Roanoke Civic Center
We begin with John Cena and Ryback in the ring with Vickie. Ryback gets to choose the stipulation, even if he didn’t show to the main event last week. Ryback is better in pre-prepared promos, of course. Everyone is trying to get “Ryback Rules” over as a catchphrase. Ryback winds up choosing a Last Man Standing match.
Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow
Damien has a microphone and pokes fun at Orton’s appearance and personality through song. Sandow, of course, takes punishment to start. Sandow begs off. After Damien reverses a ddt off of the apron, they enter the ring, where Orton continues to control. We hit the break after Orton stomps on the preferred limbs of Sandow. We come back with Sandow in control with a chinlock. Elbow of Distain gets good heel heat for two. Orton comes back with the usual clotheslines and powerslam. Rope hang DDT sets up the RKO…… Orton stalled so much in getting the crowd to care about him that Sandow had to bounce off of the ropes once more to walk into the RKO correctly. This match ends kind of abruptly and after a camera mishap, Show knocks out Orton on the ramp. The replay shows that Big Show kind of just slid to the side and punched Orton.
Final Thoughts: It was standard fare and the ending was never really in doubt. On the bright side, Sandow didn’t have his finisher no sold again and it seems that Orton is moving in a gradual direction with Big Show.
-Summer Rae is no longer Fandango’s dance partner, and this is a bad thing.
-Chris Jericho continues his “rivalry” with Fandango by setting up a fake judges table to critique his foe. Among the panel are Tons of Funk. To be fair, that’s a decent tag team name.
Fandango vs. R Truth
They’re really going with Fandango feuding with Jercho over DWTS. It was just fine before that. ‘Go dances around while controlling the early going. Truth takes control and hits the Falcon Arrow before Fandango bails. Brodus gave a move from Truth a 42. And Fandango walks off as we’ve found out WWE doesn’t think it’s believable for him to defeat Truth
Final Thoughts: This was a waste of time. They spent all of that time to prepare the judge’s table and then they don’t even have a match long enough to get the angle over.
-We find out a little more about Lesnar and Heyman’s day at WWE HQ. Twitter is heavily used, of course. WWE no longer has people covering their own company full-time. This is a fantastic Jimmy Johns commercial, in hindsight.
-Daniel Bryan shows his bravery and challenges Ryback to another match. But Ryback says that he’s more of a man than Bryan and winds up being challenged by Kane. I would have liked the good return match, and the writers not saying that Bryan was below Ryback even though he’s the number one face in the damned roster, but what can you do?
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler gets a chant or two in his favor to start. Del Rio slowly works the arm as Dolph works to stay in control. And, Swagger’s music hits and he walks out to make this storyline all that more easy to edit for the video packages. Zeb gets on a headset and we hit a break. We return and Dolph is in control. Ziggler hits the series of elbow drops to a favorable crowd before grounding ADR with a hold. Dolph dodges Del Rio’s corner kick but seems to have been hit, regardless. Ziggler reverses a cross armbreaker attempt into a swinging neckbreaker. Del Rio hits a reverse suplex from the top rope, and it looks nasty and good. Dolph hits another neckbreaker to regain control. ADR hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker and the SI kick for two. Dolph tries a neckbreaker one times too many and gets reversed into the armbreaker in a clever storytelling spot. Ziggler escapes and Del Rio is sent into Swagger and all hell breaks loose. Swagger enters with a ladder and beats down Ricardo and both challengers. Cole and Lawler do their damndest to explain how a ladder match works to those who have never seen one, or heard of one before. The ladder shots that Swagger used were quite violent and will do well to build to their match.
Final Thoughts: This was a good match and is far and away the best they have done to build to the three way Ladder Match at Extreme Rules. It’s obvious that this going to be the high water mark of the show. But, this definitely worth watching for all of the interactions between the parties involved and the in ring action is nothing to shrug about.
-Heyman and Lesnar invaded WWE HQ, have you heard?
-Kaitlyn looks really dumb, getting texts from her secret admirer now. That Simpsons reference was beaten over our heads. Khali is going to spy on the guys in the locker room to find out who is into Kaitlyn. This will end well.
The Shield vs. The Usos and Kofi Kingston
I remember a time where Shield matches were special. “Let’s go Shield” chants are heard at the start. Man, The Usos are like…a tag team. They’re good and it’s too bad that not many fans know of their existence. The Shield dominate after getting Jey into the corner, chaining dropkicks and cutting off the ring like the great team they are. Jey comes back after Seth gets too cocky and hits a…..Samoan Drop. Hot tag to Kofi and he’s a house of fire. He clears the ring and hits the Boom Drop. After the Usos are taken care of on the outside, a Rollins shove from top leads to the the headlock driver from Ambrose for the win, and it drives Kofi onto the top of his head.. After the win, The Shield take a long look at the U.S. title before it is handed back to the beaten Kingston.
Final Thoughts: This was decent, but if you’re going to have The Shield win a squash, it’s best to not involve Kofi Kingston and actually prevent the hot tag and not let the result be in doubt at any time. The match was fine for what it was, but WWE needs to be careful in not taking the luster away from The Shield.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder
Cesaro is now wearing a beret. Also, I have no idea who is going to win. We find out that Cesaro is still in the hunt for the U.S. title. Cesaro is in control from the start, and is no longer yodeling. Maybe he gave Vince a piggyback ride. After a short struggle not worth mentioning, the Neutralizer wins it for Cesaro. Cesaro cuts a serious promo with no pronounced accent about how Ryder is no match and neither is anyone else in the company. He puts either the world, or wrestling, in WWE.
