The Big Takeaway:
The first night of the Shane/Stephanie co-ownership of Monday Night Raw featured Shane getting about seven minutes of airtime. Stephanie got about 25. Of course, she did segements where she was a heel and a babyface, as well. The Roman Reigns/ A.J. Styles match at Extreme Rules will be a no-DQ match. Rusev is the new #1 contender for the U.S. Championship. As usual, Kevin Owens was the highlight of the show, once again having the best match of the show. Crowd was more lively than recent weeks, but Stephanie’s presence just dragged the show down.
Stephanie McMahon came out, introduced as one-half of “The Power of Monday Night Raw.”
Shane McMahon came out to interrupt her. Stephanie said in the seven years that Shane was absent from the company, she learned how to accomplish a lot about business. So she offered Shane a gift to show of support in the new partnership. It was a framed picture of an infant Shane with Vince McMahon, the same picture that Vince destroyed in the buildup to WrestleMania.
Stephanie then offered Shane the microphone to hear his ideas for tonight’s show. Shane said he was touched and offered to hear Stephanie’s ideas for the show. Stephanie polled the fans, who wanted to hear what Shane had to say. Before he could start, Kevin Owens walked down. Owens said it was a lovely sight to see Stephanie and Shane together, getting along. Owens said he had an idea of his own, to give him a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. He talked as if his program with Sami Zayn was over.
Owens kissed up to Stephanie saying she was a smart businesswoman, and claimed he was owed a title shot in his contract. Shane said that was a valid point. Then Cesaro came out with his 007 entrance. Cesaro said he had The Miz beat last night, but lost because of Owens interference. Owens thought he was talking about Zayn.
Shane ordered an immediate Owens vs. Cesaro match with the winner getting a shot at the Miz.
Cesaro defeated Kevin Owens by DQ (11:30)
The Miz and Maryse were at ringside. Owens grabbed the Intercontinental belt to hit Cesaro, but Miz grabbed it. Miz and Owens had words. Cesaro jumped in to go after both men. This led to Miz doing a run-in for the DQ. Miz and Owens put the boots to Cesaro before Zayn ran out to give Owens the Helluva Kick. He tried to give Miz the Helluva Kick, but Maryse pulled him to safety. Zayn then grabbed the Intercontinental Championship and the crowd chanted “Yes” while Miz watched on.
Ever notice how often Owens either opens or closes the show? I guess it says it all about how often the company wants a hot opener to start off the show because he’s the best heel they have. Cesaro did the Uppercut Train spot right away, then did a somersault bodyblock off the barricade. Later, Cesaro did a Gut Wrench Superplex that popped the crowd. Owens gave Cesaro a necksnap to the floor, then followed with the frog splash off the apron.
Stephanie walked backstage where she came upon Dean Ambrose. Ambrose told her he didn’t believe that Stephanie had changed a bit and she was the same vindictive person she has always been. Stephanie wanted to prove she has changed and asked to be a guest on the Ambrose Asylum tonight. He agreed.
R-Truth talked to Tyler Breeze. The idea was Truth was trying to make Goldust jealous by being friends with Breeze, but Breeze ignored Truth’s claims that Babe Ruth shot Abraham Lincoln. Or the fact that Truth had made his own selfie stick out of a tree branch. Sure, what’s next? Leicester City wins the Premier League? Goldust walked in and said he didn’t need Truth because he found a partner. Fandango. Goldust got mad at Truth and said he would never forget the name of—then Fandango said his name. This is like the Police Academy of wrestling programs. No one laughs at them, but they keep coming out with more.
A.J. Styles talked with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, who said he didn’t know what he was going to do with them. They told him he was phenomenal last night against Reigns, but Styles reminded them he lost. Gallows said at Extreme Rules, Styles would beat Reigns in a no-DQ match. Reigns walked in and said he respected Styles, but he didn’t respect Gallows and Anderson. Reigns said he didn’t think Styles could beat “The Guy” on his own. He then questioned whether Styles, Gallows, and Anderson could beat “the three of them” and the Usos walked in. A trios match between the three is set for tonight.
Tyler Breeze defeated Goldust (1:47)
JBL talked about what would Dick the Bruiser or Lou Thesz would think of Fandango. It wouldn’t be nearly as bad as what they would say if they ever saw who was in the WWE Hall of Fame ahead of them. Breeze won with a schoolboy cradle when Goldust got distracted by Fandango and Truth dancing. Breeze again ignored Truth after getting his first win of 2016, and that includes house show matches. He even lost to Titus O’Neal last week.
The New Day came out.
