Another week, another great episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. This week’s show was live from Portland, with Monday night serving as the go-home episode prior to this Sunday’s SummerSlam pay-per-view (which you can see on the WWE Network for only $9.99!).
The night was full of surprises and we finally got both men competing in this Sunday’s main event on the same show! Let’s get right to it.
Who Will Conquer Who?
This week’s show was kicked off the right way; with a Paul Heyman promo. Now I could go into great detail trying to explain what Heyman said, how he tore down Cena, hyped up Lesnar and was absolutely incredible. Instead, I’m going to let you take a minute to watch the video of Heyman’s promo, because it is just that good.
Man, Heyman is incredible. He has taken what could be a stale repeat of Cena/Lesnar and turned into a must-see main event. Lesnar played his part perfectly, looking angry and ready to hurt someone in an awesome “Eat-Sleep-Conquer-John Cena” shirt.
When it comes to promos, you just can’t see Paul Heyman.
Of course, such a great promo would be answered later in the night by none other than WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena.
Cena came out and gave one of his Cena-generic intense, threatening, half-joking promos promising to unleash his beast this Sunday. Although Cena did drop a great line wondering if Lesnar had a case of “Punkbitchitis” after challenging the Beast to come out and getting no response.
I’ll give Cena this, we may have heard this same exact promo 504 times before, but the man is passionate. He cares and you can tell that he is doing everything he can to sell his intensity. Cena capped off his impassioned promo by promising to conquer the Conquerer, and be the one to beat the one behind 21-1.
It’s too bad this was the only night in the build-up to this match that featured both competitors, they did a great job getting people excited for the match, and the promos wouldn’t be the last time we saw Lesnar and Cena, but more on that later.
The Viper and Roman Reigns Make Their Statements
The first match of the night featured Roman Reigns taking on an unknown opponent. As Reigns waited in the ring for the announcement of who he would face, Corporate Kane (we’re doing this again huh?) made his return and announced that Reigns would be in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match against Rybaxel.
Reigns used the match to showcase his strength in what is becoming a typically Reigns way. (I’m all for pushing the kid, but can we give him some adversity or some type of characteristic other than Lone Wolf Ass-Kicker?) After a hard hit forced Curtis Axel to tag Ryback in after about 30 seconds, the two behemoths took turns showing their massive strength. Or at least that’s what was supposed to happen, only Reigns is kind of ridiculously powerful.
As the match went on, things eventually devolved into a 2-on-1 beatdown outside of the ring, forcing the ref to ring the bell and award Reigns the win via disqualification. While most men would be done for the night after taking a Rybaxel beating, Roman Reigns is not most men. The next ‘Next Big Thing’ went into hyperdrive, absolutely destroying both Ryback and Curtis Axel, hitting Superman punches on both and then ending his night with massive spears on the tandem. Basically, the match served to make Reigns look monstrous, and Axel made sure to sell that when he had the opportunity.
After Reigns win, his opponent at SummerSlam was up next. Randy Orton made his way out to face US Champion (and finally returning to TV) Sheamus. The match was as physical as you would expect it to be.
Both men took turns looking strong, spending plenty of time outside of the ring beating on each other as well as in it. Orton for his part seems to be back to his old Viper persona, playing up the hate of the crowd and really selling how slimy of a person he is. This is my favorite Orton by far.
Eventually, Sheamus took control of the match and looked to be making his way towards a victory. Sheamus began to mock Orton’s RKO taunt, attempting a Brogue Kick that the Viper avoids. After knocking Orton down, the Celtic Warrior heads up top when…
RKO! 1-2-3 and Orton has picked up a big win over the US Champ. The RKO is still the prettiest move in the company (sorry Roman) for this exact reason. The Viper can hit it at anytime, from any angle, which is exactly what a finisher should be. Great match and even better finish to send us toward the Reigns/Orton clash at SummerSlam.
What Goes Around…
The match between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella was once again given plenty of air-time as the duo took part in two separate segment. Starting things off was Steph making her way out to the ring and inviting Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist Meagan Miller to the ring for a ‘confession’ to the WWE Universe.
