Monday Night Raw
Date: June 27, 2016
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton
We’re getting closer to Battleground but things have changed a bit because of Roman Reigns’ suspension. It should be interesting to see if that’s actually referenced during the show as they could just as easily say Rollins attacked him off air or that he was injured during last week’s match. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Seth Rollins to open things up. He talks about the upcoming triple threat but stops to talk about the Roman Reigns scandal. What he did to get himself suspended soiled the Shield’s name and then he even put out a statement about it. We see the Tweet from Reigns saying he violated the Wellness Policy and apologizing for it, which Rollins doesn’t buy. What about an apology to the fans?
As for the last part where Reigns says he owns it, all that matters is Rollins owns him. Reigns doesn’t deserve a second chance or forgiveness or to be in the main event of Battleground. Based on the suspension, we might as well just make it a singles match because that’s what Rollins deserves.
Cue Ambrose to say everyone makes mistakes, like being Seth’s friend or Rollins wearing skinny jeans. As far as Dean is concerned the triple threat is still on. This brings out AJ Style to say it should still be a triple threat with himself taking Reigns’ place. Dean doesn’t make the decisions around here but thinks it’s still a triple threat.
They all bicker with each other when John Cena comes out as well. He’s held that title fifteen times and had his first match in WWE fourteen years ago today. Cena won the last time he beat Ambrose so let’s make it a fatal fiveway. Now it’s Stephanie McMahon to say she doesn’t like Ambrose standing in the ring as champion. She does however like the idea of Cena and Styles in the Battleground title match. Therefore tonight it’s Cena vs. Rollins and Ambrose vs. Styles. If Cena and AJ win, they can be added to the title match at Battleground.
Paige/Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte/Dana Brooks
This is Sasha’s first match on Raw or Smackdown since April because WWE has no idea how to book more than one story in this division at a time. Sasha sends Dana into the corner to start but Brooke reverses and does the pat on Sasha’s head. That just earns her an ejection out to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Charlotte putting Paige in a chinlock, apparently due to kicking her in the face during the break. A running flip neckbreaker allows Charlotte to taunt Sasha a bit and draw the hot hotheaded Banks in. Paige dives for the tag but settles for a superkick to the champ’s face, allowing her to bring in Sasha. Everything breaks down and double knees in the corner sets up the Bank Statement to make Dana tap at 8:46.
Rating: C-. The ending made sense and it’s a good sign that Paige’s win over Charlotte wasn’t just a one off plot device. Sasha going through Charlotte’s lackey to get to the big title showdown makes sense though I could see them waiting until Summerslam to go there. Unfortunately this makes the whole Natalya series seem like a waste of time as there was no real reason to wait on Sasha getting this run. Oh and please don’t have them put Ric Flair in Sasha’s corner for some stupid reason.
Titus O’Neil vs. Rusev
Non-title and we actually get a match here despite Titus attacking before the bell again. Titus misses a charge in the corner and gets stomped down, setting up a chinlock that goes nowhere. A dropkick puts Titus down and a few knees to the ribs keeps him in trouble, only to have the threat of a big boot sends Rusev outside. We get a double clothesline before Titus throws Rusev over the timekeeper’s area for the countout win at 4:09.
Rating: D. Why in the world are we getting another of these matches? Titus vs. Rusev was one of the lamest title matches I’ve seen in a long time and now we’re getting another despite Rusev already beating him? WWE really needs to comprehend the idea of a one off match. Not everything needs to be part of a big story, despite what WWE seems to think.
Stephanie runs into Kane, who is still trying to get a chance at running Smackdown. Miz and Maryse come in to complain about the lack of a red carpet and the limo driver not opening the door for them. Kane mentions his own acting career before bringing up Miz not defending the title in a long time. That’s accurate actually so Stephanie makes a title match against a mystery opponent. It’s like a cliffhanger you see.
As usual, every single word Stephanie says feels like it comes off a teleprompter. I don’t know if it’s that she sucks as an actress or what, but she’s sounded like that for over fifteen years now and it almost never changes. She can rant and rave very well but anytime she tries to sound natural or spontaneous, she sounds like an eight year old in a school play.
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
If Cena wins he’s in the title match at Battleground. They start fast with Seth actually getting the better of it off some right hands. A dropkick and Blockbuster get two each on Cena but he initiates his finishing sequence to come back. Of course it’s WAY too early for that so the Shuffle is broken up with a kick to the face.
Back from a break with Cena hitting the shoulders into the Protobomb again but catching the kick that would break up the Shuffle. A third Protobomb sets up the Shuffle but the AA is countered into the low superkick for two. Cena comes right back with a tornado DDT for two of his own, only to have Seth kick him in the face.
