WWE Monday Night Raw
-The show begins with Stephanie McMahon coming out to the ring. Yeah, this show is still about HHH and his injury. Stephanie isn’t allowing her husband to compete against Axel because she still cares about him, dammit. Steph says that Axel is beneath HHH, anyhow. Vince is here to back up Stephanie. The crowd is hot for HHH right now. I guess they were promised free tacos. “Do you want his spleen?” Vince asks the crowd. Vince is talking about forcing HHH to retire. The Shield’s music hits to a big pop. We go to break…what the hell? The Shield is just going to take a lap during this commercial. We come back, and the McMahon’s left during the break, without incident. That makes The Shield look just great.
Randy Orton & Team Hell No vs. The Shield
Bryan and Ambrose start. Bryan kicks Dean in the corner and hits a knee. Kane enters and hits the running dropkick with help from Bryan. Kane hits a slam and gets only one. Kane eats an elbow on the charge, and Rollins is in. Kane brings Bryan back in and they hit a double team before Kane reenters. Kane hits the corner clotheslines and follows with the sideslam for a two count. Kane goes to the top but is distracted and Rollins gets a dropkick for two. We hit another commercial break.
We come back with Rollins in control of Kane. Kane gets dropkicked into The Shield’s corner and Ambrose enters. The two trade blows, before Reigns reenters. Kane hits the double suplex on Rollins and Ambrose and tags in Orton. Clotheslines and powerslam for Rollins. A powerslam for Ambrose. The Shield look like jobbers as Ambrose and Rollins both get hung up for the DDT. Reigns gets caught, but Rollins hits an enzuigiri to the back of Orton’s head for two.
Ambrose returns and stomps down at Orton with a good deal of trash talk. Ambrose gets two. Orton fights back, but gets hit with a knee to the gut. Rollins is back in and stomps away to get two. Reigns comes in, and keeps the pressure on. Reigns locks in a full nelson and wears down Orton further, throwing in some knee strikes for good measure. Off of a whip, Reigns hits the thrust to the stomach and Dean reenters.
He continues to work the midsection with a hard whip into the corner. Reigns is back and puts on the chinlock to our face in peril. Randy hits the belly to back suplex. Rollins is back and comes off of the top, but gets hit with a dropkick.
Hot tag Bryan and takes Ambrose’s head off with a clothesline and kicks him right in the head. Cool spot as Bryan hits the hurricanrana from the top on Rollins onto Ambrose and dives onto Reigns. No Lock on Ambrose following the front dropkick. The Shield interrupts. Kane comes in and gets speared. RKO to Rollins, and Orton collides with Bryan, leading to the Headlock Driver from Ambrose for the win.
Final Thoughts: It was a terrific match, with a hot crowd that loved all of the faces. The commentary team made sure to put over Bryan on the finish, saying that it he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
-Team Hell No and Orton argue in the back. Bryan is just caught up in being the weak link and is now looking for respect. He wants another match tonight to prove himself worthy of respect.
-HHH isn’t happy as he enters Vince and Steph’s room. Axel is not worth HHH’s time, is what we continue to hear. Wait, now Vince is putting over Axel as being good. Make up your minds. HHH is adamant about wrestling, but Vince hands him some papers and walks out.
The Usos vs. Prime Time Players
We join in progress, and this is a match to decide new challengers for The Shield. Titus hits the big boot and hits the backbreaker toss and brings Young back in. Young outs on the chinlock and brings Titus back in after a false hot tag. After a slam, Titus puts the chinlock back on. Titus gets two on a clothesline on Jay that opens his lip. Titus misses a charge and in comes Jimmy with the hot tag. Samoan drop and Jimmy charges the corner and hits the butt smash. Titus breaks it up but eats a kick. Jey tags in and hits the Superfly Splash for the win.
Final Thoughts: It was good to see The Usos in there and picking up a win while popping the crowd. Their new look includes a bit of face paint that matches their wrestling attire. Facepaint must equal a push in this case. It’s about time they get a chance.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Big E Langston (w/AJ Lee)
At least they’re calling this a rubber match in their series, as it is tied 2-2. Langston rushes Del Rio to start but Del Rio fights back with and clotheslines Big E out of the ring. Langston hits a shoulderblock on the outside and throws Alberto into the barricade. Langston tosses him back in and runs through him for just one.
Langston wears him down but Del Rio fights back. Del Rio comes off of the top, but gets caught and hit with Big E’s backbreakers for two. The crowd chants for Ziggler as Big E hits the shoulder thrusts in the corner. Langston misses the charge and gets grazed with an enzuigiri.
