By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big News: The fans got to choose the main event of the next PPV and picked a three-way with Seth Rollins defending against Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. The return of King of the Ring saw four quarterfinal matches, with Neville, Bad News Barrett, Sheamus and R-Truth advancing. Last 90 minutes were quite good and Raw’s booking has been more fluid since WrestleMania.
Seth Rollins, Kane and J&J Security came out. Rollins took credit for creating the Shield, destroying the Shield, beating Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion and beating Randy Orton last night all by himself. Kane looked perturbed over that last line. Rollins said he didn’t give Orton an RKO last night, he gave him an SKO. He said every great general needs great soldiers, and thanked Kane for being the crypt keeper, then corrected himself saying that he was an old relic from the 90s, and Kane was the Gate Keeper. Rollins stumbled over himself trying to correct that statement.
Kane called Rollins a spoiled, entitled brat and said he would rather be the WWE version of the Crypt Keeper than the WWE version of Justin Beiber. That Beiber line got over instantly.They started arguing when Orton interrupted them wanting a rematch. Rollins shot him down but Orton asked Kane for the rematch. Before he coud answer, Reigns came out from the crowd to big cheers, delivering his promo standing on top of the commentators table. Reigns talked about being the last man standing after beating the Big Show, then told Orton he already had his shot at the title and it was his turn to face Rollins.
It led Rollins to say that they had both lost to him, but Kane interrupted him. Kane ordered a tag team match later tonight with Orton and Reigns vs. Kane and Rollins in a tag team match later tonight. Kane also said by the end of tonight, he would let the WWE Universe decide who would be the next challenger to Rollins at the next PPV.
Bad News Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler in the first round of the King of the Ring Tournament in 8:20
Booker T. talked about how focused Dolph Ziggler was. Moments later, Sheamus came out to distract Ziggler, leading to Bad News Barrett hitting the Bullhammer Elbow to move to the semifinals.
The New Day came out as the new World Tag Team Champions with Xavier Woods trying to get the crowd to chant “New Day Rocks.” Didn’t work and it was supposed to backfire.
Big E. defeated Tyson Kidd in 1:21
Big E. pinned Tyson Kidd with a clothesline while Woods held Kidd’s let outside the ring.
Ryback defeated Bo Dallas in 2:06
Bo Dallas said Ryback’s actions at Extreme Rules were reprehensible and he was going to give him a chance to be the bigger man and walk away. Dallas did get heat for calling the fans disgusting cheeseheads. Dallas got some early offense before Ryback hit an Anderson Spinebuster, the Meathook and the Shellshock.
After the match, Brey Wyatt showed up in the ring and gave Ryback Sister Abigail. Michael Cole couldn’t explain why Wyatt had targeted Ryback. Wyatt feels like the territorial heel who is past his shelf life and would go from Alabama to the Carolinas by now to freshen up if we were still in the 70s.
John Cena did his promo after beating Rusev to build up the I Quit match for next month. He took a long time to explain that if Rusev beats him in the I Quit match, he won’t ask for a rematch for the U.S. title. Then he called out his opponent for the U.S. Open Challenge. Heath Slater showed up and started comparing himself to Aaron Rodgers, but Rusev jumped Slater from behind. Lana came out to cheers, but Rusev ordered her to the back. They bickered onstage. Lana left and Rusev said in the end, Cena would wind up like the fans who have quit on their dreams long ago. Instead of chanting U.S.A., Cena would be like the fans and be left saying “I Quit.”
Rollins approached Kane backstage and wanted to know what he meant by leaving it up to the fans to decide the title challenger at the next PPV. Kane said the fans could vote via the App whether to choose Orton or Reigns as the number one contender. Rollins got mad and stuck his foot in his mouth again. So Kane changed it to the fans having three options: Orton, Reigns or Orton & Reigns in a three-way. The reaction by Rollins made it clear that the company wants the fans to pick three-way.
R-Truth defeated Stardust in 3:46 in the first round of the King of the Ring Tournament in 3:46
In his inset promo, R-Truth said that if he won the King of the Ring, his first order of business would be to ban all spiders. Must be an inside joke. R-Truth won with the What’s Up. He faces Barrett tomorrow.
Adam Rose defeated Fandango in 1:48
JBL compred Fandango as a cross between Mikhail Baryshnikov and Randy Courture. I wanted to type that as I’m sure I’m the first person in history to type that sentence. Fandango did a somersault tope onto Adam Rose, a guy dressed like a hot dog and another guy. Then Rosa Mendes came out dressed as a member of the Exotic Express to distract Fandango. Rose pinned Fandango with a Party Foul. Rose said she couldn’t believe that Fandango chose to dump her and started making out with Rose.
