Welcome to Raw, everybody! I’m @TheMagnumDA and we are LIVE at the Cajundome in Louisiana. Some of my fondest memories come from that state. I spent my 30th Birthday down there, where I happened to see one of the most memorable WrestleManias of all time (XXX). In fact, I’ll be there next year for WrestleMania at the Silv..SUPERDOME! I have friends down there, so unfortunately I won’t be booking at the Ritz Carlton. But that shouldn’t stop YOU from making reservations! Check out http://w-o.it/wm34hotel for more details. Don’t forget: the reservation discount code is UWUUWUA. I’ll see you there, BROTHER!
We open tonight with Paul Heyman and BRRROCK LESNAR! Heyman says that Samoa Joe’s actions last week have consequences, and that Brock Lesnar now has a problem with Samoa Joe. Heyman calls Lesnar “the greatest problem solver in WWE history.” Uh oh, Lanny Poffo. You’re on notice. Heyman says that other Samoans are not proud of Joe or his actions, with Paul E. going so far as to call him a dog and a punk. Heyman said the first thing he thought about, after regaining consciousness last week, was Joe putting the Clutch on Lesnar. But then again, Heyman says, “Joe isn’t man enough to get the Coquina Clutch on Brock Lesnar.”
This comment prompts Joe to come out and face Lesnar. Heyman runs away like a coward, as Joe enters the ring. The tension is PALPABLE. Samoa Joe catches Lesnar totally off-guard with a shoulderbutt to the face. Lesnar is stunned! Security would try to intervene, but they get clobbered! All the backstage geeks try to break these two men apart, and this allows Samoa Joe to SMACK Lesnar in the mouth with a back leg round kick. THIS IS F*CKING INTENSE. The roster separates the two men as we go to break. Awesome segment. Great selling from Brock. I have a feeling that nothing will top this segment for the rest of the evening. (Magnum’s Note: I had no idea how right I was).
Match #1 – Elias Samson vs. Dean Ambrose
The Drifter croons to the thousands in attendance, who love his performance so much that they chant “YOU CAN’T SING!” Yeesh. Tough crowd. Ambrose catches Samson with a tope, and then climbs to the top rope. Samson catches him with a fist to the gut, and then attempts a Superplex. Dean knocks him off the top with a series of vicious headbutts! Uh oh, Miz is here. Dean sees him, and Elias tries a roll-up for two! Ambrose catches Elias with the rebound clothesline, but Miz pulls Ambrose outside and throws him into the barricade. Maryse argues with Miz as the ref continues to count! Dean gets in RIGHT before the ten-count, but The Drifter was waiting for him with two knees to the spine. Samson finishes Ambrose with the Encore for the one, two, three!
Winner: Elias Samson (*3/4)
Goldust promo is played. He quotes Godfather II (the best of the three, in my opinion) so this gets two thumbs up from me. After this, GM Kurt Angle is backstage with Miz and Maryse. Miz blames Angle for leaving the building last week, which opened up the door for Ambrose to strike! Miz said that this is because of Angle’s personal ordeal, which gets Kurt’s ire. This must be about that text or whatever. Miz says that Ambrose should be fined or suspended, and Kurt said he’s not going to do either. I know they’re trying to weave these stories, but it’s just convoluted.
Noam Dar is backstage talking to Alicia Foxxxxxx on FaceTime. Cedric Alexander interrupts and says that after last week’s match, he considers Dar yesterday’s news. Cedric said he’s also finished with Alicia, which gets a reaction out of her. Cedric vows that after tonight, he’ll be done with Dar once and for all. I thought Cedric has been done with Alicia for months?
Match #2 – Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar
Dar is still talking to Alicia on the phone during his entrance, complete with her FaceTime window getting put on the TitanTron. Good Lord. Dar is so distracted that he gets drilled with the Lumbar Check in less than 10 seconds. What a complete waste of time and purple tape.
Winner: Cedric Alexander (-*** for the match and for Alicia’s voice)
There’s a video for Roman Reigns, followed by an announcement FOR AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Only in WWE. Next week on Raw, Reigns is going to make an announcement regarding SummerSlam.
