WWE Monday Night Raw
Charleston, South Carolina
-Daniel Bryan comes out at the start of the show. Before his match with Orton, he takes the microphone. Bryan addresses some rumors, and says that he was not an extra in The Hobbit. Furthermore, he is out to prove himself, and cannot accept anything less than a pinfall or submission victory. Orton comes out, steals the microphone, and says that Bryan needs to shut up and fight. Bryan does just that.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
They brawl to start, and it spills out onto the floor. After a clothesline, Orton tosses Bryan over the announce table. Lil’ Naitch cannot keep control and the match is quickly called a double disqualification. The brawl continues before officials swarm the ring to separate the two.
-Backstage, Daniel Bryan runs into Vickie’s office, wanting a rematch with Orton tonight. Vickie gives it to him, after teasing offering up Brad Maddox, instead. After Bryan leaves the room, Mr. McMahon enters, and subtly puts down Bryan.
Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Sheamus and Christian
Cody and Christian start the match. Rhodes hits a shoulderblock and gloats. Christian answers with one of his own. Cody throws Christian into the corner, but Christian comes off of the second rope with a sunset flip for two. On the outside, a distraction from Damien lets Cody put Christian into the steel steps.
Back in, Cody stomps away and tags in Sandow. Damien works the shoulder and gets two. Sandow hits the Russian Leg Sweep and The Elbow of Disdain for two. Rhodes is back in and hits a short armed clothesline for two. Cody follows up with a stalling face-first suplex for two. Christian comes back with a quick roll-up and a double clothesline takes them both down.
Sheamus comes in off the hot tag and cleans house. He clubbers Sandow. Cody tags himself in but Sheamus uses the miscommunication between the best friends and hits the Brogue Kick for the win.
Final Thoughts: The crowd was digging this and had a good time. Hopefully, Sandow and Sheamus have a lot of time to beat the stuffing out of each other on Smackdown.
-Backstage, Punk is texting. Vickie interrupts him. He wants to know where Heyman and Lesnar are. Vickie puts him in a match for later on, but Punk is mad.
Kaitlyn vs. Aksana
Aksana stomps away in the corner and taunts Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn hits a shoulderblock off of a whip. AJ then comes out, dressed as Kaitlyn to mock her. It doesn’t work, as Kaitlyn still picks up the win. After the match, AJ gets on the microphone and implies that Kaitlyn is a transsexual after Big E reprises his role as the secret admirer.
Final Thoughts: Big E did a great job, but this kind of sucked as a segment. The right payoff would probably be Big E turning face after a while. Also, Layla is the one holding Kaitlyn back during all of this. If anyone does, Layla would now how to get even with AJ.
Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio
There’s a lockup to start, with Jericho going to the headscissors. Del Rio hits a shoulderblock but runs into a dropkick. Chops in the corners with spit on them for Jericho. Chris follows up with a suplex for just a one count. ADR answers back with an enzuigiri to the arm. Jericho gets the boot up on a corner charge and hits the dropkick from the second rope for a near fall.
Del Rio misses a charge and gets dumped outside. Jericho follows, but ADR reverses the momentum and puts Jericho into the barricade as we hit the break. We return as Jericho gets two on a small package. Chris follows with a knee to the gut and an enzuigiri for two. Jericho gets caught up top with an enzuigiri that spills him to the outside. Jericho is stomped once he rolls back in. Del Rio hits a snap suplex for two.
Del Rio puts on a chinlock. Jericho fights out with chops but misses a dropkick. ADR gets two off of a double stomp. ADR goes back to the chinlock. I just wanted to mention that Charles Robinson is a good referee. It’s still real to him, dammit! Del Rio sends Jericho into the corner with a rough whip, and brutalizes him in the corner.
They go up, where Del Rio is knocked back into the ring. Jericho gets the crossbody for two. Jericho hits the forearm off the whip and gets two after a Northern Lights Suplex. Good stuff. Del Rio misses a corner charge and Jericho looks for the Codebreaker. Del Rio blocks, but Jericho rolls through and goes for the Walls of Jericho. Del Rio gets out and hits the Si Kick for two.
Jericho hits the bulldog after getting out of the cross armbreaker. ADR gets the knees up on the Lionsault and locks in the cross-armbreaker. Jericho kicks off of the bottom ropes to reverse into the Walls. Ricardo interferes, hitting Jericho with the bucket. Ziggler hits the ring and goes after ADR, hitting the Zig-Zag while Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Ricardo. Dolph, still pissed at Jericho from last week, hits the Zig-Zag on Jericho to end the segment.
Final Thoughts: ADR has been on a roll since turning with real style. With his expanded moveset, he’s been awfully impressive. Dolph acting as a tweener is going very well, and, luckily for him, he looks pretty badass with stubble. Good times.
