Live from Tampa, Florida this is the Raw Deal for episode #1205. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Seth Rollins made his entrance to open the show. A graphic showed us the Battleground main event of Dean Ambrose defending the WWE Title against Rollins and Roman Reigns. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.
Rollins was in the ring with a microphone. Rollins said that at Battleground we get the dream match we’ve been waiting for, so let me start off by saying…and he paused. He said to hell with it, let’s talk about Roman Reigns. He said he’s not supposed to talk about him, but he’s there with a live microphone and he can talk about what he wants.
Rollins said that Roman’s suspension embarrassed him (Seth) as the founding member of The Shield. Rollins read the Reigns tweet saying he apologizes for the mistake he (Roman) made in violating the Wellness Policy. Rollins noted that Roman isn’t the kind of guy to apologize and then he mentioned Roman talking about the fans with Roman always talking about how he was the guy. Rollins brought up: “No excuses. I own it.” Rollins said that Roman can own it all he wants, but the bottom line is he owns him. He said he owned him at WrestleMania last year, he owned him at Money in the Bank when he beat him for the WWE Title and he thinks that Reigns doesn’t deserve a second chance, doesn’t deserve forgiveness and doesn’t deserve to be in the main event of Battleground.
The WWE Champion Dean Ambrose made his entrance and went into the ring with Rollins. He held up the title in Rollins’ face as a way to annoy him. Really good ovation for Ambrose.
Ambrose said that Rollins looked a little worked up. He wondered if this was about Roman or is it about Dean having the title. Dean talked about how Roman made a mistake, we all make mistakes like when Dean was friends with Seth. Dean made fun of Seth for wearing skinny jeans. Ambrose said that as far as he’s concerned, the triple threat match is still on.
AJ Styles interrupted them. Styles had a microphone in hand and said it should remain a triple threat Battleground. He suggested Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Styles at Battleground. The crowd chanted “yes” to the idea as Styles entered the ring. Styles said that he is the one that beat John Cena in a dream match. Ambrose said he doesn’t make decisions, but he’s pretty sure Reigns is in the match. Styles suggested they make it a Fatal Fourway match. Ambrose said he doesn’t care. Rollins said it needs to be a one on one match.
John Cena interrupted with a microphone as he walked down to the ring. He mentioned it was 14 years to the day that he made his WWE debut. He also sucked up to the crowd by noting he’s been living right there in Tampa for the last 12 years. Cena suggested making it a Fatal 5-Way for the WWE Title. Rollins complained about it.
Here comes Stephanie McMahon for a promo on the ramp. She said what happened with Reigns is an embarrassment, but perhaps even worse is Dean Ambrose as WWE Champion. She’s mortified about it. She mentioned that Shane isn’t there…again…he’s on vacation…again. She put Cena in a match with Rollins and Styles will face Ambrose. If Cena and Styles win, they are in the Battleground main event.
Analysis: That was a better than average opening promo because it allowed the wrestlers to do the majority of the talking. Rollins was great in talking about Reigns and complaining about his presence in the Battleground main event. I like that they didn’t shy away from it. Ambrose is great as the champion that doesn’t care and will always fight anybody. Styles made a good case for himself and Cena did too. Stephanie’s appearance was predictable, but at least it was at the end and she didn’t dominate the promo with the same stuff we always get. Do I expect clean finishes in those two matches later in the show? No, but that’s okay as long as it makes storyline sense.
Women’s tag match up next.
A commercial aired for WWE 2K17 with Brock Lesnar announced as the cover athlete earlier on Monday.
PLUG TIME: The banner above is the official Raw Deal logo that is available as a shirt purchase at ProWrestlingTees.com/TJRWrestling. The great thing is that starting this Tuesday, June 28 for one week, PWTees is having a 20% off all merchandise sale. All you have to do is use the coupon code “America” to get the discount starting at 12pmCT on Tuesday. If you want to help out TJRWrestling and me, I’d really appreciate you getting a shirt. Thank you to those that have already bought them as well. Obviously I’d love it if you got one of TJR shirts, but they have a lot of other great options too.
The women made their entrance for the tag match. The Spanish announce team is at ringside.
