September 28, 2015
From the First Niagra Center in Buffalo, NY
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
We get a replay of last week’s interactions between Corporate Kane and…Demon Kane.
The live show starts with John Cena coming out to the ring for his U.S. Title Open Challenge. But first, he addresses the crowd, saying they seem a little “salty” tonight. He then tells the crowd that Buffalo is the place to be and that he is the man to beat. He then tells us the challenge starts now and we hear the trombone play Cena’s entrance music as the New Day come out as Cena smirks, seemingly trying not to laugh. They come out to first tell us they want to make the WWE great again before telling us they will finally eliminate the Dudley Boyz from the WWE before accepting the challenge. They also give us a new slogan of “Hustle, Loyalty, and Booty.” Cena is now getting annoyed as the New Day joke around before singing “New U.S. Champs” to the tune of Cena’s entrance music then tells them to choose who will enter the ring and be serious unleess they want this over quick. The New Day huddle up and it’s going to be Xavier Woods. Fun segment but the New Day were starting to get repetitive towards the end.
U.S. Title Open Challenge: Xavier Woods w/ New Day vs. John Cena (c)
Woods keeps playing the tuba. The bit is starting to run its course tonight. Woods gets clotheslined to start then rolls outside, screaming about how he was not ready. The New Day all get up on different sides of the ring but Cena is able to knock down Woods. Cena gets distracted then the referee finally kicks out both men as we head to break. We return with Cena still in control. Woods fights back with a discus forearm and an enziguiri for a nearfall. He then heads up top but Cena cuts him off. Woods escapes from a Super A.A. and sidesteps a crossbody before getting a nearfall with a leaping DDT. Woods tries a handspring hurricarana but Cena counters that with a powerbomb for two. Woods fights back and gets two with an inverted suplex. Woods blocks an A.A attempt and gets another neafall with the Lost in the Woods. He then misses a dive off of the top rope and Cena locks on the STF but the New Day members run out for the attack and the DQ (9:22) **1/4. The Dudley Boyz then run out and make the save as they celebrate with Cena but the New Day drag D’Von outside as the New Day are all in the ring with the others on the floor as we head to break.
Thoughts: The match itself was fine. It was nice to see Woods look credible in the ring as he held his own against Cena here. Easy to forget that he is a decent worker with all of the stuff he does outside of the ring.
New Day vs. John Cena & Dudley Boyz
This match started during the break, as Cole tells us it was made by Corporate Kane. Kofi is getting beaten on in the corner. Big E and Cena are in and stare each other down. Big E grabs a side headlock then Cena gets stomped in the corner. Woods plays the trombone for a bit as Cena tries to fight out of a headlock. Big E tags in and gets two with a splash. He tries it again but Cena rolls out of the way and makes the tag to D’Von, who runs wild. The crowd is quiet during this part. Big E spears Cena off of the apron, falling through the ropes himself, as Bubba is in and hits Kofi with the Bubba Bomb as the match has broken down. The Dudleys hit Kofi with the Wassup drop but Woods yanks out Bubba, allowing Kofi to hit D’Von with the Trouble in Paradise for the win (6:40) *3/4.
Thoughts: While certainly not the most exciting match in the world, this was fine and made sense given the previous segment. With this finish, I have to wonder if the Dudley Boyz are getting the title at MSG this Sunday.
Tonight, we will get Miz TV with guests Charlotte and Becky Lynch.
HHH and Stephanie are backstage with an unnamed woman, holding a portfolio. They welcome Corporate Kane, who is quite happy. Stephanie introduces the woman as “Ashley” from Human Resources. Stephanie tells us she is here because an anonymous complaint has been filed against Kane for creating an unsafe work environment. Seth Rollins then comes out, acting like he is outraged, talking about what kind of “spineless coward” wouldn’t confront the person face-to-face. Kane then gets up into Rollins’ face an angrily tells him that he is the man, the man who loves a good performance review as he takes Ashley around, asking her if she has met the Bellas. He leaves as Rollins asks HHH & Stephanie if he sees what he has been talking about. This was the only on-screen appearance from HHH and Stephanie tonight.
We are in the locker room with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, who will be facing Bray Wyatt in the main event tonight. Ambrose keeps talking as Reigns gets ready. Reigns then tells Ambrose he does not care what the Wyatt Family has planned tonight while Ambrose promises to have his back. Reigns says that Orton will as well but Ambrose is leery of “outsiders,” citing Chris Jericho at Night of Champions as an example. Orton then walks in and stares at Ambrose before telling Reigns he has tonight to finish his business with the Wyatts then it is open season. The angle they are going with here is that Ambrose does not trust anyone trying to be their partner and is seemingly jealous/upset that Reigns would consider someone else to help them out.
Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Henry tries to beat on show but that fails. Show hits a spear before slamming Henry. He yells at Henry to get up after beating him up then slams him again before hitting the KO punch for the win (2:28) 1/4*. Cole questions if Lesnar will have the same fate this Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Thoughts: A quick squash to make Show look strong heading into his match against Lesnar. At this point, Henry is strictly a jobber and seeing how he can barely move anymore, its probably for the best.
Miz TV with guests Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Miz tells us that the “WWE Universe” cannot get enough of the Divas Revolution. We then get clips from last week where Paige runs down her fellow team members before doing the same to Natalya and the Bellas. They cut out the part running down Team BAD, which tells you what you need to know about them right now. Charlotte and Becky finally come out to the ring. Miz reminds them of the last time they appeared on Miz TV they lost to team Bella, prompting Becky to tell him last time they were here Miz almost got his ass kicked, using the terrible script provided to her by WWE creative. Miz wants to ask them about the conflict with Paige as Charlotte tells us Paige needs to be addressed and will either walk in here face-to-face or she can come down and “throw down.” Oh my, Charlotte’s promo skills are awful. Miz tells her to not invite guests on his show but Becky steals the mic and it leads to more bad dialogue until Team Bella comes out. Nikki tells them they did not want to fight but wanted to thank them for acting like “high school girls” while they are more united than ever. Nikki runs them down and again, the material and delivery are brutal. Charlotte reminds her about how she tapped out at Night of Champions. Nikki then tells us she agrees with a lot of what Paige said last week but that she did not start the divas revolution. Nikki tells us she started it as Charlotte proceeds to cut one of the most wooden promos I have ever heard, telling Nikki that the Divas Revolution is about all the fans believing in them. They almost throw down but Paige comes out. She laughs at the notion of Nikki thinking she has started the Divas Revolution. Paige puts herself over for being the first NXT Womens Champion and how Charlotte and Becky would still be in NXT if not for her. This leads to them trading barbs, with Paige telling the Bellas with boyfriends like theirs, who really needs ambition and that sparks a brawl. You’d think the WWE would have learned after the first Miz TV divas segment not to do this again. This was almost as bad and another complete mess of a segment involving the “Divas Revolution.” No one involved came out of this looking any good.
Team PCB vs. Team Bella
This match started during the break. It was also made by Corporate Kane, according to Cole. Team PCB is in control as they work over Fox. JBL, on commentary, notes that the divas never get along, even backstage. Brie almost kills herself taking a double hiptoss as she almost landed on her head. Fox attacks Becky from the apron then Nikki tags and hits a few slams and suplexes. Team Bella works over Becky, who finally breaks free and makes the tag to Charlotte. Crowd was absoutely dead for this. Paige looks pissed off over the fact she was not tagged in then the match breaks down. Charlotte tries the figure four on Brie, who kicks her away and end up knocking Paige to the floor. Paige goes to leave but Natalya tells her to go back to the ring. Paige declines as Natalya goes to stand on the apron but Paige yanks her down. Becky comes over to help Natalya as Paige walks away. Charlotte gets distracted by all of this, allowing Nikki to sneak up from behind and hit the Rack Attack for the win (6:55) *1/4.
Thoughts: Basic match with an ending that you could see coming from a mile away. And it was not executed well, either. Its getting tougher to watch this division. Some said last week was a step forward in the right direction but this week was at least two steps back.
A trailer for the WWE 2K16 video game airs. I thought it looked really cool. Its visually impressive at least.
We get a video package of the Big Show/Brock Lesnar feuds from the past. A fine way to hype up their match at MSG.
Rollins is chatting with Ashley from HR. Kane comes in with a big box, containing a gift. Rollins and Kane start talking like they are buddies as Kane gives Rollins the gift. Rollins opens it up and pulls out the head from his statue. Kane tells him it’s his “severed head” as Ashley thinks this is a considerate gift. Rollins tells him it its too much for him as he gets freaked out and leaves. Kane gives Ashley the gift and walks away as Ashley appears disgusted.
