May 18, 2015
From Richmond, VA
Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with Eden Stiles introducing HHH and Stephanie McMahon, making her return to TV after a several week absence. They were both gloating as they put over Seth Rollins for beating three men last night as he retained the WWE World Title. HHH said they are both very good at their jobs then proclaimed that they would have a celebration for Rollins tonight and that Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose would have to go to the “back of the line” as HHH tells us they could not cut it last night. The Authority then switches focus to the vacant Intercontinental Title as the crowd starts a decent “Yes” chant. Stephanie then gloats over the fact that Bryan admitted she was right as HHH says a new IC Champion will be crowned inside of the Elimination Chamber as we are then shown a brief video of the Chamber itself as the announcers put over the danger of the structure. As Stephanie begins to talk about the Network, Sheamus interrupts. He comes out and is met with the “you look stupid” chant before kissing up to the Authority. He then brags about ending Daniel Bryan’s career, as we see a replay of him attacking Bryan on Smackdown last month, then believes he should be rewarded with the title for ending his career. Ryback now interrupts, with his ribs taped up and the announcers putting over his match against Bray Wyatt last night at Payback. The crowd met him with a loud “feed me more” chant. Ryback then tells Sheamus he looks stupid before putting over Bryan’s heart and determination as another “yes” chant breaks out. After a minute, Ryback then challenges Sheamus to a match, as he does not like bullies. Stephanie then tells them both they will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant IC title as HHH tells us he will leave with Steph while Ryback and Sheamus face off against each other. Fine segment that focused more on the IC Title and Rollins rather than mindless ramblings from the Authority.
Sheamus d. Ryback with the Brogue Kick (9:59) **1/2
The match started immediately after the return from commercial. It started off with each guy going back and forth for the first few minutes, with Sheamus targeting the ribs of Ryback whenever possible. Sheamus then took control with a backbreaker and went after the ribs some more until they went to break. Back from break, Ryback powered out of a resthold and caught Sheamus with a powerbomb in a nice spot. The crowd got behind Ryback as he attempted a comeback. He hit a few nearfalls and even press-slammed Sheamus onto the announcers table. Sheamus kept trying to outsmart Ryback but it didnt work as Ryback inflicted more pain. Sheamus then pretended that he had something in his eye and was able to catch Ryback with the Brogue Kick as he was being pushed back by the referee. Solid match that told a good story of Sheamus, the bully, being afraid of someone his own size and using cheap tactics in order to win. Ryback did a good job at playing to the crowd and knew how to get them into the match during his comeback. He even did a fine job at selling. You can also start a feud between these two now, even after the Elimination Chamber show.
HHH and Steph are with Kane but Seth Rollins interrupts, flanked by J & J Security, and has champagne for everyone. He even pours Kane a glass, even complimenting him, but it turned out to be a backhanded compliment as Rollins puts himself over for saving Kane, giving him a reason to celebrate. Ambrose then comes in and tells Rollins he retained by the help of four guys last night and since he beat Rollins clean the last time they met, he would offer him a rematch but only if the title is on the line. Rollins tells Ambrose that he does not understand what the back of the line means as Kane says it is his job to decide who gets the next title shot. Everyone then leaves except for Kane and Ambrose, who tells Kane that he used to be a monster but is now Seth’s “lap dog” and that he is even a disgrace to his family. Kane yells at Ambrose for talking about his family as Ambrose, who took it all in stride, takes Kane’s champagne flute and sips from it, reminding Kane he should not drink on the job. Kane then tells Ambrose he will be facing Bray Wyatt tonight. Ambrose leaves as Kane is standing there all pissed off. Decent segment. The idea was fine although some of the scripted lines were terrible.