Spoiler: Reigns wants a title shot against the WWE Universal Champion at SummerSlam.
Next, we are treated to a delightful promo featuring Bray Wyatt. By “delightful”, I mean “laced with psilocybin.” Wyatt laments, “Humanity is guilty of mistaking intelligence for knowledge.” Isn’t it the other way around? He rambles on: “The world is collapsing under the weight of its own sin.” Speak for yourself, Mr. Rotunda. “IT’S HOT IN THE STREETS, BUT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ANGER OF THE SUN.” What does this even mean? He goes on to say that anyone who slanders his name will be punished, just like Seth Rollins. Bray says that Rollins’ glass house came crashing down last week after taking a dose of the truth. Again, I have no idea what this means. Wyatt warns that if anyone takes his name in vain, they will fall.
Well, that and don’t mention Jojo. Yep, I went there!
Seth Rollins appears, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see him. Bray’s rambling needed a mercy killing. Rollins says that he meant what he said when he called Wyatt a “False Prophet”, because it’s the truth. Seth says that Wyatt operates in the shadows, and when he has to step out into the light, he doesn’t fare as well. So WYATT IS A VAMPIRE! I think. Maybe. Wyatt says that Rollins is oozing arrogance. Who says stuff like that? Didn’t oozing die out with “Machismo”…?
Wyatt says that when he sees Rollins, he is looking at a man that is beneath him. Bray then says, “You found a way to slay the King…” and then the lights go out. Funny moment, as the fans ringside obviously saw Wyatt slither his bulbous carcass under their side of the ring. They try pointing him out to Seth, but then Wyatt appears on the Titantron to finish his thought. He calls himself God, and tells Seth to “Face your fears…and run.”
Here’s a question…Wyatt tells everyone to “Run.” When is the last time HE ran? Guy looks like he’s put on half a stone every week since the beginning of the year. Eater of worlds, indeed.
Charly is with the Hardy Boyz. Matt and Jeff definitely seem more like their 2007 personalities than 2016-2017. Teasing the “Broken” characters for a few months was pretty cool, but I can imagine that Vince wants nothing to do with it. Matt says Sheamus and Cesaro are two of the most physical men they’ve ever faced, but they’ll go to any length to prove that they’re the rightful tag team champions. Jeff says that tonight, they’re going to break the bar. The Xanax bar?
Match #3- Kalisto vs. Apollo Crews
Kalisto hits a headscissors, but Crews dropkicks him in the ribs for two. Snap suplex by Crews gets two, as Titus jaws with Akira Tozawa who is ringside. Why did he need a Front Row ticket? Give it to a Make A Wish Kid, for crying out loud. Kalisto fights out of Crews’ front face lock, but Apollo rips Kalisto down HARD. Kalisto recovers and hits the headscissors DDT for two. Somersault springboard into the ropes by Kalisto is countered into the Spin Out Power Bomb by Crews! One, two, three!
Winner: Apollo Crews (*)
Miz is backstage offering Heath Slater and Rhyno a chance to be part of his entourage. Slater says that he’d like to be Intercontinental Champion instead. Miz says that if they join forces, he’ll make sure Heath gets a shot at the gold. Rhyno says that Heath already has a partner, so Miz should go get one because a tag match is about to be booked. Rhyno destroys a plate of cheezy crackers as everyone looks on. Gross.
Alexa Bliss comes out and brags about her victory over Nia Jax last week. Before she gets much further, Nia Jax arrives to set things straight. Nia says that she was granted this title shot, but the match was ruined when the ref called for the DQ. Alexa tries to throw Dana Brooke and Mickie James under the bus, but they come out to have their say. Emma returns from an injury to stake her claim, but Sasha Banks interrupts her. This turns into a wild brawl as we go to commercial. I’m not really sure what the point of ANY of this was. Probably an excuse to have a six-woman tag team match.
