WWE Monday Night RAW - April 04, 2016
by Scrooge McSuck
- From the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton actually have the nerve to remind the television audience that the fans in attendance are a bit more passionate and will sometimes boo and cheer people they don't usually react to in the same manner.
- Vince McMahon arrives and the crowd is singing along to his theme music. He gloats about retaining the rights to Monday Night Raw and half-heartedly puts over Shane's efforts in doing everything in his ability to win last night, then addresses the crowd that likes to chant nutty things and promises this will be a Raw they will never forget. This brings out Shane McMahon, who offers a handshake to Vince and to thank the fans for their support. After some posturing, Vince is giving Shane the ball, for one night only. Shane McMahon is running the Raw after WrestleMania!
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
We've got Kofi Kingston and Big E representing the New Day, and Sheamus and King Barrett representing the League, with all other parties at ringside. Unfortunately, no giant box of Booty-O's for the New Day to pop out of. Xavier Woods serenades the giant Booty-O with the opening of the Circle of Life from the Lion King. Kofi works over Sheamus to start. Barrett tries to bum rush in but gets tossed. Kofi with a Big E assisted plancha onto Sheamus as Woods celebrates with some trombone playing. Rusev with a distraction, allowing Sheamus to knock Kofi off the top rope. Barrett taunts Big E while Kofi plays face-in-peril. We return from commercial with the crowd doing the wave. Sheamus has a chinlock on, so it makes sense. Big E with the hot tag, throwing Barrett around with belly-to-belly suplexes and coming off the ropes with a splash. Barrett gets a knee up on the charge, but gets sent into Sheamus on the apron. The Midnight Hour finishes him at 10-minutes. Paint-by-Numbers match, no better and no worse than last night's Six-Man Tag.
The New Day © vs. The League of Nations:
- Post-match, Sheamus gets on the microphone to yell at the New Day and the fans. They interrupt him with a "How You Doin" chant, but the point of the promo is that King Barrett is being thrown out of the League of Nations. Sheamus hit him with the Brogue Kick to make the message clear (so long Barrett, it was nice watching you over the years), and suddenly the Wyatt Family (sans Harper, obviously) are in the ring for a brawl. They clear out Rusev and Del Rio and Wyatt gives Sheamus Sister Abigail. Good segment to give the Wyatts a token segment to get their babyface reaction without hurting other faces. Barrett was mostly a non-factor for the League of Nations, but this might very well be his last appearance with his contract running out soon.
- Summer Rae is in the ring, and she's butt hurt because she wasn't in charge and that's why Team B.A.D. and Blonde lost. Then she claims Sasha was on her back, a loser, despite NOT Taking the fall last night.
Sasha Banks vs. Summer Rae:
Looks like Sasha has the booty shorts version of the Eddie tights, too. She immediately bitch slaps Summer Rae to kick off the match. Summer with a cheap shot from the floor, but her slow-motion spinning heel kick only gets a two count. She grabs a chinlock/cobra clutch grip while the crowd rallies Sasha. She escapes with elbows but gets a payback slap. That only makes her mad. Tackle into the corner, with a series of knees to the midsection. Running knees to the chest, snapmare, and another double knee drop gets two. She ducks under the spinning kick, but Summer holds to the ropes to avoid the Bank Statement. Roll up gets two, but Sasha immediately turns it into the Bank Statement, and Summer taps at 1:42. That was a quick and decisive way to give Sasha a moment in front of the crowd.
- Apollo Crews is coming to Raw... NEXT!
Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze:
Color me a bit surprised that they are promoting Crews to the main roster without any hype, while we've got people like Samoa Joe who are desperately needed to fill out a weak heel side of the roster. Yes, it's a smart crowd, but still... casuals are watching on TV. I figured it would be Breeze doing the debut job here, since the Social Outcasts are technically more important than him. Lockup and Apollo with a shoulder tackle, followed by a Powerslam. Somersault in from the apron, but Breeze nails him with a Super-Kick. Back breaker gets two. Crews with an enziguri, press slam, and the standing moonsault. The spin-out Powerbomb finishes at 1:50. That was a good definition for a squash. I'm surprised they had him do the moonsault AND powerbomb. Usually he does one or the other in NXT.