Renee Young brings Neville to the ring. She asks him about being a new superstar as he talks about how after competing all over the world, nothing compares to the WWE. He says that while not the biggest, he loves to prove doubters long. His accent was kinda thick here. Bo Dallas then interrupts and says he would be lying if he said Neville’s career is looking up. Neville then reminds us all that he beat Dallas for the NXT Title. Dallas goes after Neville’s left knee, which Cole tells us was “tweaked” last night in his match against King Barrett at Payback last night. Barrett then comes out as we are getting a rematch of last night.
King Barrett d. Neville with the Bullhammer (7:06) *1/2
Dallas is on commentary for this match. He called Booker “Mr. T” repeatedly and it was funny but I found most of his appearance grating. Barrett started the match by targeting the knee and that lasted through the commercial break. Neville made a brief comeback after Barrett missed a kick in the corner but his knee kept on buckling then he fell victim to the Bullhammer. After the match, Dallas came in and attacked the knee as he was left standing tall while the crowd booed. I thought this was fine. Neville got sympathy here as he lost partly due to an attack before the match and while a feud with Dallas isnt the most exciting in the world, it does make sense due to their history and it gives Neville something to do for the moment. Worst case scenario Neville does have an injury or even worse than that, a Wellness Violation.
Rusev heads out to the ring, looking enraged. He tells us Lana is not here and that she needs to learn her place. Rusev also said Lana does not speak for him as the crowd chants for her. Rusev flips out over the chants, screaming at the crowd to shut up as he then tells us he never said that he quit. In fact, he made Cena pass out because of the punishment he inflicted but Lana quit, because she is weak. Rusev then wanted to restart the match from last night but Lana walked out. Rusev yells at her for defying his orders but she wants to explain herself. She said that Rusev is misunderstood and that she believes in him, even believed that he could finally make Cena quit. Lana then tells him she was just trying to protect him but he said she is weak. Lana talks about not wanting to see him in pain and revealed that he was saying he quit in Bulgarian as the crowd ragged on Rusev, who then flipped out and called Lana a liar and that she needs to leave and go back where she came from. He continues to scream in Bulgarian as Lana walks away. Good segment with great heel work by Rusev, who is out of his mind right now. Lana also did a fine job as she is also easily the best actress among the females on the roster. When she finally becomes a face the crowd is going to explode. I really hope Rusev doesnt get lost in the shuffle after this feud ends because he has stepped up his game in a major way.
A plug for the Jerry “The King” Lawler DVD airs.
Bray Wyatt d. Dean Ambrose with the Sister Abigail (13:27) ***
Both guys went back and forth for a bit to start. Wyatt took advantage with an eye rake then applied a chinlock. Ambrose fought back with a clothesline but got drilled after attempting a tope then got suplexed to the floor just before the break. Wyatt remained in control as they came back but shortly after that they both clotheslined each other on the floor, just beating the ten count back inside. They slug it out inside until Ambrose hit a crossbody. Ambrose got a few nearfalls then finally hit Wyatt with a tope, which the announcers tried to sell as hurting Ambrose just as much. After escaping from each other’s finishers, Wyatt hits a clothesline for two. Ambrose eventually fought back and tries for a superplex but got shoved off. He rolled away from the senton then climbs up top but Noble hopped up on the apron then Mercury shoved off Ambrose, who got caught with the Sister Abigail as Wyatt got the pin. Good match and in defeat it established Ambrose as a threat to the title because J&J Security had to take him out due to him having the upper hand on Rollins, since Ambrose beat him a few weeks ago. It also kept Wyatt strong with the win so overall, a fine segment.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro fought New Day (Big E & Kofi) to a No-Contest at (5:51) *1/4
This match was for the Tag Team Titles. Xavier Woods has been barred from ringside due to last night. The crowd was really into chanting “New Day Sucks” but it also reminded you how much better it is when Xavier Woods does the talking. The challengers took control early, with Cesaro hitting an impressive delayed vertical suplex on Big E. Back from break, Big E has Cesaro in an abdominal stretch as we are shown the replay of the finish to last night’s tag match. Cole breaks the news that Sheamus, Ryback, Rusev, R-Truth, and King Barrett will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the IC Title, with one more competitor to be named. Kidd puts Kofi into the Sharpshooter but Big E breaks it up then they stomp on Kidd until the ref signals for the bell. Xavier Woods runs out and they fight until Lucha Dragons, Los Matadores, Ascension, and the Prime Time Players all run out. The crowd was into the Lucha Dragons, who have new matching gear. It ended with the PTPs standing tall after a clunky sequence in which they roughed up Woods. A fun segment to hype up the teams in the Elimination Chamber Tag Match.
