June 16, 2015 by Joey Keogh
A hush falls over the packed Ohio arena, before raucous chants of “Dus-ty!” break out and the camera pulls back to reveal all of the Superstars and Divas standing sombrely at the top of the ramp waiting for the ten bells. But, wait, why are they all in the same clothes? Is everybody really poor? It’s because this is a replay from last night’s Money In The Bank PPV, and it’s the only video we’re going to get from that show just in case some idiot still intends on paying for it. But don’t worry, there’s lots to enjoy tonight. First off, there’s major heat for Rollins in Cleveland, and he loves it. “What’d I tell you, baby!?” he screams confidently, as he descends the ramp, to nobody in particular. Tonight’s is Monday Night Rollins but no need to feel bad for home-state hero Ambrose because he just isn’t as good as his ex-Shield bro, that’s all. Rollins wishes to take a moment to thank everyone involved in his victory last night. He pulls out a prepared list and reads off his own name several times, the boos growing considerably as he does so. Ambrose appears and the fans pop massively for him, even though he forgets he’s supposed to be limping and then overdoes it with the gammy leg immediately after. He and Rollins tussle on the ramp until the latter gets a bit sweaty and decides to leg it. So Ambrose pulls up a chair and waits patiently in the middle of the ring for him. Backstage, Rollins tries to get Trips and Steph to care but they don’t. Tonight is the night in more ways than one because, as they patiently explain to him, later on they’re going to be picking his next opponent. But first, here’s Sheamus to remind us he won that bloody briefcase last night. Hey, quick question, what’s that random tropical beach doing in Sheamo’s Titantron? It’s almost as distracting as his beard beads. Anyway, he’s all “Deano! I wanna foight!” and Ambrose is like “Meh, I’m here anyway, why not?”
Dean Ambrose Vs. Sheamus
Use the hashtag everyone! Tweet about how much you love matches that feature Sheamus! The Irish Curse concentrates on Ambrose’s injured leg from the outset but he manages a bit of offence before we cut to commercial about twenty seconds in. After the break, Sheamo is dangling Ambrose upside down in the ring while simultaneously holding him in a leg lock. Ambrose eventually wriggles out to hit a twisting neckbreaker, but a rolling senton/cloverleaf combo disables him again and he barely makes it to the ropes. After about five of the 10 Beats are administered, Ambrose turns the move around on Sheamo and follows it up with an elbow drop from the top for a close two count. Just as it looks like Ambrose has it won, Sheamo narrowly escapes the Dirty Deeds and legs it, arguing that he doesn’t need this because “I’m Mr. Money In The Bank“. He’s stopped in his tracks about halfway up by Orton, and he rolls back into the ring, attempts a Brogue Kick and gets rolled up by Ambrose. Orton then attacks Sheamo, beating the shit out of him on the outside, but he dodges the RKO and runs off again. Oh yay, these two are feuding. Something new and different for us.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Backstage, Mercury and Noble confront their old boss, who cheekily refers to them as Harry and Lloyd. Rollins offers to take them back if they’ll tell him who his new opponent is. They don’t know, but Noble reckons it should be Mercury, who found his voice last week and has chosen to use it to bitch about movies. “You’re afraid of me” he tells Rollins in his weird, gravelly twang. It’s like it’s first thing in the morning and he needs to warm his throat up or something. Rollins shrugs it off but is clearly shaking in his boots when Mercury ominously intones that it’s not a question of who he’ll lose the title to, but when. A little video tribute to Dusty follows, the first of a handful tonight, and it’s appropriately tear-inducing.
King Barrett Vs. R-Truth
Truth enters the arena clad in a makeshift robe and what is most likely a Burger King crown that he has painted gold and on which he has hastily scribbled the word “King”. He thinks he’s on commentary tonight and, when JBL asks whether he stole his robe from one of the beds in the Hyatt he responds “I don’t know him”. Good for Truth, sending up his persona like this. It’s funny and it makes sense. He feels sorry for whoever Barrett’s opponent is tonight because he looks super mad, but he’s even more worried when he realises it’s actually him. Truth eats a big boot and a flurry of uppercuts right off the bat, but wins again when Barrett misses a Bullhammer and gets rolled up. Always a sore loser, Barrett rips up Truth’s crown afterwards, much to the crowd’s dismay, before scolding him for making fun of his “prestigious” title.
Machine Gun Kelly (don’t ask) is backstage being fawned over by random Divas when Paige shows up to invite everyone to a secret meeting. But first, Kevin Owens is here to shit all over the last decade of Cena promos just by being Kevin Owens. He kicks things off by informing the crowd that the Superman isn’t here tonight, but they cheer, instead of booing, and his eyes flash a little in surprise. They’re a bit dead at the beginning otherwise, which can’t be easy, but he rises to the occasion in his quiet, Canadian way. First, he points out where he powerbombed Cena last night, as though they actually had their first kiss right by the apron. Then, he explains why he attacked him for trying to shake his hand. As it turns out, Owens takes great offence to being told he belongs here by Cena. Cena makes it all about him because he always wants to be the centre of attention. But now, Owens is here to take all that away and next time, he wants a goddamn title shot. Man, Kevin Owens is like the voice of disgruntled fans everywhere. He says what we’re all thinking and he owns it. Kevin Owens, will you go to the Prom with me? I will call you only by your full, wrestling name throughout.
Kevin Owens Vs. Dolph Ziggler
As Cena isn’t here tonight, Owens issues his own open challenge. Ziggler shows up to be like “I’m still good, y’all!”, reminding us that he’s actually from this state, and not the sunnier one from which he’s billed. However, as Lilian starts to announce the match, Owens interrupts to advise that he isn’t putting the NXT title on the line tonight because why should he when he’s going all the way to Japan to defend it in a matter of weeks? Ziggler, incensed at being supposedly tricked, unloads on Owens but it’s no avail, as the Canadian is out for blood as usual. Towards the end, he manages to turn things around slightly with a DDT, followed by a superkick, but Owens just keeps kicking out. A Fame Asser leads to another near fall but Owens fires back with a stunning German Suplex-cannonball combo, after which Ziggler squeezes in a Zig Zag before eating a pop-up powerbomb.
Winner: Kevin Owens
In a harshly-lighted corner of the backstage area, Paige is rallying the Divas to fight back against the oppressive Bella regime. Unfortunately, nobody likes her and they’re all dressed like it’s the nineties again but not in a good way. Summer is in an acid wash skirt and Naomi‘s pants are made of bandana. It’s like they’re extras in an S Club 7 video. The Bellas show up and interrupt but thankfully Brie only has one line. There’s a 2-on-1 handicap later because reasons.
Randy Orton Vs. Kane
It’s seven years ago! My time machine works! This is where the show starts to sag considerably, so, if you’ve made it this far, my advice would be to fast-forward through the next couple of bullshit matches and right through Reigns’s attempt at a promo until you get to Wyatt. If you want to punish yourself, well, it’s the same ol’ shit with these two yet again. Orton is uncomfortable as a face and Kane is out of breath before either of them have even taken a shot. Sheamo interrupts about halfway through because, as you recall, he and Orton are feuding yet again. Kane turns the match into a No Holds Barred bout and Orton swiftly eats a Brogue Kick to lose. What does it all mean?
Immediately following the match, always-opportunistic Rollins sidles up to a sweaty and breathless Kane backstage and tries to extract some info from him, but as usual he’s having none of it. Kane is actually pretty good here, way better than he was in that bullshit match we just suffered through, and even though we’ll all commit mass suicide if he turns out to be Rollins’ opponent, he does a good job of putting himself over as a possible candidate. I also enjoyed the use of the word “eviscerate” although, I must point out, the phrase “Don’t put your hands on me” only works on a show like Vanderpump Rules, where people are pretending to be fancy but brawling in the streets anyway. It doesn’t work on Monday Night Rollins.
Big Show Vs. The Miz
Ryback is on commentary for this one, dressed like he’s on a fucking school tour in his off-duty trackies. This has Smackdown circa 2007 written all over it and it sucks just as bad in practice as it does on paper. Miz barely even gets one hit in before he scarpers and Show sleep-walks his way through, while The Big Guy offers such insights as “that hurts” whenever Show can be bothered doing something in the ring. Eventually, Show chucks Miz into Ryback and he sizes up to the giant. Miz then wins by count-out which is like, yeah great, but…so?
