Live from Indianapolis, Indiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1097. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Here's the WWE Payback review from Sunday night if you missed it. I also wrote about 10 Things WWE Did Right At Payback over at WhatCulture.com, so check that out too along with my many other posts there every week.
There was a video/photo package with photos of The Shield's victory over Evolution.
Evolution entered with Triple H and Batista in suits while Randy Orton was in his wrestling gear. Triple H had a black eye on left eye. JBL said nobody predicted a Shield sweep. I did. You're welcome.
Hunter took a long time to talk. He said he doesn't lose. "I win…always." Except when he loses, I think. Hunter claimed that this won't be over until The Shield exists no longer. Batista went into angry grandpa mode and said they were done with The Shield.
There was an argument with Batista saying he wants his one on one match for the WWE Title tonight. Hunter reminded him that Daniel Bryan was injured. Hunter: "Even if I did give you a shot you'd probably choke in it anyway." Batista was mad. Hunter apologized. He said that he's never started a fight that he couldn't finish and he is not starting now. He's not stopping until The Shield is finished. At that point he'll give them what they want. Batista told him he understood and he said "I quit." Batista walked out.
The crowd chanted "yes" for Batista leaving. Hunter told him not to come back when his Hollywood movie flops.
Analysis: It was a promo where it looked like Hunter was going to announce another Evolution/Shield match, but instead Batista made it about himself and then he quit. What he's actually doing is taking his scheduled time off for the next two or three months to promote his Guardians of the Galaxy film. That was expected, but we didn't know how he'd be written out. Whether this means Evolution is done forever or they add people to it, we don't know at this point. It was a good twist to end the promo. I also liked how Hunter has morphed into a really egotistical heel. It seems like a natural role for him. I'm just saying.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show.
Coming up: The Shield will speak, fallout from Brie Bella quitting and a tag match coming up with Sheamus & RVD vs. Barrett & Cesaro.
There was a replay of Batista quitting. Batista said these five words: "I understand. And I quit." Then he waved sarcastically. The crowd liked it. On the WWE App, Batista was interviewed and he said all the things he was promised were not given to him. Due to the empty promises he quit.
Sheamus & Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett & Cesaro w/Paul Heyman
Heyman joined the commentary team. These four were paired up in matches at Payback, so they get matched up again. Apparently #Bluetista was trending again. Good job, Twitter nerds. There were some quick tags early on, but the heels took control after RVD went for an attack off the middle rope and Barrett nailed him with a clothesline. RVD rolled to the floor because he knows that it's time for the floor to commercial break.
Back from break, the heels were working over RVD with Cesaro hitting a running uppercut shot. Cesaro hit a gutwrench suplex on RVD and then stared at Sheamus. Barrett hit an elbow drop off the middle ropes. Back elbow by Barrett sent RVD outside the ring and then Cesaro tagged in to slam RVD into the barricade. After RVD hit a kick to the face, he tagged in Sheamus for the hot tag. Sheamus destroyed Barrett, who also tagged in. Powerslam for Barrett and one for Cesaro too. Cesaro bailed to the floor. Barrett hit Winds of Change for two. Cesaro walked out of the match with Heyman. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Barrett. RVD tagged in and hit a Five Star Frog Splash to cover Barrett for the win. It went about 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Rob Van Dam
Cesaro and Heyman watched on from the top of the ramp.
Analysis: ** It was an average tag match. It was too slow early on. It's an interesting finish because it almost makes Barrett look like a sympathetic figure. Hopefully that doesn't mean he has a rivalry with Cesaro and Barrett turns face because I enjoy him a lot as a heel. It could be nothing, though. Just a way to make sure Cesaro keeps getting booed even though the fans like him as a worker.
It's The Usos vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper later. Should be awesome. No titles on the line.
They talked about the top ten shows on WWE Network.
