The PG Era Rant for Raw, October 20, 2014.
On tonight's show:
- John Cena and Dean Ambrose face the Authority in a Handicap Street Fight.
- AJ/Paige and Usos/Dusts have been added to Hell in a Cell, giving us 8 matches on the night.
- Six-man rematch: Usos/Sheamus v. Dusts/Miz.
Live from Kansas City, MO.
Your hosts are as always.
We look back at last week's main event first.
WE HAVE A CELL LOWERING TO THE RING!
And our first speakers are the Authority. Lilian Garcia has taken over for Justin Roberts. I wonder what that banner is curled up behind them. HHH leads off, saying he will be proud of the Authority after they face off against Cena and Ambrose. And then on Sunday, Cena and Ambrose go to Hell. In a Cell. Unspeakable things will happen on Sunday! 9.99!
HHH makes clear that Hell in a Cell is not a match you win – even if HHH is the winningest person in it – but it's a match you survive. HHH promises that both rivalries will END on Sunday. The rivalries, of course, being Orton/Cena and Ambrose/Rollins.
Rollins bats second, saying he's happy to be called Mr. Money in the Bank, but (Crowd: YOU SOLD OUT.) he'd prefer Undisputed Future of the WWE. He thinks it has a great ring to it. The key is future, which Ambrose will not have after the main event on Sunday...
...but Orton steps in, saying he's the main event because he and Cena have had slightly more than a cup of coffee in WWE. HHH has to step in: it's a double main event, so you're both right. But Cena and Orton has one more stipulation: it's a #1 Contender's Match for the WWE Championship. Orton likes it. Orton goes cheap heat on the Royals before promising he will beat Cena, then Lesnar.
HHH knows the Authority will make him proud tonight and on Sunday. The Authority always wins, and that's best for business. Kane sets off pyro, and we're out.
We look back at the shenanigans on Main Event with Sheamus, Sandow, and Miz.
Okay, that banner is probably the curled-up Russian flag. Anyway, it's good to know they talked Brock into getting off his ranch and doing his day job for Survivor Series. At least, I hope it's Survivor Series.
Sheamus & Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso v. Miz & Goldust & Stardust. Inset promos from both the Usos and the Dusts talk about Sunday's match (although they almost start the Dust one during the Uso entrance – why is Kevin Dunn employed again?). HASHTAG! Actually, wait, Sandow is going to take Miz's place. Jimmy and Stardust start, and Jimmy with an uppercut and slam as Miz goes to commentary. Senton gets two by Jimmy. Jey in with his flying forearm, and a snapmare gets one. Stardust cuts Jey off, but Goldust gets hip-tossed for one. Goldust rushes the corner, and Stardust returns with the Disaster Kick for two. Goldust tags in and taunts Jey as we go to break.
KEVIN DUNN DELENDA EST.
#6ManTag, part two. Goldust with a spinebuster to Jey for two as we return. Stardust in, and he chokes Jey with his shin. Sandow tags himself in, getting a headbutt and the Million Dollar Neckbreaker for two. Sandow with a charge that eats boot, but Stardust stops a hot tag. Goldust in, and he slugs Jey out on his feet. Jey wins a slugfest, but Goldust with a kneeling uppercut only to get hit with a Dragon Whip. Hot tag Sheamus, and Sandow gets the worst of it. Kneelift and Stardust is sent packing, and this leads to a Ten of Clubs attempt, but Goldust distracts and Sandow tries to take over. Sheamus with a powerslam for two, Goldust saves. Goldust slams Jimmy, but Jey with a superkick and he dives on Goldust. Stardust with a blind dive to the Usos, and Sheamus dumps Sandow and bowls everyone over. Sandow's tossed back in, and the Brogue is warmed up. Stardust misses the Disaster Kick, and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him. Sandow cradles Sheamus for the pin at 9:42. Miz acts like HE won. **
I'm not entirely certain about that rating because they kept cutting to Miz at commentary rather than show the match. Thanks, Kev.
Backstage, Orton wants to talk to HHH. He thanks HHH for the chance on Sunday and promises to win. HHH doesn't doubt and admits it's been a long time coming... but the whole thing was Seth's idea, not HHH. Orton can't comprehend that, but he needs to thank Seth personally.
