Live RAW Coverage 7/11: The Return of Vince McMahon, Intercontinental # 1 Contender Battle Royal and more!

Hello and Welcome the RAW Live Blog for July 11 from The Joe in Detroit, MI.

My name is Alex and I'll be guiding you through the craziness every Monday, and hopefully adding to your enjoyment of the night's festivities. 

I've never done one of these before, but here we go.

Remember, it's my first time, so please... Be gentle.

Some anticipated events on this episode include:

The Return of the Chairman of the Board, Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
   Will Vince reveal who's going to take over RAW and Smackdown starting next week?

How many times will Michael Cole mention that Brock Lesnar won his match at UFC 200? 10 times? 50 times?
    Stay tuned to find out!

Is this the night where The New Day travels to Bray Wyatt's compound?
     If so, will Xavier Woods get discracted by his Pokemon Go app?
        Is there a Pikachu hiding under the porch?

Can't wait to find out the answers to these questions and more on tonight's episode of MONDAY NIGHT RAW!

A whole mess of dudes are in the ring to start the night.  They all got jobber entrances, except for Apollo Crews.
 

The Miz is standing on the announce table with a microphone. He announces that the men in the ring all have a shot at becoming the #1 contender for his Intercontinental Championship.  The Miz is assured of his own awesomeness, etc.

So here we go with the: BATTLE ROYALE FOR THE #1 CONTENDERSHIP FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

The Vaudevillains, Golden Truth, The Usos, The Ascension, The Dudleys, The Social Outcasts, Jack Swagger, Darren Young (With Bob Backlund at ringside!) and finally the guys who actually have a shot at this: The aforementioned Crews, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin.

Crews is totally winning this, isn't he?

Aiden English out first, Konnor next, then Curtis Axel, then R-Truth, then Viktor, then D-Von Dudley.

We go to commercial.

(I should mention that during this first little bit, one of the Usos almost eliminated the other one, and then they IMMEDIATELY made up. They were like "Ha ha, you almost got me, Uce!" "Ha ha, I almost did, Uce!"  They're ridiculous.)

Back from commercial, we see that Simon Gotch and Jey Uso have been eliminated, by Ziggler and Bubba Ray, respectively.

Alberto Del Rio eliminates Goldust with an enzuigiri, and Apollo tosses Bo Dallas over the ropes and onto the floor.

Corbin eliminating fools left and right, first Jimmy Uso, then Jack Swagger.

Darren Young eliminates Bubba, then gets immiediately Deep Sixed by Corbin. Doesn't get eliminated though.

Del Rio goes through the second rope, and rolls back into the ring. Doesn't matter though, since he's next to go.
With Apollo in the corner, Corbin whips Del Rio into the turnbuckle, and Apollo Crews backbody drops him out of the ring.

Dolph and Corbin go at it for a while. With Corbin on the apron, Ziggler rushes him, only to be grabbed and thrown out by the throat.

Finally, with three men left, Apollo and Corbin eliminate each other!

Which means Darren Young, who's been basically unconscious on the mat for the past 5 minutes, is your new #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship!

I guess they really did make him great again!

Winner of the Battle Royal: DARREN YOUNG

--We're going to get to see The Wyatts vs the New Day tonight, everybody!

--Backstage, Shane and Steph banter about their Dad coming back tonight, speculating on why he's here, stuff like that.
Rollins shows up and says he has video footage that will blow the lid off the Roman Reigns situation and everyone needs to see it. Shane suggests he show it on "The Ambrose Asylum". Stephanie strenuously objects. Rollins has a solution. He'll show the footage on his new show, the "Rollins Report," TONIGHT!

--Michael Cole talks about Brock Lesnar's win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 this past Saturday, then plugs Lesnar vs Randy Orton at Summerslam. Apparently, Orton will make his return at Battleground! Don't get too excited, it's not another match against Sheamus.
He'll be a guest on Chris Jericho's The Highlight Reel.

