Lots of real life happening this week, so one more week of live to tape reviewing. I promise I wouldn’t shortchange you unless there were significant things happening.

Somehow, I expect nothing of import to happen this week, yet I assume we will have clarity about where things are going towards Summerslam.

WWE Monday Night Raw
July 27, 2015

What exactly did Paul Heyman say in the last few months that got under Taker’s (GET IT?!) skin so badly that he hadn’t said before the Wrestlemania where they were in the same building? Certainly Paul can be abrasive sometimes, but I hadn’t noticed anything worse than the usual palaver from him since Mania. Apparently a heart as fragile as Taker’s is able to be broken by the lightest hurtful touch.

Mom and Dad and Little Seth!

Steph sure does love to do the Paul Heyman saying Brock Lesnar voice.

Nothing gets a crowd excited like an announcement involving the Big Show. That said, I kind of like this. If we can’t have a world without the Authority, at least let their endless show opening promo set up the rest of the episode. At least they’ve given me a couple of things that might keep me interested. And it gives off the vaguest notion that this is some sort of pre-planned event instead of a troupe of weirdos who travel the nation in spandex and once a week show up to a building and wait for their music to play so they know to run to the ring. That’s got to be how it works right?

Just to reiterate, I’m not sitting through another John Cena WWE Title reign. I feel my age creeping up on me every Monday night. Three hours here, three hours there. A day is spent. A week is spent. Every time his mouth opens a wind blows upon the fire of my being, precious glowing embers carried into the breeze and falling far away from where I slowly burn and fade. I have a wife I love who loses me on Monday nights into this poorly plotted charade. There are movies I could watch and beaches I could walk. Tonight a restaurant I love is having a Monday night special that I will not taste. I have spent so many years in the ashen desolation of the Cenation, and all around me there are the bones of so many failed pushes, so many dreams that crashed against the eternally unyielding dome of the sky that is John Cena’s smiling face, hand waving back and forth informing the earthbound that you shall never see him, and you shall not see the sunlight that still beats down from on high coming to rest upon his back.

Stephanie McMahon and John Cena in the same ring is too much troll power for the world to handle. A new Chan board sprang to life just because of their proximity.

This cannot end in a good place. I just hope this is how they keep Cena occupied while all of his indie buddies sort out their business with each other. But I can’t help but feel like Vince can hardly wait to get to the night after Summerslam when he can maybe add a tenth of a ratings point by letting the show open up to the sound of “The Champ is Here!”

Winner: Me. I can actually think about some matches in advance.

Dean Ambrose vs. Big Show

This is just making me miss the presence of Ryback even more.

At least I get Miz on commentary. I’m feeling even kinder towards Miz than usual after finishing Daniel Bryan’s book. At some point when Miz is ready to move into the booth and can be snarky and smart without having his own angle to put over he’s going to be a hell of a color commentator.

“I’m stronger than a staph infection.” I think I may have the start of another poetry slam. Must wait to see if Rusev has anything better to add though.

Big Show does not get enough credit for how well he bumps. He doesn’t do spectacular looking things because him simply doing things is spectacular. Go back and watch the bump Show took when Ambrose countered the chokeslam with a DDT. You likely didn’t think anything of it at first because it was just another bump, one that looked like so many others we’ve seen. That’s the amazing part. This freak of nature, a man so large that his damn name includes the word “Big,” took that bump just like he was any other normal sized wrestler. He let himself be brought down, take that DDT and make it look good, and somersaulted over on his back. And he’s been doing this for years. In Chris Jericho’s most recent book he talked about how Show has taken so many bumps for everyone that it is easy to forget how abnormally large he is. Spare me the jokes about frying pan hands, I’ve already made all of them in my mind. I don’t need to see him ever wrestle again. But next time you watch a Big Show match, and when he takes some bump that might not be worth noticing normally, take a minute to give some credit to the big guy for doing what he’s done.

