The PG Era Rant for Raw, September 15, 2014.
- John Cena and Brock Lesnar are both in the building and will have a face-off.
- Roman Reigns faces Seth Rollins – not on Sunday, but tonight!
- Mark Henry will hold an All-American rally.
- AJ Lee and Brie Bella face Paige and Nikki Bella.
- Bray Wyatt takes on the Big Show.
Live from Lafayette, Louisiana.
Your hosts are JBL, Kang, and Maggle.
Ladies and gentlemen, the name of our first speaker is Paul Heyman. He promises a preview of Sunday. John Cena will emerge first (Heyman imitates Cena's music), and the kids will cheer. Then Brock will emerge (boo all you want, he says, because it's going to get worse). If you think Cena got hurt at Sum...
...wait, here's Cena. JBL: “If I were Heyman I would make a phone call.” Cena scans the crowd, then asks where Brock is. Heyman tries to double-talk his way out of the question, but Cena reminds us that Cena's going to fight SOMEONE, and if Brock's not there, he'll send a message through Heyman. Heyman asks why Cena wants to give the fight away for free... but heck, it'll happen! Heyman's clearly stalling before introducing The Pain...
...or not. Heyman had Cena psyched out for nothing. See, Brock Lesnar has a private jet because he hates everyone. As such, he's delayed, but he'll be here soon enough. But Cena knew that, right? He knew it so he could call Brock out and not have a reply. Smart move, John. You had Heyman going for a second, but that was smart.
But Cena won't let Heyman leave, grabbing him by the neck. “I think you're full of crap. But here is what I know.” Remember Cena demanding Brock Lesnar? He gives Lesnar until 9:30 to show up or Heyman will take the beating instead.
Heyman says he'll be waiting for Lesnar and walks out... but Cena cuts him off. Cena doesn't trust Paul Heyman, and hey, Lafayette wants a fight, so Cena will make sure they get it. Cena's not going to let Heyman escape, dragging him to the back.
Highlights of last week's main event post-match chaos.
Hopefully – and I know I'm probably in the minority when I say this – we'll get some good backstage stuff of Cena playing mind games with Heyman. BANG 3:16 was my favorite Stone Cold antic.
If you had the WWE App, you would've seen John Cena lock Paul Heyman in his dressing room and ask the Great Khali to keep him in there. I didn't know Cena spoke Punjabi.
Chris Jericho v. Corporate Kane. Kane goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY to start. Jericho gets a back elbow and low bridges Kane out. The springboard dropkick keeps Kane outside, and Jericho goes up top and dives onto Kane. Jericho runs into an uppercut, though, and Kane sends Jericho into the apron. Back in, it gets two. Jericho vaults over Kane on a cross-corner whip and gets an enzuigiri and dropkick for two. Jericho with more kicks and chops in the corner, then a cravat. Kane flapjacks Jericho to the mat (as the announcers think Jericho landed on his bad knee), then tosses Jericho out as we go to break.
Darn it! We're not going to have mind games? There won't be any teasing Heyman while Paul freaks out? C'mon, man! This just seems like bullying by Cena. Blame Vince, right? I mean, at least Hogan waited for Heenan to try something reprehensible before tossing him around.
Jericho/Kane, part two. Jericho fights out of the chinlock, stopping a blind charge and getting a missile dropkick. Kane tackles Jericho down for two. We go to the VULCAN NERVE LOCK OF DOOM next, then switch to a chinlock by Kane. Jericho fights out but gets smashed hard with a right, and Kane follows with an avalanche and Bravo Side Slam for two. To the top, but Jericho intercepts with a dropkick. Jericho with the comeback, staggering Kane with a forearm. To the top, and a single axhandle floors Kane. Jericho goes for ten punches in the corner, but is caught on nine and dropped on the buckles face-first (in theory). Kane removes a turnbuckle pad, but Jericho slides under the bolt and catches Kane charging in. Diving bodypress gets two. Walls of Jericho try, but Kane powers out. Tree slam by Kane as the bolt is still exposed, and Kane tries to slingshot Jericho into it. Jericho lands on the ropes, then counters a chokeslam try with a DDT for two (sort of). Codebreaker is blocked, and a second try eats boot as Kane gets two. Tombstone try, but Jericho slides out and gets the one-handed bulldog. Lionsault lands right in Kane's grasp, but the chokeslam misses. Jericho trips Kane into the bolt and rolls him up for the pin at 13:05. That was... long. *1/2
Meanwhile, Paul Heyman is begging Brock Lesnar to show up, but can't get reception in John Cena's dressing room. 58 minutes to go.
