There’s only so many times you can watch the same episode of Monday Night Raw over and over again without making yourself ill. When the only thing you have to look forward to on Monday night is Eden Stiles tweeting a picture of herself backstage, you know the evening isn’t looking very promising. After that photo you automatically know that the night is just gonna go downhill no matter what happens next.
Enter John Cena, the 8,9485 time WWE Champion coming to the ring and saying he isn’t in a jokey mood because he has to wrestle Brock Lesnar at Summer Slam. Enter Paul Heyman, the manager of the “Beast Incarnate” that will face off against Mr. Cena in a few short weeks. Enter Cesaro wearing a robe that makes him look like he just stepped off the set of a Peter North video. After some verbal jabs the two superstars choose to square off in the ring.
I like Cesaro; the man is a top notch grappler with a healthy resume and enough charisma to pop a crowd. However, in this instance he is Dino Bravo to John Cena’s Hulk Hogan. I don’t care what dimensional timeline you live in, in none of them will Dino Bravo ever beat Hulk Hogan clean in the ring. That being said, I hoped Cena would at least let Cesaro get a few licks in before coming back from near death to AA him out of nowhere in the last five seconds, overcoming the odds, and believing in hustle, loyalty and respect.
To my utter shock Cena does just that. It was a competitive match, and in places where I thought Cena would surely bury Cesaro, he actually was able to counter out of whatever big move Cena was going to do. The man flipped out of an AA and tossed Cena up and delivered his awesome uppercut. He even let Cesaro swing him a few times. Would Hogan let Dino Bravo swing him? Certainly not. Alas, Cena wins with an AA off the turnbuckle. It wasn’t a burial, it was an extremely entertaining match. Good job.
After watching the backstage segment between Triple H and Stephanie, the only conclusion I can come up with is that Randy Orton is Morrie Kessler from the movie Goodfellas. He’s an annoying lap dog who won’t shut up about what’s owed to him. His incessant whining about his rematch is so bothersome to Trips that all he can do is tune him out. Unfortunately, this is wrestling and you can’t have someone whacked and then tell his wife that “he ran off with some broad.” Instead, Triple H sends Randy Orton to take care of Roman Reigns. But first he has to stop and pick up some Danish for Belle.
The Paige and AJ Lee situation is a boggling one. First, Paige comes in with a hot crowd as the star of NXT. AJ Lee, on her way out of the WWE so she can pull a Terry Funk and recharge her batteries for a few months, was the bad gal of the Divas division. She was handled and had her title taken away. Good. Evil was punished and she disappeared. I don’t know if it was due to a negative reaction towards Paige, or because she looked incredibly weak in the ring, but for some reason upon AJ’s return she is painted as the evil doer while AJ is seen as the savior of the divas. Something is not right here. Paige humbled herself on television, then two weeks later came out and assaulted her “frienemy” AJ. What exactly happened? Why the flip flop. It wouldn’t bother me as much if AJ wasn’t acting in exactly the same manner that she was when she originally left. Seriously, nothing about her demeanor screams good guy. She’s just her default self, and I guess that’s good enough for the WWE audience. Or maybe she had garnered so much heat because Naomi was coming off the heels of being portrayed as such a strong character on Total Divas, people actually rooted for her, and she was ultimately taken out of title contention for seemingly no reason at all. Who knows? All I know is that this current Divas storyline makes as much sense as Batista finally getting cheered for walking away from Evolution and doing the princess wave.
It was a good throwback to previous years to see Chris Jericho come out during the Stephanie McMahon segment. The two have a long history of being each other’s foils. Y2J never missed an opportunity to make fun of the Billion Dollar Princess back in the day. In this instance he serenades her with the theme from Cops. He also spoils the pity party happening the ring by bringing up the fact that Triple H was not there for his wife when she got hauled off to the hoosegow. However, it was all just a reason to continue Jericho’s stupid feud with Bray Wyatt by having Triple H sick not only the Eater of Worlds at him at Summer Slam, but Seth X-Men Rollins tonight. I will say that I missed those days when Chris Jericho could call Stephanie a “Trash bag ho” on TV and no one would blink an eye.
