Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Through The Years: WrestleMania X8

WrestleMania X8
March 17th, 2002 – Skydome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Heading into this show, the WWE had the nWo, Triple H feuding with his wife more than Chris Jericho for the WWF Undisputed Championship and Steve Austin in the mid-card. Regardless, the card looks pretty good even with some filler matches. I do love 2002 so let's see how it's WrestleMania holds up. Also, this is the last WrestleMania held under the WWF name.

Instead of opening with American the Beautiful, Saliva performs “Superstar”. So much for patriotism, but I do like this song. The intro video is built to be pretty epic even though some of the matches are less than that.

Intercontinental Championship
William Regal (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

In 2001, Rob Van Dam was one of the most over guys in the company. He's still very over here and would make for an ideal Intercontinental Champion. William Regal walks out with his title upside down. RVD hits a spin kick and moonsault to begin. “RVD” chants from the excited crowd. Regal brings out the brass knuckles but RVD kicks them off his hand. Regal starts to plead and eats another back kick. RVD goes for the Five Star Frog Splash but misses. KNEE TREMBLER only gets two. Old school style as Regal goes for two more quick covers. RVD wisely counters a European uppercut into a backslide for two. Lots of early near falls, which I'm all for. Another one after a suplex from the Champion. Sick looking neckbreaker from Regal gets another near fall. After taking a kick to the jaw, Regal gets his knees up on Rolling Thunder and hits the butterfly bomb for two again. Regal Stretch gets reversed into a small package for two. The Champ is bleeding from the mouth as he goes for the bomb again, but RVD blocks it. RVD gets in some of his usual stuff like a monkey flip. He goes for the step over enziguri but Regal counters into a nasty looking half nelson suplex. Seriously, it looks like he folded RVD in half. Regal tries brass knuckles again but gets kicked. The challenger goes up top and hits the Five Star Frog Splash to become the new Champion.

Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam in 6:20
Damn that was a fun ass six and a half minutes. They git a lot into the time and it was exciting throughout. Stiff offense and the crowd was into it. Really good stuff. ***1/2

Christian is making fun of DDP's smiley face as Lillian Garcia interviews him backstage. He says that he didn't need DDP's help once he started winning again. He quickly gets the Toronto crowd to turn on him by saying that he moved to Florida. 

European Championship
DDP (c) vs. Christian

Christian still had his awesome entrance with the pyro that Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio stole from him. Cool note, DDP drove a car to the ring during WrestleMania VI in Toronto and gets his one and only WrestleMania match in Toronto. Christian attacks at the bell and poses with the belt. They trade shots as DDP's vest isn't even off yet. Gutwrench rib breaker from DDP which is unique. They spill outside for a bit before Christian uses a low blow in the ring to turn the tide. Back outside for a few seconds before oddly going right back in. Christian mocks the Diamond Cutter taunt before they go outside and quickly back in again. What's with that? Abdominal stretch time, DDP breaks it but eats a reverse DDT anyway. Christian goes to the top but gets brought down hard by the Champion. DDP hits a discus clothesline, followed by a powerbomb. That only nets him two and when they get up, we get a series of reversals, including both the Unprettier and Diamond Cutter getting countered. Christian again blocks the Diamond Cutter and hits another reverse DDT for two. He nearly has a temper tantrum but calms down. DDP pulls him into an inside cradle for two. Diamond Cutter from out of nowhere and DDP retains.

Winner and Still European Champion: DDP in 6:08
Decent little match here. The crowd was kind of dead for it, but it wasn't bad. **

DDP gets a microphone and says he's proud of Christian for not losing his temper. “You lost in front of 67,000 people in your hometown. That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing.” Christian then throws a temper tantrum.

Jonathan Coachman interviews The Rock backstage. Of course, Rock has to mess with Coach which is always funny as hell. He makes Coach say his prayers and Coach starts with “what up G?” The Rock is flabbergasted and kicks him off the area.

Hardcore Championship
Maven (c) vs. Goldust

I totally forgot that Maven had a WrestleMania match. Goldust brings out golden trashcans. The fighting starts outside and Goldust tosses Maven into the guardrail before laying him across it, leaping off the apron and driving his forearm into Maven. Back inside, Goldust tries to slingshot Maven into the can, but they botch it. Maven dropkicks the garbage can into Goldust's face for two and gets a small package for two. Neckbreaker from Goldust earns a near fall. A front suplex and Goldust gets a golden shovel from under the ring. Let the Triple H burial jokes commence. He levels Maven with it and sets up the trashcan in the corner. Hard Irish whip into the can gets two. They each get a trash can lid and knock each other with it. Spike Dudley runs down and pins Maven for the belt.

