Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 7/4/16: Independence Dud
Posted by Nicholas Jason Lopez
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.
– WWE and holidays never mix if you seek quality television. It was the Fourth Of July and America celebrated it’s 240th birthday with greasy grilled goodness and such. WWE threw on a three-hour Raw with the agenda of half-assedly pushing Battleground with holiday filler. It worked in some ways and was missable in many others. Case in point – the opening segment was your general locker room food party. The Golden Truth performed on stage before The Vaudevillains forced them off and then Aiden English had food thrown at him. WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz/Maryse warned everybody not to let it end in a food fight and sure enough, that’s what happened. Kevin Owens also got pied by someone in the face off-camera, Heath Slater went through a table, Darren Young sat with other heels and we knew we were in for one of “those” nights.
– There was at least a decent start to the show with the WWE United States Championship match between Champion Rusev and Titus O’Neil taking place, the only thing hyped at this point. O’Neil seemed pumped, but did he need to go all-out Uncle Sam in his ring attire? Commentary also kept saying, “Very Special Edition Of Raw.” We figured Rusev would retain, but the match itself wasn’t bad. The reliance on power moves worked because these were two big guys. At the same time, the crowd was fully behind O’Neil and he came close to a win with the Clash of The Titus, but it wasn’t enough. Rusev won with the Accolade and we wished the match had more time. On a filler edition, why not? What’s to lose? The post-match mocking promo by Rusev against America was cute. At least they’re building him back to once-monster status again.
– In a sight nobody probably wished to see, The Social Outcasts came out dressed as the Minutemen before they were interrupted by Enzo Amore/Big Cass, as Enzo let loose a “star-spangled banter” and named U.S. presidents. It was good enough for a laugh and we even got a squash match out of it, as Enzo/Cass made quick work of Bo Dallas/Curtis Axel with the Boom Shakalaka. To appease us, Enzo then donned the colonial wig.
– The Sasha Banks-WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte feud actually saw some pleasant advancement as per their in-ring segment that also involved Dana Brooke. Charlotte was good on her end as she accused Banks of being jealous and mocked the fans for standing behind her, which set Banks up to knock her part out of the park, as she defended why she called herself “The Boss” and that her style was original in contrast to Charlotte’s. It might’ve been her best stick moment to date on the main roster and the physicality to end it was enough to whet our appetite, as both got the best of each other for one moment. To end the segment, Banks had the Bank Statement applied for a few moments, before Brooke pulled Charlotte out.
– If you enjoy SmackDown main events repeated on Raw with less time and effort and JBL complaining the whole time on commentary, then the “Champion Vs. Champion” match between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose and Miz was for you. Ambrose unsurprisingly won again with the Dirty Deeds before he crossed paths with Seth Rollins when he came out for his match against Dolph Ziggler. Ambrose took it open himself to stay out and sit with the Spanish commentary team.
– The Rollins-Ziggler match had a decent backstory with Ziggler supposedly wanting the match because it was something we might not see again after the Draft, while Ambrose sat in on Spanish commentary and delivered broken Spanish. Oh, that Ambrose. The match itself was fine in terms of in-ring action, but wasn’t nearly long enough to be a classic. Rollins won as he countered the Zig Zag into the Pedigree. The post-match angle with Ambrose-Rollins was decent, but wasn’t anything we didn’t already hear from both men with the expected brawl at the end. This time, Ambrose got the last laugh with Dirty Deeds on the announce table.
– Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt are a fierce, evil bearded trio that can be most relevant when pushed to the top, but their “stop-and-go” rhythm has been a turn-off to their success rate. At the least, with this new feud against WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day, there was a newfound purpose to show the trio in a new light. There was new footage of the Wyatts in their compound, as Bray cut a promo that invited New Day to come out to their neck of the woods. This was all actually well-shot.
– A Baron Corbin hype video told us what he was all about – the “Lone Wolf” who promised the “End Of Days” to those who got in his way. Was about right.
– In the midst of past authority figures selling their case to be the new SmackDown General Manager like Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis, this time we had the Queen Of “Excuse Me” Vickie Guerrero at the podium. This was a bad reminder of 2012. Of course, her promo bordered on the dark side of sanity and she ended up being escorted away by Security. How do all these past authority figures keep squeaking by?
– Because it’s the Fourth Of July, we’d be getting a 16-man elimination tag main event (filler-iffic) that pitted Team USA (The Big Show, Zack Ryder, Kane, The Dudley Boyz, Apollo Crews, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry) against Team Multi-National (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, The Lucha Dragons, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus) for our entertainment. Team USA mostly consisted of faces with the exception of the Dudleyz, but even here, they didn’t seem like heels. Was this another unexplained turn? Anyways, Show led a “rally the troops” speech as he pushed how the need to fight a common enemy can bring the best effort from a team with its own differences. Yup. This really happened.
