Spoilers follow for the September 15th episode of Raw.
A cold open to Raw has Paul Heyman introducing himself in the ring, as he’s apt to do. He says John Cena will come down, and then Brock Lesnar will come down — because if Lesnar wasn’t here, Heyman would be beaten up by Cena, so Cena said. Cena does come down. Heyman gives the stage over to the not-champ. Cena says he doesn’t see Lesnar. Cena and Heyman could cut an hour-long promo and it would be great. Cena says he’s here for a fight, whether that be against Heyman or Lesnar, because fighting a manager is a babyface thing to do, right?
Heyman says that we will get Cena vs. Lesnar here tonight. But then he starts to laugh. Heyman says Lesnar will be here, but not yet, as he takes a private plane, and it was delayed. Heyman tries to leave at this point, but Cena grabs him. If Lesnar isn’t here tonight, by halftime, Cena will destroy Heyman. Again, this is our babyface. Cena eventually puts Heyman in a headlock and they head backstage.
And then it’s time for Chris Jericho.
Chris Jericho vs. Kane
Before the match, we find out that Cena locked Heyman in a room backstage and had The Great Khali guard the room.
Honestly, I’m surprised that we didn’t actually write Jericho off after last week. He’s not doing anything right now anyway. But, hey, he will leave another hole in the roster, so I suppose it’s fine if he’s still here. He and Kane know how to work a good match. It’s not going to be the bout with the fastest pace, but it can still be exciting, if only because it’s two future HOFers going at it, even with Kane in his current … gimmick.
Kane dominates most of the match, and for the first time since the feud against Daniel Bryan looks relatively strong. Jericho, who leaves after Night of Champions (probably), should be jobbing to everyone this week.
We actually get an exposed turnbuckle in this match, which isn’t something we get much anymore, and is all kinds of awesome. The match has some really good near-falls, some good counters.
It’s unfortunate that the finish is a roll up, after Kane was tripped into the exposed turnbuckle. The match was pretty good, but the finish was lackluster. And Jericho shouldn’t be winning matches.
Match Rating: ***
Heyman is seen in the locker room trying to contact Lesnar, and getting no response. Ha.
Roman Reigns is interviewed backstage after the commercial break. He hypes his match against Seth Rollins tonight. He talks about punching Rollins in the face a whole bunch, which is totally not cool because clenched fists are supposed to be illegal.
Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) vs. Bo Dallas
So we’re wasting this match on the last Raw before a PPV, huh? That’s … something.
Another good match. Back and forth action, some good counters, it didn’t overstay its welcome, and none of the stupid pinning moves Dallas tried worked. A true finish has Swagger win with the Patriot Lock, thus maybe ending their feud. Or maybe they’ll get to do some more. Dallas and Colter haven’t really done too much promo-cutting with one another.
Match Rating: **1/2
Paige and Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella and AJ Lee
The heels work over Brie for the entirety of the match. Well, it’s mostly Paige. Nikki tagged out right away, and the only other thing she did was knock out AJ so Brie couldn’t tag out. Smart tag team work from Nikki. Mediocre match.
Match Rating: **
Nikki attacks Brie after the match. Paige skips around inside the ring. AJ copies her by skipping around outside the ring and smiling. What a troll. It’s great.
Bray Wyatt gets some promo time after. That’s all I’ve got.
Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt (with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan)
Before the match, we get another Heyman segment. He tries to tell Khali that he has no cell reception in the room, so he needs to be outside. Khali stops Heyman, crushes his phone, and then throws him back in the room.
This is a slow match. I mean, did you expect otherwise? Big Show can do some impressive things but he’s not the greatest worker in the world, and Wyatt … hasn’t had a good singles match in quite a while. This one is not a good one. Too many rest holds, too much running from people whose running isn’t the greatest, and lots of … not much happening, really. It was kind of cool to see Wyatt try to do a move off the middle rope, but it didn’t result in anything.
The finish comes when the Wyatt Family attacks Big Show and gets Bray disqualified.
Match Rating: **
Big Show does a double chokeslam to Harper and Rowan after the match. That’s the first one of those that’s actually been successful in a good time.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Sheamus vs. Cesaro, Goldust, and Stardust
Well, the Uso whose knee was injured is no longer nursing that injury, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. Or selling longer than a week isn’t something that The Usos can do.