Paige & Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke
Charlotte got out of the ring before Banks could get her hands on her. Brooke did her “head pat” taunt. She’s loud. Double team arm drag by the faces on Brooke and a double dropkick by the faces on Charlotte. The heels were on the floor, so of course it’s time for a break.
The heels were working over Paige in their corner. The announcers mentioned JBL beating Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Title 12 years ago on this day. Spinning neckbreaker by Charlotte on Paige and then a forearm shot to Banks. More cheap tactics by the heels. Paige fought out of the corner with kicks. Another kick by Paige to Charlotte and here’s Banks with the hot tag against Brooke. Banks with dropkicks, a forearm shot and the double knee strike for two as Charlotte made the save. Paige kick to Charlotte on the floor. Brooke got a rollup, Banks got out, knee and a Banks Statement into the submission led to Brooke tapping out after about nine minutes. The crowd was really excited for the last couple of minutes there.
Winners by submission: Sasha Banks & Paige
Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid tag match with Paige getting worked over by the heels and Banks was great on offense when she got the hot tag. The crowd was into it a lot. As for booking direction, it was pretty standard stuff with the faces getting the win against the team with the heel champion. Having Banks get the decisive submission on Brooke protects Charlotte. They’re going to take their time in building up the storyline, which will likely end with Banks winning the Women’s Title at SummerSlam. If they do the match at Battleground first, it might be a disqualification finish.
The announce team gave a shoutout to the audience in China for watching Raw based on some new deal WWE has over there. Cole added that China is the 91st country to broadcast Raw live.
Up next on Raw is Titus O’Neil vs. Rusev in a non-title match.
The ravishing American talking with a Russian accent Lana introduced the US Champion Rusev. They replayed the insulting remarks by Rusev at Money in the Bank when he told O’Neil’s kids that Titus is a loser.
Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Titus O’Neil
This is non-title. O’Neil attacked Rusev before the bell. Then the bell rang and O’Neil fired away with punches. O’Neil with a power slam for two. Rusev came back with a clothesline. Rusev with some hard punches and forearm shots to the head. Knee strikes by Rusev. Chinlock city by Rusev. O’Neil fought out of it, but Rusev nailed an impressive dropkick. O’Neil came back with an elbow, a shoulder tackle, a clothesline and when he went for a boot, Rusev bailed to the floor. Rusev grabbed his title. O’Neil chased after him and they did a double clothesline spot on the floor. Rusev charged in, O’Neil avoided it and Rusev went crashing over the barricade. The ref counted Rusev out, so O’Neil gets the win after five minutes.
Winner by countout: Titus O’Neil
Post match, JBL put it over as a huge with for O’Neil saying that he might get a title shot now. He already had a title shot at Money in the Bank, but this is a way to set up another match.
Analysis: *1/2 I liked the intensity early on, but then it fell flat towards the finish. It just didn’t come off that well when Rusev escaped to the floor and they did the double clothesline spot probably because Rusev has done that spot the last few weeks. O’Neil winning by countout is a way to protect Rusev while also saying O’Neil earned a big win. If it was a pinfall win I would hate that more, so I guess it’s okay.
Styles vs. Ambrose later.
There was a WWE Technology video about their cameras. At least the women’s match was longer than the video this week.
Stephanie was backstage on her phone when Kane showed up in his suit. Kane said that he wants consideration to run Smackdown live. Stephanie told him that nobody will run Smackdown live, except him. The Miz and Maryse showed up with Miz mentioning he was gone for a month filming The Marine 5. Miz was complaining about how his limo driver didn’t open the door for him. Kane mentioned that he has dabbled in acting too. Miz said that Kane looks like the devil’s favorite insurance agent. Kane suggested that Miz put the title on the line and Stephanie said that’s going to happen. Miz asked who the opponent would be, Stephanie didn’t say and told him it’s a cliffhanger. Kane suggested that he go to lunch with Miz sometime.
Analysis: Welcome back to Miz and Maryse, but mostly Maryse. Just kidding, I think Miz is cool too. Good line about insurance because Kane has an insurance company with his wife in Knoxville. Title match later is a good idea since Miz was gone for the last month.
Up next is Cena vs. Rollins.
