Well, we open Raw with a recap of the AJ/Roman feud, with lots of slow-motion footage, and Roman looking bored next to the title, and I still think Roman should have eaten the pin from AJ to end that match, but ah well. Apparently creative think Roman’s at his most attractive to us when he’s just smacking the hell out of people for barely discussed reasons. I’m not entirely sure they’re wrong, honestly.
We’re greeted with Michael Cole telling us it’s a new era – I’ll believe that when I see it, fish tank boy – and told we’re getting a six man elimination tag between Roman’s Boys and Bullet Club Lite. And then it’s straight down to business, because Jericho’s going to wander out without a shirt on again. I keep wondering if he’s got some sort of excitable puppy that eats his shirts. We also get shown the destruction of Mitch again – I can’t watch, don’t make me look!
Jericho’s starting us off with a Highlight Reel, and he says he put Ambrose out of commission, and is gleefully happy that he assaulted Dean, and then shows us Mitch’s remains… and the crowd start chanting for Mitch? I mean, wrestling is silly, but this is just… I’m giggling quietly and Bun Cena the rabbit is giving me looks. Jericho says Dean is in the same way as his plant – a battered mess. He then pulls up facebook, twitter and tumblr posts about Mitch, and I really feel for the poor intern who had to go through tumblr for those, I do. The crowd chants ‘Mitch’ again, and Jericho’s very angry that everyone’s focusing on the ficus when he hurt Dean very badly, and no one’s giving him the attention he deserves. He stomps his feet like a whiny teenager.
Jericho says Mitch has more charisma than Dean Ambrose, and I’m… pretty sure I made that joke last week, only about Roman Reigns. Chris, dude, you can steal my material, but at least fucking pay me for it! Jericho also says Mitch is worth more money to WWE than Dean is, prompting an outcry from the crowd. He calls the audience slobs and everymen, and says he can’t relate, as a legend and a superstar, and that talent like his comes around once every 76 years, like Halley’s Comet. You look good for 76, Chris – but if that’s the case, who do you keep coming back?
Whoops, Jericho seems to have upset Big Cass! Out alone, because Enzo’s still recovering, but the crowd is entirely on his side, and Jericho just looks… confused. Also, Cass climbs over the top rope and I just love that subtle display of dominance. Cass on the mic on his own is goddamn adorable and I just… ugh, I just want to wrap him up and cuddle him and feed him and… look, I’m 27 in a few weeks, I’m allowed to want to mother people now, apparently. Just go with it, it makes me feel less weird.
Cass says that if this is the gift of Jericho, he wants the receipt, because he’s taking it back to the store for a refund. He’s going to show Jericho what the new era is. “We have arrived is not a cry for attention, it is a warning.” Holy shit, that’s so good. He puts so much emphasis on it, too, I mean… I figured anyone coming up from NXT had to know how to go, but because we see Cass with Enzo all the time, I didn’t realise he was this good. A little slow on delivery, and a little careful about how he places his words, perhaps, but pretty damn good. He says he’s run through Jericho, and Jericho tells him to run off to the hospital. He stands close to Jericho, emphasising the height difference, and making Jericho look up at him, which is a brilliant moment of posturing, and as Jericho goes for ‘I am the best in the world at what I do’, Cass pushes his mic away, basically shushing him. Jericho looks for a second like he’s going to square up to Cass, but then smirks and leaves the ring, but Cass yells after him that he’s sawft… so Jericho comes back right into a boot from Cass over the top rope. Good grief that man has legs up to my neck or something equally ridiculous. Jericho is sent sprawling to the outside, and leaves with his tail tucked between his legs.
Backstage, Jericho, nursing his poor kicked eye, is complaining to Steph, and saying that Shane is the problem, and calling Steph the smart one. Oh, Jericho, look, she stopped having the hots for you in the 90s, she’s got a hubby and babies now, the way you’re hanging on is just embarrassing for everyone. He says this is all Shane’s fault, that he’s being disrespected, and Steph says she agrees – but that Shane is doing the right thing. She tells Chris he’ll be facing Cass in the main event, to prove he isn’t sawft. She even spells it for him. It’s freaking adorable. Steph mocks Chris’ accent, and as she walks off he looks faintly wistful, like he’s seeing a different future, where she’s his bride and they’re delightfully evil and sparkly together. Never gonna happen, Chris.
Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
I’m still not sold on a very brunette Dolph, I’m really not. Bring back the blonde, get whoever does Renee Young’s hair to do it, they’re pretty good. After him stalks out the lone wolf, actual werewolf Baron Corbin. We get a pre-filmed promo, where he tells us that he doesn’t care about anyone in the world, especially Dolph, which just makes it sound like he’s got a crush and doesn’t want to admit it.
- Early lock up, Corbin throws Ziggler to the mat
- Ziggler backed into the corner, Corbin shoving at him, backed away with punches from Ziggler
- Corbin rolls out for some breathing room, causing some of the older ladies in the crowd to get rather excited, before Dolph leaps on him from the corner, but Corbin gets a knee up, sending Ziggler sprawling
- Corbin takes him down with another vicious punch, dropping Ziggler back against the barricades, but when he goes to come back for a kick, Dolph ducks out of the way, leaving the over-tall Corbin hooked over the barricades, ready to eat a superkick from Dolph that sends him into the crowd
- Dolph walks away, back into the ring, Corbin comes back in after him
- Back from commericals, Corbin has Ziggler in a headlock, but Dolph fights out and staggers to the corner, getting an elbow up as Corbin runs towards him
- Neckbreaker from Dolph, pin for two, Corbin kicks out
- Dolph goes for the Famouser, but Corbin dodges, dragging Ziggler back and into some fierce blows
- Dolph is pretty limp in the middle of the ring, Corbin seemingly testing him for a reaction, but when he finally drags Dolph upright, he gets a kick to the knee and a Famouser for his troubles!
- Corbin kicks out at two, both men looking worn out
- A countered Zig-Zag becomes a Deep Six, Ziggler hitting the mat hard, and staying down for two before he kicks out of the pin
- Nice bit of grandstanding with his foot on Dolph’s hair, before Corbin drags Dolph upright again, because he doesn’t learn, and gets rolled up – pin for one
- Corner splash from Ziggler, and Corbin hefts him into the air and ducks underneath, Dolph coming down hard on the turnbuckle face first
- Dragging Ziggler back into the fight, Corbin hits the End of Days, and we’re down for the count!
Nice little match, some pretty spots, but we didn’t get to see a lot of what Dolph can do, which is a little disappointing. Corbin holds his hands up in victory, and there’s a little smirk before he waves his hands at the audience like he doesn’t care, and leaves.
Recap on the ladies, a whole minute to remind us about the championship match, and I don’t care, I’m just really happy that Ric won’t be there, except banning him from ringside might not actually stop him, and… UGH. Can Charlotte be her own person yet, please?
Shane’s on the phone to his kids, and finishes up his call to meet with Charlotte and Ric. Charlotte wants him to reverse Steph’s decision to ban lich king Ric from ringside, and there’s this brilliant moment where Ric goes ‘you and your sister, getting along?’ and Shane goes ‘well, not really’ in such a way that my brain wants this to have been Max Landis’ work. Shane says that not only will he not change Steph’s decision, but he’s also banning Ric from ringside tonight! Ric isn’t happy about it, but Charlotte puts on a brave face, and says it’s fine. That’s three minutes of women wrestlers so far.
Jojo is interviewing Bullet Club Lite, and they don’t even let her start talking before AJ is interrupting her to whine about being professionally wrestled during a professional wrestling match. He says he tried to take the high road, but apparently Roman won’t, and the entire crowd is going ‘yeah, we get it, he needs a heel turn, we know’ as they listen to this. He says he won’t make that mistake again – he’ll win the championship on his own – but he’s got his boys now. So he Too Sweets them, because nothing says thinly veiled homoerotica like kissing the way Vulcans do. Bro. Or something. I’m too annoyed about Jack from What Culture WWE gatekeeping this on twitter to make funny commentary.
