RAW Ramblings – May 9th 2016
Century Link Centre: Omaha, NE.
Nobody can dispute that the quality of WWE TV has increased greatly since WrestleMania, however there are still plenty of issues with the product that with a little effort could easily be rectified. We had three distraction finishes on the show all in the space of an hour and if that wasn’t bad enough there was also four instances of a roll-up leading to a pinfall. Also, three champions were pinned in non-title matches – all of which came via distraction – and in at least two cases it was absolutely pointless. The story with Shane & Stephanie (whom were not referred to as “the siblings” at all this week) is still based on one of the most egregious examples of WWE treating their fans like morons, but I suppose that is a concession we have just have to make at this point. Stephanie was still pretending to be nice to Shane, however she still managed to emasculate Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens during backstage skits. Clearly they are going to run with Stephanie being nice to Shane and teasing the siblings getting along until it is time for HHH to come back and destroy Shane to regain his throne. All of that seems to make sense – if you ignore Shane losing at WrestleMania of course – however they will surely undermine the “New Era” catchphrase they are trying to smash over if we are back to the Authority running the show in three months. Speaking of buzzwords being shoved down our throat, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows are now officially known as, “The Club.” Subtle, right? For the third show in a row, The Club did battle with Roman Reigns & The Usos, now billed as “The Family.” It was probably the highlight of the entire show and they shot a great angle afterwards to set up the Styles/Reigns title match at Extreme Rules.
It was an Elimination match and they went on at the top of the third hour. Anderson eliminated Jey at 2:45 with a ROLL-UP and a handful of tights. Jimmy sent Anderson packing at 5:00 with a ROLL-UP (Inside Cradle). Styles eliminated Jimmy with the Phenomenal Forearm during the commercial break. Reigns pinned Gallows with the Superman Punch at 9:05. Styles & Reigns brawled to the floor and Reigns tossed AJ over the announce table. Anderson & Gallows attacked Reigns for the DQ at 11:10 and the Usos quickly ran down to even up the fight. Reigns speared Anderson & Gallows (that’s three RAWs in a row that Reigns has taken out the Good Brothers) but Styles dropped Reigns with an Enzuigiri and went for the Styles Clash on a chair. Reigns dumped Styles on the apron and they had a great stand-off with the chair in between them. Reigns offered the chair to AJ, who kicked it back towards Roman. Reigns went to pick the chair up and Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, however he jumped over Reigns and slid out of the ring then told Roman that he didn’t need the chair. – Anderson & Gallows are quickly turning into a just a pair of guys and desperately need some heat pouring on them with some kind of big angle. The stuff with Reigns & Styles was really good and Styles came off more heelish than ever before. It appears like they have dropped or at least pulled back on the hints of Anderson & Gallows turning on Styles for now. They could always wait a couple of months and bring up Finn to form the Balor Club, although that would require them not going full-on with an AJ heel turn in the meantime. Reigns got a better reaction than usual, which shouldn’t be a surprise in Nebraska, but he was still booed heavily by the males.
Opening segment was the Highlight Reel and Jericho talked about smashing Mitch the plant over Dean Ambrose’s head last week. Jericho said Ambrose went to the hospital and would not be on the show this week. Big Cass interrupted and talked about the “New Era” then declared that he had arrived. Jericho told Cass to go check on Enzo in the hospital, whom he claimed was in the same ward as Dean Ambrose. Cass challenged him to a fight; Jericho took off his jacket, but turned and walked away. Cass did his SAWFT gimmick and it was over big time. In the back Jericho complained to fake babyface Stephanie, who did the SAWFT catchphrase and booked Jericho vs. Big Cass in the main event. Match never happened because Jericho was attacked while he was making his entrance. The assailant stole Jericho’s light-up jacket and wore it down to the ring while he continued to do Jericho’s entrance. The lights came back up and revealed Dean Ambrose in the ring wearing Jericho’s jacket. Ambrose proceeded to rip and tear apart the jacket, while Jericho watched from the stage and yelled about it costing “$15,000.” Jericho charged the ring, but Ambrose sent him back to the floor where Big Cass was waiting for him. Jericho slapped Cass, so Cass sent him into the barricade and threw him back into the ring for Ambrose to hit Dirty Deeds. Backstage, Shane & Steph were watching and they joked about how ridiculous it was that these men were fighting over a potted plant and a jacket. Shane left and Stephanie picked up the photo of the young Shane & Vince and looked at it cryptically. – The Jericho/Cass match will probably take place at some point, so it didn’t really bother me that they didn’t deliver on the main event. Ambrose destroying Jericho’s jacket made perfect sense, but as I said last week it is a damn shame that the entire Jericho/Ambrose feud is built around a potted plant – and now a jacket.
They set up a four-way for the IC title at Extreme Rules with the expected guys. Kevin Owens, Cesaro Miz & Maryse were in Shane & Stephanie’s office. Stephanie yelled at everyone then booked a three-way. Sami Zayn showed up and wanted in the match, so Shane booked him against Miz for a spot in the match. Sami beat Miz in a fun TV match at 12:45 with the Yakuza kick. Later on, Zack Ryder was in the office with Shane and he wanted in the IC title match. Owens showed up and buried the idea of Ryder getting a shot. Shane booked Ryder vs. Owens with the stip that Ryder would get Owens’ spot in the four-way if he won. He didn’t. Owens pinned Ryder with the Pop-up Powerbomb in 4:05. – This was the one instance on the show where a champion losing a non-title match made sense, as Sami earned a spot in the title match. The other two examples of champions losing were completely unnecessary.
Dana Brooke debuted on the show in a backstage segment. Becky Lynch was doing an interview with Renee when Emma showed up and told her she needed eyes in the back of her head. Dana attacked her from behind and Emma said that playtime was over.
…And the Rest: Baron Corbin pinned Dolph Ziggler at 8:30 of a solid TV match with his End of Days finish. R-Truth w/Tyler Breeze pinned Fandango w/Goldust in 2:10 after a distraction from Breeze. Paige pinned Charlotte in 7:45 of a non-title match. Nattie was on commentary and Ric Flair had been banned from ringside by Shane earlier on. Flair showed up and Shane came out with a bunch of referees to eject him. Charlotte was distracted and Paige won with a ROLL-UP. Sin Cara pinned the #1 contender for the US title, Rusev, after a distraction from Kalisto & Lana in 3:45 with a ROLL-UP. Sucked. They showed the Darren Young/Bob Backlund vignette that debuted on SmackDown; the announcers played it up like a big joke. There was a wacky product placement add with the New Day stealing Dolph Ziggler’s Pizza Hut pizza. Primo & Epico are finally re-re-re-debuting next week. The Dudley Boyz beat the New Day (Big E & Kofi) in a non-title match after the Vaudevillains attacked Xavier on the floor. Kofi was DISTRACTED and D-Von pinned him with a Lariat in 5:09. Vaudevillains hit their finish on Kofi afterwards.