Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 8/8/16: Botched Vows
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at then bottom of the post.
– As SummerSlam inched closer, Raw’s big stories were the Finn Balor-Seth Rollins feud over the WWE Universal Championship, the Roman Reigns-WWE United States Champion Rusev and the interbranded clash between Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, as each man trespassed each other’s show to deliver their finishing move. The opening video highlighted last week’s happenings in regards to these feuds.
– The opening in-ring segment with Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho was another entertaining quarrel amongst the four men who opened last week’s show in style. Enzo played to the Anaheim crowd with sports and Sublime references as he expressed his “beef” with Jericho in that he messed up his game with WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks last week. Jericho came out and made it known why he disliked Enzo (annoyance) and referred to Cass as his “maid.” We weren’t big fans of Cass’ “Bert And Ernie” joke since it seemed to put homosexuality in a negative way, but it wasn’t meant to be malicious surely. Owens did his job in standing up for Jericho when Cass threatened him and we liked how he tied in his now-dislike for Cass with his feud with Sami Zayn, as he mentioned that Cass “took the dead weight over to Raw.” A little funny moment where Jericho spoke tough while he looked at Cass and then mentioned he was talking to Enzo when Cass questioned him on it. Fine hype for the Jericho-Enzo match that followed, but they lost us on whether this was impromptu or already scheduled.
– The Jericho-Enzo match was a pretty good start for this two-on-two feud in that we got plenty of action and Jericho-Enzo had nice chemistry, but they went right to the finish before it could reach another level. We actually liked the finish because nobody got pinned and it showed Cass preventing Jericho from getting a pinfall victory with help from Owens, who repeatedly interfered behind the Referee’s back. It gave Jericho a DQ victory (and temporary bragging rights) which then led to Cass laying down the formal tag team challenge for SummerSlam, which was accepted by the “Canadian Brothers.” Jeri-KO definitely has potential as a tag team, even generally speaking.
– The backstage segment with General Manager Mick Foley and Banks saw us learn that Foley likes to lie on the phone to Commissioner Stephanie McMahon about the tablet and that he also likes to confuse television viewers. Get this – Banks asks Foley to make her SummerSlam rematch against Charlotte a 2-On-1 Handicap match because of how annoying Dana Brooke is. Foley decides to book a match between her and Brooke tonight, where if Banks wins, Brooke is banned from ringside at SS, but if Brooke wins, it becomes a 2-On-1 Handicap, what Banks originally asked for. Huh? They should’ve had Banks just complain about Brooke and then Foley lead in with his idea, because what they did was make Banks look dumb.
– It was the third installment of “Braun Strowman Destroys Charismatic Jobbers” as this time it was terrified Jorel Nelson to take him on, as he didn’t even offer Byron Saxton any words in a pre-match interview. These Strowman squashes are actually working and if they had did this when he debuted, he would’ve gotten over big time. Fortunately with the brand split, it’s almost like he’s a new person. Still too early to tell whether we’re supposed to like or hate him, but he actually got some cheers here, so who knows? The reverse chokeslam ended Nelson’s nightmare early.
– The backstage segment with Foley, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston saw an odd focus on Big E’s nuts, as the charismatic New Day member was missing in action from the groin injury suffered last week at the hands of Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson. The interaction between Foley and Combs was ultimately forgettable, as it was to promote an upcoming Ohio “Bad Boy Reunion” show. They had Combs and ND talk to promote that Combs composed the soundtrack to WWE 2K17. Yeah, big whoop. If it comforts you, Combs was booed by the audience.
– The Titus O’Neil-Darren Young continued their “unfriendly” rivalry that confuses us even more with this. O’Neil won last week with pulled tights and got in Bob Backlund’s face as he threatened to drop an old man to the ground, so surely he’s the heel, right? Young attacked O’Neil from behind to end last week for getting in his Life Coach’s face. This time around, Young was the aggressor, yet O’Neil laid in some loud chops and directed his attention to Backlund with every strike to Young. With the finish where O’Neil was pinned with pulled tights by Young, it left us further befuddled on who’s face and who’s heel here. Are they outheeling each other? Perhaps that could be why the crowd was less than responsive.