Damien Sandow appeared in a Lance Stephenson jersey. It said "Lance Stephenson" on the screen. He's a guard on the Indiana Pacers basketball team. He had a basketball. I think JBL made a George Mikan reference. He was relevant 60 years ago. He stated that LeBron James is the best player ever, the Pacers are a losing team from a losing city and as an act of charity he will now give a public display of his skills. He shot an airball on a net that was six feet high. Then he was putting the ball through his legs and around his back.
Big Show's music started up as the big man returned to end this charade. Sandow challenged him to a game. He was trying to defend the basket. Sandow blew in his face like Stephenson did to LeBron James. Show threw the ball into Sandow's stomach and gave Show a KO Punch to knock him out. Show dunked the ball on the net in the ring. They showed Pacers player Chris Copeland at ringside applauding that move by Show.
Analysis: That was filler. It would be nice if Sandow had some sort of character direction and a push, but it doesn't look like that's happening. We haven't seen Big Show in a while, so it was a way to bring him back. There really wasn't much to the segment although Sandow tried hard to make the most of it.
We'll hear from The Shield later.
There was no entrance for Kingston. Bo Dallas got one. He said that everybody on the Miami Heat, especially LeBron James, are winners because they bolieve. He looks happier than usual because he's on the Raw Deal banner. They just did the Pacers/Heat heat gathering method in the previous segment. Way to repeat things.
Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston
Dallas celebrated a move early on and then Kingston knocked him out of the ring with a dropkick. Neckbreaker by Dallas. The way he celebrates a successful move every time is great. Some fans were chanting "boring" so the announcers laughed about that. Dropkick by Kingston, then chops and another dropkick followed by a forearm shot for two. Cross body block by Kingston got him a two count. Dallas sent him into the top rope to stun him. Dallas hit the Running Bodog for the win after about four minutes. That didn't look crisp.
Winner by pinfall: Bo Dallas
Post match, Dallas did his victory lap around the ring. "The world needs a hero" says JBL. No post match speech. He tried to shake Kingston's hand, though.
Analysis: *1/2 Kingston has been relegated to jobber status for any new heel and that's what he did here. Dallas wins clean without much difficulty.
Replay of Batista quitting.
The lovely Renee Young wanted an interview with Triple H, but Stephanie McMahon emerged from the room to say she was going to announce something about the WWE World Title.
Analysis: It was a weak first hour. Batista quitting was newsworthy, but nothing else was that interesting.
Retro Raw Deal from five years ago: I'm re-posting my Raw Deal review columns from five years ago every Sunday, so be sure to check out the June 1, 2009 edition. I post the original version and I also add in comments. A lot of people no longer in the company were on this show including all four divas. There was a very good Kofi Kingston/MVP match for the US Title and it ended with Randy Orton punting an old guy because he's mean like that.
It's the top of hour two, so here's a Stephanie McMahon promo.
Stephanie said Daniel Bryan chose himself over his wife and wouldn't do what's right by surrendering the WWE Championship. She said we deserve a fighting WWE Champion. Stephanie said Brie should have been fired on the spot weeks ago, but Steph gave her chance after chance: "What did I get for it? A slap in the face!" There were "yes" chants for that. She wonders if Bryan can look at his wife knowing her dreams were shattered. Steph said this is about the WWE Championship. She said if Bryan can compete he'll defend the WWE Championship against Kane in a Stretcher Match. If he can't compete then the Money in the Bank match will be for the WWE Title. That's a good compromise.
John Cena entered the ring. She made a remark that the fans like him like they like her. He laughed because a lot of them were booing. Steph congratulated Cena as Cena said we haven't seen the last of Wyatt and fans chanted "Cena sucks" at him. There were dueling Cena chants. Cena told her the crowd deserves to have a good time, so they cheered themselves for booing Cena. Awkward moment.
