As I have done before, in paying my own respects to the late-great Dusty Rhodes, I will give my reflections on him, and not my usual title for Raw or “rumblings” on tonight’s show.
Monday Night Raw TV Report for June 15th, 2015
Introduction Segment: In Memoriam
Dusty Rhodes’ ten-bell salute and video tribute from Money In The Bank starts off Raw.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins makes his entrance and will speak next.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Seth Rollins is in the ring, putting himself over numerous times for retaining his WWE World Heavyweight Championship and not giving props to anyone else in The Authority, but Dean Ambrose interrupts and the two brawl. “The Lunatic Fringe” gets the better of Rollins, who walks to the back with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in tow.
Dean grabs a microphone and chair, and declares that he will not vacate the ring until Seth returns and continues the fight.
Ambrose is still in the squared circle, awaiting Rollins. We go to The Authority’s office with Triple and Stephanie. Rollins walks in and wants them to do something about this. Stephanie reminds Seth that he said he didn’t want their help, but Rollins tries to backpedal. Triple H informs Seth that he will find out later tonight, as will we, who his next opponent for the championship is. They dismiss the champion, and Dean has not moved from the ring.
Joining him now is the new “Mr. Money In The Bank,” “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus. He saunters out with case and mike in hand. He compares himself with Dean, saying “we both love to fight, and we both made bold predictions at Money In The Bank.” He touts the meaning that surrounds holding the briefcase, then tells Ambrose he’s going to be “kicking your head straight off your shoulders purely for my entertainment.”
Match #1: Single – “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose VS. “Mr. Money In The Bank,” “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus
Sheamus hits at Dean’s hurt knee, then focuses on it following a chop-block. Ambrose attempts a comeback, but is shoved off a bulldog-try into a kick.
Sheamus has Dean turned upside down in a leglock, but Ambrose gets another comeback in. He climbs the turnbuckle, but is caught and flipped over with the rolling fireman’s carry. Sheamus follows with the Irish Cloverleaf submission, but Dean struggles to the ropes. He hits multiple times on Sheamus, then dives off the top turnbuckle with an elbow drop! 1 – 2 – Sheamus gets his shoulder up! Sheamus nails a hard knee-to-the-face, but Dean hits back with a clothesline. Sheamus escapes and goes to walk away, but Randy Orton’s music plays and out walks “The Viper.” This turn of attention lets Ambrose put Sheamus back in the ring and roll him up for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose
Post-match, Orton and Sheamus go at it until “The Celtic Warrior” pushes off an RKO and high-tails to the ramp.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins is walking through the back and makes fun of J & J Security when they walk up to him. He also wants to know if they know who Rollins’ challenger might be; Noble suggests it should be his partner, Mercury, as he beat him last week. Joey insinuates that Seth is afraid of him and that he will one day soon lose the championship.
Segment #4: In Memoriam
Dusty Rhodes’ first NWA World Heavyweight Title win, from August 21st, 1979, is shown. He faced then-champion Harley Race in Tampa, Florida.
Match #2: Single – King Barrett VS. “King What’s Up” R-Truth
This one is over quickly as Truth moves from a Bullhammer and takes it with a roll-up!
Winner via Pinfall: “King What’s Up” R-Truth
Post-match, Barrett beats down Truth and declares he is the “real king.”
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Machine Gun Kelly, special guest and performer for tonight’s Raw, is with some of the wrestlers. Paige walks up and wants a “team meeting” with the divas.
Segment #6: Arena Promo
NXT Champion Kevin Owens strolls to the ring. He announces that John Cena is not there, and that Cena himself is the one to blame for the beating after their Money In The Bank match. Owens spins Cena’s sign of respect – wanting to shake Kevin’s hand – as Cena “disrespecting” him and stealing the moment for himself. He then issues an Open Challenge, so the man to answer is “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler! He tells Owens that he has “scratched and clawed” for everything, and is all-to-happy to challenge for the NXT Title too. As Lillian Garcia – the ring announcer – begins to introduce this contest, Owens corrects her by not putting the NXT Championship up for grabs; just that this was an “Open Challenge.”
