Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 8/15/16: Finding Demon King
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.
Finding Demon King
– The opening video made it apparent Raw’s biggest storylines were that of the quarrel between WWE United States Champion Rusev and Roman Reigns as we saw last week when Reigns ruined a “Celebration Of Love” and Lana ended up covered in cake. Also seen was Seth Rollins’ new quest to find out who his SummerSlam opponent Finn Balor really was. Alrighty then.
– Rollins’ promo outside the arena earlier in the day focused on his search for “Demon King,” the demonized “alter-ego” of Balor that usually only comes out for social occasions. Basically, Rollins bragged about himself and was bold in confidence that he’d find “Demon King” before the night was up.
– The in-ring segment with Rusev, Lana, Reigns, General Manager Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was gone as far as the idea of starting things off tied to last week. Rusev/Lana began by “holding the show hostage,” seen in many ways over the years. Foley showed good passion on the mic for his show and even Steph might’ve seen that as she stood up for him. Reigns’ involvement was predicted, but the ending announcement that Rusev-Reigns would fight later wasn’t so exciting. These guys already had a Title match in six days and any sooner would be overkill. Plus, the idea of the match being Rusev “defending Lana’s honor” was weak.
– The Sheamus-Sami Zayn match with Cesaro on commentary was an easy way to continue the Sheamus-Cesaro feud with the utilization of the enthusiastic Zayn, who won the crowd over with his moves. Cesaro complained about Sheamus on commentary, which was expected, which eventually led to the finish where he distracted Sheamus from ringside, which got him hit with the Helluva Kick. Smart since it tied into last week’s events when Sheamus cost him the US Title.
– The Jeri-KO backstage promo hyped the Kevin Owens-Big Cass match for later on, as the heel duo kept the comedy with some angst. The idea was that they found Cass/Enzo Amore to be “cancers to the locker room.” Also got a huge kick out of how both of them purposely referred to Tom Phillips as every other name but Tom.
– We got more advancement with the Sheamus-Cesaro feud with the backstage segment that involved them and Foley, as Foley booked them into a Best-Of-Seven series that would commence at SummerSlam as the idea would be to take their anger out on each other. Could you argue overkill? Not exactly. These guys put on good matches at least.
– The Dudley Boyz-Xavier Woods/Kofi Kingston match provided more hype for the Woods/Kingston-Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson feud over the WWE World Tag Team Championships. Sadly, it has been more about Big E’s testicles than about the Titles. There was some promise when it initially began with a Gallows/Anderson ambush attack, that meant they “made a statement,” but they’ve gone the wrong route ever since. The whole “doctors” bit was funny for about three seconds. Now they’ve gone on too long with it. Eggs in microwaves? You call that “mind games”? Ugh. Anyways, we assumed this was supposed to distract the faces from their task at hand, but they put away their rivals from a year ago rather quickly. This was met with a lousy post-match promo exchange as the “Doctors” showed us the exploded microwave egg and “test jars” with Kingston/Woods’ names. Kingston took offense and Woods reminded us of the historical significance of SummerSlam, since they won the belts at last year’s. Meh, whatever. What a ridiculous storyline.
– The backstage segment with Rollins-Neville continued Rollins’ “Demon King” search with the brief interaction from Neville, who was able to sell Balor’s demonic side and claimed Rollins wasn’t ready for it. Of course, Rollins had a snarky insult for that, which we imagine sets something up between the two down the road perhaps.
– The Nia Jax-Rachel Levy match was presented as the latest Jax squash, but maybe they should’ve had Jax take out an opponent that didn’t sport fairy-like attire and brighter colors. Jay’s impactful moves were kept to a minimum, as she shoved Levy off the top rope to the floor and then eliminated her with a sideway slam. It is what it is though.
– The in-ring segment with Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and Heath Slater was a logical way to hype the Lesnar-Randy Orton SS encounter with advancement of the “Free Agent Slater” gimmick. Last time we saw Slater, he actually had a little bit going for him, so maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea to have him interact with a beast like Lesnar. However, because of the heavy pro-Lesnar crowd and Slater doing everything in his power to come off unlikable, you wanted to see Lesnar lay him out by the end and you just had to know it was coming. The big highlight was Lesnar on the mic speaking for himself as he simply said he didn’t “give a fuck” about his kids. Even better here was that it was portrayed that Slater set himself up for it by attempting to strike first. The basic idea was that you better not mess with Lesnar. Heyman’s “talk ’em into the building” promo was paint-by-numbers by his standards, but still, well-delivered.
– The Cass-Owens match started with an alright promo from Team SAWFT that discussed grilled foods and BBQs in relation to “end of summer bashes.” Still a lot of crowd participation, so they’re way over. The match itself was decent, yet not all that memorable, but maybe by design. Heel shenanigans were rampant and spelled the end, as Jericho blatantly attacked Cass to get the match thrown out. This then led to a straight-out heel beatdown on the faces, emphasized with a Codebreaker to Cass. This was a necessary way to push Jeri-KO as a true force headed into SS.
