The PG Era Rant for RAW, September 22, 2014.
Tonight's preview notes:
- Dean Ambrose is back!
- Dolph Ziggler calls in his rematch clause against the Miz.
- The Usos and Sheamus will face Goldust, Stardust, and Cesaro.
We get a review of Lesnar/Cena: the Title Rematch and how it fell apart at Seth Rollins's hands.
Live from Memphis, TN.
Your hosts are Cole, King, and Bradshaw.
And we open with Dean Ambrose. “I'm not dead!” Not just that, but he's back. He recounts the last few weeks in his life, replaying the pain he went through 2-on-1. (We now review the incident.) Ambrose admits it seems cool now that there's time to reflect. He's even flattered that the Authority went that far to dispose of him. But they failed. And he holds grudges against the Authority, and tonight, he IS the Authority. He won't leave until he gets Seth Rollins. And to prove it, he grabs a chair and begins the sit-in.
Instead of Rollins, though, we get John Cena. Ambrose is non-plussed. He ditches the chair and tells Cena he's not happy to see him. He politely suggests that Cena leave. Cena, though, says he's on Ambrose's side: they both hate Seth Rollins. Cena is clearly furious that Rollins cost him the WWE Title. So he's cashing in an Ass Kicking in the Bank Contract on Rollins, and no one will stop him. Dean is actually amused by this. He re-iterates that Cena should get out of the way. Cena gets ready for a fight, as does Ambrose...
...and that's the Authority's cue. HHH reminds everyone he's in charge, and that no one's fighting Rollins. Tonight's main event, instead... but Cena and Ambrose won't wait and the 3-on-2 war is on! Rollins escapes through the crowd, with Ambrose in hot pursuit, as the war goes there. Ambrose chases Rollins to the back, with Cena right behind him. The rest of the Authority retreats as Ambrose catches Rolins within the catacombs and Cena catches up. Rollins uses some well-placed suitcases to protect himself, then carjacks a vehicle and takes off.
If Cena can borrow some of Ambrose's edge – and be honest, Ambrose has more than enough to spare – he'll be better off for it.
HHH makes tonight's matches: Kane vs. Ambrose (“Finish him.”) and Orton vs. Cena. Kane asks why it's their issue, and Stephanie says she thought the two of them might want some retribution. Orton says to tell Rollins to “stop starting fires that we have to put out.”
Intercontinental Title rematch: The Miz (champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler (challenger). Sandow's here, Truth isn't. HASHTAG! Dolph with a quick back cradle for one. He goes behind, then gets an inverted atomic drop and Heart Attack elbow for two. Miz to the headlock, and he knocks down Dolph, getting a knee smash. Miz hooks the nose and switches to a chinlock. Dolph fights out and slaps Miz hard on the chest, but Miz clips Dolph and goes or the figure-four. Dolph sends Miz into the post to break. Stinger Splash by Dolph, but Miz escapes the Rude Awakening. He suckers Dolph into the ropes and drops a neckbreaker to the outside as we go to break.
You can kind of see the seeds being sewn for Orton/Rollins down the line, with Orton's face turn based on never getting that rematch. The key is he can't become a white-bread babyface – he needs to retain the crazy.
Intercontinental Title, part two. Miz just got a two-count as we return. Miz with the through-the-ropes corner clothesline and he goes up, but Dolph intercepts with a dropkick. Dolph begins the comeback seqeunce, with the Stinger Splash and Rude Awakening leading to a missed Famouser, but Dolph gets the Sky High DDT for two. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale and Figure Four, both of which are blocked. Dolph up top but he gets caught, and here's the Figure Four. He gets two during the hold. Dolph makes the ropes. Miz misses a dropkick, and Dolph knocks over Miz and Sandow. Back in, Miz catches Dolph and lands the Skull-Crushing Finale for two. Crowd is into it. Miz misses the running kick and gets cradled for two. Famouser gets two. Dolph's knee is shot, though. Dolph misses the Zig Zag and pauses to kick Sandow off the apron, but Miz cradles Dolph with the tights for two... only Dolph reverses with tights of his own for the pin and the title at 12:55. Crowd pops hard. ***1/4
Stills of Ambrose's return and the crazy brawl that followed.
