Hello & welcome to the Raw review, your weekly dose of usually wasted optimism and expected pessimism. I’m Dan, delivering you all the thoughts & emotions that come with WWE’s Monday night programming. Tonight is the go-home show to Extreme Rules which is somehow already this Sunday, headlined by the culmination of the fantastic Reigns/Styles feud that has only gotten stronger as the weeks go by, being the real (and sometimes only) highlight of Raw in these past weeks. With the rest of the card looking relatively average, (minus the IC title fatal-4-way), tonight is WWE’s last push to build hype for their annual extreme show. Let us see how they proceed.
AJ Styles kicks off the show and he’s here to set the record straight, there was no master plan for Karl and Gallows to help him win the WWE championship. He shows a slideshow of people on Twitter putting over ‘The Club’ and Styles says it’s the new era of the WWE but none of this is new to him, he’s headlined the Tokyo Dome before in front of SIXTY THOUSAND PEOPLE. My god the inflation. Reigns interrupts Styles and says nothing matters until he’s won the title. Reigns calls Styles a liar and says he’ll be ringside with the Usos tonight just like Styles will be there with Gallows and Anderson. Reigns says it won’t be a wrestling match on Sunday, it’s the big fight, EXTREME RULES, and he’ll put Styles through a table, barricade, etc. if he wants to. Styles says he’ll wrap a chair around Reigns’ head and Gallows & Anderson interrupt, prompting the Usos to appear out of nowhere and for Reigns to hit Styles off-camera, because Kevin Dunn is still employed. Styles retreats with The Club.
This was meant to be Cesaro vs. Zayn one-on-one. Miz & KO banter at commentary but Owens had enough of Miz and attacks him, leading to a big ol’ brawl that causes the match to be thrown out. Shane interrupts, making it a tag match, Steph interrupts and mixes it up, making Zayn and KO team up against Miz and Cesaro. I have already had enough of the Shane/Steph narrative, it is becoming real obnoxious. In any case, the match! Owens and Zayn certainly do not get along, Owens tagging him in and inviting him to better than him. Zayn gets worked over by Miz and Cesaro, but Owens gets the super hot tag in, taking out Miz with a big dropkick off the top and the cannonball in the corner to huge pops. Cesaro goes for the swing on Zayn but Miz throws it up and teases doing it himself, until Cesaro gives him some counter banter by killing him with the Skull Crushing Finale, and Zayn hits the Helluva Kick for the win. Owens jumps in and says he won too. Amazing banter in this match that had a real fun ending.
Yes, this is a thing that happened. Primo & Epico make their re-re-debut against Hollis & Skyler who are being billed as local talent by the names of ‘Scott Jackson & Brian Kennedy’ even though their tights say their actual names. Truly incredible stuff here in the year of 2016. A squash match for the Shining Stars, but they looked pretty damn impressive. Epico hit a sequence of suplexes, a brainbuster, and some wacky double underhook DDT brainbuster on the knee.
Ambrose cuts a crazy promo about Jericho putting him a straight jacket on SD. Ambrose wants a match with Jericho at Extreme Rules. Jericho says that he’s a real lunatic and he’s gonna see how crrraazzyy he is at Extreme Rules. Jericho gives him The Gift of Jericho but Ambrose says he’s got a gift for Jericho too. Some weird crazy music plays as a cage is lowered on Ambrose that has random weapons and objects hanging from it. Ambrose calls it the first ever Asylum match and hypes it up with a scary voice, describing the hell that he’ll put Jericho through. I’m not sure which writer snorted a bunch of coke and thought up this segment, but they should probably be booted. This was levels of dumb and awkward that I can’t even describe. To Ambrose’s credit, he cut a good promo, but my god, this was too cheesy even for WWE. The whole ‘asylum’ bit is distasteful on a lot of levels, but I won’t even touch that one.
