The PG Era Rant for Raw, September 1, 2014. This is Raw #14!
...wait, I mean Raw #1110. My computer misinterpreted that.
Your pre-show hosts are Byron, Booker, and Alex. The big elements from Raw are:
- Chris Jericho interviews Randy Orton on the Highlight Reel.
- Growing Up Bella (insert sad piano music here).
- Paul Heyman will speak on behalf of Brock Lesnar.
- Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus face the Miz and Cesaro.
Live from Des Moines, Iowa.
Your hosts are Old, King, and Cole.
Chris Jericho is in the ring to start for the Highlight Reel. HASHTAG! JBL is bored after five seconds and talking over Jericho to let everyone know – so he's in fine form. Jericho talks about the hard workers on Labo(u)r Day before saying Orton hasn't worked a day in his life to introduce...
...wait, that's HHH? And he's with Orton, Seth Rollins, and Kane. Lawler: “If I were Jericho, I'd just call it a night.” Jericho says he wasn't expecting a lawfirm with Orton. Kane tries to intimidate Jericho, but HHH steps in instead. Jericho is the man that never grew up – in every sense of the word – and although HHH would love to get in a trash talk war with Jericho, he has things he has to do. Jericho: “You usually don't conduct important business in this ring unless your wife is getting put in jail.” HHH doesn't want witty banter as the two insult each other's wardrobe choices. (“That scarf is such a treasure trove.” “At least it's not a pink tie.” “It's violet.”) Anyway, HHH says it's the most historic Highlight Reel ever. HHH has been thinking about Cena/Lesnar – reviewing every angle of it from the interviews to the Hall of Fame Forum to 9.99 – and he thinks maybe the rematch is a bad idea. So he's thinking about changing it.
Jericho is calling HHH on changing his mind and asking who's next – and Orton says he's the only one who can beat Lesnar. Kane, though, says if he gets his Demon mask on, he can beat Lesnar. But wait, Rollins says he can do it (and the crowd wants to see that – of course, Rollins is from Iowa). He's already taken out Dean Ambrose, so why not? Jericho then says, hey, if you're mixing it up, why not me?
But how about the current challenger? Well, here comes Cena and he's in a bad mood. “What the hell are you talking about?” He thinks HHH has listened too much to Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. That's funny, he says – those two guys thought Cena couldn't beat HHH at WrestleMania, and HHH tapped out. 9.99 this! This isn't “back in the day”, Hunter – so it doesn't matter what you say, the rematch clause has been authorized and no take-backs or he'll sue to become COO and fire HHH. So Cena is going to take Lesnar out, one way or another.
HHH: “Wow.” Seriously? Cena suing? HHH mocks the very idea of Cena going to court as the crowd gets behind him. This is what HHH is trying to avoid. HHH's job is to do what is Best For Business™ every day. And now, maybe Cena as champion isn't good – but a Cena career-ending injury is worse.
Rollins: “I say let him have it. What's the worst that could happen?” After all, Plan B is still there, right? Orton agrees, and only wants the winner – he's never gotten his rematch, right? Jericho reminds us he's the host of the show and says Orton's never succeeded in coming close to getting the title back, and in fact lost to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. Orton says it and he means nothing, and he'd tell him to his face. And proceed with caution, Chris.
Yup, of course Roman Reigns shows up. (The Teddy Long drink is on stand-by.) Roman stares at Orton and says, well? HHH holds Orton back. Roman thinks the Authority is mad over the eulogy – or was it the cinderblock? That was just a reminder that there's unfinished business. But tonight's business is about the Championship, and Reigns feels he belongs in the discussion.
HHH notes everyone wants Brock Lesnar. He doesn't believe Cena's proven himself – and he doesn't think Cena believes it either. So tonight, it's proving time. And the inevitable six-man tag is made: Cena/Jericho/Reigns v. Authority. (He specifically says Demon Kane, by the way.) HHH will be at ringside watching the whole thing. HOLLA! (Takes drink) Wait, Seth Rollins tries to sneak-attack Reigns and fails. Reigns looks at the briefcase and chucks it at Rollins hard.
Here are clips of Damien Sandow losing to Sheamus on behalf of Miz. Miz did a cheap shot and run – but Dolph Ziggler thought otherwise. Sandow somehow got the worst of it. That tag match is NEXT!
