Monday Night Raw – August 25, 2014: John Cena Redux

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 25, 2014
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler

We’re getting away from Summerslam now and the main story is Cena vs. Lesnar III has been announced for Night of Champions. Cena is back tonight and gets to address the situation for the first time on TV after Summerslam. We also have a Hall of Fame forum with people like Hogan, Flair and HBK talking about the upcoming match. Let’s get to it.

We’re opening with the Hall of Fame forum so here are Flair, Hogan and Shawn to get things going. Cole recaps the Summerslam match with Lesnar vs. Cena and asks Shawn first about the rematch. Shawn thinks Cena doesn’t have a chance and thinks it might be time for Cena to give it up. Hogan disagrees and thinks Cena can still go. Flair sides with Shawn and thinks Cena is the franchise, but doesn’t want to see John vs. Lesnar again.

Hogan says Hustle, Loyalty and Respect is the real Cena and hopes Cena wins. Flair agrees and Shawn says that they all like Cena but no one thinks he has a chance. Hogan brings up the match at Extreme Rules and says you can never rule Cena out, but Shawn says no one can take a beating like that. Flair doesn’t think Hogan believes that and here’s Cena for a rebuttal.

Cena says everyone in the WWE Universe thinks he has no chance and now a group of WWE Hall of Famers think the same thing. John talks about the respect he has for all three men in the ring with him, including saying there would be no Cena without Hulk Hogan. Cena was at Summerslam and felt every one of those suplexes. There is no way around this: Summerslam was a beating and a 100% beatdown. He addresses Shawn saying this can’t happen again and Cena says he won’t do it again. Instead he’ll take the fight to Lesnar and is ready for Night of Champions.

The first 100 hours of Nitro is coming to the Network next week. That would be about 1995/1996 or so.

Rusev vs. Jack Swagger

Swagger takes it right to him to start and grabs an early Patriot Lock, sending Rusev out to the floor. Back in and Swagger takes Rusev down before heading outside again. Rusev goes face first into the announcer’s table but he sends Swagger ribs first into the ropes back inside. We take a break and come back with Swagger fighting out of a bearhug but walking into a spinwheel kick. Swagger nails a belly to belly suplex to get a breather and follows up with a Vader Bomb. Rusev gets his foot up but gets caught in the Patriot Lock. He bites his hand to fight the pin but crawls over to the ropes.

Back to the floor with Rusev ramming him back first into the apron a few times. The Accolade is countered into the Patriot Lock again but Jack has to settle for a jackknife cover for two. The jumping kick to the ribs puts Swagger down and Rusev pounds away in the corner. Rusev shouts a lot but Swagger comes back with WE THE PEOPLE! The beating on the ropes continues and Swagger is in big trouble. The referee checks on swagger but Rusev keeps stomping. A hard standing kick to the chest drops Jack again and the referee stops it at 11:35.

Rating: C+. Well that happened. It’s basically the same thing we saw at Summerslam. The match was entertaining but they can’t have Rusev lose so Swagger continues to get beaten over and over. In theory we’re setting up Cena vs. Rusev as the ultimate American vs. foreigner showdown but we don’t need Swagger to lose over and over again to get there. It’s the same issue he’s had for months now: he loses over and over again despite getting close. Eventually you don’t buy the close matches and they’re just waiting for the ending.

After a break, Swagger is getting his ribs looked at when Bo Dallas comes in. He says Swagger let his country down again, but all he needs to do is Bo-lieve.

Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam

The winner gets Sheamus (on commentary) for the US Title, presumably at Night of Champions. Good to see that Van Dam is fine after getting DDT on concrete on Smackdown. Rob spins around to start and superkicks Cesaro into Rolling Thunder for two. Cesaro comes back with a right hand in the corner and we hit the cravate on Rob for a bit. A kick to the face drops Cesaro and sets up the split legged moonsault for two. The springboard kick to the face looks to set up the Five Star but Cesaro rolls to the floor. Back in and Cesaro picks up Rob for the Neutralizer and the pin at 3:38. It’s as abrupt as it sounds.

Rating: D+. The ending really hurt this as Cesaro just got back into the ring, kicked Rob in the ribs and Neutralized him for the title shot. Also, I have some issues with Rob beating Cesaro clean at Summerslam but then losing a match here to give Cesaro a title shot that easily. Why not have this match at Summerslam? The time and ending dragged this down a lot.

Post match Cesaro picks up the US Title and throws it back at Sheamus after a few seconds.

