The first Roadblock PPV was just last year in Canada, featuring eleven matches total, with the main event of Triple H vs Dean Ambrose, where Triple H retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This year, it has been rebranded as a Raw exclusive PPV and renamed Roadblock: End Of The Line. It will take place in Pittsburg, PA at the PPG Paints Arena. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Big Cass vs Rusev – Preshow Singles Match
This feud all started when Lana accidentally saw Enzo Amore’s twig and berries while he was locked out of the locker room. Rusev caught Enzo attempting to hit on Lana, which resulted in Lana pretending to leave Rusev so she could lure Enzo to her hotel room where her husband beat the living daylights out of him. Cass isn’t one to let things slide when it comes to his best friend and tag partner, so he now has it out for Rusev. I’m glad it was a ruse and WWE wasn’t honestly trying to make a mockery of a real life marriage, plus it eased us into an easy feud. I don’t believe either of these men belong on the preshow, but let’s hope they give us a good match.
F2H Prediction: Rusev
Rich Swann (c) vs T.J. Perkins vs Brian Kendrick – Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Cruiserweight Division is still struggling to find its place on Raw, and it doesn’t help that they now have their own show after Smackdown on the Network; that’s just too much wrestling to pack into one night. T.J. Perkins was a great pick as our inaugural champion and had a good run before losing the title to Brian Kendrick. Our resident pirate then lost his title on 205 Live, exclusively on the Network, to Rich Swann. Swann is an incredibly charismatic guy and a fantastic wrestler, so he will bring a lot of prestige and interest to the Cruiserweight division.
F2H Prediction: Rich Swann
Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Kevin Owens saved Jericho from a Pedigree on the go home episode of Raw, so the friendship is back on… I think? Rocky, but they definitely will have each other’s backs. This doesn’t sit well for Rollins, who has been trying his best to get back on top of the Raw brand where he belongs. Rollins wants Owens’ title, but Jericho has been blocking him at every turn, so now they have their own issues to squash before Rollins can move on. If Owens interferes, I want it to happen after we get a clean win. Owens can beat the hell out of Rollins if he wants, but not until the bell has rung.
F2H Prediction: Seth Rollins
The New Day (c) vs Sheamus & Cesaro – Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Titles
At the WWE Tribute To The Troops, Cesaro and Sheamus won a Fatal 4 Way match, beating Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, The Shining Stars, and The Golden Truth to earn a chance to challenge New Day for their titles. The New Day are now the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history, which is huge. At this point, their titles are fair game. They broke the record, made history, and can now give up the titles without really losing. Cesaro and Sheamus are such an odd couple, but they are both fantastic athletes and ended up teaming well together, eventually. It’ll be interesting to see if they are able to keep it together and capture those titles.
F2H Prediction: New Day
Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman – Singles Match with a 10 Minute Time Limit
Braun Strowman has been crushing everybody in his path, but he did manage to make time to make James Ellsworth famous and get him a WWE contract, so he’s not all bad. Mick Foley has stopped matches between these two because Zayn is so outgunned, which is where the time limit comes into play. Granted, Strowman can probably end the match in 60 seconds, so perhaps 10 minutes is being a bit generous. Zayn is a great competitor, but I feel that WWE is still working on building Strowman into an unstoppable monster, and he needs to keep that going for a little while longer.
F2H Prediction: Braun Strowman
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
These women are just taking it to the extreme more and more, and it’s going to get to the point that someone gets seriously injured if they aren’t careful. I’m glad they keep trying to top themselves, but I’m more worried about their health and possible long absences due to injury (miss you, Finn Balor). Their cage match left a lot to be desired, thanks to a drawn out “injury” that nearly kept Banks from competing, but they made up for it during their next match where Banks tangled Charlotte in the stadium railing to lock in the Banks Statement and force a tap. We’ve already seen Banks compete in an Iron Man match on NXT, so I’m expecting main event material here.
F2H Prediction: Sasha Banks
Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns – Singles Match for the WWE Universal Championship
I’m so annoyed with this match. I hate it. Why does Roman Reigns, a guy already holding a title, get a title match on this PPV? I hate it. Have I mentioned that I’m not too fond of this main event? I hope Chris Jericho interferes in every shady way possible without causing a disqualification. I hope Owens beats his ass into the mat, and then powerbombs him into the apron a few dozen times. I hope Reigns can’t walk by the end of this match. Listen, I used to be a fan of Reigns, believe it or not. I just can’t buy into this fist-cocking, show-boating nonsense he insists on doing. I don’t want another John Cena. Give me quiet, brooding Roman Reigns back and I’ll be on board.
F2H Prediction: Kevin Owens
Roadblock: End Of The Line will begin at 8pm EST, with the preshow starting at 7pm, exclusively on the WWE Network. Unfortunately for fans, Lita will not be present, as new reports have stated that she has left the company. Jerry Lawler has also been removed from on air events. Live tweet with @FaceToHeel and writers @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener, and be on the lookout for our next giveaway!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
After watching an amazing three hours of wrestling on Sunday, courtesy of Impact’s BoundO for Glory, Monday Night Raw has a lot to live up to. We are live from Los Angeles tonight and will see Sasha Banks fight for the Women’s title, plus have an exclusive interview with Seth Rollins. Our ropes have gone white and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The night kicks off with Roman Reigns, which is frustrating. Give that title back to Rusev! He was getting cheered until he started talking. Thankfully, Lana interrupts looking lovely as always. After a “Thank you, Lana” chant from the crowd, Lana says that she is here to negotiate a rematch. She says that Rusev will destroy and embarrass him. Reigns counters by talking about Rusev’s balls, and Lana tells him to go to hell.
Cue Rusev and his balls; he runs to the ring to attack Reigns. The two trade punches outside of the ring before Rusev is thrown into the barricade. He counters by ramming Reigns into the other side, but Reigns quickly regains control, rolling Rusev into the ring. He cocks his fist, which is just the coolest move ever (heavy sarcasm), and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him. Reigns slaps Rusev across the face, driving him from the ring, but is thrown into the steel steps, then kicked into the crowd by Rusev. Why couldn’t Rusev be like this when my husband and I were watching him live at the PPV?? Rusev grabs the United States Championship and holds it high over his head. It looks like Rusev wins the segment, walking off with the title, but Super Reigns attacks him from behind as he reaches the top of the ramp. Some idiot gives him a microphone, and Reigns says that he’ll fight Rusev in a cell at the Hell In A Cell PPV that is upcoming.
Up next, our Cruiserweight division takes the stage in the first official match of the night; champion TJ Perkins versus Brian Kendrick. Perkins starts the match strong with a back body drop followed by a springboard off the rope into a cross body. Kendrick tries to counter, but Perkins catches himself in between the ropes, then sends Kendrick flying outside the ring. He is showing off his athleticism at Kendrick’s expense until Kendrick lands a kick to Perkins’ face. He pins Perkins’ hand on the turnbuckle with his foot, then sends him out of the ring as we break for commercial. During the break, Perkins hits a beautiful hurricanrana to take Kendrick down. Kendrick counters with Sliced Bread into a pin, but Perkins kicks out. He then locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins rolls it into a pin. Kendrick kicks free and ends up caught up on the rope, allowing Perkins to get a kick to his head. He recovers and gets the Captain’s Hook in again to force a tap. Good thing this wasn’t for the title.
Michael Cole is up next with his pretaped interview with Seth Rollins. Rollins says he is feeling better, then says that while Kevin Owens is the Universal Champion, he didn’t beat him. Owens was handed that title by Triple H and didn’t win it fairly at Clash of Champions. You make enemies on your climb to the top, and Rollins acknowledges that he’s made quite a few. Rollins says he is irreplaceable, and Owens isn’t a replacement. Owens is simply a cog in the machine. Rollins plans on tearing that machine apart, piece by piece, starting with Owens and his championship. He will prove to the entire world that he is still the man.
BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNNN is up now! Poor Chase Silver is in the ring now to make his dreams come true. Apparently he dreamt that he beat Braun Strowman up, so here he is. Strowman invites Silver to come at him, and Silver starts throwing kicks and punches before Strowman takes him down easily with a shoulder bump. He screams “THIS IS ALL YOU COULD DO??” Silver takes advantage and hits him from behind, but Strowman immediately counters by getting him in the corner and hitting him with a splash. Silver is lying on the mat while Strowman screams for him to get up. As soon as he rises, Strowman hits another shoulder. He gets him up on his shoulders and slams him to the mat for the pin. Rest in peace, Chase Silver. Strowman then demands that Foley get him a real opponent next week or there won’t be a next week. For a guy who doesn’t get on the mic a lot, this was awesome!
Kevin Owens comes to the ring, dressed to impress, accompanied by his BFF Chris Jericho. Owens calls Rollins stupid for requesting a rematch for the Universal Championship. Owens doesn’t think he deserves a rematch; Rollins lost and he only has Owens to blame for that loss. Since Rollins blamed the referee last match for the loss, Owens thinks that their next match should feature a referee that can handle himself. He suggests Jericho, but Jericho decides that they should challenge New Day for the tag team titles instead. What? He wants to make history, but Owens says that it sounds like a lot of work.
Hold on, Team Kevin and Chris; the Power of Positivity is coming to the ring! I love that New Day can turn the entire crowd into birds as soon as they ask a question which has the answer of “WHO? WHO? WHO?” Big E calls for a champion’s huddle; Owens is invited but Jericho is not. Guess who just made the list? Owens says that New Day has compromised the health of children all over the world with their questionable cereal (too much sugar). Xavier Woods counters with a fat joke that is actually good. Jump, jump, Owens. But lucky for us, New Day grants Owens and Jericho the match!
After the commercial break, Sami Zayn makes his way into the arena to face Titus O’Neil. Poor Zayn looks so teensy next to O’Neil. This is strength versus speed, and neither one can keep the advantage. O’Neil eventually catches Zayn mid-jump and slams him into his knee, then to the mat. He catches Zayn in a bear hug and throws him across the ring before delivering a backbreaker. He loudly taunts Zayn, who catches his opponent off guard and lands a clothesline. He then suplexes O’Neil into the corner and hits the Haluma Kick for the win. Not good for O’Neil, though I have a hard time believing Zayn could win this one. No offense.
You want it? You got it; the Golden Truth. What’s Up? R-Truth and Goldust are in a tag match against The Club. Truth and Anderson start off the match with Truth in control. He and Goldust take Anderson to the mat, then Goldust hits a clotheline into an arm drag to lock Anderson in an arm bar. Anderson counters, gets to his corner to knock Goldust down and tag in Gallows. He gets Goldust in a headlock as Truth tries to hype up the crowd. Both Anderson and Truth are tagged in; Truth hits clotheslines into a dropkick to take Anderson down for a pin, but Gallows breaks it up. Anderson tags back in Gallows while Truth is distracted, and the pair hit him with the Magic Killer for the win. After the bell rings, The Club begin attacking Goldust, hitting him with the Magic Killer as well.
Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson are confronting Jericho and Owens backstage, so I am tuning out. Not even Owens and Jericho can save this. Ha; nevermind! Jericho saved it at the end. With… IT! Back in the ring, Enzo and Cass are dressed in their “More Than Pink” shirts. Susan “Certified G” Komen held a contest, and we have three winners in the ring with Enzo and Cass; three breast cancer survivors. How you doin? Enzo tries to unveil their prizes, but gets all tangled up in the pink sheet. Still, each woman is gifted with a Women’s Championship title, which is pretty darn awesome. Cass spells out SAWFT after ensuring that it does not apply to the women in the ring. These poor women look so confused! Anyway, don’t donate to Susan G Komen; they are one of the worst organizations when it comes to getting the money to where it SHOULD go.