The Wyatt Family is going their separate ways, and somehow this is even scarier, because Bray Wyatt has Sister Abigail as his prophet. It's coming.
If you have DVR, look back at Bray in that video. He's wearing a jacket that people in NXT should find very familiar.
Non-Title: AJ Lee v. Alicia Fox. Paige is at ringside. We view the highlights of SmackDown before the match. Fox knocks over AJ, but gets caught with a back elbow. Cradle gets one. Another cradle gets two. AJ skips while holding Fox's hair, and a spin kick (allegedly) gets two. Fox knocks down AJ for two. Fox sends AJ into the corner, and a Northern Lights Suplex gets two. To the chinlock, using the hair to control AJ. She slams her face-first into the map and kicks her around, then a tilt-a-whirl gets two. Fox (screaming at AJ): “I HATE YOU!” Double handed chinlock by Fox, and she throws AJ into the corner to get a boot choke. She stops to yell at the ref, so AJ kicks her down and gets a Thesz Press. Corner clothesline and Rude Awakening follow, then a head-scissors as Fox bails. Paige tries to fire Fox up, throwing her back in and distracting AJ. It works, as Fox gets the cradle for the pin at 4:15. 1/2*
So Seth Rollins is admiring his contract backstage when Orton thanks him for the idea. But why would Rollins DO that? While Orton appreciates it, he asks Rollins to step aside and let him handle it himself. Rollins makes it clear: if somehow Orton moves on to beat Brock Lesnar, he'd be the Champion... oh, and then the briefcase is a target on Orton.
I like the mutual loathing Rollins and Orton have going. I don't like how there's no likeable human being in the Divas' Division outside of Brie Bella, and I'm not allowed to like her because she's not a wrestler.
Hulk Hogan is on WWE Backstage Pass, exclusively on the WWE Universe Network!
Randy Orton is out again. He reminds us this isn't even their first Hell in a Cell match. But time flies quickly – their debuts were all of 12 years ago, but even then Orton was the bigger deal. (The crowd chants for the Royals, so Orton reminds them that he thinks the Royals will lose the World Series.) Ever since then, they've become the Hogan/Piper or Bret/Shawn of their time. Sure, Orton respects Cena, but he's still just a punk from Boston going against wrestling royalty Take your creed and shove it up your ass because Orton doesn't care about anything but himself. That's why Orton won at the Royal Rumble the last time they met, and he'll win Sunday. Orton will savor every second of beating Cena. And after that...
...wait, before we go any further, here's Cena. (He hangs out with fans wearing Royals gear at ringside just for fun.) Cena: “Shut up. Shut up. Shut your mouth!” Everyone respects Orton's skills and his status as a future Hall of Famer, but every time he talks, he proves his own stupidity. Stop talking about the past like a grandpa. That was then, this is now – and with all Kansas City is getting right now (applause break), you come here to insult the baseball team? That was then (and the last time Orton was relevant), and this is now. The Royals are in the World Series.
But Orton reminds people that getting there is one thing, winning is another. Cena says the idiot has a point – getting to Hell in a Cell is one thing, winning is something Orton can't do. Cena may have wanted Rollins, but no more, because a win means he gets Brock Lesnar one more time. Sure the structure is Hell, but there won't be another chapter on Sunday. Orton will be locked in a Cell with him – and Cena sees Brock Lesnar when he looks at Orton. And Hell is coming with Cena.
But ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman. He's not into the revisionist history and how laughable it is – the best of the Class of 2002 was neither of them. It was Brock Lesnar. So think about it (like Heyman does, all the time), the current WWE Champion Brock Lesnar was champion then, too. Sure, this Sunday... (Heyman pauses to see the Cell) ...on Sunday, Cena and Orton will be in the Cell to win for the Championship Of Each Other. They have an equal as their opponent. But they are not Brock's equal because Brock has no equal. The winner will lose in the long run, because they face a Beast. Orton wants that title back, but he should want no part of Brock. Heyman then cuts Cena off from leaving – Cena wants all of Brock Lesnar. Which isn't sound thinking, because if – IF – Cena gets past Randy Orton, he will have to face Brock Lesnar and get killed one more time.
