Monday, July 13, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - July 13th, 2015

Paul Heyman and BRRRRROCK Lesnar start the show once again. You won't find me complaining about that! Heyman kills it like usual and is introducing Brock as the new WWE Champion that he will be after Battleground only to be interrupted by Seth Rollins' music. Rollins & Kane stomp out and discuss Brock Lesnar's actions on Raw last week from a distance. Rollins vows to burn down Suplex City at Battleground to which LESNAR responds with "I can take you to suplex city right now, bitch!" OOOOHHH! Kane tells everyone to settle down and says he wants order in the contract signing later on. Heyman interrupts and mocks Kane a bit before saying nothing will happen unless Rollins breaks the 11th commandment again. Good cliffhanger although we all know it's gonna break down regardless.

1) Randy Orton & Ryback vs. Sheamus & Big Show

This wasn't as horrible as it looked. Well, I say that. I didn't really pay attention to the first half of the match, but what I saw wasn't bad at all. Ryback got the hot tag. Miz pulls his same schtick that he did last week which leads to him distracting Show & Ryback on separate occassions. Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere on Sheamus and gets his team the win. As said before, this could've been way worse, but it was actually fairly enjoyable.

Match rating - **1/2

2) Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

The way this went down has it's positives and negatives. Reigns attacked Wyatt before the match could even get started and delivered a dominant beating before the eater of worlds ran off. The upside to this, Reigns/Wyatt showing was kept to a minimum which was a good thing to me because I'm not into the feud. The downside that I think everyone can agree on is that of Dean Ambrose barely being featured. He was main eventing the last PPV and doesn't even have a match on this upcoming Sunday's event. Nice.

Stephanie McMahon invokes a revolution in the Divas Division
Charlotte. Sasha Banks. Becky Lynch. They are ALL on Raw. What a time to be alive, ladies and gentleman!! Stephanie basically addresses the state of the Divas division and points out how women are breaking out in UFC, Tennis, etc and now it's time for them to do so in WWE. It's so cool to see WWE FINALLY acknowledging the Give Divas A Chance movement. For the first time in a while, I'm extremely positive about what's next for the Divas division. Lots of fresh matches and hopefully more time, it would appear. I won't go through what all happened here because you most likely saw it and if you didn't, you should see it for yourself. Phenomenal moment that I feel will be remembered for quite some time. This could boost the Divas into a prominent position on Raw and it seems that WWE is going to let it. Paige/Becky/Charlotte vs. Sasha, Naomi, & Tamina or The Bellas & Foxy, please!

3) Prime Time Players & Mark Henry vs. New Day
Nice promo from The New Day before the match. PTP's music hits to a nice pop. Who's they're partner? It's Mark Henry... The crowd goes somewhat mellow for this which was expected and understandable, but also sad at the same time because Mark is a good guy. This was a decent little six man. Titus gets worked over and Big E & Xavier mock the gator noise - HOW DARE THEY? Mark Henry gets the ..semi-hot/mellow tag and cleans house for the win.

Match rating - **3/4

4) Bad News Barrett vs. R-Truth

I have no clue what WWE is doing with this. The King of the Ring title means nothing anymore. BOTH guys deserve better. I'm not even going to comment further. Truth picks up the win and steals the cape and crown from BNB.

Match rating - *

5) Cesaro vs. Rusev vs. Kevin Owens - #1 Contender's Match for the US Title

John Cena came down to do his open challenge and boy, did he ever get a response. All three of these men marched down to the squared circle, vying for their chance to shine. A brawl breaks out which leads to a triple threat match being made with the winner facing Cena for the United States Championship. With that match taking place on this same night, I was curios how much time these three would get. Well, they got way more than I expected and it resulted in one of the best TV matches of the year. Cesaro got a fantastic responed and looked even better than he has the past few weeks, some how. He busted out so much rarely used stuff from his arsenal including a corkscrew plancha to the outside, multiple pin point dropkicks, and the spring board twisting uppercut off the second rope. Owens was perfect in this match as well by playing the bad guy and eventually walking away after recieveing a flurry from Rusev around 10-12 minutes into the match. He didn't leave before making his mark though. His swinging ddt out of the corner, moonsault off the top rope, and trash talking made this another memorable contest for the former NXT Champion. We go to commercial after Owens leaves and return with Cesaro & Rusev going at it which leads me to my next point of discussion. Rusev looked better here than he's looked possibly ever in his WWE run. He had fun early on by saying Kevin Owens had two last names and telling him to choose one. This led over into the match where Owens hit his signature running cannonball in the corner and Rusev followed it up with one of his own. It was totally unexpected and I loved it. None the less, Cesaro & Rusev slugged it out and left it all on the line for the right to get a CHANCE at becoming United States Champion. It's matches like this that also help raise the prestige of the title. Cena does so much for the belt and stuff like this only furthers it. One other thing that I loved about this is that it wasn't just a spotfest and there weren't a ton of finisher kick outs like recent big matches like Cena/Owens and Cena/Cesaro have included. It went 20 minutes and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, whether it be from crazy moves & moments in the match like Rusev suplexing Cesaro off the top rope onto the ring apron or false finishes such as Cesaro locking Rusev in the crossface and the crowd coming unglued. It really felt like he was going to win it at that point. I dig the fact that he's added that submission to his repetoire. In the end, the suplex on the ring apron from Rusev to Cesaro followed by a body press back into the ring and a somewhat weak superkick finishes things off. Rusev wins and advances. The finish wasn't great however it wasn't horrible either. This was a fantastic match that is well worth checking out. Cena put over all three men multiple times on commentary and that is worth a listen as well.

