The First 30 Minutes
This is the final RAW before the draft and I predict some fireworks. WWE brass has been pushing this draft as if there were never a draft before! The rules of the draft were released this past weekend on wwe.com and you can find them here.
The big news tonight will be the announcement of the Raw and SmackDown General Managers. Vince set tonight as the deadline and we saw on twitter earlier this week that Shane has his person. I’m sure Stephanie has hers too.
Live Feuding & Sibling Rivalry
Our show begins with the Billion Dollar Princess. She walks down the ramp with a smile on her face, ready to show up her brother. She mocks the crowd and gets everyone riled up. Of course Shane won’t let her have a moment seeing as this may be his last night on RAW for a while, his music hits and he enters the ring. After a few passive aggressive jabs, it’s time to get down to business.
Stephanie declares her confidence and full support behind her pick for General Manager. Seeing as Shane is quite the gentleman RAW is Stephanie’s show to run, Stephanie gets to announce her GM first. In the most pleasant of surprises, Stephanie announces her General Manager as….
Mick Foley! Mr. Have A Nice Day himself will have to lay off the twitter fingers and pick up his gavel again! He has a lot of GM experience having held this position before and he did a darn good job the first time.
Foley is handed a microphone and he shows the crowd that he’s still in touch and in tune with what’s been going on. The only difference now is that he’s a bit older and better on the mic than ever before. He cuts an epic promo and the crowd chants his name. I’m already excited for next week!
Shane is up next. He showed a lot of respect to Steph and Mick and let them have their moment. Shane has always considered himself an underdog and he likes to give the fans what they want. There will be some twists and turns and plots will be more drawn out. He needs someone equally in touch with today’s style of wrestling and how the WWE works behind the scenes. He’s already made his selection so the only thing left to do is bring them out…
YES! YES!! YES!!! It’s the recently retired and perpetual underdog, Daniel Bryan! The crowd goes crazy and Bryan receives the biggest pop and warmest welcome I can recall so far this year. Daniel has a few words for the crowd and he seems confident in his ability to aide Shane in making SmackDown great again.
The GMs have been announced and the gloves are coming off. No more pleasantries. The war that Mr. McMahon wanted has begun.
“A B+ player for a B+ show.” – Stephanie McMahon
“You will always be my little sister, and you had to marry a WWE Superstar to stay relevant.” – Shane McMahon
After some actual harsh words from sister to brother and vice versa, Daniel and Shane ‘Yes’ around Foley and Stephanie and we’re left waiting anxiously for the next big announcement.
Sami Zayn & Cesaro Vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
This may be the last time in a long time we see these competitors in a ring together. That’s a good thing! The constant shuffle of these 4 men and Dean Ambrose was becoming so stale! This match was anything but. Cesaro had the Uppercut train rocking and Jericho was his savvy charismatic self. Owens and Zayn went blow for blow and after many an ebb and flow, Zayn was able to roll up Jericho for the victory. Maybe Cesaro and Zayn end up on the same show and tag together?
The Yes Movement Is Still Moving
Daniel Bryan is still the man in the locker room and all his buddies are happy to see him. He gets stopped by the Golden Truth who want to teach him some new dance moves, and even Jack Swagger and Titus O’Neil stop and say hey. The only person not so pleased to see him is Stephanie McMahon. The two have a classic run in. A rivalry is igniting once again but in different roles. The Goat-Faced Assassin is back and ready to take on The Authority once again!
Alberto Del Rio Vs. Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund)
This is the first time we get to see Darren Young in singles competition since he’s teamed up with legendary Hall of Famer, Bob Backlund. The Miz and Maryse are on commentary during and The Miz shows us that he’s been doing his homework. He’s got a copy of Backlund’s book and that’s a pretty smart move seeing as the Master of the CrossFace ChickenWing is teaching Darren Young all he knows.
In the ring, Darren is showing us a more technical style just like his life coach had. The focus is on technique and fundamentals. Miz does what all guest commentators do and decides to interfere with the match by climbing up on the apron. Darren takes a swing at him and Del Rio tries to sneak in a roll up. Young rolls out of it and holds on to Del Rio’s hips. Del Rio tries to grab the ropes to shake Young off and ends up pushing The Miz off the apron. Young is able to roll up and over Del Rio for the 3 count. Young wins but in unimpressive fashion. No ChickenWing?
