In a super anticlimactic move at Payback, Vince McMahon’s decision for Raw was yet another indecision. His cavalier attitude of “You figure it out” is so far-fetched that’s insulting to think anyone would be ridiculous enough to say, “Here’s my multimillion dollar business, children. You figure out how best to run it.” It’s funny to think that maybe Vince is as tired of this storyline as we are.
Stephanie McMahon started off the show being greeted by a chorus of boos from the St Louis crowd. Steph talked about making things work with her brother Shane who joined her shortly. In a touching moment Steph gave her brother a peace offering, the picture of Shane and Vince that Vince destroyed before WrestleMania. It was a move that should have softened some hearts but made most people want to stone Stephanie. Everything she does creates heat. She’s a master. Or a mistress if she’s wearing that leather number from Mania. The siblings made a pact to try and make the arrangement work.
Kevin Owens wormed his way into the opening segment again. Once again he appealed to management regarding his IC Title rematch. As is the custom for in-ring interviews, interruptions are inevitable. Fast forward to the Miz and Cesaro being on the scene and the McMahon setting up another match with Cesaro and Kevin Owens. Miz and Maryse sat in on the commentary and I would have loved to have been able to hear more of Maryse. What an opening bout! I’m starting to really anticipate the Bullfrog Splash off the apron. Yet again, we got teased with the Giant Swing before the Miz broke it up. A huge brawl broke out and Sami Zayn joined the fray. In the end, the King of Ole stood tall holding the Intercontinental Title high above his head.
So let’s stop acting like the Intercontinental Championship will not be decided in yet another fatal fourway. It seems like the IC Belt is the title for mayhem. I’m waiting for the day where Shane or Steph just stand up on a ladder while 20 guys stand in the ring. Then they just cast the belt off the ladder and yell, “SCRAMBLE” like we used to do with Now N Laters. It’s kind of lazy to just have the title picture be in constant turmoil. I get that it gives the midcard a chance to optimize all the talent in minimal matches. But we just had a seven man ladder match at Mania. And Owens won his second IC reign in a fatal fourway before that. It’s to the point where the Intercontinental Title may as well become the new Hardcore title. Heeey, wait a minute!
Blood vs The Club
In a very straight forward, face-to-face locker room promo, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns confronted the now nameless Bullet Club with his cousins, the Usos. The macho chest bumping was short-lived and the action was saved for the main event.
The match was mighty fine as everybody was able to get some good work in. While I wasn’t wild about having the Champion and the Number one contender starting of a tag match but whatever. They played up the angle of everyone taking this rivalry personal, which ramped up the heat, which made for more violence. Roman actually took the pinfall from AJ which makes Styles look legit as a threat to Reigns’s title. After the match, Gallows and Anderson tempt Styles with the steel chair to put an exclamation point on the win. But AJ resisted. The Usos picked up the forsaken chair and used it on the members of Bullet Club. AJ took the chair and used it on the Usos, what with turnabout being fair play. But Roman was asleep during the part where Jimmy and Jey were swinging steel. So in typical Three’s Company confusion, Reigns flew off the handle and tried murder a table with AJ’s body.
Insert the aforementioned hope of a heelturn by Roman Reigns. Full heel. “Badass” babyface ain’t gonna cut it.
Big Cass and The New Day vs The Dudleys and The Vaudevillains
In probably the most entertaining segment-surprise, surprise- the New Day made their way to the ring to discuss Xavier’s failed attempt to lure Beyonce to slide in his DMs and the state of the tag team division. As with any match, if one contestant can not continue the match due to injury, they forfeit the victory. While Enzo Amore’s injury was extremely anti-climactic, rules is rules, safety first, etc. The Vaudevillains came out to confront the W. W. E. Tag. Team. Champioooooooooons. and crack wise about Enzo’s injury calling him the realest guy in the emergency room. It was a totally crass and villainous thing to say. Because, Vaudevillains. The Dudleys were totally out of place demanding a restart to the entire tournament causing me to suck my teeth and yell, “Go home grandpas, you’re drunk!” Big Cass came out and cut an emotional promo on the Villains, saying they hurt Enzo, his family. Every week Colin Cassidy only has gets to spell S-A-W-F-T, but Enzo’s concussion could be a blessing in disguise to the big fella. He came out as hot as he should have and stormed the ring.
