Hellooooo and welcome to Monday Night RAW! Boy, last night was certainly a… night, wasn’t it? I bet a few of us are hung over, whether from partying in celebration or just drinking to forget. As a Dean Ambrose fan, I’ll give you ten guesses where I fall, and the first nine don’t count. Anyway, here we go, Raw time! (Dear Crossfit Jesus, please let this be a good one, thank you and amen.)
Michael Cole insists my WrestleMania hangover doesn’t exist, and he wants us all to party. Byron Saxton calls the fans ‘vocal’ and… good ol’ JBL insists that sometimes we boo who we really want to cheer and cheer who we really want to boo.
That’s the fastest they’ve ever gotten me incredibly angry. I’m almost impressed.
Vince shuffles out asymmetrically as usual, like a broken toy soldier, and his music drops just in time for the fans to finish chanting the lyrics. Vince talks over the following “BULLSHIT” chant to explain that WrestleMania was amazing, and now that Shane lost, Vince gets whatever crap Shane had in the lockbox that he’d been holding over Vince’s head. So much for THAT plot point! And he’s impressed by Shane’s jump, sure, but his general opinion is ‘fuck that guy, and by that guy I mean my son, HA HA HA’. “THIS IS BULLSHIT,” the crowd chants in response, but he can’t hear them, likely because he’s got selective hearing, so they chant louder, and he calls them crazy and dismisses them outright. Which, y’know, doesn’t… really help. He swears tonight’s gonna be a Raw we’ll never forget, though! Okay, buddy, we’ll see.
Vince’s song starts up but is interrupted by… Shane’s! A “SHANE-O-MAC” chant starts up as Shane himself shuffles out slowly, sans his usual excitement, bruises on his face. He looks humbled as the “THANK YOU SHANE” chant gets louder. I’m not sure he thought we’d like him to come back at all, which just leads me to believe he’s never been on the internet before in his life. Shane thanks the crowd and then says that, as the only man in the family (yeowch), he came out to shake Vince’s hand and say that he won fair and square. Shane thanks the fans one more time, and his voice is trembling a little, and great, now I’m a little teary-eyed. The chants go from “THANK YOU SHANE” to “YOU STILL GOT IT!” Aww jeez, this is heartwarming. So of course Vince yells at the crowd about enabling him and says it’s the crowd’s fault he’s so busted up. Yeah, sure, it’s OUR fault you gave him a match against the Undertaker. Whatever you say, boss!
Shane’s about to leave to a chorus of cheers… and then Vince straight up stops him. Why? Because Vince doesn’t want to be upstaged by his beat-up son. Oh for fuck’s sake, I think to myself, but y’know what? It’s definitely in character for Vince The Heel, so I’m good with this. Anyway, Vince wants to prove his point even further… and cue the “LET HIM RUN IT!” chant. “I told you it’s a crazy crowd.” And let me just say that I’m increasingly frustrated at the WWE using ‘crazy’ to dismiss people. (Somewhere backstage, Dean sits in catering, stuffing his face with as much pie as possible and trying to forget the fact that at least 75% of his merchandise calls him a lunatic.)
Anyway. Vince throws up his hands, gives Raw to Shane, and returns to the back. “Let’s see what you’ve got!”
…What? So that whole plot line of ‘I’m gonna make you jump through hoops of fire, poison fire, and then MAYBE you’ll get control of Raw’ gets thrown out the window because he’s just gonna give him control of Raw anyway? And DEAN gets called the lunatic?
Well, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Good luck, Shane-O-Mac! Let’s hope you do better, though you honestly can’t do any worse!
MATCH: Kofi & Big E vs Sheamus & Barrett, aka Didn’t We See A Longer Version Of This Last Night?
“Awwww Dallas…!” Here come the New Day, y’all! Sure, they lost, and sure, Xavier got a Stone Cold Stunner, but the New Day will always be the glorious sparkly unicorns of my heart. The “NEW DAY ROCKS” chant is strong tonight, and I’m chanting right along with them. Kofi and Xavier dance around Big E, who swims on the mat in the center of the ring. Tonight’s match will have Kofi and Big E, and while I’m always disappointed when Xavier isn’t wrestling, Xavier gave the League of Nations one hell of a fight last night. Good on you, most adorable of Uni-bros.
