WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (June 16, 2014) from Cleveland, Ohio, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Boston. Also, puke. Lots of punk. Like, a sickening, humiliating, disgusting amount of puke.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events:
SHE'S GONNA PUKE ... SHE'S GONNA PUKE
The show long angle of Roman Reigns poisioning Stephanie McMahon to con his way into the battle royal match that would lead him to the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE world heavyweight title raised so many questions. There are almost too many to count, but let's do this anyway:
1. How did he know where Vickie Guerrero was going to be so he could just conveniently be there to bump into her at exactly the right moment?
2. How did he know she would have coffee that she was taking to The Authority?
3. Why did he already have laxatives on him when Vickie was walking by with said coffee for The Authority and just so happened to bump into him?
4. Why was Stephanie McMahon drinking the coffee through a straw like it was water and she was in the desert?
5. Why was she doing an interview on national television while still sucking down this coffee through this straw?
6. Why does the straw matter to me?
7. Why wouldn't Triple H go into the bathroom to check on his wife while she was getting sick?
8. Why would WWE book this so Vickie was puked on and humiliated?
9. Why would Triple H accuse Vickie of putting something in the coffee to make Stephanie sick and then leave her in charge despite the fact that she was clearly in no position to even properly fetch a coffee?
10. Why was all this necessary when The Authority can come back next week and undo all this?
11. Are they somehow just stuck with Reigns in the match now because Vickie let him in the battle royal?
Oh no, I've gone crosseyed.
Segment grade: F
This battle royal is really fun, though
You can't go wrong with a battle royal because, well, there isn't much better than a ton of wrestlers filling up a ring and guys ust getting chucked over the top rope with reckless abandon.
Chaos is fun.
They did a lot of little things right in this match, like Michael Cole bothering to mention the history between Bo Dallas and Bad News Barrett when they locked up, Dallas actually getting booked fairly strong while he's building his character, and, most importantly, that electric final one-on-one showdown between Roman Reigns and Rusev.
Skip to the 1:40 mark of the video and watch Reigns toss Dallas before pacing back and forth and giving Rusev that "oh yeah, motherfucker, it's you and it's me and this is happening so step on in here and let's do this" look.
And then they did it and the crowd responded like this was two main event stars in a title match for all the marbles. It's a testament to good booking over an extended period of time. Reigns wins all the time, Rusev wins all the time, they're both big old nasty bastards, and the match is deeply meaningful due to what's on the line.
All that equals what you see in that video, a brief but amazing back-and-forth that came to a satisfying conclusion. It was so satisfying, in fact, that you probably didn't even notice or, at the very least, didn't care that you always knew who was going to win.
Segment grade: A
Second verse, same as the first
John Cena has seemingly taken Daniel Bryan's spot as the guy The Authority is out to keep down, this week, at least, because he assisted The Shield in their battle against The Wyatt Family last week.
So how did they make him pay? By putting him in the battle royal and stacking the odds against him by forcing him to outwork 19 other wrestlers? No, they actually took him out of that match in favor of wrestling THE DEMON KANE, a man he's wrestled many times throughout his career and gotten the better of each and every time.
In fact, he defeated Kane just two weeks ago. He won that match by disqualification because Kane didn't respond to the count of five on knees in the corner. But instead of Kane leaving Cena laying in a post-match beatdown, Cena actually hulked up and left Kane laying to stand tall in the end anyway.
Again, that was just two weeks ago.
If we go back two years, Cena defeated Kane in an Ambulance match, which is basically a more difficult version of a Stretcher match.
This made no sense.
Beyond that, the match sucked. Granted, it's really difficult to have a strong Stretcher match in the PG Era, at least on cable television, but this was two limited workers with extra limits placed on them.
They tried to book around this with a creative finish but even that failed due to poor execution.
Fast forward to the 2:45 mark in the video above and keep your eyes on the referee. Notice he stops the stretcher once Cena pushes it so it doesn't roll away, then HOLDS IT IN PLACE when Cena delivers the AA on it and doesn't let go until Cena starts pushing it to win the match.
