The Most OUTTA NOWHERE RKO in RKO History
I love the RKO. It’s my favorite finishing move in wrestling. It’s quick, deadly, compact and casts an awesome silhouette. Naturally, our current Vine-driven RKO renaissance has made me very happy, because if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the WWE will do anything it can to cash in on organic momentum. That means we get a segment in which Seth Rollins is working his trademark, best-of-brand smugness, and Randy, finally fed-up with the nonsense, peels his way past Triple H and RKOs Seth into the next galaxy. It was sick, easily one of the coolest things they’ve done on Raw in months. A perfect character piece, building Orton’s inevitable face-turn and consummating the people’s aching urge to see someone definitively pierce through Rollins’ poofy tough-talk. Does it make me a little bit sad that this will probably mean the end of Randy on Cena’s squad at Survivor Series? Well, sure, but I’ll remember that RKO for a long time.
Heel Henry Has Arrived, and We Barely Care
As soon as it was announced that the Dust Brothers would be defending their tag-titles against Big Show and Mark Henry, you knew that we were either going to see the debut of heel Henry or at least another tease of heel Henry. We got the former, as Mark threw a hissy fit about a “hard tag” and took out his aggression by World’s Strongest Slamming Big Show, like, four times, eventually just tossing an unconscious Stardust on top of Show’s body for the cover.
It was… fine. Neither of these guys are in their primes and the turn had that sudden, awkward, “TUNE INTO SMACKDOWN TO HEAR MARK HENRY EXPLAIN HIMSELF” vibe. But hey! I’ll watch another Henry/Show fight, those are usually pretty fun! The match itself isn’t great, but you can probably chalk that up to these two being so old and fragile they more or less neutralize the athleticism of a team like the Dusties, so it’s good they’re being booked to hoss it out on their own terms.
I am a little bummed at the safeness of it all. If creative did something really ballsy, like maybe throw Henry in as Rusev’s Soviet brother from another mother, that’d be pretty awesome. It could’ve gone horribly wrong, but at least we’d be engaged, and when the roster is depleted like this, you’ve gotta take some risks. Otherwise people who aren’t contractually obliged to write a Raw recap every week might stop watching!
And Now, another Exclusive Interview with Roman Reigns
Michael Cole: “How you feeling Roman?”
Roman Reigns: “Roman feel good.”
Michael Cole: “Crazy match we had last night, huh?”
Roman Reigns: “Roman smash.”
Michael Cole: “All right, well, good talking to you.”
“Roman Reigns: “Believe that.”
For real though, get well soon Roman. I actually sort of miss you and your four moves.
Can’t Wait To Watch Paige on E!
Alicia Fox wrestled A.J. Lee again because the writing room has absolutely no idea what to do with this feud in the PG era. It was fine. There was a distraction finish. Whatever.
But! Paige was on commentary, and Paige has gotten so great on the mic! She’s confident! She’s sassy! She’s funny! She can keep up with JBL’s babbling nonsense! It’s wonderful! During her first few months on the mainstage, Paige could not have looked more uncomfortable when she was, and it truly is heartwarming to see how much she’s grown in such a short time. I imagine a lot of this has to do with her upcoming introduction on Total Divas, which may mean she won’t be seeing the belt for quite some time, and I barely care. She’s a legit example of NXT working. People forget that training for the WWE has just as much to do with wrestling chops as it does with legit acting ability, and Paige has climbed both mountains. She Made It, and she should be very proud.
John Cena, Fan of Your Sports Team
Cena gets too much hate. He’s doing the job he’s paid to do, and he’s self-aware enough to understand why fans don’t like him. Every wrestler on the roster is capable of generating Cena heat, but it’s been his era long enough that the basic mechanics of the wrestling industry come off as his own prerogative. If you separate yourself from that, you’ll find a man who wrestles like a banshee and is secretly amazing at playing the internet’s bad guy. Let’s be real, your Mondays would be a lot less interesting if you didn’t have Cena to hate.
That being said, there are still some things that are totally unforgivable. For instance, it’s INFURIATIING the way Cena struts out to the ring in San Antonio to IMMEDIATELY put over the Spurs. John Cena loves every single sports team as long as the crowd loves that sports team.
If you cheer when John Cena shouts out your hometown squad, you are the least discerning human possible. You are, quintessentially, falling for it. This is the sort of cheap pop desperation you’d expect out of, I don’t know, Adam Rose. What do you really have to gain here, Cena? You’re the most popular wrestler in the universe. You don’t need the Spurs to be over.