Oh dear god… Kutcher and Masterson are on commentary, so now Corey Graves is trying even harder to be funny and it isn’t working. It’s godawful. Shut up, Corey Graves. Shut up forever. Back to the wrestling; Owens and Jericho are facing Woods and Big E. Woods does some clever dodging, but the stronger Owens gets Woods in the corner where he tags in Jericho and the two team up on him for a moment. Woods recovers and flips into Jericho to hit a clothesline into a cover. Woods tags in Big E, who hits the fresh Owens with a clothesline. The crowd starts a “New Day Rocks” chant as E spears Owens the corner. Jericho tags in, and pins Big E in the corner with his boot, then showboats to the crowd. As Jericho distracts the referee, Owens gets some cheap shots in on Big E. It’s difficult to pay attention to this match with everyone babbling on commentary about things that have nothing to do with the match. Owens gets a good laugh mocking how the guys play dead on the mat as he reaches for Big E.
Out of nowhere, Seth Rollins’ music hits! Now I’m interested! Woods hits Owens hard, thanks to the distraction, and now E and Jericho are tagged in. Big E hits a belly to belly, and it looks like Jericho might have a bloody nose. Owens jumps in to save his partner, but Big E throws him from the ring to set up Woods to take him down. E hits Jericho with an elbow, then a splash. As Jericho locks Woods into a submission, Rollins runs in to distract him. This allows Big E and Woods to hit The Midnight Hour and pin Jericho for the win! I guess they won’t be getting that title shot after all. Rollins wins the segment by hitting Jericho with a Pedigree.
More cruiserweight action is up now, with Rich Swann and Tony Nese. Swann gets control early, but Nese counters and hits Swann in the face. He hits some knees and pins Swann for a two count. Swann hits a hurricanrana to throw Nese across the ring, but he hits a kick to Swann’s head before pinning him in the corner and laying him with kicks until the referee separates the two. Nese whips Swann into the corner, but Swann hits another hurricanrana to throw him away. It’s strange how they are unable to capture the magic we saw during the Cruiserweight Classic. Swann bounces off the ropes, but Nese catches him and pins him for the win. Honestly, these guys are great, but I feel that someone is telling them to hold back.
Tag team time; Sheamus and Cesaro versus Jobber 1 and Jobber 2. Cesaro gets one jobber in his corner before Sheamus tags himself in and showboats to his tag partner. Cesaro tags himself in, saying GET OUT, and the jobber tries to hit a sunset flip. This is so dumb, it might work. Jobber 2 gets hit with an Irish Curse Backbreaker, then Cesaro dives into the ring and jumps off of Sheamus to hit Jobber 1 with a DDT. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to jobber 2 and wins the match.
Before our main event, we get a fantastic video package featuring Charlotte and Sasha Banks’ journey from NXT to WWE to championships. Backstage, Charlotte and Dana Brooke taunt Bayley, but our resident hugger throws Brooke across the hallway and shows that she isn’t going to be pushed around. I am so happy to have the women main eventing Raw! Banks will hopefully defeat Charlotte and take back her title. Banks is thrown to the mat immediately, and Charlotte tries for the Figure 8 right away. Charlotte goes out of the ring and Banks hits a suicide dive, and then they go to ANOTHER COMMERCIAL? We were 20 seconds into that match. When we return, Charlotte has Banks’ arms pulled behind her with her knee in her back. Apparently we missed a lot of awesome out of ring action during the commercial. THANKS GUYS. Charlotte goes for the cover, but Banks is out at one. Charlotte then begins attacking Banks’ injured back. She bends Banks over her knee to put stress on her lower back, but Banks kicks away. Our champ hits another backbreaker and tries to hit Banks in the corner, but she dodges and sends Charlotte into the ringpost. Banks gets back in the match, hitting a dropkick, then driving Charlotte to the mat with her knees for a pin. Banks hits a hurricanrana, then a baseball slide to send Charlotte from the ring. Charlotte tries to throw Banks into the ring apron, but misses.
Charlotte starts hitting chops, and puts Banks up on the ropes. She tries to throw her from the top rope, but Banks blocks it. Banks jumps from the top rope and hits Charlotte with double knees for a pin, but our champ stays alive. Banks tries for a backstabber, but Charlotte grabs the ropes and sends Banks out of the ring. She goes to the top rope and does an amazing dive off the top to take Banks down. Back in the ring, Charlotte hits Natural Selection, but Banks kicks out at the last possible second. There is a kick ass DELETE DELETE DELETE sign in the audience! Ha! Nice. Banks is down and out, but she manages to lock Charlotte into the Banks Statement after Charlotte runs at her. Charlotte counters, but Banks locks it right back in and forces the tap! What a main event!! Charlotte is left in tears as Sasha Banks holds her title high.
This wasn’t the greatest Raw, but that main event was money. Those women put it all out there and gave us one hell of a main event. The best Raw main event we’ve had in a while. Tomorrow, we will be covering the go home episode of Smackdown ahead of the No Mercy PPV. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel; we had our first giveaway last week and more are headed your way!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
After watching Smackdown’s Backlash PPV last night, Raw has a lot to live up to. General Manager Mick Foley starts off the night, acknowledging Becky Lynch’s victory in winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship, but insists that Raw still has the best female wrestlers in the business. He invites out Charlotte, who is accompanied by Dana Brooke. Charlotte makes it clear that she is fed up with Dana Brooke, then Sasha Banks comes out to tell Charlotte that she’s taking back the Women’s title at Clash of Champions. Bayley is out next, saying that she also deserves a title shot for beating Charlotte last week. Sasha takes off her jacket and hits Charlotte square in the face with it, which just cracked me up. Mick Foley decides that Sasha and Bayley will face off, with the winner facing Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Out of nowhere, Dana slaps Charlotte across the face, which has been a long time coming. With that, Mick adds Dana to the match, making it a Triple Threat to decide Charlotte’s next opponent.
The triple threat match starts right after the break, with Brooke looking strong right away. Banks’s lower half of her midsection is completely taped up, but she gets the upper hand on Brooke and tries for the first pinfall. Brooke throws Banks from the ring, then Bayley sneaks in to try for a pin. She quickly gets control of the match, locking Brooke in an arm bar that she is unable to break free from. She throws Brooke against the ropes, where Banks drags her out of the ring. The two team up briefly against Brooke to keep her out of the match. Brooke isn’t out for long; she targets Banks’ injured back and then sets her sights on Bayley. Banks gets back in, stacking Brooke and Bayley in the corner to hit them with her knees, but Bayley rolls away and goes to the ropes to hit a cross body. Brooke hits Bayley and Banks with a double clothesline, then tries pinning both women to win the match. Sasha hits both women with a superplex, but can’t finish this. She hits a backstabber into the Banks Statement, but Bayley breaks the submission hold. Bayley hits Brooke with a Bayley to Belly, but now it’s Sasha breaking things up. She rolls up Bayley and secures the win and her match at Clash of Champions!
Backstage, Dana Brooke tries to apologize to Charlotte, but is shut down as our champion demands Brooke grab her bags, then walks away. We move on to a dreadful Shining Stars promo. Primo and Epico are trying to sell a timeshare to R-Truth in Puerto Rico. Not even R-Truth can make these two interesting. Before Truth can waste his money and more of his time, Goldust saves him and takes him away. Enzo and Cass step in next to shut down the not-so-Shining Stars. Enzo challenges the pair to a tag match for later tonight. Next, Tom “Tyler” Phillips interviews Kevin Owens, who is fed up with both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Owens promises to leave Clash of Champions with his Universal Title. Jericho pops in next, announcing to Tom “Felipe” Phillips that Sami Zayn will be on the Highlight Reel tonight.
Back in the arena, Bo Dallas makes his way to the ring. He says some Dr Seuss rhyme to his opponent, Brandon Scott, and to the audience about Bo-Lieving in Bo. Scott is able to drive Dallas fro the ring, but is caught in the corner, allowing Dallas to slam him to the mat. The crowd is chanting “Let’s Go Jobber” as Dallas hits a clothesline. He quickly pins Scott for the win in a fast squash match.
The Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is upset that Kevin Owens was not allowed to be on the reel tonight. He gets down on the mat to demonstrate how low he thinks of Sami Zayn before inviting him out. Jericho rubs in the fact that Owens and he are no longer friends, then Zayn asks why he’s even here. Jericho wants to know why Zayn ruined his friendship with Owens, but Zayn doesn’t want to talk about him anymore. He does want to talk about the Universal Championship, which he plans on winning one day. He also points out that if Jericho honestly believes that Owens is his true friend, he is the stupid idiot in this equation. Jericho gets fed up and hits Zayn with a cheap shot into a Code Breaker.
Sheamus and Cesaro are facing off in the 5th match in the Best of 7 series. This is a No Disqualification Match! Just kidding; they haven’t given us anything interesting to vary these matches whatsoever. Just regular ol’ matches, first to pinfall or submission. Sigh. Cesaro tries for a submission hold, but Sheamus slips outside of the ring. He hits some uppercuts before rolling Sheamus back into the ring for a pin attempt. Sheamus is up 3 victories to 1 right now, so Cesaro can’t lose tonight. The two go up to the top rope, but Cesaro knocks Sheamus away and starts again with the punches to the face. He hits a crossbody and goes for a pin on Sheamus. Cesaro is on his back, while Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf. The nearfalls are starting now as Cesaro locks in the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus gets to the ropes. Cesaro is able to roll Sheamus up and use the ropes to secure the pin and get the win, moving this series to 3-2.
Backstage, Seth Rollins addresses Foley; he’s grateful for the save from suspension but unhappy with Roman Reigns getting yet another title shot. Foley says that Reigns was just as wronged as Rollins was. Rollins wants to bring Stephanie McMahon into this conversation, especially considering what Triple H did, but she’s away in Singapore. Foley gets heated when Rollins questions his integrity, and Rollins ends the conversation by calling him a fool if he continues to support McMahon.
Nia Jax faces off with Alicia Fox next, which is her first match against a regular member of the Raw roster. Jax quickly throws Fox into the corner, flinging her around like a rag doll. She fights back, but is knocked out of the ring. Jax follows her out and gets a kick to the face before Fox jumps on her back. Jax quickly regains control, throwing Fox into the barricade over and over. Jax drives Fox through the barricade, getting a brief “Holy Shit” chant for her efforts. Love it! As the referees attend to Fox, Jax stands by, glaring at her opponent before walking away to cheers from the crowd. I’m so glad to see the fans getting behind her!
The New Day come out to brighten the mood, promising us that we will NEVER have to see that godawful “Old Day” nonsense ever again. Thank you, New Day. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson come out to break up the fun, getting some cheap heat by calling the crowd stupid. They promise to win the tag titles at Clash of Champions, and head to the ring to face Woods and Kingston. Woods and Anderson start things off, with Woods delivering elbows to the rhythm of the New Day Rocks chant. Kingston tags in and goes to the top rope to deliver a boot to the face. Anderson pins Kingston in their corner, then tags in Gallows who throws Kingston from the ring, allowing Anderson to tag in and take Kingston to the mat. Gallows kicks Kingston in the face once he’s back in the ring, then hits elbows. Kingston is able to knocks Gallows off the apron, but is hit with a Spine Buster by Anderson. The Club start using quick tags to isolate Kingston and keep Woods out of this match. Woods is finally back in the match and he knocks Anderson into the ropes, takes out Gallows, and nearly wins the match. The two trade punches, with Anderson ending it with a rough uppercut. Woods is able to hit a DDT, then dives off the top rope to hit an elbow. The Club gang up on Woods, hitting the Magic Killer for the win.