Prime Time Players vs. Luke Harper & Braun Strowman
Match starts with Harper beating on Young, who comes back with a big boot. Harper dropkicks Young then tags Strowman, who removes his black sheep mask before heading outside to rough up Young. Titus tries to rally behind his partner, who is getting destroyed, and finally gets the tag. He hits Harper with a few slams and tries to fire up the dead crowd but ends up taking a swing at Strowman, which allows Harper to hit a superkick. Young runs in as Strowman chokes him out from the apron and Titus tries to break that up but Harper takes him down with a discus clothesline. Strowman tags back in and chokes out Titus for the win (4:18) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Not much of a match and the crowd did not seem to care. The PTPs appear to be heading right back down the card as they are no longer in the Tag Title picture and jobbing to these guys. A weak tag team division isnt helping things, either.
Stardust vs. Neville
The Ascension are absent tonight. Match starts with both guys working the arm as Stardust gains the advantage. Neville escapes from a vertical suplex then snaps off a rana. Stardust goes back on offense as he stomps Neville, who is in the tree-of-woe position. Neville catches Stardust with a dropkick off of a springboard attempt then goes for the Red Arrow but King Barrett’s music hits as he comes out to the ring. He takes out Neville with a bullhammer after he got shoved by Stardust, then he steps on Stardust’s leg and yanks him up before hitting him with a bullhammer (2:34) *. Barrett then grabs the mic and tells us all to hail King Barrett.
Thoughts: The action was fine but once again, the crowd was dead. This time, it was for good reason because these are three guys that in storyline are not people you would care about watching. Barrett laying out both guys didnt help at matters and another re-heated push is going to fail, like the previous ones. They have cooled him off repeatedly over the years to the point that virtually no one cares.
Ashley from HR and Kane are in the ring for his performance review. Rollins comes out and cuts off Ashley before she can give her report. He tells Ashley that Kane is not the man she thinks he is and he shows us a video package of Kane destroying everyone, showing how he is a demon. After that airs, Rollins tells Ashley she cannot allow him to continue in his role as the Director of Operations and the blood will be on her hands. Rollins then tells us he is going to heaven and sitting on a cloud, to look down at all of us “scum.” Kane then tells Ashley that Rollins is a passionate man and shows us a video package of Rollins talking badly about Kane. Ashley then reads her report, which states that Kane is “sound of mind and more than capable of filling his duties” of the Director of Operations position. Rollins flips out as she tells Ashley she has no idea to do her job while she says that Rollins is crude, petty, narcissistic, and paranoid and needs an evaluation himself. Rollins then attacks Kane, hitting him with a pedigree. Rollins then targets the injured knee of Kane with a chair as he brutalizes him. Kane did a great job of selling his pain here and Rollins also looked good as the heel. Medics come to check on Kane as Rollins makes fun of him. They carry him out on a stretcher and into an ambulance as Rollins continues to go off on him, saying he will never get his title. However, the ambulance stops short and the door opens, with smoke pouring out, and out enters the Demon Kane. He is shown limping before coming out to the ring. Rollins takes the chair and goes after the leg but Kane no-sells it and backs Rollins up before throwing him into the corner. Kane beats the crap out of Rollins before hitting a chokeslam. He got an okay response from the crowd. This ends with Kane holding up the belt. I dont know where to begin with this one. Having Kane come back as the demon then no-selling a chairshot to his injured leg after initially limping just looked idiotic. Bottom line, this just came across as awful television. It doesnt work in the context of professional wrestling. If you found enjoyment in the segment due to the campiness, more power to you, but in the long run it just makes long segments, like this one, seem meaningless with illogical payoffs. Why watch Rollins beat on him for what seemed like forever only to have Kane come back as the demon?
We get a promo from Bray Wyatt, asking us if we saw what his family did earlier tonight. He then tells Reigns that he will grant his request and show up alone tonight as they are the alpha and omega.
Bo Dallas is in the ring. He addresses the Buffalo Bills players in the front row, saying they would be inspirational if they had a Super Bowl trophy as he tells them they can do it if they just Bo-Lieve. After that, Randy Orton’s match hits as we have a match.
Bo Dallas vs. Randy Orton
Dallas gets in some offense outside of the ring but Orton shoves him into the guardrail next to the Bills, who are all cheering Orton while yelling at Dallas. They head into the ring where Orton hits his backbreaker and draping DDT then he pumps up the crowd before getting the win with an RKO (1:55) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Quick win for Orton, who the fans enjoyed seeing putting Dallas in his place.
We get a video package regarding Kevin Owens and how he will be facing Rusev next, after walking out on him during a tag match from Smackdown.
Kevin Owens vs. Rusev w/ Summer Rae
Ryback is on commentary. Match starts with both guys trading shots. Rusev hits a fallaway slam then they brawl outside until Owens sends Rusev into Ryback, who fights back. Owens attacks Ryback as Rusev joins in and they rough him up until Dolph Ziggler runs in for the save (0:45) NR.