It would be really gutsy if they changed the main event. The best they can do is leave it alone – but beyond that, make it a multi-man match so that Brock loses without losing. Then when he's done not wrestling, he comes back, owns the champion, and holds it to WrestleMania. Who knows?
Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus v. Cesaro and The Miz. No entrances. Damien Sandow is at ringside. Dolph and Cesaro start as Sheamus/Cesaro is official for the PPV. Cesaro fakes a clean break and delivers an uppercut and four elbowdrops. (Miz still has his sunglasses on; you need to know this.) Dolph with a dropkick and he swings at Miz, who escapes to his Hollywood chair and gets pampered. Cesaro stomps away on Dolph and works the arm as Miz comes in. Miz with a running seated kick for two. Miz dances and stomps before hooking a chinlock. Yes, that's a make-up artist at Miz's chair. Dolph with a Thesz Press and he swings wildly for the face, but Miz bails. Sheamus tags in and chases Miz, pounding away. Back in, Sheamus catches a boot and takes over with a kneelift. Sandow is nervous. Miz boxes back up, but gets caught and clubbed right back. Ten of Clubs time – okay, Seventeen of Clubs – and Miz is brought back in with a Finlay Roll for two. Miz fights back and gets a hiptoss blocked as the crowd wants Ziggler. Cesaro tags himself in and gets a dropkick as we go to break.
Smart move by the people in the ring to make Sheamus the face in peril. Even though Dolph is more natural of the two in the role, the crowd wants him more, so let him clean house.
Ziggler/Sheamus v. Cesaro/Miz, part two. Miz is taking a powder as Cesaro has the chinlock on Sheamus. The back of Miz's chair says “Moneymaker”. Cesaro punches away, but that just makes Sheamus angry as he fires back. Cesaro gets Sheamus to the apron and catches him with an uppercut and fallaway slam with a bridge for two. Never seen that move before. Blind charge eats boot, and Sheamus goes up only to be caught. He goes up and gets sent back down, and the Battering Ram shoulder hits. Hot tag Dolph as the crowd explodes. As does Dolph. Rude Awakening off a Stinger Splash, and a sunset flip gets two. High rise DDT gets two, Cesaro saves. The Euros go flying out, leaving Dolph with Miz. Famouser misses, and Miz tags... Sandow? Screw it, Dolph says as he does the Zig Zag to Sandow, and Miz returns for the Skull Crushing Finale to win at 11:18. **1/4 Miz and Cesaro share mineral water to celebrate.
Lawler asks the makeup artist to touch Cole up.
Let Us Take You Back to last week and the Bella blowup. This sets up Part 1 of Growing Up Bella – presented by Nikki. Something about how Nikki's prom date was caught with Brie.
Honestly? That was a very interesting finish. Of course Miz can't tag in Sandow legally – but Dolph forgot about the fact that this meant Miz was still legal. I liked it.
Eva Marie's on a magazine cover!
Rosa, Eva Marie, and Cameron v. Layla, Summer Rae, and Naomi. No entrances. Layla gets a quick rollup on Rosa for one, and she returns the favor. HASHTAG. Layla with an armdrag cradle for one, then some kicks for two. A sloppy back kick by Layla, then a crossbody gets two, Cameron saves. Layla attacks Cameron, so it's a heel beatdown and everyone enters the ring as the match is stopped at 1:04. Focus is on Naomi knocking Cameron out, then a double dropkick by Summer and Layla to clear the ring. This was just to remind you that Total Divas Season 3 starts soon, so at least it was short. Rosa is useless in the ring.
We look back at Dean Ambrose's massive head trauma, then at the failed attempt to do it to Roman Reigns. That's a build-up to tonight's main event.
And while I'm watching this Monday Night War ad, does anyone really believe DX did anything to turn the tide? It was a combination of Austin and McMahon carrying the show crossed with Hogan and Nash not realizing or caring the New World Order had run its course. DX was carried to the top.
Big Show and Mark Henry v. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Rowan and Henry start. Henry bowls Rowan over, adding a headbutt and working Rowan over in the corner. Henry pounds away from the bottom rope, and an avalanche crushes Rowan. Henry steps on Rowan, then chokes him with his shin. Headbutt in the corner, and Henry goes up (shoving Harper away) only to get clipped off. Harper in with a big boot for two as we go to break.
