Forgive me for the late RIB. I was stuck on that same flight The Authority was on. You should’ve seen the kind of hell Steph gave that stewardess. So full of sass. Steph vs. Stewardess at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas: Book it!
Let’s Get Started
We open up with Kane on speakerphone with The Authority who won’t be showing up at all. Looks like Corporate Kane will be the one to hold down the fort. He books a lumberjack match with himself facing Seth Rollins.
Dean Ambrose opens up the show. He’s not here for a long, boring promo. He’s here to fight! He’s also had that Forrest Whitaker eye going on. He should keep that going. It makes him look extra volatile. Randy Orton interrupted and told Ambrose that they will be partners at HIAC to fight Harper and Strowman. They then argue about how they are both loners who have a problem following orders. They also argued about who has the most voices in their head. I think Randy just based on longevity and all around assholery. The seed of decent has been planted here though, so after HIAC, looks like Ambrose and Orton might be in a program with one another. Maybe? I just don’t see Luke and Strowman losing.
Anywho, NEW DAY! interrupts and Big E has got moves for days. We get to see them play on words for a bit and it looked like The New Day were getting legit heat from Chicago. That’s always good. Xavier mentioned beating down John Cena and the crowd actually hated that. Crazy Chi-town. Kane comes over the titantron and we get a tag team match.
The New Day vs. Randy Orton & Dean Ambrose
I hereby nominate Trombone and Big Wiggle as the greatest tag team of all time. Standard tag team affair here with New Day being endlessly entertaining. The story here seems to be whether or not Randy and Dean can work together or not. Probably not.
“That’s no viper! That’s a garden snake!”
JBL: “It’s like getting beat up on Bourbon Street.”
Big E getting knocked off the apron and Xavier sliding over to make sure he was ok was fantastic. New Day pick up the win. They are looking like the top group going into HIAC with The Dudleys. As they should be.
We got a video recap of the feud between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. We would see it again multiple times throughout the evening because there’s no such thing as moderation on a three hour show.
Nikki Bella vs. Naomi
We get a much deserved recap and praise of Sasha Banks vs. Bailey from NXT Takeover: Respect. It was a great show by the way. Great wrestling as always and those two deserved the main event. Asuka is a problem. She’s going to be The One. Great program and praise well deserved. Now, it’s always one step forward and a face-plant backwards.
Sasha was on the sidelines and throughout the match, the announcers are talking about everything except the damn match. They were too busy trying to figure out when Team BAD was going to implode because they were jealous of Sasha’s success. Y’know, because women be shoppin’ and what not.
We get some sporadic “We want Sasha” chants and for some reason, Brie grabs a mic and kept repeating it. Sasha came to save the day by making her fall hard from the announce table. Thank you, Sasha. But that whole thing was lame and the Divas are right back where they started. Hopefully, there is a change to come after the Nikki vs. Charlotte rematch. But if the last few Raws are any indication, we shouldn’t hold our breath.
Holy product placement, Batman. Paige is the Payday crazy lady of the night or something.
U.S. Title Open Challenge: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
Word on the webz is that Dolph was going to enter a feud with John based on Ziggler’s Total Divas angle he’s working with Nikki. If that’s the case, I’m going to need something stronger than Jameson. John is scheduled to take some time off, so hopefully, he drops the belt before he leaves. I doubt it though. They’ll probably keep it on him. If there was ever a time to take it off him, and with good reason, it would have been with Kevin Owens.
Anywho, John comes out and is met with a sea of John Cena sucks chants. Kudos for singing it along with his theme. John Cena counters the sucks chants by sucking up the crowd. It works every time. Dolph answers the call. These put on one hell of a match, but, it doesn’t matter. We knew the outcome.
I was watching Table for 3 with Ambrose, Owens, and Cesaro. Ambrose said something that not only I get, but I completely agree with. He was speaking about his time Puerto Rico and he said that he would do 5-star moves and sequences and the crowds would sit on their hands. You wouldn’t get anything out of them. You get in their face and that’s what got them hyped. You have to emotionally draw something out of the crowd.
