When last we left our heroes, they lay in Gallipolli, Flanders Fields, and Arlington National. They are gone, but never forgotten. To all in uniform: thank you on this Armistice/Veteran's Day.
The USA Network ad asks if Big Show can regain the advantage heading into Survivor Series. The look-in ad says that HHH and Stephanie are on vacation and asks who represents the Authority.
- The PG Era Rant for Raw, November 11, 2013.
- Not exactly live from Manchester, UK.
- Your hosts are a King, a Joker, and the Green 8 from Uno.
- John Cena narrates a thank-you piece for all American veterans.
- It's a recap of last week's ending segment next. Interestingly, they play the sound bites out of order from last week, but the order they play them in makes a little more sense.
- First out of the curtain is Randy Orton. You know, they keep putting that red phone booth on the stage in England, and I keep waiting for a confused man with a sprig of celery in his lapel to pop out of it. Orton cuts to the chase: Big Show's match is the result of blackmail. Hard to argue. But if last week's beating was any indication, Orton is a lock to win at Survivor Series. Orton has been left in charge of tonight's Raw... which brings out nominal Raw GM Brad Maddox to an ovation. Maddox says HE'S in charge because, well, he's the GM of Raw. Maddox (understandably nervous) begins to discuss what his plans are when Kane emerges. There's a decent You Sold Out chant, though it's hard to tell if it's piped in or not. Kane says that, as Director of Operations, HE'S in charge of Raw. I'm just waiting for Dustin to say he's the tag team champions now. Maddox claims seniority and gets ready to announce the opening match: he wants Orton/Cody. Kane vetoes it and wants Orton/Goldust. The two argue, but Orton says “Hey, I can't fight the both of them”. The crowd likes that idea, but instead, it's Vickie Guerrero. She sends best wishes to the Authority, then says she KNOWS Orton has the skills, so as the Voice Of Reason™, it is Best For Business™ (Crowd: “Who are ya?”) that Orton can take the both of them on. JBL points out that, wait, that's not what Orton said. This segment will play on infinite loop in Scott Keith's private Hell.
- Randy Orton v. The Brothers Rhodes. Well, if I'm booking this, there's no way it ends cleanly. Goldust starts. Goldust with a headlock takedown, which Orton reverses to a grounded headscissors. Break and reverse follows. Goldust goes to inhale and gets slapped, which leads to Orton getting a headlock and knockdown, but Goldust follows with a series of armdrags and a dropkick for two. Cody drops his elbow on the arm and follows with a stalling front suplex for two. Orton suckers Cody into the corner and kicks away, following with a European Uppercut. Goldust in on a blind tag, and he cradles Orton for two. Orton rushes Goldust into the corner and works the gut, adding a headbutt and milking the boos. Orton works in another corner and gets a clothesline for two as the crowd declares Randy's boring. Then they switch to a JBL chant as Orton works the arm. Cole: “We must be in England.” Orton stomps Goldust in the gut as the crowd continues not to give a darn. Orton pounds Goldust in the back, then chokes him down as the crowd demands Goldberg (I think). Goldust begins to fight out, starting a slugfest that Orton wins, but a blind charge hits Goldust's boot. Orton knocks Goldust off the corner as we go to break. You know, if the WWE is sweetening the crowd for cheers and boos, can't they drown out the insanity of the crowd too? We return as Orton has a chinlock on Goldust with the crowd rallying him. Goldust fights out, then avoids Orton's powerslam and cradles Orton for two before getting a DDT. Hot tag to Cody, who gets a springboard dropkick and the Brisco rollup for two. Cody with the sliding uppercut and he goes up, getting the moonsault press for two. Cody is measuring Orton, but waits too long and gets caught only to recover with a Butt butt. Double-teaming leads to a big right from Goldust and the brothers send Orton packing with a double clothesline. Orton walks out at 10:45, but heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Big Show. Show works over Orton on the outside, throwing him into the steps. Short-arm clothesline follows, and Show tears up the announce table. Crowd with a huge YES chant, proving that even England is falling for chant transition. Show puts the steps by the table, lifts Orton onto the steps, and chokeslams him through the table. That draws HUGE chants of YES, and it's not splicing either. Orton sleptwalked through the match. *3/4 Orton appears injured by the attack. I wouldn't be surprised if he were a little shaken up – that was a huge drop.