12 Man Tag Match – John Cena, Enzo & Cass, & New Day Vs. The Wyatt Family & The Club
The music hits and The Face That Runs The Place AKA The 15-time Champ is HERE!!! He’s ready for his match tonight, he’s ready for Battleground, and he knows The Club is ready to #BeatUpJohnCena. He has full confidence because he has Enzo & Cass who take their cue and come down to the ring. The three take part in an entertaining segment where Enzo talks smack about each Club member and Cena doesn’t understand where Enzo is pulling these similes and metaphors from. Cass starts naming music groups and gets ready to do his shtick. Let’s spell ‘soft’ incorrectly guys!!
Remember the campaign the WWE ran when they got sued and had to go from ‘F’ to ‘E’? They made t-shirts and posters that read, “Get the F Out”. Well that must’ve been how The Club felt when they were in the middle of being called, “SAWFT,” because that music hit so quickly after Cass shouted ‘W’ that it actually WAS funny! The Club came out, Karl Anderson talked about his hot Asian wife again, and they boasted chemistry will win over a hot & heavy new collaboration. The Club has traveled all over the world together and have been a team for quite some time. It’s true that they have the upper hand when it comes to teamwork and togetherness. They’re giddy about being able to take on Cena and crew, and even the New Day! Cue Big E.
Here come’s New Day and today they have some suggestive puns ON HAND if you know what I mean.
“They can’t see me because I’ve got the Certified Gs!” – John Cena
“AJ Styles, you got a haircut like a soccer mom. How ya doin?” – Enzo Amore
“The Club has spilled blood in sold out arenas all over the world.” – Luke Gallows
After verbally ripping into The Club, New Day attempts to explain to John Cena how the Enzo & Cass, “How Ya Doin'” concept works. They use Pokémon as an example. Woods says a Pokémon name and then the crowd says, “How You Doin’?” Before things get too happy and out of control, the last three members enter. They’re here.
Let’s get down to business. It’s on and poppin’ and the tags are fast and furious! Big E and Braun Strowman are the legal men. After E gets obliterated, he reaches to Cass for the tag. Enzo tags himself in instead and floats around the ring before taking a shot. It was courageous but borderline stupid. Cass tags in and the two giants go toe to toe.
Braun would hit Cena with a sucker punch and both teams would engulf the ring. Strowman and Cass clear the ring and face off yet again. Cass would get the better of Strowman and Kofi would tag himself in. That would prove to be a momentum killer as his flying attempt failed and ended in a Powerslam from Strowman. The tides turned and the Heels have taken advantage.
The match breaks down and The Wyatts fight the New Day and The Club fight Cena, Enzo, and Cass. The legal men are Enzo and AJ. AJ goes for Styles Clash but Cena breaks it up. Enzo tries a clothesline but AJ ducks and Enzo accidentally takes out Cena. AJ takes advantage of the moment and this time successfully lands Styles Clash on Enzo to seal the deal for his team.
Seth Rollins entered the building early tonight. It an empty yet very well lit arena, he recalls his time in The Shield and how it felt when Ambrose cashed in on him at Money in the Bank. He walks down the stairs and nostalgia hits him. He remembers what it felt like to walk down steps every night with Reigns and Ambrose. He remembers wanting to push them in the back and establish his dominance as the number one guy. Real Heel heat happening here.
“As far as The Shield is concerned, I was always The Man.” – Seth Rollins
Foley Knows Best
The new GM of RAW is in the building and it’s all fun and games. Breezango is trying to teach him how to rock his hips but I don’t think they work that well after the career he’s had. Shane comes around with a message. He believes Stephanie chose him because she feels that she can manipulate him. Basically, Shane has invited himself into RAW’s kitchen and decided to stir the pot. Foley doesn’t like Shane’s tone and he tells him about himself. Foley is a legend and he knows how to handle himself. He thanks Shane for his concern and walks away. To show no hard feelings, Shane tells him to have a nice day. He shoots Foley the double guns and smirks. Not the same heat as Daniel and Stephanie and that’s probably a good thing.
Baron Corbin Vs. Sin Cara
This match was just filler while JBL, Cole, and Saxton filled us in on some more draft specifics. Here are a couple points to note:
- The Lucha Dragons are no longer a team and will be drafted as individuals.
- With the success of the CWC, Monday Night RAW will be the exclusive host of cruiserweight Superstars after the draft.
