McGinn’s Raw Recap 7/14/14

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Friends became foes in an instant during tonight’s main event. (Courtesy WWE.com)

So as many of you already know, I am not Scott. Still not convinced? Well I am a true Bo-Liever! I actually don’t mind Sheamus as a face. Plus I love me some heel Miz and wish they used him more. Oh right, and I loathe Triple H. There, that should sway the nay-sayers. Seriously though, I am truly honored to be at the controls of this rather big show this week. Being the Superstars recap artist has its perks but all of us aspire to one day write on Monday nights. It’s like growing up in relative obscurity one minute and then next thing you know, you are someone special like Roman Reigns or Brock Holt! Okay, I’ll keep my Boston bias at bay tonight for I’m just so happy to be here. Enjoy your vacation Scotty! Time to sit back, guzzle an energy drink before this three-hour monster and then head down to ringside!

Monday Night Raw
July 14, 2014
Richmond, VA

Your announcers tonight are Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler.

Our night begins with a healthy helping of hustle, loyalty and respect as your hero and mine, John Cena, comes out to a mixed reaction rocking his two belt necklace. We flash to highlights of last week when Roman Reigns saved the champ from an attack by Kane followed by the hand raising mind games. This sets up our main event tonight as it will be a six-man tag between Cena, Reigns and Dean Ambrose taking on Seth Rollins, Randy Orton and Kane. Cena calls the crowd feisty and encourages any johnny-come-latelys to sign up for the WWE Network. I guess there was a free preview but I didn’t care because I have been enjoying its endless benefits since February and yes, that makes me better than most! Cena talks about how he may not be the champ after Sunday since he doesn’t even have to get pinned in order to lose the title under Fatal 4-way rules. Roman Reigns’ music then hits which gets the natives excited as he joins the leader of Cenation in the ring. You can feel the tension between these two studs and John puts Reigns over by saying he should not be ignored. While John tries to make nice, Roman cuts him off demanding to get to the point. Cena says they should take care of the Authority tonight and then six days from now, we will find out if Reigns is as good as he thinks he is. Oh no he didn’t! That would be a pretty cool one-on-one main event someday, hopefully soon! Reigns agrees and then the best promo in the business, Dean Ambrose comes on the tron. The lunatic fringe calls for what he likes to call “Operation Screw the Authority” in which those two stop arguing and they kick ass tonight in the main event. Ambrose is then assaulted by the three members of the heel squad and thrown repeatedly into a garage door. This is a Horsemen-esque beatdown that is highlighted by Dean asking, “Is that all you guys got?” after being choke-slammed on a large case. Rollins then curb stomps him as we go to break. Yikes! Great stuff but what are Cena and Reigns going to do?

Love how they now show a replay of something I literally just watched three minutes ago. That’s something I don’t get on Superstars.

UNITED STATES CHAMPION SHEAMUS VS. THE MIZ

Sick! A Scotty Criscuolo classic right off the bat. I’m sorry he is missing two of his favorites in one match. Now if Bo Dallas can take on Mojo Rawley later, he may never come back and this will be a permanent gig for me…fingers crossed! Sheamus says Miz won’t have to worry about him getting hit in the face because the Irishman will kick his head square off his shoulders. Miz, meanwhile, predicts that he will win the IC belt this Sunday and his goal tonight is to keep the Brogue Kick away from his “money-maker.” Further reinforcing Miz’s awesome new character, he puts a picture of his face on the tron that will remain for the duration of the match. It could be worse, it could be Bastian Booger. Standard match with Miz in control early until eating the rolling senton before we go to break. Jerry plays up that Sheamus is too distracted by Miz’s money-maker. Good one King! Excellent back-and-forth action as Miz worked the knee while the US Champ hit all his power spots. All except one, however, as he missed with a Brogue Kick in the corner and Miz rolled him up for the shocking win WINNER: THE MIZ

Can you say, new favorite for the IC title? It’s announced that Bad News Barrett will present the belt to the winner of the battle royal. Early prediction: it won’t be Great Khali!

