This Sunday is Payback and tonight’s Raw is the last before the Pay-Per-View! Who will gain the final Monday night advantage before they all face off in their respective bouts?
Plus, will Adam Rose actually wrestle? And who is Bo Dallas going to make “Bo-lieve” tonight, following his return last week on Smackdown!? Finally, is WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan really going to give up his championship, or do The Authority have to officially strip him of the title?
All this, much more, and my picks for Payback as usual, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for May 26th, 2014 – “Payback Is Coming”
Introduction Segment: Commemoration
“A hero is someone who has given his life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell. This quote and a video montage on Memorial Day airs first, celebrating and dedicating Raw to the United States’ Armed Forces, who currently put their lives on the line every day, and have put their lives on the line, for American Freedom. “The Last Post” plays, ending the video.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Justin Roberts welcomes Stephanie McMahon and C.O.O. Triple H to the University Of Tennessee, in Knoxville. Stephanie takes the microphone first and tells us that she is happy, because “tonight is about choices.” She ponders if WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan will “do the right thing,” and give over the title as he is unable to wrestle due to his injury.
McMahon condescends Bryan and the fans, and Triple H backs up his wife in their decision. ‘The Game” goes on about generations in the business, first calling Daniel Bryan a “flash in the pan,” but also referring to some that have become “legends.” “The ones that don’t, like a Daniel Bryan, they just perish. The ones that last to become legends, live in your hearts and your minds forever; and that is Evolution.” He warns that The Shield “will find out that you can not stop Evolution” this Sunday at Payback. HHH announces that there will be a contract signing later tonight, and threaten The Shield not to make an appearance to “adapt” and forfeit the bout to become “legends” later or “they can sign those contracts to compete against Evolution at Payback, and they can ‘perish.’”
Stephanie now turns attention to Raw General Manager Brad Maddox, ordering him out. Triple H is not happy with him, because Maddox overrode “The Game’s” decision not to allow Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at ringside when Roman Reigns fought Batista last week. Stephanie reasons that Maddox probably felt he was in a difficult place, but then says that they are too. Boom! Kane’s pyro blows and “The Big Red Machine” soldiers out. “The Game” knocks Brad down, and Kane follows up with a chokeslam and Tombstone Pildedriver, to the pleasure of The Authority. Kane signals his corner flames, and Stephanie fires an unconscious Maddox.
Match #1: Single – “The King Of Swing” Cesaro (with Paul Heyman) VS. Rob Van Dam
Prior to this contest, Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett walks to the stage. As usual, he gives everyone some “bad news.” Barrett rips the fans for their summer habits and “letting themselves go,” as well as soundly beating R.V.D. at Payback.
Cesaro takes advantage, kicking him from behind and giving him a backdrop. Van Dam comes back off the ropes with a kick and leg scissors roll-up for one. RVD punches away, but is caught and flipped over with a gutwrench suplex. Cesaro runs at Rob in the corner with an uppercut, then chokes him on the bottom rope with his boot. Van Dam fires back again with a kick and clothesline to Cesaro over the ropes. He follows up with a springboard moonsault, but Cesaro catches him and slams him against the barricade.
In the ring, Cesaro drops Rob Van Dam with a military press slam for two! Van Dam punches out of a grounding headlock, then they both slug away. RVD nails a spin-kick and slowly gets back to his feet. Van Dam hits another clothesline and kick, then flips over with Rolling Thunder for a near-fall! Cesaro reverses an Irish Whip, but is taken down with a flip from Rob off the top rope!
RVD soars over the ropes with a plancha to the floor, then drops the I.C. Champion with a superkick as he was approaching! Van Dam his another kick on Cesaro in the ring, then almost gets this one after a split-legged moonsault! Barrett tries to interfere, but Rob kicks him away. Cesaro sneaks up from behind and German suplexes Rob for the hard-fought victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Cesaro
Post-match, as Cesaro and Heyman are celebrating, United States Champion Sheamus runs out and gives Cesaro The Brogue Kick!
