–I just wanted to start off and apologize for the tardiness of this recap. My cable went out right before R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel. While I was spared some boredom, I had to wait until I could find the show online, which is why it is up on Wednesday morning. Damn you, Comcast.
WWE Monday Night Raw
Some place in Texas that WWE doesn’t want you to know about
-Mr. McMahon starts the show in the ring with Brad Maddox. Brad, obviously in Vince’s pocket, apologizes for letting John Cena select Daniel Bryan. Vince repeats the ways in which Brad trashed Daniel last week, and Bryan comes to the ring and shakes Vince’s hand. Daniel points the finger at Vince for those harsh words. Vince calls him out for a lack of respect in interrupting him, but Bryan says it is a two-way street. Vince tries to convince Bryan that Cena is lying to him about selecting him for being the best. Vince says that Bryan doesn’t have the ruthless aggression to defeat Cena at SummerSlam. Mr. McMahon tells Bryan that he can’t beat Cena, even though Cena is ripe for the picking. Vince wants neither of them to win the title. Vince crouches down to talk to Bryan. Vince lays out his vision of both of them spontaneously combusting at SummerSlam. Bryan applauds Vince’s honesty, after defeating him during a battle of tippy toes. Bryan says that Vince’s opinion doesn’t matter, as it’s the crowd that truly matters. Bryan gets the crowd to chant for a WWE title change as the segment finishes.
The Shield vs. Mark Henry & The Usos
Henry and Ambrose begin the match. Henry shoves Dean across the ring and slugs away in the corner. Rollins tags in, but Henry catches a right hand and tosses Rollins around the ring for a bit. Reigns enters to test his might. They stare down. Henry tricks Reigns and into a test of strength and beats him down instead. Henry talks some trash at Reigns and tags in Jey Uso. Jimmy comes in and they stomp away at Reigns. Jimmy gets a cover off of a splash, but Reigns brings in Rollins after pushing Jimmy into the corner. Rollins chokes and brings in Dean for some stomps. Dean grinds the forearm into the face in the corner, but walks into a corner boot.
Jimmy enters and hits some clotheslines on Ambrose. Jimmy hits a scoop slam and brings in Mark. Henry misses an elbow drop and Ambrose peppers away. Rollins tags in but they fail on a Russian legsweep attempt and Mark clotheslines them out of the ring. Reigns gets froggy but gets tossed. The Usos enter the ring and hit stereo dives onto The Shield before we head to break.
We return with Jimmy fighting back against Rollins, but Reigns tags in and slugs away from a mounted position. He moves to an armbar. Ambrose enters and they slug it out before Dean grounds him. Jimmy dodges a corner charge and Dean goes in shoulder first. Rollins cuts off the hot tag and hits an enzuigiri to Jimmy. Jimmy fights back and brings in Henry, who cleans house before taking a spear from Reigns. Jey tags in and hits the crossbody from the top on Dean for two.
Rollins takes a superkick and Jimmy hits the Samoan drop on Ambrose. He comes off the top, but Ambrose gets the knees up and hits the Headlock Driver for the dubya. Mark Henry is pissed after the match and gets himself some. He sends The Shield scurrying.
Final Thoughts: This was a pretty fun opener between the two sides. It’s nice to see that Mark is still trashtalking, even if he falls under the face umbrella. Steadily, The Usos are getting recognized by the fans, and it should continue as long as they have time to perform. The right team went over here.
-Earlier on in the day, Ryback terrorizes a young man in catering. He slaps food against his face and tosses him through the catering table, because he’s a bully. Ryback needs a “Visible Bully” t-shirt. Also, Cole needs to call Ryback the “Scut Farkus” of WWE before too long. This needs to happen.
-Brad is joined by Kane in his office, telling Kane that the Wyatt’s aren’t in the building. Brad tells him Kane to prove himself and show that he is still a monster by dismantling his friend.
Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango
RVD is still quite over following his return. Fandango dances after taking Van Dam with a shoulderblock. Van Dam comes back with a rollup and they circle. Fandango grabs a headlock and hits another shoulderblock. Fandango then walks into a superkick and heads outside. Van Dam hits a moonsault from the apron. Fandango fights back on the way back in and hits a slingshot legdrop for two. Fandango puts on the chinlock and Van Dam fights back. Fandango ducks a kick and hits a roundhouse to the face for two. Van Dam fights back with a kick and clothesline. Rolling Thunder connects and Rob hits the monkey flip out of the corner. RVD connects with the sidekick and goes up. Fandango bails and walks out of the match. Van Dam does The Twist in celebration.