Match: Fandango (with Goldust) vs. R-Truth (with Tyler Breeze)
Good grief, really? On Raw? Poor Tyler, you deserve better than this angle. RIP Tyler’s brief push, go gentle into that sweet night etc etc. It really is a shame, though.
- Do I have to recap this?
- Leapfrog from Truth, and then some weird dancing stuff
- Hip toss from Truth, Fandango waggling his hips like a desperate waiter begging the women to take him away from his debt-ridden and burning country
- Cover from Fandango, kick out at one, chokehold from Fandango
- Tyler Breeze is looking at his phone so he can pretend he isn’t involved in this terrible match
- Dropkick from Fandango and then Goldust and Fandango waggle their hips at each other and I sort of wish they’d just fuck and get it out of their systems already
- R-Truth hits the ropes, knocking Breeze off the apron, then bounces into Fandango, before taking him down with a clothesline for the pin.
Breeze doesn’t look happy about getting bounced off the apron, re-adjusting his outfit as R-Truth beckons to him to follow him out of the ring. Alright, boys, settle down. You’ve got a tag match on SmackDown to tape tomorrow, we wouldn’t want anything exciting to happen.
Backstage, Shane and Steph are being harangued by Kevin Owens, The Miz, and Maryse. Cesaro’s just standing there silently. Steph says the only way to settle this is a triple threat match at Extreme Rules, but Sami Zayn’s got a little issue with that, because he thinks he’s what the people want. Shane says he hasn’t earned it yet, and Sami says he’ll fight The Miz tonight, proving his way into a fatal fourway at Extreme Rules. Guess Jess will get that fourway after all! Maryse has the most disgusted look on her face as they’re all shooed out, and Kevin Owens stands really, really close to Stephanie until she tells him to leave. Shane shoots him a ‘see ya, Kev’ as he goes and that just cracks me up. The siblings share a moment where it looks like they’re actually getting along, and Shane stares into the camera like he’s on The Office.
Match: Charlotte vs. Paige
Nattie’s on commentary, once more confirming that she never quit in the Montreal Re-do Job match we saw the other week. She doesn’t look impressed at Charlotte’s entrance, and says Charlotte knows that she’s not good enough to beat Nattie on her own. JBL tries to say he heard Nattie say she quit, and she calls commentary senile in their old age. Owwww. Sick burn from Nattie as Paige enters. Paige. I’ve missed you, Paige. Nattie has time to plug 2Pawz’s Instagram, because she’s the best cat mummy in the damn WORLD.
- The two women lock up quickly, with Charlotte getting Paige into the corner
- Paige catches one of Charlotte’s legs and uses it to take her down onto the mat
- Charlotte gets Paige over the ropes and a knee to the stomach on the apron, but Paige comes back with a huge kick as Charlotte’s busy mocking Paige’s catchphrase
- Charlotte scrambles around the outside, Paige following her back into the ring, and then back out
- Some rough shoves from Charlotte get Paige on the floor outside the ring, and Nattie says she doesn’t know how Byron copes, even if Michael Cole is a romantic. What?
