Live from Indianapolis, Indiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1151. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to my pal Melo Man for the awesome banner at the top. That is definitely one of my favorites.
The Raw intro video aired to start the show. Michael Cole said “Welcome to Monday night Raw” and then Brock Lesnar’s music hit.
Brock Lesnar entered with Paul Heyman at his side. Lesnar’s “Suplex City” shirt says “Indianapolis” so they are making it unique by putting the city’s name on shirt design every week. A video aired showing the announcement of Lesnar as Seth Rollins’ opponent at Battleground on July 19.
The great Paul Heyman was set for a promo when the crowd greeted them with “Suplex City” chants. He gave us the official return to Monday night Raw of Brock Lesnar. It looked like Lesnar had a sunburn on his face, but I could be wrong. There were clips of Lesnar attacking people on Raw three months ago, which included a planted cameraman and Michael Cole as well as JBL, who was hurt in the incident. Lesnar was suspended after that.
Back to the promo, Heyman explained how he got Lesnar’s suspension lifted. Heyman said that Lesnar has to apologize in public right here or else he won’t get a title shot at Rollins at Battleground.
With the fan chanting “Suplex City” for Lesnar, Heyman told Lesnar again what he had to do. Lesnar walked over to the announce table. Lesnar put his hand out and JBL shook it. As for Cole, Lesnar playfully shook Cole’s hand, then gave him a nuggie on the head and sat him back in his seat as if to apologize in that way. That’s it, so Lesnar did his apology.
Heyman focused the promo back to Rollins calling him all kinds of nasty names. Heyman mentioned that Rollins was protected in NXT from day one, then protected by The Shield and then protected in The Authority. He went on to say that The Authority sacrificing Rollins to face Lesnar is what is “BEAST FOR BUSINESS.” Heyman told Rollins that all he has now is a one way trip to Suplex City…bitch. He continued the fired up promo saying Lesnar is the future WWE Champion as the crowd cheered for all of it and then they left.
Analysis: It’s typical of Raw that they would start with a long promo, but at least it was different from the norm because we haven’t heard from them for a long time. I missed Heyman promos and it’s certainly different hearing him doing a babyface promo as opposed to his usual heel promo. It wasn’t the best kind of Heyman promo, but it was fine. Brock’s sunburn was pretty noticeable too.
Dean Ambrose was shown walking to the ring.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
I saw the match live because that’s when I returned from an event earlier in the day, but I don’t feel like writing about it because it was just average. Kane got the win with a Chokeslam off the top rope (it didn’t look great) when Rollins showed up to interfere.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: It was a ** match that went two segments. The story was about how Rollins was trying to get Kane to help him, so Rollins blatantly interfered to cost Ambrose the match.
Seth Rollins walked up to Kane and told him they need to work together again. Kane said that he’s only asking because Brock Lesnar is back, so he needs backup. Rollins said it’s not about Lesnar – it’s about them working together. He extended his hand to Kane, but Kane just left.
Analysis: Poor Rollins is all alone again because he’s been a jerk to everybody and Kane isn’t willing to help.
The announce team of Cole, JBL & Saxton talked about things.
We got a summary of the Wyatt/Reigns story with Wyatt taunting Reigns with a photo of his daughter, which leads to a match for them at Battleground in four weeks.
The Prime Time Players entered for their match that takes place after the break.
There was a video of Titus O’Neil winning a “Celebrity Daddy of the Year” award and a ceremony last week in Florida. Good job Titus.
The Prime Time Players vs. The Ascension
O’Neil dominated early by slamming Viktor to the mat, then Konnor slowed him down and brought Viktor back in to stomp on O’Neil. More tag team moves by The Ascension kept O’Neil isolated in their corner during the face in peril portion of this match. Back suplex by O’Neil led to the hot tag to Young, who worked over Viktor with a clothesline as well as an overhead suplex. Clothesline by Young and then a Northern Lights Suplex on Viktor for two that was broken up by Konnor. The New Day were shown watching in the back. O’Neil took out Konnor with a spinning spinebuster. Viktor knocked O’Neil out of the ring. Young nailed Viktor with Gut Check gutbuster for the win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Prime Time Players
Analysis: *1/2 It was just a short match to put over the PTPers as champions. The Ascension almost never win any matches and are treated like jobbers by the fans because of that. There’s almost no reaction to anything that they do. Since the PTPers need wins to establish them as champions it makes sense that they’d get a win on Raw. It’s better than having champs losing non-title matches too.