Ugh. Kane had no heat in that match, and Jericho was just another midcarder. The crowd didn't turn on the match, but they weren't too interested. Kane is done. Time to retire.
Back on SmackDown, Mark Henry beat Rusev right-handed. Left-handed was a no-contest when Lana threw powder and Rusev attacked. We get a pep talk from a former US Olympian.
Renee Young talks to Roman Reigns and reminds him about Seth Rollins joining the Authority. Reigns talks about coming into the WWE with brothers, but now stands alone. Rollins can't take credit for what Reigns has done, but Reigns knows Rollins has a plan. So does Reigns: punch Rollins into oblivion.
Steve Austin's podcast will be all-new tomorrow with guest Kevin Nash.
Ooh, Kevin Nash talking for an hour with Steve Austin? That could be a lot of fun.
Jack Swagger v. Bo Dallas. Wait, now? Well, it wasn't making Night of Champions anyway. Dallas gets the opening salvo in the corner, but Swagger carries him across the ring and adds kneelifts and a belly-to-belly for one. Blind charge by Swagger misses, and Dallas adds corner clotheslines. Short lariat by Dallas, and he attacks the ribs (which are no longer taped). Dallas with a headlock as the crowd is more behind Dallas than Swagger. Swagger fights out, but runs into a dropkick for one. More chinlockery as the crowd is divded. Swagger with a snapmare, but Dallas adds a forearm and works Swagger over in the corner. Swagger tries to fight out, but a big boot by Dallas gets one, and back to the chinlock. Swagger back suplexes out of it, but Dallas recovers with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Dallas with knees to the throat for two. Dallas to the top, imitating Swagger's pledge, but the kneedrop misses. Swagger with the comeback, including a big boot in the corner. WE THE PEOPLE! Dallas rolls away before the Vaderbomb can get going, and a drape on the top rope into a cradle gets two for Dallas. Blind charge catches Dallas's boot, but he kicks out. Bo-Dog goes nowhere, but Dallas with a crucifix for two. Immediate Patriot Lock by Swagger, and that's the tapout at 6:03 to win the feud. WE THE PEOPLE! **
WWE Network! 9.99! And tonight, Slam City! Tomorrow, Bret Hart's role in the Monday Night Wars! Sunday, the pre-show and Night of Champions!
Slam of the Week is Jerry Springer getting the worst of it.
So for those of you like me who were worried that Swagger's face turn was just to be fed to Rusev, it looks like they're not willing to give up on him yet. He needed the win more than Dallas, who can recover heat just by being an annoying jackass on the microphone.
Paige and Nikki Bella v. Brie Bella and AJ Lee. Brie and Nikki start... just kidding, Brie and Paige start. Paige with a superkick to Brie and she skips around. Knee smashes to Brie's guy as she's hung up on the ropes, then a stomp and the chinlock. She yanks Brie to the ground, but Brie is up with forearms only to get floored. Headbutt by Paige gets two. Paige mocks AJ by holding Brie's hand just out of reach (and blowing a kiss with it), but Brie with a cradle for two. Paige floors Brie again and goes to the chinlock again. Jawbreaker by Brie, but Nikki yanks AJ off the apron and the guillotine DDT ends it at 2:58. This was what it had to be. 1/2* Nikki adds the Shock Treatment post-match to make a point, then Paige skips around Brie... as does AJ on the outside, mirroring Paige.
Back to SmackDown, where Show/Henry/Jimmy/Jey faced Harper/Rowan/Goldust/Stardust, with Big Show holding Bray at bay.
Bray speaks of David and Goliath, saying sickness and death are our Goliaths today. How will you topple your Goliath – He's not going to help you. All your beliefs are lies, and Bray Wyatt has to fix it. He'll start by fixing the Big Show.
Paul Heyman. Still nervous. 23 minutes.
