The pre-pre-show Network show was Swerved. I was hoping they’d do an episode where they film Jack Swagger and tell him he’s going to win a match and then hide him from all the sharp objects when they tell him it was a swerve.
(having said that, he beat Adam Rose on Superstars last month and now Rose has a new gimmick where he’s going to poop everywhere. Maybe he’ll be the equivalent to ECW’s 911. He’ll beat someone, they’ll freak out at their life choices and try a new gimmick. The Walking Intervention Jack Swagger).
The pre-show had Renee, Byron, Booker & Corey outside, presumably because everybody looked nice in the setting sun. Sadly when they went back to them at the half-way point, they looked ridiculous stick outside in the dark by themselves in a set-up that looked like they’d invaded a child’s playground.
I generally don’t pay much attention to the pre-show because generally it’s an hour of video packages that will be repeated on the PPV and Booker T shouting going CENA IS THE GREATEST, so everybody in the room (all fifteen of us, Christ it was sweaty) missed the announcement of Lesnar vs. Undertaker and Hell In A Cell. Strange, counter-productive way of announcing a PPV main event. So if they’re just announcing PPV/special matches via pre-show/Twitter/leaflet on a chair, it begs the question ”what’s the point of watching Raw?” I mean, the rematch of the best ever (or ‘only good’, depending on your viewpoint) Lesnar vs. Undertaker match should feel like an event but launching it with no hype behind it is the worst way to build hype. Ah well.
The Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville & The Lucha Dragons
They build for the match involved Neville getting beat up by the Stardust & The Ascension, so Sin Cara & Kalisto came out to even the odds. Full points to Neville for not telling Sin Cara ”I’m not that desperate, mate” and going 2-3 against Stardust. Match was a fun crowd-warmer with flips and flops featuring mostly NXT graduates. They’re copy-pasting the Reigns vs. Wyatt strategy (two guys feuding get their mates involved, school-gang style) but Stardust’s energy has revitalised The Ascension and it’s got Neville something to do. He’s like McNulty in Season Five of The Wire, getting all his mates paid work. Must have had a falling out with Cosmic King Barrett. Anyway, The Cosmic Wasteland are the better team (because they have a team-name) and Stardust pins Neville with the Dark Matter. I guess how much you’ll like Stardust vs. Neville depends on how much of a comic book fan you are. I approve of The Legacy Virus (hey I just thought of that) and I enjoyed this because there were no guest-stars fucking things up.
Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (WWE Intercontinental Title)
Ryback’s gear makes it look like his boxers are sticking out of his spandex. Sadly, despite Ryback being at his career best, Owens was cheered more than him. Owens is the bad guy but he’s also the bad guy who does cool looking moves and flips so he really should do more evil things to balance it. Ten years ago, he would have just ran Ryback over with his Canadian car so the crowd knew he was the baddy. It used to be a lot simpler (nowadays he’d drive a Diesel HEY RELEVANCE).
Crowd still chanted ”Feed Me More” which showed they like chanting things but not as much as they like cool-looking moves. Match wasn’t bad but wasn’t anything memorable aside from Owens’ character work. Finish sucked due to Ryback having his arm worked over for the whole match only to POWER THROUGH THE PAAIIINNN and then take an eye-rake (hahaha) and lose the title to Owens. This is about the five hundredth time they’ve done this illogical finish where every WWE Superstar is super-tough and doesn’t tap out RAARRR oh but then loses via something else. I can’t remember the last time someone worked a body-part and got a submission out of it. It probably involved Del Rio which is another reason I can’t remember. Crowd went nuts for Owens’ win.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
Ziggler came out dressed like Nattie Neidhart but a better strategy would have been to dress like Lana so Rusev stopped wrestling and tried to fuck him instead. I don’t know how that would have helped him win but it would’ve kept him warm.
The commentators started the match by explaining Rusev’s side of the feud:
Cole: ”Rusev claims he’s the victim. Ziggler cost him a match (on Raw), he stole Lana and Dolph’s seducing Summer.”
JBL: ‘Dolph’s clearly a player, he’s got Lana at home yet he’s dressed up for Summer.”
He’s here to heel the show! Doesn’t help that Ziggler’s got Lana’s face on his crotch which would be perfect if he was supposed to be the bad guy in the feud (à la Rick Rude.) Then again, maybe he is. Hard to tell at this point. Without doing a survey, I’m sure more people can relate to Rusev splitting up with his lass than being Ziggler and bragging about breaking up a relationship and then trying to break up another one too. Unless the target audience is sociopaths, which given WWE’s track record for how they see their fans might not be far off.