Sheamus made his entrance while the PTPers were celebrating their win. He just walked by them as he entered for his match against Roman Reigns.
There were images shown of Sheamus winning Money in the Bank eight days ago.
Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns hit a Samoan Drop, which sent Sheamus to the floor and Reigns slammed him head first into the announce table. Back in the ring, Sheamus got a high knee lift, but Reigns took him down with a back elbow. Sheamus stunned Reigns by sending his neck into the top rope and then hit a clothesline for a two count. Sheamus got in some forearm shots to the chest, but Reigns powered out with some elbow attacks. Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse backbreaker. There was a visible bruise on Sheamus’ left arm as the match went to break. Nobody was on the floor. Controversial!
Reigns started his face comeback that included ten short clotheslines against the turnbuckle. With Sheamus leaning against the ropes, Reigns wanted to hit his running dropkick, but Sheamus dropped him with a punch or clothesline that sent Reigns to the ground. Sheamus sent Reigns back first into the barricade by the timekeeper. Back in the ring, Sheamus applied a chinlock and Reigns put his arm in front of his face because he was probably talking to him. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse backbreaker three times in a row for a two count. Sheamus came back with the Cloverleaf submission move. Reigns fought out of it, but Sheamus nailed him with a clothesline to knock him down. Sheamus hit a forearm shot to the back. Reigns came back again with forearms followed by a spinning suplex. Fans were chanting “Let’s go Roman” as Reigns hit another back suplex for a two count. Reigns nailed Sheamus with a clothesline that led to both guys going over the top to the floor. Reigns hit his flying dropkick while Sheamus was on the apron. Reigns nailed a leaping clothesline on Sheamus onto the announce table.
Bray Wyatt showed up on the video screen holding pink/purple teacups with some candles. He talked about how Roman wouldn’t let you down and then told Reigns to find him. Reigns ran to the back while the match was going on. Wyatt said “I told you he would come” and the camera panned over to show an empty rocking chair. The show went to break. The match went 15 minutes.
Match Result: Sheamus by countout? Reigns by forfeit? WTF?
Analysis: **1/2 They gave those guys 15 minutes and instead of booking an actual finish, Reigns just left. I guess Sheamus won by countout although he wasn’t back in the ring and there was no official decision announced. The story is that Wyatt’s mind games are working on Reigns if they are causing him to just leave a match that’s going on. The other story is that WWE doesn’t care about the matches enough to book a finish. Why book a match with no finish? That’s pretty weak.
Replays of the end of the match that had no finish.
Roman was shown backstage looking for Wyatt found the candles and the teapots in the room. There was a recording of Wyatt singing “I’m a little teapot” with Wyatt not in the room. There were also photos on the wall and then it said “Anyone but you” in red letters on the wall.
Analysis: I like that the feud will have a different feel to it than typical bad guy vs. good guy, but it’s hard to know where they are going with all of it. Also the wall setup by Wyatt was similar to what Mickie James did with Trish Stratus nine years ago.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) June 23, 2015
Replay of Heyman’s promo with Lesnar. How many replays of things that already happened are on this show?
Rollins went up to J&J Security backstage by the coffee machine. Jamie Noble said they dedicated their lives to helping Rollins become WWE Champion and Rollins made jokes about them. Rollins said they’re not just security, but they are his friends. He told them that he can take of Lesnar by himself and kept on rambling on. Rollins wondered if they were cool. Mercury left first and then Noble. Rollins was mad.
Analysis: The ongoing story of Rollins being all alone continues.
Neville entered for a match.
The New Day trio did their entrance. They clapped their way to the ring like usual.
