Raw Review – Sting Wrestles First-Ever Raw Match

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9/14/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Sting and John Cena def. Seth Rollins and The Big Show by pinfall

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon opened the show, saying that Sting would wrestle his first-ever match on Raw tonight, and that he would face Big Show. Triple H and Steph were still in the ring as New Day entered for their tag title match and Steph started dancing with them. Triple H got back in the ring and danced with New Day as well.

Later, Seth Rollins congratulated them for booking Sting in a match just six days before his title match against Rollins. Rollins asked them how they would soften up John Cena and Sheamus, and Triple H said “You just solved your own problem,” booking Cena and Sheamus in a match. Steph reassured that The Authority has Rollins’ back, and that he can spend the night relaxing.

In a hotly anticipated rematch of their clash at The Great American Bash ’98, Sting hit ten mounted punches in the corner, following up with a tornado DDT. Sting hit a Stinger splash, but Rollins ran in with his titles in hand. Show and Rollins ganged up on Sting, as the set-up was made clear.

Cena hit the ring to even the odds, and the match was restarted as a tag team match. Show hit a gorilla press slam on Cena, but Cena fought back by launching Rollins over the top rope. Cena tried for an AA on Show, but his legs gave out trying to pick up the big man.

Cena regained some momentum with a side slam on Rollins, but Show tagged back in and hit a second-rope splash for a near-fall. Cena fought back with a clothesline on Rollins, but Show hit him with a gorilla press slam and set up for another second-rope splash.

Cena rolled out of the way and hit the hot tag to Sting, who hit clotheslines and two Stinger splashes on Rollins. Sting followed up with a running bulldog, as Cena hit an AA to Big Show. Rollins set up for a Pedigree on Cena, but Sting hit a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting locked in a Scorpion Deathlock, forcing Rollins to tap out.

Scott’s Thoughts: Sting looks awfully good for a 56-year-old. Sting wrestling on Raw was a historic moment, and may never happen again, for all we know. The finish made Sting look like a legitimate threat for Rollins’ World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions.

Charlotte (w/ Paige and Becky Lynch) def. Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella and Alicia Fox) by disqualification; Nikki retains the Divas Championship and eclipses AJ Lee’s record-length title reign

Charlotte and Ric Flair cut a promo together backstage with Renee Young. Charlotte said that winning the Divas Championship isn’t just a childhood dream of hers, but that she feels the need to continue her father’s legacy. Ric said that Charlotte and Nikki will steal the show tonight.

Charlotte said that the Divas Revolution is more like a “Divas Evolution” — winking at her father — and both Flairs Woo’d to end the segment. A promo package for Nikki aired, in which Nikki spoke with much more conviction than usual. She said that the Divas Revolution is her story, discussing how everyone wrote her off as eye candy when she debuted eight years ago, but now could become the longest-reigning champ in history.

With the Bellatron countdown to Nikki breaking AJ Lee’s Divas Championship record at less than two hours, the match got underway. Charlotte hit a belly-to-back suplex to open up the offense, following up with two knee drops. Charlotte locked in a headscissor and bridged the move to toss Nikki around the ring.

Nikki fought back with a tornado armbreaker, then continued to work on Charlotte’s left arm. Nikki planted Charlotte’s left shoulder on the apron in a painful-looking spot. Charlotte blocked Nikki’s attempts to lock in an armbar, picking up her dead weight and powerbombing her in an incredible displaly of strength.

Charlotte hit a big boot for a near-fall, following up with a neckbreaker. Charlotte tried to go for a spear, but Nikki cut her off with a dropkick. Nikki kneed Charlotte in the face, earning a two-count.

Nikki tried for an Alabama Slam, but Charlotte rolled through and hit a spear. Alicia Fox took advantage of a distracted referee, and when he noticed Alicia, Brie and Nikki switched places in an attempt at Twin Magic. Unfortunately for them, Charlotte rolled Brie up, earning the pinfall victory.

Ric entered the ring and celebrated with Charlotte, Paige and Becky. The Bellas argued with the referee that the wrong sister had been pinned, and Stephanie McMahon entered. Steph apologized to Charlotte, saying that you can’t win a championship by pinning someone who wasn’t in the match.

Steph said that Brie should have been disqualified when she laid her hands on Charlotte, granting Charlotte a DQ win and allowing Nikki to retain the title. Steph said that the title match at Night of Champions will be no disqualifications, so Nikki can’t stoop to these tactics again.

