June 2, 2015 by Joey Keogh
Elimination Chamber was so much pure, unadulterated fun last night it was almost too good to be true and, sure enough, RAW was absolute trash this week – which is especially worrying, considering there’s only one more episode to go before the next PPV. We open with the first of many, many replays before a very pissed-off looking Authority descend sombrely to the ring. Pop quiz: can you remember a time when RAW didn’t start with a twenty-minute Authority promo? Steph’s dress looks like a particularly moss-ridden wall, while Rollins, currently belt-less, has neglected to compensate with one of those oversized hats he’s so accustomed to wearing. Nobody has seen or heard from Dean Ambrose…since last night! Dun dun duuuun. Maybe he’s, you know, sleeping off that massive match he had. There’s a lot of heat for sulky Rollins, because we’re still in Texas after all, but otherwise the San Antonio crowd are dead until Trips says “shut up” and “ass”. Predictably, Reigns shows up in place of Ambrose to speak for him because I guess he’s his manager now or something? What a huge step up for him! He, meaning Ambrose, wants a ladder match at the PPV for the belt. Trips is all like “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” even though literally all past behaviour suggests otherwise. Rollins has a mini-tanti and tells everyone he doesn’t need them anymore and then runs off to cry and listen to My Chem. Trips and Steph look embarrassed but instead of apologising for their son’s behaviour, like the more grounded parents on My Super Sweet 16, they punish Reigns by giving him a match right NOW that he must win or else he loses his shot in the MITB ladder match, like all the majority of parents on My Super Sweet 16. Can you hear that? It’s everyone simultaneously rolling their eyes at the realisation that this is going to be the premise of the entire goddamn show.
King Barrett Vs. Roman Reigns
The Money In The Bank briefcase is already hanging ominously over the ring, but the question is; what’s inside? Money? An ostrich? Rollins’ “vibrating toothbrush”? Ambrose? We don’t get to find out because Barrett wastes no time attacking Reigns who is, without a doubt, the Cena of this match as he valiantly takes a beating only to re-emerge, against all odds, in the end as the victor. Before that happens, though, we get some nice offence from Barrett, who focuses on debilitating head-locks and the awesome Winds Of Change which, somehow, is no match for Reigns’s pithy Samoan Drops. There’s an interesting dynamic at play here, as Barrett is up for a proper fight while Reigns is just trying to hit his marks (pun intended). It’s like two completely different matches, which separately might have amounted to something decent but together are messy and incoherent. The end comes when Barrett teases the Bullhammer too long, only for Reigns to reverse it into a double clutch face-plant after which, in an attempt to hit the ‘hammer again, Barrett falls victim to a Spear (why not a Superman punch!?) to lose.
Winner: King Barrett
Of course, immediately after the match Reigns is cornered by The Authority who gleefully inform him that it ain’t over ’til it’s over and that, actually, he has to beat Mark Henry too before his place in the ladder match is solidified. Elsewhere, Byron is talking to Nikki’s boobies about…something when Paige shows up to demand her lost title shot. She makes faces as Nikki answers her, but the gist is that she’s on. Byron is perving so hard on the two of them he forgets to even hold the mic up. On that note, though, Nikki now has some industrial-style laces holding the ladies in so thanks to whoever’s mom complained about that for ruining our fun.
Intercontintental Title Match: Ryback Vs. The Miz
In case you thought maybe it was just a horrible nightmare, Ryback is here to confirm that, yes, he really is the intercontinental champion. Lord help us all. To make matters worse, his opponent, and the latest challenger for the title, is the insufferable Miz, who doesn’t even get a look in tonight because, right before he’s about to get his ass handed to him by The Big Guy, Big Show turns up to KO Punch him (thereby reminding us that move looks like absolute shit no matter who the recipient is) and tell Ryback, in no uncertain terms; “You call yourself The Big Guy. You ain’t got nothing on the Big Show“. Woah, Nashville just got super interesting, you guys.
