Mick Foley’s RAW promo & benevolent sexism

Hey, guys. Did you know I’m a woman? I know, I know, shocking. Well, as a woman, I have a plethora of life experiences that have shaped the person I am today. I have been groped by a stranger in public. I have been patronized and looked down on because of my gender. Why am I saying this? Well, because sexism is a reality in my life that I am aware of with every breath I take. And that reality has spurred me to write about what I saw on RAW tonight.

I’ll cut to the chase: when Mick Foley began to passionately beg Sasha and Charlotte to reconsider their historic Hell in a Cell match on Monday Night RAW, I was horrified.

Mick Foley has long been a supporter of the women’s divisions on both shows. He has voiced support for the women of WWE for years. He is an ally for women in the company in so many countless ways. Outside of the ring, he’s even more of an ally, supporting organizations such as RAINN tirelessly.

AGAIN, LET ME BE CLEAR: I LOVE MICK FOLEY. So that’s why I was so saddened by what transpired on the final RAW leading into Hell in a Cell.

DISCLAIMER: I am aware that Mick Foley the man is probably thrilled with the women going into Hell in a Cell. I am aware he does not write his promos. But here’s the truth of it all: his championing of women’s wrestling has been woven into the character he plays on TV. And so far, his character on TV has been disappointing for fans of women’s wrestling.

Yes, we got a RAW Women’s Championship match as the main event of RAW that had the crowd on its feet. But merely one week later the only women’s segments on the flagship show are an arm wrestling match and a contract signing. A contract signing which was hijacked by Mr. Foley’s character.

Benevolent Sexism

Now, Foley’s delivery was fantastic. He has a real passion for the business and it shows whenever he has a mic in hand. But his words, on the other hand, were the textbook definition of benevolent sexism.

You see, sexism isn’t just slaps on the sass or catcalls. It’s not just calling someone a nasty woman. It’s the subtle things too.

Benevolent sexism may seem harmless, noble, or even “romantic,” but its effects can be devastating. Benevolent sexism, like hostile sexism, is an ideology that supports gender inequality, and in some ways benevolent sexism can be even more insidious.

-UnderstandingPrejudice.org

Things like saying women should be cherished and protected, as if we all fit neatly into traditional gender roles and stereotypes. It’s the paradox of toxic masculinity that tells boys they need to protect women but also be dominant sexually.

So how does this all factor into Foley’s promo? Well first, let’s examine how the other two Hell in a Cell matches (in a triple main event, which could get its own blog) were built on the very same RAW.

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev & Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

The build to this feud has its own problems (Fighting for your wife’s honor? Really?) but the buildup tot he Hell in a Cell match has been focused on each competitor being willing to put their opponent through intense physical punishment.

Not once is it ever brought into question whether or not the men know what’s in store for them. Admittedly, Reigns does know what it’s like to be inside Hell in a Cell…in a match with no bloodshed. But regardless, his ability to put his body on the line is never brought into question. Instead, the focus is on the men themselves.

Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins’ rivalry is a bit more complex. Not only is the Universal Championship involved, but also ingrained in their plot is the Triple H angle and the rising personal animosity between Rollins and Owens.

The buildup to their Hell in a Cell match has been an exchange of threats. Rollins passionately promised to render Owens unable to move by their match’s end. That anger and animosity is the centerpiece of their feud. Well, that and Chris Jericho.

So, in short, the men hyped their matches by promising to take their opponents to hell and back. The usual.

And now, the women…

Sasha Banks and Charlotte are under an enormous amount of pressure. They are in a first of its kind match (for WWE), and if their match is subpar, there will be fans saying that women should never be allowed to be in these matches.

Never mind the plethora of disappointing men’s Hell in a Cell matches over the years.

The last impression on RAW before a PPV is important. It sets the tone for their impending match. So WWE, in their boundless wisdom, decided to have Mick Foley tearfully beg them to reconsider their match.

…..what?

This wasn’t the same Foley who warned Ambrose and Rollins that they weren’t ready for life after Hell in a Cell.

Foley then was determined, almost daring Ambrose and Rollins to live up to his legacy. There is a difference between warning and coddling, after all. And Ambrose and Rollins both emerged from the segment unfazed.

On paper, his promo with Sasha and Charlotte seems similar. But contextualized, it’s a completely different animal.

For starters, his interruptions were yelled right in their faces, which is just unsettling. Additionally, they took away from what little screentime the women had at all. Remember, in this episode the only women’s segments weren’t even matches. So to inject Mick Foley so completely into the contract signing was just another nail in the coffin.

But most importantly: his words were patronizing.

