Linus Report: WWE Raw, 09/03/2015

Hey, it’s WWE Raw! I almost stayed up late again to watch it and then thought better of my intentions!

The show started with The Authority assembled in the ring for a public “welcome back” to Randy Orton. HHH & Stephanie were not there.

Orton came out, and Kane and The Big Show both hyped his return. They passed the mic’ to Jamie Noble, who ranted and yammered that Orton was a no-good snake who could not be trusted. Seth Rollins grabbed the mic’ from him and told him to shut up, saying Noble was upset that Orton had RKO’d him. He tried to pass the mic’ to Joey Mercury who declined, instead giving an insincere “thumbs up” to Orton’s return.

Rollins said that everyone thought Orton was not really part of The Authority, and was just waiting to get his revenge on him. He said that, now he & Orton were stood together in the same ring, they must be feeling pretty stupid.

He went down the line, expressing each man’s fears about Orton, stopping at The Big Show and saying that no-one cared what The Big Show thinks. Show got angry and he said he was only joking and told everyone to lighten up.

Rollins extended his hand to Orton and Orton shook it, and then took the mic’ himself.

He wondered allowed what had happened to The Authority. Kane was now the Devil’s favourite dumbass, and Show now used his size and power to complain and feel sorry for himself. He mocked Noble’s height, and had nothing for Mercury, so went back to Rollins.

He said that Rollins was blinded by his own ego and could not see what was happening. That when Rollins feels comfortable, Orton will not only beat him up but make him his bitch. He said he would kick and stomp until there was no future left…

The crowd began chanting “RKO” but Orton said he was just playing with them, and they should lighten up. The others weren’t happy but Rollins had a good laugh, and said Orton had gotten him. He then said he and Orton would dismantle Roman Reigns in their handicap match event match tonight.

So, that was weird. After weeks of ALL OUR BABYFACES HAVE NO BALLS it’s time for ALL OUR HEELS ARE STUPID DUMB.

Hey, it’s Daniel Bryan! He came down to the ring and they went to commercial break.

After the break, Bryan fought Wade Barrett. As is the way with all things Intercontinental title now, R-Truth was on commentary. He had a burlap sack with him.

So they had a match, and it went seven minutes, at least three of which were during the commercial. Why do they do this? This is a fighting show. They struggle to fill three hours every week and still feel that the bits they can shove into commercial are the fights? I get it if it’s a long-ass match but it usually isn’t. Dumbasses.

Anyway, Bryan won with a running knee and while he was celebrating Barrett smashed him from behind with the Bullhammer. Barrett then left, walking up the ramp, and Ambrose’s music played.

Ambrose ran out and decked Barrett, and carried on to the ring, where he would have a match. Because gaps between matches is a thing we don’t do any more, apparently.

Hey, it’s Stardust! He’s the one with physical possession of the Intercontinental title so I don’t know. He’s fighting Ambrose.

Stardust hung the belt in his corner – I’d have locked it in my car or something, but that’s just me.

Guess what? Another seven minute match, another fucking commercial in the middle. Ambrose won with the Dirty Deeds, and then grabbed the title belt.

Suddenly, Barrett appeared and jumped Ambrose, and the belt went flying. Daniel Bryan ran in and attacked Barrett, and then Harper & Ziggler also joined the fight. Meanwhile, R-Truth snuck to the ring and stole the belt, putting it in his burlap sack.

Barrett escaped the mêlée, and demanded his title from R-Truth, who gave him the sack. Barrett left via the crowd and stopped to check his bag. He pulled out a toy replica of the belt as Truth made his way up the ramp with the real thing…

Well, this was goofy. Not bad goofy, y’unnerstand? Needs more Sad Wade Barrett, though.

The announcers told us that there would be a new award at the WWE Hall of Fame this year: the Warrior Award, which will be given to will be given to “someone who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior.” The first person to get it will be Connor Michalek – Connor The Crusher – an eight year-old who died last year after a struggle with cancer. If this didn’t move you, you’re a monster.

Hey, it’s Paul Heyman! He said people had been trying to get him to watch a video all day long but that he wanted to watch it out in the ring, with all the fans.

So they showed a hype video for Roman Reigns. It was what you’d expect it to be. It ended with Reigns, in his trademark manner, pledging to beat Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

They cut back to Heyman, who was looking intrigued. He said his retort was to introduce the reigning, defending WWE Heavyweight champion of the world, Brock, Less. Nar.

Lesnar came out and stood in the ring next to Heyman. Other than occasionally smiling, and looking at the Wrestlemania sign once, that’s all he did. I want his job.

Heyman, on the other hand, cut another great promo. He said that the video was sheer propaganda. He mocked that Reigns was the stand-out in NXT and The Shield, and said the rest of the video was pure fantasy.