John Cena comes out for the US Title Open Challenge. He first talks about his match last night then leads the crowd into a “USA” chant as he expresses his love for the country and how at the end of the day, despite differences, they are all proud Americans. He points out the soldiers in the crowd too. He puts over how he has given shots to everyone and that the US Title is “our” Championship and then it is answered by Kevin Owens, making his WWE TV debut, NXT Title in his hand. Owens first says hello to Cena, even congratulating him on his win. He said he would introduce himself but he (Cena) already knows who he is and for those who do not know, they are not worth his time to begin with. Owens then tells Cena not to worry about hurting Sami Zayn because he was not hurt in that match but rather he got hurt after Owens beat him. Cena tells Owens that some might not know him but no matter what, they are not a waste of time because without the fans, they are all nothing. Cena then attempts to give Owens some “veteran advice” to which Owens stops him and says he has been wrestling for 15 years and does not need to hear any of it as Cena then switches gears and tries to fire up Owens by saying he is scared. Owens then declines Cena’s challenge as he tells him they will fight one day, on his terms, then cheap shots Cena with a kick to the gut then hits Cena with his pop-up powerbomb, which Cole put over huge. Owens then grabbed both belts and placed the U.S. Title on the ground next to Cena and stepped on it as he raised the NXT Title in the air. Incredible debut for Owens. He got over huge as a heel with the crowd. Cena was awesome here too as these two could probably go toe-to-toe on the mic all day. This segment put over NXT huge as well.
Dolph Ziggler d. Stardust with the Zig Zag (1:26) 1/4*
Cody started the match off using basic heel offense as the announcers put over the debut of Owens. Shortly after that Ziggler got the win with a Zig Zag. A nothing match as the crowd started a faint “Cody” chant at the beginning.
After the match, Cole came into the ring as Ziggler attempted to do some comedy regarding his scar. My god was that awful. Cole then revealed Ziggler as the final participant in the Elimination Chamber as he said he would go through anyone to face Sheamus again. All of a sudden, a smiling Lana comes out, fawning all over Ziggler. She kissed him then smiled some more as the crowd chanted “one more time.” They kissed again then Rusev came out and ended up destroying Ziggler. He turned to Lana and yelled at her as the crowd started a “USA” chant but ended up getting slapped. The crowd popped big for that. Rusev stared down Lana until Ziggler got up and hit him with the Zig Zag. Lana and Ziggler then walked away while his theme played as Rusev furiously looked at them. I dont know about Ziggler and Lana together but I also do not think that this is the end game for the Lana/Rusev split. If it is, then the ending was underwhelming to say the least.
Erick Rowan & Luke Harper d. Fandango & Zack Ryder when Rowan pinned Ryder with the Full Nelson Slam (3:27)
Fandango played the face-in-peril role until he hit Harper with a tornado DDT. Ryder tagged in and hit Harper with a missile dropkick but ran into a clothesline then shortly after that Rowan pinned Ryder with a full nelson after Harper connected with a super kick. Short match to re-establish Harper & Wyatt in the tag team division. Too bad they are not in the Chamber match though.
Stephanie McMahon confronts the Bella Twins. She tells Brie that due to her husband’s condition, she has scheduled counseling sessions and should not accompany Nikki to the ring tonight. Nikki acted like she didnt need Brie tonight. Not much of a segment and Brie makes speaking seem difficult.
