Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 6/20/16: The Dude Abides
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
The Dude Abides
– Affected by flushed ratings and maybe an attempt to shake things up, WWE firmly decided to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship around Dean Ambrose’s waist with the story of the latest Money In The Bank cash-in. At the same time, they’ve used the circumstances of a Roman Reigns-Seth Rollins Title feud as the catalyst for all three former Shield members to intertwine once more. WWE portrays Ambrose as an edgy carefree renegade who enjoys a good drink. Of course, he’s uber-over with the fans, so this was a perfect time to make the change and let the “Ambrose Asylum” lead the way. What better way to start the show off than to have a taxi with the rebel Champ to come out of, looking like he had a rough night? It was quite Ambrose.
– The opening segment with Ambrose, Rollins, Reigns and Shane McMahon gave us the only MITB follow-up that was needed – the main picture. It was good to see Ambrose get his moment to celebrate with the people (who gleefully chanted, “You deserve it!” at him) and he made sure to mention how it was “karma” for the cash-in on Rollins, yet he also emphasized to Reigns’ face that he would’ve done the same to him. Ambrose calling himself “The Dude” just makes sense, even if it’s a glaring Big Lebowski reference. Reigns’ behavior was interesting here. He actually verbally told the people who booed him (majority of the males) to “finish their beer and shut your mouths” which was surprising that they did that. It could be a glimpse into a nearby heel turn. Maybe Vince just doesn’t care anymore. They kept his buddy-buddy friendship with Ambrose a thing and Rollins came in to dispute the change at the perfect time. He came off like the usual cocky, slimy Rollins yet he was justified in his argument because in many ways, he was robbed of his proper redemption. We all knew this would probably lead to a Title match with all three guys given how it played out, so that’s where Shane came in. We also got the news that Stephanie McMahon wouldn’t be there on the show so it was Shane solo, as Rollins tried to use Steph as a potential road block for the idea of Reigns-Rollins for the main event as the person to take on Ambrose at Battleground. We sort of already saw a fluky finish coming with this scenario but the fact it was mentioned from the get-go gave us something to look forward to. In case you needed more, we also got the official announcement from Michael Cole that the draft would take place on Jul. 19 on the first live SmackDown.
– It was a random time for a Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn match, but it helped get the show’s flow on pace to keep rolling along. After all, the idea of the match was originally sold to be the “end” of the rivalry, as Zayn mentioned in an interview that he couldn’t move on with his career until his quarrel with Owens was settled. Our only complaint about this approach was that they didn’t do nearly enough to raise the stakes to make it feel more important. Rather, they’ve kind of traded wins here and there. Hasn’t been booked to its full potential, but we knew both these guys could churn out one hell of a match with the right amount of time. Both guys, especially Owens, sold their injuries from the MITB match nicely and yet, they brought the match to the next level with constant physical spots. Zayn flew around while Owens relied on high-impact moves to sell his anger. The story of the finish was good as Owens was close to a win with a near-fall before he attempted a Pop-Up Powerbomb to no avail and was rolled up by Zayn for the quick shock victory. Any thoughts that this was now over were vanished upon their post-match brawl that spanned to the ramp and backstage area. Guess the goal of this was to put their feud back on in full effect and that was done to perfection. Curious to see what follows.
– Since we had Teddy Long recently return to throw his name in the hat for potential SmackDown General Manager, we saw another comeback in the form of “People Power” John Laurinaitis and a bright-red suit as he got a negative reaction upon a raspy promo where he promised exciting things and it was 2012 once again. Of course, this led to Shane coming out and essentially removing him from the stage with security. Guess this was another attempt to generate conversation about the draft. Again, for us, this was just a reminder of things we didn’t like about 2012. It was strange, even if #PeoplePower trended on Twitter shortly after the segment.
