WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (July 20, 2015) from Kansas City, Missouri with the fallout show from the Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) that went down this past Sunday night in St. Louis. That included the return of Undertaker for a pier six brawl with Brock Lesnar.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
If you're 5-5-5 then I'm 6-6-6
That explanation, though.
I needed Undertaker to tell me Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31 was a tune up, and that's the only reason he accepted the match. He just needed to make sure he could still hang and he spent the next few months getting himself in even better shape. That he was always going to avenge this defeat, he just needed to make sure he was as prepared as he could possibly be.
Instead, he was a whiny, bitter old man who, apparently while smoking an ass load of cigarettes, watched Raw while he was off and couldn't handle Paul Heyman cutting promos on him celebrating the fact that Brock Lesnar broke the streak.
What a let down.
Heyman's response to this -- "Dude, of course we talked about it all the time, it's the greatest achievement in the history of wrestling" -- was great. If there was any doubt about character alignment, it became clear here that Undertaker is the heel and Lesnar is the babyface when "The Phenom" showed up like he was going to pummel poor Paul before his client showed up to save him.
Then, the brawl.
My god, the brawl.
When you have two larger than life monsters like this, you build to the match by having a pull apart EXACTLY like what you saw here. Lesnar speeding into the ring like his life depended on murdering Undertaker. The announcers running the hell out of there as soon as they saw this because the last time Brock had a head of steam like that he almost killed every one of them. Security guards and a locker room full of wrestlers rushing out to attempt to keep them apart and failing miserably because GOD and DEATH are doing battle and Heath Slater and that dude from The Ascension can just get the hell out of the way already. Finally getting them to the back where they run into each other again and continue brawling because they can't even be in the same room with each other without scrapping. Calling the cops because how the hell else are you going to stop them? Bringing in R-Truth to help calm Lesnar down because ... hell if I know, but it was AWESOME.
I'm hoping they're both working with the attitude that they could have done so much more with that streak match if Undertaker wasn't concussed and they're going to prove it at SummerSlam, advanced age be damned.
Even if they can't, this was the perfect segment to get me hyped for it.
Once again, it's me and no one else
Going to shamelessly plug the Cageside Twitter here but when Seth Rollins came out and started popping off at the mouth about being the greatest champion and doing exactly what I hoped he would after Battleground on Sunday night I tweeted the following:
As long as Randy Orton doesn't come out, I'll be cool with whatever direction they go here— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) July 21, 2015
Then John Cena came out:
Oh, it's this asshole.— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) July 21, 2015
Seth's reaction was perfect (via Wrestling with Text):
What followed can be looked at one of two ways.
1) Cena absolutely buried Rollins, calling him out for being a paper champion and a sorry excuse for a company flag bearer who has done nothing but drag down the prestige of the most important title in the promotion. Meanwhile, Cena has built the United States championship into a far more meaningful belt and it's because he's so much better.
2) A babyface actually told the truth to a heel who lies constantly.
You should be rolling with option two here, because it sure looks like they're going with Rollins vs. Cena at SummerSlam and your little smark heart won't hold up to the thought of yet another future star getting sacrificed at the alter of hustle, loyalty, and respect.
The reality is Cena is not wrong. He's exactly right, actually, and this is absolutely the right story to tell. Rollins is the worst champion we've seen in a number of years, even worse than Miz, and Cena has been tearing the house down as US champion taking on all challengers.
They should be telling this story. With Lesnar off dealing with Undertaker, they needed a big money match like this in the number two slot and Rollins vs. Cena is going to blow the roof off the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
For the sake of our sanity, we won't look ahead to the booking of the match itself. Cena winning would be ... well ... just look at Kevin Owens now.
All the best to all the rest
Charlotte vs. Brie Bella: They have to stop making the focus of the story the fact that the fans want change and the ladies want to give it to them (and Stephanie McMahon floating somewhere taking credit for it all). It makes no sense to acknowledge the fact that the Divas division sucks and they're trying to change that. That's just setting yourself up for disappointment when they don't deliver a classic on every show. Then you're booking the women who can work, like Charlotte (who isn't even as polished as she needs to be, if we're being honest), against women who can't work, like Brie Bella (who was out of her element before, but is lagging really far behind after the call ups). Don't attempt to convince us that what we're seeing is something special simply because you're calling it a revolution. Give them the proper tools to go out and earn it and then let them do just that. We've seen it work in NXT, it can work just as well on the main roster.
Los Matadores vs. Prime Time Players: I'm not sure what the goal was here. Was it to continue New Day's issue with Prime Time Players by having them cost Titus O'Neil and Darren Young a non-title match against an inferior team? Or was it to give said inferior team an in-road to a title match later? Either way, it felt like a gigantic waste of time.
The Miz vs. Big Show: Two heels arguing over a title neither of them possesses while the guy who does is out injured. I couldn't be less interested. We're also now back to "Big Show is a big nasty bastard who squashes people" and that's the worst version of Big Show because it means actually entertaining acts like Miz get killed.
Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper: I love a good pro wrestling friendship. I sincerely hope Reigns and Dean Ambrose are the best of buds from now until they retire and they never once feud in that time. It won't happen, of course, but wouldn't it be nice? Meanwhile, the same thing that made The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family work so well in 2014 -- CHAOS -- still holds true today. We're doing this down Seth Rollins and Erick Rowan but that's not the worst thing in the world. Sign me up for more bonkers finishes.
Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Becky Lynch & Paige: This was a good match. Note: It was a good match. It was not a great match. They are not reinventing the wheel here, folks. We're doing that thing where we're dishing out far too much praise for far too mediocre a product simply because it's that much better than the shit sandwiches they were shoveling us before. Sasha Banks wrecking fools on the main roster is great, sure, but they've got a lot of work to do to catch up to anything they've done in NXT. Becky Lynch can do no wrong, of course. (Shut up, no she can't.)
Summer Lana: I'll say it - Summer is a better Lana than Lana. No I won't take it back. That said, why was Lana upset about Rusev kissing Summer in front of her? Why would she care at all if he's being a creep and dressing his new girlfriend up to be like her? Shouldn't she just laugh it off? Either way, Summer vs. Lana continues to look like great fun. Also, I didn't miss Dolph Ziggler one bit. Anyone else?
Six man tag team main event: If they were forced to properly advertise their matches/angles beforehand, they would have told us to tune in for a house show headliner where no one actually cares about winning and it's all just about having fun. How do you come out of this not feeling for Rusev? They book him to be a dick and then put him in all these scenarios where you can't help but feel bad for him. His teammates walk out on him, his girlfriend gets beat up by his ex, and he takes the entire babyface team's (John Cena, Randy Orton, Cesaro) finishers before getting pinned clean. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens and Sheamus may be on a collision course and Cesaro is just sort of happy to be there. I don't get what they were trying for here. Again, it felt like a house show with the babyfaces just yukking it up and having a great time while the crowd went nuts along with them. That's fine and all, but I wish they hadn't done Rusev like this.
That pull apart brawl was A++++ (shout out to Jordan) but the rest of the show had a few too many problems.
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?