- Charlotte gets Paige into the corner for kicks to the midsection, and Charlotte waves the ref away, telling him not to touch her
- Boot from Charlotte, cover for two, Paige kicks out easily
- Nattie calls Charlotte a scared little girl, who needs to be her own person
- Charlotte holds Paige in a chokehold, kneeing her in the face as well, Paige fights out with elbows to the gut, and then Charlotte knocks her flat on her back
- Paige comes back with a roll up, and a couple of kicks to take Charlotte down to the mat and then into the corner, high running knee from Paige to take Charlotte into a pin for two
- Nattie says Charlotte lacks integrity, and that Ric Flair’s breath smells
- Paige ducks a kick from Charlotte and catches her with one of her own, another pin, two and a half this time
- Very loud chop from Charlotte, taking Paige right down to the mat, and Charlotte climbs the ropes
- Paige goes to fight her down, not allowing the moonsault to happen, and climbs up herself, head-butting Charlotte viciously and taking Charlotte down with a superplex, another cover for two
- Charlotte rolls up Paige, kick out at two
- Kick from Paige drops Charlotte, tries for the PTO, but Charlotte gets to the bottom rope easily
- Charlotte slams Paige’s head off the turnbuckle, and Nattie’s up and off commentary to stand on the apron, distracting Charlotte
- Paige hits a hell of a fallaway slam on Charlotte, and pins her – almost, but not quite
- Ric Flair shows up at ringside! Lo and behold, he can’t take a fucking hint
- Ric is taking exception with Nattie being at ringside, and while they argue and keep Paige distracted, Charlotte gets to her feet for a backbreaker on Paige
- Shane appears and he beckons an army of referees to come and take Ric from ringside? The villain gets his comeuppance? Is this wrestling? Are we sure?
- Ric sort of… it’s weird, he leaves ringside, but like he’s going to fight four guys off him, but it’s all posture, only… he’s an old man, no one thinks he’s going to fight people. It’s very strange
- Paige takes advantage of Charlotte watching her father leave, and rolls her up, getting the win
Almost an eight minute match, not bad for Raw, to be honest, and there was some decent storytelling going on during it, for all the match itself was lacklustre. Story vehicle matches generally are, so I’m not too fussed about that, aside from some moments where Charlotte made it blatantly obvious that things weren’t connecting – not sure if that’s Paige being out of practice, or Charlotte taking things carefully lately. Annoying to have Charlotte in the middle of the ring looking like a pouty child, that rather ruins the effect of her being, y’know, a credible threat on her own. The way she’s cuddling the title reminds me of seeing Seth in the early days of his coward heel run, actually. Huh. Nearly a twelve minute segment, there. Nice.
Match: The Miz vs. Sami Zayn
I love Sami. I don’t think it’s physically possible not to, he’s an absolute poppet, but then again, The Miz has been doing very, very well for himself with his wife in tow, especially now they’ve taken him out of the weird, condom-like coat he had for a while. The face he makes after he kisses her, too, smug but also appreciative, and I can’t help but think it’s not all acting, there. Her hair thrown back and wink thing is a little contrived, you sort of want her to be more cool and detached than she is, and winking at the audience suggests she cares about them. I also like the way Miz’s hand sort of skates around her waist, near her bottom, but doesn’t actually grip or grab, like he’s worried he’ll get in trouble if he does. Look, I have a lot of feelings about these two, okay?
- Sami looks bored right until the bell rings
- Olé chants, quick roll up from Sami, Miz kicks out
- Lock up, Miz going to the face, Sami trying for arm submissions
- Second pin for Sami, again, Miz kicks out at two
- “The match, Michael, you never call the action!” Says JBL, and even I don’t know whether that’s in character or not. Cole sounds hurt by it anyway
- Knee to the gut and a side headlock from Miz to Sami
- I love watching Sami leapfrog, I think it’s because he’s so much closer to the splits than a lot of the other male wrestlers can get, it’s impressive
- Deep arm drags from Sami to Miz, another roll up and a pin for two
- Maryse looks like she’d like to bolt the arena doors and set the place on fire
- Another pin from Sami, before that impressive somersault over the rope to land on his feet, dodging a clothesline from Miz and coming back with a headscissors takedown
- Miz rolls out of the ring, Sami aims to come over the ropes at him, but Maryse drags him out of the way, to safety
- As the ref argues with Maryse, Miz grabs Sami by the ankle and pulls him to the outside of the ring, Miz pushing Sami towards the barricades
- Moonsault from Sami off the barricades and onto Miz, and Sami slides back into the ring
- SAMI chants
- Miz gets a hand on the apron to end the count, and Sami throws him into the barricades, and then on the other side of the ring, just for good measure
- Maryse shouts at Sami, giving Miz some breathing room
- Back from commercials, back in the ring to thunderous olé chants, lots of corner spots, before Miz dumps Sami over the ropes and there’s a thunk as his head bounces off the steps
- Sami lies on the floor, cradling his jaw as we see Kevin Owens and Cesaro watching backstage, and Sami just beats the count to get back in
- Kick to the face and Miz pins an off-balance Sami, but he gets a shoulder up in time
- Double axe-handle from Miz, Sami looking very dazed
- Mix goes for Skullcrushing Finale, Sami fights free, so Miz improvises with a DDT, pinning Smai for two
- Second cover, kick out at two again
- A dazed Sami reaches up to Miz’s face, and gets swatted away, Miz tries to set up for the Figure Four but Sami pushes him back
- Michinoku driver from Sami, and a pin for two, but Miz gets himself clear!