He said the truth about Reigns is that he came from an abusive family of savages (I’m paraphrasing here) and that his two moves come from fighting beach bums in Florida.

He said that Reigns will not beat Lesnar at Wrestlemania. He said Lesnar will not lose the title to Reigns at Wrestlemania. He also said that if The Authority had it in their heads to engineer a loss, then that would not happen either. He pledged that Lesnar would kill anyone involved in a “Montreal screwjob” situation. KILL.

He said that people will respect Reigns after Wrestlemania because he will be a bad ass Samoan who took a beating from Lesnar. Just like last week, his mic’ cut out, and Heyman went off-reservation.

He said that management did not have the guts to take the mic’ out of his hand so they cut it. He told The Authority they should come and take the title from Lesnar, who might spend the summer unifying the UFC & WWE titles. Ooooooh!

He said that, if Lesnar felt like it, he might even show up in Las Vegas and take out both Mayweather & Pacquiao. He said that the title doesn’t belong to WWE anymore, it belongs to Lesnar.

Heyman ended by vowing that Lesnar would end Reigns at Wrestlemania. Again, he’s done more for Reigns than anyone else. Such a professional. BUT Reigns is still very much the lesser part of this feud, even to a man who barely shows up. Which, obviously, is a massive problem…

That Bray Wyatt guy cut a talky from his shadowy backstage hole, telling The Undertaker to find him. I’m not sure he’s looking, Bray.

After a break, Kane & The Big Show were in the ring, wearing their fighting clothes. Oh joy. They’re fighting The Ryback & Erick Rowan, principally to hype the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Because fuck knows it wouldn’t get over without Kane & The Big Show, right?

They had a terrible three minute match, which ended when The Big Show – intending to Knockout Punch Erick Rowan – hit Kane by mistake.

After the match, The Big Show and Kane argued in the ring until Stephanie McMahon came out and told them off and sent them home. She really did.

They showed The Miz’s accidental erectile dysfunction commercial from last week, and then cut to The Miz in the back, who was trying to get Wiz Khalifa to work with him. Khalifa said he didn’t think their brands would mesh but he’d already found an A-Lister who was perfect. Enter Wizdow.

Wizdow did a bad rap about entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, and then hugged it out with Khalifa.

After a break, Wiz Khalifa performed his hit record. The crowd could not have cared less. Afterwards, Wizdow appeared and the crowd cheered.

They showed a commercial for the new WWE move, The Flintstones’ Stone-Age Smackdown. The Bellas, dressed in Flintstones costumes, cut a talky about being in the movie and vowed to make Paige & AJ Lee “little pieces of rubble” at Wrestlemania. Yup.

Hey, it’s Paige & AJ Lee! AJ is fighting Summer Rae, who has brought Cameron & Eva Marie to the ring with her because #GiveDivasAChance.

They had a bad match, which thankfully only lasted three minutes, and AJ won with an awkward Black Widow. After the match, Paige & AJ Lee posed awkwardly.

They showed a Sting video. Sting said that he knew that power and egos like HHH’s could destroy lives, like in WCW, where the nWo and Eric Bischoff ruled. He said he tried and failed to save WCW. He said HHH needed to be taken down and he’d been waiting fourteen years to do it. “Game over”, he finished.

BUT! This was not Sting’s voice. If this turns out to be because it’s really not what Sting thinks, and that it’s part of the angle, then that’s cool. If not, and they really couldn’t be fucked to get Sting to do a voice-over, then I despair.

Oh, and HHH – one half of the match that has been around to hype it lately – was not on the show tonight. Three weeks to Wrestlemania!

Backstage, Rusev and Lana were walking down a corridor. John Cena appeared and said that being at Wrestlemania was a privilege, not a right. And he understood that.

But Rusev also needed to understand that being in America, and getting the opportunities it gave him, was the same thing. He said that Rusev had the right to free speech, but he also had the right to shut Rusev’s mouth. I’m not sure that’s in the Constitution, actually.

He said that if Rusev badmouthed America one more time, he’d come and fight him. Rusev laughed and walked on.

After a break, Rusev came down to the ring. He’s fighting Curtis Axel, and #AxelMania is running wild. Axel came out and did his shtick about still being in the Royal Rumble, now up to forty-two days.

As soon as Axel stepped in the ring, Rusev attacked him. He slapped on The Accolade, and won in under thirty seconds.

After the match, Rusev kept the hold locked on and then released it as the Russian flag dropped. He called for a mic’ and Lana counselled him against saying anything disrespectful, but Rusev ran down Axel, and America, and said that if America had a soul then God would spit on it. I liked that.

This brought out John Cena, sans music, who stripped off and ran down and brawled with Rusev. He slapped on the STF and made Rusev pass out.

Cena then left the ring and grabbed a bottle of water. He poured it over Rusev’s head to wake him up and then STF’d him again, making him pass out all over again.

