August 28, 2014 by Joey Keogh
The WWE bosses were away this week and, as a result, everything went to hell – only, not in the fun, loopy way we usually expect. This week’s episode of Raw was inconceivably dull, with several matches ending in a DQ and no storyline progression whatsoever. One of the highlights was Sheamo doing commentary in a Paddy cap. Another was Nikki Bella cutting a pretty decent promo, in full-on heel mode. If that doesn’t give you an indication of how shit this week’s Raw was, well, it kicked off with a so-called Hall Of Fame Forum, during which three legendary Superstars discussed – who else! – John Cena.
Speaking of Cena, he’s getting a rematch with Lesnar at Night Of Champions, because WWE are all out of ideas and Reigns isn’t goddamn ready yet, god damn it (that’s Vince, communicating via this recap). Michael Cole is in the ring to introduce everyone because Jerry ain’t getting out of his seat unless there are Divas involved. Hogan enters first, looking like a giant rasher as he so often does, followed by Ric Flair and finally HBK, whose expression screams “I DID THIS FOR MONEY”. They sit behind what appears to be the announce table, and funnily enough the camera doesn’t pan to the left once, for the entire segment, so it’s totally possible that JBL and King are just hovering in midair over there.
They spend the next ten minutes or so talking utter bollocks, mostly about knowing when it’s “your time”, seemingly forgetting that not one of them did when it was, indeed, his time. There’s a weird animosity in the group, particularly with regards to Hogan, so it’s even more uncomfortable that these three are allowed to ramble on for so long. Flair pokes Hogan a little (literally) until Cena turns up to completely destroy all of the goodwill from his incredible Summerslam beat-down by being all goofy and “My time is now” about it before telling Hogan that, without him, there’d be no Cena. It’s hard to tell what Hogan’s reaction is, since he never takes his shades off, but we can only assume he doesn’t care. HBK, on the other hand, looks as though he’s taking a nap.
This is the biggest rematch of Cena’s entire career, and he’s not planning to beat Lesnar, he’s planning to beat Lesnar’s ASS, y’all. Later on, he’ll be up against Bray Wyatt, who, along with his swamp brothers, is being buried for no good reason. Also, The Usos will be fighting to retain the tag team championship against the Rhodes brothers. But first, remember the worst match of Summerslam? Remember the piss break you took? Well, prepare yourself, because here it comes again! But longer! And with no Zeb Colter in sight because, unlike Cena, he can sell a goddamn beating.
Rusev -v- Jack Swagger
If you care at all about these two, please cease your flag-waving for just a moment and try to understand that this unnecessarily long, ultimately fruitless non-match is taking time away from those who actually deserve it, like Ziggler, for example, who later on has to fight someone pretending to be The Miz. Allow that to sink in for a second. Anyway, there’s lots of flag action en route to the ring, and then in the ring, and then Swagger goes for the Patriot Lock early on but it doesn’t go anywhere. Cole refers to a “take-down” that was more like a limp tackle, because he’s clearly watching a different match, while JBL is concerned that Swagger will have to leave the country if he loses again. Rusev counters an okay-looking Swagger Bomb, but then Swagger turns it into the Patriot Lock again, as Cole goes into full-blown announcer mode, sounding as though he’s calling horse racing instead of wrestling matches to which he’s paying little, if any, attention. Rusev goes for the totally dull Accolade, Swagger counters with the Patriot Lock again and there’s a near fall as his opponent predictably kicks out at two. Eventually, Rusev is just kicking Swagger over and over so the ref disqualifies him.
Later on, King will be chairing a “family reconciliation” between the Bellas because he is a dirty old man and gets off on this kind of thing. Also, coming up next, there will be a #1 Contenders Match for the Intercontinental Championship starring Rob Van Dam and Cesaro. But first, Swagger is backstage with the doctor, selling his injured ribs or whatever, when Bo shows up to tell him he’s let his country down yet again and just has to bo-lieve. Ignore this, it definitely won’t bite him in the ass later.
