SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
After the Memorial Day edition of Raw, A.J. Styles follows up on why he turned on John Cena during Cena’s big return appearance, plus more build-up to Money in the Bank. …
WWE Raw TV Report
June 6, 2016 – Episode #1,202
Live in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Week 6 of Shane & Stephanie McMahon running Raw
- A.J. Styles explains turning on John Cena last week
- WWE tag champions New Day vs. The Club six-man tag match
- Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains
- Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins history video package
- WWE teasing former Smackdown GM backstage at Raw to hype the upcoming Draft
- Money in the Bank build-up
Raw opened with Dean Ambrose on the way to the ring for an undisclosed reason. Interesting, change-of-pace start to Raw. Michael Cole said Ambrose was walking into a big scene. WWE showed the other five MITB participants standing on ladders in the ring.
Lilian Garcia introduced Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, and now Ambrose. Owens cut her off, saying they’re all big stars. Well, except for Sami. Owens said they will all be more famous after MITB because he’s going to win the briefcase and everyone will in his shadow on the posters, blu-ray, etc.
Dean Ambrose cut him off, sounding like he just woke up from a nap. Ambrose said they’re all out here to fight, right? So, why are you still talking? Owens said he wasn’t done. He said he will beat everyone. Zayn replied that Owens is acting like he’s going to win, but he’s not a fighting champion. Ambrose said he gets it that they’re different – Zayn is a fighting champion and Owens doesn’t want to fight. Can we just fight? He’ll fight a polar bear, anyone, can we just fight?
Alberto Del Rio cut them off, running down each opponent as a dog covered in fleas or a paper boy. Cesaro said he also speaks Spanish, then Chris Jericho cut him off sitting on top of his ladder with his legs crossed. Jericho said this is his match and he created it. Cesaro asked why he’s never won MITB if this is his match. Oohs from the crowd. Jericho claimed to have won one. No, you haven’t. Which one? First one. Sixth one. Where was the sixth one? Apple. Big Apple. Okay, it was Stupid-idiot-ville. “So, your hometown?” Cesaro replied. “Stupid idiot!” chant from the crowd interrupted six dudes standing on ladders talking to each other.
Jericho got back on track that he wants everyone to relax on their ladders and join everyone in appreciating the gift of Jericho. Everyone got down, except for Ambrose, who climbed up Jericho’s ladder and punched him in the face. And, the fight was on. Big ol’ scrap in and out of the ring.
Suddenly, Teddy Long’s music played. JBL flipped out at the sight of former Smackdown GM Teddy Long out on-stage to settle things down. Long said he got the word that Smackdown is going live on Tuesdays, so he is back to take the longest-running wrestling, episodic show — oops. Long repeated himself, trying to Take 2 on a live show.
Jericho cut him off that he doesn’t even work here anymore. Long said if this were Smackdown, he would make a No DQ match, fatal four-way match, triple threat man, six-pack Iron Man Challenge match. And, playas, there must be a winner. The crowd didn’t know what to do with that.
Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon walked out on-stage. Stephanie put her arm around Teddy’s shoulder and said he didn’t make any sense just now. Long said baby girl, it’s no secret Smackdown is going live and he wants to run the show. You feel me? Stephanie said she appreciates her initiative trying to audition for the role. But, they haven’t made any decisions on who is going to be running live Smackdowns.
Meanwhile, six dudes who were on ladders just hung out at ringside.
Long wanted to talk to Shane McMahon. Stephanie said Shane is not here tonight. (Boos) She said Shane is on vacation. Therefore, Teddy needs to get to stepping. Long started to dance, but Steph said don’t play his music.
As for the guys down at ringside, Stephanie booked them in singles matches tonight. She put Zayn against Del Rio, Ambrose against Kevin Owens, and Cesaro against Jericho. She said Cesaro vs. Jericho starts right now. Stephanie asked for Teddy’s music, so she did some awkward dancing on the stage.
Down at ringside, Jericho and Owens yelled at each other. Meanwhile, Zayn and Ambrose talked amongst themselves.
[Reax: Props for trying to start Raw with a different look, feel, and cast, but, that was way over-scripted and took viewers of the moment with six guys just standing around ringside by the end of the bit. It just made the whole thing feel so fake. Two weeks in a row WWE has tried to shoehorn the “we don’t have any answers” Brand Split/Draft situation in the opening segment.]