Match #4 – Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Dana Brooke vs. Nia Jax, Emma, and WWE Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Well, there’s your answer. Match is joined in progress with Brooke fighting out of a sleeperhold by Alexa. Twice! Dana gets choked out in the ropes, as Emma is tagged in. Emma stomps on Dana, and follows this with an awesome running dropkick that gets two. Emma punches Dana, and then puts her in a chinlock. Dana fights out and catches Emma with a kick in the corner. Emma knocks Mickie James off the apron, but Dana gets the hot tag to Sasha. Nice dropkick by Sasha, followed by a front kick. Sasha throws Emma into her teammates, but Emma catches Sasha with a quick elbow. Alexa suddenly abandons her teammates as Nia Jax comes into the ring to clear house. Nia misses a charge and flies out of the ring. Mickie goes to the top and drills Nia outside with a Bombs Away! Back inside, Emma tries to roll up Banks, but Sasha turns it into the Bank $tatement! Emma taps!
Winners: Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Dana Brooke (**)
Finn Balor promo video is played. Following this, Corey Graves interviews Bayley. She says that she’s not here to hurt people. She would rather put smiles on the fans’ faces. She says she’s not going to change who she is, and she will continue to be the best version of herself. Bayley says that she wants to prove she is the best, and she wants to recapture the Women’s Championship. Afterwards, she asks for a hug. Graves obliges. Corey’s reaction and facial expression during the hug is priceless. You know, if she turned into a psycho hose beast who desperately wants to be loved, then she might have something to work with. She could be like Mickie James, circa 2006.
Match #5 – Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. WWE IC Champion The Miz & ???
The mystery partner is the DANCING BEAR from last week’s IC Title Celebration! What in the hell is happening right now? Was the Bear THAT memorable? Really? Really? Crowd chants, “WE WANT BEAR!” That’s surreal on multiple levels. Slater drops some rights on The Miz, followed by a clothesline. Slater gets the armbar, and wrenches it. Rhyno makes the tag and drills Miz with a shoulder tackle. Slater tags back in and hits Miz with an axehandle from the top. Miz finally tags in the Bear! More jokes from the commentators. A BEARHUG ON SLATER! I’d pop if that was the finish.
Miz tags himself back into the match, and then he attacks the Bear outside the ring! Miz pulls the Bear’s head off to reveal just another kid. Rhyno throws Miz back in, but Heath ends up confronting the Bear, who apparently has come back into the ring. Slater gets dropped by the Bear with Dirty Deeds. Miz turns around to find out that Dean Ambrose switched places with the kid. Who goes to the trouble to get two Dancing Bear outfits? Miz is so stunned by Dean’s TOTALLY ZANY prank that he knocks Maryse off the apron, and then he gets popped with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose puts Slater on Miz for the one, two, three. This reminded me of 2000-era WCW. Insanely stupid, and the fans’ reaction to this whole thing was tepid, at best.
Winners: Slater and Rhyno (-**** for the match and the unbearable jokes)
Recap video of the WrestleMania return for the Hardy Boyz, followed by clips of Sheamus and Cesaro getting the best of Matt and Jeff. 2 out of 3 falls for the tag titles later tonight!
Match #6 – WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Rich Swann
Neville destroys Swann before the bell sounds. Neville takes him outside and throws him into the barricade. Neville applies the Rings of Saturn as the ref tries to pull him off. Two Cruiserweight matches totaling 11 seconds, plus ANOTHER waste of purple tape. I think it’s safe to say that Vince is done with this experiment.
Winner: No Match
Afterwards, Neville proclaims, “IT FEELS GOOD TO BE KING!” He calls out Akira Tozawa, and says that Tozawa will kneel on one knee to the King of the Cruiserweights. Backstage, Charly is with Sheamus and Cesaro. They said that the Hardyz used to inspire people, but these days people are inspired by Cesaro and Sheamus. They look to retire the Hardy Boyz once and for all.
