Wednesday, August 5, 2015
WWE Monday Night Raw Review - August 3rd, 2015
Seth Rollins opened the show sporting a shirt that appeared to be a parody of Cena's as it read "Never Shut Up" and was made in the same design as Cena's "Never Give Up" logo. The WWE Champion didn't mention it in his promo, surprisingly. He does what you'd expect and if you watched Smackdown, essentially the same thing he said there. Rollins brags about breaking Cena's nose and challenges him to a rematch for all the gold at SummerSlam. Oh boy. I wanted a match between the two, but not with the US Title on the line. Cena needs to keep that strap and Rollins needs to defend his title over Cena. I don't know what this will lead to. Anyway, it isn't long before Rollins decides to shift the focus from Cena to solely himself by taking a page out of the US Champion's book and issuing an open challenge for the WWE Title. At first, it appears like El Torito, of all people/things, is going to accept. I nearly turned my TV off then NEVILLE's MUSIC HITS! Here we go, boys!
1) Seth Rollins (c) vs. Neville - WWE World Heavyweight Title Match
Since it's become such a big buzz word in the recent year, I'll describe this match simply by saying - Neville connected and it was awesome. He didn't get that big of a pop to begin with, but once he started doing his stuff, the crowd was very receptive. Thanks to a few EXTREMELY close nearfalls, the WWE Universe (and myself) really got invested in this match. Rollins made Neville look amazing, as if he didn't look great enough on his own. It's just that some of the nearfalls here were so believable whether it be Neville rolling through the pedigree or the three count after the red arrow that meant nothing because Rollins' foot was on the ropes. Between those happenings and Neville breaking out things he's yet to do on the main roster like the reverserana and the top rope hurricanarana, the crowd was on FIRE which only added to what was already a great contest. In the end, a second red arrow attempt is missed and Rollins nails Neville with a fairly sloppy pedigree for the win. I miss the curb stomp SO much. Fantastic match, none the less. I can't think of a better way to start Raw than this.
Match rating - ****
2) The New Day & The Ascension vs. Lucha Dragons & Los Matadores
This is a rematch from Smackdown. That match was fun, but it's not something you'd expect to see them give more time to. Well, they did here and I'd say it was worth it. New Day & Lucha Dragons had their usual good exchanges with Los Matadores continuing to step it up by, as Darren Young says, wowing the crowd. Ascension wasn't bad at all here either despite not being a major part of the contest. The finishing sequence was crazy and the crowd was into it. Really enjoyable match. Kofi gets The New Day their win back from the Dragons on Smackdown with Trouble in Paradise on the top turnbuckle to Kalisto. After this, I'm so ready for what I'm guessing will be a four way tag title match at SummerSlam.
Match rating - ***
3) Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. The Bellas
Who knew this would end up being the best match to come out of the Divas revolution movement thus far. You'd think Paige/Sasha would've been it, but it didn't deliver on the level you'd expect. So much so that it combined a few other matches that weren't anything special aside from getting more time than normal, almost killed all my buzz about this divas movement. Then this happened and it was a lot of fun. The crowd actually seemed to care which was the first plus, then everything in the match flowed together well and it turned out to be quite the contest. Becky got isolated for a period of time then Charlotte got the hot tag and started cleaning house with chops. Nice closing exchange between all four divas with a close fall or two thrown in there. Nikki & Charlotte trade reversals until the Divas Champ ends up in the figure eight and TAPS OUT! Charlotte taps out the Divas champ to a good pop.
Match rating - ***
Miz TV with Kevin Owens & Cesaro
Man, this show is on a roll and it continues here. First off, Miz pays tribute to Roddy Piper which was cool to see then things get rolling. KO is out to talk about Cesaro only to be interrupted by him. The Swiss Superman is looking spiffy in a suit. He & Owens trade words, both look strong and get some punch lines in. Cesaro challenges him to a fight and Owens walks only to come back in and push Miz into Cesaro. Owens throws Cesaro for the pop up powerbomb, CESARO STOPS IT AND GOES FOR THE SWING! Owens rolls out under the ropes before Cesaro can swing him around. Great way to hype up this feud some more.
Segment rating - ***1/4
4) Rusev vs. Mark Henry
It's 2015 and it's Rusev against Mark Henry. You know what this was. A squash. Rusev has been on his best run yet lately and while this may seem like it slowed that down, it wasn't bad for him by any means as he continued to look strong and pick up a win. This just gave me flashbacks to how he was booked when he first came onto the scene. I'm also bummed that they didn't do anything to follow up the great match that he had with Jack Swagger on Smackdown this past week.
Match rating - **
5) Bad News Barrett vs. Zack Ryder
I thought this would be just another squash. Instead, Zack Ryder actually got some of his stuff in for once. Broski boot, face plant, etc. It leads to nothing in the end though as BNB nails him with a bullhammer for the win. It's a shame that they are struggling to keep Barrett relevant after his KOTR win.
Match rating - **1/4
Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman address his upcoming match with The Undertaker
This was your typical Lesnar/Heyman segment which is never a bad thing because Paul is just so good at what he does. Brock did a few things different though as he taunted the commentators which was a nice callback to past happenings. He then proceeded to throw a set of steel steps in the ring and stood on them while Heyman ripped it up with one of his signature promos. Not anything more, not anything less.
Segment rating - ***1/4
6) Paige vs. Naomi
Once again, a match I expected to be really good in this Divas revolution falls flat. They had some good exchanges, but I never got into what they were doing at all. The tag match earlier in the night between The Bellas and Charlotte & Becky Lynch was much better. This wasn't bad though. In fact, on average Divas standards, this was solid. It just isn't the match worth checking out if you missed that you would expect from these two.
Match rating - **1/2
7) Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, & Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, & Sheamus
I had dyed down from the hot start that Raw got off to so I wasn't as hyped as I was originally for this contest. Well, needless to say, that changed once it got started. From the get go, it felt like these six competitors were in high gear. Ambrose & Harper started things off in wild fashion so that's probably why as Dean laid out Harper, Wyatt, AND Sheamus with a crossbody off the top turnbuckle to the floor just minutes in. The entire duration of this match was hard hitting and intense. Reigns & Sheamus had an exchange that was almost reminiscent of something you'd see in NJPW as they traded stiff shots all around the ring. This felt like a true fight and that resulted in one or two moments of sloppiness, but it just went with the style they were working and what they were portraying - six men with serious issues with one another. The final seven or eight minutes of this match exemplified that perfectly as it was completely insane. I can't even begin to name everything that took place. Reigns went nuts with a number of assisted dropkicks on the apron and the announce table. Ambrose did a dive that sent Harper over the announce table to the other side. AHHH! Just so many amazing exchanges, I don't know where to start or go from here... just watch this match and thank me later. Awesome stuff, one of the best TV matches this year.
Match rating - ****
Overall thoughts: Extremely hot start, dull middle, and a hot finish. If the middle hadn't included so much filler this could be looked at as one of the better Raw's of the year and it still might because nothing was outright bad and there were two matches well worth going out of your way to see. The first line of this paragraph is essentially this show in a nutshell and I don't think much else needs to be said. Therefore, I'll leave it with this - watch the first hour & a half and the main event. You won't be disappointed.