Courtesy WWE.com

By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com

The Big Takeaway: Seth Rollins broke up with J&J Security by wrestling them in a handicap match in the main event. Not only that, but Joey Mercury pinned Rollins after a distraction by Dean Ambrose, the last of three distraction finishes on the show. If you caught the first half-hour with John Cena, Kevin Owens and Neville, you saw the only thing of value the entire night. 

Show Recap:

John Cena came out first with lots and lots of ladders on the stage. He said his match against Owens on Sunday will be to prove that his time isn’t over. He called himself the standard bearer around this place. 

Owens came out and called Cena delusional for thinking he could win at MITB. To rousing cheers, Owens said people are tired of watching Cena open the show for the past ten years. He said people want to see an NXT Open Challenge.

Cena said it was a good idea and he accepted. Again, Owens called Cena delusional and said they were going to fight on Sunday so they couldn’t fight tonight. Cena said when he issues an open challenge, it’s for anyone who wants to fight. Cena then issued a U.S. Open Challenge with Owens in mind.

Owens proposed that the next superstar who came down the ramp could choose which belt they wanted to fight for. This brought out Neville, who did his first in-ring promo on Raw. Neville said Owens was a prize fighter who wasn’t worthy of the prize and challenged him. Cena stuck around for commentary. 

Kevin Owens defeated Neville to retain the NXT Championship (13:52) 

Very good match that the crowd loved. Neville had two chances at the Red Arrow after a superkick, but Owens got up from the first one. The second time, Owens crotched Neville and hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the finish.

Owens played to the crowd much more than even established stars. He also got a lot of heat for a crowd that was ready to turn him babyface 20 minutes ago. Cena characterized Owens as a minor league baseball player who’s trying to step up to the big leagues and prove himself at the highest level. Neville did an Asai Moonsault where he glanced Owens, and that may be an embellishment. Owens got a near fall with a F-Cinq. 
 
Click Here: racing club camisetaAfterwards, Owens invited Cena into the ring and teased a showdown. Cena ran in the ring, but Owens gave him the “You can’t see me sign” and left. Another great segment to build Owens.  

Dean Ambrose was shown in an Instagram posing with the WWE Championship belt with a group of fans, including one dressed like Bray Wyatt.  

Cole built up the WWE now having 500-million followers on social media. HHH and Stephanie McMahon were backstage when Rollins saw Ambrose’s photo and was incensed over him posing with his belt. Rollins wanted to know if the Authority was going to be there for him on Sunday after his outburst last week. Stephanie said they would be there, but only to observe rather than to interfere. HHH said they would give Rollins a chance to pick his own opponent for a match tonight. Seemed to build tension between Rollins and the Authority.  

Nikki Bella did an interview with Renee Young saying she felt sorry for Paige and she expected everything to be handed to her. Nikki said she would face Summer Rae tonight and announced Paige would get a rematch at the Divas title on Sunday. Nikki’s line reading reminded me of what Lance Storm said in April when he claimed “There are really no promos anymore. Just people reading lines.” 

The Tough Enough applications have been narrowed down from supposedly 11,000 applications to 40 finalists. Some would be introduced later tonight.

Divas Champion Nikki Bella defeated Summer Rae in a non-title match (2:17) 

Nikki won with the Rack Attack. At least it was short. Highlights included Rae throwing a spin kick that missed by two feet which Nikki sold anyway. 

Another Instagram photo with Ambrose wearing the WWE title while playing a pink saxophone. 

Roman Reigns came out to build up the Money in the Bank match. Kane is now in the match, along with Sheamus, Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton. Reigns said there was a time where he hated the Money in the Bank briefcase but it wasn’t so bad now that Rollins wasn’t holding it. 

Kane came out and said his job in the Money in the Bank match was to protect the Authority’s interests. Reigns challenged him to a fight. Ziggler came out without Lana. He called Kane a human hardware store whether he’s putting the screws to someone, hammering someone’s jaw or screwing someone over. Awful dialogue, and then Ziggler plugged his upcoming appearance at the Comedy Store. 

Kane said everyone competing in the Money in the Bank match will be in singles matches tonight. R-Truth showed up and started to do a promo, but Kane reminded him that he wasn’t in the match. R-Truth said this one was on me and simply left. What the hell? Reigns and Ziggler started laughing. 

New Day came out. Kingston said when he becomes Mr. Money in the Bank, they will all become Mr. Money in the Bank. Kane started to speak, but Sheamus interrupted him. Sheamus said they would be one Brogue kick away from becoming WWE champion. 

Kane then introduced Orton, who came out for his latest match with Sheamus. 

Randy Orton and Sheamus went to a no contest (13:08)

These Sheamus-Orton matches are like the 1990 Detroit Pistons. You keep getting told there’s something great about them, but you have to look hard at exactly what it is. So hard, you start missing Nikki Bella promos. On top of that, they did the exact same cheap finish as last week, except this time it was Orton who used a chair after Sheamus introduced it. Orton gave Sheamus a back suplex on the announcer’s table, threw him into the steps and hit the RKO for a big reaction.
 
Rollins met with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury backstage. Noble said Joey Mercury forgave him for what he said last week. Rollins said he plucked Noble and Mercury from obscurity and made him his security team. He called them morons. Noble told Rollins screw you and he wouldn’t last a minute without the Authority backing him. Rollins then picked Mercury and Noble to a handicap match tonight. Rollins slapped Noble, but Noble slapped him back. Mercury finally spoke up and said they were going to kick Rollins’ ass tonight.  

