Scott’s Raw Recap 7/21/14

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Paul Heyman and his monster are back and their next target is John Cena (Courtesy WWE.com)

Well, first off I’d like to thank Dan McGinn, my Legends House partner, for covering for me last week while I was in the Atlantic Ocean checking out million dollar houses in Bermuda. I’m back tonight with our post-Battleground recap. Before we do that, I’d like to make an announcement. After a year-plus of reviewing WWE’s flagship show, sadly it’s time for me to move on. With commitments ranging from many podcasts on the PTBN Network to some outside writing projects, time is limited. It’s time to hand off my beloved Raw Recap to someone with just as much passion for writing and WWE as I do. I’d like to thank everyone who has read my recap and enjoyed it every week. Now time to introduce my replacement, he’s earned it after toiling his craft in the minors with WWE Superstars –  it’s big league time. So, DAN MCGINN, the floor is yours.

Thank you so much, Scott. It is truly an honor to take over for you in the big chair. If you ever want it back… suck it! Just playing! Knowing your luck, Raw will go back to 2 hours starting tonight, and you’ll come crawling back. It’s a huge week you dumped on me with rumors of Brock Lesnar coming back and all the dirt sheet chatter following the Battleground PPV. Don’t cry for me just yet, for I am packing plenty of caffeine for this maiden voyage and I will tame this 3 hour beast come hell or high water! As far as I’m concerned, let the SummerSlam hype machine begin! So sit back, grab yourself a summer shandy, and let’s head down to ringside!

Monday Night Raw
July 21, 2014
Miami, FL

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

And here comes the COO! He looks as happy as I did when I was told I couldn’t review the Hulu version of Raw for the website. His displeasure isn’t completely without merit, as Cole is quick to point out that no member of the Authority left Battleground with championship gold. The hashtag for this segment is #KingofKings, but if you are anything like me, you’ll leave with a tremendous void in your heart as Steve Corino is not walking through that door. Triple H reports that everyone in the back is just waiting for him to blow a gasket because John Cena retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He says he’s mad and he is going to do what everyone does when they are angry. He is going to Tweet! He said he may even send an Instagram! He will go to social media and voice his grievances and perhaps even get with his buddy “Mark” and never watch the show again! This is flippin’ fantastic! You show them Hunter! If all these Cena haters want to hide behind their smartphones and keyboards, you come out swinging tonight! I love it!

The COO knows he will always win and is willing to wait until SummerSlam to pick up his revenge on Cena. He guarantees that the leader of the Cenation will no longer be champion. This begs the question, who will be the one to take him down? Cue Randy Orton’s music. The Apex Predator reverts back to his whining little girl days and says he still hasn’t received his proper rematch from Mania. Mr. RKO has a guarantee of his own by saying he will beat Cena if he faces him next month. Triple H says he is a frontrunner but the whole roster has an opportunity to impress the boss and earn a shot at the champ. In typical Orton fashion, he blames someone else for his failures by throwing Kane under the bus. Out comes the “Demon” who says he knows he can be the one to bring the straps back to the Authority. Kane is tired of babysitting Orton, who continues to pout, which is the perfect time for Roman Reigns to come out!

Double-R believes he deserves consideration and throws out two stingers at Hunter’s boys by saying that no one wants to see John Cena vs. Kane or Randy Orton. In his mind’s eye, the Universe is begging to see Reigns vs. Cena one-on-one. Reigns tells the COO to believe that and promptly plants a Superman punch to Kane’s watermelon head. The ring clears and Triple H, never missing a trick, decides to leadoff Raw with a handicap match. I better go Tweet something smarky. Be right back!

ROMAN REIGNS VS. RANDY ORTON & KANE

Orton, back in his black trunks after rocking the swank blues Sunday, starts us off against Reigns. Cool psychology early as Triple H could use this match as a team building exercise for Orton and Kane. Cole is quick to counter that both guys are also eager to impress the boss in this match. King doesn’t believe there is a chance in hell that if Reigns wins he will become the new frontrunner. I have a sneaking suspicion that none of these guys will factor into the main event at SummerSlam. After a timeout, Orton is in control and begins to Garvin stomp the stuffing out of our hero. Fairly long heat segment until Reigns scores with a samoan drop. Roman starts to feel it until he eats a boot from Kane. The Demon went to tag his partner but Orton refused saying that the Big Red Machine should have been there for him last night. Kane went to chokeslam Orton but got caught by another Superman punch and a spear leading to an improbable upset. WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS

After the match, Orton considered meeting Reigns straight up but it was not meant to be. I think Roman needs to have a few lengthy feuds with top guys before they even think about giving him gold. I’ll go out and say that an Orton/Reigns PPV series would do quite well so long as The Viper does the job to help elevate a new stud.