Foley begged the women to not go into their Hell in a Cell match unless they were ready to sign away years of their life. He emotionally recounted meeting Charlotte as a little girl and Sasha’s love of Eddie Guerrero. He didn’t even want to give the women their contract.

Oh, and earlier in the preshow Jerry Lawler suggested that the girls should be scared. YUP.

What’s so bad about that?

  1. It’s patronizing. You think that, in storyline, Sasha and Charlotte are not absolutely aware of what they’re getting into? You think that these two women needed to be told in the final segment before their HISTORIC match that they weren’t ready? How many times has this happened to women in male-dominated professions? Answer: all too much. It’s not the same as when he warns the men because undercutting women with ambition is a systemic and societal problem.
  2. It enforces gender stereotypes. The women NEED to be protected. They NEED to be warned. They’re getting too ambitious and need to be reined back in by a man of authority.
  3. It made the women’s segment about a man. Guys, Charlotte and Sasha are going to tear each other apart but MICK FOLEY DOESN’T HAVE A HIP SOCKET.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t interrupted them multiple times. Maybe then it wouldn’t have felt like mansplaining. But the truth of the matter is that Mick wouldn’t have been scripted to be so concerned for Roman or Seth. Foreboding, yes, but not concerned.

Sasha and Charlotte are in a difficult spot as it is. They’re in a ridiculous triple main event when they should be the main event: period. They have to craft a gimmick match for skeptical marks. And now, their match has to overcome incredible pressure not just from fans, but from an overly protective authority figure.

I have no doubt they will put on an incredible match. I have faith in them. And that is what their GM should have said. He should be building them up (as the real Foley would do) instead of insinuating their ignorance.

But hey, why am I even upset? We ARE in a women’s revolution, aren’t we?

Aren’t we?

 

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Lists for Tonight’s RAW

I thought I would write these lists while watching the October 24th edition of Monday Night RAW so you can read it with all of the intensity that I have while watching this episode. Here we go:

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons the Brock Lesnar Segment was needed on RAW

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons an Over-Emoting Mick Foley Helped the Sasha/Charlotte Hell in a Cell Match

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons Why a “Triple Main Event” Makes Total Sense

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to Love Tonight’s RAW

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So in conclusion, this episode of RAW SUCKED.

However, let’s end this on a positive note…

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to watch Hell in a Cell this Sunday

1. Sasha/Charlotte
2. Charlotte/Sasha
3. Sasha/Charlotte
4. Charlotte/Sasha
5. Sasha/Charlotte
6. Charlotte/Sasha
7. Sasha/Charlotte
8. Charlotte/Sasha
9. Sasha/Charlotte
10. Charlotte/Sasha

I’m out.

The Bilbs Says: The WWE Universe Should Ignore Brock Lesnar

After SummerSlam, I was so mad at the outcome that I almost wrote this column right after. However, cooler heads prevailed and I decided to wait a couple of days, watch Raw and SmackDown Live, and then check my opinion on this topic.

My opinion has not changed: the WWE Universe needs to ignore Brock Lesnar.

Let me first start off my saying that I was (and still to an extent) a Lesnar fan. When he burst on the scene in 2002, he was “The Next Big Thing.”

He annihilated his opponents. He had actual wrestling moves. He became the youngest WWE Champion at that time at age 25 by defeating The Rock at SummerSlam. And who can forget the legendary match with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XIX where he attempted the shooting star press? (Even though he botched it, he has hit it successfully many times in the past.)

Soon after, Lesnar’s career started becoming stale. His two year on-air WWE career came to an end with a very lackluster match against Goldberg at Wrestlemania XX. It seemed Brock wanted out, and fans were not upset to see him leave.

Of course we all know the story after that. He tried out for the NFL and then went to New Japan before jumping into the Octagon where he became the UFC Heavyweight Champion.

I was still a fan of Lesnar’s when he was in the UFC. His mixed martial arts skills along with his extensive amateur wresting and WWE wrestling skills made him a dominate Heavyweight Champion. I felt awful for him when he had sit out and eventually retire from UFC due to severe diverticulitis.

When Lesnar returned to the WWE the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII, I, like most of you, was ecstatic to see The Beast return to the ring. Setting him up as a  Paul Heyman guy again and having Heyman, who could have you hoarding OxyClean in your house if he was the spokesperson, promoting him. It was set up to be a great comeback, except Lesnar never really came back. He was just there to collect the paycheck. The one-time NCAA Division I National Champion wrestler has seemed to have forgotten how to wrestle.