- During the Break, Big Show left in a cab to do a pub crawl.
- Los Matadores and Santino Marella v. 3 Man Band (as the Union Jacks). SANTINO HAS BULL HORNS. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID. 3MB comes out to punk music and wearing British flag print tights. It gets them a 3MB chant. Primo starts with Slater and gets a snapmare and chops. Slater brings in Mahal with a blind tag, and Mahal gets the running knee (“Ole!”) for two. 3MB with the triple-team, ending in a flying kick by McIntyre. He knocks Epico off the apron, but Primo reverses to a back suplex. Mahal and Santino in, and Santino goes straight to his comeback, but the saluting headbutt hits the knees. Good thing too, because he still has the horns on. Santino with a suplex for a double KO as El Torito distracts Slater and begins a chase. Santino gores Slater out of the ring (that happened), but McIntyre attacks Torito only to get a double dive. Torito adds a somersault senton for fun. Santino with a split Stunner and the Cobra (which OF COURSE has bull horns) gets the pin at 2:56. Santino does some bull passes with El Torito for fun. Santino and Slater are so good at comedy matches. 3/4*
- Backstage, the doctors work on Orton as Maddox apologizes. Orton gets mad at Maddox AND Vickie who tries to apologize as well. He promises that the Authority will handle both of them. Orton even snaps at Kane too because he's in that bad a mood. But Kane DOES have authority and promises that if he keeps mouthing off, Big Show will be the least of his worries.
- Later tonight, Dolph Ziggler challenges Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Title.
- Funny bit: they show Old Trafford for the Manchester flavor, and the Manchester crowd boos it.
- Damien Sandow v. Kofi Kingston. Sandow goes nuts with knees and tosses Kingston, following and pounding away. He covers Kofi's face and keeps stomping away, adding some pain from the ropes and getting one. Sandow with a chinlock, but Kofi fights out and kicks away. Sandow throws Kofi into the corner repeatedly and works him over with shoulder rams and headbutts. He wipes Kofi's face into the mat and drops the knee for two. To the front chancery, but Kofi gets to his feet only to be pulled down by the hair. Cubito Aequet follows, but no cover as he adds more elbows for two. Legdrop misses. Kofi gets the boots up to stop a charge, then trips Sandow and fires away. Spinning heel kick by Kofi gets two. Kofi splashes the back of Sandow for two. He did it from the middle rope and while Sandow was standing. Sandow fights back to take control, but a blind charge runs into the pendulum kick. Sandow shakes the ropes to stop a springboard, and the You're Welcome ends it at 3:53. Crowd was dead. 1/2*
- Next week, Raw will do a country-themed show from Nashville. I demand at the very least Road Dogg performing “With My Baby Tonight”.