The Divas' match went about the way it had to: you keep Brie/Nikki fresh, you give nothing away for Sunday, Brie can eat the fall because she's the underdog, and Paige is champ and needs some wins. It's too bad they've done booking in such a way that makes all four people hard to like. On a related note, why does Vince kowtow to people who don't care about him?
Paul Heyman tries to butter up Great Khali and asks to get outside for cell reception. “Do you know what John Cena will do to me?” Khali breaks the phone (a clear prop) and throws Heyman back in. 18 minutes.
Big Show v. Bray Wyatt. Bray goes to the kidneys, but to no effect as Show tosses him around. Bray likes that. Bray gets bowled over again and sent to the corner, but Bray fights out of the CHOP OF DOOM only to get boxed down and chopped down. Blind charge misses for Show, but not for Bray. Bray's second run intercepts the boot, torques the knee, and leads to a clothesline. Bray kicks away and gets a DDT for two. Headbutts and a chinlock follow. Show shoves out, but the charge hits boot and Bray gets a clip and kick for one. Back to the chinlock. This goes on for a while. Show suplexes out of it for a Double KO. Show with corner clotheslines for the comeback, but Bray cuts off the finale with a flying forearm for two. Bray up, but he's caught and thrown into Rowan. Spinning elbow and the Family race in for the DQ at 4:42. Not that it matters, because Harper and Rowan both get chokeslammed at the same time as Bray watches from his chair. I hate Big Show as a face. 1/4*
What good does that do for anyone? Big Show is a tag team wrestler. He doesn't need to beat up three guys. Harper and Rowan are jobbers now, nothing more. And Bray? I don't know where you go with him.
We look back at Goldust beating Jimmy Uso 2 weeks ago.
The Usos & Sheamus v. Cesaro & Goldust & Stardust. Looks like Paul Heyman's going to get an extension. Sheamus and Goldust start. Lockup goes nowhere, round 2 goes to Goldust. Sheamus likes it. Goldust works the arm, but Sheamus breaks out and runs over Godust repeatedly. Brogue Kick is dodged as Goldust bails, and he and Stardust have a conference (Cody: “Meow.”). Jey in, working the arm, but Stardust tags himself in and slugs away, but Jey with uppercuts as we're in overtime of the first half. Blind charge eats Stardust's boots, and Cesaro is in. Six of Clubs to Jey (while staring at Sheamus), and in comes Goldust with a right hand for one. Blind charge misses, hot tag Jimmy. Superkick to Goldust and an uppercut, then a Samoan throw. Stardust tags himself in and lands the Disaster Kick (barely) for two. Jimmy is tossed as we go to break.
If it's not halftime yet, is this show going four hours? They can't even do three right! At the very least, can we have a fourth official like in soccer/football holding up how many minutes of injury time we have for the first half of the show?
Usos/Sheamus//Cesaro/Dusts, part two. Cesaro gets two on Jimmy, twice, as we return. He kicks Jimmy around, doing some Rocky Shuffle in between, but Jimmy gets into an uppercut battle. GIANT SWING OF DOOM is teased, but Cesaro goes for the Kevin Sullivan stomp for two. Karelin Suplex, and Stardust keeps up the attack. The Dusts scratch away on Jimmy, and Goldust adds a bottom rope choke. Jimmy looks to come back, but runs into a knee for one. Stardust back as he punches Jimmy down and gets in his face. Cesaro in with a running uppercut in the elbow as JBL wishes Teddy Long a happy birthday. During a tag match. Seems right. Jimmy headbutts away from Cesaro, but Cesaro gets a front chancery to cut off the tag. Cesaro cuts off Jimmy and mocks Sheamus, then turns around and gets backdropped. Goldust knocks Jey off the apron, but Jimmy with the Dragon Whip. Hot tag Sheamus, and Stardust gets the worst of it. Running knee into the corner and a Finlay Roll, and Four of Clubs to Cesaro, but Stardust rolls him up for two. Stardust and Cesaro are sent packing, and Sheamus dives onto both of them. Stardust catches Sheamus coming back in, and Cesaro with a blind tag. Brogue Kick to Stardust means nothing, but Neutralizer to Sheamus, Jey saves. Jimmy tags in and superkicks Cesaro in the chaos, then tags Jey in and dives onto Goldust. Superfly Splash ends Cesaro at 13:09. Good, hot finish. **3/4
We look back at Dean Ambrose's injury.
