WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Sept. 21, 2015) from Laredo, Texas with the fallout show from the Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) that went down this past Sunday night in Houston. That included the return of Kane, both Demon and Corporate. And it was almost really fun!
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
MIND GAMES, WWE STYLE
WWE came so very close to telling a cool story with 2015 Kane. Look, they're never going to be able to successfully sell me on a match he's involved in because, let's be realistic, he was limited at best in his prime and on his best day. There are no truly great Kane matches and that's fine. There's a space for a character like him on the show, though, if he's used properly.
They came so close to doing just that.
Early on, it looked like they were actually going to run with the idea that Corporate Kane was just a figment of Seth Rollins' imagination, which could have been really fun. "Didn't you get the e-mail" is the next big Kane meme and they could have gotten a lot of mileage out of this.
Instead, by the end of the night, it was just your usual run-of-the-mill WWE style mind games. Kane set it up so Rollins would wrestle John Cena, lose (because of course he would), and have him in the ring so he could pop up and DRAG HIM STRAIGHT TO HELL.
The "Kane pops up from under the ring and drags screaming opponent down with him before smoke inexplicably comes up through the hole they leave" spot can work when they're working a cheesy program with John Cena (the ultimate cheesy character) or even Zack Ryder.
But Seth Rollins?
They started strong with the possibility of a Kane story that might mess around and entertain some people and ended with the same old, same old.
Pipebomb the revolution
Is Mick Foley booking the WWE Divas division? He was tweeting about Paige turning heel just before it happened and it wasn't long ago he was asking for someone to get a mic and air all their grievances in a CM Punk pipebomb equivalent moment (even though AJ Lee did that a while back on the cast of Total Divas).
Both happened when Paige turned on Team PCB when she could no longer stand for what she found to be an insufferable celebration for Charlotte after she defeated Nikki Bella to win the Divas title.
Here's what she had to say, in full:
"Charlotte, she's so nice. This is all so nice. And you know what, you won the championship yesterday and this whole celebration is for Charlotte. But there's just the thing about who really made this possible. And that's me. No, shut up, Becky, shut up. This is patronizing. 'Oh, I love you, daddy' and 'oh my gosh, I wouldn't be here without you.' You sound like you just been inducted into the bloody Hall of Fame is what you sound like. Yes, I won the championship too. You won it, so what? I won it on my first day. I won it twice and you know what? Here's a little secret, champ to champ: title reigns end. Nikki (Bella) is going to get her rematch and she's going to bring her little hippie sister and her little third wheel and they're going to take that back and the Divas division is going to go back right where it was. There is no revolution, Charlotte. You are just a placeholder. No, no, no, Becky back off. You're never going to be a Divas champion. You know why? You're the least relevant of all of us. Let's go to Team B.A.D. They're all flash, no substance. Then you got Lana and Summer too busy trying to figure out who they want to climb onto next rather than the Divas division. And then you've got Nattie. Nattie: where are you? Do you even work here anymore? I can't see you, Mrs. Hart. And then you've got the Bellas. We all know the real reason they got to where they are. You all know the real reason. No, I'm not done. Stop trying to act like you are somebody because you wouldn't be here (Charlotte) if it wasn't for your old man."
Paige turns heel with a Pipebomb on the Divas
While Charlotte was celebrating her Divas championship victory, Paige decided to drop a pipebomb on the entire Divas division.
Paige is a hell of a promo when she wants to be and it makes sense that she would be the one to lash out considering everything that's happened here. She was, after all, one of the women who helped start all this, she was the one who failed time and time again to dethrone Nikki, and her entire character is based on representing everything other than what WWE is pushing for the Divas.
I'm not sure how well it worked as a heel promo, considering, like Punk before her, she's talented enough in her delivery to be hugely entertaining while many fans are going to agree with most of her points. The idea was to be the heel who is wrong but believes she's right. The trouble, as stated, is there are a lot of fans who are going to agree with many of the points she made.
Charlotte's response to all this was disappointing, considering she went right into attack mode and immediately acted like she never really cared about Paige to start with. Considering everything she had just told Paige about coming up together and being inspired by her, it would have been nice for Charlotte to sell like she actually had her feelings hurt. That also would have done wonders for representing Paige's side as the wrong side.