--Speaking of Sheamus, kind of, Zack Ryder confronts Rusev in the back, challenging him to a match for Rusev's US Championship. Sheamus attacks Ryder from behind, says not so fast, fella, we've got a scheduled match tonight, fella, and it's next, fella!

SHEAMUS VS ZACK RYDER

Ryder comes out way more aggressive than normal, gets the upper hand for a while, as the crowd breaks out the "You look stupid!" chants for Sheamus.  Ryder goes for a Broski Boot, but gets caught with a Clothesline. Sheamus rushes him in the corner, puts his shoulder into the ringpost, and Ryder goes up to the top rope, trying for an Elbro Drop, maybe?
We'll never find out, because Sheamus gets up, and crotches Ryder on the top rope. Brogue Kick, 1-2-3.

WINNER: Sheamus by pinfall following a Brogue Kick

Immediately following this, Rusev's music hits and he comes down to the ring. Zack attacks him, but to no avail. If there was any less avail, he would have negative amounts of avail. Rusev puts him in the accolade, and yells at him, at least 30 times, "I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE!!!!"

Rusev is the best.

--Hey, look at that! We're gonna get to see Enzo & Cass vs Gallows & Anderson tonight!
(I wonder if Cena and Styles will get involved.  Probably not.)

--BREEZANGO vs THE LUCHA DRAGONS

We see a "previously tonight" scene, with Fandango saying that Lucha means "Ugly Mole People" and Sin Cara responding by throwing water on Breeze's vest. Them's fighting words ... er, water. It's Mongolian Chinchilla, people! That doesn't come cheap!

In the match, which is a decent one, Breezango is in control for most of it, until Kalisto gets the hot tag and nearly kills himself going for a springboard crossbody. He slips off the middle rope, and falls back into the ring. Whoopsie-Daisy! But he recovers and goes after Breeze with his entire moveset. At one point, Fandango is on the outside, Sin Cara does a crossbody to the outside from the top rope and nails him. Speaking of getting nailed, Kalisto gets stuck in a precarious position, folded up on top of the turnbuckle, and gets nailed by a superkick from Breeze and gets rolled up for the 1-2-3.  

HALLELUJAH!  GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING, BREEZANGO WON A MATCH! YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS!

Winner: BREEZANGO! BREEZANGO! HOORAY!

I like Breezango.

--Seth Rollins comes out for the Rollins Report, which winds up just being a version of that classic Simpsons bit, where he uses old interview footage of Reigns and edits it around Rollins asking questions to make Reigns look bad. The editing is kind of obvious, with Reigns wearing different shirts for different answers, sometimes the title belt (Dean's title belt at this point, of course) in on his shoulder, sometimes its on a table in the background. It's pretty funny, actually.

When the video is over, Dean Ambrose's music hits and he comes down to the ring.  He and Rollins argue for a bit, about the stick up Seth's butt, about whether Dean "deserves" the title, about a lot of things.  Dean is great on the mic; he says that Rollins knows him better than most, he should know how much he had to go through to get this title, the buckets of blood he spilled (in CZW, obviously, though that's never specifically said), and Seth should know how much he'd be willing to go through to keep it. As a matter of fact, if Seth wants a one on one match so badly, Dean will face him anytime any place!

"You and me, one on one, for that title?" says Seth, "Well, Detroit's as good a place as any!" (Crowd goes mental) "But no, no no no, you're just gonna have to wait, I'll see you next week!" (Crowd boos, because Seth Rollins is a fantastic heel. (I still think he should be booked as a babyface, but whatever.))

OH BY THE WAY, THEY TOTALLY MADE THAT MATCH FOR NEXT WEEK ON RAW SO GET HYPED, FAM.

--Sami Zayn comes out to do commentary for Kevin Owens vs Cesaro.