– A Cruiserweights Division hype video aired, as it was mentioned to come to Raw soon. It manly consisted of WWE Cruiserweight Classic highlights.
– The in-ring Seth Rollins promo was a well-delivered rhetoric typical of Rollins’ self-absorbed personality as he insulted his SummerSlam opponent and what his ring name stood for. Yes, he did essentially tell us that “Finn Balor” wasn’t really his name in an effort to put his own character over, but again, it fits something that he’d do. Plus, his promos have been on-point, even if his heel act has shown signs of slight fatigue.
– The Sheamus-Cesaro match continued their “battle to impress” feud, since a brawl last week left things inconclusive on who was truly better, despite Cesaro’s victory. The storyline reason why they had this bout was per Foley to see who was on top this time. Is that ever the explanation of even-steven booking or what? To their credit, Sheamus and Cesaro delivered a fun, physical match with plenty of nice maneuvers from Cesaro, like the torpedo-esque suicide dive. Lots of good near-falls here too, as Sheamus’ efforts to win backhandedly turned on him, as Cesaro rolled him up for a second consecutive victory.
– The Lesnar-Orton SummerSlam match hype video was as well-done as could be. The bout “15 Years In the Making” felt even bigger thanks to things like the sit-down interview Lesnar blowing off Orton’s legacy with F-bombs, which was contrasted with Orton’s awe-inspired respect of Lesnar’s early accomplishments, but was turned off when he left the company because of the people he disliked. Clearly explained were the career parallels between the two and how they viewed each other. Even on WWE’s current product, a censored F-bomb lays shock value. Lesnar is someone who could get away with that because he’s so… uncontrolled. The video concluded with the news that Lesnar would be present on the SummerSlam go-home Raw in Corpus Christi, Texas. Well, snap.
– The Dudley Boyz-Neville/Sin Cara match felt underwhelming in the long run, with the bout set up from an earlier segment where Bubba Ray Dudley challenged Neville to find a partner to take them on. Sin Cara was really your first choice, Neville? Good god. The crowd didn’t exactly jump for joy at this and how could you blame them? In the end, a decent match action-wise, as Neville pinned D-Von Dudley with the Red Arrow, but we hope this isn’t an introduction to a Neville/Sin Cara team. Neville should be positioned much higher on the card. He could be in the running for the Universal Title.
– The “Celebration Of Love” segment with Rusev, Lana and Reigns wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. You had to know from the get-go with the expensive wedding cakes and champagne glasses in the ring that Rusev/Lana’s plan to renew their vows publicly would go awry at the end. We didn’t think Reigns would come down and be the one to do it, but it furthered their feud, even if it was corny Reigns. Rusev/Lana seemed to kill a lot of time with their lovey-dovey wedding stuff, as it seemed that Reigns’ arrival was supposed to “stop the suffering.” Reigns’ “toast” was surprisingly good for a promo with decent insults, steps above his “tater tots” promo that lives in infamy. We predicted Rusev going through the table, but they went the more class route, as Reigns punched Rusev, who pushed Lana face-first into her own cake. Also keep note that Reigns laid down a SS challenge for Rusev’s belt, that was turned down by the Champ.
– The backstage segment with Lana, Rusev and Foley predictably saw a screaming Lana in the background as Rusev demanded Foley make Reigns pay for his actions. In turn, Foley booked the US Title match for SS, we assume to Rusev’s dismay. He ended up having to defend the belt against the guy anyway.
– The Banks-Brooke match with the stipulation that if Banks won, SS would be one-on-one and if Brooke won, it’d be a handicap match was mediocre at best. We don’t remember the match outside of the finish, where Charlotte accidentally punched Brooke and got knocked to the floor by Banks, who then set up Brooke for her double knees in the corner to get the pin. Predictable way to go about it, but it is kind of cool how Banks and Charlotte trade momentum over the weeks.
