I’m sick and also dealing with migrating this site to a new host, so I’m really not in the mood tonight, but Raw waits for no man. As always you can follow the site on Twitter here or like us on Facebook here.
Tonight’s Raw circles around weird product placement, bad cell phone service, and shoot engagements. Oh boy.
WWE Raw 10/12/15 Recap
It’s a cold open with Doo Kane on a conference phone with Stephanie McMahon (w/ bad cell phone service). Triple H is also with Stephanie and says they’re going to be late tonight. In the background you can hear Steph going off on the flight attendant about something. Doo Kane is in charge until further notice. Making this different than all of the other Raws and SmackDowns where we don’t see the Authority I suppose. Kane calls over a stage manager and tells her to tell Seth Rollins that he has a Lumberjack match tonight… with Doo Kane. Wow. I’m super excited.
We never hear from Rollins during the show, but this interview happens on WWE.com for whatever reason.
Raw credits roll and we’re LIVE! from Chicago, IL and immediately Dean Ambrose’s music hits. We’re wasting zero time tonight in getting to the twenty-minute show open promo! As Ambrose approaches the ring you see the dreaded studio monitors in the corner of the ring which only means one thing – a talking segment. Ambrose says he’s not wearing a tie and he isn’t going to bore you with long speeches. He’s also a liar. Dean’s looking for a fight which brings out Randy Orton’s music and Orton following with it. Orton puts over Chicago and recaps Ambrose on what happened on SmackDown while Dean was in Saudi Arabia. We randomly learn by way of Randy Orton that Luke Harper and Braun Strowman versus Orton and Ambrose has been booked for Hell in a Cell. Orton and Ambrose then proceed to argue for a few minutes about which of them should lead their tag team into battle with the Wyatts. And this brings out the New Day. We get a recap of what New Day did on Raw last week and they list off more factions that they are better than to try to upset Orton and Ambrose. They make a local sports joke about Derrick Rose and that brings Doo Kane up on the Titantron. He says to send out a ref because New Day vs. Orton and Ambrose is happening right now. Wait, so, is this “Raw is SmackDown” tonight?
Match #1: New Day vs. Ambrose & Orton
We’re 15 minutes from cold open to the opening bell of this match. A little better than normal, but man, oh man, they need to cut the opening segments down or start with an actual match. Because of the timing, the match immediately goes to commercial break. The tag match here is a pretty standard “New Day vs. two random guys slapped together” affair. The story here is the “will they / won’t they” about Orton and Ambrose being able to work together at Hell in a Cell. Orton plays the face in peril for most of the match, and then at the end of the match hits his normal sequence of moves to set up the RKO. Only this time, Ambrose enters to neutralize Big E, Kofi pushes Orton into Ambrose and then rolls Orton up for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – One of those matches that has to happen to establish stakes for a team that doesn’t trust each other to be able to work together, or not, for a PPV match. Seemed to drag on a bit long in the middle.
Meanwhile backstage, Doo Kane is drinking coffee and looking at the conference call phone.
Next we get a video package recapping the history between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker. I don’t recap recaps so you can watch this if you care.
Match #2: Nikki Bella (w/ Alicia Fox and Brie Bella) vs. Naomi (w/ Sasha Banks and Tamina)
During the introductions we get a video recap of Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at TakeOver: Respect. I don’t usually like recaps, but I like seeing that referenced here on Raw to hopefully get more eyeballs on it. Chicago opens this match with a “we want Sasha” chant. Commentary focuses on how the “we want Sasha” chant will cause trouble within Team BAD. The match spills outside and Brie Bella randomly climbs onto the announce table with a mic and starts chanting “we want Sasha” and the crowd answers back “yes we do”. Sasha comes over and dumps her off the announce table. This whole thing magically distracts Naomi and allows her to be rack-attacked for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – So, we’re really doing it, huh? All of these factions are going to get broken up, but the sole motivation for every woman who breaks one up is going to be jealousy. Wow. Just wow.
The main event tonight is sponsored by PayDay!
John Cena is up next!
Earlier today, Byron Saxton asked random people outside who they think is the “most unconventional superstar in the WWE”. A few people say Dean Ambrose, but most of them say Paige. Now we’re suddenly back in the studio with Saxton and Paige. Saxton declares Paige as the Most Unconventional WWE Diva. Paige sarcastically says she’s happy because at least she’s getting credit for something since she didn’t get credit for starting the Divas Revolution. Ugh. Then, she randomly grabs Saxton’s suit jacket and pulls a PayDay candy bar out of his jacket and holds it there for product placement purposes. Now, this is the kind of stuff I’ve come to expect from Raw lately!
The pointless, except for advertising purposes, PayDay segment leads right into John Cena’s entrance music. Cena explodes out to the barricade and starts posing with a fan who is loudly singing “John Cena sucks” along with Cena’s theme song. Ouch. Cena figures out what is going on and goes back up the ramp and does his standard entrance. It’s Chicago. I’m not sure what Cena is thinking.
