I have to confess that I missed Raw last week. If you’re someone who secretly looks forward to me rambling about it every week you probably know because I was not writing about it, RIGHT HERE – AT HTCWRESTLING DOT COM (I imagine a raucous crowd pop here…).
Anyway, because I missed it I missed the triumphant return of BRAUN. And tonight…I was late and missed the return of BRAUN. I am really failing him as a fan I feel. Anyway, I had a commentary texted to me and I saw the reply and IT WAS AWESOME. Roman actually had words the crowd enjoyed saying he got choked out by Samoa Joe and he wants to accept BRAUN’s challenge. Enter the ambulance and a surprise attack from behind by BRAUN who at the finish of this throws The Big Dog Reigns off of the stage into the side of the ambulance. See? AWESOME. Then he’s out. With no music. He doesn’t need it. He’s fucking BRAUN.
Cesaro & Sheamus & Elias Sampson vs The Hardy Boy(z) & Finn Balor
Yikes. Sorry Finn. No, of course being on the show at all is a win. We open with Elias Sampson singing in the ring with Cesaro and Sheamus sitting with him, though he’s quickly interrupted by the Boyz. Balor joins because why not. I guess it is something different so I won’t complain. Josh Duhamel shows up for some reason to promote something involving he and Sheamus called the Buddy Games. The commentary completely throws me off of the match because I’m not sure Duhamel knows where he is exactly. Oh it’s a movie. It also has Nick Swardson who I love in Reno 911 so, you know. It still doesn’t make this commentary less unbearable. The match is great, it goes through two commercial breaks. I don’t like Jeff Hardy, but as long as he’s not clumsily falling off stuff or on too many drugs he gets by. Mostly. There are some good things in this match and it’s just great to see them give anyone this much time. Jeff lands a bit roughly towards the end, but Finn gets the win.
Winners: Finn & The Hardyz
Next up we’re supposed to get a Goldust vs R Truth match but it doesn’t happen because Goldust hides behind a camera man and attacks Truth from behind.
Backstage Heyman is being interviewed and then, in the words of my good friend Karen, Samoa Joe gets sexual with Heyman and whispers to him.
MIZ TV: Big Baller Brand
Alright what I gather happens next is that some new LA Laker, his younger brother and his dad who everyone hates are here to get some heat and get some viewers RAW may not have gotten otherwise. The sons laughing during the segment and obviously not taking it seriously probably didn’t help. Neither did the dad not knowing when to just let it go. Dean Ambrose does clean up and tries to just end it, but this segment is a joke. At least we’re getting Bo Dallas next.
Dean Ambrose & Rhyno & Heath Slater vs The Miz & Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel
I really enjoyed this match. Unfortunately I also had two children running around in the room I’m in because there’s a birthday party going on in this house I’m in so it’s really distracting. Which is terrible because I really love Bo! He looks pretty good in this match as do the rest of the guys. Again, I think they get decent enough time and kind of save that horrible segment that came before it. In the end, AMAZINGLY, Bo Dallas gets a roll up win! Excellent.
Winners: BO DALLAS & The Miz & Curtis Axel
Enzo and Cass have a new break up session in the ring where Enzo comes out and says that he accepts that Cass had passion last week in what he said and he was probably right about a lot of the things because Enzo does run his mouth too much. But they are brothers! My 8 year old niece is in the room for this segment and she does verbally “AWW” pretty loudly when Enzo gives his speech. She doesn’t seem to trust Big Cass accepting that he and Enzo are brothers and that their friendship isn’t over because of this, and she’s right too. They have a pretty good moment and make it the top of the ramp before Cass remembers ENZO TOTALLY SUCKS and attacks. My niece is kind of scandalized but she doesn’t know how annoying Enzo can be. Cass throws him down the ramp to end the segment.
Seth Rollins vs Curt Hawkins
Hawkins cuts a fun promo in the beginning of this match, and I enjoy him so much but I’m glad to let Seth be on display. It’s a short match, but Hawkins gets in enough offense that he doesn’t look completely useless. I thought Seth was calling his knee the Kingslayer, but the commentators refuse to sell it as anything other than “the knee”, and it’s really anticlimactic. When the match ends of course Bray interrupts with another promo saying how he is everywhere and he is a god while Seth is telling everyone to be different but really is a corporate guy. Blah blah blah. Then it’s over.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Throughout the night the women have been choosing numbers to see what order they will enter into a gauntlet match later to see who will fight Alexa Bliss at Great Balls of Fire.
