Live from Houston, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1105. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. That's one of my favorite Raw Deal banners ever. I came up with the words along with my graphics buddy Melo Man. I probably like it more because I'm not married.
Raw began with a three minute video package highlighting the key happenings from last week including the arrest of Stephanie McMahon, Triple H not going to bail her out right away and Brock Lesnar being named as the challenger to John Cena's WWE Title at SummerSlam.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena made his entrance. He wasn't on Raw last week due to movie commitments. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Cena had both the WWE & World Title draped around his neck like he has done for the past couple of months. He had a concerned look on his face as he mentioned that "Plan C" is what he hoped would never happen: it's Brock Lesnar. Cena said that The Authority hired a mercenary, The Brock Lesnar. Hey don't go stealing Brian Kendrick's gimmick! Cena mentioned that some fans may want Brock Lesnar to beat the hell out of him. Fans chanted "yes" for that. He said he's not deaf and he knows who his opponent is. Cena put over Lesnar saying that he destroys who he wants, when he wants. Cena mentioned that Lesnar is the only man that defeated The Streak. He agreed with Heyman when he said he was going to receive the beating of a lifetime.
Cena: "There's a beast in my windshield and at SummerSlam I'm going to get my ass kicked." The fans chanted for that. He threw in a "but" by saying that he'd fight. "I'm going to SummerSlam to beat Brock Lesnar just like I did in 2012." He was worried about what would happen if Lesnar won that title. He said nobody could stop him…not the Authority and certainly not Paul Heyman.
There's Paul Heyman on the stage right on cue. "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman" and the crowd chanted that with him. That's funny. He said that at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar will conquer Cena and take away the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman said that Cena was brave, but he's going to be a victim. He told Cena that he's never been victimized. Heyman told him to ask The Undertaker what it's like, but you can't ask him because nobody has seen or heard from The Undertaker since WrestleMania. Heyman said that Cena wants to survive, but Lesnar is looking to conquer him. He added that Lesnar isn't going to just F5 Cena, he's going to victimize Cena. Heyman mentioned that Cena loved being there in WWE, but the only thing Lesnar cares about is when he's inflicting pain on his victim. Heyman stated one more time that Cena's going to be beaten, victimized and conquered.
Cena said that he's sick of Heyman's crap. He mentioned the word passion and brought up the fans chanting "ECW" which led the crowd in chanting it. Cena spoke about how even when Heyman hears that he smiles about it. Cena: "This is it for me. This is my friggin' life." He said he works his ass off because he loves it. He added that Lesnar has no passion for anything other than himself. Sorry Sable. Cena said that Lesnar has to beat him within an inch of his life because he's walking out the WWE Champion. He even said "bitch" at the end of it.
Cesaro showed up to defend Heyman. He said that even though he's not a Heyman guy anymore, he won't let him talk to Heyman like that. Cesaro said Cena wasn't a wrestler. He told Cena he's a walking billboard. Cesaro wondered where Cena gets his shoes from, K-Mart? He actually does. Cesaro wanted a match right now.
Cena said that was fine with him, so the match is on after the break. The crowd was into it.
Analysis: That was a 15 minute promo to start the show. I didn't mind it because it didn't involve Stephanie McMahon or Triple H like usual. Cena was tremendous. He did a good job of pointing out why he love the business and that he's passionate about it while it's just a job to Lesnar. That's a true point in a lot of ways since Lesnar only shows up once in a while. Of course Cena did miss last week because of a movie, but it's not like he misses shows a lot. Paul Heyman was really good too as he called Cena a "victim" several time. The crowd was behind Cena for the most part. Cesaro's promo was fine too. Calling Cena a walking billboard was funny. And they got a K-Mart plug in too, so I'm sure they're happy about it.
John Cena vs. Cesaro
They worked a slow pace early on. Cesaro was able to outwrestle him, which was a nice continuation off his promo. Cesaro dumped him out of the ring with a shoulder block that sent Cena to the floor. Cena tried to brawl with him, but Cesaro countered a bulldog attempt by shoving him into the ropes. They went to break with both guys in the ring, so no floor to commercial break.
