Monday Night Raw
Live from Montreal, Canada
Your hosts are Booker T, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with Randy Orton heading out to the ring. The crowd popped big for him and he plays up to them for a minute or two before talking. Orton tells us that Payback is a fitting name for the PPV because its exactly what he will get on Seth Rollins. He talks about the fans voting for a triple threat match by adding Roman Reigns and how his disappointment will not be his problem. Reigns music hits and he comes out, saying he will also get payback on Rollins. The fans start a loud “RKO” chant then Reigns brings up their past together. Orton reminds Reigns that he is a twelve-time World Champion and has been to 12 straight WrestleManias, comparing himself to Reigns total of zero championships and three straight Mania appearances. Reigns then counters by reminding Orton that he beat him at SummerSlam as they start to get more intense until the New Day comes out to interrupt them. Woods does not like all of the negativity going on and how no one cares about their “Montreal Boo-Hoo Job” as the crowd starts a loud “New Day Sucks” chant. Big E then tells the guys in the ring that they have a chance to do something positive and extraordinary, which is clapping with the New Day. After that, Big E also informs them that they also have the chance to face them in a 3 vs. 2 match that was made by Kane and how that will happen next. I liked this segment a lot. They teased tension with Orton and Reigns and they also got the New Day over as heels by giving the crowd every opportunity to chant along with “New Day Sucks”.
New Day d. Randy Orton & Roman Reigns when Reigns accidentally speared Orton, who was pinned by Woods (13:13) **1/2
Fun match. The story here was that Orton & Reigns were able to function as a unit until the end when Reigns speared Orton then got dragged outside by Big E so Kofi could get the pin. I was really impressed by Xavier Woods here. His facial expressions when getting his ass kicked were great. In fact, they were great all night long. The fans chanted loudly for Orton before the hot tag and was into him the whole time. After the match, Kane came out and announced that Orton and Reigns would face off against each other in the main event tonight.
Kane is then shown walking backstage past the New Day, who are celebrating. Big E told Kane they knew they would do it as he walked straight past them and into Seth Rollins and J&J Security. Rollins told Kane that despite booking Reigns and Orton in the main event tonight its not going to make a difference between them as he then calls Kane a “spoiled, misbehaving kid” trying to shape up before Christmas. Kane then tells Rollins that he used to wait for Santa in the chimney with a blow torch and attempt to “fry his chestnuts.” Kane then tells Rollins, who warned him about the Authority coming back soon, that he will be facing Dean Ambrose in a match tonight as their match last week was marred by outside interference and that J&J Security were barred from ringside. Rollins flips out after hearing this as Kane gives him other options like one hand tied behind his back or better yet, get tied to the ringpost. Seth then stormed away after that. Another solid segment to increase the tension between Kane and Rollins. Some of the lines were terribly written though. That was my only complaint.
Renee Young welcomes Ryback to the ring. Ryback tells the crowd that they “sound hungry,” which I guess is an attempt at a catchphrase. Ryback then tells Bray Wyatt that he has faced fear his whole life. He also talks about his injuries and how he was told by doctors that he would never wrestle but he eats negativity and turns it into positive. He then tells Wyatt that talking time is done as its now feeding time. However, we are interrupted by a Bray Wyatt promo. He talks about Ryback painting himself as an unstoppable force to mask his failure and fear then closes by saying how everything Ryback loves is about to fade away, just like him. I’m fine with these two feuding but they didnt really do a whole lot to explain why Bray is targeting Ryback. Hopefully we will find out soon.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/ Natalya d. The Ascension with a Giant Swing into a dropkick on Viktor (4:07) *1/2
Before the match, the Ascension were shown in an insert promo warning the ex-champs about their match. There is no way to take the Ascension seriously at this point. The Ascension jumped their opponents from behind and worked over Kidd for a bit until he escaped and tagged Cesaro who hit Viktor with several running European uppercuts that got the crowd going. The match broke down for a little bit until Kidd took out Viktor with a dive then they hit the giant swing/dropkick finisher. Kidd & Cesaro work well as a face team due to the fact they perform cool moves. Still, their initial turn was weak, as they became de facto faces against the New Day at Extreme Rules. On commentary, when Cole wasnt dissing the Montreal Canadiens, he was pushing Kidd & Cesaro as the #1 contenders.
