I’m back.

Voices of Wrestling’s regular Raw reviewer Sean Flynn is busy with his job, so I’m filling in for him for what I believe will be the next month, maybe more, maybe less depending on how things go. It’s funny, because Raw has been, for the most part, terrible all year. With the fall slump in full gear, why on Earth would I agree to come back? Maybe it’s just the timing. I quit nearly a year ago to the day. 

I told myself I’d take a break from Raw last week, then the very next day I put my name down and volunteered to write this. I really don’t know why I do it at this point. Maybe it’s just because I like writing, and I like wrestling and I want Raw to be good, even if by now it’s very clear that it can’t be unless major changes take place internally. 

Keep in mind I do not go out of my way to hate-watch Raw. I know that seems completely contradictory to the previous paragraph I just wrote, but I promise to be open-minded as this show goes on.

Here are some things to think about for this week:

  • TMZ has reported that Lana and Rusev are engaged. It’ll be very interesting to see how this is played out on Raw as this is a storyline that’s been going on for months.
  • I’m wondering if this will be the night they do the creepy Kane storyline. You know, like when Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella were attacked in their car by Demon Kane since he’s like a real life Freddy Kruger or something. There’s at least one of these segments per year and we haven’t had one…yet.
  • How quickly is this Diva’s Revolution faltering? According to Ru Gunn’s great Smackdown review, as quick as the Flash and Sonic the Hedgehog combined!
  • One person notably absent between this Lesnar/Undertaker build for Hell in a Cell is, well, The Undertaker. They’re probably saving him for next week but it’ll be interesting to see what build they have for tonight.

Monday Night Raw
October 12, 2015
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, Illinois

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman has been plugged on Twitter before Raw went on air. OH BOY!

We start off the show with Kane talking to Stephanie and Triple H on the phone. As Stephanie describes it, it’s been “a day from hell” and the plane is just leaving to Chicago. Triple H wants to make sure that everything is cool between Seth and Kane, and if he can be professional. Kane said of course he would. As soon as they hung up, Kane motioned a stage manager to come over and told her to tell Seth that he’d be in a lumberjack match tonight against him (as in, Corporate Kane). But he just promised everything would be fine! That is a black mark for the Director of Operations if there ever is one.

Dean Ambrose comes out. He says he won’t bore us with a long promo and wants a fight. This brings out Orton. Maybe he wants to cut a boring promo. They proceeded to talk for a long time about not trusting one another. Orton also mentioned that they’d be teaming together against Harper and Strowman at Hell in a Cell. The New Day came out and talked for a long time. The gist of it was that they took out a bunch of people last week, including Ziggler, The Dudleyz and Cena, and no one has laid out that many people – not the Shield, Evolution, Legacy (this was so funny even Orton corpsed), The Authority – no one. After a punchline involving calling Orton a groupie, Nice Kane came on the titantron and made a tag match involving everyone. So even though Ambrose said he didn’t want to talk, a bunch of other people did for him for the first twenty minutes of this show.

Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose

This was two commercial breaks long. The main story was that Orton and Ambrose weren’t getting along as partners. There was a point in the match where they were doing “can you top this” like situations with Big E doing the Garvin Stomp. Orton went for the RKO on Kofi but Kofi shoved Orton into Ambrose (who was taking care of Big E) and in the confusion Kofi rolled up Orton for the flash pin. Ambrose and Orton weren’t happy with one another after the match, so I guess someone’s turning soon? Ambrose would be better off as Orton’s just been heel, plus he’s better off as a face right now anyway.

They aired an Undertaker/Brock Lesnar hype video. Just a recap of the last two matches, that kind of stuff.

Nikki Bella vs. Naomi

Before the match started they aired a highlight package of the Iron Man match from Takeover between Bayley and Sasha Banks. This got a very positive crowd response, because shockingly, it’s the exact opposite of what we’re getting here on Raw. Sasha was at ringside, so naturally people chanted for her as Naomi and Nikki worked holds. Brie stood on top of the announce table and starting chanting “We Want Sasha”. This annoyed Sasha and knocked Brie’s foot from under her, sending her crashing to the ground in a bump that I’m pretty sure wasn’t fun. Nikki then pinned Naomi, who was distracted, with the rack attack.

Tonight’s main event is sponsored by Payday. The candy bar. In my own, personal candy bar tier, it would probably be right in the middle. That would be the “I would eat it, but only if it was given to me” tier. The bottom tier is reserved exclusively for Almond Joy. Coconut is gross, guys. GROSS.