Final Thoughts: This was just fine and featured a few fun reversals between the two. I’m not where they’re going with Van Dam right now, but he’s still good for replacing Kofi Kingston until he returns.
-AJ berates Big E backstage about Kaitlyn spearing her over and over again. Then she changes pace and says that he must just like to watch her work in the ring.
Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
They stare down to start. AJ shoves Kaitlyn but eats a forearm. She goes an armwringer, but eats another. AJ fights back and works at the arm. AJ rolls through on a hammerlock and bridges, but Kaitlyn makes it to the ropes. AJ stomps away in the corner but misses a corner charge. AJ rolls through on a schoolboy and hits a knee to the side of the head. AJ goes to a neck vise.
Kaitlyn gets run into the corner but gets an elbow up and hits a clothesline. She follows with a backbreaker but runs into a knee on attempting the spear. AJ covers for two. Kaitlyn tries to fight back but takes a chop. AJ follows with an armbreaker for two. Kaitlyn hits a couple of clotheslines, but AJ answers with a sidekick. Kaitlyn is able to hit an ugly spear for the win. AJ has a meltdown after the match. This brings out Dolph.
Final Thoughts: Well, this happened. There was some good heat for this one, and hopefully, they can blow off the feud a bit at SummerSlam, although I feel that we’ll have a mixed tag match. It’s too bad that the spear looked pretty crappy.
-Dolph takes to the stage with a microphone. He challenges Big E to a match at this very moment. It’s on. GET WILD IN THE FRIENDZONE EXPLODES.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston
They slug it out to start. They run around outside and return, with Big E bulldozing Dolph. This is being wasted here. Big E slugs away but runs into elbows and boots in the corner. Big E catches Dolph on the corner splash and nails a belly to belly suplex. He gets major air on a splash for two. Langston locks in a bearhug. Dolph fights out but takes some rough backbreakers for two. Langston puts on a chinlock. Dolph fights out but gets clubbed. Langston hits a corner charge and chokes Dolph into the ropes. Big E misses the next charge and hits post. Ziggler goes to the midsection and follows with a dropkick. Ziggler sounds Big E outside after dodging a charge. AJ leaps in for the DQ and attacks Dolph, and tries to pull his hair out. Big E reenters the ring and yells at AJ in disbelief for her actions. She watches as Dolph reenters and hits the Zig Zag on Langston. Ugh, it sucks to be Big E
Final Thoughts: It feels like they’re rushing a split of Langston and AJ now. I don’t mind the story of AJ pushing everyone away from her and all of that, but I’m not so much a fan of Dolph’s “babyface” actions in the last couple of shows. It just went down the wrong, misogynistic road. I’m not sure what I’m expecting from WWE here. The match was fun, but it needed twenty minutes and no disqualifications.
-Backstage, Bryan asks Cena if he was telling the truth about him, or if Vince is right. Cena accuses Bryan of calling him a liar. The segment ends with an intense stare down.
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio
ADR and Christian circle for a bit. Del Rio takes Christian down with a side headlock. Christian botches…something and takes Del Rio down with a headlock. In the corner, ADR stomps away. Del Rio hits a snap suplex for two. Off of the whip, ADR hits a back elbow for two. Christian fights back but takes a sidekick to the gut and gets driven into the corner with shoulders. Christian counters a corner charge and dumps Del Rio from the ring. Del Rio dodges the baseball slide and sends Christian into the stairs. Del Rio follows with a dropkick into Christian’s arm that’s against the stairs. We hit the break as they reenter.
We return with Del Rio in control. He comes off of the second rope and sentons onto the bad arm. Nice. ADR stomps away. Tree of Woe on Christian and some stomps. ADR goes up, but Christian knocks him off and comes off of the second buckle with a tornado DDT for two. Christian heads back to the second rope and hits a missile dropkick for two. ADR begs off and tosses Christian into the corner. Sunset flip gets two for Christian, but Del Rio fights back with a series of headbutts. ADR slams Christian and tosses him to the apron, but Christian fights back with a right hand and a pulls Del Rio against the top rope.