- Intercontinental Title: Curtis Axel v. Dolph Ziggler. As a reminder from WWE, this match came up because Ziggler won a non-title match last week. They lock up, finding their way into a corner, which leads to a clean break. A second round leads to an Axel headlock, but Ziggler pulls himself out and reverses. Axel with a chickenwing reversal, Ziggler reverses THAT, Axel elbows out and punches away, and Ziggler's down in the corner for some mudhole stomping. A whip sequence leads to a dropkick by Axel for one. He brags a bit, allowing Ziggler up to get a headlock. Axel reverses, getting a shoulder tackle but running into a dropkick for two. Ziggler now brags. Axel runs into a high hiptoss for two. Ziggler with a suplex for two. Ten-elbow countalong follows, with the tenth getting a belt flourish, for two. Axel sends Ziggler for the Michaels Bump to the floor on a whip. Axel throws Ziggler into the apron on the outside and begins pounding away. Back in, it gets two. A series of forearm drops gets two. Axel grabs Ziggler's hair and yells at him, then puts him in the ropes and keeps firing off. Axel slaps Ziggler around, but that infuriates Ziggler and he gets the high-rise DDT for a double KO. Axel's charge goes into the ringpost. Ziggler with a leaping clothesline out of Daniel Bryan's playbook, following with a Stinger Splash and ten punches in the corner to a Rude Awakening. Elbowdrop gets two. Rocker Dropper misses, and Axel slingshots Ziggler into the top buckle, rolling him up for two. Rocker Dropper hits on the second try and gets two for Ziggler. Both men slowly up, and Axel with a Saito suplex for two. Axel to the second rope, but Ziggler leaps all the way up with a facejam for two. Zig Zag misses and Axel with a faceplant and the Hennig Breaker for the win at 9:05. I don't know what they see in Axel, but Langston is inevitably the next champion and they're just waiting for the right time. **1/4
- Backstage, Kane and Maddox keep arguing over who's running the show each one planning to the tell the Authority. The main event tonight is We The People against John Cena, suggested by Maddox. Kane adds Bryan/Punk against the Shield. Crowd loves both ideas. Kane refuses a Maddox handshake. Are they trying to turn either Maddox or Vickie face?
- We have a WWE Shop segment featuring an evil Zack Ryder from an alternate universe.
- Tamina Snuka v. Nikki Bella. This match is played out. Tamina opens with a knee and throw, but Nikki rolls Tamina up for one. Tamina throws Nikki into the corner again, but Nikki blocks a charge and ANOTHER rollup gets one. Nikki drop toeholds Tamina and gets a dropkick as Tamina bails. Nikki tries a standing monkey flip, but Tamina throws her to the ground and gets the JACKET THROW OF DOOM for one. Tamina with a slam and she tries for a kneeling bow-and-arrow. Nikki elbows away and gets separation. Tamina chokes away on Nikki as the crowd tries a This Is Awesome chant. That better be ironic. Tamina with a pumphandle into a powerslam for two and we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Tamina with the Ventura body vice, but Nikki reverses to a back body drop. Tilt-a-whirl headscissors (sort of) leads to a series of clotheslines. Standing monkey flip connects this time, and a bulldog gets two as an ECW chant begins. AJ adds a cheap shot, and the big boot follows. AJ throws Brie into the apron as Tamina goes up, and the Superfly Splash connects for the win at 4:24. Brie suckershots AJ and clears the ring post-match. Just switch the title or move on already. DUD
- WWE 2K14 look as they re-enact the Streak vs. Career match. On SmackDown, we will show some Character Creations.
- The Shield visit Randy Orton in the training room, and Orton asks where the heck they were to make the save. Orton is chewing all of them out, but the Shield make it clear they don't answer to anyone, especially not Orton. Orton is very angry.