Interestingly enough, the real babyface in all this turned out to be Natalya, who cut one of the best true babyface promos in some time when she ran into Paige in the back and told her that while she made some solid points and had a reason to be frustrated, she went about it the totally wrong way and she's only hurting herself by lashing out like that.
It's at least good that they've started to break the factions up and re-introduced Natalya. Plus, Paige vs. Becky should be super fun and they're almost surely going to ask Nikki to tell stories less and work matches more and that's best for business, folks.
The future of the Divas division looks brighter than it did after Night of Champions, at least, and we can't ask for much more than that, right?
All the best to all the rest
OUTTA NOWHERE: I'm not sure I understand the psychology behind Roman Reigns brashly wondering out and attempting to talk Bray Wyatt into sending his goons away so they could have a fight. Unless, of course, they reveal his plan was to do exactly what they did, which is bring Dean Ambrose in when the goons came back for battle and then surprise them with Randy Orton's return. In that case, this actually worked out just fine. I would have prefered they continued beating the babyfaces down while they continued to search for a solid third man but Orton fits in just fine, all things considered. And hey, at least he's not old and small.
Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville & Lucha Dragons: Not a big fan of the 50/50 booking approach WWE so often employs and this was another example of that. Having the rematch here felt meaningless and giving the babyfaces the win just one night after the loss with no build, no rhyme, no reason is a prime example why it's so hard to care for the lower card acts.
Ryback vs. Bo Dallas: Can we consider the fact that a heel Kevin Owens gets heat, or at least that's what WWE is booking him to do, by demanding that Michael Cole call the action in the ring? That's kind of amazing, isn't it? It's also one of my favorite feuds, though not for that reason, so I won't worry about it too much. Meanwhile, it's hard to get behind Ryback selling so much for Dallas -- until Owens explains "it's because he Bolieves, he said it himself earlier." Naturally, THE BIG GUY got his comeback win just for Owens to rush in after for a brief brawl that Ryback quickly got the better of. I'm not sure what this helped accomplish, all told. Ryback overcoming odds will always feel off, especially for guys in a position like Bo Dallas. Without KO on commentary, there wouldn't have been anything worthwhile here.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry: We know these two can have great matches but they weren't ever going to give us that considering what they were trying to accomplish here, which was give Sheamus a win while reminding you he's a heel who will cash-in at some point. Mission accomplished on that, but how much do we care?
New Day & Rusev vs. Dudley Boyz & Dolph Ziggler: The New Day are unbelievable entertainers, three hugely charismatic individuals who are somehow a million times better when they're together. You're always going to have a good time watching them do their thing on your television sets. Having said that, are they ever building to a payoff match? Or building to a match at all? The #SaveTheTables campaign is great and the wall talk in Laredo had me laughing but it's rare to watch them and think "I can't wait for their match." If they could start having fantastic matches at some point soon -- outside of the amazing work Xavier Woods does outside the ring, of course -- they would be an all time great stable. As for Rusev and Ziggler, see earlier words on 50/50 booking in WWE. Do want to say that Summer Rae continues to be an outstanding supporting act in all this.
Natalya vs. Naomi: As mentioned previously, Natalya's promo on Paige was great, establishing her as a true babyface in a division sorely lacking good gals. Beating her here by having Team B.A.D. overwhelm her with numbers works out just fine. Curious to see where they go with her moving forward.
Big Show vs. Cesaro: The idea here was for Show to square off with a power wrestler and, despite an impressive display of that power, win with his knockout punch anyway. This because he needs to be built up for the match with Brock Lesnar on Oct. 3 at Madison Square Garden. This is as good a way to go about it as any (and if the smark fans are pissed about Cesaro losing again, hey, Lesnar is coming back to tear Show up soon enough). Also thoroughly enjoyed Show's post-match promo hyping the match too. "There's just no way my big ass is going to Suplex City." That's just good stuff.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins: Fun match. We say that a lot with Cena these days, huh?
This was a typical, largely forgettable Raw.
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?