June 29, 2015
From the Verizon Center, in Washington, D.C.
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
Before the show we see clips from last week in which Seth Rollins, Kane, and Joey Mercury attack the leg of Brock Lesnar, who had been suplexing Rollins all over the ring, to show that Rollins and his old pals are on the same page.
The live show starts with Seth Rollins coming to the ring with J&J Security and Kane. Noble is moving quite slowly here due to the injuries he suffered last week. The announcers talk about how they have never seen Lesnar as vulnerable as he was last week. Rollins welcomes us to “Monday Night Rollins” then talks about true power and how that is gained by doing things others are not capable of, like conquering Brock Lesnar, after naming off others who have failed. Rollins then tells us that Lesnar is on a flight to Japan right now and hopes he thinks of what they did on him last week. Rollins then switches his attention to Jamie Noble and how Lesnar broke three of his ribs, noting Noble is tougher than anyone in the arena and would not have missed their moment of triumph for anything in the world before demanding the crowd stand and applaud him. Rollins even thinks Noble should win the “Most Inspirational” nomination for the Slammy Awards. Rollins then reveals three brand new Apple watches for J&J Security and Kane as a token of his appreciation. They fawn all over the watches until Rollins tells Kane he has something else for him. He reminds us that Kane debuted in October 1997 and how things have changed but the constant is that Kane has been the glue that has held the WWE together. Rollins then reveals a Hawaii vacation for Kane as corny hula music plays while a hula dancer, guitar player, and some other guy who stood around like an idiot came out as the crowd remained silent. Rollins then tells Kane that before the vacation, they should team up against Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose in a No DQ tag match. But before he lets Kane answer, he said the saddest thing he saw was J&J Security come up to the building in a crappy rental car and how they shall ride in style. He then has a 2015 red Cadillac CTS come out for them as a gift as J&J run out and check out the car as everyone else follows. Rollins even tell Joey that its all leather interior, just how he likes. Rollins then tells us the sticker price is $55,860 as the camera zooms in on that, with the girl pointing at the wrong price. Great work from these extras by the way. Rollins tells Noble to start it up as he honks the horn for a few minutes. The Big Show then interrupts as he heads down to the ring to face Mark Henry after the break. This segment went on far longer than necessary. It was nearly 18 minutes long. The gift-giving part was a bore to watch, despite the efforts from J&J Security. The extras were so awful here that it was somewhat amusing but they could have accomplished the same thing in less than half of the time.
We see clips of Ryback and Big Show brawling last week on RAW as well as Show fighting with Henry.
Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Miz is on commentary. Show backs Henry in the corner and fires away. Henry fights backs and hits a few clotheslines and a splash, which all looked awful. Show fights back then hits his knockout punch for the win (1:24) DUD. After the match, Ryback runs out and goes after the Big Show but Miz comes in and knocks him down before running right off. Ryback grabs the mic and tells Miz they are facing off tonight and wants him now as Miz wags his finger and smiles.
Thoughts: Mark Henry should hang them up because he is just awful in the ring at this point. After this quick loss I assume Henry is now out of the IC Title picture. This match was really bad but thankfully kept short. And speaking of bad, what the hell was Miz doing on commentary here. He is good on the mic so why have do his sarcastic tough guy stuff here? It came off terrible.
Ryback vs. Miz
This started right after the break. Ryback chases Miz around then takes him down with a Thesz press. Ryback beats down Miz for a bit until Miz snaps Ryback’s neck off of the rope. However, Ryback hits an impressive delayed vertical suplex that got the crowd going a bit then rams Miz into the guardrail after he tried to escape. Back inside, Miz kicks Ryback low then gets a nearfall with a DDT before laying into Ryback with crossfaces. Miz gouges Ryback before applying a chinlock as the fans rally behind Ryback. Miz hits a reverse neckbreaker for two then goes back to beating on Ryback. Miz tries a kick but Ryback catches his foot and shoves him down. Ryback sets up for the Meathook but Miz bails and gets counted out after running out back (5:05) *1/2.
Thoughts: Entertaining match. I’m enjoying Ryback as the IC Champ. With that being said, I don’t know if you want your IC Title challenger looking like that much of a chickenshit unless they already have the belt and are afraid to lose.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox w/ Bella Twins
The Bellas are back to being heels this week. Match starts with Paige grounding Fox. She hits a few knee smashes resulting in a nearfall as the announcers talk about Nikki approaching the record for longest Diva’s title reign. Fox fights back with a few European uppercuts but Paige takes her down. Fox heads outside while Paige follows and gets distracted, allowing Fox to attack her from behind as we head to break. That whole spot made Paige look like a moron. When we return, Fox is beating on Paige inside of the ring. Northern Lights suplex gets two. Fox misses a corner charge as Paige tries to fight back but gets kicked down. Fox covers and gets two, which upsets her, then applies a chinlock. The crowd rallies behind Paige as this spot lasts for a while. She fights out but gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a nearfall. Fox his a back elbow smash before going back to another chinlock. Paige fights out then hits a high knee in the corner. Paige then goes nuts, hitting a flurry of knee smashes and clotheslines that result in a nearfall. Nikki jumps up on the apron to distract Paige as Alicia uses a reverse rollup but Paige reverses and gets the pin (9:40) **. The Bellas run in to go after Paige, who manages to escape and catch her breath on the apron.