Analysis: It's always a swerve when there's a commercial without somebody going to the floor.
Back from break, Cesaro was still in control. Cena just came back with a rollup and then a Powerbomb for two. JBL put over the impressive counter that Cena did. Cena was on the apron, Cesaro stunned him and hit that suplex while Cena was standing on the apron. That move's outstanding. Not easy to do, which is why you se nobody else doing it. Cesaro actually did the Cesaro Swing when he caught Cena in the ring. He hasn't done that for months. Cesaro applied a submission move on Cena's legs using his arms to tie him up, but Cena fought out with the STF. Cena hit the spinning suplex, then the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cesaro fought out of the Attitude Adjustment initially as they got over to the ropes. Cesaro jumped off the top, Cena caught him and went for the AA, but Cesaro landed on his feet. Uppercut shot by Cesaro for two. They each got a boot to the face. You don't see Cena doing boots to the face too often. Cesaro knocked him down with another boot. Cena met Cesaro on the top rope and gave him an Attitude Adjustment off the top rope in a 15 minute match.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good TV match. Cena wasn't on the show last week, so they made up for it by putting him on for the first 30 minutes this week. A lot of times when Cena has matches I'll get people asking if I can hear him talking in the ring. I usually do. This time I noticed it even more. It doesn't really bug me, but I'm just mentioning it for those that asked. Cesaro was tremendous in this match. He was given the time to show off his power moves, his Cesaro Swing (hasn't done it in months as I said) and competed evenly with Cena. It took an AA off the top to put him away, which makes Cesaro look very strong. They've had a few great matches this year. I like their chemistry.
Backstage in the office, Stephanie McMahon was talking to Triple H. She said she can't go back there and see the look on the face of their daughters. She'll never get that smell out of her nose. She told Hunter that this better work. Hunter told her it would be okay.
Randy Orton showed up as Steph left. He complained to Hunter that the plan was Orton vs. Cena. Hunter said he's not going to change it because plans change. He told Orton as long as Roman Reigns is in the picture he's not going to get a title shot because Reigns will screw it up. Hunter said Reigns had a match with Kane later. Orton said he'd take care of Reigns. Orton said he had a problem with Reigns, he had a problem with Kane and now he has a problem with Hunter. Orton left angrily. Hunter had an angry look on his face. Angry time!
Analysis: That was solid as long as you assume these guys don't talk for a whole week and only speak during the three hours of Raw every Monday. It's leading to Orton vs. Reigns at SummerSlam, which is pretty obvious.
There was a WWE Network plug hyping the NWO, so they played the NWO song. Great tune. It still sounds like porno music.
Paige skipped down to the ring like AJ Lee. She said she didn't think of AJ Lee as her friend last week. She promised she would never act the same way she did last week. AJ Lee skipped down to the ring with the Divas Title on her shoulder.
The "CM Punk" chants for AJ weren't that loud. That's good. AJ mentioned that Paige took the Divas Title from her in an instant before. AJ said she doesn't play little girl games. If she has a problem with somebody she does it to her face like a real woman. Paige said that she is her friend and if she doesn't believe her then she guesses that she's crazy. The "crazy" word set off AJ. Paige said she would never make fun of AJ's mental health. AJ said it's okay because it happens. Then she attacked Paige.
AJ tossed Paige out of the ring. Then she drove Paige into the barricade. She tried to throw her into the steps, but Paige jumped over them. AJ stared her down. Paige retreated up the ramp. Loud "CM Punk" chants at this point. The announcers didn't mention them of course. Lee stood in the ring as Paige said they're supposed to be friends.
Analysis: Those chants for Punk are pretty awkward. It would be nice if the fans chanted for AJ. Yes we know she's married to the guy, but he left six months ago. I miss him too. It's time to move on, though. He did. Give the women credit for doing a good job in that segment. AJ was able to get her heat back after getting beat up last week. They're likely going to have a match at SummerSlam for the Divas Title.
It's Reigns vs. Kane later.
