Chances are most of you read the spoilers, as RAW was taped from the UK earlier today. If you didn’t, enjoy my coverage below.
I think it is great, how, on the glorious internet, people actually think the show has improved because of Shane McMahon. Remember folks, this show has a creative writing staff, and Shane is just part of the show. A really good show as of late. Notice how a lot of the NXT and indy talent are getting most of the television ring time?
Titus O’Neal gets a community service mention. Yay.
The show kicks off with the first-ever Ambrose Asylum talk segment, spinning out of Ambrose taking over Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel. Shane McMahon, despite losing to the Undertaker at WrestleMania, is still running RAW. Shane and Dean exchange some friendly banter, until Kevin Owens interrupts and runs down Shane, and takes some shots as Sami Zayn. Chris Jericho joins in and also verbally goes at it. After some arguing, Shane books Jericho vs. Ambrose and Owens vs. Zayn at Payback.
Our first match features Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn, and boy, did this shock me. I was very impressed as to how long they went. Great match, Jericho almost looked as good as he did ten years ago. Jericho gets the win after a codebreaker.
Backstage, AJ Styles chats with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The internet explodes.
In the ring, Enzo and Cass cut another awesomely funny promo on their opponents, the Dudley Boyz. In this round of the tag team tournament, Enzo and Big Cass overpower the Dudley Boyz, and move on. I was very surprised to see The Dudleys go down to the newcomers in the first confrontation.
The next segment is fairly textbook, with a surprise at the end. Roman Reigns comes out, crowd boos. He talks, crowd boos more. AJ Styles enters, crowd is happy. Styles promises to win the WWE Championship at Payback. Crowd cheers. Reigns says it is not happening, crowd boos. Styles leaves the ring, and that is when it goes crazy, when Gallows and Anderson attack Reigns, leaving Styles confused. This plays up the “who is going heel mystery” angle.
Sorry, but it doesn’t work for me.
Baron Corbin destroys Fandango. Dolph Ziggler is at ringside, and is bludgeoned by Corbin also. That is all.
Miz and Maryse host MizTV, discussing his upcoming Intercontinental Championship match with Cesaro at WWE Payback. So I guess Zack Ryder is out of the picture. Again. He is interrupted by Cesaro, who gets a HUGE ovation from the UK crowd. Cesaro challenges Miz to a match, but Miz attempts to weasel out. The New Day interrupts and a new match is made, The League of Nations and The Miz vs. Cesaro and The New Day. Fantastic match, Cesaro of course was the MVP, but the New Day pulled off some great spots. Poor Wade Barrett. He would have gotten a big cheer. Team Babyface wins after Cesaro plants Sheamus with the Neutralizer.
Backstage: Charlotte seems to forget about tapping out to Natalya last week. Natalya shows up to remind her of last week, and to inform us all that Bret Hart will be in her corner for the Women’s Championship match at WWE Payback. No Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart? Aww.
Eight-Woman tag match, sees Natalya, Paige, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks defeat Naomi, Tamina, Summer Rae, and Charlotte, when, you guessed it, Charlotte taps out to the Sharpshooter.
Backstage: AJ Styles seems to plead with his Bullet Club friends not to interfere… or is he?
Another promo for Primo and Epico Colon, advertising Puerto Rico. They sound more like an infomercial right now.
In a short but sweet match, The Vaudevillians defeat The Usos to move on the tag team contender tournament. Match was mostly uneventful, save for being reminded over and over how the Usos are injured. In the finals, at WWE Payback, the tournament final is between two NXT teams, the Vaudevillians vs. Enzo and Cass. Yep. Awesome.
We get a video package featuring Apollo Crews. What is this, 1990?
Social Outcasts are in the ring apparently at some point they asked Crews to join. He agrees, if one of them can defeat him tonight. Guess what, they can’t and Adam Rose’s spot remains vacant. Heath Slater is destroyed, finished with a spinning Thunder Bomb. Before Crews can leave the ring, Kevin Owens strolls down. No staredown, but interesting.
Our main event match is a fight between Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose. During the match, we go to commercial break for Edge and Christian’s show, with a clip of Sean Mooney and “Mean” Gene Oakerlund. I marked out for that. Back in the ring, we continue with a solid match. Nice spot with Owens just splattering himself, crushing Ambrose on the arena floor with a Frog Splash. Later on, Ambrose dives off the top turnbuckle to the floor with his flying elbow. Thing gets crazier when Ambrose gets hurled over the announce table, Owen hits a Cannonball while Ambrose is in the Tree of Woe, Ambrose turns Owens inside out with his rebound clothesline, followed by a top rope superplex. Owens fights back with a huge CradlePlex off the top rope. In the end, Owens misses a second cannonball, and is spiked with the Dirty Deeds. Before the show goes off the air, Chris Jericho strikes, rocking Ambrose with the Codebreaker.
Once again, a very good show.