JBL compared Ziggler slugging away at Rusev to Shamrock vs. Slice. Why you’d want to bring that fight up as a positive example I don’t know (well, they were both fake fights). Cena was actually well-behaved this PPV with regards to calling spots. Ziggler decided to right things by calling spots so loud it would have been quieter to have Jimmy Hart at ringside shouting ”SUPERKICK!” into his megaphone.
Crowd chanted ”We Want Lana”. Rusev then broke down in the middle of the ring screaming”I want her toooooooo”. OK maybe not. But soon.
They had a decent match that ended with Summer throwing her shoe at Rusev and Ziggler getting the pin. The matches have been alright but as I’ve typed up enough, the only person benefiting from this feud is Rusev.
The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day (Tag Titles)
When New Day made their entrance, our mate who was sleeping upstairs messaged us saying ”I don’t mind the cheering but can you stop clapping”. ”NEVER”, we shouted. New Day, killing friendships with the power of positivity.
Xavier Woods had his hair done up like Rufio. Aside from the reference, it’s not overly flattering to his looks. 10/10 for effort though, which you can say about everything Xavier does.
I stopped tweeting bollocks for a while to actually enjoy this match because hey it’s the best tag team of 2000-2005 taking on the best tag team of 2015. Dudleys made it clear they weren’t to be trifled with so Big E fucked Buh Buh’s face.
Imagine if he’d done it to Devon, his HD scarred forehead would have exploded onto the front row like the world’s biggest zit.
The Duds nearly recovered but Xavier did a trombone-assisted run-in. Then after weeks of the SAVE THE TABLES campaigns , New Day immediately went and got a table. Ha! However, The Duds recovered and dumped Xavier’s multi-coloured hair through it instead. Yeah, I was happy with this.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Title)
Bit of a foregone conclusion, this. Charlotte spent the entire match getting her leg worked on after falling out of the ring and adding some suspense. (Oh Christ can you imagine the internet if Nikki had won here?) Which was fair enough until after spending THE ENTIRE MATCH getting her leg worked on, Charlotte simply applied her leg-assisted Figure Eight and won the title with no hassle or drama. Huh. Nikki Bellas’ nipple came out too but the way she was dressed it was a bigger surprise it stayed in.
Ric cried for Charlotte but the poor guy probably cries watching insurance adverts. ”oh God he fell off a ladder.” As PCB celebrated, the commentators talked about how tough it was for Charlotte to grow up with Ric Flair as her Dad. My Dad’s diabetic, so she can fuck right off.
Well the match needed to happen for the next part of the storyline to start and I was OK with it until that stupid finish. And it was the second one of the show!
The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho
Our whole room has guessed everybody from Bo Dallas to Kane to The Rock to Rowan to Samoa Joe to Ultramantis Black to Chuck Taylor as the third guy. As we waited to see who it was, a fan ran in. These fuckers love running in during The Shield entrances.
I don’t support fans running in, but that one guy deciding to appear just as they were announcing the third guy dressed like a wrestler deserved a nod (and jail-time!)
Aaaand the mystery guy was Jericho. Oh. Not one of us guessed that because if there was one thing this show didn’t need more of it was a part-timer. Jericho’s had a hell of a career but his appear/plug something/win feud/fuck off formula doesn’t do anything for me anymore. I know Jericho has history with Bray Wyatt but the main things people remember from the feud was the poor matches and Jericho jumping off a cage. Jericho when engaging in a real feud (like CM Punk in 2012) is fine as his ring-work when playing a character and not ”hey it’s me Chris Jericho” is top-notch. Jericho showing up misses the point of the feud too, which has been about Reigns trying to deal with the increasingly-large Wyatt Family. If Reigns’ idea of dealing with a giant newcomer is to bring in dad-bod Jericho rather than an up-and-comer or even another roid monster then Wyatt’s winning this feud easy.
Match was again enjoyable at the expense of the storyline (a running theme tonight) as the likes of Ambrose/Reigns/Wyatt/Harper rarely have a bad match. Plenty of big moves and the crowd was into it so good times there. But just as Brawn Strongman is about to be put away by Reigns, Jericho decides to tag in and subsequently gets stopped by the head-and-collar-lock. Wyatts win!
