Live from Cleveland, Ohio this is the Raw Deal for episode #1099. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The "entire" WWE roster was standing at the top of the stage to start the show. The image of Lana standing beside Erick Rowan with the sheep mask is awesome just because it's so random.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon entered the ring for a promo, so it's basically starting the same way that it always starts. Poor Heath Slater looks all alone without his 3MB buddies. Hunter and Stephanie did a promo talking about how Daniel Bryan couldn't defend his WWE Title, so that's he was s tripped. They called him a B+ player among other things. It's the same promo we always get.
They mentioned the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Stephanie mentioned the guys that are in the ladder match already: Orton, Cesaro, Del Rio, Sheamus and Bray Wyatt.
Hunter said that not everybody gets to be in the battle royal. He said Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns would not be in the battle royal. Also John Cena. He took a while to address it, but he said that Stephanie promised the fans a match that Bryan wasn't able to compete in, so it's happening tonight: a Stretcher Match between John Cena and Kane. If Cena wins he's in the WWE Title match at Money in the Bank. They brought an ambulance with a stretcher as a way to show what's coming up later.
The announcers Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show. Later in the show: Sheamus vs. Wyatt, Kevin Hart is there and Ziggler vs. Rollins is coming up next.
Kane walked out to stare at the ambulance even though his match is later.
Analysis: Nobody on the ramp talked. All we got was Cena's reaction to Hunter saying that Cena wouldn't be a part of the battle royal, which was a confused look. The show opening promos are very tiresome by this point. At least it did set up stuff for later that will also affect Money in the Bank in two weeks, so it was worthwhile at least.
They plugged their work with the 2014 Special Olympics taking place in New Jersey. Good work, WWE.
Big ovation for Dolph Ziggler in his hometown of Cleveland. Usually they announce him from Hollywood, Florida, but Justin Roberts said he was from Cleveland for this match. He is from Ohio, so it's pretty close to accurate. Rollins has some generic rock music and he's wearing black like before with a Nike top, but not the same as The Shield's vest.
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is the third match they've had in a couple of weeks after matches on Smackdown and Main Event. Great dropkick by Ziggler, but then Rollins whipped him into the ropes with Ziggler selling it sternum first Bret Hart style. They went to break.
Rollins was in control after the break, but Ziggler made a comeback with a corner attack and then a leaping clothesline. Rollins hit a boot to the knee followed by an enziguiri kick to the head. Ziggler avoided the curb stomp and hit a huge DDT for two. Great nearfall right there. Crowd is hot for this one. Ziggler wanted the Fameasser, Rollins caught him and then Ziggler turned it into a sunset flip for two. Ziggler with a sleeper, Rollins broke out and then Ziggler hit a Fameasser for two. He rarely wins with that move, yet it always works as a nearfall. Crowd bought it. Ziggler wanted Zig Zag, Rollins held onto the ropes and Rollins caught Ziggler. He gave him a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle, which is a great move. Rollins hit another Powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Curb Stomp by Rollins. Just as he was about to cover, Dean Ambrose ran into the ring to break it up for the DQ finish. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by DQ: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a really good match even without a decisive finish. They did a nice job of setting up believable nearfalls. Rollins hit his finisher when Ambrose showed up, so the idea is that Rollins had it won. Ziggler did his usual great job of putting on an entertaining match. It's just a shame he gets booked like an afterthought in matches like this.
Post match, Rollins escaped up the ramp. Ambrose said it wasn't over yet. He told Rollins to fight him like a man. Triple H showed up on the video screen. Triple H did a bad British accent as he told Ambrose that he's afraid he's got some bad news for him. It's time for Bad News Barrett. He entered the arena. They're in a match after the break.
Analysis: Ambrose was fired up. Good promo by him. I wrote a piece about seven ways WWE can use Ambrose following The Shield's breakup. He's not going to be a forgotten man. There's a lot he can do.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett
This is not for Barrett's IC Title. Ambrose was wrestling in jeans and a black tank top. The match started during the break. Suplex by Ambrose. Barrett came back with a neckbreaker, then a kick to the stomach and a kick to the face for two. Ambrose exploded with a Thesz Press followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Slingshot into a cross body by Ambrose to take out Barrett outside the ring. Back into the ring, Barrett nailed Ambrose with a clothesline while Ambrose was on the top rope, which led to a hard landing by Ambrose. Barrett booted him in the face and then gave an arm wringer to Ambrose on the floor, which hurt Ambrose in the shoulder. It was time for the vintage floor to commercial break.