I don’t like certain things about wrestling because it’s redundant, dumb, and had some of the most recycled characters in the world. Take Bo Dallas for example. His gimmick is a total rehash of 1999-2000 era Kurt Angle when he came out with the “Three I’s” and gave out honorary medals. Of course, the honorary medals weren’t as big as his, because they didn’t actually do anything to earn it. That being said, Bo Dallas got stale the second week of his WWE career. After his loss to R-Truth, however, some new life has been breathed into this boring character. Even after taking an L he still Bo-lieves. He congratulates Truth, even shakes his hand, then comes in and puts him down like yesterday’s garbage. Maybe there is something to this creepy looking kid after all.
That being said, I think the reverse will happen to Rusev once he loses his first match. Right now he has the Yokozuna effect going for him. He’s a strong “foreigner” with a gung-ho manager who lets the WWE universe know just how much they suck, and how much the behemoth rules. Once Yokozuna lost his championship at Wrestlemania X, he was never the same again, losing his rematch against Undertaker, tag teaming with guys like King Mabel and Owen Hart, and then feuding with Vader. After Rusev loses he’ll be feeder material for the next young upstart or whoever WWE is trying to push as a monster that week.
As for Jack Swagger, he’s discovered a revival of sorts. The lowest point in his career was when he involved himself in that stupid Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler feud. Since then he’s come up in the weirdest way. At first his xenophobic pairing with Uncle Zeb was seen as way for Vince McMahon to poke fun at Bill O’Reily and the people at Fox News. What it evolved into was a funny and absurd look at the conservative right. As someone who lives in a red state, I can tell you that they weren’t too far off. People cheered at them for the same reason people cheered for your little cousin on the wedding reception dance floor when he was trying to groove to the music in order to impress the young ladies in attendance. It was adorable, funny, and in a lot of ways kind of creepy. It’s safe to say that Jack Swagger has accidentally fallen into his niche, and he is going to ride it all the way home on a giant bald eagle while “American Idiot” plays loudly.
Damien Sandow isn’t funny doing these costumes and get-ups. I mean, if someone else did it they’d be hilarious. If Zack Ryder came out as a Sonic car hop or LeBron James, I’d laugh my tuchus off. But it’s Damien Sandow, an actual good wrestler dressing up for some odd reason. It’s like taking him 8 rungs down the ladder after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase and losing a well fought match against John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship. This time he’s in a space suit. If we got some clear explanation as to why he does it I wouldn’t hate it so much. Stevie Richards did it because that was his gimmick, dressing up like people he either admired or hated, mostly to psych out his opponents.
Of course, Adam Rose has to interfere in this egregious display. The worst part in all this isn’t Adam Rose or Sandow’s ridiculous costume, but that damn bunny that comes out with the Exotic Express. For weeks since the bunny arrived in the WWE he’s been the most focused on thing about the Rose gimmick. Each week they’d hype up this guy in a costume more and more. And now, when the Rose theme music plays, he’s the first one through the curtain. WWE announcers need to be putting over the man himself, not his damn costumed mascot. It just seems that Adam Rose is getting pushed to the side each time he comes out. It’s like after season 4 of Family Matters when it turned into the Steve Urkel show and the Winslow family that the show was supposed to be focusing on became nothing more than background characters surrounding the rising star that was Steve Urkel.
Randy Orton jumps Roman Reigns before his match against Kane. Because we didn’t see that coming. Reigns new ring gear is eerily similar to Seth Rollins. It’s as if they were standing backstage drinking coffee and Reigns started starting, admiring Rollins’ new gear. The two make eye contact and Reigns, breathes deeply, finally mustering up the courage to ask him where he got his snazzy new gear. Afterward, Reigns pulled out his grey Toughskin encased iPhone 5S, and proceeds to make his own order. Dean Ambrose, however, is more than satisfied with looking like an extra from West Side Story.
