WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (July 11, 2016) from Detroit, Michigan and this was all about the return of Vince McMahon to make one big announcement leading into another big announcement. Also, we're inching closer to Battleground and SmackDown live.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
GM's for everyone!
Vince McMahon's return was a success if only because they actually showed some continuity in storytelling. The last time he was around he was telling Shane and Stephanie he wanted to see them kill each other. He came back, noticed they hadn't killed each other, and was upset about it.
Isn't that all we've ever wanted out of WWE? Even if the story is dumb and makes no sense, just tell it right?
The next step was to put Stephanie in charge of Raw and Shane in charge of SmackDown, which is actually the right call for a number of reasons, the least of which being their character alignment. Send the babyface to the show that needs a bump and keep the heel on the show that doesn't.
Where they've got me confused is the General Manager position. It feels ... overdone? Like they're trying too hard? Like a set up for an obvious big return just to pop a rating for SmackDown's first live show on July 19?
We'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but that main event segment fell flat without the element of surprise. Then again, at least they're promoting something for next week ahead of time and they've been needing to do that for a long while now.
I don't really know what to say about this. It was that good. This was a genius segment, even if it goes against their stated goals for Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Rollins, by the way, has been doing the best work of his career since he came back from the knee injury. He has become must see in the way The Miz pretends to be. He's fun.
As for Reigns, well, I think I'm supposed to feel bad for the guy but the way it's been framed consistently leaves me thinking "yeah, this guy kinda deserves this." Intentional? Maybe, considering how they were toying with his character caring a whole lot less about the reaction to him before he left.
Then again, this is WWE.
Dean Ambrose, meanwhile, is just kind of there at this point, right? He's the WWE champion but quite clearly the third in this triple threat and it looks entirely possible they're going to take the title off him on Raw next week. He was great in his promo here, and he's shown he can be the guy for a time whenever they may need him to be, but Rollins vs. Reigns is what it's all about.
Should have been deleted
In professional wrestling, it's basically a rule that anything any company does that has any measure of success has to be copied by every other company. So WWE decided they would do a version of what TNA did with #TheFinalDeletion.
What they must not have known was that segment only worked because Matt and Jeff Hardy are actual crazy people. They are straight out batshit insane, and there is not a soul on Earth who can match their batshit insanity.
Not even The Wyatt Family.
There was actually potential here. What made #TheFinalDeletion work was the fact that the Hardys took it seriously and, as noted, they're completely out of their mind. You look at Matt Hardy and think "this man is all the way gone, I can't wait to see what he does next." So when you watch him chase his brother around with drones and holograms while going in and out of 88 different accents, you enjoy it because it's a charming sort of madness. It's so dumb it's fun.
When you think of The Wyatt Family, you think they're just some big dudes who might attempt to charge into you at high speeds in a muddy field. So when you watch them do just that, it doesn't feel like anything other than the expected result.
What's more, the Hardy brothers could literally get away with anything they wanted to do because it could be explained away as a part of the plan, the always flawed -- because, again, they're BATSHIT INSANE -- plan. They couldn't fail. WWE had to do everything perfectly to properly execute and instead we got a shaky camera that induced seizures, weak action sequences that could have used some Steven Seagal chopping people between takes, and a wholly unsatisfiying conclusion. That's the worst part.
What the hell was the point? Nothing happened! Jeff Hardy was deleted from existence. The New Day just kinda backed off while The Wyatt Family let them while attempting to look spooky AFTER the fight.
This was horrible.
All the best to all the rest
Battle royal: The story of this match was that nothing mattered, not really, because the guy who won, Darren Young, did so by laying in the corner. He literally looked up, saw everyone else had eliminated each other, and celebrated. This almost works for me because it means Bob Backlund's influence is obviously working. I hope Young wins the world title someday and it's never because of any advice he's ever been given by Backlund.
Rusev accepts: So, Zack Ryder challenged Rusev to a United States title match on SmackDown last week after he beat Sheamus clean. Then he went out and got beat down and pinned by Sheamus before Rusev came out, put him in The Accolade, and said he accepts the challenge. I am just as baffled as you by this sequence of events. If it was anyone other than Zack freaking Ryder, I might actually care a little bit. Then again, his entire career is being a lovable (to some) underdog, so this booking is in line with that. Whatever.
Breezango win: They're better than you. No, it doesn't matter who "you" are.
Kevin Owens def. Cesaro: A brutally fun match for what it was, but it mostly feels nice that WWE hasn't really tinkered with the formula of "Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn really hate each other and should be actively fighting each other at all times." It just works.
Titus O'Neil def. Heath Slater: This happened.
Good guy John Cena: The Club beat up Enzo & Cass and it looked certain the John Cena we know and love would be the John Cena we know and love. Then he actually made the save. I don't know what to believe about anything in life anymore.
Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke: This got a lot of time but they couldn't sustain interest and the post-match interaction between Charlotte and Sasha was awkward to say the least.
Final thought: Meh.
Random grade from Twitter:
@cagesideseats I give it one knife emoji out of five— Bae Nakano (@CMKarlee) July 12, 2016