How was RAW?
A video was shown from the parking garage earlier in the night last night of Brock Lesnar attacking Dean Ambrose, going so far as to drop Ambrose on his head…on a windshield:
After the attack, Ambrose was put on a stretcher, and taken to the local hospital to be evaluated.
Vince McMahon opened the show, explaining the Vincent J McMahon award, that it’s about legacy, about the McMahon family being the leaders of this business since they got into it. The award went to: Stephanie McMahon. Yeah, should have seen that coming, totally didn’t. Vince’s speech about why Stephanie deserves the award was actually pretty sweet, but it was beyond hilarious to hear boos raining down, as Stephanie said it meant so much for the audience to be so supportive. Vince’s comment about how there was no one more deserving than Steph…but a very special person begged to differ:
IT’S SHANE O-MAC!
I couldn’t even begin to put into words how much I popped when I heard Here Comes The Money, knowing that Shane is back, even for the night, made/makes me so friggin happy it isn’t funny. How could an old school fan not be overjoyed to witness the return of the prodigal son? He’s been gone for so long, it’s been said that Shane wanted absolutely nothing to do with the company any longer, that he wanted to blaze his own trail, and he has, he’s a successful businessman, all on his own. Shane said that Steph isn’t deserving of the award, that giving Steph the award was laughable. Shane wanted to handle things in the ring, Vince wanted to take care of matters backstage, and Steph just wanted Shane to walk away, instead of trying to take things away from her. Steph said Shane has been gone for years and years, while Steph and Triple H have been successfully running the company, but Shane had a few words to say about that, bringing up the fact that Steph and Triple H have been running the business into the ground, citing the stocks, ratings, and many many other things. Steph huffed and puffed, telling Shane to get out of her ring. Shane said the ring was their father’s, not hers, and went on to talk about Shane saving Vince after Vince screwed up massively many years ago, which involved Shane and Vince cutting a deal where Shane would inherit something of note. Steph wanted to know whether or not it was true, Vince wanted to talk to Shane first, and then address Steph later on, but it became clear as day that Steph would find out that it was true, all of it. Shane lifted the ropes, and let Steph leave, and then Vince tried paying Shane off, but Shane wasn’t interested in the money, he was there for legacy. The difference between Shane and Steph? Shane has already created the fifth generation, having three sons. Vince asked what in the hell Shane wanted, and Shane wanted complete control of RAW. Vince felt like Shane was out there just to embarass Vince and Steph, but Vince agreed to hand over control to Shane, he gets RAW, but the restriction Vince had, was one match, one night, Shane faces the man of Vince’s choosing. If Shane wins, he gets control of RAW, if Vince wins, Vince gets the contents of Shane’s secret lock box. Shane said that wasn’t his first deal with the devil, agreeing to Vince’s challenge. Vince announced who his pick was, along with the location: WrestleMania, in Hell In A Cell, against The Undertaker.
At first, I genuinely thought it was Shane picks someone, Vince picks someone, stakes are the company is up for grabs…or at least RAW. I was over the moon when under that impression, but then it hit me that it’s not Vince picked Taker, so Shane gets to pick someone, it’s actually Shane vs Vince’s pick, which is when the moon turned out to be a balloon that was emphatically popped right in front of my eyes. Listen, I love the fact we heard Shane’s music after all this, I’m stoked to be seeing Shane at ‘Mania, but that isn’t exactly the match fans would have wanted to see as one of Taker’s final outings, especially on the WrestleMania stage, even more so in a Taker loss. My instant reaction was passing it off, saying that Shane isn’t going to be the one that wrestles most of the match, because I don’t believe he will, I think Shane will bring in help…a lot of it. What could make that match legendary? Shane bringing in one of his former employees, the face of the franchise, The Icon, Sting, to help secure a victory for Shane. There are other options of course, like John Cena appearing, The Wyatt Family, or if WWE wants to be really bold, why not have all the full timers step up, trying to help Shane win, because they don’t want Vince in charge anymore? It creates an interesting story line, one that pits Shane against The Authority at large, the full timers against the part timers, it could be one of the biggest moments in ‘Mania history. I’m not impressed with how ‘Mania is shaping up, but I’m trying to think positive about this, because who knows, it could turn out to be one of the sneakily great plans Vince has ever come up with.
Neville and the Lucha Dragons had a match against New Day, which was an impossibly unfair place to be in, because who cares about what happens immediately after hearing what we heard at the start of the show. The match was okay, but it was honestly difficult to pay all that much attention. It was good, it was enjoyable, Kofi Kingston got the win with Trouble in Paradise:
There’s really nothing more to say about it, because it had no weight behind it, there was no point in even having it, beyond New Day not interacting with League of Nations, and Kalisto not getting an opponent.