Jinder Mahal, AKA “The Man Who Comes In Peace,” comes out to the ring next. Who made up that nickname? He says something in foreign, then lets us know that he has learned to let hate go and has found inner peace. I miss 3MB. Cue Jack Swagger, our representation of America, who is apparently going to beat up the evil peace-loving Mahal. Mahal immediately goes to his knees, saying he comes in peace, then hits Swagger with some forearms before pinning his neck on the ropes. Swagger regains control outside of the ring, but Mahal kills his momentum as soon as the two reenter the ring. He tries pin after pin, but Swagger won’t stay down. He hits a belly to belly suplex, followed by a kick to the face. Mahal counters the Swagger Bomb and gets the pin on Swagger! That one was a surprise. Good for him.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass come out now; the crowd goes wild when these two enter an arena. The Shining Stars come out next, and get the exact opposite reaction from the crowd. Literally no one cares. They are terrible. Enzo faces off against Epico, who lifts Enzo into a vertical suplex. He asks if he should do it again as the crowd chants for Enzo. Epico tries for a quick roll up but can’t get it done. Enzo starts landing punches, then dances around the ring before going to the top rope. Primo distracts him before he can dive off the rope, but Cass steps in and takes Primo down. Enzo dives off the top rope to take down the Shining Stars, and the referee begins the count. Enzo is about to suplex Epico, but Primo grabs his leg, allowing Epico to get the pin for the victory. What?
Backstage, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins square off. Owens confronts Rollins about his lack of momentum since returning, but Mick Foley breaks things up before it can come to blows. Foley then warns Rollins again to stay out of tonight’s main event. Back in the arena, Roman Reigns walks out to a chorus of boos as we get ready for the last match of the evening. As the bell rings, Owens immediately rolls out of the ring. Reigns goes on the chase, delivering punches and knocking Owens down. He rolls Owens back into the ring, where our champ gets Reigns down to his knees and delivers kick after kick. Owens starts in with the trash talk, allowing Reigns to get the upper hand, which earns boos from the crowd. Owens takes control back (after an obnoxious fan WOOOOS right in his face), going for a pin. He gets Reigns in a chin lock while mocking his “I’m not a good guy, I’m not a bad guy” speech. Owens is gold. Reigns is finally able to fight out, delivering clotheslines and yelling about something while the crowd hates on him. After the commercial break, Owens has Reigns back in a chin lock, telling him he sucks and to stay down. Reigns gets to his feet, but throws himself into the ringpost thanks to quick thinking by Owens. He throws Reigns into the stairs, but Rollins runs down the ramp and begins attacking Owens, causing Owens to win via DQ. Does this mean I don’t have to see Reigns at Clash of Champions? Or is Foley about to kill Rollins’ title chances?
Foley gets in Rollins’ face and the two stat yelling at each other. Foley demands that Rollins go backstage so they can talk, then restarts the match. The bell rings and Owens immediately throws Reigns into the stairs again. Reigns starts to gain his Cena-strength and hits Owens with punches before hitting a clothesline that Owens made look awesome. He starts hitting Owens in the chest, then lifts him up and into a Samoan Drop. Please don’t let Reigns win. Owens goes full Matt Hardy and bites Reigns on his side to block a move on the ropes, but sadly Reigns gets back in position. Owens counters at the last second, but John Cena — I mean Roman Reigns, kicks out at two. He hits a frog splash but long-haired Cena kicks out at two again. Owens shoves Reigns in the back of the head, telling him to stay down. Owens hits a superkick, mocks Reigns’ battle cry, and tries for a Cannonball, but Reigns ducks away. Reigns hits a Superman Punch, but Owens thankfully kicks out. Owens hits two solid kicks to the face, then connects with the Cannonball. Twice! Reigns lifts Owens up into a powerbomb, but he kicks free. Man. I do not want a Triple Threat match, you guys. Come on. Out of nowhere, Rusev shows up! His distraction allows Owens to hit the Pop Up Powerbomb and win the match! Thank you, Rusev, for saving us from Reigns in a main event. Bless you.
Owens makes his way up the ramp, but Rusev isn’t done. He attacks Reigns, who is now lying helpless in the middle of the ring. Rusev lands punch after punch to a helpless Reigns, who is “out” according to our announce team. Lana stands at the top of the ramp, holding Rusev’s title and looking gorgeous. In the ring, Rusev locks in the Accolade, screaming as Reigns is twisted and unable to counter. Give me more Raws that end with Reigns getting his ass kicked!
I went into this Raw expecting the worst, partially because I was exhausted from grocery shopping and dealing with pharmacies and a sick kid, and partially because Backlash last night was so good. I’m glad that they surprised me tonight with a great show that had minimal lulls. The main event was fantastic, thanks to Rollins, Foley, and a surprise return by Rusev. Next week on Raw, the Cruiserweight Division will make their debuts, and I cannot wait! Be sure to follow @facetoheel on Twitter for updates throughout the week.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
The Barclays center in New York City will be hosting this year’s Summerslam, starting at 7pm with a two hour preshow beginning at 5pm. Former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, will be the special celebrity guest and will likely provide comic relief and at least one awkward run-in with Seth Rollins. This is the first PPV since the brand split, but the matches are nearly all Raw vs Raw or Smackdown vs Smackdown. Every title is on the line, and we will finally get to see the brand new Universal Title. Let’s take a look at the massive card and make some predictions.
Cesaro vs Sheamus – First Match in the Best of Seven Series (Preshow Kickoff)
On the go-home Raw on Monday, Mick Foley announced that these two enemies would have a best of seven series to finally bury their beef. I still have yet to decide how I feel about this series. Seven matches ahead, when we have already seen two, will have the potential to get real stale really fast. I hope that we get stipulated matches in the future, as the Summerslam match is a straight singles match. The first win in a series will give the victor bragging rights and a slight edge on their competitor, which both men obviously will be battling for. Cesaro and Sheamus are both extremely talented, so I hope they are on their A game.
F2H Prediction – Sheamus
Sami Zayn and Neville vs The Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
Since returning to action after an injury, Neville has yet to find himself in a decent storyline or feud. Sami Zayn is done with Kevin Owens, at least for now, and is looking to move on. The Dudley Boyz are veteran wrestlers who have no problem taking a backseat to the younger talent in order to give them a push or help them along in a current storyline. They have lost more matches than they’ve won since their heel turn, and their once sure thing for the tag titles has become a very distant memory. This match will be all about Zayn and Neville, and I hope they take full advantage.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn and Neville
American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder), The Usos vs Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor), The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) – 12 Man Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
We already saw this match on Smackdown, which makes this addition a little disappointing. We’re throwing too many tag teams together into one mess of a match, where certain people will struggle for the spotlight and others will be forgotten in the background. WWE has not done its job in introducing American Alpha and The Hype Bros to the main roster audience. Those who don’t watch NXT are missing out on knowing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, and don’t fully appreciate the pairing of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder. It’s a shame, but I hope they rectify it.
F2H Prediction – American Alpha, The Hype Bros, The Usos
Carmella, Becky Lynch, Naomi vs Natalya, Alexa Bliss – Six Woman Tag Match
This match was put together on the go home episode of Smackdown. Eva Marie was meant to compete with Natalya and Bliss, but was suspended for 30 days on August 18th after violating the WWE’s wellness policy. This is a great opportunity for Alexa Bliss and Carmella to introduce themselves to the large chunk of the audience who isn’t familiar with NXT and don’t know their characters. Bliss and Carmella went back to their roots on Wednesday to complete in another six woman tag on NXT, which I hope the main roster audience had a chance to see. We have five incredible athletes (and a sixth still unnamed as of the time of this writing) that are capable of doing a lot more than we’ve had the chance to see on the main roster. I hope tonight is their night.
F2H Prediction – Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi
The Miz (c) vs Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match
I absolutely love The Miz as champ. He’s shady, underhanded, and conceited. He weasels his way into victories and isn’t bothered at all if he isn’t winning clean. Apollo Crews is the exact opposite of his opponent. He is honest, positive, and a team player through and through. Maryse will no doubt be ringside, giving Miz the edge, as Crews will be going it solo. I don’t expect a fair fight whatsoever. You simply don’t get that with The Miz, so Crews is going to have to play it safe and keep his eyes open. He will have to watch Maryse while also fighting his opponent, and he’ll have to ensure Miz doesn’t try to cause a DQ by throwing him into the ref or placing a weapon in his vicinity. Apollo Crews will shine, regardless of the outcome; he definitely earned and deserves this title shot.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens – Tag Team Match
I’m not a fan of Chris Jericho (go easy on me, hardcore fans) but I appreciate the person he is and the work that he does. That said, I am really enjoying him when paired with Kevin Owens. Owens and Enzo are two of the best trash talkers on the roster, so a war of words between the two is gold no matter what. Jericho and Owens have adjusted their style to act slightly more comedic, making them a better match for Enzo and Cass. This feud has been entertaining since the moment it started and will make for a fantastic tag match tonight. I hope we eventually get to see Enzo and Cass put into the Tag Title picture where they belong. How you doin?
F2H Prediction – Enzo and Big Cass
The New Day (c) vs The Club – Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will be fighting Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows without Big E, as he is nursing an injury to his man bits. I do hope that Big E will be present, but he has only been with us via Twitter lately. Anderson and Gallows have been utilizing a brilliant doctor gimmick, complete with every testicle pun you can possibly think of. They have Big E’s manhood in a jar, and have two smaller jars ready for Kingston and Woods. The New Day are the longest reigning WWE Tag Team champions as of July 20th and show no signs of giving up the titles. Their biggest competition on Raw, other than The Club, would be Enzo and Cass or Jeri-KO (if their tag team stays together). Golden Truth are more comic relief than anything else, and The Shining Stars are yet another failed gimmick for Primo and Epico. I am worried about New Day’s situation without Big E, and eager to see what this means for their title match.
F2H Prediction – The Club
John Cena vs AJ Styles – Singles Match
My favorite thing is to watch Styles BEAT UP JOHN CENA! It’s nice to see Cena out of the title picture and involved with someone who is a serious veteran in the business instead of a new talent who is still trying to find their footing. This absolutely must be a clean match for Styles with no assistance whatsoever from The Club. Win or lose, he needs to ensure he keeps this one-on-one. John Cena is one of my least favorite people; I get that he does a lot of good in the world and kids love him, but he’s just not my cup of tea, guys. I’m beyond ready to see “the face that runs the place” go part time and let someone else take the reins. I don’t know if Styles is that guy or not, but it’s a good place to start.
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – Women’s Championship Match
Finally, The Boss holds the gold! Sasha Banks has had one hell of a journey from NXT to the main roster to finally becoming WWE Women’s Champion. Even Charlotte had to briefly break character on Raw and smile when she saw her friend holding the title high above her head. Dana Brooke is banned from ringside tonight, so Charlotte won’t have her lackey to go to for help in winning back the title. Unless she has some other tricks in mind or another person waiting in the wings, she is going to have to win or lose this match all on her own. These two women are huge talents and deserve every bit of success. They will ensure that you don’t use this match as the “beer run/bathroom break;” this will be a must see.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton – Singles Match
Lesnar and Orton were the first to overstep their boundaries and show up on the shows that they were not drafted to. Orton snuck onto Raw to deliver an RKO to the beast, and Lesnar invaded Smackdown to seek his revenge. I wish they had saved that for much later, but what’s done is done. This is Viperville versus Suplex City, a match fifteen years in the making. The promos leading up to this match have been fantastic and portray both men as unstoppable forces. I’m always excited to see Lesnar fight, and very happy that Orton is finally back from injury. I would like to see Lesnar turn an RKO attempt into an F5, and for Orton to get creative with his RKOs outta nowhere. This should be a brutal match; I hope both men bring it.
