The Raw only (except for a few Smackdown Superstars due to the Shakeup) PPV has finished, and here’s the shakedown.
WWE just put on one of their ‘minor’shows. Along with the ‘big 4’ of Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Summer Slam, and the Royal Rumble, the minor PPV’s (can it really be called that anymore?) are barely a blip on the radar most month. There are so many of these now, the TV broadcast shows feel like filler between PPV’s now.
But enough of that! Let’s talk WRESTLING!
Payback Kickoff Match: Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
First up was a Kickoff match with Big Cass and Enzo Amore against Karl Andersen and Luke Gallows. These guys keep feuding, and fortunately, the ‘right’ team finally got a win. On a kickoff show. But hey, E&C need to get SOME wins, if they are ever going to look strong enough to contend for the Raw Tag Team Titles by Summerslam. Good solid match, good tag team wrestling, and Enzo FINALLY managed to get a win for his team. Well, good! It’s a shame they don’t get to be on the PPV proper…but hey, Randy Orton and Bray got TWO segments….but that’s for later.
Winners: Big Cass and Enzo
Then a backstage segment with the Golden Truth (they’re still a team?) offer a “good luck” but inform the tag champs that they got next on whoever wins. But they hope the Hardy’s win…but they still got next. Matt said it was “WONDERFUL!”…which is a allusion to his #broken personage, which the WWE fans are rabidly waiting for, and it should be much longer now.
Miz TV (with Finn Balor)
Another segment with strong mic work from Miz. The crowd played along with chanting “miz TV”, and Miz played them like a cheap violin. Balor makes his glorious entrance, and Miz looks bored, playing up the length of the entrance. When Finn gets to the ring, he heels it up questioning if Finn really needed a 5 minute entrance. This sounds like old complaints about Undertaker’s entrance….but it wasn’t valid then, and it’s not valid now. Entrances make or break a wrestler. Would Bobby Roode be as over if he didn’t have an absolutely GLORIOUS theme song and the presence to pull it off? Anyhow, Miz runs down Finn, saying he’s too small, too injury prone (another segment where Miz is playing the voice of the bookers backstage. Last time it was Dean Ambrose on being “lazy and complacent” this time, it’s Finn being too small, and injury prone. So, like all MizTV segments, it ends with Miz getting his ass kicks – just like Balor said!
Winner: The fans. Great segment, and helped get Balor over. While the WWE hasn’t announced who is facing Brock at Great Balls of Fire (terrible name), I am thinking it might be Balor.
US Championship match: Kevin Owens (c) vs Chris Jericho
I’m a fan of Jericho. Ever since he was in WCW, I have enjoyed his antics. From the man of 1004 holds, to the best ring announcer ever, he dominated WCW as only a cruiserweight could – that is to say he was buried, ignored, forgotten, and eventually made his way to the promised land of WWE, where his real talents could be utilized. And for the last 10+ years, Jericho has shown why he IS the Best in the World at What he Does.
These two went at it like a pair of former best friends….which, storyline-wise, they are! It was a great battle, Jericho went outside the ring, and used psychology and strategy to win the day.
Winner: And NEW US champ, Chris Jericho! Which also means he moves to Smackdown until he leaves to go on tour with his band Fozzy. Not a bad thing for Smackdown.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs Austin Aries.
Another cruiserweight bout which the WWE barely promoted. Aries looked great against Neville, even getting him in perfect position with his submission move, the Last Chancery. But Neville pulled a classic heel move, got physical with the ref, and got himself DQ’d. Good heel ending for the match, ad continues their feud.
Winner: by DQ, Austin Aries, but STILL the champ, Neville.
Raw Tag Team Title Match: The Hardys (c) vs Shemus and Cesaro
This is one of the matches everyone was anticipating. Not due to the in-ring action (The Hardy’s wrestle like they always have, and Sheamus and Ceasaro are still wrestling as semi-babyfaces.), but because it involved Matt Hardy, and everyone is waiting for when he gets #Broken. With Jeff Hardy getting his tooth broken (what a trooper!), the physicality of the match was evident. Both teams has some good moves, but a blind tag, and great tag work, meant the Hardy’s leave, still champs. There was, however, a MASSIVE post-match beatdown, where Cesaro stopped playing babyface, and finally turned heel. I am sure Sheamus is happy about that, as he’s a better heel than face. During the beatdown, Matt gets busted open the hard way, showing again, how physical the match really was between these two teams.
Winners: The Hardy’s, still not #broken
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs Bayly (c)
This is one of the matches I was waiting for, as Alexa Bliss has become my favorite superstar right now. She has the disadvantage of only being 5 feet tall. In an industry where the management (read: Vince) LOVES tall wrestlers (think: Charlotte), she has to overcome massive odds backstage to get the recognition she deserves. And Alexa has been superb on the mic, and in the ring. She has elevated herself to championship levels, and it shows in the ring, and on the mic.