Byron Saxton was outside in a pre taped segment where they told people to say to either say Paige or Dean Ambrose were “unconventional”, a nicer word than crazy. Please tell me what bizarre things Dean Ambrose has done lately other than existing. Paige then cut an interview acting crazy before plugging Payday again. I’ll be linking to this weekly during my short tenure back, I’m sure.

John Cena comes out for his open challenge. He robotically cuts the same promo he always does, then awaits his challenge. It’s Dolph Ziggler, who didn’t get jumped by the New Day this week. I thought for sure it would be Kofi. That could be next week, I guess.

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler

This was weird. They were starting their match when Ziggler bailed. Cena then got a mic and congratulated a couple who apparently just got engaged. Ziggler got back in as the cameras shot back to the couple as the crowd was cheering for them. Cena turned his back on Ziggler and applauded, allowing Ziggler to get the heat. This is all very nice, but why would Cena do this IN THE MIDDLE OF A MATCH for the UNITED STATES TITLE? At least pretend it’s real, John.  

They had a good back and forth TV match after this. Ziggler at one point laid out Cena with a DDT from the top rope. Cena went for an AA but Ziggler countered into the famouser. Cena went back for the AA but Ziggler raked the eyes and hit the superkick for another near fall. Crowd is TOTALLY getting into this. Ziggler hit the zig zag but Cena still kicked out. As Ziggler contemplates, Cena suddenly shot up and hit Ziggler with the AA for the win. I don’t know about that finish, but as a match overall that was really good, in the ***¾ range.

Kane was backstage smiling when the phone rang. It was Triple H. There was turbulence on the flight and someone spilled coffee on Stephanie, who screeched at the person, who I think was a flight attendant. Triple H said he’d call Kane back.

Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension

Well, this’ll be short. Did they already drop the Ascension’s and Stardust’s affiliation? Better question…why would they even bother doing that when they aren’t even doing anything with the three of them? They did the Doomsday Device since they were in Chicago, then followed with the 3D for the win.

Sheamus and King Barrett vs. Cesaro and Neville

I shall name the latter team “Team No Push”. Then again, it’s not like Barrett has much of one either. Sheamus has not gotten over at all with this new heel role and it shows, briefcase or not. Neville has the same color tights as Daniel Bryan. COINCIDENCE? Not really. Barrett laid him out with a Bull Hammer on the outside and Sheamus pinned him rather quickly. That’s three losses in a row, for people counting. Maybe he’ll be back on NXT soon.

Roman Reigns came out to cut a promo. He cut a loooooong promo. He gave a very detailed explanation regarding this feud with Bray Wyatt that’s lasted five months. Seriously, he described in intricate detail on what’s been going on since Hell in a Cell. People turned on it QUICKLY as  they were chanting “boring”. Roman said it wasn’t boring, this was REAL LIFE. That doesn’t help, man. He finally finished out the promo saying he’ll rip Bray Wyatt apart at Hell in a Cell.  As far as a promo goes he is so not ready for what they want him to be. Not even close. This came off as so scripted and forced, and when he cut away from the promo he couldn’t get the people back into it.

Bray came out and said some stuff. Then Roman said when you’re in the cell with me, you’d wish it’d be anyone but me. After a commercial we’re getting THE MATCH.


They didn’t do anything terrible, it was just very boring. Lots of HOLDS by Strowman. He worked like Sid, so for someone who’s had like 20 or so matches in his career he’s right at his level! The upward mobility for Mr. Strowman knows no bounds. The match overall was nothing to write home about. They went to the outside where Luke Harper tried to interfere, but Roman lays him out with a superman punch. He followed that with another to Strowman from on top of the steps and that sends Strowman over the announce table. Reigns goes back to the ring and Strowman gets counted out. For being an unstoppable monster he’s already lost his first match. Oh well, I thought for sure he’d been pinned by now anyway, so good for him.

The Wyatts group together after the match to try to take out Roman but he bails. Wyatt does his “Follow the Buzzards” gesture, but Reigns smacks him as he leaves. On paper, this whole segment looked like it was aimed to get Roman Reigns over. And it probably would have if they didn’t have him cut such a terrible promo like that in front of a crowd like this. Keep in mind when his music hit he got a relatively big pop. That sure as hell doesn’t matter now!

Kane was still backstage when Triple H called again. They were on their way, but the reception was bad. He wanted to know what tonight’s main event was. Kane told him. but Triple H didn’t hear who would be in the main event, with the line eventually disconnecting. Are Kane, Demon Kane, The Authority and their miscellaneous cohorts the only ones allowed to have backstage segments anymore?

They showed video from last Monday with Summer Rae proposing to Rusev. They then cut immediately to a match between Ryback and Rusev who were already in the ring. STARS!

