Reviewing the Review – Monday Night Raw: May 18, 2015

We’re done with Payback and therefore it’s time to race towards the Elimination Chamber show because we must get it in before people have to start paying for the Network again. The big story here is Rollins retaining the World Title over his former Shield teammates and Orton in a good four way last night, but now everything is about getting to Elimination Chamber.

The Authority was back, complete with HHH’s slow talking and Stephanie dropping in every proper name that she could in a manner that no one uses in the real world. They don’t have much to say here (thank goodness) other than All Hail Rollins and that he’s getting a tribute later in the night.

This brought them to the Elimination Chamber, which led to interruptions from Ryback and Sheamus. Both of them are announced for the match but of course they’ll be fighting tonight too. The match was nothing out of the ordinary with Sheamus Brogue Kicking a distracted Ryback for the pin. I’m glad it’s only a two week build to the Chamber as you can only have the people in the match do these simple matches for so long before they lose their effectiveness. The match was fine and I like Sheamus winning, but I think Ryback’s push is in major trouble after back to back losses.

Kane was put in charge of the celebration tonight and didn’t seem to mind. Ambrose came in and asked for a title shot but was given a match against Bray Wyatt tonight. This was a great example of people being in the right place at the right time saying the right things to move the show forward, making it feel very unnatural.

Neville was being interviewed when Bo Dallas came out. This seems to be the next feud as Dallas isn’t cool with Neville bringing up their history in NXT. Dallas attacked Neville’s previously injured knee, allowing Barrett to take Neville down pretty easily. This wasn’t much of a match due to the time, but I’m getting worried about Neville doing the same things every time. He’s going to be over due to his high flying abilities for a long time, but some of that heat is going to wear off and he needs to have something to build himself back up. The knee injury and a feud with Dallas are a good start though and there’s no reason to panic.

Rusev yelled at Lana a lot and broke up with her. Later that night, Lana came out and kissed Ziggler. I’m not wild on pairing her with Ziggler, but I’m even less wild about how fast this turn started and wrapped up. One week she was Fandangoing and then she’s being dumped by Rusev? That’s because here in WWE, we have to get the next story set up before the pay per view because Heaven forbid we wait more than a few weeks to set something up.

Bray Wyatt beat Dean Ambrose in a match built around a ton of interference and cheating, which is the only way to have that result. This was the usual good brawl between these guys but did you really expect anything else?

Cesaro and Kidd failed to win the Tag Team Titles again after a no contest with New Day. This didn’t have the time to go anywhere and was really just a way to extend the feud yet another week as we’re getting closer and closer to Elimination Chamber, where this time FOR SURE we’re getting new champions. The feud and matches are still fun, but they’re running out of ways to have New Day survive without getting repetitive.

After the match, Ascension, the Lucha Dragons, Los Matadores and the Prime Time Players came out to confirm that it’s going to be six teams in the Chamber instead of just three. This makes for a very interesting match where it’s possible that several teams could walk out with the titles. Well other than Los Matadores or Prime Time Players of course but the other four all have at least a chance. I’m not sure who wins there and I love that feeling.

Now we get to the money part of the show: the US Open Challenge. This week’s was answered by NXT Champion Kevin Owens, who gave one of the best debut promos that I’ve ever seen, as he talked about the NXT Title being the real prize to fight for and how Cena doesn’t get to give him advice or pick the time where they fight. I’ve spent a lot of time on the podcasts on how much I loved this segment and Owens comes off like one of the best villains in a long time. He can back it up in the ring too and he’ll get to show that at Elimination Chamber. That’s a non-title match too, which a lot of people seem to be overlooking.

Dolph Ziggler beat Stardust in a very short match to set up Lana kissing him. I’m really not wild on that move but it’s what we’re stuck with for the time being, meaning Dolph is right back where he was a few years ago.

The Wyatts crushed Ryder/Fandango in a match designed to say “yo, we’re monsters.”

Nikki beat Naomi via DQ when Tamina interfered. Paige returned for the save and laid out Nikki in what wasn’t a heel turn.

The big ending segment was a long, drawn out exchange with Rollins making Kane praise him before Dean came out and threatened to put him through some cinder blocks until he was given a title shot. A bunch of brawling ensued and Rollins hit a Pedigree to stand tall to end the show.

I tried really hard to get into this one but it didn’t leave much for me to care about. The main event stuff has too many people floating around it right now. You have the Authority bosses, Kane, the Stooges (ok they don’t count as much) and the two guys in the match. They need to just let Ambrose and Rollins carry this instead of just putting everyone they can in there and making it a big mess all over again.

The rest of the show was an improvement over the main event with the Chamber matches both looking good and Owens vs. Cena making me all tingly. If they can keep the HHH/Stephanie involvement to a minimum, we could be looking at a very hot card at Elimination Chamber. Or we could be looking at the same lazy stuff WWE does over and over to waste their potential.

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