The Linus Report: WWE Raw, 29/06/2015

Hey, it’s WWE Raw! It’s that show that very conspicuously advertises luxury goods its viewers cannot afford!

The show started with WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins coming down to the ring, accompanied by Kane and J&J Security.

Rollins welcomed everyone to Monday Night Rollins – if this would have been fifteen years ago, and the other company, would it have been Monday Nitrollins?

Rollins said that they were live from Washington DC, a place obsessed with power. He said that was ironic because not a single person in the arena knew what real power was. He said you gained real power by doing things no other people are capable of doing. He said you gained true power by taking it, and last week he had gained true power by conquering the conqueror.

He said that he had taken out Paul Heyman’s client and burned Suplex City to the ground. Which has to be a misdemeanour, at least. He said Lesnar wasn’t there, that he was boarding a plane to Japan, and he hoped that Lesnar thought about what he’d done for the entire eighteen hour flight.

Rollins celebrated the bravery of broken rib victim Jamie Noble, and then thanked his entire crew for their help in slaying the beast. He said he’d gotten them something and whipped back a cloth to reveal some Apple Watches.

Kane and J&J Security took off their own watches and put on their Apple Watches straight away. They loved them and thanked him. He then presented Kane with a holiday in Hawaii, complete with a hula band that sadly did not have one of their enemies disguised as a ukulele player.

Kane said it was the nicest thing anybody had ever done for him, and Rollins said they were sending him off in style with a main event of Rollins & Kane versus Ambrose & Reigns. Because apparently this is Smackdown now.

Rollins then said that a few weeks he had seen one of the saddest things in his entire life – J&J Security arriving at Raw in a crappy rental car. So he bought them a brand new, $58,000 Cadillac, which was brought to the side of the ramp.

All four men went down to check out the car, trailed by the hula band, and J&J Security whooped and beeped and acted like they’d won the lottery. Rollins said that this was what true power looked like.

Suddenly, The Big Show’s music played and he came out, gave The Authority a wave, and made his way down to the ring, and the show went to a commercial break.

This whole opening segment thing has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The assumption is that the show will always start with a long, boring promo, and so it starts with a long, boring promo. But this was a classic of the genre – overlong, yawningly boring, and with no babyface pay-off.

After the break, The Big Show was in the ring and The Miz was on commentary. Then Mark Henry came out and the show looked like it was going to continue scraping along the bottom.

And, yes, it was a bad match. These two should be having great HOSS matches but they’re just boring, and even the NINETY SECONDS they got was much too long. Oh, The Big Show got the win with the KO punch. LOL Mark Henry.

After the match, The Ryback’s music played and he ran down to the ring. He hit The Big Show with a spear, and The Miz jumped into the ring and kicked The Ryback in the face. He ran right out of the other side of the ring but The Ryback demanded he come back, saying that they were scheduled to face each other anyway, later in the show, so they may as well get it on.

The Miz declined, and said it would wait until later. The show went to a commercial and, when they came back, The Miz was in the ring ready to fight The Ryback. Wait, what???

So, yeah, The Miz & The Ryback had a match and it was functional at best and ended in a count-out when The Miz just walked up the ramp. Huh.

Hey, it’s Alicia Fox! She came down to the ring with The Bella Twins for a match with Paige. Oh, yeah, I remember that story.

Paige & Fox had a match and it wasn’t terrible – in fact, it was one of the better Divas matches in recent memory – but it’s a weird build to a feud where the babyface ex-champion sells so much for the lackey of the current heel champion. The crowd, though, could not give a shit. Paige won with the deadly ROLL-UP! and escaped the wrath of the Bella Twins afterwards.

The announcers plugged that the main event of Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns versus Seth Rollins & Kane was still to come, and that was your first, utterly awful first hour of this week’s show.

But, hey, there’s still hope for this show, because John Cena was out next, issuing his US title open challenge. Oddly, he didn’t cut a talky, and they went to a commercial break before his opponent was revealed.