After the match, Jericho shoulder-barges past Reigns and Ambrose after they take him to task. Oh, Jericho’s going to be interesting? I take back everything I just typed! Match benefited Big Strongman and he’s the best baddie WWE has going. He’s a big fuck who doesn’t flip and has a rest-hold as a finisher. Completely unlikable, booooo.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (U.S. Title)
I wonder if Seth even knows what his character is supposed to be anymore or he’s just going by the day-to-day scripts like Jack Nicholson ignoring the scripts to The Shining and just reading the dailies because it was changed so often. OK from the top, he works for the baddies (the Authority) but he had help from a goodie (John Stewart) to win the U.S. Title from a goodie (John Cena) even though the goodie gets booed by the crowd. Seth also does moves like Eddy’s Frog Splash in Texas that gets him cheered and wears pretty outfits on PPVs. Oh and he has back-to-back matches which is manly as fuck. But he’s a baddie. Phew. The fact his head hasn’t imploded is probably a good sign he’ll cross over to Hollywood with the greatest of ease.
Anyway, these two have great chemsitry together because Big Match John likes to pop off big moves three minutes into a PPV match and Seth’s offence is all ROH-style so they click well. Who would have thought that Cena would be the best guy to gel with these indy guys? For whatever reason, the crowd starts a Mexican Wave as Seth is about to give Cena Low Ki’s double stomp off the top. I can only assume this is a positive thing south of the border as it usually means ”we’re bored so we’re doing the wave” elsewhere. Seth responded by pointing as the wave was flowing until they stopped so he could go back to doing cool shit. It’s hard to say what the best Rollins vs. Cena match has been so far but this was up with them (”them” being ”anything that wasn’t from their shite 2014 feud”) and the highlight of the show came when Cena pinned Rollins with ONE FINISHER. Thank you Vince, the reset button (also Swagger’s new gimmick name) has been pressed. Yes, Cena wins the U.S. Title in what was a complete waste of everybody’s time apart from John Stewart but Seth didn’t need the title when he was the Big Gold one anyway.
Rollins tried to leave before his match with Sting so goodie Cena gave him an AA on the outside. Nice guy.
Seth Rollins vs. Sting (WWE World Heavyweight Title)
And here we go, Sting vs. Seth. A match I had no desire to see or headline, not even on a Bellator PPV. But here we go, instead of a natural progression or a feud started between two men we just told ”hey Sting’s getting a title shot alright?” As Seth kicked out of the Death Drop JBL exclaimed ”Sting has beaten people with that move for over thirty decades!” I take it back, Sting looks great for a 300+ year old fella.
Were we going to get a well-thought out match with Sting using his decades of skills to match his incredibly-talented, much younger opponent? Would we fuck, Sting’s not been a ‘grizzled vet” ever, even in TNA he was playing the part of an older man trying to hang with the young uns (like Ric Flair with Charlotte’s mates) and so Sting got put through an announce table and did a dive off the top to the outside because WWE expects it’s old guys to wrestle like young guys. Sting doesn’t go to WWE for ages because of how they treated DDP & Booker T and as soon as he relents, he’s taking corner powerbombs. VINCE NEVER FORGETS.
So yes, after taking a second corner powerbomb (with neither meaning anything, sadly), Sting fell to his knees. As Seth loudly called for Sting to take a clothesline, Sting ran the ropes with all the comfortability of Stephen Hawking and fell down again. It was a sad, unwelcome reminder of the reality of wrestling and I would have preferred a bump-free match than to see Sting clenching and unclenching his hands after taking powerbombs into the corner. The match ended shortly afterwards with Rollins winning via roll-up.
Seth did everything in his ability to make Sting look like Sting ’98 and he was almost successful but this match can only be thought as a success because it wasn’t flat-out shite.
My reaction. In Spanish.
After the match, Sheamus ran out. Oh right, him. Just as he was about to cash in, Masked Kane arrived and decked him. So your 2015 PPV ends with Kane beating up everyone. At least his weave was more realistic than Charlotte’s.
48 year old Kane doing a run-in after 56 year old Sting wrestled with 50 year old Undertaker headlining next month.
Having said that, everybody I was watching Night of Champions went ”FUCK AYE! MASKED KANE!” when he showed up so what do I know. I’m not going to even try and figure out who was a baddie or a goodie in the closing segment but the important thing is that er, Kane’s back.
Overall: It was a filler PPV but unlike say Extreme Rules, the storylines actually made sense and/or advanced things along. Owens fucked with Ryback, New Day fucked with The Duds, Charlotte fucked with Nikki, The Wyatts fucked with Reigns and Ziggler fucked with everybody else’s lass. I don’t mind decent-y matches if there’s a reason for doing it and it means something in the long run so aye. A good late-chapter PPV, with the best match being Cena vs. Rollins.
