Smoothie King of the Ring – A Raw Recap

Raw comes to us from the Smoothie King Arena (I’m completely serious) in New Orleans, LA.  It’s across the street from the Silverdome, brother!

Where is Matt, you ask?  He’s in Australia dropping the leg on koalas, kangaroos, and platypi.  He’ll be back in a couple of weeks to drop his brand of smark snark on you.  Until then, you get 150% more Todd Chrisley gifs.

The show started with a moment to acknowledge the horrible tragedy in Orlando that happened this past weekend.  It’s always sobering and I find myself wanting a little bit more kayfabe in real life.

Go Home RAW

We’ve got to get to the show, the last RAW before Money in the Bank.  They’re pushing this PPV really hard, claiming that it could be the GOAT of Money in the Bank PPVs.  I’m not going to lie, I’m starting to fall for it.  Are they kayfabing me?  Is it just because (Dark Match contributor) Michele and I are going to Vegas on Sunday for the event?  I don’t know if I can make an accurate call on this one.

How do you transition to the show after acknowledging a tragedy?  Start off Raw with the Power of Positivity, of course.

8-Man Tag: The New Day Vs. Enzo and Cass Vs. The Vaudevillians Vs. The Club

Kofi was wearing those awful Steph Curry Under Armour shoes and was taking a lot of shit from his fellow teammates.  Xavier suggested that Kofi belonged in the Mean Street Posse more than he belonged in the New Day with those shoes.

Before we get to the actual match, we were treated to a verbal sparring match between New Day and Enzo and Cass.  In the first stretch of the PG show, Big Cass suggested that he liked New Day’s “personal massagers for her pleasure” unicorn horns.  I can’t believe they made that reference.  And Enzo claimed he put his lips on Francesca II on Bourbon Street the night before.  Despite all this, the New Day and E & C stayed on good terms.  The Vaudevillians came out, sang a little, followed shortly after by the Club.  Gallows got some cheap heat making fun of the Saints and we had a match underway.

What I can tell you is that there’s a lot of talking in this RAW…and it was great.  The wrestling…it was all fun and good, but it generally felt like it didn’t matter.  It just kind of felt like a house show.  In this case, you knew they were just filling time until the PPV.  The only real important matches were to setup tension between some of the participants in the MITB ladder match.

This first match, is no exception.  There was no story really told in this match.  Everyone seemed to get their stuff in.  Enzo got the hot tag to Cass, Kofi and Big E did the Unicorn Stampede, Gotch did the Enzo concussion spot once more.  It was a house show match.

Kofi did have a great spot where he jumped over the Turnbuckle:

The Club ended all the madness with a Magic Killer on Kofi for the win.  They looked strong in a field of kind of ridiculous gimmicks.

Let’s get to the two promo segments I really liked:

Ambrose Asylum: Or How I Learned to Love the Idea of a Shield Triple Threat

Going into this Ambrose Asylum, I didn’t really know what to expect.  Dean-O’s talk show varies wildly in its quality.  After tonight, I feel like they created this “show” for Ambrose just to eventually lead to this segment.  That would actually require long term planning though and it’s the WWE we’re talking about.  They probably just stumbled into this.

“Up first, the scum of the earth, Seth Rollins!”

Rollins comes out and doesn’t really say much.  Ambrose tries to get handsy with him before bringing out “The Big Dog” and Seth isn’t having it.

“Come on sour puss!”

Now Reigns is out and they have some typical banter about who the rightful WWE Champion really is.  Seth went on to say that Roman earned it by beating Ambrose, beating Sheamus, and Triple H but hasn’t beat him.  Roman asks Seth to remember the good times in the Shield.  After initially refusing to answer, he delivers the best part of the segment.  He recalls how much fun they had fighting Evolution, destroying the Wyatt Family at WM XXX, going to one of those sushi train restaurants in Tokyo (Roman seemed to really enjoy that one), and other moments.

But…he had more fun screwing Roman out of the title at WM 31.  Tensions rose to a boil as Ambrose struggled to keep control of the situation.

There’s something very important in play here, that briefcase they’re standing directly underneath.  A briefcase that Ambrose implies that he’s going to win and cash in that very same night.

Until Raw, I thought Owens had an equal chance of walking out with that briefcase as Ambrose did.  He’d be great teasing the Champion with a cash in for months.  After this segment, I can’t see this ending in any other way than Ambrose making this a Triple threat.  I also think there will be a cash-in before Smackdown goes live.  Having the briefcase in play after the roster split will make things more difficult.   I think Creative Ambrose will make a dumb face move and cash in at the beginning of the match.

And of course, all hell breaks loose but ends with Ambrose giving his “brother” a Dirty Deeds.

Oh, and New Orleans is not a Roman town.  Ending the segment with Ambrose on top was the right call in this arena.