Does Lesnar have to attempt shooting star presses and submission holds for me to be a fan? Absolutely not. All he has to do is seem to actually care about what he is doing. If you have seen one Lesnar match in the past four years, you have seen them all: random punches, german suplexes, and an F-5 for the win. These subpar matches ended the streak that should have never been ended, dominated top superstars who should not be dominated, and gave Lesnar a WWE Championship that disappeared off television with him for months.

Then comes the comments on the Stone Cold Podcast where Dean Ambrose told Steve Austin that Lesnar is lazy and would not work with him to make their Wrestlemania match a hit. Critics and fans both agreed that the Ambrose-Lesnar match should have stolen the show, but way under-delivered. Then it came out that Chris Jericho was not pleased with with ending of the Lesnar-Orton match at SummerSlam and there was an altercation between the two in the Gorilla Position after the show.

The Lesnar-Orton match should have never been the main event of SummerSlam. After seeing Sasha Banks and Charlotte put on a clinic despite Banks’ back issues, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins showing everyone that they can put on a hell of a match for an ugly title, and AJ Styles and John Cena giving us another match-of-the-year candidate, we had to endure 15 minutes (if that) of punches, german suplexes, and Orton getting dominated in his return match. As much as I dislike Orton, he deserved a match with a clean finish, even if he lost. He did not deserve whatever you want to call that.

I do not even think he should have been allowed to wrestle at SummerSlam given his two failed drug tests from UFC. Roman Reigns (a Vince McMahon guy), Alberto Del Rio (a not really sure who actually likes him guy), and Eva Marie (a Vince McMahon girl) all have, or are currently serving 30-day suspensions for violating the WWE wellness policy, and Lesnar got to wrestle after failing two tests from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Surely WWE’s policy is not as strict as the NGC and the estrogen blocker Lesnar took that got him suspended from UFC is allowed in the WWE. If it is, then one of the two entities needs to reexamine their drug policy.

It’s after SummerSlam and Lesnar is now absent from the WWE yet again. He will show up sometime before another pay-per-view to fight Shane McMahon (what did we do to deserve this, God?), dominate him with punches and German suplexes, collect his paycheck and head back to the house until the Royal Rumble where lackluster Lesnar will start up again.

If Lesnar wants to go back to the UFC, then he needs to go. I’ll be glad to cheer him on as he fights to regain the UFC Heavyweight Championship. When he fought at UFC 200, the passion that we saw in his 2002 WWE-TV debut was there. That passion is definitely not in the WWE.

So to bring this full circle, we, the WWE Universe can put a stop the the poison of the company that is Brock Lesnar. How do we do that? By being silent. Don’t give him cheers. Don’t give him heat. Give Lesnar nothing. Do not wear a Lesnar t-shirt, do not make a Lesnar sign. Pretend Brock Lesnar does not exist. We all know Brock is going to Brock, and Vince is going to Vince, but we all know that Vince does react to two things, money and superstars not moving the needle in either direction. If we take these away, we force their hand. We had better do it quickly, because Lesnar’s contract is up after Wrestlemania XXXIII and Vince is eager to re-sign him. Let’s force their hand: either be passionate and give fans the courtesy of acting like you care, or go and do something you actually care about.

Gabby’s perspective: I love Brock. I really do. But at this point, he’s not doing anyone any favors but himself in WWE. His opponents emerge looking either weak (Orton) or stupid (Dean Ambrose) and he gets his money and leaves. It’s a toxic cycle that really and truly needs to end.

RAW Recap/Analysis – July 26, 2016

New Era indeed.

With a split roster, the first Monday Night RAW of the brand extension was forced to delve deeper into its characters and stories, providing viewers with longer matches, fresh camerawork and a historic-feeling moment that provided the best RAW I can remember seeing in years.

Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon opened RAW, bringing the new roster out and announcing two Fatal Four-Ways to determine an opponent for Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for a new title: the WWE Universal Championship.

Fighting for the title would be Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sheamus, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and . . . Finn Balor.

Calling Charlotte forward, they also announced that Charlotte would be defending her title against Sasha Banks that night.

Rusev vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor

Owens and Balor took each other on in the center of the ring right away as Cesaro and Rusev brawled at ringside. Owens went to work on Balor right away, but Balor powered back with a dropkick that sent them both out of the ring, allowing Cesaro to capitalize and take control.

Cesaro and Balor temporarily worked together, but Owens and Rusev soon worked them into a precarious situation, with Owens gleefully mocking Balor as he and Rusev teamed up on him. Owens continued to target the man who took the NXT Championship from him over a year ago, tossing him out of the ring before working with Rusev to hit a suplex on Cesaro. Both men took their turns beating Cesaro before rolling Balor back into the ring.