F2H Prediction – Brock Lesnar
Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns – United States Championship Match
Roman Reigns failed a drug test, got himself suspended for 30 days, became the butt of Seth Rollins’ jokes during his suspension, and got himself removed from the WWE Heavyweight title picture. His push isn’t completely in the can though, since he has a chance to win the United States title off of Rusev. Our current champion recently married the lovely Lana in a ceremony that was filmed for Total Divas. They will have a separate ceremony overseas next month. Rusev has been an unstoppable champion, but unfortunately, most of his feuds devolve into USA vs Russia when they have the potential to be so much more. I’m not big on Reigns as he is right now; I miss the strong and silent, less showy wrestler he was with The Shield. Whatever happens during this match, I hope Lana avoids being caught in the crossfire.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – WWE World Championship Match
I can’t believe that Dolph Ziggler is actually in this match! He once held the World Heavyweight title after one of the greatest Money In The Bank cash-ins in history, but fell down quite a few notches thanks to his criticism of the company and disapproval from the powers that be. Ziggler delivered an amazing promo on the go home episode of Raw; it was the best he has sounded in quite some time. Dean Ambrose is a very unconventional champion, but you can’t help but like the guy. He’s unpredictable, but has been getting more in touch with his serious side ever since winning the gold. I’m a big fan of both of these men, so this is a win-win situation for me; regardless of the outcome, I’m happy with the champion.
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
I am fangirling all over the place over this match! A lot of people are upset that the Demon King reveal was “wasted” on Raw, but we’ve already seen how unfamiliar the main roster audience is with most of the NXT roster and gimmicks, so this was a way of introducing everyone to him and getting them hyped for what is to come at Summerslam. Yes, it would have been better to save the reveal, but I see the logic behind the decision. Seth Rollins is a fantastic champ, but so is Finn Balor. This is another win-win for me because I love both guys and would enjoy seeing either as champion. It’s so exciting to see Balor on the main roster, plus in the title picture so soon, plus facing Rollins! This match alone is worth you signing up for the Network immediately. I’m so happy for Balor for his call up to the main roster and am thrilled to see him battle such a great competitor in Rollins.
F2H Prediction – Finn Balor
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Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
It’s time for Monday Night Raw! This is the go home show before the Summerslam PPV; WWE’s second largest event of the year. We start off with a look back earlier today, where Seth Rollins lets us know why he is the man and why he will be the first WWE Universal Champion. He addresses Finn Balor, calling out the Demon King, then feigning surprise when no one shows up. If the Demon King is too scared to find The Man, then The Man will find the Demon King.
Back in the arena, Rusev and Lana are in the ring and both look enraged. Rusev accuses Roman Reigns of ruining a historic event, so he is cancelling Raw tonight. All is on hold until Reigns apologizes. These stand-offs always go so well, don’t they? The crowd starts a USA chant, because they aren’t creative. Thankfully, Mick Foley breaks things up, wearing an amazing “Have A Nice Raw” shirt. Rusev demands respect as Foley pleads with him to leave the ring. After an awkward few seconds, Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring, at Rusev’s request. McMahon calls Rusev’s behavior unacceptable, especially the disrespect of Foley. Rusev threatens to call up Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, which is when Reigns decides to make an appearance and offer an apology.
Reigns makes a terrible joke about mail order brides, then says that their future babies will be ugly. He has a hell of a black eye, which I can’t say doesn’t make me a tiny bit happy. The crowd again starts chanting USA, and Reigns launches into his best impression of Ghetto Cena, and challenges Rusev to a title match right now. Foley decides that they will have a match tonight, but the title will not be on the line. Instead, this match will be all about Lana’a honor.
We return from commercial to find Sheamus in the ring with Byron Saxton. Sheamus says he is more dominant than Cesaro and shouldn’t have lost the match last week. He proved that he is the better athlete when he interfered in Cesaro’s title match later in the night. Sheamus promises to kick Zayn’s head off, and the two literally trip over the referee trying to beat each other up before the bell even rings. As the match begins, Cesaro joins the commentary table, which is always awkward; Cesaro needs to work on his public speaking and interview skills. Zayn throws Sheamus from the ring and tries to go to the top rope, but Sheamus ducks out of the way and then knocks him into the ringpost and to the ground. During the commercial, the two get back into the ring where Sheamus tries for the first pinfall. Zayn is able to send Sheamus over the top rope, then dives over the rope to knock him down. He gets Sheamus back in the ring and goes to the top rope again, but Sheamus hits White Noise (and Michael Cole calls it the wrong move) and tries for another pinfall. As Sheamus sets up the Brogue Kick, Cesaro leaves commentary and heads to the ring. His distractions allows Zayn to hit a Helluva Kick and win the match.
Backstage, Tom Phillips is interviewing Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, who have recently formed an alliance. Owens will face Big Cass tonight, but it won’t be a one on one match because Jericho has Owens’ back. They mock Enzo and Cass, saying they are closer than their Summerslam opponents will ever be, and that Cass can’t spell to save his life. Cass better watch IT. And by IT, they mean watch Owens beat Cass tonight and watch them humiliate the team at Summerslam.
It’s time for some positivity, as New Day (minus Big E) come to the ring. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, our resident MDs, deliver a message regarding Big E’s ringpostitis. The ball jokes are amazing. And the microwave has a NADS button! Kingston and Woods face The Dudley Boyz, and D-Von is in complete control of Woods as Bubba yells from ringside. Using quick tags, they keep Woods down, but a misstep sends the Dudleys into each other. Kingston tags in and hits Trouble in Paradise for a quick win. Confusing squash match. Anderson and Gallows appear on the screen again, for more testicle jokes at poor Big E’s expense. They produce more jars as a warning that Woods and Kingston are next on their hit list. Kingston gets serious and says that this isn’t a game to them; this is serious business. Patchy-haired human plalluses have no chance of beating them at Summerslam.
Seth Rollins is walking around backstage, searching for the Demon King. He finds Neville, who tells Rollins that he isn’t ready for the Summerslam match against Balor. Back in the ring, Nia Jax is facing Rachel Levy, who has been watching the Olympics nonstop, so she can do anything she sets her mind to. Okay, Rachel. Jax throws Levy across the ring, then sets her on the top rope before shoving her hard off the rope and to the floor. The ref begins the count as Jax retrieves her opponent. She slams her to the mat and gets the pin for the win. I love Nia Jax, but we have got to give her longer matches.
Paul Heyman goes into Brock Lesnar’s dressing room to speak with The Beast before they go to the ring. The crowd is cheering like crazy and chanting Suplex City. Heath Slater interrupts at Heyman begins his speech, and says that he is the hottest free agent in sports entertainment. He proposes becoming a Heyman guy, and Heyman just laughs. Slater clarifies, saying that what he wants is a match with Lesnar to earn a contract. What? The crowd is into it, but Heyman goes back to his speech. Slater screams an interruption, saying do NOT disrespect him! I love Heath Slater. He doesn’t want to face Lesnar, he HAS to. Heyman is trying to save him from a beat down, but Slater’s ass can’t be saved! Lesnar gets on the mic and tells Slater he has guts. He invites Slater in the ring to talk about his kids. Lesnar gets right in his face and says “I don’t give a shit about your kids. You’ve got two choices right here. One, you walk out of here on your own two feet. Two, you can stand there and keep pissing me off.” Lesnar is a scary dude. Slater fakes him out and tries to attack him, but Lesnar hits a clothesline and then takes him to Suplex City! He hits an F5 and kicks Slater out of his ring. Heyman puts on Slater’s sunglasses and gives Slater credit for stepping up to Lesnar, something Randy Orton doesn’t have the guts to do. The beast is in heat, which is an uncomfortable thought.
Up next, Big Cass will face Kevin Owens. I dare you not to smile when Enzo is in the ring. He addresses the Summerslam match, or Summerslam BBQ as he calls it. If Jericho and Owens want beef, they’re bringing it straight to their grill. Cass hits a shoulder tackle and pins Owens in the corner, but he rolls to safety before Cass can get a kick in. He hits Cass on the rope and throws his opponent from the ring where Jericho delivers a cheap shot while the ref is distracted. Owens has controlled the match during the commercial break, and continues as we return until Cass hits a side slam. Owens finally gets a kick to his face from Cass, who then hits a splash in the corner and tries to throw Owens from the ring. Owens grabs the rope to send Cass flying. He tries for a powerbomb, but Cass counters. Jericho and Enzo are fighting outside of the ring, then Jericho begins fighting Cass and the match is called for disqualification. Owens and Jericho don’t mind the loss; they continue to attack Cass. Jericho hits a Code Breaker to take Cass down for good.
Roman Reigns is backstage, promising a bunch of nonsense, when Rusev comes out of nowhere to attack him. He throws him around like a rag doll as Lana watches on from a safe distance. Eventually, the referees and security are able to break things up as we go to commercial. I love seeing Reigns get his ass kicked.
Titus O’Neil’s music hits, but Bob Backlund comes out. He is followed by Darren Young and O’Neil, who all attempt to do the Millions of Dollars dance. On the Raw preshow, Young and O’Neil buried their beef and reunited as a tag team with Backlund’s blessing for one night only. They are facing the Shining Stars. Watching the two together makes me miss them as a tag team; they are great as a duo. Primo manages to get O’Neil pinned in the corner, and Epico tries (and fails) to get the crowd behind them. O’Neil gets back to his feet and easily tosses his opponent aside. Young inadvertently knocks O’Neil off the ring, so he retaliates by hitting Clash Of The Titus and abandoning the match, allowing the Shining Stars to get the win. What?
Now it’s time for the return of Jinder Mahal! Is it weird that I am excited for this? He’s facing off against Neville, who trips in the ring as he tries to go to the top rope to pose. Neville gets an early pin, but Mahal kicks out. He’s controlling this match, hitting the Red Arrow from the top rope to take down Mahal outside of the ring. Mahal begs Neville to stop, using it to bait Neville in and try for a pin. Neville goes to the top rope again and hits the Red Arrow, beating Mahal in his return match. I see we’re still not done shitting on 3MB. Shame.
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins is still searching for the Demon King. Foley and McMahon haven’t seen him either, and Rollins says he’s looked everywhere and has to change his focus to his title match. He asks for the night off, and McMahon doesn’t have anything for him. Foley says that before he takes the night off, go out to the ring and try to get him to come out… unless he’s scared.
Foley calls for his music and Rollins heads to the ring. Rollins is insulted; Balor talked about the Demon King last week, and for what? Rollins says there is nothing and no one that can stop him from winning on Sunday. He calls out the Demon King and is greeted with silence. Finn Balor is only trying to intimidate Rollins because he is scared. Our former champ says that no one can touch him; even he would be afraid of himself if he was someone else. The Demon King is just another chapter in the book of Rollins. He suddenly stops talking, focused on something in the ring that we don’t get to see. The lights start going wonky and the sound is messing up, but Rollins continues to yell.
