Welcome to this week's edition of the Uncooked Raw Reaction, where I'll tell you what's important about last night's episode of RAW what's fantastic or boring or cringe-worthy and why, in my personal order of self-proclaimed importance.
It took them two weeks.
Two weeks ago, they had the best Raw ever.
Last week ... Well, last week wasn't anything to write home about, but it wasn't bad.
This week ... well, this week was ...
Oh, come on guys, it wasn't THAT bad.
(It was pretty bad, though.)
Let's make this quick, I've got to go get a root canal done and I'm really excited about it by comparison.
The Main Event of the evening is really the culmination of three stories that built throughout the night.
Sorry, that should have read: The "culmination" of three "stories" that "built" throughout the "night."
We'll do it in chronological order:
Evidently the most important feud on Raw.
This started last week, when Cesaro and Sheamus both thought they deserved a US Title shot more than Mark Henry. Not going to argue with them on that point. So Mick Foley made a match between them for that night, which Cesaro won by doing this:
But apparently Mick wasn't sufficiently impressed by this, so he made ANOTHER match for these two, which was a giant red flag that as of this afternoon, they had no idea what they were going to do for the Main Event of the show.
That wasn't even the original Tweet, by the way. The original Tweet is now deleted, because it was packed with utter nonsense. Something about Foley wanting to see which man could "assert physical dominance." Like, what?, "the match must continue until one of the competitors gives the other an Atomic Wedgie"...?
Whatever, so this match happens, and it's actually quite good. The same way that their match from last week was quite good. These two guys work really well together. At one point, Cesaro avoids a Brogue Kick via LIMBO. Eventually Cesaro pins Sheamus with a roll-up after there's some kerfuffle with the referee where he is stupid and gets in bad position, then gets nudged in the shoulderblade by Sheamus's sternum and reacts as though he took a full on punch to the back of the head, which is objectively a thing that did not happen.
Anyway, after a very good match, the finish is terrible and stupid and gets us nowhere. I actually wrote at the time during my Live Blog that since "physical dominance" was not "asserted", we'd probably get something more between these two, most likely on Raw next week.
We actually wouldn't have to wait that long.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Chekov's Wedding Cake.
For those of you uninitiated into the world of Turn of the Century Russian Theatre (yeah, I spell it with an "r-e." Deal with it), Anton Chekov was the most famous playwright of the time. He had a saying: "If a gun appears onstage during the 1st act, it must be fired in the 3rd act." This adage has come to be known as "Chekov's Gun."
Say Hello to "Chekov's Wedding Cake."
If a cake appears in a WWE segment, someone is getting that cake in their face. Usually the person at whose expense we would most like to laugh. Almost always, the person in the nicest outfit.
It's gotten to the point where if there is an occasion to be celebrated on RAW where there is a possibility of cake being served, you know an hour in advance that not only will there be cake, but that it's going in someone's face.
That's how we get moments like this:
And of course, this:
Yes, after what seemed like hours of Lana flubbing or forgetting her lines, they threw to a video slide show of the actual wedding two weekends ago, and the crowd started chanting "BORING ... BORING ... BORING." And Rusev. because Rusev is King, says to the crowd: "Yes, Thank You, I am happy you want to see more, more MORE, yes MORE PHOTOS, but I am sorry that is the whole slideshow we do not have any more pictures to show you." Rusev is the greatest.
But you know who isn't the greatest? Stand-Up Comedian Roman Reigns.
He comes down to be the best man and offer the couple a toast.
"I don't need your stupid toast," says Rusev.
Well then, how about you accept Roman's challenge for the US Title at Summerslam?
And that should be the end of it. Roman should be respectful. This couple is celebrating their wedding over a week after it actually happened, and this is neither the time nor the place for fighting. Besides, Rusev is the champ, you challenged him, and he said no to that. So walk your big Samoan ass back up the ramp and go talk to Mick Foley. Ask him politely how you can go about securing the #1 Contendership for the fourth-most important male singles title in the company.
But no, you'd rather make stupid jokes. And insult both the honor of the beautiful bride and the penis size of the handsome groom.
You deserve to get punched in the face.
I mean, look at these two.
Look how in love they are.
And you want to ruin that?
You are a bad man, Roman Reigns.
So Roman hits Rusev and he knocks Lana face-first into the wedding cake.
So of course when Rusev demands rightful restitution from Mick Foley, Mick Foley makes the championship match that Rusev already said no to. Because when you are a babyface, even a babyface that over half the crowd hates. and you want a title match, all you have to do is ask. Then when the champ says no, insult him until he attacks you, indirectly push his new wife into a cake, and wait for the authority figure to reward your bad behavior by making the match that you want.
Because heels, amirite? Always defending the honor of their wives. Stupid heels.
Note: The only good thing to come out of this segment is this video, which is the video of my dreams. LITERALLY MY DREAMS.
She can't right now, you guys. She has to plan her revenge. And can you blame her? All her dream scattered away.
