WWE Monday Night Raw has come to the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin as it’s Memorial Day and the continuation of the road to Money in the Bank. To make this Memorial Day special WWE has given the world the much awaited and advertised return of the man they call John Cena who was sidelined in January with rotator cuff surgery. Additionally, WWE really had to make this a big episode as they were not only competing with Memorial Day itself but Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Final. Did they deliver? Find out from someone who was personally there witnessing the action.
Before the opening video and pyro the show opened up with everyone on stage paying tribute for Memorial Day as they did a 10-Bell moment of silence for the fallen and a video for those who have served. It was very well done and touching being there live.
Shane McMahon came out to start the show along with Stephanie McMahon. They had the usual bickering before re-announcing that Smackdown is going to air live on Tuesday nights starting on July 19. They were soon interrupted by New Day who came out in concern of the brand extension as superstars will be unique to the shows. This had a lot of cringey and awkward dialogue which including them putting over Shane’s shoes and Stephanie wanting credit for hers. New Day also asked where they are going and of course nothing was answered. Finally, New Day suggested a dance challenge in which Shane accepted and danced terribly. Stephanie was about to jump in when The Vaudevillians music hit and the McMahons left when the match began after a commercial break.
Even live, in all honesty this was the most horrid opening segment Raw has done in a long time as it was uninteresting and absolutely pointless. They announced last week what they were doing in regards to Smackdown and had no reason to spend 30 minutes of air time to announce it again. New Day didn’t help as their usual comedy felt forced. Lastly to top it off, it was extremely confusing when The Vaudevillians interrupted but didn’t say anything and the McMahons just bailed and a match started with no prior announcement.
New Day vs. The Vaudevillians
Again since I was extremely confused live I had no idea if this was even a title match and apparently it wasn’t. The Vaudevillians worked Kofi for pretty much the entire match and the Green Bay crowd couldn’t care less, including myself. They got back into it after Big E made the hot tag and right before he was going to finish them Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came through the crowd and attacked New Day giving them the disqualification win. English and Gotch left to allow Anderson and Gallows to destroy Big E.
The match was pretty much the same as these two teams had at Extreme Rules even though I liked how they were doing some Southern Style as it isn’t seen a lot in WWE now of days. More importantly, it was all about Anderson and Gallows asserting their dominance and apparently wanting to challenge for the WWE Tag Team Titles. Expect them vs. New Day at Money in the Bank or at least sometime down the road.
After the commercial break Renee Young interviewed Anderson and Gallows questioning them about their relationship with AJ Styles. They responded saying they are doing their own thing and that is putting the entire tag team division on notice.
They also recapped Sheamus beating up Apollo Crews. They went back to Crews in the locker room where Big Show appeared to offer advice as he’s apparently WWE’s wise old black man now. Show told him Sheamus is a bully and doesn’t want change. He told Apollo to not back down as that’s what Sheamus wants him to do.
The Usos vs. Breezedango
Before the match Golden Truth came out but only do commentary for the match. The match was short as the Usos got the rollup on Breeze. After the match, Breeze and Fandango went to commentary to confront Golden Truth only to get laid out by them.
It was short and I was able to see Golden Truth and Tyler Breeze get air time so I can’t complain. The Usos also got a win which I guess is alright since the WWE wants to build them up.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins Segment
Roman Reigns came out to a massive reaction of boos and cheers. Literally throughout the night, every time he appeared in a video, commercial and promo on the tron or was even mentioned by name the live crowd went absolutely nuts in booing him. It’s exactly the reaction Cena gets and the WWE doesn’t care if he’s booed or cheered as any reaction is money. After soaking in the reaction he addressed his history with Seth Rollins. He went on to call out Rollins and Seth’s music hit. Rollins made his way to the ring and the waiting Reigns but stopped short, went back and grabbed a mic that was on the stage. Rollins teased the crowd multiple times acting like he was going to start talking but didn’t before making his way to the ring again. He got close but stopped short again, laughed and backed off again. He did this a couple of more times before leaving and Reigns music hit. While Reigns was posing in the ring Rollins ran back to the ring AGAIN to attempt a sneak attack but stopped short and laughed, proclaiming “We do things my way around here.”
This segment was stale even live. Rollins is my favorite guy in WWE and besides being a life wrestling fan and the general interest of Cena’s return, is the reason I attended Raw, as I even wore a Seth Rollins t-shirt. The fact he didn’t even talk disappointed me immensely but I understand what they are doing as they want Rollins to be as much as a heel as possible against Roman and what he did is heeling 101 in wrestling. It must have been very frustrating and boring watching on TV at home.
Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
Lana came out to introduce Rusev and apparently Ryder cut a promo saying he has to prove that he belongs but the live crowd didn’t see it. Green Bay ate up the classic foreign heeling of Rusev, especially on Memorial Day and for some reason adored Ryder which I’ll never understand. Rusev dominated for a majority of the match, Ryder had a small comeback only to get crushed by Rusev, submitting to The Accolade.
After the match Rusev cut his usual foreign heel promo about entitled Americans when Titus O’Neil’s music interrupted him. Titus said great Americans fight for what they believe in, called him a Bulgarian bullhorn which is the cringiest PG insult ever and punched him in the mouth for no reason.