And now, here’s Raw.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW 21ST SEPTEMBER
Raw starts with The Wyatt Family’s entrance and Cole muttering ”oh hello welcome to raw”. I miss the pyro and JR bellowing”WELCOME TO MONDAY NIGHT RAW MOTHERFUCKER”
Wyatt: ”I reached up to Mt. Olympus and grabbed the Golden Idol”
What the fuck are you on about mate, there’s no golden idol in Olympus. Wyatt’s so bad he’s mixing mythologies.
Wyatt: ”I tried to warn you with my words but apparently I didn’t speak loud enough”
Cena can give you a hand with that.
Reigns came out and thankfully interupted Wyatt’s Will Self lecture. Good Idea.
Reigns came out by himself against the group he’s been feuding with. Bad Idea.
Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville & Lucha Dragons
Sin Cara fucked up so it was better than the first match. His mask is the wrestling version of The Monkey’s Paw.
Corporate Kane was backstage, feigning ignorance and hamming it the hell up. OK, I’m not thrilled with Kane being in the main event but if it means more Corporate Kane segments then I’m happy with that.
Ryback vs. Bo Dallas
Squash. I don’t understand why even in nothing Raw matches, wrestlers still do every big move. Ryback gave Bo Dallas his Meat-Hook AND Shell-Shocked. Bo Fucking Dallas. Why not just twat him and pin him? Owens did a run-in afterwards to fuck with Ryback and his book some more. No complaints.
No mention of Sting the whole night so I assumed he called the doctor the n-word when he was checking on his pulse. They missed a trick by not having Rollins come out and say ”I fucked up Sting worse than Vader ever did!”
Oh no mention of Jericho either. So much for that then eh?
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella
A weak remake of last night’s match, right down to the stupid TAKE THE PAIN leg finish. If you disliked Nikki’s Bella’s reign just remind yourself it could have been Brie holding the title.
Ric Flair hangs out with his daughter and her mates and everyone talks about how great and proud the Flairs are. Then Paige grabs the mic and verbally tears her a new arsehole. A few people talked about how this was just a weak re-do of CM Punk’s pipe-bomb, but I disagree: Paige was the one that brought up the NXT Divas to deal with The Bellas and Charlotte’s the one that wins the title. That shit makes sense and from this promo it sounds like they’re moving on from The Divas Revolution feud. OH THANK YOU (wrestling) GOD.
It’d be nice if we got Charlotte & Ric vs. Paige and her Mam. Paige’s mam would annihilate Flair though.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
Sheamus comes out to wrestle Mark Henry, doesn’t mention last night until he’s finished wrestling a jobber. Some wrestlers have no sense of priority.
Sheamus gives Mark Henry a move Cole calls ”a glancing Brogue Kick” so they’re staying more positive than New Day. Sheamus announces the title is his, it’s only a matter of time. Just set your console forward a few weeks, all the current headliners will have died and you can cash in easier.
New Day & Rusev vs. Dudley Boyz & Dolph Ziggler
Cole announced it’s Dudleyz vs. New Day for the Titles on the MSG Special. No mention by the wrestlers though, I wonder if they knew or they only found out via watching the replay. ”Oh we’re wrestling in MSG”
Kofi Kingston: ”Together, we can make WWE great again” You guys already are :3
Match was a big slice of fun pie from a bunch of guys who are getting more entertaining the more they’re left to their own devices. Xavier played Rusev’s theme on the trombone. Should save it for next year mate, New Day have already won Team/Manager Of The Year 2015.
I wonder what happens when WWE runs out of 90s guys. Do they go forward and bring in guys like La Resistance and Heidenreich?
Naomi vs. Natalya
Hey Nattie’s back! She must want her gear back from Ziggler.
Cesaro vs. Big Show
The match too hot for Night of Champions! Cesaro snap-suplexes Big Show! Big Show punches Cesaro and wins.
Well, if they’re having Show vs. Lesnar at MSG it makes sense. Short-term gain though, but there’s always the hope Cesaro giant swings Big Show and tells him to go fuck himself in five different languages.
They’re using footage of Big Show from 2008 for the MSG hype though which is a bit sad.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (WWE U.S. Title)
The re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rematch. Good match but like most Raw main events I’ve forgotten it even happened and am planning the next thing to do in the day. In this case, go to fucking bed.
So overall we have Paige vs. Charlotte, Guy Incognito Kane messing with everybody and Owens continuing to be a dick.
Oh and that Undertaker guy in a few weeks.
Raw’s been worse.