#1 Contenders Match for the IC Championship: Rob Van Dam -v- Cesaro
Sheamo is doing commentary for this match, and sadly he’s the most interesting element, kicking off with a friendly “what’s the story, lads?” to the commentators, which leads JBL to demand a translator. It doesn’t help that later on he refers to his “gruaige”. A decent uppercut from Cesaro starts the match off, which RVD follows up with a Rolling Thunder as Sheamo reveals he is the only person who remembers the Andre The Giant memorial trophy. He also reckons Cesaro misses his cheese. Speaking of whom, Cesaro utilises a Neutraliser to win after about two minutes and RVD doesn’t even really seem to mind. Afterwards, he robs Sheamo’s belt and then throws it at him. Some chick in the front row – in a Punk tee, of course – is really into it, too.
Divas Match: Paige -v- Natalya
After skipping to the ring, and then around it, Paige decks Nat and gets into trouble with the ref because girls have to play nice. Nat gets her in some sort of lady submission hold, before hitting a pretty cool Suplex, followed by a Sharpshooter. Paige makes it to the, er, apron, because, again, women, before utilising a Sharpshooter herself on her opponent. Nat tries to reverse, Paige breaks the hold, and administers the Paige Turner to win. Immediately following the match, AJ Lee turns up, en route to a Reel Big Fish show, and skips around before calling her “frenemy” her “little English muffin” and giving her the most awkward hug imaginable, followed by a kiss on the hand like she’s fucking Lord Byron. She claims they’re best buds and that she loves her, as some poor lad yells “You’re lying!” before skipping some more. We then get an instant, slo-mo replay of the hand-kissing because Raw is Smackdown now.
Next up, Seth Rollins is doing some sort of eulogy for Dean Ambrose, who has fucked off to “Hollywood” (i.e. Canada) to film a WWE movie that, hopefully, has nothing to do with being in the US Navy. Sadly-Corporate Kane emerges first, to stand next to a two-buck wreath and the best glamour shot of Ambrose imaginable, and explain that they’re not mourning, but rather celebrating the future of WWE, which is of course Rollins. Clad in an all-black suit that does nothing to disguise his desire to be the sixth member of All Time Low, Rollins explains that he was the leader of The Shield, and that he chose Ambrose because he had no fear, felt no pain and looked damn good with that one, gold hoop earring. But The Authority always win, and as we know, that’s exactly what happened. It’s incredibly hard to watch what happened to Ambrose last week, so let’s do it again, in slow motion. Rollins fake cries for a bit, then quickly switches to laughing maniacally. The whole thing can be summed up by two words – what if, and no, he doesn’t mean the Daniel Radcliffe rom-com. Suddenly, Reigns turns up to avenge Ambrose’s “death” even though he didn’t help him last week when he was being destroyed with cinder-blocks. “Uh oh” Cole remarks, simply. Kane attacks first, and gets chucked into the steps as a result, before Reigns takes on Rollins and wrecks the “memorial” in the process. He then clotheslines Rollins but Kane quickly drags his corpse away so Reigns can’t do any more damage. Boo. This whole ordeal is followed up with a long-ass replay of what happened during the intro to tonight’s show – and get used to it, as it’s the first of many.
Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos -v- Stardust & Goldust
Given this is the only match that is actually for anything tonight, it’s disappointing that it only lasts about twenty seconds. Stardust vamps at the barricade for a bit, to begin with, before being rolled up by an Uso early on. Goldust tags in and suffers a Samoan Drop as a result. An Uso leaps out to tackle Stardust outside the ring. He then sells his knee, or his leg, or something as he limps around and gets counted out, thereby keeping the championship but losing the match. Goldust is pissed, even though his make-up is untouched for once, and beats the shit out of the “injured” Uso after.
Winners: Stardust & Goldust
Backstage, Rollins is giving out to Kane, and demanding that something is done about Reigns. Kane is more interested in his cuffs, so he promises a match later. Then, there’s a weird Lesnar promo all about how he doesn’t want to be doing a promo at that exact moment in time. Heyman joins him, but doesn’t talk enough. He’s going to kill Cena, but we knew that already and suddenly it doesn’t seem a realistic prospect so this kind of sucks, too.