Match #3: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler (United States championship match)
Ziggler answers Cena’s open challenge this week. So much for my theory that Ziggler would escape the “Summertime Sadness” love rectangle mire by turning heel and winning the U.S. Title at Hell in a Cell. The match here is not bad at all. The announcers try to sell Cena as being “jet lagged” since he was on the Saudi Arabia tour. I guess jet lag affects Cena but doesn’t bother Ambrose since he was there and they didn’t mention that during his match at all.
Early in the match, Cena is distracted by something in the crowd. He actually stops the match so he can congratulate someone in the crowd who proposed marriage to his significant other during the match. That’s my bizarro Raw!
Cena turns out his standard “I’m winning, but I’ll make the other guy look believable” match here with Dolph. Ziggler counters the AA a bunch of times and reverses the STF into a sleeper at one point. It’s probably the most I’ve enjoyed Ziggler in months actually. He even channeled Kevin Owens at one point and escaped one of the AA attempts by raking Cena’s eyes. Eventually, Ziggler hits the Zig Zag after a headbutt and gets a close near fall. He then goes charging at Cena who hits the AA out of nowhere and gets the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Anything that gets Ziggler away from the void that the is Rusev / Lana / Summer drama is okay with me. These two had a great match, but now I’m not sure who Cena is going to do the honors for before he takes his upcoming vacation.
Meanwhile backstage, Doo Kane takes another call from Triple H. He and Steph are still on their way, but turbulence is bad and the flight attendant spilled coffee on Stephanie. Are they flying RyanAir or something?
Match #4: The Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension
I don’t even think Konnor did anything in this match. If he did it was right at the beginning and I blinked. Ascension start off strong for a few seconds and then D-Von gets a hot tag to Bubba Ray. They do a Road Warrior spot off the top rope, hit the 3-D, and complete the squash.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Weird choice to follow a very competitive U.S. Title match. Really doesn’t accomplish much but remind us that the Dudley Boyz are a thing that is still happening and that WWE has no clue what do with the Ascension.
Match #5: Sheamus & King Barrett vs. Neville & Cesaro
Cesaro and Neville work well together in this match, including some cools spots where Cesaro flips Neville and later uses him as a projectile. Sheamus and Cesaro trade uppercuts in another really good sequence and Cesaro is on fire for the majority of the match. Sheamus kicks out of a rollup attempt by Neville by flinging Neville into the ropes. While he’s hanging there, he eats a Bull Hammer from Barrett and Sheamus gets the pinfall victory.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – First off, Cesaro is back on TV and not looking like Big Show’s personal jobber. He and Sheamus had a really good sequence together and I’d actually be into seeing he and Sheamus work together. Neville is booked more like he was in NXT here and Barrett does something that leads to his team winning. Please let this be a reset for these guys and we can start booking them all a bit better.
Up next, this video package for Braun Strowman airs.
Match #6: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (w/ them Wyatt boys)
Roman is out first to give us a run down of the entire feud history between himself and Bray Wyatt. Since it is modern WWE, this only goes as far back as the Money in the Bank PPV when Bray interfered and cost Roman the briefcase. Roman’s promo goes on for way too long and the crowd starts to let him have it. Bray’s music interrupts and he blows out the lantern on the top of the stage and proceeds to cut a promo on Roman. The whole first segment of this match is talking so we cut to break before any in-ring action happens.
Back from break, the match starts up and this more or less serves to show that Strowman is really strong. Something we have not yet seen on WWE TV at all since he debuted. Roman spends the whole match chipping away at Braun and eventually gets him into the ropes. Roman does his “Drive By” move and kicks Braun, who drops to his knees for the first time on TV. Roman goes for another “Drive By” but Braun is playing possum and drops Roman with a clothesline. Things spill outside the ring and Luke Harper decides to get involved. Roman hits Harper with the Superman punch. Roman then leaps off of the ring stairs and Superman punches Braun which knocks Braun down behind the announce table. Roman then beats the count and Strowman is counted out.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I’m already over the Strowman is unstoppable thing. They’ve just kept it going too long. A count out here just served to give us more footage for the pre-PPV video package for the Strowman and Reigns matches. When the match’s opening promo segment gets its own YouTube clip, you know it probably went on for too long.
Post-match, Strowman and Bray throw a tantrum by tossing the announcers’ chairs. The Wyatts circle the ring and slide in just as Roman slides out. Bray and the family pose, and Bray eats a fist from Roman through the ropes after he says “Follow the buzzards”.
Backstage, Triple H calls Doo Kane again. Somehow their cell signal has gotten even worse. Doo Kane tells Triple H what the main event is, but Triple H can’t hear him and the call drops. This mini-drama of the bad cell service is getting intense.