[Commercial Break at 8:13] […Q2]
[Q2…] The opening match was joined in-progress back from break.
1 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. CESARO
The match quickly spilled to the floor. Cesaro tried to splash Jericho back in the ring, but Jericho intercepted with a mid-air dropkick. Jericho covered for a two count as Raw cut to a break.
[Commercial Break at 8:20]
Back from break, Cesaro and Jericho went back-and-forth countering each other. Cesaro went for a springboard uppercut, but Jericho intercepted with the Codebreaker. But, Cesaro rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. Jericho exerted a lot of energy rolling Cesaro back into the ring, but Cesaro kicked out before three.
Cesaro came back with his super-impressive deadlift suplex, prompting JBL to compare his strength to Danny Hodge or Jack Brisco. Both men needed a breather at 10:30. They came to their feet trading forearms. Cesaro then smashed him with a lariat. He wanted the Neutralizer, but Jericho blocked and rolled through into an attempted Walls of Jericho.
Cesaro blocked the Walls, then impressively transitioned to the Big Swing. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 revolutions. And right into the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Jericho fought, but had to tap out. The announcers immediately hyped a big career win for Cesaro defeating Chris Jericho in singles action.
WINNER: Cesaro via submission at 12:01. They were in a tough spot immediately following the crowd-deadening opening segment, but the final three minutes were really strong to re-engage the crowd. Two pros in the ring.
[Q3] Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were shown on-camera to hype WWE building “perhaps the greatest MITB PPV line-up ever.” Cole flashed back to last week when A.J. Styles welcomed John Cena back to WWE… then turned on him and delivered a beat down. Cole hyped Cena vs. Styles official for MITB.
Still to come: WWE tag champions New Day vs. The Club in a six-man tag match.
Up Next: Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins WWE History revisited.
[Commercial Break at 8:33]
Video Tribute: Muhammad Ali. WWE flashed through tweets from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H, Bret Hart, and Shane McMahon remembering Ali. Down at ringside, JBL and Saxton reflected on Ali. Cole said Ali was part of some of the biggest fights in history. He said it feels like Seth Rollins challenging Roman Reigns at MITB. First, perspective from Rollins.
MITB hype video Part 1: Seth Rollins talked about wanting to be the best of all-time. WWE flashed back to Survivor Series 2012 when The Shield hit the scene and wreaked havoc. Then, Rollins turned on Reigns and Dean Ambrose to break up The Shield. Rollins said he doesn’t dislike Reigns, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time where he wanted to be. Then, as WWE champion, Rollins landed wrong on his knee and everything he worked for was gone. They showed Rollins sitting in the skybox at WrestleMania 32 watching “his WrestleMania” go by. They showed Rollins watching Reigns win the WWE Title from the stadium. Rollins said Reigns is just a placeholder, not the real champion. Rollins vowed to win back the title at MITB.
[ Reax: Not a face video, not a heel video, just a hype video that was somewhat sympathetic towards Rollins, but with enough lines from Rollins to make him still heelish. WWE is not going with 100 percent heel opposition to Reigns in his first three PPV matches since WrestleMania. This isn’t John Cena opposite the likes of JBL and Great Khali establishing Cena as a clear hero. Reigns’s opponents are straddling the middle of the ledger. ]
In-ring: Lana was standing by in the ring after the Rollins video concluded. Lana asked America to stand up and welcome a true American hero, the current and all-time greatest U.S. champion Rusev. Cole hyped another round of Rusev vs. Jack Swagger next. (This time on Swagger’s home turf in Oklahoma.)
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]
Back from break, Titus O’Neil’s music was playing. Titus was on commentary with Cole, JBL, and Saxton to talk about his feud with Rusev, who glared down at Titus. Jack Swagger’s music played to produce Oklahoma’s home-state hero. Swagger came out on-stage firing up the crowd. Swagger played to the crowd before the bell sounded.
2 — U.S. champion RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. JACK SWAGGER — non-title match
Rusev out-wrestled Swagger early on, but Swagger fought back with right hands. Meanwhile, Titus talked about why he wants to be champion. JBL wanted to know what’s been holding him back. Titus replied that he’s been in a tag team for the majority of his WWE run. Suddenly, Swagger put Rusev in the Patriot lock, but Rusev escaped and limped ou tof the ring.