Finally, out of the smoke, comes Finn Balor! I have chills all over! I will say, they definitely should have saved this moment for Summerslam, but damn if this isn’t amazing to watch. I don’t understand the logic of this decision, but I’m enjoying the moment. As is the crowd! The two men stare each other down as the crowd chants HOLY SHIT and THIS IS AWESOME! The two begin fighting, and Balor takes Rollins down quick. This is the first part of Raw that has gotten me hyped for Summerslam, so maybe there was a logic behind this bizarre decision. We’ll see.
We return to the ring to the Golden Truth, who are facing Anderson and Gallows. Anderson and Truth start off this tag match, with Anderson quickly gaining control and tagging in Gallows. Truth hits an amazing kick to break The Club’s momentum and tag in Goldust. Unfortunately, The Club hits the Magic Killer on Goldust and wins the match. Another quick squash for our go home Raw. Out of nowhere, Kingston and Woods come out to attack The Club. New Day has their game faces on. They take out The Club and make their intentions for Sunday clear.
Dana Brooke is backstage, apologizing for losing last week to Charlotte. Charlotte isn’t having it though; she wanted the handicap match on Sunday to happen. She calls Brooke an epic failure and walks away to prepare for her match against Alicia Fox. Sasha Banks is on commentary and isn’t buying into any of Charlotte’s big talk. Fox goes for an early pin, but Charlotte kicks free. Charlotte pins Fox on the ropes as the crowd chants for Banks. Fox is hit with Natural Selection and pinned for the loss as Charlotte turns her attention to Banks. Banks walks to the ring and Brooke runs out to distract Banks so that Charlotte can lock in the Figure Eight. The refs are unable to break the hold, thanks to Dana Brooke, and Banks looks hurt. Charlotte is playing the villain to perfection.
Moving on, Braun Strowman has a video package showing the way he has evolved since being separated from The Wyatt Family. Back in the ring, Lana addresses the altercation between Rusev and Reigns before welcoming her husband to the ring. Reigns comes out and the two go at it immediately. This match should not be happening. We’re getting a match at Summerslam; I don’t want to see this beforehand. The bell has not rung as Reigns dominates Rusev while the ref pleads for him to stop. During the commercial, Rusev injured Reigns’ arm, and as we return, Rusev is still working it. Maybe he’ll be “injured” and unable to compete Sunday? Reigns is getting back in the match, screaming and making faces, but Rusev throws him into the ringpost and out of the ring. Our US Champ throws Reigns into the steps once again, then targets it as the crowd chants RUSEV MATCHKA!
As we return from hopefully our last commercial break, Rusev has a mic and demands that the crowd cheer for him. Reigns is looking rough, and Rusev doesn’t let up, hitting him with knees and still targeting the arm. The two men go to the top rope, but Reigns blocks Rusev’s attempts and hits a clothesline. Reigns starts doing his best John Cena impression, cocks his fist and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev counters. Rusev hits flying headbutt after headbutt on Cena/Reigns, but he kicks out at two. Reigns manages to hit a clothesline and send Rusev out of the ring. He tries for another Superman Punch, but Rusev kicks him in the ribs. Please end this match. Cena/Reigns finally hits the AA/Superman Punch and pins Rusev for a nearfall. Rusev goes for the Accolade but can’t get the right arm locked in. He finally lands a kick that allows him to get the Accolade locked in. Reigns manages to grab the rope to force a break. Reigns hits a spear and wins the match. That was exhausting.
Overall, this wasn’t a great Raw, especially for our go home episode for Summerslam. The main event was godawful and most of the matches were mediocre at best. There was only one moment tonight that got me hyped for Sunday, and that was a moment that ended up angering a lot of other fans. Please leave your thoughts below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at facetoheel. We will have predictions coming for NXT Takeover and for Summerslam; you don’t want to miss out.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Tonight, Sean Combs will be on Raw, for reasons I don’t quite understand or care about. Raw kicks off with Smacktalker Skywalker himself; Enzo Amore and his partner, Big Cass. He hasn’t even spoken yet and I’m already grinning from ear to ear. Enzo addresses the crowd regarding last week’s match and flirtation with Sasha Banks, that Chris Jericho ruined. Jericho comes out in his best scarf to talk to “Enzo Annoying,” saying that he is nothing without Big Cass at his side. Now, Jericho has backup of his own in the form of Kevin Owens. I’m not crazy about this pairing; I’m not big on Jericho (sorry, hardcore wrestling fans) and I prefer Owens as a solo wrestler. Owens says that Cass is one of the few people he liked in NXT; they had a waste of space as a best friend as something in common. But unlike him, Cass still carries his dead weight around with him. Owens asks a “reforical” question, and threatens to hurt Enzo and Cass. The segment ends abruptly with Enzo getting the last word, and a match is set for after the commercial break.
Enzo and Jericho are in the ring for a singles match, with Cass and Owens ringside to support their respective teammates. Owens is screaming insults at Enzo as Jericho pins him in the corner and hits chops to the chest. Enzo hits a Hurricanrana, but Jericho responds with a clothesline that breaks his momentum. As the official is distracted, Owens hits Enzo with a cheap shot. The two men move outside of the ring, where Owens and Cass come to their defense as we move to our second break. When we return, Michael Cole says that it has been Jericho’s match during the break. Enzo quickly turns it around and hits a Crossbody into a shoulder tackle, then running forearm into a cover. Jericho locks in the Walls, but Enzo makes it to the rope. Jericho hits a Codebreaker after a distraction by Owens, prompting Cass to hit Jericho with a kick to the face. The ref calls the match thanks to the disqualification and Jericho is declared the winner. Enzo is down and out on the mat as Owens celebrates with his new BFF. Cass gets on the mic and challenges the duo to a match at Summerslam to settle the score, and Owens accepts. How you doin?
Mick Foley is on the phone backstage with Stephanie McMahon, discussing the issue with Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, when Sasha Banks steps in. She proposes that the Women’s Title match be a handicap match so that she can keep an eye on Dana Brooke as she fights Charlotte. Foley counters, saying that Banks will face Brooke tonight. If she wins, Brooke will be banned from ringside at Summerslam. If she loses, she will get her handicap match.
Braun Strowman comes out to the ring now, and I am cracking up again at the loud BRAAAAAUN scream at the beginning of his new entrance theme. It’s amazing and I love it. Jorel Nelson is his opponent tonight, and in his pre-match interview, he was unable to say a single word. He comes out after Strowman, looking absolutely terrified. Nelson immediately exits the ring once the bell rings, and Strowman knocks him off the apron before throwing him back into the ring and hitting a killer clothesline. Nelson is hit with a reverse chokeslam before being pinned for the loss. Strowman then grabs him by the ankle and throws him from the ring before screaming “Everyone Will Fall!”
Sean Combs greets Foley backstage, and I tune out for a moment. Kofi Kingson and Xavier Woods save this segment with some delicious Booty-Os and congratulations to Combs for his work on the WWE 2k17 soundtrack. Our next match is Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, former tag team partners and now seemingly new enemies thanks to O’Neil’s questionable victory last week. Young takes a knee to the face early on, then the match moves outside of the ring as O’Neil shoves Young into the apron and hits a hard chop to the chest. Young tries a move off the second rope, but O’Neil catches him. Young is able to roll up O’Neil and pin him with a hand on the tights, exactly how O’Neil won his match last week. Bob Backlund picks him up in victory; he was conveniently not watching as Young cheated his way into a win. Quick, throwaway match.
Our former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins comes to the ring. Rollins addresses his Summerslam opponent, Finn Balor, calling him a Seth Rollins knockoff. The Jared Leto to his Heath Ledger. Rollins says that Balor’s name, which translates to “Demon King,” is absurd. Rollins wants to know who Balor truly is. He calls him disrespectful and arrogant, and thinks it’s a joke to even entertain the idea that he’ll beat him at Summerslam for the Universal Title. Rollins says he belongs at the top of the WWE, and he doesn’t need the smoke and mirrors to make himself into something he isn’t. This is a fantastic promo by Rollins; he’s tearing down Roman Reigns, John Cena, and everyone else who isn’t in his league.
The next match is a rematch from last week; Sheamus versus Cesaro. The two are clearly angry and lock up as soon as the bell rings, with Sheamus getting Cesaro down almost immediately. Cesaro knocks Sheamus from the ring, then executes an impressive dive to take him down. Cesaro starts in with the uppercuts as the ref pleads with him to get Sheamus out of the corner. Sheamus is finally able to take control of the match, but we move to commercial. When we return, Sheamus dives from the ropes to pin Cesaro. He locks Cesaro in a headlock on the mat, and the two rise to begin trading punches. It’s a pretty slow match, to be honest. There are a lot of false finishes and a lot of counters to finishing moves, but it’s failing to keep my attention. The two leave the ring, and Cesaro rams Sheamus into the barricade before returning to the ring for an uppercut party. The ref is caught up in the crossfire and Sheamus is able to pin Cesaro for the win, but the ref doesn’t see it. This allows Cesaro to capitalize and pin him for the win. He celebrates with the crowd as Sheamus looks understandably upset.
We move on to a video package with Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, going back 15 years to get a recap of their journey through WWE. It’s crazy to see them so young and to see everything they have accomplished over the years. Orton says that he isn’t impressed with Lesnar because he left the WWE. Lesnar basically says he doesn’t give a shit what Orton thinks or says. Lesnar giggles when they replay him F5ing Orton on Smackdown. It’s a bad ass promo, and I want to see the unedited version, because Lesnar cusses a lot.
Bubba Ray and D-Von are up now for a tag match against Neville and surprise partner, Sin Cara. Oh, joy. Sin Cara is dressed all in black and looks like he came to rob a bank but forgot his shirt. He starts off the match against Bubba. The crowd is chanting for tables as Sin Cara hits a moonsault to take Bubba down. Bubba knocks him from the ropes into the barricade, then throws him back into the ring and tags in D-Von. D-Von mocks the Lucha chant before throwing Sin Cara into the turnbuckle, not allowing him to regain his footing or tag in Neville. He’s finally able to make it to his partner, who gets a pin on D-Von, but can’t hold him down. He flies out of the ring to take down Bubba before returning to the ring to hit a Missile Drop Kick on D-Von. Neville goes to the top rope and hits the Red Arrow for the win. A shaky match, but Neville looked great.
Our newlywed United States champion and his lovely wife, Lana, come out to a decorated ring to celebrate their marriage, which was filmed for Total Divas. The crowd is hating on the couple, and I’m wondering how Lana can walk in those shoes without tripping. I can’t manage it in my Chuck Taylors, nevermind 6″ heels. Lana says that since we weren’t invited to their VIP wedding, they will reenact it for us now. We get photos of their special day along with cheesy music, and the crowd responds with BORING chants. I love me some Lana, but I have to wonder what this is leading to. I have zero interest in hearing their vows and want this to move on.
Be careful what you wish for… Roman Reigns interrupts and the crowd cheers. Kudos to WWE for finding a way to get people to cheer for this guy again. He offers to be Rusev’s best man and says he will toast to their marriage. When Rusev refuses, he challenges him to a match, which Rusev also refuses. Patiently waiting for a cake to fly into somebody. Reigns decides to do the toast anyway. Reigns tries hard to be clever, but reminds us all that the promo talent that The Rock is blessed with is certainly not genetic. Reigns and Rusev start fighting, and poor Lana gets shoved into the cake. She’s covered in frosting, and Reigns slinks away with a stupid look on his face. Poor Lana. Backstage, Rusev is screaming at Foley, saying that Reigns needs to pay for ruining their celebration. Foley makes a match at Summerslam for the US Title; Rusev versus Reigns. They start yelling in Russian, and we cut away. Poor Lana…
Sasha Banks us set to face Dana Brooke to decide if the Summerslam match will be one-on-one or a handicap match. A belated congratulations goes out to our Women’s Champion, who recently got married to Sareth Ton, a WWE costume designer and former WWE wrestler known as Mikaze. Charlotte is screaming at Brooke, shouting instructions on how to take Banks down. Brooke goes for multiple pins, but The Boss kicks free. Charlotte tries for a cheap shot to Banks, but hits Brooke instead. Banks hits Brooke with knees to the chest and wins the match, banning Brooke from the Summerslam match.