Less slow choking, more throwing each other around, please.
Show/Henry v. Harper/Rowan, part two. Rowan with a front chancery, and the two block each other with big boots. Harper in, and he continues punching away as Rusev shows up to watch. Harper's blind charge misses, hot tag Big Show. He flattens Harper repeatedly, then superkicks Rowan out of the ring. Everyone leaves the ring, and Harper chop blocks Show on the outside. They tease a countout – from a chop block? – but Show is easily back in at 9. Harper kicks away on Show, getting two. Rowan in, and he stomps away. NOOGIE OF DOOM as the crowd chants USA at Rusev. Show flips Rowan out of it, but gets booted down. Harper in, and he does some heart slaps, only to get in a chop battle. Harper wins with a superkick of his own, but Show's in the ropes. Harper chokes Show down as the crowd chants “Sexual Chocolate”. Rowan punches away and gets two out of it. Rowan slugs away and slams Show down, getting two. A second try goes nowhere as Show turns it into a DDT (allegedly). Hot tag Henry, who runs over Harper and gets an Oklahoma Slam for two, Rowan saves. Show choke throws Rowan and follows to the outside as Henry goes for the World's Strongest Slam on Harper – only Rusev with a kick to the face for the DQ at 11:20. Harper tries to attack Show with a chair and gets it punched away. Rowan thinks better of following up. Bad, bad match. These four can do much better. 1/4*
Growing Up Bella, part two – this one about a car they got together and an accident that got blamed on Nikki.
I was told not to comment on the coming up bumpers, so I'm cutting them out, but they just did an Up Next for a look back for next week! What is this, Superstars?
Michael Sam will be at Raw next week! Maybe. He's been invited to Raw, anyway.
Let Us Take You Back to John Cena's last seven days, and how angry Brock is that he'd ask for a rematch, and what Cena did about it.
Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman. Today's topic is “over-compensatory behavior” – as in what John Cena did last week. And he has evidence: two weeks ago, Brock Lesnar conquered the everloving heck out of Cena, including an emasculating. John Cena, just as with any other champion, has been stripped of who he is, and now he's lost his reasoning. He's not listening to anyone – not the Hall of Famers, not HHH, no one. And Cena's cash cow is going to be milked dry at Night of Champions. Cena is held by his image in the eyes of the fans – that's why he will buzzsaw through last week and tonight. Whoop de doo – the entire locker room can be multiplied by infinity and it's not even half of what Brock Lesnar can do. (Math? What's math?)
So do they think Michael Sam will show up? Odds are he'll be on St. Louis's practice squad, so he might be busy on Monday. Then again, Ben Roethlisberger showed up during football season while an active football player, so why not?
Jack Swagger v. Curtis Axel. WE THE PEOPLE! And hey, Zeb's back! We look back at SmackDown at how Swagger was derailed by Bo Dallas. Tussle in the corner, and Swagger gets knees to the gut and a hiptoss. WE THE PEOPLE! Axel with a cheap shot to the gut as Bo Dallas arrives with chairs on stage. Axel with a Northern lariat and a kick to the gut for two. People are being invited on stage as Swagger fights back but runs into a dropkick and bails. He drapes Axel on the top rope and begins the comeback with a running knee and slam. Vaderbomb is almost blocked, but Swagger counters to the Patriot Lock for the tapout at 2:35. Much needed. 1/2*
But no celebration, because Bo Dallas talks about how Swagger let all the Americans down, including the three people on stage. One of them bet a month's salary on Swagger – I mean, two months at the end of the day. Now he has nothing, thanks to you. Another one is so upset that he failed his citizenship test and is being deported. (Zeb is willing to pay for airfare.) The third one had a son who idolized Swagger... but now wants to be like Putin. And Bo Dallas shows the picture. But hey, they can turn it around, and so can Jack. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BO LIEVE! Zeb and Swagger are not amused.
Maybe Dutch is booking his own angles, but it seems like between this and Rusev, the stuff Swagger's in is more interesting than the rest of the midcard. Actually, that's not fair – the Dolph/Miz stuff is kind of fun too.
