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WWE Monday Night RAW - August 18, 2014

by Scrooge McSuck

Live from Las Vega, NV with Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield on commentary, unless otherwise noted.

- Quick recap of some of the major happenings the previous night at SummerSlam.

- Daniel Bryan's music plays, and SWERVE, it's Stephanie McMahon sporting her new "Steph! Steph! Steph!" shirt. OH HO HO, you bunch of marks. That was clearly quite obviously going to happen. Tonight, New WWE Champions BRRRRROCK Lesnar, will be awarded a new Championship Belt. First plug for the WWE Network, for only $9.99, comes at 8:07 EST.

Next out is Nikki Bella, who botched walking to the ring, losing a shoe along the way. Then the microphone no-sells her. Wow, being a Bella has sucked the last 24 hours. This is awful. I'll be back from making microwavable Rice-a-Roni and White Castle Cheeseburgers. 8:10 EST, our second plug for the WWE Network... for only $9.99. After some of the most brutal line deliveries in WWE history, Brie adds her D-Level Skinemax acting to a segment that died a long time ago, and gets a slap in the face for it to end this nightmare. I'm not going to be one to complain about the opening talking segment, because this is a scripted TV show, but this was BAD.

Big Show & Mark Henry vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan:

It's the Colossal Connection 2K14! Seriously, when is the Big Show going to finally retire? He's got nothing left to offer and few people are allowed to get one over on him, unless they're uber-heels like Lesnar. For the second night in a row, there's a GERMAN announce team. Henry and Rowan start, trading clubberin' blows. Show and Harper have a go, with Show dominating. Harper pie-faces Show after a big slap and gets pummeled for it. Show fights off both Wyatt Family members as we take a commercial break. We return, with Harper hanging Show across the top rope and sending him out of the ring with a dropkick. Rowan with a running boot on the floor. Back inside, Rowan covers for two and puts the boots to the Big Show. Harper with a Super-Kick for two. He actually Gator Roll's the "world's largest athlete." Show "creates separation" with a back suplex, but Rowan, the world's largest troll, comes in with a clothesline. Rowan with a scoop and a slam.. for two! Show blocks a second attempt and counters with a DDT. Henry with the hot tag, working over Rowan. He goes for the World's Strongest Slam, but Harper runs in with a big boot. Show comes back in with the KO Punch to Harper, one for Rowan, and the World's Strongest Slam finishes Rowan at 11:34. ** This picked up nicely towards the end for a rare Super-Heavyweight Tag Team Match. Doesn't mean I'll want to see it again on Smackdown, but it's a fresh match to me, so huzzah.

- Hollywood Miz and his goofy stripper robe, NEW Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler, and then NATURE BOY Ric Flair, are backstage to hype the upcoming rematch for the Intercontinental Title. Please don't switch it back...

- We recap the Lumberjack Match from SummerSlam. For once, WWE's hyperbole of calling it the greatest Lumberjack Match of all time is actually accurate. I feared the match would suffer from the gimmick, but it actually added to the match. Renee Young, probably not wearing her shoes, interviews Mr. Money In The Bank Seth Rollins. After a generic promo, Dean Ambrose suddenly dumps ice water on him, goes "What? It's for charity", and they get into a pull-apart slugfest. That was awesome. I demand 53 more matches between these two.

- Seth Rollins complains to Triple H and Korporate Kane... wait a minute, when did Kane ditch the mask again? Triple H books a rematch between Rollins and Ambrose, and will allow the WWE Universe to pick the stipulation. BEST FOR BUSINESS!

Natalya vs. Paige (Diva's Champion):

Nattie doesn't get an entrance, so we know she's jobbing. Non-Title Match, for the record. We talk about the match the night before where Paige regained the Title from A.J. in what was a better than average match, a step up from their stinker at Battleground. Paige is dedicating this match to A.J. Nattie has changed her attire from long tights to the booty hugging boy shorts most everyone else wears. They do a hot sequence of pin attempts until Paige kicks Nattie on the back of the head and does the creepy crawl before unloading with headbutts. Suddenly A.J.'s music plays, and COME ON, don't tell me they're going with that finish. Natite with a roll up, and yep, three count at 1:39. That finish is so tired, it needs to take a long dirt nap. 1/4* Post-match, because Nattie means nothing to the Diva's Title scenario, A.J. and Paige continue their weird crap of trying to play mind games. Gotta' give 'em credit: they never did psycho vs. psycho in the Diva's Division.

- Choices for Rollins vs. Ambrose later tonight: No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere, or No Disqualification. Um... do I have to point it out?

- Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come out for the presentation of the NEW WWE World Heavyweight Title Belt to Brock Lesnar. The WWE logo's subtle change is the thing affecting the look. Brock's 10+ years since his last World Title reign is quite a gap, only topped by (I think) Bob Backlund, who had a near 11 year gap between reigns. Paul Heyman gloats on behalf of his client, the Viking Space Lord, the Conqueror, the beast incarnate, BRRRRRRRROCK Lesnar. He puts over Cena's fighting spirit, but his refusal to be smart and give up after the first F5 had him leaving the ring in a broken heap as a martyr. Surprisingly, nobody interrupts. Felt a little long, but compared to the nonsense opening the night, I'll take it 100 times out of 1000.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz:

It's Round 918 in the never-ending series that is Ziggler vs. Miz. I have a bad feeling they'll change the title back to the Miz. Just a hunch. Is it wrong for me to hope that Miz, Regular Version or Hollywood Version, just disappears forever? Ziggler controls early with headlocks. Criss-cross sequence ends with Ziggler selling the left knee and Miz taking it out with a dropkick. Continuity from last night! Miz wraps the knee around the post as we take a commercial... is it obvious we're getting a Figure-Four finish for the second title change in 24 hours? We return from commercial with Ziggler hitting a DDT for two. Miz blocks a Super-Kick, sweeps the leg, and locks the Figure-Four on in the center of the ring. Ziggler scratches and claws and finally makes it to the ropes to force a break. Miz tries following Ziggler to the floor and gets his leg swept from under him. They fight on the apron until Miz lands in the ring and Ziggler lands on the floor, and it's a cheap Count-Out at 7:12. Well, that was a lame finish, but at least it wasn't another title change or another clean job from Miz. *1/2 Barely had a chance to get going before the finish. Miz with a post-match attack, but Ziggler hits him from out of nowhere with the Zig-Zag, because 50/50 booking works.

- Renee Young interviews Real American Jack Swagger, who was defeated in a surprisingly good and grueling battle with Rusev. Post-match, Rusev KO'ed 60+ year old Zeb Colter with a super-kick, because beating up the elderly is a great way to draw heat.draw heat.

Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro:

No Colter, selling the attack from SummerSlam the night before. Seriously, Swagger vs. Cesaro? I don't like this since neither man needs another loss right now. Swagger is still selling the ribs, and Cesaro quickly targets them. Whip to the corner and Swagger misses a charge. Cesaro with a gutwrench suplex and locks on an abdominal stretch. Cesaro with a knee to the midsection and a double stomp to the chest for two. Swagger fights out of an armbar, boots Cesaro down, and comes off the ropes with the Swagger Bomb for two. Cesaro drops Swagger across the top rope, but finds himself trapped in the Patriot Lock. Back inside, Swagger goes for it again, but Cesaro thumbs him in the eyes and finishes with the Neutralizer at 4:34. ** Perfectly acceptable wrestling, but they did put over the fact Swagger was working at less than 100%. Post-match, Bo Dallas comes out to be the motivator Swagger needs. That was... random.

- Renee Young is still backstage, this time to interview Chris Jericho. Sure, he lost last night, but Bray Wyatt is dead inside, while the fire still burns inside himself. That's just swell.

- Tomorrow night on WWE Main Event, it's Big Show vs. Erick Rowan, exclusively on the WWE Network. Pass.

Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Rob Van Dam vs. Randy Orton, Curtis Axel, Ryback:

No entrance for Axel and Ryback. I wonder if Bob Orton and Curt Hennig ever teamed up. Sheamus is the reigning U.S. Champion, but nobody cares about that Title anymore. Axel and Sheamus start. Axel trips up the Champ into the ropes and tags Orton in. Sheamus with the rolling senton, and RVD tags in with Rolling Thunder, and we take another commercial break. Wish I had the WWE App right now. We return with Axel taking the forearms across the chest. Ryback tries to get a cheap shot in and takes forearms, as well. The crowd chants for something, but I can barely hear. Maybe for Ryback? Sheamus winds up on the floor at the mercy of Orton. "Feed Me More" chant randomly breaks out, then "Ryback Rules." Orton gives the crowd what they want and tags in Ryback. Ryback with shoulders to the midsection and a front facelock, and Lawler clues me in this is Ryback's hometown. Orton tags back in and is quickly nailed with White Noise. Reigns with the hot tag. Samoan Drop and Superman Punch to Axel. Axel over-sells a kick to the leg and gets the jumping boot to the face. Reigns sets up, hits another Superman Punch, and hits Ryback with one, but Orton interrupts a spear. RVD tags himself in and gets several near falls on Axel. Boot to the face and split-leg moonsault gets two. Brogue Kick to Ryback, RKO to Sheamus, and Reigns with the SPEAR on Orton! Axel throws Reigns shoulder-first to the post. RVD with a spinning heel kick to Axel, and the 5-Star Frog Splash finishes at 11:12. ** Was looking to be an all-Sheamus match, but the last few minutes picked up steam and made for a hot finish.

- Bray Wyatt cuts a fairly generic promo compared to what we're used to. I guess this means ONE MORE MATCH with Jericho. Yay.

