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Csonka’s WWE Raw Review 8.17.15

August 17, 2015 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s WWE Raw Review 8.17.15  

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– Randy Orton & Cesaro defeated Sheamus & Kevin Owens @ 13:01 via pin [**½]
– Roman Reigns defeated Luke Harper @ 15:00 via pin [***]
– Becky Lynch defeated Tamina @ 4:00 via submission [**]
– Rusev defeated Mark Henry @ 2:45 via submission [NR]
Non-Title Match: Champion Ryback defeated The Miz @ 2:20 via pin [NR]
– Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons defeated Los Matadors and New Day @ 2:10 via pin [NR]
Non-Title Match: Sasha Banks defeated Champion Nikki Bella @ 10:45 via submission []

And now for something completely the same… The Authority Talks: They hyped Summerslam and ran down the card. Tonight we get a Smackdown rematch special with Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns. We also get Sasha Banks vs. Nikki Bella, which seems a bit wasted as they even mentioned it as a champion vs. champion (non-title) match. Jon Stewart will host Summerslam. Randy Orton then came out for our opening match. This was fine.

Randy Orton & Cesaro vs. Sheamus & Kevin Owens: They worked through the commercial break. The early story was the heels trying to stay away from their Summerslam opponent. They worked a really solid tag match, nothing spectacular, but it was enjoyable. The only real flub was late when Cesaro was trying to do a counter in the ropes and got hung up, but other wise the work was pretty smooth. Owens countered the RKO, but then Orton was able to hit it on Sheamus to score the win. The main issue I have with the match is that while it serves as a set up for Summerslam, when you do a finish, one of the guys in a Summerslam match loses. Here we had Orton pin Sheamus just days before they face off, so why should I care about their PPV match when Orton already beat Sheamus at Battleground and then pinned him again here? This booking doesn’t help make we want to see the PPV.

* Taker cut a backstage promo, he’s going to destroy Brock at Summerslam and Brock will rest in peace. I thought we were getting an in ring segment, apparently not.

* Rollins spoke with the Authority backstage, hyping the Summerslam contract signing tonight. He kissed ass a bit, and then said when he wins both titles, and asked if he could have a statue at WWE HQ along with Andre, Bruno and Warrior. They told him if he won that they’d think about it.

Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns: This is out Smackdown rematch special of the week. Ambrose and Wyatt are both out, with Ambrose on commentary. The good news is that Harper and Reigns tend to work well together; the bad news is that these rematches continue to add to the stigma that Smackdown is useless. So they worked through the commercial break, with Ambrose actually doing some nice work selling the feud on commentary. They worked a really good and hard-hitting match here, quite enjoyable really. Again, these guys work well together and it is matches like this that make me wish that Harper got the push that Wyatt did. Reigns won once again, hitting the spear to give Ambrose and Reigns the momentum heading into the PPV. While I really enjoyed the match, I really wish that they would have done matches where both sides could pick up a win in order to give both sides solid momentum. Hell, the Ascension isn’t doing anything. Much like the opening tag, we’re giving away a lot of the Summerslam card in ways instead of giving the participants momentum.

* End hour one.

Becky Lynch vs. Tamina: Paige, Charlotte, Sasha and Naomi are at ringside. Team Bella watched on from backstage. Not going to lie, I was not looking forward to this because Tamina is rather dreadful in singles matches. They kept it simple, Tamina used her power game, Becky overcame and then made her tap clean. They didn’t go too long, there was no bullshit and it was the right outcome. This was perfectly fine and exactly what it needed to be.

Rusev w/Summer vs. Mark Henry: Lana is on commentary as we try this match once again. They showed footage of Summer humbling Lana last week, but Lana said that she had a plan for this week. Henry dominated early as they brawled on the floor for a bit, and then back to the ring where Henry hit slams for near falls. They went back to the floor, where Rusev posted Henry a few times and then hit the leaping superkick and applied the accolade for the win. This was exactly what it needed to be, Rusev winning clean and decisively. Post match Lana challenged Summer to come back to the ring, and bitch slapped her. She challenged Rusev to come in the ring, leading to Ziggler’s return. We got the big brawl, Lana laid out Summer with a high kick and Ziggler sent Rusev packing with the superkick. The crowd reacted big time to this, and they avoided the bullshit that previously made the angle a chore to watch. Overall this was a good segment.

* SportsCenter will air live from Barclays Center on Sunday, which is pretty cool.

* JoJo interviewed Lana and Ziggler backstage. Ziggler challenged Rusev to a match at Summerslam.

* We get an Undertaker vs. Lesnar video package.

* Pre-match Miz ran down Big Show’s acting career, and said he’d win the IC Title at Summerslam because he is a star.

Non-Title Match: Champion Ryback vs. The Miz: Like a lot of the card tonight, we’re giving away variations on the Summerslam matches instead of booking to give the participants momentum. Big Show is out for commentary. Ryback ran through Miz like sushi bought from a bait shop. Ryback then challenged Show to get in the ring, but he declined. Obviously it is good that the champion is winning heading into the PPV, but Miz has been continually beaten like a drum and I have no clue how they can keep him in the match after the last six weeks or so of booking. That means he’s probably winning the title. There is some really lazy booking going on here tonight.