Kane defeated Dolph Ziggler (9:46)

Lana came out to watch. As the match was going on, Rusev came out on crutches and started to talk with Lana. This led to Lana taking a short fall off the ramp. Lana sold her ankle as Rusev laughed over her falling. Meanwhile, Ziggler was distracted and Kane gave him a choke slam for the pin. Ziggler came down to check on Lana afterwards. Several fans could be heard that Lana was faking it. Kane goes over, which proves my theory that if Vince McMahon coached the Atlanta Hawks, he would have started Elton Brand at center all year since he loves people who peaked in 2000. 

Next up was MizTV with Ryback and the Big Show. Miz showed tape of Big Show punching him last week and said his lawyers are looking at taking legal action. Ryback came out and said he should be thankful that the Big Show punched him last week because if he hadn’t, Ryback would have taken years off his career. Miz talked about his pretty face and called Ryback ugly. 

Show came out, forced Miz out of his seat by simply looking at him, and told Miz he was the first tag team partner he ever had that he hated immediately. Ryback accused Miz of trying to fight his fight against the Big Show for him. Ryback challenged Big Show to a fight for the IC title. Show said Ryback couldn’t stop him because he’s a giant. Miz played the little dog trying to get the two big dogs to fight, then tried to cheap shot the Big Show with a mic shot. Show clotheslined Miz over the top rope. Ryback gave Show a Shellshock. Couldn’t that spot have waited for the PPV? I guess that was the only way to get out of this otherwise lousy segment.  

Erick Rowan and Luke Harper defeated Los Matadores (2:19)

Erick Rowan pinned Diego with the 3-D, or it is now called the Way. JBL said Erick Rowan and Luke Harper reminded him of Brody and Hansen. Then Byron Sexton said they reminded him of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Cole openly buried that last one.  Rowan tossed Torito into the barriers. A total squash where Epico also got the Way afterwards. Rowan and Harper said the fans would pay for their sins eventually. 

Kane met with Rollins backstage and laughed over how many places Ambrose had been posing with the WWE Championship belt. Kane was openly hostile towards Rollins, saying even if Rollins beats Ambrose on Sunday, Rollins would eventually have to defend the title against him when he wins the Money in the Bank match on Sunday. The two bickered. Rollins said he expected Ambrose to show up before the night was over. Kane said he would be in Noble and Mercury’s corner tonight for the handicap match.
 
More photos of the 40 Tough Enough finalists. They all looked like muscular Gap models. In other words, nothing like the most over heel on this show so far. 

Big E. defeated Titus O’Neal (3:09)

Big E. won after distraction from Kingston and Xavier Woods with the Big Ending. Woods screamed about how Big E. is nicknamed the Minister of Mass and promoted #ministerofmass. 

King Barrett is wrestling R-Truth at the Money in the Bank kickoff match. Can someone explain to me what was the point of having King of the Ring?

Roman Reigns defeated Kofi Kingston (12:06)

Second-best match on the show. Reigns won when Kingston tried a crossbody off the top, but Reigns hit him with the Superman punch in midair. Some good near falls and a solid match. 

This time, Woods proclaimed Kingston was the greatest of all time, at one point saying “2,4,6,8…Kingston is the greatest of all time!” Woods was the most entertaining thing on the show after the first half hour. It’s funny how the New Day has become the modern day Honky Tonk Man, where a heel turn transformed a gimmick that was going nowhere into something to anticipate. 

Postmatch, Reigns pulled up a chair to ringside, then Ambrose came out of the crowd with soda, popcorn and the WWE title. HHH and Stephanie watched this scene in the back. Rollins walked up to them like he wanted help, but the Authority just politely smiled and told Rollins to go get the title back. 

Rapper MGK is the guest star for next week’s Raw. And I am too old to know who that is. Any chance Opeth will guest host a show soon?  

J&J Security defeated WWE Champion Seth Rollins in a non-title handicap match (8:59)

Ambrose watched from the front row. J&J Security gave Rollins a double clothesline over the top rope. Rollins rolled to the floor, where Ambrose dumped popcorn on him. Rollins started to dominate Mercury while Kane led chants for Mercury. Noble got a hot tag and botched a spot with Rollins early. Fans chanted “you still got it” at Noble. There was a spot where Mercury tripped Rollins during a vertical suplex attempt and held his leg and Noble covered him, but Rollins kicked out. Finally, Rollins power bombed Mercury into Noble in the corner. Rollins set up the pedigree on Noble, but Ambrose distracted Rollins and threw him the WWE Heavyweight Title belt. Meanwhile, Mercury tagged Noble and got the pin on Rollins with a schoolboy cradle.

Afterwards, Rollins posed with the WWE title. Ambrose gave Rollins Dirty Deeds and took the belt back, then grabbed a ladder and posed with the belt on top of the ladder.

SUMMARY:

It was a really good first 30 minutes. Aside from Reigns-Kingston, everything else was a waste. I have no idea what the wisdom is behind Rollins doing a job to a pair that’s not even on the active roster. Granted, it was made to look like a fluke, but why even do that to your champion in any circumstance?  

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