“EYY WE WANT SOME NEW DAY!” Bless that crowd. Xavier swears that Stunner was pretty much his fault, because who in the world would ask Stone Cold to dance? They then hold up the last piece of Booty-O’s cereal. I hope someone wears it like a halo. There’s a Booty-O’s chant, because of course there is. There’s so much fan participation here, and I am so happy for these dudes. Hell, the crowd even does the “W… W… E… WORLD… TAG… TEAM… CHAMPIOOOONS!” thing, while the New Day do their rhythmic hip wiggles in time. I can’t believe I went from ‘these guys are absurd’ to ‘I am going to wiggle my hips with glee at their very presence’ in the span of a short few months. Then again… look at those smiles. Gosh, they’re all adorable.
So adorable, in fact, that when we return from commercial, Lillian Garcia is booty shaking with them, and I can’t blame her at all. The League of Nations interrupt the party, as per usual, holding hands and cheering for themselves since no one else will. We get good shots of the Italian and French commentary tables, and knowing foreshadowing rules, y’all know damn well someone’s going through a table tonight. Then again, knowing WWE’s habit of dropping balls constantly, it might not happen at all! Oh boy, what suspense!
The bell rings, and…
- Sheamus vs Kofi start us of with some grappling! Wait, didn’t we see this last night?
- Dropkick from Kofi and then Sheamus is setn over the top rope, followed closely by Barrett
- Trombone antics (that trombone is TINY! omg is that FRANCESCA II’S CHILD?)
- Big E tosses Kofi over the rope to the remnants of the League
- Rusev distracts Kofi while he’s balanced on the top rope, which lets Sheamus push him off the ring post and out of the ring
- Barrett taunts the New Day by… wriggling his hips and sticking out his tongue and goddamn I did NOT know he could do it like THAT… Xavier comments that’s the nastiest thing he’s ever seen!
- Sheamus has Kofi in a submission hold in the centre of the ring when we come back from commericals
- The crowd start a wave, and then Sheamus, standing over a prone Kofi, encourages them into it… and they go with it, too!
- Someone from the venue seems to mak an announcement that the crowd need to stop doing the wave, so the crowd boos
- Commentary volume seems to be going up and down and all around for no reason?
- Big E does three beautiful belly-to-belly suplexes on Barrett, and then waggles his hips over the Englishman’s face. Lucky bastard.
- Royal knee to the face of Big E!
- Barrett goes to bounce off the ropes and accidentally knocks Shemaus off the apron! He shouts “is he alright?” clearly worried about the health of his wrestling husband, but the match must go on
- Midnight Hour as Big E holds Barrett still to that the flying leap from Kofi!
- Kofi gets the pin of Barrett, and The New Day retain their titles
The New Day celebrate at the top of the ramp, and Sheamus screams on the mic to turn the music off. He yells at the crowd, too. Rawr! Uh-oh! Sheamus is pissed! The League is fantastic, his boyfriends are amazing, and they totally deserve so much better than what they’re getting, so this is all stressing him out, the poor thing. Maybe Del Rio should give him more massages or something, maybe use his feet and walk on his back some. I dunno, I just think Del Rio would probably like that, what with 90% of his moves involving stomping on and kicking people. Anyway, Sheamus goes on to say that you’re only as strong as your weakest link… cue Rusev and Del Rio holding Barrett in place. BROGUE KICK TO BARRETT! I’d say this is the messiest breakup I’ve seen since the Shield, but I’m thoroughly convinced Seth and Roman are at least still on speaking terms, and I’m pretty sure Dean sends Seth the occasional care package with bad porn DVDs and a box of expensive tissues. Still, it’s painful to watch, since I do like Barrett, and he and Sheamus always looked so cute in Twitter and Instagram posts. My ship sunk, y’all. Sigh.
Anyway, cue the Wyatts because why the fuck not, I guess!
The crowd chants, “HE’S GOT THE WHOOOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS” while the Wyatts take the League apart, and by the time Bray pulls off a lovely Sister Abigail on Sheamus and the family strikes their pose over his totally dead body, the chant becomes a very clear, “THANK YOU WYATTS!” He responds with an elated, “FOLLOW… THE BUZZARDS!” Of course, to me this almost looks like the Wyatts are wreaking vengeance because they don’t think Barrett deserves that kind of treatment from his now former teammates. The Wyatts are sensitive souls, you see. How dare y’all break Barrett’s heart. Now the Wyatts will break your souls! Or something.