The story is Ambrose hurt the left shoulder on Smackdown, so BNB kept working on it. During the break, Barrett sent him shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Ambrose did the comeback with a clothesline, back elbow and then he hit a nice Tornado DDT off the middle ropes for two. Neckbreaker variation by Ambrose for two. Barrett hit the Winds of Change (Bossman Slam) for two. Ambrose did his nice bounce off the rope move for a clothesline. Seth Rollins showed up to stand on the announce table and distract Ambrose. He went on the apron, so Ambrose knocked him off. Ambrose threw Barrett outside the ring and hit a dive on both guys. Ambrose brawled with Rollins into the crowd. The ref counted him out, so Barrett won. It went about 12 minutes.
Winner by countout: Bad News Barrett
Post match, Ambrose hit Barrett with a clothesline and then Dirty Deeds (headlock driver). The fans liked that.
Analysis: **3/4 Two matches over ten minutes in the first hour is a good sign. That needs to happen more often. I liked the match with Barrett working on the arm and Ambrose showing a lot of energy as a babyface that kept on fighting. The crowd really started to get behind him. The Rollins interference was predictable, but I don't mind it. Countout finishes are fine once in a while.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero had two drinks in her hand when Roman Reigns showed up to ask her to put him in the battle royal. He tried to convince her to do the right thing. Then he mentioned that they might want sweetener in the coffee. She left for a moment. He turned his back to the camera and put something in the drinks. When she came back he wondered when she would tell them to shove it. She sneezed and then left.
Analysis: I guess we're assuming that Triple H and Stephanie don't watch their own show. Okay then.
Bray Wyatt's entrance started, so that match against Sheamus is up next.
There was a ladder in the ring prior to the match to promote Money in the Bank in two weeks, which is on WWE Network. Bray Wyatt made his entrance as the lights went out and fans in the crowd with their cell phones lit up the arena. That always looks cool. There's a tag title match official at Money in the Bank: The Usos vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper. That should be good. It's had a lot of build too.
Wyatt did a promo talking about how you've got nothing in this world if you ain't got power. He said power is addicting; you need it and crave it. It will be the downfall of all mankind. A powerful is respected while a weak man is less valuable than the dirt that stains his clothes. He pointed up to the WWE Title(s) saying that it represents all the power that he will ever need. Take a look at his brothers and know that by every label society has, they are viewed as outcasts. He said at Money in the Bank his brothers are going to destroy The Usos and take away every bit of power they ever had. "Power and influence" he said three times. He stood under the ladder saying that hanging title is his absolution, his glory and the change that we've all been praying for. The crowd cheered even though it's supposed to be a heel promo. When he wins it he will truly be able to say he's got the whole world in his hands. Then he sang "he's got the whole world in his hands" along with the crowd.
Sheamus said it's bad luck to walk under the ladder especially when you're in the biggest ladder match in WWE history. Sheamus said maybe they should change the tune to something like how about he shoves his boot down his throat. He said it was time to fight.
Analysis: That was a tremendous promo by Wyatt. Best promo man among the wrestlers in the company. I'd say Heyman is better, but he's not a wrestler. It was nice to hear Wyatt talk about his desire to be WWE Champion because we have never really heard him talk about it before. He wants it because he knows it gives him power. That makes sense to me. Sheamus did a basic promo. That's about it.
Bray Wyatt w/Erick Rowan & Luke Harper vs. Sheamus
It started at the top of hour two as the announcers complained about Randy Orton being in the ladder match. My point about that has been that he never got a title rematch after he lost it, so he deserves it. No point in arguing about it. Suplex by Sheamus followed by a sloppy looking neckbreaker. Knees to the face by Sheamus and then a forearm shot to the face. Sheamus knocked him outside the ring with a forearm shot as Harper & Rowan tried to corner Sheamus. The Usos showed up to support Sheamus. They went to break five minutes into it.
Wyatt took control during the break, but Sheamus got his knees up to counter running back splash. Wyatt came back with a running cross body attack for two. Sheamus hit his ten forearm shots to the chest and then he was able to hit an impressive powerslam. He wanted the Brogue Kick, but Harper grabbed him for the DQ finish after 12 minutes.
Winner by DQ: Sheamus
Post match, The Usos attacked Harper & Rowan. The heels won the battle outside the ring as they brought a ladder into the ring. Sheamus hit a rolling senton on Wyatt outside the ring. Usos hit a superkick into the ladder. Sheams nailed Harper & Rowan with the ladder. Sheamus held the ladder against the ropes, which led to the Usos running up and hitting a dive to take out the heels. Sheamus threw the ladder into Harper & Rowan.
