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The Memorial Day edition of Raw features John Cena returning to Raw TV for the first time this year, plus more build-up to the Money in the Bank PPV. …
WWE Raw TV Report
May 30, 2016 – Episode #1,201
Live in Green Bay, Wis.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
APP ALERT: If you are reading the Report on our new App, visit the mobile version of the report by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK for the most frequent updates. VIP MEMBERS: Access your ad-free version by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK.
- Week 5 of Shane & Stephanie McMahon running Raw
- John Cena returns to Raw
- WWE World Hvt. champion Roman Reigns addresses Seth Rollins’s return
- MITB preview: Sami Zayn & Cesaro & Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens & Alberto Del Rio in a six-man tag match
- The Dudleys vs. Big Cass & Enzo Amore
- Natalya vs. Dana Brooke
- #Hatch Social Media teaser
- Money in the Bank build-up
Raw opened with the locker room assembled on the stage for a Memorial Day tribute. Lilian Garcia introduced a 10-bell salute and moment of silence. The center of the line-up on the stage was Roman Reigns, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon, Seth Rollins, and John Cena.
Raw faded to WWE’s annual video tribute to the U.S. military borrowing from former U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s 1982 Memorial Day speech.
Raw cut to the standard Raw video intro, with some new faces in the line-up. The video still ended with Roman Reigns. Back in the arena, full pyro and fireworks shot off. Michael Cole introduced the show from “Titletown,” Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Shane McMahon’s music played to kick things off. Shane bounced out on-stage and did the Shane Shuffle before strutting down to the ring. JBL and Byron Saxton talked up Shane having an extra pep in his step tonight.
Before Shane’s music even stopped, Stephanie McMahon’s music played to bring out his sister for a conversation. Shane held open the ropes for his sister as JBL predicted an epic meltdown. Steph wanted to know what big brother was doing out here without her.
“Welcome to Monday Night Raw!” Stephanie shouted before Shane could talk. Shane said they can do better than that, and it’s the same old Steph doing too much talking. Shane went for the cheap-pop shouting out to Green Bay, which Steph said was cheap.
Shane said it’s time to shake things up in WWE. He said the New Era has changed the landscape of WWE. He said July 19 will be momentous for WWE because Smackdown is going live, just like Raw, every Tuesday night on USA Network. He said that means better shows, matches, and opportunities for everyone.
But, this is Raw, Stephanie said, trying to up-stage Shane. She hyped the return of the one and only John Cena, which produced loud cheers and boos.
Suddenly, New Day’s music interrupted. Big E. shouted out to “Titletown” and led out the WWE tag champions. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E. danced on the stage before addressing the McMahons in the ring. Xavier said when New Day heard Smackdown was going live, they agreed it was a “wow” moment. Big said he was excited about bringing the power of positivity to Raw and Smackdown live. But, Xavier said, that excitement turned into paranoia.
Kofi introduced headlines covering Smackdown going live from Variety, Forbes, ESPN, New York Post, SI, and Yahoo. (WWE’s pause for social media/video enhancement pretty much killed the energy in the room.) Back live, New Day wanted to know about the brand extension. Specifically, what happens to New Day during the brand split.
Stephanie said they haven’t made that decision yet, and they will let them know in due time. Kofi accused Stephanie of dodging the question. Xavier said they couldn’t possibly think about breaking up New Day because they are the WWE … tag … team … champions.
Shane said there is nothing that is not on the table. Big E. told his teammates to hold the door. You mean there’s a chance that you might break up New Day? The crowd booed. Xavier said they can’t do this. Stephanie told Xavier to get hold of himself.
Big E. had another question. Who is running Smackdown live? Answer! Steph said they haven’t figured that one out, either. She said this will be a work in progress, but Shane said it will be good. Big E. said they sense a sibling rivalry over who’s running Raw and Smackdown.
[Q2] Big E. suggested a dance challenge. Stephanie wanted nothing to do with this, but Shane said he was game. New Day’s music played and Shane did some shuffling and dancing in the middle of the ring. Steph had a good laugh watching in the corner. Xavier shouted out to Shane O’Mac, who pointed around the arena.