Match #2: Single – Eva Marie (with Nikki Bella) VS. Summer Rae
Eva Marie starts off with a harsh slap, then fakes out Summer and elbows her down hard. She blows a kiss to the crowd, but receives major boos. Rae comes back with stomps in the corner and flings Marie across the canvas by her hair. Summer slams Marie’s face repeatedly against the mat, then Fandango’s music plays. He and Layla walk out, distracting Summer, which allows Eva to roll-up Summer for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Eva Marie (with Nikki Bella)
Segment #3: Office Promo
Randy Orton and Batista are discussing when The Rhodes Brothers walk in. Cody complains they are not booked for the show, then issue an open challenge to any tag-team. Orton recaps his history with them when Triple H walks in and books the inevitable. He makes the tag-team bout between the two, although keeps a secret as to what type of match.
Match #3: Single – Drew McIntyre (with 3.M.B. partners Heath Slater, Hornswoggle, and Jinder Mahal) VS. El Torito (with Los Matadores, Fernando and Diego)
In short (no pun intended, seriously) El Torito takes this horrible bout after pushing McIntyre face-first into the ring post and covering.
Winner via Pinfall: El Torito (with Los Matadores, Fernando and Diego)
Post-match, Hornswoggle manages to pull of El Torito’s tale, and this entire match got absolutely no reaction. (3.M.B. deserve so much more!)
Up next, The Wyatt Family has a “message for the entire Cenation.”
Segment #4: Locker Room Promo
I kid you not, they actually show the WWE Doctor trying to fix El Torito’s tale. (Shameful!)
Segment #5: Arena Promo
“Tennessee, we’re here.” The Wyatt Family saunter out, as the arena darkens and only cell-phone lights illuminate. Bray is kneeling in the ring as he begins, “he’s got the whole world in his hands…”
Bray predicts that he really does have “the whole world in his hands.” He proclaims that the entire world rests on him, because “I only want what is best for you.” He claims that we make sacrifices everyday, sometimes without even knowing it. We mainly do it for our families, but then calls it “pointless.” Wyatt asks Knoxville “am I ‘the snake,’ or am I ‘the cure?’” Bray calls himself “the ‘necessary evil’ that this world so badly needs.” Wyatt declares John Cena “the ‘enemy’ to us all,” but predicts that he will be the Last Man Standing at Payback.
Bray implies there is someone else to target, then turns his attention to Jerry “The King” Lawler. He wants a word, but Lawler politely declines. “How unfortunate,” Bray answers; then he sends Luke Harper and Erik Rowan to the commentator’s booth. Bray orders Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield not to interfere, but Layfield gets up. Luke is on him immediately, putting Bradshaw down with a vicious clothesline. Jerry stands up and approaches the ring, under the heavy guidance of Harper and Rowan.
Rowan sets up a chair as Bray orders him to sit. Bray converses with Jerry about his relationship with John Cena; how Lawler has given Cena the motivation to succeed. Wyatt turns the tables, asking Jerry if he thought about Cena’s morality. “In doing so, you have fed this ‘poison’, and it has grown and it has grown and it has grown, until now it is out of control, Jerry Lawler.” Bray asks him how he feels “to be a liar,” and inquires if Lawler thought he could “get away with all this.” Harper and Rowan clutch Jerry by the arms as Bray turns upside down in the corner.
Before he can go further, Cena’s music plays and he marches down. He tries to take out The Family, but they overpower him as Bray puts a boot to Lawler and sets up for Sister Abigail. Tag-Team Champions The Usos run down and make the save.
“Enough is enough,” yells John. “You have just crossed some serious lines, Bray Wyatt.” Cena admits that he liked Bray at first because he was different (Bray yells out “I am a god.), but says that Bray has been overwhelmed and “sick” with power. Cena calls him “evil” for trying to take out Lawler, because “The King” wouldn’t go along with him. Cena declares to The Wyatt Family, “I believe in who I am and I believe in what I do. And I believe, whether The Family likes it or not, you need to be stopped. And Payback, Payback is not about winning. Payback is not about losing. Payback is about being the Last Man Standing. You have accused me of living a lie, you have attacked my resolve. And now you want to punish innocent people for what they believe in? You take a look at me, my man; because at Payback, I bring you to justice. And Bray Wyatt, justice may be blind; but for you, Payback will be a bitch!”
The two stare off, as Lawler and personnel check on J.B.L.
Cole and Lawler announces that J.B.L. is receiving medical attention in the back.
