July 6, 2015
From Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts with clips from last week where Seth Rollins gives gifts to J&J Security and Kane.
The live show starts with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman coming out to the ring. Heyman refers to Lesnar as the “mayor” of Suplex City then even works in a Justin Bieber reference for Rollins as the WWE will not let that one die. Heyman also says that Lesnar is the god of “violent retribution” and that will reign down on Rollins and anyone by his side. Heyman talks about Lesnar beating the Undertaker, John Cena, and Roman Reigns but that Lesnar did not disrespect those men, unlike Rollins. Heyman then goes on and its nothing we haven’t heard before but the fans did eat it up. He then brings up how he heard Rollins will be here tonight as the crowd starts a “Suplex City” chant the Heyman says Lesnar will not be going anywhere tonight as a result so Rollins better prepare for a beating as the segment ends with Lesnar’s music playing.
We get photoshopped pictures of Kane on his Hawaiian vacation followed by graphics of J&J Security in their Cadillac as they detailed their travels. A very corny segment. The music was hokey and the gags were not funny at all.
Big Show vs. Ryback
The Miz is sitting ringside in a director’s chair as he keeps yelling at the guys to beat each other. The crowd is into Ryback. Match starts with Show overpowering Ryback. Miz chants for Show to chop Ryback again and again but Show is pissed and goes after Miz, allowing Ryback to land a few chops. Ryback fights back and takes Show down with a Thesz Press but Show takes Ryback in the corner and stomps away. Ryback hits some shoulder thrusts and mounted punches after sidestepping a charge but Miz caused another distraction as that allowed Show to shove him down as we head to break. When we return, Show is stretching out Ryback as Miz is continuing to distract both guys. The crowd then starts a “Cleveland Sucks” chant aimed at Miz, who responds by saying he is from Hollywood. Back to the match as Ryback is hammering away. He then hits the Meathook and gets a nearfall with a splash. Ryback then climbs up top for a splash but misses. Show hits a chokeslam then drops an elbow from the second rope but after that the Miz comes into the ring and beats on both men as the match is ruled a no-contest (9:25) *1/2. After the match, both guys get up then trap Miz in the ring as he tries to plead with them. Ryback then boots Miz and hits the Shellshock as Show follows with a chokeslam then Ryback hits Show with a clothesline as he stands tall in the ring.
Thoughts: The match itself was alright and I am digging Ryback as the IC Champ but this three-way feud just isn’t doing it for me. Miz as the chickenshit challenger is not clicking here.
More “photos” from Kane’s Hawaiian vacation. These are still lame. We then see J&J Security in front of Wrigley Field in their Cadillac as they call it a “dump” before leaving. If these segments were actually funny, it would be one thing, but they are painfully dull and just a complete waste of time.
Brie Bella w/ Nikki & Alicia Fox vs. Paige
Match starts with Paige backing Brie into the corner as the announcers put over Nikki’s title reign as it approaches the record. We see Naomi and Tamina watching backstage as Brie now works an armbar. Brie chokes out Paige while yelling “Where’s your friends” then distracts the ref as Nikki and Alicia interfere. Paige dodges an attack then hits a few clotheslines and a super kick. Brie whiffs on a missile dropkick but Paige falls victim to the numbers game and she comes back with a sitout facebuster for the win (3:12) 1/4*. After the match, Alicia and Nikki hit Paige with their finishers.
Thoughts: Match was nothing and the finisher looked bad as nothing Brie does in the ring looks like it will actually hurt. Speaking of Brie, she was thinner than ever tonight. Not a good thing. The crowd didnt seem to care about any of this and you really cant blame them due to the booking of this mess.
Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus
Sheamus taunts Reigns with the MitB Briefcase before the match. Sheamus gains the advantage early on in the match. He hits a slam then follows with a knee drop for a nearfall. Reigns cuts Sheamus off as he heads up top and yanks him off. Reigns hits a slam before sending Sheamus over the top rope with a clothesline. He sends Sheamus into the barricade before rolling him back inside but is met with a knee as he reenters the ring. Sheamus knocks Reigns off of the apron as we head to break. When we return, Sheamus is working a side headlock as the crowd starts a “CM Punk” chant. Sheamus beats on Reigns then taunts the crowd but that allows Reigns to hit a flapjack as both men are down. Reigns hits a bunch of clotheslines then after a reversal sequence he hits his apron dropkick. Reigns then hits a Samoan Drop and signals for the Superman punch but that is blocked as Sheamus then hits the Irish Curse for a nearfall. They brawl for a bit then Sheamus leaps off of the top but eats a Superman punch. Reigns then sets up for a spear but the arena goes dark as Bray Wyatt comes out. Reigns runs down and hits the Superman punch then picks up Wyatt but a wig falls off as its clear that it is a fake then we cut to Wyatt laughing as he says “anyone but you,” causing Reigns to lose by countout (11:16) **1/2. After that, Randy Orton’s music hits as he comes out and hits Sheamus with the RKO then poses on the top rope.
Thoughts: A much better finish than the fake tea party thing Wyatt had with Reigns’ daughter but again, we saw this last week. If they had not done that crap and went with this first, it would have came off so much better and made the feud a lot more interesting. The Reigns/Wyatt feud has not been doing anything to help Reigns at all. Nice to see Orton back as his feud with Sheamus resumes.
HHH is backstage on the phone when Rollins and J&J Security arrive. HHH wants time alone with Rollins as he asks him about Lesnar tonight and how he will handle him. Rollins then says that he wants HHH’s advice, who tells Rollins to ignore him so Lesnar can stew and psyche himself out for their match at Battleground. HHH then tells Rollins to think of what Heyman said as the lightbulb goes off for Rollins as he says you should not intentionally provoke the beast so he will call him out tonight in the ring, thus showing why he is the champ as HHH yells for him to show Brock.
Summer Rae and Rusev are in the ring. Rusev is met with “what” chants as he tells us he is apologizing…for wasting a year of his life with Lana. He then apologizes for lowering himself to Dolph Ziggler’s level as Summer demands the crowd so Rusev respect. Dolph Ziggler’s music hits as he comes out with Lana. He then proceeds to say the following line: “I know your ankle’s broken, is your brain broken too?” before saying Lana got Rusev everything he has in the WWE. Ziggler then tells Rusev that Lana is gone and he found her. He proceeds to make out with Lana then Summer yells at them as she and Lana take off their heels and tease a fight but that allows Rusev to beat the crap out of Ziggler with his crutch as Lana is freaking out. Rusev then hits a superkick as Lana tends to Dolph but Summer ends up tossing her through the ropes. Ziggler tries to fight back to but that fails then Rusev jams his crutch against Ziggler’s throat and slams it down as Ziggler sells it like he was dead. At least the oversell was appropriate here. Rusev then scared off the referees who came in to check on Ziggler and continued to beat on him until paramedics came out. Finally, a good segment from this feud. The mic work by Ziggler remains terrible but the beatdown came off great as Rusev looks almost ready for his return to the ring.
Bo Dallas vs. Dean Ambrose
Before the match, Bo did his usual schtick to the crowd. Match starts with Ambrose laughing at a handshake offering then taking him down with a clothesline. Ambrose stomps on Dallas in the corner and beats on him for a minute until he runs into a boot off of a charge. Dallas hits a few knee smashes and grabs a side-headlock. Dallas does a victory lap around Ambrose then misses a knee drop as Ambrose takes control. He hits a bulldog then goes up top for an elbow smash before getting the win with the Dirty Deeds (3:00) *.
Thoughts: Quick match to put over Ambrose, who is in need of a feud.