Big E. wanted to see Stephanie dance to see if she could top Shane. Suddenly, the lights went out. The lights came back on for The Vaudevillains’s ring entrance. Cole announced that The Vaudevillains will face the tag champions next. Raw cut to break 18 minutes in.
[ Reax: Awful opening segment. Just awful. WWE made the authority figures look like they haven’t thought about anything for the brand split, they killed the energy with the Titantron break (again), New Day’s act talking to themselves in front of a live audience does not translate to an opening segment, and there was no question/hook for the book-end of the show. They didn’t even bother to announce a main event. Unbelievable. ]
[Commercial Break at 8:18]
1 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E. w/Xavier Woods) vs. THE VAUDEVILLIANS (AIDEN ENGLISH & SIMON GOTCH) — non-title match
The match was joined in progress with New Day wearing down Aiden English. Cole hyped this as a “big match” for the Vaudevillians. They presumably will get another Tag Title shot against New Day if they win this match, since there are no other contenders in the division? The Vaudes eventually ran interference behind the ref’s back, allowing them to isolate Kofi for a while. Kofi found himself on the floor heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:26]
[Q3] Back from break, Simon Gotch was working on Kofi in the ring. Gotch lost control, allowing Kofi to tag in Big E. as English tagged in. Belly-to-Big suplex on English, then a giant splash. Suddenly, there was shrieking in the crowd. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows charged the ringside area to smash Xavier, then take out Kofi. The bell sounded throwing out the match as the attack unfolded.
Back in the ring, The Vaudes attacked Big E. until Doc and Karl stared them down. Simon and Gotch bailed from the ring, then The Club scooped up Big E. and gave him the Magic Killer in the middle of the ring. Their music played as they stood tall in the ring while the New Day trio sold in and out of the ring.
WINNERS: Match thrown out at 8:53. Exit The Vaudevillains, enter The Club as next Tag Title challengers. Good shift for The Club giving them as well as the tag champions something important to work with.
[Commercial Break at 8:32]
Moments Ago: The Club attacked WWE tag champions New Day.
Backstage: The Club was shown walking down the hallway when Renee Young stopped them to ask what that was all about. Karl Anderson said it was to show they can inflict just as much punishment by themselves without A.J. Styles, who is going his own way. Luke Gallows said they have arrived and the Tag Division has been put on notice. Karl said they’re just getting started.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Saxton reacted to The Club’s declaration.
Last Week: Sheamus attacked Apollo Crews from behind in the backstage area, angry about Apollo promoting a “new era.” Sheamus was paranoid about being replaced, so he attacked Apollo.
Locker Room: Apollo Crews finished a set of push-ups, then he saw some boots in front of him. Crews jumped to his feet and put up his fists to fight as the camera revealed Big Show. You want to fight, too? Show calmed Crews down, saying he’s been around since the new era, the old era, the Attitude Era, the dinosaur era. Show said he likes Crews and he sees potential in him. (Show slipped in a WWE Network plug.) He told Apollo that Sheamus is in panic mode and he’s trying to maintain status quo. Show told Apollo to think of Sheamus as a bully. He said Sheamus picked on him because he thinks he’s going to back down. “So, the question is, Apollo, are you?” Show asked before walking off.
In-ring: Goldust was introduced on-stage. He then brought out R-Truth, who sang them down to the ring. Cole hyped Golden Truth on commentary next.
[Commercial Break at 8:41]
[Q4] Coming back from break, there was a movie spot with Masked Kane reading lines. It’s Warcraft on June 10.
Back from break, The Usos were introduced to the ring as Golden Truth talked on commentary. Truth thought that Byron Saxton was The Coach. Tyler Breeze’s music then produced Tyler and Fandango for tag action, complete with a music remix.