It was mentioned that John Cena is hosting the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 13. It’s a big show and a big deal for Cena. I think he’ll do well.
Seth Rollins made his entrance first. Cena was greeted with the “John Cena suuuucks” song. Cena to the camera: “14 years today. Let’s hear it for 14 more.”
Analysis: Sorry Cena haters, he’s never going away. Apparently.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
This is a match they did too often last summer, but after both guys came back from lengthy injuries, it’s fresh again. The stipulation is if Cena wins he’s in the WWE Title match at Battleground.
Rollins started out in control. The announcers mentioned Rollins breaking Cena’s nose last year with JBL saying it was one of the worst broken noses he’s ever seen. Fair point. Cena came back with a dropkick of his own. Rollins regained control. Cena did his comeback with the shoulder tackles and the belly to back suplex. Rollins kicked him in the face to counter the Five Knuckle Shuffle salute. Cena oversold it by bumping to the floor because it’s time for a break.
Back from break, they went right into the same bit again with Cena hitting the shoulder tackles, the back suplex, then he blocked the kick and hit another back suplex. Rollins fought out of the AA and nailed a standing side kick for two. Cena with a back elbow and a tornado DDT gets two. Rollins with an enziguri kick gets two. They exchanged punches. This one uppercut by Cena missed by a lot, but Rollins sold it. Rollins with a dropkick. Rollins went up top, Cena punched him, Rollins flipped over and did a Buckle Bomb for a two count. Same spot where Rollins tore his ACL last November. Rollins went up top, jumped off the top with a Frog Splash and Cena moved out of the way, so Rollins went crashing into the mat. Cena went up top, Rollins with a superplex and then a Falcon Arrow suplex into a slam for two. Great nearfall right there. Rollins wanted a Pedigree, Cena countered, Rollins got out of the slingshot attempt, Cena had him on his shoulders and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Rollins was by the ropes, so he put his foot on the bottom rope to break it at two. That’s an awesome nearfall. Rollins went for a Pedigree. Cena tripped him up and applied the STF submission hold. Rollins nearly got to the ropes, Cena pulled him back. Styles walked out there with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Rollins capitalized on the distraction with the Pedigree and that was enough for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match from usual from them. I liked how they had several believable nearfalls throughout without having both guys kick out of finishers. When Cena hit his finisher, Rollins found a crafty way to get out of it by putting his foot on the ropes. Rollins won the first time he hit his finish, so that puts over the Pedigree really well. This is Cena’s second loss since his return at Money in the Bank, but neither loss was clean.
Styles vs. Ambrose later. I think we can pencil in Cena costing Styles the win there.
A commercial aired for WWE Network shows.
The always entertaining duo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. They did their usual promo with the crowd chanting along. Enzo talked about how the fans are a wave and they’re going to ride the wave straight to the top. Enzo said to wait until the match starts for the crowd to do the wave.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Two Guys That Don’t Matter
I didn’t catch the names of the jobbers although Cole said them. Does it matter? No. That’s why I named them what I did. Enzo and Cass got in some offense with Cass nailing the boot to knock a guy down. Enzo nailed the Bada Boom Shaka Laka splash to win it. It went about 20 seconds.
Winners by pinfall: Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Analysis: 1/4* That may have been the fastest tag match ever.
Post match, Enzo & Cass were interrupted.
The Social Outcasts trio of Heath Slater, Curtis Alex and Bo Dallas were back as Dallas said they are H-A-R-D. Slater mentioned they were filming The Marine 5. Axel said that they are hard OG’s. Enzo questioned them saying they are hard. Cass asked who is the hardest. Dallas said he was the hardest, then the others said they were. Slater went on the apron and was kicked by Cass. Axel and Dallas avoided an attack. The heels escaped as Cass called them “SAWFT.”
Analysis: Good to see the Outcasts back. Looks like this is a way to give Enzo & Cass a tag team feud win without putting them in the title picture. The “hard” bit was WWE comedy with the heels being too stupid to realize they were really making sexual comments. The crowd laughed at it a bit.
Miz vs. a surprise opponent is later. Jericho hosting the Highlight Reel with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn is also later.
There was another Darren Young/Bob Backlund segment. Same one from Smackdown. Not much to it other than Backlund saying he came from the Bob Backlund Era.