Cena said he's an employee, but he's also a fan of WWE. He spoke about how he's a 14 time champion that knows what it's like to win a title, lose a title and give away a title. She said he knew what was right because he was a fighting champion. Cena said that nobody is bigger than the title, she said that was right and he said not a spoiled, jealous egomaniac named Stephanie McMahon. Cena told her to face facts by saying the Daniel Bryan is really good. He said that what's it about is proving yourself in the ring. He told her that every time Bryan steps foot in the ring he proves himself. Cena told her that Bryan won't give her the title because he's afraid that Stephanie will never give him another chance. Steph told Cena that Bryan is a B+ player. He hasn't the defend the WWE Title in over 30 days and she has to do what's best for business whether it's popular or not. Cena said he's had surgeries and so has Hunter. He even said Steph had surgeries as he looked at her chest! Ha. There was even a "locked in a chest" line too. Cena told her that she has embarrassed the WWE Title and herself with her actions.
Cena's job evaluation for Stephanie is a 0 out of 10: "Zero means you suck." Stephanie said she didn't care. She spoke about giving Cena an opportunity. It's Cena vs. Kane coming up next. "Payback's a bitch John, but then so am I?"
Analysis: That was a newsworthy segment because of the Money in the Bank announcement. It's likely that Bryan will be ready, but it's smart of WWE to make it a bit of a mystery. Stephanie was fantastic on the microphone again. She has no problem being a bitch and riling up the fans. Cena did a good job of speaking up for Bryan. The joke about Stephanie's breast implants was pretty funny. She even made a joke about it too. At least the kids that Cena panders to don't really get the joke.
Kane made his entrance for his match against Cena. Hopefully Zack Ryder isn't near any wheelchairs in the arena.
John Cena vs. Kane
I could have watched this on the app during the break, but I have no interest in more Cena vs. Kane matches. Cena was aggressive early on. He couldn't hit his Attitude Adjustment though. They wrestled for about two minutes when Kane decided to drive a knee against Cena's head in the turnbuckle. The ref called for the bell for the DQ because Kane wouldn't stop.
Winner by DQ: Kane
Post match, Kane threw Cena into the steel steps at ringside. Kane wanted a Tombstone, but Cena fought out of it. Cena threw the steel steps at Kane like he did to Bray Wyatt on Sunday. Kane was freaking out, but then he left without hurting anybody.
Analysis: No point in rating a match that didn't matter. That was not a strong segment. It feels like we've seen it many times over the years. The announcers talk about how Kane can't be stopped. They must forget that Daniel Bryan beat him clean at Extreme Rules.
Another replay of Batista quitting earlier. That's the third replay of it.
The lovely Renee Young interviewed Randy Orton. He spoke about how Batista took his ball and went home, but he has a match tonight against Roman Reigns.
Analysis: It's nice that WWE remembered this show is supposed to have actual matches.
Los Matadores and El Torito were in the ring. 3MB leader Heath Slater said Hornswoggle had hair thanks to Chia Pet like growth. He had on an afro.
Los Matadores vs. Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre
Torito yanked the wig off Hornswoggle to reveal that he still had hair on the back of his head. Slater was distracted by Hornswoggle leaving, so he got rolled up for the loss. Match went about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Los Matadores
Analysis: I don't even care. Please move on. This feud is so bad and the fact that they keep giving it TV time is awful. I feel terrible for the fans in attendance that paid money for this.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Money in the Bank qualifying match is coming up later.
Analysis: So they go from not being in a feud for months to getting a chance to be in a ladder match. Weird. I like both guys, but that's some messed up logic right there.
Nikki Bella entered as Cole explained that Stephanie McMahon put her in a handicap match because she missed her sister Brie.
Alicia Fox & Aksana vs. Nikki Bella
Nikki got a quick nearfall, but that was it. Fox hit an axe kick for the win in a match that went one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Alicia Fox & Aksana
Analysis: At least it was short.
Post match, Fox dumped Nikki outside the ring. Fox celebrated by calling the fans losers. Backbreaker outside the ring. Fox slammed Nikki into the barricade. Aksana got some stomps in.