Scott’s Thoughts: For whatever reason, that just didn’t sit right, and not because the heel cheated the babyface. I had a problem with Brie getting pinned without taking any damage, first off, and was disappointed that a good match was tainted with such an overbooked finish. Furthermore, I don’t like the idea that Nikki is now the longest-reigning Divas Champion, but oh well.

John Cena def. Sheamus by pinfall

Michael Cole pointed out that this is actually the first singles match between Sheamus and Cena on Raw in several years, which makes sense seeing as Sheamus was a face for quite a while before turning heel earlier this year. Sheamus delivered a diving knee drop for an early near-fall, but Cena responded with his five moves of doom and a Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Cena followed up with a tornado DDT for a two-count of his own.

Cena tried for an AA, but Sheamus used a sunset flip to transition into a reverse Cloverleaf. Cena reached the ropes to break the hold, and Sheamus followed up with Ten Beats of the Bodhran (a move I’m almost certain he hadn’t hit fully since turning heel). Sheamus tried for White Noise, which Cena transitioned into an STF.

Sheamus reached the bottom rope to force a break, but Cena hit Ten Beats of the Bodhran on Sheamus. Cena tried for another AA, which Sheamus countered with a running high knee. Cena countered a Brogue Kick with a huge running clothesline, and Sheamus responded with a gorgeous vertical front suplex for a close near-fall.

Cena answered by hitting an electric chair facebuster, which he transitioned into an STF. Sheamus managed to reverse the STF into a rolling senton, but Cena immediately answered with an AA to win the match.

Scott’s Thoughts: What a refreshing match for both men, especially for Sheamus, who needed a match like this. It was a great reminder of how compelling Cena and Sheamus can be when they have a fresh opponent. Believe it or not, these two hadn’t faced off in a singles match since Money in the Bank 2010, when Sheamus defended his WWE Championship in a steel cage match against Cena.

Miz TV with The Wyatt Family; Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have a mystery partner for Night of Champions

Miz said that for Raw’s season premiere, he had pulled out all the stops to get the Wyatt Family on Miz TV. Wyatt sat in a chair, as Luke Harper and Braun Strowman tossed their chairs from the ring. Wyatt warned Miz to not sit down because, “You are not safe here.”

Miz reassured Wyatt that he wasn’t going to team with Reigns and Ambrose, asking Wyatt who Strowman is. Wyatt said that he should ask Strowman himself, and Miz hilariously asked if he would like to “tell us a little something about yourself.” After Strowman refused to answer, Miz asked Wyatt what he really wants.

Wyatt said that all he wants is to make Miz suffer, just like Reigns, Ambrose, Jimmy Uso and Randy Orton have before them. Wyatt said it doesn’t matter how many opponents they have at Night of Champions, and Reigns’ music hit. Ambrose and Reigns came down through the crowd together, and Ambrose immediately tossed Miz from the ring.

All five men stared each other down, and Reigns told Wyatt he would pay for attacking his cousin, Jimmy. Reigns said that if Wyatt was really the man he says he is, he would be able to defeat Reigns one-on-one. He accused Wyatt of hiding behind his 3-on-2 handicap, but said that he and Ambrose had found a partner.

Scott’s Thoughts: The reveal of Reigns and Ambrose’s partner had better be a pretty freaking big deal, with the level of build they’re giving it. It’s gotten to the point where only a major debut or return would be anything more than underwhelming. I’m thinking WWE does indeed have a big star returning — perhaps Chris Jericho, who has recent history with the Wyatts himself — but we’ll apparently have to wait until Sunday to find out.

Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) def. Prime Time Players by pinfall to retain the Tag Team Championships

Titus hit a gorilla press slam on Big E, followed by a leg drop. Big E answered with a belly-to-belly suplex, and Darren added a German suplex on Kofi. Darren countered an SOS into a Gut Check attempt, but Kofi managed to reach Big E for the tag. Woods played trombone to distract the referee, as Kofi took a cheap shot at Darren to regain control.

Big E drove Darren into the barricade outside, then tossed him back into the ring. Kofi hit a sliding facebuster, but Darren got his feet up when Kofi came off the top rope. Titus and Big E tagged in, and Titus hit a big boot. Kofi tried to hit a flying crossbody, but Titus caught him and hit several backbreakers.

Titus hit a double Stinger splash on Kofi and Big E, then delivered a powerslam to Big E for a near-fall. Titus reversed a Big Ending into a spinebuster, as Kofi hit Darren with Trouble in Paradise outside the ring. Woods jumped up on the apron, and Titus grabbed his trombone.

