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June 09, 2015

Your WWE Raw roundup: Dean Ambrose giveth and then taketh away six days before Money in the Bank

Money in the Bank is quickly approaching, and the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans was the home for Raw on Monday night. This was not only one of the better Raws we’ve seen this year, but it’s one of the best go-home shows to a pay-per-view in quite a while.

However, I can only see Dean Ambrose one-up Seth Rollins so many times before I start believing Rollins has no chance to defeat Ambrose in a one-on-one match, despite doing so last year at Summerslam. I can buy Rollins losing to J & J Security, but if this leads to Rollins losing on Sunday night, again, I’m not sure how that makes your champion look good at all.

Rollins’ World Heavyweight Championship reign has been quite underwhelming so far, so I’m imagining he wins rather decisively at Money in the Bank against Ambrose.

Here are some of the main stories coming out of Raw:

Finally! We finally had a new opening segment Monday night on Raw, and it was more of a throwback than anything. United States Champion, John Cena, opened up the program, broken nose and all (from a live event Sunday night). Given his rematch with NXT Champion Kevin Owens on Sunday, it was imperative for Cena to go into Money in the Bank looking strong, but Owens wouldn’t give him that chance. Boasting his NXT title reign, Owens offered to put up his championship in an open challenge rather than Cena put up his. It worked perfectly in the grand scheme of things; not only due to Cena having a broken nose and likely not wrestling until Sunday, but Neville answered Owens’ challenge and they had an amazing opener, one which we haven’t seen in months on Raw.

Owens and Cena had a staredown and the anticipation is high among the WWE audience for the two to clash once again at Money in the Bank.

This episode also saw the apparent dissention of Rollins and his J & J Security team. In a backstage segment early in the night, Rollins told Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury that he was the one who made them and that he doesn’t need them anymore. J&J didn’t take too kindly to those remarks, as Noble said he is the better Dean Ambrose, Joey Mercury is an upgraded Roman Reigns, and they’re basically the Shield Version 2.0.

In the main event, Rollins would face his former security team in a handicap match, and Ambrose decided to grab a ringside seat for the match.

I think the breakup of Rollins and his security team is bittersweet, merely due to the fact that Mercury and Noble were perfect in their roles on television. I doubt they’re going to get much TV time after this, but they made the most of their time back in the limelight. Since they’re mainly producers behind the scenes, I think they can still get involved physically should they need to in the future. I just am not sure that’s going to happen.

Toward the end of the main event, he hopped the rail and threw the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt inside the ring to the delight of Rollins. Despite getting pinned, Rollins was happy enough to get the championship belt back in his possession. That is, before Ambrose entered the ring, hit him with Dirty Deeds, and then took back the title. Bait and switch, Seth! Ambrose stood tall to end the show, which means you know what come Sunday night.

The highlight of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match segment had to be the innocuous appearance of R-Truth, who didn’t realize he wasn’t in the match. Despite getting involved in the banter among Reigns, Kane and Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth was then notified he wasn’t scheduled for the match, and he promptly walked to the back.

I have to admit, I found that moment absolutely awesome in every way. I’m glad they saved this segment for the top of the second hour instead of the beginning of the show. In fact, this segment would have worked even at the top of the 10:00 hour. The match has the least amount of fervor for a Money in the Bank Ladder Match as I can remember, but this promo did what it was designed to do, and that’s to simply build to Sunday. It also led to a pretty good Sheamus vs. Randy Orton match, so there’s not much to complain about there. Reigns’ rant on how he used to hate the Money in the Bank briefcase due to what happened at him at WrestleMania was a great added nugget that most of us probably forgot about by now. I really don’t have a heavy favorite I’m leaning with just yet, but in my Money in the Bank preview

And we’ve gotten to the point where the whole Rusev/Lana storyline is beginning to jump the shark. Rusev came out during Dolph Ziggler’s match against Kane, confronted Lana, who was trying to go back up the ramp to leave, and smothered her basically into falling off the ramp.

Lana had an apparent twisted ankle, and even though this is all part of the storyline, I still am not a fan of having a male superstar hurt or injury a female superstar, whether by accident or not. I know it’s entertainment and many other forms of entertainment use the same kind of storyline, but I really don’t think this is needed in this situation. I get Rusev is mad at Lana for calling off their relationship, and this storyline is very reality-based, but that’s the problem. In light of society’s fight against domestic violence in 2015, I’m not sure having this storyline take place right now is in good taste. Remember, Rusev looked like he was about to physically attack Lana in the ring a few weeks ago when she wouldn’t take him back before Ziggler stepped in. The seeds have been planted. Let’s hope the creative team can weed them out before it’s too late.

I’m more annoyed than angry that we’re continuing to see the Big Show on WWE television. Show taking a month away from TV was great for me, because I didn’t have to sit through any of his crappy segments. Now that he’s back, I feel like someone’s forcing me to eat my own arm because for the life of me, I cannot find anything entertaining about him the last few years. The last good angle or storyline he was involved in was when The Authority fired him in 2013 and he came back and cost The Shield their Tag Team Titles. That was Big Show at his best. Now, he’s just blah. A 7’ tall blah regular wrestler. Sure, why not? Ryback, who I enjoy watching, can’t even get me into it.

OK, I lied. That Shell-Shocked was awesome!

The feud between Divas Champion Nikki Bella and Paige is getting better and better, and has sort of an old school feel to it, in my opinion. We haven’t seen many angles or storylines involving Divas so in depth and given a lot of time, but it seems like each of these Divas are given time to get their side across to the audience, and the in-ring product has been steadily improving over the years to where I don’t have to take the ever popular bathroom break during a Divas match. There’s real animosity in this storyline [or so they’re portraying real animosity] which is a lot more than I can say for most of the Divas.

And we saw Luke Harper and Erick Rowan use a finishing move that looked awful familiar. If this leads to the Dudleys to make a return for a feud with Harper and Rowan, color me excited. I’d be amped to see a series of matches between those two teams. Methinks Harper and Rowan using the 3D finishing maneuver could lead to that in the near future.

I’ll preview Money in the Bank later this week right here at The Philly Voice.

Match rundown

     • NXT Championship Open Challenge: Kevin Owens (c) d. Neville by pinfall via the pop-up powerbomb. John Cena was on commentary during the match.

     • Non-Title: Nikki Bella (c) d. Summer Rae by pinfall via the Rack Attack.

     • Sheamus d. Randy Orton by disqualification after Orton threw a chair at him on the outside of the ring.

     • Kane d. Dolph Ziggler by pinfall via a chokeslam.

     • Erick Rowan and Luke Harper d. Los Matadores by pinfall via a 3D. That’s right. The Dudleys’ old finisher.

     • Big E d. Titus O’Neil by pinfall via the Big Ending. Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston distracted O’Neil, allowing Big E to get the win.

     • Roman Reigns d. Kofi Kingston by pinfall via a Superman punch.

Handicap Match: Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury d. Seth Rollins by pinfall after Mercury pinned Rollins via a rollup after Ambrose distracted Rollins.