While it was a good rematch and the crowd loved the title change and all, why change the title at Night of Champions in the first place? Personally, I'm glad I got to see a good long match with a hot crowd, but if you're mad at the booking, I can see it.
Bo Dallas v. Jack Swagger. This is the rubber match. Swagger is aggressive out of the gate, but Dallas with a back kick and he works him over in the corner. A short lariat follows, then some kneedrops for two. Swagger fights out of the corner, but runs into a knee to the gut for a pair of one-counts. To the chinlock. Swagger fights out and gets the comeback into a corner whip and big boot. WE THE PEOPLE! Vaderbomb connects. High Greco-Roman suplex is escaped, and Dallas with the swinging neckbreaker for two. Dallas with a series of shots in the corner, but Swagger reverses it to a front electric chair and Patriot Lock for the tapout at 3:15. *1/4 Zeb Colter rubs it in.
Open question: do you team Swagger and Henry as Zeb Colter Guys to continue the story? Bonus question: which one gets sick of it and beats up JBL first?
Summer Rae v. Natalya. This is the Total Divas cross-promotion portion of our show. Layla and Rosa are at ringside. Summer calls herself the most attractive person in the room and says Natalya is jealous. Wasn't Summer Rae a face when we last saw her? Natalya jumps at the sound of the bell and has to be pulled away. Summer with a spinkick and she pounds away. She uses a body-scissors, but Natalya powers into a cradle for two. Natalya spins around and goes to a mount, but Summer has a guillotine on. Natalya reverses to a slam. Running stomp and dropkick begins the comeback, and she goes nuts in the corner. Layla distracts, and Summer gets two. Rosa pulls Layla away, and Natalya gets the Sharpshooter for the tapout at 2:15. This concludes the cross-promotion portion of our show. 1/2*
There's really no need to use Total Divas to set up matches. The whole concept of Total Divas is that they are different from their characters. This is approximately the opposite of what the purpose of the show is. And I have now given more thought to this show than anyone outside of Matt and Danielle, but they're reviewing it. I don't have that excuse.
Previously on Superstars. I mean Raw. Calling Botchamania...
Dean Ambrose v. Kane. Cole ties it together, saying Kane helped Seth Rollins try to end Ambrose's career. HASHTAG! Ambrose catches a boot and fires away, but Kane gets an uppercut. Ambrose trips Kane and takes the mount before going up top and getting a flying uppercut for one. Kane works Ambrose over in the corner, but Ambrose reverses and dropkicks Kane into the ropes. He runs into the goozle but elbows out and low bridges Kane. The tope suicida follows, then chairs are brought out only for Kane to boot Ambrose down. Ambrose eats steps, and back in, Kane gets one. Kane works the arm of Ambrose, who fights out and stops a blind charge. Ambrose leaps right into an uppercut for two. Back to the arm, with a hairpull slam getting two. More armbarring. Ambrose fights out and gets a DDT. He fights back with one arm, getting the rope tangle clothesline. He goes up top, and a missile dropkick gets two. Tornado DDT try is blocked, and Kane misses the chokeslam. Ambrose gets Dirty Deeds only for Seth Rollins to return for the DQ at 5:26. *1/2
Rollins gets a chair, but Ambrose tackles it away and sends Rollins packing. He goes for a dive and runs into Kane's fist, and now the chokeslam connects. Kane goes to leave, but Rollins decides he's not done. He goes to return, but Ambrose grabs the chair and holds him at bay. Ambrose is still standing at the end.
And rather than talk about the match, I'll just say again, Kevin Dunn delenda est.
Rollins and Kane are talking backstage. HHH relays the message to Rollins from Orton – and here comes Ambrose to attack anything that moves. Security drags him away again. HHH ejects Ambrose, and Stephanie has him locked in a janitor's closet (“Have we ever thrown someone out that didn't come back?” Genre savviness strikes!).