2 — TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO)
Uso started off with offense as the announcers tried to explain things to Truth, who misunderstood everything. Included was JBL asking Golden Truth why they’re a tag team if they haven’t won. Suddenly, the Usos scored a pinfall in the ring. So, Breeze and Fandango left ringside to confront Golden Truth to blame them for the loss. But, Goldust and Truth beat them up at ringside. Golden Truth returned to the ring to stand tall as Fandango and Breeze sold down at ringside.
WINNERS: Usos at 1:50.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Saxton argued about whether Golden Truth has a future. Cole then fed to a video review of Seth Rollins’s return at Extreme Rules to take out WWE World Hvt. champion Roman Reigns. It’s Reigns vs. Rollins at the Money in the Bank PPV in three weeks. Cole hyped Reigns speaking next.
[Commercial Break at 8:53]
Roman Reigns Promo
Back from break, WWE had a camera on the front row of fans. Suddenly, Roman Reigns’s music played and said fans started booing. The World champion emerged on-stage and walked down to the ring looking around the arena. The announcers talked up Reigns, who slowly entered the ring and looked around some more. Lots of boos and cheers. Reigns’s music stopped, producing audible boos and shrieks. Reigns stood in the middle of the ring for a while milking a reaction, which produced more boos and shrieks.
[Q5 — second hour] Reigns spoke. He said Seth Rollins sold out two years ago and broke up The Shield. Ever since then, he’s called himself The Man. Reigns asked how you can yourself The Man if you’re constantly running from The Guy? Reigns said he’s said it before that he’s not a good guy or bad guy (boos), but as long as he has the WWE Title, it means he’s The Guy. Reigns called out Seth to come prove himself.
After a pause, Seth Rollins’s music played to bring out Rollins for a face-to-face with Reigns. Rollins stopped on the stage, though, and acted as if he were going to stay there. He started walking again, then stopped on the entrance ramp. Rollins got pumped up, then started walking away. Rollins charged the ring, but stopped. Rollins told Reigns to hold on just a second.
Rollins walked back to the entrance stage and grabbed a mic. Rollins stood there with the mic for a good 30 seconds, then walked across the stage. Still nothing to say. Reigns sold annoyance back in the ring. Seth eventually dropped the mic and fast-walked down to ringside. But, he stopped and cackled to himself before walking back up the ramp. Rollins turned around and teased charging the ring, but he stopped and smirked. Rollins cracked his fingers as Reigns stood in the ring with arms folded across his chest.
Rollins eventually waved off Reigns and walked back up the ramp. Rollins grabbed the mic and contemplated talking as Reigns picked up his title belt in the ring. Rollins then waved everyone off and left to the back as Reigns stood annoyed in the ring. Reigns’s music played, then he talked some trash into the hard camera.
Suddenly, Seth Rollins came running down the entrance ramp. He stopped just before the ring when Reigns caught him running. Seth laughed at Reigns, then shouted that they’re doing things his way around here. Reigns’s music played again as Rollins disappeared to the back.
[ Reax: In a vacuum, it was fine heel work from Rollins being a jerk playing mind games with The Champ and ducking a fight. In the context of this show, it was too cute for its own good within the same hour on the same show as the opening segment. ]
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Saxton reacted to the “exchange,” then hyped MITB on WWE Network in three weeks.
Still to come: John Cena returns to Raw. Plus, Zayn & Ambrose & Cesaro vs. Jericho & Owens & Del Rio six-man tag MITB preview match.
Going to break, a spot for WWE’s next video game aired. It was the #Hatch social media deal, centered on Goldberg as a playable character in the next game. It’s how WWE and 2K Sports introduce each year’s new game with a social media teaser, so this was expected.
[Commercial Break at 9:08]
In-ring: Lana was standing by to introduce the greatest U.S. champion of all-time, Rusev. Rusev emerged on-stage as Saxton noted Rusev was undefeated for an entire year the last time he was U.S. champion. Suddenly, Zack Ryder’s music played to produce Ryder dressed in bright-green gear and a fancy ring jacket. In an inset promo, Ryder said he hopes for a Memorial Day Miracle against Rusev tonight.