Adam Rose v. Titus O'Neil (no entrance). Titus with an armdrag, but Rose tumbles out of it. He blocks a charge, but dives into some backbreakers. Slater imitates Titus's bark, badly. And the Bunny's back to distract Slater. Titus keeps choking Rose in the corner as Slater is confused by the Bunny. Slater shoves down the Bunny, who fights back and gets the best of Slater as Cole calls it like Howard Cosell. Titus sees this and wonders what happened, so Rose cradles him for the pin at 1:52. Slater eats steps post-match. It's a comedy match.
Cole: “If you're not careful, the Bunny's gonna come after you!”
JBL: “I've got one Clothesline from Hell left in me.”
Growing Up Bella, part three – apparently, Nikki switched places with Brie at high school exams.
Oh, come on, WWE. Teachers are not stupid. I've been in school with identical twins – they'd never get away with it. It's not even a plausible lie! Besides, there's material they can use just from their WWE career that would fit the narrative – why dig up fake history we're not supposed to believe anyway?
WWE Network is having Attitude Week! 9.99! 9.99! 9.99!
Lana has something to say. Today is Labo(u)r Day – a day of not working. So you educate your youth to be entitled and listless. (Crowd demands JBL.) Meanwhile, in Russia, it's Knowledge Day – promoting the education of youth. So stuff it, Labo(u)r Day.
Rusev v. Zack Ryder. Ryder attacks early, but Rusev throws him in the corner. Blind charge misses, but the Ruff Ryder is caught into a fallaway slam. Leaping superkick and Rusev Crush finishes at 53 seconds.
And now Mark Henry's out for a receipt. He charges and... Rusev bails. Henry taunts Rusev and calls him scared. But hey, Henry's scared... of what he'll do if he gets Rusev. He's the Strongest Man in the Strongest Country. And he means this: just because Rusev in unbeaten doesn't mean he's unbeatable. There's an international wing in the Hall of Pain, and Rusev is the first one in it. (Vladimir who-lov?)
Backstage, HHH is talking to Stephanie, asking why she wants to get back involved with Brie. Stephanie says the stories Nikki tell strike a chord in Stephanie. When employees have issues, they can talk to Stephanie. She wants to give back, which amuses HHH. She has an announcement to make, and that's next.
JBL said “I want Mark Henry to do what Jack Swagger couldn't do”. The amount of what the boys call “shade throwing” JBL is doing actually makes me think JBL/Swagger would be a hot midcard match down the line that would redeem Swagger without wasting anyone important. Make it so, WWE!
We look back at Nikki's tantrum from last week.
Stephanie is headed to the ring. Stephanie is a powerful female who commends Nikki for having the courage to stand up and tell her story. She calls Nikki out. Nikki is happy to be supported by Stephanie. Crowd finds this boring. Stephanie is proud of Nikki and sees her as a role model for her daughters. Stephanie calls Nikki the Face Of The Divas, and that means Nikki/Paige down the line.
But wait, here's Brie. She has something to say directly to Nikki. “Is this what it's all been about?” Did she sell out for a title match? Is this what the lies are about? Really? But for what? Nikki: “FOR ME!” Nikki keeps saying Brie makes it about herself. Nikki sees right through Brie (insert skinny joke here), and Nikki is just waiting for Daniel Bryan to get the hint and divorce Brie. After all, everyone will talk about Nikki, not Brie, who will just be a memory.
For once, I'm cheering with the crowd for an interruption – AJ is here. She skips into the ring and waves Stephanie (“Hi, boss lady”). She reminds Stephanie about this #1 Contendership thing, and that she gets a rematch – hey, remember that? AJ doesn't play well with others, so do the right thing and keeps the sisters out so that AJ can get her title shot. Stephanie awkwardly thanks AJ...
...and Paige enters next. This is a milestone: the women are doing World Entrance Federation. She says you can't have a discussion about the championship with a champion, right? And now Nikki says she can fix this right now. She will forgive Brie... if Brie will sacrifice for Nikki. What does that mean? Quit. Now. You'll quit for Daniel, why not me? And if not, why not just go home and be a mother and STAY THERE! If it's not about Brie, she can walk away, right? Nikki eggs Brie on...
