June 5, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Tumblr is going mental over what happened on Raw this week, because Batista quit y’all! That’s not really why, obviously, but we’ll get to it. First, there are some lovely photos of Payback last night because people can still pay for it (even though surely most of us have the Network by now, right!?) We’re in Indianapolis tonight, which means lots of “USA!” chants and a pretty crazy reaction when Evolution stroll out, looking smug and bruised – Triple H is sporting a pretty impressive shiner, Batista is hiding something behind shades and Randy Orton is still not wearing pants – to reveal that this very dull feud with The Shield is still not over.
In fact, according to Trips, it won’t be over until the Hounds Of Justice are no more. There’s a massive “Boo-tista” chant as the man himself leans against the ropes (he may be sleeping) and seemingly wishes he were elsewhere. Basically, he wants the title match he was apparently promised but the boss points out that the champ is currently injured so that’s not possible. He also does not want to continue this feud with The Shield, because clearly he’s as bored with it as we are (though that is his go-to emotion, so it’s kind of hard to tell). Trips says no, he’s the boss, and it ain’t over till he says it is.
Boo doesn’t take this well. He quits on the spot and then does a weird wave like the Queen, that we are going to see replayed for the rest of the night, before strolling off as Trips yells “Dave! Dave! Come back!” and Orton stands next to him trying to hide how utterly ecstatic he is at this development. Trips actually also yells “You gonna run back to Hollywood!?” too which is pretty amazing, and a “Yes” chant quickly starts as everyone celebrates the supposed end of this nightmare. Backstage, some random work experience child asks Batista to confirm whether he’s quit and he, once again, flubs his lines while using the word “crap” over and over again, thus confusing the situation further.
Tag Team Match: Rob Van Dam & Sheamus -v- Cesaro & Bad News Barrett
It’s unclear why the hell RVD has been paired with Sheamo for this match, but anyway here we are. Cesaro continues that weird walk from last night, with the puffed-out chest, as he enters the ring but it’s BNB who gets the biggest pop out of everyone. He even turns up in the little box, in the corner of the screen, that wrestlers get trapped in sometimes – much like the suicide bubble of death in Mario – to deliver some bad news, which is that RVD will be eating a Bullhammer tonight. His bad news is more often good news, actually. Paul Heyman is on commentary, which means lots of references to breaking the streak and being “the one behind 21 and one”. The match kicks off with Sheamo eating a boot in the corner, courtesy of Cesaro, before he turns it around with a flying shoulder as Heyman notes that he should be ashamed of being Irish. He goes for the Ten Beats, almost as though he heard him, but Cesaro counters, tagging BNB in. RVD quickly gains entrance and immediately proves he can kick surprisingly high for a man of his size and stature. When he wakes up, he can be kind of okay, but most of the time he just ambles around, confusing the flow of the match – he never seems to gel with anyone either, as his recent bouts have proven. Heyman points out that Sheamo doesn’t know how to properly finish a match, as he chose to end his bout last night with a small package. It was lame, he’s totally right, and it made Cesaro look like shit, but he’s Sheamo so what does it matter. Barrett administers a pretty brutal neckbreaker on RVD, before throwing him out of the ring, giving Cesaro an opportunity to sneak up behind him and chuck him into the barricade. Meanwhile, Heyman is turning everything into his spiel about Taker, much to the commentators’ delight/annoyance (JBL/Cole). Finally, we get the much-anticipated Ireland v England showdown as Sheamo and Barrett face each other in the ring, the former going for the Brogue Kick but missing as Cesaro cuddles Heyman ringside and is subsequently carried off in tears like a big baby. Barrett delivers the Winds Of Change, Sheamo kicks out before managing the Brogue Kick on his second try, after which RVD wins it for them with a decent-looking 5-Star Frog Splash.