Interesting that while Orton is pounding the crap out of Reigns and has him down on the floor, some A-hole in the crowd yells “Superman Punch him already!” That smarky guy is probably sitting there with his date, trying to show her how cool and in the know he is about the wrestling business. He feels it’s his obligation to school her on the ins and outs, and subtle nuances of what happens in and around the squared circle. “If I yell something cool and smarky she’s definitely going to let me bone her tonight!” So, Orton beats up Reigns, and he’s bound to get his title shot now. Poor Morrie, testing the waters again won’t get you anywhere with Trips.
Fandango comes out and once again his annoying ex girlfriends come out with his opponent. What is this? Usually when an adult relationship ends it ends. After humiliating him once, ex girlfriends don’t keep trying to do it over and over again. They normally go away and find other dude within a week. This normal reaction doesn’t happen in the WWE Playground. Instead, Summer Rae and Leyla El accompany one of the Epic cousins to the ring for his match against Fandango.
Is Stardust sponsored by Rockstar Energy? That’s the only explanation I have for him.
Alicia Fox has gotten a lot better at wrestling within the last year or so. She isn’t accidentally hurting people or attempting murder on her opponents anymore. Cameron is still the worst ever, and if she ever wishes to improve she’d stop thinking she was divalicious and she’d watch some Bull Nakano tapes like Paige did. Or she’d consult with her tag team partner, the woman involved in what she called the greatest match of all time. It still boggles me how Naomi was distracted enough to get rolled up by Cameron, the Bret Ratner of wrestling, at Battleground. In this throwaway tag team match Naomi makes Cameron tap out. Too bad it won’t matter because it was on TV and not PPV, so it doesn’t count!
The main event was Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho. It was a fairly decent match with both professionals doing what they do best. Rollins is sometimes looked over as the third wheel in The Shield, but people forget he was Ring of Honor champion, and a great competitor. The thing that spoils us about Jericho is that while he is great, his only job in WWE is to put the young guys over, so he is going to lose 100% of his feuds. We know this, and that’s why it’s impossible to get hyped for a Chris Jericho match nowadays. Of course, this match, which was going pretty good, was ended when the Wyatt Family came out and beat Jericho up. I’m not too mad. A good match on television almost always has to end in this type of squash. On TV I understand why this happens, if this crap happens at a PPV, like it used to constantly, then people would be very upset.
Brie Bella! Brie Bella! Save me, Brie Bella! After spending a night in jail Stephanie McMahon has become a humble individual. So, she wants to call out the selfish Bella twin to the ring to form a truce. Why is this happening in the first place? Who knows. It would seem that after your boss fires you from your job you don’t keep popping up for no reason. That is called trespassing, and is serious grounds for getting the police involved, even if you went to Ticketmaster or StubHub and purchased a ticket to be there, or in the case of WWE’s audience, went to Burger King and ordered the Western Whopper.
The two women get in the ring and talk out their problems. The show ends with Stephanie agreeing to a match against Brie Bella. Her initial qualm was that she hadn’t been in the ring in over ten years. The last I remember she had a pudding match against Vickie Guerrero on Raw a few weeks ago. That counts! This is as big of a lie as the time Stephanie said that Andre the Giant was her best friend. This whole thing is stupid and it makes Stephanie look like the awful human being that she is. She doesn’t have the screen presence of her father, nor does she have any qualities that make normal human beings likable. Normally that would be par for the course of a wrestling villain, but this woman can’t even execute that in the correct manner. Instead of making me cheer for this match I want to throw things at my TV. None of this crap is engaging at all. Of course, to sensationalize the McMahon family name even further, this garbage ends in a big brawl. The McMahons love to put themselves over big time don’t they? After making it through this awful segment I just want to sit in a comfortable chair and reflect on all the bad choices I’ve made in my life. Thus ends another week of Monday Night Raw.