Typical four on four tag match. Lots of action and high spots towards the end. Xavier Woods landed a pretty stiff forearm in the match fueled by the revenge of all the nerds. Kofi intercepted Bubba Ray with a cross-body off the top rope to break up a Dudley Death Drop. Big Cass snatched D-Von into the East River Crossing for the 1-2-3. It was an emotional win, because even though The New Day was out there with him, Colin Cassidy still appeared to be flying solo. He could have been a “Q” without a “U”, but he totally hold it down without Enzo Amore who will hopefully make a speedy recovery.
So You Want to Be the US Champion
Speaking of title turmoil, the number one contendership to the US Title is up in the air, especially with Ryback being sent home for what is believed to be a contract dispute. Sunday on the Payback pre-show, he Girls pressed US champ Kalisto of the middle rope, but ended up getting pinned shortly thereafter. That’s a weird thing to no-sell. But OK. Anyway, an over the top rope battle royal was held to decide who would face the invincible Kalisto next. The US champ sat ringside in a suit looking as sharp as a deacon. The match also furthered the rivalry of Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. But the big takeaways were the League of Nations is finished, Zack Ryder must always lose and Rusev is your number one contender to the title that creative forgot.
Maybe some of the guys vying for the IC Title could make a move over to the US division. Cats is hungry in these squared circle streets.
It’s Natty, Miss Neidhart If You’re Nasty
Natalia interrupted a Charlotte promo that was essentially going nowhere after Charles Robinson embarrassed himself. Natty mentioned to the champ that their rematch would be a submission match and dropped Bret Hart’s old catch phrase, which for some reason enraged Charlotte. Before the Women’s Champion could launch an attack, Natalya countered with a good old fashioned forearm, sending her to the floor. She stepped to Ric Flair, who started taking off his coat, rings and Rolex, because the Nature Boy is not above putting hands on a woman who thinks she can knuckle up to him. He must be a little out of practice because after a good slap in the face, Naitch hit the deck. Then Natalya hooked him into the Sharpshooter. Charlotte pulled her pops out the ring and they made a hasty exit.
I still doubt Natalya will win the title at Extreme Rules. I don’t think anybody’s ever won anything at Extreme Rules though. I don’t have the data right in front of me at the time. But it’s a real shame. I don’t think anyone has stayed down like Natalya. After having so much time where creative told her they just didn’t have anything for her. For a while, the Diva’s Title was a hot potato and no one passed it to Nat-Nat. But this new Women’s Title is befitting a woman of the Hart lineage. Shout out to Naitch for taking the Sharpshooter at this age with his history of back issues. I imagine there were some nights when the first ramp to Space Mountain started out a lot like that.
Stephanie McMahon went on the Ambrose Asylum and allowed Dean Ambrose to ask anything he wanted. Taking advantage and being the new age Roddy Piper, he had to stir the pot. He kept digging at Stephanie about how Shane went away for so long while she stayed in the WWE and held down the fort. He brought up how she made all the sacrifices and all the board meetings and charity appearances, while Shane followed his every whim. Now they have the same amount of control over the flagship program of the company. In a fit of vengeance, Stephanie cancelled the Ambrose Asylum and reinstated the Highlight Reel. Of course, as every episode of Ambrose Asylum does, this lead to violence between Ambrose and the host of the Highlight Reel, Chris Jericho. Mitch the Plant was a casualty of the battle when Y2J hit Dean Ambrose in the back of the head with him. He’s doing photosynthesis with the angels now!
Emma beat Becky Lynch, who I just can’t seem to get into. I like how Emma is creeping on the come up, though. I like her now much better than the imaginary bubble popping twit she was in her previous incarnation with Santino Marella. What? I said “twit”!
Tyler Breeze beat Goldust. Meanwhile Fandango and R. Truth did their gimmicks at each other. I’m sure they had fun. All of you are better than this, though. Maybe this Gold-dango and Gorgeous Truth thing can be a pleasant surprise. But it feels like they’re just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Some of their best stuff has come from that technique. Conversely, some of their worst stuff has come from that technique. So we’ll see.
Well kids, that’s it for today’s super-late edition of Going in Raw. Follow me on the tweet streets @Goin_in_RawKBX for real time reactions to everything from NXT to Game of Thrones. If there’s anything you’d like to ask, leave it in the comments and you will definitely be featured right here in my column. Imagine that. You, on the internet! This is the dream Al Gore wanted you to achieve. Til next time.