WWE Monday Night Raw Review - August 4th, 2014
The Authority opened the show, but it wasn't just Triple H & Stephanie like it normally is, the whole stable came out together. Triple H & Stephanie out front with Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Kane behind them. As a big fan of stables, this was pretty cool to see. This segment was your basic opening segment from The Authority with several match announcements being made, but this one was just weird. Triple H plugged the network throughout in a heelish way while running down the SummerSlam card by saying "For only $9.99" after every match was named. WWE is pretty desperate for people to subscribe to the Network so they decide to have one of the biggest bad guys in the company promote the Network in a heelish way? That makes no sense. Despite the ignorance of that part of this segment, Roman Reigns eventually came out to set up the first match of the evening.
1) Roman Reigns vs. Kane - Last Man Standing Match
Neither of these guys interest me, but the stipulation garnered my attention. It's not often we see stipulation matches on TV so I was interested. This was a decent match, but I really wasn't into it. It was mainly Kane dominating the early part of the bout only for Reigns to mount a come back and win with a spear. A nice spot was Kane chokeslamming Reigns through a table. Other than that, this one was pretty dull. But that may just be me because I've been uninterested in Kane for months now and Reigns' push to the top is being rushed so I haven't been impressed with him lately. None the less, the crowd seemed into it so I guess that means it was a good start to the show.
They debuted the Lesnar/Cena video package at this point in the show. It was even better than I expected. Lesnar's part was exceptional. He always excels in sit down interviews as opposed to in-ring promos. Cena's part was good, but didn't live up to the epic promo he delivered last week on Raw. Despite that, he did have some good one liners on how Brock only shows up to fight every now and then just like he did in UFC. Awesome video package here that got me hyped for the match at SummerSlam.
2) Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow
This was simply to please the live crowd as Sandow dressed as an Oklahoma football player and mocked the Texas Longhorns. This brought out Mark Henry who was in a Texas shirt. Henry pins Sandow in a matter of moments. This served it's purpose, but I feel something like this should have happened before the show to get the crowd pumped up. The live crowd were the only ones who got anything out of this so why put it on TV? Wasted television time in my opinon because the majority of WWE's audience could have cared less about this.
To make matters worse, we get another pointless segment in the form of Adam Rose talking to his "rosebuds" about a mirror. Why is he still featured each week?
3) Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio - Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Earlier in the evening during the Authority's segment, Hunter announced that Rollins & Ambrose would both compete in Beat the Clock challenge matches tonight. The winner with the quickest time would get to pick the stipulation for their match at SummerSlam. Pretty cool concept. This match ended up being much better than I anticipated. I figured this would end pretty quickly, but they gave them 15 minutes to work with and it was certainly worth it. Despite the overly annoying commentary, this was a great match that showed how bright of a future Ambrose has as well as how underrated Del Rio is. Ambrose picks up the win after a hard fought contest with Del Rio. Highlight of the show so far.
Ever since the opening segment with HHH that baffled me, the commentary team continued to press the Network on the audience throughout the evening by randomly yelling "$9.99!" As if the commentary team couldn't get annoying enough, Triple H gave them even more steam with his opening promo. The reason I say this is because the next segment was mainly for a quick WWE App plug as Rusev beat Sin Cara during a commercial break. This led to the commentators raving about how that's why we should get the App so we can see stuff that happens during the break. Yeah, I'm sure I'm going to download the WWE App just to watch a Rusev squash match - like we haven't seen enough of those this year. Another idiotic way to promote something.
Then came the good stuff. Lana cut another fantastic heel promo which brings out Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger. Another great segment from this Rusev/Swagger feud. It's one of the best feuds going on in WWE right now and the mouthpieces, Lana and Colter, always deliver good segments to hype the rivalry. Rusev gets the upperhand on Swagger this week which was logical since Swagger got the upperhand in nearly every other encounter they've had. Good segment!
4) Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler
The show had been hit or miss so far at this point and when I saw that this match was about to start, I said to myself - "This is their chance to turn the show around." Cesaro and Ziggler have both been throwing out quality matches like it's nothing over the past few weeks so I figured WWE decided to wise up and put them in a bout together. I was wrong. VERY wrong. Ziggler wins in under five minutes. Quite underwhelming for myself as well as most other WRESTLING fans out there. I'm fine with Ziggler winning, but making this a prolonged squash match was dumb for several reasons. 1) Cesaro just faced John Cena in a highprofile match last week now he's jobbing? Where's the logic? 2) Ziggler & Cesaro are two of the best wrestlers on the roster and they only get five minutes? That's just a missed opportunity. I'm not begging for a Cesaro push right now because it's obvious that it's not his time, but atleast book him consisently. After the match, Ziggler and Miz staredown. Ziggler fakes a superkick to sketch out The Miz. Nice moment there. Ziggler deserves the bit of spotlight he's getting and I hope he takes home the IC Title at SummerSlam. Even if he only holds it until Barrett comes back, it will be a win-win for all of us because we'll get another amazing Ziggler/Barrett match. So the bottom line on this segment, logical outcome, but a huge missed opportunity. A disappointment for the most part.