Final Thoughts: Well, Cesaro’s losing streak is over and he seems to no longer be a joke. That’s a good thing. Next time, they shouldn’t kill the eight months of momentum that had already been built.
-Is it still called Titan Towers? Anyways, we get some footage from Heyman’s phone of him and Brock Lesnar at WWE HQ. Sheamus is mentioned….on a poster. They’d be screwed if this footage came from 2003 or so. Lesnar looks like he wants to assault a man in the elevator. That may or may not be Attitude Era Legend Pete Gas. Heyman is right in that HHH’s assistant is hotter than Steph. That can’t be HHH’s actual office; everyone knows that HHH has an office that shows his accomplishments in front of him. That’s a nice big gold belt that HHH possesses. Brock slowly tears apart a computer or two. A sledgehammer in an office is probably against the rules. No more big gold belt, as Brock takes a the hammer to it. A thrown television destroys the WWE logo on the wall. This is now World Entertainment. I think that Vince may go with this look. Heyman comes back to live TV and says that instead of begging Brock off, he will encourage him to ruin Helmsley
HHH comes out to the ring to interrupt Heyman. His leather jacket is rolled up over his elbows. Honestly, it’s a bit too casual for Brock destroying your belongings. HHH makes sure to say that he’s extreme and that he’s at Raw every Monday. That doesn’t look good when he’s not on TV for most of the year. It’s so sad when HHH hears one person chant his name and snaps his head over to them and pleads for a chant. He’s better than that. In the end, HHH just laughs off what Brock has done, even the threatening of what may have been an intern.
AJ & The Bella Twins vs. Kaitlyn & The Funkadactyls
Kaitlyn’s new music is still awful. AJ’s starts with a couple of neckbreaker, which is a nice continuation based upon Dolph’s match from earlier on. The crowd was so dead during one moment that you could hear the ring creaking as the Divas moved on the mat. Kaitlyn comes in and squashes AJ, ending whatever hope there was for an actual feud and a more prominent role for the Divas division.
Final Thoughts: This is entirely forgettable and this match could have been better used a backstage brawl. They’re going to have to build to something for their new E! show.
-Mark Henry comes out to be embarrassed by Sheamus, again. Henry gets the better of the crowd, calling them puppets for giving him the “what?” chant that just won’t die. They show us times where Henry beats up Sheamus, and it’s pretty well received by myself. Henry challenges Sheamus to a match at Extreme Rules and out comes Sheamus. No, Sheamus, don’t show everyone what you did. Sheamus rolls the footage anyway and gets somewhat jeered by the fans. The two are about to help both of their characters and just fight, but Wade Barrett comes out for his previously scheduled against Sheamus? My, that’s convenient.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
Sheamus is in control to start. Henry and JBL tell everyone else at the table to shut up. And Henry is teased by Sheamus again, where Sheamus threatens to throw Barrett into him but doesn’t. Sheamus makes him flinch and then gives him the Brogue Kick anyhow. What a standup guy. Sheamus is easily in control of this match. We see Henry down and being attended to by trainers. Barrett takes control with a couple of well-placed kicks. Sheamus hits White Noise after ducking the elbow and works the crowd as Barrett climbs to his feet. Wade, the Intercontinental Champion, is then easily beaten with the Brogue Kick. Mark comes back into the ring after the bell and whips Sheamus with a belt. Hopefully, this means we get a bull rope match. Henry’s trash talk is tremendous here as he pummels the hell out of his bully with belt and hits the WSM. “How funny was that?!” he asks the crowd.
Final Thoughts: Everything was just sad and irritating before Henry stole a belt from a medic and whooped Sheamus with it. The IC Champion was squashed in four minutes. They were better off just throwing a member of 3MB in there.
-A humorous segment shows a tale of the tape between Kane and Ryback. Kane eliminated the most guys in a single Royal Rumble. Ryback once lifted up Mark Henry.
Kane vs. Ryback
It’s a bad sign when Kane has to carry a match. He’s serviceable, of course. But, he’s way passed any point where he could carry someone like Ryback. Ryback is in control at the start of the match and runs Kane into the crowd barricade before the break. We return with Ryback in control. Ryback does his Thesz Press and loads up for the clothesline, but eats a big boot. Ryback fights out of the chokeslam but takes a running DDT for two. Kane hits a few clotheslines before getting a spinebuster from Ryback. Kane reverses out of Shell Shocked and head up top for the clothesline with Ryback breaks up. This match is bad…and terrible for the end of RAW. Ryback hits Shell Shocked and wins. That’s your RAW main event. Here comes The Shield. Ryback runs away and leaves Daniel Bryan and Kane to fend off The Shield. Cena runs down to help the tag champions and The Shield wind up retreating in response.
Final Thoughts: This is where you insert the IC Champion and have a decent tag team match before Ryback turns on his former Nexus boss and walks off to let him be beaten by Hell No. Instead, we got a pretty bad match. This is probably the worst RAW main event of the year and a terrible way to end a television show.
–Outside of the long, top of the hour match between Del Rio and Ziggler, this show was a chore to watch. Sure, there’s Henry lashing Sheamus was a belt, Brock Lesnar destroying things, and Dean Ambrose driving Kofi onto the top of his head. However, Sheamus was a terrible comedy babyface before he was whooped, desiring the punishment in the eyes of the viewers. HHH no sold his office being destroyed and his interns being sexually and physically harassed. And The Shield are slowly turning into just another few guys on the roster. Add in an atrocious main event matchup and you’re left with a three hour with a shade under an hour of entertainment.
Due to technical difficulties, I do not have DVR markers prepared for the show. Ziggler and Del Rio’s match should be at the top of the second hour, and that’s the only segment that I can highly recommend.
–image provided by wikimedia