Thoughts: Amazingly enough, Kane did not make this a tag match during the break. Regarding the match, I assume this leads into some sort of four-way match at Hell in a Cell for the IC Title seeing as if Owens always walks out on his partners but who knows for sure.
We are shown a video package about pediatric cancer month. Celebs like Ellen Degeneres and Jon Stewart are shown as well as various WWE performers.
Paul Heyman is shown walking through the hallways as he prepares to go out to the ring.
We come back with Heyman in the ring. He talks about Brock Lesnar’s “Go to Hell” tour then shifts focus to his match against Big Show this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Heyman tells us Lesnar can push the Big Show to his limits but when Show is motivated, you have a “larger than larger than life” athlete and that scares him. The Big Show interrupts and takes offense to Heyman calling him “motivated” now as if he hasnt been in the past. Show puts himself over for being able to push Lesnar to his limit and even says that Lesnar and Heyman are both afraid of him. Show tells us it will be “eat, sleep, beat Brock Lesnar at Madison Square Garden, repeat” then tells Heyman to think about his future without Lesnar as he makes a fist. Heyman walks up the ramp, looking worried, as Show stands confident in the ring. Good promo work from Show as they are doing a good job at making him a credible threat for Lesnar.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt wins a slugfest to start. Reigns comes back with a clothesline and a slam as Wyatt rolls outside. Reigns hits his apron dropkick as we head to break. We return with Wyatt working a chinlock in the ring. Reigns counters with a back suplex as both men are down. Wyatt is up first an hits an Uranage for a nearfall then goes back to beating on Reigns. He hits a DDT to stop a brief comeback by Reigns then works a side headlock on the mat. Wyatt misses a charge in the corner and rams his shoulder into the post. Wyatt then misses a senton as both men are down, with the crowd quiet. Reigns us up first and starts kicking and kneeing Wyatt in the face. Suplex gets two. Reigns sets up for the Superman Punch but that gets blocked. Wyatt comes back with a clothesline for a nearfall then works Reigns over in the corner. Reigns powerbombs Wyatt as both men are down. Reigns gets up and finally connects with the Superman Punch but Wyatt rolls outside. Reigns tries for a spear but Wyatt sidesteps him and he crashes into the stairs. Wyatt takes part of the stairs and tries to throw them at Reigns but misses as Reigns dodges them. They brawl at ringside until the referee counts both men out (13:05) **1/2. The brawl is now going through the crowd as one guy is keeps yelling “punch him in the face.” At one point, Wyatt takes an employee and tosses him at Reigns. Wyatt then charges and knocks Reigns through the barricade then stands up on the announcers table, only to get speared through the table by Reigns in a really cool spot that had the crowd going crazy. Man, that was great. The camera showed both guys on the ground as the show went off of the air.
Thoughts: I thought this was a solid match, even if the crowd was dead. It was wrestled at a slow pace. I liked the post-match brawl and the spear at the end was fantastic. I assume this leads to some sort of stipulation match at Hell in a Cell.
Final Thoughts: This was not a good show at all. A lot of these segments dragged and a few of them (Divas, Rollins/Kane) died in front of the crowd. The main problem the WWE has right now is putting out a compelling product. They have a few interesting characters but the writing and ideas are not helping out the talent. Who really has any momentum going on out of the main roster guys? The Divas stuff tonight was pathetic. The divas themselves did not do a good job but the material was awful and they tried this on a Miz TV segment a month or so ago and it was a disaster so why try it again? They did a good job at pushing Lesnar/Show at MSG, considering Lesnar himself has not been on TV to hype up the match. However, they did next to nothing in promoting the rest of the card. As much as I like the Corporate Kane character and find him funny, this current storyline just isnt working. Too much “sports entertainment” if you want to call it that.
Another thing I have noticed is the crowds for RAW. They have been really quiet for the past month and the WWE can blame themselves for that with how they pace these shows. Putting on long segments like the divas bit on Miz TV and the Rollins beatdown on Kane is going to take them out of the show as a whole. Its not compelling TV. If a show is compelling, people will react. You cannot illicit emotions from fans when you give them nothing to emotionally invest in with your product. When you look at declining TV ratings, there is usually a reason people are not coming back or finding something else: its because that show is not doing enough to keep me coming back for more. People might say that the show being three hours long is a tired argument regarding the product being stale and while that might be true, it remains a valid point. Its just too long and the company cannot produce enough quality time to fill the time slot. Filling it up with backstage skits and long-winded scripts are not the answer either. The WWE needs to put on better programming, plain and simple.