3 — U.S. champion RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. ZACK RYDER — non-title match
Rusev dominated early on, but Ryder got knees up to block a corner charge. Ryder followed with the Broski Boot in the corner. He covered Rusev, who kicked out at one. Ryder tried to follow with the Rough Ryder, but Rusev brushed him aside and immediately slapped on The Accolade. Rusev leaned back to bend Ryder backwards with the new variation of his finisher, forcing a quick tap-out.
WINNER: Rusev via submission at 2:32.
[Q6] Post-match, Rusev angrily took the mic. Rusev said Zack Ryder is just like every other American – you think you are entitled to everything even after losing everything. Rusev said he is what America should be about. “I am a true American hero,” he declared. Rusev said he is better than you “cheese-gobbling, cheese, whatever you call yourselves these days.”
Suddenly, Titus O’Neil’s music played. Titus walked out with the Memorial Day promo responding to Rusev insulting Americans. Titus said Great Americans fight for what they believe in. He said he doesn’t think Rusev is a Bulgarian Brute, but a Bulgarian … Blowhard. Rusev sold not understanding the insult, then Titus smashed Rusev in the face. Rusev fell to the floor and talked trash from the floor as Titus yelled at him from the ring. Rusev shook off Titus’s trash talk and held up the U.S. Title belt to indicate he’s the champion.
Announcers: Cole and Co. switched gears to Charlotte dumping her dad Ric Flair last week on Raw. Cole previewed a flashback in the next segment.
[Commercial Break at 9:22]
Raw returned with The Shining Stars standing in front of a green screen with a beautiful sunset in the background. Primo and Epico talked about the fans begging them to bring life and color back to WWE. Instead, they’re inviting people to come visit them in Puerto Rico. So, have they been sent to IWA Puerto Rico? What’s the deal here?
Announcers: Cole fed to a video review of last week’s segment where Women’s champion Charlotte sent Ric Flair packing. WWE showed various wrestlers reacting to Charlotte’s actions. It was a weird deal for the babyface women’s wrestlers Becky Lynch and Natalya to suddenly be sympathetic to Ric since he cost them Women’s Titles over and over.
Back to the announcers, where JBL said he thought it was disgraceful. He said a week later, he feels the same way. Cole introduced some tweets from fans playing up the storyline.
[Q7] Earlier today, Stephanie McMahon had something to say to Charlotte, who was shown walking around acting full of herself. Steph said she made an impact all right, but she is embarrassed to have her as Women’s champion. She called Charlotte a spoiled, self-important brat. “Coming from you…” Charlotte tried to say, but Steph shouted over her that she is not a champion, but a waste of talent. Steph left Charlotte to contemplate her harsh words.
So… it’s Natalya vs. Dana Brooke (with Charlotte) in a Warcraft-sponsored match still to come.
[ So, the faces are siding with the former heel manager who cost them title match after title match, while the heel authority figure masquerading as a nice person is standing up to the heel champion. Makes your head spin trying to get to a Charlotte vs. Stephanie match. ]
[Commercial Break at 9:32]
Back from break, WWE ran a spot for John Cena’s WWE Network collection. Included were classic clips of old-school Cena, Cena against Kurt Angle, and more Cena.
In-ring: Enzo Amore’s music played to bring out Enzo and Big Cass for tag action. Cole plugged the duo on ESPNews SportsCenter tomorrow night with The Coach. Enzo walked and talked down to the ring about who he and Big Cass are.
Once in the ring, Enzo got fired up noting they are in Green Bay, so it is only right that they keep it G like a Packers helmet tonight. He then cut a promo on The Dudleys. Enzo said they’re going to make them curl up in this ring like a cheese noodle.
Big Cass vowed to serve size 16 boot sandwiches with onions, pickles, and all the fixings. Enzo wanted to know what kind of cheese? “American, Swiss, Colby Jack, sharp Cheddar (how ya doin’?), mild cheddar (hyd?), medium cheddar, aged cheddar, blue cheese, and even fromunda cheese.” They looked at each other wondering if they could say that. Cass said there’s only way to describe The Dudleys tonight … S-A-W-F-T! Out came The Dudleys for the tag match.