...and everyone sees Brie ready to say she's had enough. And she bowls Nikki (and Paige) over to a big pop and YES chant! Meanwhile, as Brie walks away, AJ admires the Divas' Championship and skips with it. I sense a four-way coming and I'm not even mad. Stephanie stops AJ dead in her tracks, really upset, and demands the title. Now. AJ smiles and hands it over, then laughs before skipping off. Paige wants her title back.
I'll give the WWE credit. I thought they were dousing Brie's heat to make Stephanie look good, but it's still there. And if Brie wins the Divas' Title – either in the four-way or directly from Nikki – it'll lead to a big ovation. That said, I'm not ruling out the long con yet.
Tomorrow night's Main Event main event is MizTV with Dolph Ziggler.
Next week's main event will be Chris Jericho against Bray Wyatt in a steel cage!
Bray talks about the match and being locked in like wild animals. So how far will a rat go to outrun the serpent? Within the steel walls, the world will turn its back on Jericho. Run.
We look back at the Dusts turning heel after a failed title opportunity.
Jimmy Uso v. Goldust. JBL admits he was wrong about an intentional countout from last week. But first, Goldust also apologizes about last week. But the Usos won't hear it and start a melee. Jimmy gets the worst of it, but chops away when the bell rings only to run into a spinebuster for one. Jimmy's thrown upside-down into the corner, then it's a lariat for two. We go to the chinlock. Goldust adds more right hands, but Jimmy with a clothesline to start the comeback. Kneeling island chop and Samoan Drop follow, then the Rikishi hip check. Superkick, but Stardust puts Goldust's foot on the ropes. Jey races in and gets kicked down, so Jimmy dives onto Stardust. He's caught coming back in with a kick to the head, and Final Cut ends it at 2:13. 1/2* The Dusts decide to injure Jey further, sending Jey's knee into the post and nailing it with a chair. Goldust: “Do you want some now?” Jey is in massive pain as the Dusts head to the back. Even JBL says it's too much.
We re-replay the Ambrose/Rollins finish, and the attempt to repeat it with Reigns.
If Jey is really hurt, why not switch the titles last week? And if he's not hurt, why not let Goldust do Goldust things that he's famous for? The Goldust I remember would've faked that chairshot and left Jey realizing how vulnerable he was.
Sneak Peek at Season 3 of Total Divas.
Earlier Tonight, Show/Henry v. Harper/Rowan ended in a DQ thanks to Rusev.
Henry tells Show he went for payback, and Show's proud of that – but Show wants to be the biggest, best tag team ever. Henry says, yeah, but I need my hands on Rusev first. Show offers to be in his corner, but this is something Henry has to do himself. Show respects it, and he wants no mercy.
HHH comes to ringside to observe the main event, with Stephanie by his side, as we see HHH setting the wheels in motion on the Highlight Reel. Entrances span the commercial break.
And that's how you turn Show heel. He's not happy that Mark Henry needs to do things on his own just as their team was taking off. To be fair, Show's “turn by” date is coming up.
This just in: Paige will face Brie Bella on SmackDown. And on Raw, it's a SummerSlam rematch as Randy Orton faces Roman Reigns.
John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Chris Jericho v. Seth Rollins, Kane, and Randy Orton. Kane is still Corporate tonight. HASHTAG! Reigns and Orton start. Reigns gets the opening salvo in the corner with punches and headbutts. Orton kicks away to take over, but Reigns floors him with an elbow. Reigns with more headbutts as the Iowans want their own in the ring. Orton with a cross-corner whip, but Reigns drops Orton and fires away, then hands one to Kane. He flings Rollins into the ring and corners him, firing away, but Orton tries to interrupt only to get clotheslined out. Rollins bails as well as Reigns has cleared the ring by himself and we go to break.
I can appreciate that they're giving Roman Reigns the superhero push. I can also appreciate it's working. I'm just not up for it. It feels like you're trying to dictate to the crowd and not vice versa.