5) Ryback & Curtis Axel vs. Stardust & Goldust
After weeks of blowing stuff onto each other backstage, the Rhodes brothers are back in action here. They're facing the same people they faced the last 10 times they competed - Rybaxel. I'm a big fan of Rybaxel, but the fact that the Rhodes Bros big return to the ring is against them AGAIN was just uninteresting. Make it a friendly bout against The Usos or maybe give Slater Gator some shine, just something different than what we've seen SO many times before. Rybaxel are great and so are the Rhodes Bros, but the same mini-match over and over gets old quickly. Stardust surpisingly got a great reaction here which was nice to see. Cody continues to improve in the ring as time goes on which makes me wonder if this Stardust gimmick is right for him. I'm 50/50 on it thus far, but if it makes the Rhodes brothers relevant as a team again, then I can't really argue with it.
6) Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper
These two had a pretty good bout on Smackdown several weeks ago, but a run in from Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan caused it to end in a DQ. I was hoping for a clean finish and an even better match here. Instead we got the same thing that happened on Smackdown a few weeks ago when these two faced off. Rowan runs in, gets knocked down, then Wyatt runs in and the ref calls for the bell. Missed opportunity because this could have been a fantastic match, but I guess it makes sense storyline wise. Although they could have accomplished the same thing AFTER the match was over. Screwy finishes have become a thing as of late so might as well continue the trend, I reckon.
7) Diego vs. Fandango
Waste of time here as far as I'm concered. I didn't even watch this segment closely because I was remotely uninterested. No reason to care about this so why should I watch?
8) Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth
Well, looks like we're going to get a mini-feud between R-Truth and Bo Dallas since Truth was the first person to beat him last week. Woo hoo. A talent who's been irrelevant for well over a year as Bo's first rival - GOLD. (sarcasm). Bo Dallas' gimmick is fantastic and he portrays it so well thus providing us with some quality entertainent segments each week, but putting him with R-Truth was a mistake. Truth breaking Dallas' undefeated streak was dumb to begin with, but now he's apparently going to be Dallas' next opponent for a series of mini-matches on Raw and probably a pre-show match for SummerSlam. WWE really needs to start booking their debuting talent better. They haven't handled any new talent well on the main roster since 2012 when The Shield debuted. Boring segment here.
At this point in the show we got the usual 15 minutes of promoting and video packages that normally takes place during the midst of the final hour on Raw & Smackdown each week. The Lesnar/Cena video package aired again which I wasn't opposed to, but we also got the Network shoved down our throats again with JBL holding up a sign that had "$9.99" written on it. How wonderful.
9) Seth Rollins vs. Heath Slater
This was originally supposed to be Rollins vs RVD and I was hoping they would save the show with a quality match, but instead The Authority sends out Rollins' new opponent, Heath Slater. I had mixed feelings on this until it get started and it turned out to be one of the best segments of the night. Dean Ambrose came to ringside and pulled some shenanigans such as pouring drinks and popcorn in Rollins' briefcase and shoving JBL's hat into the briefcase. Ambrose even ripped up the contract! This continued to distract Rollins throughout the match and it ended up costing him as Slater picked up a HUGE victory over Rollins! The crowd was so into this segment and I was too. Just great stuff that did wonders for both Rollins and Ambrose's individual characters.
The closing segment was the contract signing between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella. It was what would you would expect from a contract signing. Good promos from both Stephanie and Brie. It ends up in pandomonium as Stephanie hits Nikki and Hunter boxes Brie into the corner while Stephanie pedigrees Nikki. Brie ends up slapping Triple H while he mocks Daniel Bryan's "Yes" chant, but in the end Stephanie gives Brie a pedigree in the center of the ring as well. Great segment with outstanding heel work from Stephanie & HHH. This feud has been booked perfectly.
Overall thoughts: There were several reoccuring terms in my review of this week's episode of Raw. Those being "missed opportunity", "waste of time", and "uninteresting". Unfortunately those are a good description of this week's show. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins' were the highlight of this other wise dull episode of RAW. Ambrose's match with Del Rio was great and the Rollins/Slater/Ambrose segment was fantastic as well. Aside from their matches, the Swagger/Rusev segment, and the Stephanie/Brie segment - nothing on this week's show was even remotely good. Way too much filler and bad marketing from the commentators. Hopefully WWE takes it up a notch for next week's show, because this week's was a big step down from last week. Dull show.