August 11, 2015 by Joey Keogh
This week, RAW rolls into Seattle, which means Daniel Bryan is here and also there are more (awesome) signs than people. Rollins opens the show, smug as ever, to a chorus of boos. He sells the already-infamous nose-breaking and posits that he ruined Cena’s career like he ruined his face. The only problem with this angle is that the fans are super into the biggest face in the company having a, er, broken face and chant “Thank you, Rollins”, much to his confusion. The Superman hasn’t responded to Rollins’ challenge as of yet, but is scheduled to appear tonight…by satellite. What follows is one of the funniest, goofiest moments in modern wrestling history as that photo of Cena with his bloodied, fractured nose is emblazoned on the Titantron with Rollins’ mouth superimposed over it. “Cena” then proceeds to tell everyone to never give up, except when faced with Seth Rollins, and how lame he is, etc., etc. The WWE may have stolen this bit from a Mega 64 vid but it still lands really well. Cesaro turns up to interrupt, dressed like The Transporter for some reason, and finally he is totally fucking over and receives a rapturous response.
He challenges Rollins to a duel, only for Kevin Owens to show up and immediately demand his own shot. Both of these dudes learned to speak English through watching professional wrestling and now both can cut a promo better than half the English-as-a-first-language roster. Finally, Orton comes out because reasons and he’s all “have you gained weight?” to Owens, which leads me to believe this may be part of his audition tape to be an E! live events anchor. He advances and points a little. Trips is all “no match for you, old man!” and schedules a triple threat for later on in the show, the winner of which will face Rollins in the Main Event for the title. There is some intense staring before we bleed into an advertisement for the theme tune to Summerslam, a song by some Disney chick that seems to be about staying cool during the warmer months. I don’t entirely get the connection there.
The ladies are jerking the curtain tonight and they only get one match to show off what they can do so they really need to make it count (not easy in a 6-man/woman tag). The newly-named PCB stable are on commentary but Paige does most of the talking because nobody can understand Becky Lynch‘s accent. She makes an impression right off the bat by yelling “Freak show!” right after Cole reveals the new team name. The popular kids are dominating this match from right off the bat, but the coolest moments come when Sasha Banks takes on Nikki Bella, the two of them sharing an interesting energy and bouncing off each other really well. Naturally, Brie ruins the fun yet again but soon gets her head clotheslined off by Tamina for having the gall to celebrate fans cheering for her hubby.
Even so, somehow, we’re supposed to believe that she wins it for Team Bella with a lame-ass looking pin. The rest of the Divas spill into the ring to call bullshit, and it’s hard to blame them for doing so – maybe the cheerleaders are being set up for a major fall at the PPV but this doesn’t feel too much like a revolution. It’s a decent match, though, to be fair; fluid, involving and mostly fun to watch. Another tag follows, this one pitching The New Day against the matadors. Does anybody have more personality than The New Day? They need to share some of that shit with Ryback (who shows up later, yippee) because they have more than enough to go around.
A few weeks ago, the ending to this match would’ve seemed to be set in stone, but lately Los Matadores have been showing some Lucha Dragon-esque flavour in the ring and they give as good as they’ve got tonight, even getting a little cheer going at one stage. Midway through, Cole refers to Byron as “Michael” and he is totally unimpressed, while Xavier Woods spends most of the match yelling from the sidelines about how mega a dad his buddy Kofi Kingston is. The matadors manage to get some cool offence in, but E and Kingston steal the win after double-teaming…one of them. They meet up with Renee backstage, mid-celebration, and she gets roped into doing a cheer and a clap with them after they take it a little too well that they’re going to be involved in a Fatal Fourway at Summerslam.
Elsewhere, Rollins is getting yet another pep talk from Pa. Try not to be distracted by the massive poster for an upcoming DVD about the Attitude Era hanging directly behind them during this segment, on which Trips looks to be at least fifty years younger. Speaking of Rollins, the triple threat to decide his opponent is up next and, in spite of the fact it includes two of the most exciting performers on the current roster and a more alive than usual Randy Orton, it turns out to be a bit of a cock-tease. There are some gnarly moments, particularly when Orton throws every weapon in his arsenal at Owens, from backbreakers, to spinebusters, to Suplexes, and Cesaro hits a great Superplex, too.
We expect a load of bullshit near falls in a match like this, but each one feels like it really might be the end because it’s impossible not to root for anyone but Orton to win the damn thing. This is particularly true when Cesaro counters his attempt at an RKO, leaving the way wide open for Owens to hit a fall-away slam on the outside. But then, in the end, it takes just a couple of RKOs to beat the two of them and that’s it, the Main Event is set and it’s something we’ve seen before. Even though this is arguably the most exciting match of the night, the ending means it’s still kind of a bummer.