#6ManTag main event, part two. Reigns is slugging away on Kane, who gets a running DDT for two. Orton in, and he kicks away and scrapes the face. Orton with an uppercut, but Reigns stops a slugfest and lands a clothesline out of a whip. Samoan Drop by Reigns gets two. Five corner punches, but Rollins distracts and Orton gets his back-to-back backbreaker off the middle rope. It gets two. Rollins tags in and sends Reigns into the apron, then the barricade. Back in, it gets two. Rollins uses Reigns' own arm in a chinlock as they talk out a few spots. Rollins switches to a sleeper, but Reigns sends him into the corner only for Rollins to get a hairpull slam. Kane in, and he stomps away and he gets a chinlock as the crowd chants for Cena. Even Randy Savage is on Cena's side, for the record. Larry Sweeney less so. Reigns breaks with a back suplex, but Orton cuts off the tag. A couple of stomps gets two. A single kick, then Orton plays the crowd. Another kick to the back, and the Orton Stomp as Cena begs for a tag. Reigns with a clothesline out of nowhere, and despite Orton's best effort, it's hot tag Jericho. He takes over on Rollins, then dropkicks Kane off the apron and gets the one-hand bulldog. Lionsault, but no cover. Walls of Jericho on, in the center of the ring, but Orton breaks it. Superpunch to Orton, but Kane chokeslams Reigns. Cena with an AA to Kane, but Rollins catches Cena with the flying knee. Jericho with a cradle on Rollins for two. Enzuigiri by Rollins gets two. HHH barks orders for Rollins as Jericho gets a Codebreaker out of nowhere... while we go to break.
Hey, a fake-out on the finish! I like it.
Main event, part three. Orton has a chinlock on Jericho, but he chops out only to run into a powerslam for two. Rollins in as we see how Jericho went into peril during the break, and he sends Jericho into the corner and chops away. Tumbling forearm and Jericho's down to a mild ovation for Rollins. He goes up top and dives... right into a dropkick. Kane in, and he stops the hot tag with an uppercut for two. Dino Bravo slam by Kane gets two. We go back to the chinlock. This goes on a while as Jericho fakes getting out once, but succeeds on the second try, chopping away. Blind charge by Kane eats boot, but Jericho leaps straight into an uppercut for two. Orton in, and he kicks Jericho in the gut and drops a knee for two. Orton pounds away on Jericho's back before lifting him up and landing a straight right. Superplex is set up, but Jericho fights out, knocking him down. Flying crossbody by Jericho gets two, and he's rolled off to his corner. Kane takes Reigns out of the equation and cuts off Jericho, but he escapes and it's Cena Time. Cena gets his usual comeback on Kane, boots down Rollins, and runs into a goozle. Jericho breaks it up, Orton sends Jericho out, and Cena bowls Kane over before suplexing Rollins German-style. AA to Kane (while looking straight at HHH), and he tags in Reigns for the exclamation point. Spear ends it at 22:50. ***1/4 Cena argues with HHH on the outside as Reigns' music plays and his hand is raised. Just saying. Rollins jumps Cena from behind, but he gets caught and AA'd onto the table (which doesn't break). Message sent to HHH, Cena walks off. Shill next week and let's get out of here!
MORK CALLING ORSON – COME IN ORSON:
Total one-match show this week, with a LOT of filler in the form of Growing Up Bella. The matches themselves were short, which is too bad – if you're doing a filler show, you might as well go to your meat and potatoes of wrestling. One thing I do like is the midcard got some time to build tonight: Sheamus/Cesaro, Dolph/Miz, Henry/Rusev, and Dallas/Swagger all got time to forward their stories.
Still, matches were way too short for a three-hour show, and the Nikki segments were completely unnecessary given the ultimatum later in the ring. Oh well. Time to watch Nitro.
MATCH TIME: 54:05 over eight matches, but five of them were under 3 minutes.
BEST MATCH: The six-man main event
WORST MATCH: The six-Diva non-main event
NIGHT MVP: John Cena
FINAL SCORE: 3. I want to give this more, but five of the matches were as long as one of the other three, and one of those long matches was just BAD. Add in filler, and if you missed this show, you didn't miss much. Then again, it was Labo(u)r Day – I think WWE was counting on that.
Matt Perri will be here tomorrow for Main Event. Tommy Hall reviews first-run wrestling the rest of the week. Scott Keith and Logan Scisco will go WWF retro. Dock Muraco lets you know about Japan. The Stranger moderates the daily threads. And I'll be back in 7 days – if not sooner.