So, disheveled, birds-nest-bearded Mick Foley comes out in an ill-fitting suit with a polar-bear tie, looking like season one Better Call Saul dressed up a hobo for his day in court on like five minutes notice.
He brings out Daniel Bryan and they kiss each other's asses for a while for no reason.
Apparently the D-Bry on Raw stunt was just to get a ratings boost opposite the Olympics. But don't worry, folks, I'm sure these cheap ratings ploys will stop after the Rio games are over ... just in time for Monday Night Football to start.
Mick Foley abruptly changes tone, because the script probably says something like "Abruptly Chang Tone Here," and throws to video evidence of Daniel talking smack on Talking Smack about the Universal Championship, because deep down, Daniel Bryan is all of us.
Mick says the Universal Championship is not a joke. You're right Mick, it's totally not a joke.
Sure it isn't
Then Rusev comes out ... Wait, what? ... and says that Raw doesn't need another Champion, They have Rusev. And, he says to Daniel, the next time one of your little Smackdown guys shows up to make trouble, I'm going to crush him, "little man or whatever you are." And Rusev is going to do this, in honor of Mick Foley, the greatest GM in the history of mankind (I see what you did there, Rusev). This is obvioulsy an attempt to butter up Mick Foley to get him to cancel the match with Roman Reigns and I hate this so much. Do ALL of your heels have to be cowards? Can't they just be bad guys? This isn't 1987. It doesn't make any sense any more.
Speaking of things not making sense, Cesaro comes out now.
Girl from the movie Poltergeist is right. What is happening?
Cesaro says he's owed a US Title match after beating Sheamus twice, and he'd like that match ... right now.
And because there's no rhyme or reason to anything on this episode, Mick Foley says "sure."
Now, this match was admittedly great. I love watching these two guys in the ring together. At one point, Cesaro powers out of the Accolade but just STANDING UP WITH RUSEV ON HIS SHOULDERS. He looks like a proud papa watching a parade with the world's biggest toddler. And then ... Electric Chair Drop.
But the whole time, through all of the great moves and reversals and near falls and everything, something seemed kind of fishy.
This was a surprise Main Event US Title match.
Either they had to have the title change hands, or something screwy was going to happen.
Spolier Alert: It was the second one.
Sheamus ran down to interfere, got stopped by Cesaro the first time, but not the second, and Rusev got the victory after a he hit a thumb to the eye and Cesaro caught a Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
Then this happened:
Because the meaning of the phrase "None of your business" is entirely lost on Roman Reigns. And why not? When this sort of behavior is rewarded with Title matches and rides on private choppers to the airport to headline a tour of New Zealand and Australia?
What an asshole.
So you used your Main Event to set up two matches at Summerslam: Rusev-Reigns for the US Title (which is maybe the second least anticipated match on the current main card, ahead of only Miz and Apollo Crews), and Cesaro-Sheamus for no title at all, which is going to be on the pre-show.
Let's go through all the other matches at Summerslam to see what else we've got in store from the Raw side of things.
Ballad of the Demon King
The first video is just more Seth Rollins doing what he does. Talking about how great he is. And he's not necessarily wrong about any of it, and it's not a bad promo at all, we've just heard a lot of it before.
But the second video is just fantastic. Finn Balor, sitting on some kind of wrought-iron ottoman, the leather cushion made from the skin of the damned, telling ghost stories about Irish myth and legends. Seth is pissy that Fergal Devitt changed his name to Finn Balor, but tell me something, Colby Lopez. Tell me something, Tyler Black. If you could go back and change your name a third time, would you choose something as bland and uninspired as Seth Rollins, or would you choose Giant-Dude Demon-King? Because that's what Finn Balor means in Gaelic, and it sounds a lot cooler than Seth Rollins. Seth Rollins sounds like the guy who works in your company's IT department and is really into paintball.
FYI, I am so f*cking stoked for that moment when the Brooklyn crowd goes apesh*t for Finn Balor's first Demon entrance on the Main Roster.
That pop might tear the building apart.
How to promote a match.
Holy SH*T am I pumped for this now.
When they first announced this match, I was like "meh."
Then Brock won at UFC 200, and I was like "Randy Orton might get himself killed."
Then Brock got popped by USADA and I was like, "They're not gonna put Orton over, are they?"
Then Orton surprise-invaded Raw and I was like "RKO #OUTTANOWHERE!"
Then Lesnar walked calmly past a phalanx of security and Orton walked right into an F-5 and I was like "meh."
And now this video package and "Holy SH*T."
Their history in OVW, Orton's cockiness, Lesnar sh*tting opponents, and Heyman making the perfect analogy:
"You know who Randy Orton is? He's the best surfer on the beach. And he rides those waves like no one else. And then along comes the shark."
I'm not going to pretend anymore. I AM WAY TOO HYPED FOR THIS.
Hey remember two weeks ago when we took Women's Wrestling seriously? We don't.