Somebody check the announcers. Do any of them wear watches? I can understand if they don't and therefore have no idea how much time has passed... but this is a rather transparent way of keeping people watching. Just have Cena say “You have until the end of the show” if you're going to do it this way.
On the Night of Champions kick-off, Christian will interview Chris Jericho.
A look back at Mark Henry's Olympic career. Lana is not impressed.
Renee Young is with Randy Orton as we look at his attack on Jericho last week. What was your reason, Randy? Orton reminds us that Jericho claims Orton was a charity case, but Orton says he's just a natural, and he'll prove it at Night of Champions, when Jericho gets a beating handed to him.
Great Khali is still guarding the door.
I've just been told Cena might have meant halftime of the NFL game. A quick reluctant check of ESPN reveals we're more or less there. To be fair, Cena didn't say “9:30”, he said “halftime”. That's amazingly cheap.
Cena arrives – yup, it was halftime of the NFL game – and tells Heyman it's time to go. And he drags Heyman to the ring. Heyman begs for mercy as Cena picks him up by the tie and asks for a microphone.
Ladies and gentlemen, his name is John Cena and it's time for a fight. But he's giving Heyman one last chance to get Lesnar to show up. Cena is acting the bully to Heyman as he asks for Heyman to make Brock appear.
Heyman instead calls Cena a sham and says Cena is turning into the monster Heyman wanted. He wanted Cena to take his aggression out on the fans... but that's not the trigger. Heyman is. And he can make Cena into a monster that can slay the monster Brock Lesnar. Heyman is bringing Cena's anger and hatred out of him. He KNOWS Heyman won't get hurt, because that would make Cena a bully. Will Cena REALLY take it out on Heyman? No. Lesnar's a bully, but not Cena – and that's why Cena can't beat Lesnar. Heyman knows Cena believes the role model thing – so either let the aggression out and become the Champ on Sunday – go over the cliff and hit Paul Heyman! Heyman is egging Cena on to smack him, saying Lesnar took everything from Cena. Heyman knows Cena is a good person, and that's why he will lose on Sunday. He can't even hit Heyman, who clearly deserves it. Cena will fail because of his nice guy streak.
Cena's heard enough. He makes it clear: Heyman deserves to be destroyed, because he is scum. (Heyman keeps begging to be hit, asking Cena to become a Paul Heyman Guy.) Crowd wants it too – a huge YES chant breaks out. But Cena says no. He can't. He thought Heyman would produce Brock Lesnar so he could prove he was ready... but this was all a con, just Heyman. And Heyman doesn't deserve to be hit.
Heyman says Cena's doing the right thing – assuming she has testicles. And that's more than enough, as Cena shoves Heyman right out of the ring...
...and FINALLY, here comes The Pain. Cena is READY. Lesnar is READY. Brock slowly circles the ring as the announcers wonder why neither man is starting the fight. Brock picks Heyman up and begins to walk with him. Heyman goes to leave as Brock walks to the ring. Heyman tries to call him back. And it works – Lesnar and Heyman walk away. Cena calls Lesnar back. Lesnar jumps to the apron, and HERE WE GO! And it's a German Suplex by Lesnar that flattens Cena. Lesnar kicks Cena out of the ring, smirking as Heyman holds the belt on high... but Cena's not done and knocks Lesnar out of the ring as they brawl on the floor! Lesnar gets tossed into the barricade, and the war is on on the floor. Cena's got the top mount and holds it until 50 security guards hold Cena back. Crowd screams “Let Them Fight”. Lesnar sees that Cena won't be chasing him and walks off. Cena: “See you Sunday, bro!”
Now THAT is how you sell a big show. The crowd was very much into it, Lesnar looked strong from an even start, but Cena showed he wasn't about to be manhandled and was going to fight smarter. Plus, it's clear Cena *can* drop the nice guy act if pushed, and he's been pushed. This is going to be good if they can deliver.
