WWE returned to the USA network for RAW on Monday night (Sept. 7, 2015) from Baltimore with all the latest build to the upcoming Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Houston. It was an evening full of refreshingly subtle character development and storyline advancement, plus we got some solid matches!
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Seth Rollins' story has been a fantastic slow burn
The dual champ was the clear MVP of the evening (non-New Day division), but Monday night's storyline of him being put into two matches in preparation for his two title defenses at Night of Champions continues his slow-burning storyline that has been subtle and pretty brilliant.
Rollins (much like Edge during his first title reign or so) has been painted as a mostly-undeserving opportunist, someone who has leaned perhaps a bit too heavily at times on his well-connected friends and benefactors. He's derided as being someone who hasn't proved a thing, while at the same time being asked (or forced) to do things above and beyond what the old guard of Cena, Orton, or even Triple H have ever been asked to do. He's screwed no matter what he does; the whole world is against him.
In Rollins' mind, he's the best of all time, because he's managed to overcome the odds in a way that Cena never had to, often using tactics that Cena has never resorted to. Now he's being asked to do double duty everywhere he goes. He's beset on all sides and he's trying to prove he's better than Triple H. That's why Sting used Triple H as a barb last week: not because the dude respects Triple H more than god; but because he knows it'll drive Seth up the wall and that Triple H is so full of himself he won't take Seth's side on this particular talking point.
So Rollins has had to run this never-ending gauntlet as of late and the road leads toward two future Hall of Famers at Night of Champions. On top of all that, Sheamus came out to suggest that IF Rollins succeeds at Night of Champions, he might have to wrestle THREE matches that night. The man just can't win. On top of all that, he had to get swarmed by a trombone-playing, kazoo-eating New Day right after he lost his first match of the night to Ryback.
And yeah, okay: here's the entire Seth/New Day/E&C/Dudleyz backstage kazoo segment. You've earned it:
The Divas Revolution is doing just fine
Paige and Sasha Banks had a great match that the crowd was totally behind. The live crowds (for the most part) are still buying into the Divas Revolution, as well they should. We're past stage one of the storyline now and well into stage two, where heels are clearly defined and individual personalities are beginning to shine.
Team B.A.D. interfered and allowed Sasha to pick up the win over Paige (because heels cheat to win, regardless of actual ability). Meanwhile, Team Bella came out to celebrate Nikki's impending record for Divas Championship longevity, touting the BellaTron and boasting about how big the celebration is going to be. So if you're keeping track, WWE is definitely telling us to boo Team B.A.D. and Team Bella and cheer for Team PCB.
Charlotte interrupted Team Bella (prompting a terrific, "She ruined it!" from Nikki) and made it official: she WILL be cashing in her title shot against Nikki next week and has a shot at taking the title away from her before she sets a new record.
If you were mourning the death of the Divas division all over again, it's probably a good time to pump those brakes.
Sting is a thief who deserves his comeuppance
TNA Hall of Famer Sting is very, very lucky that Seth Rollins and the Authority are choosing not to press charges. He has stolen and defaced and DESTROYED private property and hijacked the RAW broadcast to deliver messages that are tantamount to ransom notes, boasting of his theft of a lifesize statue.
What's more, not only has Sting stolen a priceless work of art, but he hijacked RAW AGAIN later in the evening specifically to cost Rollins his non-title match against Ryback by inflicting even further emotional distress on him. RAW ended with Sting literally smashing Rollins' statue in a garbage truck. Long story short: Sting is a monster and he needs to be stopped.
(This is all great stuff.)
You have turned on El Torito; god help you
We thought it might never happen, but the bullfighters finally turned on their tiny bull mascot. They booted El Torito in the face, because they are HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTERS. After eating a Bubba Bomb through a table, they're probably off TV for a while to get repackaged, but man alive, kicking El Torito is the biggest heel move I can even imagine. If they don't get booed out of town the next time they show up, wrestling is officially over.
And the rest!
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. The Ascension: The Ascension was sans Stardust and COSMIC WASTELAND was not mentioned (unless I somehow missed it). So hopefully that wonderful new comic book stable will persist past one SmackDown appearance. It would be a shame to waste a great opportunity to do something with those three.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: Yes, this was the millionth match between the two and yes, Orton getting his win back means this feud is the very definition of treading water, but this match was honestly terrific. In truth, I've been enjoying everything these two have done immensely starting with their Battleground match up until now.
The good news is that this match really did serve a purpose, as the Authority booked this match as payback for Sheamus threatening Rollins. They're going to make sure he's not at his best by the time Night of Champions rolls around, either. Good stuff.
After the match, the Wyatts attacked Orton (who was seen backstage talking to Reigns and Ambrose), so the MYSTERY PARTNER may not be a mystery for much longer.
Cesaro vs. The Miz: Sadly, this match was just starting to get cooking when Big Show ran out to cause a double-countout and stretch out his feud with Miz (and possibly Ryback?). He also hit Cesaro with the knockout punch when he was unable to catch the Miz, so perhaps this Intercontinental title feud will soon have four combatants. Or five, if Owens indeed has his sights on the belt.
Seth Rollins & New Day vs. John Cena & Prime Time Players: The New Day are just too perfect. They really, really are. Xavier is continuing his tromboning shenanigans, Big E and Kofi continue to exude personality and get incredible reactions and everything's coming together brilliantly.
It's also amazing to see a legitimate main event of RAW with PTP and New Day featured so prominently. At one point, John Cena made a hot tag to Titus O'Neil. The sea change in WWE is really on its way, and sooner rather than later.
oh and also there was a summer rae/rusev/ziggler segment okay nothing to see here byeeeeee
I've rambled long enough. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on this week's RAW.