Live from Austin, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1106. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
There was a video package that focused on the Randy Orton attack on Roman Reigns from last week's Raw. It wasn't the main event of the show, but it was one of the big angles.
The Authority made their entrance, which was Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Kane (in ring gear), Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Triple H said this year's SummerSlam could be the biggest card in history while mentioning the $9.99 WWE Network price. He mentioned the matches Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho and you can see it on WWE Network for just $9.99. That's not all because Seth Rollins will face the unstable Dean Ambrose and you can see it on WWE Network for just $9.99. Hunter said there would be a Beat The Clock challenge with Rollins & Ambrose with the winner allowed to name the stipulation for their match. Ambrose will face Alberto Del Rio while Rollins will face Rob Van Dam.
As soon as Stephanie McMahon spoke the fans booed and she said she was wearing cowboy boots since they were in Texas. She put over her SummerSlam match against Brie Bella, which led to HHH saying it was on WWE Network for just $9.99 (the crowd chanted along with it). Stephanie said she'd slap Brie so hard she'll wind up in a hospitable bed with Daniel Bryan.
Hunter talked about Brock Lesnar challenging the 15 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at SummerSlam and remember you can catch every moment of that spectacular match on WWE for only $9.99. Hunter said there's more and handed the microphone to Randy Orton.
Orton said that he guarantees us that he'll methodically decimate Roman Reigns. He said what he did to Reigns last week was only a taste. Before he could say more, Roman's music started up and he appeared in the crowd.
Reigns said that he took everything the Viper had last week and he's still standing right here. Reigns said he'd come down to the ring to beat the Viper's ass for free tonight. Hunter told Orton he had Reigns at SummerSlam. Tonight it's Reigns taking on Kane and Hunter expects to see a demon tonight. It's Reigns vs. Kane in a Last Man Standing Match up next.
Analysis: Maybe if WWE pushed WWE Network that hard six months ago they would have had more people sign up. Hunter's promo was solid although it really didn't do much other than set up things for SummerSlam as well as later in the night. Stephanie got the most heat out of anybody. The crowd was solidly behind Reigns, so that was a good sign. It was a 10 minute promo segment.
Last Man Standing: Roman Reigns vs. Kane
Reigns was in control early on by sending Kane into the steps and then nailing him with a leaping punch to the face. Kane sent Reigns shoulder first into the steps. Reigns ended up tossing Kane shoulder first into the barricade, which led to a count of six. Kane threw Reigns into the barricade for a five count. Kane picked up a kendo stick and he smashed Reigns with it a few times. Steel steps by Kane to the head of Reigns, but Reigns was up at seven. They went to break after Reigns tossed Kane over the barricade. It was five minutes into the match.
There was steel chair wedged between the top/middle rope so Reigns tossed Kane into it and both guys were down for a count of seven. Reigns hit some punches and then hit the running dropkick that he does while his opponent is on the apron. Reigns sent Kane into the steel steps that were set up in the aisle. Reigns brought a table out from under the ring, but he took so long that Kane attacked him from behind. Kane set up the table in the ring. Reigns hit him with a Samoan Drop. Reigns was bleeding a bit right under his hair. Not a blade job. Just from one of the shots to the head. Kane caught Reigns when he was trying to do a Superman Punch. Chokeslam by Kane through the table and Reigns was back up right before the ten count. Reigns came back with a DDT on a steel chair. Superman Punch by Reigns. Cole & JBL were mad at ref Mike Chioda for not counting. Kane wanted another Chokeslam, but Reigns fought out of it. Reigns ran the ropes and hit a Spear. Kane couldn't get back up before 10, so Reigns wins. It went 16 minutes.
Winner by Last Man Standing: Roman Reigns
Analysis: **1/2 It was a good match, but nothing out of the ordinary for a match with those stipulations. Using the weapons made the match better because these two going nearly 20 minutes wouldn't have been pretty. It's smart to put Reigns in a match like that because it allows him to show off his power and hit some big spots before the finish. Obviously Reigns was winning. Kane was just there to put over the younger guy in a competitive match.
The "Beat The Clock" matches are coming up later. Up next is a preview of Cena vs. Lesnar.
There was a video package about Brock Lesnar. He spoke while video clips showed his highlights. "Who is Brock Lesnar? I'm an ass kicking son of a bitch!" He talked about how he came back to the company because he wants to be WWE Champion again. All he cares about is making his opponent feel his pain. He said he wants to hurt people. Lesnar talked about how he's coming off the biggest win of his career after beating The Undertaker. He said he knew he was going to beat The Undertaker. Brock said it wasn't rocket science and it's not like Undertaker is some mythical figure.