Renee Young approaches Rollins backstage. He tells her that there is no point of even having this match and that Kane is a moron before walking away.
As Rollins and Ambrose are about to start the match, Kane’s music interrupts and says per Rollins idea of there being no point to this match, he will make it meaningful by adding a stipulation that if Ambrose wins, he is added to the Championship match at Payback, making it a Fatal Four Way. Rollins flips out then Ambrose yanks the mic from him and asks the crowd if they had a problem with that. Rollins flipped out some more until Kane ordered the referee to ring the bell.
Dean Ambrose d. Seth Rollins with a rollup (16:09) ****
This was a PPV-quality main event match. Ambrose got a nearfall off of a reverse rollup then beats on Rollins for a few minutes. Rollins took control after that then they went back and forth. Ambrose hit a tope that drove Rollins hard into the barricade. A “this is awesome” chant broke out as did an “ole” chant. After that they had an awesome back and forth sequence that ended with them both spilling out to the floor from an Ambrose clothesline. Outside, Rollins hit Ambrose with a powerbomb onto the barricade and rolled back inside thinking he won but Ambrose barely beat the ten count as the crowd went nuts. J&J Security run out to distract Ambrose but he then counters a rollup from Rollins and gets the pin. Great stuff that instantly elevates Ambrose by putting him into the World Title scene. JBL thought that Ambrose becoming a Champion would be a disaster because he was a lunatic.
The announcers put over the stipulations of the World Title match at Payback and how Rollins can lose the title without getting pinned.
Replay of Reigns accidentally spearing Orton to hype their match later on tonight.
Rollins is seething as he speaks to Kane, who tells him that overcoming adversity will make him the champ everyone wants him to be and that he has a plan.
Byron Saxton is with Lana and asks her about the positive reaction she has been receiving from the fans. At first, she broke from the Russian accent then sternly said how she did not know what he was talking about. Fandango then came over and tried to get her to dance but Rusev also came into the scene and yelled at Lana in Russian.
Rusev d. Fandango with the Accolade (2:13) 1/2*
Rusev dominated the match. Fandango at one point got Lana to dance and that popped the crowd. However, it also pissed off Rusev who then proceeded to beat the shit out of Fandango. The announcers plugged the “I Quit” match at Payback between Rusev and John Cena. They are certainly building up to Lana’s face turn.
A plug for the WWE NXT Documentary that will air at 8pm EST on ESPN tomorrow night.
We are shown some of the Tough Enough entry videos. Lots of goofs and juiceheads here. And some hot chicks too.
Stardust d. R-Truth with a rollup (2:56) 1/4*
Stardust came to the ring holding a black bag. He was then shown in an insert promo talking about how he will get revenge against R-Truth. It was a nothing match that ended when R-Truth grabbed the bag that revealed plastic spiders that freaked him out then Stardust pinned him with a reverse rollup. After the match, Stardust began to play with the spiders while smiling like a psycho. He was quite bizarre tonight. Well, the lower card guys need feuds too.
A sneak peak of the Roman Reigns special that airs after RAW.
John Cena comes out to a chorus of boos. Cena smirked as he let the crowd do its thing and played along with them about how they wanted him to quit in his upcoming match at Payback. Cena then talks about dealing with adversity and how the Montreal crowd knows that he never gives up. The crowd then started a “Sami Zayn” chant as Cena talks about the crowd being passionate, just like himself but unlike Rusev. Cena then got the crowd going as they started a “Go Habs, Go” chant then Cena remembered that he is here to issue his challenge, as he is the man to beat. Cena did a masterful job with this crowd. By the end, they were all chanting along with his catchphrases. Bret Hart’s music then comes out as the crowd erupts. Hart said he is here for one reason and that is to introduce a great wrestler but Heath Slater’s music plays as he interrupts the segment and says he will not let this interfere with his chance at the United States Title. Slater came out and talked about how he is sick and tired of getting attaacked out of nowhere then gets whacked by Bret, who then introduces the hometown boy and NXT star, Sami Zayn as the crowd went mental.