Swagger followed to the floor and the two bulls charged each other down at ringside. Huge collision right in front of the announcers, nearly sending Cole out of his chair. The two men fought down at ringside as the ref reached seven, then eight, Rusev shoved Swagger into Titus at nine, and Rusev jumped back into the ring just before ten. Swagger was counted out.
Post-match, Swagger hit the ring to keep fighting Rusev. Titus joined him and they knocked Rusev out of the ring. “We the People!” Titus and Swagger shouted together toward their common enemy, Rusev. The U.S. champ clutched his title belt as Lana mean-mugged back into the ring.
WINNER: Rusev via count-out at 3:37.
MITB hype: Cole hyped Cena vs. Styles at MITB – a match they thought they would never see. He said Cena speaks next.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
John Cena-A.J. Styles
Back from break, WWE paused before John Cena’s music played to bring out Cena back on Raw for the second week. Cena shouted to the on-stage cameraman that it’s a good group here tonight. He said he feels good tonight and he’s brushing off last week.
Cena stormed the ring and played to the crowd as Cole recapped the Cena-Styles business from last week.
[Q5 — second hour] John Cena started his promo by saying they had anticipation, excitement, and energy last week week on Raw when he and A.J. Styles met in the middle of the ring for the first time. He said it was a once-in-a-generation moment.
Cena said usually there’s an accompanying “Let’s Go Cena / Cena Sucks” chant, which he conducted for a few moments. But, last week, they had for over two minutes was an entire arena chanting “Let’s Go Cena / A-J-Styles.” He conducted that chant, too, producing high-pitched former and deep-voiced latter. Cena said he’s only had that type of electricity with one other man – The Rock. He said Rock and Styles have had different career paths, but they are similar.
Cena said a situation like Cena and Styles in the same ring was something a lot of people thought would never happen. He said for 15 years, people were resigned to just wonder “what if?” So, he wants an answer from Styles on why he did what he did last week. Cena asked for Ah-Jay-Styles to come on down.
Cue the beat. Styles came out on-stage with Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. Styles flashed his new heel persona selling annoyance with Cena. He also waited out a lengthy “A-J Styles / Let’s Go Cena” chant. Cena spoke first that he wanted to know why Styles did what he did.
“Because I had a plan,” Styles said. He said his plan was to get Cena in the ring, look him in the eyes, and punch him in the face. Styles said Cena is great at what he does. His morning shows, his late-night shows, his movies – well, not his leading roles, but his cameos are good. Styles said he insults him every time that bell rings.
Styles said he knows it burns him inside that even on his best day, “you can’t beat me!” (with the handwave). Styles said the reason why Cena doesn’t want to be in the ring with him is because he would wrestle circles around him. Cena said that’s the best he can do after 15 years of waiting to face him. He said that’s the same thing he’s heard from every other opponent he’s matched up with.
Cena said he’s about to hit Styles with some truth. He said here’s a man who spent two decades trying to make it to the grandest stage, was a surprise Royal Rumble entrant and did nothing, then failed twice at winning the WWE Title. So, instead of being a real man shaking it up, he started to second-guess himself. Cena said Styles got to WWE and is now a bust. So, he looked to the one guy (Cena) who can save his career. Cena called him desperate.
Cena said he wants to make one thing clear. He couldn’t get past Roman Reigns, and now he wants to face John Cena? “You do not know who you’re dealing with!” Cena said. Cena did something off-camera that popped the crowd, prompting Styles to smirk and wait to reply.
Styles said he’s been all over the world. He said desperate is someone who can’t go anywhere else and be successful. You want to talk about selling out Tokyo, Japan? “I could do that again in a second!” Styles said with fire in his voice. Styles said the most dangerous man is someone who has nothing to lose. Cena replied that it applies to him, too, because he runs this place.
Cena wanted to know why Styles is ducking the question – why did you sneak-attack me? Styles said Doc and Karl are his insurance policy because everyone knows that once you go through Cena, it’s time to pull out the shovels. But, this is different. He said Cena has no idea who he’s dealing with.