A look back at the reporting on Roman Reigns' surgery.
I'm not even mad that Stephanie looks like the smartest person in the room again, because it's refreshing to see someone realize that wrestling has tropes that are always followed.
Sheamus & Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso v. Goldust & Stardust & Cesaro. HASHTAG! Goldust and Jey start. Goldust dumps Jey, but he returns and chops away. Jimmy in, and he gets the flying forearm in the corner and a backdrop. The Dusts take a breather, and Stardust enters. Jimmy rushes him into the corner, but Stardust reverses only to get run over. A series of reversals leads Stardust to bail out, and the Dusts stall some more. Cesaro has had enough and tags himself in, demanding Sheamus. He gets his wish and fires off forearms, but runs into a lariat and gets pummeled. The beatings continue, with Cesaro getting the upper hand on an uppercut, and Goldust enters and keeps up the fists. Sheamus reverses to a running knee and clothesline, and in comes Jey. Leaping headbutt gets two. Stardust brings himself in, working over Jey's back and stomping him down. He chokes Jey in the ropes, but gets caught with chops and bringing in Jimmy. Double-team by the Usos gets two. Jimmy goes to the armbar, but Goldust tags in and takes over. Stardust tags himself in and trips Jimmy, as the Dusts get a double-team Stun Gun for two as we go to break.
This crowd is oddly disinterested in this match so far. It's like Goldust and Stardust are not working as heels.
Sheamus/Usos v. Cesaro/Dusts, part two. Stardust has Jimmy tied up, but runs into a boot on a blind charge. Hot tag Sheamus, and he unloads on Stardust, ending with a Finlay Roll. Goldust goes flying, and Stardust eats the Ten of Clubs. Cesaro tags himself in and Stardust low-bridges the two together, but Sheamus gets hung up on the ropes and Cesaro yanks him to the floor. Back in, Cesaro walks the middle rope and drops a double axhandle for one. He hooks something resembling an Anaconda Vice with an armbar twist, and when Sheamus fights out, Cesaro lands an uppercut. Goldust in, and he works the back. To the chinlock. He breaks it and drops an elbow, and Stardust keeps up the beating in the ropes. Cesaro adds a boot for no reason, and Stardust gets two off of it. Sheamus fights out of a front chancery, then charges a Disaster Kick with an Irish Hammer and everyone's down. Hot tag Jey, and Cesaro's sent flying as Jey runs over Goldust. The Usos return the Stun Gun to Goldust, and Jimmy does a double moonsault, Cesaro saving. Hip check to Goldust, superkick to Cesaro, and a double dive onto Stardust and Cesaro. Jimmy (I think) goes up top and splashes Goldust's knees, and the Final Cut follows, Sheamus saves. Brogue Kick to Stardust, but Cesaro sends him and Sheamus packing. Superkick by Jimmy to Goldust, and Jey with the splash for real to win at 15:38. **3/4
Backstage, Randy Orton is joined by Seth Rollins, who wants to mend fences. He appreciates what Orton's doing, really. And to prove it, he has a surprise for Orton at ringside – plus, Kane and Rollins will be at ringside. Orton likes the sound of that.
If only I had a PS4, I might get WWE 2K15. Otherwise, I'll wait and see if it's worth getting on PS3.
Mark Henry is out. We see how he lost to Rusev in stills. Henry apologizes for his performance at Night of Champions. He isn't even mad at the What chants. He's just sorry this all happened. And on cue, here's Rusev. Lana says Henry has no need to apologize, since everyone knows (SHUT UP) that America is sorry. (Lana mocks the USA chant.) Russia, meanwhile, is a proud nation. (SHUT UP ALREADY!) Lana even offers one more chance – a rematch, tonight.
Henry says he'll do it if the people want it. Bring it on! And the rematch is on!
After commercials, obviously.
On Main Event, The Miz will interview Dean Ambrose.
