Monday Night Raw – July 18, 2016: The Lame Duck Go Home Game Changing Show (Updated)

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 18, 2016
Location: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield

This is a unique show as it’s kind of a big night but also kind of a lame duck show while also being the go home show for a pay per view. The Draft is tomorrow night but there’s also a World Title match as champion Dean Ambrose defends against Seth Rollins. The show is also going to open with the announcement of the new General Managers for both shows. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here are Shane and Stephanie to open things up. They have their standard bickering that makes award show presenters seem like Bogart and Bergman before arguing over testicles vs. lady balls. Stephanie’s big announcement: there’s going to be a new Cruiserweight division on Raw. Shane mentions his General Manager and the YES chants begin. That’s cut off just as quickly though as Stephanie Raw’s General Manager: Mick Foley. I wouldn’t have bet on that one but I’d be shocked if he’s still around by TLC.

After Stephanie awkwardly dances to his music. Foley compares the feeling here to the Attitude Era because IT’S THE GREATEST THING EVER and feels like the MONDAY NIGHT WARS ALL OVER AGAIN BABY! Stephanie calling him made the little embers turned into a fire. He’s ready to bring Raw to new heights and all that jazz.

Shane brings out his own General Manager with the worst kept secret in wrestling this year: Daniel Bryan. Daniel won’t shake Stephanie’s hand before he talks about how much he missed the people. Naturally Stephanie cuts him off to suggest he pander to the fans. See she doesn’t get it because they’ve never cheered for her. Stephanie: “They did once!”

Bryan talks about how he heard Shane’s ideas for a show where wrestlers are put first and he wanted to come back. When he beat HHH at Wrestlemania XXX (Stephanie: “Technicality.”) and won the WWE World Title, he and the fans did that together. Stephanie gets in her B+ jokes and Shane says Stephanie can only stay relevant by marrying a WWE superstar. One last YES chant takes us out.

Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn/Cesaro

Cesaro gutwrenches Jericho to start before it’s off to Sami so things can speed up a bit. An Owens distraction lets Jericho get in a shot though and we take a break. Back with Jericho still in control over Sami and sending him out to the floor. Sami gets in a few shots of his own though and the hot tag brings in Cesaro.

That means it’s time for the uppercut train and the springboard spinning uppercut for two on Jericho. Owens and Sami come in off the double tags but Jericho breaks up the Helluva Kick. Cesaro’s high cross body gets two on Chris and the Swing makes it even worse. Everything breaks down and Sami tornado DDTs Owens before small packaging Jericho for the pin at 12:02.

Rating: C. In case you didn’t get enough of these guys during the Money in the Bank build. I love Sami getting a pin here though it should be interesting to see what happens with all four of these guys tomorrow night. Jericho and Cesaro not having matches on Sunday doesn’t say much for either of them but that’s their norm all around.

Golden Truth, Titus O’Neil and Jack Swagger try to get on Daniel Bryan’s good side until Stephanie interrupts. They insult each other (with jabs about Daniel and Brie planting peaches) for a bit until Daniel says she ruined Raw.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Darren Young

Miz is on commentary. Del Rio sends him into the corner to start and works on the arm as Miz gets in his second plug for Bob Backlund’s book. Young comes back with a backdrop and atomic drop as we flash back to the 70s. A Miz distraction earns himself a forearm to the face, allowing Darren to roll up Del Rio (with a Backlund style bridge) for the pin at 2:33.

It’s time for a twelve man tag but Cena comes out first and says it’s an interesting time in WWE with Battleground being the icing on the cake. The Club is going to try to beat up Cena on Sunday but he has the Certified G’s. Enzo says the term “don’t take this the wrong way” has a 0% success rate so don’t take this the wrong way but the Club is like a bunch of herbs.

Without ugliness in the world there can be no beauty so thanks for your sacrifice Gallows. AJ has a haircut like a soccer mom and Anderson is as generic as Times New Roman. Cena thinks Enzo is just a catchphrase machine but Cass says that’s what he does. That’s what makes them the best trio in the world like Nirvana, Destiny’s Child or the Wu Tang Clan.

Enzo: “How you doin?” Cena: “I don’t know how I’m doing!” He thinks they need to get serious but the Club cuts off the S-A-W-F-T line. AJ accuses them of meeting a few weeks ago over a bowl of candy at catering and thinks they can beat up everyone on the team tonight. Cue New Day to talk about going to the Wyatts’ compound but AJ makes fun of Woods for being scared.

That goes nowhere so New Day explains How You Doin to Cena. Naturally this turns into a Pokemon Go reference with Woods listing off the ones he’s captured but Cena cuts him off, only to be cut off with a NEW DAY ROCKS chant. This brings out the Wyatts as it turns out we actually have a match to get to.