Styles threw down the mic and marched down to ringside with Gallows and Anderson. Cena stood his ground in the ring as The Club members hit the ring apron and surrounded Cena. Styles threw up the Bullet Club hand signal, then New Day suddenly hit the ring to have Cena’s back. Styles smacked the ringpost in frustration as The Club regrouped down at ringside. The seven men yelled back and forth, then Cena’s music played. Cena did a curtain call with New Day before Cole hyped New Day vs. The Club still to come tonight.
[ Reax: The unmistakable passion and energy from Styles and Cena carried the segment, continuing to set up a big-time match in two weeks. It’s just the dog-whistling about Cena’s opponents “being buried” that detracted from the segment. Plus, there’s the over-arching issue of WWE “educating their audience” that there is no world outside of WWE, so there is no context to Styles making a name for himself somewhere else. The announcers reference New Japan once in a while, but it’s still a vague world somewhere outside of WWE to the majority of the audience. ]
[Commercial Break at 9:13] […Q6]
[Q6…] Video Replay: Enzo Amore was concussed the last time Enzo and Big Cass faced The Vaudevillains at Payback on May 1.
In-ring: The Vaudevillains were standing by in the ring for a video review of what happened at Payback. Enzo’s music then played to bring out Enzo and Big Cass to a strong reaction. Enzo did the pre-match verbal routine, then Cass rhymed about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, like a certified G. Enzo said they fought them at Payback … but he doesn’t remember that. He told the Vaudevillains they’ll bounce their heads on the mat and Cass vowed to big-league chew them and spit them out, proving there is only one way to describe them – S-A-W-F-T! That was a long car drive to get to the match.
3 — ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS (SIMON GOTCH & AIDEN ENGLISH)
Cole said the two teams came from NXT, which is having “NXT Takeover: The End” on Wednesday. Cole previewed a preview to come. The match built to a hot tag to Cass, who hit the Empire Elbow on Gotch, but Aiden broke up a pin. English then tried to smash Enzo hard into the ropes, just like at Payback, but Enzo ducked his head on the way out. Cass got up with a look in his eyes. He approached English to smash him over and over in the corner, snapping on one-half of the Vaudes. The ref called for the bell for a DQ.
Post-match, Cass smacked Gotch hard in the face, knocking him down. Enzo slowly climbed back into the ring in the background as the crowd sat quietly unsure how to react. Cass then slammed Gotch hard to the mat as Enzo stood up selling disbelief seeing his tag partner snap.
WINNERS: The Vaudevillains at 2:23. That was a little too uncomfortable for the audience – both the call-back to Enzo’s concussion and seeing Big Cass snap. Follow-up will of course be key.
Locker Room: Tom Phillips approached Sami Zayn for an interview on facing Alberto Del Rio tonight. Are you the underdog tonight? Zayn said he thinks that’s the case, especially since Del Rio has actually won a MITB ladder match before. But, Zayn said, he thinks he can beat Del Rio. Del Rio interrupted on that note. Del Rio said Zayn wants to make his life mean something, but he’s just a paper boy.
[Commercial Break at 9:27]
[Q7] Ali Tribute Video: WWE flashed through tweets from John Cena, Stephanie McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Mick Foley.
Authority’s Office: Stephanie McMahon was on her phone. Teddy Long then barged in listening to his theme music. Steph wanted to know if she was an episode of “Swerved” tonight. Teddy said if he were running Smackdown, he would seize this opportunity with Enzo & Cass and The Vaudevillains. Plus, Karl & Luke. So, pick ’em all in a fatal four-way for the Tag Titles. Stephanie ignored his booking idea and wanted to know how he got through security. Long pulled out a dollar bill. He said the dollar, dollar makes people go holla, holla. Steph quietly asked Teddy to leave. She went back to her phone to make a call. Stephanie wanted a conversation with marketing – the fatal four-way idea from Teddy Long. She took credit for the idea to the person on the other end. Stephanie sold being happy with herself after hanging up.
Back in the ring, Sami Zayn was hanging out before Alberto Del Rio’s music played. Del Rio slowly made his way into the ring. The bell sounded while he was still posing with his back to Zayn.
