RAW Ramblings – May 23rd 2016
Royal Farms Arena: Baltimore, MD.
Let’s get it straight. RAW was boring as all sin, however they set up things for Money in the Bank so it wasn’t a complete bust. I know the horse bolted a long time ago but these three hour shows are just absolute killers. We got some qualifying matches for the MITB Ladder match and they firmly established Seth Rollins as a heel challenger for Roman Reigns, which in theory sounds like a solid TV show, but even a potentially good show on paper can not overcome the burden of a three hour timeslot.
Seth Rollins was the most over guy on the entire Extreme Rules show and he was given a hero’s welcome when he opened up RAW. So naturally, Vince McMahon had Rollins go out there and cut a heel promo about how the fans only cared about him when he got hurt. Rollins went right back to being his old whiny chicken heel routine and said he ripped up all the get well cards that the fans sent him. Rollins said he never lost the WWE title and stated he wanted it back. Roman Reigns showed up and was hated. Rollins slid out of the ring to avoid Reigns then Shane McMahon showed up and booked Reigns vs. Rollins at Money in the Bank for the title. Later, Rollins met with Stephanie in the back and tried to give her a hug. Steph blew him off and told him things have changed and it was the New Era. – This was typical Vince McMahon. They had a ready made babyface with Rollins, however Vince thumbed his nose at going with the obvious choice and stuck with the same plan that has been failing for over a year. I didn’t expect them to turn Reigns heel or anything, but they could have at least ridden the babyface momentum Rollins had for a while – Seth is going to get cheered at Money in the Bank no matter what anyway.
They shot a pretty weak break-up angle for The Club. AJ Styles cut a promo in the ring and put over Reigns as a tough guy – the fans booed AJ for this. Styles said he would have won the WWE title if not for all the interference from the Club & the Usos. Gallows & Anderson came out and took exception to this. AJ said they would always be brothers but needed to distance himself from them professionally and noted he wanted to do things on his own. Gallows & Anderson would have none of it and told Styles they were no longer friends or brothers. – Segment was completely lacklustre and AJ very much came off like a jerk for dumping his buddies who tried to help him win the title. At least this will set up Balor coming in, but they could have tried a little harder to get Styles out of the picture.
The Money in the Bank qualifiers made up the bulk of the show with varying degrees of success and we got five of the seven participants in the match. Main event was Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles. Both men were great and worked hard to put on a good match, however the crowd had been killed by the monotony of the show so it was a struggle to get the fans into it at first. Owens won clean in 16:31 with the Pup-up Powerbomb to qualify for the MITB. Sami Zayn beat Sheamus in the opener in 10:03 to qualify; it was a decent little TV match. Renee tried to interview Apollo Crews in the back, but Sheamus attacked him to set up a feud between the two. Cesaro downed Miz in the second qualifier at 11:17 of another solid outing. Chris Jericho beat Apollo Crews in a sloppy 7:45 match to earn a spot in the MITB. Crews wasn’t selling a lick from the Sheamus attack earlier. Jericho had a bunch of band aids stuck all over his back from the thumb tacks and Crews even worked them over at one point. Dean Ambrose pinned Dolph Ziggler in 12:10 with his DDT in a face vs. face match that the crowd didn’t care about at all as it occurred during the third hour. Ambrose didn’t sell a thing after the 26 minute cage match the night before. – The MITB match should be great this year wit all the talent in it. I don’t know where AJ Styles goes in the meantime while we wait for Balor, but hopefully it won’t involve him losing anymore matches clean on TV.
Enzo Amore returned on the show and was super over with all his catchphrases. He cut a great promo on the Dudleyz and Cass called them SAWFT. Dudleyz came out and we got Big Cass vs. Bubba Ray. Enzo got physical and did some stuff on the floor with D-Von. Cass pinned Bubba with the Empire Elbow in 3:16. Match was nothing but it was nice to see Enzo back.
Charlotte kicked Ric Flair to the curb and we have probably seen the last of Flair on TV for the foreseeable future. Charlotte, Dana Brooke & Flair came out for a promo. Flair talked about Charlotte as a kid and told her he was proud to be her father. Crowd were so interested that they chanted, “boring” at Richard Morgan Fliehr. Charlotte went on this ungodly long and hideously delivered speech about Flair not being there for her when she was growing up. There was campy, over the top hammy acting, fake tears from Charlotte and real tears from Flair which made Charlotte cry for real. It went on and on and got more insufferable with each second. Finally Charlotte told Flair to get out of her ring. Flair left in tears and Charlotte awkwardly sang the “Goodbye” song. In the back, Arn Anderson tried to console Flair and Renee approached him for an interview. A teary-eyed Flair had nothing to say and he walked off into the night on his own. – With Vince’s hatred of old people on his TV show, it was inevitable that Flair would get the boot eventually. Somebody needs to tell Charlotte to scale back her promo delivery about 20%, because all she does is yell and belabour every syllable to the point of absurdity.
Vanilla Filler: New Day brought out a cake to celebrate the 1,200 episode of RAW. Big E teased throwing the cake over the announcers then the Social Outcasts attacked them to set up a match. New Day beat Slater, Dallas & Axel in 1:58 and Slater ended up taking the cake in the face spot afterwards. They showed the Darren Young/Bob Backlund skit from SmackDown; Backlund didn’t approve of Young saying the word, “Damn” and told him to do 200 jumping jacks. It sucked. Jo-Jo interview Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler showed up and told him he could beat him in a technical wrestling match. Corbin said he didn’t grow up watching WWE and didn’t care about technical wrestling; the only thing he cared about was making money. They agreed to have another match for some ungodly reason.