The Usos (Tag Team Champions) vs. Goldust & Stardust:

Non-Title Match, so expect the Uso's to lose, despite their opponents getting their entrance during the commercial break. Have the Dust's found the Cosmic Key, yet? Goldust and Jey Uso start. Stalemate on a lockup, Jey with a school boy for two. They trade arm drags, with the Uso's in control. Jimmy with a double axehandle from the top rope and the Uso's take turns working the arm. Stardust tags in and is quickly caught in the corner of the Tag Champions. Jimmy with a back suplex for two. Jey with a snapmare and back to the chinlock. Mr. Wizard Jerry Lawler speculates the "Cosmic Key" Stardust refers to is really the Tag Team Titles. Stardust tries to dive and make a tag, but is held back, so he turns it into a sunset flip for the three count at 5:57. * Match wasn't going anywhere anyway, so the anti-climatic finish doesn't even matter.

- This Friday on Friday Night Smackdown, it's a Time Warp back to 2003, with Randy Orton taking on Rob Van Dam!

- Lana and Rusev come out to gloat, but the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry, is looking to split some wigs. He's going to give Rusev a personal guided tour into the Hall of Pain. Rusev throws the first punch, but Henry blocks a kick from the bad ankle and plants Rusev with the World's Strongest Slam. He comes off the ropes with a splash to put the finishing touches on the message.

- Next week on Raw, John Cena addresses the WWE Universe.

Falls Count Anywhere Match:
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins:

I guess this is the stipulation WWE wanted, but there's very little difference between the three choices. Slugfest to start. Whip reversed, Ambrose comes back with a body press and more rights. Ambrose with a dropkick, sending Rollins to the floor. He tosses Rollins into the security wall, and they quickly start brawling through the crowd. They find their way to the top of the entrance ramp. They go through a series of counters until Ambrose takes him over with a snap suplex for two. Ambrose with a headbutt, sending Rollins tumbling down the ramp. Ambrose finds some toys under the ring... honestly, WHO KEEPS KENDO STICKS UNDR THERE?! Ambrose with a chair to the midsection, followed by a slam with the chair resting across the back. Ambrose with a steel chair elbow drop for two. He wedges the chair between the turnbuckles and ends up getting thrown face-first into it. Rollins covers for two as we take a commercial break.

We return with Rollins using the kendo stick as a chinlock supporter. Rollins whacks him around with it between taunting. Ambrose finally catches it under the arm and pounds away, but Rollins fights it out of his hands. Ambrose bounces off the ropes for the clothesline, but Rollins ducks and connects with a jumping roundhouse kick for a two count. Ambrose avoids a chair shot and takes Rollins down with a Tornado DDT for two. Rollins avoids Dirty Deeds, Ambrose avoids the Curb Stomp, and a body press from both men has both laid out in the center of the ring. They trade blows until Ambrose sweeps the legs and slingshots Rollins to the buckle. Ambrose with the kendo stick with a White Russian Leg sweep for two. Ambrose throws a mess of chairs into the ring. He sets Rollins across the top turnbuckle for a Super-Plex, but Rollins fights out of it, sunset flips over and connects with a Running Ligerbomb onto the pile... FOR TWO!?! THEY LET SOMEONE DO THAT MOVE AGAIN!?!?

Korporate Kane is at ringside, like everyone expected. Rollins pulls out a table to overwhelming crowd approval. Rollins sets up for a table assisted Curb Stomp, but Ambrose crotches him along the buckle, climbs up, and puts Rollins through the table with a Super-Plex! Ambrose crawls through the wreckage, but takes his time to knock Kane off the apron. He tosses Rollins to the floor and dives onto both men with a suicide dive! Ambrose works in his Exploder Clothesline, complete with oversell. Ambrose with Dirty Deeds, but Kane pulls Ambrose to the floor. Ambrose turns the tables on Kane and back drops Rollins into the crowd. He throws Kane onto the announcers table, then sprints across them and on top of Rollins! Ambrose takes apart the (English) Announcer's Table. He goes for Dirty Deeds, but Kane comes back to life and chokeslams Ambrose on top of the table, but it doesn't break. Rollins with the Curb Stomp, and the table still doesn't break. Kane removes the Timekeeper's table, revealing cinderblocks?! Rollins with the Curb Stomp onto the pile, and Ambrose is done at 20:30. That sure wasn't PG... **** Match was another insane brawl with it's share of great spots. I could complain about Kane's involvement, but that doesn't detract from the story being told, no matter how tired his constant appearances have become. Good way to write Ambrose off TV for a while, too.

Final Thoughts: Excellent Main Event with a satisfying explanation to write off someone for head-scratchingly dumb reasons (WWE Films can fuck a Goat), but the rest of the show was just spinning tires with little forward movement. Jericho/Wyatt appears to be a continuing storyline, the stuff between Stephanie and Brie is now going to get worse with the inclusion of "Makes a Mannequin look convincing" Nikki, and three Championship matches ended with the Champions losing, two of them on flukes. Raw desperately needs to go back to a 2 hour format, especially with their roster as depleted as its become with so many cuts to the undercard.

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