The Vaudevillains will face New Day for the tag team titles at Extreme Rules. Kofi Kingston mentioned the WWE #1 Contenders Tag Team Tournament came to an abrupt end after the injury to Enzo Amore. They replayed his severe concussion, with Michael Cole saying all over tests came back negative at a hospital. Big E. said they had a Tweet that would put a smile on the fans’ faces. Xavier Woods claimed Beyonce slid up in his DMs last night, then admitted it wasn’t true. That showed a tweet showing Enzo had been released from a hospital, which got “How U Doin'” chants. Woods claimed they sent him a box of Booty-Os cereal and a dash of unicorn magic to get better.
The Vaudevillains came out. Aiden English said what happened last night was tragic, but it was a tough business and tough things happen. He said a real man would have gotten back up. Real men like Simon Gotch and himself, who represent the skills of a bygone era. Gotch said they made Enzo the realest guy in the emergency room, then asked him “How are you doing?”
The Dudley Boyz came out. Bubba Ray Dudley said the Vaudevillains didn’t beat anyone last night. They just stood there and twirled their mustaches like the Monopoly man. Bubba, who did a babyface promo, said they should restart the tag team tournament right now.
Then Enzo and Cass’s music played, but it was only Colin Cassady who came out. It’s pretty telling who has the charisma on that team because the crowd wanted to see Enzo so badly, when they got only Cassidy, the pop was a disappointment. He told “Simon and Garfunkel” to tell Mrs. Robinson they’ll be late for dinner. Cassady said the Vaudevillains messed with his family last night, and said they would finish what the Vaudevillains started last night. Cassady jumped in and everybody started brawling with each other. They just cut to a commercial. It led to Cassady and the New Day vs. The Vaudevillains and the Dudley Boyz.
The New Day and Colin Cassady defeated The Dudley Boyz and The Vaudevillains (15:46)
Good match with several hot tags. Cassady pinned Devon with East River Crossing. Bubba Ray had given Cassady a back suplex and called for the 3-D, but Kingston cut that off with a springboard crossbody on Bubba Ray. JBL mentioned being in a bar fight once with Devon because of a bar tab. Michael Cole asked if that was part of the show, but JBL indicated it wasn’t.
They wished the Rock a Happy Birthday and mentioned he won his first WWE World Championship in St. Louis at the Survivor Series. Oddly enough, Rock won a tournament over Mankind in among the first of countless variations of the Montreal Screwjob, with the latest being last night. In fact, they showed a replay of Charlotte-Natalya moments later. They even showed Charles Robinson dressing up as Little Natch in 1999 WCW, the worst year for any company in wrestling history. Just seeing replays of Robinson wrestling Gorgeous George with Asya in the background made me dizzy.
They replayed the Reigns-Styles confrontation. Just like the WWE Website is editing negative Reigns signs off of various pictures, they cut down the nat sound where Reigns got booed again.
Emma defeated Becky Lynch (5:42)
Emma won after thumbing Becky Lynch in the eye, then gave her a Michinoku Driver. No idea what sense that finish made since Emma just jobbed in her Raw debut as a heel. Lynch showed some good babyface fire in her comeback.
Primo and Epico were back with another Puerto Rico vignette. They put over the lunch they had as compared it to the lousy fast food in America. And you thought the 1-800-Sheamus vignettes were pointless.
Ambrose came out and said his houseplant was named “Mitch.”
Stephanie came out. Ambrose said after the main event of Payback last night, she had to be boiling mad deep inside. Stephanie was happy over the new era of the WWE. Ambrose brought up Reigns spearing Stephanie at WrestleMania, then showed a photo. He said she got speared out of her Tina Turner boots. Stephanie admitted she got too involved and Reigns taught her a vaulable lesson.
Ambrose brought up Shane returning to Raw after seven years away to everyone’s delight. “Shane O’Mac” chants. Ambrose said Shane was running Raw better than the Authority ever did. Stephanie said the WWE Universe was loyal to Shane, and she appreciates the loyalty even after Shane abadoned them for seven years. Ambrose said Stephanie has proved her loyalty to the company, missing dance recitals, children’s birthday parties and countless other activites with her children just to attend company functions. He contrasted that to Shane, who attended all of his family’s activities, yet still maintained as much of a share of the company now as Stephanie does. That set her off, though not in a screaming fit.
Stephanie took a moment to compose herself and said she understood why her father did what he did. After awhile, things need to change. Stephanie said she felt things need to change right now, and she announced that the Ambrose Asylum was cancelled. Stephanie asked Ambrose if that was a lesson that hurts. She told Ambrose to get to stepping and clean the set up. Ambrose said it hurts, he thought he was going to be the next Jimmy Fallon. He carried Mitch the Plant out. Crowd was begging for Ambrose to give Stephanie Dirty Deeds or something resembling a comeback, but that doesn’t exist in a company that can’t get stars over anymore. Stephanie then announced Chris Jericho was return with the Highlight Reel.