Winner and New Hardcore Champion: Spike Dudley in 3:20
Crowd wasn't into it and they messed up some spots. But it was short and not boring. *1/2

Crash Holly runs out and chases Spike through the crowd. Goldust and Maven follow. Drowning Pool performs “Tear Away”, the other theme to WrestleMania, with a video package for the Undisputed Title match playing. I mainly now know this song for being Kevin Steen's old indy theme. 

Still following the Hardcore Title action, Crash and Spike are brawling backstage. Spike escapes but is hit by the Hurricane who flies in, complete with “whoosh” sound effect. He covers and wins the Hardcore Title.

Kane vs. Kurt Angle
So since winning the WWF Title in 2000, Kurt Angle has had two WrestleMania matches. One was against Chris Benoit and it was made less than a week before the show and this is another thrown together match. Not cool. Kurt's black attire is cool and a precursor to his “Wrestling Machine” role. Angle attacks before the match with the ring bell, using one of his three I's. Kane shakes off the effects and they trade shots before Kane takes a German suplex. Kane again shakes this off and choke throws Angle around. Chokeslam is blocked when Angle grabs the ropes. Angle fires back with a well executed overhead belly to belly. I don't remember what happened, but apparently Kane cost Angle his chance to main event this show. Angle gets a near fall after a pair of suplexes and its REST HOLD TIME! Kane tosses Angle to power out of the front face lock. Kane catches Angle with a big sidewalk slam. Kane's all like “I CAN SUPLEX PEOPLE TOO KURT” but Kurt's like “NOPE” and reverses into rolling Germans for two. Kurt steals Kane's flying clothesline off the top and showboats. He stupidly goes for it again and takes a clothesline instead. Kane hits a big boot and huge powerslam for a near fall. Kurt runs into a Chokeslam and gets his hand on the rope to save the match. Tombstone attempt is thwarted when Kane tries to remove the mask. Angle Slam gets him two and he's stunned. Straps are down and Ankle Lock is locked in. Kane reaches the ropes and gets to his foot but Angle won't release so he busts out an enziguri. Those years tagging with X-Pac finally pay off. Kane climbs up but struggles, so Angle leaps to the top and impressively snaps off a belly to belly. Kane blocks an Angle Slam and goes for a Chokeslam, but Angle counters that into a rollup. He uses the ropes for leverage and steals it.

Winner: Kurt Angle in 10:40
For the second straight year, Kurt Angle cheaply wins a mid-card WrestleMania match. Still though, it was a good battle and Kurt was on fire tossing Kane around. The score would've been higher had the “Kane has head trauma” story not disappeared. ***

The Hurricane is sneaking around backstage when he accidentally sneaks behind a silhouette thing with a broomstick. Some chicks that I've never seen walk in and start disrobing, somehow not noticing that someone is hiding. The girl thinks her boobs are too big, because this is a conversation that real women have when they disrobe together. They finally see Hurricane and his broomstick being inappropriately placed and run. Oh, they're the Godfather's Hoes. But he's not on the card...

The Undertaker badly wanted to face Ric Flair at WrestleMania but Flair kept declining. Undertaker beat the crap out of both Arn Anderson and David Flair to get Ric to say yes. Ric should have just remembered that David turned on him at SuperBrawl IX. I can't take the rest of the video seriously because the future La Resistance theme plays over it. 