Analysis: **1/2 It was another match without a clean finish, but once again I don't have a problem with it because it helps tell a story. That post match action was awesome. Perfect way to build to the tag title match and it didn't hurt Sheamus or Wyatt because neither man really lost the match. It was booked pretty evenly. That's the third match that went over 10 minutes in the first 75 minutes of the show. I like that.
In the office, Vickie brought The Authority their coffee. Stephanie drank hers. Hunter accidentally knocked the coffee onto Vickie, so he told her to get a new one. Stephanie said it tasted good.
Analysis: It took Vickie about 20 minutes to get their coffee to them. That's bad service.
There was a reminder for the battle royal coming up for entry into the ladder match at Money in the Bank.
The announcers mentioned that it's been ten years since there has been a Stretcher Match on Raw. You know why? Because they are not good matches. It's a bad stipulation.
The lovely Renee Young interviewed Stephanie McMahon as she drank her coffee that was spiked. She started acting funny as she said "may the best man win" and she walked away. The great Paul Heyman showed up to talk about how at Money in the Bank the WWE Title is up for grabs in a ladder match. He wondered about guys like Wyatt, Orton, Del Rio and Sheamus at Money in the Bank. Heyman brought up his WM30 prediction about Lesnar beating Undertaker, but he said it was a spoiler not a prediction. Then he said Cesaro would be WWE Champion. He said it loudly in Renee's ear: "That's not just a prediction, that's a spoiler."
Analysis: It looks like Stephanie is sick because of what Reigns put in the drink. They did this same thing a few months ago when Betty White was on Raw and Billy Gunn had to poop. How exciting. That was interesting by Heyman saying that it's not just a prediction; it's a spoiler. I think he's right. Cesaro is my pick.
Heath Slater was in the ring. JBL said he's just a one man bad now. He didn't mention that McIntyre & Mahal were released.
Rusev was introduced with Lana. She did the promo in the ring this time. "Shut up and listen!" I would listen to her. She did a promo ripping on America as the crowd tried to "WHAT" her, but she kept on going talking about the great Vladimir Putin, who got booed. They did a Mount Rushmore image with famous Russians on it. Rusev said "your resistance is futile" and then Heath Slater spoke up. He told them to go back to Russia. He's sick of hearing about it. Crowd cheered him. Slater told him he'll get the American rock star in USA.
Analysis: They probably did the promo in the ring to get more heat. Plus, it gave Slater a chance to talk. He's a babyface for this match at least.
Rusev w/Lana vs. Heath Slater
Slater got in some brief offense with a couple of punches, but Rusev destroyed him with a stiff kick to the face. Rusev applied the Accolade for the submission win in less than a minute.
Winner by submission: Rusev
Analysis: It's the same squash match we see all the time.
Backstage, Stephanie was throwing up in the bathroom. Hunter told Vickie to check on her. We couldn't see Stephanie, but she ended up puking onto Vickie a couple of times. Hunter was hiding behind the door. He told Vickie she's in charge and to make sure nothing goes wrong in the battle royal. Vickie started screaming.
Analysis: It was a comedy bit that wasn't that funny, but if you're into puke humor then it's perfect for you. It's been over an hour and nobody has told them that Roman Reigns spiked the drink.
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 15, 2009 edition. I post the original version and I also add in comments. It was a three hour Raw (rare in those days) where Donald Trump bought Raw, which was a terrible angle. The matches on the show were good with the WWE & World Title on the line, plus a battle royal main event. Sounds familiar huh? It was a much better show than the week before.
Roman Reigns was walking around backstage. He knocked on a door. Vickie opened up with puke on her. Reigns told her that she could get fired next week, but at least she can do something positive for the WWE Universe by putting him into the battle royal. She said "you're in" by screaming at him.
Analysis: Good strategy by "Stone Cold" Roman Reigns in those backstage segments.
There was a commercial for Kevin Hart's movie "Think Like A Man Too" that's in theaters on June 20. He was interviewed by Renee. She said we've all seen Think Like A Man (I didn't) and he was talking about the second one, but Adam Rose showed up with the Exotic Express. Rose has these ridiculous white glasses now. Rose wanted Hart to hang out with them. He told him to be a Rosebud. Renee wished him luck on commentary, which is up next.
Analysis: Hart's a pretty funny comedian and is a big name for Raw to get. That segment was all about foreshadowing about what's to come.
Kevin Hart entered the arena to join the commentary team. He's a short man, but knows how to work a crowd. Cole talked about how he was in a number of great movies. He didn't name any. Hart's shirt has a fish on it.