Kevin Owens' music hits, but no KO.  We go backstage to see Owens arguing with three officials. He says it's an "unsafe work environment" with Sami on commentary, and he politely requests that Sami be removed. The officials say "Tough Taco" or something to that effect. Stephanie McMahon happens upon this scene and instructs the officials to remove Sami from commentary.  They leave to do that, as KO tells Stephanie "I always knew you were the smart one."

Sami is upset about being forced to leave, but he complies, and as he passes Owens on the ramp, Owens is being verbally abusive so Sami takes a cheap shot at Owens, because of course he does, because this shirt ain't just whistling Dixie.

--A limousine pulls up and Vince McMahon gets out, says to Renee Young that he's here to name the new Commissioner of Smackdown Live. No one knows his choice yet, and he may still change his mind, but he'll announce it Live, tonight.

KEVIN OWENS VS CESARO

The commentary team picks this match, above all others, to discuss the upcoming draft. Seriously, they pull a Tony Schiavone-circa-1997 and talk about anything but the stuff happening in the ring. 

DURING THIS MATCH. BETWEEN THE TWO GREATEST WORKERS IN THE WHOLE DAMN COMPANY.

Anyway, this is another classic between the two.  It's so good, you guys, I found myself forgetting to take notes.

At one point, Owens hits a WICKED neckbreaker, it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Later, Cesaro puts on JBL's cowboy hat and runs all the way around the ring to hit his running uppercut thing.

For the finish, Owens is sitting on the top turnbuckle, Cesaro climbs up for the superplex, and KO slides under, between his legs and crotches him on the top rope. He then pulls out a brand new alternate finisher, like an F-5, but Cesaro is face-up laying across his shoulders. I'm being told by the internet that this is what is known as a "REVERSE TKO," and since the internet has never steered me wrong before, I'm just going to take the internet's word for it. It looks great, whatever it is, and Owens gets the pinfall.

WINNER: KEVIN OWENS

--After the match, Owens goes to the announce table and yoinks the headset off of Byron Saxton, and puts it on himself, "EVERYBODYS TALKING ABOUT WHO THE BEST IN THE WORLD IS. I'M NOT EVEN TRYING AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I AM. AND YOU KNOW WHO'S NOT?!?!" At that exact second, Zayn comes flying in from the crowd to attack Owens.  It was perfect. I popped sitting alone on my couch in my living room. Zayn rolled Owens back into the ring and Cesaro gave him the big swing.  I'm not sure how many revolutions, I lost count at around 22.

--Backstage, Renee Young interviews The Club about their match with Enzo & Cass tonight.  AJ says they're making a rookie mistake, trusting John Cena to have their back the way they had his last week. To hammer the point home, he points out that Cena isn't even at the arena tonight! He's in LA, rehearsing for his gig hosting the ESPYs. Gallows says "We talking about practice?" and then the club proceeds to do their best Allen Iverson impression. I didn't say it was a good one, I said it was their best. Then they said they might get on a flight-ski tonight-ski, go to LA and ..... (wait for it) ...... BEAT UP JOHN CENA.

TITUS O'NEIL VS HEATH SLATER

Also known as the "You're-Just-Gonna-Flip-Over-To-The-Homerun-Derby-Anyway Classic".

Heath hits a chop on Titus, but Titus is having none of it. He throws Heath into the corner, and hits a chop of his own.

To Slater's credit, he held control for a lot of the match, but Titus comes back, hits his backbreaker into throw-em-across-the-ring thing, then a big splash in the corner, and finally a Clash of the Titus.

WINNER: TITUS O'NEIL BY PINFALL

-The Final Deletion from the Sanctuary of the Wyatts' Genesis

Um ... it wasn't as good as the Hardy's thing.  But I kind of liked it. Like, if the Final Deletion didn't exist, I would have LOOOOVED it. But I'm a total Bray Wyatt mark, so take that with a grain of salt.

It was your basic run-of-the-mill Tornado Tag hardcore brawl, in a field, with cars, and mud. And I think at one point, a keg was used as a weapon, which I haven't seen since that one party at Delta House junior year.  