No Disqualification
Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker

In the moment of the night where you realize just how long ago 2002 was, Jim Ross mentions that The Undertaker is just 9-0 at WrestleMania. Ric Flair does his best run to the ring and lights up Undertaker with short arm lefts and rights. They fight by the announce table in front of NBA bench players in the crowd. Flair is in control until he tries to jump off the apron for some unknown reason and is caught and driven into the ring post. Back inside, Undertaker delivers SOUPBONES in the corner. As Taker whups Flair into the corner, he nearly does the HBK bump, but hits his shoulder. They try it again and it works before Taker big boots him off the apron. By the way, the Booger Red nickname for Taker was great. Taker has a cut on his cheek, but with more right hands, he busts Flair open. Surprise, surprise. The beating continues as Flair is gushing. Flair burns Undertaker's chest with some chops but takes a clothesline. Flair is placed on the top as Undertaker has punched him about a hundred times. Huge top rope superplex and Undertaker covers but picks up Flair after two. We get more of the Undertaker beating Flair and not pinning him. Has he never watched a match before? That's a bad move. Undertaker misses a leg drop and Flair gets in a few chops before going down. Old School fails as Flair pulls Taker down from the top. Taker still holding serve but misses a big boot and gets crotched on the top rope. Flair pulls out a lead pipe from the motorcycle and hits Taker with it, busing him open more. Two more shots do damage, but Taker comes back. However, Flair grabs a sign and beats on Taker with it. Short punches galore from Flair before a strut and low blow. Figure Four and the place is going crazy. Taker falls to the mat and gets counted for two but he sits up and uses a chokeslam to break the hold. Flair kicks out and Taker is pissed. He takes it out on LIL NAITCH before getting the pipe. Flair fights back and from literally out of nowhere ARN ANDERSON appears and hits a spinebuster on Taker! Flair covers but gets a near fall as Taker goes outside and beats on Double A. He's bleeding too. Taker puts him in a dragon sleeper so Flair comes in with some chair shots, but Taker brushes them off with a big boot. Taker goes for Last Ride but they mess it up twice so he opts for the Tombstone which gets it done.

Winner: The Undertaker in 18:45
Brutal brawl that I enjoyed the hell out of. Undertaker makes it to 10-0, and, after disappointing matches early in his WrestleMania career, has now had two really good brawls in a row. ***1/2

The Undertaker does his infamous count of his ten victims on his hand before riding off. Michael Cole interviews Booker T, who is wearing glasses for some reason. Oh, Edge said that he was stupid. Well they're both dumb for wrestling over a shampoo commercial.

Booker T vs. Edge
Never will I understand why this had to be about a Japanese shampoo commercial but it was. Nice little sequence as Edge hits a dropkick and facebuster for two. EDDIE GILBERT hotshot from Booker! Can't seem to go a show without one. A clothesline takes Edge over as Booker hops off the apron and clubs Edge. Booker pulls off a missile dropkick for a near fall. Shots in the corner from Booker are reversed but he hits Edge with a stiff spinebuster. Booker goes up again, but Edge crotches him. They both a frankensteiner spot as Booker lands on Edge. Spinning heel kick from Edge, who is starting to string together offense. Booker does a reversal and goes for the Scissors Kick but Edge dodges and hits the Edge-o-matic for two. Top rope spinning heel kick gets Edge two again. Booker goes for a rollup, but Edge counters with a slingshot. He goes for the Spear but Booker leaps over him and hits an axe kick. SPINAROONIE! Scissors Kick follows but Edge manages to kick out. He goes for the Bookend but Edge counters and connects with the Spear. Booker kicks out which surprised me. EDGEAROONIE! A series of reversals leads to the Edgecution and the win for Edge.

Winner: Edge in 6:32
Solid little match even if it was based around something dumb. These are two really good workers and the ending sequence was really good. **1/2

The Coach catches up with Hurricane for an interview. Hurricane is so in character that it's breathtaking. Mighty Molly appears, hits him with a frying pan and steals the Hardcore Title. 

Scott Hall w/ Kevin Nash vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
I can see why Steve Austin was unhappy in 2002. He was still ridiculously popular, but was saddled in the mid-card with Scott Hall as the secondary nWo feud. I still think we should've gotten Austin/Hogan but I digress. Austin attacks before the bell and stomps a mud hole in the former Razor Ramon. A thumb to the eyes works for Hall but he ends up taking a Lou Thez Press. That move isn't as cool without JR shouting “RIGHT HANDS RIGHT HANDS THE RATTLESNAKE STRIKES! PISTON LIKE RIGHT HANDS”! Hall exits to gather his thoughts and Austin takes out Kevin Nash. Hall does get the upper hand while Nash exposes a turnbuckle. Of course, Austin goes back first into that corner. Fallaway slam, which was so cool back in the early 90's, gets Hall a near fall. Austin blocks a hip toss but gets clotheslined hard. Hall stomps away on Austin before Nash gets in a cheap shot. Despite Hall running things, Austin gets the Stunner from out of nowhere and Nash pulls out the ref. He enters and beats down on Austin. Austin takes their offense and gives both guys Stunners but there's no referee. Out comes Jack Doane, sliding in, but takes an elbow from Big Sexy. Hall sets up for the Razor's or Outsider's Edge, but Austin flips him over and out. Nash gets booted by a bunch of referees and the crowd boos that decision. Hall has enough finishers stored to steal the Stunner but the ref is slow to get in, and Austin gets his shoulder up. Austin hits a Stunner followed immediately by another Stunner and wins.