Winners: Rob Van Dam & Sheamus (the power of well-placed kicks)
Later on, The Usos are going to be facing the other Wyatts because Bray is off on his annual holiday to the swamp and won’t be back until Smackdown. In the meantime, Damien Sandow continues his cosplaying misadventures by emerging as basketball star Lance Stephenson, who plays for the Pacers – because everyone gets that joke. A real member of that team is sitting ringside and he is not amused. Sandow is here to troll the fans by telling them how Le Bron James is the greatest player of all time and the Pacers suck ass. A “You suck” chant echoes around the arena, but for those of us watching elsewhere, this all rings fairly hollow. Sandow demonstrates a public display of his skills, during which the real player looks even less amused (he must be fun at parties) before Big Show returns from his hiatus we forgot he was on to deliver the knockout punch and sink a basket, before wandering off looking happy as always. He deserves better than this though, they both do, and good lord there is no need for a recap, WWE! Are you trying to bore us all to death!?
Kofi Kingston -v- Bo Dallas
These two lads suffered the indignity of their match being interrupted by THE DEMON KANE, as his mother calls him, last night so they’re getting a second shot at it now. Apparently, THE DEMON KANE was pissed off because Kofi tweeted something rude about him – does this technically count as breaking the fourth wall? Bo starts off by telling the assembled crowd that their beloved Pacers were only beaten by Miami because that team bo-lieeeeeeved. Wait, so are we supposed to follow real sports now too, in order to understand wrasslin’? Really? After he administers one, fairly okay, move on Kofi, Bo celebrates by yelling “I’m winning!” and running excitedly around the ring, but a great dropkick from his opponent sends him flying out. This is a ridiculously friendly match – which makes sense, seeing as these are two of the most jovial Superstars – as the two shake each other’s hands and pat each other on the back mid-combat. Kofi is his usual, impressively acrobatic self, but a neckbreaker by Bo dismantles him, and a running Bo Dog seals his fate in less-than-spectacular fashion.
Winner: Bo Dallas (celebrating with a victory lap, during which he does not get punched, once again)
Backstage, Renee is with Stephanie Mc Mahon, who is on her way to the ring for a scoop which means there was no reason to include this moment in the show, or to reference it here. Steph is booed out of it, as always, as she tells the assembled crowd that Daniel Bryan is selfish because he didn’t choose the WWE Universe (just like Punk, according to a certain faction of loony loons) and made his wife take the fall for him, too. A reference to Brie slapping Steph gets some serious cheers, as a sign which appears to read that Bryan sucks is revealed in the crowd and the dude holding it celebrates for being so bloody clever. Bryan is now set to face THE DEMON KANE in a stretcher match at the next PPV, Money In The Bank, but if he can’t compete by then, the ladder match will be for the World Heavyweight Championship instead. John Cena turns up to stick his nose in, as usual, but he’s cheered as he enters, which is totally bizarre. The boos begin as soon as he reaches the ring, though.
He tips to ball-cap to Steph like an old English gent, before telling her “these people like me about as much as they like you” which isn’t true because he’s more hated than her. He stops mid-sentence to listen out for the “Cena sucks” chant as his proponents try to make themselves heard also. Using his “y’all” accent tonight, because of the location, Cena informs Steph that she’s a jealous, spoiled egomaniac and, as someone who had to surrender the title due to injury, what she’s doing to Bryan is totally unfair. It’s actually a pretty good promo for how great Bryan is, even if Steph counteracts it with her usual B+ nonsense. “He’s not like you, John” she says, trying to butter him up as he makes a fleeting reference to her “surgeries”. A “You suck” chant erupts, thanks to Cena for once instead of for him, and Steph reaches her breaking point as she reveals that he’s going to face THE DEMON KANE right now. “Payback‘s a bitch, John” she tells him. No Steph, that was last night, you should’ve said something like, “You’re gonna be so Raw after this” Sure, it makes no sense, but neither does what she said.