The match itself was good, with ring psychology coming into play for the finish (Bayley hit her head on the turnbuckle several times before the finish). The ladies gave a great match, good energy and pacing…and ultimately, Alexa Bliss makes history by being the first former Raw Women’s Champion AND Smackdown women’s champion!
Winner: The audience and NEW Smackdown women’s champion: Alexa. Great match from the ladies, and congrats to the NEW champion!
House of Horrors Match, Part 1 : Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – non title match
This part was pre-taped. I know, because the PPV took place in San Jose (west coast), and at the time of this match it was 6:30pm in California. The sun wasn’t even down, but the Randy/Bray segment was the ‘dead of the night’ with crickets in the background and everything. Continuity errors anyone?
They started it off with Randy pulling up to the house (with bad lighting) in a limo. Lots of standing and closeups of Orton’s face and reactions. He walks through ‘creepy’ rooms, and Bray attacks him from behind…like 4 times. The announcers really tried to play up the ‘horror’ and ‘scary’ aspects…but nothing would save this segment. They fight through a few rooms (including a child’s room with ‘creepy’ dolls hanging from everywhere), until Bray pushes a refrigerator down on Randy, pinning him beneath. Bray takes the limo back to the arena, singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands”, confident he is going to win, because Randy can’t make it back to the arena.
Until then, we get another match!
Winner: None yet.
Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is the man my Girlfriend referred to as the “whiny bitch”….and I can’t disagree. Seth, as a hell, was a whiny bitch. As a face, he’s still pretty whiny, but it’s not as bad. I like Seth, but this was spot on!
So, Samoa Joe hurt Seth’s knee when he made his Raw debut, and almost made Seth miss Wrestlemania. The announcers fully play up how Joe was the one who broke Seth in the first place, and Seth sells his knee the whole match. Another “one legged man in an ass kicking contest”, so, of course, Seth wins.
It was a good match, with Joe showing off his skillset to the delight of the crowd, and Seth making the miracle babyface comeback for the win. Solid match, and good storytelling.
Winner: Seth freaking Rollins (The whiny bitch)
House of Horrors Match – Part 2:
So Bray limps to the ring, with his confidence exuding into the crowd, knowing he has Randy back at the house, pinned under a fridge, and no ride to the arena! It’s going to be an easy win!
Bray makes his lights down entrance, and when the lights come up, RANDY IS IN THE RING! OH MY GOD, HOW DID HE GET THERE? They fight back and forth for a while, until the BOLLYWOOD BOYS from Smackdown Live show up and interfere! Jinder Mahal must not be far behind! Ultimately, Jinder Mahal comes down to ignite the feud between himself and Randy (since Bray isn’t on Smackdown anymore, that feud makes a LOT more sense). He hits Randy with the title belt (which he stole on Smackdown), Bray hits the Sister Abagail, and the match is over. Jinder again leaves with the championship, and leaves Randy laying in the ring.
Good thing WWE changed it so it wasn’t for the Smackdown title, so they could have Bray go over. Which he DESPERATELY needed.
Winner: Bray Wyatt (with some help from Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boys)
Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns
So, I’m on the “I hate Roman Reigns” bandwagon, for essentially the same reason as most people: I’m tired of having him forced down my throat. People are rejecting the wrestler, not the character, and it’s not good for Roman. I know Vince doesn’t understand the difference between heat,and “X-Pac heat”, but Roman is getting MAJOR X-pac heat . Turn him heel, let people boo him, and have him ACT like a heel. because people aren’t warming up to Reigns and it’s going to hurt him. His fed with Strowman, however, has REALLY kicked into gear, and is getting Strowman over BIG TIME.
This match was brutal, as you would expect. They showcased Braun’s strength (of course), played up the injuries he already gave Roman, and Braun basically dominated the match. Fan would chant “thank you Strowman” through most of the match, showing just how much people dislike Reigns. Braun is in complete heel mode, trashing the audience on the mic, doing his best to heel it up, but the fans are having none of it. They continue to cheer and thank Braun for destroying Roman. Against almost anyone else Braun gets some heel reactions….but against Roman, he is 100% babyface, no matter what heel actions he takes. Reminds me of Stone Cold to an extent.
So he does what Braun does – he destroys Roman.
Winner: Braun Strowman (Thank you Strowman)
After the match, Braun keeps beating down the fallen Roman Reigns, dropping him chest first on to the ring steps, and then driving the steps into his chest. Reigns is bleeding from the mouth, and a giant pool of blood is in the ring (this is the ONLY way they can color a match on purpose anymore.) Roman refuses medical attention, ad hads off to the back, where he joins Talking Raw, the post show recap, and spits blood all over their walls to help sell his injuries.
So there you have it, another WWE PPV is in the bag, we’ve got two new champions, and some great feuds starting. THANKFULLY, we have seen the end of Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt…..thankfully because it is NOT getting better.