Ambrose and Reigns cut a promo next, during which the former sadly proclaims he had nobody to steal cars with growing up. His buddy then tests their friendship by demanding to know what kind of drinks he chooses. The whole time, Ambrose is staring at Reigns like he doesn’t really consider him a friend at all and might pounce on him at any moment. No matter, though, as Reigns is really feeling his look tonight, getting up close and personal with the camera and over-pronouncing the “beliiiiiiiiiie dah” even more than usual.
A strange little video package follows, during which various personalities wax lyrical about how important the Taker/Lesnar fight is at Summerslam and how it was, in fact, deemed too important for Wrestlemania. Come again? It’s too important for the biggest show of the year? How the hell does that work? Everyone thinks that Taker is going to lose in a couple weeks, which got me thinking; is Summerslam four hours long this year to allow the Deadman enough time to make it to and from the ring?
Ambrose and Luke Harper trade dirty blows during a short, if dull, bout next while Reigns and Wyatt hang out on the sidelines, stealing people’s chairs, yelling things and every now and again hitting each other a little bit. There are some cool spots, including a tornado DDT by Ambrose, but Harper wins it for some unknown reason and we move swiftly on to Miz fucking TV with special guest star Stephen Amell. Okay, Daniel Bryan is the special guest but it might as well be Ball Cap Mc Boring over there because he gets more of the spotlight.
Miz is pretty funny, detailing how he’s the key to Bryan’s success (partly true) and admonishing the man himself for not dedicating more column inches in his best-selling book to him. Bryan mostly shills his new tome and the disgraceful Tough Enough, which even the most PMA man alive Mick Foley seems to have lost patience with, while basking in the glory of the still-hot-for-him crowd. Big Show interrupts the festivities and, when faced with taunts calling for him to retire, demands to know who could put him away which, unfortunately, leads to the return of Ryback, who nobody missed.
Bryan throws Miz in between the two of them, he gets pummelled a little bit but not really enough and then there’s another big ol’ “Yes” chant to finish things off nicely for them. It’s then revealed that the Divas match at Summerslam will be a three team elimination match, whatever the hell that means. Rusev and Mark Henry have a tussle next, but it’s more about the ladies on the side and, before you know it, shoes have been thrown aside and the Bulgarian Brute is yelling at “Hot Summer” to crush Lana. Summer puts her in the Accolade until she passes out, so that’s pretty cool. There’s also a massive Bulgarian flag with Rusev‘s face on it.
Have you had enough of Stephen Amell tonight? Well tough shit because, even though Neville and King Barrett ostensibly have a match, it’s all about The Arrow, as Cole incorrectly refers to him. Poor Barrett gets squashed in about ten seconds because some lad on the writing staff is still pissed off with him for eating his sandwich or whatever. Stardust turns up and attacks Amell and then he leaps clean over the ropes, in his skinny little khaki pants, and has to be restrained by security. Hey, how many times do you reckon they can say Stephen Amell during this segment? If you guessed a bajillion, well, that’s still too low. Seriously, is there no deal unless Stephen Amell they say his name every second word Stephen Amell? I don’t know Stephen Amell what to make of all this Stephen Amell.
Backstage, Trips is all mad at Amell for jumping in and, much like the last time he was involved with wrestling, the dude proves he can’t act worth a damn, while Neville stands by like a Make A Wish kid who wandered onto set and can’t be shooed away fast enough. The deal is done, the contract is going to be signed and it’ll be Amell Vs. Stardust at Summerslam. Start planning your bathroom breaks now, folks. Elsewhere, another Make A Wish kid, later revealed to be Jojo once the camera pans down far enough, is chatting to a massive, sweaty giant holding a massive, sweaty briefcase. The height difference is so comically severe that, about halfway through this interview, it’s unclear whether she’s still down there or if Sheamo is just talking to a tennis ball on a stick.
Finally, it’s Main Event time and, although we may scoff at Orton’s inclusion, yet again, at least he’s up for a fight tonight (and still red from earlier). The WHC title has a new graphic to signal its arrival. Good for you, belt. Rollins is in control for much of the match, until an RKO switches things to the Viper’s favour. A guy in the front row tries to coach Rollins on what to do next while he tries desperately to catch his breath, but he’s wasting his time as the Future Of The WWE soon grabs the belt and attempts to leg it. Orton Superplexes him for his insolence, but Rollins soon fires back with a DDT that mirrors his opponent’s earlier move.
Another RKO looks to have sealed the deal when suddenly Sheamo turns up to cause trouble and tries to cash in after Brogue kicking Rollins. The ref refuses it on moral grounds and Orton RKOs Sheamo for costing him yet another shot at that blasted title, in a dull, same-y end to an otherwise mostly entertaining edition of RAW. The show is more annoying when it barrels along like this, because the moments when it levels out – Ryback, the jobber matches, fucking Stephen Amell – hit a lot harder than when it’s a bit more low-key. Hopefully next week’s go home show leaves us on a high before Summerslam. And there’s only talk of Red Arrows from here on out.