4 — THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON DUDLEY) vs. ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS
Bubba Ray wanted to fight as soon as the bell sounded. Big Cass used that against him to take control early on. Cass and Enzo doubled up on the Dudleys, knocking them out of the ring heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:43]
[Q8] Back from break, the Dudleys were working on the previously-concussed Enzo. Bubba Ray landed a series of elbow smashes to Enzo, who kicked out before three. Bubba then clubbed Enzo across the face. Enzo tried to fight back, but the Dudleys cut him off. Enzo really made the Dudleys work to retain control of the match. Meanwhile, Cole talked about the brand split potentially leading to tag teams being broken up.
The Dudleys continued to work on Enzo, while also mocking Enzo’s high-energy mannerisms. Enzo finally answered with a dropkick to Bubba’s mouth. Rally clap for Enzo, who dove across the ring to tag in Big Cass. Hard clothesline, then a corner splash to Devon. Leaping elbow drop to Devon, then an elbow to Bubba.
Suddenly, the Dudleys cut off Big Cass and nailed a double-team hangman’s neckbreaker for a close two count. Bubba left the ring and wanted to climb to the top. Maybe not a good idea. Cass caught him and press-slammed him down to the mat. Cass then big-booted Devon in the mouth before tagging in Enzo. The Rocket Launcher knocked out Devon, resulting in a three count.
WINNERS: Enzo & Big Cass at 9:18. WWE continues to protect Big Cass and build up the tag team unit. Good work from all involved establishing a new act.
Locker Room: Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Dean Ambrose tried to get on the same page about facing Kevin Owens, Alberto Del Rio, and Chris Jericho tonight. Zayn told them not to trust Owens. “Right, he’s Canadian,” Ambrose said. Zayn was like, “Okaaay.” Ambrose said Jericho’s Canadian, too. Cesaro noted he has a history of sound judgment being Swiss. Zayn took exception to a third Canadian reference from Ambrose. “You know I’m Canadian, right?” Zayn asked. Ambrose stared at him like he had two heads. “Oh, that explains so much!” Ambrose said. Ambrose and Cesaro walked off, leaving Zayn to figure out what was going on. (Psst, WWE has unresolved issues with Canada.)
Up Next: John Cena returns.
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
John Cena Returns
Back from break, WWE showed fans on the front row. John Cena’s music played and they stood still. Out came John Cena back on Raw for the first time this year. Cena, sporting Take 2 of his new red, white, and blue merchandise get-up, came out on-stage with arms wide open saying, “I’m back!” Cena pulled out a red towel, displayed it to the crowd, and stormed the ring.
Cena hit the ring and sold soaking up the moment back in the ring on Raw. Or, being overwhelmed by Memorial Day. Cena removed his cap to sell being overwhelmed by the moment, then he played to the hard camera. Cena slowly walked around the ring, then removed his cap and looked down. Cena waited to speak after his fans wore themselves out and anti-Cena fans already wore themselves out booing Reigns.
Cena started with a military speech, since it’s Memorial Day. “U-S-A” chant from the crowd. Some boos for Cena being heavy-handed in classic Cena form.
[Q9 — third hour] Cena said many brave souls have fallen to preserve their freedom. Cena said he is honored to be back in the ring on this day, honoring those who paid the ultimate price to keep their liberty intact. Cena slowly walked around the ring to “U-S-A” chants.
Cena said liberty is freedom, and freedom is their pulse. He said it’s what drives them to make their own choices and plant these two feet in the ring and say loud and proud, “I am back on Monday Night Raw!”
But, now, that poses a whole new question. The question now is whether he still belongs here. He said in his absence, a New Era has arrived. Which means new names, new faces, and every one of those names and faces are wondering the same thing if his best days are behind him. So, let’s get real. New era, old era, golden era, the only era happening is in judgment from the new faces and new faces who think he’s just going to roll over and go away.