There was a commercial for SummerSlam on August 17 in Los Angeles. I need to go to that one of these years and then turn it into a Vegas trip too. Never been to LA. I'd like to check it out at some point.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon entered for a promo. They showed a clip of Stephanie getting arrested last week. Fans chanted "jailbird" at Stephanie. She looked sad.
Hunter said he's never been more disappointed at the fans than he was last Monday night and he's mad about the fans celebrating Stephanie getting arrested last week. There were a lot of close-ups on Steph's face as she was holding back tears. Hunter said he would never forgive "you" (the fans) for that. He said that it hurt her and he's mad that people enjoyed it. Hunter said that Stephanie was just defending herself against Brie Bella because she was asking for it. It was all a simple misunderstanding according to Triple H and all the charges have been dropped (like resisting arrest) except one: the assault and battery charge that Brie has against Stephanie. The fans were chanting "yes" for the assault and battery charge. The fans chanted "jailbird" at her with Stephanie asking Brie Bella to come out there.
Chris Jericho showed up to talk about what happened to Stephanie. Here's an old rivalry. He started singing "bad boys, bad boys what ya gonna do when they come for you" and the fans sang along with him. It's the theme song from the TV show Cops if you don't already know. Triple H sarcastically laughed. Fans chanted "yes" when Hunter asked if it's funny. Jericho said "orange is the new black" (good reference to a TV show) and this is the reason why WWE Network was created because now we can watch her getting arrested over and over. Jericho gives Hunter credit for sticking up for his wife even with a big nose joke. Jericho brought up how last week Hunter didn't leave the arena with her. He mentioned that Hunter waited until 15 minutes after the show to go see Stephanie.
Jericho said he knows why Hunter waited. It's because Stephanie is a filthy, brutal, bottom feeding, trashbag, ho…Hunter cut him off before the "ho" part. That's a classic Jericho line. Hunter said that Jericho should focus less on them and focus more on Bray Wyatt. Jericho said he wants Wyatt in the ring right now tonight. Hunter said he's going to have to wait until SummerSlam, but tonight Jericho…and here's Seth Rollins. He nailed Jericho in the back with the briefcase. Hunter told Jericho he has to face Rollins.
Analysis: That was another good promo segment on this show. Jericho's involvement was pretty random, but the crowd was ready for it because they know about his history talking trash about Stephanie. Seeing nods to history like that is something WWE needs to be doing more often. I'm looking forward to Jericho vs. Rollins. That's a fresh matchup.
There was a replay of Cena's promo from earlier where he said "I'm walking out with this son of a bitch" when talking about the WWE Title. Reigns vs. Kane later.
This sign in support of my writing made an appearance during Hunter's promo. You can also watch the video here at 1:51.
Thanks to TJR reader Adam Dunin for bringing it. Here's the photo gallery of TJR signs over the years. I have never said Canton 3:16 in my life, but in the spirit of Austin 3:16 I would say that Canton 3:16 says I just reviewed a show about a bunch of dudes pretending to fight in their underpants and thankfully there are women too. Long huh? I can't help it.
The Intercontinental Champion The Miz made his entrance. He wears a white suit on his way to the ring. The faces Dolph Ziggler and The Usos made their entrances separately.
The Miz, Ryback & Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Usos
Some quick tags early. The trio of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E were shown watching this match backstage. There was a nice attack by Jey on Axel with the running corner butt splash. Then he hit him with a dropkick to send him to the floor. Jimmy hit a leaping dive off the barricade to take out Ryback. Ziggler nearly punched Miz in the face while Miz was wearing his glasses. JBL: "You don't hit a man with glasses!" As a glasses man myself, I absolutely agree! Anyway, it's vintage floor to commercial break time.
The Woods, Big E, Kingston trio was at ringside. Stuff happened when they returned from break, but I was busy sharing the image of the "Canton 3:16" sign that was on. Anyway, Ziggler hit a DDT on Ryback and the whole match broke down. One of the Usos hit a dive on Axel, but then Miz prevented the other one from doing it. Ziggler ended up hitting the Zig Zag on Ryback to pin him for the win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler & The Usos
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid tag match although short for a match with a break in it. The main story they were trying to push was that Ziggler couldn't get his hands on Miz and hit him in the face aka the Moneymaker. He was able to pin Ryback pretty easily because Ryback is just a lowly tag wrestler at this point in his career. The Woods, Big E & Kingston trio did nothing but observe.
