RAW Ramblings – May 30th 2016
Resch Centre: Green Bay, WI.
Aside from one segment and one match, the Memorial Day 2016 edition of Monday Night RAW was an utter abortion of a television program and it turned out to be a strong contender for the worst show of the year. With game seven of the NBA Playoffs and the first game of the Stanley Cup as competition, they waved the white flag of surrender and rolled over to have their belly tickled. The only thing that saved the show from being the worst RAW of all-time was a brilliantly executed heel turn of AJ Styles and the old Horsemen beat-down with the Club laying out John Cena. You could argue that it is way too early for them to turn Styles, and I would agree, but the company needs viable top heels and they have made it abundantly clear that turning Roman Reigns is out of the question. It is also a lot easier to get a stable over at a main event level as a heel act than as babyfaces, although Anderson & Gallows attacked the New Day on the show as well, so they still have one foot firmly planted in the mid-card.
John Cena returned at the top of the third hour, which was just about half-time in the NBA Play-offs. He cut a “USA, A-OK” promo then talked about the New Era and declared the future would have to go through him. AJ Styles came out to a massive reaction and the crowd went back-and-forth with dueling chants for at least a solid two minutes; it was a really cool moment. Styles put Cena over for working harder than anyone else then said he wanted to be the first to welcome him back and offered him a handshake. Cena accepted, but Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows interrupted. Gallows accused AJ of kissing Cena’s ass and Anderson added they were their to kick ass, not kiss it. Styles & Cena stood together ready to fight, but when Cena turned around to throw his shirt into the crowd AJ laid him out with a right hand and the Club put the boots to Cena. It was so great and got some legitimate heat. The Club went to leave, however Styles ran down to the ring four times to attack Cena some more. Gallows yelled that it was the “real AJ Styles” and Styles said, “You’re welcome, world” before he headed to the back. – On this wretched show, this was legitimately one of the best angles WWE have done in years. You might have to go all the way back to Mark Henry’s phony retirement and turn on Cena in 2013 to find something that they pulled off as well as this. Hopefully, Vince & Kevin Dunn were listening to the reaction that Styles got before the turn, because there is simply no way anyone can deny that the WWE fans have in fact accepted AJ Styles as a legitimate main event star. Everything they did last week with the Club made sense and they payoff of Styles turning on Cena was simply perfect. There will be plenty of time in the future to complain about Styles potentially losing a feud to John Cena, which has helped absolutely nobody since maybe Edge. But for now we should just be happy that they managed to shoot a great angle to set up a match that even six months ago nobody thought would ever happen.
Main event was a trios match with the six guys in the Money in the Bank match; there was no mention of a seventh participant, so they might have changed their minds and made it a six-way. Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn & Cesaro beat Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio in a good 18 minute TV match, although it was nothing worth going out of your way to see. Ambrose pinned Owens with the Dirty Deeds, because it was Owens‘ turn to get pinned this week. They shot some backstage skits earlier in the show to set the match up. The babyfaces were in one locker room and Cesaro & Ambrose made fun of Canadians right in front of Sami, while the heels were in another locker room and Jericho decided that Owens had started to get on his nerves. – It didn’t really do a much to build Money in the Bank, but as noted they pretty much gave up on this show expect for the Cena segment.
The state of the rest of this show. It opened with Shane & Stephanie coming out and they talked about SmackDown going live in July and the brand split. New Day showed up and wanted to know if they were going to be split up during the draft. Shane said nothing was off the table. Eventually, New Day challenged the McMahon’s to dance and Shane busted out some embarrassing dad moves. Steph refused at first, but she stepped up and was about to start her dance when the Vaudevillains, of all people, interrupted. This led to New Day vs. the Vaudes in a non-title match, which ended in a DQ 8:53 when Anderson & Gallows attacked New Day. The Vaudevillains stepped aside to let the Club continue the attack on Big E and they put him down with the Magic Killer. – If this leads to Anderson & Gallows becoming strong Tag champs then I’m all for it, but the last thing the Good Brothers need is to be involved in a comedy mid-card feud while they are also rubbing shoulders with Styles & Cena.
What they did with Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins was absolutely pitiful. Reigns was out at the top of the second hour; he did his annoying, “the guy,” catchphrase and was of course booed. Rollins came out on the stage and stood there with a mic, not saying anything for about a minute; it died a death. Rollins teased running down to get in the ring a bunch of times; it went on and on forever. Some fans chanted, “boring” but most of them just sat there in silence. That was the whole segment. It was mind-numbingly horrendous.
The Mire: Apollo Crews & Big Show became buddies in a backstage skit; Show told him not to back down to the bully, Sheamus. The Usos squashed Breezango in 1:40; Goldust & Truth were on commentary and were insufferably annoying. Golden Truth beat up Breezango afterwards. Awful. Rusev squashed Zack Ryder in a non-title match in 2:35 with the Accolade. Titus O’Neil came out afterwards to challenge Rusev for the US title; Titus! I’m glad Rusev isn’t going to be slain by Cena again, but Titus O’Neil?! Jeez. The Shining Stars did a vignette in front of a green-screen; they still like Puerto Rico. They recapped the awful Charlotte/Ric Flair angle from last week then aired footage of Stephanie delivering an epic burial to Charlotte. Steph called her a “waste of talent.” It was completely counter-productive. Maybe they are going to do a match with Steph & Charlotte, but I doubt it. Enzo Amore & Big Cass beat the Dudley Boyz in 9:20 with the Rocket Launcher. Match was fine; Enzo was the star of the show at this point with his pre-match promo. Dana Brooke beat Natalya in 1:20 after Charlotte distracted Nattie. Becky Lynch ran out to save Nattie from a beat-down from the heels. Sucked. Jo-Jo interviewed Dolph Ziggler about his “technical wrestling” match with Baron Corbin. Ziggler tried to copy Chris Jericho’s 1004 holds promo from WCW and failed epically. Ziggler wore some goofy amateur head gear and used a mouth-guard. The bell rang and Ziggler gave Corbin a low-blow for the DQ at 0:30; Ziggler got on the mic and said even though he was DQ’d, Corbin was still the loser of the match. They aired a deal of Maryse introducing the Miz, who was away filming the Marine 5. Miz said he would keep us updated every week while he is filming the movie. Oh goodie.
So, about that brand split…