- Fandango v. Tyson Kidd. Kidd has new music and the same old relationship problems. Come on, guys, they're married; stop teasing a breakup. For the record, the England crowd is still bored and doing the Fandangoizing. Kidd with a waistlock, which Fandango reverses, but Kidd with a snapmare and a long whip sequence leading to an eventual gut kick and dropkick. Kidd pounds away in the corner, but Fandango tosses him over the top rope. JBL implies that Fandango and Natalya shared a look, and back in, Fandango gets two. Fandango knocks over Kidd and goes to the chinlock. Kidd's fight-out is cut off, but Kidd lands on his feet off a suplex and throws Fandango into the corner. Kidd cuts off a blind charge and gets a springboard dropkick into a running rana off the apron. Kidd tries to get a chant for him, but it's short-lived. Back in, Kidd gets a springboard sunset flip, but Fandango sits on top for the pin at 2:57. Crowd loves it, because it means more dancing. Meh. 1/2*
- John Cena v. We The People. So we have proud American and controversial face John Cena against two people who are American jingoists and the match is in England. I don't see ANYONE getting cheered in this one. Zeb Colter tries to make sure it never happens by calling Englishmen soccer thugs with bad food. Sadly, England agrees with him. Plus, they thought Mr. Bean was funny. Colter continues the cheap heat, but WE THE PEOPLE still gets a reaction. Swagger starts, and the Cena chants begin. Swagger works the arm (of course), but Cena escapes and checks the tricep. Cena keeps one eye on Cesaro as a We The People chant begins. Cena throws Swagger, who calmly tags in Cesaro. And before we can get anything going, out comes Alberto Del Rio. Cena checks on him, but KEEPS the lockup going; unfortunately, it doesn't work, and Cesaro dumps Cena with Swagger adding a cheap shot. Cesaro throws him into the barricade as we go to break. We return with a European Uppercut as the soccer thugs begin chanting. Big soccer kick by Cesaro leads to the Karelin suplex for two. Swagger with a headlock as the crowd chants for a Superman cosplayer. Cena suplexes his way out of it. Cesaro tags in, but gets caught with Cena's elevation neckbreaker for two. Swagger tags himself in and gets consecutive Vaderbombs. The third one misses, and Cesaro gets caught with a shoulderblock, as does Swagger, but Cesaro intercepts a third try with the European Uppercut. GIANT SWING OF DOOM is stopped as Cena tries the STF. Cesaro tags Swagger in, unbeknownst to Cena, so when Cena sets up the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, Swagger enters with the Patriot Lock. Another tag that Cena wasn't aware of results in a Cesaro crossbody, but Cena catches, rolls through, and hooks up the AA. Swagger clips Cena to stop it, and Cesaro gets two. Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer, but Cena backdrops out. Swagger tags back in, but gets caught with the Protoslam and Five-Knuckle Shuffle. AA try, but Swagger rolls through into the Patriot Lock. Cena rolls out of it and gets the AA to Swagger, but Cesaro saves. Everyone's down but Cesaro, who calls for the tag and gets it. Cesaro gets caught into a duck-under and powerbomb (!!) for two. Slugfest trade ensues, with the crowd on the side of the European Uppercuts, especially when Cesaro gets a catapult uppercut for two. Charging European uppercut from Cesaro and he sets up a superplex, but Cena fights out and knocks down Cesaro. Swagger tags in and pops up, but Cena knocks him down and gets a crossbody to Swagger into the clothesline to Cesaro and an STF for Swagger for the tap at 12:52. Cesaro jumps after the bell and keep sup the attack with headbutts, but Cena fights back and dispatches Cesaro again only for ADR to charge in and deliver massive chairshots to Cena. Del Rio tries to Pillmanize Cena and applies the armbar with the chair. Big E Langston of all people races in for the save. There was some seriously good chemistry in that match, but the booking made Cena look more like the heel than We The People. **3/4
- Meanwhile, on Main Event, AJ will defend against Natalya. And likely win, though I haven't seen spoilers.
- Backstage, all the G.M.s cheer Alberto Del Rio, who wants Vickie to tell Big E to stay out of his business. The Authority Lite makes the match for later tonight.
