By Anthony Locicero - New York Sports Examiner Reporter - @anthonylocic
Raw opens with the WWE roster out on the stage for a promo by The Authority, discussing the state of the WWE World Heavyweight title.
Stephanie said that HHH, a 13-time strap holder, is the G.O.A.T., which earned plenty of boos.
Once again, Daniel Bryan is referred to as a “B+ player.” How many more times are we going to hear that?
Adam Rose is now wearing some really big, ugly, white sunglasses. Alrigghtttyyy then…. (Ace Ventura voice).
Stephanie announces another Money In The Bank qualifying match: a battle royal involving the entire roster, excluding Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and John Cena.
“Who will join Randy Orton (boos)… Cesaro (mixed reaction)… Del Rio (boos) …Sheamus (mixed reaction)… and Bray Wyatt (big pop)?” Stephanie asked.
Cena will have to earn his way into the MITB match by defeating Kane – through hellfire and brimstone!!! – in a stretcher match. Will the “underdog” Cena overcome all the odds??? Stay tuned… (I’m anticipating another boring Super Cena victory).
Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt later tonight. I figure to protect both guys, Sheamus will win by DQ.
Up next, a rematch: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins. Two very athletic guys. Ziggler sells better than anyone and in turn, makes everyone else look good.
I guess here would be a good time to address a recent rumor regarding Ziggler. Mick Foley and others have spoken highly of the Showoff and believe he should be getting a push. But there’s word that WWE doesn’t want to push Ziggler due to his recent injury history. I think it’s hard to fault the guy when he ends up with a concussion due to a kick to face by Jack Swagger or a stiff clothesline from Ryberg – I mean, Ryback. I was at the post Wrestlemania 29 Raw at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, and the crowd was hot for Dolph, chanting for him during other matches. When he finally cashed in the MITB briefcase against Alberto Del Rio and won, the place erupted.
Also here is a good time for a Rollins rumor. Supposedly, the Shield turncoat will be getting new theme music. Anything would be better than this generic guitar riff he’s currently using.
Rollins is still wearing his Shield ring gear, minus the vest. A “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant early on. Ziggler, who has been billed from Florida, billed from Cleveland, the location of tonight’s Raw.
A “You Sold Out” chant directed at Rollins begin as Ziggler has the early advantage.
Zigger is getting in a lot of offense, including his finisher. But Rollins continues to kick out at two after each pin attempt.
After several near falls, Rollins finally gets a chance to show off his abilities. I really love his power bomb into the turnbuckle and curb stomp finisher.
Rollins goes for the win – and there’s Ambrose rushing into the ring, on the attack.
Ziggler picks up the DQ win, but that’s secondary to Ambrose’s promo, where he asks his former Shield partner to fight.
Good time to address another rumor: a potential Rollins/Ambrose match at MITB.
HHH appeared on the Titantron to interrupt Ambrose. While I thought he may book the match, he instead sent out Bad News Barrett – after doing a #BNB impression – for match against Ambrose.
Gutsy performance by Ambrose, who is selling a shoulder injury he sustained on Smackdown.
On a complete side note, Jerry Lawler cracked two very lame jokes. Anyone else sick and tired of Lawler’s awful attempt at humor?
I miss the days of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, when the King would go nuts over “Puppies!”
Rollins returns the favor, interfering with Ambrose’s match. Ambrose is going to get counted out since he chased Rollins into the crowd to smack him around.
Ambrose is another superstar with a horrible, generic rock theme.
(I read an interview with Seth Rollins that said he would love to use Parkway Drive’s “Wild Eyes” as a theme song. Such an amazing metal song that really builds. )
Roman Reigns and Vickie Guerrero in a backstage segment. Vickie is The Authority’s gopher, getting coffee for Trips and Steph. Her and Reigns have a conversation and Reigns, while Guerrero is off to get sweetener, messes with the coffee. Makes me think of the movie “Waiting.” Adding his own ingredient(s).
“Cleveland,” Bray Wyatt whispers. “We’re here.”
Wyatt cuts a promo, vowing to become the next champ before leading the crowd in a sing-a-long. “He’s got the whole world, in his hands..”
Wyatt against the Celtic Warrior next.
Sheamus comes out to a mixed reaction. I think most meta-fans agree that Sheamus’ character is very bland. I usually referred to him as John Cena-light: lots of clean victories and the fact that he’s well, very pale. But he comes out, cuts kiddie-friendly promos and ends everything with “Fella!”. Yawn… oh wait, there’s a match.
A loud “C-M PUNK” chant during the match. Wyatt and Sheamus trading offense throughout.
As Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick, Harper and Rowan hold him back against the turnbuckle. The Usos, who came out earlier in the match and who will defend their tag titles against Harper and Rowan, came to make the save.
Cool spot as Sheamus held a ladder for the Usos to run and jump off of onto two thirds of the Wyatt Family. Then Sheamus launched the ladder at Rowan and Harper.
Rusev is out to squash Heath Slater. Only Rusev’s second white opponent besides Zack Ryder.
A rumor on Rusev: his push is being modeled after the late Umaga.
However, his character really seems better for the Cold War Era rather than now.
WWE goes for the laughs, having Vickie get puked on by Stephanie.
Adam Rose has a catchy theme… sounds just like that one beer commercial.
Another great rumor, even though it’s somewhat old now: Zack Ryder plays the bunny in Adam Rose’s entourage.
When Michael Cole does anything, it is automatically uncool.
Adam Rose’s theme is the new Fandango theme.