Backstage, Renee Young talked with Brie Bella bout Daniel Bryan’s health. Brie said Daniel loves WWE more than anything. Brie said they feel grateful for the WWE Universe. This led to Naomi pushing Brie down from behind and saying no one cares about her husband. If so, the company has tried hard to make sure they don’t.
Naomi defeated Brie Bella in 3:36.
Naomi now has boots that light up with every step and sunglasses that look like she’s about to join Devo. Naomi in Devo. That has Network reality show possibilities. Hey, if we’re bringing back Jerry Springer from the 90s….Naomi won with a simple inside cradle in a clean finish. Cole emphasized that Brie was distracted by Bryan’s injuries.
Sheamus defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ in 12:34 in a first round King of the Ring match.
Dean Ambrose vowed to ban all pop country if he was to win King of the Ring. If so, would modern country radio have anything left, aside from Eric Church? JBL brought up Shania Twain. Sheamus is still pushing the kiss my arse deal with Ziggler, so it’s clear Vince is giving up on that stip before Ziggler walks out the door. Good match with a cheap finish. Amrbose took the match on the floor where Sheamus gave Ambrose the Brogue Kick. Then Ziggler ran down and attacked Ambrose for the DQ. Some fans booed the finish. Ambrose was mad over the DQ, saying “For once in my life, I didn’t do anything!” Among the highlights were Ambrose making the ropes to escape the cloverleaf and Ambrose doing a plancha off the turnpost.
The renamed Damien Sandow cut a babyface promo. He said over the past year he had been on a quest to entertain, showing highlights of him dressing up as Bret Hart, Vince McMahon, Magnito and LeBron James. He talked about being Damien Mizdow, which caused him to gain the respect of the WWE Universe, which is the most valuable thing he could have. He started to address where he goes from here in Curtis Axel came out. Axel derided Sandow for hiding behind who he is and trying to be someone else.
Axel started doing Hulk Hogan’s catchphrases and ripped off his t-shirt. Axel would warn Sandow and Sandow would repeat everything that Axel said and did. It got old pretty fast but the fans seemed to enjoy it. Axel tried to jump him but Sandow gave him the big boot and teased the legdrop, but instead delivered the Cubito Aequet to send him off. Sandow has charisma, it’s just a question of whether he can find the right way to utilize it.
Wyatt did a promo on Ryback saying he knew what scared him and he should run.
They showed highlights of various Tough Enough video auditions, which included someone cutting a promo from his bathroom, a man who claimed to be a civil litigation attorney, an MMA fighter, and someone who looked like a poor ripoff for a Brisco brother.
Neville defeated Luke Harper in 10:11 in the final first round King of the Ring match.
In a disappointment, Luke Harper did not say if he became the next King of the Ring, he would give himself the moniker “the new Killer Tim Brooks.” Neville did a gorgeous moonsault to the floor and came back with a standing shooting star. Good near fall when Brooks hit a Liger Bomb to block a huracanrana. It won a weary crowd over. They started chanting “NXT.” They tried some top rope spot that took forever to set up which ended with Neville hitting a sunset power bomb, followed by the Red Arrow.
Randy Orton and Roman Reigns defeated Kane and Seth Rollins in 18:39.
Crowd was hotter for Orton than Rollins. The one-night ban on the RKO turned out to be clever because the fans chanted RKO, so it was similar to when Kevin Nash had the jackknife banned in 1998, which only got it over more. Not over enough to save the company from his booking, mind you, but over. JBL, the heel announcer, pushed the fans nogt to vote for the triple threat match, which was the signal to tell fans to vote for the triple threat match. Rollins and Kane got along for most of the match, which started to drag when Reigns got the heat.
Rollins accidentally hit Kane with a dropkick, then Reigns gave Joey Mercury a Superman punch, and Mercury fell into Kane. Rollins gave Orton a superkick and set up to give Reigns and Orton a tope. But the faces moved and Rollins hit Kane with the tope. Well, he was supposed to hit Kane, but he totally airballed the tope and caught mostly floor. Kane then snapped outside the ring, throwing Noble and Mercury over the announcers table, then he punched Rollins. In the ring, Reigns gave Rollins a Superman Punch, and Orton pinned Rollins the RKO.
After the match, it was revealed that the main event of Payback will be a Triple Threat match. Reigns ended the show by spearing Rollins as Kane watched expressionless.
SUMMARY: I thought this was the best Raw since the night after WrestleMania. It’s interesting that the company has cut down on the amount of backstage segments. There were only two on this show. I wonder how long they can keep that up since the amount of depth on the roster isn’t the best. However, tonight it wasn’t a problem as there were three very good matches.