So two weeks ago, Sasha won the title from Charlotte in what was easily a Top Five All Time fWWE Women's Wrestling Match.
Last week, Enzo Amore told her he wanted to put his seed in her.
This week, she is scripted to be the dumbest champion in history.
She walks into Foley's office and says she can't trust Dana Brooke to not get involved in her match against Charlotte at Summerslam.
Does she ask for Dana to be barred from ringside? No she does not.
She asks for the Championship Match to be a handicap match.
SHE ASKS FOR THIS.
Mick Foley says, "How about this? I'll book you in a match against Dana tonight, if you win, she's barred from ringside at Summerslam. If you lose, you'll get that handicap match you just asked for. Cool?"
Me too, Mugatu. Me too.
Why not have Sasha come in and ask for Dana to be barred, then have Mick say, if you beat her tonight, I'll give you that stipulation.
Would that have been too hard?
Anyway, then, after all of that, Sasha wins the match against Dana in like two minutes.
Good old fashioned fun.
I like all four of these guys, and I am interested in watching them fight. I'd be more interested in watching them do sketch comedy, but I choose to view that as a positive. They're entertaining. As part of a "sports entertainment" company, you need those kinds of guys around. The only problem I see is that one of these four is also one of the best workers in the company, and I hope he doesn't get trapped here in comedy land for too long. I hope those rumors are true and they're trying to find a way to get him onto Smackdown. He could be the top guy on that brand.
But anyway, this feud reminds me of classic Summerslam matches, when two guys who weren't in a singles program would team up to take on a beloved tag team that wasn't in the title picture. Those matches were always great, and this one should be too.
Also, the inevitable break-up of Jeri-KO and the ensuing feud is going to be AMAZING.
This was the best thing on all of Raw last night, and I will not entertain any arguments to the contrary. More Gallows & Anderson in Lab Coats in front of Green Screened Doctor's Offices making testicular puns.
More of that, please.
Oh yeah, and there was also a match, I guess. It was short, and afterwards G&A tried to add another trophy to their weirdo jar of pickled eggs.
But Xavier Woods ran them off with a steel chair. Too bad.
I'm ready for the New Day to lose the belts if they lose them to these two comedic geniuses.
And Now For The Rest Of The Show...
Six videos in the above playlist. Let's take this home...
Worry about your own nuts, Puff.
Bring back real jobbers.
Strowman destroyed another local competitor last night. But this guy, Jerell Nelson, actually looks like a guy who might be in the CWC or something. He's got abs. Muscle mass. He moves like an athlete. It's disgusting.
I miss the good old days, when jobbers looked like jobbers. No chin to speak of, pasty complexion, zero defnition, a slight beer gut, an Offspring tattoo they got while on a bender in Panama City back in 1999.
I miss two weeks ago.
Turn about is fair play.
So last week a feud started between Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, former tag partners. Titus won via roll-up and a fistful of tights, getting Young and Bob Backlund all bent out of shape.
This week, Young wins the same way. Backlund didn't see it. Check out the look on D.Y.'s face when he wins.
That's the look a serial killer gives when he gets his driver's license picture taken.
I don't know which guy is the heel in this feud, but I am ALL ABOUT IT.
The Man That Creative Forgot.
Apparently, on the Raw Pre-Show, Bubba Ray Dudley made a challenge to Neville.
Also apparently, there is a Raw Pre-Show.
The challenge was as follows. Find a partner and bring him down to the ring so we can kick both of your butts.
It was a big mystery. Who would Neville find to be his partner?
In an answer we all should have expected because by now we should know that the WWE not-so-secretly hates us, it's Sin Cara.
Or, for you Lucha Underground fans out there, "Sin Cara DARK."
Really, there wasn't anyone better that Neville could have found for a partner? Seriously? No one better than literally the worst guy on the Raw roster?
What was Sami Zayn doing? I mean, besides being punished for being the winner of the best match on the most recent PPV by having to face "Mr. Irrelevant" Curtis Axel on Superstars. Besides that.
Doesn't the Creative team understand that by saddling Curtis Axel with a "Mr. Irrelevant" gimmick, you're not only calling him irrelevant, but also every guy who wrestles him? Because if they were important, they wouldn't be wrestling GODDAMN MR. F*CKING IRRELEVANT.
Sorry. Got a little carried away.
It's just that you had the chance to give Neville and Sami something really fun to do together. But instead you buried Neville on a go-nowhere tag team with f*cking Sin Cara.
I wrote in an article about last week's Superstars that Neville was battling his own irrelevance at this point. He's also battling terrible Creative.
Scooby Dooby Don't.
It's this kind of sh*t that makes me ashamed to be an adult wrestling fan.
It took them two weeks to go back to where they were when we could barely get through an episode of Raw.
After all that amazing promise of the first post-draft Raw, we're right back to the doldrums.
It was fun while it lasted.
Until Next Time, I've Been Alex Pawlowski and I Was Wrong.