- Roman Reigns comes out to kick off the Roman Empire™, ignoring he's already a 2-time Champion before last night, and the second reign was about a month long, and not 5-minutes like at Survivor Series. This crowd is giving him Eva Marie hate, even though as a worker, he definitely doesn't deserve it. He challenges anyone to come out and face him and tosses the microphone. This draws out Chris Jericho, someone I honestly didn't expect to see interrupt. Are you telling me Reigns vs. Jericho will be the next headlining match? Then A.J. Styles interrupts, looking all serious. Then Kevin Owens arrives, to prove he's not dead from last night's sickening Ladder Match spot. The parade of midcarders continues with Sami Zayn. Zayn and Owens go for each other, and ditto Jericho and Styles. Reigns just stands there watching, it was his only defense. After the dust settles and Jericho is alone in the ring, Reigns hits him with a spear. I'm smelling Fatal Four Way contenders match tonight. We return from commercial and Shane McMahon confirms it.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin:
Corbin is making his Monday Night Raw debut, too. He's been working WWE live events for months, so this was inevitable. He won the 3rd Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal last night, for those who fell asleep. I didn't expect someone higher than Zack Ryder on the roster, but Ryder is the NEW Intercontinental Champion, so we are in bizarro world. Two years ago on Raw, Ziggler is cashing in the MITB Briefcase, now he's a job boy for a new arrival. Ziggler pounds away in the corner, but Corbin runs him over with a shoulder tackle. Ziggler tries to slingshot in from the apron but gets laid out with a forearm. We return from commercial with Corbin in control with a nerve hold. Corbin misses a charge to the corner, meeting the post. Ziggler with a pair of splashes in the corner. Corbin avoids a neck breaker, but gets nailed with a DDT for a near fall. Super-Kick fails, but the Fame-Asser connects for two. Corbin avoids the Zig Zag and connects with the Deep Six for two. Way to kill one of his signature moves already. They take it to the floor, with Ziggler getting booted into the crowd. He throws Ziggler into some trash and they're both counted out at 8:37. He blames the referee for what he's going to do to Ziggler, and gives him End of Days on the floor. Corbin should've either squashed Ziggler or someone low on the food chain like R-Truth or Goldust. This was too competitive. A double count-out in his debut is a weak way to introduce him.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
This is not weird auto-results from WWE 2K16 or Fantasy Booking, ZACK RYDER is really the defending Intercontinental Champion. He gets a little bit of love from the crowd before showing us the picture of him with Scott Hall as a kid and then a picture from last night. The Miz interrupts because he's a jerk. He complains about last night, and Ryder's witty retort is "sucks to be you, bro." Lockup, Miz with a headlock and shoulder tackle. He hits the back breaker, but Ryder avoids a neck breaker and connects with a dropkick. Ryder with double knees in the corner and a missile dropkick for two. Hurricanrana from the top rope sends Miz to the floor. Ryder hits the ropes and baseball slides through the middle and bottom rope. We return from break, with Ryder missing a charge and going flying over the top rope. Ryder fights out of a surfboard and slams Miz face-first to the canvas. Miz side-steps a second missile dropkick and connects with a DDT for two. Ryder avoids the Skull Crushing Finale, but misses the Rough Ryder. Ryder counters a suplex with a neck breaker for two. Ryder fights him off the top rope and hits the big elbow drop, but Miz gets his foot on the rope. Miz crotches himself in the corner and Ryder connects with a diving forearm. Miz rolls to the floor to avoid the Broski Boot. Ryder follows and gets rammed into the ring apron screen. Miz has a staredown with Ryder's father and gets shoved on his ass for it. Where's the DQ referee?! Ryder tosses him back in the ring as MARYSE shows up to mouth off with Daddy Ryder. Skull Crushing Finale to Ryder, and Miz is the New Intercontinental Champion at 10:36. Well, that sucked for Ryder. Match was alright, but the crowd really wasn't into it.
Zack Ryder © vs. The Miz:
- The Vaudevillains are coming to WWE... this Thursday on Smackdown. Already getting buried!
- Lita is in the ring with the WWE FEMALE Superstars. I no longer have to use that stupid "D" word ever again! I feel like the entire Galaxy celebrating at the end of Return of the Jedi when the Empire is finally destroyed. The roster list includes Paige, Tamina, Naomi, Lana, Summer Rae, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. No Brie Bella? Charlotte comes out to be formally awarded her newly created WWE Women's Championship Belt. She is easily distracted by the crowd chanting for Bayley. She finally gets on track of the script and her constant patting herself on the back sends the others from the ring in disgust. All except Natalya, who wants to "put her genetics on the line" against Charlotte. What the f*ck does that even mean?! She puts Charlotte in the Sharpshooter, but Ric pulls her to safety. So no Bayley, and we've got a short-term program with Charlotte and Natalya. OK?
- Hype video for the former Los Matadores, who are inviting us to Puerto Rico and saying we all smell. So... they're heels? They go unnamed, but maybe they'll just be Epico and Primo again.