Oh boy, Divas handicap match action coming up! You know you want this gig back, Scott!

NIKKI BELLA VS. CAMERON, EVA MARIE, ALICIA FOX & ROSA MENDES

Prior to the match, Stephanie addresses the four heel ladies on the roster and talks of annihilating Nikki Bella and teaching Brie a lesson. Is this storyline ever going to end? Just when I start to forget that the Bellas are still on the roster, they throw this in my face. Biggest moment of the bout occurs just before the bell as it’s revealed that Brie is sitting in the front row. Oh no you didn’t! Here comes Stephanie to be the proverbial turd in the punch bowl. She lays into Brie about quitting, who responds in kind by calling Stephanie a bitch. Steph calls for security, Brie shows her ticket stub and grabs the microphone, which is something I should try someday because I always keep my ticket stub. Just when this segment couldn’t get any more nauseating, Steph smacks the taste out of Brie’s mouth, and she gets carried out by the Mr. Clean security guy. I’ve already typed more about this segment than it deserves. Fast forward to the end and Nikki gets pummeled by all four ladies. WINNERS: THE HEELS… BUT REALLY NOBODY

Hey look at that! Flo Rida is here! I feel better already.

Ugh, and then they show a replay of what we just watched, and now I’m ready to kick my dog!

BO DALLAS VS. LEBRON JAMES (DAMIEN SANDOW)

Good lord, that’s some X-Pac heat right there as Sandow hits the stage wearing a discounted Lebron Heat jersey with a white “X” over the chest. He tells the inspirational one to do what Lebron did and leave! Two of my guilty pleasures in one ring. Just what the doctor ordered! A “Let’s Go Heat” chant erupts in the house, so I guess that dispels the theory that Heat fans don’t exist. Bo is not surprisingly getting mad face pops as he delivers the Bo-Dog to remain undefeated. WINNER: BO DALLAS

Take a bow, Bo! This was the loudest victory lap of your career. He also must be happy that my predecessor has left since he was never a bo-liever. Now if I can channel Bo here for a minute. (Ahem) Rome wasn’t built in a day. Every journey begins with a single step. You must be prepared to take on the ultimate adventure… The journey of life. You too may someday be destined for greatness. You too may someday write on Monday nights. All you have to do is Bo-Lieve!

We were expecting an episode of The Highlight Reel, but something happened during the break. Since I don’t view the app while doing this, I’ll have to find out the news with the rest of you peasants. Evidently, Jericho was attacked prior to the beginning of this segment. Bray grabs the mic and performs his own Highlight Reel with the lights down. Awesome effect with all the cellphone lights lit throughout the arena. We flash back to the app highlights of Y2J getting savagely beaten in the locker room with Wyatt stating, “sooner or later, they all fall down.” Awesome, a new song to sing? Bray doesn’t care about his loss on Sunday and says it is all about winning the war. He speaks about how the family has brought stars to their knees. He refers to Abigail when talking about chasing vengeance and how in the end you’ll need to dig two graves. One for your enemy, and one for yourself. Bray says he is forever, and, again, we’re instructed to follow the buzzards.

Jericho is shown in the back with a bloody ear getting looked over by medical staff. Cutting through all the gibberish, Bray states that losing one battle doesn’t matter to him. That’s great and all since he’s lost many battles since the New Year began.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION THE MIZ VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER

For all the folks who are down on Ziggler, he put on a hell of a performance during the battle royal on Sunday. Miz using the same playbook as the night before trying to stall and constantly leaving the ring. Why are they still making heart attack jokes during Ziggler matches? Is this the new “Greg Valentine needs 20 minutes to warm up” routine for this generation? Awesome spot by Miz who kept his arms over his face while he suffered through nine consecutive elbow drops. You gotta protect that “money maker!” For a non-title match on Raw, this match has been terrific. A seesaw battle from the beginning and definitely not getting its due from these Miami Heat fans. The crowd woke up down the stretch when Ziggy escaped from the figure-four and then scored with a famouser. After a near-fall, Miz tried for the Skull Crushing Finale but Ziggler blocked it and attempted a super kick. Much to the delight of Jim Ross, Miz avoided it and covered up his face but Dolph pounced on the opportunity and connected with the Zig-Zag for the three count! WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER

Back-to-back outstanding outings for Dolph and this was even better because there were fewer blown spots tonight against Miz. The crowd was scorching at the end and that had to impress some suits in the back! If we’re lucky, this is our IC title match in LA and perhaps some relevance can finally be restored to this secondary championship.

