It’s the “season premiere” of RAW and also the “go home” RAW before Night of Champions! Anything can happen, titles can change hands, statues can be avenged, and the Night of Champions card can be filled out!
Jump on board the excitement train, because it’s the RAW 9/14/15 Recap!
RAW 9/14/15 Recap
We’re live from Memphis, Tennessee and the show opened with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon coming out to set the stage for the night. Wrestling Mom and Wrestling Dad told us about the Diva’s title being on the line, Sting making his RAW debut against the Big Show and they decided to kick things off with the previously announced Tag Team Championship match. The tag champs, New Day, came out and managed to coax Steph and HHH into dancing with them. A humorous visual at the very least.
Match #1 – New Day (Tag Team Champions) vs. Prime Time Players (Championship match)
I saw the finish for this coming a mile away once it was announced the winners of this rematch would face the Dudley Boyz at Night of Champions. They wouldn’t have had the Dudley debut in a spot against the New Day if they were putting the belts back on the Prime Time Players here. Despite the predictable nature, this was a solid tag team match and felt like a legitimate rematch for the belts. The New Day continue their comedy heel antics, Xavier Woods at one point played the Pink Panther theme on his obnoxious trombone.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A decent way to get to the inevitable Dudleys / New Day confrontation at Night of Champions on Sunday.
Next up was a brief backstage segment featuring The Authority and Seth Rollins. They let Rollins know that his problem with Sting is handled by the Big Show and that his problems known as John Cena and Sheamus are handled by those two facing each other later on in the night.
The announce team then plays up the Diva Revolution and showed a video package featuring the highlights and low lights of the Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella build up. We then get thrown backstage to Renee Young who was with Charlotte and her father, Ric Flair to discuss the Diva’s Title match later in the night. Charlotte is doing her best Zao from Die Another Day cosplay as she inexplicably had sparkly things attached to her face.
Match #2 – Paige vs. Sasha Banks
Hey, it’s this match again. Not the best of the three confrontations so far, but an adequate short segment match for RAW, I suppose. Sasha takes a sick bump onto her neck courtesy of a Paige suplex. Sasha gets the clean victory with the Bank Statement.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – The match was fine, but they’ve really shoved this pairing down our throats the last few shows. I’m already predicting Paige / Becky vs. Sasha and Naomi / Tamina as a last-minute addition for Night of Champions, but then where is this headed? Sasha has essentially dominated this feud so I’m assuming this exists to establish her as the first major threat to the newly crowned Charlotte post-Night of Champions. If that is not why this feud is happening, then I’ve got nothing.
Interview Segment #1 MizTV featuring the Wyatt Family
Bray Wyatt has been particularly lucid in his promos for this recent build to Night of Champions. He has remained on point and I actually enjoyed this segment with the Miz. Ambrose and Reigns interrupt and announce they’ve got a third man for Night of Champions but don’t name him. My money is on Hollywood Hulk Hogan returning and shocking the world!!!
Oh, and the segment ends with the Wyatts facing off against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns and then it just cuts to the announce team. No brawl ensues. Neither team backs away. Just hard cut. Segment down. Felt awkward.
Match #3 – John Cena vs. Sheamus
These guys had a really good match. Seriously, I did not expect that, but they turned out a near-PPV quality affair here. I was more into this match than any of Sheamus’s matches with Randy Orton recently. Cena continues to be a workhorse in the ring and while I personally can’t stand the character, the guy has really upped his game in the ring lately.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Cena wins here to establish himself as a threat for Rollins at Night of Champions. Makes sense. Sheamus doesn’t really lose anything as he still retains the Money in the Bank briefcase and could theoretically leave Night of Champions with the belt.
Interview Segment #2 Ryback vs. Kevin Owens
A wild Ryback appeared and proceeds to do a terrible Elvis impersonation to no reaction. Kevin Owens arrived to save the segment. Owens was brilliant here and mocked Ryback for liking the book The Secret. A necessary segment to announce that Owens will face Ryback at Night of Champions for the Intercontinental Championship.
Match #4 – Stardust vs. Neville
Supervillain Stardust was flanked by his “henchmen” the Ascension. Neville was flanked by the Lucha Dragons. The predictable six man brawl happens and we never have a match.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Coming right before the Divas Title match this felt like time management filler to me. I’m assuming this is also to establish a six-man match at Night of Champions, likely during the pre-show.
Match #5 – Nikka Bella (Divas Champion) vs. Charlotte
Nope. So very much, nope. Charlotte and Nikki have a decent enough match, likely as good as a match between these two could be, but the finish. Ugh, the finish. I had a feeling this match would get marred by stupid shenanigans and I was correct! We get the million instance of “twin magic”, so Charlotte pins Brie and “wins”, but then Stephanie comes out and reverses the decision. We now get the rematch at Night of Champions with the stipulation that if Nikki loses in any fashion, including disqualification or count out, she loses the belt.
Here is where an otherwise average to decent RAW takes a nosedive as far as I’m concerned.
Verdict: Thumbs Way, Way Down – Of all of the ways they could do the screwy finish, this was the most lazy way to do it. But, hey, WWE gets their way and can now erase AJ Lee from the record books as Nikki Bella is now the longest reigning Divas Champion. “Yay”. This also makes the outcome of the Night of Champions match a given and steals all of the potential drama out of the match. The only way this still ends as more than “Yay, at least Nikki isn’t champion any longer” is if Charlotte channels Shane Douglas and trashes the belt and brings back the Women’s Championship. I’d be completely fine with that as the Divas Championship is a ridiculous “pre-Diva Revolution” relic as far as I’m concerned.
Match #6 – Rusev vs. Cesaro
I was all in for this match until Dolph Ziggler appeared to try to force a gift on Summer Rae. Ugh. The worst feud in recent memory rears its ugly head and ruins what could have been a decent match between two of the more entertaining guys to watch work. Cesaro gets a distraction win here. The fallout spread into a backstage segment where Summer Rae secretly opens the gift that Ziggler gave her. I was hoping Lana’s real injury would put the brakes on this stupid feud, but apparently not. I keep forgetting Rusev and Ziggler have the match at Night of Champions because I could care less. WWE also appears to no longer care about this pairing as none of what I just talked about made it onto their YouTube channel.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – The finish killed it for me. I like seeing Cesaro get a win on RAW, but this was a tainted victory at best. I’d also like to see Cesaro as far away from this heat killing feud as possible.
Match #7 – Big Show vs. Sting
The match barely gets going before Seth Rollins did a run in, giving Sting the DQ victory. Cena came out for the save and Triple H makes this a tag team match.
Match #8 – Big Show & Seth Rollins vs. Sting & John Cena
A very paint by numbers RAW tag team main event. The faces go over and Sting makes Rollins tap out to the Scorpion Deathlock. I’m not super into the Sting / Rollins feud so this didn’t do much for me.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – The match wasn’t terrible, just terribly predictable. It seemed obvious to me that Sting would go over Rollins here to establish himself as a threat against Rollins on Sunday. I also didn’t expect a ton out of Cena who already worked a fifteen minute match earlier in the night.