Hello again folks, I’m Dan returning with the Raw review after my absence last week, as I was in a day-drunk Memorial Day haze with some pals whilst I yelled about the Doobie Brothers. Such is my life. In any case, MITB is inching ever closer and the event looks to be a helluva show with Rollins vs Reigns and CENA VS. STYLES. Of the horribly subpar Raw that was last week (not much of a loss on my part), the highlight was AJ Styles going full blown heel and kicking the living hell out of Cena alongside Gallows & Anderson in a moment that really captured the true surrealness of AJ & The Club being in WWE. We’re sure to get more of that tonight, as another dream match may come to fruition as The Club takes on The New Day in a six-tag tonight. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
The show opens up with some weird ritualistic set-up of ladders in the ring with each MITB particpant sitting atop them. KO is the star of this segment with his promo, saying everyone in the ring will just be known as the guys he beat to win the briefcase, and says he’ll offer a title shot to anyone, including the Nation of Domination and Waylon Mercy. Ambrose cuts some wacky promo about how he’ll fight a bear or aliens. Del Rio calls Sami Zayn a paperboy. Jericho says MITB is his match but Cesaro asks why he’s never won one if it’s his. Jericho says he won the first one or the sixth one. Sami Zayn invokes his ‘but actually’ clause and questions Jericho about his claim in some weird improv thing that didn’t go well. The banter gets too real and it turns into a brawl. The music of TEDDY LONG hits and the playa comes out to a massive pop. Teddy says he’s here because he heard the news and wants to run SmackDown. Teddy has lost his mind and makes a match that is a combination of a bunch of different stipulations that confused everyone. Steph comes out and puts an end to it, sending Teddy away and making a series of singles matches between the competitors. Jericho/Cesaro, Owens/Ambrose, and Zayn/Del Rio. What a beautiful clusterfuck of a segment to open Raw, my god.
Cesaro drags Jericho through a pretty decent match, a showcase for Cesaro’s tremendous ability up until a good back and forth between the two to end the match, a series of counters between the two as Jericho keeps attempting to sneak in wins with different pins, getting Cesaro into the walls which Cesaro powers out of it, managing to get Jericho down for the swing into the Sharpshooter, forcing Jericho to tap! A surprising but awesome win for Cesaro, the crowd pop for Jericho tapping was really great. It may be a fantasy but please give this man the briefcase.
They play a super babyface video package for Seth Rollins road to recovery. Sure making me want to cheer for the ‘bad guy’ in this feud here.
You expect a squash here but you wouldn’t be right, surprisingly. Swagger and Rusev have a hard-hitting hoss battle that included an insane double lariat spot on the outside, that resulted in Rusev throwing Swagger into Titus who was at ringside and rolling into the ring to beat the 10 count and win the match. Titus interferes and he and Swagger get the faces-stand-tall-after-match segment to end hthis.
Cena is out here talking about Styles attack on him, saying he didn’t need to resort to what happened to get this ‘dream match’ to happen. Styles interrupts to a massive pop and Cena cuts right in calling it proof that he didn’t need The Bullet Club for this. Cena namedropping Bullet Club is still not something I was ready for in two thousand and sixteen. Styles says Cena insults him and it must burn him up inside to know he can’t beat him. Cena says Styles is running through the same thing that everyone who faces him says, Cena clowns him and says Styles became a dud since he debuted, he couldn’t even beat Roman Reigns and now he’s stepping to Cena. My god. Styles fires back with how he sells out every place he’s been in, and says he has the Club to back him up cause he knows what happens to guys who lose to Cena, GET OUT THE SHOVELS cause guys like Cena bury guys like him. This whole segment is fire, scorching fire. The self-aware shots with the Cena buries indie guys narrative is mind-blowing. Styles & The Club swarm the ring to attack Cena but New Day run in to make the save. Insanity, folks. No words to describe this. No way I could have imagined this a year ago today.