The great looking frog splash misses though and Cena heads up top but Seth runs the ropes for a superplex and rolls into a Falcon’s Arrow for two. A quick AA gets two more with Seth getting his foot on the ropes. Another AA doesn’t work so Cena grabs the STF but cue the Club for a distraction, setting up the Pedigree for the pin at 16:00.
Rating: B. It’s nice to have these two feel fresh after all those matches they had back in the fall. Cena losing this close to clean is kind of surprising but Rollins needs wins like these to really look like a top player again after the injury. I mean I know he won the title but does that really mean much anymore? Good match here though, despite the somewhat obvious ending.
Enzo Amore/Big Cass vs. Carlos Kershing/Mitch Walding
Enzo says they’re riding a wave and the wave is these people. Therefore he wants the fans to do the wave as soon as the bell rings. The Bada Boom Shakalacka ends we’ll say Kershing at 25 seconds.
Post match Cass loads up the spelling but the Social Outcasts interrupt. Dallas says the Outcasts are H-A-R-D so Cass asks which is the hardest. A big boot drops Slater and the other two aren’t so willing to get in the ring.
Bob Backlund/Darren Young segment with Backlund saying it’s time for the Darren Young Era. This sounds like the last one.
Some Special Olympians got to train at the WWE Performance Center. Nothing wrong with that.
The Special Olympians are here and get a presentation to the crowd.
Becky Lynch vs. Summer Rae
Natalya is on commentary and there’s no match as Becky goes right after her, earning a pretty loud BECKY chant as a result.
It’s time for the Highlight Reel with guests Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. After Jericho blames both of them for that maniac Dean Ambrose being WWE World Champion, he brings them out and brings up their careers being put on hold because of this feud. Sami wants to end everything at Battleground because they might wind up on different shows without anything being settled.
Owens won’t say anything so Sami accuses him of being a coward. Sami wants to hear Owens admit that he’s jealous of Sami for getting to WWE first in NXT. Owens says he’s told Sami the truth many times: what he did was to advance his own career. Everything they did was to get to WWE and Sami should have done is congratulate Owens for using him as a stepping stone. The fact that he doesn’t shows that Owens is a better friend than Sami ever was, but the match is on for Battleground.
Jericho loves the idea but says Owens is just trying to follow Jericho’s path. Chris doesn’t think much of Sami either and would love to shut up his stupid idiot face right now, but he’ll leave Owens to do that at Battleground. We get the Gift of Jericho pose but both Sami and Owens kick him in the face at the same time. The fans seem really intrigued at the idea of these two working together.
We recap the opening segment.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. ???
Miz is defending against…..Kane. I had it being Cesaro but why do that when you can do someone not quite that interesting who hasn’t had a match since Wrestlemania? Kane throws him around to start but can’t get a chokeslam. Instead it’s a big boot to the champ’s face, followed by a side slam for two. Maryse gets on the apron to break up another chokeslam attempt, only to get knocked to the floor for some screeching. Miz is nice enough to check on her and her injured ankle, drawing our second countout for the midcard champions of the night at 3:27.
Rating: D. I’m glad Kane didn’t win here but tell me we’re not going to see a rematch between these two at Battleground. I really don’t need to see Kane getting a second title shot but since they did this match here we absolutely need to see them do it again because HOW ELSE CAN WE POSSIBLY DO A STORY???
Post break Maryse shows Miz that she was faking. Miz is impressed.
Apollo Crews/Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio/Sheamus
See, Del Rio and Cesaro had a match on Smackdown (not shown of course) so they’re in a heated rivalry now. Sheamus wants nothing to do with Crews to start so Apollo grabs a quick suplex on Del Rio and brings in Cesaro. Some kicks stagger Cesaro and a DDT gets two for Alberto.
Sheamus comes in for the Irish Curse before slapping on a chinlock to keep things slow (not a bad thing here). Cesaro throws him down and the double tag brings in Crews to clothesline Del Rio a few times before Alberto intentionally enziguris Sheamus and walks out. A dropkick sends the steps into Sheamus, setting up the toss powerbomb to give Crews the pin at 5:00.
Rating: D+. Well ok then. I’m not sure where they’re going with this but it’s a good sign that Crews is just in the midcard without too many questions. I really don’t need to see them waiting around while he has a nothing feud to introduce him to the roster. The short thing against the Social Outcasts was bad enough but he seems to actually have a place now. Not exactly a character or that much of a story but he’s got something.
Dean Ambrose is disappointed that he didn’t get a parade for winning the title but he’ll settle for a match with Styles tonight. Stephanie comes in and talks about how she wants to get the title off Dean as fast as she can because he’s a disgrace to the company. Oh and no one would want his autograph because he’s not worth it.
