RAW Ramblings – August 8th 2016
Honda Centre: Anaheim, CA.
We’re only three weeks into the brand split and things appear to already be bottoming out in terms of creative. The quality of this show was so low that the best thing we saw all night by a country mile was a video hyping the Brock Lesnar/Randy Orton SummerSlam match. For some reason Sami Zayn was relegated to Superstars, I guess because the top Hollywood writers couldn’t come up with anything for him to do on a three show TV show and Vince has no plans for him at the PPV. We were treated to Titus O’Neil vs. Darren Young for the second week in row though, so who needs someone as talented as Zayn, right?
As noted, the only thing worth checking out from this damnable show was the Lesnar/Orton promo package. They showed clips of both guys from OVW and pushed the idea that the match was 15 years in the making. Orton gave the impression that he and Brock were buddies in OVW but he said Lesnar ended up leaving the company because he didn’t like people. Heyman stated there was no longstanding friendship between Orton & Lesnar then Brock stated he didn’t give a f*ck about Randy – he was of course censored. Orton talked about RKOing Lesnar last week and said he wanted to provoke him. Lesnar called Randy “just another guy” and noted he became a “megastar” while Orton was merely just a “star.” Heyman said Brock was the shark waiting to take out the surfer Orton and Lesnar swore some more while he talked about training and destroying his opponents. – Everything about this was great and they certainly tried to make Orton vs. Lesnar seem like a big deal.
The Universal title match between Seth Rollins & Finn Balor was set up by a lot of talking. Rollins was out at the top of the second hour and cut his usual long-winded heel promo. He made some Olympics references then made fun of Balor for believing he is a demon. Seth rambled on for 15 minutes and he eventually said he would beat Balor to become the first Universal Champion at SummerSlam. Later in the show they aired a video package with Finn Balor talking about Irish mythology. It was similar to the deal they did in NXT, with Finn explaining the origins of his name and talking about the giant hunter warrior Finn MacCool and the demon warrior Balor. He said that Rollins would meet the demon at SummerSlam and they used some budget CGI effects to turn Balor’s eyes into that of a demon. – The Balor video was really good and a nice way to set up the Demon character reveal for fans that have not seen it before. It was a much more effective use of Balor than just throwing him out in front of the live crowd and expecting him to recite lines for 15 minutes. Rollins’ promo on the other hand was so long and pointless that I actually put Olympic beach volleyball on in the background and watch that on mute while Seth blathered on and on. It will be interesting to see what finish they do at SummerSlam, as I don’t see Balor winning the title and beating him the first night he breaks out the Demon character is a completely stupid idea.
Main event segment of the show was Mick Foley’s meeting with Daniel Bryan. Foley apologised for Brock Lesnar invading SmackDown and Bryan did the same for Randy Orton showing up on RAW. It wasn’t mentioned again and the segment took a completely random turn. Rusev came out and sucked up to Foley, who had earlier booked Rusev against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam – more on that later. Rusev said he would crush Bryan and the two had a brief stare-down. Cesaro, who beat Sheamus early in the night in a decent 10:55 match, came out and asked Foley for a US title match; Bryan threw in that Cesaro was being underutilised on RAW. Foley booked the US title match and the went to commercial at 10:57pm EST. Cesaro & Rusev proceeded to have a 9:45 match, all of which took place during the over-run. Finish saw Sheamus run down and the referee got bumped while trying to eject him. Cesaro got a visual pin with the Neutraliser, however Rusev came back with an eye rake then Sheamus kicked Cesaro from the floor and Rusev followed up with a big Superkick to get the win. As Rusev celebrated with the title, that jerk Roman Reigns attacked him for no reason and laid him out with a Spear in the aisle. – So the only reason Daniel Bryan appeared on RAW was so he and Foley could apologise to each other, however they couldn’t be bothered to come up with an agreement to stop talent from invading the other show. Match was fine, it set up Cesaro/Sheamus and Rusev looked strong before he is fed to the Big Dog.
Speaking of Reigns, he ruined a celebration of true love between Rusev & Lana like a complete douche. The lovebirds were out celebrating their recent wedding; Rusev had on an outfit only an Eastern European would think is cool and Lana wore a skanky wedding dress. They showed pictures from their wedding day and the fans chanted, “boring.” Roman Reigns eventually interrupted and tried to deliver some comedy like The Rock – he failed miserably. Reigns asked for a US title match and Rusev refused, so Roman insulted Rusev’s manhood and they got into a tussle. Reigns shoved Rusev into Lana, who took a face-first bump into the wedding cake which was set up in the ring. Lana sold the cake spot tremendously and yelled at Reigns for ruining her special day. – By the end of the night there were a lot more cheers for Reigns than usual. It appears that the US hero deal is working for the time being, however I’m sure it will be a different story entirely in Brooklyn.
Show opened with Enzo & Big Cass coming out for yet another talking segment. Chris Jericho interrupted and said he finally had someone to watch his back then he brought out Kevin Owens. They bantered back and forth and everyone was pretty good in their roles. The gimmick was that neither Owens or Jericho wanted to fight Big Cass, so Jericho challenged Enzo to a match after 20 minutes of talking. Jericho beat Enzo via DQ after 11 minutes of awkward action when Cass hit him with a Big Boot. – For as great as Enzo is on the mic he is equally as terrible in the ring. Hopefully when they get to the tag matches there will be enough going on to hide his weaknesses.
Dregs: Braun Strowman killed another jobber, Jorel Nelson, in 0:48 with his Reverse Chokeslam; imagine not loving these weekly squashes. Darren Young w/Bob Backlund pinned Titus O’Neil with a roll-up and a handful of tights in 2:00; it was horrible. Neville had a mystery partner to take on the Dudely Boyz; it turned out to be Sin Cara and they won in 5:20 after Bubba accidentally hit D-Von; nobody cared at all. Get this: Sasha Banks asked Mick Foley to make her title match with Charlotte at SummerSlam a Handicap match including Dana Brooke. Mick booked Sasha against Dana with the stip that if Sasha LOST it would be a Handicap match, but if she won Dana would be banned from ringside – what on earth?! Sasha pinned Dana in a bad 2:45 match with her Double Knees in the corner; Michael Cole said Nia Jax would be awaiting the winner and they showed a vignette for Jax. There was a skit with The Club playing doctors. Anderson & Gallows had on white coats and joked about crotching Big E on the ring post last week; they said E had “ringpostitus.” Gallows then had a match with Kofi Kingston and Gallows got the pin in 1:15 after Anderson sent Xavier into the ring post for the distraction. The Club tried to crotch Kofi on the post afterwards, but Xavier made the save. It didn’t take long for Anderson & Gallows to become mid-card comedy guys after they were broken off from AJ Styles. There was a segment involving the Truth & Goldust looking for Pokemon and they found Scooby Doo instead. They agreed to go eat some Scooby snacks and watch the latest WWE/Scooby Doo crossover movie. Zoinks!