Match 3: Single – NXT Champion Kevin Owens VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler (Non-Title)
Owens gets the jump on Ziggler early prior to the break.
Kevin is still in control with a rear chinlock, then delivers a running-senton on the canvas. Owens drapes Dolph over the ropes and gets a two-count, then continues to punish him. Ziggler gains some momentum and clotheslines Kevin over the ropes. Dolph follows and the two battle until Owens rockets Dolph across the timekeeper’s section. Ziggler manages to slide in just before 10, and moves from another senton-splash. He drives Kevin to the mat with a leaping-DDT!
Owens is dominating again, trapping Ziggler in another rear chinlock. Dolph breaks out of it with a jawbreaker, then punches away until he is shoved down. Kevin runs back at him, but is nailed with a superkick. 1 – 2 – Owens lifts his shoulder! Dolph attempts a Fameasser, but Kevin counters into the Pop-Up powerbomb position; Dolph reverses that into a sunset-flip pin for a near-fall!
Dolph goes for a splash in the corner, but Owens gets out of the way and Cannonball-splashes him in the corner! He goes for another Pop-Up powerbomb, but Ziggler slides out into the Zig-Zag! 1 – 2 – Owens kicks out! Kevin eventually plants Dolph with the Pop-Up powerbomb for the hard-fought W!
Winner via Pinfall: NXT Champion Kevin Owens
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Paige is trying to convince all the Divas to be with her in a fight against the Bella Twins. She tells everyone that the only way to dethrone them of their power, because of who their significant others are (John Cena and Daniel Bryan, respectively), is to band together. The rest of the Divas list reasons why they can’t side with Paige, then The Bellas themselves push through to make their point. All the Divas walk away, leaving Paige with the Twins alone, who she will face later in a two-on-one bout.
Match #4: Single – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. Director Of Operations, Kane
Kane controls Orton for a while until Randy begins clotheslining Kane. He gives him a powerslam, but is interrupted by Sheamus, who walks to the ring. Kane then makes this a “no-holds-barred, anything goes” contest.
Sheamus takes advantage quickly, Brogue Kicking Orton, and allowing Kane to cover him.
Winner via Pinfall: Director Of Operations, Kane
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Kane is walking through the back when Rollins walks up to him. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion “pokes the bear” with verbals against Kane, and the two get into a face-to-face about what they have done lately.
Segment #9: In Memoriam
Dusty Rhodes’ Hall-Of-Fame induction by Dustin Runnels/Goldust and Cody Rhodes is remembered, along with Dusty’s speech from 2007.
Match #5: Single – The Big Show VS. The Miz
(Note: Intercontinental Champion Ryback is on commentary.) Miz plays chicken at first, avoiding Show, until Big has appeared to hurt his knee. It was a ploy, as Show quickly grabs Miz and chops him in the corner. Big puts Miz to the outside, then chucks him onto Ryback. This angers “The Big Guy,” and as he and Show get into a verbal joust, Miz gets back in the ring to take this one!
Winner via Count-Out: The Miz
Post-match, Show also escapes Ryback as The Miz celebrates his win on the ramp.
Match #6: Single – Roman Reigns VS.
Prior to the bout, Reigns has a microphone and proclaims his anger for not winning the Money In The Bank Ladder Match. He wants Bray Wyatt – who cost him the match – to face him immediately. Instead, Bray appears on the Titantron, proclaiming. Reigns wants none of it, but Wyatt continues. He ensues that last night was payback for Reigns doing the same to Wyatt a couple weeks back. “I will haunt you, and ultimately, I will destroy you.” He holds up a picture of Roman with his daughter, and threatens “the fun is just getting started.
Winner: No Contest due to No Official Match Start
Match #7: Two-On-One – Paige VS. The Bella Twins (Divas Champion Nikki and Brie) (Non-Title)
Nikki tries to control early, but Paige trips her up and takes over. She knees her repeatedly against the middle rope, but Brie trips up Paige. Brie is now in and pounds away on Paige, then clamps on an arm and chin lock. Brie knees Paige down, then runs at her with another one for a two-count. Nikki back in and continues, wearing Paige down with a leg-scissors around her head. Paige moves and lets Nikki and Brie hit each other.