Match #4: Single – “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder VS. “The Bulgarian Brute” Alexander Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana)
Lana comes out and rips the U.S. for always remembering the past; then Rusev walks out and makes a statement in his native language. He also finishes Zack off with The Accolade quickly. (Sorry, but you know Ryder’s star is burned up when he gets absolutely NO reaction even when holding the American Flag.)
Winner via Submission: “The Bulgarian Brute” Alexander Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana)
Post-match, Big E. runs out and brawls with Rusev, getting the better with a clothesline over the ropes!
Stephanie McMahon is seen chatting with Alberto Del Rio backstage.
Match #5: Tag-Team – Evolution (“The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Animal” Batista) VS. The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes and Goldust)
Cody and Batista begin, with “The Animal” shoving Rhodes into the corner. He gives him shoulder-rams, but Cody counters with a kick and elbow smash off the second rope. Cody drops down and gives Batista an uppercut before tagging in Goldust. Orton also in but gets rolled-up and powerslammed by Goldust.
“The Bizarre” one tags his brother back in, but he gets punches in the corner. Cody slides out and yanks Orton off the ropes. He quickly kicks and punches away, but Orton does the same and gives Cody a knee-to-the-gut. Batista is back in and clotheslines Rhodes. He goes for an over-the-shoulder slam, but Cody wiggles out and switches with his bro. Goldust all over Batista, until he is planted with a spinebuster for two.
Batista and Goldust still going at it, with Batista firmly in control. He knees Goldust in the back, then clotheslines Goldust. “The Bizarre One” manages the hot-tag, and Cody comes in to leap all over Randy. He flies through the air with a missile dropkick, and double-boots him out of the corner. He springboards off the ropes with the Disaster Kick, but Orton was too aware and counters with an R.K.O.! Orton toys with Cody and then drives him down with another R.K.O. as Evolution take this one!
Winners via Pinfall: Evolution (“The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Animal” Batista)
Post-match, Justin Roberts announces that it was an Elimination Match, so Cody has to vacate ringside; he then makes it known Batista and Orton will continue to take on Goldust in a No Holds Barred, 2-On-1 match.
Match #6: 2-On-1, No Holds Barred – Evolution (“The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Animal” Batista) VS. Goldust
This is too easy, as Evolution pick apart Goldust. Batista hits a spear, then drives him down with the Batistabomb. 1 – 2 – 3!
John Bradshaw Layfield returns to the commentator’s table.
Match #7: Single – Sin Cara VS. Bo Dallas
Bo inspires the crowd to “Bo-Lieve,” then flips Sin over. He exits the ring and pumps himself up with the fans. Cara comes back with a front-dropkick and plancha off the top turnbuckle!
Cara chops in the corner, but Dallas reverses a hard Irish Whip. Bo suplexes Sin, then hits a few knee drops. Cara kicks back, and nails an Enziguri and a few chops, then an Olympic Slam! He ascends the top rope, but Bo moves out of the way. He flapjacks Cara onto the turnbuckle, then spins him around with the Bo-Dog (springboard corner Bulldog; think Hall Of Famer Trish Stratus’ finisher) to capitalize over Cara tonight.
Winner via Pinfall: Bo Dallas
Post-match, Bo cuts a promo saying “you don’t get satisfaction from just victories. You get the satisfactory from effort. If you give it your all, and you gave it everything you’ve got, you’re already a winner; all you have to do is ‘Bo-Lieve!’”
Segment #6: Arena Promo
Stephanie McMahon comes back out and orders WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan to appear. The man does, to the happiness of the fans. McMahon sucks up to Bryan at first, then insinuates he needs to make “the right decision” and tell his fans why. Daniel confirms that his neck injury is very serious, and says “there’s no shame in handing over this title, healing, coming back stronger than ever, and becoming champion again.” McMahon promises that he will have another shot at the title when he returns, and Daniel says that the “people deserve an ‘awesome’ WWE World Heavyweight Champion.”
Bryan implies that it is really all about Stephanie, as it was her husband who he defeated at WrestleMania XXX on the way to becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “You’re not doing this for them, you’re doing this for you. And it would negate everything if I just handed this over to you; if I just handed these titles over to you. It would negate everything that I’ve fought for, everything that these people have fought for. Every time that anybody chanted ‘yes’ in defiance of you, in defiance of your husband, in defiance of The Authority. Every time they chanted ‘yes’ because I wasn’t getting the opportunities; every time they chanted ‘yes’ because you didn’t give them what they want. If I handed this back to you, right now, it would be throwing that all back in their face.” He elicits a huge “NO” chant, saying to Stephanie that he is not going to return the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Stephanie now threatens Bryan, showing footage of two weeks ago when Brie, his wife, shoved her backstage. She gives him one more opportunity “to do the right thing.” McMahon chooses Payback to have Daniel either surrender the titles or fire Brie Bella.