Winner: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 9:52
Not a bad match but Steve Austin deserved better. He had really good to amazing matches at WrestleMania besides this and WM 12. Decent stuff and the hot crowd helped it. **1/2

Axxess highlights are shown, which is always cool. Best part is Booker T played a kid in a video game, beat him and then celebrated. 

WWF Tag Team Championship
Billy & Chuck (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz w/ Stacy Keibler vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The APA

Well, elimination rules make this interesting for sure. Dudleys get the live performance treatment and Stacy dances with Saliva's lead singer. Billy and Chuck's theme was great. Bradshaw and Chuck open the match as the APA attack the Champs before the bell. The Hardys and Dudleys don't get involved for the first few minutes. D-Von gets tagged and it's hard to pay attention when Stacy Keibler is bent over in front of the hard camera. I do see Billy take a Clothesline from Hell, but the Dudleys 3-D Bradshaw and the APA is gone. Hardys come in and do some double team offense. Double DDT on Chuck as the Dudleys bring out a table. Hardys take them out though. Whisper in the Wind from Jeff as Stacy gets on the apron and pulls up her shorts before shaking her ass to distract Jeff. He spanks and kisses her before knocking her off. Bubba Bomb on Billy shortly after. Dudley double team on Jeff for a bit. REST HOLD TIME! Jeff fights free but eats a clothesline. We get more Dudleys/Hardys, which has to be like their one millionth match together or something. Billy and Chuck have literally just stayed on the apron for the most part. It's honestly the same thing each time by now. Twist of Fate and Swanton on Bubba eliminate THOSE DAMN DUDLEYS! Hardys control the work with the Champs, and even hit the Swanton but a Fameasser manages to earn Chuck a near fall. Billy now takes out Jeff with the belt and that does it.

Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Billy and Chuck in 13:51
Mediocre stuff. Same old stuff from the Hardys and Dudleys before the Champs got a tainted win. **

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash speak about taking out their anger on The Rock, when Hogan appears to a pop. He tells them that he wants to do this alone. They agree, but after he leaves they say there's no way they won't get involved.

Molly Holly is running backstage with the Hardcore Title. She gets taken out by a door and Christian pins her for the Hardcore Title.

“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock
Interesting that this was built as the past vs. the future when the Rock would leave a little over a year later. Hogan gets an absurd pop as the crowd is pro-Hogan. The stare down stuff after the bell is great. Talk about a big fight feel. They lock up and Hogan overpowers Rock and flexes to a massive pop. Rock fights out of a headlock and get tackled. More posing from Hogan draws an insane reaction. Hogan hammers away on Rocky and clotheslines him. Rock retaliates with a huge clothesline and tells Hogan to bring it to big heat. Rock lays in some punches and Hogan can't fall over the top, so he sloppily rolls outside. Hogan blocks a Rock Bottom and drops some elbows on him. Instead of a third elbow, he rakes Rock's face and gets a pop. Hogan could do anything here and not get booed. JR mentions that this is the building where Hogan lost his only singles match at 'Mania. Hogan pulls out a belly to back suplex for two. ABDOMINAL STRETCH! The most devious move in the history of the sport. Hogan gives up on it and does the first school boy I've ever seen from him. Vicious back rake from Hogan, which he did even as a face back in the days. Punches in the corner from Hogan before he bites on the People's forehead. Rock runs into a chokeslam as Hogan is pulling out all the stops. Hogan, ever the heel, chokes Rock a bit. Rock fires away with right hands but Hogan sends him over and out to another pop. They brawl outside for a bit as Hogan clears off the announce table. Rock fights back and talks smack to boos. He grabs a chair but is stopped by the ref, allowing Hogan to clothesline him. Who's the face here again? Back inside, a double axe handle knocks Rock into Mike Chioda. Spinebuster from Rocky has both men down, until Rock slaps on the Sharpshooter. Hogan taps but Chioda is dead. “Rocky Sucks” chants get louder as Hogan nails a low blow and Rock Bottom as the crowd goes nuts. Rocky kicks out to the crowd's dismay. Hogan removes the weight belt and whips Rock with it a few times. Rock reaches down and delivers a DDT. Rock grabs the belt and whips Hogan with it. He spits on the Hollywood name, as he is going full heel tonight. Rock Bottom but Hogan kicks out and Hulks up. Big boot and leg drop connect as the crowd is deafening but Rock gets his shoulder up. Another big boot, but the second leg drop misses. Second Rock Bottom is good but no cover. Rock picks him up and gets a third Rock Bottom. THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MOVE IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT! People's Elbow earns him the three.