INTERVIEW: Renee vs Vince, aka SMELL YA LATER, SUCKERS
Backstage, Renee scampers after Vince, who is attempting to leave via limo as quickly as humanly possible. She asks if Vince is confident about Shane’s decisions since he’s just skedaddling. Vince basically answers with what basically amounts to a heeeeell no, he’s not confident at ALL, and that’s exactly why he’s leaving — because who wants to see this incoming trainwreck? Well, Vince, it’s great to know exactly what you think about your own product! He gets in the limo, and it drives off. Hopefully it explodes off-screen.
MATCH: Sasha Banks vs Summer Rae, aka Squasher vs Squashee
Summer Rae is in the ring, more or less talking shit about Sasha Banks, as Summer’s team won their match while Sasha lost hers. Like Summer, we shall gloss over the fact that Summer didn’t exactly do a ton to help her team win. We shall do this because Summer’s actually a great shit talker, and I for one would like to hear more of her offended screeching in the ring. Of course, Sasha then struts out in her ring gear. Sasha’s got radar for shit talking, y’see. Every legit bo$$ has this ability. Entering the ring, she gives Summer a ‘you talk shit but this amuses me’ look before straight up smacking her upside the head. The bell rings, as this apparently went from Summer segment to Sasha squash match in about three seconds, and…
- Summer’s screaming is so amusing god I love it LISTEN to dat screeching, she is so OFFENDED at being ATTACKED, bwahahaha.
- Summer attempts a pin, all while the crowd chants “SASHA’S GONNA KILL YOU,” and… I mean, they’re not WRONG
- Summer scrambling for anything, any kind of offense, but Sasha keeps coming at her like Jason Vorhees except shorter and faster and not requiring Summer to trip on a root in the forest
- Chant: “BETTER THAN ROMAN!” Damn, y’all, stop insulting the ladies by shoving Roman into this. He ain’t got nothin’ to do with this match!
- Summer’s attempted offense is reversed into a Banks Statement because, I mean, come on, did we expect anything different? But it’s SO SATISFYING. Summer taps, and Sasha wins!
It was a hella short match, but considering Summer’s power level compared to Sasha’s, I’m not entirely surprised. After all, I don’t expect Raditz-era Tenshinhan to win in a fight against Buu-era Vegeta, y’know? And if you don’t know that reference, go catch up on your Dragonball Z. Don’t be like Byron, people. Be informed!
For some reason, we now get a short promo vid about NXT star Apollo Crews — oh. Oh! He’s… going to debut on the main roster tonight? Huh! I think this is far too early for him, but we’ll see. Fingers crossed for Smiley McFlips! No, seriously, it’s a perfect nickname for him. Trust me. Oh, and after a commercial, commentary summarizes last night’s events, and the crowd boos at every Roman sighting. Christ on a cracker, y’all, this is gonna keep going all night, isn’t it?
MATCH: Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews, aka Why Did They Stop Pushing You? vs Why Are You Here So Early, Though?
Next up: Tyler Breeze! He’s looking amazing as usual, dressed in white with some kind of zebra printed fluffy vest. He struts down to the ring, probably thinking very hard about the lighting in the arena and how he can use it to take the best selfies. He could also be sour thanks to his dropped push, but I’d like to think positively about this. Anyway, out comes… Apollo Crews! The crowd loves him, and he’s just full of smiles and happiness and adorableness, oh my god look at him, he’s such a breath of fresh air and I bet he gives amazing hugs. Look at him, he’s so dang cute! Breeze is serious business right now, maybe because he has also noticed how cute Apollo is and is vaguely threatened. The bell rings, and…
- CREWS WITH ALL OF THE FLIPS
- Crews slamming Breeze all over the place!
- Breeze with the superkick! Whatta snap, y’all.
- Crowd: “TYLER’S GORGEOUS!” So true, so true.
- Breeze puts Crews in a lock, and there’s some grunting, and I can’t help but think this is Breeze’s way of hitting on someone maybe? Did he put Summer in a lock once? …Did she put HIM in one? I need to know these things for REASONS.