Suddenly, A.J. Styles’s music played. It’s the WWE Franchise vs. TNA Franchise. Styles marched down to the ring as Cole hyped a big moment. The pop wasn’t there initially, though. Cena and Styles stood opposite each other sharing a moment as the crowd picked up an “A-J-Styles” chant. There were some boos, then a dueling chant of “A-J-Styles / Let’s Go Cena.”
Cena jumped up and down selling excitement over the moment as Styles continued to stand in front of him smiling at sharing the ring with WWE’s Franchise. The dueling chant kept going, building momentum to get the desired effect. Styles and Cena shared a smile letting the chant keep going.
“John Cena,” Styles opened his promo. “I have been waiting for this moment for a long time.” Cena said it sounds like everyone else has, too. Styles said he will say this – Cen ahas kind of a bad rep, and he doesn’t really understand it. He was told Cena was the first man here and the last man to leave. Styles endorsed Cena’s work for the company.
Styles continued that they’ve been in two different worlds, but here they are in the same ring. He said the rest of the locker room respects Cena. And, he wanted to be one of the first ones out here to welcome him back. Styles extended his hand, but Cena didn’t shake. They met back in the middle and Cena shook this time.
Suddenly, The Club’s music played to produce Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. Gallows called out to A.J. from the stage that they agreed to go their separate ways, and now it looks like the way A.J. is going is sucking up to John Cena. Anderson said he thought that was beneath Styles, but apparently not.
Anderson said they are not here to kiss ass, “we’re here to kick it.” And, A.J. Styles, that includes you. Anderson and Gallows dropped their mics, then Styles removed his t-shirt ready to fight. Cena tossed his shirt, too, ready to fight with Styles.
But, suddenly Styles punched Cena in the face. The beat down was on as the crowd freaked out. “For the love of God, A.J. Styles just punched John Cena in the face!” Cole shouted.
Styles lit up Cena as Anderson and Gallows egged him on. Cena took a big boot from Gallows. The beat down continued. Cole wanted to know what happened to A.J. Styles since he came to WWE. Styles sneered down at Cena, then stood tall with Karl and Doc. Styles threw up the Too Sweet hand signal, then posed together over Cena. “That’s what we came to do!” Anderson shouted as Styles looked down at Cena with disdain.
The trio left the ring, but Styles suddenly stormed back into the ring to attack Cena some more. “That’s the A.J. I love!” Anderson shouted. The Club left the ring as Cena continued to sell in the ring. Styles sold being done with his attack, but he stormed back into the ring to smash Cena some more. Styles punched and punched away at Cena. Cole said this goes deeper than Styles making a statement. Styles smacked the ring and left the ring with a heelish smile. “I’m A.J. Styles!” Styles shouted.
Suddenly, refs stormed past The Club to tend to Cena in the ring. Gallows and Anderson shouted some trash talk behind Styles, who suddenly charged the ring again. Styles pounded away on Cena some more as refs tried to pull him off. Anderson and Gallows pulled Styles away as Cena sold being knocked out. “I’m doing the world a favor,” Styles shouted from the entrance ramp as Cena sold in the ring. Raw faded to break with Styles looking crazy and Cena selling the effects in the ring.
[ Reax: Wow. What a heel turn to kickstart a mega Cena vs. Styles program. That turned a bad Raw into a good Raw. ]
[Q10] [Commercial Break at 10:16]
Moments Ago: A.J. Styles prepared to fight his old teammates The Club when he suddenly turned on John Cena and unmercifully beat him down. JBL said he appreciates a good beat down, but that was uncalled for after the message from Cena on Memorial Day.
5 — DANA BROOKE vs. NATALYA
Natalya was in the ring back from break for what was essentially a comedown segment in the third hour. Dana Brooke, then Women’s champion Charlotte were out next. Dana quickly and oddly beat Natalya in 90 seconds. Charlotte and Natalya then beat down Natalya after the match until Becky Lynch made the save. Charlotte and Dana hopped over the guardrail to get some distance from the face duo.