John Cena spoke about how he would rather not talk about himself or his success. He said he's fortunate to be where he's at. He looks at what is in front of him and sees Brock Lesnar. Cena said that Lesnar is the most gifted athlete he's ever seen. Cena put over his mean streak. The good news is he's been in the ring with him.
Lesnar said he's going to rip Cena from limb to limb and it's going to be ugly. Cena said he knows he's in for the beating of a lifetime, but he knows what it takes to beat him. Cena said "come get some" four times in the video. Cena said he wants to beat the one, referring to The Streak.
Lesnar said that if he didn't leave WWE then Cena wouldn't be anything. Cena pointed out that Lesnar fought in UFC once in a while and he's doing the same thing in WWE where he fights every once in a while. Cena said "12 years, every show all the time." Not lately! But it's a good point.
There were a lot of good clips of their history. Lesnar ended it by saying he was going to leave Cena in a pile of blood, urine and vomit.
Analysis: That was amazing. Wow. It really was an awesome promo hyping that Cena/Lesnar match. WWE needs to post that all over the place. Both guys had some really good lines in it too. Those kinds of promos are great for Lesnar matches because when he talks about hurting people that's what we want to see from him. Cena did a good job of speaking for himself too. Amazing sell job.
The announcers plugged WWE Network again. Later on Raw it's Chris Jericho against Luke Harper.
Damien Sandow entered the ring to the Oklahoma Sooners theme song (think Jim Ross) and in a football helmet because the people of Texas don't like Oklahoma football. Sandow did a promo ripping on Texas. It's a big rivalry. Mark Henry received a big entrance in his home state and he entered the ring in a Texas shirt.
Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow
Henry hit a clothesline. He picked up Sandow and hit the World's Strongest Slam easily in a victory that lasted just one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Mark Henry
Analysis: Sandow continues to be the worst booked performer on Raw. Henry looked good in his return after being out for a few months.
Post match, Henry celebrated. He shook hands with former Texas football star Vince Young, who had brief success in the NFL, sitting ringside with what looked to be his son. The announcers didn't say Young's name.
There was a backstage segment with Adam Rose staring into a mirror. When he did, there was another image of Rose standing in a suit. Then he shook his head and he was back to being himself. He told the Rosebuds that the guy was a lemon. Then they left.
Analysis: I have no idea although I was told it was done for a movie, so maybe there's more to come. I can't say I care too much.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance for his match, which begins after the break. It's the end of hour one.
Hulk Hogan is hosting Raw next week. It's his birthday. He might say "brother" more than WWE plugs the WWE Network.
Beat The Clock: Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ambrose was aggressive early, but Del Rio took control. They did a sloppy spot that looked like a suplex except it was more like an aggressive takeover. Ambrose still had his left shoulder taped up. Del Rio tossed Ambrose into the barricade. Back in the ring, Del Rio hit a punch off the top rope. Clothesline by Del Rio. Del Rio sent Ambrose shoulder first into the steel ring post. Backstage outside the ring, Ambrose sent Del Rio into the barricade. Back in the ring, Ambrose applied an armbar. The clock was over six minutes as Ambrose tried to wear down Del Rio some more. Del Rio slammed Ambrose down hard and then kicked him hard. Ambrose rolled to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial break.
The clock reached the 11 minute mark as Del Rio hit a DDT in the middle of the ring. Del Rio missed a kick by the ring post and his foot hit the post. Ambrose took out Del Rio with a dive between the top/middle ropes. Ambrose hit a missile dropkick off the top rope. Del Rio missed a kick, so Ambrose hit an impressive Tornado DDT for a two count. The clock is at 13 minutes. Del Rio gave Ambrose a reverse suplex off the top. He usually does that spot with Ziggler and it looks smoother. Ambrose kicked out at two. The guy receiving the move is basically doing a moonsault bump. Ambrose got a rollup at two and hit a clothesline for two. Del Rio applied an armbreaker against the ropes. Del Rio did his stupid "Destiny" yell and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds finisher with his good right arm for the win at 15:42.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose (15:42 Beat The Clock time)
Analysis: *** It was a competitive match although nobody really thought Del Rio was going to win. Ambrose did a nice job of selling the shoulder injury throughout. That's one of the longest Beat The Clock matches they've ever done. Usually they end a lot quicker than that. It's a three hour show and there's only two guys in the challenge, so that's why it got more time.