- Breeze swears this is all about him — and gets a hard hit for his ego. POW.
- Gorilla press followed by a standing moonsault! Holy crap that looks amazing aaaaa.
- Spin out powerbomb! PIN FOR THE WIN!
Commentary is impressed. The crowd is impressed. Crews is so happy to be here! And I’m… actually pleased with him! I’m always going to be disappointed with the way Breeze was handled, but I console myself by imagining Breeze hanging out with Summer Rae backstage and taking ten million gorgeous selfies together while they trade gossip about each other’s opponents. Sigh.
PROMO: Roman Reigns vs The Crowd, Probably
“Texas Loves Romans” says a sign as we return from a commercial, and I don’t exactly believe that considering how many boos I’m hearing as Roman makes his way down the ramp. Cole calls the crowd ‘passionate’ and ‘raucous’, and JBL swears everyone’s having a good time so long as they make some kind of noise. I did not get the memo about this ‘opposite day’ thing they have going on, but I’m a little bit suspicious of their motives here. Little teeny bit.
Roman gets on the mic, and I’m already cringing before he even opens his mouth thanks to the way the crowd is reacting. When he finally does open his mouth, it’s not much better. “Aww, c’mon. I’m not a bad guy.” Oh sweet Jesus. “I’m not a good guy.” Uh? “I’m THE guy.” He goes on to challenge anyone who comes out, and he tosses the mic away while JBL praises him for being a fighting champion. I’m just gonna praise him for saying as little as possible on the mic, because I cannot stand these deafening boos, Jesus. Nor can I really stand commentary having to repeatedly dismiss the crowd’s reaction. It’s weird and dissonant and makes me feel like the crowd’s opinion doesn’t matter, and neither does mine by extension. Which is a weird thing to put across on a product where ‘The WWE Universe’ is ostensibly a character in your play. We are, essentially, their Greek chorus, so outright dismissals just feel disjointed.
Chris Jericho comes out in his fancy scarf but no shirt because he is very confused and maybe menopausal? Hot and cold flashes are normal, Jericho, don’t worry about it. I ain’t judgin’. Jericho tells the crowd to shut up — and the crowd cheers because hey, at least he’s not Roman — and he goes on to say Roman’s not THE guy, just A guy. He also calls the crowd idiots, and… here’s something interesting. The crowd tries to chant “WE ARE IDIOTS!” but Jericho cuts it off quickly by telling them he wasn’t going to say another word until they stopped. “You guys aren’t hijacking this show on my watch.” The crowd stops fairly quickly. Now THAT is how you control a crowd.
So Jericho wants first dibs on the title, which makes sense, as Jericho has an ego bigger than Texas anyway. But then AJ Styles comes out because… he wants Jericho’s attention again, I guess? And then Kevin Owens comes out, because he needs a title to live. It’s been less than 24 hours without a title, now, and the man is jonesing. Oh, and then Sami Zayn comes out, because… he wants KO’s attention again? I’m not exactly sure. No one really gets mic time to explain why they’re out here, they just kind of bluster in angrily.
Everyone fights each other, as I figured would happen whenever there are at least two angry superstars in the ring, and Roman’s on the side shrugging in amusement. By the time the smoke clears, Jericho is in the ring with Roman, who spears him, because that’s what he does. And cue the boos, because that’s what the crowd does. Cole calls all the superstars who entered the ring Roman’s ‘suitors’ and I giggle as I imagine Prince Roman of the Roman Empire sitting at the top of a tower with braided hair and his ‘suitors’ fighting each other at the bottom. Y’all gotta admit that would be more entertaining than the constant boos, I’m just saying. Roman in braids. Right? You see it, right? Totally more entertaining.
Anyway, we return from a commercial to find Roman strutting through the halls backstage, silent and kinda halfway to badass. He comes up on Shane, who congratulates him and then says tonight’s main event is a fatal fourway for number one contendership of the very title Roman’s got slung around his personality-lacking shoulder. The entrants? Jericho, Styles, KO and Zayn, of course. I get the impression that Roman is pleased about, well, not having to claw his way up a sheer cliff to get to the title anymore.