Winner: The Rock in 16:24
Match of the night. Not a mat classic, but the spectacle of this was incredible. The crowd could not be hotter and it made this amazing to watch. Tremendous stuff between two of the greatest ever. ****1/2

Post match we get a handshake and this leads to the return of red and yellow Hogan. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall come down, pissed at Hogan being all non-nWo like. Hall throws his toothpick at Hogan and they beat on him. Rock runs back to the ring, getting the pop he normally would and they clean house. Rock and Hogan pose for the crowd.

The Big Show is at WWF New York in one of the WrestleMania moments of his that Cody Rhodes poked fun at. Two years ago he was in the main event of WrestleMania and now he can't make the card.

Women's Championship
Jazz (c) vs. Lita vs. Trish Stratus

Trish is sporting her outstanding Maple Leaf shorts, which she reveals from behind a Canadian flag. It's a beautiful sight. The crowd is really dead after that previous match. Jazz and Lita brawl before Trish gets in. Once she enters, they double team the powerhouse that is Jazz. The Champ has none of that and gets Trish in a half crab before doing a variation of the Glam Slam on Lita. Butterfly suplex from Jazz, who then spin kicks Trish out of the ring. Head scissors from Lita and a spin out bomb gets her two. Impressive moves here. Jazz perches Lita up top for a superplex, but Trish interrupts. She rolls Jazz up for two and Lita nails her with a flying cross body. Chick Kick from Trish followed by a bulldog might've gotten three but Jazz stops it and splashes Lita. Jazz plants Lita with a fisherman's suplex for two. Trish counters a slam into a reverse DDT for two. Lita and Trish face off and trade shots. Trish lands awkwardly on a back body drop and Lita goes for the Twist of Fate. She yells just like Matt unfortunately. She goes to remove her shirt but can't and her moonsault attempt is blocked by Trish's knees. Trish chops away at her before they run into each other. Lita tosses Trish when she tries Stratusfaction and her leg gets tangled horribly in the ropes. Jazz destroys Lita with a top rope fisherman suplex in a holy crap ending.

Winner and Still Women's Champion: Jazz in 6:16
Good women's match. The girls were bringing out big moves for WrestleMania, but the crowd was so dead. **

Christian celebrates as he tries to exit with the Hardcore Title. Maven appears and rolls him up to get back his belt. And he steals Christian's cab.

WWF Undisputed Championship
Chris Jericho (c) w/ Stephanie McMahon vs. Triple H

As always, I must note how great Stephanie looks. Poor Chris Jericho got to be in the WrestleMania main event, though he's an afterthought in the Stephanie/HHH rivalry. Early on, it's clear that the focus is going to be on Triple H's leg and Jericho goes after it. Triple H hits a high knee and is hurt from it. HHH is knocked outside before he tosses Jericho from the top onto the guardrail. Suplex on the outside from the Game. He wants to put Jericho through the announce table, but the Champion attacks the leg. Back inside, Jericho continues to focus on it. HHH works Jericho's leg in some turnabout is fair play. He puts on the figure four but Stephanie takes his eyes. HHH pulls her up to the apron and moves as Jericho charges, and he spears her. HHH goes to Pedigree his wife but takes a missile dropkick. More leg work from Jericho as he uses Brock's future “Brock Lock” for a bit. Stephanie gets involved again by slapping HHH. Jericho goes all Bret Hart and uses the ring post figure four. More leg work until a neckbreaker stops Jericho. A clothesline gets a near fall for Hunter. HHH hits another knee to the face, but is hurting. HHH's offensive comeback is thwarted when Jericho knocks him outside. HHH is placed on the announce table, and in a nice callback to the day he tore his quad, Jericho goes for the Walls on it. Triple H kicks him to stop it and goes for the Pedigree. He instead suffers a back drop through the other table. Inside, HHH kicks out of a Lionsault. He again blocks the Walls but eventually gets put in it anyway. HHH is a manly man though as he reaches the ropes. Jericho gets a chair but it gets kicked in his face and he gets a DDT on it while Steph distracts the ref. Stephanie takes the chair and Hebner snatches the chair from her. She turns into HHH who Pedigrees her and nearly pops her boobs probably. Jericho lays him out with the chair but only gets a near fall. Jericho calls for the Pedigree, but HHH counters and slingshots him. Jericho lands on the second rope, turns and leaps right into a kick and Pedigree.