Tables Match: Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. The Dudley Boyz:
WrestleMania Rematch! Will the crowd boo the Usos tonight like they did at AT&T Stadium? All four brawl to kick things off. Is this Tornado Tag rules or standard? WE NEED TO KNOW THESE ANSWERS, DAMMIT! Jey and Bubba Ray keep it inside the ring while D'von and Jimmy work on the floor. They give Jey the Wassup Headbutt. Bubba Ray teases some fan interaction, but tells them to screw off. The Usos recover with a pair of planchas. At least the crowd is reacting to them positively tonight. We return from commercial, with Jimmy fighting D'Von off the top rope. Jey with a Super-Kick to Bubba Ray and Jimmy hits him with a splash. The Dudleys call for a double Powerbomb spot, but the Usos escape and connect with more Super-Kicks. The Usos follow them out and come off the barricade with a pair of dives. They go to the top rope and a pair of splashes miss, so the Usos go through the tables... and the bell rings at 8:46. Bubba Ray picks up Jimmy and throws him through another and yells at the timekeeper that they can ring the bell now. Pretty sure someone goofed on that, just like earlier when they introduced Ryder defending the Title before it was in the script. Better than their Kickoff Match, but only slightly.
- Kevin Owens attacks Sami Zayn from behind during a backstage interview and Powerbombs him through a table. What does this mean for Zayn's status in tonight's Fatal Four-Way!?! I'm amazed Renee Young had her shoes on.
- The Dudley Boyz are still at ringside, so here comes Enzo Amore and Big Cass to FINALLY make their WWE debut. They call out the Dudleys for being jealous of them and being ugly as hell, and Enzo offers to put D'Von's lazy eye back in place. Cass adds if they don't like it, come back to the ring and do something about it. There's only word to describe the Dudleys, and they're gonna spell it out for ya': S-A-W-F-T, SAWFT. The poor Usos might be the #3 babyface team now.
- Zack Ryder gets a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship on Smackdown. Nice of them to add an image of Maryse with the Miz to remind us that she's back, at least for the short-term.
#1 Contenders Match: A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho vs. ???:
Winner gets to challenge for Roman Reigns' Championship, probably at Payback. Owens is still dragging his leg a bit to sell the hell he went through at WrestleMania 32. Zayn's participation is in question due to the attack from earlier by Owens, so he's being subbed out... with CESARO! He's dressed like he's James Bond. I was hoping for Samoa Joe, honestly, but this is cool. Styles/Jericho and Owens/Cesaro pair-up. Jericho knocks Owens to the floor with a springboard dropkick. Crowd pops for the idea of Styles vs. Cesaro. Styles catches him coming with a dropkick, but gets caught in a leap frog and put down with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker. We return from commercial with Jericho hitting Styles with a delayed vertical suplex. Owens gets sent to the barricade and comically over-sells it. Cesaro goes for the Swing, but Owens interrupts and teases it himself. Cesaro lays him out with an uppercut, then gets tossed out by Jericho. Styles with rights and chops, pounding Jericho to the canvas. We get our obligatory tower of doom spot, with Cesaro delivering the majority of the punishment. Owens with the cannonball to Jericho and Styles with an enziguri to Owens. Cesaro presses Styles in the air and hits an uppercut for two. Owens with the cradle suplex on Jericho for two. Jericho avoids a second cannonball and takes him down with a bulldog. Owens with the knees up to counter the Lionsault. Styles with the springboard 450 splash on Jericho, but Cesaro saves. Cesaro with a body press from the top on Styles for two. Cesaro goes back and forth with running uppercuts to Styles and Owens. Jericho tries to interrupt it but gets caught in the train, too. Giant swing on Jericho! Owens interrupts with a Super-Kick. Styles tries to springboard in but Owens crotches him and hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Jericho saves! Jericho counters the Powerbomb with a Code Breaker, but Cesaro breaks the cover. Walls of Jericho to Cesaro, but Cesaro counters with the Sharpshooter! Styles comes in with the Phenomenal Forearm, and Owens cradles Styles for two! I thought that was it. Pele Kick to Owens! Jericho with the Code Breaker on Styles for two! They had me there, too! Styles with a flurry of offense and a back slide. STYLES CLASH to Jericho for the victory at 16:51. AJ Styles is the new #1 Contender! **** Better than anything at WrestleMania, with the exception of the Ladder Match. Non-stop action, hot sequences, and great, believable near falls.
Final Thoughts: Not the wild show I would've expected, with almost the entire show booked to keep the crowd as closely to in check as possible. We've got the introduction of Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Enzo and Cass, and the Vaudevillains to the main roster, and the return of Cesaro. We've got our World Title program set, a short-term program for the Women's Championship, and it feels like we've hit a big reset button after a lot of lackluster programs that carried us through WrestleMania. Even without appearances from Undertaker, Ambrose, Brock, Triple H and Stephanie (among others), this show didn't feel lacking of interesting content, and with all the call ups, this definitely helps with the depleted roster. My only complaint... Why Miz? Woo Woo Woo, Ryder blew it.
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