Mark Henry v. Rusev. HASHTAG! Rusev works the ribs to start, kicking the back in the corner. Henry bowls Rusev out of the corner, but he can't stand up straight and Rusev continues the assault. Running charge in the corner, and Rusev gets a head-and-armlock. This goes on a while. Rusev kicks the back and goes back to the lock. Crowd begins a USA chant, and Henry fights out, but Rusev hits a dropkick (!!) and goes back to the lock. This hold is on for well over a minute at this point, but Henry steps on Rusev's bare feet to begin the comeback. Avalanche in the corner, then an scoop slam. Henry goes outside and catches Rusev, sending him into the steps in a reversal of last night. He throws Rusev into the barricade, but his ribs give out. Back in (eventually), Henry does the Junkyard Headbutt and teases a Vaderbomb. Rusev is up and yanks Henry to the mat. Rusev is fired up, demanding Henry get up, but he can't. So Rusev says the heck with it, and the Accolade is on. The KO is academic at 7:27. WHATEVER. DUD
A look back at the opening segment, then at Ambrose getting locked up.
Seriously, Rusev was exposed throughout this rise as being not there yet. Henry isn't over without the USA crap. I'm over it. Let's hope this was the blowoff.
Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil v. Adam Rose and The Bunny. Yes, you read that right. JBL is indignant. Rose and Titus start. Titus runs Rose over and gets an over-the-shoulder backbreaker. Slater in, and a superkick gets two. To the chinlock, and Slater adds a hairpull slam. Some mounted punches and he taunts the Bunny again before returning to the chinlock. Rose fights out, but Titus cuts off the hot tag and throws him aside, then slaps the Bunny around. Rose chop blocks Titus, and in words I never thought I'd type, it's hot tag Bunny. Missile dropkick to Slater, and he low-bridges Titus. Spin kick to Slater, and Rose back in so the Bunny can do a senton to Titus. Party Foul to Slater ends it at 3:05. Maximum Memphis has been obtained. 1/2*
You know how we say that sometimes, the announcers drag a match down? Hearing Cole oversell the Bunny's offense as JBL acted like he was surrounded by idiots made the match more entertaining for me.
Dean Ambrose: still locked up. We think.
Nikki Bella is here. While other people make excuses, she has a legitimate beef: Brie's words. She wanted Brie's support before her big match, and instead heard Brie's words and got so upset she lost. (Without getting pinned. That might mean more.) But Nikki's going to take care of it herself, calling out Brie.
Brie says Nikki is just blaming someone else for her failures. But it's not about that: it's about how Brie never backed Nikki up. It's never about them, it's about Brie, always always always. Brie then says Nikki called Brie out, remember? Well, Brie's sick of it. Nikki makes a bi production over what Brie will do before calling her an embarrassment. And that's why Brie was out here tonight – because she deserves to be Nikki's Trashy Sister or Quitter. But what Nikki wants is to be the ONLY person named Bella. She is THE Nikki Bella.
Brie refuses, but wait – why not call herself Brie Bryan? It is buyer's remorse? And with that Brie attacks Nikki and tries the Yes Lock, but Nikki bails. Brie is ready for the fight, but instead here's AJ... because she's facing Nikki, next!
You know, if they did call her Brie Bryan, I bet they could salvage this thing which has derailed Brie hard. And whether you think she deserves it or not is irrelevant – she was over, now she's not. She can be again.
AJ Lee v. Nikki Bella. Fun fact: I nearly typed “Nikki Bela” during the Dracula ad. Make of that what you will. Paige is on commentary because why not. AJ with an armdrag and armbar into a chickenwing, but Nikki elbows out. AJ with a headscissors and avalanche (??), into two swinging neckbreakers for two. Hammer throw by AJ, but Nikki comes out with a clothesline. It gets two. Nikki does... something... involving the ropes and her rear end and... anyway, outside the ring, Nikki tosses AJ into Paige. Back in, it gets two. To the swinging chinlock by Nikki, but AJ fights out but runs into a big boot. It gets two. Nikki with a very slow variation of Del Rio's armbar, but AJ gets a cradle out of it. Nikki with the Alabama Slam for two. Nikki works AJ over in the corner, but a blind charge goes nowhere as AJ leaps to the top rope. AJ crawls off into the Black Widow, and that gets the win at 5:09. 3/4*
HHH checks in on Security.
