Monday Night Raw
Date: August 31, 2015
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield
Last week saw the return of Sting and the disappearance of a statue, meaning tonight is likely to continue the time honored tradition of destroying that statue once and for all. Sting vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title is confirmed for Night of Champions, but what about Rollins’ US Title? John Cena is still lurking so let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week’s closing segment where Sting appeared in the statue’s place. HHH made the match after the show went off the air.
Here’s Sting (with complete face paint this week) to open things up. JBL: “The man who put Starrcade on the map!” Just….no. Under no circumstances can that be considered correct. Sting hasn’t been around much since Wrestlemania where he lost to HHH. Due to that match, he’ll always have respect for HHH, but now his sights are set on Seth Rollins.
Ever since Wrestlemania it has been injustice after injustice and last week he had to hear Seth Rollins comparing himself to names like Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior. Sting has won titles around the world but there is one that has eluded him throughout his career. At Night of Champions, Sting is going to prove that Rollins isn’t half the man HHH is and that Rollins can’t hang with Sting on his best day.
Rollins is upset but Stephanie talks him down. Seth lists his accomplishments this year and calls everything Sting said wrong. Stephanie brings up Sting’s comparison to HHH and thinks Sting is absolutely right. Seth wants his statue so Stephanie suggests he go ask Sting.
Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler
An attempt at a single leg doesn’t get Dolph anywhere so he dropkicks Rusev in the face instead. Back in and Rusev slowly stomps Ziggler down, as is his custom. We get a dueling Rusev chant, followed by Dolph missing a splash in the corner. The sleeper slows Rusev down a bit so he backs Ziggler into the corner for a break. Ziggler gets knocked into the barricade and we take a break.
Back with Rusev throwing on a bearhug, which really should have been put on during the break. Rusev misses a charge of his own but easily breaks up a neckbreaker with a suplex. A running flip backsplash gets two more and Ziggler is in trouble. The spinwheel kick gets the same for Rusev but he walks into a superkick out of nowhere.
They head outside with Rusev charging into the steps but both guys dive in to beat the count at nine. Rusev superkicks him down as well because everyone has to use superkicks in this company. Ziggler sneaks out of the Accolade and a quick Zig Zag drops Rusev, only to have Summer come in for the DQ at 14:21.
Rating: D+. This was more long than it was good and again they’re setting up the mixed tag. Why we needed to see another match between the two of them to set up the obvious match is beyond me, but at least they didn’t have a clean finish. Lana is going to be awesome in the ring, mainly because she’s awesome at everything else so why would this be any different?
A catfight ensues until Ziggler pulls them apart.
Post break Ziggler brags about what just happened. He goes into a room as Renee talks a bit and we see Summer sneak in behind him.
It’s time for the Beat the Clock Challenge for the #1 contendership to the Divas Title, but Team Bella has something to say. Nikki is so proud of making it this far, but we’ve got a Bellatron counting us down to the second she breaks the record.
Alicia Fox vs. Becky Lynch
This is the first match in a Beat the Clock Challenge, meaning whoever wins in the shortest time wins, earning a title shot, presumably at Night of Champions. Becky tries for some fast rollups to start but she gets a bit sloppy and Fox takes over. A chinlock slows things down even more and you can see Becky panicking over the time being spent. Back up and some clotheslines get two for Lynch, followed by a springboard kick in the corner. They hit the mat and Becky grabs Disarm-Her for the win at 3:21.
Rating: D. This is the other issue with the Divas Revolution: the newcomers got over having these epic 10-15 minute wars but now they’re stuck with the three minute matches that have plagued the division for years. For once, this isn’t on them because there’s very little they can do in so little time and that’s not going to change.
Ryback talks about defending his title against everyone and tonight the Big Show will be no different. As he’s talking, we hear someone scream and see Summer Rae running out of Ziggler’s locker room. Ziggler is in a towel and looks surprised.
Intercontinental Title: Big Show vs. Ryback
Big Show is challenging, Miz is on commentary and we get big match intros. Show takes him into the corner for the loud chop to start and slowly drops an elbow for a close two. With Ryback down, Show demands a microphone so he can address the PLEASE RETIRE chants. He says find someone to do it so Ryback picks him up for a slam, only to have Show fall on him for two more. Show hits the chinlock for a few moments but Ryback fights up and hits a good looking flying tackle.