Christian charges in but takes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Del Rio steps over Christian like a good heel but misses the senton. ADR bails from the spear and hits the Si Kick for two after a short chase. Del Rio misses the enzuigiri but comes back with the cross armbreaker. Christian rolls through and cradles him for the win.
Final Thoughts: Pretty good stuff. Christian is still a ring general, and Del Rio continues to turn into such a marvelous dick heel. I’m enjoying the use of good cradles finishing matches. It only helps epic PPV matches.
Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett
Wade hits some strikes to start. Cody hits the Golden Uppercut but gets clotheslined from the ring. Wade gives pursuit on the outside and does some damage before tossing Cody in. Wade hits a butterfly suplex for two and moves to a double chickenwing. He runs Cody into the corner and drags Rhode’s dashing face against the top turnbuckle. Wade follows with a slingshot backbreaker for two. Barrett puts on the chinlock. Rhodes gets the elbow up in the corner, and hits a moonsault onto Barrett. Cody comes forward with rights and gets the boot up on the whip. Cody follows with a Shining Wizard for two. Cody misses the Disaster Kick and takes a sidekick. Cody floats over on a pumphandle and hits Cross Rhodes for the win.
Final Thoughts: This was a nice win for Cody, and Wade tried a few new things that came off pretty well, I thought.
-Damien Sandow comes out after the match and DAMNS HIM for throwing the briefcase into the ocean. Sandow insults Rhode’s wrestling family history, calling them carnies. Sandow walks off, leaving Cody steaming.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
There’s a long stare down to start. Bryan charges to start and puts Kane in the corner. But, Kane comes out with a right hand. Off of the whip, Bryan chops away but takes a knee to the gut. On the charge, Bryan rolls through and puts on a half carb. Kane powers out and slugs away in the corner. Bryan flips out of the corner but runs into a big boot. Kane beats away at Bryan in the corner. Kane follows with a suplex for two. Bryan fights back with some rights but gets caught with a slam and a running dropkick for two. Kane gets two after a couple of elbow drop and twists the neck. Bryan battles out and chops away at Kane. Bryan hits a running clothesline and gets some boots up in the corner. Bryan avoids the chokeslam and dumps him outside with a headscissors. He follows with the knee from the apron as we head to break.
We come back with Kane hitting a back elbow off of the whip for two. Kane hits a corner clothesline but gets taken down with a drop toe hold into the second rope. Bryan hits the missile dropkick and follows with dropkicks into the corner. That gets two. Bryan comes off of the top again but gets slugged down. Kane hits a sideslam for two and hits the clothesline from the top rope. Bryan counters the chokeslam into the Yes! Lock but gets tossed away. Bryan goes for the buzzsaw, but Kane counters into the chokeslam. But, The Master of The Small Package gets the win. Kane hits a chokeslam after the match. He goes for the pyro, but. The Wyatt Family interrupts and come down to the ring. Kane takes the fight to them, but takes a big boot from Harper and gets beat down. Bray enters the ring and hits The Kiss Goodbye.
Final Thoughts: Bryan left the ring after the chokeslam and just didn’t feel like helping Kane out. Just do this backstage, WWE. You jobbed Bryan here. He’d still come back to help out Kane if he’s RIGHT there. The match was alright, and the crowd was quite dead and not sure what to make of the match before them.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Brie begs off to start. Natalya tosses her down and hits a suplex. Brie runs away and uses the ropes for some offense. Brie comes back with a running dropkick and chokes away. Brie hits a legdrop and goes back to a bad chinlock. Nattie fights back and puts on an abdominal stretch. Brie reverses and hits a DDT for two. Brie goes back to the weak chinlock. Natalya comes back with a snapmare and hits a slam with mustard on it. She follows with a dropkick and comes off of the ropes with a discus clothesline for two. Nikki comes out with a duck call, because Natalya is the “ugly duckling”. Get it? Fuck this. Brie wins with a rollup and
Final Thoughts: This dragged on for a while, featured a repeated, contrived chinlock, and finished with WWE calling Natalya ugly by using a duck call. Oh yeah, Cole and Lawler cracked jokes. Fuck this. This was one of those matches where you just heard the air conditioning in the arena because no one gave a shit.