Backstage, Kane, Orton and Rollins are congratulating themselves for a job well done in beating down Ambrose. It gets ugly though as the Demon and Apex Predator start bickering until their daddy, Triple H, steps in and breaks it up. Stephanie then comes in with lust in her eyes and proceeds to make out with Hunter like this were an after hours movie on Skinemax. It might have only been for a few seconds but it felt like hours and I was too busy throwing up my Wendy’s to keep proper time. Once I came to, we went back to the ring!

DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. FANDANGO

Prior to the match: Subscribe to the Network, subscribe to the Network, subscribe to the Network, subscribe to the Network.

WWE Rewind brought us the swerve of the century as Layla and Summer Rae turned on Fandango while becoming dance partners on Smackdown and in my dream journal. The man who once beat Chris Jericho at WrestleMania is now flying solo against the Show-Off who is still a bit miffed that Fandango cost him a shot at the US Title last week. Both these guys are competing in the aforementioned IC Title Battle Royal at Battleground. Not much happening until the music hits and Summer and Layla start dancing on the announce table. Dolph was distracted at first but shook off a pin attempt and flattened Fandango with a Famasser that last won a match in 1999. WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER

The girls join Ziggy in the ring and proceed to smooch the victor. Who needs titles and main events when you get two hot chicks to dance for you? I’m definitely in the wrong profession!

Next, a shameless plug for Sonic involving Damien Sandow dressed as a Sonic employee. Adam Rose joined the party and they fought over a hot dog. I will now shed a tear for the former Mr. Money in the Bank.

Back in the arena, the Usos were doing their traditional entrance when Rowan and Harper jumped them from behind. Seems like an idea that should have happened months ago. They wipe out the tag champs in no time flat and that probably means they will lose this Sunday.

WOOOOOOOO! “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is here in Richmond! Suck it Criscuolo!

Next up, a USA-Russia detente. Full disclosure, I hate this angle so much, it makes my hair hurt. We get it. Rusev is a monster and has tremendous eye candy. He beats everyone down and rarely sells. What’s the end game? Get off my lawn! Okay, back to the action. Zeb and Lana are at their respective podiums accompanied by their charges, Swagger and the former Bulgarian brute. Lana calls Americans stupid, fans chant USA, I get up for some Gushers fruit snacks, Lana tells the fans to shut up, fans boo, Lana brings up the Civil War and then says Russia is a peaceful and loving country. Lana demands that Zeb apologizes on behalf of all Americans. He then calls Rusev “Bullwinkle” to a huge pop and then talks about his history as a war veteran. Fans are eating this up as Zeb gives her a big “hell no.” Lana then says that Putin can solve all of America’s problems and Colter calls the Russian president ugly. He then flashes a picture of Obama and says that real Americans, like him or not, respect the president of the United States. Zeb then challenges Rusev on behalf of Jack Swagger to a match at Battleground. Rusev declares war on Swagger. Following a “We the People,” Lana smacks Zeb and Jack spears Rusev. They brawl and Swagger catches Rusev’s superkick and applied the Patriot Lock until the big “Russian” squirmed out of the ring. Cool segment that gave us plenty of build for a mid-card PPV match. What a novel concept!

In the locker room, Cena resets the situation by telling Reigns that Ambrose is out of the main event and that the attack on their partner was an obvious setup. Reigns no-sells the magnitude of the situation and Cena gets pissed. Cena says they must be on the same page if either one of them want to have a chance at being champion this Sunday. Reigns says they will take out the Authority’s trio tonight.

ALBERTO DEL RIO VS. ROB VAN DAM

More hype for the IC Battle Royal as two more competitors go at it here. Van Dam looked to have botched a move going over the top and landed awkwardly in the ring apron. He didn’t appeared to be hurt by the fall but it looked pretty nasty. Del Rio used his knees to fend off a frog splash and then locked in the devastating cross-armbreaker to pick up a quick win. Yawn. WINNER: ALBERTO DEL RIO

Whoa, an ad for the CM Punk documentary on Raw? What do you suppose that means? Let me be the 3,000th internet wrestling writer this week to come out and say it: He’s coming back folks! Now what will Jim Ross ask all his guests about on his podcast? I guess there is always the Undertaker’s streak.