The announcers plugged Stephanie showdown with Brie later. Brie gets more airtime as a fired wrestler than she did as an actual wrestler. Almost.
Bo Dallas told R-Truth to Bolieve before their match.
Bo Dallas v. R-Truth
Dallas hit two shoulder blocks and he took a victory lap around the ring. When he got back into the ring, Truth rolled him up for the win in under one minute.
Winner by pinfall: R-Truth
Post match, Bo said he couldn't believe he lost. It's his first loss. Post match, Bo attacked Truth. He beat him up in the corner, then he hit him with forearm shots on the apron. Dallas hit a double underhook DDT like Mick Foley and Truth was down. Bo did a victory lap.
Analysis: No rating since it was so short. I like the double underhook DDT. It's a shame that they would end the undefeated streak. It was likely done to give him more of an edge because the character was too silly. They needed to make him more serious, so that post match attack worked. I liked the undefeated streak gimmick, though. Oh well. It's over now. Don't stop believing…or believing.
Jericho vs. Rollins later.
The ravishing Russian Lana and Rusev were in the ring on Raw doing a promo. It was the same thing as usual ripping on America and putting over Vladimir Putin. She says Barack Obama wags his finger like a teacher and warns them about their actions. She called him a pathetic, laughable leader. Then she showed a picture of George W Bush since he's from Texas.
The great Zeb Colter told Lana and her dancing bear Rusev to listen. Jack Swagger held up the USA flag saying that this is a real flag. No matter where it flies it represents the United State of America. It represents a family, the thousands of Americans watching a football game, a father & son fishing, a mother & daughter cooking, pickup trucks, pretty girls and beer. "We the people." Finally the crowd chants "USA" for it. He led the fans say in saying in a loud clear voice: "We The People."
Swagger ran down to the ring to go after Rusev. Clothesline by Swagger, but then Rusev pushed him back first into the barricade and into the other side. Fans chanted "USA" as they went into the ring. Lana told Rusev to crush, but Swagger grabbed his ankle. Big boot to the face by Swagger and then a forearm shot to the face sent Rusev out of the ring. Swagger grabbed his flag. Rusev grabbed his flag.
Analysis: That standoff was pretty good. It's probably leading to Flag Match at SummerSlam since both sides are carrying the flags prominently. Colter's promo was really good. Swagger fighting Rusev off before the Accolade was good to see.
Reigns vs. Kane later.
Damien Sandow was dressed as an astronaut so he could say "Houston we have a problem" from Apollo 13. Sandow insulted the fans. "It's one small step for man, one giant leap in the toilet for mankind." Adam Rose is his opponent, so he entered along with the rosebuds were with him. Rose did his lemon and rosebud line.
Adam Rose vs. Damien Sandow
The bell rang. Sandow missed a punch, Rose hit the Party Foul and that was it in about 10 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Rose
Analysis: What's there to say? Rose is boring. Sandow is booked poorly. It's nothing new.
Reigns vs. Kane up next.
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 July 27, 2009 edition. I post the original version and I also add in comments. Five years ago the host was Shaquille O'Neal and he was great at it. Also Triple H was out of the title picture, so I was happy about that.
Kane made his entrance at the top of hour three. As Roman Reigns entered through the crowd, Randy Orton attacked him. They brawled towards the ring. Reigns was able to stop Orton briefly, but then Reigns hit Orton with a Superman Punch. Kane capitalized on Reigns with a Chokeslam. Kane left.
Analysis: No match. Fine with me.
Orton attacked Reigns with punches and kicks. He kicked Reigns in the chest as he was against the ropes. Orton threw Reigns into the steps. Then Orton threw Reigns into the other steps. Orton told Reigns he would show him what happens to people that steal from him. Orton gave Reigns the spike DDT off the barricade instead of the ropes. Orton slammed Reigns head first onto the steps and then he cleaned off the announce table. Orton with the RKO on the announce table. It didn't break! Orton looked upset about it. Orton was whispering something to him. They did the spot again and this time the table broke. Orton trash talked him about stealing from him.
