Looking at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of WWE Monday Night Raw (7.07.14)
Posted by Justin Watry on 07.07.2014
411's Justin Watry looks at the latest edition of WWE Monday Night Raw…
Welcome back! The Fourth of July holiday is over with, but Big Brother on CBS is just heating up. You all love that show, right? Yes. Now we shift our focus to wrestling. Surprisingly, WWE has a stacked pay-per-view card lined up for Battleground. Thus, with less than two weeks to go until the event, RAW has to be great from start to finish sell fans on the show. Okay, no more blabbering about nothing. I think I wasted enough space. When finished with this, go read my new column already posted. For now, bring on WWE RAW using my classic Good/Bad/Ugly format to recap!
The Good Opening Segment - Started off pretty good with Roman Reigns speaking. Went down a little when Kane came out for a little brawl. Then it went back up a notch when the brawl continued only with officials trying to separate the two. The live crowd was into it, and both men actually came out of this strong. Props to Finlay for taking that spear from Reigns. Ouch!
Luke Harper/Erick Rowan VS. The Usos - Another nice physical effort. We have seen these two teams wrestle, and nearly every time the audience chants "This Is Awesome!" Eventually, WWE will have to fins new teams out there to go after the tag straps. Until then, Harper/Rowan taking on The Usos will do. Luke Harper picked up the non-title (tainted?) victory over the champs on RAW. Does that mean another pay-per-view title bout is coming?
Seth Rollins/Kane/Randy Orton Backstage - No Triple H this week. No Stephanie McMahon either. Without them, things fell apart within the group. A little tension in The Authority? Uh oh.
Rusev Crush! - Is this the last we see of Rob Van Dam for awhile? He returned in early April, so if he is back for 90 days, his time is up. If so, job well done losing (again) clean as a whistle to the younger/newer wrestler. Rusev gets another victory, and Lana gets to stand there. Win-win! Also, I actually like that there was no Real American-Jack Swagger stuff afterwards. With Raw being in Canada, it was best to keep him away from any potential backlash.
Randy Orton VS. Dean Ambrose - Rematch from Smackdown. Since I doubt many saw it last Friday night (due to the July 4th holiday), I will give WWE a pass for doing it again so soon. Really, I was fully content with any result here. Ambrose win? Orton win? A non-finish? Whatever. Since Ambrose is being cast as this "crazy" guy, a loss does not necessarily hurt him right now. Mr. RKO is in the Battleground main event, so logically, he should have won.
Sheamus VS. Damien Sandow - Filler is filler. Just a way to give The Celtic Warrior a win.
The Miz Interview Backstage - Ha! I loved his ''letter'' from a fan. I know exactly how it feels...
Bret Hart On The Highlight Reel Tuesday Night - Good. Advertise something; people will watch. Stir up interest in the WWE Network. Let Bret Hart and Chris Jericho talk and hopefully serve a purpose. More on this all below in the Ugly section.
Chris Jericho VS. The Miz - I expected a longer match. Not toooooo long but definitely more than what we saw. Still a good showing for both The Miz and Chris Jericho, even if the result was never in doubt. After the match ended, Bray Wyatt appeared and delivered the usual great promo. Right when a brawl was ready to start up, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper stopped everything. Can WWE drag this to Summerslam? What happens at Battleground then? Add The Usos to the mix for a six person street fight or something? Going to be interesting.
AJ Lee/Paige VS. Cameron/Naomi - It is something. Nothing spectacular, but we technically have four different Diva feuds right now. Layla and Summer Rae are going at it over Fandango. Naomi and Cameron seemingly broke apart after their tag loss tonight. Stephanie McMahon is bound to wrestle Brie Bella at some point. Then there is Paige acting insincere towards AJ Lee, which includes the Divas Championship. Credit where credit is due.
John Cena/Seth Rollins Backstage Talk - I liked this. Short yet effective.
John Cena VS. Seth Rollins - Fair enough for a RAW main event. It is always strange when the WWE World Champion faces the Money in the Bank winner without the actual cash in taking place. Has happened before and is likely to happen again. After the pre-match segment between these guys backstage, I was jacked to see this. That extra little bit helped here. Kane and Randy Orton interfering was predictable, as was Roman Reigns coming out. Seth Rollins looked to cash in MITB, but as long as Dean Ambrose is in the building, that was not going to happen. I said it before and will again. Give Rollins vs. Ambrose AT LEAST 20 minutes on pay-per-view. We close Raw with a Reigns/Cena staredown. No doubt a spear is coming next Monday night...
The Bad Nikki Bella VS. Alicia Fox - What in the world was this? Okay, Stephanie McMahon wants to punish Nikki Bella because of Brie slapping her. I get it. That is the story being told. The whole thing fell flat though, and the rabid Canadian crowd wanted NO part of it! None at all. Just fast forward a few more weeks to Brie Bella returning.
John Cena/Roman Reigns Interview Backstage - Good segment actually BUT I just wish they would tone down all the staredowns. Roman Reigns is NOT at John Cena's level yet, so even teasing a face vs. face showdown between those two is months, if not years in the making. Get away from all the interactions after WWE Battleground...and when the time is right down the road, cash in on a huge Reigns/Cena PPV main event.
Alberto Del Rio VS. Dolph Ziggler - Ugh. Let me get this straight: The winner of Dolph Ziggler versus Alberto Del Rio got a United States Championship match against Sheamus on Main Event. Yet, both Ziggler and Del Rio are in the battle royal at Battleground for the IC Championship. Okay? Both belts interchangeable. That was the message I got. ADR got the win after Fandango (doing commentary and back with Layla apparently but still eyeing Summer Rae) randomly had his music play to distract Dolph. Yippee! Maybe we should start up the rumor of IC/US titles being unified again? Always a lovely rumor pulled out of thin air...just have Sheamus win both belts then.
Stardust/Goldust - Nope. Not doing it for me. Time for Goldust to feud with CODY RHODES!
Kofi Kingston Defeats Cesaro AGAIN! - Yawn. Big E saving Kofi Kingston from another post-match beatdown from Cesaro earns an even bigger yawn.
Bolieve - A repeat of everything already done. I am more than ready for the next stage of Bo Dallas actually doing something in WWE.
The Ugly Bret Hart On RAW?!?! - *sigh* I have nothing negative to say about the segment or Bret Hart appearing. That was all fine and dandy Jerry Lawler and Damien Sandow (plus Sheamus!) involved. Sadly, WWE did not even bother advertising any of this. Not one mention on Raw the past few weeks. Not one mention on Smackdown last Friday night. Not one big announcement on their website (tucked away in a Raw preview article mere hours beforehand does not count). Not one cool video promo that they do so well. There had been local advertisements in Canada for this July 7th return to WWE for weeks. That means officials within the company knew for (at least!) a few weeks now that he was going to be there. "If you build it, they will come." Famous saying that I use all the time. Having an 'anything can happen' atmosphere is awesome to showcase once in a while where viewers HAVE to tune in because you never know what will happen next. We got that last Monday night with all the stars returning. Does not work in this instance. WWE should have been majorly hyping, promoting, building, and talking up legendary Hall of Fame superstar Bret "The Hitman" Hart returning to Montreal in advance for weeks.
Summary: I think WWE came through with a decent follow-up to last Monday's memorable RAW. Nothing was ever going to top the week prior with all of the surprise returns, so if you thought otherwise, you just set yourself up for disappointment. WWE Battleground is nearing and should be worth watching provided Raw hits all the right notes next Monday night.
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Thanks for reading. What did YOU think of WWE RAW tonight?