Finn Balor takes his turn to address the situation with Seth Rollins and to properly explain the origin of his name. Balor’s origins aren’t a myth, they are pieces of himself that he is able to tap into and use to his advantage. He will introduce the Demon King to Rollins at Summerslam. It’s a pretty decent package, and I’m excited to see their match.
Moving on, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are dressed as doctors to address ringpostitis. They also have eggs in a jar to represent Big E’s balls. It makes them “a bit testy.” Tonight, they promise to add Kofi’s nuts to their collection. Testicles. Luke Gallows will face Kingston now. The match kicks off with Gallows in total control, and he never loses it. This is a fast match, with Gallows getting a quick pin on his opponent. He and Anderson drag Kofi to the ring post and get ready to take his fun bits for a ride, but Woods grabs a steel chair and sends them running up the ramp.
Outside, R-Truth is in Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine. R-Truth accuses Goldust of replacing him with Scooby, and he almost fights the dude in the suit, but all is well and they run off to watch the movie. Back in reality, Mick Foley comes to the ring to welcome Smackdown GM, Daniel Bryan. The two trade compliments before Foley apologizes for Lesnar’s actions on Smackdown. Bryan offers his own apology for Orton’s actions, but Foley isn’t buying it and pulls up video of Bryan insulting the Universal Title. Surprisingly, Rusev interrupts and threatens Bryan, saying anyone who tries what Orton did will be crushed. Now Cesaro is out in the ring, saying that he proved he deserves a title shot and wants Foley to deliver. Foley says that Cesaro can have his shot tonight, even though it’s 10:55pm.
It’s 11pm as we return to our title match. Cesaro starts the uppercut party and goes for the swing, but Rusev goes for the rope. He flies out of the ring to attack Rusev before rolling him back into the ring. He goes to the top rope and hits Rusev with a crossbody for an unsuccessful pin. Rusev regains control and throws Cesaro into the ringpost. He is targeting Cesaro’s shoulders, then moves to his midsection. Cesaro tries for the swing again, but Rusev blocks it. He almost scores a win, but Rusev isn’t allowing it. The uppercuts continue at the expense of Rusev, who is then hit with a Tornado DDT. Rusev is angry now and goes for the Accolade, but Cesaro fights free, lifting Rusev on his shoulders before dropping him to the mat. Cesaro lands a solid uppercut and calls for the swing. He gets Rusev up, then locks the Sharpshooter in. Sheamus unfortunately breaks it up, allowing Rusev to get up and take Cesaro down. The referee gets knocked out, not seeing Cesaro getting a successful pin. Rusev pokes Cesaro in the eye, then Sheamus kicks him in the face, allowing Rusev to retain his title. As he celebrates, Reigns comes out and spears him. We end the night with Reigns’ music as he flashes the peace sign and walks into the back.
Summerslam is in two weeks, and we will bring you a run down of the matches and our predictions closer to the event. Tonight was a decent build to our second biggest WWE event of the year, and it was successful in getting me excited for a good number of the matches. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel, and we will see you all tomorrow night for Smackdown.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
It’s nice to be excited about Raw again. The debuts and brand split have given us one solid week, and I’m hoping this week is equally as successful. With the exception of the ridiculous name, it’s fantastic to know that a new title is being introduced. The introduction of the “Last Week On Raw” graphic before the recap is a nice touch. Raw kicks off with Sasha Banks, and damn does that belt look great around her waist. The crowd starts a “You Deserve It” chant, as Banks discusses her epic match with Bayley back at NXT Takeover. Charlotte interrupts, walking to the ring alone. She promises to beat Banks at their title match at Summerslam, and brings up her long title reign. Charlotte calls Banks a “one night stand.” Banks retorts by saying that if it wasn’t for a one night stand, Charlotte wouldn’t be standing there.
The gift of Jericho interrupts, because he wants to fight Sasha Banks for the title? He calls Banks an ungrateful, disrespectful little punk. Charlotte is royalty and doesn’t deserve the verbal abuse. Jericho says that Charlotte has outdone her father already with her accomplishments. He then calls Banks the boss of purple hair and stupid idiots, and ends by calling her a brat.
Unexpectedly, Enzo and Cass’s music hits! Enzo comes out solo, takes Sasha’s hand, and very smoothly asks “how you doin” before kissing her hand. Charlotte interrupts by saying “when it comes to Enzo’s love life, there’s only one word to describe him.” Good one. Enzo says that listening to Jericho speak makes time pass like a kidney stone, and watching him try to process words is like having a conversation on an iPhone, watching those little 3 dots, but the person never hits send. He calls Jericho Bon Jovi, mocks the Direct TV commercials, and destroys his stupid scarf. Mick Foley decides now is the time to break this up, setting a match for after the break; a mixed tag match with Charlotte and Jericho versus Sasha Banks and Enzo Amore. My husband called this the minute Jericho set foot in the ring.
After the break, Kevin Owens has joined the announce team and has stolen Corey Graves’ tie. Owens says that after hearing Enzo and Sasha flirt for 15 minutes, the fans might need something enjoyable, so he is here to provide it. In the ring, Jericho embraces Charlotte as an odd way of tagging her in after going against Enzo. Banks tries to pin Charlotte with a backslide, but Charlotte kicks out and delivers chops while yelling “I’m the boss!” Enzo and Jericho get back in the ring, and Sasha and Enzo team up to knock both competitors out of the ring. After the break, Jericho is in control of the match as Owens calls Byron Saxton “unbearable.” Jericho tries for a Running Bulldog, but Enzo counters and is able to take Jericho to the mat for a pin. Jericho tries for the Walls, and is able to lock it in, but Enzo manages to grab the bottom rope. Enzo goes to the top rope, but Jericho counters his move with a Dropkick that may have ended up injuring his own knee. The women are in the ring now, and The Boss is in control. Banks hits a Backstabber, but Dana Brooke runs out and distracts her. Charlotte is able to hit Natural Selection and get the pin for the victory. As Enzo checks on Sasha, Jericho hits a Neckbreaker. Thankfully, Big Cass picks this moment to come out and Jericho runs away with his tail between his legs.
Braun Strowman is out now, and I’ve gotta say, his entrance theme makes me laugh hysterically and I love it. He is in another squash match with a local named Evan, who says he gets $1,000 for fighting and $5,000 if he wins. The bell rings and Evan tries to run before Strowman throws him clear across the ring. He knocks him down with his shoulder, then throws him into the turnbuckle. He hits a reverse chokeslam and pins poor Evan for the win.
Backstage, Mark Henry is speaking to Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley about his involvement in the Olympics and to discuss reopening the Hall of Pain. Henry wants one more run before he steps away from the ring and goes into another role. Foley puts Henry in a match tonight with our United States champion, the newlywed Rusev. We then move to R-Truth and Goldust, who are still catching Pokemon; they run off before we cut to another break.
Time for your bathroom break match of the night; Golden Truth are facing the failed Shining Stars. Primo has Goldust pinned on the rope as R-Truth chases Pokemon (or Poke-MAN if you’re talking to Michael Cole). Goldust is able to hit a Powerslam and is trying to make it to Truth for the tag, but his partner is still looking for virtual creatures to catch. The Shining Stars are able to pick up the win, and the entire arena comes together in a show of not caring whatsoever.
Michael Cole invites Finn Balor to the ring now for an exclusive interview. Cole states that his draft pick was a shock, and his win last week proved that the pick wasn’t a fluke. Balor says that he knows he needs to make an impact on Raw, but Seth Rollins decides he’s had enough and steps out. Rollins kicks Cole out of the ring (thank you, Rollins), and tells us that Balor is a former NXT champ, but surely wasn’t the first; that honor goes to Rollins. Everything Balor has done, Rollins has not only done first, he’s done it better. The crowd starts doing the Tomahawk chant, likely confusing any wrestling fans that haven’t ever been to a Braves game. The two trade insults, and it’s 100% effective at getting me excited to see them at Summerslam. The two briefly trade punches before Balor drives Rollins from the ring with a well placed kick.
The lovely Lana is in the ring, looking like she just came from her wedding with Rusev. She introduces her husband, and I’m wondering now if it was a legit wedding because Cole says that it was filmed for Total Divas and a second wedding will be held in September. Mark Henry comes out wearing his patriotic gear, and I feel sad because I like Henry but am pretty confident he won’t be winning this title match. Henry comes out strong, effortlessly lifting Rusev before powering him to the mat. Rusev tries to gain momentum, but Henry hits a shoulder tackle before jumping THROUGH the bottom and middle ropes to squash Rusev. Mary Henry jumped through the ropes, you guys. I love it! Rusev tries for the Accolade, but Henry fights out and hits some strong clotheslines before trying for a kick, but Rusev counters with kicks of his own. Rusev goes for a second Accolade and Henry reluctantly taps out. Rusev then tells the crowd that no American deserves to win a medal in the Summer Olympics and that no American will take his title.
Roman Reigns decides to come out and try to intimidate Rusev, wearing a shiny new vest with bright red trim. He looks absolutely ridiculous. Easy way to get the crowd to cheer for him though; put him against the guy that just insulted America while in Georgia with countless rednecks in the audience. I get to say this; I lived there for a good nine years. Rusev starts hitting Reigns with punch after punch, but Reigns knocks him down and lands a Superman Punch outside of the ring. Please don’t let Reigns win the US Title, you guys. I’m not emotionally strong enough for that.
Nia Jax has a solid video package after Cole does an uncomfortable job talking her up, and then we move on to Darren Young who will face former tag team partner, Titus O’Neil. O’Neil gets Young down early, then tries to be friendly and help his former partner up, but Young slaps his hand away. O’Neil has the size and strength advantage, and hits a backbreaker before sending Young across the ring. He goes for a lazy pin that Young rolls out of. O’Neil locks in an arm bar, then lands a deafening hit that grounds Young. He lifts Young up and violently drops him to the mat, going for another pin. Young manages to briefly lift O’Neil onto his shoulders, but he can’t keep him there. He rolls up Young and is able to pin him for the win. Bob Backlund is furious, likely because O’Neil had a good grip on Young’s trunks to secure that pin.
Sheamus and Cesaro are backstage, arguing with each other and Steph and Mick about their positions in the draft and the fact that Henry got a title shot that they deserved more. Foley says that whoever can impress them the most this evening will be the one to get a title shot. In another area, the unstable basketcase that is Backlund is screaming at O’Neil, which gives Young a chance to knock him down. This fell flat, no pun intended.
Back in the ring, Nia Jax is facing another local talent, Ariel Monroe, who looks unimpressed with Jax. She’s able to get in a solid kick before Jax clotheslines her and takes her down. Jax is dominating the poor girl, whose punches have zero effect. Jax is getting some decent reactions from the crowd thanks to her strength and pins Monroe with her boot; not even bothering to go down to the mat. A very short squash match; we need to get Jax in longer matches if we’re going to build her up properly. After the match, Saxton asks Jax how it feels to compete on Raw. Jax responds by attacking Monroe one last time and instructing Saxton to ask Monroe how it feels.