Network hype.

Natalya vs. Paige

Non-title again. Natalya gets a quick rollup for two but Paige nails her with a clothesline. They trade abdominal stretches before Natalya hooks a release German suplex. There’s the Sharpshooter but Paige crawls over to the ropes. Paige can’t hook the PTO and Natalya tries another Sharpshooter, only to get kicked in the face. The Paige Turner is good for the pin at 2:56.

AJ comes skipping out for a distraction and Natalya nails a discus lariat. The fans don’t react because that’s a very heelish thing to do after she got beat. AJ gets in the ring and helps Paige up, saying she’s sincere. She hugs Paige, freaking the champion out a bit. Now it’s a handshake offer but AJ has to lean over to grab her hand. She even kisses Paige’s hand and skips around a bit before leaving.

Kane introduces Seth Rollins to deliver Dean Ambrose’s eulogy. Rollins says he was the leader of the Shield. On to Dean, fear was never a factor for him. We get a clip of the match from last week with the Curb Stomp onto the conveniently placed cinder blocks. Rollins is curious about what went through Dean’s head as it was going down onto those blocks. How did Ambrose feel when he knew he was outmatched?

The blocks were there on purpose but Rollins wants to know what would have happened if Ambrose had known his place. As far as Rollins is concerned, he doesn’t think we’ll be seeing Ambrose again. He says he created the Shield….so here’s Roman Reigns. Kane goes after him and is easily sent into the steps. Reigns goes after Rollins but Kane makes the save and bails.

We look at the Hall of Fame forum again.

Goldust and Stardust want the Tag Team Titles and get their shot tonight.

Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Goldust/Stardust

The Usos are defending and we get some big match intros. Stardust rolls Jimmy up for two to start but Jimmy does the same to him. It’s off to the arm work for a bit to give Stardust another two count. The champions are sent to the floor with the Dusts nailing big dives to take them down again. Back from a break with Jimmy fighting out of a chinlock from Stardust. Off to Goldust and both guys try cross bodies, setting up a double hot tag. Jey hammers on Stardust and knocks him out to the floor. A huge dive takes Stardust down but Jey hurts his knee and can’t get back in, drawing a countout at 7:40.

Rating: C-. This was starting to get good at the end but the countout stopped that cold. That’s two straight losses for the Usos against this team but they keep the titles against. That sounds like the start of a heel turn but it’s not how it’s coming off. Instead it’s more like they’re just kind of inept.

Post match Goldust says the Usos got counted out on purpose. They want to keep going and the Dusts turn evil by attacking the injured Uso. I’ve heard worse ideas.

Rollins is annoyed at Reigns so Kane uses the old standard handicap match.

We get a sitdown interview with Lesnar and Heyman. Brock says he came back to conquer the world and that’s what he did. He gave Cena an F5 right off the bat, allowing Cena to have the chance to quit. Instead Cena kept going and took a horrible beating. Heyman calls Cena challenging Brock to a rematch a horrible decision. Brock imitates Cena’s dad and talks about how he’ll have the chance to be a man….and then Brock Lesnar appeared. The idea of what’s coming to Cena at Night of Champions almost brings a tear to Brock’s eye.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

Non-title. Miz comes out in street clothes and talks about not having to wait in line at Disneyland this morning. As for his match tonight, he’ll be stepping out for his stunt double.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Mizdow

Sandow is of course dressed as Miz. An early dropkick gets two for Ziggler but Sandow, now in all black, comes back with a clothesline and dropkick to the knee. He puts on the Figure Four (on the proper leg) but Ziggler turns over pretty quickly. Back up and the Zig Zag is good for the pin at 2:25.

It’s time for the third big in ring segment of the night as Lawler is hosting a Bella Twins reconciliation. We get a clip of Nikki saying Brie has cost them all their success and the big slap. Nikki comes out first in a tight black dress and moves her chair across the ring. Here’s Brie as well, again in her Brie Mode shirt. Brie gets all serious and asks Nikki to forgive her because this is bigger than WWE or Total Divas. Nikki doesn’t buy it and says she knows the real Brie.

She accuses Brie of holding her back and is sick of the family treating Brie better. Nikki insults Brie’s hair and her save the Earth lifestyle. This brings Nikki to the troll faced husband and how sick she is of supporting a sister that never cared about her. Nikki says Brie stole all her boyfriends when they were younger and the fans are really not interested.