John Cena/Enzo Amore/Big Cass/New Day vs. The Club/Wyatt Family

This is joined in progress after a break with Gallows coming in to shoulder Cena down. That brings in Big E. for a power showdown, only to have a little gyrating first. Now we get Strowman coming in to run Big E. over but Enzo tags himself in. Woods plays some trombone and Enzo bounces off Strowman so it’s time for Cass to try his luck. A shove to Cena triggers a huge brawl until it’s back to Strowman and Cass with the big boot staggering Braun. Kofi tries to dive in but gets slammed down by Braun as we take a break.

While we’re on commercial, it deserves to be pointed out how good of a job they’ve done with Cass. Him staring down Strowman felt more like a big deal than anytime Lesnar did it and I actually bought Cass as a threat to hurt him. That’s very impressive and a great sign for him to come.

Back with Bray charging into Kofi’s pendulum kick and a diving tag to bring in Cena. The finishing sequence is initiated but Bray brings the spider walk out of mothballs to shut him down. Rowan grabs a chinlock and the heels start taking turns on Cena. Gallows misses a splash and we take another break.

We come back again with Bray missing his backsplash to Cena, allowing the hot tag to Cass. Everything breaks down again and New Day cleans house on the Wyatts. Woods hits a big flip dive to take them all out but Gallows breaks up Bada Book Shakalacka. New Day and the Wyatts fight up the ramp, leaving Enzo to clothesline Cena by mistake. The Styles Clash ends Amore at 18:58.

Rating: B+. This is even more impressive when you consider how many people had to be incorporated here. The ending really pushes the idea that Cena/Enzo/Cass don’t know each other well enough to fight off a well oiled machine like the Club which is a really logical point to make. New Day vs. Wyatts could be a lot of fun and this was a nice preview. Really good stuff here with the pre-match promo being just as great.

Earlier today, Seth Rollins was in the empty arena (well save for the cameramen) to talk about how they came through so many stands to fight. He was the brilliant mind and kept Ambrose around to take the beatings and Reigns around to dish them out. After Sunday, Reigns will never be the same again. Ambrose on the other hand is a coward who is running out of places to hide. This Sunday, Rollins will prove he was always the man.

We recap the opening segment.

Shane comes up to Foley in the back and suggests that Stephanie just hired him because he’ll connect with the fans while being manipulated. Foley appreciates the caring but thinks Stephanie has fire and drive. This would be another beloved face trying to put Stephanie over.

Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara

This is Cara’s first match after the Lucha Dragons officially split. Corbin sends him into the corner to start but gets kicked away. A springboard elbow to the jaw staggers him but End of Days gives Baron the pin at 1:15.

Kalisto comes out for the post match save but gets beaten down as well.

Charlotte/Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks

Dana gets taken into the corner to start and it’s time for Becky’s early armbar. The spinning legdrop gets two on Dana but here’s Natalya to attack Lynch for the DQ at 2:22.

Sasha gets beaten down post match.

Rusev/Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler/Zack Ryder

Sheamus headlocks Ryder down to start and cuts off his comeback by hitting him in the face a few times. Rusev sends him into the barricade and it’s back to Sheamus for the slow beating. Sheamus won’t tag for some reason though and we hit the chinlock. Ryder dropkicks him down and makes the hot tag off to Ziggler as everything breaks down. Rusev kicks Ziggler in the back and it’s the Accolade for the submission at 3:45.

Rating: D+. Just a quick way to show off the idea that Rusev is awesome because we didn’t know that yet. Ryder needed a win here after that mess last week against Sheamus. Ryder is going to get destroyed on Sunday and I’m not sure where things go after that. Sheamus n the other hand continues to float, just like Ziggler. And no WWE, that’s not a hint about a bonus match for Sunday.

Video on Randy Orton.

Video on Cena hosting the ESPYs.

Daniel suggests a peace treaty with Mick Foley because they’re so much alike. Foley has no issue with Bryan but the battle is on.

Raw World Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Rollins is challenging and all the bosses are at ringside. Dean headlocks him to start and Seth bails out to the floor. The champ sends him into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Seth in control and putting on a chinlock. A hard right hand gives Seth some near falls before both try cross bodies at the same time. Dean fights up first and hammers on Seth a bit, including a forearm to put him on the floor.

There’s a big suicide dive but Rollins powerbombs him into the barricade. Back in and a frog splash gets two as we take another break. Back with Seth still in control and hitting his springboard knee to the head. Another frog splash misses though and Dean has an opening. It sounds like the fans are cheering for Rollins here.

Dirty Deeds gets two with Rollins putting his foot on the ropes. Seth rolls outside but comes right back in and counters the top rope clothesline into the Pedigree for two. With nothing else working, Seth loads up a superplex but Dean ties up the legs and it’s a double pin at 24:18.

