August 25, 2015 by Joey Keogh
If you were burned out by Summerslam, prepare yourself, because RAW this week is so stuffed it might as well be Ryback after he’s laid waste to a Jimmy Chung’s. We open as all wrestling – nay, television – shows should, with a rousing, superbly angry promo from the incomparable Paul Heyman.
Heyman is understandably pissed because he reckons his client actually won last night but that the history books will show that Taker won instead. Lesnar is pretty beat up, he looks even redder than usual, but naturally he doesn’t feel the need to say anything and merely reacts positively to his manager’s spot-on impression of The Undertaker as a whiny child begging for mercy in the school-yard. Brooklyn boos the time-keeper, who looks visibly uncomfortable to be featuring on camera at all, as Heyman reveals he has enough material to last the whole damn three hours – if only we were that lucky.
The basic message to take away from all this is that Heyman should always open and close RAW no matter what, and that Lesnar wants a pre-match. Not at Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, Extreme Rules or even Barbed Wire Bingo (one of those may be made up) but right fucking now. Bizarrely, none other than Bo Dallas appears instead, with Cole helpfully pointing out that he is “hardly The Undertaker”. Thanks for that, Cole. They do look and act very alike so it might have been confusing for some viewers. Heyman is confused, Lesnar gets even redder and when Dallas tries to convince him to just “bo-liiiiiiiiiiieve” he’s taken on a quick trip to Suplex City.
Halfway up the ramp, Heyman suggests Lesnar go back and Suplex him again and he happily obliges. They move to leave once more, and he suggests another and, this time, Dallas eats an F5 for his trouble. The first of just five matches on tonight’s card is a tag bout, pitching the newly-reinstated champs The New Day against The Lucha Dragons. The New Day kick things off by performing their own rendition of a Sinatra classic, replacing “New York” with “New Day”, Xavier Woods accompanying them on trumpet. He also uses this instrument to signal when his buddies are laying the smackdown during the match, and when they predictably steal a victory. The Prime Time Players are on commentary looking a bit overdressed but provide nothing of interest.
The real shock comes after the match is over, when The Dudley Boyz make their triumphant return to the WWE and poor Woods ends up taking the brunt of their anger. The Players emerge unscathed but do have the balls to square up to them at least. Backstage, The Authority hide Rollins’s new, insanely hideous statue from him in a comedically oversized box, behind a comedically oversized curtain. They’re all like “no peeking” and he’s like “you guys are the best parents ever, I can’t wait ’til Christmas”. Back in the ring, Ambrose and Reigns take on Wyatt and Harper in a rematch following last night’s embarrassment for the once-proud cult leader. Why can’t Bray win? Just once? He’s suffered enough at this stage. He’s not Eva Marie.
Speaking of which, the crowd boo the hell out of Reigns and rightly so because, much like last night, the match grinds to a halt whenever he takes charge (which is a lot because he’s Roman Reigns). Suddenly, just as things seem to be winding down, the lights go out and, when they come back up, what seems to be Bray’s father/a giant baby is standing on the apron, clad in a black sheep mask. Needless to say, he kills Ambrose and Reigns. They fight back valiantly, but it’s to no avail. This man, whoever he is, is clearly being set up as a monster. Nothing hurts him and he has the crazy eyes so he’s more than able to take on Ambrose and Reigns. And hey, anything that puts Bray Wyatt over is a good thing. Even when it involves giant foreheads.
Miz TV is back and tonight the sexy Jedi’s guests are PCB, a stable whose name sounds a bit like a drug that makes you shit your pants but whose members are the perfect mix of crazy, brooding and super strong. Miz gets off on the wrong foot with them right off the bat by claiming to go way back with Ric Flair, and to perfecting the Figure-4. He also seems intent on congratulating the three ladies for being pretty, as opposed to virtually anything else. WWE may be being subversive with this angle, but the crowd don’t warm to it much, especially considering they chant for AJ and Sasha throughout. It ends with the Bellas interrupting, PCB rounding on Miz and then the girls fighting instead because this isn’t Mexico, y’all.
There’s been a lot of talk about the women’s match this week on social media, because certain competitors weren’t too pleased with the fans chanting “We are awesome”, etc. throughout. It’s a shame because, even though this whole tag thing doesn’t really work because they’re still all fighting for the same goddamn belt, this is a damn good match – not NXT good, but they’re getting there. There are some great spots, it flows really well, it’s not entirely predictable and Nikki, in particular, seems to be channelling her anger into some gnarly bumps. Foxy wins it for their team and there’s a lot of smiling through gritted teeth as arms are raised in victory – and really, who could blame them? It might not be a revolution yet, but it’s never going to be if we don’t give them a proper chance.
Stardust and King Barrett are supposed to have a match next but the former ends up turning on his partner before the bell has even rung. And then Neville comes down and lays into Stardust and the crowd chants “Cody!” and it’s all a bit of a mess. But at least there’s no Stephen Amell this time around. The other big story on social media this week has been Jon Stewart turning on John Cena and tonight the man himself is here to collect another pay-cheque, er, I mean, to apologise and explain his actions. It takes a scolding from the great Ric Flair (who is shaky, but at least slightly better on his feet than last time) for him to see the error of his ways. But then Mean Cena comes out, heeling it up, and AAs him. And now reputable news sites are putting “attitude adjustment” in inverted commas and what the hell is happening to the world right now?
An 8-man tag team match follows and it’s absolute garbage. Kevin Owens looks pissed to even be a part of it, but needless to say the strongest moments concern he and Cesaro. Unfortunately, the focus, once again, is on Orton and Sheamus who, for some unknown reason, are deemed to still have more issues to work out in the ring. He wins it with the RKO and then after the match Big Show gets beat down by both the heels and the faces and it’s kind of uncomfortable to watch. A great Bray Wyatt promo follows, during which Harper looks to be baked out of his mind from the second hand smoke. Wyatt introduces their new team member, Baba Mc Nappies, and explains he’s Sister Abigail. Okay, he’s her black sheep, but it would’ve been better if this big, bearded man was revealed to be Sister Abigail instead of whatever his name is (something to do with shaving cream?).
It’s time for the reveal of Rollins’s super-ugly statue, which means Cena must be escorted from the building. In fairness, he was doing a borderline racist Southern accent the whole night so he kind of had it coming. The Authority kicks things off by making everyone sing happy birthday to Vince, who’s turning 150 today or something, before putting their golden boy the fuck over as not the future of the WWE but simply the man. Rollins gets a bit emotional when it’s his time to speak but he manages to rein it in long enough to deliver his big line; “I become immortal”. There’s a load of teasing before the curtain is finally lifted to reveal….Stingerrrrrrrrrrrrrr. That’s right, Sting has been standing in a box for ten minutes waiting for his cue and has rubbed off half his face-paint during that time. So that’s who the other voice singing to Vince was before.
Steph and Trips leg it, understandably so, but Rollins stands up to fight. And by fight I mean he oversells every hit Sting delivers like a Hollywood stuntman on his very first job. The show fades out with Stinger holding the world heavyweight title aloft as Steph yells “That is not yours!” like his mommy scolding him. News has since broken that Rollins will be facing Stinger at Night Of Champions. Whether this idea excites you or not will depend on your predilection for a very old man barely touching a much younger, fitter man and the latter jumping around as though he’s been burned with a hot poker each time he does so. It’ll look like Rollins is fighting himself, basically. Stay tuned for the inevitable Taker/Stinger bout, where no one takes a shot for twenty minutes because neither has the energy to lift their arms anymore.