- Sami goes to the top rope, but Miz is fast enough to move, Sami rolling through, Miz coming back with a kick to the knee
- Figure Four locked in on Sami Zayn in the centre of the ring
- Miz starts to bridge it a little, because he hopes one day to be as strong as Charlotte, and as flippy, too
- Sami forces a break at the bottom rope, Mix breaks the hold and stomps on the hurt knee
- Cover from Miz, basically straddling Sami’s chest – is there a name for that besides homoerotic? I’m sure Jordan will tell me – but he’s using the ropes for balance and leverage, so it’s not a legal pin
- Sami gets some breathing space while Miz pleads with the referee
- Helluva Kick from Sami to a crumpled Miz in the corner and Sami gets the pin
Well, we knew Sami was going to have to be there for the match to be a really good one, and now we’ve got a fatal fourway for the IC title at Extreme Rules. Kinda excited about that, actually, beats another bloody ladder match, and it’s four strong workers who can all go, so… yeah, anyone’s game, really. That’s pretty exciting.
Renee Young is talking to Becky Lynch now, and we see a recap of the match with Emma last week, were Emma poked Becky in the eye. Becky says that Emma poked her eye on purpose, and Emma appears, telling her that what she really needs is… eyes in the back of her head. Dana Brooke hits her from behind, and they hold Becky between them threatening to hit her. But that would be too easy. Dana and Emma leave, and Becky’s a crumpled form on the floor. Does this mean Bayley is going to come up and team with Becky to face Dana and Emma? Because I’d… kinda be into that. Just saying. Two minute segment.
Darren Young sounds like he’s found god or is on some sort of terrifying dating site for Christian teens, asking Bob Backlund to be his life coach. Byron Saxton’s face when we come back to commentary is pretty much mine, too, just… quietly baffled and not sure if there’s a joke you’re not getting. I’m sure there is, but I also like Darren Young A LOT, and not just because I can hoist my rainbow flag and chant ‘one of us’ at the screen whenever he’s on it. So I’ll give this the benefit of the doubt, right now.
There’s an UpUpDownDown Pizza Hut advert. With Dolph, and Sasha, and Big E and Kofi in it, and I’m… well, I guess whatever pays the bills. I am so not judging, at all. But I’m also upset I didn’t get to watch Dolph be crap at video games because he also considers himself to be an old man. It was a weird time for all of us.
Zack Ryder is backstage talking to Shane, saying that it was a dream come true to get the title, but he wants to work more, he wants more title shots, he wants to become a player in the game. Kevin Owens breaks in to say that this new era seems to be about giving pathetic whiny losers their title shots – and look, here’s one now. KO says Shane knows that Sami shouldn’t be a factor, because Kevin beat him at Payback, and Zack says that if that’s true, then why should Kevin be there, if Zack beat him at WrestleMania? Owens blusters about it not being a real match, and why does Zack Ryder exist anyway? Shane stops him there. If Zack can beat Kevin tonight, then he takes KO’s place in the fatal fourway for the IC title. Simple enough for you, Kevin?
