WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (June 9, 2014) from Minneapolis, Minnesota, featuring all the latest on The Shield breaking up, a final resolution to the WWE world heavyweight championship title picture, and a whole lot of build to the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Boston.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events:
The push that makes you move
In hindsight, we really should have expected this.
What else was Seth Rollins going to say? That he got bored listening to Triple H talk (in fairness, that's happened to us all at one time or another) and decided to chair shot his partners to liven up the party? Of course not.
He was always going to tell us that he decided it was time to evolve and the feud with Evolution (hardy har har) is what helped show him that. Maybe Triple H got in his ear and we'll hear more about that later, but that's a wrinkle for another time. He accomplished everything there was to accomplish with The Shield, so it was time to move forward without them.
Where he becomes the heel is this idea that he was the sole reason it was successful. That's not true -- it can't be, he has to be a liar to some degree to be the villain here -- but he at least has an argument to make, especially if we're considering the past couple months.
There were struggles, and he helped keep them together. There obstacles and he helped navigate them in the ring. He always seemed to be there with a timely leap from on high to save the day.
It's no wonder he believes he's King Shit.
He stopped looking at the trees to see the forest but his vision is clouded by the actual manipulative mastermind here, Triple H. That's depth. Hopefully they play this out to the fullest and Rollins can turn babyface down the road when he realizes he was played by the evil overlord.
For now, this is top notch. Rollins cut a damn good promo and while he may have repeated himself once or twice and slipped over a line or two, he brought the message home with conviction.
Plus, THAT SUIT.
Segment grade: A-
If you're strictly a fan of WWE, you probably never heard about Dean Ambrose before he arrived at Survivor Series 2012 to put Ryback through a table. You probably thought he was constantly overshadowed throughout his run with The Shield, too, consistently taking a step back to the guy the powers that be believe will be the breakout star of the group, Roman Reigns, and the guy who is a consistently better performer between the ropes, Seth Rollins.
And the whole time you probably had that hipster asshole friend of yours, or fellow fan, maybe even someone here at Cageside Seats, who kept telling you how amazing Ambrose is, how he's so much better and you just haven't seen it yet, how you need to look up some of his stuff from the indies when he was performing as Jon Moxley.
You probably blew that off, and you wouldn't even have been wrong to do so. Be the fan you want to be and all that.
But last night, man. Last night was the awakening.
When William Regal was working with Ambrose down in NXT, he called him "everyone's best opponent for the next 10 years" and the promo you see above is the prime example of why he thought that, why he said it out loud so people could hear it and hold it against him later if it turned out not to be true.
But it is true and you can see it. You can feel it.
You can see it and feel it because Ambrose has a way about him that makes you see it and feel it. This was no promo just to promo. This wasn't Triple H walking out in the opening segment and talking for 20 minutes without saying anything. This was no Rock spouting catchphrases.
This was a wrestler getting so entrenched in a story that he made you get just as entrenched in said story, this story of a brother betrayed. He showed you his pain, then he made you feel it, then he painted a perfect picture of exactly how he's going to get revenge against the man who wronged him.
And, best of all, maybe without you even realizing it, he made you want to pay to see it.
TAKE ALL MY MONEY.
Segment grade: A+
JOHN CENA RUINS EVERYTHING
I got that out of my system, now we can talk about this.
Look, it made sense for the story to have Triple H book what was left of The Shield in a 3-on-2 against The Wyatt Family and then laugh about how they almost surely won't be able to find a parter because they -- and this is absolutely correct -- spent the past two years kicking the shit out of everybody. It also made sense to have John Cena run out to assist The Shield when they were overrmatched while brawling with The Wyatt Family. And, yes, it made sense to have Cena tag with The Shield against the Family in the night's main event.
And I still can't help but hate it.
John Cena the character is not for me. He never has been and he likely never will be again. He's for my seven-year-old nephew William, who went to the store today and convinced his dad to buy him a hat with Cena's face on it, then showed it off to me by working the "You Can't See Me" schtick.
I'm fine with that.
The Shield, though? They're a different story. They are for me. I can put up with Cena and his over-the-top cartoon nonsense during his segment because I know The Shield are going to come down later in tactical gear and tear ass in what will almost surely be the best match of the night.
Even tagging with Cena, that's arguably what happened last night.
I do not, however, want these two things to mix. EVER. Because while it makes sense for the story it makes me feel awful as a fan. I do not want my badass militant crew to need assistance from a man The Rock once called a "homeless Power Ranger". I do not want the "big fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles" to embrace the badass men in black.
I do not want.
Still, it did make sense for the story and the match was good, though it bugged the hell out of me that Cena can beat The Wyatt Family on his own but pair him with Reigns and Ambrose and suddenly it's a match? I think I just convinced myself to knock this down another peg.
Segment grade: C+
But not least:
- I know I'm wrong for this, so feel free to call me out for it, but Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are the greatest pro wrestling couple in the history of pro wrestling couples. Stephanie's glee at causing pain, her orgasmic pleasure at breaking hearts, will never get old. She buried Daniel Bryan, she buried Brie Bella, and she'll bury you too.
- Sheamus and Bad News Barrett had the fans at that arena badly wanting a count out win for Barrett. I've criticised these two endlessly in this space over the years but you can't argue with Sheamus' work rate and Barrett finding this "Bad News" character has saved him from the wasteland he was toiling away in.
- Lana referred to President Obama as "flaccid" and I just don't know what Vince McMahon has in his head sometimes. I don't want to either.
- Summer Rae poured milk on Layla's head, leaving her shaken up in a pool of white liquid mess. Again, I don't want anywhere near Vince McMahon's thoughts. Or Kevin Dunn. Edit: One need only look at the title to the video WWE placed on its YouTube page to see the gag here: "Layla cries over spilled milk". Maybe it's a rib on Fandango's failed main roster call up of years ago. It's dumb as hell no matter what.
- I hope Goldust's partner next week is Damien Sandow dressed up like Goldust.
- Speaking of Sandow, can we please stop acting like WWE "isn't using him right" and he "should be higher on the card" or he "should be wrestling for a title". Be the fan you want, sure, but if we're taking our fan hat off for a second and analyzing it, is he not entertaining the hell out of you? And if you're such a fan and think he deserves better, wouldn't you want to make clear that you are entertained by him lest he fall to apathy? I hope he plays a new character every show for the rest of his career and I'll consider it a success because he's awesome at it. Consider this: Damien Sandow is whoever WWE asks him to be better than John Cena is John Cena.
- I still Bolieve.
- I've loved the Alicia Fox character since the turn to madness but I didn't realize how much I needed to see Paige scream that scream right in her face and then just beat the ever loving shit out of her. Like "I don't care how crazy you are, I'm the BMAF here, shut up and get owned".
- "You know you're old when your highlight reel is you kicking a young Ric Flair." - My brother Bill during Rob Van Dam's entrance. He's referring to RVD's Titantron video, and Flair isn't exactly young in it but he looks much younger and the point still stands. Appreciate your contributions, Mr. Whole Dam Show, but it's time to move on now.
- Cesaro in the Money in the Bank ladder match is going to be way too much fun. I'm hoping he uppercuts a ladder and the ladder uppercuts an opponent, preferrably Alberto Del Rio.
- Because he needs to be uppercutted by a ladder, that's why.
This was a damn good show. Great follow up to the major angles, we finally have resolution to the WWE world heavyweight title picture, and the matches that mattered were entertaining.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?