Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 7/18/16: Holy Foley And The Yes Man

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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.






(Aired 7/18/16)

Holy Foley And The Yes Man

– With Battleground six days away and the WWE Brand Extension Draft even closer (the next day), there was a feel for change in the air. What better way to bring that out than to start the show with a long-winded talking segment that involves the McMahon clan? Original stuff, guys. The one saving grace here was that it served a purpose for us to find out who Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon each selected for their respective General Managers. Are you keeping up with the authority figures? Hope you like it, because there’s a lot of that here. There were also some half-assedly explained Draft “rules” – Raw got the first pick and for every two SmackDown picks, Raw would get three. Why? We don’t know. Better news was that six picks would come off the NXT roster. Oh, make them good. After some pointless sibling bickering, Steph announced that Raw would feature a new cruiserweight division exclusive to them. She then introduced her GM, which was Mick Foley to a nice pop. Foley’s promo here leaned more towards the humbled and appreciative as he used his experience when he partook in the Monday Night Wars to compare it to nowadays. That’s a bit of a stretch, but okay. More or less, the segment was stolen when Shane announced his pick, none other than Daniel Bryan. Yes, that one. The place went bonkers as you’d imagine. Bryan’s promo revolved around the “underdogs” and there were some moments where he stuck it to Steph, as she had her own responses that underdogs always end up at the bottom despite their rise. So, some more pointless bickering to end it but we got our big news.

– The Sami Zayn/Cesaro-Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho tag match was another chance to hype the Zayn-Owens Battleground match, as we got a pre-taped promo from Zayn that explained that this match with Owens was the biggest of his career and he needed to win to put the rivalry to rest and move on with his career. Of course. The match was entertaining given the talent and there were plenty of cheap shots and good old Canadian fist fighting from Owens/Zayn. There was a funny moment where Zayn hung lifeless in the ropes as Owens struck a grin pose next to him. The action winded down to a point where Zayn got to pin Jericho for another underdog-esque victory and some momentum. Have to feel a bit for Cesaro, who has no active feuds, but he was more than great here in this role.

– The backstage segment with Bryan, The Golden Truth, Jack Swagger, Titus O’Neil and Steph was more Bryan/Steph battle of wits on top of Bryan as he made his way around the locker room to potential draft picks. Nothing you haven’t seen before, but could appreciate, because goddamn, Bryan is on our screens again.

– They’ve had an odd way of pushing Darren Young for a WWE Intercontinental Championship shot. He won a Battle Royale almost by luck in that his competitors fell out of the ring to leave him the last one standing. On the other end, Champion The Miz/Maryse have been great in their heel roles, as they argued Young’s “Life Coach” Bob Backlund was too old and Young was too inexperienced for gold. We did like that Miz/Maryse were on commentary for the Young-Alberto Del Rio match and Miz brought along Backlund’s book to further criticize him. The match we assumed was to give Young some momentum for this big match, but the finish seemed to be more about how Miz inadvertently caused Del Rio to lose than for the fact that Young won a match. Still feels underwhelming for getting Young’s character over.

– With an obvious goal to advance two six-men feuds and fill show time, they decided to put on a 12-man tag match between John Cena/WWE World Tag Team Champions The New Day/Enzo Amore/Big Cass and The Club/Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan/Braun Strowman. This was all well and good though, because this was probably the best part of the show. We had an Enzo promo with fantastic energy as he laid down disses that leaned towards the edgy and sexual for The Club and also established some slight tension between Enzo and Cena, since Cena didn’t quite “get” Enzo, but they had the same goal of taking The Club down. The Club’s response focused on their loyalty and pointed out the inexperience of their opponents as a team, which then led to your usual New Day promo, most remembered for its sexual innuendo and Xavier Woods’ name drops of various Pokemon characters and his killer status on “Pokemon Go!” which got a rise out of the crowd. Our only gripe was that New Day could’ve sold their injuries from the Compound. It was as if it never happened. The match was great as we had early highlights of the Strowman/Cass standoff and the brawl that broke out after Strowman cheap-shotted Cena. The hyped-up crowd made this especially fun, but even that had to end soon. ND/Wyatts all brawled to the back and that left the other six, as miscommunication between Cena/Enzo cost them the match. More specifically, Enzo accidentally ran over Cena. This was smart since they could display tension among the babyfaces and The Club gains more momentum in the meantime. Styles won the match with the Styles Clash on Enzo for those of you keeping score on Styles’ various finishers.