Roman Reigns was asked about his thoughts on Ambrose being attacked earlier in the night, with Reigns saying that Ambrose is stable, and they’re running tests on Ambrose as they spoke. JoJo noted that Ambrose’s condition must have been putting a damper on Reigns’ day, what with Reigns riding high after securing his spot in the main event of ‘Mania. Reigns said he was focused on ‘Mania, now that family isn’t involved, now that the corporate tricks have ended, now that it’s just Reigns vs Triple H. Reigns said it’ll come down to strength and heart, and Reigns likes his odds. The fact the crowd could be heard screaming, “we want Ambrose” during the whole thing, doesn’t spell positive things for Reigns’ positioning, but perhaps Detroit is more of a hardcore fanbase than anyone thought previously.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out to talk about what happened at Fastlane, that Lesnar had Reigns seconds away from tapping out, and Heyman assured us all that Reigns would have tapped out, considering Taker tapped out to Lesnar; but that Ambrose prevented Lesnar from going to the main event of ‘Mania. In retaliation, Lesnar attacked Ambrose before RAW, which Heyman said Lesnar prevented Ambrose from being at WrestleMania all together. Once again, when Heyman was at his worst during a promo, the mic got cut off, Heyman chucked the mic away, asked for another, and continued. Heyman said Lesnar needed an opponent for ‘Mania, urging anyone from anywhere in the world who wants to step up, to take a trip to see Ambrose in the hospital, and be convinced to step back, and forfeit the challenge. Just as Lesnar and Heyman were about to exit, the Titantron cut to a feed in the back, where an ambulance was pulling into the building; the person inside it? None other than Dean Ambrose:
Ambrose coming back to the arena, neckbrace still strapped on, and crawling like a wounded animal towards an awaiting Beast Incarnate, was a scene worth remembering. Once Ambrose got to the feet of Lesnar, instead of doing a single thing to Ambrose, Lesnar stepped over Ambrose with one foot, and stepped on Ambrose’s face with the other, and walked up the ramp with Heyman. Just as Lesnar was nearly in the back, Ambrose got a mic, stopping Lesnar in his tracks, saying that Ambrose wants Lesnar at ‘Mania, in a No Holds Barred Street Fight. Lesnar’s answer? He accepts:
I really wanted to see Lesnar and Bray Wyatt, but now seeing that this match will be a Street Fight, I have a little more faith that Ambrose could have a chance, because this was really the only way for Ambrose to come close to sniffing a win against the likes of Lesnar. The other thing that I’m oddly excited about in regards to this? The fact Lesnar will get busted open, and we’ll see another crazy outing from the Beast.
The Usos went out for a match against The Ascension, but before any action took place in the ring, the Dudley Boyz cut a promo up on the ramp, talking about being the most decorated Tag Team in WWE history, and that their legacy wouldn’t be defined by a piece of furniture, it’ll be defined by their accomplishments, which is why the WWE Universe will never see the Tables again. The Ascension took advantage of The Usos’ distraction, attacking the former Tag Team Champions from behind. It didn’t take long for The Usos to take control, doing so while the Dudley’s stood on the stage the entire time. After some Superkicks, The Usos won with a Splash from the top rope:
Chris Jericho talked about not liking AJ Styles from the moment AJ appeared, primarily because AJ called himself phenomenal, even though AJ hadn’t had a match in the WWE yet, so how could AJ call himself that? As AJ worked his way into WWE after debuting, AJ has steadily earned Jericho’s respect, and that Jericho felt like AJ had finally proven that AJ belongs in the WWE. Jericho added that AJ had proven that he’s not just good, not just great, that AJ is phenomenal. There were four men who were tired of hearing Jericho wax poetic about AJ in WWE: the Social Outcasts. The Social Outcasts tried to drive a wedge between Jericho and AJ, mentioning that Jericho tapped out to AJ at Fastlane, and Jericho gave AJ a ton of crap, so why would they be in the ring being all friendly? The Social Outcasts told Jericho and AJ to get out of their ring, because the Social Outcasts were the only team in the ring. In response, Jericho said they’re not a team, but maybe he and AJ should be, challenging the Social Outcasts to a match right then, right there —Heath Slater and Curtis Axel were the two to step up.– The Outcasts did their best to weasel in all four members, but AJ and Jericho utilized their newfound partnership to the best of their ability by AJ making sure the Outcasts stayed away from Jericho, as Jericho was locking in the Walls of Jericho on Axel:
I really like this team, but I absolutely do not want them to remain a team through ‘Mania, because I want, and need AJ to have a singles match at the big event.
Steph talked to Triple H backstage, hating that her brother ruined Steph’s special night, but Reigns said Shane may have ruined the beginning of their night, but he didn’t ruin the end of it. What did Triple H mean by that? Apparently they had some news for Reigns, and it wasn’t going to make the Roman Empire leader very happy. Steph quickly caught up with Reigns, telling Reigns that he had a match against Sheamus later in the night.