– Seemingly, no better time to follow that up than with a classic Enzo Amore/Big Cass promo who had a ballpark of comedic material to work with thanks to Johnny Ace’s lack of relevancy and “laryngitis.” The crowd was down for everything Team SAWFT threw out there and it was a swift lead-in to a match with The Vaudevillains. The match’s story seemed to focus on that of redemption for Enzo/Cass, as commentary again mentioned what happened at Payback. As for the match itself, it lacked excitement, but had a good build for Cass’ hot tag and that turned the tide for a bout that VV initially dominated. Enzo/Cass win and all is right in the world. The moment where Shane and Enzo danced on stage together was also cute. Sure there’s a GIF out there somewhere of it.
– After a few months of a semi-popular babyface run, a feud with John Cena can change everything. Such is the case for AJ Styles, who was high off a “tainted” victory over Cena at MITB, as he had help from his Club friends in Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows, which breached a contract that Styles signed that promised no outside interference. Since Styles would also be featured on the Stone Cold Podcast after the show, he was the talking point a few times throughout the night. Their MITB follow-up was done pretty well, as Styles tried to sell the idea that he was angry at Gallows/Anderson for ruining his win over Cena, but as it was revealed through his reaction to Gallows/Anderson’s half-hearted apologies, it was all a ruse to draw Cena out. It did seem weird to tease Styles having a problem with his Club buddies since it wasn’t so long that he turned on Cena, but it worked here. Cena covered himself well here with a raged promo where he challenged Styles’ “by any means necessary” attitude at the expense of his WWE career. On the other side, Styles did well as he painted cowardice in purposely leaving himself out of a choice of who Cena wanted to fight. Cena’s response that his choice didn’t matter since he’d fight The Club no matter what made sense and gave us a glimpse into what to expect once he chose to fight Anderson.
– Just like we thought, the Cena-Anderson match was treated as an essential Cena squash complete with an Attitude Adjustment, which ended with a DQ when Styles/Gallows attacked Cena for a post-match heel beatdown complete with a Magic Killer and Styles Clash. Guess the fun continues.
– Rollins’ backstage promo provided some nice main event hype and the chance to air his grievances with his thoughts of Ambrose as a “cockroach” who stole his moment of redemption because he finally proved he was better than Reigns since he beat him. It was a good, intense promo where it was easy to follow him in his typical heel light, yet heed his words differently as a future babyface.
– It has been no secret that Becky Lynch has been turned on by most of her friends – Paige, WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and the latest… Natalya. Lynch has actually fared better than the other NXT ladies in that her character has gotten over as a traditional redeemable babyface. She used this character motivation to fuel her backstage promo to talk about how she was turned on so many times, which was actually really great. Yup, Lynch won’t give any more second chances. While she was in this self-assured speech, Natalya laid her out from behind in a sad case of irony. She again stated that she was only going to take care of herself from now on, as commentary was confused by her actions. It’s good to see another Women’s Division storyline. It’s about time.
– The good thing about the Baron Corbin-Zack Ryder match (besides the easy Corbin squash win) was that Dolph Ziggler was completely absent from the action. Thank God. Could it finally be over?
– The Wyatt Family hype video came at a perfect time in the show to get our hopes up. Of course, we just bought it as a “They’ll be back soon..” video but there was more in store for us.
– Since Paige had recently gained a pinfall victory over Charlotte, she was next in line for a Title shot, which would happen on this show. Besides some vocal hype from commentary, there was also a backstage segment started off as a Paige interview segment which was “crashed” by the Charlotte/Dana Brooke duo and a war of catty words ensued.
– Maybe it was the essence of absence, but the fans really got behind Paige and it helped the WWE Women’s Championship match between her and Charlotte. The action was actually pretty good and got better as the match progressed. The fact that fans were into the near-falls helped things too. Of course, the bout served as the latest example of the cheap agenda of Charlotte’s interference-driven successful defenses (with a slight botch by Brooke) but it came off well enough. Thankfully, Sasha Banks’ return to help Paige clear the heels from the ring was well-done and received nicely from the crowd. We’ll guess that a Banks-Charlotte feud is in the works for a Title change at SummerSlam for a hot Brooklyn crowd. That’ll be dope.