That being said, Stephanie did come out and call Cena out on being a fair-weather carney who’s so desperate to be loved he’ll shift allegiances by the zip code, and that was pretty great. His response was basically “YEAH WELL, I LOVE PANDERING TO THESE PEOPLE,” which is hilarious and tragically true. Eventually Triple H came out and put on his grave, gravelly voice to tell Cena that he needs to join The Authority if he wants to preserve his future, which just… doesn’t make any sense? Like, Cena will still have to wrestle and get beat up if he’s in The Authority, and the dude’s only 37. Meanwhile guys like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Lawler, Goldust, and even Triple H have all had WrestleMania matches this millennium. If Trips came out and said “these people are burnt out on your lameness, give them what they want and be evil” that’d be a lot more interesting, but that’s an angle that’s best used to hype a Brock Lesnar encounter, not some stopgap Survivor Series main event.
I’m an internet wrestling fan, so I’m always interested when the premise of a Cena heel turn makes it onto the show, but only if it actually makes sense. This just came off as intrigue for the sake of intrigue.
Jobber Bo Makes Me Sad
It was good to see Ryback again, and I’m surprised how over DA BIG GUY is after toiling in Rybaxel for far too long. The “FEED ME MORE” chants were great, and I really think this dude needs to be at the top of the card again soon.
That being said, couldn’t you just get Heath Slater to job out? The match made sense, the eternally optimistic Bo Dallas issues an open challenge backstage and is completely blindsided by a resurgent Ryback, but Dallas was called up from NXT not even six months ago. Why call someone up just to have him do jobs? I know it’s part of the business, but last I checked Zack Ryder was still under contract. I’m pretty sure a guy as interesting as Bo would rather be getting some actual match-time back in Florida than jobbing out on the main stage. Use your talent wisely, that’s all I ask.
In case you missed it, Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view ended with a returning Bray Wyatt teleporting himself into the ring via some fog-machine mysticism. He broke up the Ambrose/Rollins match, and let the heel go over.
Again, this was the end of the show.
So on Raw the feud gets some final-hour time, but it’s not exactly the most vital stuff. Ambrose is supposed to fight Cesaro, but instead he climbs into the ring, demands Wyatt show himself, and begins to beat his would-be opponent to death with the microphone. Bray eventually appears by way of pre-taped promo package and talks about how he and Ambrose are cut from the same deranged cloth. It was good! Really good, in fact. Bray has lost none of his poetry, and unlike his Jericho feud, the plot-points were pretty easy to follow. He makes reference to some of the impending darkness he’s got in store for his new subject, but that’s about it. We go to commercial and come back to a Bella match. I can’t complain, but it is a little strange that the hottest feud coming out of the PPV was left to thrive in a pretty brief segment. I’m sure this will be immediately iterated on, because after all, we’ve got a whole month of hype ahead of us.
This Is Your Requisite Bellas Update
Now that Brie is Nikki’s “personal assistant,” she’s forcing her to interfere in matches so her evil sister can win. This is good, because it gives a feud that lacked some concrete motivation an obvious distinction of heel and face. They’re showing, not telling. Progress!
DOLPH ZIGGLER PUSH ALERT!
So John Cena is leading his own team of chuckleheads into war at the next PPV. Who’s the person he recruits? Dolph Ziggler, of course!
This is kind of a big deal! Ziggler has been in mid-card hell for months, but getting injected into a feud with The Authority feels like a long-overdue vote of confidence. And why not? Behind Ambrose and Cena, he’s probably the biggest babyface in the company, and having him beat Kane certainly feels like a step in that direction. It got me excited at least; I love Ziggler, and I’d love to watch him wrestle with some high stakes.
Even Michael Cole is Tired of Interference Finishes
Seth Rollins and John Cena was outstanding. Easily the best free match I’ve seen this month, and arguably better than almost everything on the Hell in a Cell card. They go at it. Cena eats an INCREDIBLE DDT to the forehead, the curbstomp is gorgeously countered into the STF, there’s a mind-boggling, flat-faced suplex thing that I still can’t process - it was just a great, great heavy-impact wrestling match. If you somehow don’t believe that Seth Rollins is capital-R Ready, I strongly suggest you go back and watch this.
However, it’s cut short when Kane shows up and interferes with Cena’s submission hold, causing a disqualification. And you know what? Michael Cole doesn’t say “OH CENA HAD HIM WHAT A TRAVESTY,” he doesn’t do that “THE REF IS FORCED TO RING THE BELL” thing, he just kinda sighs and says “oh, that interrupted a great match.” MICHAEL COLE, THE ULTIMATE COMPANY SHILL, WAS ACTUALLY DISAPPOINTED HE DIDN’T GET TO WATCH MORE OF THE FANTASTIC WRESTLING. When you’ve alienated the robot who wasn’t programmed to say “no,” you’ve officially jumped the shark.
Cena/Rollins though. Wow. I can’t wait until that gets 30 minutes at Mania.