Paul Heyman is out to bring out Brock Lesnar. He talks about how Samoa Joe isn’t afraid of Brock Lesnar, but Brock is gonna take him out because he’s the beast! The conqueror! Except when Brock enters Joe attacks him IMMEDIATELY on the ramp and tries to lock in the Coquina Clutch. Brock manages to kind of spear Joe into the ramp signage twice, but Joe still manages to get him down and pretty choked out. It’s pretty intense until The Revival enter to break it up for some reason. Wow. Brock is going to murder Joe at this show.
KING Neville vs Lince Dorado
Akira Tozawa is watching this from a personal section at ringside. It’s nice to see Lince Dorado again, it’s been awhile! He gets an alright showing, but KING Neville is the most fun to watch. He locks in the Rings of Saturn and takes the win. Titus BRAND comes out before Neville and Tozawa can lock up. He claims that Tozawa has joined the Titus BRAND, and it doesn’t seem like Tozawa is denying it. YEAH! Woo! God when did his happen, when did I start to like Titus.
Winner: KING Neville
Chuck finds Paul Heyman in the back again and talks about how all Samoa Joe proved tonight is he isn’t a real Samoan because Samoans don’t attack from behind. He says if Joe locks the Coquina Clutch in at Great Balls of Fire then he’ll be the FORMER Universal champion. But now Brock is backed into the wall and he is loving this.
Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss meet up back stage and Alexa tries to get Nia back on her side. She tries to play the card that both of them have been judged on how they look and that’s not right. She tells Nia she’s been judged her whole life and she knows Nia doesn’t need it but she wishes her luck. Nia says she’s right, she doesn’t need her luck and she’ll see her and her championship at Great Balls of Fire.
Women’s Gauntlet Match for #1 Contender: Nia Jax vs Bayley vs Emma vs Mickie James vs Dana Brooke vs Sasha Banks
No idea what order anyone is coming out here, but we start with Bayley and Nia Jax. When one women is eliminated another will enter so one women could potentially have to beat 5 others. Nia Jax kind of manhandles Bayley the entire time and wins the first match kind of easily. Ouch. Mickie James is the third woman out and she has a pretty good showing with a winded Nia Jax. I love Mickie and wish the crowd was more into her. I say this every week, I know. Mickie gets a great Mick Kick and almost gets her with a DDT, but Nia overpowers her and moves onto her third opponent. It’s Dana Brooke! They talk about Dana being in the gym alot and how she shoul dbe a good match for Nia, but…she isn’t. She tries to ram her way into Nia, but Nia quickly throws her down and hits her with a leg drop and gets the win. Goodbye Dana. Emma is her next opponent and the crowd is starting to get behind Nia Jax. I feel like they have to give her some quick opponents here in the middle because I’m not sure she has the stamina to make it through this entire match. She is doing a formidable job though. Emma gets some decent action for about 45 seconds, but Nia takes control pretty easily and takes care of Emma too. Only Sasha Banks remains. Sasha gets some early offense and hits some nice knees on the outside of the ring. When we get back from a break Nia’s taken control and that lasts for a good long while with Nia working heavily on Sasha’s knee. Sasha sells like an absolute champ. It’s really awesome. Sasha manages to power back and even gets a standing Boss Statement on Nia Jax. She then gets one where Nia is basically out on her knees AND NIA TAPS and the crowd is HOT for Sasha. People can hate that she keeps getting these chances all she wants, but Sasha Banks proved again tonight she’s probably the best women’s wrestler on the main roster. Sasha wins! Afterwards Kurt Angle comes out to shake her hand and as they stand in the ring Alexa Bliss comes out to show off her title and get a nice swift drop kick in the ring! Woo! The Boss!
Winner: Sasha Banks
FINAL THOUGHTS: The basketball segment that happened was absolute garbage, but I actually think the rest of the show is pretty solid. I thought all of the matches got a good amount of time for what they were and everyone worked hard. I thought Samoa Joe attacking Lesnar from behind was great, I didn’t even hate the Enzo segment. He’s stupid so it makes sense he’d fall for Cass’s lies. I don’t care about the Bray Wyatt/Seth Rollins stuff except I love Seth so I kind of have to try. The BRAUN stuff is great and I really do hope he destroys Roman and moves onto Brock. I somehow like the Titus Brand stuff! I just am trying to enjoy Raw and it is happening.
WATCH THIS MATCH: Why not watch the women’s gauntlet match. It’s mostly Nia shoving through the entire women’s division, but that makes sense. That’s what she should be doing. People may not like it, but I really do think she’s been working her ass off. People should appreciate that. The Nia/Sasha section is really pretty good.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Watch all the matches tonight. Skip that terrible Basketball Miz TV whatever it was that happened. That was total garbage that isn’t worth your time.
I missed bits and pieces tonight, but overall I enjoyed the show. I hope you did too! You can always find me over at hm_pufnstuf on twitter!