After some overacting and unnecessary dragging out by Miller, the physical therapist announced that she had taken part in an affair with Bryan. This of course brought out Brie who was furious at the turn of events. Bella confronted Miller, asking how much Stephanie had paid her to lie about the affair. As Stephanie continued to mock Bella for her husband’s alleged infidelity, Brie absolutely snapped. First, Bella slapped Miller before turning her attention to McMahon. Unfortunately for Steph, there was nowhere to run and no Triple H to hide behind, and Brie caught the WWE’s Princess in a Yes! Lock.
The move itself may have been poorly executed, but Stephanie did a hell of a job selling it.
This lead to McMahon announcing that the two were not going to wait until SummerSlam, they would be having a match tonight on Raw!
Later in the night, Bella made her way out ready to finally take on Steph in their match. Unfortunately for Brie, the rest of her night would take a drastic turn for the worse. McMahon made her way out but wasn’t in ring attire, instead she had a mic and told Brie that they would have to wait until SummerSlam, if Bella could make it there in time.
Then a familiar scene played out as two ‘officers’ made their way out to ringside to arrest Brie Bella for assault, charges brought by Meagan Miller due to the slap earlier in the night.
Now that this thing has come full circle, we can finally focus on the match this Sunday. It will be interesting to see if the two Divas can put on a match that lives up the hype the build-up has given their bout. Call me pessimistic on that one.
Beware of Boxed Gifts
With all due respect to John Cena and Brock Lesnar, the most anticipated match taking place this Sunday is that between former-brothers turned bitter-enemies Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. After Ambrose announced that the two would be facing off in a Lumberjack Match (way to ruin it), things exploded one last time before SummerSlam.
Rollins faced Rob Van Dam in an entertaining back and forth match, and following his win headed up the ramp to exit. That’s when Rollins paranoia got the best of him. Mr. Money in the Bank started poking around at Hulk Hogan’s gifts on stage, checking to see if Ambrose was hiding for a sneak attack. After a few moments of investigation, Rollins seemed sure of himself that Ambrose was nowhere to be found. The only problem is you never doubt Crazy Eyes.
Ambrose exploded out of a box on stage (his surprise entrances get better every week) and put the beatdown on a retreating Rollins. The two brawled back to the ring with Rollins eventually escaping through the crowd and avoiding his battle with Ambrose for at least six more days.
Ambrose got on the mic and delivered a typically lunatic promo in a way only Ambrose can, promising to finally give Rollins what he has coming to him this Sunday, closing by letting fans know they can watch the match this Sunday for “Only $9.99!” and promising to get his money’s worth.
!!! DEAN AMBROSE CRAZY EYES ALERT !!!
I can’t wait for this match. These two young stars are going to put on an absolute show, despite the limitations that a Lumberjack Match hampers them with. BELIEVE IN THAT! (Too soon?)
Lesnar Crashes Hogan’s Party
The main attraction advertised for Raw was the Birthday celebration for none other than Hulk Hogan. Naturally, celebrating a name like Hogan only served to bring out other big names. First things first, we got a classic Hogan intro as WWE Superstars welcomed him on stage.
This was followed by plenty of legends making their way out to the ring. From Ric Flair to Rowdy Roddy Piper to Mean Gene Okerlund, there were stars of WWE past all over the building. None were better to see than the two men who helped Hogan flip the wrestling world upside down nearly two decades ago, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Hogan’s former teammates made their way out, and the WWE Universe was blessed with a Too Sweet nWo reunion in the center of the ring.
Of course, a bunch of legends in the center of the ring is exactly the type of situation that would draw Brock Lesnar back out.
And out he came, stepping to Hogan and threatening to cause all types of hell to the WWE Legends. While Hogan refused to back down, none of the men in the ring really stood much of a chance of stopping the beating Lesnar was about to unleash.
John Cena makes the save because obviously Hogan’s birthday celebration was just a way to set up the Cena/Lesnar face off.
The two men exchanged glares and teased brawling in the ring as Paul Heyman yelled at his client to not go at Cena and get out of the ring. Lesnar did a good job of making it look like he was a bit intimidated for a second before remembering he’s Brock Freaking Lesnar and exiting the ring with a smirk as Cena yelled and flexed in the most Cena way possible.
Lesnar headed back up the ramp, Cena flexed some more, and we were officially on our way to SummerSlam. This match might be pretty good after all.
It will be interesting to see how things play out this Sunday from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Hopefully we’ll get a Dolph Ziggler win in his Intercontinental title match with the Miz. You’re right, we probably won’t. #PUSHZIGGLER!