- Ryback v. R-Truth. Is R-Truth doing a battle rap? Nice. Truth with a waistlock, but Ryback backs him in to a corner and works over him. Truth with a headlock, but Ryback fights out and gets a top wristlock and hairpull throw. Ryback asks Truth to hit him, but Truth goes back to a headlock instead. They repeat the spot from earlier, and Ryback calls Truth “stupid”. Truth fights back with kicks that stun Ryback, including one off a back body drop try, but Ryback throws Truth into the corner back and forth. Hammer throw by Ryback. Ryback chokes Truth on the ropes for four, then gets a military press into a slam. He stomps away on Truth and backs him into the corner, chopping and punching away. Another slam follows, and the big splash gets two. Ryback with a ground waistlock as the crowd is quiet. He switches to a bearhug. Truth fights his way out of it, including a big right, but runs into a spinebuster. Blind charge misses, and Truth with a rollup out of nowhere for the pin at 4:01. Wait, what? 1/4*
- Big E Langston v. Alberto Del Rio. ADR with a kick and headbutts to start, but Langston catches him and fires off in the gut repeatedly. A cross-corner whip and shoulder ram follows, then a tackle. Blind charge eats ADR's boots for one, then a low kick to the head and stomps for another one. ADR to the chinlock, but Langston fights out only to get hit with a DDT for two. ADR stomps away and returns to the chinlock as the crowd is distracted, so fine. Crowd does the wave as ADR jumps on Langston's back. Langston breaks with a side suplex, then comes at it with clotheslines and a Greco-Roman suplex. Ultimate Splash follows and Langston stalks ADR, but ADR misses the blind charge and gets the step-up enzuigiri for two. Crowd decides to hype themselves up as ADR fails to get the armbar on. THE STRAPS COME DOWN off a Vadershot, but the Big Ending is slid out of and the armbar finishes at 4:06. Hey, remember all that effort Orton did last week to make Langston look good? Never mind. *1/4
- Oh, hey, Del Rio and Cena will do arm wrestling on SmackDown! Those are ALWAYS fun!
- Paul Heyman shows up with a neck brace, crutch, back brace, wheelchair, leg brace, and Curtis Axel. He blames Punk again for all his injuries. He says that Punk is not a match for Paul Heyman and had help getting to him – such as Ryback. That's right, after all Heyman has done for Ryback, it's Ryback's fault that Heyman got hurt. Ryback was overwhelmed by Punk, but he's not the only one at fault – the fans are also at fault. See, they encouraged Punk to attack Heyman, an innocent man. So it's all the fans' fault, which the fans are understandably okay with. He calls Manchester a ghetto, but he's here not because he wants to talk, but because he needs witnesses for his declaration: he shall return with a vengeance. Funny way to pronounce Brock Lesnar. He will stab the Sword of Damocles at Punk... which brings Punk out. Heyman: “OH NO!” Axel is ready to attack Punk, but we all know Axel is Punk's tackling dummy. Indeed, one roundhouse kick and barricade trip leads to a GTS and Heyman is literally helpless against Punk. Punk gets himself a kendo stick and stares at Heyman in glee, then grabs the wheelchair and spins it in circles before dumping him out and the beating continues to the cadence of a YES chant.
- Main event: CM Punk and Daniel Bryan v. The Shield. Rollins does a front flip over the barrier on his way in. Punk and Ambrose start. A long staredown begins, as both men slowly begin the match. Ambrose with a wristlock into a headlock, but Punk shoves off only to get knocked down. Punk returns with a leg lariat, and Bryan enters as the faces get a double suplex on Ambrose. Bryan gets two. Ambrose with a back elbow off of a whip, and Rollins in boxing against the ropes. Bryan flips him over with a knee smash and he sets up a surfboard, hooking it on Rollins. Punk in, and after taunting the Shield, he kicks Rollins for two. Dropkick off of a snapmare gets one. Rollins fights back with a big chop in the corner, but Punk catches the dropkick and slingshots Rollins into the turnbuckle. GTS tried, but Rollins escapes and races to tag Reigns in. He and Punk stare down before locking up, with Reigns headbutting Punk in the corner and ropes. A straight right hand follows, but Punk slides underneath and tags Bryan in. Faces trade kicks on Reigns, but Reigns knocks them both over with clotheslines. Punk is