Cameron v. Naomi. But first, we look at Total Divas to see why they've become enemies. Cameron won't put the mirror away, so Naomi slaps it away and the fight is on. Naomi takes advantage of that, getting whatever she gets in the corner, but Cameron knocks her to the floor. Back in, Cameron chokes Naomi in the ropes, then gets a suplex and split legdrop to the back for two. Cameron with a hairpull slam for one, and she gets a surfboard. Naomi butts out, but Cameron yanks her down by the hair for one. Chinlock time, and the crowd no longer cares. Back to the surfboard. Cameron tosses Naomi into the corner and kicks her down, ignoring eating boot on a blind charge. Seated dropkick gets two. Naomi fights out of another chinlock, and this time, she gets a sunset flip try, completed into the Anaconda Vice for the tapout at 4:26. DUD
Cameron is worthless in the ring right now and needs that trip to NXT to get her act together. I'm not going to give up on her yet, but there wasn't much going on from Cameron there.
The Miz & Damien Sandow v. Dolph Ziggler & R-Truth. Humorously, the announcers act like Ziggler and Truth (Ziggler's stunt double) look as alike as Miz and Sandow. Anyway, Sandow and Dolph start. Headlock battle goes nowhere. Sandow with headbutts, but Dolph gets a dropkick and elbow for one. Truth tagged in, and stereo hiptosses lead to the two dancing in unison and dropping elbows. Truth covers for two. Sandow attacks when Truth is chasing Miz. Miz in, he smacks Truth around as the announcers act like no one can tell anyone apart. Miz with a running kick for two, and Sandow adds a shot in. Sandow gets an elbow for one, and he hits the chinlock. Sandow does his own snapmare, running kick, and “AWESOME” call, and in comes Miz for a camel clutch. Dolph and Miz argue, and Miz gets a kick and chinlock. Truth suplexes out, hot tag Dolph. Stinger Splash and Rude Awakening, but Miz cradles him for two. Skull Crushing Finale is escaped, and Famouser gets two as Sandow saves. Double-team by the Mizzes goes wrong, and Zig Zag ends it at 5:07. I have no idea anymore. *1/4
Tom Philips interviews Seth Rollins as we look at the steel cage ambush. Rollins promises the same fate awaits Roman Reigns tonight – yes, he's naturally gifted, but Reigns is nothing without Rollins. Reigns is just a barbarian and a Neanderthal. (Rollins even demonstrates Reigns is a knuckle-walker.) Rollins then calls him part rhino and part gorilla – meaning he's not smart. And brains will win out. Tonight, Rollins takes away everything Reigns has ever had and becomes the future of WWE.
Sorry, the comedy kind of fell flat without having the match hinge on being confused between the two. As it is, the announcers' banter didn't help get the live crowd into it, but the crowd only cares about Dolph at this point of those four anyway.
Your SmackDown feature match will be Big Show and the Usos against the entire Wyatt Family. Even though Show was just shown beating down all three Wyatts 90 minutes ago.
Roman Reigns v. Seth Rollins. Rollins gets shoved down early, but comes back with forearms before bailing on a criss-cross. The chase continues, won by Rollins with a throat drape. Reigns returns with a huge uppercut and he pounds away. Huge hiptoss by Reigns and he takes over across the ring. Short lariat, but Rollins escapes a Samoan drop and bails. Reigns catches him and dumps him to the floor. Rollins visits the apron spine-first, and back in, Rollins gets dumped over the top. Back outside, Rollins eats stairs, then goes into the announcers table. Then over it. Reigns stares at Rollins as we go to break.
Well, I guess Mark Henry got cut due to time constraints. We needed Cameron/Naomi and the stunt doubles.
Main event, part two. During the break, Rollins got a spinning neckbreaker. Reigns on live TV powers out of a chinlock, getting a suplex on Rollins. Running clothesline in the corner and an uppercut follow, but the Drive-By Dropkick is telegraphed. Rollins kicks Reigns aside and dives onto him. Back in, it gets two. Rollins gets mounted punches and lords over Reigns. Running Stinger Splash misses as Reigns gets clothesline after clothesline, but after a series of misses, Reigns with the Protoslam for two. Drive-By Dropkick connects for real this time, and back in, it's the Superpunch. Rollins vaults the spear and gets a low superkick for two. To the top goes Rollins, but Reigns uppercuts him and climbs after him. Rollins teases a Tiger Driver, but Reigns teases a Samoan Superdrop, and it ends with Rollins getting the turnbuckle bomb for two. Rollins taunts Reigns, who headbutts Rollins to shut him up. Massive strikefest breaks out, Rollins misses the Curbstomp, and Spear gets it at 11:23. **1/4 Cole says they'll meet again on Sunday for some reason.