Corbin wins the match easy but wasn’t done fighting. He pounds away on Sin Cara until Kalisto comes to his rescue. Kalisto manages to chase Corbin out the ring but fails to keep an eye on him. Corbin reaches into the ring and snatches Kalisto out. He clubs him in the back of the head forcing him to fall flat on his face. Corbin may be the only man alive able to say he killed two dragons with one fist. Rock on Wolf!
Charlotte & Dana Vs. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
This may be the last encounter between Sasha and Charlotte & Dana before Battleground. Becky Lynch would make a great tag partner for Sasha you say? Well, maybe but Becky already has a match with Natalya at Battleground. Speaking of Nattie, she must’ve felt left out. As Sasha is taking care of Charlotte and Dana essentially on her own, Nattie sneaks up on Becky and destroys her yet again. It takes a while for the referee or any of the other women to notice but when they do, the ref calls for the bell. Sasha tries to run to the rescue of her partner but takes a wicked blow from Charlotte. Natalya and Charlotte exchange glares before Nattie dismisses herself. Charlotte and Dana get The Boss in the ring and wail on her. If you’re waiting on Sasha’s mystery partner to make an appearance, I’m sorry, it just doesn’t happen. Charlotte lands Natural Selection and stands over Sasha the reigning champion as Dana is being a Dana because that’s what Danas do.
Ambrose Goes Retro
Seth had his moment earlier, now it’s Dean’s turn. In very Shieldesque style, Ambrose holds a camera to his face. He asks us if it looks familiar. I like Ambrose because he keeps everything short and sweet. He sums up everything in a few sentences. He plans on defending his title tonight against Rollins and then again on Sunday. Too bad Reigns is suspended or maybe not actually. I don’t know what his little promo/vignette would be or how it would even be successful.
Sheamus & Rusev Vs. Dolph Ziggler & Zack Ryder
I want to like Zack Ryder so much but he’s honestly missing something. His move set is pretty bland and he doesn’t have a comeback combination. Once you get him down, he pretty much stays there. He got down in this match but he was able to tag in Ziggler who took a kick to the back of the head and tapped to the Accolade.
Randy Orton is an amazing talent who has had an amazing career. WWE wants to remind us of this in hopes that we either forget or don’t learn about Lesnar’s dirty urine sample. All in all, it was a pretty good segment with decent soundbites from Orton and some RKO clips.
Managers Gon’ Manage
The Ascension (where have THEY been for the past year) have cornered Foley and they’re talking his ear off. Daniel Bryan stops by and asks for a moment, GM to GM. Bryan doesn’t want to have such a heated contest. He doesn’t want their competition to became a hatred, but more of a friendly rivalry. Foley agrees. They kid each other about how similar they look and how they feel their show will be better than the other’s. Things end up getting pretty heated and Foley hits Bryan with a very cliché, “May the best man win,” and Daniel just stares at him intensely. Well it wasn’t supposed to be there but it got there. Quick too.
The Main Event: Seth Rollins Vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE Championship Match)
Both Commissioners and GMs are at ringside for this one. It’s nice to see Foley on WWE TV again, but it’s weird seeing him sit there with Stephanie. The McMahons never had his best interest in mind. He looks excited to see this match so up close and personal.
Ambrose and Rollins go way back. They’ve put on many a great match against each other with Rollins typically coming out the victor. Who wins this one?
This match happened all over the place. Ambrose has grown so much these past two years. Stephanie can barely control herself at ringside. After a BuckleBomb, Ambrose counters with Dirty Deeds and we’re back at square one. This match is living up to expectations.
There was a whole attempted Spanish announce table spot that Rollins was able to get out of and Ambrose went for a high risk maneuver which Seth was able to counter with a Pedigree. The heart of a first time champion is strong. Ambrose kicks out. The two continue brawling as the powers that be look on. The ref ends up getting nailed as the two battle it out on the top rope. Rollins hits a Superplex and instead of rolling up and holding on as usual, one of the men go for a pin. The ref counts but we see all four shoulders on the mat. The ref counts three and calls for the bell. So much confusion. Who won? Stephanie of course is in favor of Seth and Shane just wants facts. Now everyone is in the ring.
Stephanie uses the confusion to run off and grab the title and a microphone. She announces Seth as the new champion and he runs off with the title while everyone else is left in the ring confused.
Draft tomorrow night.