Analysis: Still no idea when Young will be put in a match with Backlund as his manager.
There was an earlier today segment from the WWE Performance Center as WWE stars spent time with athletes from the Special Olympics.
There were 11 athletes from the Special Olympics on the stage. Renee Young and Big Show were there to talk about WWE’s work with the Special Olympics. Show said that he witnessed the passion, courage and determination of Special Olympic athletes. He said on behalf of WWE, they are honored to be associated with the Special Olympics and the Play Unified campaign. They plugged PlayUnified.org for more info.
Analysis: Good work by WWE getting involved. I don’t mind them spending a few minutes for things like this.
Ambrose vs. Styles is later.
The lovely Natalya is on commentary for the next match. She said “enough is enough and it’s time for a change” when Cole asked why she attacked Becky Lynch. I love when she uses the Owen Hart line.
Lynch was set for a match with Summer Rae, but instead Lynch went after Natalya at ringside. Lynch attacked her with punches. Natalya tried to fight back, but Lynch was aggressive. The referee held Lynch back to prevent a further attack while Natalya backed up the ramp. The segment ended.
Analysis: That’s pretty sad that they won’t even do the match. If Natalya walked away, why can’t Lynch go into the ring to have the match? Odd. I would get it if it was a huge pull apart, but it was only one ref there to break it up. Anyway, I liked the attack by Lynch because she is justifiably angry after Natalya turned on her earlier in the month. I’m looking forward to their matches.
Jericho’s Highlight Reel is up next.
A commercial aired about the Cruiserweight Classic starting on WWE Network on July 13. I’m looking forward to it.
They showed Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston at ringside. He’s got a bright future after a solid rookie year. I’m hoping my Rams QB Jared Goff has an even better rookie year.
Highlight Reel with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as the guests
The great Chris Jericho entered the ring of course wearing his scarf. Jericho said “quiet” repeatedly to piss off the crowd. Jericho ended up ranting about Dean Ambrose being WWE Champion. He said these two guys are ruining their lives and his, so we have to put a stop to it. He called out Owens.
Kevin Owens walked down to the ring looking angry like usual. Jericho called out Zayn. Sami looked serious as he walked to the ring.
Analysis: Three Canadians in the ring at the same time is greatness. That’s a true statement. Drink it in, maaaaaan.
Jericho said that as the fans chant “ole” he knew something was going to go down, which is why he had them raise up the Jeritron. It led to Jericho pointing out that Zayn was the best man at KO’s wedding. Jericho said it must have hurt Zayn when Owens twisted the knife in his back.
Zayn said he wanted to put an end to this because this rivalry is becoming an obsession and costing them their careers. Zayn reminded KO didn’t win the Royal Rumble and Zayn cost him at WrestleMania and Money in the Bank as well. Zayn suggested that Owens agrees to put an end to this at Battleground. He pointed out that they might get drafted to different shows on July 19, but he wanted to end this at Battleground. Zayn called Owens a coward that hides behind lies. Zayn wants Owens to tell him that Owens is jealous of Zayn for getting signed to WWE first.
Owens said that he attacked Zayn when he did because it was the right move for his career. Owens reminded Zayn that Sami ruined their friendship because everything they’ve done was all to get to WWE. Owens said that when Zayn signed with WWE 1.5 years before Owens, Owens claimed he was happy for Zayn. That led to Owens saying that Zayn wasn’t happy for Owens when Owens finally got to WWE. Owens said it proves that Owens was a better friend to him than Zayn was to him. Owens said if Zayn wants to go one more time at Battleground, you got it.
Jericho told Zayn he’s a terrible friend. Jericho said that even though Owens can’t be as good as Jericho because Jericho’s the best in the world and Zayn worries about what the crowd thinks. Jericho told Zayn that it doesn’t matter what the people think. Jericho added that he wants to slap Zayn’s “stupid idiot face” but he’s not going to do it now. Jericho said that Battleground match is big, but not as big as what he’ll be doing because he’s Chris Jericho. Jericho said that being in the ring with him puts them both on a different level. Jericho said he would give them the gift of Jericho: “Drink it in maaaaaaaan.” Owens gave Jericho a superkick and Zayn with a Helluva Kick at the same time. Jericho was out.