Up next, Kevin Owens cuts an incredibly powerful promo to a virtually unconscious crowd about how he’s the real deal and that, even though his marky mark son was wondering whether Cena was okay last night, he’s the real role model because he did what he set out to do, and he beat Super Cena. Of course, no sooner has the name Cena left his mouth than the man himself shows up to use that Texan drawl the fans love so much to explain how Owens is a jackass, he isn’t a real man, his son isn’t as cool as this kid over here who has cancer and bought all of his merch and, oh yeah, isn’t he supposed to be the face here? How does Cena consistently get away with acting like such a dick? He, quite literally, teases Owens for being a pussy (even though he beat him clean last night), pretends he was about to hand the belt over before he heard his little speech and even calls him “homes” like he’s the out of touch school principal desperately trying to be down with the kids. And yet, just because he points out some poor, terminally ill child we’re supposed to instantly forget the hideous and very obvious connotations of his “real man” speech and accept him as the good guy? If Owens doesn’t beat his ass at MITB, I quit, I swear to god. And I also swear to Super Cena. Educate the kids!
Kofi Kingston Vs. Dolph Ziggler
The always welcome New Day cut a promo about some sportsman who’s apparently over the hill and then the camera cuts to a random bloke who’s stood up in protest and for a minute you can tell he’s considering pretending it’s him but, alas, this is Texas and he’s much too ugly to convince as a celebrity. The New Day reckon that Kofi will definitely be Mr. Money In The Bank, which means that, by extension, they will all be Mr. Money In The Bank. It’s safe to say neither of those things are going to happen, but it’s nice to have dreams. Ziggler now gets the “We want Lana” chants after assigning her to her place at the top of the ramp. He hits a gnarly dropkick early on, with Kingston giving as good as he gets from the outset but falling a little short of keeping up with him. The crowd is dead, even as Ziggler manages a cool neckbreaker/elbow drop combo. He wins, but then he gets beaten up and the Prime Time Players show up and, hey, we’re having another match.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
6-Man Tag Team Match: Dolph Ziggler & The Prime Time Players Vs. The New Day
Have we accidentally switched over to Smackdown? Is it Wednesday already? This is a quick one, with PTP dominating (even though they need a white dude to chaperone them for some reason) from the get-go. Titus soon clears the ring, with a stunning power slam to Woods, but E intervenes so they don’t win quite as easily as they might have liked. Young hits a neckbreaker on E, clearing the path for Titus to get the win, but not before a Superkick by Ziggler to Kingston truly earns it for them. Titus hits an Alabama Slam on Woods and that’s it.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & The Prime Time Players
Mark Henry Vs. Roman Reigns
Why is Henry a thing again? Haven’t we suffered enough!? One lady is screaming her ass off for Reigns, but she immediately shuts up when he hurts his head on Henry’s boot and the ref fusses over him for a bit. One thing that became clear during this seemingly never-ending bout is that Reigns’s Superman Punch is a lot like the KO Punch in that it looks like shit and is way overused. Otherwise, you can feel free to fast-forward through this one safe in the knowledge that New Cena will come out on top. The match ends in a count-out, otherwise known as a cop-out, and Reigns’s contacts start bothering him so he pours a bottle of water over his head but that just gives Henry the opportunity to get the jump on him, hitting the World’s Strongest Slam, followed by a Splash.
Winner: Roman Reigns
The same shot from earlier is recycled, except this time Reigns is sweatier and blinkier. The Authority are all “you must be really tired now, huh?” and Reigns is like “I should keep the vest on, shouldn’t I?” Trips looks utterly disgusted by this suggestion, like seeing his Samoan man nipples would be permanently scarring. Speaking of eyes, Reigns looks like he’s possessed with the way he’s rolling his towards the end of this promo. Or maybe it’s just his contacts bothering him again. A super-long promo for Sonic Shakes follows. They look disgusting and it’s clear none of the wrestlers taking part are actually drinking any.
Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella Vs. Paige
And now to the match of the night which, naturally, kicks off with another goddamn replay. The most shocking aspect (aside from the ill-judged ending and the fact their allotted time is longer than two minutes) is seeing Nikki tie her hair up into a ponytail before it starts. All Divas should do this. It makes sense. She pauses during the match to do push-ups, crunches and jumping jacks, much to Paige‘s chagrin, as the commentators focus more on how Ambrose is a criminal and JBL frets over the Brit having beaten her own mother in a match previously. There’s a terrific slingshot Suplex by Nikki that, thankfully, Booker has the good sense to call (unlike every other great spot these two hit tonight) and Paige follows it up with some swift boots. Then, just as it looks like she has it won, Nikki rolls out of the ring for a quick Twin Magic swap and Brie steals the victory for her. It’s unclear how anyone is supposed to buy this as a feasible plan of action seeing as one of the Bellas has massive boobies and blonder hair, but whatever, Brie stuffed her bra for tonight and we should all applaud her for her commitment to the role.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Randy Orton Vs. Sheamus
Why, just…why? Both of these guys are taking part in the MITB ladder match but otherwise there’s no reason why they should be fighting tonight. They lock up to start, setting the tone for a bout comprised mainly of tough head-locks, boots and swift uppercuts. Predictably, it spills out of the ring but doesn’t go anywhere interesting at all. There’s a great powerslam by Orton as a counter to Sheamo’s attempt at a Brogue Kick. Likewise, he hits a T-Bone Suplex after trying, and failing, to hit the RKO as his opponent lined up a running senton. Orton hits a classic DDT but, in going for the RKO again, he eats a massive knee from Sheamo, and it all ends, again rather predictably, in a DQ after the Irish loon grabs a chair. He Brogue Kicks Orton anyway because why not, then chucks him into the barricade, the steel post and finally onto Cole’s lap. Here’s a thought; why don’t they just play his music to get rid of him? That usually hurries things along.
Backstage, Byron is speaking to a subdued Rusev about how it feels to be buried so hard for no apparent reason. The Bulgarian acknowledges he has lost everything, cleverly intoning that, for once, he is the one who has been crushed. But he vows to get it all back and hobbles off confidently, shouting obscenities as he goes.
Bo Dallas Vs. Neville
Hey, if you were wondering how this feud was panning out after, you know, last night’s match, then you’re in luck because here we are again, with Dallas laying out that he just wants to hurt Neville and the Geordie struggling to get his cape off yet again (he’s also now being billed as “Gaz’s Mate” but more on that another time). Dallas yells a lot about trying to help, JBL tries to convince the others that he’s actually a nice man, and Neville utilises the usual flips and kicks to show off what he can do before ending it all with the Red Arrow once again. That’s right, folks, even Neville is boring tonight.
Main Event: Bray Wyatt Vs. Roman Reigns
And speaking of boring, after 500 hours of nothing television, we’ve finally reached the Main Event which signals both the end to our happy, Reigns-free Main Event run and the end of poor ol’ Bray Wyatt‘s career. Seriously, remember when this dude was so fucking over? What happened? Reigns pretends to be kind of tired in the beginning, but he can’t resist showing off and soon starts laying into Wyatt as The Authority watch ominously from the ramp. To his credit, Wyatt sells really bloody well, so at least the match doesn’t drag quite as badly as some of the others did tonight, and he also manages some gnarly offence with a great clothesline on the outside, his weird spider walk thing and even some decent pin attempts. Reigns soon fires back with the usual Samoan Drop nonsense, the two bitch-slap each other for a bit for no apparent reason, and the Superman Punch looks to have ended it all until The Authority gather around the ring to tease some kind of intervention. They don’t do anything, because of course a DQ would be Reigns’s his favour, but when he wins they attack and then Ambrose comes to save the day and he hits the Dirty Deeds on Rollins, who poses like Jesus on the cross before toppling over, and then the two of them parade around with the belt and hang out with all of the unfortunate-looking plebs in the crowd and it’s such a sweet moment that it almost makes us forget that this RAW was such utter garbage. Almost.
Winner: Roman Reigns