Thoughts: This match was fine. Fox is at least competent in the ring on the WWE Diva scale. It helped that they kept it basic too. The week-by-week changes of the Bellas in terms of face/heel roles continues and it still makes the whole division look terrible as a result.
John Cena comes out for the US Title Open Challenge just before the break. When we return, Cena is in the ring but Kevin Owens’ music hits as he comes out holding the NXT Title. Lillian Garcia then does the ring introductions as if they are having a match. However, Owens ducks outside and asks for a mic then tells us that he is just going to wait until Battleground. He then tells Cena that if anyone is taking the US Title, it will be him. Cesaro’s music then hits as Owens joins the announcers table. Complete dick move by Owens but it was great.
US Title Match
John Cena (Champion) vs. Cesaro
The announcers plug the Fourth of July show from Japan on the WWE Network as Cesaro grabs a waistlock. Cena hits a monkey flip as they end in a standoff. Cesaro then catches Cena in a powerslam after a brief Irish whip sequence as Owens tells us about how Cena disrespected him after he beat him at Money in the Bank. Cesaro kncks Cena down then beats on him in the corner. Gutwrench suplex gets two then Cesaro uses a modified abdominal stretch. Cena escapes but Cesaro boots him down as Owens yells at Saxton to pay attention to the match after he was asked a question. Cole brings up Cesaro winning the title as Owens says he wants to beat a worthy champion as Cesaro continues his beat down of Cena as we go to break. When we return, Cesaro gets a nearfall that the announcers sold like something incredible and how the match picked up at the break. Cesaro then set up for the giant swing to the delight of the crowd but Cena fought out and hit a sloppy springboard stunner for a nearfall. That looked terrible, actually. Cena sets up for the AA but Cesaro lands on his feet then catches Cena with a European Uppercut as he was in midair. That also didn’t quite connect as planned. Cena then locks on the STF which is countered into a Sharpshooter by Cesaro. Cena reaches the ropes as we get a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. Cesaro hits a superplex for two as Cole says this is a “match of the year candidate.” It’s not but the story they are going for is that Owens gets increasingly pissed over the announcers gloating over Cesaro possibly beating Cena, who fights back with a tornado DDT. They slug it out until Cesaro boots him down. He heads up top and hits a flying body press but Cena rolls through and hits a swinging facebuster for two. Owens then gets up and yells at Cole for disrespecting him by hyping up this match, even issuing a warning. Cena heads up top but Cesaro dropkicks him to the floor. Cena heads back inside and hits a Code Red, which Owens jokes Cena stole by watching his old matches. Cesaro fights back and hits the Neutralizer but that only gets two. Cesaro then lays into Cena with a barrage of uppercuts before hitting the swing. He locks on the Sharpshooter as Cena is on the verge of tapping but Owens runs in and attacks Cesaro for the DQ as the match is ruled a no-contest (20:10) ***1/2. Owens then lays out both guys with the Pop-Up Powerbomb then tells the crowd if anyone is taking the US Title away from Cena, it will be him and at Battleground he will do just that.
Thoughts: Really good TV match but nowhere close to a MOTYC. Cena was very sloppy here. However, it made Cesaro look great and assuming Owens wins at Battleground, they have set up his first opponent in Cesaro. Speaking of Owens, he was great on commentary and I loved his brief promo at the end. Easily the best segment of the show.
Before we go to break, Cole informs us that Dolph Ziggler and Lana will “go public” tonight.
Bray Wyatt is cutting a promo about how he should have been his father’s favorite but was tossed away like a piece of trash because life isn’t always fair. He then tells Reigns that he never let him succeed as he says “anyone but you” before this ends. Bleh. I mean, what else is there to say about Wyatt at this point. It’s the same promos and feuds for the past year and a half. And after last week’s disaster of a segment, it’s tough to get people caring about this again.
