WWE Monday Night Raw Review - June 30th, 2014
1) Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam
These two faced off last week on Raw and it was a fun encounter. Unfortunately it didn't have a clean finish, so I was glad to see them getting another chance to work together. This was much better than their previous encounter. It went around 15 minutes and was pretty fast paced. They managed to incorporate some innovative counters into the bout which definitely added to it. Rollins picks up the victory after a curb stomp. Really good match.
After the match, Seth Rollins did an interview with Renee Young. Pretty solid promo from Seth, but the best part of this segment was Dean Ambrose. Ambrose appeared on the titan tron and cut a fantastic promo that started with the brilliant line "From one scumbag to another" followed by Ambrose vowing to stop Rollins whenever he tries to cash in his Money In The Bank contract. Great stuff from Ambrose as always. This feud continues to get better and better each week.
Rusev and Lana made their way to the ring here. I've yet to be interested in anything Rusev had been involved so I expected another flat segment, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. As soon as Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter made their way to the ring, I got excited. Last week, I published an article for PWMania detailing how badly I wanted to see a Swagger/Rusev feud. In the article (which can be viewed here), I also discussed how much it would benefit both men. I never thought it would happen, but tonight, the confrontation happened and it was epic. The fans immediately got behind Zeb for criticizing Lana and Rusev, especially when he told them to "Get the hell out!" I expected that, but what I didn't expect was the "Let's Go Swagger" chants that filled the arena when Zeb said he was the man to stop Rusev. Swagger face turn = success. This feud is off to an awesome start. The stand off felt BIG and had a lot of hype. Let's hope it continues. Can't wait to see what happens next between these two.
2) The Wyatt Family vs. Sheamus & The Usos
I can't remember the last time WWE had a bad six man tag and that awesome trend continued here with this action packed match up. The crowd was super into it and they had reason to be. Very entertaining match with several great exchanges. Not much else I can say here besides this was fantastic and kept the hot pace of the show going.
3) Naomi & Cameron vs. Nikki Bella
The purpose of this was to show Stephanie mistreating Nikki for what her sister did and to continue to further tease the break up of Naomi & Cameron. It accomplished both of those things so I'd say this segment was a success. The match didn't last long at all, but it did what it set out to do. I'm excited to see Naomi & Cameron go separate ways. Naomi has the potential to be a top Diva for a long time, she's so talented in the ring. Ready to see where the Naomi/Cameron story goes from here.
At this point in the show, the health status of Bad News Barrett was announced. Turns out he will be out for a couple of months. Devastating news. That being said, the title has been vacated and a new champion will be crowned in a battle royal at the Battleground PPV.
4) Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston
I enjoy watching both of these guys compete. Cesaro is one of my favorites and Kofi is always entertaining to watch. This was fun while it lasted, but for some reason it ended while Raw was on commercial. I guess to persuade people to get the app? Meh. Dumb decision in my opinion. None the less, the match was decent, but what happened after was awesome. Cesaro went nuts because he lost to Kofi and destroyed him. Threw him over the announce table (hitting Michael Cole in the process), slammed him repeatedly into the ring post, and then finished the assault with a vicious lariat that turned Kofi inside out. Made Cesaro look very dominate. I think this means he's in line for a run with the IC Title!
Vince McMahon's music hits and.. out comes Damien Sandow dressed as Mr. McMahon! This was brilliant. I haven't enjoyed this silly side of Sandow, but this was gold. Unfortunately, Sandow was defeated in a complete squash match by Khali afterwards, but this segment was entertaining regardless. It accomplished what it set out to which was to announce Sandow & Khali as participants in the IC Title Battle Royal.
The Miz made his return at the top of the third hour only to be interrupted by Chris Jericho! WOW! It was awesome seeing him back. Jericho hits a codebreaker on Miz then says "RAW IS.." THE WYATTS ARE HERE! The Wyatt Family assault Jericho and Bray hits him with the Sister Abigail. Talk about hype! I'm so excited for this feud. Jericho is the perfect opponent for Bray. This rivalry will be one for the ages and in the coming months, Jericho will make Wyatt a legitimate star. Can't wait!
5) Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango
Man, Ziggler is so over. He gets a standing ovation in every arena he walks into. Shame they won't use him properly, but atleast we get to see him on TV each week. This was a nice segment. I call it a segment not a match because it was mainly to further the love triangle between Fandango, Layla, and Summer Rae. Looks like Ziggler and Summer may be getting paired together. That's something I wouldn't object to. Anything to get Ziggler back in a consistent place on the card and possibly elevate Summer to a new level.
6) Goldust & Stardust vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
The fact that we've seen this match atleast once each week for the past month or two shows how dead the tag division is right now. Despite that, this was still enjoyable. I think WWE is still trying to test the waters with the Stardust character. It seems to be a hit with the fans so maybe we'll see the Rhodes brothers with the tag team titles soon!
And as if Chris Jericho returning wasn't enough, AJ Lee made her return to confront Paige at this point in the show. Such an epic moment, especially for me since I'm a fan of both women. This is a dream rivalry and it looks like we're finally gonna get to see it. The shock factor that seems to be the trend of the evening continued here as AJ Lee defeated Paige to regain the Divas Championship! But the real highlight for me here was the fact that AJ and Paige seemingly executed a double turn. That's a tough task, but these two talented women pulled it off. This feud will be awesome!
7) John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton and Kane
One thing I have to mention here is that Roman Reigns entered the match last. That's very telling of how high WWE is on him. As for the match, it was a good main event. It ended when Reigns & Orton fought to the back and Kane got DQ'd for hitting Cena with the steel steps. The real highlight here was what happened after the match. Kane delivered a tombstone piledriver to Cena laying him out. Doctors started checking on Cena when out came Seth Rollins. Before Rollins could cash in however, Ambrose ran down to stop him just like he said he would do in his promo earlier in the night. The two fought through the crowd until they were out of sight. Back in the ring, Reigns spears Kane and has a staredown with Triple H while the crowd chants "This is Awesome" to end the show.
Overall thoughts: One of the best Raw's of the year thus far. There was a lot of storyline progression on the show tonight, that combined with the shocking returns and title changes, plus a few quality matches made this show must see TV which is something that I haven't been able to say about Raw in a while! Since the night after WrestleMania to be exact. The seeds are being planted for an awesome next few months and I'm excited for what's to come. Great show tonight, if you missed it, I'd highly recommend checking it out.
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