Fandango & Layla vs. Adam Rose & Summer Rae
Rose had his entourage with him. He didn't wrestle in his ridiculous glasses. It still feels weird to see Summer Rae booked as a face because she comes off like such a heel. The girls brawled, then they ran up the ramp and were out of the match. Rose hit the Party Foul for the win after about one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Adam Rose
Post match, Hart danced in the ring with Rose. Then he went backwards off the apron onto the other members of the Exotic Express that carried him up the ramp. JBL was furious that Hart was a Rosebud.
Analysis: The intros and post match took about seven minutes. Match went about one minute. It was just done to get party celebrating with Rose as a way to show he's a fun guy and to put Rose over because he got to party with a movie star.
The battle royal is up next.
I find it interesting that Batista's DVD promo features a comment from him saying he didn't care if he was cheered or booed. This is the same guy that gave the finger to fans at the Royal Rumble when he was supposed to be a face. I'm just saying.
This week on Main Event it's the Wyatt Family vs. Sheamus & The Usos.
The ring was filled with various WWE superstars including Rusev. Fandango's in the match even though he just lost a match and Adam Rose isn't in even though he won. I guess he's partying. The only person that got an entrance was Roman Reigns, who entered through the crowd.
Battle Royal For Entry In Money In The Bank
Damien Sandow was the first one eliminated. He was in a LeBron James Heat jersey for heat, so the crowd was happy he lost. Santino was eliminated. Both members of Los Matadores were eliminated back to back. Xavier Woods eliminated by Rusev. Titus O'Neil was eliminated and then Jack Swagger eliminated Sin Cara with a slingshot. They went a couple of minutes without an elimination until Kingston got rid of Swagger with a headscissors over the top to the floor.
During the break, Kofi Kingston was eliminated by Ryback. Ziggler was nearly eliminated a few times, but Ryback and Curtis Axel worked together to send him out. Reigns hit big moves on everybody to fire up the crowd. Rybaxel worked together on Reigns, but he hit a double Spear. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Fandango while was on the top to eliminate him. Reigns eliminated Ryback and Axel. Barrett hit Big E with the Bull Hammer. Rusev hit a running kick on Reigns. Big boot by Barrett to RVD.
The final six in the ring: Reigns, RVD, Barrett, Dallas, Big E and Rusev. RVD hit a thrust kick on Barrett, but then Dallas eliminated him while RVD was trying to attack in the corner. Dallas helped Barrett back to his feet, but BNB nailed him with a clothesline. Dallas held on to avoid elimination. Reigns clothesline eliminates Barrett. Dallas sent out Big E. Reigns hit a Spear on Dallas. Reigns eliminated Dallas.
The final two are Reigns and Rusev. The crowd was going wild for it as they exchanged punches. Spinning back kick by Rusev. Running splash in the corner by Rusev, but Reigns nailed him with a clothesline. Reigns lifted him over the top and after a brief struggle he nailed him with a Superman Punch to eliminate Rusev. The match went 18 minutes.
Winner: Roman Reigns
That means Reigns is in the battle royal. The announcers hoped that Triple H didn't check Twitter to find out about this. We're supposed to think nobody called or texted him about it? This WWE Universe is a cold, dark place with a lack of communication apparently.
Analysis: *** That was an entertaining battle royal with a predictable ending especially when Reigns was the only one that got an intro for the match. It was surprising that Rusev was in the match. He was the last guy eliminated, but it's the first time he's been booked to lose something, which is what I didn't expect. I enjoyed the Bo Dallas spots. He was fun like usual. The first half of it was slow, but as is usually the case there was a strong ending to the match that really got the crowd excited for it.
The first six men in the WWE WHC Ladder Match: Wyatt, Sheamus, Del Rio, Orton, Cesaro and Reigns with one spot left.
John Cena was interviewed by Renee Young. He spoke about Reigns doing the impossible and he digs that. Cena said he's glad to help The Authority needs him to have a Stretcher Match. He made some poop jokes because that's what he does and said he's going to be in the WWE WHC match because that's what is best for business.
Analysis: It was just a short promo that went about one minute to hype up the Stretcher Match main event.
They are still announcing Naomi and Cameron from "Planet Funk" for their matches? That sort of thing doesn't matter after they split from Brodus Clay and Clay has been fired too. The story is Cameron slapped Paige a few weeks ago at the Payback press conference, so they're having a match now.
Paige vs. Cameron w/Naomi
Paige was aggressive early on with headbutts, knee strikes and elbow smashes. Cameron hit a kick followed by a slap. Paige hit a suplex followed by some clotheslines. A yell by Paige woke up the crowd. Paige applied her Paige Tap Out finisher for the submission win. It went three minutes.
