It’s been said before but it’s worth repeating: John Cena’s US Championship Open Challenge has been the best thing about Raw for weeks now.
Since winning the US Title at WrestleMania, John Cena has defended the championship against Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Bad News Barrett, Kane, Heath Slater, Sami Zayn and Neville on Monday Night Raw.
Aside from the PPV-caliber matches he’s been having with almost all the people on that list, knowing there will be an open challenge answered every Monday creates an anticipation to at least part of each broadcast, which is needed especially during the “post-WrestleMania slump.” Now that we’re eight weeks into the Open Challenge, it creates an excitement and suspense of who will be next.
This week, the Twitterverse nearly cried in happiness when Kevin Owens answered the challenge, cut a promo on Cena, laid him out and stomped on the US Championship while raising the NXT Title high above his head.
Even without the match, it was the best segment on Raw.
There were rumors heading into Monday’s Raw that an NXT call-up would debut on the show. Instead we got two debuts, Neville and the Lucha Dragons. While Sin Cara has, of course, been on Raw before, this was Kalisto’s first time.
Unfortunately, WWE couldn’t resist its desire to drop the first name of wrestlers, removing “Adrian” from Neville’s name.
Either way, it’s cool to see an NXT favorite getting his well-deserved shot on the main roster. The same goes for the Lucha Dragons, who will add some spice to the tag team division.
WWE announced before the show began that the Celtic Warrior Sheamus would be returning on Raw and he did just that following the Daniel Bryan v. Dolph Ziggler Intercontinental Championship match as Wade Barrett was attacking Bryan.
Barrett retreated and the new look Sheamus then nailed Daniel Bryan with a brogue kick and followed that up by beating down Dolph Ziggler.
Brock Lesnar is an absolute monster. Seth Rollins is such a great heel. And everyone else sold this to make it look amazing. From Paul Heyman’s facial expressions and reactions to Michael Cole selling an F5 like a champ, this was a great segment on a very good episode of Raw.
Sting made his debut on Raw last night, helping John Cena to win his match by distracting the Authority. It was Sting’s first appearance since his WWE debut during the Survivor Series main event and also his first appearance on WWE’s flagship show.
“The Vigilante” Sting appeared at the close of last night’s Raw Reunion show to distract Seth Rollins and the rest of the Authority just long enough for John Cena to get a roll-up pinfall on the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. The win – against Rollins, Kane and Big Show – means Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler all get their jobs back, thanks to the stipulation agreed upon earlier in the night. Had Cena lost he would have had to forfeit his spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at this Sunday’s Royal Rumble.
The appearance of Sting would seem to make a Sting v. Triple H WrestleMania match a lock and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Triple H makes the most sense to face Sting given the current situation. He’s still in incredible shape and can most likely put on a better match with Sting than Undertaker can at this point in his career.
Raw opened last night in its usual fashion, with a long talking segment featuring The Authority. This one was a little different, however, as it was a farewell from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. As the two spewed venom at the WWE Universe for applauding their demise, Daniel Bryan interrupted the duo to say his own goodbye.
A surprise title change took place on tonight’s episode of Raw, as Luke Harper defeated Dolph Ziggler with plenty of help from The Authority to capture the Intercontinental Championship.
The switch makes perfect sense in the way it played out. The Authority beat down Ziggler before the opening bell rang, helping Harper win the strap. It adds fuel to the fire for Ziggler and likely means bigger things are coming for him.
Grumpy Cat, the internet-famous cat who has been exploited by its owners for all the cash they can squeeze out of its frowny face, will appear on next Monday’s Raw, the go-home show to Survivor Series. It’s all part of a promotional tie-in with the Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.”
While mainstream publicity is obviously the desire of WWE with this move, it’s sure to annoy the diehard fans who have already been forced to sit through painful segments on Raw featuring Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Jerry Springer in recent weeks.
On the other hand, all press is good press and these one-off segments are a great time for a bathroom break.