Match #8: Single – Alicia Fox VS. Emma
Lockup between the two, and no advantage by either. Emma catches a kick and flips over Fox, then clutches her in the Dilemma Tarantula lock against the ropes. Emma dominating, which frustrates Alicia who walks off. This was a trick, as Fox boots Emma on the outside, then gives her against an Axe Kick against the apron. Emma kicks out at two. Alicia plays with Emma, but misses a boot in the corner, allowing Emma to sneak out with a roll-up!
Winner via Pinfall: Emma
Post-match, Alicia assaults Emma, then slaps the guys at ringside and rings the bell multiple times. She continues picking on ringside personnel, then soaks herself in beer from under the ring. (Weird.)
Segment #7: Video Promo
A touching video package, narrated by John Cena, depicts what Memorial Day is all about, and the WWE’s Tribute To The Troops.
It is announced that El Torito and Hornswaggle will face each other on the Payback Pre-Show, in a Mask VS. Hair match.
Match #9: Single – “Davey Crockett” Damien Sandow VS. Adam Rose
(Note: yes, I really did type “Davey Crockett” in Damien Sandow’s name, because that is who he is dressed as tonight.)
Rose begins by rolling around and giving Sandow a front dropkick, but it doesn’t last long as Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter march down to the ring with Rose’s Lemon Mascot. Adam finishes off Damien with the Party Fowler (forward-driving DDT).
Winner via Pinfall: Adam Rose
Post-match, Swagger and Rose fight it out, with Jack retreating after Adam got the best of him.
Up next, United States Champion Sheamus will take on Alberto Del Rio!
Match #10: Single – United States Champion Sheamus VS. Alberto Del Rio (Non-Title)
Elbow/collar tie-up that leads into the corner. Del Rio kicks and punches away, but Sheamus turns it around and does the same harder. Sheamus gives Del Rio a fireman’s carry roll for two, then leaps off the second rope with a knee! Sheamus gives Alberto the “Ten Beats Of The Bowron” against the ropes, but Del Rio comes back by harshly kicking Sheamus off the apron.
Del Rio still in control, after Sheamus had missed a Brogue Kick and Alberto drove him down with a backstabber from the corner. Sheamus builds momentum with a couple axe-handle clotheslines, but is tripped up into the ring post and kicked hard. 1 – 2 – Sheamus gets the shoulder up!
Del Rio eggs Sheamus on, slapping him and yelling to “fight like a man!” Sheamus fires back with the Irish Curse backbreaker for a near-fall! He grabs Alberto’s left leg, but Del Rio counters with a kick from his right! Sheamus comes back against with White Noise and an over-the-shoulder powerslam! Sheamus gears up for the Brogue Kick, but Del Rio catches him with the running Enziguri. He follows with the side kick, 1 – 2 – Sheamus still kicks out! Alberto can’t believe it, and goes for another move, but Sheamus nails the Brogue Kick for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: United States Champion Sheamus
Post-match, Paul Heyman interrupts Justin Roberts’ announcement, putting down this match because Sheamus did not defeat a “Paul Heyman Guy.” He claims that this is not a big announcement, but “Brock Lesnar conquering The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania” is. This distracted Sheamus enough for Cesaro to come out and pummel away on his opponent for Payback. Cesaro plants the U.S. Champ with The Neutralizer and walks off with Heyman.
Segment #8: Arena Promo
Michael Cole is in the ring for the contract signing, and The Shield make their way through the crowd first. Cole exits as Ambrose takes the microphone. “Tonight is historic, tonight is the last time you will see The Shield and Evolution in the same ring on Raw; because believe me, at Payback, one team isn’t just going to be eliminated from a match; one team, and that team will be Evolution, believe me, that team is going to be eliminated; out of this business, off the face of the earth, forever!” Dean prophesizes.