John Cena -v- Kane
Was Kane just waiting backstage, in his ring gear, for this to happen? Is he really still in cahoots with The Authority even though he’s all evil again? Cole is still introducing him as “the demon Kane” as though he’s just commuted here from the depths of Hell, but really “corporate Kane” or “in a nice suit without a ratty wig glued to his head Kane” was better, and more interesting as a character. Considering this match was just sprung on him, and he took quite the beating from Bray last night, Cena is surprisingly full of energy, even if he does have to suffer a brutal side walk slam from Kane pretty early on. The duelling chants continue to battle for supremacy throughout, as Kane counters Cena’s attempt at the Attitude Adjustment with a swift elbow. He’s then disqualified as he drags Cena into the corner and refuses to let up on him. The referee flees. There’s a sign which reads “Cena Socks” (presumably a new merch item) and another regarding an undefeated swim team, because that is totally relevant to Monday Night Raw and definitely something about which one should brag on national TV. Kane continues to attack Cena, but is thrown into the turnbuckle before his opponent lifts up the steps – with great difficulty, as always – and throws them at him. This does not please Kane, who tears the sign off the announce table in annoyance and stalks off. The commentators then stand to deliver their next pieces to-camera, even though all of their shit is intact and there is no reason to do so.
Winner: John Cena (by DQ, but he picked up those steps, so good for him)
A replay of Batista quitting follows, before the action moves backstage, where Renee is chatting with Orton, who struggles to conceal his glee. He informs her that he and Trips are on the same page, because he does what he’s told (except when it comes to wearing pants) and, to prove it, he’s got a match against Roman Reigns later.
Tag Team Match: Los Matadores -v- Drew Mc Intyre & Heath Slater of 3MB
At first, it was kind of hard to tell who was involved in this non-match because, well, who really gives a shit? It opens with Slater interrupting 3MB‘s awesome entrance theme to reveal that Hornswoggle has magically grown his hair back overnight and is now sporting an Afro. As he so succinctly puts it, “he’s back and better than ever, baybay“. Drew and, er, apparently Diego, then kick things off before Slater tags in. Torito takes the opportunity to tear Swoggle’s wig off, and he flees the arena in embarrassment, much like the bull did after he lost his tail. “Go to commercial!” yells JBL, “Someone call PETA!” Diego uses the distraction to pin Slater to win and that’s really it.
Winner: Los Matadores (Diego might have won it for them, or the other one)
The biggest shock of the night comes when it’s revealed that Dolph Ziggler has a match later, against none other than Alberto Del Rio, to qualify for Money In The Bank. Considering these two are being buried for no apparent reason, this is really quite a shock. Nothing else will shock us more than this.
Divas Handicap Match: Nikki Bella -v- Alicia Fox & Aksana
“Stop putting Aksana in matches!” scream the Divas collectively, “She’ll kill us all!” Poor Nikki looks so weird dancing by herself as she makes her entrance, but at least she’s dressed for a sexy baseball rave, y’know, in case one breaks out later. She loses her hat getting into the ring but, don’t worry, she gets it back before the match starts. It is the source of all her power after all. Aksana takes her on first, looking pretty rough as usual, before Nikki delivers an elbow to Alicia, after which she pins her, but Aksana breaks it up. Then Alicia pins Nikki to win. And that’s it. Apparently this was Steph’s idea, because she wants to punish Nikki for her sister quitting. That sounds like a totally normal reaction, much like when Alicia chooses to celebrate her win by chucking Nikki out of the ring onto her latex-clad butt. Considering there really were no other moves during this match, this is easily the most exciting moment. “You’re rude” screams someone in the front row who’s never been to a wrestling event, at Alicia. She delivers a backbreaker and then throws Nikki into the barricade, but she keeps her hat on, so all is right with the world.
Winners: Aksana & Alicia Fox (most dangerous tag team ever?)
An empty rocking chair sits idly by as Luke Harper gets to, once again, demonstrate his keen ability as a speaker. A sea of cellphone lights bathes the arena in an eerie glow as he ominously tells us all to “follow the buzzards”. Raw is so weird without any lengthy Bray Wyatt promos, but at least Harper has the whole mad-eyed preacher thing down. Plus his shirt looks really grotty, so that helps to set the mood.