Jericho walked down and he and Ambrose were brawling immediately. JBL said this is what Jay Leno and David Letterman always wanted to do. The fight spilled into the ring, where Jericho gave Ambrose a Codebreaker. He threw the Ambrose Asylum sign on the ground and kicked Ambrose out of the ring. Jericho took Mitch the Plant and smashed it over Ambrose’s head.
Rusev won a battle royal to become the new #1 contender for the U.S. Championship (13:38)
Kalisto was at ringside on commentary. Aside from mentioning Harley Race was in the back tonight, he was vanilla. The battle royal also included Konnor, Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Sheamus, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, Stardust, Apollo Crews, Darren Young, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler. Before the match, they showed the League of Nations breaking up on SmackDown. After Del Rio eliminated Cara, it was down to Rusev, Del Rio, Sheamus and Ryder. The three heels worked together to beat up Ryder, but then turned on each other. Del Rio eliminated Sheamus at 12:12. Then Del Rio was eliminated by Ryder at 12:37. Man, if Del Rio was an NFL free agent, he’d be named Dwayne Bowe. Unreal how much potential has been squandered with him. Ryder got some hope spots against Rusev, including hitting the Broski Boot. He went for the Rough Ryder, but Rusev grabbed him and threw him over. Lana came down to celebrate with Rusev. Crews was thrown out by Sheamus in 1:55. Why embarass him so early? Also, Corbin was eliminated by Ziggler. Corbin responded by throwing Ziggler into the post, leading to Rusev eliminating him.
Charlotte and Ric Flair came out. They replayed the double cross again. Charlotte said Natalya and Bret Hart pushed her to the limit, but she managed to retain the Women’s Championship. Charlotte was surprised to read tweet after tweet after the match about the controversy over how the Flairs screwed over the Hart Family. So Charlotte brought out Robinson to answer all questions about last night’s match.
Charlotte asked Robinson to tell the truth. Crowd chanted “Cheater” at her. She shouted them down saying the queen is talking. She asked if Natalya tapped out. Robinson said she did, but she was screaming “I tap out. I tap out.” Flair called Robinson “Little Naitch.” Charlotte asked Robinson if his background with the Flair family had anything to do with his decision. Robinson said “Yes,” then corrected himself and said no. Charlotte asked Robinson if the decision was final. With a smile, Robinson said Yes.
Natalya came out and said this wasn’t about Robinson or Charlotte, it was about Flair. She accused him of paying Robinson to screw Natalya out of the women’s championship. She said everyone knows the truth, the Harts are the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
Charlotte tried to jump Natalya, who blocked her and punched her out of the ring. Natalya had a staredown with Flair, who took off his coat, Hall of Fame Ring and watch, then walked right into a Natalya slap. Natalya put Flair in the sharpshooter until Charlotte pulled him out of the ring. Segment got good heat. Natalya took Flair’s watch and ring.
Click Here: cheap rugby league jerseys
Charlotte nursed Flair backstage where Stephanie walked up. Stephanie said Charlotte would face Natalya in a submission match, then asked Flair to be banned from ringside. Stephanie said some said that Flair was becoming a distraction to make sure that Charlotte was on her “A” game. I could make no sense out of that. Stephanie asked Flair to do a “Whoo.” Flair just glared at her. Another segment where they try to make Stephanie the biggest star in the company instead of just purely making her a heel. Why not have Shane ban Flair?
A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows defeated Roman Reigns and the Usos (11:29)
Styles pinned Jimmy Uso after the Phenomenal Forearm. Uso had a good near fall on Styles after a crossbody. At various points, Gallows and Anderson would do heel spots on Jey Uso, but Styles would get mad at them.
Before Styles got the pin, Gallows and Anderson laid out Reigns with a flying kick while Reigns was on Gallows’ shoulders. This led to the postmatch, where Gallows and Anderson wanted Styles to hit Reigns with a chair. Styles picked up the chair, then threw it down. This led to Anderson and Gallows putting the boots to Reigns. Jey used the chair on Styles, then saved Reigns by knocking Anderson and Gallows out of the ring. Styles got the chair back and hit the Usos with it.
As the Usos went to the floor, Reigns recovered and hit Styles with a Superman punch. Reigns, upset over seeing his cousins injured by Styles, threw Styles to the floor and gave him a running power bomb onto the announcer’s table.
The problem with heel authority figures is they make the wrestling seem secondary. Stephanie McMahon can be an effective character when she doesn’t get herself over first. But that’s not how she’s utilized, and it hurts the show in the long run. As for Reigns, he got his usual reception tonight. Dueling chants in the main event, with women and children supporting him. He’s very much the new Cena, in that regard. Styles looks like someone who fans have accepted in the main event role.