King Barrett vs. R-Truth
Truth gets a quick rollup for a nearfall to start the match. He dumps Barrett to the floor and yells “what’s up” to the crowd but that allows Barrett to pull him outside. He tosses Truth around for a bit then the action heads back inside. Barrett works a chinlock but Truth fights out, only to run into a big boot. After the break, Barrett remains in control as he works a surfboard. Truth fights out of that and hits a leg lariat as both men are down. Truth is up first and hits a pair of clotheslines. He his a corner splash then gets a nearfall with a crucifix but gets knocked down after that. Truth ducks the Bullhammer and manages a rollup for a nearfall then heads up top for a body press but is met with a Bullhammer in midair as Barrett then covers for the win (8:45) *3/4.
Thoughts: This wasnt bad or anything and hopefully Barrett can move on to something meaningful from here.
We see Rollins, holding an ax handle and flanked by J&J Security, heading to the ring.
A plug for the WWE Network Special on Dusty Rhodes that airs following RAW. It features stories about Dusty from Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, JJ Dillon, and Michael Hayes among others.
Rollins is out to the ring as J&J Security come out in their Cadillac, which is parked in front of the ramp. They all head into the ring holding ax handles. Rollins then tells us how he is the man and the future of the WWE. He also referencing how he left Lesnar lying in the ring two weeks ago and at Battleground he will burn Suplex City into the ground as he will walk in and out of Battleground as the champion. The crowd chants “Justin Bieber” at Rollins then Rollins wants to know if Lesnar is the beast he thinks he is or just “Paul Heyman’s bitch?” After the crowd and announcers are stunned, Lesnar’s music plays as he walks out with Heyman. Lesnar walks to the ring as all three guys wait for him with their ax handles. Lesnar then smirks and walks back as Heyman wheels over a crate. Heyman opens it up as Lesnar grabs a pair of axes then walks towards the car where he proceeds to smash it repeatedly with them. Lesnar looked like the scariest man on the planet while swinging these axes. He then proceeds to rip off the rear driver’s side door and slams that around. J&J Security run out as he puts Noble in the Kimura then tosses Mercury around before chucking him onto the windshield with an overhead suplex. Lesnar then rips off his shirt and runs into the ring as Rollins takes off and flees through the crowd with Lesnar chasing. Rollins ends up leaving altogether as Lesnar heads back into the ring and raises the belt. He then heads to the car and stands on the hood as Heyman bows to him. Awesome stuff and watching Lesnar destroy things is always a good time. This also creates a lot of doubt as to how Rollins will retain.
Lucha Dragons vs. Big E. & Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods
The Prime Time Players are on commentary as they plug their t-shirts. Match starts with the Lucha Dragons working over Kofi as the PTPs put them over. Big E tags in and claps in the face of Kalisto, who uses his speed to his advantage. Woods blocks a dive attempt but ends up getting dropkicked off of the apron as the Dragons follow with stereo swantons to the outside as we go to break. When we return, the New Day are working over Kalisto as Big E hits an overhead suplex then slaps Kalisto in sync with the New Day clap. Kalisto finally breaks free as Sin Cara runs wild with a few springboard moves as Titus is on fire during commentary, yelling at the guys to put over the match. Kofi stops the run with a jawbreaker but Cara comes back with a Northern Lights suplex for two. The Dragons try stereo topes but Sin Cara crashes and burns as Big E catches Kalisto and hits a suplex. They roll Kalisto back inside where Big E has Kalisto up for the Big Ending as Kofi comes off of the tope with the assist as New Day gets the win (10:16) **1/4.
Thoughts: Average TV match with some nice stuff from Kalisto. The PTPs, especially Titus, were very good on commentary. The New Day vs. PTP feud will continue.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is on the cover of WWE 2K16.
John Cena comes out for the US Title open challenge. Before that we get clips of Finn Balor defeating Kevin Owens for the NXT title in Japan. He goes through his routine before issuing his open challenge. Kevin Owens interrupts and says the worst part of RAW is when Cena comes out and says the same stuff over and over again. Owens says he needs the US Title and instead of waiting for Battleground, he is taking the title right now. Lots of cheers for Owens when dissing Cena. However, Cesaro interrupts and tells Owens no one wants to hear him whine about losing the NXT title. Cesaro then blames Owens for costing him his match against Cena last week and orders him to step aside as he will do what he wont be able to do at Battleground, which is to win the US Title. Owens calmly leaves as we have our match. Cesaro wasnt the greatest on the mic here. You can tell that will always hold him back in the WWE.