Analysis: How can we feel sympathy for Nikki when they rush through the match and the post match attack? It means nothing to the viewer. It was so brief that we don't care.
The Wyatt Family symbol showed up as the rocking chair was empty so Luke Harper & Erick Rowan spoke. Actually it was just Harper who said they will suffer for their misdeeds. "They will burn." Rowan just said "follow the buzzards." No sign of Wyatt.
Analysis: Good to see Harper get a chance to talk. I'm impressed by him all the time. I wish I could say the same about the creative team for this show.
Zeb Colter was in the ring with Jack Swagger telling us who needs to be deported. He said Adam Rose deserved it. That led to Rose entering for a match with his Exotic Express buddies.
Adam Rose vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger hit a big boot to the face. He missed a corner charge, Rose made a comeback with some punches, an inverted atomic drop and I think there was a "CM Punk" chant. I miss him too. Corner attack by Rose. Party Foul by Rose wins the match after three minutes. It looked pretty similar to the RKO.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Rose
Analysis: * Is this the end of this feud? Hope so. Since the crowd was chanting for CM Punk that should tell you they're really not into the Rose character. Maybe I'm wrong. Hard to really tell.
The Usos were interviewed by Byron Saxton in the locker room. Jey said they're banged up, but they're not down and they will handle their business. Jimmy said that they're not going anywhere and will do whatever it takes. They were fired up. That match is next.
Analysis: That's the end of the first two hours of Raw. First hour had a 15 minute match. They followed that up with other matches that were all short and didn't matter. It's been a rough show.
There wasn't a traditional Wyatt Family entrance because Bray Wyatt wasn't there. The Wyatt logo went on, the lights went off, then when the lights were back Harper & Rowan were in the ring. The Usos made their entrance.
The Usos vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
This is non-title. Usually the face team is facing the camera, but the Wyatt Family is in this case. Harper hit a nice dropkick. The heels worked over Jey. I have no idea what the announcers are talking about. I'm proud of myself for being able to tune them out. Elbow drop by Rowan along with a hard slam. Jimmy tagged in and sent Rowan outside the ring with a drop kick. Punch knocked Harper out of the ring. With the heels on the floor, it's time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Harper nailed Jimmy with a back elbow to the head. The heels continued to isolate Jimmy in their corner with knees, punches and basic power moves. Rowan sure yells a lot whenever he does a move. Rowan missed a corner charge. Corkscrew plancha by Jimmy off the top. Hot tag to Jey as Harper also tagged in.
Jey hit a leaping clothesline on Harper, then a kick to the gut, uppercut punch and a kick to the back of the head. Two running butt splashes by Jey for two as Rowan made the save. Harper came back with a boot to the face after Rowan interference. Jey hit a Samoan Drop. Rowan distracted him on the top rope, so Jey hit a dive to take him out. Harper hit a dive outside the ring to take down Jey. Jimmy hit a dive over the top to take out Harper. Back in the ring, Harper got his knees up to counter the top rope splash. He wanted the clothesline, but Jey nailed him with a superkick. That's a great nearfall. Rowan tagged in, so Jey went for a rollup that only got two. Harper and Jimmy were outside the ring, which allowed Rowan to hit a one handed slam for the win after 18 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
Analysis: *** There's the weekly non-title loss by champions. It seems like there is at least one of those every week. The match was fine although never got into that next gear to be really great. There were only a few believable nearfalls and it's rare to see Rowan as the one that gets the pin, but I didn't mind it. This should set up a PPV match, which is fine with me.
Coming up Reigns vs. Orton and Ziggler vs. Del Rio up next.
This week on Main Event it's Barrett vs. RVD in a IC Title rematch from Payback. That's not that exciting.