The match was alright, as it was really short, Rusev is being built up into being a big deal again along with the US Title and most importantly Zack Ryder is back to jobber form but the segment after absolutely killed it for me. First it could have been anyone else but Titus that came out especially since they are trying to push the New Era and even though Titus is destined to lose the feud to Rusev, it’s Rusev who is a dominant heel so losing is a far thing than burial. Second and last, WWE has a long tradition of a babyface being a jerk and that’s what Titus was to Rusev. Good guys don’t throw cheap-shots especially someone who wants to represent America like Titus was proclaiming. The whole segment was cringey, pointless and didn’t make any sense as it showed True-Americans cheap shot people they don’t like.
They had a long video of the Flair family drama. After another thing that made totally no sense as a pre-tape showed Charlotte running into Stephanie backstage who said she’s embarrassed by the fact that Charlotte is Women’s Champion. Then she called her spoiled, selfish and called her a waste of talent. Again this made absolutely no sense as Stephanie was praising Charlotte weeks earlier for representing the Women’s division well and wanted her to be independent from her father. That’s exactly what she did last week so wouldn’t Stephanie love that and the fact that they’re both heels??
Enzo and Cass vs. The Dudley Boyz
Enzo and Big Cass came out to huge ovation doing their usual schtick. The crowd went absolute bananas for it. The Dudleys beat on Enzo for most of the match where he made the hot tag to Cass who cleaned out the ring and the match ended with D-Von getting hit with the Rocket Launcher to give Enzo and Cass the win.
Not a bad match at all and The Dudleys actually looked strong in the match dominating for a majority of it but put over the new team well. I’ve never seen The Dudley Boyz live so that was something cool to check off my bucket list along with being a part of a SAWFT chant.
The Return of John Cena
Here is what everyone has been waiting for! Even WWE’s Biggest Fan, Sign Guy and Brock Lesnar Guy made the trip to Green Bay to be a part of this event. Cena came out to the usual ovation but a lot of respectful cheering. He started out really serious saying some words for Memorial Day. He then gave his usual speech of how the future and New Era will have to go through him. He was interrupted by AJ Styles and while they were standing face to face in the middle of the ring, loud dueling “AJ Styles” and “Let’s go Cena” broke for what seemed to be two minutes straight. Styles said he respected Cena, welcomed him back and stuck out his hand for a “Code of Honor” and Cena did so back with loud cheering. Anderson and Gallows interrupted telling Styles “unlike you we’re not here to kiss ass, we’re here to kick it.” They advanced on Styles and Cena who got ready for a fight and when Cena threw out his shirt, Styles knocked him out and Gallows and Anderson went on to assist in the beat down. They continued to beat Cena down, leave the ring, beat him down and repeat multiple times.
This segment delivered on all fronts. The crowd went nuts when Cena returned, went even crazier when Styles came out and absolutely turned on him after him and the Club destroyed Cena. For the first time in WWE, The Club was made to look like a big dominant force and perfectly introduced heel Styles. Styles vs. Cena at Money in the Bank will be incredible but the feud itself will be even more especially if they get 2-3 more people to join Cena in the war and when/if Finn Balor debuts.
Natalya vs. Dana Brooke
Charlotte was ringside for this and Dana got her first win on Raw in a very quick match that was a squash. Charlotte joined in post-match to beat down Natalya and Becky Lynch’s ran out to make the save.
Nothing really to talk about except that the person that was made to be a big deal when she challenged Charlotte for the title got quickly squashed by Dana.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
For the fourth time we these two in a match but this time Dolph has challenged Corbin to a “technical wrestling match”. Dolph came out in his wrestling gear which included Rick Steiner head gear and his Kent State jacket. WWE goes again with the babyface doing a heel thing as Ziggler went Draymond Green on Corbin right when the bell rang to earn the disqualification. Ziggler got a mic and called Corbin a loser.
See my rant about the Rusev-Titus O’Neal segment above.
Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn and Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho
In the main event all six competitors in the Money in the Bank match with the heels on one side and the faces on the other. They highlighted past feuds like Ambrose-Jericho and Owens-Zayn along with showing dissension on the heel side with Jericho and Owens bickering. Owens left the ring and Jericho got Cesaro swung. Del Rio broke it up but Zayn nailed him with the Helluva Kick. Owens got in and superkicked Sami but when he went for the power
bomb Zayn flew over and Ambrose came in and hit him with Dirty Deeds to get the pinfall victory.
A fine main event and a basic but effective way to build for the paper view.
For me it’s always fun and a blast to watch wrestling live, especially when it’s televised. When Cena was advertised a month earlier to return on Memorial Day in Green Bay, it was must-go to show for me and I was anticipating it to be one of the best wrestling shows I’ve been to. It definitely wasn’t that but a fun show to be at nevertheless. Besides Cena-The Club stuff, nothing really progressed or even happened on the show and if I was watching on television, I probably would’ve switched to Warriors-Thunder game. It was probably very boring and even frustrating for the viewers at home because like me they were probably expecting a great show with Cena returning, Memorial Day and competing with the NBA and NHL. When wrestling comes to your hometown and you have the money even to buy the cheapest ticket, go! No matter how bad the product is, it’s always fun to be a part of a crowd of people who share that same interest.