– Reigns’ promo was short and rather forgettable, but at least they had main event hype in mind. We also got to hear from each of the three guys in separate segments as well as together, so they definitely covered the vocal part well.
– It was glory time… get on your black and white sheep masks, grab your kooky lantern and come down to the ring to greet your fireflies in the silence of “Broken Out Of Love.” It was a good time to see The Wyatt Family back, sans Luke Harper. Last time we saw Bray, they teased a babyface run as he teamed with Reigns against The League Of Nations. Of course, that was all moot now since they appear to be heels once again. What confirmed this? A direct interaction with WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day for an odd exchange where hit-and-miss comedy covered the Wyatts’ “negativity.” While it did have a good reaction, it left us a bit uninspired. Guess we’ll need some action to convince us some.
– Don’t mess with Titus O’Neil’s family. Ever. That was the clear message in his emphatic backstage promo where he wanted to get his hands on WWE United States Champion Rusev for mocking him and his sons after a successful defense at MITB. We had an idea of what was next, since O’Neil was supposed to face Rusev next.
– The O’Neil-Rusev match never happened because O’Neil simply walloped Rusev around the ringside area before the Bulgarian Brute scurried away. That was actually the most interesting thing they’ve done in their feud thus far. Will the follow-up see Rusev get a squash victory on SmackDown? Predictions, predictions.
– As we know, WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse were away for a film shoot. Just to remind us that he was still around, they cut a presumably kayfabe promo where he asserted his self-absorbed superiority to a stage lackey for not giving him his proper quail protein, in front of a large film crew upon a camera pan. When will he come back? That’s our question.
– Chris Jericho is a bitter man who thinks everybody’s a “stupid idiot.” While the latter has almost became a late-career catchphrase, his character is catching on in a good way, since it mixes with the ideologies of his 2010 “angry man” gimmick, hellbent on self-affirmed suspicions of authoritative conspiracies to screw him over. He sold a clear disdain for Shane in their backstage segment in his office and it almost assures us that Jericho will be on whatever show Shane ends up running. Otherwise, they wouldn’t had gone to these lengths. Also tied in to Jericho’s argument was his disagreement that Ambrose was able to be Champion and emphasized the 69 thumbtacks he had to pull out of his body thanks to the “Ambrose Asylum” match at Payback. Anyways, some nice tension established.
– Main event time… the second Reigns-Rollins match in two nights had another “big fight” feel thanks to the Battleground implications. It also made sense for Ambrose to be here on commentary to up the importance. Ambrose was actually good during the match as he talked about his opinions on Reigns and Rollins separately and how they all grew together in The Shield and advanced their careers. The in-ring action maintained a fun pace while the crowd favorably cheered Rollins over Reigns. The finish of a double countout was disappointing, but made sense to sell the idea of a complete stalemate between the two, which drew out Shane to make a decision to restart the bout until Ambrose decided he’d take both guys on at Battleground. The way that Ambrose did it sort of came off heelish (interrupting Shane and saying we’d do it “his way”) but nevertheless, the announcement was big now and we had our dream bout finally. Again, we saw advancements in all three Rollins/Ambrose/Reigns’ characters. To end the show, Ambrose delivered Dirty Deeds for both guys.
- Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
- Enzo Amore/Big Cass def. The Vaudevillains via pinfall
- John Cena def. Karl Anderson via DQ
- Baron Corbin def. Zack Ryder via pinfall
- WWE Women’s Championship – Charlotte (Champion) (w/Dana Brooke) def. Paige via pinfall to retain
- Winner Faces Dean Ambrose For The WWE World Heavyweight Championship At WWE Battleground – Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to a double-countout
Posted on July 16, 2016, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Battleground, Becky Lynch, Big Cass, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Byron Saxton, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Dana Brooke, Dean Ambrose, Enzo Amore, Erick Rowan, JBL, John Cena, John Laurinaitis, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Lana, Luke Gallows, Maryse, Michael Cole, Natalya, Paige, Renee Young, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Shane McMahon, The Miz, The Vaudevillains, The Wyatt Family, Titus O'Neil, Zack Ryder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.