Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WWE Raw results (06/16/14): Seven observations from this week's episode

The WWE added some more pieces to the proverbial Money in the Bank puzzle Monday, as the card for the pay-per-view is slowly coming together.

WWE Raw results (06/16/14): Seven observations from this week's episode

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The WWE added some more pieces to the proverbial Money in the Bank puzzle Monday, as the card for the pay-per-view is slowly coming together.

Although Raw Monday wasn’t all that eventful, it did accomplish a couple of things in setting up the pay-per-view at the end of the month.

Before we delve deep into what happened at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, let’s rundown the full match results:

- Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler via disqualification

- Bad News Barrett def. Dean Ambrose by count-out

- Sheamus def. Bray Wyatt via disqualification

- Rusev def. Heath Slater

- Adam Rose & Summer Rae def. Fandango & Layla

- Roman Reigns wins battle royal to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

- Paige def. Cameron

- Goldust & Stardust (Cody Rhodes) def. RybAxel

- John Cena def. Kane in a stretcher match to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Now let’s get to my observations and highlights

Money in the Bank ladder match is now complete

All seven spots in the Money in the Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship are now filled. Bray Wyatt became the fifth man to qualify for the match this past Friday on Smackdown while John Cena and Roman Reigns earned their spots on Raw.

Now that all seven spots are filled, I can finally name my favorites to win the match. To me, it comes down to three people: Cena, Reigns and Wyatt.

Cena is the obvious choice. No matter what circumstances the WWE is in, Cena is always a safe bet to carry the ball for the company. This may be one of those times where the WWE plays it safe and give the title to its No. 1 guy until further notice.

What can also happen is that the WWE sees this circumstance as a chance to roll the dice and make new star by handing him the title. That’s where Reigns and Wyatt come into play.

Reigns looked very strong Monday during his victory in the battle royal. It was just the latest example of how much the WWE is behind him in believing that he is the future top star. The WWE has been building to making Reigns a breakout star for quite some time and it may see this as an opportunity to finally pull the trigger on him.

The WWE could also run with the cult leader Wyatt, who could use a big victory at the pay-per-view due to his recent losses to Cena. Wyatt is as over with the fans as he’s ever been, but his last big win in singles competition was over Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble. No, I do not count his cage match win over Cena. That was a debacle.

This is not an official prediction, but my current favorite to walk out of Money in the Bank as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is Wyatt. This is a great opportunity for the WWE to shake things up and what better way to do that then by putting the title on Wyatt for the time being.

It also sets up a possible Royal Rumble rematch with Bryan for the title when he returns from his neck injury. Again, that is not an official prediction. He’s just my current favorite as of today. That may change again before the pay-per-view.

Roman Reigns finagles his way into the battle royal

The reason why Reigns is in the Money in the Bank match is because he finagled his way into the battle royal — a battle royal he wasn’t supposed to be in to begin with.

The Authority announced the battle royal at the top of the show, but also said that Reigns, Cena and Dean Ambrose were not allowed to participate in the match. Cena got his chance via a stretcher match with Kane, but there wasn’t any chance for Reigns and Ambrose.

Ambrose seemed cool with this, which is something we’ll get into later. Reigns, however, was not. His plan was to partially seduce Vickie Guerrero into putting him into the match. Guerrero has essentially no power on the shows anymore, but Reigns tried his best. He then admonished Guerrero for fetching drinks for the Authority and she happened to be in the middle of delivering two news ones for them.

While Guerrero had her back turned, Reigns slipped something into both of the drinks. When Guerrero delivered the drinks, Stephanie McMahon grabbed hers and started drinking it, but Triple H accidently knocked his into Guerrero, leaving him without a drink.

McMahon wolfed hers down, but began to feel ill. She ran to the bathroom during the middle of an interview with Renee Young to vomit — a lot. She vomited so much that she got about a bucket’s worth on Guerrero. While McMahon was sick as a dog, Triple H tended to her and left Guerrero in charge of the show. Since she was in charge, she then had the authority to place Reigns in the match, which she did.

Although it was kind of clever by Reigns to pull this off, the execution of all of this seemed kind of hokey and sophomoric to me. Every other backstage segment involved someone spilling something on Guerrero. It got old after about two times. Another gripe I had with this was why Ambrose didn’t bother to finagle his way into the match at all.

Is the WWE keeping Reigns, Ambrose separate for now?

Ambrose attacked Rollins during his match with Ziggler and looked noticeably different. Although Rollins left The Shield, he still looks like he represents the trio by wearing some Shield-like attire.

Ambrose, on the other hand, wasted little time setting himself apart, as he jumped into the ring with a leather jacket and blue jeans – a departure from his riot gear with The Shield. He even had new theme music.

Reigns went to the ring with The Shield’s attire and music, but the titantron was customized just for him, which leads me to believe that The Shield will operate like this for the time being, This is something I don’t have a problem with. There’s nothing wrong with the two of them going in their own directions without completely tearing The Shield apart. I’m intrigued to see where these guys go from here.

Ambrose, Rollins look set for a match

Since neither of them are in the Money in the Bank match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it frees up Ambrose and Rollins for a possible singles match at Money in the Bank where Ambrose finally gets his hands on Rollins.

If they are indeed paired up at the event, I think these two could steal the show if given a good amount of time to do so. It’s not only the fact that both of these guys can go in the ring, it’s that they could come up with some creative ways to structure the match. I, for one, hope the match is made official at some point.

Kevin Hart becomes a Rosebud

Philadelphia’s own Kevin Hart stopped by Raw Monday to promote his new movie “Think Like a Man Too.” After bumping into Adam Rose and the Rosebuds backstage, Hart was a guest commentator for Rose’s match, which he was pretty funny despite the fact John Bradshaw Layfield talked too much.

After Rose picked up the win, Hart jumped into the ring, busted out a few dance moves and let the Rosebuds carry him backstage.

Although this was an easy and painless way to have Hart be apart of the show, I believe the WWE lost the chance to have Hart engage in some entertaining banter with one of the wrestlers on the microphone.

Hart is a hilarious comedian that is quick on his feet and is great at insulting people, which would have made for a great promo. The WWE didn’t do that, which was a lost opportunity in my opinion.

The WWE certainly could have done better than putting him in a segment with Rose.

Goldust and Stardust?

I’m still trying to figure out what to make of all of this. I figured that Cody Rhodes was getting all of these terrible partners for Goldust just to turn on him eventually. Instead, Rhodes decided to don his brother’s face paint and became Stardust.

When he first came from behind the curtain, I honestly thought it was Damien Sandow doing another comedy gimmick. But I was sadly mistaken, as when he ended his humping session on the minitron, Rhodes revealed himself as Stardust. Yup, Stardust.

To make matters more confusing was that Stardust and Goldust dominated RybAxel for a quick and easy win which means we’ll probably see more of this. I literally watched the entire match with jaw on the floor in shock at what I was watching. As I write this, I still have no idea what to make of this.

Like everything else I see on WWE television, I’ll give it a chance, but this just seems odd at the moment.

Special Olympics promo followed by a stretcher match

The WWE does some great charity work outside of the ring, including its work with Make-A-Wish and now the Special Olympics.

On Monday, the WWE aired a video package of the WWE’s time at the game’s opening ceremonies. It was a feel-good video that genuinely warmed my heart. What did the WWE follow that up with: brutal stretcher match.

This was just the latest example of the corporate side of the WWE getting in the way of the wrestling side of the WWE.

Sports Producer
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The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
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