Big E reverses the cross armbreaker but eats the Si Kick for two. Del Rio gets the cross armbreaker. Langston rolls through and picks up Del Rio and puts him into the ropes. German suplex from Del Rio and he locks in the cross armbreaker again. This time, Langston gets caught while trying to roll through and Del Rio gets the win after hooking him for the pin.
Final Thoughts: This was a pretty good little match, with Langston and Del Rio adding layers every time out. Del Rio forces Langston to roll through to reverse the hold, and on the second attempt, catches him with his shoulders on the mat. It’s a clever finish, and now WWE knows that after five matches in two weeks, they’ll have a decent match to run months from now. They’ll probably go best of seven, however.
Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes (w/ Damien Sandow)
Sheamus and Cody circle before they lock up and Sheamus hits a short-armed clothesline. Sheamus hits another and drops a knee. They trade punches and boots and fight on the apron. Cody hits a kick to the head while out there and baseball slides him out of the ring. Rhodes hits a knee into the apron and tosses Sheamus inside for two.
Rhodes stomps at Sheamus before hitting a boot and getting a short pinfall attempt. Sandow is on commentary and promises an intellectual feat on Smackdown later in the week. Sheamus hits a few more clotheslines and the rolling Samoan drop. Sheamus hits The Battering Ram. Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick, getting caught in the ropes.
Cody hits the neckbreaker from the ropes for two. Sheamus reverses Cross Rhodes. Cody misses the moonsault and Sheamus hits White Noise. Sheamus hits The Brogue Kick for the win. Sheamus approaches Sandow on commentary. Sandow refuses a handshake, so Sheamus blasts him in the face with his open palm.
Final Thoughts: This match was just fine and inoffensive. I would have rather Cody pick up a cheap win with help from Sandow. After the match, Sheamus just looked like a jerk, once more.
-HHH is leaving. He’s mad at Vince. Steph calls him Paul. Ooh, this is serious, now.
-Meanwhile, Bryan is mad and looking for an opponent. Ryback shows up, and thinks he is better because he is bigger and stronger. Bryan doesn’t back down, and they have a match later on.
-Also, Vince makes Curtis Axel and John Cena have a rematch this week. This time, it’s no DQ. Vince gets anti-Semitic and asks if Paul wants him to say it in Yiddish.
Fandango vs. The Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle and Natalya)
Khali hits a couple of chops before Fandango fights back. Fandango runs into an elbow and big boot. Fandango keeps running into clotheslines and Fandango bails. Miz stops Fandango from leaving, but eats a Bull Hammer elbow from behind. Wade shows off his belt as Fandango is counted out. It is not mentioned that Khali has won. Still, we have another match.
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz
The Miz hits a flurry but walks into a big boot. Barrett places Miz on the top ropes and hits a knee. Miz fights out of the ropes and dodges a charge that sends Barrett outside. Miz runs Barrett into the barricade and tosses him in. Barrett catches Miz on top, but Miz fights back with dropkick to the knee. Barrett fights out of the figure four and hits Winds of Change for two. Fandango’s music hits and he and Summer dance atop the stage. Barrett is distracted. Miz locks in the figure four in a long, drawn out way and he wins. I’m not sure why Fandango helped The Miz.
Final Thoughts: This was a waste of time that just brings the IC Title one step closer to being found in a trashcan.
-Jerry Lawler is officiating this Punk/Jericho contract signing. Wow, that legitimizes this. Heyman rushes out to the ring to meet Jericho. Jericho interrupts Paul and tries to cut through the tape and get the contract signed. Heyman warns Jericho of the partisan crowd in Chicago. Jericho signs, anyway. Jericho stuffs the contract in Heyman’s waistband and leaves. That was a pretty unnecessary segment.
The Bella Twins and AJ Lee vs. The Funkadactyls and Kaitlyn
AJ and Kaitlyn start. AJ runs off and tags in Nikki. Cameron hits an arm drag and brings in Naomi. Naomi uses her butt and gets two. She misses a crossbody and Nikki rams her faces into the mat. Brie enters and delivers a stomp from the second rope. She works the arm and puts on an armbar. The crowd is trying to muster some energy for the hot tag and Naomi hits an enzuigiri to free herself up to tag Kaitlyn. She hits the shoulderblock and a reverse DDT for two. She tosses Brie into Nikki and AJ bails. Kaitlyn hits the spear for the win.
Final Thoughts: There was a nice callback where AJ left the Bella Twins and walked out of the match, and this was mostly just an inoffensive match that would have broken down had it not been for The Bella Twins.
-Team Hell No seems to be breaking up after Kane tries to talk Bryan out of his match with Ryback.
-We have another Wyatt Family vignette to enjoy.
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
Bryan has re-embraced YES on the way to the ring. It’s too bad that the crowd has been bored to death and that they just watched him break up with Kane. I keep waiting for Scott Steiner to show up when I hear Ryback’s ambulance. Bryan goes to work with some kicks. Goldberg chants continue a year into Ryback’s WWE career.