Match rating - ****1/4

6) John Cena vs. Rusev - United States Championship Match

Rusev is bleeding from the mouth and clearly exhuasted after that insane match. Cena gives him to recoop, but once the bell rings, he goes on the offense. It isn't long before he's setting up for the five knuckle shuffle. He nails it and picks Rusev up for the AA. This one looks to be finished up early - NO! RUSEV COUNTERS DOWN INTO THE ACCOLADE! That was a unique, never before seen counter to the AA. Cena is in trouble in the center of the ring when Kevin Owens attacks and takes out Rusev with a pop up powerbomb. Owens once again proclaims in Cena's face that NO ONE is taking his title from him except him.

Lita introduces the WWE Universe to the cast of Tough Enough
LITA IS HERE! Can this Raw get any better? She acknowledges the extremely competitive match that proceeded her arrival as well as the new Divas who were introduced. In light of that, she's here to introduce more new faces in the form of the Tough Enough contestants. The women and ZZ get the most reaction out of anyone. Nice seeing Lita!

7) Stardust vs. Neville
This is really fun just looking at in on paper. It didn't quite translate to that in the ring although it was still fairly fun to watch. After the exhausting US Title picture happenings and Lita's surprise appearance, the crowd is kinda tired and it shows. They pop for Stardust in the beginning then he kicks Neville in the crotch when he tries to shake his hand. AAAAND that killed it. WWE knew the audience would cheer Stardust and be happy to see him due to his recent absence as well as the fact that his legendary father passed recently. Why have him come out and defy them? Why not let him embrace them and have a fun, competitive match with Neville? I guess a cheap win with the tights was better. This wasn't bad per say. I just felt like it should have been executed differently as I detailed above. It was their chance to get Stardust back on track as a face and they chose to go the other direction that I feel will lead to nowhere noteworthy. Sigh. Decent little match through it all.

Match rating - **1/2

Contract Signing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match at Battleground
It's hard to make these kind of things very memorable because they've been done so many times. Despite that, they are usually an entertaining, albeit simple way to finish off the build towards a PPV match. This wasn't any different. Heyman does thing while Brock looks intimidating. They sign the contract and Brock flips over the table to reveal the axe handle he used to destroy Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury's car last week. Instead of using it, Brock turns the table upright and sits it on it and relaxes back into his chair. Rollins grabs it as Lesnar smiles before ramming the entire table into him! I LOVE BROCK! Huge brawl breaks out. Lesnar takes a rough hit from the steel steps before regaining control and F5'ing Kane as Rollins runs off through the crowd. Kane gets his foot messed up afterwards as Brock slammed it into between the steel steps. Lesnar leaves after raising the WWE Title in the air. It looks like the show's over, but Rollins comes back into the ring, cuts a promo running down Kane, and kicks his injured leg. It looks like Rollins is really headed into this match alone on Sunday.

Overall thoughts: This was arguably the best episode of Raw in the past month or so. Cesaro, Cena & Owens were the only true highlights the past few weeks and they continued that here. With Rusev thrown into the mix, the four produced nearly an hour of quality TV in the form of two matches. One being one of the best of the year and the other mainly being an angle. The other big highlight was Stephanie embracing a Divas/Women's Wrestling Revolution. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, & Becky Lynch debuting is something I'll remember for a while. The Divas Division is finally getting interesting. And per usual, Brock & Heyman did their thing and while it wasn't as eventful as last week, it was entertaining and that's what matters. Good show despite having one or two minor low points.

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