Damien Snadow dressed as Lebron James. Do yourself a favor and check out The Iron Shiek’s Twitter to see what #sheikybaby thinks of King James.
Roman Reigns a late entrant into the battle royal to determine the next MITB participant. He’s gotta win right?
Love the Superman Punch. Interesting to see what Reigns does in the Battle Royal because in tag matches, his partners got beat bad, then Reigns would tagged in, clean house, hit his Superman Punch, that apron dropkick and his spear. Big man is championship material but needs a more diverse move set.
Love that the Battle Royal came down to Reigns and Rusev. While Rusev’s character really doesn’t do much for me, he’s very agile for a man of his stature.
As predicted, Roman Reigns won the Battle Royal. A lot of people have Reigns pegged as a future champion. But is the time now? How does WWE protect Reigns and Wyatt if one of the other participants wins the title?
The final spot of course is going to be filled by John Cena. He really doesn’t need the title, but has to be inserted in the main event/title picture because he’s Super Cena.
At NXT, Paige was the “anti-diva” and the gimmick worked well for her. Unfortunately on the main roster, there are no real credible threats to her crown, outside of AJ Lee, who SPOILER ALERT married CM Punk – or should I call him Phil Brooks – this past weekend.
Last week, Cody Rhodes teased a new tag partner for his real life half-brother Goldust.
Survey says… Cody dressed as Goldust, but under the moniker Star Dust?? Wow…
WWE was setting up for the brothers to split up and feud… except Star Dust gets the win over Rybaxel?
Well #Stardust is trending on Twitter…
Despite the interference – Orton and Rollins – Super Cena wins in Super Cena fashion, executing an AA onto the stretcher and pushing Kane past the finish line.
Cena is now the final entrant into the MITB ladder match in his home state of Mass.
New WWE World Heavyweight champion
There’s talk of a heel champion – i.e. Cesaro – coming out of MITB PPV
I was a big fan of Cesaro during his first run with the company. He’s impressively strong and has a unique move set. I believe he was underutilized for quite some time (remember that awful yodeling gimmick?). I’m glad to see the creative team give him a well-deserved push.
I would love to see him as champ, but I feel like heel champions tend to be booked poorly (made to look weak).
Paul Heyman’s terrific mike work – MY CLIENT, BRRRROCKKK LESNAARRR – helps generate some heat, but Cesaro tends to receive a pretty good pop from the vocal male/meta-fan crowd. His “Big Swing” pops even the more casual fans and kids.
Winning the championship – not the briefcase – would be a huge display of faith/trust in Cesaro and would be a huge bump up for a wrestler – though he has tremendous indie cred – that has only held a secondary title once.
The other heels in this match include Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt.
Del Rio seems to be in limbo. As a former WWE and World Heavyweight champion (before the unification), the Mexican-born superstar certainly has name recognition. But creative doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. Sometimes, he’s booked strong, making foes tap in essentially squash matches. Other times he’s booked to lose to bigger stars like Orton. Sometime’s there just nothing for Del Rio.
Speaking of Orton, the Viper seems like a “safe” candidate to win the title. Though he’s still one Wellness Policy Violation away from being fired, Orton is a multi-time champion and a HHH crony.
Wyatt would be an interesting choice. He’s terrific on the mike; and he’s certainly gotten over with the crowd. Wyatt even got to feud with the face of the WWE, John Cena. But look what’s happened to other superstars following a losing program with the leader of Cenation. (Bad News Barrett has finally recovered).
Putting the title on Wyatt may be rushing things. While he’s certainly got the tools to succeed and is already a main event level player, I think Wyatt needs another big time feud under his belt. He also needs to go over in that feud.
Daniel Bryan/Brock Lesnar at Summerslam
It’s really unfortunate that Daniel Bryan’s title run was cut short due to injury. He had so much momentum, though that was slowed a bit by being put in a program with Kane. Not sure why Kane was selected as an opponent. I have a lot of respect for Kane, as I lived through the Attitude Era, but the character has little to offer at this current time.
There is no timetable for Bryan’s return just yet, but there’s been talk of a Summerslam match with Lesnar.
How does that match get booked? Obviously, Lesnar hasn’t been in the ring since Wrestlemania, where, as Heyman has reminded us for weeks, his client conquered the Undertaker’s streak.
Lesnar should always be booked as a(n) (nearly) unstoppable monster, due to his sheer size and athleticism and real life tough guy pedigree.
And will Bryan have to tone down his in-ring tenacity and remove some spots from his repertoire?
Rollins/Ambrose match at Money In The Bank
These two guys went at it in FCW/NXT and had some tremendous matches. Both guys can go – Rollins as a high flyer; Ambrose with his chaotic style.
I’m still surprised only Rollins turned – it seemed inevitable Ambrose and Rollins would turn on Roman Reigns – but I think he will get a good rub/push out of it.
Which also leads to…
Reigns/Orton at MITB then Reigns/HHH Summerslam
With Reigns being pegged as the future face of the WWE, why not have him continue to feud with Evolution members Randy Orton and HHH.
Sting still hasn’t inked a deal with WWE. It is believed that WWE is offering something beyond a standard Legends contract. What kind of plans would creative have for The Icon? I doubt he gets into the ring to wrestle, but could play possible lead a stable of wrestlers.
The Nature Boy
Ric Flair has been cleared by his doctors and will return to WWE. He will manage his daughter, NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte, come July, but word is the higher ups want the Nature Boy to manage a returning Miz.
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