MATCH: Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler, aka Holy Crap You’re Tall vs Selling Ice To Polar Bears
Baron Corbin has officially come to the main roster! Now there’s a ‘don’t give a shit’ strut if I’ve ever seen one. This dude looks like he could spit on his own mom if he didn’t like the way she looked at him. I like it! Hey, don’t look at me like that, the guy’s a heel. I’m glad he’s actually acting like one. Speaking of which, he gets on the mic. “For those of you who don’t know who I am? I don’t care.” Bless this heel. He says the trophy — y’know, the one for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that he won — is all anyone needs to know, and that his arrival has signaled the ‘end of days’. Dude should probably meet Bray Wyatt.
Dolph Ziggler enters, being all business tonight. Hooboy. Bell rings, and…
- Jesus christ Corbin is TALL AF.
- Ziggler can still kick him in the face, though!
- Corbin has really, really hard punches. Jesus. Ziggler flies outta the ring like he got hit with a wrecking ball
- Back from commercial and Corbin’s got Ziggler in a neck lock of some kind
- crowd is chanting about a beach ball. “LET’S GO BEACH BALL” “BEACH BALL SUCKS!” and “BEACH BALL CITY!”
- Ziggles and Corbin are on the ground, but the crowd’s chanting about the guard who took the beach ball away. “YOU SOLD OUT!”
- Ziggles has Corbin in a pin but… two count!
- Deep Six, a spinning side slam, but it’s a two count and Corbin gets PISSED at the ref
- Corbin booting Ziggles into the crowd! Jesus he looks scary doing that little hunch thing as he stalks Dolph in the audience
- Corbin launching Ziggles into more shit and gets a DQ
- Corbin YELLING AT THE REF, saying “THIS IS ON YOU!” because he’s about to REALLY fuck with Ziggles now…
- Ziggles attempts a comeback but END OF DAYS ON THE OUTSIDE!
Corbin smirks and then walks out. Aww yee. Baron Corbin gives zero shits. I am down for this. He stops at the top of the ramp, surveying the damage he’s done to Ziggles. Corbin seems pleased at this. I’d ask why he isn’t a Wyatt what with his penchant for destruction, but that whole ‘lone wolf’ thing probably gets in the way of joining stables. And the whole ‘I win matches’ thing probably gets in the way of him joining the Wyatts in particular. Sidenote: does anyone else get serious Randy Orton vibes? Just me? Hmm.
MATCH: Zack Ryder vs The Miz, or WOO WOO WOO vs AAAAAWESOOOOME
Zack Ryder comes out to a lukewarm response, which is still better than what Roman got. Oh, but he gets a “YOU DESERVE IT, WOO WOO WOO!” chant, and that goes on for a minute while Zack just looks so damn emotional. He’s got the Intercontinental Title around his waist, and I gotta admit, shit looks GOOD on him. He shows off the picture of Zack and Scott Hall, with Scott holding his title, and d’awww! And then Zack thanks his dad in the front row, and D’AWWW!
The Miz comes out, still in his ‘Mania outfit — possibly because he slept in it after crying himself to sleep — and starts making fun of Zack. He calls him a flash in the pan, and a one-hit wonder, and while that’s true, Miz is still a douche for pointing that out. Tsk! Miz whines about how he was so close, so very close to that title! Zack’s response? “Sucks to be you, bro.” TEE HEE.
The Miz wants a match. For that title. And at first, Zack says no, but when Miz insults his ‘goofy’ dad and then says Zack is ‘all hype’ (GASP! how DARE you reference Mojo like that!), Zack is ready to go.
The bell rings, and…
- “LET’S GO RYDER! WOO WOO WOO!”
- Zack’s actually looking pretty good against the angry Mizzle
- not much to really recap here, it’s a fairly standard match with no huge moments
- Rough Ryder gets jumped over but Zack attempts a rollup for a two count
- Another pin, another two count
- Zacky climbs the ropes as the crowd woo’s
- Miz gets there too, and there’s a battle on the top rope
- Miz slips and falls, and Zack does an elbow drop!
- Foot on the rope, so that two count gets stopped anyway
- Miz with a boot to Zack’s face
- Broski Boot? Nope, Miz slides out… and gets a boot to the head anyway, bouncing off the barricade outside
- Miz bounces Zack off the barricade in response, and Miz ends up in front of Zack’s dad
- Miz vs ZackDad! DAD SHOVES MIZ!
