUGE swerve, Styles turned on Cena, blindsiding him. The reunited Club battered down Cena together, Styles looking like a man possessed. They “too-sweeted” in the ring and left Cena laying in a broken heap.

Oh.

My.

GOD.

After months of remaining int he light, AJ Styles has finally succumbed to temptation. I said last week that Styles is meant for big things, and this is exactly what I meant, though it’s not what I had in mind.

AJ Styles vs. John Cena is a dream match. The two are the same age and from opposite walks of life, career-wise. Fans have been salivating over its possibility since AJ Styles debuted at the Royal Rumble. Two icons of their time facing off in WWE…that’s the stuff of dreams.

Well, it looks like we’re getting it. We don’t deserve this.

I’ll be frank: I didn’t see this coming at all. And that’s thrilling to me. Predictability has been a plague upon WWE all year, as evidenced by the ending of WrestleMania and the fact that I was able to correctly call every finish at Extreme Rules. I did NOT see Styles’ masterfully orchestrated heel turn coming. Especially not this way.

But I’m glad.

WWE is in need of more top calibre heels. Right now, Seth Rollins is inching towards a possible face turn. Kevin Owens is brilliant, but he’s wrapped up in his own storyline. The Miz, Sheamus and Del Rio are all talented, but they cannot sustain a main event push. AJ Styles is the kind of high-profile, talented workers who can step up as a legitimate bad guy for the company. Add Finn Balor to the mix someday, and you have endless possibilities for feuds and more down the line.

Natalya vs. Dana Brooke

Within moments, a dominant Dana Brooke got an easy win over Natalya with the help of Charlotte, who provided her new ally with the distraction.

After the match,t he two began to clobber on Natalya, but Becky Lynch emerged for the save, chasing the two blonde Superstars off.

Welcome to the “Women’s Revolution,” folks. This match was over int he blink of an eye. Even shorter than the Golden Truth segment, I believe. How nice.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin (Technical wrestling match)

This match didn’t really go anywhere, as Ziggler hit Baron Corbin with a shameless low blow to end the match then and there.

This was actually a welcome swerve. I will fully admit to making fun of the “technical” stipulation to the match, and laughing even harder when Ziggler put his head protection and mouth guard on. But having it all turn out to be a trap made Ziggler look sly while allowing Corbin to save face.

Dean Ambrose, Cesaro & Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho

Cesaro and Del Rio started the match off, and Cesaro went flying early on, taking Kevin Owens out at ringside before going back after Del Rio, who capitalized. The three heels teamed on Cesaro out of the ring before Del Rio resumed the attack back in the ring.

With the ref distracted by Jericho, Owens and Del Rio both assaulted Cesaro in the corner. Del Rio looked to hit a suplex, but Cesaro’s sheer power allowed him to reverse it into a back body drop of his own.

Sami Zayn tagged in, attacking Del Rio with his usual swiftness and knocking Jericho off the apron. He hit a high crossbody, but Owens saved Del Rio from hitting the helluva Kick. Jericho hit Zayn from behind, and Ambrose attacked Jericho. Zayn flew out of the ring, taking all three down.

Owens managed to turn the tide, inflicting some pretty brutal punishment on Sami Zayn, throwing him on the ropes and kicking him with glee. Del Rio tagged in, followed by Jericho, and they continued to wear down Zayn. Zayn looked to crawl to Ambrose, but Jerichodragged him away, slapping and taunting the underdog. Zayn finally fought back with a Blue Thunder Bomb, tagging in Dean Ambrose, who went ham on Jericho.

Jericho managed to block a Dirty Deeds, going for a Lionsault, but Ambrose reversed it, launching himself out of the ring in a chaotic suicide dive. He sent Owens into the barricade, and hit a flying elbow on Jericho. Del Rio broke the pin, and Jericho hit the Codebreaker. Owens tagged himself in, but by then Ambrose could kick out.

The two bickered, and Cesaro took advantage, taking Jericho swinging. Del Rio broke it, and Zayn hit him with Helluva Kick. Ambrose hit Owens with Dirty Deeds, pinning Owens for the pinfall.

This was a main event-calibre match. The dynamic between the heels was hilarious, and Ambrose managed to rebuild some of the momentum he lost in his disappointing feud with Jericho. Sami Zayn and Cesaro both looked exceptional as well.

All in all, RAW was fairly mediocre, saved entirely by AJ Styles’ shocking heel turn and John Cena’s return.

 

BREAKING: The Brand Split is back!

SmackDown is officially moving to broadcast LIVE on Tuesday nights on the USA Network starting July 19th, WWE has confirmed. This move is the first in an official brand split to truly kick the “New Era” into high gear.

“WWE’s flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV,” WWE Chairman Vince McMahon said in a statement on WWE.com. “This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around th­e world.”

It looks as if one McMahon each will control RAW and SmackDown, respectively. No word yet on what this split means for the titles. A draft will be held sometime this summer to determine the rosters for each show.

This brand split, like Vince said, is a bold move to accommodate an increasingly loaded roster that only looks to grow with the likes of Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Bayley and Shinsuke Nakamura down in NXT. I am looking forward to this change, and will keep updating everyone as more information becomes available.