We look back at the arm wrestling. Wait, they're doing that? Well, it is only 10:54. Wait, it's the main event??
I, uh... what? This is the last segment? We're going home with this? Did Vince just throw the script pages in the air and pick them up in a random order and no one had the heart to tell him they were shuffled?
Slam City ad.
We look back at Cena and Brock going to war, leading to a Night of Champions plug.
Miniature American flags for all! Michael Cole introduces Mark Henry. This gets a USA chant. Cole asks: does Rusev's disdain affect him? Henry is angry at Rusev. He is upset that he had to leave the Atlanta Games due to injury. (Crowd is WHATing Henry.) But he has a second chance. On Sunday, he'll shut up Rusev and Lana. And if you love America and wave them flags, Henry promises he won't – can't – let them down. Cole then asks about Lana's disparaging of America on social media, calling America hypocritical and a losing cause. Henry says that Russia doesn't have the freedom of speech America does...
...and finally, here's Rusev. Lana demands silence, but Henry says “make me”. Lana calls what Henry says mere propaganda and that Russia subscribes to the facts. Since America's intelligence is going downhill fast, here's an educational slideshow to make their point. See, Henry also competed in 1992, right? Did you not mention it because you failed? And that a Russian won the gold? And here's a picture of the man who did it. And that superiority is why Henry “withdrew”. Henry knew he was inferior – you know, like Obama is inferior to Putin. And on Sunday, history repeats itself.
Henry, though, pledges to everyone in Lafayette (cheap pop) and all other Americans... but instead, he recites the Pledge of Allegiance... or starts to when Rusev invades the ring. Rusev wins that slugfest and works him over in the corner, but he runs into a flying toss from Henry. Rusev's up fast with a superkick, though, and it's Crush time. Camel clutch is on... wait, no, he can't quite hook it. Henry blocks it, gets to his feet, and tree bombs Rusev. Rusev is disposed over the top rope and Murica! Henry waves the flag as the show ends.
MORK CALLING ORSON – COME IN ORSON:
This show felt so disjointed. If you switch Henry/Rusev's segment with Cena/Lesnar's, I'm okay with it, oddly enough. I mean, it's still a nothing Raw either way, mind you, but at least it feels like it flows better.
As it is, there was way too much filler on this show. Cameron and Naomi went nowhere and did nothing, and it's time that could've gone to Swagger/Dallas or the six-man. The need to wait for NFL halftime makes WWE seem second-rate. It should've been the halftime of Raw, in my opinion.
Maybe I'm just jaded now. Anyway:
HOW I'D BOOK IT:
- Dolph Ziggler defeats the Miz to remain Intercontinental Champion.
- Rusev makes Mark Henry tap out.
- Nikki Bella defeats AJ Lee and Paige by pinning Paige to become Divas' Champion.
- Cesaro defeats Sheamus to win the US Title.
- Randy Orton defeats Chris Jericho and puts him out of action.
- Goldust and Stardust defeat the Usos to win the Tag Team Titles.
- Seth Rollins beats Roman Reigns and puts him on the shelf.
- John Cena and Brock Lesnar goes to a Double DQ, necessitating Hell in a Cell.
MATCH TIME: 60:33 over nine matches
BEST MATCH: The six-man
WORST MATCH: Cameron/Naomi
NIGHT MVP: John Cena and Brock Lesnar (even though it's kayfabe)
SCORE: 3.5. Just a lot of boring, plus they made Raw look second-rate, which was beyond stupid. And yet, I'm still going to watch Night of Champions because Cena and Lesnar have dragged that show kicking and screaming into an interesting night.
Matt Perri is here tomorrow. Tommy Hall does the rest of the week. Brian Bayless will be back with the e-fed Night of Champions. Scott Keith keeps the mailbag open. And now, the floor will be turned over to you – I have Takeover II to watch.