A shot of the title, and Roman muttering terrible ad-lib lines to his cousins, before he’s asked what he’s looking for in tonight’s elimination match by Tom Phillips. He actually says they’re going to represent their bloodline to the fullest, and there’s the usual stuff about how family of blood is better than family of choice, which I dispute, but okay. Apparently Roman wants a piece of AJ himself tonight, so I’d dearly love it if this match starts with Gallows taking out Roman and we just watch him limp away a la Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling, as sad music plays in the background and AJ Styles laughs behind him. He mutters, too. This… sort of broke my back, guys. I found myself going ‘Dear god, Roman, you are an incredibly attractive man, but you have NO OTHER SKILLS’ and now I’m upset with myself.
Match: Sin Cara vs. Rusev
Really? Okay, well, I guess Rusev could have a grudge there, a little, as Kalisto has the US Title, and… oh, I give up. I really do. Lana’s going to talk first, apparently, and I’m glad the red outfit is something that works for her, just as I’m also glad she’s lost the huge, ridiculous bun. She announces her fiancé, which is rather sweet, and then we have to watch Tom Phillips interview Kalisto while sitting uncomfortably close. Rusev is busy watching Kalisto instead of Sin Cara. Fun.
- Knees to the middle of Sin Cara
- Suplex from Rusev to Sin Cara, and then a second as WE WANT LANA chants rise
- Bear hug by Rusev, holding Sin Cara high above the mat with ease
- Sin Cara comes off the ropes, caught by Rusev and treated to a fallaway slam
- Cover from Rusev for two, Sin Cara kicks out
- Lots of posturing from Rusev to Kalisto, because let’s face it, that’s who this match is really about
- Tornado DDT from Sin Cara to Rusev, followed by a kick to the hamstring
- Springboard cross-body to take Rusev down, but he rallies, catches Sin Cara off the ropes but Sin Cara rolls free
- Moonsault from Sin Cara takes Rusev down, but he rolls out to give himself some breathing
- Sin Cara comes over the second rope and into Rusev, easily moving him back into the ring
- Attempted senton from the top rope from Sin Cara, Rusev rolls out of the way, Sin Cara rolls through but gets a boot from Rusev for his troubles
- Kalisto comes to get involved, but so does Lana, and while Rusev is busy trying to cheap shot Kalisto, the US champion hits Rusev with an enzuigiri, stunning him enough for Kalisto to roll him up for the win
Afterwards, Rusev throws the steps down the ramp in anger, as Lana stomps her little feet in indignation. It’s all rather adorable really.
Primo and Epico are doing another terrifying travel tour of Puerto Rico, and y’know, we could tlak about the debt crisis, and how the legislation is coming into place on the 11th, with a vote expected a week afterwards… just saying. Primo and Epico are coming next week, apparently. Alright.
Match: The Club vs. Ro’s Bros
Anderson and Gallows out first, with AJ Styles following. Next, the chorus of boos tells us that Roman’s here, and the Usos don’t get their own music apparently, maybe it was cut for time. My wife stops me at this point, my wife who – bless her – knows only what I tell her, and goes ‘how long do they think they can keep this going? It’s not sustainable!’ and I agree with her. Ah well. The shoving and jostling starts before anything else can, and Roman barely has time to unceremoniously thrust the title at the referee before he’s climbing out of the ring. There’s a big ‘ROMAN SUCKS’ sign behind him. Awkward.
- I’m just doing cliffnotes for this one, because frankly, it’s late and I’m tired, and that’s all this deserves right now.
- Jey Uso and Anderson start us off
- LET’S GO ROMAN and ROMAN SUCKS chants
- Boos as Roman throws the Usos into Anderson and then takes him down with a clothesline for Jimmy to pin
- Commentary have actually figured out which Uso is which tonight, well done
- IWGP being mentioned on WWE commentary is awesome
- Anderson with a cheap shot to Roman, because if you can hit Roman Reigns in the face, why wouldn’t you?