Bryan hits some kicks but gets a boot to the chest. Bryan gets the knees up on a splash but Ryback fights out of the No Lock and takes control with a few kicks and knees. Bryan ducks underneath a Thesz Press and puts on a half Boston crab. Bryan puts on an Indian Deathlock and drives a series of forearms down into his foe for two. Bryan flips out of the corner but gets clotheslined hard over the top rope and to the floor.
After the break, Ryback stays in control. Ryback hits a big, running shoulder thrust into the corner for two. Ryback stomps away on Bryan with the ropes as support. Ryback goes to the chinlock and Bryan begins to fight back, but takes a back elbow. Ryback gets into Bryan’s face before tossing him across the ring by the beard.
Bryan dodges a charge and fights back to his feet. He hits the running dropkick into the corner, and another…and then a dropkick into the seated Ryback for two. A front dropkick from the top gets two. Bryan dives ACROSS THE RING to hit the top rope headbutt for a close, close two count. Bryan goes for the buzzsaw kick but gets caught and powerbombed by Ryback.
Ryback goes for another powerbomb, but Bryan reverses into the No Lock. Ryback slowly gets across the ring to break the hold. The fans boo in response. Bryan goes for the dive out in front of the desk, but gets thrown into the table by Ryback. Ryback scoops him up and drives him into the steel post a couple of times. Ryback tosses him back into the ring and he goes under the ring to grab a table.
Bryan wins by DQ after putting Bryan through a table with a powerbomb. Ryback grabs another table and places it against the crowd barricade. Cena comes out to save the day, which is something that a face does. Axel then pops up before Ryback and Cena face off.
Final Thoughts: I think this was a great match. This is easily the best match that Ryback has ever had. For his second match of the night, Bryan moved and worked like he could have worked another half an hour. The crowd was digging this and was on their feet. I entirely support the decision to give Bryan the DQ win.
No Disqualification Match – John Cena vs. Curtis Axel
We start in progress with Cena being tripped up and out of the ring. Axel hits a clothesline from the apron and throws him back inside. Axel hits the neck snap and gets two. Cena fights back but takes a backbreaker for two. Heyman tosses a chair to Axel. Cena takes the chair from Axel, hits him in the back, and tosses him outside. Axel goes over the announce table.
Apparently, you can still be counted out in this No DQ match. Axel takes control and corners Cena with a steel chair. Cena dropkicks the chair into Axel’s face. Axel hits a clothesline into the back of Cena’s head for two. Axel slugs and whips Cena hard into the corner. Cena fights back with the shoulderblocks and slam. Axel eats the Five Knuckle Shuffle but gets out of the AA attempt and Cena runs into a chair wedged into the corner.
Cena narrowly avoids the count out loss but is met by Curtis, who clubs him a few times. Axel hits Cena in the back with the chair and gets two. Axel hits the neckbreaker on the chair for two. Axel goes for the Perfect-Plex, but it’s countered into the STF.
Axel hits Cena a couple of times with a small tablet that probably weighs less than a boxing glove. Cena pops up on the outside and puts Axel in a fireman’s carry for about forty seconds before dropping him. Axel kicks and tries to get away for a moment or two, and then grows sleepy and just goes limp. Ryback comes out and attacks Cena. He drives him through a table. Axel wins again by countout….in a No DQ match.
Final Thoughts: This push of Hennig is a joke. Apparently, he’s facing Jericho on Smackdown this week. I guess that CM Punk’s music is going to hit and Jericho is going to walk towards the ramp and get himself counted out. Having countouts in a No DQ match makes no sense and is just contrived.
–One third of the show was given to Daniel Bryan, and he ran with it. He was a big part of both matches of night. I believe that the crowd was dead during his entrance due to the fact that Team Hell No had broken up for the time being. People actually care about them, how about that? Cena and Axel was a so-so match that shouldn’t have even happened. Axel needs to be having good matches against midcarders and not finding lame ways to beat main eventers. The IC title segment was just as bad as last week, with Barrett not being able to beat The Miz in a non-title match, even after hitting his finisher minutes before the start. HHH’s forced retirement storyline is a bore, and I’m waiting to see how it’s going to filter down and stain the rest of the already imperfect show. There’s also no point to watch Cena and Ryback at Payback, as Daniel Bryan already got the better match out of him with no stipulations or gimmicks. Still, while the show was chore to watch in its entirety, you get to see Bryan wrestle twice, and that aint bad.
0:14 – Randy Orton and Team Hell No vs. The Shield – Highly Recommended
0:58 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston – Slightly Recommended
2:22 – Wyatt Family Vignette and Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback – Highly Recommended