Paige knees Brie in the corner, then clotheslines and kicks her. She runs Brie into Nikki, then plants her with the Ram-Paige DDT, but Nikki breaks up the subsequent pin attempt. Nikki hits Paige hard with the Rack Attack (Torture Rack Drop) and gets the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: The Bella Twins (Divas Champion Nikki and Brie)
Up next, Machine Gun Kelly will perform!
Segment #10: Arena Performance
Machine Gun Kelly and his band perform, then are met by NXT Champion Kevin Owens. He quickly kicks Machine down after Kelly shoved him, then powerbombs him off the stage!
Match #8: Six-Man Tag-Team – The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E.) VS. “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” “The New Sensation” Neville and Tag-Team Champions The Prime Time Players (“The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young) (Non-Title)
Xavier and Darren begin, with a couple wristlocks by Young. He whips Woods off the ropes into a tornado elbow. Prime Time Players double-team Xavier, then they and Neville put The New Day to the floor.
The New Day is now in control, triple-teaming Darren, then allowing Kofi to wrestle. He switches with Big E., who then switches with Xavier; Young is being worn down by all three members. Darren makes the hot-tag to Neville, who is all over The New Day.
Neville flips over out of a German Suplex try by Woods, then soars onto the ring apron from the top turnbuckle as Kofi tried to distract him. O’Neil gives Big E. a spinebuster, then it is left to Young and Kofi, who is driven with knees-to-the-gut by Daren. He tags Neville back in, who spins around with the Red Arrow Splash off the top turnbuckle for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Man That Gravity Forgot,” “The New Sensation” Neville and Tag-Team Champions The Prime Time Players (“The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil and “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young) (Non-Title)
Segment #11: Locker Room Promo
Dean Ambrose is hurling darts at a picture of Seth Rollins when Kane joins him. Dean proclaims that this Kane is not the same one who was once World Heavyweight Champion, and that he “needs the title, and I will not stop until I get it.” He walks away, leaving Kane contemplating.
Segment #12: In Memoriam
A montage of Dusty Rhodes’ greatest promos are recalled.
Segment #13: Arena Promo
The Authority – Stephanie and Triple H – make their way to the ring. Stephanie begins by apologizing for Kevin Owens’ powerbombing of Machine Gun Kelly. Triple H says that Seth Rollins’ new challenger is not Kane, Dean, or even J & J.
Before they can go on, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins meets them and declares that no one can beat him, and that he will make HHH and Stephanie “proud.” Triple H agrees with his points, but Stephanie also says Rollins “has a little bit left to prove.”
After some more hype, the next person to take on Rollins is, Brock Lesnar!
“The Beast Incarnate” hops out to the stage, along with Paul Heyman. He gets in the ring, where Heyman shakes HHH’s hand, as he glares down Rollins, who exits and backs up the ramp as Cole announces that they will square off at Battleground! This closes the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Thoughts – By Moe Tapp
Dusty Rhodes was a man who had an absolute love for professional wrestling and was, arguably, one of the two-best talkers, alongside Ric Flair. Even though he did not have the body of “the athlete of the day,” as described in his famous “Hard Times” promo, I believe that endeared him even more to the fans, as it made them believe that anybody could be a wrestler, no matter what their physical appearance is.
Dusty had an incredible charisma and connection with the fans, particularly when talking about being the “common man” and “hard times;” once again, this resonated with the average-joe, especially those who would be in jobs and/or parts of their respective countries where they were going through tough times. He wasn’t playing a “character;” he actually lived the “hard times” in his life, which is what made him more believable.
Dusty has left behind a legacy of quotes/promos, charisma, passion, NXT talent, and most importantly, two sons who are still in this business, and will hopefully shine on for a while longer.
Truthfully, I was not even born, or just a baby, during his absolute prime of the late-70s and all the 80s, but I can feel what he was all about through the old footage I watch, so that is why I feel okay making the statements I have above.
He will be greatly missed, but I know his reputation will live on. God rest your soul, Virgil Runnels, a.k.a. Dusty Rhodes, “The American Dream.”