Lana, on the outside, grabbed a mic’ and begged Cena to let go. He didn’t so she told him he could have his match at Wrestlemania. He still didn’t release the hold, so she told him it would be for the US title.

Cena finally released the hold and had a goofy evil look on his face. But it’s okay, because it’s Russia who are evil, okay? He left the ring as his music played and Rusev lay, face down, on the mat…

That Bray Wyatt guy cut another talky from his shadowy backstage hole, telling The Undertaker to find him again, and saying he was fed up of waiting. You and me both, fella.

Backstage, Rusev and Lana argued in foreign.

Hey, it’s A New Day. Only they were captioned The New Day. Huh. Two of them are fighting the tag-team champions, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, who came down to the ring with Natalya.

Michael Cole told us it was Kofi Kingston & Big E fighting, with Xavier Woods on the outside, before correcting himself and saying it was Xavier Woods & Big E, with Kofi Kingston on the outside. Hey, they all look alike, right?

So, yeah, The New Day won. They really did. It was non-title, which brings up the terrifying prospect of The New Day getting a title shot at Wrestlemania.

As The New Day went up the ramp, The Usos & Naomi came out. And then Naomi had a match with Natalya. Which started in the commercial break and went under two minutes, anyway. Naomi won, not that it matters.

As Natalya (and Tyson Kidd & Cesaro) went up the ramp, Los Matadores & el Torito came out. And then Los Matadores had a match with The Usos. Which went to a commercial break in less than a minute. This fucking show.

Anyway, they came back and had a match, and Los Matadores won because NOBODY is getting over tonight.

As The Usos & Naomi went up the ramp, nobody came down and I bet el Torito felt sad and underused.

Well, that was odd.

They replayed some stuff from earlier on and accidentally cut back to the arena, showing the announcers sat in complete darkness, save for a clearly visible JBL’s hat. Ace.

Backstage, Seth Rollins tried to allay J&J Security’s fears about Randy Orton. Why, he said, would he explain his entire plan in front of them, in the middle of the ring? BECAUSE YOU’RE A DUMBASS, DUMBASS!

Hey, it’s Bray Wyatt! He really did get tired of waiting and instead came down to the ring to wait some more. He brought The Undertaker’s urn with him, and then cut a long talky about all kinds of mumbo jumbo, before finally getting around to declaring himself the new Face of Fear.

He’s even got a t-shirt you can buy, which is sad because the old Faces of Fear never had one, I’m guessing. Poor The Barbarian & Meng.

So he finally got around to opening the urn, and it was empty. He began laughing and then smoke started pouring out of it and some lightning struck.

The Undertaker’s dong rang out, and then two more, and suddenly Bray Wyatt’s dear-departed rocking chair was in the ring. Hey, I thought Dean Ambrose killed that?

The Undertaker’s voice, which sounded like it had been ripped from a SNES game, said, “rest in peace”, and then lightning struck the chair and set it on fire. Bray began laughing, manically, and a graphic appeared on the TitanTron that said, “Wrestlemania: the man comes around”, which is a Johnny Cash song. Well, not the Wrestlemania bit.

So, it’s the main event, and it’s Roman Reigns, fresh off a pinfall loss to Seth Rollins in one-on-one competition last week, against Seth Rollins and Randy Orton in a handicap match.

Rollins and Orton came down to the ring together, accompanied by J&J Security. Early in the match, J&J Security approached Reigns, who had been thrown to the outside, and the ref told them to stay away. As they walked back around the ring, Orton punched Jamie Noble and Rollins ordered Mercury to carry the KO’d Noble to the back and stay there. *Shrug*

So Reigns made a comeback, and got the heat on Rollins. Rollins tried to tag out but Orton refused the tag and flipped him the double bird. Hilariously, PG means that we didn’t get to actually see the fingers, just the fists they were attached to.

Rollins freaked out and turned around, just in time to eat a spear from Reigns, who gets a distraction win to add to his Road To Wrestlemania scrapbook.

After the match, Reigns left, and Orton slid into the ring and grabbed Rollins by the throat. What followed was the most drawn-out ass-kicking you’ve ever seen. Nobody interrupted it. Okay, Kane & The Big Show had been “sent home”, and Jamie Noble was unconscious. And maybe Mercury was sulking. But where was HHH? Where was Stephanie? Where were the legions of goons that usually break up this shit? Nowhere.

So Orton killed Rollins for, like, ten minutes, and finished by RKO’ing Rollins through the announcers’ table. The show went off the air with the camera on crazy Randy Orton…

So this was a Weird Show. It seemed to have been thrown together, with no real plan, and raised more new questions than answered existing ones. A bit like a bad episode of Lost. Eh, I can’t even dissect it much anymore because it’s so out of left field that’s it a genuine puzzler. Maybe Smackdown will have the answers…

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