NIKKI BELLA VS. CAMERON & ALICIA FOX

Stephanie, fresh off her quickie from hour one, comes out and announces that Nikki won’t have a partner again this week and says her sister, Brie, is to blame. The Funkadactyls will officially explode at Battleground when it was announced that Cameron will face Naomi on Sunday’s pre-show. Second straight PPV with two divas matches if I am not mistaken. Heel miscommunication almost led to Nikki pulling off the upset with an Alabama Slam. Crazy Alicia hits her finisher and this one is as dead as disco. WINNERS: CAMERON & ALICEA FOX

DAN’S MARK OUT MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: If you pre-order WWE 2K15, you can play as Sting. I love hearing that old Crow Sting theme from Starrcade 1997. Chills my friends! I hope that theme is part of the downloadable content. I’d play that while writing Superstars this week and then run through walls. Maybe I can make that tune a regular part of the Steve Corino Show. #CheapPlugs

Randy Orton asks Triple H about whether they can trust Kane. Hunter calls Kane a pawn and that he will stick to the plan which is to have Orton win the title. Hmmmm.

Goldust and Stardust act creepy as hell together. I have no words.

CESARO VS. BIG E W/KOFI KINGSTON

No Paul Heyman this week and rumors swirl amongst the announcers that he was either fired or quit the company. Considering his DVD is coming out soon, I highly doubt either of those are true, but his absence does seem rather odd. Big E is looking for revenge after Cesaro’s multiple assaults on Kofi the last few weeks. Not sure exactly what they have planned for the King of Swing. I love the guy, but losing to Kofi these days is like a kiss of death. Fans still love Big E, contrary to popular belief. Oodles of power moves in this hoss vs. hoss battle. Cesaro went for a chair and whizzed it in the direction of Kingston up aisle. After the Swiss Superman grabbed a second chair, Kofi intercepted the weapon allowing Big E to score with the Big Ending and leave with the winner’s purse. WINNER: BIG E

Highlights of the Wyatt Family pummeling of Chris Jericho two weeks ago.

Y2J enters the ring and it appears that all the bulbs on his Lite-Brite jacket are working tonight. He says it feels good to be back home in a WWE ring. He talks about all the different characters he has seen and worked with over his 15 years with the company. He even gets in a 3-Minute Warning reference which always scores points with us here at the Nation. He says he has seen and done it all or at least he thought he had until he crossed paths with Bray Wyatt. He doesn’t know why Bray is coming after him but says if Wyatt wants to get crazy at Battleground, Y2J will get crazy. He says he has the whole WWE Universe in his hands which highlights an incredible promo at this late hour. Bray gets on the tron and starts talking gibberish that actually elicits a “boring” chant from the crowd. He asks if Chris is afraid of the dark and then blows out his lantern as the lights go out. Harper and Rowan appear in the ring but Jericho escapes though is ambushed from behind by Wyatt. He connects with Sister Abigail on the stage and we’re instructed to follow the buzzards.

Cole says that Ambrose has been taken to a local hospital. Dammit!

EVA MARIE VS. WWE DIVAS CHAMPION AJ LEE

I’m sorry. I don’t buy AJ as a face. I can’t do it! She was too good as a heel. Paige is at the announce table and she is being remarkably respectful of her Battleground opponent. She calls AJ her “frienemy” which simply means that she is a friend who also happens to be an enemy. This is very similar to my relationship with Justin Rozzero. I think we’re friends but he would spray me with gasoline if I should happen to already be on fire. That being said, Eva is cannon fodder here and AJ wins easily. WINNER: AJ LEE

This might be an awesome rivalry in the Divas division for years to come but it’s probably too soon to take the strap off AJ so she wins Sunday. They both play nice and complement each others hair and such. It’s going to be a blood bath at Battleground, mark it down!