Dana’s in-ring Raw debut and my god was it awkward. Dana’s heel offense was clunky and The crowd chanted We Want Sasha before Becky got the hot comeback spot. Dana went for a move that Becky tried to roll through into a pin but Dana sat right down on her and stole the win.
What Cole calls the long-awaited, five months in the making debut is here. Golden Truth are finally teaming together, and a video package played with romantic country music is shown. I guess you gotta give them credit for sticking with this low card storyline for so long? And yes, Breeze and Fandango’s real actual announced team name is Breezango. Breezango win the match after Truth accidentally hits Goldust with a kick and Breeze pins him.
The New Day are out here with a large thing that’s glowing under a black cover. They unveil it to be a time machine. Big E is having none of it but Xavier says it’s a time machine to the bygone era. They all go in and the screen warps with flashing strobe lights, Kofi emerges to his old theme and his Jamaican accent. I’m in fucking tears. Xavier brings him back in the box and they emerge once again with mustaches, and a box that says Derriere Squares. The Vaudevillains attack them for their mockery, throwing Xavier through the cardboard time machine and hitting a big double-team powerbomb. This is the weirdest Raw ever.
I’m not entirely sure that I can take the Usos in a blood feud seriously when they dab after every move they do. My god is it grating. Aside from that, a pretty hard-hitting match. Gallows and Anderson bring the tough phsyicality to the match. Karl kills it in this match and really shines since their debut, putting on a real good back and forth with an Uso, until the Usos do their own superkick party bit and hit a splash on Karl to win the match. Real fun match, but I think the Usos could have stood to lose there. A brawl breaks out after the match, leading to Styles hitting the Style Clash on Reigns ON A CHAIR~! My lord, I love the build to this damn match and I can’t wait to see it.
Big Cass comes with the Big Banter, calling Bubba a Fred Flintstone looking goof and he’s gonna send the Dudleys back to the stone age. D-Von is the victim and Big Cass destroys him quite easily with an East River Crossing.
Speaking of destruction, Del Rio tries at multiple occassions to actively kill Kalisto, and I’m not entirely sure how Kalisto was even able to walk. Amongst that, Rusev murders Sin Cara backstage and drags him away, to ringside where he kills him further. Del Rio hits a backstabber to pin Kalisto, and Rusev execution style superkicks Kalisto, and nearly snaps him in two with the Accolade. The pain I felt during all of this, it was like watching your favorite character in Game of Thrones get brutally slaughtered before your eyes. Kalisto’s watch has ended.
Our main event is the WWE Women’s Championship contract signing. We all know how well this went last time so get your grimacing ready. Steph and Shane introduce Charlotte & Ric and then Natalya. Natalya asks what happened to Charlotte and Charlotte responds by screaming her promo, talking about how everyone loves her because she’s a Flair and such. Ric and Charlotte see the contract and freak out, and Shane explains that if Ric comes down to the ring during their match at ER, Charlotte will forfeit the title, and if Charlotte refuses to sign, she’ll forfeit it right now. Ric loses his shit and wants to fight Shane, Charlotte screams for him to stop. Shane says he has too much respect for Ric, but Steph doesn’t. Steph slaps Ric Flair into the 7th circle of Hell and Nattie gets Charlotte in the sharpshooter to end Raw.
I feel like I was just in some three hour time warp or something. This Raw was out of it’s fuckin’ mind bonkers, and not in a real good way either. From Ambrose and his wacky Asylum gimmick, to New Day and their time machine (which was the redeeming factor here), I really don’t know what I’ve witnessed. The build of the WWE title match, and the IC title match have been great, but everything else was just an absolute mess. You’d think Vince was selling all his shares and fleeing the country and decided to just throw some shit at a wall and call it three hours of quality TV. My brain is fried but I thank you for reading. Extreme Rules is this Sunday and whether it is up or down, we got all the coverage for ya so keep your eyes permanently affixed to wrestlingwithwords.com~!