It told a cool story, each team was in control at different points, and at the end, both teams looked kind of strong.  The New Day had to make like a tree and get out of there when several dozen Wyatt family members showed up as reinforcements.

Like I said, I really liked it, it just pales in comparison to Matt and Jeff's work of art from last week.

(IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT I AM THE ONLY ONE ON THE PLANET WHO DIDN'T HATE THIS.)

WINNER: THE WYATTS, FOR NOW...

ENZO & CASS VS GALLOWS & ANDERSON

Enzo & Cass explain why they saved Cena from a beatdown last week. See, they know that eventually Cena's gonna have to give up his spot at the top of the mountain, and Enzo & Cass are gunning for it too, but when they take it, they're gonna earn it.  And if The Club is gonna just show up whenever they want to "Beat Up John Cena", what's to stop them from "Beating Up Enzo & Cass" and taking them out. And Enzo & Cass don't play that.  So, y'know, there's only one word to describe the club and it rhymes with "Coughed." Oh, excuse me, I mean "K-A-W-F-T," KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWFFT.

When the match starts, it's pretty good, actually.  Cass actually gets some ring time before the hot tag sequence. It's like 30 seconds, but that totally counts. And no one plays Face in Peril like Enzo.  In honor of his chosen footwear, Enzo is the Air Jordan of pretending to get his butt kicked.

When Cass finally does get in, he gets all of his sh*t in, plays his greatest hits, the Empire Elbow, the FallAway Slam, the Big Cass Big Splash, and the BIG BOOT. (You have to put it in ALL CAPS on account of how big it is. It's really big, fam. YUGE.) He tags in Enzo for the Badda-Boom Shakka-Lakka, then rushes at AJ, who's just got onto the apron.  AJ pulls down the ropes and Cass falls to the outisde.  Enzo covers Anderson but Gallows breaks up the pin.  AJ throws Cass into the crowd and the ref calls for the bell. He disqualifies The Club even though Cass wasn't the legal man at the time of the interference and I'm pretty sure that's not how that works. Oh well. All three Club members are in the ring, ready to "Beat Up Enzo Amore," when

DOOT DOO DOO, DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Cena's music hits!  But he's not supposed to be here! He's in Los Angeles!  He Tweeted out a photo several hours ago from the ESPYs rehearsals! There's no way he has access to a private jet that could get him here in time! IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!

--Are all things that appeared to go through the mind of Karl Anderson

But Cena IS here! And runs down to the ring, Cass gets back in, and they clean house!  

The Club stands on the outside, looking very distressed by this unforeseen development!

(Note: So right about now is where traffic got so high at Fightful.com that the site crashed. I'm going to take full credit for this.)
(Let's see how much I remember almost 24 hours later...)

SASHA BANKS VS DANA BROOKE:

Charlotte is at ringside, running her mouth through the whole thing.  She really is a fantastic heel, in that I really want a piano to fall on her head.  That means she's doing her job well.

Sasha smashes Dana in the mouth with another forearm to start the match, as she's been doing at every opportunity for the past week or so.  Sasha wrecks shop on Dana until she whips her into the corner, and charges after. Dana uses Sasha's momentum to throw her over the ropes. She yanks on Sasha hair for a bit, knees her in the ribs, and kicks her off the apron, Sasha's face smashing on the apron on the way down. We go to commercial with Dana in control.  

Look, guys. I know Dana Brooke sucks. But she didn't always suck. She was really improving in NXT before she took some time off, reportedly to rehab an injury, but also maybe for "elective enhancement" surgery? Maybe? People seem to think so?
Anyway, she was GREAT with Evil Emma down in NXT, due to their amazing chemistry, and there was no reason to think they wouldn't have had the same chemistry on the main roster.  I really believe they were positioning Emma and Dana (E'n'D) to be the top Women's heels on one of the two brands before Emma hurt her back. And this protege thing with Charlotte just isn't working.  
When she was heeling on the backstage interviewers on NXT, she was in her element. When she's wrestling, not so much. I have hope she'll continue to get better but who knows?