– A Nia Jax hype video aired, like last week, only she wasn’t in action this time. She’s not like most girls, you know.
– The Balor hype video/promo was actually well-done in retrospect. They’ve spent more time on Raw explaining the background on Balor’s Irish folklore-inspired ring name, deriving from Finn MacCool and Balor, the king of demons that ends the world when his eye opens. The visual of the promo was cool, as Balor sat upon a throne amidst steam as he calmly spoke about Rollins’ “misconceptions.” We got the news that Balor would unleash the “Demon King” at SS, which made sense given the implications of the match. Hyped for next week was Rollins calling out the “Demon King,” which should be a ball.
– Raw was truly getting outlandish by this point, especially when we were met with the image of Gallows/Anderson in doctor coats, as they discussed “Ringpostitis,” an epidemic that gave them the excuse to replay their attack on Big E last week. There were a lot of testicular references and jokes. Yup, this feud has been about Big E’s nuts, when it initially started as a way to get Gallows/Anderson over as burly badasses. The feud is focusing on all the wrong things.
– To make it even more tacky, Gallows/Anderson came to the ring with the jackets on, as the Gallows-Kingston match that followed was rather short, but confusing since we saw Gallows dominate Kingston and then pin him with his finisher. Gallows/Anderson tried to administer a dose of “ringpostitis” to Kingston, but were stopped by Woods and a steel chair. Yup, any heat that Gallows/Anderson get from the tracks are outdone by the corny comedy. It also doesn’t help when even the tough heels are giving in to it.
– Surely, the outlandishness was another level with the ridiculous Scooby-Doo-inspired Golden Truth segment where R-Truth came out of a Scoobymobile and Goldust acted as some mediator between Truth and the dog. Oh, why even try to explain this? W to the TF.
– The in-ring segment with Foley, SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan, Rusev and Cesaro was ultimately pointless besides the goal to promote the impromptu main event. The gist of Bryan’s involvement was that he was invited by Foley to “clear the air” as they discussed Lesnar and Orton’s respective attacks. The only good thing to come out of this was Foley’s impassioned enthusiasm towards the WWE Universal Championship as a legitimate prize in response to Bryan’s past criticisms of it in terms of the name. Rusev’s portion saw him suck up to Foley, which Bryan saw through and before Rusev came to blows with Bryan, Cesaro came out and mentioned he deserved an opportunity having beaten Sheamus twice now. Tie in Bryan’s mention of Cesaro’s severe underutilization on Raw and Foley tried to upstage him by giving him the US Title shot right now.
– The WWE United States Championship match between Champion Rusev and Cesaro was a good main event that managed to do several things among a nicely wrestled effort by both men. Cesaro worked double duty in the ring, but had more ring time to impress fans with his moves, an early highlight being the way he powered out of the Accolade submission. After some finisher exchanges, we saw advancements in the Sheamus-Cesaro feud, as Sheamus came down with the sole intent to screw Cesaro out of the Title. After a few teases, it was a trade of kicks to Cesaro shared between Rusev and Sheamus that did in the “Swiss Superman.” To end the show, Reigns speared Rusev on the ramp to further their feud some more. All in all, not bad stuff.
- Chris Jericho (w/Kevin Owens) def. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) via DQ
- Braun Strowman def. Jorel Nelson via pinfall
- Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
- Cesaro def. Sheamus via pinfall
- Neville/Sin Cara def. The Dudley Boyz via pinfall
- If Sasha Banks Wins, The WWE Women’s Championship Match At SummerSlam Is One-On-One, If Dana Brooke Wins, It Will Be A 2-On-1 Handicap Match – Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte) via pinfall
- Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) def. Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Rusev (Champion) def. Cesaro via pinfall to retain
Posted on September 11, 2016, in WWE and tagged Big Cass, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Cruiserweights, Dana Brooke, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Enzo Amore, Finn Balor, Jorel Nelson, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sasha Banks, Scooby-Doo, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Sin Cara, SummerSlam, The Dudley Boyz, The Golden Truth, Titus O'Neil, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.