Tuesday Raw Roundtable: Brock Lesnar Start & Ends Show, John Cena/Kevin Owens Continues, Build to Battleground

WWE had another new Raw on Monday, what did the Pulse Wrestling crew think of the show?

Darren Paltrowitz

– Brock Lesnar is one of the most over babyfaces ever — Jim Ross was right when he said that Lesnar was only one or two bookings from that transition. He doesn’t need a title to be relevant.

– The Authority storyline ran its course quite a while back. Seth Rollins deserves better. As do J&J Security, who were fantastic in their handicap tag team a few weeks back. Kane may not be “like a fine wine” as Rollins said, but he could be part of an interesting tag team.

– The Prime Time Players being interrupted by Sheamus and then just walking by him — was that a technical error? I assume that was a production call having to do with going to commercial.

– Speaking of New Day, Kofi’s walking clap move while going to the ring deserves a lot of praise. Xavier Woods’ insistence on “recalling gravity” also deserves praise. Big E’s eating while watching the PTP match also deserves praise. That feud has my attention since both teams are good on the mic.

– Dean Ambrose is arguably the company’s #2 babyface at this moment, but he’s stuck in a weird place on the card. Same goes for Bray Wyatt. Same goes for Neville. Same goes for Bad News Barrett. Same goes for Mark Henry. Are these people mid-carders? Main event fill-ins? Upper roster jobbers?

– John Cena and Kevin Owens for the third straight pay-per-view? I guess that’s the norm given the extended feuds with Bray Wyatt and Rusev. Fingers crossed that there isn’t a four match to settle the score, though.

– The Divas division needs more of a reboot with every week that goes by. Two heel teams wrestling without a title at stake or any sort of a larger feud? Not the smartest booking.

– I’ve been mocking Ryback for years, but I think I actually enjoy him now.

– Zack Ryder holds the unfortunate distinction of being on “RAW” and “NXT” at the moment. Ditto Adam Rose, who should not get mic time anytime soon. Poor guys.

– I think Rusev on crutches would make for a great meme.

I’m not psyched for “Battleground” as a result of tonight’s “RAW,” but this episode was not a hassle to watch…because I watched it via DVR in about 40 minutes.

John Turnbull

Solid opening segment with Lesnar and Heyman – give Paul E the mic and you’re pretty much guaranteed gold. Ambrose vs Kane was as good as any Kane match these days, which is to say not very. That chokeslam off the top rope looked pretty damn weak.

Prime Time Players vs the Ascension showed that the Road Warriors 2015 should be put out to pasture as soon as possible, as Players continue to work hard to prove they’re worthy of the titles.

Half way through Reigns vs Shamus I sort of lost interest… along with the will to live.

I think I might watch Lucha Underground instead.

Pat Metalhead

RAW is talking to start, as usual, but this time it was Heyman talking which makes it seem so much better. Gods I miss Heyman’s promo when it isn’t there. The first big issue was of course what happened last time Brock was on RAW, so, basically, he was allowed to come back if he made a public apology to JBL and Cole. I know, doesn’t make sense, but, credit where credit is due, this segment worked because both JBL an Cole sold it beautifully. In fact they already looked scared shitless by the mere idea of Lesnar apologizing to them. Afterwards JBL had a great : « wait, I’m still alive ? » look and Cole looked like he just wet himself. « You do accept Brock Lesnar’s apology, don’t you Mr Cole ? » Gold. Some fighting talk to promote the Battleground fight, little was really accomplished here, but it was Heyman on promo and that’s a good thing.

The main them for this Raw was Rollins trying to mend fences with the rest of The Authority, well, basically kiss the asses of everyone in order to have some back-up against Lesnar. To kick-start that, he interfered in the so-so match between Ambrose and Kane, costing Dean the victory. Kane wasn’t impressed. Not sure where Ambrose is going from here.

Ascension gets the jobber treatment as far as entrances go, Prime Time Players are trying hard to give everyone a good time, New Day are eating snacks backstage, that’s the current Tag Team division in a nutshell. Some more teams, please.

Sheamus vs Reigns next, Wyatt ending didn’t do much for me, the whole pretending to speak to Reigns’s daughter to make him freak out, I don’t know, I just can’t get into that sort of thing. Wyatt needs another direction, this doesn’t work. The match in itself was rather good actually, it was amusing to see how much more chemistry Sheamus/Reigns had when compared to Sheamus/Orton . Wrong choices of feuds perhaps.

Rollins kissing J&J’s asses backstage only for J&J to walk away would be intriguing if we hadn’t seen it before. Several times.

Neville vs Kofi Kingston involved the New Day and PTP. Some fun stuff from all. Red Arrow to end things, this wasn’t bad but, with his talent, Neville needs to be about more than just his finisher.

King Barret squashed (more or less) Ryder, nobody cared. Next !

And next just happens to be Owens and Cena. Those two continue to have good chemistry, more figthing promo to illustrate the difference between the two, and hey, it works. Only issue is everybody seemed to accept that the evil foreigner of course speaks… French ? Come on guys, what did we ever do to you to deserve that ??? The only one who really sounded like an evil foreigner to me was Cena when HE tried to speak French. Very funny.

Backstage HHH and Steph are discussing how Owens got Cena’s number… Wait, weren’t Owens actions from last week going to have consequences ? HHH ? Steph ? Anyone ? Arh, why do I even bother.

Bella Twins are now triplets since Alicia Fox decided to join them for some reason, Naomi and Tamina are still part of the No Direction Crew. Bit of a mess, totally pointless, strange booking (Bella’s were given the babyface comebacks) No follow-up whatsoever to the Paige situation. Diva’s are a lost cause at this point.

Ryback vs Mark henry, need I say more ? Also rather strange to see The Big Show playing cheerleader for Henry, but who cares about past stories nowadays. Follow up backstage with a short Ryback/Show brawl, Big Guy gets the upper hand. Where was Miz ?

Main Event is a public apology from Rollins to Kane and J&J, rest is totally predictable, Lesnar comes out, swerve, Kane and J&J walk away, oh no it was a set-up all along, yawn. This was the basic babyface beat-down by strength in numbers, but, Lesnar isn’t really your typical babyface, is he ? So This didn’t work for me at all. Also, Heyman, who usually excels at selling the significance of these sort of things looked strangely unconcerned in the background. Whole thing felt pointless.

Week after week the same problems arise on Raw. Some things aren’t bad but the booking feels so lazy, unfocused and unconcerned at times that’s it’s difficult to get behind most of the things that are happening. It’s simple WWE, if you don’t seem to care about some things you’re presenting, why should we ?

Widro (@Widro)

Raw had a solid but somewhat boring episode this week. Brock Lesnar appearing twice was a nice bonus, and the show-long storyline of Seth Rollins begging Kane and J&J to come back to him paid off in the end.