-Backstage, Vickie and Brad are planning the big reveal for WWE2K14. HHH walks in and vouches for Bryan, standing opposite of Vince. Yeah, HHH is latching onto the big new star in the company. Oh, and he makes sure to make fun of Brad’s lean physique on the way out. Everything seems to be in order, here.
-In the ring, Brad and Vickie reveal their preferred cover-art for the flipside of the packaging. Vickie sucks up to the people above her, and Brad wants to be buddies with Cena. Jerry Lawler stumbles over his words quite a bit here. Either he’s out of touch, or drunk. Anyhow, The Rock is revealed as the cover athlete. I would rather they just get back to featuring three or four people on the cover. Commercials and gameplay sell the game, not the cover.
Ryback vs. The Great Khali
I miss the ambulance entrance. Khali actually takes it to Ryback to begin, hitting the hard chops. Ryback answers back with some shoulderthrusts in the corner but walks into a boot. Ryback goes to the body, but gets nailed with a clothesline. Khali goes for the chokebomb, but Ryback gets him up for Shell Shocked and walks him around the ring for a while for good measure.
Final Thoughts: This was quick and inoffensive, and Ryback looked good, taking two laps around the ring.
-John Cena comes out to address the fans. He’s preaching tonight. I find that he does this in feuds where he knows that petty insults won’t work. Henry has been through so much that there’s nothing new to make fun of him with. Cena mentions that he’s part of an elite group of men. He kind of buries Rey’s short reign that he ended two years ago. Cena ties it together, talking about how low men will stoop to chase the title. Cena is mad that Henry made a mockery of retirement speeches from former champions. Cena says that Henry was earned the right to fight for the belt, and get his teeth knocked out.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match – Tons of Funk vs. The Usos vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal
This is for the privilege to fight The Shield for the Tag Team Titles. The Usos hit some tag moves on Jinder to start. Sweet T gets tagged in and hits a shouderblock and a slam for two before a save. Quickly, the ring is emptied, with Brodus jumping to the outside. Sweet T hits the senton splash for two. The Usos pick up the win after a Samoan Drop and a Superfly Splash from the top. The Shield stand in the crowd, holding their belts high in response after the match.
Final Thoughts: This was a bit too short to go anywhere, but it’s nice that The Usos are getting a chance.
-Paul Heyman heads out to talk with us and, much more importantly, CM Punk. He has ignored Punk’s attempts to contact him in order the answer to him in public. Punk comes out and demands the truth from his best friend, telling the fans of just how important Paul Heyman was to his WWE career, going as far to say that Vince wanted him cut loose from OVW, and they Heyman defied Vince. So, he implores Paul (quite strongly) to tell him the truth about his connection to Brock Lesnar. Paul clearly lies to Punk during a long, magnificent monologue, sucking up to him as well as putting over Lesnar and deflecting the situation towards the old tension between the two that never let Lesnar and Punk become a team. In fact, Paul only says that he didn’t know that Brock was going to show up last week. So technically, he might be telling the truth. It’s Paul’s dream to walk Punk down the aisle at the main event of WrestleMania, as he LOVES Punk. He puts the pressure on Punk, telling him that now the tables have turned and Punk has to show mercy on him. After deliberation, Punk gives Heyman a hug, tricked by Heyman like everyone else. Interestingly enough, Punk’s hugs remind me of Austin’s constant hugs with Vince in 2001.
Darren Young vs. CM Punk
Punk takes Young down to start and puts on a chinlock. Young hits some knees in the corner, but Punk fights back and hits a snap suplex for a near fall. Punk works on the knee, Young quickly hobbled. Darren comes back with a hard whip into the corner and some stomps. Darren hits a clothesline and gets another near fall. Punk fights back from a headlock but gets caught with a belly to belly suplex for two.
Punk misses a corner charge. Young taunts Punk and hits a few more grounding strikes. CM Punk comes back with a belly to back suplex and hits the high knee in the corner. He gets two from a short-armed clothesline. Punk goes to the top but gets caught and dropped over the top rope. Punk comes back with the springboard clothesline for two.
Young fights out of the GTS and hits the gutbuster for a near, near fall. Punk returns fire with a roundhouse kick and puts on the Anaconda Vice for the submission victory. Titus hits the ring and the two gang up on Punk. Curtis Axel runs out and makes the save. Punk is unhappy, but Paul tries to smooth things over while complimenting Axel for helping out Punk.
Final Thoughts: The crowd was terrible for this very solid match where the story was obviously that Punk was distracted and emotionally drained. Also, Axel heading out was a nice surprise, and shows solidarity between Heyman guys. Punk looked to tweak his knee, but here’s hoping that it was a work and he won’t come out with a bulky wrap around his knee.