- A WILD MARYSE APPEARS! MARYSE SLAPS ZACK’S DAD!
- Zack’s distracted! SKULLCRUSHING FINALE! PIN FOR THE WIN!
Miz celebrates by hugging and smooching his wonderful wife, Maryse, in the middle of the ring… and Zack is left sitting against the barricade, with his sad dad. Sigh. Poor Zacky. There’ll be a rematch on SmackDown, at least. …Which I’m gonna recap, oh yeah! And now I am way more pleased at this.
INTERVIEW: Renee vs Kevin Owens
It’s time for Renee to interview an incredibly bored and/or pouty Kevin Owens! He doesn’t think six other men and ladders equals an interesting match. He goes on to say that Sami isn’t leaving him alone, and that Sami was the one to rob him of a title. KO doesn’t just want his title back, though, oh no. He’s promising to go after the Roman Empire next. The crowd, of course, goes wild about this, because who doesn’t want to see KO stomp on people on his way to that title?
SEGMENT: Charlotte vs Feminism? Also, Natalya
After a commercial, Lita stands in the red-carpeted ring with the women’s division. The WWE Women’s Championship belt is on a stand in the middle, and Lita talks a good game about the ladies in the ring and how great they are, yadda yadda, girl power! Finally! Okay, get to the part with Charlotte getting crowned.
Speaking of the Woman of Woooo… here comes Charlotte! With her lich king father Ric trailing along behind. They’re in the ring, and Charlotte’s holding up the belt, and I can’t help but think: get outta the ring, Ric, you don’t belong here. This is for the ladies, come on.
The crowd chants, “Eyyyy, we want some Bayley!” Cole says she’s not here, and some of the girls (and Ric, as usual) look confused. Another Bayley chant, and another, and eventually JBL calls the crowd rude — which is fine for JBL, since he’s supposed to be the heel commentator, but it still feels a little too filled with truth.
And then, the new chant: “WOMEN’S WRESTLING!” Oh, NOW y’all wanna stop and listen to the chant.
Charlotte thanks the fans, but mostly thanks her dad, of all people, because as everyone knows, Ric Flair started the Divas Revolution, right? Charlotte eventually does this schtick of ‘WE’RE THE BEST except I’m better and I totally did this by myself BUT YEAH GIRL POWER RIGHT LADIES? RIGHT???’ Sasha’s the first to exit the ring in disgust. Becky’s next, but not without a rather withering look to Charlotte first. Eventually, all of the women exit the ring, walking away as Charlotte wails in protest. “THIS IS MY MOMENT!” she screams.
Natalya stays behind, mic in her hand. “You need to learn a thing or two about humility.” Charlotte talks shit, because of course she does, and then she says her family’s always going to be better than Nattie’s. Ohhhh, you just made a mistake, because — whoops, Nattie seems to have gotten her into a Sharpshooter! Ric has to pull Charlotte out of the ring before any damage is done.
So, to summarize: everything is Ric’s fault! Glad we got that sorted.
INTERVIEW: Renee vs AJ Styles, aka King of Phenomenal Style
Renee and AJ talk about the new era, because Shane is in charge now for one whole show, so yay! Let’s see what happens! Also, AJ wants to actually win something, and he wants to usher in the Phenomenal era. I’m okay with this, so long as he… actually wins his feuds. I am also slightly distracted by AJ’s hair, because it’s so floppy and I just want to touch it a little bit. It probably feels so soft and smooth, I’m JUST SAYING. C’mon, I bet Renee’s thinking the same thing.
MATCH: The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz aka Zzzzzzzzz…
Three thousand commercial breaks later… we’re getting a tables match between the Usos and the Dudleyz. Why tho. I’m betting this will be the same match as last night, except with someone going through a table. The Usos do their usual entrance, as do the Dudz, the bell rings, and… insert yawn here. Yeah, there’s not much to cover here. Did y’all see last night’s ‘Mania? It’s that, but with a quieter crowd. Like, I swear this crowd is so dead. That or someone’s messing with the sound, which I’m actually suspicious of now, as the Usos’ entrance was super warbly and garbled.
There’s a commercial break in the middle of this match, but does it matter? The Dudleyz yell about how they’re never going to use tables just to screw with the audience who loves tables more than they love Dudleyz, and the Usos scream and dance and bounce around a lot. There are tables everywhere, but the way to win is to get someone through a table, and Dudz don’t want to do that, so…. do the Dudleyz want to lose? I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care.
