September 14, 2015
From the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with HHH and Stephanie McMahon coming out to the ring. On the ramp is a logo for “Connor’s Cure” as they join the cause for “Pediatric Cancer Month.” They tell us this is the season premiere of RAW while touting how successful the company has been this year. Stephanie lists of a lot of the newer talent while HHH tells us they are lead by “The Man” Seth Rollins. After that they run down the Divas and Tag Team Title matches that will take place tonight then HHH tells us that Sting will wrestle “for the first time ever” on RAW against the Big Show. After that, Stephanie introduces us to the Tag Team Title match between the New Day and the Prime Time Players. As the New Day come out dancing, Stephanie dances with them and finally convince HHH to join them as they continue dancing until we reach the commercial break. Big E was absolutely hilarious here. Solid segment to pump up the crowd and hype the show for the viewers at home. It lasted less than ten minutes long.
WWE Tag Team Title Match: Big E & Kofi Kingston (Champions) w/ Xavier Woods vs. Prime Time Players
Young gets the best of Kofi to start. Big E and Titus tag in as Titus hits a slam. The PTP’s are in control as we see the Dudley Boyz, who will face the winner of this match at Night of Champions, watching the match backstage on a monitor. Back to the action as Young runs wild off of a hot tag until Kofi trips him up from the outside. Young is lying on the apron as Xavier cracks me up by yelling “What happened to Darren?” then he plays the trombone as the New Day destroy Young in the corner as we head to break. The action returns with Young escaping a chinlock by Kofi only to get tossed outside where Big E and Xavier use all sorts of hilarious antics on the outside as they maintain control of the match. In the ring, Kofi comes off of the top but Young gets his feet up then makes the hot tag. Titus cleans house, even catching Kofi’s springboard and hitting him with three backbreakers before casually tossing him across the ring. Titus gets distracted by Xavier and rips off a piece of his trombone shortly after Kofi hit Young with the Trouble in Paradise on the floor. Big E then attacks Titus from behind and the New Day hit their top-rope finish that is in desperate need of a name and retain the titles (12:12) **1/4
Thoughts: The match was fine but at this point its going to be tough for opponents of the New Day to get over with the fans as the New Day’s antics are making them the more popular team.
Backstage, Stephanie tells HHH she has never seen him dance like that before as Seth Rollins enters. He talks about this show being the season premiere then gloats over the fact that they made a John Cena vs. Sheamus match as Stephanie does the New Day clap.
Clips of the events leading to Charlotte getting a title shot tonight against Nikki Bella.
Renee Young welcomes Charlotte and her father, Ric Flair. Charlotte tells Renee that becoming the Divas Champion is the most important thing to here then talks about carrying her father’s legacy. Ric then puts over the Divas for a bit as Renee asks Charlotte if she feels any pressure. Charlotte delivers a wordy promo about the Divas Revolution then does the “Woooooooo” chant with her dad.
Paige w/ Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks w/ Naomi & Tamina
Charlotte is not out here as she is getting ready for her title match. Match starts with Paige taking Sasha down as they brawl on the mat. Paige uses a hairpull but Sasha comes back and snaps Paige’s arm off of the middle rope then works on that for a bit. The crowd gets behind Paige but Sasha stays in control until missing a charge in the corner. Paige fights back then dumps Sasha on her head with a release German suplex. Sasha rolls outside but gets yanked out of the way by Tamina when Paige tries a senton in a terrible looking spot then they head back inside where Sasha wins the match with the Banks Statement (5:15) *. After the match, Team BAD uses the numbers advantage to beat down Team PCB.
Thoughts: Not much of a match here at all. Paige’s losing streak continues as this is all setting up for a split of Team PCB. When that happens, I will feel sorry for Becky, who will likely get lost in the shuffle.
Clips of the Wyatt Family destroying Randy Orton on last week’s RAW and Jimmy Uso from this past Smackdown. This leads to the Wyatt Family being guests on Miz TV.
We get a video package of Connor “The Crusher” Michalek to help promote the cure on his behalf to combat pediatric cancer.
