Unlike other shows *cough* Fear the Walking Dead *cough* *cough* WWE did not fear the Labor Day holiday here in the United States and gave us the “season finale” of RAW. Indeed, the “season finale” with next week being the “season premiere” of the show that is always on every Monday unless there is a more important dog show happening.
So here we go – RAW 9/7/15, wherein statues are destroyed, cheap roll up victories abound, and Edge & Christian make a cameo.
5 Things I Liked About RAW
1. The Final Hours of the Seth Rollins “Jesus” Statue
I’ve been a fan of this thing since it was first teased a few weeks back, and I hope we haven’t see the last of it. I hope it is drug out week after week like the J & J Security car that Brock Lesnar destroyed. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. The Seth Rollins “B story” tonight was focused on him trying to rescue his statue which was confirmed as stolen by Sting. The Seth Rollins “A story” were two matches; one against Ryback and then later a six man tag with Rollins and New Day vs. John Cena and the Prime Time Players.
Throughout the night, Rollins was taunted by Sting who was standing backstage with the statue. At one point Sting put a “Sting” mask on the statue and then, to end the show, he channeled an Attitude Era Stone Cold Steve Austin and pushed the statue into the back of a garbage truck, which then crushed the statue into pieces. Even though the Sting interludes were a bit goofy, it’s still the most I’ve liked Sting since he’s reappeared post-WrestleMania and they’ve written Seth Rollins to be superficial enough for the destruction of the statue to be the thing that makes him angry enough to go after Sting at Night of Champions.
2. Sasha vs. Paige Went Longer Than One Minute and Forty Seconds
We’re treated to a rematch of sorts of last week’s Paige vs. Sasha Banks “Beat The Clock” challenge match. This time they let them go longer than two minutes and it’s an overall decent match. I’m sure some will not be fans of the distraction roll-up finish, but in this case it at least made sense. If they’re going to establish alignments, and I sure hope they’re planning to after the inevitable dethroning of Nikki Bella, it’ll be nice to have Sasha at least firmly in the heel category. Pulling out a cheap win to continue her “undefeated” streak on RAW worked for me here.
3. Edge & Christian
The backstage cameo by Edge & Christian was definitely one of the highlights of this episode of RAW. The former tag teams were on hand as guests for the Steve Austin live podcast that happened after the show. While they only appeared in this one segment, it was nice to have them back on the show. Having them interact with Rollins, New Day and the Dudley Boyz was great. The segment also served to let us know that the Dudleys have the winner of next week’s New Day vs. Prime Time Players match at Night of Champions with the titles on the line.
4. Thanks for Playing, Cesaro…
I struggled to find things that I felt strongly enough to “like” on this episode so Cesaro gets a token nod. He has an okay match with The Miz that goes South when Big Show interrupts and causes a double count out. Cesaro gets a Big Show KO punch for his trouble to end the segment.
I’m really stretching the “like” here, because they seem to be going out of their way to book Cesaro as weakly as possible, despite him still being hugely over with the fans. I thought the “injury angle” from last week that carried over onto SmackDown was going to be something, but it was a non-factor in this match. He was just a means to the apparent end of continuing the Big Show / Miz feud, now with added Cesaro.
5. Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte Set for Next Week
I’m glad they’re doing this match before Night of Champions. I already have a bad feeling it’s not going to end well, but at least the concept of Nikki Bella losing the belt sooner rather than later is there. Anyway, Charlotte comes out to interrupt another pointless Team Bella speech to confirm that The Authority signed off on bumping their match up a week.
My biggest fear is that they give Charlotte the win on RAW and then somehow switch the belt back to Nikki at Night of Champions. I know that seems to make no sense, but that seems to be the way WWE rolls these days. A lesser fear would be for Charlotte to lose on some technicality on RAW so Nikki gets the stupid accolade of being “longest reigning” and then she gets destroyed at Night of Champions in a rematch. As long as the end game is that Charlotte winds up with the championship and Nikki Bella’s reign of mediocrity is over I’ll be good with things, though.
5 Things I Didn’t Like About RAW
1. Weird Crowd
The crowd seemed barely there, until they were there, walking down the ramp with Seth Rollins. Yes, some random in the crowd jumped the rail during Seth Rollins’ entrance in the main event and made it all the way to ringside before apparently getting kicked out. After Dean Ambrose narrowly avoided getting stabbed at SmackDown by a nut job jumping the rail a few weeks back, I was kind of shocked at the lack of awareness there seemed to be from security. Also, I get this wasn’t the greatest RAW ever, but the crowd really seemed tuned out for most of the night – that is when they weren’t going where fans are not supposed to go.
2. The Sheamus vs. Orton “Rubber Match”
I can’t believe they had the audacity to call this a “rubber match”. As if there were only two previous Orton vs. Sheamus match-ups prior to this. I’ve only been watching WWE again since WrestleMania and I’m already sick of this pairing and I’ve got it on good authority this is a rivalry that goes back a while. The match is… okay… for another Orton vs. Sheamus affair, but like most of their matches there are entirely no stakes so it’s just a match for the sake of having a match.
The only difference here is that post-match the Wyatt Family appears and takes out Orton because he was seen talking to Ambrose and Roman Reigns backstage. You see, Ambrose and Reigns need a third man for their six man match at Night of Champions and now that Orton got beat down “no one will want to be their partner”. Except Baron Corbin, I guess.
3. So, Yeah, That Thing about the Ascension Having A Point? Yeah, about That…
Beyond a passing mention of their alliance with Stardust as the Cosmic Wasteland, the Ascension are here to job to Reigns and Ambrose so the Wyatts can pop in and make spooky Titantron threats post-match. That’s seriously the only reason I can gather that this match existed.
Get Reigns / Ambrose on TV, have the Wyatts cut a backstage promo, ?, profit.
Sigh. Thanks for playing, Wastelanders!
4. El Turnito
“So, let’s have Los Matadores turn heel by beating up El Torito for no reason” said absolutely no one ever if we’re not counting WWE writers. This was probably the biggest head scratcher of the night. I can accept Los Matadores randomly being heels to put over the Dudley Boyz but teasing a break with El Torito is something I don’t see going anywhere good.
Well, almost nowhere good.
If Torito shows up next week in a camo bodysuit with a new mask with glasses frames attached and is forever known as Torito Dudley – that would maybe be acceptable. Maybe.
5. Wrong Lana, WWE. You Referenced the Tolerable One
Oh boy. The Lana / Rusev / Dolph Ziggler / Summer Rae situation is the bane of my WWE watching existence right now. Literally nothing about this whole sordid affair has kept my attention ever since we got past emo Rusev and his depression beard months ago. WWE felt the need to show a terrible TMZ-style video package of the past few weeks of visual vomit and call it “Summer Time Sadness”. You don’t get to reference Lana Del Rey, WWE – not after the last few weeks of this garbage.
The take home from this week’s edition of the drama is that Lana broke her wrist (true), but really she has a broken heart (kayfabe), Summer Rae is sorry, and WWE is still going full steam ahead with a Rusev vs. Ziggler match at Night of Champions.
The only way I would care about this at all is if Lana Del Rey shows up, makes Summer Rae tap out, becomes an honorary Bulgarian, and she and Rusev ride off into the sunset. No other outcome is acceptable.