disposed of, and Rollins comes in to beat on Bryan. Bryan flips over in the corner and hooks Rollins in a German suplex and running corner dropkick. Frankensteiner out of the corner gets two. YES kicks begin, with Ambrose getting the final blow, but Rollins high kicks Bryan as we go to break. We return with Rollins getting a rear chinlock on Bryan. Would that be a beardlock? Bryan elbows out of it, but Rollins sends Bryan into the corner as Bryan tries the HBK Flip. Not quite. Rollins gets two. Ambrose in with stomps and a Power Drive Elbow for two. Ambrose with a FINGERLOCK on Bryan and boxes away in the corner before tagging Reigns in. Reigns with headbutts to fell Bryan. Reigns keeps working over Bryan and shouting at him. Bryan punches out but runs into a right hand by Reigns for two. Rollins stomps away on Bryan as JBL compares Reigns to Terry Gordy. Rollins with a slam for two, and a cobra clutch. Bryan gets out again, but Rollins with a CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY and brings in Reigns. Bryan launches out Rollins and low-bridges Reigns, leaving a clear path to Punk. Ambrose and Punk in, Punk with a springboard clothesline and axhandles to everyone in black. Duck-under neckbreaker follows as does a corner knee and short-arm clothelsine. He goes up top, and the Heartbreak Elbow gets two before Rollins saves. Bryan missile dropkicks Rollins and dives onto Rollins only to get lariated HARD by Reigns. Punk dives onto Reigns, then back in, a roundhouse to Ambrose follows. GTS try to Ambrose, but Reigns gets it instead. Ambrose cradles Punk for two. Punk with the Anaconda Vice on Ambrose... and the feed cuts out. Wait, no, it's the Wyatt Family in the ring. Everyone's concerned on BOTH sides. Rollins and Harper get in a verbal fight in the ring, with Ambrose pulling Rollins aside and joining in. Shield and Wyatts get in a shoving match as the crowd WANTS more. Harper and Rowan attack Ambrose and Rollins as the match falls apart at 16:00 or so. Meanwhile, Reigns and Wyatt are arguing, with Wyatt getting in the first blow and all heck is breaking loose. Punk and Bryan wisely get out of dodge as both sides face off. Wyatt finally reminds everyone they ALL hate Bryan and Punk and unites the troops to go after them. Now Punk and Bryan are surrounded by six guys. Punk and Bryan try to get the opening shot, but no good. Now the Usos and Rhodeses get involved and it's a 12-man melee. Crowd is loving this. Faces clear the ring as I believe we have our Traditional Survivor Series Match™. Match was really good until it turned into an even better brawl. ***1/2
This was a total one-match show, which is a shame because it shouldn't have been. Orton didn't seem to care about this match, and the crowd made sure just about everything else was DOA. Not that they had much to go on – this show was very missable with the only real thing happening being a Shield/Wyatts tease and the Traditional Match all but made. Cena and the Americans did all right, don't get me wrong, and as the second best match of the night it was perfectly acceptable, but my goodness I just could not care about this show.
And this makes me wonder: why? Was HHH's absence that big a deal? It shouldn't have been – he doesn't wrestle, and the 20 minutes of interview segment last week didn't exactly make me want to see him again. Looking over the matches on this show, there wasn't much that was going to succeed. Sandow/Kofi was meaningless, ADR sucked out all the momentum Langston had by making him tap out, the Divas match is old hat even by Diva standards, and the longer Axel holds the Intercontinental Title the stranger it gets.
Two matches don't make a great show, because you need to have glue tying them together. Last week, the wrestling was solid enough that I could live with it. This week, there was nothing in the ring (likely because the crowd decided ahead of time not to give a darn). I can't even get up enough emotion to hate this show. You missed nothing if you skipped the show just to read my report. (Pfft – like anyone does that.)
MATCH TIME: 71:00 or so, depending on when you feel the Main Event ended, over ten matches
BEST MATCH: Bryan and Punk/Shield
WORST MATCH: Nikki/Tamina
NIGHT MVP (kayfabe): CM Punk
RATING: Meh, 4/10.
Scott and Tommy will continue the week with Raw Lite, NXT, and SmackDown. In the meantime, our troops deserve a better show than this. I'll be back in 7 days.