Winner and New WWF Undisputed Champion: Triple H in 18:40
People give this match a lot of crap but it's not bad. It's disappointing for sure and should've been more, but still. The dead crowd didn't help matters. ***1/4

Overall: 7/10; Good. Everyone only remembers one match from this show and for good reason. Rock/Hogan is easily the only memorable thing. However, everything on the show is decent to good. Even the worst match, the Hardcore Title match, led to some entertaining segments throughout the night. Worth a look.

Raw Report

Coming off of the disappointing Battleground Pay-Per-View, Raw would need to have a strong episode to bounce back. According to the Pre-Show, John Cena and his WWE World Heavyweight Championship would not be in attendance but Triple H has a "decision" to make. He will announce the number one contender to Cena's title for SummerSlam. Is this how all future SummerSlam title matches will be planned? The Champion or the Boss just hand picks someone? Anyway, Triple H kicks off the show and says that he wants the roster to show what they've got tonight to try and earn that spot. Randy Orton complains that he never got a one on one rematch since losing the belt, which is true. He blames Kane for losing last  night so they have a beef. Roman Reigns interrupts and things get physical. Triple H turns it into a handicap match.

The handicap match to open was pretty good. Randy Orton and Kane, of course, played the role of a team that wasn't on the same page, which allowed Roman Reigns to get in his offense. Their issues led to things getting physical, which led to Reigns taking out Kane. Kane wanted the tag but Orton is all like "Nuh-uh, I don't wanna tag." Kane gets mad and chokes him, leading to a Superman Punch and Reigns gets the win while Orton doesn't really care. Surprisingly strong handicap match.

It's that time of the show where Stephanie McMahon sends worthless heel Divas in bunches at Nikki Bella. Well, Alicia Fox isn't worthless. But Cameron, Eva Marie and especially Rosa Mendes are. Nikki has a surprise as Brie Bella is in the crowd. Stephanie McMahon comes out to badmouth her of course. Brie, in her awful, grating voice, calls her a bitch. Stephanie wants her ejected but she is a paying customer. Steph is pissed and slaps Brie. The Bella with the bearded husband tries to retaliate but is now ejected. Then, Nikki Bella loses to the four Divas. Seriously though, the very best part of this segment was the guy sitting next to Brie as he reacted to her calling Stephanie a bitch.

Damien Sandow, dressed as Lebron James is up next. His Miami Heat jersey has the word Miami crossed out. He smack talks the crowd until his opponent, Bo Dallas shows up. The fact that we didn't get to really hear Bo talk is a shame. It's my favorite part of his segments. Mainly because his matches are only average at best. Also, the BoDog finisher is pretty lame. However, it doesn't take much to defeat Sandow these days and it did the job.

Next, we were supposed to get the Highlight Reel with Bray Wyatt as the guest. But, Chris Jericho was attacked backstage by the Wyatt Family. Bray cuts one of his great promos, saying that while he lost the battle last night at Battleground, he promises that he will win the war. I assume by the "war" he means SummerSlam, or a third rubber match at the Pay-Per-View after it. Regardless, it was a really good promo and I hope that their next match or matches are better than their effort at Battleground. Good segment.

The new Intercontinental Champion, The Miz, is out to face the man he stole victory from at Battleground, Dolph Ziggler. I would've been all for a run with Ziggler as Champion as I could see him putting on great matches and defending the belt constantly. I wonder if Miz will hold the belt until Bad News Barrett returns. Maybe a Barrett face turn? Anyway, us viewers were treated to a really good match between these two. I saw them wrestle live on Raw in Cleveland back in January, but this was far better. Ziggler picked up the win as Miz's title reign was not off to a good start. They again played off the whole "Miz doesn't want to get hit in the face" thing, which was cool.