Neville vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Big E & Xavier Woods)
The crowd was chanting “New Day sucks” right off the bat as Neville took down Kingston with an armbar while Woods is yelling at Neville about gravity. Kingston sent him to the floor and nailed some punches followed by a forearm attack in the corner. Neville started his comeback with a flying headscissors and dropkick that sent Kingston to the floor. The Prime Time Players showed up to even things up to prevent the other New Day guys from interfering. The ref told the PTPers to leave even though they did nothing. Kingston slammed Neville against the side of the ring. The ref sent Woods and Big E to the back even though they did nothing too. Kingston yelled at the ref about it. Neville nailed a kick to the head called “oh no” by Cole. Neville up top and he nailed the Red Arrow for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Neville
Analysis: *3/4 It was good for the time given, but it also felt rushed. It would be nice if Cole could call moves better than “oh no” too although that’s a complaint that many of us have been saying for years. The ejections by the ref were odd because none of the guys actually did anything. Maybe The New Day will complain about it and say it’s unfair treatment, but other than that I’m not really sure why they did the ejections.
A replay was shown of Kevin Owens attacking Machine Gun Kelly last week. Cena returns this week. Ryback vs. Mark Henry as if that’s going to excite anybody.
There was a sneak peak of a show called Mr. Robot coming to USA Network.
King Barrett is out. There was also a inset promo by R-Truth dressed like a king with a plunger in his hand.
King Barrett vs. Zack Ryder
Barrett hit a shoulder tackle and Ryder hit a flapjack. Barrett tripped up Ryder while he was on the turnbuckle. He followed that up with a clothesline to take down Ryder. The crowd is so dead for this. Neckbreaker by two. Ryder started his comeback with almost no reaction. Clothesline by Ryder, knees to the face and a missile dropkick off the middle rope. Ryder with a forearm smash. Crowd woke up for a “woo woo woo” as Barrett rolled to the floor. Ryder nailed him with a dropkick to send him to the floor. Back in the ring, Ryder was tripped up when he was on the top rope. Barrett nailed the Bull Hammer elbow for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: King Barrett
Analysis: * It’s no surprise that the crowd was dead because Barrett has been booked like such a loser in the last month that nobody cares when he’s out there.
There was a clip of Kevin Owens’ interview on WWE.com last week with Michael Cole. It was good and you should watch it. He challenged Cena for the US Title. Cena’s up next.
John Cena made his entrance as the announcers talked as if he was out for weeks or months instead of one week of Raw. He ran to the ring. Way to sell the injuries, Cena.
Cena held up the US Title and said he was damn proud of being the champion of the United States. He spoke about a man named Kevin Owens, which elicited a nice reaction from the crowd. Cena said at Elimination Chamber, Owens beat him and then said that Cena’s time is up. At Money in the Bank, Cena won and asked for a handshake, which led to Owens attacking him. He also mentioned Owens attacking a musician last week. Cena: “Kevin Owens is a great wrestler, but I’ve seen how he carries himself and this is just my opinion, I think he’s a garbage human being.”
Cena went over the fact that Owens challenged him for the US Title and that if he accepts then he may be signing up for a fight that he can’t win. Cena said he could say no just like Owens said no when Cena asked him for the NXT Title. Are were really rehashing the idea that Cena wanted to be NXT Champion? That’s weird. Cena went into his routine speech about his lifetime of never giving up. Cena talked about the rules for the US Title are simple because if you want some, come get some. He mentioned he would fight Owens too.
Kevin Owens’ music hit and he was on the stage with his NXT Title. Owens said he didn’t put much value into other people’s opinion. He admitted he doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him. If he cared what people think of him he would have changed a long time ago. He said that people called him out of shape and a slop while Cena just called him a dirtbag. Owens bragged about beating Cena at Elimination Chamber and leaving him lying at Money in the Bank. Owens talked about what he cares about is winning titles. He says he won the NXT Title and now that he sees how much Cena cares about the US Title, he wants a US Title match. Owens told Cena he’ll give him what he craves, which are cheers and boo the evil foreigner. Owens spoke in French and I got a bit of it with him saying he’ll be the new US Champion. He asked Cena what he thought.
Cena said the people aren’t indifferent to Owens because of the language he speaks – they are disrespectful because he’s a suckbag. Cena spoke in French and Chinese. He sucked up to the crowd saying he’ll use some “Indiana Americana” as a way to suck up leading to Cena saying he’ll accept. Cena ended the promo this way: “I will kick your ass.” The crowd was cheering Cena. His music played to end it. Remember when Cena did open challenges every week? Not anymore!
Analysis: It was pretty obvious they were setting up the third match, which I have no problem with because of how awesome their other matches have been. Owens will likely lose the NXT Title to Finn Balor on July 4 in Japan, so by the time they get to Battleground on July 19 he’ll be hungry to win another title. I hope Owens wins the title. Good job by Cena firing back at Owens saying that speaking a foreign language isn’t the issue, it’s the attitude of Owens. It worked because the crowd cheered.
Seth Rollins was backstage with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rollins complained about things by saying that he felt he damaged some relationships in the last few weeks, but he wanted The Authority to be back together. Hunter told Rollins that they know he wants help because Lesnar is back. Hunter said that they believed in Rollins and that you should be scared of Lesnar, but a smart man knows there’s a plan B. Hunter reminded him that a smart man has a full proof plan. Hunter told Rollins that a smart man says three words that can make all of this go away: “I am sorry.” Rollins wondered if Lesnar shows up. Stephanie said he knows what to do. Hunter told him it’s up to him to get this “family” back together.
Analysis: It sounds like we’ll get a promo main event like last week since there’s no major match announced.
The Bella Twins (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Naomi & Tamina Snuka
All four women are heels, but the Bellas are on the side where they are facing the camera where the faces usually are. Nikki was trying to fire up the crowd while Tamina and Naomi worked on Brie with Naomi driving her head first into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi charged Brie, but Brie ducked and Naomi went to the floor. Naomi yanked Nikki off the apron to prevent the tag. Moments later, Brie brought in Nikki, who was on fire after the hot tag. Corner clothesline by Nikki and then an Alabama Slam for a two count. Tamina went to attack Brie, but the ref was in the way and she accidentally hit him. Oops. Brie ended up knocking Tamina down. Naomi accidentally hit the Rear View on Tamina because they suck. Nikki hit the Rack Attack on Naomi for the win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Bella Twins
Analysis: * It feels like we’ve seen that match before probably because we have. Keeping track of the heel/face turns of the Bellas is so difficult. Paige is doing Tough Enough and Nattie’s off helping her husband Tyson Kidd with his injury, so there really aren’t a lot of options unless they want to call other divas up to the main roster. I assume Paige will be around in other weeks, but this week she might be in Orlando early for TE duties. It’s just weird to see the Bellas acting like faces after they were heels the last few weeks. I don’t think management even cares that they confuse people. They just trot the girls out there for 4-5 minutes and expect people to figure it out. It’s bad booking.
There was a commercial for Terminator: Genisys in theatres July 1. They mixed in some clips of Roman Reigns for some reason too.
Brock Lesnar was shown talking to Paul Heyman backstage. We couldn’t hear them, but they were shown so Cole could just say that they’re still here.
There was a plug for Tough Enough debuting on Tuesday.
Big Show joined the announcers for commentary on the next match.
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Ryback hit a shoulder tackle on Henry to knock him out of the ring. Henry came back by driving Ryback back first into the ring apron and then tossed him into the barricade. The show went to break about one minute into the match.
Ryback was pounding on Henry in the corner, then Henry shoved him off and Ryback nailed a spinebuster. Ryback wanted his Meat Hook Clothesline, but Henry booted him down. Show encouraged Ryback to finish him. Ryback bounced off the ropes with a clothesline. Ryback to the top and he hit a splash on Henry that was enough to pin him. The match went six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ryback
Analysis: 1/2* It was about six minutes long with only three minutes that were actually shown. Their matches are never good, so I guess that’s why WWE chose to barely show any of it. Henry really didn’t look like he had much of a chance to win. The top rope splash by Ryback was a unique finish for him because we haven’t really seen that before, but he pulled it off well.
