Only 24 hours removed from WWE Battleground, Monday Night Raw came to us live from the home of the Miami Heat, the American Airlines Arena. And what an interesting night it was as we kicked off the road to Summerslam. There was a (not so) surprising return as John Cena’s next opponent was named, as well as the continuation of some feuds we saw at Battleground and even an arrest.
The show was more about furthering storylines than the action in the ring, but there were still plenty of highlights Let’s get right to it.
Who is John Cena’s Next Opponent?
Starting off the night was COO Triple H, who was not very pleased that the Authority didn’t walk out of Battleground with the WWE World Heavyweight belts. Trips cut a scathing promo, guaranteeing that John Cena (who wasn’t actually at Raw on Monday night) would not leave Summerslam the Champ. Unlike last year when Cena chose to face Daniel Bryan at the PPV, Triple H himself was going to hand-pick Cena’s opponent. And whoever it was going to be would have to prove themselves to the Authority before earning their title shot.
Of course, this lead to some superstars pleading for their opportunity. First out was Randy Orton, who demanded his rematch from all the way back at Wrestlemania. He claims that he would be Champ right now if Kane hadn’t screwed up during the Battleground main event. Cue the Demon making his way out to the ring to proclaim that he was sick of babysitting Orton, and wanted his shot at the belt.
As the two continued to bicker, the juggernaut Roman Reigns made his way out to demand his opportunity against Cena. Reigns raised a great point when he said that nobody wanted to see Cena go against Kane or Orton yet again, and the crowd roared approvingly when he suggested we get a Cena vs. Reigns title match. Reigns tells the Authority to believe that before delivering a massive Superman Punch to Kane as Triple H and Orton retreat.
Trips grabs a mic outside of the ring and tells Reigns that he believes Roman Reigns is going to have a match right now, and that he will be facing Kane AND Randy Orton. Talking about starting the show off with a bang.
Dissension in the Authority
Once the handicap match started, it didn’t take long for Reigns to look impressive. Despite being at a numbers disadvantage, the rising star played it smart, staying out of Kane and Orton’s corner and fighting each Authority lackey as they came, one at a time.
Eventually, Reigns strategy worked to perfection. Orton and the Demon began to bicker as is often the case in matches involving the two, and things sunk to the point where Orton refused to take a tag from his partner. Of course, this didn’t sit well with Kane, who grabbed Orton by the throat in hopes of forcing him into the action.
Reigns took advantage of the distraction, delivering yet another Superman Punch to an unsuspecting Kane.
As Orton retreated up the ramp, Reigns nailed Kane with a spear for the 1-2-3 and an impressive victory. Was it impressive enough to land Reigns in the Summerslam main event opposite Cena? If you listen to Jerry “The King’ Lawler, it’s unlikely. King delivered this great bit of commentary after Reigns victory.
“Roman Reigns could walk on water and Triple H would say, ‘Look he can’t swim.'”
Bray Wyatt Hits the Highlight Reel
One of the bigger surprises from Battleground was Chris Jericho pulling out a victory in his PPV return against Bray Wyatt. As expected, WWE continued what should be a great feud the night after Battleground, announcing that Wyatt himself would be the guest on Jericho’s Highlight Reel.
Only Jericho never made it out to the ring.
During the commercial break, we are told that the Wyatt’s attacked Jericho in the locker room, beating Y2J to the point that he would be unable to make it out to the ring. Bray delivered an absolutely vicious Sister Abigail to Jericho in the locker room, incapacitating the Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla.
But fear not folks, we were still getting the Highlight Reel, hosted by Wyatt himself.
The greatest thing about Wyatt promos and matches is his entrance. The lights go out, the fans light up the arena with their cell phones, and Wyatt makes his way out to that creepy tune. It truly is awesome.
Once in the ring, Wyatt delivered yet another of his chilling promos. Bray asked the crowd where their savior Jericho was, pointing out that Y2J isn’t there, but Wyatt himself has been there every day since he has been around. Then Wyatt turned his commentary towards Jericho.
“Just who the hell do you think you’re dealing with Jericho? I am Bray Wyatt, Eater of Worlds, and I am every bit the monster they think I am.” Wyatt said, “Unfortunately for you Chris Jericho, I am forever.”
It was a truly great promo from Wyatt, who we have come to expect to deliver them every time he grabs a mic. The continuation of this rivalry should be very exciting.
16 and Bo!
This is your weekly reminder to never stop Bo-lieving! Dallas extended his winning streak to 16 straight victories after taking out Damien “LeBron James” Sandow. It was actually an interesting match for Dallas, as he was playing a sort of face for the first time since the crowd was firmly against Sandow and his character choice. But come on how could you boo this guy?
Sometimes, I Get a Sick Feeling
Flo-Rida was the official host of Monday Night Raw, performing a medley of his hits much to the… you know what, I can’t do it. This segment was terrible. No more Flo-Rida, please WWE.
Stephanie Pays for Her Pettiness
One storyline that has developed in recent weeks is that of Stephanie McMahon tormenting Nikki Bella in retaliation for the slap she suffered at the hands of Nikki’s sister, Brie. For those that don’t remember, Brie quit the company, but not before leaving her hand-print across Steph’s face.