4 — ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. SAMI ZAYN
The match quickly moved to the floor, where Zayn landed a running moonsault off the ring apron. Raw cut to break less than one minute in.
[Commercial Break at 9:35]
Zayn and Del Rio went back-and-forth returning from break. Del Rio then caught Zayn in the corner looking for his hangman’s two-foot stomp, but Zayn clutched him for a suplex. Del Rio shook it off, then smashed Zayn hard in the face. Zayn remained upside-down, then Del Rio delivered his two-foot stomp to the chest. WWE panned back to reveal the MITB briefcase over the ring as Del Rio covered, scoring a three count WWE gave away with the camera work.
WINNER: Del Rio at 8:20. They didn’t give Zayn much in his loss. Zayn said in the locker room he would beat Del Rio, Del Rio said it’s not happening, and the heel proved Zayn right without really doing anything heelish. It was a pretty definitive win.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose encountered Kevin Owens in the hallway. Owens said he’s concerned about Ambrose. He said Ambrose seems even more off the deep-end than usual lately. Ambrose asked if he was “off” when he beat him for the IC Title last year. He vowed to send Owens to the back of the line at MITB. Owens told him that he needs help. Ambrose laughed him off.
Up Next: Reigns-Rollins hype continues in video form.
[Q8] Video: Heading to break, a brief version of the video game commercial for Goldberg in “WWE 2K17” aired.
[Commercial Break at 9:45]
MITB hype video Part 2: In a sit-down interview setting, Roman Reigns talked about the origins of The Shield, their brotherhood, and Seth Rollins thinking he invented Pop-Tarts and sliced bread. Reigns talked about The Moment of Seth Rollins cashing in MITB on him at WrestleMania 31. Reigns said he laid in the middle of the ring with nothing. He said his family was there watching. Reigns said he felt anger, which motivated him for next year’s WrestleMania, where he won the title from Triple H at WM32 a few months ago. As the video unfolded, WWE cut to various arena shots of fans watching the video live. WWE went to Rollins attacking him after Extreme Rules. Now, they’re in Las Vegas for a big fight at Money in the Bank. Reigns said after MITB, The Champion will be The Guy.
[ Reax: Reigns has a hard time generating sympathy in this type of setting. It feels more like a sob story than a bonding experience with the audience wanting to be part of his journey. Rollins doing wrestling moves as a seven-year-old kid on an old VHS tape and recovering from major knee surgery was more bonding and sympathetic than Reigns’s promo. ]
In-ring: Dean Ambrose was introduced for the next match. The announcers plugged Ambrose on SportsCenter tomorrow night. Ambrose faces Kevin Owens next.
[Commercial Break at 9:56]
Raw returned one minute before the top of the hour with Kevin Owens’s music playing and Owens already in the ring. This did not have the gravitas of a top-of-the-hour match based on WWE’s presentation.
[Q9 — third hour]
5 — DEAN AMBROSE vs. KEVIN OWENS
The match quickly moved to the floor, trying to manufacture energy in this setting. Owens grabbed a headset to yell at Saxton, but Ambrose ran off the announce table with a big clothesline. Back in the ring, Owens cut off Ambrose and went to work on him. Owens took an ill-advised trip to the top turnbuckle, where Dean met him for a superplex down to the mat.
Double knock down, then Ambrose climbed to the top turnbuckle. Owens caught him, then smashed him to the floor. The fight continued on the outside with Owens punishing Ambrose. But, back in the ring, Ambrose caught Owens with Dirty Deeds out of nowhere. Ambrose pinned Owens for a three count.
WINNER: Ambrose at 6:35. Interesting that Owens took the fall in last week’s six-man tag main event and lost clean to Ambrose tonight. Meanwhile, WWE continues to position Ambrose as one of the favorites to win MITB.
Post-match, Ambrose decided he didn’t want to leave the ring after winning the match. As his music played, Ambrose went under the ring to retrieve a ladder. Ambrose set it up in the middle of the ring, climbed the ladder, and reached for the MITB briefcase.
Suddenly, Kevin Owens was back in the ring. Owens pushed Ambrose off the ladder, cutting off his music. Owens then set up the ladder and started climbing to boos. Instead, he hopped off the ladder and pointed up at the briefcase. Meanwhile, a referee checked on Ambrose’s right wrist down at ringside.