Sami Zayn is speaking to Tom Phillips about his upcoming match with Rollins, whose weakness is his big mouth according to Zayn. Speaking of big mouths, he takes this time to call out Owens again, calling that chapter of his life closed, and promising to shut Rollins down later tonight. But now, it’s time for New Day to bring us into our final hour. They are facing Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, but thanks to a complaint by The Club, Xavier Woods will be banned from ringside. Big E and Anderson start things off; Anderson starts strong but E breaks his momentum with a Belly to Belly. While Gallows and Anderson are busy showing off, Big E gets the win. They have no time to celebrate; The Club immediately attacks New Day, with Big E taking the brunt of the punishment. Woods comes out to help his teammates, but he’s defenseless against The Club. They may have blown their shot at the titles, but they definitely made a statement.
Cesaro and Sheamus are up now, trying to impress the Raw General Manager, Mick Foley. The two trade blows and uppercuts; Cesaro eventually takes control, prompting Sheamus to roll outside of the ring for a breather. Cesaro goes after him, where Sheamus targets the taped shoulder before hitting the Beats of the Bodhrán. He pins Cesaro after a shoulder tackle, but Cesaro kicks out. The most impressive thing about this match thus far is how bushy Sheamus’ beard is right now. He yells “RESPECT THE HAWK” before spitting gross yellow garbage into said bushy beard. Cesaro picks up the win, but I don’t think either man was impressive enough tonight to earn anything. It wasn’t a bad match, just painfully average. Apparently, during the commercial break, the two men started brawling and security had to come break it up.
But the real action is back in the ring! Not only is Heath Slater out there, but Jinder Mahal is there too! 2MB baybay! Foley comes out to address the situation, since neither man is a part of the Raw roster. Foley decides to hold a battle between both men to decide who should be part of Raw. Slater refuses to let the band get broken up, but Mahal is all about it and the bell rings. Mahal kicks Slater in the face and pins him to win the match and a Raw contract! Dude. This is hilarious. Welcome back, Jinder!
Chris Jericho and Tom Phillips are speaking backstage about the match with Enzo earlier and the fact that Enzo has Big Cass to help him while Jericho has no one. According to Jericho, he has someone to watch his back as well. When Phillips asks who it is, he spouts off with some nonsense. In steps Kevin Owens to save this bit. Surprisingly, he tells Jericho that he will have his back. Also, Tom’s new name is Tim.
I’m ready for the main event; Seth Rollins versus Sami Zayn. I’m curious to see if Balor makes an appearance, given the confrontation earlier. Rollins quickly rolls out of the ring and to safety once Zayn starts gaining momentum, but Zayn follows him out and takes him down with a moonsault from the barrier. Some overzealous fan yells “JESUS, that had to hurt!” as Zayn is thrown into the barricade. Zayn tries to go to the top rope, but Rollins knocks him down and out of the ring. We return from commercial to hear that Rollins has been in control during the entire break. Rollins is unable to hit the Pedigree, so he throws Zayn into the turnbuckle instead. Zayn retaliates with a clotheslins, and is able to hit a DDT but Rollins again rolls out of the ring. This is a great match, but I’m slightly distracted because I’m trying to figure out what Brock Lesnar will be doing when he eventually comes out. After two failed attempts, Rollins hits the Pedigree and pins Zayn for the victory.
Paul Heyman is in the ring as we return from break, introducing The Beast of the Brock-tagon, The Viper Slayer; Brock Lesnar. Heyman promises that Lesnar will entertain us at Summerslam, but his form of entertainment is politically incorrect and violent. Lesnar isn’t here to put his stamp on this new era, nor is he here to court favor with Foley or McMahon or anyone else in the locker room. Heyman is gold on the microphone. As he goes on about how Randy Orton will never hit Lesnar with an RKO, Orton appears from thin air and hits it! Orton walks into the crowd as McMahon and Foley call out every single security guard they have hidden in the back. Orton rips off his shirt as the crowd chants “R-K-O!” and that concludes our Raw for this evening.
The brand split is definitely agreeing with Raw; this was a very enjoyable night. Next week, Sean Combs will be part of Raw, which I couldn’t care less about. American Alpha will be debuting on Smackdown tomorrow night, which I am thrilled to see. Let us know your thoughts on tonight, and follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
For those of you who are fans of listening to podcasts of the pro-wrestling variety, The Ross Report recently put out a great episode featuring Jim Ross talking to Terri Runnels for the better part of an hour. It’s a delightful conversation and a must listen for any Attitude Era or WCW Monday Night Wars enthusiasts. Runnels talks about her time with WWF and WCW, as well as working for CNN. She discusses her tumultuous marriage with Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and his father Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels Jr.) and their falling out in the late 90’s.
Later, she talks about the volatile Brian Pillman and her very close friendship with Big Bossman (Ray Traylor Jr.) as they traveled the road together. Terri and JR discuss the passing of Chyna, aka Joan Laurer, and her changing personality over the years due to drugs. For hardcore nostalgia fans, Terri goes into detail about the creation of the Marlena character and taking the concept to Vince McMahon.
It’s a really easy listen and she tells many great stories. I recommend it to all. Please check it out on iTunes or wherever you download your podcasts.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Lita, Booker T, Renee Young, and Corey Graves kick off the pre-show. They discuss the nights upcoming matches. Then we join Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton as they commentate the pre-show matches. The Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) come down to another ridiculous rap by Truth. Then a very sunburned Tyler Breeze and Fandango come out. Prior to the match there was a big, long segment involving the two peeling each other’s skin off. Starting to think that maybe Ryback was on to something. And I imagine Goldust is wishing he left with his brother. At any rate, the match is pretty one sided as every move by Breeze and Fandango makes them scream in pain, even tagging in and out. The crowd is pretty flat and it’s not a strong one to start the action. After a cringe-worthy few minutes, Goldust and R-Truth finally defeat Breezango. Yep. They actually made Mauro Ranallo say that team name on commentary.
More tag action up next, featuring The Lucha Dragons taking on The Dudley Boyz. This match is awful to watch. Dragons are far too fast for the slow, aging, and out-of-shape Dudley’s. The action is rough going with Dragons having to slow down just to make the Dudley’s look even minutely decent. Mauro and Byron do their best to sell this one, but it’s just not that entertaining. Lucha Dragons pull off a couple of nice moves towards the end to take it home and get the pinfall on Bubba. It feels like with the Fatal-4-Way Tag Team Championship match that we have coming later tonight that both pre-show bouts were mostly a giant waste of time. Even the pre-show panel looks bored. Except Corey Graves whose face is frozen, emotionless which could be because he appears to have gotten botox recently. That’s just my viewing opinion, WWE, so please don’t sue me.
So here we go, time for the pay-per-view. This has been sold for weeks as “the greatest Money in the Bank ever” so it better not fail to live up to the hype. To be fair to WWE, since WrestleMania they have had two really nice pay-per-views and Monday Night Raw as been strong as well. I’m really hopeful for this one as well. As long as Chris Jericho doesn’t leave with the MITB Briefcase, I will be satisfied with any other match outcome.
Pretty cool Vegas promo package to start off the show. Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, as if there was any other way to do it! Enzo is wearing the most insane outfit ever and only he could pull it off. Enzo gets the crowd hyped and then The Vaudevillians enter. The Club enter third, followed by the WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day. The promos New Day and Enzo cut were both better than either pre-show match. Anderson and Kofi start the match. Enzo soon gets in and he and Kofi put on a nice few minutes of action. Big E tags in, clears the ring and the apron and gets Kofi back in. All eight men jump in the ring and all hell breaks loose. Enzo and Cass square off against Big E and Kofi. Crowd starts a “How You Doin?!” chant. Cass and Gallows sort of botched the ending but Big E and Kofi retain. Fun match that really got the crowd into it and breathed a lot of life into the pay-per-view. Now it’s up to the rest of the roster to build on the momentum. New Day retains and will probably hold the belts until SummerSlam or the Raw after. The timing was off a little bit during this one, with the ref counting to three at one point which should have made Enzo and Cass the winners, but Gallows was slow to pull Enzo off the pinfall. The ref ignored it, but the crowd can be heard distinctly counting to three along with three hand slaps by the ref. Oh well.
Backstage segment with Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio. Y2J is actually funny here and gets the whole crowd cracking up. I cannot wait for that match. Baron Corbin comes down to face Dolph Ziggler. This match is exciting, but I can’t tell if it’s because it is actually good or if Ziggler is just selling Corbin like mad crazy. Match ends abruptly when Baron Corbin hits his End of Days finisher. Shitty finish for what felt like a decent match. Seems like both men are stuck in limbo at the moment. And I’m assuming that limbo is somewhere inside that weird, vertical belly button of Baron Corbin.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke come down. No title on the line tonight. Just women’s tag action. The champ and her stooge are set to take on Natalya and Becky Lynch. Because if there’s one thing a pay-per-view needs, it’s women’s tag team matches. I went to the bathroom before this match started then played with my dog. Charlotte and Dana Brooke won. But I could care less about this type of match so if you really care to judge it, go put it on. After the match Natalya assaults Becky Lynch adding a least a small redemption to an otherwise flat segment.
Sheamus comes down after a drawn out Dean Ambrose segment backstage. Apollo Crews comes down to a decent crowd pop. No loved lost between these two, going right after one another as soon as the bell rings. Both men go into beast mode and this turns into a brutal hoss match. Evenly matched throughout, this match doesn’t do anything crazy, but each man is on point. There are no missed spots. Sheamus hits a nice White Noise off the second rope, but Crews kicks out and then rolls up Sheamus for the pinfall. I enjoyed that one and I’m excited for Apollo’s future.
John Cena vs AJ Styles up next. The Phenomenal One comes out first followed by John Cena. Crowd is pretty fired up before the bell rings. This one gets off to a great start and Styles looks amazing. At one point he looks at the camera and says, “Is this all he’s got? Shiiiit.” Styles makes Cena look like a rookie. Throughout the match you can audible hear Cena calling spots as if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Styles is just too good. There is no realistic ending where Styles should lose, barring Cena turning mega-heel. Cena keeps trying to go to the second and third ropes but Styles counters each time. STF is locked in, Calf Crusher is locked in, both men get out. Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment and Styles kicks out at two. Styles Clash. Super Cena kicks out at two. Cena goes for another AA and hits the ref, then The Club comes out and takes Cena down. They throw Styles on Cena. The ref crawls into the ring and counts three. I fucking hate this ending so much. Cena had to protect his stupid ego and refused to take a pin cleanly. Get out of my face, WWE.
Time for the MITB Briefcase match. All I ask if that they don’t have The Miz run down and interfere. Let us have an excellent match without Y2J winning. That’s all I ask. Chris Jericho comes out first, followed by Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens (huge crowd pop), and Dean Ambrose rounds up the field. Excitement abounds to start this one. Ladder matches are always a good time. Sami Zayn is the first to attempt to grab the briefcase, but Del Rio stops him. Del Rio then takes down everybody with some devastating offense. He attempts to climb the ladder and Y2J tries to stop him, but gets beat down. Del Rio climbs up and touches the briefcase. Del Rio locks in a cross arm breaker on Cesaro on TOP of the ladder (which looks painful) but then Owens kicks Del Rio in the face. Cesaro tries to climb and gets stopped by Ambrose. Ambrose takes a Code Breaker from Y2J. Jericho climbs the ladder. Jericho almost gets it, but Zayn blocks him. They trade punches on top of the ladder and then Owens dumps the ladder over. Owens sets the ladder back up and tries to climb, but Del Rio hits him hard. Cesaro hits a swing on Del Rio, then on Y2j, throwing Jericho into a ladder. Owens nails a frog splash on Ambrose while he lays on a ladder. It all comes down to Owens and Zayn. Owens powerbombs Zayn into a ladder, scrambles up and nearly gets the briefcase, but Ambrose slams his head into the ladder multiple times, climbs and secures the briefcase. Dean Ambrose is 2016 Mr. Money in the Bank. Good stuff.