Owens walked out. Zayn just stared at him and Zayn’s music played.
Analysis: That was really well done, especially by Zayn. He hasn’t really had the chance to deliver great promos that are designed to win over the crowd, but I thought he did an excellent job here. It was Zayn’s best promo on the main roster. I thought some of the ones he did in NXT were great too. He’s not a bad talker at all – just doesn’t get the chance to talk that much. Owens is always good although it felt like he took a bit of a backseat to let Zayn shine because Owens always gets to talk anyway. Jericho was there to annoy people including both guys and have an ending that led to the crowd cheering. I’m excited about Zayn vs. Owens one more time. It does seem like they will split Zayn and Owens up at the draft on July 19, so doing this match “one more time” is fine with me. I think they might add a stipulation to it to make it stand out more than the Payback match they had.
They aired clips of things that happened earlier on Raw. Styles vs. Ambrose later.
The Miz defends the IC Title up next.
The Intercontinental Champion The Miz walked out with his wife Maryse. They’ve been away for over a month due to filming The Marine 5.
Analysis: Did people really watch Marine movies enough to require five of them being made? I don’t get it. I saw part of the first one, it wasn’t anything special and I moved on.
Kane, in his Demon Kane masked attire, walked out to challenge The Miz for the IC Title. Barely a crowd reaction.
Analysis: People on Twitter were suggesting a surprise like Neville, Hideo Itami, Randy Orton or maybe even Finn Balor. Nope. It’s the oldest full timer in WWE, Kane.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Kane
Kane was aggressive early, Miz fired back with a dropkick to the knee. Kane slowed him down with a Chokeslam attempt, but Miz kicked him in the knee. Kane with a boot to the face. Kane with a corner clothesline and a side slam gets two. Kane with a vertical suplex and a low dropkick for two. Miz jumped off the middle rope and Kane nailed an uppercut. Maryse jumped on the apron. She fell down faking an injury. Miz took advantage of the situation by sending Kane’s back into the top rope. Miz checked on her. She faked that her ankle was hurt. Miz picked her up and carried her to the back. Kane won by countout after about four minutes. Crowd was dead for all this.
Winner by countout: Kane
Analysis: DUD That was bad. The match was so boring with no crowd reaction and then the ending was terrible. I know the story idea is that Maryse faked the injury to get Miz counted out so that he couldn’t lose the title, but holy shit it was bad. The acting was poor. The crowd reaction was non-existent. They didn’t show a replay of it because they probably realized how poor of a story it was. Nobody is going to care about a rematch for this feud, yet they’ll probably keep it going. I like Kane, but that lack of a crowd reaction might be a sign that it’s time to retire soon. He’s 49 years old. What else can he do?
Cesaro & Crews vs. Sheamus & Del Rio up next.
The Miz and Maryse were backstage. She laughed when he asked if it was broken. She said she was acting. The Miz said it was an Oscar winning performance, she said it’s TV so it’s Emmy and he said he loved her. They celebrated.
Analysis: I like their act. I just think the segment with Kane was terrible.
As Cesaro made his entrance, Cole said the Chief Operating Officers will draft people for Raw and Smackdown. So not GMs? They are COO’s.
Analysis: I’m not sure why they are going against the GM name, but they are I guess. Of course, this is WWE so they always change their mind.
Cesaro & Apollo Crews vs. Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus
Here’s the League of Nations reunion for one match, I guess. The faces had control briefly, but the heels took control with Del Rio nailing a DDT. Sheamus with a clothesline on Cesaro. Sheamus with a high running knee and the backbreaker for two. Sheamus hit a forearm smash to knock down Cesaro. Sheamus and Del Rio didn’t work together well as Del Rio was mad that Sheamus taunted him. Cesaro avoided the backbreaker and took down Sheamus with an overhead slam. Crews tagged in. Del Rio ended up launching him over the top to the floor. Del Rio tagged Sheamus with a punch and nailed an enziguri kick on Sheamus. Del Rio walked out on the match. Crews hit a dropkick into the steps to send them into Sheamus. Crews nailed the spinning sitout Powerbomb on Sheamus for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Apollo Crews & Cesaro
Analysis: *1/2 It was an average match. I actually like the storyline continuity of Sheamus and Del Rio not getting along. The crowd seemed disinterested for the majority of it. There was a solid reaction when Del Rio nailed Sheamus with the kick and for Crews hitting the finish, but that’s about it. It’s possible that Del Rio will turn face although I don’t think he’s as interesting that role. They need to do something to change his act a bit, though.