Post match, Show got in Henry’s face and told him he should have beat Ryback. Henry shoved him away. Show left while Henry was selling that splash.
More hype for Tough Enough starting Tuesday on USA Network at 8pmET.
In the backstage area, Ryback was interviewed by Jojo. She mentioned his IC Title match at Battleground against Show and Miz. Ryback said he’s not Flyback even though he did that big splash. Ryback said all the sacrifice he’s put up with in his life is worth it. He mentioned his parents haven’t spoken in 15 years, but they have now because he’s IC Champ. Ryback continued the inspirational speech saying he’ll take on all comers and started the “Feed Me More” chant.
Big Show showed up to get in his face to mock the inspirational speech. They brawled around the backstage area with Show getting the advantage at first and then Ryback tossed him into some carts in the backstage area. Refs showed up to break it up.
Analysis: Good speech by Ryback adding a personal touch by mentioning his parents in there. I thought Show might win the brawl there, but Ryback came out on top looking strong. Miz is away for Tough Enough since he’s showing a post-TE show on WWE Network although that wasn’t mentioned on the show.
A replay of Ryback’s interaction with Big Show was shown.
This week on Smackdown it’s Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus.
Adam Rose with Rosa Mendes is facing Dolph Ziggler with Lana. Dolph got a quick kiss from Lana. Rose complained about how the people don’t get what true passion and true love is. Rose said “I love us” and Rosa said it as well. Rose told the fans that once he reveals his art to the world the people might actually get it. Rose told Dolph and Lana not to be jealous of them because this is what true love looks like. Rose kissed Rosa on the lips.
Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana) vs. Adam Rose (w/Rosa Mendes)
The bell rang and Ziggler nailed a dropkick. Rusev was shown watching on a monitor backstage with his crutches helping him since he’s got a broken foot. Rose came back with a slam and then elbow drops followed by some posing. Rose put Ziggler in a sleeper, which Ziggler fought out of with a back suplex. Ziggler nailed a corner splash and then a neckbreaker that woke up the crowd. Elbow by Ziggler for two. Rose hit a clothesline in the corner. Ziggler went for a Fameasser, Rose moved and hit a spinebuster for two. There have been a lot of spinebusters on this show. Rose to the top, he jumped off and Ziggler nailed a Superkick on him. Ziggler went for the pin and that’s it after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: * Another win for a midcarder over a jobber. Rose looked pretty good when he was on offense. Ziggler’s the second wrestler to win a match this week without using a finishing move since Ryback won that way also.
Post match, Lana was pretty happy about the win. Ziggler unclipped her ponytail and then shared a passionate kiss with her. Rusev was shown in the back freaking out while this was shown on the monitor. He tossed his crutches and then fell down. Summer Rae walked up to him and gave him back his crutch. She said “Lana’s not worth it” although it was hard to hear it.
Analysis: That was the longest smooch that Ziggler has had with Lana. Seeing Rusev freaking out over Lana is getting old, but I guess it was done to set up something with him and Summer Rae. Summer hasn’t really had much to do since the Fandango thing ended (remember him?), so giving her a wrestler to manage could help her.
There was another office meeting with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talking to J&J Security as well as Kane. There was a green screen that showed up for a few seconds that drew some boos from the crowd. Triple H tried to talk some sense into J&J and Kane by telling them to at least go out to the ring to hear what Rollins has to say.
Analysis: Nothing special here. Just a continuation of the storyline that they did all night long.
Main Event Promo Time With Seth Rollins And Others
WWE Champion Seth Rollins entered for a promo in the main event slot with this segment starting at 11:00pmET. Rollins said he’s there to admit that he has been wrong. He asked Kane, Jamie and Joey to come out there so he can apologize to them individually. Remember when Big Show was in The Authority and was never really written out of the group? That’s been ignored.
Kane walked out there in his ring gear along with Jamie and Joey. Rollins told them that this has nothing to do with Lesnar. He added that he beat Lesnar before and will beat him again at Battleground. The fans chanted “Suplex City” at him, which led to Rollins telling the fans to shut up.