So the only question is how Ambrose is going to escape. Place your bets.
Your SmackDown feature match is the Usos calling in their rematch clause against the Brotherhood.
Hm. That cinderblock table is at ringside.
Main event: Randy Orton v. John Cena. Rollins and Kane are at ringside. After some jockeying, Orton gets the opening headlock. He knocks Cena down, taunts, and... gets knocked over. Orton blasts Cena in the corner with boxing moves, then rakes the eyes with his kneepad. Orton works over him in another corner before taunting the crowd. This allows Cena to come back and land the one-hand bulldog for one. Orton with a running kick to slow Cena down. He kicks Cena out of the ring as we go to break.
I can appreciate the little things Orton does to be a heel, and let's be honest, stalling is a great way to get heat especially in Memphis. But it works best when the opponent wants to pick up the pace, and Cena isn't doing that here.
Main event, part two. Orton stalks over Cena and clotheslines him down for two. Cena airballs a shoulderblock and falls outside. Cena eats stairs on the outside, then suplexes him onto the announce table. Orton drags Cena up by the bicep band, but Cena recovers to dump Orton. Back in, it's a double clothesline. Orton up first, but it's a slugfest, and Cena gets put in the back-to-back backbreaker for two. Orton with a Hammer Throw, then the Garvin Stomp for two. Blind charge eats boot, but Cena runs into a sleeper. He switches to the chinlock, but Cena pulls Orton off of him only to get booted. Cena ducks a clothesline and cues the comeback. Five Knuckle Shuffle is cut off by Orton into a powerslam for two. Draping DDT is set up again, but Cena dumps Orton to the apron only to get draped on the top rope. Orton walks into an STF try, but escapes and gets a clothesline. Cena goes to the apron, so Orton picks him up in the corner for a superplex. Cena powers out of it, but Orton trips him up top. Draping DDT off the top connects, getting two. Orton taunts the crowd again before going to the RKO signal. It's blocked, and Cena hooks the STF out of nowhere to cue the NW... I mean, Authority beatdown at 15:10. ***
Cena tries to fight off all three guys, but Rollins with the enzuigiri, Kane with the chokeslam, and Cena's out. It's cinderblock time, and the table is prepped, but we lift the cinderblock table and Dean Ambrose is underneath (somehow)! Everyone gets beaten up by the sneak attack, as Ambrose works over Kane but gets sent into the table. He keeps the high ground and dives onto everyone, throwing Rollins into the ring. He gets the rope tangle lariat to Rollins, but Kane has the goozle. Cena saves, so Kane puts the goozle on him. Cena escapes, Ambrose puts Dirty Deeds on Orton, Rollins runs for his life, and Cena gets the AA on Kane. JBL: “How'd he get out of that locked room?” Cena poses as Ambrose glares at Rollins and we roll credits.
MORK CALLING ORSON – COME IN ORSON:
Well, it went all right. It was pretty slow from 10:20 to about 10:55, but just about everything tonight advanced the story, so I can let it slide. Even the Total Divas thing was kept short, so there's that. All in all, I've seen much worse. I've also seen better, but it wasn't horrible. It didn't feel like a waste of three hours, I'll put it that way.
MATCH TIME: 70:20 over nine matches
BEST MATCH: Dolph/Miz
WORST MATCH: Rusev/Henry
NIGHT MVP: Dolph Ziggler
FINAL SCORE: 6.5. It dragged a bit in the third hour, but it always does. Otherwise, everything moved us forward. That's more than you can normally say.
Matt Perri will handle Main Event and put up with Total Divas. Tommy Hall will suffer through Impact and SmackDown, but at least he does NXT. Scott Keith will go retro on us through 1995. Logan Scisco has 1998. Brian Bayless will run the e-fed. And all of you will complain about wrestling.