Back from the break, and Dana is firmly in control, heeling it up with chinlocks and sidewalk slams and shoulderblocks into the corner and this weird running cartwheel splash thing SHE'S REALLY TRYING YOU GUYS GIVE HER A CHANCE. But Sasha counters an Irish whip into the corner by getting her knees up, then explodes out of the corner with a clothesline and takes control.  She does that thing where she lays Dana across the second turnbuckle and drives her knees into Dana's ribs.  A flying crossbody from the top rope only nets a two count. Dana counters out of the set-up for the Banks Statement, hits a vicious running clothesline. She sets up Sasha for her Samoan Driver, but Sasha reverses it into the Back Stabber and the Banks Statement.

WINNER: SASHA BANKS BY SUBMISSION

-- After the match, Charlotte gets on the mic and says that Sasha just got lucky, so she'll have to prove herself again, by beating Dana Brooke again, on SmackDown this Thursday.

VINCE MCMAHON NAMES THE COMMISSIONER FOR SMACKDOWN

Shane-o Mac is out first to a big pop. Stephanie is out next, to .... uh .... less than a big pop.
Vince comes out next, walking down the ramp with that crazy walk of his, arms and legs akimbo. He's gonna break a hip one of these days. Anyway, he says he's disappointed in the fruits of his loins. He wanted them to slit each other's throats.  He actually says that Stephanie has been "sweet." She strenuously objects to this.  He asks them both to make their case as to why they should be named the commissioner of Smackdown.  Steph responds by snitching on Shane, telling her father all of the less than becoming things that Shane said on Mick Foley's podcast. This comes as news to Vince, because apparently Vince doesn't watch the WWE Network. Shane says he's the only man in the company, the only one on the planet, that tells Vince McMahon what he needs to hear and never kisses his ass.  Shane wants to be an agent of change, if Vince "has the grapefruits." Then he does the Applause-O-Meter thing: Who wants Stephanie to be Commissioner of Smackdown? (BOO) Who wants Shane-O Mac to be Commissioner of Smackdown? (THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE)
Vince says he never listens to the crowd anyway, that's not the way to run a business.
(Really, you don't listen to the fans? Could've fooled me.)
He asks for a drumroll and ACTUALLY RECEIVES ONE. This is so ridiculous, you guys.
He makes Shane the Commissioner of Smackdown, and he reacts like Maury just told him "You are not the father."
But then Vince just buries Smackdown, saying that Raw is the flagship, the THREE HOUR flagship, and implies that it is WAY more important than Smackdown. And the new Commissioner of Raw is Stephanie McMahon! (BOOOOO)

Vince says that he wants them to compete so hard to see who's running the best show that they break the law.
Oooookay, not really sure what he means by that, but okey dokey.
And then he says again that he wants to see his children murder each other with knives.

Then Vince says they need to name General Managers for their respective brands and they need to do it before the draft next week, or Vince will do it for them. Vince then leaves his kids alone, and they do shoot promos on one another.

It's great. Steph says she's had work twice as hard to get half the recognition and she's going to bury Shane and Smackdown.
(Implied but not actually said: "I KNOW ALL ABOUT BURYING THINGS CUZ MY HUSBAND TAUGHT ME.")
Shane says that every time he's seen Stephanie this angry, it was always masking fear. 
Steph slaps the taste out of Shane's mouth.  Hell, she slapped him so hard, Shane's grandchildren may not be able to distinguish between orange and pink Starbursts.

Best part though, as she's leaving she gets a stiletto heel caught on something and nearly EATS IT.
Shane's reaction shot is an all-time first ballot Hall of Famer gif.

Of course, that bit's been edited out of the YouTube video.  Because McMahons.

See you next week, friends.

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