Winner by submission: Paige
Analysis: DUD I think Cameron hit about two moves the whole match, which were a kick and slap. Naomi looks like a credible wrestler. Cameron looks like a model that shouldn't have matches. Why don't they use this time to try to develop other divas as heels? Three minute wins by Paige are boring. I like her, but she needs a feud.
Goldust was interviewed by Byron Saxon. We'll meet Goldust's new partner after the break.
Goldust entered with a new partner. His opponents are Rybaxel. His partner was Stardust. It was Cody Rhodes in a blue & gold outfit that had a star painted on his face as well as gloves that formed a star when he put them together. It's kind of like Starman from the Nintendo game Pro Wrestling from about 25 years ago except he's in gold and black here.
Goldust & Stardust vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel
The dust boys were on fire early with Stardust hitting a DDT and then a springboard forearm smash. Stardust hit a flipping neckbreaker off the middle rope and that was enough for the win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Goldust & Stardust
Analysis: * That wasn't what I expected, but it was fine. It's just weird seeing Cody Rhodes in the Goldust-like attire.
There was a video package for the Special Olympics USA Games with WWE's involvement shown.
Kane vs. John Cena up next.
This week on Smackdown it's Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio. There was a replay of Roman's battle royal win from earlier.
The rules for the Stretcher Match were explained that you had to put your opponent on a stretcher and then cross the yellow line that was at the top of the ramp. No pinfalls or submissions obviously. The winner gets into the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE Title.
Stretcher Match: John Cena vs. Kane
This is not a pairing that I enjoy watching. There have been way too many Cena vs. Kane matches over the years. Kane was aggressive early on, but Cena drove the stretcher into Kane's ribs. Kane whipped Cena into the steel steps. Cena drove Kane into the barricade, but Kane came back with an uppercut to knock him down. Cena crawled off a stretcher as they went to break.
Back from break, Kane wedged a chair between the top/middle rope. Cena threw Kane head first into the chair. Cena went to the top, but Kane caught him and gave him a Chokeslam in the ring. Kane brought steel steps into the ring. Cena dropkicked Kane in the knee, which led to Kane going head first into the steps. Kane came back with a DDT on the steps. Kane put Cena on a stretcher, but Cena rolled off it. Cena threw Kane into the steel post and then Kane sent Cena into the barricade. Kane cleaned off the announce table. Cena popped up to his feet and gave Kane the Attitude Adjustment through the table. Cena carried Kane over to the entrance by the stretchers around ringside. He put Kane onto a stretcher.
Seth Rollins and Randy Orton showed up to attack Cena. They went into the ring where Orton hit Cena with a RKO. Dean Ambrose attacked Rollins. He sent Orton out of the ring and then Rollins. Kane gave Ambrose a Chokeslam. Cena did his new favorite spot as he launched the steel steps from inside the ring onto Kane outside the ring. Sometimes people sell the RKO for minutes. Cena sold it for about ten seconds. Cena put Kane onto the stretcher. Kane sat up right before the yellow line. Cena gave him AA onto the stretcher, which looks very gentle on a stretcher. Cena shoved Kane past the yellow line for the win. It went 18 minutes.
Winner: John Cena
That win means Cena is in the WWE WHC ladder match at Money in the Bank. As if there was any doubt.
Analysis: ** It was okay at best. They worked hard, but if you've seen one Kane/Cena match you've seen them all. Just because it was a Stretcher Match doesn't make it much different. That was one of the weakest looking match finishes you're ever going to see. The interference by Rollins, Orton and Ambrose was fine because it fit into the story, but it's not like it really affected the finish.
The show ended with Cena celebrating the win.
Analysis: The seven people in the WWE Title Ladder Match has four heels in Orton, Del Rio, Wyatt and Cesaro (he might go face soon) and three faces now that Cena and Reigns have joined Sheamus. It's an interesting mix. They could go with a big time former champ like Orton or Cena for the win or put it on a rising star like Wyatt, Cesaro or Reigns. Give them credit. It will be interesting to see what happens. The match will likely be great too.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Bray Wyatt
2. Roman Reigns
3. Seth Rollins
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2014 Average: 6.09
2014 High: 9 (April 7)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 3.5, 4.5, 6, 5
It gets a 6.5 out of 10.
The matches were pretty good in the first half of the show. There weren't too many promos. The ones that took place were solid. There were only a few bad comedy segments and pointless in-ring segments.
It is disappointing that there are only two matches announced for Money in the Bank with 13 days left until the PPV, but that's WWE booking of late. Obviously Rollins vs. Ambrose will get added although they still need more matches.
That's all for me. Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org