By Jeff Hamlin, Wrestlingobserver.com
The Big Takeaway: Another week, another show where John Cena has the best match on the show. This week, he main evented against Cesaro and retained the U.S. Championship in 30:06, most likely longest Raw match since Cena-Shawn Michaels from London in 2007. Brock Lesnar had two segments on the show, where he destroyed J&J Security's new car they received from Seth Rollins last week.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman start the show. Heyman said Lesnar was the God of violent retribution. Heyman brought up Lesnar ending The Undertaker's streak and got some boos. Then he mentioned Lesnar taking John Cena to Suplex City and got cheered. Unlike Cena, Undertaker and Roman Reigns, Heyman said Lesnar not only doesn't respect Seth Rollins, he disrespects him. Lesnar wasn't selling his knee after the attack from two weeks ago.
Heyman said the title match with Rollins and Lesnar will take two weeks in St. Louis, but the beatings and the suplexes will start tonight. He said since Rolliins is going to be in the building tonight, Lesnar wasn't going anywhere.
Michael Cole announced that Kane is in Hawaii on the vacation that Rollins sent him on last week. They showed various photoshopped pictures of Kane wearing a Hula skirt, drinking Mai Tais and touring volcanos.
Also, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble reportedly took their $55,000 Cadallac across the country with highlights of their trip promised later.
Ryback (C) and Big Show went to a no contest in a nontitle match (9:24)
The Miz was at ringside doing running commentary over the PA during the match. Since the Miz, Big Show and Ryback are in a three-way at Battleground, Miz wanted the two to destroy each other so it would be easier for him to win. It sounded like Cole talked over Mix's best lines. After Big Show hit a elbow drop from the second rope, Miz ran in to attack both men while they were down. It ended with both big men surrounding Miz, with Ryback delivering a Shell Shock and the Big Show giving him a choke slam. Ryback gave Big Show a meat hook clothesline to become the last man standing.
A commercial for the new season of Total Divas featured someone reading the riot act to Paige over an alleged sex tape.
Kane was shown paddleboarding in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Noble and Mercury took their Cadallac to Wrigley Field, calling it a dump.
Brie Bella defeated Paige (3:10)
Brie Bella won with the Brie Buster after Alicia Fox and Nikki Bella jumped up on the apron. The storyline continues that Paige has to fight the Bellas and Fox by herself. Afterwards, Fox gave Paige an Ax Kick and Nikki gave her a Rack Attack. The count for Nikki Bella's Divas Championship reign is up to 225 days.
Sheamus defeated Roman Reigns by countout (11:15)
To complete an hour of bad finishes, Reigns hit a Superman punch when Sheamus jumped off the second rope. Reigns went for another Superman punch when Bray Wyatt's music hit. Someone dressed like Wyatt came out and Reigns tagged him with a Superman's punch. Then Reigns found that the man he punched was an imposter. Then Wyatt appeared on the TitonTron and told Reigns "Anyone but You." Reigns disappeared and Sheamus was announced as the winner.
Randy Orton came out to go after Sheamus. Get this. Sheamus threw Orton into the post. Orton barely even sell it and gave Sheamus an RKO. What the hell was that? Mind you, this came after a stiff Sheamus-Reigns match that was pretty good because of its physicality. Then Orton doesn't even sell a post shot.
HHH was on the phone when Rollins and J&J Security walked in. HHH asked Seth about what he was going to do about Lesnar tonight. HHH said his advice was to do something uncoventional. HHH brought up Heyman's promo from earlier saying that the 11th Commandment is "Never provoke the beast." Rollins said the unthinkable would be to call out Lesnar later on tonight.
Rusev and Summer Rae were in the ring for a promo. He referred to Summer Rae as "always submissive." Rusev said he apologized for wasting a year of his life on Lana. He ran down the fans, America and Dolph Ziggler. Summer tried to get the crowd to stop chanting "USA." Dolph and Lana came out. Ziggler said the best thing that ever happened to Rusev was Lana. Dolph and Lana starting kissing. Summer scolded Ziggler. Lana and Summer were about to squre off when the two men stepped in. Then Rusev attacked Ziggler with a crutch, then kicked him with the cast on his bad foot. Rusev took off the walking boot and starting walking around. Summer then kicked Lana and threw her out of the ring. Rusev put the fists to Ziggler, who sure looked like an idiot. Ziggler tried to make a comeback, but Rusev jabbed him with the crutch across the throat. Rusev laid in even more crutch shots even after the referees came down and ordered him away. Ziggler did a stretcher job, so who knows if we see him again?