Ok, this is just stupid now. Stephanie just keeps going from one side of the spectrum to the other and you can pretty much guess which one she’ll be on a given week. It’s either the fun loving one who dances with kids and wants to make WWE great or the one who is basically Vince with better legs. At some point you need an actual motivation for your character and “I want WWE to be respected” isn’t enough.
We get that because she tells you every single week but just saying it and giving no reason for why someone isn’t worthy of your praise isn’t enough. Pick a side or at least tell us why you’re doing something. Just having Stephanie go all over the place because she’s Stephanie and the rules don’t apply to her. This has been going on for years but she’s a self made woman and empowering or whatever their line is.
The Wyatts are here…..and it’s New Day in costumes, with Kofi as Rowan, Woods as Harper and Big E. as Bray, complete with cowboy hat, gray beard with a string to hold it on, overalls and a lantern made up of light up unicorn horns. We even get a New Day themed Wyatt style montage. Kofi throws the mask off and wants to know how Rowan can breathe in that thing. They get in the ring and Big E. plays up to being born in Tampa. Big E.: “Tampa General Hospital anyone?”
They make fun of the outfits until the real Wyatts interrupt. Bray says it’s a new day and tells the fans to vilify him. How can the power of positivity help someone who just lost his job and can’t put food on his table? Kofi calls the power of positivity a way of life and Big E. agrees but Bray focuses on Woods. Xavier looks a bit shook and Bray says Woods can confide in him. They’re just playing one of Woods’ games but there are no winners or loses. There’s just malice and destruction and New Day will fall. Remember when Bray was going to be a face and he was looking awesome? Is there a reason that was canceled?
Post break New Day thinks it’s a great idea to keep messing with the Wyatts. Kofi: “It was the best idea we’ve had since we went and saw Finding Dory the other day.” Woods looks shaken and walks off.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles
Non-title and Rollins is on commentary. Feeling out process to start with Ambrose getting taken down in a headlock. Back up and Dirty Deeds doesn’t work so we take an early break. We come back with AJ hitting a good looking dropkick and slapping on a chinlock. A hot shot breaks up AJ’s momentum and a fisherman’s suplex of all things gets two for the champ.
AJ gets the same off a faceplant but takes too much time getting to the top, allowing Dean to grab a butterfly superplex. Styles is back up though and grabs a torture rack into a spinning powerbomb, only to miss the Phenomenal Forearm. Dean wrenches his knee though and that means the Calf Crusher. You don’t have the champ tap though so he grabs the rope instead.
Dean sends him outside and OF COURSE he can still do the suicide dive on the bad leg. Back in and AJ rolls through the top rope elbow, followed by the Pele. Dean is JUST FINE and hits the rebound lariat to put both guys down. This brings out the Club so AJ can get two off a brainbuster. Cena comes down to fight Gallows and Anderson but the distraction sets up Dirty Deeds to put AJ away at 15:45.
Rating: C-. Completely ignoring the leg injury aside, is there a reason why Seth didn’t come in and attack Dean to keep it a triple threat like he wanted? He’s supposed to be all smart and he was fine with letting Dean be in the Calf Crusher while he just sat there. I know it’s not how you do a match like this, but it goes against Seth’s intelligence to have Dean in that much danger and not do anything about it. This match had too many holes it in for me to work, despite it being entertaining at times.
Post match the Club beats up Cena as Rollins hits two Pedigrees on Ambrose. Is there ANY reason he’s still using that move? He’s not associated with HHH anymore and it really doesn’t fit his style but that’s what he was using before and nothing is allowed to change for a main eventer so I guess that’s what we’re getting for good. Cena gets a Magic Killer on the stage and Dean takes another Pedigree to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. This wasn’t quite the same as last week as the wrestling was just there for the most part. The bigger problem though is how weak Battleground is looking aside from the main event. It looks like a lot of rematches and then some nothing matches like Kane vs. Miz and Titus vs. Rusev. On top of that there’s also the impending Draft, which really makes so much of this stuff seem like filler. The show certainly wasn’t horrible but it was really just there, and that’s rarely a good sign. Oh and next week is the Fourth of July, meaning the biggest throw away show of the year. Have fun with that one.
Sasha Banks/Paige b. Charlotte/Dana Brooke – Bank Statement to Brooke
Titus O’Neil b. Rusev via countout
Seth Rollins b. John Cena – Pedigree
Enzo Amore/Big Cass b. Carlos Kershing/Mitch Walding – Bada Boom Shakalacka to Kershing
Kane b. The Miz via countout
Apollo Crews/Cesaro b. Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio – Toss powerbomb to Sheamus
Dean Ambrose b. AJ Styles – Dirty Deeds
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