Rusev vs Titus O’Neal for the United States Championship up next. Looks like the pay-per-view is going to run long. Match starts with Rusev yelling at O’Neal’s children at ringside. Titus snaps and beats down the Bulgarian Brute. Rusev recovers and goes to work. Grueling battle throughout. Surprised WWE gave this one so much time. Maybe to let Ambrose grab a Gatorade? Rusev locks in the Accolade and Titus taps. Rusev gets on a mic and goes to address Titus’s kids. He calls their dad a loser and then screams, “Happy Father’s Day!” Classic heel work. Ha!
Time for our main event. Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins comes down to the ring first, followed by the champ. Reigns gets booed pretty heavily as he poses on in the corner. Missed the first couple of minutes of this one as our Network crapped out right as the match started. We had to switch XBOXes. When it finally came back up, Reigns is pummeling Rollins in the corner. Reigns gets Rollins outside the ring, tosses him over the Spanish announce table. Rollins throws Reigns into the steel steps. Seth counters a Superman Punch, both men down. The match drags on, going really slow and lagging at times. Not sure about the booking, this isn’t too exciting for a main event title match. It’s now 11:10. The pay-per-view should have ended twenty-five minutes ago. It’s starting to feel like WrestleMania in length. I actually got bored during this one. It was like if two 60 year old wrestlers were having a retirement match. I don’t know what I’m watching. Reigns tries to spear Rollins by the timekeeper area. Rollins moves and Reigns hits the barricade hard, and medical doctors come out. Reigns knocks down the ref, spears Rollins and covers him. Ref comes to and counts two but Rollins kicks out. Rollins counters another spear into a Pedigree, in the first exciting moment of the match. Rollins hits another Pedigree and gets the pinfall. Rollins wins! Ambrose’s music hits. He hits Rollins from behind with the briefcase, cashes in, hits Dirty Deeds and wins. Ambrose is champion. Great ending, but a real shitstorm of a match. This might be the worst main event match so far this year. Happy for Ambrose. Now all three Shield brothers have held the title. Overall grade for this pay-per-view is a C+. A couple of great matches, but it came up short where it counted. The main event was dull, the women’s match was useless, and the tag matches was poorly executed. While not as bad as Mania, this pay-per-view is a low spot, and with Battleground looming, we may not have anything worthwhile until SummerSlam.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Monday Night Raw is just twenty-four hours removed from a stellar Payback pay-per-view. Tonight, the workload is split right down the middle as Stephanie and Shane McMahon are running Raw together. Let’s get down to business and cover the event live.
The show kicks off with Stephanie McMahon strutting out with a red gift bag in her hand. Would have preferred a match to kick off the show instead of another McMahon dramathon, however, this is a new era and we need to see the dynamic between brother and sister. Steph begins to talk and is almost instantly interrupted by Shane. Steph says the gift is a “peace offering” for him. It’s a framed photo of Vince and Shane. She asks Shane for his idea regarding tonight’s show. As soon as Shane goes to talk, Kevin Owens’ music hits! He demands a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. As the trio hash it out, Cesaro comes out. He’s not too keen on Owens getting a rematch when he thinks he deserves one. Shane wants to settle the dispute right now and sets up a match, leading us into our first commercial break.
The Miz and Maryse join the commentary team as Cesaro goes to work against Owens. After a flurry of offense from Cesaro, Owens rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. But Cesaro jumps off the barricade and flips into Owens, knocking him down. He tosses Owens back into the ring and hits him off the top rope with a cross-body. Owens recovers and puts Cesaro down with a vicious kick and running senton. They trade punches and uppercuts. Both men take turns pulling off amazing moves that eventually lead to a bullfrog splash from Owens on Cesaro outside the ring. After several uppercuts, Cesaro takes a suplex and then a cannonball from Owens in the corner. Owens goes for the pin and Cesaro kicks out at a close two and three-fourths. Springboard uppercut by Cesaro and Owens rolls out of the ring. Cesaro runs around and uppercuts Owens into the barricade. Owens elbows Cesaro and grabs the IC title from Miz. He tries to hit Cesaro, but Miz stops him. Cesaro knocks down Miz and gets Owens back in the ring. He goes for a Swing, but Miz attacks him and the ref rings the bell. All three men start fighting. Sami Zayn’s music hits and he rushes out to attack Owens. Maryse gets Miz out of the ring and Zayn is left standing all alone. He picks up the white IC belt and holds it above his head. Crowd goes wild. The IC Title card is in excellent hands and all four of these guys are working hard to elevate its status. So far, Raw is firing on all the right cylinders.
Dean Ambrose runs into Steph McMahon backstage and he tells her she’s pretending to be a new person but he’s not buying it. She says tonight Ambrose Asylum can be an open forum and he can ask her anything. Commercial break. Funny backstage segment after the break with Gorgeous Truth (R-Truth and Tyler Breeze) and the pairing of Goldust and Fandango. Styles, Gallows, and Anderson are shown in the locker room. Anderson says there’s no way Roman Reigns leaves Extreme Rules as the champion. “Is that so?” Reigns says off camera and he confronts Styles. The Usos come up behind him and they all agree to a three on three tag match for later tonight.
Goldust and Fandango come down. Another commercial break. Ai-yi-yi. Gorgeous Truth enter. Breeze and Goldust set for singles action. Goldust and R-Truth spend the whole match being hilarious. It’s short, with Breeze winning off a quick rollup. A lot of complaints about this one on Twitter, but I thought it was fine. Good comedy, everyone played their part well. I laughed. It was a nice way to break up the evening.
The New Day prances out to the ring. They discuss Enzo Amore’s injury from last night. They show a picture of Enzo getting out of the hospital. Woods says they sent him a box of Booty-O’s cereal. The Vaudevillians interrupt. They say it’s a tough business but a real man would have gotten back up. “Last night we made Enzo Amore the realest guy in the emergency room.” Dudley Boyz’s fireworks go off. Bubba says they need to start the tag team tournament over. Devon starts to speak and Big Cass comes out. He says Vaudevillians attacked his family last night. He calls them and the Dudley’s SAAAAAAWFT and dives into the ring. Everybody starts brawling. Commercial break. When we return, eight man tag team with Cass and New Day vs Dudley’s and Vaudevillians. Evenly matched bout with all four men getting into offensive grooves. The Dudley’s isolate Xavier in the middle of the ring. Commercial break during the match. That’s disappointing. Naturally, Big Cass gets the hot tag. He absolutely destroys English with a bunch of slams and a hard elbow. He goes for the pin but Bubba stops the count. Cass takes out Gotch. Devon hits him and Bubba scoops him up for a slam. Cass kicks out at two. Devon tags in and they look for a 3D. Kpfo takes out Bubba. East River Crossing on Devon and Big Cass gets the pinfall win. Great match with a satisfying ending. Big Cass has the potential to be a big singles star. Interesting.
Becky Lynch bounds to the ring. Her opponent is Emma. Respectable match, however they spend a whole lot of this one pulling each other’s hair which is definitely not what we need in the Women’s Division. Emma wins after she hits Becky in the eye behind the ref’s back. Not the best women’s match. Sasha Banks is missed.
The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, comes out after the break to host the Ambrose Asylum. He brings Stephanie out. Ambrose antagonizes her about Payback, and also about the Spear she took from Reigns at WrestleMania. He questions Shane’s dedication to the company and mentions all the sacrifices Steph has made. Steph officially cancels the Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose takes his potted plant, Mitch, and goes to leave. Steph introduces the host of the Highlight Reel, Chris Jericho. Ambrose puts Mitch on the steel steps and the two men stare each other down. Jericho is dressed like one of the faun from Narnia. Ambrose attacks him. They make their way into the ring and Y2J hits a Code Breaker on Ambrose. Jericho smashes Mitch into the back of Ambrose’s head. Okay segment. Nothing much new to be had here. We’ve seen this play out already. However, if this sets up an Extreme Rules match between these two, I suppose it’s forgivable.
United States Championship battle royal up next. Last man standing becomes Number #1 Contender for the US title. Great to see Titus O’Neal back in action. Kalisto is sitting rindside. Baron Corbin and Ziggler have a brief, interesting little segment during the match. Commercial break while the match is still going on with 8 men left. (((sigh))) The final four gets down to Rusev, Del Rio and Sheamus, the former League of Nations partners, and Zack Ryder. It comes down to Rusev vs Zack Ryder. Rusev eliminates Ryder, becoming #1 Contender. Which sounds great, except when you consider John Cena comes back at the end of the month. Odds are Rusev takes the title from Kalisto only to once again drop it to Cena. Which means WWE broke up the League of Nations just to give Cena another title. I hope I’m wrong, but this is WWE Creative in a nutshell. Decent little battle royal with a not so great ending. Side bar: Ryback was supposed to be in this match, but reports around the web say he has been taken off TV indefinitely due to contract disputes with WWE.
The Flair family comes to the ring. Charlotte and Ric say there was no controversy at Payback and the Harts quit like they always do. They call out ref Charles Robinson, aka Lil Naitch. Crowd starts a cheater chant. As Charlotte starts laughing, Natalya comes out and snatches the mic from the champ. She calls out Ric Flair then knocks Charlotte out of the ring. She slaps Ric and puts him in a Sharpshooter. She steals Flair’s watch, ring and jacket. Charlotte helps her father up the ramp. Okay, segment. But if the go-ahead plan isn’t a rematch for Nattie, this whole thing means very little. Also, still waiting on Sasha Banks… Well, sure enough, after the commercial break, Stephanie makes a rematch for Natalya vs Charlotte at Extreme Rules. It will be a Submission Match and Ric Flair will be banned from ringside. It’s about damn time.
Tonight’s main event is the six man tag featuring Roman Reigns and The Usos vs Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. Styles and his “Club” come out first. Reigns and The Usos come out next and we have a match. Styles, who will appear on Sportscenter tomorrow night, starts off the match against Reigns. Fast paced match that kept the crowd engaged, but was oversold by Michael Cole. Styles gets the pinfall win. After the match, Gallows throws Reigns into the ring and Anderson grabs a steel chair. Gallows and Anderson hold Reigns and tell Styles to hit him with the chair. Styles refuses. The Usos hit Styles with the chair and clear the ring. Styles gets behind them and clocks them with chair shots. Roman sees this and jumps up. He lands a Superman Punch on Styles and throws him out of the ring. He tosses AJ into the barricade. Reigns throws Styles through the announce table. Audience boos.
Not the best Raw ever, but it was entertaining enough to watch all the way through. Some funny moments, solid matches, and intriguing setups for future matches. Extreme Rules should be good, and everything after that should open the flood gates for some creative booking. Stephanie and Shane seem to be walking on eggshells and we really need more juice behind their decisions, they need to definitely play up the split. Sad to hear about Ryback. If he is done with WWE, I’m sure NJPW can find a place for him. WWE needs to elevate the next few weeks of Raw episodes in order to really get us excited about Extreme Rules.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker