July 7, 2015 by Joey Keogh
If two weeks was considered too short a time to build story-lines between PPVs, then five weeks is certainly too long. This week’s RAW plays out almost exactly like the preceding instalment, only with more Paul Heyman (yay!) and a load of car damage (also yay!). We start as we mean to go on, with a lengthy replay of the Rollins/Lesnar feud thus far. RAW is kind of infamous at this stage for filling out its three hour plus running time with unnecessary replays, but tonight’s episode really takes the biscuit. There are replays of stuff nobody cares about, mid-match replays and even replays of shit that’s literally just happened five seconds previous. It’s as though they’re assuming everyone ducks out during the commercial breaks to have their brains wiped by the goddamn MIB. Brock Lesnar looks even madder than usual tonight. So mad, in fact, that he’s letting his manager do all the talking for him, which is lucky for us because Heyman is on fire, spitting out lines about violent redemption, referring to the eleventh commandment (don’t piss Lesnar off, essentially) and generally solidifying the fact that he is a god amongst mere mortals. He and Lesnar are going to wait around all night for Seth Rollins if they have to but not, like, right here or anything because that would be totally weird. During this opening segment, we are also treated to some amazing Photoshops of Kane on his Hawaiian vacation that truly must be seen to be believed. Elsewhere, Mercury and Noble are on a road trip and have apparently visited the Hershey factory.
Big Show Vs. Ryback
This is the worst feud ever. It hasn’t even been going on that long and already it feels like forever. It’s so bad, in fact, that adding The Miz to the mixture somehow alleviates it from being totally insufferable – but that doesn’t mean this match is any good, mind. Show and Ryback have zero in-ring chemistry, mostly because the latter can’t wrestle for shit, so Miz spends much of his time shouting and interfering and getting the Chicago crowd riled up (“I’m from Hollywood, you idiots” he replies when they chant that Cleveland sucks) to disguise the fact that Show and The Big Guy have nothing of interest whatsoever to do in the ring. He almost gets his ass beat at one point, snidely taunting “Missed me!” immediately after, and that’s probably the most exciting moment of the whole thing. All of Ryback‘s moves look like shit but Show does the best he can. The end comes when Miz intervenes for a DQ. Whatever.
Divas: Paige Vs. Brie Bella
Before the ladies get started, we’re treated to a little vignette during which Mercury and Noble visit Wrigley Stadium and are disappointed. If you figured there must be more to their so-called road trip than this, well, you’d be wrong. Later we see them stuck in traffic but that’s about it until they literally drive onto the show, but more on that later. Brie shouldn’t be in any matches ever but, as Total Divas season four is about to premiere, they have to give her something to do. And so, she shrieks and she botches moves and Paige tries her hardest to keep things interesting. Brie accidentally hits her BFFs a couple times but wins anyway with the X-Factor. Foxy then scissor kicks Paige and Nikki hits the Rack Attack. Yay, besties!
Winner: Brie Bella
Roman Reigns Vs. Sheamus
In case there was any doubt in your mind that tonight’s RAW was booked like utter shit, there’s this match. To be fair, things start off okay with Reigns meanly slapping Sheamo’s briefcase out of his hands before the two lock up. The Irishman dominates throughout, sweat pouring out of every orifice even when he’s just standing there fixing his hair/beard. The Chicago fans are so bored, they chant “CM Punk” for a bit. It’s kind of sad, but understandable. Things seem to be winding down when Reigns hits a Samoan Drop followed by the dull-as-fuck Superman Punch but then, out of nowhere, Bray Wyatt‘s music drops and Reigns legs it out of the ring to tackle him on the ramp. But then suddenly Reigns only has Wyatt’s face and wig in his hands and it’s all a bit Twilight Zone-y until the man himself pops up on the Titantron to chuckle about how he’s been safe in the smoking area this entire time. Reigns then loses by count-out. Har de har. But the question remains; who was that impersonating Wyatt? Was it Bull Dempsey? Or maybe Bo Dallas with a couple of fake sleeves from Hot Topic? We might never know. Randy Orton shows up and RKOs Sheamo, too, so get ready for that feud to be recycled yet again.
Backstage, The Authority are hanging around next to a super cool, old school poster for the Rollins/Lesnar bout at Battleground. I mention it because it’s more interesting than the exchange that happens here, during which Trips essentially cajoles Rollins into calling out Lesnar because he’s his Pa and he’ll do what he’s damn well told god damn it. By their logic, Lesnar is “emotional” (doesn’t sound like any variation of him we’ve ever known) and will run away when forced to face up to his opponent for real (again, who are we talking about here?). Needless to say, this is most definitely going to end well for them. Back in the ring, Rusev and Summer Rae are saying shit we wish we didn’t have to listen to instead of a match when Ziggler (who is becoming harder to like as the weeks drag on) and Lana show up to also say shit we couldn’t care less about. There are some funny moments, with Rusev referring to his new paramour as “hot, submissive Summer” or simply “Hot Summer”, which may be a Drake And Josh reference, come to think of it. But this mostly sucks, and everyone predictably ends up tussling after Rusev reveals he’s fully healed and beats the shit out of Ziggler with his crutch. This whole segment is immediately replayed afterwards, just in case you missed anything.
Bo Dallas Vs. Dean Ambrose
It ain’t RAW without new WWE poster boy Dean Ambrose, who we see here in a squash match opposite Good Bray Wyatt, who kicks things off by explaining that Dolph Ziggler is a bad person to whom bad things should happen. There’s nothing really of note here, and Ambrose wins easily with the Dirty Deeds, but Dallas isn’t as terrible in the ring as, say, Adam Rose, so we’ll take what we can get.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
King Barrett Vs. R-Truth
Barrett is the 2015 King Of The Ring and yet his entrance is nixed in favour of Truth’s because he has a plunger and is pretending it’s a sabre and my god someone thinks this angle is so much funnier than it is. Barrett wins with the Bullhammer, thankfully, but suffice to say they both deserve better than this. Especially Barrett because this is getting embarrassing.
Winner: King Barrett
Before we can move on with the show, we must again be reminded of what just happened with Rusev, Summer, et al. Why? What have we done to deserve this? Rollins enters the arena with an axe-handle, flanked by Mercury and Noble, who drive in smugly in their hot new ride. Rollins cuts a decent promo about how he ain’t losing at the PPV – he’s walking in with the championship and he’s walking out with it. True to his word (or his Da’s, rather) he calls out Lesnar, even referring to him as Heyman’s bitch, and suffice to say the big man isn’t best pleased. He does that thing he does when he approaches the ring really slowly but then thinks better of it because there’s clearly more destruction to be had elsewhere. In this case, it’s the security team’s car that feels his wrath (and, reportedly, some poor kid in the crowd who got hit with a wayward door) as Heyman helpfully offers him a whole box of tools and he takes a couple fire-axes to the vehicle. Mercury is incensed and goes for him, but Lesnar takes he and Noble out easily before turning his attention to Rollins who, true to his word once more, flees the building. Lesnar then stands on the car’s hood and basks in the glory while Heyman literally bows down to him. A replay immediately follows, you know, just in case.
Tag Team Match: The Lucha Dragons Vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston)
Weirdly, the two matches that were highlights of last week’s episode are stand-outs this RAW too, namely this one and that which follows. The Prime Time Players are on commentary, gifting Cole one of their T-shirts but telling the others they’ll have to purchase their own on the online store. Titus does a terrific job, even calling the commentators out for focusing more on the wrecked car than the match itself which, to be clear, is hugely entertaining. There’s the usual high-flying antics from the Dragons, along with sly maneouvres from The New Day who steal the victory after a hard-fought battle with some nicely-timed outside interference from Xavier Woods.
Winners: The New Day
Main Event: John Cena’s Neverending Quest To Find A Buddy To Sit With Him In Catering: John Cena Vs. Cesaro
Brave move letting Cena Main Event in Chicago, and the fans let ’em know with a unanimous “John Cena sucks” chant as he enters, pausing momentarily to check out the wrecked car. Being the scumbag heel that he really is deep down, Cena taunts Owens for losing in Japan, prompting the man himself to storm out and demand they fight now. “This is the worst part of RAW every week” he tells Cena, reading our collective minds yet again – hooray! An angle that makes sense! But Cesaro reckons he’s next in line, after their thrilling, short-lived bout last week, and Owens reluctantly leaves. What follows is a surprisingly brilliant back and forth between someone who rarely gets to wrestle anyone besides the old reliables and someone else who rarely gets to wrestle full stop. They throw everything they have at each other, but Cesaro‘s move-set steals the show as he hits gut wrenches, uppercuts, a gnarly Superplex, the Swiss Death, a Swing/Sharpshooter/Crossface combo and loads more. Every near fall feels like it might genuinely be the end, with each man refusing to lay down for his opponent’s finisher (we also pause for another shot at the car, for some reason). Finally, after Cesaro teases the Neutraliser from the top, Cena manages to grab another win by countering and hitting the AA from the second rope instead. Of course, Owens immediately returns to get involved and he eats an AA himself in the process. There’s still another week of dragging everything out to go, but if next week’s show is even half as good as this Main Event, we’ll be laughing.