Thought maybe we’d be going for the Hardy/Undertaker thing there after the match. Instead Big Show running through things will work as the not at all surprising ending.

Winner: Big Show

Neville vs. Fandango

If it’s Monday, it’s time for me to complain that more guys don’t get unique graphic presentations like Neville.

The result was such a foregone conclusion that Neville was already getting up off of Fandango before the three count was even completed.

Neville is not acting with that face.

They’re really trying to make it seem like this Stardust vs. Stephen Amell thing has to happen at some point.

Byron Saxton just said “Stardust’s thermostat is set on ‘kooky’.” You keep saying things like that Saxton and so help me I will publicly ask for Jerry Lawler to return. Do not make me say things I can’t take back Saxton!

Winner: Neville

Sasha Banks vs. Paige

Sasha Banks is disgustingly charismatic. She is working on a higher level than any of the other women in this story. Her smoothness in promos/pre-tapes is kind of staggering when considering how long she’s been in the business and on tv.

Sasha is bumping like crazy here, and it is making Paige look like a wrecking ball.

Every time that the Bellas are mentioned, and Total Divas is mentioned, it is a little harder to take everything else WWE is presenting regarding women seriously. I understand why they’re involved, but the two realities are so hard to reconcile. I would love to know if WWE has any evidence at all of audience crossover flowing from Total Divas.

The crowd is giving this a decent but not overwhelming reaction. And that is a victory. The crowd is booing the heel when Sasha is in control. When Paige gains control the crowd is cheering. This match is being treated like a normal match. It’s being given time and the crowd is not chanting about being bored or desiring puppies. At some point I hope the term “revolution” will be phased out of the programming and not mentioned by the people involved. The best scenario is that these matches happen, and angles revolve around a title or whatever weird personal things these feuds happen with. That these matches are just part of the show, and the women involved just part of the troupe.

Sasha Banks has some truly badass boots.

Paige has tapped out two weeks in a row now. I can see the logic there, showing that the new girls are on Paige’s level, which is considered by the Raw fans to be the best woman on Raw when it comes to wrestling. At some point though the new girls are going to need to beat up on the old guard, not just each other and the Bellas. If the Bellas are going to be kept around then get the rest of the women who are not part of the future plans into the ring to job like crazy.

Winner: Sasha Banks

I did get a laugh out of the WWE version of the bar scene from Terminator.

Shit, this is still happening

The always hot and obedient Summer. That’s a way to describe her. I guess.

OH MY GOD HE DID IT! Dog Ziggler. I’m so done right now. A rainbow just burst out of my ear.

If Summer would have started going all Tanahashi and playing the fish like an air guitar I would have lost my shit.

Everything about this angle is awful except for Rusev’s facials. The unconvincing attempt at shrugging off Lana saying he thinks of her when he kisses Summer. The tiny shrug when Summer was showing Lana what Rusev has now. When Rusev finally gets a role in a WWE movie he’s going to be their first Academy Award winner, assuming he plays a beatnik sidekick in a romantic comedy. Imagine a giant destructive Maynard G. Krebs. Dolph can play Dobie Gillis, since no one ever likes Dobie Gillis.

Summer Rae feels about fish the way Brock Lesnar feels about Cadillacs.

Winners:  

At this point, as I make a sandwich and take a few minutes away from Raw, it hits me why this show feels so much like a death march. I’ve had a full evening of wrestling, and yet I am just now at the halfway mark. I’ve really not had a bad segment to deal with, but the thought that there’s still 100 minutes of show is just overwhelming. Even a good Raw is just too damn long to properly be enjoyed.

Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores

Kalisto is here! I remember two weeks when he was a thing that seemed important. Thankfully that was nipped in the bud quickly.

Darren Young needs to speak louder. Titus O’Neal just needs to keep being Titus.

I’m always happy when someone counters a turnbuckle headstand by kicking the headstandee. Such a stupid thing to do.

