Monday, July 20, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - July 20th, 2015

So, Battleground was last night and it certainly left people talking. I, for one, haven't seen the PPV and honestly, there's nothing from it that peaks my interest enough to go back and watch it since Taker's return will likely be replayed on this show. Speaking of that, Taker's return is the hot topic coming out of the PPV and if you haven't seen my tweets on the matter, I figure I should share my thoughts on it.

I've PERSONALLY never been a big Undertaker fan. Despite that, I completely understand his legendary status and drawing power. On top of that, I more than understand why many people consider him one of their all time favorites. With that being said, things like this don't typically get on my nerves and this didn't either. That doesn't mean I was a fan of it and left me saying "Wow, that was the perfect route to go!" because in fact, I thought the opposite. Brock broke the streak over a year ago. Taker has been back since then at WrestleMania & he WON. What's the big beef now? This angle would have been much more sense last summer. However, breaking down this story isn't the only reason I question this decision. It's no secret that Undertaker hasn't been 100% in several years and that the last time he & Lesnar wrestled, the match took a toll on him. Therefore, why would WWE put him in such jeopardy again?

I'm sure they took precautions to make sure it was medically safe for him to compete and that it took a lot of discussion to decide to go this way. I mean, WWE aren't idiots. They do care. It was shown at Mania last year when Vince rode with Taker to the hospital. None the less, despite all that, you can't say there isn't a bigger risk than normal given Taker's age and past episodes. While it's good that I, as a fan, worry about that. It's really not my job to. I'm supposed to just watch the product for entertainment so I guess that's something I shouldn't get hung up on, but I can't help but to do so.

Anyways, I'm interested to see if WWE can do something to get me excited about a match that I have virtually no interest in. I'm also curious if it will be a singles contest or a triple threat with Rollins involved. There's many different ways it could go. That question, along with that of whether or not WWE will continue strongly booking newly made stars like Owens, Cesaro, & Rusev in light of this new hot topic in the form of Undertaker returning, will be answered tonight, hopefully so let's get into this edition of Monday Night Raw.

The Undertaker addresses Brock Lesnar

Taker kicks things off and is pretty much straight to the point. He's cold and vengeful. He wants Brock Lesnar. Not much else to say. Exit Deadman.

1) Charlotte vs. Brie Bella
Sasha, Naomi, & Tamina are on commentary and the divas in the match have their team backing them at ringside. I'm glad we're getting Charlotte on Raw, but I really wish they'd have chosen a different opponent for her. Brie has gotten better however Charlotte is on a different level. Nikki could have probably done better or anyone involved in this, really. Just imagine Charlotte against Foxy. Much less one of her NXT rivals. Anyway, this wasn't bad persay. It just wasn't as great as I wanted it to be. It started off fine then a weird thing happened on a dive esque manuever by Charlotte as Brie either fell down too early or moved out of the way then fell down so it looked awkward. After this, Brie just worked Charlotte over which led to her making her big comeback. Charlotte looks great once again here and picks up the win.

Match rating - **

2) Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young) vs. Los Matadores
PTP successfully defended their belts against New Day at Battleground and they are carrying them with pride into this match against the Matadores. Some solid matwork starts the match with Darren & one of the masked Matadores. Titus ends up getting the hot tag and does his thing before The New Day's music hits. This allows Los Matadores to take advantage of the distraction and get a cheap win over the tag champs. I question what this is leading to for the Matadores although I'm glad the feud between PTP & New Day is continuing so I'm not questioning it too much. At the most maybe it'll be a multi team tag title match at SummerSlam.

Match rating - **1/4

3) The Miz vs. Big Show
Meh. Ryback was the only thing keeping this three-way feud from being a complete and utter borefest so this was bound to suck. THEN BIG SHOW HITS AN ELBOW DROP OFF THE TOP ROPE! I give him credit, that was nice! Show gets the mic afterwards and starts yelling and says he's going to feed Ryback. It was pretty funny. I'm ready for the big guy to come back. Get well soon, Ryback!

Match rating - **1/4

Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker brawl
First things first, Paul Heyman KILLED it in his promo. It was arguably his best since returning with Lesnar a few weeks ago. After he's done delivering the goods, the lights go out and Taker is in the ring! Heyman cowars down and begs for mercy when BROCK LESNAR'S MUSIC HITS! THE BEAST RUNS DOWN THE AISLE AND HITS THE RING! TAKER AND BROCK ARE TRADING SHOTS AND TAKER GETS THE ADVANTAGE! NO! DOUBLE LEG TAKEDOWN FROM BROCK! I'm seriously worried for Taker at this point. Security runs down per orders of HHH from the stage. They don't do the job so the roster is ordered out. They have an awesome pull apart brawl with Brock yelling "I'm gonna kill you!" We go to commercial and when we come back they are backstage and the brawl starts again! Brock flips some tables and stuff and jumps atop the pile! Titus is yelling "GET HIM OFF!" They do another big pull apart here and then Brock "surrenders" to the cop/security officers and they cuff him. So, this was phenomenal and way better than I ever expected it to be. The sad thing is that I doubt the match between the two will be half as good as this.