The crowd is doing their chant for Jordan and Gable, the American Alpha tag team from NXT, and Cole mistakenly (on purpose, likely) says the crowd is ‘chanting for tables’. No no no. GABLE, not TABLE. Sheesh.
There are multiple attempts at table smooshes, and eventually the Usos get to the top ropes and go through the tables, except without the Dudz on them, because they were smart enough to roll off. The bell rings anyway, and Bubba gets pissed and tosses an Uso through a table in the corner. “NOW you ring the bell!” Bubba screeches at Lillian and the bell ringer. Which… makes sense, I gotta say. The Usos can’t lose by jumping into tables themselves. Otherwise, everyone would just be baiting everyone else into dropping onto tables and losing. It sounds ridiculous and stupid and… and… like something the WWE would totally do. Goddammit.
INTERVIEW: Renee vs Sami Zayn, feat. Kevin Owens on percussion
Renee interviews Sami Zayn! Two adorable people in the same space! My heart can’t take this. The OLE chants drift along in the background as Sami talks about how he’s been underground but needs to win to prove he belongs here. He’d say more, but Kevin Owens dives into frame, attacking him outta nowhere. KO is screaming at him to ‘prove it to the world’, and he powerbombs Sami through a table. At least three refs run in, annoying KO enough to get him to leave. Sami lays on the table, dazed. I sit on my couch, intrigued.
PROMO: Enzo & Cass vs The Dudley Boyz, aka HOW YOU DOIN’ vs SAWFT
So after a commercial, the Dudz are still making their way outta the ring (they’re old and slow, whaddaya want?) when… when… OH MY GOD.
ENZO AND CASS, Y’ALL! THEY’RE HERE! HOW YOU DOIN’?!
For anyone who doesn’t know, Enzo and Cass are concentrated balls of charisma, which explains how they got their ridiculous gimmick so over that every crowd they perform for knows their entire intro schtick. To put it another way, I’m more excited about these boys than I was about The Rock. Yeah, this is high level mic handling, y’all. Trust me.
They’re in the ring, they’re dancing around, they do their intro and the crowd participates, there’s a “HOW YOU DOIN'” chant, and my heart grows three sizes and is now covered in leopard print. Enzo calls the Dudz jealous and ugly and he’s so freakin’ SMOOTH while he does it: “You two are so ugly, tears run down the back of your head to avoid your face. How you doin’?” Oh good lord. D’Von’s only response is to call Enzo a son of a bitch, which the mic catches and it makes me cackle because it just seems like the Dudz are ENTIRELY outclassed here. The Dudz are called S-A-W-F-T, SAAAAWFT, and it’s all amazing, you just gotta see it.
Look. I don’t think a recap does this justice at all. This is what popularity looks like. There’s no chants to interrupt what Enzo’s saying, the crowd is listening and reacting appropriately, and they even start up a chant that’s aimed specifically at Enzo for him to dance to. And when Cass says his bit, the crowd loves him too, regardless of how little he says or the fact that Enzo is far smoother on the mic. They’re a unit. The crowd is eating out of their hands, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Now all we need is their leading lady Carmella to come up. Fingers crossed!
MATCH: AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho vs …?!
So Sami Zayn isn’t medically cleared to compete in the match — gee, I wonder why? — and Lillian says someone else is going to replace him.
CESARO HAS RETURNED.
Cesaro poses in a suit, which is totally my fetish, and then he rips the entire thing off to show his gear underneath, which is ALSO my fetish. BELL RINGS!