JBL dropping some knowledge about the history of bullfighting in Spain and Puerto Rico. I love Titus, but I hope he apologizes to JBL on Twitter for doubting him on this one.

Darren Young busting out the “educated feet” reference. #slobberknocker

I love everything about New Day right now. Everything. The Kofi Kingston prancing down to the ring should be bottled so I can drink it whenever I am sad and put cocaine and ecstasy dealers around the world out of business.

Winners: LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA LUCHA

Luke Harper Needs an Etsy Store

Bray was starting to lose his accent he was getting so riled up.

“My life for you.” Luke Harper is no Trashcan Man. He might be a really beardy Lloyd Henreid though.

I’m just going to forget all that happened and look forward to some Shield and Wyatt nostalgia matches.

Winner: Harper’s Handmades

Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox & Nikki Bella

Charlotte has to learn how to chop properly. If you’re going to be Ric Flair’s kid, you have to make the chop sound good. You also need to know how to hide from your dad when he’s looking for someone to pay his bar tab.

Fox with a nice Northern Lights Suplex, but it’s no Nicole Matthews.

I gave JBL a pass on the Ernesto Pastor reference since it fit in with the conversation, but Rocky Marciano retired 60 years ago.

I will say one thing I liked in this match was everyone’s bumps seemed faster and more crisp. Everyone was whipping themselves to the mat.

Becky Lynch is going to end up getting more over than any of them before all is said and done.

Winners: Becky Lynch & Charlotte

Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton

I appreciated Sheamus touching on the walkout in last week’s main event. Didn’t need to make a big deal of things, just say Owens and he had a misunderstanding, but that Orton is his main enemy, and move on.

When Orton’s on offense it looks like a personal trainer has just finally had enough of his recalcitrant client.

JBL decided that Marciano wasn’t old and obscure enough, so now Earl Anthony is referenced when talking about bowling. I’m happy because I’m old and weird and remember Earl Anthony and know his oil pattern. But can Vince McMahon really be happy that this guy is getting name dropped on Raw?

With Cena moved back into the top card it looks like the midcard is taking shape. Owens, Cesaro, Sheamus, Rusev, and maybe Orton from time to time. I hope Cena at least is kind enough to lose via cheap distraction finish and let the US belt go back into play for them.

Winner: None. No Content. No Hope.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

John Cena just said he would shock the world by beating Seth Rollins. John Cena believes the world is easily shocked. A small list of things equally as shocking:

  • 2+2 continuing to equal four.
  • Water confirmed to be wet.
  • NBA players taller than average people.
  • Porn found on internet.
  • Cats less affectionate than dogs.

JBL’s defense of Rollins claiming to be the best champion of all time is infuriating. Because it is perfect and so rare for JBL to let his abilities come through in a way that isn’t buffoonish. The need for a champion to have an ego and to believe he is the very best could come from announcing in any sport. It gives Rollins a legitimate rationale and makes him a human, rather than just a spandex caricature. Seth Rollins is both insanely egotistical and terribly scared. The constant struggle between these two emotions should make him compelling. It doesn’t often because no one is there to tell that story to the audience.

Oh my. Rollins is going to be in trouble….causing John Cena to bleed on Raw is not a thing one does.

This match is fine by the way, but it’s just there. I just want the match to get to the fireworks factory.

They really need to stop having the medic come in for every bit of blood. Cena has a busted nose. Clean it up a bit, and keep the match going. I know Vince hates blood now, and if blading is gone forever so be it. But accidents happen. There’s no reason to act like they don’t.

“Cena found a way to win again!” After the first decade of this happening every time I feel like it is a bit disingenuous for the announcers to act so shocked and surprised.

I’m beginning to think I may be writing my farewell column on August 24.

Winner: John Cena

I’ll be honest, I pretty much enjoyed this show. The last two matches weren’t bad, but they were at the end of this endless show. But all in all, not a bad episode of Raw. Back next week with hopefully more time and headspace to devote to the show.