Adam Rose -v- Jack Swagger
As we return from commercials, Zeb Colter is already in the ring, informing everyone that Rose needs to be deported back to, er, that place where he’s from where people sound kind of British, Australian and American all at once. His posse have no jobs either, so they should totally be in jail. The “We The People” chant goes down disturbingly well, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of times “USA!” is chanted tonight. Rose spends much of this match slapping Swagger’s butt and then running off looking terribly coy about it, which is odd considering he isn’t terrible in the ring, and could just focus on being a good fighter instead. Light on his feet, with good timing and a toughness to him that comes out in quick, bone-crunching bursts, he’s a surprisingly good match for Swagger. JBL wants the other commentators to stop tweeting/texting each other and pay attention to the match, but they just love bitching about him when he’s sitting right next to them. There’s a pretty cool Atomic Drop, followed by a neckbreaker, before Rose utilises the Party Foul to win.
Winner: Adam Rose (proving how manly he is one win at a time)
Backstage, following the match, The Usos are with that one dude who’s not Renee, who shows up sometimes for no reason, discussing how excited they are for their totally unimportant, non-title match yo! They had a BLAST last night at Payback, so much so that one Uso can’t even control his head anymore! The other impersonates a dog, and the man who is not Renee is suitably impressed.
The Usos -v- Luke Harper & Erick Rowan of The Wyatt Family
There’s no entrance for the two swamp people, they just appear in the ring like magic – kind of like how Sabrina used to do it, only they don’t have to point at their heads first. The rocking chair sits ringside, symbolising their leader and moving in the non-existent wind. Rowan starts off against an Uso, possibly Jimmy, who is bandaged up around his middle for no apparent reason. The weirdo strokes his beard after each move, which is a nice touch, but for the most part he chooses to focus on how deranged/vicious/quick he is, with a series of crazy punches and kicks. This isn’t a spot-heavy match, but it’s brutal and intense, especially when Harper stands on an Uso’s arm for what feels like ages, before tying him into a headlock in the middle of the ring and refusing to let go until he’s almost purple. As is their wont, The Usos inevitably move the action out of the ring, first with Jey leaping out to tackle Rowan, followed by Harper, and then Jimmy. The Usos then aim from the top rope, but Harper counters with his knees. He’s clothes-lined as he’s mid-preacher stance, but he kicks out and Rowan quickly wins it for them.
Winners: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (do they have to drag that chair backstage now or what?)
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Dolph Ziggler -v- Alberto Del Rio
There’s a big pop for Ziggler as he enters, and lots of signs are visible in the crowd too, which is great to see considering this is the first actual shot he’s had in ages. The two start off with some typical chain-wrestling before a dropkick sends Ziggler flying. Cole takes the opportunity to remind us that Ziggler used to be someone, which is really mean of him. Del Rio spends most of the match focusing on his opponent’s arm, while Ziggler bounces about trying to avoid him. He aims off the top rope, Del Rio catches him in mid-air, he spins it around to deliver a backbreaker but then Ziggler counters that with a dropkick which is super cool to see. He follows it up with a Fame-Asser but Del Rio subsequently wins it with a cross-armbreaker, meaning he gets a shot in a few weeks and Ziggler does not. Suffice to say the crowd are not best pleased (nor are we).
Winner: Alberto Del Rio (perhaps he’ll celebrate by waving his scarf around some more)
Tag Team Match: Rybaxel -v- Goldust & Sin Cara
There are lots of tag team matches tonight, but this one is probably the most fun/interesting because first off, Goldust‘s brother Cody Rhodes chose The Artist Formerly Known As Sin Cara as his replacement (seriously, was there no one else available?) and second, because Rybaxel are involved and they’re wearing their special friendship hats. Cody watches backstage in a suit throughout, as the crowd chant “Goldberg” and poor Goldust wishes he’d never got clean in the first place. He delivers an impressive inverted Atomic Drop on Curtis Axel, but it is Ryback who is most surprising this match, as he proves he’s quite light on his feet when he wants to be and can actually bring the heat if given half a chance. He and Axel might be presenting themselves as dumbass school bullies, but they work well together, bouncing off each other and feeding off their own combined energy. Some dude in the front row yells “Kill him!” like a hick stereotype at one point, but nobody else really seems to care. There’s a dropkick from Axel that lands pretty well, as he gets in Goldy’s face and asks him menacingly “where’s your brother now?” A faceplant wins it for the bullying twosome and they celebrate with the sharing of hats and meat (presumably, maybe they just feel each other up?). Cody and Goldust both look on the verge of tears following the loss, but JBL reckons it’s because Sin Cara can’t speak any English.