Miz TV with guests the Wyatt Family. Bray tells Miz that he cannot sit down and how he is not safe. Miz assures Bray that he is not the teammate of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose at “Hell in the Cell.” Not a good sign when the host cannot even get the PPV names right. Miz wants to know more about Braun Strowman but Wyatt cuts him off. Wyatt then tells us that he wants Reigns and Ambrose to suffer as people need to pay for their sins. His promo gets interrupted as Reigns and Ambrose come out through the crowd. Miz welcomes them as they enter the ring but Ambrose tosses him to the floor. The two sides have a staredown as Wyatt sits. Reigns tells Wyatt he makes him sick and pretends that he is the king of the world. He promises Wyatt will pay for taking out his cousin, Jimmy Uso. He then runs down Wyatt for not facing him in a 1-on-1 match and for having to surround himself with monsters. Reigns tells Wyatt that they have a partner for Night of Champions and that they will “whoop some ass.” Reigns tells the Wyatt Family that they will not win as he drops the mic while Wyatt laughs in his face. This ends as the announcers wonder who is the mystery opponent. Reigns probably cut the best promo of his WWE career and the segment was effective in making you want to see who will be revealed as the surprise partner.
We get a classic Sting moment where Sting defeats Ric Flair for his first WCW World Title.
John Cena vs. Sheamus
Sheamus works a headlock as the crowd does the dueling Cena chant. Sheamus takes Cena down with a forearm then dumps Cena to the floor as we head to break. We return with Sheamus hitting a few nearfalls. Cena tries a comeback but Sheamus catches him with a sleeper then from that works a chinlock. Cena finally breaks free and hits a shoulderblock and eventually the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena tries for the A.A. but that fails. However, Cena hits a DDT for two. He tries another A.A. but Sheamus counters that with a sunset flip then locks on a Cloverleaf until Cena reaches the ropes. Sheamus lays into Cena with forearm smashes but Cena comes back and puts on the STF. Sheamus reaches the ropes then Cena hits Sheamus with some forearm smashes. Cena tries another A.A. but Sheamus escapes and comes back with a kneelift. He sets up for the Brogue Kick but Cena comes back with a clothesline as both men are down. They get up and trade punches until Sheamus gets two with a suplex. He heads up top but Cena sidesteps him and puts on the STF in a clunky spot. Sheamus powers up and hits a rolling senton then charges Cena but gets caught with the A.A. as Cena wins the match (14:45) **3/4.
Thoughts: The match started off really slow, it was wrestled at a slower pace than usual, but it developed nicely as it went along. As far as Sheamus is concerned, I have no idea how they will use his Money in the Bank cash-in as he is nowhere near the position to be taken seriously as the champion.
Team Bella is backstage where Nikki Bella is preparing for her title defense.
Ryback is in the ring. He tells us that Kevin Owens has him “all shook up” then proceeds to do an awful Elvis Presley impression that gets zero reaction from the crowd. He then tells Owens that he has no idea what it takes to be a champion as Owens comes out. Owens comes out with a copy of the book “The Secret” and how Ryback talked about it being inspirational during his comeback. Owens tells Ryback the book is garbage and a crutch for weak people. He blames Ryback for being weak in the first place and thinks it is a travesty someone like Ryback is the Intercontinental Champion. Ryback tells Owens how the book is inspirational and that while he got an “elevator ride” to the top, he crashed just as fast, crediting the fans for helping him to where he is today. Owens tells Ryback he is a weak, little boy and show him just that if he gets a title shot. Ryback then informs Owens he requested a match for them to face off at Night of Champions. Ryback then says he is not just some “big guy” but rather the “big guy” before leaving the ring while Owens stares him down. An okay segment to set up a feud between the two. Really not much more to say other than that.
We get a video package hyping tonight’s Divas Championship match, with some prerecorded comments from Nikki. I thought the prerecorded comments were mostly terrible to be honest but at least they made this seem important. At least Nikki comes off as someone you want to hate.
WWE Divas Title Match: Charlotte w/ Team PCB vs. Nikki Bella (Champion) w/ Team Bella
Charlotte overpowers Nikki to start. She works a front facelock for a bit then hits a few knee drops. Charlotte then uses a figure our neck lock and proceeds to toss her around in that position a few times. Nikki takes control and works the arm then yanks her down on the apron as Charlotte is on the ground in pain heading to commercial. We return with Nikki working a cross armbreaker in the middle of the ring. Charlotte the powers out and lifts Nikki up to hit a powerbomb as both girls are down. Charlotte fights back with chops before taking Nikki down with a big boot for a nearfall. Nikki fights back and hits a dropkick in an odd spot. Nikki gets two with a facecrusher but Charlotte comes back with a sunset flip then a spear. Alicia Fox tries to interfere as that fails then the Bellas use twin magic but Charlotte hits Brie with a reverse rollup for the win (9:58) **1/2. Charlotte celebrates but that ends when Stephanie McMahon comes out “uphold the integrity of the Divas Division” as Nikki should have been disqualified when Brie put her hands on Charlotte so Charlotte wins by disqualification but Nikki still retains the title. Stephanie does award Charlotte a rematch at Night of Champions and if Nikki retains by DQ or countout, she will lose the title.