* End hour two.

TOP OF THE HOUR CONTRACT SIGNING: Triple H and Steph hosted the festivities. Seth kissed some Authority ass, and then said that the times are changing. Cena has been on top of the WWE for 10-years, and everyone that has tried to knock him off Cena took them out. “You’re not Superman John, you’re the villain holding the WWE Universe hostage for the last decade… John Cena is a disease, and I am the cure.” He then went on for a while, calling Cena a coward for not accepting his challenge in person, which brought out Cena. Cena said that Rollins was the champ, but not a real man and only a cheap imitation of John Cena. Lots of talk about how Triple H hand picked Rollins to be the champion, usher in the future and to ensure the H’s legacy. Cena then stated that he’s a 15-time champion, and brought up his new gear, noting that he never thought he’d get a title shot. He will win the title on Sunday and that will haunt Rollins and Triple H worse than any injury. Cena even brought up Flair’s title record and how Flair was Triple H’s mentor and now he will beat his boy to win title 16. “Triple h was never Flair’s bitch, but Sunday, I’m going to make you mine.” Overall this was a good segment to hype the title vs. title match, with Rollins doing some nice work and Cena being serious and not joking around. I also like that they avoided the contract signing clichés, and kept the fight for the PPV.

* New Day cut a silly, but fun little promo. They are fun.

Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadors and New Day (Kofi and Big E): So the theme of doing versions of the Summerslam matches all night long continues. They did some stuff for a minute; Titus got his hot tag and ran wild. Woods distracted him and then fought with Torito. Kalisto hit a sloppy RANA on a Matadore and got the pin. That was completely useless, it was not very good at all and did nothing to make me want to see the tag title match on the PPV.

* Ziggler vs. Rusev is official for Summerslam.

* We get a video package for Neville and Amell vs. Barrett and Stardust. Stardust and Barrett then cut a promo about Sunday’s PPV match. Stardust, ever the gentleman, gave Barrett a new cosmic cape.

* Reigns, Ambrose, Orton and Cesaro vs. Sheamus, Owens, Harper and Wyatt is set for Smackdown.

Non-Title Match: Champion Nikki Bella vs. Sasha Banks: If they were serious about the “divas revolution” they should have used a match like this (which should be important, champion vs. champion) and at the very least have it main event Smackdown. I can’t promise it will be great, I am just saying if they were serious about this they would do it. To just toss it out as part of the lazy build to Summerslam feels wrong. Also, they have really dropped the ball on pushing Sasha as the NXT champion, adding to that she didn’t even get a ring entrance tonight. Brie and Fox are with Nikki, while Naomi and Tamina are with Sasha. They worked through the commercial, with Sasha in control and then Nikki whiffing on a kick off the ropes. The good news was that the air knocked Sasha down. Naomi distracted Nikki, allowing Sasha to hit the back stabber and the banks statement for the win in classic Raw distraction finish fashion. So now both Charlotte and Sasha have beaten Nikki, but will it mean a title shot for either is the question? The match was rough, and the crowd turned on them, which is never good. It’s a big win for Banks, which needed to be played up more.

* We get another Taker vs. Lesnar video package.

BROCK LESNAR: Heyman did his usual great hype job and introduced Lesnar. Lesnar got a monstrous pop, and then Heyman sang a Lesnar themed version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which was amazing. He’s the only man that could get away with it and make it work. They teased Taker coming out, Heyman ran down Taker’s tricks and said God and the Devil could team up with Taker and Lesnar would take them all to suplex city. Heyman explained that Taker was afraid, and that he was not fighting a man, but is fighting a beast, the beast that ended the streak. Heyman was excellent here as he ran down Taker, and then the lights went out and the dong hit and Taker arrived and hit the low blow on Lesnar. He would then lay out Lesnar with a chokeslam and tombstone, and posed. The Deadman stands tall to close the show. Absolutely tremendous work by Heyman, with the expected beat down from Taker.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
So we’re building to the “biggest Summerslam of all time’ and it felt like a completely lazy effort. They did all of these matches, which were just variations on the matches that we’re going to see on Sunday. No one really looked good, guys lost momentum and it felt as if they threw it together minutes before they went on air. But we’re in the Network era, where they don’t feel they have to “sell shows,” that’s their excuse for lazy writing. Some people say we have to accept it, but I refuse to believe that. I do not think that there is anything wrong with wanting good writing on my wrestling show and I refuse to compromise. I like good wrestling, I like good stories, and I didn’t feel as if I got that tonight. I will say that the good news is again that they eliminated the fluff, and that the segments were all Summerslam related, they were just (for the most part) poorly thought out. Outside of the work by Heyman in the main event segment, the show did nothing to make me excited about Sunday’s Summerslam event. And it’s not because I am looking forward to Lesnar vs. taker, it’s because no one does his job as good as Heyman does.

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RAW, Tremendous Tirades, WWE, Larry Csonka