Replay of Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella main event angle from last week. I'm actually surprised it took so long to get to this replay.
Rusev and the ravishing Russian Lana made their way down to the ring for a match, which begins after a break.
Rusev vs. Sin Cara
The Rusev match actually happened during the break with Rusev beating Sin Cara in under a minute.
Winner by pinfall: Rusev
Analysis: That's WWE's way of telling people to get the WWE App and watch it during the show. It's stupid on their part. We are watching a TV show. Put the finishes on TV.
After the "match" there was a promo by Lana and Rusev. She mentioned a photo that a Russian government official posted on Twitter about Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. Then Lana sang "happy birthday" to Barack Obama in Russian. The fans booed.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter interrupted them with an American flag in Swagger's hand. Rusev held a Russian flag since they're in a Flag Match at SummerSlam.
Colter told her that he was sick of her voice. That's why he thinks Russians drink a lot of vodka because of her voice. He said he's sick of Putin, Russian and "Rusev crush." He told them they had no idea what was going to happen at SummerSlam because Swagger is going to fight for the 50 stars and 13 bars. Colter wanted to show her who Swagger is fighting for. There were pics of people doing jobs like a construction worker, a nurse and the men in uniform. Zeb said at SummerSlam the last thing they will see is old glory (the flag) waving. Colter led everybody in the arena to utter the catchphrase: "We The People!" Loud "USA" chants after that.
Rusev attacked Swagger using the flag. He hit Swagger in the stomach with it. Rusev used the flag pole to run at Swagger, hit him in the throat and send him flying over the top rope to the floor. Colter was trapped in the ring with the flag in his hand. Rusev taunted him. Lana held Rusev off and mockingly said "we the people" at Colter.
Analysis: It wasn't as good as some of their better segments, but they did a solid job of getting their point across. Nothing wrong with it. Swagger is probably getting the win at SummerSlam because in a Flag Match there are no pinfalls. It's just about retrieving the flag. Rusev can lose in a match like that and still look strong.
Jericho vs. Harper is up later.
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 August 3, 2009 edition. I post the original version and I also add in comments. Five years ago it was Jeremy Piven saying "Summerfest" instead of saying SummerSlam and it was one of the worst Raw episodes ever. Read it because some of my rants in there are pretty epic.
The WWE Network is launching in 170 countries, including my country of Canada, on August 12. JBL added that the United Kingdom is getting it on October 1.
Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler
No televised entrances for them. The Miz is on commentary since he's defending the IC Title against Ziggler. Cesaro was in control at the start. Cesaro looked to nail a delayed suplex, but Ziggler slipped out and hit the Zig Zag for the win. They got about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: 1/2* Two of the best in-ring performers in the company...and they get two minutes? What the hell? Brutal. Cesaro has really fallen off. Maybe there's a plan for him in the future, but right now he has been completely buried.
Post match, Miz went into the ring and held up the IC Title in the face of Ziggler. When Ziggler went for a kick to the face, Miz dropped down to avoid it.
Analysis: That whole segment felt rushed. This angle is disappointing.
There was a video about Paige attacking AJ Lee on Smackdown, so AJ is not on Raw. Paige did an interview saying she wishes her "best friend" well and that was it.
Analysis: That Divas Title match is on for SummerSlam. It should be better than it was at Battleground now that Paige is fully a heel.
Stardust & Goldust up next.
Ryback & Curtis Axel vs. Goldust & Stardust
They have done this match so many times. Goldust got worked on in the corner like usual. Stardust received the hot tag and the crowd barely reacted to it although his cartwheel got a mild reaction. DDT by Stardust for two. Stardust hit the Dark Matter finishing move for the win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Goldust & Stardust
Post match, the dust brothers celebrated in their unique way.
Analysis: * A short match that wasn't fresh or new.
Kane walked into the office of The Authority with Hunter and Stephanie in there. He took off the Kane mask and left. We didn't see his face as Stephanie held it up.
Analysis: Maybe he's due for his face turn since he seems to turn every year. No idea.
Jericho vs. Harper after the break.
There was a replay of Kane handing over his mask to Stephanie. I had some people on Twitter saying maybe they are taking off the mask because See No Evil 2 is out soon so they want his face to be visible. Makes sense.
There were highlights of Jericho beating Rowan on Smackdown meaning Rowan can't be at ringside at SummerSlam.
Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper w/Erick Rowan
No Bray Wyatt at ringside. Harper was in control, but Jericho came back with an enziguiri. Harper hit a sitout slam. The crowd was so dead that Jericho had to yell "c'mon baby" a few times. Harper hit a stiff sitout Powerbomb for two. Jericho came back with a rollup. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Harper. It looked like he was going to tap out. The Wyatt logo appeared on the screen. Bray Wyatt made his way down to ringside. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Rowan. Then he hit a Codebreaker on Harper. Wyatt went into the ring and punched Jericho in the throat for the DQ finish after six minutes.
Winner by DQ: Chris Jericho
The Jericho win means Wyatt won't have Harper or Rowan at ringside at SummerSlam. Post match, Wyatt hit Jericho with the Sister Abigail. He posed over top of Jericho and yelled out "follow the buzzards."
Analysis: *1/2 Having a short match is disappointing. I also hate the music interrupting the match, but it seems like a weekly thing that I'm getting tired of complaining about. The feud could have used a promo battle between them. We've seen enough physical altercations by now. I want to hear from them.
They advertised the contract signing for Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella, which is going to main event Raw. It's the second week in a row for that feud in the main event spot.
AJ Lee returns on WWE Main Event on Tuesday. "The return of AJ Lee." Return from what? Missing one show. It's not a big deal.
Diego entered with El Torito, Layla and Summer Rae for a match with Fandango. When Fandango's music hit he had a new dance partner that was Hornswoggle. This is so bad.
Diego vs. Fandango
Hornswoggle jumped on the apron to distract, so Fandango accidentally knocked him off the apron. Diego hit the Backstabber on Fandango for the win in less than a minute.
Winner by pinfall: Diego
Post match, the girls brought in Hornswoggle and he danced with the others. Fandango threw him down. Diego threw Fandango into the turnbuckle and Torito it a top rope attack on Fandango.
Analysis: This is so bad. Why even do a segment like that? It's not even entertaining or promoting anything. The crowd was dead for it. Give Ziggler and Cesaro more time instead.
Randy Orton was interviewed by the lovely Renee Young, but first a video from last week when Orton beat up Roman Reigns. Orton said at SummerSlam he's going to prove he's going to strike any time and any where. He said Reigns better keep his head on a swivel because Orton might kick it off at any time.
Analysis: Just a basic promo that didn't say much.
Bo Dallas made his entrance.
There were replays of Dallas losing to Truth last week.
Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth
Truth was really aggressive early on. Dallas was able to roll up Truth and he grabbed his tights for the win. It went two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bo Dallas
Post match, Bo celebrated the will like it was a big deal. Truth threw him into the barricade twice. Bo came back by shoving Truth into the steel steps and then he gave Truth the Running Bodog outside the ring by using the steps to push off them.
Analysis: It was stupid to have Bo lose last week. He was very entertaining as the undefeated guy with a big ego. I know they did it to give him more of an edge, but it was more fun when he was undefeated.
Another reminder of the contract signing main event.
The announcers plugged WWE Network again by mentioning the $9.99 price repeatedly like they have all night.
Bray Wyatt did a promo alone backstage talking about how he's alone. He said he's a nightmare at the end of Chris Jericho's dreams. He started singing "he's got the whole world in his hands" and the video focused on his hands, which he closed to make fists.
Analysis: That was solid. Like I said earlier what they needed a face to face promo this week.
Following Raw on WWE Network they're going to show Cena vs. Lesnar from Extreme Rules 2012. You could also just find it yourself pretty easily.
The same Cena/Lesnar video from earlier in the show aired again.
Analysis: I'm okay with them airing this again because it was awesome. Plus, it allowed me to write my final thoughts early, so I appreciate that.
Rob Van Dam entered for the match against Seth Rollins.
It's time for the Beat The Clock challenge. The time to beat is 15:42 for Seth Rollins.
Ring announcer Justin Roberts said that RVD was not going to beat Seth's opponent. Instead it will be Heath Slater who still has the "we're a three man band" line at the start of his song. They are pushing the idea that The Authority is making things easier for Rollins.
Beat the Clock: Seth Rollins vs. Heath Slater
Rollins suggested Slater walk away, but Slater fought back. Dean Ambrose showed up at ringside. Rollins missed a corner splash. Slater hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Ambrose grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase of Rollins. Ambrose opened it up and he pulled out the contract. Ambrose ripped it up. Rollins was yelling at him. When Rollins turned around, Slater nailed him with a jumping side kick for two. Ambrose grabbed a drink from a fan. He dumped the beverage (looked like Coke) into the briefcase. JBL said they were filming a crime scene. Ambrose grabbed some popcorn from another fan. Ambrose dumped the popcorn into the briefcase. Ambrose took JBL's hat and put it in the briefcase along with the soda and popcorn. Rollins kept looking over at Ambrose. Slater rolled up Rollins for the win after about five minutes. The crowd cheered.