Dean Ambrose defeated Bo Dallas (2:59)
There was the strangest dual chant ever heard to man with most of the fans saying "Let's Go Ambrose." And the other half said "We Bolieve." Dean Ambrose won with Dirty Deeds.
J&J Security was shown driving around Chicago. They were shown getting caught in traffic. And then driving along a vacant street. It was about as humorous as watching someone drive in traffic and then along a vacant street.
King Barrett defeated R-Truth (8:43)
King Barrett won after R-Truth dove off the second rope, only to get caught with the Royal Bullhammer. This got 8:43. Maybe I was a little hard on that J&J Security driving segment. Cole talked like this was the end of R-Truth's "King What's Up" gimmick.
Rollins came out while J&J Security drove up in their car. No one was available to give the car Last Rites. They were all carrying axehandles for the anticipated brawl with Lesnar. Rollins did an interview saying he was champion and going to remain that way, then asked if Lesnar was a real man or just Heyman's bitch.
Lesnar came out, saw three men in the ring with axehandles waiting for him, then backed off. Lesnar then called for Heyman, who carried a trunk containing a fire kit, which included two axes. Instead of getting into the ring, Brock started destroying the car. Cole dropped in a line of how Lesnar was his own Minnesota Recking Crew. Lesnar destroyed one of the axes after he drove it into the driver's door. Then Lesnar tore the door off the hinges. Mercury and Noble made a rush at Lesnar, but Brock dropped them effortlessly. Lesnar gave Noble a Kimura and Cole screamed how he had broken Noble's arm. Lesnar gave Mercury two suplexes onto the car, the last of which broke a windshield. Lesnar got in the ring with Rollins, who ran out of the building with Lesnar chasing him. Lesnar got back in the ring and posed with the WWE Heavyweight Championship strap.
The New Day defeated Lucha Dragons (10:16)
The Prime Time Players were at ringside. JBL and Titus O'Neal exchanged barbs at ringside on commentary. Darren Young didn't say anything, and O'Neal started doing play-by-play after Sin Cara got the hot tag. He was ten times more engaging than Cole. Kalisto and Sin Cara went for stereo topes, but Sin Cara totally missed when Xavier Woods moved Kofi Kingston out of the way. Big E. gave Kalisto a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Big E. pinned Sin Cara after the Midnight Hour.
Steve Austin was revealed as the man on the cover for WWE2K16. Cole made it clear he's back in the WWE solely as a character for the video game.
As Cena came out, they showed highlights of Finn Balor beating Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship from Saturday's show in Japan.
Cena called out his challenger, but Owens came out and said every week the worst part of Raw is Cena spewing out the same garbage over and over. Owens got a lot of cheers. He said now that he's lost the NXT Championship, he'll face Cena tonight. Cesaro came out and said he wanted to face Cena since Owens cost him the title last week. Cesaro ordered Owens to get out of the ring. Owens left and went down the aisle, looking back like he was picking his spots.
John Cena (C) defeated Cesaro to retain the U.S. Championship (30:01)
A tremendous match, though perhaps ten minutes longer than it should have been. Both men kicked out of each other's finisher. Cesaro had several attempts at a crossface trying to get a submission, but Cena got to the ropes each time. Finish came when both men were battling on the top rope. Cesaro teased a netualizer off the second rope, but Cena escaped and hit the AA off the second rope for the pin. Cesaro didn't get a nod from Cena or any type of raise of the arm for his performance. Instead, Owens ran in, took an AA and left. It was like Cesaro was in another great match, but they wanted you to forget it as soon as it was over.
SUMMARY: The main event finish left me torn. Cena deserves a lot of credit for having great matches week after week. But the elephant in the room says it is time for some major changes and to start taking chances on talent. Cesaro is lacking on the mic. But they could have made him a star tonight with a win, then have him face Owens at Battleground. Then the rubber match between Cena and Owens can wait for SummerSlam at the earliest. Instead, it seems Vince McMahon thinks the answer to declining ratings is to have Cena go over, like that's any different from everything we've seen for the past 11 years. The biggest question is where does Cesaro go from here? If it's the same place as where Ryback, Wyatt, R-Truth and many others have gone after a Cena program, then what does he gain from the past two weeks?