Rating: B+. More really good stuff from these two but the ending comes off as a cheap way to have Sunday’s title match be for the vacant title. You knew they weren’t sticking with Ambrose on top for long because he’s not the “star” kind of guy and that’s the excuse they’re sticking with. I mean, Rollins may be a ratings disaster but he’s a STAR ratings disaster. Really good match here though and a big feeling title match.

Stephanie (of course) declares Rollins the new champion and Shane doesn’t say anything to close the show. You know you’ll see more of this on Sunday.

Overall Rating: A-. Like I said at the beginning, this was a very odd show without anything actually mattering until the ending but even that was odd. I’m sure there’s going to be an update tomorrow night but this comes off as a way to either set up a new World Title or to just give the belt back to Reigns like nothing ever happened. There are two great wrestling matches on here though and they were more than enough to make this show awesome, questionable ending aside.

So apparently after the show went off the air, a bonus clip aired on the Network where Ambrose was declared champion because it was a screwy finish.  You know, because THREE HOURS AND EIGHT MINUTES isn’t enough content.

Results

Sami Zayn/Cesaro b. Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho – Small package to Jericho

Darren Young b. Alberto Del Rio – Rollup

Wyatt Family/The Club b. Enzo Amore/Big Cass/John Cena/New Day – Styles Clash to Amore

Baron Corbin b. Sin Cara – End of Days

Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch b. Charlotte/Dana Brooke via DQ when Natalya interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book, KB’s WWE Grab Bag at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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12 comments

  1. Dorian says:

    Wtf happened in the end there?

    And was that Foley just forgetting his lines in the kick off to the show and Stephanie prompting him? Or was she trying to play the puppeteer? It came off as awkward, and surprised it didn’t get mentioned by you

  2. M.R. says:

    Hopefully the GMs are the showrunners once the brands split and we get a much needed break from Stephanie.

    Dorian Reply:

    You REALLY think there is a chance of this?

    I don’t mind Stephanie, in many ways I find her doing her job really well. But it always makes me chuckle when I see folks trying to make her the problem with the current product.

    There are MANY things wrong with WWE today; Stephanie being the self-parodying version of Vince is much down the pecking order.

    M.R. Reply:

    Glad you enjoy Stephanie, you’re in the minority.

  3. Ty Burna says:

    Apparently they continued the broadcast on the WWE Network and the decisionw as reversed and Ambrose remained champion due to the double pin.

    Fantastic lack of advertising for that.

    Dorian Reply:

    Seriously?

    What the f#ck?

    How does WWE really expect one to watch 3 + 2 weekly televised shows. then catch up on 1 hr of NXT. Then do 3-4 sittings of network shows.

    AND STILL EXPECT TO FUCKING WATCH IMPORTANT PLOT DEVELOPMENTS!

    this is over exposure of the worst kind.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    You know in the words of Enzo tonight don’t take this the wrong way but you don’t have to watch The Network shows all in one shot. There’s a great thing on there called the On Demand option. It’s a great little thing that helps.

    I like the choices for General Managers and it will be refreshing to have 2 babyfaces running things. I also like the idea of CW Division coming back and let them go out there like Nitro did to get things started on RAW.

    By the way Dean Ambrose is still the WWE Champion as it was declared a draw on The Network.

    Dorian Reply:

    In the words of Y2J – “would you please, shut the hell up”

    From a purely continuity point, this is so laughably amateurish by WWe.

    This is like you going to the movies, and having the main plot point come out post end credits.

    What a joke

  4. Bloodbuzz Bunk says:

    I get what they are trying to do with ending but the execution got super bungled at some point from the writer’s room to the ring. Having a semi vacant title or at least a disputed title as a looming question leaving Raw is a great way to attract eyes to a live Smackdown for it’s resolution and it also gives them an out to take Rollins at one overall and Ambrose at two. But you can’t end the broadcast with Rollins celebrating with the belt on the ramp because that doesn’t ambiguity or intrigue it just creates baffled confusion.

    Lost in all this is that Ambrose and Rollins have become able to pull off near classics in their sleep at this point. It seems like every summer creative gives up and tells Dean and Seth to bring up their never ending hatred and go have half a dozen stellar matches. It is unlike anything I can think of off hand besides HHH and Shawn but I’m sure there are others.

  5. IC says:

    Don’t forget Cole’s line about Ambrose never beating Rollins one-on-one.
    Happened at least twice, including MITB.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Well you can’t expect him to remember that far back.

    Bloodbuzz Bunk Reply:

    To be fair Cole modified that Ambrose hasn’t beaten Seth in a normal length match one on one even odds after JBL brought up MiTB. I think Dean bested him on a Raw once last year but in general Dean never won a big time headlining match against Rollins.

    I’m more concerned that commentary functions as means for Cole to spoon feed us stories that don’t match the stories being told in ring and on the mic, JBL yelling “Maggle” and running down everybody, and Saxton getting torched so often that I think he should be suicide watch or at least file harassment charges.