Backstage, Triple H talks to Seth Rollins, who admits there is no point in him trying to face John Cena at SummerSlam because Dean Ambrose will be there to ruin it. Cesaro shows up, saying that he's not a Paul Heyman guy anymore, but he'd like to be a Triple H guy. Rollins gets jealous and HHH finds this whole thing weird. As weird as just dropping the Cesaro/Heyman stuff probably. Anyway, he books Cesaro/Ambrose for later, which should be excellent. Time for Divas tag action as the Frenemies, AJ Lee and Paige, team up to face the Divas version of International Airstrike, Emma and Natalya. After AJ gets her team the win, Paige is done with her shit and finally makes the heel turn. THE MOTHERFUCKIN ANTI-DIVA! She tosses AJ around and then skips up the ramp. Hopefully, we get the rivalry/matches that I hope for with these two.

Fandango continued his losing streak against guys that have the power of Summer Rae and Layla with them. Honestly, they can be a distraction. This is a new low for Fandango though as he lost to Zack Ryder. Yes, the Zack Ryder who hasn't won a match on Raw in over a year. After doing some research, it was his first win on Raw in 580 days! Wow. He made sure to enjoy it.

RENEE YOUNG is backstage with Flo-Rida and she's all I can see on the screen honestly. Until the ONE MAN BAND BABAY shows up and gets shoved down by Flo-Rida, continuing their feud that started at WrestleMania 28. So, Flo-Rida vs. Heath Slater at WrestleMania 31? Once in a Lifetime folks. I can only hope. Flo-Rida performs. After that, detectives arrive to arrest Stephanie McMahon! Brie Bella shows up as Stephanie is being arrested for assault. Fun little segment that adds to the projected Stephanie/Brie match at SummerSlam. Triple H is not happy, but realizes that she has to go through processing and such so he has time to make his decision.

Rybaxel is out next and continue to entertain me. They have a decent little match with Big E and Kofi Kingston, who are the WWE's newest thrown together token black guy tag team. Things get interesting after the match though. Xavier Woods walks down to the ring in a white suit. He tells Kofi and Big E that they can no longer get by being good guys who kiss babies. They need to take what they want. The internet exploded as Nation of Domination theories start and we can only wait for Titus O'Neil and Mark Henry to be added to this.

In a match where there's not much to discuss, Rusev beat the Great Khali. No Jack Swagger involvement or anything which was weird. Then we cut to yet another Goldust/Stardust backstage promo. This one might have been the strangest. I like these, but I want my Dust Brothers in the ring dammit. They were the best tag team in 2013 and I want more of that. 

Main Event time as Dean Ambrose goes one on one with Cesaro, in what I believe is a first time ever match in WWE. Both guys held nothing back and we were treated to a great match from two of the best guys on the roster. Dean Ambrose continued his lunatic streak as he attacked Cesaro with a steel chair, resulting in the disqualification finish. Ambrose's Raw Fallout interview was pretty great as he continues to get the biggest pops and be the most interesting and must see member of the Shield, post-breakup.

Time for Triple H to make his decision. He announces that John Cena's SummerSlam opponent will be Randy Orton. Yawn. It was fresh at the 2007 SummerSlam, but ever since then it's been driven into the dirt. Of course, that's not the real opponent. Roman Reigns shows up and attacks Orton to the back, most likely leading to a match between them at SummerSlam. Paul Heyman shows up and we all know what's coming. Plan A of Randy Orton or Kane is awful. Plan B of Seth Rollins keeps getting interrupted by Dean Ambrose. So it's time for Plan C, which is the 1 behind 21-1. Brock Lesnar comes out and the match is made as he shakes the hand of an arm that he broke twice before. Anyway, Triple H leaves and Heyman hypes up Lesnar. They show a video of him beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania before saying that he will conquer John Cena at SummerSlam.

A very good bounce back Raw after a disappointing Pay-Per-View. So far, SummerSlam is shaping up nicely. Honestly, if Brock Lesnar fails to beat John Cena, it's a dumb decision. I get that he's a part-timer, but if the Rock won the WWE Title, why can't Brock? It's pointless to beat the Streak if you're just going to lose to John Cena. But yea, good episode of Raw.