But Balor returned with a vengeance, planting Owens who then took a side suplex from Rusev. A rebounding Cesaro hit a flying crossbody on Rusev and Owens both, taking them and Balor on his uppercut train.

Balor regained momentum, countering a powerbomb from Kevin Owens and taking all three men out at ringside before trading strikes with Cesaro in the ring, hitting 1916 on Cesaro for a near-fall. Kevin Owens gained momentum, but it was Rusev who would plant the other three competitors with a Tower of Doom.

Owens hit a Frog Splash on Balor, but Rusev broke the pin. Cesaro hit Owens with a corkscrew uppercut and looked to take Owens swinging, but Rusev hit both men with kicks to the jaw, locking in the Accolade on Owens, only for Cesaro to plant him with a vertical suplex, going for the Sharpshooter. Rusev reversed into the Accolade, but Cesaro rolled over, forcing him to break it.

Cesaro put Rusev in the Sharpshooter, but Owens broke it, only to fall under attack by Balor, who would hit the Coup de Grace on Rusev for the victory.

While it’s a shame that Cesaro was put in a match he clearly would not win, I like the new direction he seems to be going in. I am curious to see what the rest of the year holds for him.

This match was brilliant, full of thrilling moments that got only more exciting as the match went on. The time given to the men paid off, as they built an exciting story that featured a lot of fun moments.

It felt surreal seeing Finn Balor in main roster competition, and seeing him once again battling Kevin Owens was a real treat. He was the right person to win this, as we’ll discuss later.

Nia Jax vs. Brit Baker

Nia quickly and dominantly pinned the local jobber without even breaking a sweat.

This match served its purpose: establishing the dominant beast Nia Jax is without damaging anyone else on the roster like Paige or Alicia Fox. Nia is still a bit green for the main roster, but she is a hard worker whose character will be an excellent addition to RAW.

Chris Jericho vs. Sheamus vs. Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns

Sheamus and Jericho immediately teamed up on Reigns while a dumbfounded Sami watched, but soon enough he joined in, because he’s a smart guy. Jericho and Sheamus drove Reigns into the barricade at ringside as Zayn awaited them in the ring.

The two heels once again teamed up on Zayn, who fought back valiantly with a hurricarana to Sheamus before launching Jericho at him. Reigns planted Zayn from behind, going for the pin, but Zayn kicked out, and Reigns went on the offensive, hitting him with a snap suplex and a series of strikes, but Zayn once more fought back.

Jericho went on the offensive, but Reigns launched both him and Zayn out of the ring, wiping out all three men. Jericho and Sheamus rebounded back in ring, teaming up on Reigns once more before turning on each other as Zayn returned to the fray.

Reigns took control with a double drive-by on the apron, but Zayn caught him with a Blue Thunder Bomb, going for the Helluva Kick before Reigns planted him with a Razor’s Edge, which Zayn kicked out of. He hit Sheamus with a Helluva Kick, but Jericho broke the pin. The two fought, and Jericho caught Zayn in the Walls of Jericho, only to have it broken by Sheamus. The two redheads fought until Reigns returned, planting everyone with Superman Punches. He went for a Spear, but Jericho countered with a  Codebreaker. Reigns kicked out, pinning Jericho with a Spear for the win.

This was an excellent match, with Zayn the clear favorite to win, but Reigns was the right choice to go over in this match. He was aggressive and domineering, a good look for someone such as himself.

SONNY BOY!

Coming to the ring to celebrate their record-setting reign as WWE World Tag Team champions, plugging Booty-O’s, which yes, is an ACTUAL CEREAL.

They aired a hilarious celebratory video package, and announced they would be selecting an honorary New Day member from the crowd, selecting a man at ringside in a Booty-O’s shirt and girating in the ring with him before being ambushed by Anderson and Gallows.

They demolished the New Day and antagonized the fan, Sonny Boy. It was a fitting way for them to strike up a feud with the tag champs. Anderson & Gallows, when given the chance, are one of the best heel duos in the entire wrestling industry right now. This feud should be perfect for them.

Neville vs. Curtis Axel

Neville started off strong against Axel, utilizing his usual swiftness and hitting a standing moonsault on “Mr. Irrelevant” Curtis Axel. Axel looked to fight back with a dropkick, locking in a chokehold on Neville.

Neville fought back with a surprisingly strong German Suplex before going for the Red Arrow,  securing a solid win for his return to WWE television.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (WWE Women’s Championship match)

Sasha and Charlotte locked up with instant aggression, the motivated challenger forcing Charlotte onto the match before going for a roll-up. Dana Brooke looked to interfere, grabbing Sasha by the leg, but the official noticed, and Sasha hit the Backstabber, forcing Charlotte into a modified submission hold, like an Accolade and Banks Statement in one.