Rollins said to J&J that he’s so sorry. He spoke about how he looked up to them and he patterned his in-ring style after them. He said that they have always been there for them. He apologized to them individually and collectively. Rollins told them to think about while he talked to Kane.
Rollins told Kane that he owed him an apology the most. Rollins mentioned calling Kane a dinosaur while the fans chanted “Justin Bieber” at Rollins. More sucking up by Rollins telling Kane that he’s like a fine wine that keeps getting better. Rollins told Kane he was his favorite WWE superstar of all time. He pleaded with Kane to come back to The Authority to let this be a family again. There were no answers. Rollins said “please” a few times while wondering if they’ll take him back. He extended his hand for a shake. Nobody shook it.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he marched down to the ring with Paul Heyman. Lesnar walked around the ring while staring at the four guys inside the ring. When Lesnar jumped on the apron, Kane and J&J left Rollins alone. With Lesnar still on the apron, Kane attacked. Lesnar took him down and then slammed each of the J&J guys into the barricade.
Lesnar went into the ring after Rollins and he nailed a German Suplex with Cole yelling “welcome to Suplex City, Seth Rollins.” There was another German Suplex by Lesnar. Lesnar hit a third German Suplex on Rollins. Lesnar wanted the F5, but Kane showed up. They had a bit of a fight that ended with Kane hitting a Chokeslam on Lesnar. Rollins was outside the ring for this. Lesnar came back on Kane hit a German Suplex on him. When Rollins came in, Lesnar wanted a F5 and Kane clipped him in the knee. Kane and Rollins worked on Lesnar with Rollins slamming his left knee into the steel ring post. Rollins held the leg and Kane hit Lesnar’s left leg with a chair.
Rollins and Kane stomped away on Lesnar in the ring. Lesnar tried to fight back, but Mercury grabbed Lesnar by the legs. Kane and Mercury held Lesnar up, so Rollins nailed a flying knee attack off the top rope to knock Lesnar down. Kane nailed a Chokeslam on Lesnar again. Rollins set him up for a Pedigree and he connected with it. Lesnar didn’t sell it great because one of his knees hit the mat when he should really just spread his legs out to take the bump.
Rollins posed with the WWE Title as his Authority buddies celebrated along with him. Raw came to a close at 11:17pmET.
Analysis: The promo was long winded and repetitive, but a necessary part of the story because now The Authority is back together to help Rollins in his match with Lesnar. The attack on the left knee was well done. Since Lesnar is in a babyface role, it makes sense to make him a wounded animal. That makes Lesnar a sympathetic figure because you can’t always book faces to be dominant. Now there’s something that Rollins can use against him by going after the knee. It’s good storytelling.
I think they need to do a better job of timing the show. If it ends at 11:05pmET that’s fine, but going 17 minutes past the hour is too much. It’s already too long at three hours. We really don’t need to sit through another 17 minutes of a show that doesn’t even have a match in the main event.
There was also a legit injury by Jamie Noble during that segment. Lesnar drove him into the security wall and Noble had to be taken out on a stretcher. Noble noted on Twitter that he has three broken ribs. That sucks, but it could have been a lot worse. Lesnar needs to tone it down a bit out there.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Seth Rollins
2. Brock Lesnar
4 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 5, 5, 4.5, 7.5
2015 Average: 5.60
2015 High: 9 (May 4)
2015 Low: 4 (Feb 9/June 22)
I’m giving it a 4 out of 10.
Worst Raw of the year or at least tied for me. Nothing exciting happened. It really was a show where if you missed it you truly missed nothing. None of the matches were above average and the promos were just okay.
The show ran 3 hours and 17 minutes and they can’t put on two or matches that hit the three star level? That should happen every week. Instead, the matches were largely forgettable while that Reigns/Sheamus match was awful without a finish.
It wasn’t bad because of something really awful happening or something that makes you want to never watch wrestling again. It was just boring and uneventful.
At least I loved the banner at the top. That really was a highlight.
That’s all for this week. Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org