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KELLER’S WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW TAKE – HOUR ONE
AUGUST 8, 2016
ANAHEIM, CALIF. AT HONDA CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
LAST WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS
Highlights aired from last week’s Raw including Finn Balor’s promo segment interrupted by Seth Rollins, then Roman Reigns-Rusev clips and Brock Lesnar-Randy Orton clips. The Lesnar-Orton clips included Smackdown highlights.
After the Raw opening theme, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Cole announced that Raw G.M. Mick Foley invited Smackdown G.M. Daniel Bryan to Raw to “clear the air.” Graves hyped excitedly that Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs would be a guest star on the show.
IN-RING SEGMENT: ENZO AMORE
Basics: Enzo Amore and Big Cass came to the ring, doing their mic schtick along the way, which the crowd ate up. Enzo and Cass agreed that Sasha Banks was smitten and “like cat nip to a kitten.” Enzo said he was pretty sure he had that situation in the bag. Enzo said the sight of Chris Jericho interrupting him last week made him “baby burp” a little, which he then explained is when you throw up a little in your mouth. He called Jericho an Axl Rose wanna-be, said “welcome to the jungle,” and vowed he was going down.
Jericho came out with his scarf and new mustache. Jericho said they’re more irritating right now than “Achy Breaky Heart.” He called him Enzo Annoying. He said when he makes a mess with his mouth, he has a seven-foot maid to clean up his mess for him. Kevin Owens, Jericho’s back-up, then strolled to the ring with him. Saxton wondered how both of their egos can coexist. “It’s like a couple Ford Explorers in a single-car garage,” Saxton said. Oh, Byron. Jericho explained that Owens has his back no matter what. Owens looked like he was barely listening. Jericho asked for some assurances. Owens broke out of his trance and said yes.
Cass made a joke about them having each other’s back in the same bathtub. Jericho said, “Only a stupid idiot would think that was funny.” Cass told him if he doesn’t like it to do something about it. Owens said he used to like Cass back in NXT. He said he was one of the few in NXT he liked because he could relate to him. He said he had a waste of space as a best friend who turned out to be dead weight holding him down, but unlike him, Cass didn’t get rid of the dead weight. He said he brought that dead weight on his back over to Raw. He said because he has to listen to Enzo vomit up dumb one-liners, he doesn’t like Cass anymore. He said he’s going to hurt him. They had a face to chest moment mid-ring. Owens said if he doesn’t hurt him, then Jericho will. Jericho looked quizzically at Owens, then agreed. Cass, in a serious tone, told them, “Let’s go right now.”
When Jericho said he wasn’t talking to him, Cass comically pointed out he was looking directly at him. Jericho said Enzo is going to get “it.” Enzo said he doesn’t know what “it” is, but when he discovers what it is, he’ll shove it down his throat. The Enzo & Cass music suddenly played like their Oscar speech was running long.
Reax: Some of Enzo’s lines are groaners, but the other three were excellent and played off of each other well. Jericho and Owens is a fun combination of personalities. Cass is smart to not be going for over-the-top laughs and playing more of the heavy. Enzo is good, but stuff like “baby burbs” and explaining it is just bad and feels “written.” The continued references to NXT shows that WWE is going deeper into making everything that happens on NXT part of the main roster narrative, which has not always been the case over the years.
MATCH ONE – ENZO AMORE (w/Big Cass) vs. CHRIS JERICHO (w/Kevin Owens)
Match Notes: Owens took a cheap shot at Enzo a couples minutes into the match. The ref didn’t see it. Jericho tossed Enzo over the top rope, but he skinned the cat back in. Jericho charged. Enzo backdropped him to the floor. Enzo then slide-kicked Jericho. They cut to a break… Jericho put Enzo in the Walls of Jericho a few minutes later. Enzo reached the bottom rope to force a break… Enzo followed up with a near fall after a top rope body press… Owens grabbed Enzo’s leg, giving Jericho an opening for a Code Breaker. Big Cass entered the ring and gave Jericho a big boot; the ref DQ’d him. Cole said Cass had no choice… Owens gloated afterward, “We won! We won!” WINNER: Jericho via DQ.