While Seth is talking, both Ambrose and Reigns take out the traditional contract-signing furniture. Rollins looks over the papers as Evolution slowly approach the ring. Triple H declares the same as Ambrose, but with the roles reversed. He recalls when he first saw The Shield and how he thought they could be “the future of the WWE.” He questions them one last time if they actually want to go through with this match; The Shield respond by putting pen to paper. Reigns signs it last, then chucks the clipboard at Evolution. Orton, HHH, and Batista, also autograph it; then “The Game” calls them “nothing but a statistic.” Roman cuts him off to “get in the ring and fight.”
Evolution climb the apron, and tease, then both trios engage in the brawl! Ambrose backdrops HHH over the ropes, and Seth rolls up with a senton-flip onto Triple H and Randy! Batista clotheslines dean, but Reigns comes back with a Superman Punch! He assesses a down Batista, but “The Game” retaliates with a sledgehammer shot, as does Orton with an R.K.O.! Triple H waits for Reigns to get to his feet, then nails him in the head with the sledgehammer! He directs Orton and Batista to tear the announce table apart. HHH picks up Roman, and he and Randy place him on Batista’s shoulders, who Powerbombs Reigns through the table! Evolution stand tall to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was a much better Raw than last week, and a great set-up/“go-home” show before the Pay-Per-View. Really did the job in the hype and put the final touches for Payback. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: Commendation for Memorial Day. I know most sports (if not all) do this to degrees, but I really give WWE credit for going above and beyond in their dedication to many charities, especially ones to do with kids with special needs, or soldiers who fight for freedom and sacrifice their lives. Very touching to see a major, major company reach out to those in need.
Glad they canned Brad Maddox as General Manager – honestly that position on all shows is really a “non-position,” because as we’ve seen, Triple H and Stephanie make their own rules anyway, so having a General Manager has seemed very pointless in the last few years. Now they need to do the same to Vickie and shift her into another role.
Great, physical, matches by Cesaro/R.V.D. and Sheamus/Del Rio; loved Barrett and Heyman on the mike, respectively too. Pretty decent match between The Rhodes Brothers and Evolution; and loving Bo Dallas. I think he’s re-packaged even better/”hotter” than Adam Rose, and will definitely go further.
Happy they threw the twist of Bryan not surrendering the championship tonight, and not having Stephanie automatically strip him. Leaves some intrigue as to what he will do at Payback, and/or if one person (ahem, her father, ahem, will override her decisions.)
Both segments with The Wyatt Family/Cena and Evolution/The Shield played off really well. Bray, as usual, had another epic promo and it was a cool/unexpected turn to have him bully Lawler for basically only commentating on what he saw from Cena’s matches/promos. Cena stepped up again to the seriousness I like out of him, so kudos their to legitimize their match even more. I always think that doing the same things over and over get boring, but for some reason, the constant brawling between Evolution and The Shield always keeps me interested. Tonight was no different.
Bogus: Could’ve really done without Emma/Alicia. I just don’t get Fox’s new gig of ranting and raving after her matches. Paige deserves better competition for her Divas Championship. Eva Marie/Summer and El Torito/McIntyre really should’ve been left off the books for this show (and forever with the Los Matadores/El Torito – not getting over!) I actually like 3.M.B., and believe they should get more of a push.
Unfortunately, Adam Rose has failed for me. I was really excited at the beginning, because his NXT stuff was neat and he definitely has charisma; but with the feud he debuted with and basically doing nothing out of that for the last few weeks, he’s just tanked it.
Can’t wait for Rusev to actually engage with stronger competition, as I’m getting tired of the squash matches every week. Big E. is a good start!
Payback Picks: Paige to retain her Divas Championship. If this match is added, (it would be good to do so!) Harper and Rowan becoming new Tag-Team Champs over The Usos. R.V.D for the surprise Intercontinental Championship win; then Barrett will get it back on Raw or the next Pay-Per-View. Sheamus will keep his U.S. Championship in revenge for the beat-down. Wyatt/Cena will beat the heck out of each other, and end the feud. Truthfully, I can’t pick a winner, but this does end at Payback. Evolution/Shield does NOT end at Payback. I can see Evolution getting the duke, prolonging this to one more brutal bout at Money In The Bank, where The Shield will take it and soar to newer heights. Bryan will have a solid counter to Stephanie, and ensure he remains WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
As always, until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!