Enzo and Cass cut a beautiful promo, even citing Ali and Enzo was on fire tonight. This match wasn’t much and ended in an early contender for Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic of 2016 as The Vaudevillains attempt to recreate the spot that concussed Enzo at Payback, throwing him into the ropes and making it seem like Enzo got hurt again. Uuuuggghhh. Big Cass destroys the Vaudevillains in a fit of rage and the match has to be stopped. Enzo recovers and celebrates with Cass. Just not a fan of any of that. Dear god, WWE, I know these dudes have no heat but resorting to that is real low.
A wacky Steph/Teddy segment backstage results in a fatal-4-way tag title match being made at MITB. New Day defending against Gallows & Anderson, Vaudevillains, and Enzo & Cass.
A match that started with Del Rio pretty much missing the catch on Zayn as he hit a moonsault from the outside. A match that was just.. not good. Del Rio’s style of working a match is just so ridiculously atrocious to watch nowadays. I don’t know if the intention is for him to look like a heel that takes his time punishing someone, cause it just comes off like he doesn’t care and is just going through the motions. Not much offense from Zayn and Del Rio hits his terrible rope-hung double stomp finisher that takes about two full minutes to execute and pins him clean for the win. Depressing.
Here’s a match that I’ve witnessed far too many times to offer any real attention to it, but bless my heart I tried. It wasn’t very much of anything that you haven’t already seen between the two, essentially the same story. Nothing bad but nothing really gripping, solid enough. A quick sequence to the end the match, KO going for the pop-up powerbomb but Ambrose hanging onto the ropes, ducking Owens and hitting Dirty Deeds for the win. Ambrose sets up a ladder and goes up it, teasing grabbing the briefcase but Owens pushes the ladder down and Ambrose crashes to the ring. Owens stands tall saying the briefcase is his.
Charlotte & Dana are out next. Charlotte says she’s here to apologize to Ric, she says she’s sorry but everything she said was necessary. Charlotte says when she said Ric was dead to her, she meant it professionally. She wants to celebrate Christmas and birthdays and such with him, but she can’t be daddy’s little girl. Nattie & Becky interrupt. Becky’s hair is at critical Super Saiyan levels and that’s pretty much the best thing about this segment. Becky does quite well on the mic in the midst of this odd promo back and forth between Charlotte & Nattie about respecting fathers & such. Dana Brooke pretends to side with Becky and Nattie but cheap shots Nattie and a brawl breaks out. Becky eats a Samoan driver from Dana and Charlotte gets Nattie in some wacky new finisher to end this segment that had ZERO heat. I’m not sure anyone wants to see a Charlotte/Natalya re-re-re-rematch. There’s just no reason for it. The women’s division in a sour state. Becky shouldn’t be playing the sidelines here. I miss Sasha. My feet hurt.
Breezango’s entrance and matching gear is the best thing about this. That’s literally it. Those two are money. R-Truth rolls into Fandango and the ref calls for the bell for whatever reason. Teddy comes out and restarts the match as a tag team match but security take him away and the segment ends. I must be still drunk from last week.
Some banter from The New Day stops this match from starting at first as a brawl breaks out, completely with Xavier doing a sick dive over the ropes but then getting a goddamn Styles Clash on the floor. This match is an awesome showcase of heel Styles and the brutality of Anderson & Gallows that has been lacking since their debut. This final full-on turn has done wonders. Styles wins the match with a Phenomenal Forearm and they continue the beatdown until Cena saves the day, the faces take out The Club to end Raw.
Not a very compelling Raw on the road to MITB, the best stuff of course coming from Cena & Styles’ feud being absolutely on fire. The matches weren’t very great and there didn’t seem to be much interest in it. Reigns & Rollins not being on Raw but having their feud told through video packages is a bit of a headscratcher. The MITB match is gonna be fire and the tag team match should be a hoot as well. Next week is the go-home show and we’ll see if they can build it up a bit more.