- Jey Uso shows some surprising skill and energy against Anderson and rolls him up for a pin for two, but gets a punch in the face from Gallows, letting Anderson roll up Jey
- Three on two now, AJ Styles about to come in, but Gallows wants Roman instead
- Roman cleans house, taking everyone else off the apron, and tags in Jimmy, who can’t quite get the job done with a pin to Gallows, who kicks out at two
- Enzuigiri from Jimmy to Gallows, very neat
- Anderson comes in, but Jimmy rolls him up, and takes Anderson out of the equation
- We come back from commercials to find Jimmy is out, having been eliminated – really? During commercials? – with a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles
- Roman’s alone in the wrong corner, a crumpled creature everyone boos, and forgive me but I’m being pretty cynical here
- Roman fights back against Gallows, and gets the pin, and there’s actually a cheer there, that’s… sort of weird?
- AJ leaps straight onto Roman with a flurry of vicious jabs, and… the crowd is actually chanting ROMAN ROMAN ROMAN? Really? Am I in another universe, or is everyone here just really polite? What is going on?
- Pelé kick from AJ, with Roman limp and stunned, leaning on the ropes, AJ kicking him off the edge of the apron
- AJ comes over the top rope with a huge elbow, and starts ripping apart the announce table
- Roman rallies, flinging Styles into the apron, and then over the announce table, and Roman leans on the apron as the count continues behind him
- Roman throws the announcer’s chairs over the table, and grabs Styles by the hair – and then the bell rings because Anderson’s decided to bring a chair into the mix. Ah, good old chair shots from behind. Still taste like betrayal, Roman?
- The Usos are here to save the day, but only briefly, because they’re thrown out quickly, then Anderson and Gallows each eat a spear, and Roman takes a massive kick from AJ just as he’s turning around with the chair in his hands
- AJ sets up the chair where he wants it, and goes for the Styles Clash, but Roman moves him just enough. The two men stare at each other, with the chair in the ring, and Roman nods. AJ nods back. Roman looks at the chair and says “I don’t need this” before walking slowly over and dropping in front of AJ
- AJ STYLES vs. ROMAN REIGNS chants, and that’s pretty damn awesome to hear
AJ goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Roman dodges, grabbing the chair, AJ ducks out of the ring, shouting that Roman needs the chair, not him. Roman’s music plays to a mix of cheers and boos, and there’s a guy right behind AJ Styles who looks like I look, this sort of… resigned exhaustion on his face. I feel you, guy standing slightly behind AJ Styles. I feel you.
Match: Zack Ryder vs. Kevin Owens
The look my wife gave me at Zack’s entrance was withering, although that might be because I’ve just put my new Sami Zayn shirt on, and my wife is basically Kevin Owens. She turned round to me and went “that’s a stupid shirt” before turning back around to watch Deep Space Nine and pretend wrestling isn’t happening around her. The kicker? She bought me the shirt.
- The two lock up quickly, Zack getting a waist lock on KO
- Side headlock from KO to Ryder
- Clothesline from KO, followed by a running senton
- Mock woo woo woo form Kevin Owens
- Zack on the outside, setting up for the pop-up powerbomb, Zack counters
- Back in the ring, Owens running into Ryder’s knees in the corner
- Missile dropkick from Ryder, pinning KO for two
- KO tries for the powerbomb again, jack-knife cover from Zack, pin for two
- Kevin Owens goes for the cannonball, but Zack dodges
- Owens to the outside, Ryder following him, slamming him into the barricades
- Zack up to the top rope, hits the ElBro Drop
- Owens kicks out at two
- Owens throws Ryder over his head and into the ropes as a counter to the Rough Ryder, and then Ryder walks into a superkick
- Pop-up powerbomb from KO, and that’s Ryder down for the count
So nothing changes in the fatal fourway, and that makes sense, because taking KO out of the title picture would be ridiculous, but it’s still a little disheartening to have Ryder dismissed so utterly out of hand. Ah well, the Kevin Owens show is at least always fun to watch, although this match was pretty lacklustre.
We get another recap of poor Enzo, and I swear, the next time someone shows me that I’m going to get really upset and start knitting Enzo a scarf or something, and I don’t even know how to pattern leopard print but I’d damn well work it out for him. Poor angel. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the incident covered the whole pay-per-view, and that it was pretty difficult to get back into the swing of things when we thought the situation could have been life-limiting. Glad to know he’s recovering.