The splash is caught by the throat though, only have Ryback slip out and hook a double leg takedown (no that wasn’t a spinebuster) for a near fall of his own. The Meathook is countered into the chokeslam for two but Show goes up. Since we’re in Flair Country, the slam off the top is very appropriate. Another Meathook attempt is countered with a spear but Miz gets up for a distraction, allowing Ryback to grab Shell Shock to retain at 7:14.
Rating: C. They had me worried that they were going to change the title here in what would have been one of the dumbest ideas in a long time. I’m sure we’ll get Miz vs. Ryback now, even though Ryback beat him in two minutes a few weeks back. Ryback is the best Intercontinental Champion in a long time and it’s nice to see the title meaning something.
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella
Charlotte’s time to beat is 3:21 because only PCB can win. Brie starts hiding in the ropes to start because she must “protect the Bella Empire.” A Figure Eight attempt doesn’t work and Charlotte has less than two minutes to go. Instead Natural Selection hits out of nowhere for the pin at 1:40 to set Charlotte’s time.
We look at the Dudleyz returning last week.
The Dudleyz say they’re back for one more title reign because it would make then ten time Tag Team Champions. Tonight: New Day goes through a table.
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens
Owens talks trash to start (shocking I know) and gets shoved down to the mat. A big boot stops Owens cold and Cesaro casually lifts him up for a suplex, complete with right hands to the gut. Cesaro gets two off a double stomp and it’s time for Owens to bail to the floor. That’s fine with Cesaro, who follows him out with a running European uppercut.
A high cross body gets two for Cesaro but Owens comes back with an elbow to the jaw and a backsplash. Owens: “WHERE’S YOUR SECTION NOW???” A corner clothesline sets up the Cannonball and we hit the chinlock on Cesaro. That goes nowhere so Owens busts out the torture rack neckbreaker for two instead and we take a break.
Back with Cesaro failing to superplex Owens so he dropkicks Kevin in the face and gutwrench superplexes him instead. That reverse Angle Slam gets two for Cesaro but Owens superkicks him for the same. Owens tells Cole to watch but misses another Cannonball.
Instead of doing something smart though, Kevin slaps him in the face. In a scary power display, Cesaro catches a tornado DDT in mid air and slams Owens down into a Crossface. Like, how do you even do that? Cesaro can’t suplex him over the top and Owens knocks him HARD into the announcers’ table. Back in and Cesaro can’t Swing him because of the ribs, allowing the Pop Up Powerbomb to put Cesaro away at 16:10.
Rating: B. I liked this better than the Summerslam match as Owens beat him clear after setting up an injury right before the ending. Cesaro took a great looking bump onto the table and Owens has won his last three singles matches. It’s very nice to see him not jobbing every single week for a change and I’d love to see him go after Ryback and the Intercontinental Title next.
Ziggler tries to explain that he thought Summer was Lana. Nothing happened and he threw on a towel as soon as he knew who it was. Lana doesn’t buy it and leaves.
Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman
The fireflies still look awesome. Bray thanks Abigail for giving him the black sheep as her greatest gift. For thousands of years, mankind has tried to predict the end of the world. Tonight the seventh trumpet sounds and they will walk among you undisguised. Stroman, in a voice that Christian Bale would think is too over the top, says this is the apocalypse. Reigns comes out as backup as you would expect.
Strowman throws Dean around with one hand to start and I think the message has been sent. Dean gets in his fast striking but Stroman just throws him down again. A kick knocks Dean to the floor and the slow beating continues. Reigns finally comes over for the DQ at 3:09.
Rating: D+. Nothing to the match here but it did exactly what it was supposed to. Stroman looks like the best monster that we’ve had in a long time and that’s all he’s supposed to look like. Eventually someone is going to beat him, but until then it’s going to be fun watching him be the modern day Zeus or whatever other monster you pick. It’s an old formula that keeps coming back because it works.
Stroman cleans house and no sells a chair to the back. Reigns’ right hand has a bit more effect but Harper comes in with the superkick to put Roman down. Dean gets choked out and Reigns takes that spinning powerbomb thing. Bray comes in for Sister Abigail to Reigns. Notice that Bray didn’t have to do a thing here, which is exactly why he needs minions.
We look at Rollins beating Cena at Summerslam.