Analysis: It's rare to see Reigns get destroyed like that, but they made sure to do it in a 2 on 1 setting at first. Then it was just Orton taking advantage of the situation. The beating was very slow. That is Orton's way. Since they did it with all the weapons it could mean they're doing a Street Fight or No Holds Barred match at SummerSlam. Seems likely anyway. By the way, I asked Orton on Twitter if the table has heat with him now. No reply. Shocking.
Back from break, they showed highlights of Orton's slow attack. The announcers argued about it with JBL saying Reigns deserved it.
The gimmick of Layla and Summer Rae accompanying Fandango's opponents continues as they accompany Diego.
Diego w/Layla, Summer Rae & El Torito vs. Fandango
Fandango was ready to hit his finish after about a minute, but then the girls and Torito distracted him. Rollup win by Diego after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Diego
Post match, Torito ran into the groin of Fandango because Vince McMahon thinks that is hilarious.
Analysis: I was hoping this feud of Fandango against the girls was over. It is not.
Backstage, Stephanie went up to the Bella Twins locker room. Nikki walked outside the room to talk to her. She said she'll hear from Brie. Nikki said there's not many times that people like Stephanie eat a plate of crap, but she hopes she likes the taste of it.
Analysis: Who uses lines like that? Nikki Bella and WWE writers. That's who.
There was a backstage segment with Goldust & Stardust. I actually missed it because of a bathroom break, but it was probably like their usual segments. It would be nice if they had matches on this show.
Naomi & Natalya vs. Alicia Fox & Cameron
Running dropkick by Natalya. They were going so fast through spots in this match because you know it's going short. Fox hit a nice Ax Kick on Naomi for two. Cameron did a bodyslam into the corner that looked so gentle, which Cole called "vicious Cameron." Naomi applied some kind of leg scissors around the upper body of Cameron. That led to Cameron tapping out. It went three minutes.
Winners by submission: Naomi & Natalya
Analysis: * It was fine for the time given although it felt rushed like a lot of divas matches are. I really don't care about Naomi vs. Cameron at this point. Saying "vicious Cameron" for a bodyslam was laughable. She looks scared to be aggressive.
The announcers mentioned SummerSlam matches: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho. That's it for official matches although as I've mentioned throughout this review there are others that are obviously being set up.
Chris Jericho made his entrance. Last week he got attacked by Bray Wyatt. Earlier tonight he was attacked by Seth Rollins. Match after the break.
Seth Rollins made his entrance after the break.
Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
This should be good. Two of my favorites. Jericho hit an enziguiri for two. Rollins hit a dropkick to take control. Jericho hit a springboard shoulderblock to knock Rollins outside the ring. That’s usually a dropkick spot, but Rollins wasn't far enough. There's the floor to commercial break that some might say is vintage. They went to break three minutes into the match.
Jericho made a big comeback after the break, but then he fell victim to a neckbreaker variation by Rollins. Nice counter by Rollins as he sent Jericho head first into the middle turnbuckle. To the top, Jericho cut off Rollins and gave him a back body drop off the top. Cross body block by Jericho for two. They kept on exchanging moves with counters. Jericho missed a Lionsault. Rollins gave Jericho a Powerbomb into the corner. He wanted the Curb Stomp, but Jericho moved and rolled him up for two. Rollins fought out of the Walls of Jericho. Rollins with a leaping kick to the head. Jericho hit the Codebreaker. The Wyatt Family symbol showed up on the screen. That ended the match. Rollins was gone. The match went 14 minutes.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: **3/4 It was fun while it lasted. Lack of a finish hurts it of course. It was a very predictable finish too. They had good chemistry even though they haven't worked together much. Good counters. Rollins is one of the best in-ring guys in WWE while Jericho is still damn good. I hope we get this match again soon.
The Wyatt Family attacked Jericho. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan weakened Jericho with punches and kicks. Wyatt hit the Sister Abigail. That was it.