R-Truth was approached by Goldust, who brought with him a big chocolate cake that said, “I’m sorry.” Truth wasn’t hearing it, even when Goldust claimed to know Truth’s every move. It wasn’t hard to imagine what Truth would do with the cake, even if Truth tried to convince us that he was better than being so low that he’d smash the cake in Goldust’s face:
The Wyatt Family came out for their rematch against Big Show, Kane, and Ryback, with one big difference between Fastlane and RAW: Bray was in the match. It was good to see that Luke Harper was okay, because that shoulder looked like it got messed up, but apparently Harper is better at selling than any of us thought or he really did separate it, but got it put back in, and is beasting through it; with their rash of injuries though, I wouldn’t think WWE would risk something like that though. The other huge difference between Fastlane and RAW, was the Wyatt’s picking up the win:
It came after Ryback left the arena for no apparent reason, leaving Big Show in a heap, and Kane by himself. Ryback was asked shortly afterward why he left Kane to fend for himself, saying only that Ryback had nothing left to prove, not after winning at Fastlane. Ryback said he needed to stand by himself, to fight for himself, and stop being in tag teams, and finished it off by saying, “that glass ceiling, that brass ring? Break it, take it.” Ryback standing up for himself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s questionable in how it happened. What’s next for Ryback? It doesn’t seem like him against Bray is the journey, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Big Show or Kane challenge Ryback to a match for leaving them high and dry.
Sasha Banks faced Naomi –yes, again,– but Sasha came to the ring alone, while Naomi brought Tamina with her. Team B.A.D. ganged up on Sasha at every turn, until Becky Lynch came to the aid of Sasha, attacking Tamina, and causing Naomi to get distracted long enough for Sasha to hit the Bank Statement, and put Naomi away:
Charlotte came out wearing Bella inspired gear, and dabbed a tissue no her face to wipe away the tears from the moving scene that was unfolding in front of Charlotte. Charlotte compared the friendship between Sasha and Becky to that of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, only Sasha and Becky had cheaper hair dye. Charlotte said she was looking forward to seeing which of the two would show they wanted the ‘Mania match against Charlotte more, and that the next few weeks would be fun, for Charlotte. While Charlotte trying to fake out Sasha and Becky by screaming, “look out Becky!” to make Becky think Sasha would blindside the Lass Kicker was funny, I couldn’t stop thinking about how it’s going to end up being a Triple Threat, and wondering how that was going to play out. If they face each other over the next few weeks, with each one winning a match a piece, it would make them even, and thus no one is more deserving, but how would WWE get around Charlotte not saying, “whoever wins this final match, gets the Title shot, and there has to be a winner.”
Stephanie McMahon told Vince that Steph refused to report to Shane, but Vince defused the anger by telling Steph that Vince manipulated Shane, pitting Shane against The Undertaker means an almost surefire win for Vince, while also giving ‘Mania another main event type match.
Godfather was the next announced Hall of Fame inductee, with JBL saying the APA will induct the Godfather. I like the pick, but not right now, I feel like the Hall needed one more big name announced before we went into the fun picks, but with Owen Hart not able to go in because his widow doesn’t agree with letting WWE do so, WWE is still looking for someone else.
The main event between Reigns and Sheamus went as expected, with Sheamus controlling things early, Reigns trying to fight back, and the League doing their job to distract and interfere. Towards the end, Reigns hit a Spear on Sheamus on the outside, but the referee’s count wasn’t all Reigns needed to worry about, as Triple H showed up looking almost ring ready:
Reigns watched as Triple H came down the ramp, but had seen enough, sliding out of the ring, and attacking The Game, which led to the two big men attacking each other relentlessly:
Sad thing is, the last time we saw Reigns and Triple H go at it, was when the WWE Universe solidly got behind Reigns, but last night? Detroit cheered for Triple H, as The Game laid into Reigns. Seeing Triple H leave Reigns in a bloody mess was honestly pretty shocking, especially for RAW, but it does help their feud, even if it’s more in favor of Triple H:
This whole thing felt more like the go-home to ‘Mania than the first raw between Fastlane and ‘Mania, but that might mean we’ll get something even bigger four weeks from now.
RAW MVP: Shane McMahon
The best promo work of the night, the biggest shocker of the year, and the only reason RAW meant a thing last night.
RAW LVP: Roman Reigns
Not only did Reigns do nothing to help Ambrose, but Reigns got shown up by Triple H to close out the show. It’s going to take a lot to build Reigns back up after that beating, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s handled.
RAW featured the biggest shocking return in years, two major names teaming up for the first time, and multiple WrestleMania matches being set; but the matches that took place on RAW were mostly useless, meaningless time wasters, which brought down the impact the first segment of the show had. That said, I give RAW a:
+ Shane O-Mac returning was the biggest moment of 2016, so far
+ AJ Styles and Chris Jericho teaming up was fun
– The stipulation being Shane vs The Undertaker was a letdown, it should have been someone of Shane’s choosing
– Last night’s matches were pretty much all worthless, save AJ and Jericho
That’s The Lowedown on RAW this week, thanks for reading, and remember to watch more wrestling!
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The future is bright and full of suplexes!
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