Renee Young is interviewing Big Cass, and the poor cameraman trying to fit both of them in the frame makes me feel a little seasick, but he says he’s going to dedicate his match to Enzo, and then gives a flirty little wink and smile to Renee, who can’t seem to help herself from smiling back. I don’t blame her, he’s pretty adorable if you like large, soft-spoken men – and apparently I do.
Match: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz
I have a little dance to The New Day, entering with Big E swimming along the mat, because why not? The Vaudevillains say that The New Day have been poisonous, and that they’ll take the tag team titles back to a bygone era when champions were respected. Fancy taking Roman Reigns along with you, guys? He could do with some of those times, too. The New Day are dancing with a piece of cereal, and I wish this wasn’t as wonderful and entertaining as it is, but sod it, we love them. They’re fun, and in a point of wrestling where it isn’t fun anymore, it’s mostly boring, we’ve grown to love them.
The New Day mention that the bygone era wasn’t too kind to people like them, and there’s a general moment of pause from everyone as Xavier Woods loosens his collar…. And Big E says smartphone users. Phew. Nearly had to talk about institutionalised racism there, what a palaver that would have been! But no, we’re talking unlimited data and good cellphone plans because New Day rocks.
- The Dudleyz are herez!
- Match started during a commercial, because no one cares
- Bubba Irish whips Kofi into the corner, and the crowd try to will him back to his feet with new day rocks chants
- Bubba catches Kofi and gyrates whitely
- Dropkick from Kofi, tag to Big E
- Big Splash from Big E to Bubba
- Tag Kofi back in, up on the top rope and leaping onto Bubba
- Elbow from Kofi to Bubba Ray
- D-Von tagged in, taking Kofi by the hair as Kofi tries to fight out of a headlock
- Fists to the gut from Kofi, a spinning elbow from D-Von and Kofi is back down
- Gorgeous dropkick from Kofi again
- Big E tagged in, double team corner splash with Kofi thrown onto D-Von, cover for two from Big E
- Belly to belly suplex to Bubba Ray from Big E
- Unicorn Stampede to D-Von
- Double team dropkick from Kofi to D-Von in the corner, and then it’s trombone time
- Gotch and English show up, and Big E goes to defend Xavier, and Bubba Ray takes out Big E outside the ring
- D-Von hits Kofi with a huge lariat, and takes him down, pinning him to take the victory
As the Dudleys clear the ring, the Vaudevillains come in and shamelessly beat up Kofi, because that’s certainly classy, and they hit the Whirling Dervish as the crowd boos them and they tell Kofi that this is what men do. Attack people of colour from behind in the middle of a room full of people and get away with it? Bit close to the bone, guys.
Our main event is a non-starter, unfortunately, because that might have actually been a lot of fun, but instead, Big Cass finds himself facing not Jericho, but Dean Ambrose in Chris Jericho’s jacket. Jericho is crumpled at the top of ramp after Dean attacked him and stole his jacket. Big Cass appears to have just… vanished? He’s seven feet tall, how do you do that?
Dean tears and cuts apart Jericho’s jacket, and then beats him up a little for funsies. Big Cass then appears, and Jericho slaps him, telling him to get out of his way. Cass throws him into the barricades, and then back into the ring at Dean’s mercies, for Dirty Deeds. Cass flings the ruined jacket back to Dean, who pulls scissors out of his pocket – Dean, did you just wrestle with scissors in your pocket? – and starts cutting the jacket to ribbons after stomping on the circuitry.
Steph and Shane have been watching what’s going on, and they’re getting along, and Shane’s pretty happy that they’ve been hanging out okay, and it’s been okay. We see Steph looking down at a picture of her brother and father, and her smile is pretty sweet, for a malevolent evil queen.
We close out Raw with Jericho screaming about $15,000 jacket, and Dean looking serious on the ramp, rather than his usual grin.