I understand safety is imporant but the entire point of the match is that it isn't safe and the guy is supposed to be so incapacitated he's unable to help himself off a stretcher while it's rolling over a line on the stage.
Don't make it so obvious.
Segment grade: D- (Only reason it's not an F is because of Cena's sixth move of doom, the steel steps throw.)
But not least:
- On the battle royal not mentioned earlier: Super disappointed Bo Dallas was in and lost because that means the streak gimmick is now dead. Or maybe they can spin it to where he acts like it isn't. Actually, that might be even better. After all, Undertaker's streak was exclusive to WrestleMania, not all matches. Maybe Bo's streak is exclusive to singles action. Either way, I want this to continue. It being disingenuous might actually help matters.
- If WWE has a new edict to start every show with a Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins match, I'm absolutely okay with that. Also, Rollins adopting the corner powerbomb as the set up to the Curb Stomp (by the way, is it the Peace of Mind or the Curb Stomp?) is just the best damn thing.
- Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns no longer appear to be a team, so it seems The Shield breakup is real now. Both had their own music, with Ambrose getting another shitty metal sound and Reigns getting a modified toned down version of the original Shield theme. One thing this show illustrated more than anything else is how unbelievably over The Shield were with the audience. We're actually continuously having real conversations over who gets to wear the team ring gear, what new music they'll have, and how they'll go about interacting in the future. We're like children whose parents are divorcing.
- I want to think the reason Ambrose waited until the end of the Rollins-Ziggler match to attack is because he was busy being the titty master backstage and just so happened to see that Rollins was in the ring wrestling and absolutely lost his mind. Like being Dean Ambrose: Titty Master isn't as important to him as "there goes Seth Rollins I have to punch him in the face".
- I love the direction WWE has been forced to take with Bray Wyatt and I'll rely on my colleague Scott Christ to bring the point across (via @TapeMachines): "The Wyatt character is now driven by the championship because the system he wants to corrupt has thus far been impenetrable." I like this because of course that should be the next step. He ran up against the Superman on the scene and, obviously, could not overpower him. So what's left after that? To take that which matters most to the healthy and well being of the system. The fact that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are included makes Money in the Bank a tasty proposition for The Wyatt Family. They could walk out with all the gold and therefore the power. That's far more effective storytelling than claiming, say, that Bray just needs to escape a steel cage and his message will escape with him and corrupt the masses.
- Unfortunatey, the Wyatt vs. Sheamus match wasn't nearly as fun as you would think it would be and it was marred by bad booking. Why bring The Usos out to protect Sheamus and ensure a clean finish just to have them utterly fail to do that very thing? To set up the big ladder spot so Michael Cole could stupidly shout "U-SO-CRAZY"? Can we not next time?
- Never was a big fan of Drew McIntyre or Jinder Mahal but the sadness washed over me when Heath Slater was out there by himself getting killed by Rusev. He was always the best of the bunch, the true star of the jobbers, but he looked lonely. Or maybe I just felt lonely for him. Didn't you?
- Adam Rose is a heel. He's a creepy, weird, old dude who thinks dressing up like Willy Wonka and sucking on a blow pop is partying it up. He rudely interrupts interviews with his group of weirdos and spouts a tired catchphrase before said group of weirdos blow out eardrums of unsuspecting people who are just trying to do their job.
- Kevin Hart is a legitimate celebrity, maybe the most famous comedian in the world right now, and that's what they came up with? That wildly inconsistent, monumentally stupid segment?
- The Funkadactyls are headed or a break up and absolutely no one noticed. But hey, they outlasted Brodus Clay and Xavier Woods, so they're doing something right, yeah? Oh that's right, they're cast members on Total Divas, which is the only reason Rosa Mendes survived the chopping block recently.
- I hope Stardust is a permanent character and they rebuild the entire tag team division around the Dust Brothers: Gold and Star.
This show was maddening at times and incredibly entertaining at others. Far too up and down.
Overall grade: D+
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?