- Cesaro straight after KO while Y2AJ have a snuggle
- Everyone’s chanting for Cesaro, because we’ve missed him
- Cesaro throws KO out of the ring, and Styles flings out Jeridad
- The two men size each other up for a moment and I find myself wondering if they’ve wrestled before – I wouldn’t be surprised to find they have
- Standing switch from Styles, followed by a leapfrog as Cesaro runs towards him
- Dropkick from Styles to Cesaro before a THIS IS AWESOME chant
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Cesaro to Styles and then a pin for two
- Back from commercials, Styles and Jeridad are grappling inside the ring, while Cesaro and KO trade blows outside it
- KO MANIA chant as he folds Cesaro on the steps
- Jericho leaning AJ over the ropes and pummelling him
- Cesaro throws KO into the barricade and he shouts ‘ARGH’ like it’s the most painful thing to ever happen to him
- THIS IS WRESTLING chant – no, really? I thought this was ballroom dancing
- Cesaro into the ring to grab a celebrating Jericho by the ankles, looks like he’s going for the swing, but KO interrupts with blows to Cesaro’s back
- KO sets up for the swing but Cesaro rolls out of it and smacks him with a huge uppercut
- KO rolls out, and Jericho takes Cesaro out of the ring
- AJ and Jericho are all over each other again, commentary talking about how awesome it would be if AJ got a chance at the title after only debuting in WWE three months ago, and all I can think of is how ridiculous it is that AJ’s getting this shot, and Dean isn’t
- Jericho sits AJ on the top rope, over-balancing him backwards, Jericho calling AJ a ’stupid man’ to the laughter of the crowd
- KO appears to slap AJ around as well, and in the spirit of cooperation, they look like they’re both going to take him off the top rope together
- Cesaro appears and throws EVERYONE off the ropes and into the ring in a gorgeous spot
- Cesaro chants from the crowd as he seems to choose who to pin
- Uppercut to Jericho from Cesaro, but when he tries that trick with KO, he eats a boot for his troubles
- KO sends a cannonball into Jericho, but eats a kick from AJ in the centre of the ring
- Cesaro back up, flying uppercut to Styles, who goes down pinned for two
- Cesaro going back to uppercutting Jericho, who distracts the ref to poke the eyes and send Cesaro out of the ring
- Owens and Jericho lock up and a pop-up powerbomb from KO, pinning Jericho, but only for two
- Cannonball, Jericho dodges it
- Running bulldog from Jericho, then a lionsault right into KO’s upraised knees
- Styles back up, full somersault off the top rope onto Jericho
- KO takes down styles into a pin for two
- “Stay down with your stupid haircut!” Owens shouts at Styles
- Cesaro leaps on the pair from the top turnbuckle, KO dodges and Cesaro hits Styles
- Lateral press from Cesaro to Styles, KO breaking the pin
- Uppercut train! Styles in one corner, KO in the other
- Jericho climbs into the ring and eats an uppercut himself, so now Cesaro has THREE corners to uppercut into!
- Jericho gets a boot up and leaps on Cesaro, but is easily countered
- SWING JERICHO SWING until KO breaks it
- Pop-up powerbomb from KO to Styles, pin for two
- Jericho back in, Codebreaker to KO, Cesaro breaking in to stop it
- Chops from Jericho to Cesaro, uppercuts back
- Jericho rolls up Cesaro, then gets him in the Walls of Jericho, but rolls himself through and gets a Sharpshooter onto Jericho, in shades of his buddy and old tag partner Tyson Kidd
- AJ Styles with the Phenomenal Forearm to break the Sharpshooter, and then KO is into the ring too
- KO rolls up Styles easily for two, but Styles kicks out
- Styles fights out of a back lift, and KO eats a Pele kick for his trouble
- Codebreaker from Jericho to Styles, pin for two and a half, so close
- THIS IS AWESOME chant as Jericho screams at Styles to stay down
- Backslide, Styles Clash hit, and Jericho eats the pin, making AJ Styles our #1 contender for Roman Reigns’ title
AJ stands victorious… and really? This is laughable. Firstly, there’s a lot of other people on the roster who deserve a shot for the title more than AJ Styles, who only joined the company in January. Secondly, Roman doesn’t work that stiff, whereas AJ works incredibly stiff, enough that his Styles Clash took a year off British wrestler Lionheart’s career, and took Yoshi Tatsu out of NJPW from November 2014 – he isn’t due to return until later this month. Thirdly, the crowd love AJ, and seeing him work in the ring, and they hate Roman. This means that WWE are going to have to turn him heel if they want this feud to work out. And if they’re turning him heel, why not face him off against Dean Ambrose, put the title on Dean just before Seth Rollins is due to make his return, and watch the sparks fly?
We end out Raw with AJ pointing emotionally at members of the crowd as he stands on the second turnbuckle and looks like he can’t believe this is happening. You and me both, AJ.