Nikki Bella d. Naomi when Tamina interfered (6:20) *
Before the match, Naomi was shown in an insert promo laughing about how the WWE will finally get the champion they deserve as Tamina tells us the division belongs to them now. This match also got the boxing-style ring introductions. Lots of stalling from Naomi to start as the crowd basically booed both girls. Nikki finally went on offense and clotheslined Naomi to the floor then took out her out, along with Tamina, after a tope. Back from break, Naomi was in control until they both collided. Nikki fought back and went for the Rack Attack but Tamina hit her with the super kick for the DQ. They beat down Nikki until Paige ran in and chased off Tamina and Naomi, who attacked Paige a few weeks ago. Paige then smiled at Nikki and motioned for her to pick up the belt but instead hit her with a DDT. They have reestablished Paige as a contender but the division gets even more confusing with regards to the heels and faces.
Backstage, we see Owens and HHH speaking. Renee Young comes over to ask Owens what he was talking about as he said that he will fight Cena on his own terms and the Authority agreed so at the Elimination Chamber, they will fight one-on-one. Owens then tells Cena to pay attention to what he does against Zayn at NXT: Takeover as he will do the same to Cena. Owens closes by saying the champ is not there (Cena) but rather here as he points to himself. They are really serious about Owens, who gets to face Cena on his first ever PPV show. They did an great job establishing him tonight as well.
Plug for the cast of Entourage hosting RAW next week.
The Authority are in the ring as they honor Seth Rollins. He comes out as HHH puts him over while Stephanie goes over-the-top with her reactions. She was pretty funny. HHH then says he sees himself in Rollins and was impressed by watching him hit Orton with a pedigree. HHH says everyone is here for him as Kane gets a chance to speak, but not before the “Justin Bieber” chants die down. Kane jokes about not seeing eye-to-eye because he is a foot taller than him but says he is glad that Rollins is champ because it is best for business. However, Rollins is appalled that was all Kane had to say as Kane then thanks Rollins for his job as he shows us a video he put together for Rollins. They show us a highlight package of Rollins’ WWE career, which was well done. Noble tells us that in his more cultured home state of West Virginia they have a saying about cream rising to the top as he puts over Rollins then hands the mic over to Mercury, who is too choked up to speak at first, then gets cut off by Ambrose’s music. The Authority do not appreciate the interruption but Ambrose said he was late due to looking for the perfect Bieber outfit for Seth, leading to another Bieber chant. Ambrose then gave Rollins another opportunity for a rematch, as long as he puts his title on the line. Stephanie takes offense to Ambrose for making demands. However, she says that Seth is a fighting champion who will not be intimidated and orders him to go after Ambrose. He tries to sneak attack Ambrose but that fails. J&J Security come in but Ambrose clotheslines Rollins to the floor and they slug it out until he backdrops Rollins onto the table. He then puts Rollins head on the concrete blocks, stepping on it with his foot, and threatens to hit him with a chair. The Authority beg him to stop and will give him the title match. J&J Security and Kane try to stop him but fail. He goes after Rollins but he escapes and Ambrose finally falls victim to the numbers game as Seth sneak attacks him after he was about to give Kane the Dirty Deeds then hits him with the Pedigree. The show ends with Stephanie & HHH clapping as Rollins stands tall. The segment was fine but you’d expect the crowd to chant more for Ambrose than they did during the brawl.
Final Thoughts: Another really good show. The company finally has direction in its booking too, which is getting people over. They did a fine job debuting Owens. In fact, it went as well as anyone could have hoped for, IMO. Rusev is also doing some truly masterful heel work too. They are giving the Tag Division some time to shine and added intrigue in the IC Title picture as well. With Elimination Chamber just two weeks away, they are putting together a solid card. My only complaints are that the Diva’s Division is still a mess and that if Lana is actually paired with Ziggler, it will be a bad move, IMO. But the story doesn’t appear to be over between Lana and Rusev just yet.