Kane now approaches Triple H and Stephanie and confirms that he does not like Randy Orton. The couple says that everyone works with people they don’t like and what’s best for business is to get the belts back to the Authority. The plot, as they say, thickens.

BO DALLAS VS. THE GREAT KHALI

Yes! So inspirational. Bo says that last week, he defeated the “biggest little man” in WWE. He says that he hopes tonight’s opponent has a heart as big as El Torito’s (#midgetmantaur). Out comes Great Khali. He has a big heart, which is appropriate considering he is also a big stiff. Bo is screaming like a girl prior to each chop by the big guy. Bo calls him a bad giant and gets a one-way trip to the floor for his troubles. Dallas takes out one of Khali’s legs and then hits the running Bo-dog to earn a count out triumph. After the match, Bo tries to offer some encouragement but eats another chop. WINNER: BO DALLAS

Ugh, now we get Rollins’ turn to get facetime with the power couple. He’s not sure Kane and Orton will be able to get along at Battleground. Hunter says to Seth that we all know what Plan B is. Exit Rollins and enter Paul Heyman? The advocate for Brock Lesnar says that while he likes their Plan B a great deal, if they need a foolproof Plan C, Heyman is the guy to talk to. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep talking but I do believe they are sowing the seeds for a Lesnar return just in time for the build to SummerSlam. You heard it here first sucka!,

Next week, Flo Rida guest stars on Raw. Glad WWE keeps finding him work.

There he is! The 16 Time World Champion and two-time Hall of Famer! Ric Flair is here and Scotty C is not. This is too delicious! He joins Renee Young in the squared circle and you better believe he’ll have something to say. Flair asks the Universe to ask their mothers and fathers how much fun he used to have in Richmond. He does the usual strutting and wooing before Renee asks for his Battleground prediction. Flair picks John Cena and out comes Roman Reigns to a ridiculous pop. Double-R enters and Slick Ric departs but not before Cena’s music hits. In a pretty cool moment, Cena hands Flair the big gold belt. When Ric tries to give it back, you can clearly hear John say, “keep it!” Looks like we’re back to one belt ladies and gentlemen.

JOHN CENA & ROMAN REIGNS VS. RANDY ORTON, SETH ROLLINS & KANE

Not going to lie, I’m a little bummed they knocked Ambrose out of this match quite honestly. We’ll apparently get an update on his condition on Main Event Tuesday. Both sides are playing up the distrust angle since 4/5ths of this match will be in one bout on Sunday. Scary moment happened late in the match as it appeared that Rollins landed awkwardly on his right leg when he spring boarded into the ring. Reigns sent him over the top rope but clearly he was favoring that knee and WWE medical staff could be seen running in his direction. Shortly thereafter, the ref called for the bell and disqualified Kane and Orton for excessive double-teaming on Reigns. A melee ensued that saw Kane accidentally club Orton, Reigns spearing Cena, Orton intentionally RKO’ing Kane and then capped off with Reigns spearing Orton. Old Shield music played us out but questions about the health of Mr. Money in the Bank linger as we fade to black. WINNERS: JOHN CENA & ROMAN REIGNS

Crazy show to say the least, but would you expect anything less from a “go home” Raw? Battleground is shaping up quite nicely though the card will take a serious blow in quality if they are forced to cancel the Rollins/Ambrose encounter. At least we got to see a ton of matches, two chicks dancing, an awesome Ambrose promo, Reigns entering beast mode, the possible retiring of the big gold belt, Ric Flair styling and profiling and of course, talk of a Plan C.

One guy who never needs a Plan B or C is Graham Cawthon, purveyor of thehistoryofwwe.com. Follow him on twitter @thehistoryofwwe. Here’s Graham’s Raw Tweet of the Night!

You think on the #Raw script it says “Triple H and Stephanie make obnoxious smacking sounds with their mouth.” End scene”?

God, I hope not Graham. That’s definitely NOT going in my dream journal.

Author: Dan McGinn

Dan McGinn is a former Minor League Baseball announcer, a five-star General in the #sweatervestarmy and an all around babyface who you should be happy to take home to dinner. He also happens to write about wrestling.