Winner by pinfall: Heath Slater
Post match, Ambrose just left. Rollins retrieved his briefcase and left angrily. I guess we'll find out their SummerSlam stipulation at a later date.
Analysis: * Nobody seemed to care about the match. The angle was entertaining in the sense that Ambrose had fun out there, but if The Authority really wanted to make things fair for Rollins why would they let Ambrose out there to interfere in the match? It seems like a major logic hole to me. As for the Slater win, it was booked like a total fluke.
Main event contract signing for a midcard match is up next.
This week on Smackdown we'll learn about what stipulation that Dean Ambrose has chosen for his match with Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.
There was a preview of Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012 that is airing on WWE Network after Raw. It was great. Loved that match. Hated that Cena won.
Contract Signing For Stephanie McMahon & Brie Bella
The ring was set up with chairs and a table. Stephanie McMahon had Triple H with her. I noticed that "who cares" sign in the background. Michael Cole was also in the ring. Brie Bella entered with Nikki and both of the Bellas have their own shirts. Hunter mentioned the price of WWE Network again (it's $9.99 per month) and the crowd chanted it with him. Hunter said he had Cole there to officiate the signing since he was there to support his wife.
Stephanie wondered where Brie's puny husband Daniel Bryan was. Fans chanted "yes" for him. Brie set up the video of Stephanie getting arrested. Her trash talk was weak as she made fun of Steph's cell mate that had no reaction at all. The crowd died. Brie said that she was going to prove that Stephanie was a fraud, failure and embarrassment to the McMahon family. It's not just for her, Nikki, Bryan, Vickie Guerrero, Big Show, Rhodes Family and for every other person that Stephanie has tortured week after week. Loud "CM Punk" chants. Oops. That was awkward for WWE. Brie signed it and kept on talking as the crowd barely reacted to her.
Stephanie talked about how she was a 4th generation star while Brie was a wannabe reality star. Steph called Brie a selfish shell of a woman. Steph said she was embarrassed to be in the same ring as Brie and she's going to put an end to Brie's attempt to make history. Steph signed the contract and said she was going to tear Brie's heart out. Stephanie knocked down Nikki. Hunter shoved the table into the corner so Brie was trapped up against it. Steph hit Nikki with a Pedigree.
Brie slapped Hunter. Steph knocked her down and hit a Pedigree on Brie in the middle of the ring. Steph gave Hunter a big kiss. They posed together in the ring. Raw ended with Stephanie doing the "yes" celebration at 11:12pmET.
Analysis: It was just an average segment. Last week was better, that's for sure. Brie's promo really fell flat and when she tried to talk trash the crowd barely reacted to it. Stephanie did a good job when she fired back, but that's no surprise because lately she has been such an awesome heel. It was good to see them with some physical interaction. Stephanie's Pedigree was executed the right way.
The question is does this match really deserve the main event slot of Raw two weeks in a row? No. I don't think so. It's a midcard match. We know that Cena and Lesnar weren't there, so they had to go with something else. It would have been better if it was something having to do with the Reigns/Orton storyline. Maybe a tag match with them involving another feud. This ending just wasn't strong enough.
Three Stars of the Show
1. That Lesnar/Cena video package
2. Dean Ambrose
3. Heath Slater - Why not? Nothing else stood out.
4 out of 10
2014 Average: 6.22
2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)
2014 Low: 3.5 (June 2)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 7.5, 5.5, 6, 9
It gets a 4 out of 10.
This show was well below average. I was bored for a lot of it. There were so many segments that were absolutely pointless and made me want to turn the channel if I wasn't writing about it. There wasn't anything that was "must see TV" at all.
The lineup for SummerSlam is good and I think the PPV will do well. It's just that this show did nothing to get me excited about it. It was very disappointing.
Next week should be much better with Brock Lesnar and John Cena there. It can't be much worse.
One other thing WWE: If you want to plug the WWE Network price all night long you should probably do it when the show is better than this one. Just a tip.
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 a look at why Sting is WCW's greatest star ever, a look back at SummerSlam 2002 and a look at WWE stars in their 40s. 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