Lucha Dragons & Prime Time Players vs. New Day & Bo Dallas
Loud “New Day sucks” chant to start. Match starts with Woods beating on Kalisto, who then fights back. Kalisto hits a double springboard armdrag then tags Sin Cara, who hits a slingshot senton. Woods fights back and tags Dallas, who gets caught in an armbar. The PTPs then rough up Dallas as the crowd is quiet. Kalisto tags as Dallas beats him down. He gets two off of a clothesline then works a neck vise but Kalisto backs him into the corner and tags Young, who works a side headlock on the mat as this match is dragging. The New Day are all clapping for Dallas, who finally breaks free but Young drops him on the apron with a back suplex as we go to break. When we return, Woods has Kalisto in a chinlock as the crowd remains silent. Xavier then alley-oops Kalisto to Big E, who catches him and hits an overhead suplex but Kalisto lands and rolls over to his corner as he makes the tag to his partner. Sin Cara runs wild and hits a few springboard attacks. He then gets two with a top rope senton before tagging out. Young tosses Sin Cara on top of Big E but shortly after that gets tossed up and over the turnbuckle and crashes to the floor. Dallas is now the legal man as he stomps on Young in the corner. Young continues to get destroyed in the corner as the crowd still is not into the match. And with good reason. The crowd slowly rallies behind Young as he fights back. He collides with Dallas as both men are down. Titus is quite animated on the apron then tags in as he beats down everyone and gets the crowd into the match. Everything breaks down as Titus does the Lucha chant as the Dragons fly outside and take out the rest of the New Day. Back inside, Kofi flies off the top but Titus catches him and hits a sitout spinebuster for the win (14:28) *1/2.
Thoughts: First off, whoever was responsible for putting this match together deserves to get reamed out because the way it was designed took the crowd out of the match. They did get into Titus’ hot tag a bit. Titus is good at everything except for the actual wrestling part. Kalisto did not get a chance to do anything at all and after debuting and exciting fans a few weeks after that as well, he has been a complete non-factor and not showcased in anyway. This took up far too much time and really sucked the life out of the crowd.
Backstage, Dolph is smiling as he has Lana on his arm as they are set to appear in the ring when we return.
Dolph and Lana come out to the ring as we return. They are both smiling. Dolph makes a confession as he tells us that his relationship with Lana did not start off as love at first sight but rather Lana used him to get back at Rusev as Dolph jokes that he has won because he got to make out with “smoking hot babes.” Lana speaks as she said for years she didn’t know what a real man was as she was with Rusev, who told her how to do everything. Lana said she has become her own person and that she and Dolph have become more than just friends. The crowd gives her the “what” treatment until Rusev interrupts, with Summer Rae coming out behind him. Rusev is hobbling around as the poor guy is hopping on one foot up the stairs to get into the ring. Rusev then goes on about how he never cared about Lana until Dolph interrupts to remind him that Lana is his girlfriend and that he will do something to his other leg. Usually, in wrestling, a guy threatening to hurt an injured performer after bragging about stealing his girl is a heel but we live in different times I suppose. He stares down Ziggler then Summer tells Lana there is nothing she hates more than a gold digger and how she jumped ship when he dropped the US Title at WrestleMania and wants Lana to tell us she is nothing more than a two-faced, conniving, lying phony. This show had all sorts of lame adjectives by the writers that were featured throughout. Summer then slaps Lana as that prompts a catfight, something the crowd applauds. It seems to be setting up for some sort of match at SummerSlam involving these four, provided Rusev will be healthy. I also wonder if the line Summer directed at Lana will be used to reveal that Lana is in fact an American. Dolph was terrible here in delivering his lines. He tried to play the cool guy but came off as someone with zero acting ability. And the fact that he has no chemistry with Lana is not helping things. The crowd dug the cat fight but that was all. The split from Rusev should have made Lana a star but through shitty booking, it has not happened.
Dean Ambrose is backstage saying it’s not physical, but mental as he is surrounded by robots from “Terminator” in a movie plug segment. Roman Reigns comes in as Dean mentions that he looks “stiff.” Reigns says he hates Wyatt and the Authority and tells Dean that he is his only family here as he yells “let’s rage”. Dean liked that and repeated it himself. The lines the writing staff pumped out tonight were mostly embarrassing and this was no exception.
Neville vs. Sheamus
Match starts with both guys trading standing holds. Neville snaps off a hurricarana then another one that sends Sheamus to the floor. He sets up for a dive but Sheamus runs away and clutches his MiTB briefcase as we go to break. We return as Sheamus hits Neville with a rolling senton. Sheamus then follows with a delayed vertical suplex before applying a chinlock. Sheamus fires away but Neville comes back with a thrust kick that JBL notes Sheamus blocked with his jaw. However, Sheamus comes back and hits Neville with three Irish Curses. Neville fights back with a jawbreaker and a kick. He fires away then uses a bunch of kicks then pulls the ropes on a charging Sheamus. Neville then flies outside with a quebrada and then hits Sheamus with a springboard dropkick for a nearfall when they return back into the ring. Neville uses his speed to his advantage as Sheamus rams into the post. Neville sets up for the Red Arrow but Sheamus kicks the ropes and he falls off. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick but Neville sidesteps that and gets two with a rollup but Sheamus connects the second time right after that for the win (12:45) **1/2.
