Monday, August 17, 2015

WWE Monday Night Raw Review - August 17th, 2015

The Authority opened the show essentially to just plug SummerSlam. They run down the top three matches and aside from a minor miscue, this was an amazingly well done segment. I honestly had forgotten about some matches on the card and this reminded me how loaded things really are. I think the 4 hour timeslot will work well for this. Hopefully each match gets a fair amount time as it appears they will.

1) Sheamus & Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro & Randy Orton
Cesaro & Orton back teaming had me hype from the get go. That swing into the RKO spot from a few weeks ago was epic. PLUS Cesaro and Sheamus are in the same match so that's bound to be awesome and... it was! Cesaro was extra over on this night with a great ovation that just got louder as the match went on. Not to mention all the Cesaro section signs perfectly placed in front of the hard cam with people going nuts. Everyone looked good here with Sheamus & Cesaro's exchange near the end being the highlight. Cesaro went for the Chris Hero spring in the ropes to the apron thing and got caught, JUST like Hero did in NOAH. I think it's time they stop doing that considering how tall they are and how rough it typically looks. Despite that, Big Kev did his best to cover it up by grabbing his leg and the commentators followed suit with the same story. Orton got in unbeknownst to Sheamus and nailed him with an RKO after an awkward attempt at one on KO. The final few moments were a little awkward as mentioned, but the good outweighed the bad here. Super fun stuff.

Match rating - ***

Undertaker is advertised as next. Well, he was next in a pre-filmed segment that was your typical "Deadman speaks" stuff. Short and to the point so I can't complain.

2) Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper

I thought their battle on Smackdown that ended in a DQ finish was good, but turns out they were only getting started. I'll never get tired of seeing Shield members face off with Wyatt Family members. It's just a special chemistry every time. Reigns & Harper did what they do best here by hitting hard and providing fans with an intense fight from start to finish. Some of the strikes here were so vicious that you'd think you were watching a strong style contest out of Japan. Harper hit one of the most brutal looking kicks I've ever seen that mowed down Reigns, it really HAS to be seen. Everything about this match was awesome, pretty much. Ambrose was on commentary for this and really sold the match at SummerSlam even moreso. Is there any way it won't be a MOTY candidate? I doubt it. Great slugfest preview here.

Match rating - ***1/2

3) Tamina vs. Becky Lynch
There's not much to really talk about here. It was time to cool down after the hot first hour, really, but specifically after Reigns/Harper. This was both women's first singles match on Raw in some time and it wasn't a bad effort whatsoever. Becky looks good and gets the win in fairly quick fashion.

Match rating - **1/4

4) Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) vs. Mark Henry
Here comes Mark Henry with the american flag. Dear Lord. Mark is great, I just am bummed that they didn't follow up the great contest Rusev had with Swagger on Smackdown a few weeks ago. It was the best one they had ever and I feel like it would've been a solid filler feud to have until Ziggler returned as it would kill two birds with stones by making up for the lackluster Swagger/Rusev feud last year. Anyway, Henry nails two big slams early only to get dominated and forced to tap to the accolade after a pretty valiant fight. Rusev celebrates as a flag with his face on it drops behind him. That was wonderful.

Match rating - **

After the match, Lana hits the ring and takes her heels off and starts yelling for Summer. The crowd's pretty excited. CATFIGHT ROUND 5?!?! Summer gets in the ring and throws her heels off and SLAP TO THE FACE FROM LANA! BAH GAWD!! Lana asks for Rusev to enter the ring, what on earth. He kind of corners her and the crowd starts chanting for Ziggler and sure enough, his music hits for a huge pop! This rules! Ziggler storms the ring and takes out Rusev in awesome fashion! He goes for a superkick AND ALMOST NAILS SUMMER! Rusev put her in front of him and ENZIGURI FROM LANA! DUDE!! Ziggler then drops Rusev and he & Lana stand tall. I really got into this. Ziggler is back and the crowd loves him just as much as ever. Can't wait to see him back in action!

5) Ryback vs. The Miz
The IC Title picture is in such a low place. Ryback, Miz & Show have been engaging in an exchange of words & matches over the past two months and nothing notable has taken place. Despite that, Ryback still manages to make the best of things. Tonight was the perfect example as he came out to a somewhat sour reaction. A mix between no reaction, boos, and a few cheers. By the end of the contest/segment, the whole audience was chanting "Feed Me More" as Ryback called out Big Show. I hope Ryback gets placed in something more memorable after this because his efforts are going unnoticed and unappreciated.

Match rating - **

Contract Signing for The Champion vs Champion Match at SummerSlam
I'm going to bottom line this. Grade A promos from Seth Rollins and John Cena. That's what this was and it was awesome. Rollins delivered what I thought was a great speech only for John Cena to top his by a pretty big margin as I totally forgot what Rollins even said. Cena is still the best at what he does. This segment left me wondering what would happen on Sunday which is what it should have done. Rollins is either going to sink or swim following the outcome of Sunday's big match.

Segment rating - ****

6) Prime Time Players & Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores, Big E, & Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods)
The most disappointing tag team division centered contest in weeks, possibly months. Only because it was so short. I'd say this went a total of three minutes, if that. Woods got into it with the bull. Titus randomly tags in Kalisto. Springboard hurricarana for the pin. I'm so confused, guess they were pushed for time.

Match rating - *1/2

7) Nikki Bella vs. Sasha Banks
This is a pretty big match up on paper. It's Divas Champ vs NXT Champ. For that reason, I expected them to go all out here. Well, they didn't however they still produced a solid match that I enjoyed. It just felt like it should have had a bigger feel. Things were going fine then the crowd began chanting "We Want Lesnar" amidst the match which made me cringe. I feel like they wasted the opportunity to make this champions vs champions match something big and the chant made it worse. Not only because it was during a Divas match they were giving more time than normal during this new "revolution", but also because it was between the two top divas which I'm sure doesn't make WWE have more faith in the division as a whole when the champions get a chant like that. Although, the other side of this is that things like that happen and are expected. They are on Brock's home turf after all. I think it was just the positioning of the match on the card and not the match itself. Let's hope that's how WWE sees it. The last thing we need is a Divas DEvolution.

Match rating - **1/2

Brock Lesnar's Homecoming
I start most of Brock's segments with this and the trend continues here because there's no better way to put it - Heyman delivered the goods here. A faux gong and lights out thing happened so Heyman continued. The gong hits and the lights go out again and this time, Taker appears. KICK TO THE NUTS! CHOKESLAM TO LESNAR! The crowd is booing Taker for the first time in forever. Taker finishes things off with a tombstone piledriver. I'm really confused coming out of this. But also kind of happy. I wondered why WWE just let fans continue to cheer Taker after his return started with a cheap move like a low blow. I guess they wanted the WWE Universe to have their moment until Taker did it again and solidified himself as a bad guy. Is that what he did here? I have no clue, honestly. This was Brock's hometown so maybe that was the reasoning for it since they new Brock would be more popular in this instance. I guess we'll find out based on the crowd reaction at SummerSlam. This certainly left everyone with more questions heading into SummerSlam than we had before.

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