– With a big WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins set for the main event to decide the Champ headed into Battleground, there was a lot on the line here. There was some cool hype during the episode and it started with the Rollins empty arena promo. He stood in the stairway entrance where The Shield once used to make their entrance as brothers, as he revealed his true intentions with the group – utilize Roman Reigns and Ambrose for their strengths and stay in the background until it was time to strike and take the fame he felt he deserved on his own. He explained his side perfectly in comparison to his opponents, in that he questioned how Reigns would be received upon his return and that Ambrose was a thief. He was out to prove he was “The Man” and nobody could do anything about it. This was pure excellence and an “out of the box” scenario for WWE.

– The backstage segment with Breezango, Foley and Shane gave us a first-time solo interaction between Shane/Foley, as he warned him about his sister’s manipulative tactics and Foley saw the position as a huge opportunity for him and kept his eyes open. It was basically Foley’s chance to back his decision and stand his ground. There was also a moment where Breezango tried to give Foley dancing tips, but we’ll kindly skip that part for you.

– We got the news that The Lucha Dragons amicably split up before the Draft and then we saw a last-minute push for Baron Corbin, as he destroyed Sin Cara with the End Of Days to end their match and then outwitted Kalisto when he tried to save his old partner. This was likely to “position” Corbin for a higher draft, or something along those lines.

– When they announced the tag match between WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte/Dana Brooke and Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch, we were a bit confused. The ongoing storyline as far as their Battleground match sans Lynch was that Charlotte/Brooke were confident that Banks couldn’t find a partner to take them on. Then this match was hyped. Did Banks find Lynch as a partner? Why didn’t we get any explanation for this? Luckily, the actual match lasted a few seconds, because Natalya came out and attacked Lynch, because that’s what her character does now. There was also a moment where Charlotte attacked Banks from behind. An all heel’s segment. It was okay for what it was, but they could’ve tip-toed around this a bit better to keep the Battleground match more intriguing.

– For some reason, Ambrose cuts better promos on the handheld Shield camera. Keeping in theme with old Shield rituals, we had the throwback Shield promo from Ambrose as he claimed he changed the course of history and no matter what happened on this show, he expected a war at Battleground, that Rollins would be “slimy” and Reigns would be enraged. We were a fan of this for nostalgia. Can’t help but think how it would’ve been booked had Reigns not been suspended at the time.

– The WWE United States Champion Rusev/Sheamus-Dolph Ziggler/Zack Ryder match was an attempt to further advance the Rusev-Ryder feud with their Battleground Title match in the loom. To an extent, Ryder was protected since he wasn’t directly involved in the decision, but again the focus was on how dominant Rusev was, as he won the bout with a swift kick to the back of Ziggler’s head and an Accolade for good measure. Okay stuff, nothing groundbreaking.

– With Randy Orton set to return at Battleground on the “Highlight Reel” and the announcement that he’d take on Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, there was a hype video that displayed most of his history. The video seemed to hint at a darker character since his promo excerpts came from his conceited heel days. Then again, you couldn’t tell.

– The backstage segment with The Ascension, Foley and Bryan was designed to be that “Game On!” moment between the two GM’s in the spirit of friendly competition. They established light tension as Foley likened Bryan to himself when he took down The Authority, but he was an underdog his whole career as well and took down anyone in his way, with the bold line that now Bryan stood in his way. We needed this segment to some extent, but it worked well.

– The WWE World Heavyweight Championship main event between Champion Dean Ambrose and Rollins came close to Pay-Per-View quality on Raw and certainly had ample television time (and ringside authority presence) but just as it began to kick into second gear after a few fun near-falls, the finish went up and ruined the damn thing, as they went off the air not knowing who was Champion. Basically, they did the “double pin” angle where you couldn’t tell whose shoulders were pinned to the mat as first. Of course, Steph/Foley sided with Rollins and announced him as the new Champ as Rollins backed up the ramp with the belt, but nothing was made official. We get the intent was to draw interest in the next night and perhaps the didn’t want a clean finish with Battleground so close, but it wouldn’t had mattered anyways. The controversial finish angle was so played out. Lame.






Quick Results

  • Sami Zayn/Cesaro def. Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens via pinfall
  • Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) def. Alberto Del Rio via pinfall
  • 12-Man Tag – Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan/Braun Strowman/The Club def. John Cena/Enzo Amore/Big Cass/The New Day via pinfall
  • Baron Corbin def. Sin Cara via pinfall
  • Sasha Banks/Becky Lynch def. Charlotte/Dana Brooke via DQ
  • Rusev (w/Lana)/Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler/Zack Ryder via submission 
  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Dean Ambrose (Champion) and Seth Rollins to a double draw via pin; Ambrose retains

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-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, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on August 17, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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