Up Next: There’s a Women’s division. Women’s champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke are on Raw.
[Commercial Break at 10:09]
Vignette: Bob Backlund and Darren Young resumed their split-screen conversation trying to make D-Young great again. This time, Backlund wanted Young to stop running and start walking. How about walk briskly? No, walk! D-Young finally accepted his advice and walked off the split-screen set.
[Q10] In-ring: Women’s champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke were introduced to the ring for talking. First, a review of Charlotte dumping her dad, Ric Flair, on Raw two weeks ago.
In the ring, Charlotte dryly opened her promo. She said every great champion gets to admit when they are wrong. So, she wants to apologize. Over the past two weeks, she has watched the video a few times. She said through the camera to her dad that she’s sorry. Charlotte said she wishes she explained herself better. She said Ric is dead to her professionally, but she still wants to celebrate Christmas together, work out together, and love & care for her. But, as the Women’s champion, she doesn’t want to share the spotlight. Charlotte said she can be champion without Ric Flair.
Suddenly, Natalya’s music interrupted. Out came Nataly and Becky Lynch with something to say about this. Natalya asked Becky if she’s buying any of this. Becky said this is a pile of dung. Charlotte ran down Natalya and the Hart Family, calling them a trainwreck suitable for E! programming.
Natalya said her family is not perfect, but what Charlotte did to her dad is reprehensible. Becky interrupted with a warning toward Dana Brooke that Charlotte will use her and discard her. Natalya told Dana to consider her options. Charlotte told Dana not to listen to them.
The conversation kept going as the crowd grew restless. Dana started to sell concern, and Charlotte was like c’mon, girl. Dana then started walking toward Becky and Natalya, acting as if she were going to join them. And, she suddenly attacked Natalya. Becky tripped over Natalya trying to fight Dana, then the heels got the best of Becky and Natalya. Dana slammed Becky to the mat as Charlotte put Nattie in a submission. Charlotte and Dana stood tall in the ring as Charlotte’s music played to end the segment.
Announcers: Cole and Co. briefly ran down the NXT: Takeover card on Wednesday. Saxton name-dropped Shinsuke Nakamura, trying to sound cool.
Still to come: New Day vs. The Club in the main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:23]
Vignette: The Shining Stars spoke in front of a green-screen of a beautiful beach. They talked about the benefits of flowers and a fresh drink. So, come to Puerto Rico to be refreshed.
In-ring: For something different, Tyler Breeze’s music played. Cole sounded like he just wanted to go home. Fandango joined him on the way to the ring, then WWE cut to an inset promo from Breeze shaving Fandango’s back earlier in the day. Goldust’s music played next to produce Goldust and R-Truth as the opposition. As Truth rapped down to the ring, Cole forced a read of Raw in New Orleans next week.
6 — TYLER BREEZE (w/Fandango) vs. R-TRUTH (w/Goldust)
Truth tried to wake up the crowd with some acrobatics and “what’s up?” shouts early on. Meanwhile, Goldust and Fandango started fighting down at ringside. The fight spilled into the ring, prompting the ref to throw out the match.
WINNER: No Decision at 0:54.
[Q11] Suddenly, Teddy Long’s music played. Teddy walked out on-stage wanting to fix this situation. He had the only solution for this situation – re-start as a tag team match. Suddenly, security walked out to escort Long away from the stage. Breeze’s music played. No tag match apparently.
WWE cut backstage showing Teddy Long being escorted down the hallway. Stephanie McMahon stopped Long to run him down. She said they’re not having the same old Smackdown where things don’t make sense. She said her dad wants someone smart, young, and intelligent in charge of things in the New Era of WWE. Stephanie said that person is not her brother, Shane, but her. “Now, get out of my building once and for all!” she told him.
Up Next: A tribute to Muhammad Ali.
[Commercial Break at 10:34]
Ali Video Tribute: WWE showed tweets from Vince McMahon, The Rock, Ric Flair, and Booker T.
Announcers: Cole and Co. talked about Muhammad Ali’s boxing career, while also a part of WWE history. Cole introduced a video package on Ali’s career, including Gorgeous George inspiring his trash-talking personality. WWE showed Ali’s involvement in WWWF, including the big angle with Gorilla Monsoon leading to his match against Antonio Inoki 40 years ago. Plus, Ali’s involvement at the first WrestleMania. Back live, WWE showed fans standing and applauding.
Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Saxton revisited Ali’s career. Cole said Ali-Gorilla got him hooked on “sports entertainment.”
Next Week: The Ambrose Asylum is un-cancelled. Ambrose has Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns on his talk show next Monday.
In-ring: The Club’s music played to bring out Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows, then A.J. Styles’s music played to bring out Styles. After a review of the Styles-Cena issue last week, WWE showed Styles, Karl, and Doc standing tall in the ring heading to break.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:45]
Smackdown plug: Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke this Thursday on Smackdown. Also, Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho. It sure seemed like the Asylum Cage match was the end of their one-on-one feud.
In-ring: New Day’s music played to bring out the WWE tag champions for the main event. They did the walk-and-talk promo three hours into the TV taping. Xavier, Kofi, and Big E. ran down The Club ahead of the Tag Title match at Money in the Bank.
The promo turned into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse discussion. Xavier started singing, but Big E. cut him off. “Don’t get us sued!” he said. Xavier said you guys call yourself a club, but they actually are a club … of WWE World Tag Team Champions! Xavier said when you think about it, that’s the only club that really matters. Why? Why? Why? “Because New Day rocks.” They hit the ring to start the main event. And the fight was on. Referee John Cone tried to get a one-on-one situation to get an opening bell. Still no bell. Xavier gut-punched Styles in the ring, then flew over the top rope with a dive to The Club.
Suddenly, Xavier got knocked down by Luke’s big boot. Styles then dropped Xavier with a Styles Clash on the floor. New Day looked down and out as the announcers noted this match hasn’t even started; Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:53]
7 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & XAVIER WOODS & KOFI KINGSTON) vs. THE CLUB (A.J. STYLES & KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) — six-man tag match
Back from break, Big E. and Kofi Kingston came running down from the backstage area. Apparently Xavier Woods was taken backstage during the break. Big E. and Kofi sold being Big-Cass’ed by the actions of The Club. The bell sounded to begin this match as a handicap match.
7b — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON) vs. THE CLUB (A.J. STYLES & KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) — handicap match
New Day teed off on Karl Anderson as Cole noted New Day is closing in on the Tag Title record of Brian Kendrick & Paul London. Suddenly, The Club took out Big E. on the floor. “Cena, Cena” chants from the crowd. Kofi tried to wake up Big E., who sold on the floor before returning to the ring. New Day then went to work on Big E. as the crowd tried to rally.
[Q13 — over-run] Lots of in-and-out tags for The Club wearing down Big E. as Raw hit the top of the hour. Big E. finally made a tag to Kofi, who flew at Styles with a leaping forearm smash. Kofi delivered another one, then wanted the Boom Drop, and he connected. But, Gallows ran interference, allowing Styles to grip Kingston for the Clash. But, Kofi wriggled free. Kofi hit the SOS, but Anderson broke up a pin just in time.
Chaos in the ring. Styles suddenly came out of nowhere with a Phenomenal Forearm to Kingston. Styles pinned Kofi for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: The Club at 5:10.
Post-match, Styles continued to punish Kofi Kingston. The Club put the beating on New Day, then John Cena’s music played. Cena charged the ring, but Styles bailed from the ring. Cena then turned his attention to The Club, blasting them off the ring apron. But, Styles charged the ring to blindside Cena when he turned around. Styles put a beating on Cena, until Kofi came out of nowhere with a dropkick to Styles.
More chaos in the ring. Cena eventually scooped up Luke Gallows for the AA, and he connected. Cena, Kofi, and Big E. stood tall in the ring as the last men standing. Cena’s music played as WWE cut to a shot of Styles showing frustration down at ringside with The Club. WWE went to back-and-forth shots of the two sides posing and talking trash to each other to promote two big matches at MITB in two weeks. Raw signed off five minutes past the top of the hour.
Final Reax: Cena-Styles was the highlight of Raw for the second consecutive week. The rest of the show was was a struggle, starting with the opening segment taking the live crowd and viewers out of the show with one of WWE’s overly-scripted pontification promos.
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