WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Aug. 10, 2015) from Everett, Washington with all the latest build to the upcoming SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Brooklyn. That included a botched Money in the Bank cash-in from Sheamus after a relatively bad Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton WWE world heavyweight championship title match in the main event.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Cash ins -- how do they work?
WWE was without Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, and John Cena for this show, so they had to get creative with the booking to avoid ratings plummeting to an all time low (considering the numbers of late, that might happen anyway). So the big plan was a convoluted opening segment featuring Rollins trying to do comedy when he's not funny in any way, shape, or form, Cesaro wearing sunglasses indoors because that was apparently the missing piece of the puzzle, Kevin Owens showing up and being Kevin Owens, and Randy Orton calling Kevin Owens fat for no reason other than Vince McMahon is clearly trying to send a very public message at this point.
This results in an Orton vs. Owens vs. Cesaro triple threat match -- with the winner getting a title shot against Rollins in the main event -- that featured every fan in the world franctically attempting to come up with a scenario that would equal literally anyone but Orton winning. Those who convinced themselves were disappointed in the finish, and those who didn't never bothered to get invested.
And rightfully so.
It should be pointed out that the actual wrestling in said triple threat was solid and the finish was FANTASTIC. They actually pulled off an RKOOUTTANOWHERE at a time when that should never, ever be the case. Kudos on that.
That led to a main event that featured some awful wrestling mixed with the usual bland back-and-forth we've seen from Rollins and Orton in the 647 other matches they've had. But no, the real shitshow started when Sheamus showed up to break up a pinfall that Michael Cole would have us believe would have given Orton the WWE world heavyweight championship.
After everything, this was the worst finish possible because it not only validated all the fears of fans who knew this was a bad idea when it was announced at the top of the show, it also continued this ridiculous streak of WWE booking Orton-Sheamus to just brawl with each other. That's literally the entire feud. They brawl for a few weeks, have a match at the PPV. Then they brawl for a few more weeks until the next PPV.
This time they actually spiced things up by involving Rollins, the champion, and teasing a Sheamus Money in the Bank cash-in. Except it was the most poorly executed tease of a cash-in possible.
Sheamus disposes of Orton on the outside before turning his attention to Rollins in the ring. He grabs the briefcase, gets in, hits the Brogue Kick to put the champion down, and then attempts to hand the briefcase over to the referee while screaming that he is cashing in and to start the match.
The referee reacts to this like he has ZERO clue how to properly do his job. Or maybe he just isn't clear on what the Money in the Bank concept is and was trying to get Sheamus to clarify, which amounted to Sheamus repeatedly screaming that he was cashing in while the ref doesn't allow that to happen and the two are just hanging on to the briefcase together in a shouting match. This went on for what felt like FOREVER, entirely because they mistimed this and Orton took ages to get back in the ring and hit an RKO to put an end to the madness.
Finally, he got in, hit said RKO, and the show mercifully came to an end with literally everyone looking so much worse than they did at the start of this show.
- Owens was called fat and lost his match
- Cesaro was rocking sunglasses indoors and lost his match
- Orton won a match but then lost a title shot on interference due to not being prepared for a guy who had literally just cut an interview alerting him about a potential plot to mess with his match
- Sheamus lost out on an easy Money in the Bank cash in and looked dumb in the process, though it's not really his fault
- Rollins played bad comedy to start the show, was slapped down by Triple H, and was made to look as though he should have lost his title twice in the same night to two guys who, again, were both made to look incredibly stupid
It's a miracle WWE creates any stars with booking like this. What an utter and complete disaster.
All the best to all the rest
Team B.A.D. vs. Team Bella: If it wasn't clear before that there is no clear direction, rhyme, or reason to what WWE is doing with the women's division, it was this match. It was, quite literally, a standard tag team -- mostly free of botches and bad wrestling, though Nikki Bella and Sasha Banks were off on timing -- that devolved into a brawl just to get each team involved and then turned into a staredown. That's right, folks, they had Team B.A.D., Team Bella, and Team PCB brawl and THEN had the staredown. The Divas division is now the equivalent of a dog chasing cars.
New Day vs. Los Matadores: While it wasn't a squash, this was really just a way to showcase how unbelievably great Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods are at what they do. Sensual Big E dancing is horrifying and amazing all at the same time. The post-match interview backstage was even better. The real pull of this team is watching them try to maintain a positive attidude -- P.O.P. -- in the face of ridiculousness like beating Los Matadores and then learning Matadores getting a title shot at SummerSlam anyway.
Roman & Dean: That backstage segment showcased exactly what these two have become, great friends who know each other in kayfabe and "we'll accept Roman's awkward badass schtick because he rolls with Ambrose" in reality. They're actually an amazing duo, a callback to The Shield without a third wheel.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper: To give you an indication of the kind of match these two had, they ran an angle where Byron Saxton was afraid of Bray Wyatt being anywhere near him and stood during the match. This led to the crowd, bored as hell by the action in the ring, chanting for him to sit down. I kid you not, this happened. They picked it up shortly after -- and Reigns' was particularly strong when he got involved brawling with Bray on the outside -- but this was underwhelming.
Miz TV with Daniel Bryan: Our boy D-Bry is "guy who is happy to be here" and he's never that guy more than he is when he's on a show in his home state. But he's also "guy we should use to get over an Intercontinental title feud no one currently cares about" and he actually did just that. I can't be the only one hoping he was going to hit the flying knee on Ryback after he took out Miz, though, can I? Wouldn't that have been the perfect way to bring him back in to reclaim the title he never lost? If only.
Rusev vs. Mark Henry: They booked this secondary to the real angle they wanted to run, which was Summer Rae beating the hell out of Lana, who was in on commentary. That Accolade was FIERCE too. Like, so fierce it actually turned me and I felt bad for Lana and am looking forward to her getting revenge. Hey, the angle worked! Also, the new flag gimmick is Bulgarian and features Rusev looking smooth as hell. This quickly became the best thing ever.
King Barrett vs. Neville: Things change in a hurry in WWE, huh? It wasn't long ago that Barrett was one of the guys Neville couldn't defeat. Now he's squashing him on Raw. Really, it was a gateway to Stephen Amell making his appearance and while WWE has a long history of terrible celebrity involvement, he was athletic and came off really well. More than anything, he looked like he belonged just as much as any wrestler. He even held up okay when he was standing across Triple H and setting up the match for SummerSlam. There was none of the usual "he's a celebrity and we all know it, let him have fun with it." He was an honest to goodness part of the show. That's impressive, especially for a first shot.
The main show long angle was a dumpster fire and that's what dragged this grade down more than anything else.
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?