-Backstage, Steph comes into Vickie’s office and upstages her, by walking out and introducing the MITB participants.
-Steph introduces the guys in the match. Punk, Bryan, Sheamus, Orton, Christian, Kane, and Rob Van Dam are announced. Steph points to herself upon announce RVD’s name, making him 30% less cool and killing interest.
-Backstage, Brickie argue, but are interrupted by Ryback, who comes in, flexes, and talks about how cool he looked against Khali. He demands a new title match. Y2J comes in and is upset about not being in the MITB match. Ryback claims that he will eat Jericho alive. Jericho asks if he’s a cannibal, now. Vickie sets up the WrestleMania match that never was. With an improved Ryback, the match could prove to be pretty cool.
-In the lockeroom, Punk is upset about getting help from Axel. Heyman says that he did what he could to protect his best friend. Punk is also unhappy that Paul set up a tag team match for next week. Punk says that he’ll take care of the Prime Time Players himself. Axel might as well turn into a whiny Goth kid with how much disrespect he gets.
-Mark Henry heads out now. Eventually, the crowd is going to get tired from all of this talking. Jerry calls Mark, Paul. Maybe HHH is on the headsets now. Henry comes out to gloat to all of his little puppets out there. Henry alerts the crowd of the attention he’s starting to get from Hollywood. Tyler Perry is a director I’d never want the attention of, however. Henry doesn’t want to be in movies, and after using friends, family, and coworkers, he wants to define himself and not let others define what he is. He declares that the lowest Mark Henry they’ve ever seen will show up to MITB and take the belt home.
Street Fight – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
They quickly begin slugging it out. Orton tosses Bryan outside. Bryan ducks a clothesline and kick away at Orton before being slammed into the steel steps. Orton tosses Bryan back in but gets kicked to the outside. Bryan goes for the dive…but gets slammed in the head with a steel chair! You never see that these days. We hit the commercial break. Orton is control as we return. Randy slides a table into the ring.
They slug it out before Orton drops Bryan abdomen first on the top rope. The table is set up in the corner. Bryan flips out of the corner and hits the clothesline. Bryan toughens up and hits a dropkick to the corner and follows with kicks.
Orton breaks up a charge by throwing a chair into Bryan’s face for two. Orton chokes Bryan in the ropes and then tries to suplex him outside and through a table. Bryan fights back with a couple of dropkicks. Bryan slides outside and suplexes Orton from the apron and through the waiting table. Cool.
Bryan rolls Orton back into the ring and gets two. Bryan heads out and grabs a kendo stick. He alternates kicks and lashes with the stick because he’s awesome. Orton reverses the end of the flourish with an Exploder through the wedged table. Actually, Orton put him through the edge and nearly killed him. That gets two. The two fight from their knees. They both rise and slug it out. Orton breaks it up with a dropkick.
They go to the top. Bryan fights out and sends Orton to the mat. He comes off the top, but Orton counters with a powerbomb for two. Orton slugs away, but Bryan counters and locks in the No Lock. Orton reaches and grabs the kendo stick and fights out with it, and follows with a few shots that put Bryan on the apron. Orton hits the hanging DDT.
Bryan counters the RKO with a backslide for two. After pummeling him with the stick, Bryan puts the No Lock back on. Orton gets to the stick again, but Bryan grabs it and uses it to apply The No Lock. Orton taps out. Bryan nearly cries in joy after the victory. Orton teases the heel turn, but instead shakes Bryan’s hand.
Final Thoughts: This was a nicely laid out and paced brawl. It was excellent, really. I would part it on par with Jericho and Punk from Extreme Rules in 2012. It’s been a lot of fun to see Orton picking up his game and showing off the main event skills that are never showcased due to his position within the company. However, he should probably drop The Exploder from his moveset.
–This was a great show that lost the crowd. To be fair, these aren’t usually the best crowds. But, going forward, things are looking great. Del Rio’s feud with Ziggler is interesting and is sure to provide some quality entertainment. Punk’s ongoing struggle with Heyman should deliver well at SummerSlam, and we also had two great, long matches tonight. Chris Jericho, for the miles on his body, performs so well. He’s been wrestling for over twenty years, but still is in such great condition and can still be the best in-ring performer on any given show. That’s special, if you stop to think about it. He’s the last of the Attitude, no matter what WWE would lead you to believe.
There aren’t going to be DVR Markers this week, as I’ve been forced to catch the show online and without reference points. Also, I apologize to those that enjoy reading these. I guess you could say that I had a Stanley Cup hangover that pushed this back way so far. Still, I’m looking forward to Smackdown, and getting back to my regular posting habits.