After the break, Kevin Owens came out. Cena, and the announcers, took it in stride, and Lilian Garcia announced the match, but Owens was only kidding around. He said he wanted to wait until Battleground, and then introduced Cena’s real opponent… Cesaro!

Owens joined the announcers on commentary while Cena and Cesaro had a GREAT match. Owens was also great on commentary, and this whole segment just lifted the show far above the morass of the first hour.

So, yeah, Cena and Cesaro went TWENTY minutes of back and forth stuff, big move after big move, and if you’re a fan of that early 2000s Ring of Honor style then this is a match for you.

At one point the picture went out and that was apparently because Cesaro did a weird thing with his ring fingers that looked like he was flipping Cena the bird and PG, you know?

The match finished when Cesaro hit Cena with a big wing and then trapped him in a Sharpshooter. Before Cena could tap, Owens hit the ring for the DQ. After the match, Owens hit pop-up powerbombs on both Cesaro and Cena and left the ring, smirking. Top, top stuff and Cesaro has rarely looked stronger.

The announcers were re-capping Seth Rollins’s present-buying spree when Bray Wyatt’s sting interrupted. Wyatt was wherever he cuts his talkies from, and cut a talky on Roman Reigns.

He told Reigns that this was just beginning, and it was just between them, not any of the insects around them. He said Reigns would never succeed because Wyatt would never let him. “Anyone but you,” said Wyatt, “Run!”

Hey, it’s The Lucha Dragons! They came down to the ring and the show – yes – went to a commercial break.

After the break, The Prime Time Players and Bo Dallas were in the ring, and then The New Day came out. Yeah, it’s the same eight-man tag match they did on Smackdown but, since that was GREAT, I really don’t mind.

They had another fun match, which even Titus O’Neil couldn’t drag down too far. Darren Young impresses me more every time I see him, and Sin Cara & Kalisto were fun & flippy. On the heel side, The New Day & Dallas held up their half of the match and the whole thing was just a big heap of fun.

O’Neil got the win for his team, hitting a sit-out spinebuster on Kofi Kingston, and The Prime Time Players will face The New Day at Battleground.

Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Lana were shown walking down a corridor. They’re up next. Which is a shame, because this second hour had been really, really good.

So, yeah, Ziggler and Lana. I try not to get too angry about professional wrestling because, hey, it’s only professional wrestling, but this made me angry. And sad. And sick. And just disappointed for the future of mankind as a whole.

I’ve never been sure what Ziggler’s character is, but I think a big part of it is his appeal to the ladies (and possibly men of that bent). The quickest way to kill anything like that is to give him a girlfriend, and that’s why straight pop stars often pretend to be single and gay pop stars often pretend to be straight.

As for Lana, her appeal did not lie in her face, and her ass and whatever floats your boat physically, it lay in her character. The Russian ice queen, obviously aware of her attractiveness to the schlubs watching but too focussed on her hatred of the USA to acknowledge them. And thus that made her MORE attractive.

So what do they do? They give him a girlfriend – her – and take away everything that made her special and give her a boyfriend, too. FAIL. FAILFAILFAIL.

Anyway, they did some lousy bit about admitting their feelings for each other and they had ZERO chemistry and the crowd HATED it. Rusev’s music hit and you’ve never heard a crowd so eager to see an evil Russian who’s been portrayed as a bit of an abusive stalker.

Rusev came down to the ring with Summer Rae, and told Lana he did not care about her anymore, and that she was a cold fish. Ziggler interrupted him, and told him not to insult his girlfriend. He said Rusev had blown it and told him to walk away before he did something to the other leg.

Yes, that’s Dolph Ziggler, the babyface, threatening violence on a man upset that his girlfriend left him. A girlfriend he’d stolen.

Rusev decided to keep his powder dry but Summer Rae said she had something to say to Lana. She called Lana a gold-digger, noting that she was happy with Rusev until he got injured. She said Rusev was kind and gentle and that she really cared for him. The she slapped her.