In the back, Triple H tells Seth Rollins that he shouldn’t face John Cena at SummerSlam since he owns the Money in the Bank contract. Rollins hesitantly agrees but says that Dean Ambrose relentlessly foils all of his chances at cashing in that briefcase. Just when Rollins was approaching Orton levels of whine, in steps Cesaro? The Swiss Superman drops a bomb on the Florida crowd by saying that, as of this moment, he is no longer a Heyman guy and he desires to be a Triple H guy. Like everyone else tonight, he also feels he should get the shot at Cena’s belts. The COO puts the “King of Swing” in a match with Ambrose tonight. This is getting good, can you feel it?

It’s Slam of the Week time, and we get the highlights of A.J. defeating Paige at Battleground in a decent title defense. I think this could be WWE’s signature rivalry in the women’s division not unlike Stratus/Lita of yesteryear. With that said, cue the C.M. Punk chants because it’s time for more divas!

AJ LEE & PAIGE VS. NATALYA & EMMA

Emma, fresh off her crime spree, gets to rekindle her NXT rivalry with Paige here and even locks in her DilEMMA in the corner. Natalya entered the fray and cinched in the sharpshooter on the former Divas champ, but Paige made the tag to her “frienemy” who walloped Natty with the shining wizard. Not much left to say. Lee hooks in the black widow and Natty has to play “taps.” WINNERS: AJ LEE & PAIGE

Post-match, the victors celebrate and Paige even gives her partner a friendly bearhug. As AJ turns to leave the ring, Paige grabs her by the hair and yanks her to the floor. The heel turn is complete with a series of headbutts followed by Paige ramming the champ into the ring post while screaming, “I told you this was my house!” In a spot not often seen in the Divas division, Paige whipped AJ over the announce table as Paige skips away. Not to be sexist, but this was as awesome of a women’s segment we have seen in the last 10 years. No more fast-forwarding when these two hit the screen. We always knew AJ was special, but tonight, Paige became a star!

FANDANGO VS. ZACK RYDER

WHAT THE HELL?! Did I really just type that? I know Ryder was on a PPV which was shocking enough, but Raw too? There has got to be a catch! If there was ever a time for Brock or the ghost of Andre the Giant to come out and eviscerate the lower card, this would be the time to do it. Oh but Long Island Iced Z is not alone as he is joined by Summer Rae and Layla! I can’t concentrate because I do believe that Layla’s boobs get bigger by the hour. Think about that and when you come to, you’ll see that Ryder nailed the Rough Ryder leg lariat to pick up his first Raw win in approximately three years. Of course, he needed Layla to push Fandango’s foot off the rope but whatever. Even a broken clock is right two times a day! WINNER: ZACK RYDER

I don’t ask for much in life, but one opportunity to get smothered by Layla and Summer Rae while getting kissed repeatedly would keep me happy for two whole lifetimes.

And now the Wet Blanket Moment of the Night goes to yet another replay of Stephanie slapping Brie. Unless those two settle this in a pool of jello from the Staples Center in four weeks, I’m not getting into this endless feud.

Renee Young is now joined by Flo Rida, who I think has provided the official theme song for the last 27 PPV’s. He jokes that his performance tonight may impress Triple H to give him the title shot at SummerSlam. Heath Slater comes in to get retribution for getting thrown into a wall at WrestleMania XXVIII. Flo gives him a stiff shove that sent Heath flying into some steel rails. Wow, talk about your long term booking!

Tomorrow on Main Event – Sheamus vs. Rusev. Will WWE gain more bad press or will the U.S. Champ brogue kick the Russian monster and Lana off television for good? Find out Tuesday and be sure to order the WWE Network right now!