Winner: The Miz
Speaking of people we don’t care about, here’s Reigns to ensure the show grinds to an absolute halt for the next ten minutes (well, at least he’s good for something besides Loreal ads). He’s up against Wyatt at Battleground but he can’t wait that long, he wants his fine ass now (sorry, might have stolen that one from these guys). Luckily, Wyatt is in that smoky room again, which leads to an unintentionally hilarious few minutes during which Reigns seems unaware he is speaking to a pre-recorded video. He also adopts what his acting teacher terms an “intense” expression throughout. To be fair to the very talented Wyatt, he does well here, even clad in Bane’s coat as he is. At the end, he pulls out a printed off photo of Reigns having a tea party with his kid and it’s so strange it kind of works.
Divas 2-on-1 Handicap Match: The Bella Twins Vs. Paige
Brie needs to just go and have babies already because holy shit does she drag this match down. It gets a respectable time slot too, which makes it even more annoying. Each time Nikki and Paige face off, it’s gold, but then Brie tags in and screams about how drunk she is or obviously botches her move and the whole thing just dies. The end comes when Nikki hits the Rack Attack. In a way, it’s kind of lucky Paige didn’t win with the Rampaige like she was going to, because Brie can’t sell for shit. Can you believe there was a time when she was considered a stronger candidate than her sister? How times have changed.
Winners: The Bella Twins
So, Machine Gun Kelly is here. He’s a thing that you should avoid if you respect your eardrums or have deep-seated issues with talentless scumbags becoming rich and famous. But, before you fast-forward the whole way through his shockingly unskilled performance, force yourself to sit through it until the end where great treasures await you. Owens, incensed that this white trash loser is wasting precious time that could be better spent fighting, turns up and powerbombs the twat off the stage onto a strategically-placed crash mat. Kelly botches the spot slightly, most likely due to shitting his pants, but it’s still pretty brilliant. Cole is so disgusted by it that he asserts his speechlessness, only to chatter incessantly from that point onwards until the next bell rings.
Tag Team Match: The Prime Time Players & Neville Vs. The New Day
Both teams cut pre-match promos in the little confessional boxes prior to meeting in the ring and both are terrific in their own way. Young hits an inverted atomic drop and a swinging neckbreaker early on while Neville, who seems like a weird fit for PTP, especially as he’s clad in the same colours as their opponents, turns out to be genius. He even wins it for his team with the Red Arrow, leaving The New Day utterly flummoxed. It’s a short but entertaining bout to send us flying into the, erm, ladies match.
Winners: The Prime Time Players & Neville
In the locker room, Ambrose is hanging out, eating some nuts, throwing darts at Rollins’ face, you know the usual, when Kane turns up to be not amused. Ambrose thinks it’s funny to imagine him as the world heavyweight champion because he’s so old and wrinkly and has that weird bellybutton that is both an inny and an outy. He also thinks it’s funny that Kane‘s super-white towel made him look like a ghost when he first strolled in because it was the only part of him eye level with the camera for a few seconds there. Ambrose lives for the title, but what does Kane live for, he wonders aloud? Deep. The Authority show up to close the show, instead of opening it, for once, and Steph expresses her regret over what happened to that MGK fellow. Trips then assures us that Rollins’ new opponent won’t be Mercury, Noble, Kane or, hell, even Ambrose, because at Battleground none other than MGK himself is going to get a shot at the title. He didn’t make it to the final rounds of Tough Enough because he couldn’t lift a can of soup but damn it the kid’s got moxie. Rollins shows up because, well, he’s kind of included in this. A weird metaphor about coal soon follows before finally it’s revealed that Brock Lesnar is after the belt once more. Sporting a Suplex City: Cleveland, OH shirt and flanked by the inimitable Paul Heyman, Lesnar looks scarier and more imposing than he ever has before and Rollins is noticeably bricking it. He stalks the ring while Heyman shakes the boss man and lady’s hands. A “Suplex City” chant ensues. Rollins gulps. He can’t even make eye contact with The Beast Incarnate.
Thankfully, there are five full weeks until these shenanigans come to a head so at least we can prepare a little bit for all the non-matches to follow. It’s going to be a hell of a month if tonight is any indication. Show, Kane, start your engines.