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Inside The Squared Circle - WWE Raw in Memphis Review
by Greg Ratliff,posted Sep 15 2015 2:49AM
On top of getting to do the 1st episode of the Inside the Squared Circle podcast Monday, I also got the chance to take in Raw LIVE from the FedExForum, Monday night. With Night of Champions coming up this Sunday, AND it being the “Season Premiere” of WWE Raw, a big show was in store for all those in attendance. Would we get to see Sting? Would Charlotte end Nikki Bella’s chance at becoming the longest reigning WWE Divas champion ever? Who will face the Dudley Boyz for the WWE Tag Team Championship on Sunday? All this and more would be settled over the next three hours.
The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) are out to start the show and are making sure to let everyone know what a big show we have coming up tonight and some talk of the future, but then they dropped the bombshell that the icon, the franchise, whatever else you may call him…STING would be in action against The Big Show later in the show! The crowd went crazy over that news. Before The Authority exited, WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day made their way to the ring to a very raucous response from the crowd.
Stephanie McMahon decided to take this opportunity to dance with New Day. Then Triple H danced with them. Seriously. It was awesome and terrifying all at once. But there was serious business at hand. Tag Team title match with New Day defending their titles against the Prime Time Players. The crowd was split on New Day. Xavier Woods parades around the ringside area like a cheerleader of sorts. Part-manager and part-whatever-you-would-call-it, he took advantage of the trombone he brings to the ring with him. At points throughout the match he played a number of different things, all of which served to distract the Prime Time Players. I heard the Pink Panther theme, Taps and even more. Brilliantly done as well. In the end, New Day ended up getting the victory to retain their titles in advance of Night of Champions. Their challengers Sunday, the Dudley Boyz made an appearance at the top of the ramp to let New Day know what was in store this weekend.
Next we went backstage to Charlotte who was getting ready for her match by giving an interview when she’s joined by the one and only “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who is Charlotte’s dad by the way. Charlotte’s stable mates, Becky Lynch and Paige would then head on out to the ring as Paige was set to take on Sasha Banks after the commercial break.
Paige had Becky Lynch at ringside with her but Sasha had her Team B.A.D. friends Tamina and Naomi which put the two members of PCB Paige, Charlotte, Becky) at a disadvantage. After a few minutes of working on Paige (and a big miss on a dive to the outside), Sasha got her locked in the Banks Statement finisher and that was all she wrote. But the victory wasn’t enough for Team B.A.D as they attacked both Paige and Becky Lynch after the match. From here it was off to a commercial break. Miz TV coming up after the break.
Joining Miz tonight on Raw is the Wyatt family, now consisting of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman. The group tried to intimidate Miz but before they could…..through the crowd, its Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. They run off the Wyatts (with only their words) but in the middle of that, Roman does tell us they’ve found a third man…….but won’t say who until Sunday. With all of the big, strong, angry men in the ring, Miz ended up being the only person getting involved by getting a boot to the stomach from Ambrose.
Now was the moment in the show where the crowd really started to turn it up a notch. Chants both supporting Cena and Sheamus, and people really voicing their displeasure with both guys. People REALLY did not seem to be big fans of Sheamus’ hair and facial hair decisions. Sheamus really dominated a good portion of this match, but Cena is Cena. In the end, Sheamus hit his rolling senton that didn’t do much of anything to Cena and John hit Sheamus with an AA to pick up the victory.
We then were visited by Intercontinental Champion Ryback, who was rocking the wonderfully tacky championship-over-untucked-tee look. Ryback started talking about Elvis, and started dancing. For real. It was a little strange. Thankfully, Kevin Owens saved us from more Ryback dancing by coming out to talk to the Big Guy about The Secret. Yes, the best-selling book, The Secret. Ryback has said that the book was very important to him in the past and Owens felt that was a great way to attack Ryback emotionally, as well as attacking the book. HOW DARE YOU ATTACK LITERATURE KEVIN?? But I digress. In the end, we find out that this Sunday Owens will take on Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship at Night of Champions.
After a break, Stardust and The Ascension were making their way out to the ring when redemption-seeking Neville, along with his backup of The Lucha Dragons came out to attack Stardust and The Ascension. This segment didn’t have much to it because that first sentence is all that happened. Short segment.
Next up was what I like to call the co-main event of the night. Much was made of the fact that if Nikki Bella successfully left FedExForum as Divas Champion she would become the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. But Charlotte was standing in her way. And after making Nikki tap out to the Figure 8 last week, Charlotte was a serious threat to end Nikki’s quest for the record. This was a fantastic match that unfortunately was ruined by the ending. Chaos ensued and Nikki ended up getting pinned by Charlotte. Except it wasn’t Nikki. Lost in all the confusion, Brie ended up in the ring and taking the pinfall. But the celebration had begun. Paige and Becky Lynch are in the ring, and down comes the beaming father to celebrate with his daughter…..until Stephanie McMahon comes out. Stephanie changes the original decision to a disqualification so Charlotte wins, but doesn’t win the title. Memphis was not happy with this decision. Stephanie did however make a rematch for Sunday at Night of Champions where if Nikki loses in any way (DQ, countout, however), Charlotte gets the title. So your new longest-reigning-Divas-Champion-of-all-time is Nikki Bella.
The Cesaro Section got a nice treat, getting to watch the “Swiss Superman” Cesaro take on Rusev with Summer Rae at ringside. Halfway through this hard-fought match, recent Rusev adversary Dolph Ziggler made his way out to ringside where he tried to present Summer Rae with a present of some kind. Of course this distracted Rusev enough for Cesaro to score the quick victory with a roll up that you need to go on YouTube or WWE Network or wherever and see for yourself. It was awesome. But Ziggler wasn’t quite done with Rusev. Before the Bulgarian could even blink, Ziggler jumped in the ring and nailed Rusev with a massive superkick to the jaw. After the ensuing commercial we learned that there was jewelry in the box Dolph gave Summer Rae. Hmmm.
We’ve finally gotten to the main event of the evening. The Franchise. The Icon. Sting. Sting made his way out to a thunderous ovation from the Memphis crowd. I tweeted out during the show that unless he appeared here for TNA Wrestling, Sting hadn’t appeared at a wrestling event in Memphis since July 26th, 1999. So obviously the crowd was pretty amped for this. Unfortunately the match didn’t last long because United States and World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins is out to deliver a cowardly beatdown to the Icon. Who can help Sting?? How about the man who’s squaring off with Rollins for his United States title Sunday, John Cena. Soon Triple H makes his way out and in the vein of the great Teddy Long, who would have said, “Hold on a minute, playa,” restarts the match as a tag team contest with Cena/Sting vs. Show/Rollins. The bad guys isolate Cena but eventually Cena gets Sting into the ring and after Cena delivered a MASSIVE Attitude Adjustment to Big Show, Sting picked up the win for his team by making Rollins tap to the Scorpion Death Lock. Cena and Sting celebrate and we’re outta here!!!!
Except after the cameras went off the air, a very touching moment happened. John Cena and Sting were still out in the ring when Cena brought everyone’s attention to a young fan in the audience who recently beat cancer. Cena and Sting went out into the crowd and gave pieces of the gear they were wearing to the girl and her family. It proved once again the power of WWE and what they can do for so many people. A great way to end a very fun night at FedExForum.
This was the last show of 2015 for WWE in Memphis, but they’ll be back in FEBRUARY for SmackDown on February 2nd!!!!
Thanks to everybody for taking the time to listen to the podcast version of this blog and thanks for following along with me as I tweeted live from FedExForum.