We FINALLY get to the point of this: Brie quit and left Nikki alone to get beaten up week after week because she cared about getting herself over more than her sister. Brie starts crying and Lawler tries to intervene so Nikki tells the old man to get out. She wishes Brie died in the womb and throws her out of the chair. The beating is on until Lawler breaks it up. Nikki slaps him off camera and the referees finally make the save.

Hall of Fame forum again.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins/Kane

Kane is knocked over the top almost immediately and Reigns goes after Seth. The monster gets back up and helps his partner to take over but Rollins is backdropped to the floor. Reigns hammers on Kane in the corner and nails the apron kick for good measure. The Superman Punch is countered but Reigns hits the spear, only to get nailed with the briefcase for the DQ at 2:40.

The beating continues post match and Kane has more cinder blocks ready at ringside. Reigns is able to fight out of it though and Superman Punches Rollins instead. Kane is sent “into” the post (clearly missing by a good six inches) and Roman picks up a cinder block. It hits the post instead of Rollins’ head but the Superman Punch lays out Kane. Rollins bails and looks terrified.

Bray Wyatt thinks Cena’s shell is cracked after his fight with Brock Lesnar. He’ll put Cena out of his misery tonight. It’s nicer on the other side.

Los Matadores vs. Heath Slater/Titus O’Neal

Before the match, Slater and Titus argue over which superhero they both are. Diego hits a quick spinning cross body for two on Slater, allowing Fernando to come in with a slingshot hilo for two more. Back up and a hurricanrana sends Slater down, setting up an armbar. Slater finally gets in a shot to the face and makes the taag off to Titus for some backbreakers. Heath reluctantly comes back in for a chinlock and a clothesline before tagging out. The makeshift team keeps hammering away until Diego grabs a crucifix for the pin on Slater out of nowhere at 4:00.

Rating: D. Another dull match here but it’s kind of nice to have a match instead of a long talking segment in the ring. Slater and O’Neil are fine for a thrown together tag team, though I wouldn’t mind them winning a match. Or a better name than Slater Gator. I’m also shocked that Los Matadores lasted this long.

Hall of Fame forum x4.

Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas

Kofi fires off kicks and a rollup to start. Bo comes back with a running knee to the ribs but Kofi does his mounted punches in the corner. Dallas avoids a charge in the corner and hits the Bodog for the pin at 1:40.

Bo says his usual post match but Swagger comes in and slams him.

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray just appears in the ring instead of doing an entrance. We don’t even get the lantern shot. Cena takes him right into the corner to start and nails him with a hard running clothesline. A German suplex puts Bray down again and Wyatt looks shocked. Another German suplex does the same and Bray is in trouble. John hammers on Bray in the corner and hits a hard running knee to the head as this is totally one sided. There’s another German suplex but Bray elbows out of a fourth. There’s a running splash in the corner but Cena takes him down and hammers away, drawing in Harper and Rowan for the DQ at 4:28.

Rating: D+. I get the idea here but I REALLY don’t like them doing this to Wyatt when he’s coming off a big win at Summerslam. I mean….do this to Rowan or Harper but leave Wyatt himself out of something like that. The match could have been worse and the story makes sense, but it should have been against someone who could absorb a loss like this. Del Rio would have been perfect had he not bailed.

Big Show and Mark Henry run out and I smell a six man after the break.

Big Show/Mark Henry/John Cena vs. Wyatt Family

Joined in progress after a break with Big Show dropping an elbow on Rowan. Henry comes in off the top for more big man offense but gets nailed by Harper. We hit the chinlock for a bit before it’s back to Wyatt for some big right hands. Rowan slams Henry in an impressive power display but charges into a boot in the corner.

The hot tag brings in Big Show to clean house, only to have Harper dropkick him down. Rowan comes in and kicks Big Show as well before it’s back to Wyatt for the backsplash and two. Another kick to the face gets two for Harper but Bray gets another tag and walks into a chokeslam. The tag brings in Cena for German suplexes all around and the STF to make Harper tap at 6:55.

Rating: D+. There were some nice moments here from Cena with the power displays, but this might as well have been Cena in a handicap match. I get the idea and I’m MUCH happier with Harper taking a fall that isn’t going to hurt him as opposed to Bray, who has potential in the future. Not much to see here though as Cena getting the win was obvious.

All three Wyatts get AA’s post match.