Match #7: Rusev vs. Ryback
We get a recap of last week’s “Roo Roo will you marry me?” segment. Cole sells the shoot Lana / Rusev engagement as a shoot and wonders why Summer Rae is even out with Rusev tonight. I bet whoever is responsible for the whole “Summertime Sadness” angle is super upset that Rusev got engaged to Lana. It likely ruined all of their great plans to drag this all out until WrestleMania. Anyway, back to the match. Ryback is wearing a pink Susan G. Komen singlet tonight. That is fine, except for the front which says “Feed The Cure” and vaguely looks like it could be an approximation of the logo for the band The Cure. I don’t think Robert Smith really needs to be fed more.
So, I think my theory about someone being angry about Rusev’s shoot engagement is correct. Welcome to Jobberville, population: Rusev. Ryback goes over clean with a Shellshocked in a complete squash match.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – I want to thumbs down Rusev being used as a jobber to Ryback of all people. But, if this is going to kill the love rectangle angle THUMBS WAY WAY WAY UP!
Post-match, Summer is on the mic and wants to let the whole world know about the kind of man Rusev is and shows a screenshot of the TMZ article about Rusev’s engagement to Lana. She then berates Rusev, calls him a bastard, and slaps him, leaving him shouting in Bulgarian in the ring. Please, please, please, please let this be the closure on what has been possibly the worst angle this year!!
Match #8: Kalisto vs. Kevin Owens
We get this match because Owens needs something do while treads water waiting for another match with Ryback. Owens controls for the vast majority of the match. Kalisto gets a little bit of offense in and scores a two count, but it’s not going to happen here. Owens catches Kalisto off the ropes and powerbombs him for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Squash match filler. I’m an Owens fan but hate seeing him wasted like this on Raw. If this was Main Event or SuperStars or something, then fine. But feeding him tag teams as squash victims because we have to have him face Ryback again at Hell in a Cell kind of stinks.
Match #9: Charlotte & Becky Lynch (w/ Natalya) vs. Alicia Fox & Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella)
Paige is out on commentary, and we’re going down that road where she’s mad at Nattie for stealing her girls. Great. Considering Paige has shot on the terrible writing of her character in the past, I’m sure she’s thrilled with this new angle. The match is completely inconsequential since we’re supposed to focus on the Nattie / Paige drama. Paige leaves commentary and starts a shoving match with Natalya. This neutralizes Nattie and causes Nikki to punch Charlotte which gives Brie the advantage. Brie hits a drop kick off of the second rope and gets a clean pin on Charlotte.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – A garbage match that is overshadowed by stupid, petty drama. Revolution!
Doo Kane is backstage on the phone. Triple H finally has decent cell signal and Kane mentions he’s facing Seth tonight. Steph screams and is livid that Kane booked himself. Triple H forbids Doo Kane from working the match and he must substitute himself with someone else. Kane smiles like he has a plan. I wonder if we’ll see Dean McCain? I wonder.
Match #10 – Seth Rollins vs. ??? in a Lumberjack match
Hey, it’s Jack Swagger! Hey, it’s Rusev who still had to drag himself out here after that thing a few segments ago. The New Day are rocking out to Seth’s music. Have I mentioned I hate lumberjack matches? Well, I do. So, who is the opponent going to be? A “CM Punk” chant grows amongst the crowd, but, no! By way of Hellfire and brimstone it is Dean McCain! I am shocked!
Dean McCain is all over Seth, who didn’t even bother to take his Seth Rollins t-shirt off for the match. McCain is thrown out at one point and no one wants to try to throw him back in. Seth tries to escape the ring by going into the crowd, but Cesaro chases him down and he and Darren Young throw him back in. Dean McCain ends up outside the ring and takes out New Day and then punches Big Show. Big Show KO punches Kane, which drops him. Show has had enough and leaves. New Day and Konnor throw the KO punched Dean McCain into the ring and Seth covers but only gets two. Rollins then hits a super kick, followed by a frog splash but both only get him two. Dean McCain manages to hit a superplex on Seth, but New Day pull McCain out of the ring and start attacking him. A Pier Six brawl ensues outside the ring between the lumberjacks. The brawl spills into the ring. Dean McCain chokeslams Stardust and Xavier Woods and Rollins tries to set him up for the Pedigree but Dean McCain counters it into a Tombstone. Dean McCain pins Seth Rollins.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – It was obvious as soon as Doo Kane vs. Seth Rollins was announced that Dean McCain would be in the main event. I don’t like lumberjack matches and this one was no different. If anything the fact that Dean McCain got the clean win here hopefully means they aren’t doing something idiotic like putting the title on Dean McCain at Hell in a Cell.
Post-match, Dean McCain sets off his ring post pyro and paces around the fallen Seth Rollins. And we’re out.
Well, that was certainly a Raw. I’d say “maybe SmackDown will be better” but we all know that will not be the case. But, hey, next week is the go home Raw for Hell in a Cell and Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, HBK, and Ric Flair will be there for reasons – so that at least has some potential.