Charlotte broke the hold, but Banks got the Statement again, slamming Charlotte out of the ring with a double knee. Charlotte fought back once the action returned to the ring, kicking Banks into the barricade and holding her title in Banks’ face mockingly. Brooke joined in, but Banks suckered her into being caught by the ref and kicked out of ringside.

Banks continued to work with aggression, sending Charlotte into the ropes before hitting the knees into the mat yet again, buying her valuable recovery time. Sasha went ham on the champ, dropping her with knees from the ropes and nearly getting Charlotte pinned. Charlotte managed to hit a neckbreaker She went for a moonsault, but Sasha dodged, hitting a wild suicide dive out of the ring.

Charlotte hit a wild moonsault from the top ropes out of the ring on Sasha, bringing her back into the ring for a failed pin. She went for a Figue Four, and Sasha rolled her up only to nearly fall to Natural Selection. Charlotte went for the Figure Eight, but Sasha battled out. Sasha locked in the banks STatement, but Charlotte got her foot on the ropes.

Sasha hit the Backstabber and finally, FINALLY got Charlotte to tap.

“I did it!” she declared to a thrilled crowd.

I’ll admit it: I cried. A lot. This moment has been long overdue for Banks, who has proven herself to be one of the best wrestlers, male or female, in the world. Even Charlotte couldn’t keep the smile off her face as Banks tearfully hoisted the title that has always been meant for her in the air.

Braun Strowman vs. James Ellsworth (?)

This poor jobber didn’t stand a chance. His punches didn’t faze Strowman, sporting a new look and new music, in the slightest.

Suffice it to say, he was pinned within seconds.

His pre-match interview was adorable, despite the fact that it was clear those words were likely the last the poor sap would ever speak. Strowman’s new look is pretty awesome, as is his music. If WWE continues this booking, they may make a star out of him yet.

Enzo & Cass vs. The Shining Stars

Enzo and Cass came out to entertain everyone, and because RAW was too entertaining for its own good, the Shining Stars emerged and cut them off, targeting Enzo Amore early. Big Cass evened things out, but Primo managed to clear the ring, only for the Golden Truth to walk through the match Pokemon hunting, allowing Cass to hit a Big Boot for the win.

Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns

Reigns went right Balor, tossing him clean across the ring, taking early control with his size and strength advantage, driving Finn’s face into the ropes. Balor fired back with an explosive dropkick, using his speed to his advantage.

But Reigns was like a man possessed, ripping into Balor with a series of strikes. He went for a driveby, but Balor dodged, sending Reigns into the barricade.He targeted Reigns’ leg, but Reigns regained control soon enough, continuing to tear into Balor with sheer strength.

But Balor caught Reigns with a kick from the ropes, hitting a running knee from the apron before ascending to the ropes, hitting a double stomp on Reigns’ back before Reigns caught him with a Superman Punch for a near-fall.

Reigns went for a Spear, but Balor countered it, landing the Coup de Grace to go to SummerSlam to face Seth Rollins.

Roman Reigns is definitely in the doghouse, but the real story is not about him. It’s about Finn Balor, who was treated just like the star he is in his debut on RAW. Balor played the part of underdog very well, despite the fact that he wasn’t an underdog in his golden days on NXT.

The crowd loved him from the start, and everything he did felt like magic. Sorry Vince Russo, but the new era is here and, quite frankly, it’s incredible.

 

WWE Draft Results

Here are live results for the WWE Draft!

RAW

  1. Seth Rollins
  2. Charlotte
  3. Finn Balor
  4. Roman Reigns
  5. Brock Lesnar
  6. The New Day
  7. Sami Zayn
  8. Sasha Banks
  9. Chris Jericho
  10. Rusev (w/ Lana)
  11. Kevin Owens
  12. Enzo & Cass
  13. Gallows & Anderson
  14. Big Show
  15. Nia Jax
  16. Neville
  17. Cesaro
  18. Sheamus
  19. Golden Truth
  20. Titus O’Neil
  21. Paige

SmackDown

  1. Dean Ambrose
  2. AJ Styles
  3. John Cena
  4. Randy Orton
  5. Bray Wyatt
  6. Becky Lynch
  7. The Miz (w/ Maryse)
  8. Baron Corbin
  9. American Alpha
  10. Dolph Ziggler
  11. Natalya
  12. Alberto Del Rio
  13. The Usos
  14. Kane

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.

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.