WINNER: Dana Brooke at 1:27. So, Natalya’s out of the title picture now? Otherwise, the result doesn’t really mean anything. And, it’s weird Dana beat Natalya in 90 seconds when Charlotte has required 10-plus minutes, interference, crooked refs, costumes, and previously-crooked-authority-figures to beat her in multiple matches. The women’s division is all over the place right now.
Backstage: JoJo brought in Dolph Ziggler, who is supposed to have a “technical wrestling match” tonight, which has not been promoted during the show. First, JoJo asked for a video review of Ziggler’s feud with Baron Corbin. Ziggler said Corbin has beaten him, but he hasn’t gotten the best of him. Ziggler said he’s going to show off his amateur wrestling skills, then he plugged Chris Jericho’s 1,004 holds promo on WWE Network. He said he can list all 1,005 of his holds, but instead he’s going to show the world what he’s capable of.
[Commercial Break at 10:26]
[Q11] Baron Corbin was in the ring back from break. They must be short on time. Dolph Ziggler was introduced next sporting a “Kent State Wrestling” zip-up jacket. Ziggler stormed the ring ready to fight or scrap. WWE showed a class photo of Ziggler’s amateur wrestling team at Kent State.
6 — DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BARON CORBIN
The bell sounded, then Ziggler pulled out headgear and a mouthpiece. Ziggler got down in an amateur wrestling stance, then kicked Corbin in the nuts. The ref waved his arms wildly in the air, then he called for the bell. Ziggler threw down his headgear, then left the ring. Ziggler said into the mic that he was disqualified, but Corbin is still a loser. WWE replayed the 34-second match, then cut back to Corbin holding his groin.
WINNER: Corbin via DQ at 0:34. I had Corbin big-booting Ziggler to beat him in five seconds after Ziggler talked about his 1,005 holds (since WWE has positioned Ziggler as a door-mat character), but they went the other way with Ziggler acting heelish to “fight fire with fire.” They’re definitely running against the clock with back-to-back matches totaling two minutes.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Back from break, WWE showed the Green Bay Packers locker room to a pop.
Video: Maryse introduced a Skype-in from IC champion The Miz. Miz was in a claimed “luxurious suite” preparing to film “Marine 5.” He said whether in the ring or out of the ring, he is in high demand. Miz held up the IC Title belt, saying this is his baby. Now, he needs to get some rest before the first day of shooting tomorrow. Miz vowed to talk to the public each and every week he’s out here filming the movie. (And now the IC Title is gone from TV for a while.)
Locker Room: Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio argued about who should start the six-man tag tonight. Chris Jericho got tired of listening to them argue, then Owens said he thought they were on the same page with a cool thing going. Jericho said he’s starting to bug him, then they argued. Del Rio told them to shut up and follow his lead. Jericho said he invented MITB, so he should start the match. He knows there is tension because they’re against each other in Money in the Bank, but they need to make sure the trio of Zayn, Cesaro, and especially that stupid Ambrose don’t make it to Money in the Bank. Jericho told Owens to “watch it.” “What’s ‘it?'” Just watch “it,” Jericho said. They agreed to disagree.
[Commercial Break at 10:40]
Smackdown plug: Women’s champion Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch. It’s apparently non-title. Plus, The Club is on Smackdown this Thursday. Cole plugged a promo explaining why they attacked John Cena.
Graphic: Six of seven men have qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match. No mention of how they will determine the seventh participant.
[Q12] In-ring: Dean Ambrose was introduced to the ring first for the main event six-man tag. Cesaro, then Sami Zayn were out next for the face trio. Alberto Del Rio, then Kevin Owens, then Chris Jericho made individual entrances for the heel trio. Meanwhile, Cole plugged Raw in Oklahoma City next Monday on Raw. He wondered aloud if OKC will be ready for Raw and the Gift of Jericho. Well, might depend on how Game 7 goes tonight. Jericho slowly, slowly walked down to ringside before the opening bell sounded. Crooked ref Charles Robinson has the call.