Money in the Bank qualifying match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
No televised entrance for Del Rio. Ziggler got one. Neckbreaker by Ziggler. JBL mentioned Ziggler cashed in MITB on Del Rio and then they made the heart attack joke after Ziggler's ten elbow drops. Suplex by Del Rio as he took control of the action. Ziggler came back with the best dropkick in the business. Corner splash by Ziggler, but Del Rio went after his kidney. Ziggler hit the Fameasser for two. Del Rio went to the top for nothing, but Ziggler countered with a X-Factor facebuster for two. That was a really good nearfall. Del Rio fought off the Zig Zag and Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker to win after six minutes.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ** They worked hard and there were some pretty good nearfalls in there with Ziggler on offense. Nobody reacted to Del Rio winning. He's not over at all. At least Ziggler is well liked by the fans. That finish is disappointing. Ziggler winning would have been better.
Up next is Goldust in a tag team match with somebody other than Cody Rhodes against Rybaxel.
Rybaxel was in the ring. Goldust entered. His partner is Sin Cara. Cody was shown looking on in the locker room area. The story is the Rhodes Brothers can't win anymore so Cody told him to find another partner.
Goldust & Sin Cara vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
No Sin Cara lights. That's my favorite part about this. The crowd is dead for most of it as the heels work over Goldust in their corner. Hot tag to Sin Cara is three minutes into the match. Springboard cross body by Sin Cara and then a springboard elbow for two. Ryback made the save for Axel and then he went into the corner. Axel sent Goldust outside the ring. Sin Cara with a kick to the head. He missed a Senton Bomb. Axel hit his flipping face first neckbreaker for the win after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ryback & Curtis Axel
Cody was shown shaking his head backstage.
Analysis: * It was fine, but nobody cares about Sin Cara. He's lost so much that he's become irrelevant. The likely direction for the story is that Goldust has nothing left. He's too old. Cody will attack him soon when he realizes that. Then the brothers will feud. I like the brothers, but the slow build to it may not be the best idea.
There's a ceremony for Rusev up next. Good. Lana time.
Lana entered the arena and stood on the stage. Keep spinning, Lana. Just keep spinning. That back side deserves its own monument. The Vladimir Putin pic always pisses the fans off. Just like it pisses me off when the camera is off Lana. She introduced Rusev. They walked to the ring.
There was a ceremony for Rusev to receive some Russian medal that WWE was making up. Apparently the medal is actually real. They had a red carpet in the ring and some indie guys in suits that are supposed to be Russian. Fans chanted "USA" and she told them to stop chanting, which is called reverse psychology. The Russian official gave Rusev some medal. It's a gold star. I think I got one when I played soccer when I was eight years old. She asked the fans to rise for the Russian national anthem. It played. They played the whole song. Nobody interfered.
Analysis: Who knew that beating Big E was so rewarding? I don't even know what else to say. Somebody could have interfered there. Nobody did. At least Lana looked pretty like usual. Maybe Rusev deserves a medal for dating her. That's quite an accomplishment. God bless America.
Reigns vs. Orton in main event is next.
There was Colts RB Trent Richardson sitting front row. He's been a bust in his NFL career so far. Save your money.
Bray Wyatt will be on Smackdown. He missed Raw to sell injuries.
Another replay of Batista quitting. That's the fourth replay.
It's 11pmET as The Shield entered the ring. Dean Ambrose asked the crowd how they looked. They said they faced their biggest challenge and they did exactly what they said they were going to do. That's what he calls domination. Seth Rollins said The Shield adapted while Evolution perished and earlier tonight the world witnessed their implosion. Roman Reigns said they were brothers. He asked Orton to come out there to break his jaw with the symbol of excellence - his fist.
Triple H had a microphone in his hand along with a sledgehammer. Randy Orton was ready for a fight. Hunter said tonight is plan B. There's always a plan B.
Seth Rollins hit Roman Reigns in the back with a steel chair. Reigns didn't see it coming. Heel turn for Rollins. Rollins destroyed Ambrose with a chair with repeated shots. He delivered a curb stomp to Ambrose with Dean's head hitting the steel chair. Rollins handed Orton the chair.