US Title Open Challenge: John Cena (Champion) vs. Cesaro
The crowd starts the dueling chants for Cena here as both guys lockup. Cesaro sends Cena rolling outside with a European Uppercut as we head to break. After commercial, Cena sets up for the Five Knuckle shuffle Cesaro pops up and hits a clothesline for two. Cesaro then has Cena up for a delayed vertical suplex and starts doing squats as he hits the move. Cena comes back with an electric chair drop as both men are down. They brawl for a bit until Cesaro hits a DDT after slipping out of the AA then grabs a chinlock. Cesaro now grounds Cena as we head to another break then when we return Cesaro misses a corner charge. Cena hits a powerbomb then tries another Five Knuckle Shuffle but Cesaro takes him down and puts on the STF. Cena overpowers and reverses it into an STF of his own but Cesaro reaches the ropes. Cena tries the AA but Cesaro counters with rolling gutwrench suplexes in a very impressive sequence. Cena kicks out of that pin attempt then gets hit with repeated European uppercuts. Cesaro tries for a swing and blocks that then ends up getting lifted in the air but able to hit a DDT for two. That was a nice sequence. Cena heads up top but Cesaro dropkicks him to the floor then follows with a running European uppercut. Back inside, Cena rolls through a crossbody but Cesaro escapes from the AA Cena the counters a pop-up powerbomb with a hurricarana and follows with a swinging facebuster for two. Cesaro then slips out of a fireman’s carry and hits a springboard corkscrew European uppercut as that gets two. Cena blocks a sunset powerbomb attempt from the apron but gets caught after a crossbody as Cesaro sends him into the barricade with the Last Call. Cesaro then charges but Cena backdrops him into the timekeeper’s pit then rolls him into the ring. Cena gets cut off on the top rope but fights off Cesaro and hits a guillotine leg drop for two. Cesaro slips out of another AA then hits Cena with a European uppercut in midair for a nearfall. Cena then comes back with the AA but Cesaro kicks out of that as the crowd is really getting into this match. Cesaro hits the giant swing then puts on the Sharpshooter. He then switches to a crossface as he yells at Cena to give up. Cena then counters that into a STF but Cesaro overpowers and hits a suplex as he had Cena in a cradle. The camera shows the damaged Cadillac as Cesaro hits the Neutralizer when it focuses back to the match. Cesaro blocks a tornado DDT attempt and puts on the crossface but Cena is able to make it to the ropes. Cesaro hits a superplex for two. Cena comes back with a sitout powerbomb as both men are down. Cena now goes for a super AA but Cesaro stops that and tries for the Neutralizer from the top rope but that also fails. They fight up top for a bit until Cena hits the AA from the middle rope and gets the win (30:19) ****1/4. After the match, Owens runs out and attacks Cena but that fails. Owens heads up the ramp as Cena thanks the crowd, who gives him a standing ovation.
Thoughts: A tremendous match. Both guys did a lot of cool stuff and worked their asses off in the process. Nice to see them give Cesaro the rub by going a half-hour on TV with Cena. Looking strong even in defeat. Judging by losing the NXT belt and this segment, its pretty clear that Owens will win the US Title and feud with Cesaro. I am fine with that.
Final Thoughts: After a bad first hour (The Kane/J&J Security segments were terrible and pointless) and a so-so second hour, the third hour was awesome. The Brock segment and the main event were both must-see. They finally did something worthwhile in the whole Rusev/Lana/Dolph feud too. Halfway through the show, I thought they were doing an awful job at hyping Battleground but at the end, it sold me on the show. Not everything was perfect but they built up the key matches at Battleground well enough.