Ziggler consoled Lana, who then exploded into fury and she & Summer Rae had a catfight, all panty gussets and hair pulling. Oh, and it should be noted that Summer Rae is (supposedly) a trained professional wrestler and Lana is not and yet Summer Rae did not kick her ass.

This whole segment SUCKED. Everything about it was AWFUL. I feel like a worse human being for even knowing it existed, let alone watching it, and I can only imagine how it felt to be a part of it. *shudder*

Backstage, Dean Ambrose was talking to some Terminator: Genysys props. He interacted well with the lifeless robots and then did the same with Roman Reigns. Well, he had just been practising. Ambrose said that Reigns looked a little upset and angry, and was happy because he wanted that guy in the match tonight, especially since it was no DQ.

Reigns said he hated Bray Wyatt and The Authority, and that Ambrose was his only friend. He said he wanted to tear the place up tonight, and shouted, “let’s rage!”

After a break, Michael Cole hyped the new Terminator movie, and then they showed a shoddy looking comic book cover featuring Neville, The Man That Gravity Forgot.

Hey, it’s Neville! He came down to the ring to fight Sheamus and I’m sure I’ve seen this match a lot lately. They had an okay match, and Sheamus won. Yeah, he did. I don’t know what Sheamus is but that’s okay because I don’t know what Neville is, either.

Backstage, a random geek was cleaning J&J Security’s new car but Jamie Noble shoved him away to clean it himself.

Back in the arena, Jack Swagger was already in the ring, and had a look on his face like he would rather be anywhere else and was, in fact, thinking about all the places he’d rather be.

Bad News Barrett came out and they had a match and Barrett won with the Bullhammer in lessthan two minutes. And that was it. The semi-main-event of WWE’s flagship show. Ehhhhhhhh.

Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns versus Seth Rollins & Kane! It’s No DQ and No Shits Given!

As soon as the bell rang, Ambrose knocked Rollins to the floor and hit a topé suicida. Meanwhile, Kane and Reigns were brawling in the ring. Ambrose came back into the ring and he & Reigns double-teamed Kane, hitting a double-suplex to lay him out for Ambrose’s elbow off the top. But as Ambrose went up, Rollins pushed him off, and then threw him into the barriers outside the ring. Kane put the boots to Reigns and the heels were on top as they went to a commercial break.

After the break, normality had broken out and Ambrose and Kane waited in their corners as Rollins chinlocked Reigns. Kane cut off the hot tag and kept after Reigns, while Ambrose – mindful of the No DQ – went looking for weapons under the ring. He found a table but J&J Security put it away as soon as he’d erected it.

Back in the ring, Rollins worked over Ambrose, and got a nearfall that Reigns broke up. Reigns then powerbombed Rollins and turned the tide. Joey Mercury came into the ring with a kendo stick but Reigns no-sold it, took it off him and waffled Mercury and Kane with it. He snapped the kendo stick and then hit a Superman punch on Rollins, and then Mercury, and then another on Rollins. He lined up the spear but Bray Wyatt’s sting hit, the arena went dark, and then Wyatt was out there, brawling with Reigns.

Referees spilled out to break them up – because it’s okay for J&J Security to interfere, I guess? – but not before Wyatt hit an uranage on the announcers’ table. The referees escorted Wyatt away from ringside as The Authority ganged up on Ambrose. After a beatdown, Rollins hit him with a Pedigree and got the pinfall for the win.

After the match, Reigns rallied but the heels beat him down again. And again. And again. Because the BEST way to end Raw is with a long, boring beat down. Wait, did I say “best”? I mean WORST. After The Authority had finished their beating, Bray Wyatt came back out and hit Sister Abigail on Reigns and that’s your show.

This was a Frustrating Show. The middle hour was GREAT. The first hour, and most of the last hour, was not. There’s too much dead weight, and nothing feels like it’s happening in the same universe. Plus, the car didn’t get destroyed. Still two weeks until Battleground, so it’s not too late to turn things around, but it’s all too lacklustre at the moment.

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