Analysis: Thanks for showing up, Wyatt. We enjoyed seeing you for a minute. Now go away so we can get Stephanie McMahon in the main event segment. Sigh.
Speaking of Stephanie, there she is walking to the ring with Triple H.
Chris Jericho vs. Erick Rowan on Smackdown, which is also known as the show where they recap Stephanie McMahon segments all night. I'm teasing. Maybe.
Stephanie was in the ring saying she was a woman that was humbled. She said her kids are getting teased at camp. They are scarred for life. Some fans cheered. Brie Bella walked to the ring through the crowd and her music played.
Brie said let's just get to the point or is Stephanie going to stand there like a "why rich bitch." Stephanie asked her to drop all charges. Brie wondered why. Stephanie said she didn't deserve it, so Brie said that she did. Stephanie said she'd be nicer to Nikki and would even give her a raise. Brie's demand was simple: "I want my job back." Stephanie said that "one Bella is enough in the WWE." Brie said she'll see her in court. Stephanie said if she agrees to give her the job back then will she drop all charges. Stephanie said "done deal" and that means Brie is back in WWE.
Brie wants a match at SummerSlam. The fans cheered. Stephanie wondered if she wanted a Divas Title shot or a Total Divas spectacular. Brie said the match she wants is against Stephanie. The fans chanted "yes" at it. Stephanie said she hasn't had a match in over ten years and that she's a mother now that's dedicated to her career. Brie said she won't drop the charges unless she gets the match. Stephanie refuses to do it. She was in near tears. Brie said that she will see her in court. Brie was standing on the apron. Stephanie made it clear that if she agrees to the match then Brie drops all charges.
Stephanie: "At SummerSlam…" she was in near tears. Then she slapped Brie: "I'm going to make you my bitch!" That slap knocked Brie off the apron. She came back to attack Steph. They brawled in the ring. Sort of. The women had a catfight. It was broken up by Jamie Noble, Joey Mercury, Finlay and then Triple H too. As Stephanie was getting pulled away she called her a bitch again. There was a "Jamie Noble" chant at the end. I had people at the show telling me that's what it was. I replayed it and that's what I heard.
Analysis: It was a good ending. Stephanie's really good in the heel role. I don't think it warranted so many segments or the main event spot, but her last name is McMahon and they run the company so they can do whatever they want. It's not like we're talking about some main event storyline here. The crowd liked it, but they were also chanting the name of an agent at the end of the night too. Brie did fine with her promo. The match at SummerSlam will have a lot of heat. Should be fun.
Three Stars of the Show
1. John Cena
3. Stephanie McMahon - She's on the show a lot!
7 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2014 Average: 6.29
2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 5.5, 6, 9, 7
It gets a 7 out of 10. Two above average Raw episodes in a row. I approve.
I really enjoyed the first two hours. I thought the first hour was tremendous and felt like it was flying by. That's what happens when you get so many good segments in a row. Most of the second hour was solid. Then there was about 40 minutes there that was really bad. Putting bad segments back to back to back like that is never a good idea. The last 30 minutes were strong.
The main event of SummerSlam was focused on early and barely mentioned later. I know Lesnar's not there, so it's hard to promote it. However, they should have done some 3-4 minute video package showing him beating people up. Just do something to remind us of him.
The SummerSlam card is taking shape. We've got three official matches: Cena vs. Lesnar, Wyatt vs. Jericho and Stephanie vs. Brie. Others that are likely include Reigns vs. Orton, Rollins vs. Ambrose (missed him), Rusev vs. Swagger in a Flag match, AJ Lee vs. Paige and looks like Ziggler vs. Miz. There will be some others too. It's a pretty good lineup. Some of the midcard matches need more TV time.
That's all for me.
Check out my feature column archive that's exclusive to WhatCulture. I write there every day and it's a lot of fun for me. Some recent posts include 10 things WWE wants us to forget about The Rock, the best opening matches at PPVs and a look at the Cena/Lesnar history going back over a decade ago. There are plenty of other things too including news posts by me as well, so check it out now!
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org