Ambrose was interviewed by Jojo. He said he liked being champion because it means no nights off and he liked it like that. Stephanie showed up to interrupt Ambrose. She thinks it’s appalling that somebody like Ambrose is the face of her company. She hopes that AJ Styles beats him so they are one step closer to ending this nightmare.
Analysis: If she wanted to end the nightmare, couldn’t she just book him in a title match on this show instead of four weeks? Sorry for using logic. It’s fine to have Steph hate him, though. She’s better as a heel.
This week on Smackdown it’s Dean Ambrose as a guest on Miz TV. Prediction: It will lead to a match between them later in the show.
The New Day trio did a Wyatt Family impression complete with some fake beards and Wyatt like attire. “Aww Tampa, we’re here.”
They walked down to the ring. Kofi Kingston said the Wyatt Family could use some Booty O’s to make sure they aren’t booty. Fans chanted “New Day Rocks” for the Tag Team Champions as they were in the ring. Kingston said that the Wyatts are pretty intimidating, but it’s their hygiene that is the most intimidating. Big E said that they smell like old cabbage left on the highway and then Big E mentioned the local area code. Kingston mentioned Cena did the local pop thing. Big E said he was born there. Kingston wondered WHO would dress like that and that led to their “who” bit on repeat. Woods suggested wrapping it up.
Here comes The Wyatt Family. Wyatt: “It’s a new day, yes it is.” Wyatt praised the power of positivity. He said the masses like them because they tell them everything that they want to hear. Fans chanted “New Day Rocks” as Wyatt tried to speak. Wyatt said his soul purpose on this Earth is to tell us what we need to hear. He said it’s a cold world full of dangerous people. Wyatt wanted them to mention how the Power of Positivity to the man that lost his job and has trouble putting foot on the table.
Kofi said that the POP is a way of life. Big E said it’s something that flows through your body. Wyatt wondered if Woods agreed. Woods just looked on with a serious look. Wyatt said that Woods can confide in him and trust him. Woods didn’t say anything. Wyatt said that in this game there are no winners or losers, there’s only malice and destruction. He said that in the end, “new day falls.” That ended the promo.
Analysis: I liked that a lot. I like how New Day has become this confident trio that isn’t afraid of the Wyatt Family although Woods did look fearful a bit last week and that continued this week. It was good that Wyatt pointed it out for those people in the audience that noticed that Woods barely spoke. Is Woods afraid of them? We don’t really know. That’s a part of the story. They could add in some backstory for his character with Wyatt if they really wanted to, so I’m intrigued to see where it might be headed. They have plenty of time to keep building this up. No need to rush it.
There was a shot backstage of AJ Styles talking with Gallows & Anderson.
A commercial aired for the WWE Draft on July 19. We still don’t know who is running the shows or when that might be announced.
The Wyatt Family trio (Luke Harper is still out) are on ESPN Sportscenter interviewed by Jonathon Coachman on Tuesday.
The New Day trio were interviewed by Renee Young backstage. Big E and Kofi spoke. Woods was silent again. Woods left first while the other two followed.
Analysis: The mystery of Woods’ odd behavior continues.
Seth Rollins is on commentary for the main event. A reminder that at Battleground it’s Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns for the WWE Title although Styles could be in it too.
Ambrose was announced as the WWE Champion not the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, so get ready for the second title to be introduced. I think that’s what it means.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles
This is not for the WWE Title. If Styles wins, he gets added to the Battleground main event match.
It was an even matchup early on as both men were going for signature moves, but neither man was able to hit anything. Rollins was complaining about things on commentary. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds, Styles slipped out and they went to break about two minutes into it.