Dolph Ziggler -v- Damien Sandow as Damien Mizdow
That one chick from before is loving this too, especially when Miz emerges dressed as the fucking Tailor of Panama and reveals he will be using a stunt double tonight because he is that important and famous. He and Sandow mirror each other’s movements en route to the ring, which should be funnier than it is, before Ziggler super-kicks him into submission. Sandow goes for the Figure-4 but Ziggler makes it to the ropes, before administering the Zig Zag to win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
All of tonight’s matches have been stupidly short, apart from the first one, and now we know why – it’s because King is here to perv on the Bellas as he half-assedly forces them to “reconcile” and it’s going to take ages. Nikki is in a low-cut dress, while Brie has a plaid shirt tied around her waist because Daniel Bryan, yo. Funnily enough, this promo isn’t terrible, because unlike her sister, Nikki can actually talk and, although we couldn’t give a shit about their family feud, she’s a decent heel, particularly when she remarks that WWE fans are too “fat and ugly” to ever pull her. Brie does a really bad job of fake-crying as Nikki beats the shit out of her and eventually is dragged off by a delighted King. The same long-ass replay of the opening segment follows. Again.
2-on-1 Handicap Match: Roman Reigns -v- Seth Rollins & Kane
Kane now wrestles in slacks, everyone. Reigns only has eyes for Rollins tonight though, attacking him the very first chance he gets. JBL points out that break-ups are never easy, because he loves Tumblr fanfic just as much as the next middle-aged man. Reigns clotheslines Kane to get rid of him, so he can focus on Rollins, who then tries to attack him from behind and gets chucked into the barricade as a result. Reigns then spears Kane. Rollins tackles him with his briefcase, leading to another DQ, but even after the bell has rung, he lays into him at the ropes and chucks him into the barricade, echoing what happened to him earlier in the match. The ref admonishes both, to little effect. More cinder-blocks are revealed. Reigns grabs one and aims it at Rollins, leading it to smash all over the turnbuckle as the crowd yell “Yes”. Reigns delivers the Superman Punch to Kane, to end it all.
Bray Wyatt and his brothers get a short promo next. They deserve better, especially given what follows, but it seems like WWE don’t know what to do with them right now, which is really disappointing. Apparently, the show suffered a tonne of re-writes this week, which may explain why the Wyatts ended up shoved into the Main Event, kind of as an afterthought, but regardless they need to be handled better going forward.
Tag Team Match: Los Matadores -v- Titus O’Neill & Heath Slater
That other matador isn’t dead, which is good to know, and this week he and his brother are…Donatello! One of them rolls up Slater early on to win, which is sad as he gives his best while he has the chance. The coolest moment of the entire match comes before it even starts, as Titus and Slater cut a promo in the little confessional box about how one of them is the superhero, and the other his public persona. Are these two a thing now!?
Winners: Los Matadores
The same long-ass replay follows yet again. How many times is that? A million? The combined run time of these replays could be better utilised to showcase another match, damn it!
Bo Dallas -v- Kofi Kingston
Another short one, as we edge closer to the dull-as-fuck Main Event. Bo kicks things off, literally, with a superkick. Kofi has an unfortunate pattern on his trousers that makes it look as though he’s pissed himself. Bo fucks up his finisher but still wins with it. Afterwards, he gives a speech about how Kofi shouldn’t feel bad because at least he didn’t disappoint his country like Swagger who, of course, turns up to kick Bo’s butt. He then storms off, still selling his injured ribs like a pro.
Winner: Bo Dallas
Main Event: John Cena -v- Bray Wyatt
Finally, it’s the Main Event and, although at first it seems like it might be a decent one-on-one kind of thing, between two dudes we know work well together in the ring, it soon turns into a bizarre, six-man tag involving the other Wyatts, Mark Henry and Big Show, for no apparent reason. The Wyatts dominate, naturally, as one middle-aged couple in the front row look absolutely distraught at what’s unfolding before them. Big Show v Harper is the standout moment, but it’s not long before Cena is tagged in and takes over the whole thing, suplexing Harper before utilising an STF, out of which he taps, leading Cena to victory yet again. He then performs the AA on the other two Wyatts because he’s never going to be heel and we should just give up now.
Winner: John Cena
At the risk of sounding terribly negative, this was easily one of the worst Raws in a long time. Not only did nothing of note actually happen – the highlight was a Nikki Bella promo? Really? – but it harked back to that horrible stretch of time, during which Cena was equal parts dick and obvious winner, in spite of the fact he was still being sold as a goddamn face.
Considering last week was good, and Summerslam was great, we can only assume they dropped the ball this week, and things will pick up again on the next episode.
Having said that, we’ve got a Cena/Lesnar rematch to look forward to at Night Of Champions, so perhaps the best, or rather worst, is yet to come.
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