Big E used the distraction to hit a clothesline, tagging in Kofi for the Big Ending/flying cutter combo. Kofi covered Titus for the pinfall. The Dudley Boyz appeared on the entrance ramp, and Bubba Ray got the fans to chant “Get the tables” with him to the “New Day sucks” beat.

Scott’s Thoughts: This match was highly entertaining, and Woods’ distractions are consistently funny. The booking here was also the right choice, as a win for PTP would have likely forced a triple-threat at Night of Champions, and it’s about time we got a solid two-on-two tag title match on a PPV. It’s been a while.

Kevin Owens does not believe in “The Secret”

Ryback did a terrible Elvis impression for the Memphis crowd, and it was not funny. Ryback called out Kevin Owens, saying that he has no respect for what it means to be a champion. Owens entered and said that a couple months ago, Ryback had told the WWE Universe how the book “The Secret” had changed his life, and gotten him through tough times.

Owens said that he read “The Secret” himself, and told Ryback he felt sorry for all the “delusional idiots who believe this garbage.” Owens held up a copy of the book, saying it is a crutch for weak people. Owens said that Ryback is probably the strongest guy in the locker room, but he’s also the weakest for relying on such garbage.

Owens threw “The Secret” in Ryback’s face, and Ryback got a “Feed Me More” chant going. Ryback acknowledged that Owens’ story is inspirational, and admitted that he “got an elevator ride to the top floor.” However, once he got there, he fell flat on his face and the WWE Universe witnessed his fall first-hand.

Ryback said that he climbed his way back to the top of the mountain from the very bottom. Owens promised to take the Intercontinental Championship from Ryback, and show the world that “The Big Guy is a weak little boy.” Ryback said that he had already gone to The Authority and gotten the match booked for Night of Champions.

Scott’s Thoughts: Masterful work from Owens on the mic. He might be the best promo guy on the roster not named Paul Heyman. The way he cut through Ryback’s reliance on self-help books was brilliant, and exposed a perceived weakness in his opponent. For his part, Ryback held his own against Owens on the mic, breaking the fourth wall to describe his steep fall from the top of the card. I do expect Owens to win the title on Sunday, and this gave the match some personal stakes to go with it.

Sasha Banks (w/ Naomi and Tamina) def. Paige (w/ Becky Lynch) by submission

Paige tossed Sasha around the ring, to the point where Charles Robinson had to tell her to take it easy. Sasha hit an armbreaker on the second rope, then bounced Paige face-first off the apron. Sasha continued to work on both of Paige’s arms with a variety of submission holds.

Sasha set up for a double-knee in the corner, but instead came crashing down on Paige’s left arm. Sasha hit a dropkick for a near-fall, as Michael Cole cleverly compared the possibility of Nikki’s title ending later in the night to Serena Williams losing in the US Open. Paige hit Sasha with a brutal German suplex that sent Sasha out of the ring.

Paige tried for a moonsault off the apron, but Tamina pulled Sasha out of the way. Paige landed very hard on the floor, and Sasha took advantage, tossing her back into the ring. Sasha hit the Bank Statement, forcing Paige to tap out.

After the match, Team BAD decided to take advantage of the numbers game, with Charlotte getting ready backstage, ganging up on Paige and Becky.

Scott’s Thoughts: Another rock-solid match in the great series going on between Paige and Sasha. It’s been highly impressive to watch WWE build two largely separate, compelling women’s feuds at the same time. They usually struggle to come up with one.

Cesaro def. Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) by pinfall

Cesaro opened the match by locking in a horizontal headscissor on a standing Rusev, then driving his head into the mat. Cesaro followed up with a delayed vertical suplex and an elbow drop. Rusev responded with a spinning heel kick for two, but Dolph Ziggler approached the ring.

Cesaro took advantage of the distraction to hit a sidewalk slam, as Ziggler tried to give Summer a gift. Rusev got distracted, and Cesaro rolled him up for the quick pinfall. Ziggler entered the ring and hit Rusev with a superkick, as Summer secretly grabbed the present.

Scott’s Thoughts: Yikes. That segment didn’t do anyone any favors. Even Cesaro, who earned a very quick victory over Rusev, was overshadowed by Ziggler’s music playing over his exit.

Tension builds between Stardust/Ascension and Neville/Dragons

The teams attacked each other before the match began, with Neville hitting a hurricanrana on Stardust. The Ascension dragged Stardust out of the way when Neville tried to hit him with a dive between the ropes.