This is a good match, yet it’s missing something special. Perhaps it’s because, like the Wyatt Family, WWE has absolutely killed any momentum Gold/Stardust have after consistently losing to the Usos. Cesaro does some fun things, and the match is technically sound, but there’s very little genuine excitement until the very end, when everything gets chaotic.
The faces win after an Uso splash.
Match Rating: **1/2
It’s now past halftime, and Lesnar still isn’t here. But apparently “halftime” means something different for the WWE. An hour and forty five minutes into a three-hour show is more than halfway, but whatever.
Randy Orton is interviewed next. He’s asked why he attacked Chris Jericho. “Why wouldn’t I attack Chris Jericho?” Orton will hand Jericho the beating of his life. Okay. Does the punt write Jericho off TV?
We’re doing the Heyman/Lesnar/Cena thing next. So “halftime” means “two-thirds time.” Okay, WWE. Cena drags Heyman from the room to the ring. He tells Heyman to produce Brock Lesnar. He calls out Cena’s heelish behavior. Well, I’m glad that was addressed. Heyman says that if Cena can’t unleash the beast within, he’ll never beat Lesnar. Cena tries to walk away, but eventually Heyman gets under his skin and he pushes Heyman.
And then Brock Lesnar comes out. Because of course he does. Lesnar gets Heyman up and then they tease leaving a few times. Eventually, Lesnar gets in the ring and tosses Cena around for a second, looking just as strong as ever. But then Cena attacks Lesnar from behind and beats him down for a bit. Security eventually breaks it up.
Naomi vs. Cameron
Didn’t we end this, like, two months ago? Oh, wait, it’s Total Divas season, so it’s time to remind us that these two are on the roster.
This is painful. Cameron went for a pinfall with Naomi on her front, not back. And emphasized that the referee should have counted, drawing attention to her blunder. This is a slow match, one without any intrigue, and with very little excitement. It astounds me that Cameron gets Raw time but Eva Marie doesn’t.
Naomi wins with some sort of submission move that she didn’t even lock in before Cameron tapped.
Match Rating: *
The Miz and Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth
This was a lengthy and kind of fun match on Smackdown, so now we’re getting a rematch on Raw. This one is shorter, and the appeal has worn out. Or, it would if Cole and JBL didn’t keep messing up which one is Ziggler and which one is R-Truth, and Lawler seemed so incredibly confused by it all. That was funny. I don’t know if Lawler was acting or genuinely confused. It’s funny.
Ziggler and Truth win. Nobody cares, but they do.
Match Rating: **
Seth Rollins is interviewed next. He hypes the main event, Reigns, and himself. Like a good promo should. Except for when Rollins imitates Reigns and acts like an ape.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
So, uh, that Mark Henry and Rusev thing is the real main event? Huh. That’s interesting.
Aren’t Reigns and Rollins supposed to have a match in less than a week? Why are we doing this now? Right. Because WWE booking. As has proven to be the case, Roman Reigns is not able to have a great one-on-one match. He’s just not good enough. Rollins has had several great matches, but this isn’t one of them. He tries, though, but Reigns just doesn’t have the ability to put on a great one. I mean, this one’s better than many of the one’s he’s been a part of — there’s some back-and-forth action, at least — but it’s just not that good. At least we get a couple of decent spots.
Reigns wins with a spear.
No, really. Clean win, absolutely no interference or controversy, nothing. Reigns just wins. So that means Ambrose has to be returning at Night of Champions, right?
Match Rating: **1/2
It’s odd to see Mark Henry’s “rallying of Americans” close the show. Something has to be going on, right? There’s a big surprise planned for the WWE Universe, yes?
I’ll leave that for now. Michael Cole is interviewing Henry in the ring. Henry talks about how hard it was to withdraw from the weightlifting competition in the mid ’90s. Eventually, Rusev and Lana come out. Rusev with a Russian flag, and Lana with a mic.
Lana does her anti-America thing, and then provides us with several facts. After that, the two brawl a bit. Rusev gets the upper hand and tries to put Henry in The Accolade. But Henry powers out. Henry then hits a slam and throws Rusev from the ring. His music plays, and Raw ends with Henry waving the flag in the ring. That’s it. No surprises, no returns, just that.
The Good: Jericho vs. Kane. Heyman/Cena promo.
The Bad: Naomi vs. Cameron.
Match of the Night: Chris Jericho vs. Kane.