7 — CESARO & SAMI ZAYN & DEAN AMBROSE vs. CHRIS JERICHO & KEVIN OWENS & ALBERTO DEL RIO — six-man tag match
Cesaro started against Del Rio, who took the Uppercut Train. Cesaro went nuts on Owens and Jericho, too. Cesaro stood tall in the ring before teasing the Big Swing to Del Rio. But, Del Rio grabbed the bottom rope to block. Del Rio then flung Cesaro to the floor, where Owens and Jericho were waiting to pound Cesaro.
Back in the ring, Del Rio delivered a double axehandle smash to Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro fought back against Jericho with half-power European Uppercuts, but Jericho cut him off with a dropkick. “Stupid idiot” chant from the crowd directed at Jericho. The crowd followed with a “We want thumbtacks” chant, obviously delirious three hours deep into the TV taping.
Cesaro finally tagged in Sami Zayn, who came in hot on Del Rio with strikes and a flying cross-body. Zayn then charged the corner with big boot, but Del Rio slipped out of the ring. Del Rio pushed Kevin Owens, who pushed him back. Jericho ended up getting thrown to the floor at their feet. Suddenly, Zayn came flying at all three men with a big splash. Zayn, Ambrose, and Cesaro stood tall in the ring heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:54]
Back from break, Owens and Zayn resumed their battles. Owens slammed Zayn hard to the mat, then delivered a running senton splash to the mid-section. Owens kicked Zayn hard in the back, then tagged in Del Rio. Del Rio promptly hung Zayn upside down in the corner and kicked him hard in the gut. Zayn’s really getting it here. Jericho then tagged in and choked Zayn in the ropes. “Stupid idiot” chant from the crowd, which Jericho soaked up.
[Q13 — over-run] Jericho promptly airballed an attack against the ropes, giving Zayn an opening. But, Jericho grabbed Zayn before he could make a tag. Jericho lit him up, but Zayn ducked a clothesline and nailed the Blue Thunder Bomb. Zayn made a desperation tag to Ambrose.
Ambrose came in hot with offense on Jericho, continuing their feud. Ambrose corner-clotheslined Jericho into a running bulldog for a two count. Ambrose teased Dirty Deeds, but Jericho blocked. Jericho tried the Lionsault, but Ambrose got his knees up. Ambrose then clotheslined Jericho over the top rope to the floor. Ambrose wanted a suicide dive, and he connected. Ambrose then smashed Owens into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Ambrose delivered a flying clothesline to Jericho, but Del Rio broke up a pin attempt. So, Ambrose tossed him to the outside. Rebound Lariat from Ambrose, but Jericho intercepted with a Codebreaker. Owens tagged himself in, though, and only got a two count. Jericho pushed Owens for screwing things up. Owens yelled back that his stupid move didn’t work.
Cesaro took advantage by smashing Owens, then putting Jericho in the Big Swing, but Del Rio kicked Cesaro in the head. But, Zayn smashed Del Rio with the Helluva Kick. But, Owens superkicked Zayn. But, Ambrose smashed Owens with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose pinned Owens for the win, reinforcing Dean as the fictional favorite to win MITB in three weeks.
Post-match, Ambrose, Cesaro, and Zayn stood tall in the ring. All three looked up at the MITB briefcase hanging above the ring, shrugging their shoulders to say it’s on now. Raw abruptly signed off six minutes past the top of the hour without much time allotted for the dust to settle after the main event.
WINNERS: Team Ambrose at 17:53. Interesting that Owens took the fall in this match. Overall, a strong main event, even if it felt a bit like a house show exhibition match since nothing tangible was on the line. It reinforces what WWE is doing now – putting their top segment at the end of the second hour/beginning of the third hour and putting their #2 or 3 segment at the end of the long show after viewers have “left the party.”
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was an off-night for WWE, save for the Styles-Cena segment, the main event, and CassEnzo-Dudleys. The rest of the show seemed like the left-overs from Creative meetings trying to figure out the brand split in two months.
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