Winners: Rybaxel (bullies are champs, kids)
Up next, there’s a bizarre segment revolving around the presenting of some sort of hero medal to Alexander Rusev for his victory last night against Big E. Lana comes out first, of course, and her over-pronounciation of the word “armour” almost makes up for the bad Photoshop of Edward Snowden on the Titantron behind her – apparently, he’s hanging out in the same spot as Putin! There are lots of stupid “USA” chants during this bit, which Lana consistently shushes. Rusev’s suit barely fits him and one suspects the box on which he is placed to receive his medal is buckling under his weight, but at least the crowd get covered in confetti as the Russian national anthem plays. Piss break anyone?
Main Event: Randy Orton -v- Roman Reigns
An opportunistic chick gropes Roman Reigns as The Shield enter, celebrating afterwards like he’s just cum on her face. Dean Ambrose takes the mic first, naturally, and speaks of “domination” and other arousing things that he shouldn’t be saying with so many, audibly sex-starved, ladies present. The reason they’ve survived this long, Reigns reckons, is because Evolution are strangers, but The Shield are brothers. He refers to his fist as the symbol of excellence once again, before demanding that Orton come out and make sweet, sweet love to him in front of everyone (oil optional). Seth Rollins runs to steal people’s chairs from under their butts, as Trips enters with Orton and a big ol’ sledgehammer in tow. “This is Plan B” he states ominously, not moving. The air hangs thick with tension. The arena is near silent. And then, almost in slow motion, Rollins takes a chair and lays waste to Reigns and Ambrose with it, as Orton and Trips watch gleefully from the ramp. A “You sold out” chant starts almost immediately, as Rollins delivers his finisher – some form of curbstomper or something – on Ambrose. There are literally grown men ringside yelling “Whyyyyyyy?” like they’ve just been dumped as the commentators, for once justifiably, struggle to find the words to describe what’s going on. Rollins hands the chair to Orton and he finishes the job on Reigns, removing his shirt and vest to reveal some nasty bruises from the night before. He administers the RKO and the three new members of Evolution stand over The Shield while the crowd chants that they sold out. Suddenly, Triple H‘s promise from earlier, that this won’t be over until The Shield exist no more, rings horribly true.
Winner: ? (the bell didn’t even ring)
The main talking point of this week’s episode is pretty obvious, and as previously mentioned, Tumblr is already awash with crazy fan-art depicting how Rollins has sold out and, crucially, how the other members of The Shield are going to comfort each other after his departure. It’s all very disturbing, hysterical and over-the-top, as per usual, but it captures in some small way just how much of a shock this was, and I cannot remember the last time that WWE truly shocked me. This was a major development, perfectly set up by Batista quitting in the introduction, which gave us a false sense of security that the rest of the show would be by-the-numbers and dull.
Aside from Rollins quitting his team and joining up with the old baldies (is he going to shave his head now, too?), this Raw boasted some decent matches, with Harper and Rowan stepping out of their leader’s shadow to make their mark against The Usos, themselves currently quite strong, Barrett finally facing up to Sheamo in what has to be the most obvious setup for a feud ever, Ziggler actually getting a shot at something before quickly losing it again, and even Cena delivering a great promo in support of Bryan, before squaring up to Kane in a throwaway, yet still entertaining, match-up.
It’s difficult to say how the story is going to progress from here, but considering how well executed that final twist was, hopefully this is the start of something very special, and not the end.