Cena VS. AJ Contract Signing

Cena, in typical fashion, hypes up the match on Sunday as the biggest thing to happen in all of sports entertainment between the two people who can walk around without a title and still be called champ.  Cena even gives PWG some love, as well as New Japan and ROH.  He boots out Michael Cole and decides things are going to be done a little differently this time.

Now it’s time for AJ.

Cena has two contracts for AJ: one that bans The Club from ringside and one that doesn’t.  John knows that he’s screwed if The Club is out there so he tries to challenge AJ to do it on his own.

You can either do it on your own or go back and be “Captain of the Bitch Club.”  And something like, “We’re going to put you on a bullet train back to Japan because you left your balls over there.”

I honestly don’t remember what AJ said at all.  It was shocking to see Cena so far off his leash.  Couple that with the “personal massager” reference that Big Cass made earlier that evening, and this Raw was at least close to PG-13.

Point is, AJ signed it and the club is banned from ringside.  I’m looking forward to this matchup on Sunday.

The Actual Wrasslin’

This is a wrestling show, right?  I should probably mention some of those matches.  Either I was dead inside last night, or just none of these matches really hooked me.  Don’t get me wrong, I had fun. Just none of the matches really moved along the story, really.  Here are some highlights beyond that opening tag match.

Paige Vs. Charlotte (with Dana Brooke)

If any arena could be named Paige’s house, it would be this one.  It’s where she debuted and immediately won the Diva’s Championship.  Too bad it’s the Smoothie King Arena though.

It was a solid match.  Now, I didn’t really see what happened with Dana Brooke but she either failed to interfere or she accidentally distracted Charlotte.  Paige got the Rampaige for the CLEAN PIN.  When has Charlotte been in match that has ended clean on television?  It’s been months for sure.

Nattie and Becky were on commentary but it was mainly to setup the tag match this weekend at MITB.

Ryder Vs. Sheamus

Woo, Woo, Woo, dammit.

Sheamus was angry that Ryder was making fun of TMNT and also wanted a proxy for Apollo Crews.  Former Intercontinental Champion Ryder (it still hurts) was jobbed out tonight, which is super disappointing.  He’s been losing his matches on Raw but he’s at least been given an opportunity to shine.  Tonight was not one of those nights.  A Brogue kick finished him off for the win.

Apollo Crews saved him from a post match beatdown but…who cares?


Cesaro Vs. Zayn

In an attempt to inject some extra tension into the MITB ladder match, Cesaro and Zayn seem to be having a minor feud.  After an argument backstage during an interview with Renee, they face off in the ring.

This, to me, seemed to be a NJPW style match.  It seemed even more reversal heavy than a normal match between these two.

Zayn ultimately ended up with the pinfall with this beautiful little number:

Del Owens Vs. Lucha Dragons

Thanks to Owens, Del Rio was detained by the TSA for 5 hours and almost missed Raw.  Owens tried to get Del Rio kicked out of the MITB ladder match for almost not showing up.  They argue in Spanish and French for a bit when Corporate Kane suggest a tag match to encourage teamwork.  Del Rio and Owens fight the Lucha Dragons with their MITB spots on the line.

This is the only match where a story was told throughout the entire match.  Despite needing to work together, they couldn’t help but get heated.  Owens almost let Del Rio get counted out but put him back in the ring.

“Do I have to do everything?!” – Kevin Owens

I don’t remember how this match ended but Del Rio and Owens retain their spots, thankfully.

Ambrose Vs. Jericho

With Cesaro as Special Guest Ring Announcer, Alberto Del Rio as Special Guest Timekeeper, and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on commentary

This match seemed to come out of bizarro land.  Not only did everyone have special jobs for the match, they actually did them competently.  The biggest surprise is that this match did not end in DQ and actually ended in a clean pin.  Owens and Dean had a brief interaction by the commentary table but the match resumed and Owens put his headset back on.

It was a solid match with Ambrose reversing the Code Breaker and hitting a Dirty Deeds for the win.

All hell broke loose after the match though.  You’ve seen this before.  Raw ends with Jericho retrieving the briefcase and sitting cross-legged on top of the ladder.

Oh and Cesaro billed Jericho from “Stupid-Idiotville.”  Nice job.

Other stuff that happened

  • Did I mention that Kane was there to try to get a job on the Smackdown leadership team?  Yeah, he was there.  He’s not getting the job.
  • The played some Shield best of moments during the show.  As someone who wasn’t watching during that time, it was welcome.
  • Titus came out for a “match” but was immediately attacked by Rusev on the ramp and put him in the Accolade.  The refs pried him off but he engaged it yet again.  I don’t see Rusev losing this match on Sunday and nothing makes me happier.

Overall, a solid Go Home Raw for me.  The promo segments were actually really well done.  Welcome back Rollins and Cena.  We’ve missed you.