Clip of Sting’s opening promo.
Rollins wants his statue back and tells Sting to stay out of his business. Maybe if Sting had a subscription to the WWE Network, he could know how great Seth has been. Yeah HHH used to be a big deal, but HHH never held the US and WWE World Titles at the same time.
Paige vs. Sasha Banks
Paige has to beat 1:40 so she starts very fast and gets some rollups for two each. The fans are split as Paige fires off some running knees for two. The Rampaige connects but Tamina and Naomi pull Sasha to the floor as the clock runs out at 1:40.
Team Bella comes out to pose.
Summer Rae says that Ziggler called her into his locker room but then he just started stripping. She was mesmerized and speechless and then he asked her to join him in the shower. After he got out, he gave Summer the look but she ran out. Summer will never forget the image though.
Lana is crying and can’t say anything.
New Day vs. Dudley Boyz
Non-title. Woods calls the Dudleyz a menace to culture, society and furniture around the world. Big E. asks if you remember the times sitting around the table with your granny and that weird uncle around the Thanksgiving table. Or all that money you cleaned up at the poker table. Or all those summers around the pool table. And where would we be without the Periodic Table? Remember all the fun you had learning your multiplication table? Big E. and Kofi pull out what Woods calls the last table (covered in bubble wrap) here tonight. A SAVE THE TABLES chant takes us to a break before the match.
The Prime Time Players are on commentary as Big E. and D-Von get things going. But it’s quickly off to Bubba vs. Kofi. Woods suggests clapping but Bubba turns it into NEW DAY SUCKS. A clothesline under the arm stops Kofi cold and New Day is sent out to the floor as we take a break. Back with D-Von clotheslining both champions down but Woods low bridges him to the floor. As Woods brushes his hair, Big E. drives D-Von into the barricade. That sounds like a valid reason to dance to me and Big E. agrees.
The rotating stomps set up Big E.’s splash for two. An abdominal stretch slows things down and Kofi’s chinlock does the same. Woods mocks the TABLES chant but Kofi dives into a clothesline, allowing for the tag off to Bubba. Bubba hiptosses Woods in but D-Von hiptosses him right back out in a funny spot. 3D quickly ends Kofi, which JBL calls the Dudleyz’ first match in WWE in ten years. Even he doesn’t watch Smackdown.
Rating: C. I liked the match but the booking makes my head hurt. You have three members of New Day and two of them are the recognized Tag Team Champions. I think you get what I’m going for here. It’s very interesting that the Dudleyz have been doing the same thing for about ten years now and it’s still more entertaining than 90% of most tag teams.
Here’s Seth Rollins to call out Sting. The things Sting said earlier tonight showed him why WCW went out of business. We can’t possibly be talking about that again…..right? Rollins wants Sting to take back what he said about HHH being that much better than him because Seth is every bit as good as HHH and one day could even be better. However, Rollins wants his status but gets Stephanie instead.
She suggests the Rollins chill out because Sting is getting in his head over a stupid statue. Rollins still wants his statue but this time gets John Cena. John talks about the Authority bending Rollins to their will because that’s what they do. They picked Rollins because he was the only one willing to stab the Shield in the back. Rollins is going to be the flavor of the month because the Authority would never allow him to do what he’s about to do right now.
Rollins has a lot of titles right now and since the Authority said every title is on the line at Night of Champions, Cena is cashing in his rematch for the US Title on the same night Rollins has to defend against Sting. Cena asks Stephanie if he can do that and she reluctantly agrees. Sting comes out to pose with Cena to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. This was one of the best shows they’ve had in a very long time. It kept moving all night and they didn’t have anything out there that took too long. There’s enough stuff going on here to find something interesting and nothing was really bad. Well maybe the opening match but at least it led somewhere. I had a really good time with this show and it flew by, which is a rare thing for Raw.
Dolph Ziggler b. Rusev via DQ when Summer Rae interfered
Becky Lynch b. Alicia Fox – Disarm-Her
Ryback b. Big Show – Shell Shock
Charlotte b. Brie Bella – Natural Selection
Cesaro b. Kevin Owens – Pop Up Powerbomb
Braun Stroman b. Dean Ambrose via DQ when Roman Reigns interfered
Paige vs. Sasha Banks went to a time limit draw
Dudley Boyz b. New Day – 3D to Kingston
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