This week, Nikki was forced into a 4-on-1 handicap match against other Divas. Sitting ringside was her sister Brie, who bought a ticket to attend the show. This of course brought out Stephanie, who happily taunted Brie about losing her job and being the reason her sister was taking such a beating. As is often the case in WWE Diva trash-talk, Brie responded by calling McMahon an unflattering word that rhymes with ‘witch’. This lead to an escalation in tension between the two, as Stephanie cheap-shotted Brie before having her escorted out of the building.
That wasn’t the last we’d hear from Daniel Bryan’s wife however. As Flo-Rida was wrapping up his awful performance, we panned to ringside where Stephanie is being questioned by two men with badges. Uh oh.
The men ask Stephanie if she had slapped Brie, to which McMahon ultimately admitted, claiming it was in self-defense. As Brie emerges, we see Stephanie handcuffed and arrested for battery thanks to her striking the Bella twin. The crowd absolutely ate this segment up, singing the “Goodbye” song to McMahon as she was escorted out of the building.
McMahon’s husband Triple H promises to take care of things as we head to commercial break.
Dean Ambrose Shows Cesaro His Crazy Side
Backstage earlier in the night, Seth Rollins tried to convince Triple H to put him in the Summerslam main event opposite Cena. Trips explains to Rollins that he has the advantage of being Mr. Money in the Bank and there is no reason to put himself in that situation.
The duo is interrupted by Cesaro, who lets Triple H know he is no longer a Paul Heyman guy (I wonder why?) and he wanted to be an Authority guy and take on Cena. The COO lets him know that if he wants to impress him, he can start by taking out Dean Ambrose, who has been a thorn in the Authority’s side for weeks.
In what ended up being the de facto main event of the evening, Cesaro and Ambrose put on a brutally physical match. For the majority of the bout, Cesaro dominated Ambrose. Delivering a vicious uppercut to Dean as he attempted to dive over the top rope onto Cesaro who was waiting outside the ring.
Eventually, Ambrose would make his push. Ambrose used his unorthodox style to mount an offense on Cesaro and once again show why he is ridiculously over with the crowd right now. Dean looked to be in control of the match when suddenly…
!!! DEAN AMBROSE CRAZY EYES ALERT!!!
Ambrose just lost it in the middle of the match. Seriously, his inner-lunatic came out and Dean played it absolutely perfectly. Ambrose jumped out of the ring, grabbed a chair and laid into Cesaro, earning himself a DQ but delivering a statement that he was ready for anything the Authority may throw his way.
Seriously, we need more Dean Ambrose in our WWE lives.
When All Else Fails, There’s Always a Plan C
Rather than heading downtown to presumptively bail his wife out of jail, Triple H joins us in the ring to announce who John Cena will be defending his WWE World Heavyweight titles against at Summerslam. As Trips waits in the ring, Randy Orton’s music hits, much to the chagrin of everyone in attendance.
Orton makes his way to the ring but before he can accept the match, he is met by a familiar face.
Roman Reigns decided that if he wasn’t getting the main event, neither was Orton, ambushing the Viper before he could enter the ring. The two fought into the crowd and out to the back (setting up a Summerslam match?), leaving a frustrated Triple H standing in the middle of the ring, unsure of what to do next.
That’s when a familiar face made his way down the ramp.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MY NAME IS PAUL HEYMAN!”
And suddenly the crowd was alive, as just about everyone in attendance knew what was coming next. Heyman tells the COO that Plan A didn’t work, and Dean Ambrose keeps screwing up the Authority’s Plan B. He believes it is time for the Authority to move on to Plan C… and out comes the Beast himself Brock Lesnar (in an awesome ‘Eat, Sleep, Break the Streak’ shirt by the way).
Lesnar and Heyman make their way down to the ring, and after a few moments we see something that seemed unthinkable just a year and a half ago when Lesnar and Trips were destroying each other in the ring; a handshake.
And just like that, Cena vs. Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Titles at Summerslam was official.
That wasn’t all however, as Heyman proceeded to deliver one of his best promos to date, letting everyone know how big of a threat his client BAAAA-ROCK LESSSSNAAAAAR was to Cena.
“My client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania,” Heyman said. “Which is why at this moment my client hereby officially announces his intention to conquer John Cena and take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam.”
Heyman then went on to cue a video montage, showing Lesnar giving the Undertaker three separate F-5’s before the 1-2-3 that ended the streak.
“John Cena, you can’t escape this beating at Summerslam. My client Brock Lesnar will take John Cena down.” Heyman proclaimed. “John Cena, you are going to be hurt by Brock Lesnar… then Brock Lesnar is going to F5 and strip John Cena of his dignity and being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.”
Heyman goes on to exclaim that 15 world titles in 10 years sounds like something worth conquering, before pledging his allegiance to the great conquerer that is Brock Lesnar. This entire segment was absolute gold from Heyman. It really highlight exactly how great he can make Lesnar look without Brock needing to even utter a single word.
While Lesnar’s return and feud with Cena may not exactly have been a total surprise, you can be sure that the build-up to Summerslam and the match itself will not disappoint. As long as Cena doesn’t win that is.
Until next week, #PUSHZIGGLER!