John Cena d. Sami Zayn with the A.A. (10:45) ***1/4
The match started during the commercial break as Zayn teased a dive to the floor. The medical staff checked on Zayn after he got slammed then was deemed okay to go. Cena’s punches looked as bad as ever here. Zayn fought back and even got a quick rollup as Cena went for the taunt portion of the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Zayn then flew out and hit Cena with a running flip dive but came up holding the shoulder the Cena applied the STF as the crowd rallied behind Zayn, who reached the ropes. Zayn surprised Cena with the Koji Clutch too at one point and busted out his running dive between the ropes that ends up as a tornado DDT. The camera also showed Lana and Rusev watching on the monitor backstage. Zayn also got to kick out of an AA but fell victim to the springboard stunner and a second AA. After the match, Cena shaked Zayn’s hand then raised his arm. Great showing for Zayn, who got the endorsement from Bret Hart and kicked out of Cena’s finisher on his debut. Plus, he was kept strong as he was selling a shoulder injury for a majority of the match.
The Bellas were shown watching backstage, laughing at the New Day, who were goofing around off-camera.
The New Day interrupt Renee Young and ask her why would they want to interview anyone other than them, the champions. They then promise the world will say “New Day Rocks,” Cesaro, Kidd, and Natalya come out to inform them that the crowd is chanting that they suck and they were lucky to win. Woods then calls Kidd a “catastrophe of a Canadian” as Big E tells them their negativity will not bring them down. Cesaro leads them all in a “New Day Sucks” chant. The New Day were great here, particularly Big E and Woods. I liked this segment and this feud will continue.
The Bellas come out to the ring but are attacked from behind by Naomi and the returning Tamina, who is now going by the “cousin of Jimmy Uso.” Naomi also sported dreadlocks similar to Jacqueline and told them that was what family is all about. I’m guessing the Naomi & Tamina pairing will lead to a storyline with the Usos.
King Barrett comes out to the ring and refers to the crowd as “filthy commoners” as he compares his King of the Ring win to the birth of Princess Charlotte. Barrett then warns those who disobey his laws will end up receiving a Bullhammer. Not much to talk about here. It was like every other generic WWE King speech.
Wade Barrett & Sheamus d. Neville & Dolph Ziggler when Barrett pinned Neville with the Bullhammer (8:38) **
Before the match, Ziggler was shown in an insert promo referring to his opponents as bullies and how he beat Sheamus at Extreme Rules. It was a bad promo. The match wasnt particularly exciting or anything and it went to commercial break after a couple of minutes. Well, Neville hit a few cool moves off of his hot tag. Most of the match was the heels getting heat on Dolph and it ended with Neville hitting a springboard but getting caught in midair by the Bullhammer. The announcers played it off as Neville getting distracted by Sheamus costing him the match. Barrett’s scepter and crown looked really goofy.
Randy Orton fought Roman Reigns to a no-contest (8:00) *1/2
Before the match, Jamie Noble introduced Joey Mercury as the timekeeper and Kane as the ringside enforcer. He also introduced Seth Rollins as the special guest commentator. On commentary, Rollins tells us that he trusts Kane because he has a plan. The match saw these two go back and forth as the crowd was not all that active. Well, they were probably exhausted as they were loud all show long. And this was the second match these two have wrestled in tonight. The ending was predictable as the Authority guys laid out both men. Reigns did a dive onto everyone then Ambrose came out and attacked Rollins. It ended with all four guys in the Fatal Four Way in the ring. Reigns speared Rollins, then got hit with the RKO as Ambrose then hit Orton with the Dirty Deeds as he is left standing at the end with his music playing as Cole plugs the Reigns special on the Network.
Final Thoughts: Excellent show overall and easily the best episode of RAW since WrestleMania. They elevated Dean Ambrose a lot and made Zayn look strong in his debut. The New Day also did a fantastic job as heels as there was a minimal amount of filler and the segments all had purpose at least. Plus, you had a great match between Ambrose vs. Rollins too. I like that they are given the lower card guys direction, even if it isnt all that great, it’s better than nothing. Payback is shaping up like a decent card and hopefully better than Extreme Rules.