Styles had Ambrose in a chinlock after the break. Rollins was talking about ways the match could go and JBL mentioned Jack Tunney, so I like that. Styles nailed Ambrose with some strikes while Rollins put over Styles as a hard hitter. Ambrose caught Styles and dropped him face first on the top rope with a stun gun like maneuver. Ambrose with some forearm shots and a running clothesline. Ambrose with a Fisherman’s Suplex (Perfect Plex) for a two count. Styles tried to fight back, but Ambrose was able to drop him with a neckbreaker for a two count. Ambrose went for an attack off the top, Styles moved and Ambrose got a backslide for two. Styles with a face first slam for a two count. Rollins was conflicted because he was rooting for Ambrose – he didn’t want Styles in the title match to make it a four way. Styles up top, Ambrose went after him and Ambrose took him down with a butterfly suplex off the top. Ambrose with a forearm smash and Styles came back with a spinning slam for a two count. Styles went for the forearm, Ambrose avoided it and when Ambrose went for an attack off the ropes, Styles clipped him in the knee. Styles applied the Calf Crusher on Ambrose. There was a lot of drama, but Ambrose was able to crawl to the rope to break it up. Ambrose with a back body drop sent Styles over the top to the floor. Ambrose ran the ropes and nailed a suicide dive to take out Styles on the floor.
Back in the ring, Ambrose with a flying elbow smash as Styles rolled through for two. Styles nailed the Pele Kick. Ambrose bounced off the ropes with his clothesline. Rollins wanted Ambrose to win. Gallows & Anderson walked down to the ring and Ambrose was distracted. Styles with a brainbuster gets two. Cena ran down to ringside to nail G&A with punches. Styles was distracted by that, Ambrose rolled up Styles and Ambrose nailed Dirty Deeds on Styles for the pinfall win after 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Analysis: *** A good match as expected from these two. It felt a bit disjointed early on, but they picked it up later and had some believable nearfalls towards the end of the match. Cena running down to cause the finish made a lot of sense based on what happened in his match earlier in the show. Styles continues to impress in the ring although he didn’t hit some of his signature spots this time. It left me wanting more. Ambrose getting the win thanks to the distraction is fine. It’s certainly better than the champion losing non-title in a match like that.
Post match, Cena was attacked by Gallows and Anderson. Styles got in there too. Rollins went into the ring and dropped Ambrose with a Pedigree. Back to the 3 on 1, Gallows & Anderson gave Cena the Magic Killer on the ramp. The camera was back on Rollins, so he nailed Ambrose with another Pedigree.
Rollins held up the WWE Title in celebration while The Club stood over Cena. Raw went off the air at 11:10pmET with the heels celebrating.
Analysis: It was an ending to put over the heels. The Club has had the advantage over Cena for the majority of that rivalry. Rollins taking out Ambrose is fine too.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Seth Rollins
2. John Cena
3. Sami Zayn
6 out of 10
Last week: 5
2016 Average: 5.72
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 6.5, 5, 4.5, 7.5
2016 High: 9 (April 11)
2016 Low: 4 (Feb. 29/Mar. 21)
It gets 6 out of 10 from me. It was on its way to get a much better score, but some segments early in the third hour were pretty bad.
I think the big reason why some of the matches worked is because there was more of a purpose for the matches. We should want to know why somebody wants to win. When you have rewards for the winner it makes the matches mean more.
The Zayn/Owens promo segment was really good. It did all it needed to do while Zayn showed he’s a very capable talker when he’s allowed to talk. It’s not like WWE is just throwing them out there with no purpose. They have a reason to do it again.
I hope they scrap whatever Miz vs. Kane plans they have because that was a mess. Just end it quickly. Don’t keep it going, please.
The Cena/Rollins match was better than Ambrose/Styles, but I enjoyed both of them. When Raw lets the top matches have a significant amount of time they usually deliver and that’s what happened here.
I’m glad that they didn’t ignore the Reigns suspension. It was smart to have a heel like Rollins mention it. I still think it’s weird for Reigns to be in the WWE Title match when he’s not going to be on TV for a month, but that’s their plan and they are sticking to it.
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians on Friday and to Happy US Independence Day for my American friends on July 4 next Monday. Both of us get a long weekend. It’s nice when it works out like that.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org