-Backstage, Paul Heyman prepares Curtis Axel. Yes fans, if that last, insulting match and angle didn’t do enough for you, here’s Curtis Axel!
R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel
Heyman burns a minute or two of airtime before the match, addressing Curtis Axel as top-tier talent. Axel talks about being better than his father. They circle to start, and Axel quickly beats down Truth. Truth hits a leg lariat off of the whip and follows with a couple a clotheslines. Truth hits the sit-out front suplex for just one. Axel comes back with a boomerang clothesline and stomps away. Truth fights back but walks into a dropkick. Axel hits his finisher, but CM Punk runs in, pulls Axel from the ring, and tosses him into the barricade. He goes after Heyman, but Axel stops him. Punk clotheslines him over the timekeeper wall as Heyman runs off.
Final Thoughts: Nothing happened here, but Punk got a nice reaction.
-Backstage, HHH is talking with Vince and upset about the strings that Vince is pulling. But Vince wants someone like HHH….but younger. Steph comes in to talk about Bryan and wants to give him a corporate makeover. HHH thinks that it is worth a shot, replying to Steph after Vince walks off. I’m not sure what to make of this segment, exactly. It wasn’t as bad as people had been saying.
Tables Match – John Cena vs. Ryback
Ryback receives crickets from the crowd, but he is in control at the start. Cena fights back and clotheslines Ryback from the ring. Cena puts Ryback into the barricade and pulls out a table. Ryback fights back and puts Cena into the ringpost. Ryback tries to run a table into John, but misses as we head to break abruptly. Ryback is in control as we come back. Ryback pulls a table from a stack set up in the aisle. Cena flips out of a powerbomb, but gets thrown into the stairs. Ryback slides the stairs into the ring but gets run into the apron and barrier. Cena lays a table between the apron and a steel stair that is on its side. Ryback blocks a suplex through it and gets one of his own. Ryback slides another table in and then tosses Cena back into the ring. Cena comes back with the STF.
Ryback rolls out of the ring to get separation. Cena tosses a table from the ring, but Ryback dodges and hides under the ring. Ryback comes out from underneath the ring behind Cena and spears him to the floor. Ryback picks the other steel steps and knocks Cena down with it. Ryback constructs another project like the one Cena had. Ryback puts Cena up on his shoulders, but Cena fights out. Cena goes for the AA, but Ryback elbows his way out. Ryback looks to press Cena through the table, but John leaps out of the way. The table separates them, but Ryback smashes it with steel stairs. Cena then grabs the other set. This is pretty fun, as they have a stand-off of sorts.
They toss the stairs at each other and they collide in mid-air. Back in the ring, Cena hits the blue thunderish bomb on the steps and follows with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena slides a new table into the ring. Ryback hits a big jawbreaker to fight back, and pummels Cena as he leans a table in the corner. Ryback hits the Meathook. Cena dodges a charge and hits the AA through the table to win. After the match, Daniel Bryan runs out to the ring and makes a show of giving Cena’s title back to him. John and he end the show have a nice, good old fashioned, stare down.
Final Thoughts: This was a very fun tables match. I haven’t seen many that I enjoyed, but this one was a bit different and quite entertaining. The ending was a bit predictable, but the work done on the outside was very entertaining, especially where Cena and Ryback dueled with the steps for a spell.
–I didn’t really get the fuss about Vince “burying” Bryan here. Maybe they did some slick editing, because they did a good job of walking the edge of it here. They’re making him out to be some kind of Rock or Austin type figure. He’s both the People’s Champion and the guy needing a corporate makeover. I’m expecting the mother of all screwjobs at SummerSlam. It’s going to be tremendous. As for the show tonight, it was alright. There wasn’t one match to point out that burned the house down, but I thought that Ryback and Cena did a good job in the main event with the tables match. The second Diva’s Match still makes my blood boil a day later, and I think that Dolph and Big E could’ve been saved for SummerSlam in some type of falls count anywhere match where they could have gone wild. Damien and Cody are getting personal, which is great to see. And, we’ll see where they go with The Wyatts and Kane. Then there’s Punk and Lesnar. This SummerSlam build is better than WrestleMania’s.