Flo Rida sings some songs you’ve probably heard 3,000 times this year alone.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger tonight, out comes two suits looking to question Stephanie McMahon at ringside. They have badges and begin reading the minority owner of the company her rights. The men ask about Brie Bella and ask Steph if she struck her earlier in the night. McMahon said yes and was placed under arrest. The place went bonkers as they put the cuffs on Stephanie and then Brie magically appeared (I thought she was thrown out of the building) and starts jaw-jacking with the prisoner. In the back, Hunter calls for his lawyers and starts tearing into the pigs. (Is this a hybrid?) Steph is going to the big house and I still say this is taking up waaay too much time tonight!
RYBAXEL VS. BIG E & KOFI KINGSTON

Typical filler match featuring four guys from Sunday’s battle royal. That was a pretty cool spot when Kofi landed on E’s shoulders to avoid elimination. What will they come up with next? Kingston attempted a cross-body on Ryback, but the big guy rolled through it and got a flash pin to end this quickly. WINNERS: RYBAXEL

I was about to grab myself a pack of Gushers fruit snacks anticipating the exciting conclusion when all of a sudden Xavier Woods came out in Brother Love’s wardrobe and I knew my night was far from over! The Ph.D approaches Big E and Kofi and tells them that they can’t get ahead by shaking hands, kissing babies and doing what you’re told. He says it is time that they find focus. Kofi and E are eating this up like I am doing to a certain fruit flavored snack. I believe trouble is afoot. Good for them, though, since they aren’t doing much in their current roles anyway.

RUSEV VS. THE GREAT KHALI

Before Lana can bring more bad PR upon the company, out comes the most useless man on the roster. Probably the best move given the heat on the ravishing Russian these days. Just a glorified squash here, and we’re moving on because I’m getting sleepy. WINNER: RUSEV

Stardust sings the song from Willy Wonka when they are on the boat –  that always frightened me as a kid. I shut my ears and curled into a ball after that, so your guess is as good as mine as to what he and Goldust were talking about.

Oh for the love of Pete! I don’t need another replay of Steph and Brie! I wish we were back in the “How to Download the App” phase!

DEAN AMBROSE VS. CESARO

This has to be our main event since the finale is the monumental title announcement. This is a tough one to call since the crowd wants both of these guys to get pushed and whomever ends up losing will wind up blowing up the internet. Cesaro works the still injured shoulder of the lunatic fringe. Speaking of which, did the Heyman/Cesaro partnership bomb worse than that Lone Ranger movie? If they wanted to keep Cesaro heel, he probably should have just gone straight to the Authority and maybe join Evolution. Just an observation. Cesaro looked strong just punishing his injured opponent. At one point, he throttled Dean with a clothesline and Ambrose sold it like he was hit by a train. That maniac would not die, however, as he threw Cesaro into the post three times and then grabbed a chair and struck him for the automatic DQ. Cool match, crappy finish, but both guys stayed strong. WINNER: CESARO

Decision time for Triple H and he wastes no time in announcing John Cena’s opponent who turns out to be… Randy Orton!?! Oh, c’mon! Three hours of my life down the drain and countless agonizing Bella/McMahon  replays for that? Say it ain’t so! Before Randy can hit the ring, Reigns jumps him and those two battle into the crowd. Now what? Oh boy! Here comes Paul Heyman. He says that the Authority’s plans aren’t safe with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose kicking around so the best move is to implement Plan C. And with that, out comes Brock Lesnar to the surprise of no one, but still a monumental return. The spoilers and leaked posters are true. Brock vs. Cena for the first time since Extreme Rules 2012. Now that’s a Main Event that can elevate SummerSlam to WrestleMania levels. Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s streak and now intends to conquer John Cena. Dynamite promo by Heyman who predicts that the champ is in for the beating of a lifetime. Heyman says that not only will Brock mangle John Cena, but he will also strip him of his dignity in addition to his championship. If you rewatch anything after reading this, it has to be this final segment because Paul Heyman hit it out of the park. Brock sold many pay-per-views without having to say a word.

Just because it’s a new era in Raw Recaps, doesn’t mean we’re about to forget our roots. With that said, one man who is never stripped of his dignity or his championship is Graham Cawthon, purveyor of thehistoryofwwe.com. Follow him on twitter @thehistoryofwwe. Here’s Graham’s Raw Tweet of the Night!

I don’t care if we had 4 weeks notice. This was well done. And Cena vs Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012 was a hell of a fight #rematch

I couldn’t agree more my friend. Off to dream street. Hopefully a Steph/Brie replay doesn’t interrupt my Layla/Summer dreams!

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email