Thoughts: Solid match but the crowd seemed burned out. They did pop when Neville teased the Red Arrow, a move that is really over right now but that was all. Neville is just so smooth in the ring. Sheamus is wrestling like a guy afraid to get hurt again, which makes sense seeing as he has the MiTB briefcase.
Backstage, some guy is shining J&J Security’s new Cadillac but Mercury shoves him away and shines it himself. This was somewhat amusing.
A plug for the Sports Illustrated “Where Are They Now” issue that features Hulk Hogan.
Jack Swagger vs. King Barrett
Before the match, Barrett tells us that all of his opponents will bow down to his feet and pay their respects after he beats them. Swagger chases Barrett outside to start. He heads back in as Swagger slams him down for two. Swagger hits a corner clothesline then turns a big boot from Barrett into an ankle lock. They go outside where Swagger rams him into the guardrail. Back inside, Swagger eats a knee on a charge then Barrett hits the Bullhammer for the win (1:45) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Taking a guy that loses 90% off his TV matches and giving him a nearly 30 year old gimmick is not going to get him over. And to top it all off, he didn’t even yell at Swagger to do so after the match, making what he just said an even bigger waste of time. The crowd did not care at all. If the report about Swagger’s morale being low was false, then I assume that is not the case after this match.
No DQ Match
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins & Kane w/ J&J Security
Funny moment as J&J Security come out in their Cadillac with Noble honking the horn. Match starts with all four guys brawling in the ring. Ambrose clothesline Rollins to the floor then flies out with a tope. He heads back inside to join Reigns in beating on Kane, even hitting a double suplex. Ambrose heads up top but Rollins shoves him to the floor then Reigns runs into a big boot from Kane as he chased Rollins as the Authority are in control heading into commercial. Back from break, Rollins is beating on Reigns as the match is now being wrestled as a tag match. Rollins misses a corner splash but Kane cuts off a tag. Reigns then avoids Kane and makes the tag as Ambrose beats down Rollins. He stomps a mudhole in him then hits a bulldog. Ambrose dropkicks Kane to the floor then sends Rollins outside as he climbs up top and takes them out with a dive. Ambrose even sends Mercury into the guardrail. He goes towards Noble but Rollins tries to toss him inside but Ambrose does his rope rebound move and comes back with a clothesline. He brings a table inside but Noble drags the table outside then Rollins gets two off of a rollup. Reigns flattens Rollins with a powerbomb then attack Kane until Mercury hits him with a kendo stick. Reigns grabs the stick and beats the shit out of everyone with the stick as it breaks in half. He then takes everyone out with Superman punches but the arena goes dark as Wyatt is out and now attacking Reigns. He slams Reigns on the announce table as several referees tell him to leave, during a no DQ match. Back inside, Ambrose clotheslines Kane and sets up for the Dirty Deeds but Rollins stops that then Ambrose succumbs to the numbers game as Kane hits a chokeslam which sets up Rollins to hit the Pedigree for the win (11:47) **. After the match, Rollins orders J&J Security to bring the table inside. They set it up in the corner and hold up Ambrose as Rollins mocks Reigns. However, Reigns comes in and cleans house for a minute until Kane hits him with a chokeslam. Rollins then gets in Reigns’ face and slaps him around but Reigns retaliates and fights back and he is standing tall in the ring as the Authority surround him then attack. Reigns keeps trying to fight back but Rollins chop blocks him as Kane hits Reigns with a second chokeslam. Rollins then orders his guys to pick up Reigns and they place him on his shoulders then Rollins puts him through the table with a powerbomb then after that he hits the Pedigree. They all leave as Wyatt enters and hits the Sister Abigail. He then kneels over him and screams his name while laughing as the show ends.
Thoughts: The match was alright. And regarding the post-match stuff, Ambrose sold the Pedigree for several minutes as he was nowhere to be seen at the end. They made Reigns look like a badass as he fought off for as long as possible and got good reactions from the crowd so that is a plus and Wyatt even got some heat on him at the end, which is likely due to Reigns being over with this crowd.
Final Thoughts: This was a bit better than last week but still not a good show. It was also very heel-heavy as they won a majority of the segments and matches. The Owens/Cena feud is easily the best thing they have going in the company but other than that there isn’t much. The Diva division is terrible, Sheamus is not getting over as the MiTB champ, the Dolph/Lana pairing gets worse with each passing show, and the tag division is ravaged by injuries. There were a few other bright spots like Cesaro looking great as he returns to the singles division and the fact Reigns was getting over, but not anywhere near enough to make this a good show. After several weeks of mostly good shows, the WWE has delivered back-to-back subpar efforts.