Segment rating - ****1/2

4) Roman Reigns (w/ Dean Ambrose) vs. Luke Harper (w/ Bray Wyatt)
For the first time in a while, something I discussed in one of my PPV predictions articles actually came true so here we are and it turns out to be even more awesome than expected. The match itself was really well done with Harper viciously targeting the injured arm of Roman Reigns by assaulting it in a number of ways. Both guys hit hard so you already know how this went. Just as things were getting good with Roman making his comeback, the eventual interference from Wyatt happens which calls for a DQ. Not before Roman got in the DOUBLE apron dropkick on both Wyatt & Harper though. A crazy brawl ensues afterwards. Ambrose saves Reigns. Wyatt catches him in Sister Abigail. SUPERMAN PUNCH FROM REIGNS! I'm so ready for the eventual tag match between these two duos. I'm already having flashbacks to the Shield/Wyatt series of bouts. This feud has so much steam that I feel like a stipulation such as No Holds Barred will be added although I'm totally fine with it just being a regular tag because these guys will kill it either way. The only small downfall here is that the match between Reigns & Harper was going so well. Hopefully we get a rematch down the line with a clean finish.

Match rating - ***

Seth Rollins addresses the WWE Universe
Rollins does his heel schtick and gets Lilian Garcia to reintroduce him as STILL the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. After this, John Cena comes out to stall the festivites. You probably know what happened here. They both promoted their championships. Cena basically says the US Title has become THE title since Rollins became champion and has weaseled his way through title defenses. They tease a brawl, but Rollins leaves. It looks like we're gonna get a Champion vs Champion Match at SummerSlam and I love the idea. Cena & Rollins will tear it down, no doubt. I also think this is the perfect time for Rollins to rectify all the wrongs in his title reign thus far. Rollins over Cena clean is how it should go, in my opinion.

Match rating - ***

5) Paige & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks
I was pretty pumped for this. I wanted a six diva tag, but I'll gladly settle for two thirds of that match. Sasha & Naomi were the heels and were my favorite part of this match. They did everything just about perfectly. They have their schtick nailed down and have done it in a week's time. I dig it. Throw in a few double team moves and we might have a nice divas tag team there. Either way, they both looked great. Becky did well too, I can't forget her. She even got a "Let's go Becky!" chant which was cool to hear. Paige gets the hot tag after Naomi & Sasha wore Becky down. It is cut short as Sasha nails the backbreaker and locks her in a crossface like submission for the victory (forgive me for not knowing the name of it). Simple formula here. I think it worked though. I just hope for more in the future.

Match rating - **3/4

Renee Young interviews Lana
This was so good. I may be the only one that has grown on Rusev lately however I have no shame. This whole storyline has really turned around. Rusev is showing more and more personality every week and I'm finally able to connect with him. It's kinda weird since he's a heel, but I like it. Lana does fantastic here as well. She looks legit hurt seeing Rusev with Summer. It sounds corny talking about it, but its nowhere near as bad as the sappy shit that this feud started with. Lana gets slapped by Summer as Rusev heads to the ring.

6) John Cena, Randy Orton, & Cesaro vs. Sheamus, Kevin Owens, & Rusev (w/ Summer Rae)
WHAT A MAIN EVENT! So much fun here. That's the best way to put it. From start to finish, this was the purely entertaining match you'd expect. Good mini exchanges between Sheamus & Cesaro and Cena & Owens. Cesaro hit the ALPAMAREE WATERSLIDE ON RUSEV! That alone is a spectacle. Cena & Orton worked the apron like madmen. The "walking out" stuff wasn't expected although I think it made sense with three heels. Plus it opens the door for some potential feuds. Owens v Sheamus maybe? Owens yelling at Rusev was hilarious. Rusev ends up alone and Lana marches down. Catfight between Lana and Summer. Rusev turns around and gets the works. Orton got the hot tag, by the way. And the finish....THE FINISH! Cesaro swings Rusev and then SLINGSHOTS HIM INTO AN RKO! Cesaro/Orton tag team, book it right now! That ruled! Cesaro looked right at home in there with Cena & Orton. I think it's safe to say he's a made man after this. Perfect way to cap off this show.

Match rating - ***1/4

Overall thoughts: Good show, tonight. There wasn't anything overly bored and truly not any filler aside from Miz/Show which wasn't something to fret over by any means. The stage has clearly been set for the top few matches at SummerSlam and I feel like the groundwork has been laid for some things we don't know of yet. With that in mind, I'd say this show was quite the success.

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