Thoughts: The finish was lazy, it was the same as Nikki’s Money in the Bank title defense, but it all set up for the rematch at Night of Champions with the stipulation that if Nikki tries to cheat, she will lose the title. The match was better than I thought it would be as well. Both girls did a fine job.
A clip of Sting taking out HHH at last year’s Survivor Series.
Rusev w/ Summer Rae vs. Cesaro
Match starts with both guys fighting over an arm wringer. Rusev hits a shoulderblock then works a front facelock. Cesaro comes back with a flying headscissors then a backdrop in a mistimed spot. A mild Cesaro chant breaks out then he hits a vertical suplex for a two count. The chant gets a little louder but Rusev hits him with a stungun then a spinning heel kick for two. Rusev beats down Cesaro and works a nerve hold as Dolph Ziggler comes out to the ring, holding a present that he tries to give to Summer, who refuses. This distracts Rusev and that allows Cesaro to roll up Rusev for the win (4:08) *1/4. After the match, Ziggler super kicks Rusev then Summer helps him up while holding the present behind her back.
Thoughts: The match wasn’t much as the Ziggler/Rusev feud is rapidly running out of steam. Poor Cesaro has nothing at all going on at the moment. If they can put the Ascension on the next PPV card they should be able to find him something to do. And speaking of Rusev, he is just treated like every other midcard guy on the roster but usually ends up rising above the material. Tonight, he did not.
A video package featuring Stephanie McMahon and various wrestlers visiting a local children’s hospital. It ends as we see a little girl being held with her dad as Cole notes that the girl is now cancer free.
We see an angry Rusev yelling and banging the walls as he slams the door to his dressing room. Summer then opens the gift to reveal jewelry as we hear Rusev slam something and yell at Summer to come into the room. I thought this segment came across terribly and looked far too contrived.
Stephanie gloats about Nikki Bella being the longest reigning Divas Champion to HHH before Big Show enters. They tell Show he has a chance to be the talk of the town if he beats Sting tonight. Show makes a fist then leaves.
This week on Smackdown we will have a “Bellabration.”
Big Show vs. Sting
HHH and Stephanie are ringside for the match. Solid reaction for Sting here. Match starts with Sting hammering away. Sting avoids a corner splash then goes back on the attack. He hits mounted punches in the corner but Show lifts him up in the corner. Sting counters that with a DDT then beats Show down. He hits the Stinger Splash then Seth Rollins runs into the ring and attacks Sting for the DQ (1:48) 1/2*. Its 2-on-1 until Cena comes out for the save. They clear the ring of the heels and after that HHH has them wrestle in a tag team match.
Thoughts: Sting moved around great here, especially considering his age. Having this set up for a tag match was a good idea.
Seth Rollins & Big Show vs. John Cena & Sting
The match started during the break. Cena tries to beat on Show but ends up bouncing off of him trying a shoulder tackle. Show slams Cena then Cena tries the same but fails. Rollins tags in and stomps Cena while smiling at Sting but ends up getting backdropped to the floor. Cena tries to make the tag but Show cuts him off. Cena fights back and tries the A.A. but fails then Rollins tags back into the match and beats on Cena for a bit. Show is back in and cuts off another tag attempt by Cena then Show hits a splash from the middle rope for a nearfall. The heels use quick tags to neutralize Cena until Show misses a splash. Cena makes the tag to Sting, who runs wild on Rollins. He hits a pair of Stinger Splashes until Show knocks him down. Cena comes in and hits Show with the A.A. then Rollins tries the Pedigree but Sting hits him with an inverted DDT then puts on the Scorpion Death Lock for the win as Rollins taps out (8:55) **.
Thoughts: Fun match with an ending that not only sent the fans home happy but made Sting look like a major threat to Rollins. I think those two can really exceed expectations in their title match.
Final Thoughts: I thought this show was okay. They built up most of the matches heading into the PPV and nothing here was downright awful or anything. It was better than recent weeks anyway. However, some of these feuds need to end at the PPV and in general the company needs to do a better job at pacing their storylines. Night of Champions should be a decent show at least.