Post-Match: Cass challenged Owens & Jericho to a tag match “in our backyard” at Summerslam. The heel duo happily agreed. Owens said, “We’re going to kick your ass because we’re winners.” Cass said they’ll prove there’s only one word to describe them, and he’d spell it out for them: “S-A-W-F-T!” Bryon said he hopes it happens…
Reax: Cole comment that Cass had “no choice” was weak. Byron repeated it on replay. Instead of saying he had “no choice,” which is literally not true, instead defend the choice or explain that Cass wanted to make the cheaters pay for their cheating and take away the satisfaction they’d have if they scored a pin over Enzo, and explain that they’d see it as a big win even though everyone else would see it as tainted. In other words, explain the situation and paint the heels as worthy of scorn instead of falling back on a useless cliche or platitude. In doing so, it’d put more heat on the heels.
HYPE: RUSEV-LANA WEDDING
Basics: Cole hyped that Rusev and Lana would celebrate their recent marriage live on Raw later.
BACKSTAGE: MICK FOLEY
Basics: Foley explained to Stephanie McMahon on the phone why he invited Bryan. As he held onto his old clipboard, he assured Stephanie he liked the tablet she bought him and the clipboard is part of the past… Sasha Banks walked in and asked for a handicapped match against both Charlotte & Dana Brooke so she can keep her eye on her. Foley said he’s booking Brooke vs. Banks tonight and if she wins Brooke is banned from ringside at Summerslam, but if she loses, then it will be a two-on-one match so the deck will be stacked against her. Foley wished her luck. Banks said the Boss doesn’t need luck. Foley said, “My bad.”
Reax: That was a convoluted backwards stupid mess of a segment. So if Banks loses, she gets exactly what she asked for (which was dumb to begin with)? But if she wins, she gets what should be the logical default ruling by Foley, which is banning someone from ringside who repeatedly interferes in matches. Why should Banks have to win for the babyface G.M. to rule that Brooke isn’t allowed at ringside? There should be a better explanation as to why Brooke is allowed at ringside to begin with, such as she’s officially sanctioned as Charlotte’s manager, so it makes it seem like Foley’s hands are tied usually when it comes to Brooke being at ringside. In this case, the news of the segment should’ve been that he got Charlotte to agree to this stip earlier because Charlotte wants a two-on-one match at Summerslam (which implies the heel doesn’t think she can win one-on-one) and she’s willing to put Brooke’s presence at ringside at Summerslam at risk to get a shot at the handicapped advantage she covets.
MATCH TWO: BRAUN STROWMAN vs. JURRELL NELSON
Pre-match: Saxton asked Strowman’s opponent what possessed him to take this match against Strowman considering what he’s done to his opponents the last two weeks. He looked worried and frozen with fear. He did get his own ring entrance, though, as Cole said he’s a young upstart wrestler looking for a break. Graves said he’d be better off working in fast food.
Basics: When Nelson hesitated entering the ring, Strowman knocked him off the ring apron, then beat him quickly and soundly in the ring after a clothesline and face slam. After the pin, he threw Nelson out of the ring by his leg… WINNER: Strowman.
BACKSTAGE: MICK FOLEY
Basics: Foley was playing with his new tablet. Puff Daddy walked in and got booed by the crowd. Foley asked how everything was in the dressing room. Puff said they always treat him well. Puff plugged something he’s got coming up, then in walked Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. Puff asked, “How’s Big E’s nuts?” Foley said he can’t say that on TV. Kofi said Anderson & Gallows are like the Vanilla Ice of the tag team division, but without the hair. He said they are called the Bald Boys around there.
MATCH THREE: TITUS O’NEAL vs. DARREN YOUNG (w/Bob Backlund)
Match Notes: They opened with an awkward spot where they collided mid-ring after having a different idea of what was planned. Cole covered, saying Young took a dos to the knee. Titus then lifted and rammed Young back-first into the ring apron… Young won a minute later with a yank on Titus’s tights. Backlund celebrated like Young won a Gold Medal, as his back was turned to the infraction. Graves said if Backlund is going to make Young great again, he ought to watch the match. Young said, “An eye for an eye!”… WINNER: Young.
Reax: It’s rare that former tag team partners feuding is entertaining or enthralling, and this doesn’t break the streak. I do wonder if Backlund turned his back because in real life he didn’t want to celebrate cheating, or if that was originally written in. I could imagine Backlund character not approving of the “eye for an eye” rationalization Young used. The match itself was clumsy and awkward. I’m still not sure what this is doing for either wrestler involved.
HYPE: CRUISERWEIGHT CLASSIC COMMERCIAL
Basics: Cole hyped that the Cruiserweight Division is coming soon to Raw.
END FIRST HOUR:
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