– It was kind of funny to see WWE reference the Vickie-Ziggler relationship as she tried to convince Security she was invited by Shane McMahon/Stephanie McMahon and asked Ziggler for help, only for him to deny ever knowing her. Ouch.
– The Vaudevillains continue to dive into jobber territory as they again received no televised entrance and were put away in mere minutes to The Golden Truth as Breezango watched from the VIP section. At least GT are getting wins now.
– The latest “Life Lessons With Coach Backlund” segment saw Backlund give his Crossface Chicken Wing submission to Young to give him a submission finisher. Wonder how this will come across when it finally makes television.
– Hyped healthily throughout the show, John Cena came out to address the crowd about The Club and again accused AJ Styles of needing to depend on his buddies instead of standing up like a man. Styles did pretty good on the mic here, as he got over how The Club ran Japan and was enraged that Cena’s face dominated all the WWE posters over there and made a true point that most superstars couldn’t relate to Cena because of his greatness that it isolated him. The Club was meant to come off as sleazy bullies and they began to joke about beating Cena up because they could on different holidays and transitioned it to the Fourth Of July. This set them up to beat Cena up again ambush style until Enzo/Cass made the save and we had a new Battleground match booked – a six-man tag between Cena/Enzo/Cass and The Club. Smart since it lets Enzo/Cass enjoy the spotlight and Cena can lay back a bit.
– The Shining Stars put down Fourth Of July traditions and pimped Puerto Rico again. Yes, in front of a green screen.
– The Becky Lynch-Summer Rae match had the simple mission to push the Lynch-Natalya feud (as they now had a Battleground match too) as Natalya watched intently backstage as Lynch battled through Rae with the Disarmer win. There was a rough botch in there, but they seemed okay by the end.
– The Multi-National Alliance backstage segment was about as good as you could get, as Jericho tried to get across that they just needed to stay aligned and he argued with Del Rio and LD in Spanish. This was a team with various people in feuds (Crews/Sheamus, Zayn/Owens, Del Rio/Cesaro) and pretty much wrote itself with the self-obsessed personality of Jericho at the forefront. Owens was also amped to beat up some Americans because of the food fight and Jericho stressed to Zayn/Cesaro that they needed to watch “it.”
– You knew Enzo/Cass had a big night when they now plugged Sonic fast food deals in the locker room. Such petty product placement these days.
– The New Day-Wyatt Family in-ring segment was actually pretty effective in progressing their feud. The Wyatts appeared via TitanTron and we got the “turning point” that saw Xavier Woods actually leave the ring when he tried to convince Big E/Kofi Kingston that they were treading in deep water fighting Wyatts on their home turf and their terms. This teased perhaps a future split down the road and we liked the uncertainty that it left with the angle.
– The 16-man elimination tag main event between Team USA and Team Multi-National Alliance (the worst team name ever) was your general holiday happy filler that saw some light advancements in several feuds in one sitting. The most noteworthy moments were Swagger/Cesaro briefly doing their “We The People” pose from their days as The Real Americans, Owens’ Pop-Up Powerbomb on Henry, Zayn-Owens coming to blows and Ryder eventually getting the winning pinfall. There was some silliness with chair disqualifications, but we’ll let it slide. America wins. Everybody’s happy. Let’s forget this episode ever happened.
- WWE United States Championship – Rusev (w/Lana) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
- Enzo Amore/Big Cass def. Bo Dallas/Curtis Axel (w/Heath Slater) via pinfall
- Dean Ambrose def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
- Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
- Becky Lynch def. Summer Rae via submission
- 16-Man Elimination Tag – Team USA (The Big Show/Mark Henry/Jack Swagger/The Dudley Boyz/Apollo Crews/Zack Ryder/Kane) def. Team Multi-National Alliance (Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn/Cesaro/The Lucha Dragons/Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio)
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 27-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on August 3, 2016, in WWE and tagged Alberto Del Rio, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Battleground, Becky Lynch, Big Cass, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Dana Brooke, Darren Young, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Enzo Amore, Erick Rowan, Heath Slater, Jack Swagger, JBL, John Cena, Kane, Kevin Owens, Lana, Mark Henry, Maryse, Michael Cole, Natalya, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Social Outcasts, Summer Rae, The Big Show, The Club, The Dudley Boyz, The Golden Truth, The Lucha Dragons, The Miz, The New Day, The Shining Stars, The Vaudevillains, Titus O'Neil, Vickie Guerrero, Zack Ryder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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