– The backstage segment with Reigns, Rusev and Lana gave us a preview of the chaos we’d see later, as Rusev attacked Reigns from behind and they brawled against a garage door and a catering table. Some nice animosity if anything.
– The Prime Time Players-Shining Stars match was an attempt to further the Darren Young/Titus O’Neil feud in a strange way, decided upon an odd choice to reunite PTP for one night only, despite their recent quarrels. What should’ve happened was O’Neil turning on Young to cost them the match, but what happened? Young accidentally knocked O’Neil off the apron, which spawned O’Neil to lay Young out with Clash Of The Titus to end the match. SS gained little from it and instead of the heat being on O’Neil because of a master heel plan, he just looks like the sucky guy in this situation. This didn’t excite us in any way.
– Another Cruiserweight Division hype video aired. We’d assume it’d be official upon the crowning of the first Champion?
– The Jinder Mahal-Neville match was a glorified Neville squash, despite the returned Mahal putting in some momentum for himself and one good near-fall. As you know, it was the Red Arrow that put Mahal away.
– The backstage segment with Foley, Steph and Rollins set up the later segment as we saw Foley announce that Jon Stewart would be the SS Guest, which drew Rollins into the room, who almost got the night off from an empty search, as Foley suggested having him call out DK from the ring. Rollins’ facial expressions were good here, as you could see his hopes to call Balor out on his cowardice went in awry.
– The in-ring segment with Rollins and Balor was standard stuff as far as their feud, outside of the fan altercation that was smoothly edited out. We actually thought it was a mistake to showcase the DK entrance on a regular Raw when the spectacle should’ve been saved for SS. WWE could easily play back footage of his past DK attires like in London and Texas. Why waste it here? The physical exchange went over well, but we would’ve held off on the two making physical contact before their big match. That’s just us though.
– The testicular games continued on with the Golden Truth-Gallows/Anderson match, as Doc Gallows took his nickname too literally. Designed as an easy squash to keep the Docs strong for SS, we even got some post-match action, as Woods/Kingston attacked them from behind, described by commentary as a “fire lit,” before the heels retreated when the faces tried to administer their own Ringpostitis antidote. Hell, even we couldn’t help ourselves.
– The backstage segment with Dana Brooke and Charlotte appeared to be an attempt to draw sympathy upon Brooke, as Charlotte berated her for losing when it counted the most. We’d have to see where it goes.
– The Alicia Fox-Charlotte match with WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks on commentary continued the Banks-Charlotte feud in anticipation of the SS Women’s Title match. Banks seemed brash as she broke down Charlotte to her bare essentials while the heel challenger made easy work of Fox with Natural Selection. The post-match angle was actually a pretty nice swerve since we found out it was a set-up by Charlotte/Brooke to isolate Banks that also meant what we saw backstage was phony. Charlotte soaked in a lot of heat as she locked in the Figure Eight while Brooke prevented officials from breaking it up.
– The Braun Strowman hype video was very… Braun Strowman. It showcased his past squashes of James Ellsworth & Co., but was presented in a menacing manner. Still not sure if he’s a heel or face, but for a first, he’s pretty intriguing. He also hasn’t made any references to The Wyatt Family (nor has commentary) since his Raw debut.
– On one hand, the Reigns-Rusev match was filled with long action and able to tell a solid story with Reigns disadvantaged from the earlier attack and continued as Rusev worked over his arms, but again, with the two set to battle six days later, it was hard to get excited about this. In many ways, their work would probably be cut out for them since this effort would be hard to top. Above it all, it lacked necessary drama even though they work well together. As you’d imagine, it was a Spear that ended it for Rusev, which tells us that the US Champ will likely win at SS in a fluky manner.
- Sami Zayn def. Sheamus via pinfall
- Xavier Woods/Kofi Kingston def. The Dudley Boyz via pinfall
- Nia Jax def. Rachel Levy via pinfall
- Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) def. Kevin Owens (w/Chris Jericho) via DQ
- The Shining Stars def. The Prime Time Players (w/Bob Backlund) via pinfall
- Neville def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
- Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson def. The Golden Truth via pinfall
- Charlotte def. Alicia Fox via pinfall
- Roman Reigns def. Rusev via pinfall
Posted on September 24, 2016, in WWE and tagged Alicia Fox, Big Cass, Bob Backlund, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Cruiserweights, Dana Brooke, Demon King, Enzo Amore, Finn Balor, Heath Slater, Jeri-KO, Jinder Mahal, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, Rachel Levy, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, SummerSlam, The Dudley Boyz, The Golden Truth, The Prime Time Players, The Shining Stars, Tom Phillips, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.