Match #7 – Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo & Big Cass
We get yet ANOTHER backstage beatdown, where Cass is once again the victim. He tells refs he got drilled in the back of his head. You know what? When you get into the fourth week of these backstage beatdowns, it just gets stupid. The fans jeer as Gallows calls his opponents “NERDS!” Clever. Enzo and Cass suck it up and come down to the ring. Cass starts to club Anderson in the corner, but he is quickly disoriented after throwing Anderson into the opposite corner. Empire Elbow to Anderson, followed by a tag to Enzo. The tag was anything but hot. Anderson SMOKES Enzo with a running kick. Enzo kicks Karl out of the corner, but Gallows gets the tag into the match. Enzo sidesteps Luke and catches him with an elbow. Enzo misses off the middle rope, leading to Anderson and Gallows destroying Enzo with the Magic Killer. One, two, three!
Winners: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (*)
After the match, the Big Show arrives! Anderson and Gallows scurry away, as Show looks after Enzo. Cass climbs on the apron to see that Show saved the day. Again. Slow burn for a Cass turn? Maybe.
R-Truth promo. He quotes Cool Hand Luke. Man, it’s been 20 years since the last Cool Hand Luke reference on Raw. Who made it? Stone Cold Steve Austin…right before stunning Vince McMahon for the very first time. After this, Big Show calls Cass “SAWFT” to Enzo’s face. Ouch. They recap the opening segment, and Samoa Joe says that actions have always spoken louder than words. He promises to put Lesnar to sleep in the Coquina Clutch.
Main Event: WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz – 2 out of 3 Falls
Matt nails Sheamus with a clothesline, and a bulldog for two. Poetry in Motion, followed by a splash gets two! Cesaro interrupted that count. Jeff tries to springboard out of the corner after a whip to Sheamus, but Hardy gets hit with a weak Brogue Kick to the chest whilst upside-down. One, two, three! LAME does not begin to describe this first fall. The fans LOUDLY groan for that one. Come on, when you rush to a finish like that, the fans fully catch on to your bullshit.
After the break, we are joined in progress on the second fall. Jeff fights out of a Sheamus chinlock, but gets nailed with the Irish Cross for two. Sheamus stomps on Jeff, and tries to apply the Cloverleaf. Jeff is able to fight out and send Sheamus to the outside. HOT TAG to Matt, who is a house of fiyah! Cesaro tags too, and gets nailed with headbutts and forearms. Cesaro gets sent to all three corner turnbuckles! Running clothesline in the corner by Matt! Tornado DDT out of the corner to Cesaro! Sheamus gets hit with a Side Effect on the apron! Twist of Fate to Cesaro! One, two, three! That was a hell of a series of moves by Matt. We’re tied at one fall apiece!
Matt tries another quick cover on Cesaro, but it only gets two. Matt charges, but Cesaro catches him with a European Uppercut. Sheamus tags in, and he knocks Jeff off the apron. Sheamus hits a kick and a running knee to Matt for one, two, no! Sheamus tags Cesaro, and they hit the double team White Noise for one, two, no! Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer, but Matt counters! Cesaro is able to counter the roll-up into a Sharpshooter! Matt fights, and finally gets to the ropes. Matt tries a quick roll-up and gets one, two, no! Jeff and Sheamus make their tags, and Jeff takes advantage with clotheslines, an inverted atomic drop, and his signature combination for one, two, no! Cesaro breaks it up. Jeff gets hit from both sides and then rolled up by Sheamus for the one, two, no! Jeff with a jawbreaker, and after a missed charge, hits the Swanton Bomb! One, two, Cesaro breaks it up AGAIN! Jeff splashes both men, who crawled to the outside. There’s a HUGE brawl outside the ring, and this match ends in a…DOUBLE COUNTOUT?!!
Winners: No Contest (**1/2)
After the match, Jeff climbs to the top rope and takes down both champions! The Hardyz stand tall in the ring, but Sheamus and Cesaro survive with the titles! We go to credits!
Final Thoughts: Aside from that first segment, the rest of this show was a smelly, disgusting dumpster fire. Two of the matches produced a -*** and a -****. By my star tally, that could average out to be the worst Raw of the year, in terms of match quality. The sad thing is…the angles weren’t much better. The Dancing Bear? Wyatt on LSD? Holy cow. Joe vs. Lesnar is the only thing holding this show together. Everything else is a trainwreck.