So here’s Ziggler putting on a 5-star match with Cena. It’s great to look at, but why do I care? Why should I? I know Cena isn’t dropping the belt to him, and if he is, it won’t be cleanly. Taking Cena “to the limit” is the new “putting someone over.” These challenges don’t do anything if you hit Cena with everything, he kicks out, then puts you down quickly with an AA.
Cena also stopped the match, grabbed a mic, and acknowledged a couple who got engaged in the crowd. Great stuff for a house show. For live TV, it takes the momentum out of everything and comes off as lame. Ever since Big Show grabbed a mic in the middle of a match, now everyone is doing it. Just… Stop it.
The Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension
The Ascension actually got in some offence but it was quick and solid work by both teams. The Dudley Boyz are still looking strong going into their rematch at HIAC.
Neville & Cesaro vs. Barrett & Sheamus
Another very quick match. I think total time was 4-5 minutes. For this and the Dudley Boyz match. This was a smash mouth bout with a ho-hum ending. Barrett said in an interview that he’s looking to enter the tag team division. I’ll always look at Barrett and think, “What could have been?”
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
We first get a very long promo by Roman. This promo was longer than the previous 2 matches combined. Which spells disaster because Roman shouldn’t be allowed to hold a microphone and speak that long. Maybe he was trying to rally the people to his cause, in which case, you can’t be so calm and nonchalant about it. Get fired up. It was like watching Drunk History without alcohol. That’s never fun. Chicago wasn’t having any of it. Promo was filled with “What” (Damn you, Austin) and “Boring” chants.
The Wyatt Family came out and Bray countered with a one sentence promo. Short and to the point.
So this match was a beat down where we tried to figure out if Roman could knock the big man off his feet. Strowman’s clothesline on the attempted Drive By was impressive. Strowman finally gets off his feet after Roman hits the Superman Punch by the announce table. Roman wins via count-out.
Rusev vs. Ryback
So Ru-Ru and Lana are engaged and TMZ cracked the news. Which means, this whole dreadful story with Summer and Dolph is over. Thank you sweet baby Jesus. The announce team spoke about it throughout the match between these two. Ugh. It’s disgusting how that it took precedence over Ryback being the #1 contender for the I.C. strap. Thankfully, Ryback wins heading into his rematch with KO. Summer scolds and slaps Ru-Ru and hopefully we never have to see or hear about this crap again. Heal up quick, Lana. You and Ru-Ru should have never been separtrated.
Kalisto vs. Kevin Owens
Match of the night. Kevin Owens is just a flat out entertaining heel. When he did the lucha taunt and looked like he was about to dive but just slid out and clubbed Kalisto in the back, I lost it. Another quick match but entertaining throughout. I hope Kalisto is ok. That was a wicked powerbomb.
Charlotte & Becky vs. Brie & Alicia Fox
Paige was on commentary for this and Nattie was at ringside. We get more reminders that Team PCB is still together. I give up. We get more Paige on commentary being ditzy and annoying rather than making any real point about anything. Because, why should she make points and justify her behavior to the satisfaction of fans? Women be shoppin’, baby! Brie picks up the victory by pinning the champion. I, like, literally can’t even right now.
Main Event – Seth Rollins vs. Kane in a Lumberjack Match
So the whole night, Kane has been standing by that speakerphone as HHH and Steph are on a delayed flight. They need to know what the main event is because whatever airline they are on, it doesn’t have an internet connection. That’s what you get when you fly Spirit.
Hunter tells Kane he can’t be in the main event. But he didn’t say anything about… Demon Kane! Muh ha ha ha!!
Highlight of the Night: New Day rocking out to Seth Rollins’s theme song. It should’ve been mandatory for all the lumberjacks to do it.
Standard affair for a lumberjack match. Demon Kane can’t be stopped until he goes to the outside and stars slapping around heels. Big Show hits Kane with a KO punch then walks out. New Day gets in revenge on Kane and all hell breaks loose. Big E’s facial expression when Kane sat up was GOLD. Kane wins via tombstone and there is yet another pin on a champion. Ugh.
So this was a solidly mediocre Raw and the ratings reflected that. Filled with recaps and short matches and nonsense on commentary. The go-home Raw to HIAC will hopefully be way more entertaining. It’s all hands on deck and HBK and Flair are going to be there. Should be fun. Hopefully.