On a night when we saw a six-man tag match involving John Cena, Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho be the main event, all the buzz came from the announcement that the WWE is inviting Michael Sam to Raw in Baltimore next week.
Midway through this Monday's Raw , the WWE ran a graphic (complete with Monday Night Football graphic and music) officially announcing that they were inviting the recently released Sam to Raw.
JBL commented that he couldn't believe Sam wasn't signed to a team, and how unfair that was. Cole said that if Sam does accept, he'd be granted ringtime and an open mic to say whatever he wanted. The they ran the graphic twice more during the night, including after the main event ended, essentially closing the show with the announcement.
Now, let's put it out there for what this almost certainly is. It's a publicity stunt by the WWE, plain and simple. The odds of Michael Sam showing up to RAW is exceptionally low. Even if he did want an interview somewhere, there are far bigger outlets that he would be able to instantly get one with, whether it's ESPN, SI, Fox, or even Oprah.
So unless Sam has wrestling aspirations that we never knew about, there's almost no reason for him to show up to the Raw taping. But playing the graphic three times certainly has had the reaction that the WWE wants, as mainstream outlets have started to pick up on the story. And with Monday Night Football starting up again next week, the WWE can use all the buzz they can get.
This isn't the first time, nor will it probably be the last, that the WWE does random publicity stunts to try to get someone on the show, and to get buzz. In the past, they have invited athletes, politicians and celebrities on the show when they knew there was no chance the invite would be accepted. And of course, they even do that with wrestling. Most wrestling fans of a certain age (and even younger now that they highlighted it on the Monday Night War show on the WWE Network) remember when the WWE hyped up the return of Razor Ramon and Diesel to try to get viewers, only to send out two wrestlers who weren't Scott Hall and Kevin Nash with those gimmicks. So this is a tried and true method to get buzz, and maybe ratings.
So what will happen at Monday's Raw at Baltimore Arena? Most likely nothing.
Though, would it completely shock anyone if “Michael Samdow” came walking down the ramp? While that would likely be horribly tasteless, it's not out of the realm of possibility. And even if they do nothing, by playing three quick graphics, they added some buzz to an otherwise overshadowed Raw, so they're getting what they want out of it.
The Rest of Raw:
** The show opened with Jericho's Highlight Reel, which was supposed to feature Randy Orton. While Orton did come out, he was joined by Triple H, Kane and Seth Rollins. Triple H talked about how he wasn't sure if it was “best for business” to have the John Cena have his rematch. The other four men in the ring stated their cases for a match with Brock Lesnar, which brought out Cena. He said that he had his contractually guaranteed rematch, and would sue if he was denied his match. Roman Reigns also came out to join the others, which prompted Triple H to make a 6-man tag match, with Cena, Jericho and Reigns facing Orton, Kane and Rollins and said that they all had to prove themselves for a shot at Lesnar. They had the match as the main event, with the faces winning. Cena hit Kane with the AA, but instead of pinning him, he smirked at Triple H, tagged in Reigns, and let Reigns hit a spear and get the pin.
** The saga of the Bellas continued Monday night. Throughout the night, Nikki Bella was featured in videos where she told stories about how terrible Brie was when they were younger. Later, Stephanie McMahon came out, and talked about how bad she felt for Nikki. She brought her out, and announced that she'd give her a shot at the Divas title. This brought out Brie, who asked why Brie was doing all this, and if it was just for a title shot. AJ then came down to the ring, and asked about her rematch for the divas title. Before Stephanie could respond, Paige came down to the ring. Nikki, ignoring the other two, said that things could be better between her and Brie if Brie did one thing for her, quit, like she did for Daniel Bryan. Brie shoved Nikki into Paige, and both went down as Brie left the ring. They both sold the shove like a chair shot, and stayed down, while AJ grabbed the title and skipped around the ring. She ended up running into Stephanie, who demanded that she give the title back. While this segment was a trainwreck overall, the ending, with AJ and Stephanie having a staredown, could lead to something interesting in the future.
** The Miz and Cesaro beat Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler in a tag match featuring likely opponents at Night of Champions. Miz came out with his “stunt double” Damien Sandow and his makeup artist, who helped him get touched up during breaks. Miz's new gimmick is getting over with the fans, and he may be the most interesting he's been since his WWE title run in 2011.
** Jack Swagger beat Curtis Axel, as Zeb Colter also made his return to ringside. During the match, Bo Dallas came out on the ramp, and invited some fans up to the ramp with him. He revealed they were people whose lives were ruined by Swagger's loss to Rusev. He said that even though their lives were ruined, all they, and Swagger, needed to do was Bolieve.
** Goldust beat Jimmy Uso in a match that furthered the feud between the two teams. After the match, Goldust attacked Jey, who was selling his knee injury from last week. He wrapped Jey's leg around the post, and Stardust hit it with a chair.
** Big Show and Mark Henry beat Luke Harper and Erick Rowan by DQ. The match featured some impressive work by both teams, including a sunset flip at one point by Big Show. The match ended with Rusev interfering and attacking Henry.
** Adam Rose beat Titus O'Neal. After the match, Rose and the bunny attacked Heath Slater at ringside. Rose is starting to grow a beard, typically the sign of a heel turn, so that may be something to watch.
** Cameron, Eva Marie and Rosa faced Layla, Naomi and Summer Rae in a match. The match ended in 30 seconds when all the divas started to brawl. This just was used to highlight the new season of Total Divas.
** In addition to the Michael Sam announcement, the WWE announced that in Baltimore next week, Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho would face off in a cage match.
Thoughts? Questions? Leave them below or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster