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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Aug. 31, 2015): Triple H is everything

WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Aug. 31, 2015) from Tampa, Florida with all the latest build to the upcoming Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Houston. That included taking the headliner of that show, Sting, and completely murdering his character.

Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.


Character killer

They killed Sting's character dead on this show.

If you're going to bring a 56-year-old man into the fold for one last run, you do so for nostalgia. Fans -- like me -- who will appreciate him will do so because of what he meant to us in the past. Fans of today who know nothing about him won't connect, for obvious reasons. It's simple, really.

So, instead, they booked him to come back to lose to Triple H at WrestleMania and now he's booked in a program with Seth Rollins to get him ready for a match with Triple H.

An actual line from his promo last night: "I'm going to prove that Seth Rollins isn't half the man Triple H is." That is a real thing Sting said during his promo last night to build to a WWE world heavyweight title match. Oh, sure, he made mention of writing the final chapter of his career by winning a title that has long eluded him. But make no mistake, that promo was 100-percent designed to put both Triple H and Seth Rollins over while Sting is a supporting player in a larger story that has absolutely nothing to do with him.

As a fan of Sting, I couldn't be more disappointed.

As a fan of good storytelling, I couldn't be more disappointed.

This is every reason Sting never signed with WWE for all those years, and they went and justified that by writing one of the worst promos for a character in history. Actually, no wrestler should ever profess to wanting a match with someone to show that someone they aren't half the man of someone else. That's nonsense.

It's all nonsense. It's a waste of a pay-per-view main event, if they even bother putting this in the main event. They may not, actually, because Rollins will also wrestle John Cena for the US title at Night of Champions and, let's just say it, that US title has been booked far stronger than the world championship. What a fitting end it would be too, making the Stinger play second fiddle to the WWE guys.

It's amazing, really, that while Rollins was getting booked into two matches at Night of Champions, WWE spent the majority of the show building to a match with a guy who wasn't even there that won't happen anytime soon.


Bury everyone!

When it was first announced that a Beat-the-Clock Challenge would determine the next number one contender to Nikki Bella's title, it was cause for celebration. But this is WWE we're talking about, so of course it was an absolute train wreck and everyone involved now looks much worse for having been involved with it.

First, Becky Lynch beats Alicia Fox in 3:21 in a nothing match the crowd couldn't have cared less about. The psychology was good, at least, and they had to set a mark to beat.

Then, Charlotte immediately destroyed that mark by beating Brie Bella in 1:40, which makes no sense whatsoever. Even worse, Brie spent her time in the match trying to stall, which would indicate Becky is a better opponent for Nikki and, well, what does that say about Becky, who just beat Fox and, well, what does that say about Fox?

Later, Paige wrestled Sasha Banks, of all people, and the entire focus of the match was Paige hauling ass to beat the 1:40 and only failing to do so because Team B.A.D. pulled Sasha out of the ring at the last second. That's the same Banks who beat Paige in a 15-minute match a few weeks back and submitted the champion of the division not long after.

To put a bow tie on all this, Michael Cole wondered if Charlotte could keep Nikki from breaking AJ Lee's record for longest title reign. Nikki will break the record on Sept. 15. Her match with Charlotte is on Sept. 20.

This company.


All the best to all the rest

Love triangle: Another bad finish involving the ladies to a Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev match, as expected, but WWE went all out and made this angle as awful as possible, which is really saying something with this angle. Now, Summer is trying to catch Dolph up in a devious plot to make Lana jealous by breaking into his locker room and catching him naked. And, surprise, it worked. There are a million reasons this is bad, all of them too obvious to bother pointing out. Sexual harassment, jealousy, idiocy; this one had it all, folks.

Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: This was a fantastic match, which is the least surprising thing, with a great finish. We need more pro wrestling that sees a wrestler injure his ribs, fail to execute a trademark move because of that injury, and his opponent capitalize on it to get a win. That doesn't happen nearly enough. That said, there's a damper on the proceedings due to the fact that the booking in this feud has been so very strange. No one is getting over. That's a recurring theme, here, isn't it?

Ryback vs. Big Show: The fans may have given WWE a great story with their chanting at Show to retire, if they're willing to take it. Sadly, it seems we're just getting more distraction finishes for no good reason. Thanks, Miz!

Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose: The best part of this show may have been the most simple -- big scary strong guy beats up babyfaces, who fight valiantly but are eventually overwhelmed because seriously that big scary strong guy is really big, really scary, and even more strong. Strowman is perfect for this role and Reigns and Ambrose are the perfect team to get run over by him before the big comeback later. It's easy storytelling and, amidst all the other garbage, it's working really well for me.

The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day: I don't have a clue why they were in a hurry to give this away already, but it was everything you would expect it to be. The new way to get heat on the heels is to keep the Dudleys from putting them through a table, which is about all we can ask for from the tag division while New Day aren't entertaining us wildly with their latest greatness. I want to love anything as much as they love furniture. Also, my guy Xavier Woods let his hair down just to do the bit where he brushed it and wondered where D-Von's is, and that's a great pro wrestling thing.

There were a few things about this show that were good, like the Owens-Cesaro match, Bigass McStrongman, and The New Day, but the major angles were shockingly bad and the show dragged on far too long.

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?

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