Overall Rating: C-. It’s very clear that WWE cannot handle doing a three hour show every week with the talent roster they have right now. Between the CONSTANT replays and rematches, it’s clear that they just don’t have the depth to pull this off. The matches were mostly short too and stretching them out would have helped a lot. I’m not asking for Thesz vs. Funk here, but take those three minute matches and make them six minutes. It takes away the need for so many recaps to fill in time and gives you a better show. This wasn’t the worst episode ever, but it felt like it was dragging itself to a conclusion.

Results
Rusev b. Jack Swagger via referee stoppage
Cesaro b. Rob Van Dam – Neutralizer
Paige b. Natalya – Paige Turner
Goldust/Stardust b. Usos via countout
Dolph Ziggler b. Damien Mizdow – Zig Zag
Roman Reigns b. Seth Rollins and Kane via DQ when Rollins hit Reigns with the briefcase
Los Matadores b. Heath Slater/Titus O’Neil – Crucifix to Slater
Bo Dallas b. Kofi Kingston – Bodog
John Cena b. Bray Wyatt via DQ when the Wyatt Family interfered
John Cena/Big Show/Mark Henry b. Wyatt Family – STF to Harper

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of ECW Pay Per Views at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWSOTGK

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

17 comments

  1. John says:

    I think C- for this show was very, very kind. I’m struggling to find a reason to even give it a D-.

    F for fail tonight.

  2. Jay H. (the real one) says:

    Yeah not one of the better episodes in recent times. There was some good stuff like the Brock video,The Dusts Heel turn,the Ambrose eulogy,and John Cena being serious about the rematch at NOC. I would agree there have been worse Shows in the past but tonight was not the best.

  3. M.R. says:

    Why am I to believe Cena is more prepared to take on Lesnar now than before? Because he’s angry?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That he has a better idea of what’s coming.

    M.R. Reply:

    That’s silly, he got his ass kicked the first time two years ago, wouldn’t he have been prepared for Summerslam by that logic?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Not really as Brock wasn’t at full strength then.

    M.R. Reply:

    So Brock at whatever percent spent the match demolishing a full-strength Cena? That’s what we’re going with?

    Cereal Killer Reply:

    A mistake Cena made was that he had no real game plan. He ran after Brock and within 30 seconds was F5’d. This time he’ll have a better strategy similar to CM Punk who actually gave Brock a decent fight by having a strategy.

  4. Hubcap Dave says:

    This show had some moments, but was not one of the better outings.

  5. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that? Did we really need that lame Hall of Fame forum on this fucking show? Couldn’t they do that garbage on the pre-show? And can they please stop with the guest commentators. That has been done so many times that it means nothing now.

    Oh man how bad was that Bella segment. Just as I predicted, we’ll have to endure this crap for God knows how long. I cringed at their bad acting. They need to pull the plug 3 weeks ago. No one gives a shit!

    Why must Kane have to bring down every hot feud. And why insert Reigns into this now? Oh I know it’s to replace Ambrose cause making movies is clearly more important than wrestling. Why do that with your hottest act. What if his momentum is killed. Even after Austin broke his neck, he still appeared on every RAW cause he was so red hot then.

    RIP to Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family as threats and meaningful characters. Good job WWE.. I can’t believe I watched that crap. #LOLRAW #SaveUsDanielBryan

    Jay H. (the real one) Reply:

    Please lets not eulogize The Wyatts just because they have lost a few Matches lately. Bray got a much needed big win at Summerslam and its not like he or Luke Harper took the pin in the 6-Man this week either. Now your just looking for reasons to hate everything for the sake of doing it.

    james gracie Reply:

    You might seriously be the only fan that didn’t see the harm of that segment. As KB said in the review, why Wyatt? They could have used anybody on the roster for that spot.. Why do it to a guy who you should be protecting

  6. klunderbunker says:

    Yep. It makes sense given what they’ve shown.

    M.R. Reply:

    How does it make sense for Cena to even the playing field the third time around because he “knows what to expect?”

    klunderbunker Reply:

    He’ll know a bit better of what to do like avoiding the suplexes and all that jazz. He can stratagize better and such.

    Thriller Reply:

    The story is pretty simple. Cena charged straight at Lesnar both matches. In the first one, Lesnar was able to do a lot of damage, but couldn’t put Cena away since Lesnar wasn’t at full strength. When Cena tried that against full strength Lesnar, Cena got annihilated.

    If they do this properly, we should see Cena wrestle a very different match at Night of Champions. I don’t think Cena will win, but we should see some solid psychology in effect for that match.

  7. M.R. says:

    It should be a fun match if nothing else.