Ryback vs. Rusev

The announcers speculated what on Earth this meant that Rusev and Lana were engaged, but Summer Rae was still supporting Rusev on the outside. They had a short match. Rusev got a near fall after putting his feet on the ropes. He argued with the referee, then missed a splash in the corner and Ryback won with the shellshock. That was fast.

Summer Rae got in the ring and showed the TMZ article on the screen. She said she’s not going to waste any more time with a narcissistic bastard like him, then slapped him and left. This feels like a very abrupt ending to this feud. I really have no idea what’s going on. I mean it makes no sense for Lana to suddenly be back with Rusev in storyline without doing an angle on TV. Was the TMZ article not planted? Is this their way of being cutting edge by continuing a storyline via TMZ? Is Rusev being buried? This is all too confusing for me.

Kevin Owens vs. Kalisto

This was a fun little match while it lasted. Kalisto dished out some really great offense. He seems to not be going anywhere with this tag team, though, which is a shame. But you know, WWE midcard. No one leaves, no one escapes, unless you want to escape to Superstars with Jack Swagger, Adam Rose and Fandango. And funny enough, right as I was editing this article, guess which three wrestlers are going to be on Superstars this week. Owens had him in a powerbomb position but Kalisto tried to go for a hurricanrana. Owens lifted him up again then laid him out with a powerbomb for the win.

Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox and Brie Bella

Oh God, Paige is on commentary. She said that team PCB isn’t over and she’s showing her girls tough love. This is so stupid and isn’t going to do anyone any favors. I’m just baffled here. They had a nothing match. At one point in the match Paige gets out of commentary and shoves Natalya, who’s aligned with Charlotte and Lynch at this point. Charlotte walks into Nikki laying her out with a forearm then Brie pins her with a missile dropkick of all things. Please explain to me on what universe pinning the champion in a tag team match makes sense? Sometimes I just think there’s someone in the WWE hierarchy that books this way just for laughs. There is no revolution here. It’s the same shit we’ve seen for years, just with new branding.

Kane is backstage (AGAIN) with Triple H. He’s doing everything in his power to get there but it’s not looking good, Hunter says. He asks who is Seth Rollins facing tonight. Kane says he is. Stephanie is mad and says how could he do that, he said he’d be professional tonight. Triple H said under no circumstances should he be in that match. Kane said he understood, then hung up. Fans chanted CM Punk. I’d be getting my PhD in Mathematics before Punk ever returns to this show. I’m guessing Big Show, just because.

SPEAKING OF! Seth was talking to the Big Show. He doesn’t feel like anyone is on his side, but Big Show is on his side, right?. Big Show said no and left. Well, that was my guess before it actually happened. Instead he just laughed and left. Happy Kane then showed up out of nowhere and said he’d find a suitable replacement. Why does everyone just hate Seth Rollins now?

All the lumberjacks came out for the match.

DEMON KANE vs. Seth Rollins

That was his suitable replacement. I’m so hoping at this point this is a month-long feud, but who else do they have at this point? This wasn’t much of a match. Kane was dominating him until Kane exited the ring. He started laying guys out, then Big Show punched him and left. What is Big Show’s character? Can someone clue me in? Is he a face? Heel? Tweener? WHAT. Rollins controlled the match. Then the New Day dragged Kane out of the ring and turned into an all out brawl. The heels dragged in Kane and were laying him out when all the face lumberjacks cleared house. Kane laid out Xavier Woods with a chokeslam. Kane then pinned Rollins with the tombstone piledriver. I guess this makes sense since Kane is challenging for the title at Hell in a Cell.

Kane STANDIN’ TALL in the year 2015 as Raw ends.

Final Thoughts. Cena/Ziggler was pretty damn good. Otherwise, this was the Kane show. Who would have ever thought when Kane debuted in 1997, we’d still be seeing him all over television in 2015? And Big Show? We all know WWE’s problems right now. But no matter what the rating is tomorrow, nothing will change.

SPEAKING OF~! 1997 was also the year that WCW/nWo Revenge came out on the Nintendo 64. And a year before that, WCW vs. The World came out on the Playstation. What is my point? Well, we talk about these games and much more this week on the Fire Pro Podcast, my brand spankin’ new podcast! We talk about those two titles, WWF Warzone and Attitude, Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy, WCW Backstage Assault, Mayhem and much more. Definitely check us out if you’re interested in wrestling video games of the past as we (as in me, Brad Ritcey and Dan Ford from the F4W Board) plan on going through each generation of wrestling video games talking about as many video games as we can remember. It’s been a blast to replay all of these games and talk about them, so make sure to check it out!