Orton beat Reigns up with chair shots to the back. H ripped off his shirt to show off the welts on his back. Orton hit the RKO on Reigns on the chair. Triple H stood in the ring with Rollins & Orton. Hunter said "I won" to end it. Cole did a good job of pointing out that it wasn't over until HHH said it was. By having Rollins join up with him that's the end of The Shield.
Analysis: There's the big moment we were waiting for. It wasn't something that a lot of us expected, but it was something that was really needed because stories weren't fresh for the last couple of months. This sets things up for some feuds that WWE can use in the summer. It's important that they have to build new storylines and Rollins going heel will allow that to happen. I actually thought if there was a turn that it would be Ambrose, but I don't mind that it was Rollins because he's a great worker.
This show was pretty bad leading up to that, but at least we have something to talk about at the end of it. I think WWE knew they needed to freshen things up that's why Rollins turned. Whether it was always the plan, I don't know.
I can understand fans being upset by The Shield ending, but we all knew it was coming at some point. Hopefully it leads to great storylines for all three of them. I think Ambrose will turn heel before Money in the Bank too. Stack the odds against Reigns for six months and then he wins Rumble. Long term booking is a good thing.
Here are some additional thoughts I wrote on Tuesday morning on Twitter & Facebook. It's expanding on some of the things I said on Monday night.
I'm fine with the heel turn of Seth Rollins because I think The Shield did as much as they could. They feuded with most of the roster. This year they went up against the Wyatt Family and Evolution. What more were they going to do as faces? They did all they could and it was great, but it's time for something else. I'm optimistic because the last month or two have been pretty boring in WWE. They needed to do something to spark things and this is a step in that direction. The heel side was becoming very thin at the top, so Rollins can step in right away and be elevated by his association.
Like I mentioned above, I think Ambrose will also turn heel and Reigns will have six months of stories in place as he battles his former friends along with HHH and Orton. It gives him something to do without going after the WWE Title, which he will focus on at January's Royal Rumble.
Does it make sense that Rollins would join the dark side? Storyline wise, it's simply a case of a guy that is sick of Reigns getting the credit and attention for the group so he took action to make himself stick out. By being buddies with HHH the idea is he won't have as tough of a road to make it to the top. "You sold out" is actually an appropriate chant for him.
As for Rollins personally, I'm a huge fan of the guy. I have written many times that I think long term he's better as a face, but he's still in his 20s and he has a lot of time to get comfy in that role. For people that want to rip on him for his promos, I don't think he's that bad. I also think WWE knows his strength is in ring and that's what they'll focus on with him. Triple H can talk for him. I'm not going to focus on the negatives.
People are sad that The Shield are done as a group. It was a fun ride for 18 months. Time to move on. That's wrestling.
It's a great thing that WWE wants to push a talented guy like him. He's not the biggest guy, but they know how awesome he is in that ring. It's an encouraging sign.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Seth Rollins
2. Triple H
3. Stephanie McMahon
3.5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2014 Average: 6.10
2014 High: 9 (April 7)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6, 5, 4.5, 5
This was a bad show. The worst one this year. I review them all and I'd like to think I'm pretty nice a lot of the time, but there were not a lot of things to like. It's not like I'm having a bad day or anything like that. It was just a bad wrestling show that I probably would have turned off if I wasn't writing about it.
The last ten minutes were good with the Rollins turn. The rest of it was well below average.
The Money in the Bank PPV is one of my favorites every year, so hopefully they get some stories in order to make it the interesting show that it usually is.
It's TJR Radio time on Tuesday with The Ace and myself at 10pmET for about 90 minutes of wrestling discussion talking Payback, Raw and taking some questions too. We'll be joined by TJRWrestling writers Andrew Johnson & Heather Hickey too, so be sure to listen in.
Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and I'm having a blast doing it because I get to write about current things in wrestling as well as moments from the past.
That's all for me. Have a great week.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org