So Cena gives Heyman the AA... or threatens to, then thinks better of it as Heyman screams for mercy. And it's an RKO out of nowhere! Orton: “Who's stupid now?” Heyman laughs at Cena. “Wrong place, wrong time.” So Orton RKOs Heyman for good measure. “Who's the dumbass now?”
A look back at this week in Big Show vs. Rusev.
I'd have enjoyed Orton's heel work a lot more if it wasn't patently obvious Cena's winning on Sunday. Orton has been treading water for so long thanks to Evolution and Rollins, he's a lame duck. And it's too bad.
Rusev v. Big E. Lockup goes nowhere. A second try is a clean break. Round Three allows Rusev to kick and attack in consecutive corners. Big E fights out, getting the running Vader attack to send Rusev out of the ring. Big E follows, and after some reversals, Rusev eats barricade. Back in, Big E gets a kneelift and works Rusev over in the corner. Rusev headbutts away to take over, smashing Big E in the back. A front chancery follows, switching to a side chinlock. Big E fights off, but Rusev knocks him over out of the ropes and stomps away. An awkward criss-cross ends with Rusev getting a spin kick to Big E as we go to break.
Not sure I understand why this isn't a squash.
Rusev/Langston, part two. Rusev gets snapmared, and Big E gets a Greco-Roman suplex. He charges into a superkick, though. And the Accolade ends it at 7:22, half of which was commercial. Call it *1/4 for what we saw. Lana then says Big Show will fail on Sunday because he's a circus freak instead of a hero. Rusev promises to eat Big Show's heart. The people will despise Big Show when he loses. Lana then asks everyone to rise for the Russian colors... only they don't come down.
Big Show appears on the Tron... and then reveals he's replaced the Russian flag with the American flag! Play some “Stars and Stripes Forever”! But Rusev remembers what Big Show did and decides to rip the US flag down... only for a “soldier” to enter in protest. Rusev kicks the soldier's head off and walks away.
I repeat, KEVIN DUNN DELENDA EST.
Moments Ago, because a stupid idea that amuses Vince and Dunn must be replayed.
And now Big Show's in the ring, with all the flags still present. He's so emotional he can barely speak. So we get a USA chant to fill time. He says that Rusev has crossed the line by attacking the soldier. Now he has Big Show's attention. Don't get in his head; it's a dark place. And now Big Show will unleash the wrath on Rusev's head. The American Giant will end Rusev's 15 minutes of fame.
He starts to leave, but he has one more thing to add – screw Sunday, let's do this now! He keeps yelling for Rusev...
...but Rusev doesn't show. Show: “Fine. You won't come to me? I'll come to you.” And now the pursuit is on. (Cole finally addresses the elephant in the room: no one should've rushed the ring in the first place.)
Backstage, Show is headed for Rusev's dressing room. He kicks the door down, and finds it abandoned
Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose is watching See No Evil 2 and munching on popcorn. It's research for their match. Cena arrives and is not amused. Ambrose points out the Superman/Batman dynamic between the two. “But really, we just don't mix.” Cena tries for a reality check: they're in a match with three people who want to put them on the shelf. Ambrose says he enjoys street fights, and his plan is to take as many people down as possible. Just fight. Cena can dig it – but Ambrose is totally more Joker than Batman. Ambrose: “Why so serious?”
The Superman/Batman dynamic explains why the youths cheer for Cena and the young adults cheer Ambrose. Me? I'll enjoy the show. Oh, and to put a bow on this crap – someone rushed the ring on Rusev. He is totally within his right to defend himself. And yeah, I know it was a plant. It still sends the wrong message.
Stephanie McMahon got an Eisenhower Fellowship. Whatever that is.
Brie Bella v. Summer Rae. Summer with a kneelift and she sends Brie into the corner. She shoves Brie down for one. Crucifix by Brie gets two. Brie with YES kicks to the leg, then more in the corner. Nikki watches as Summer gets a high spinning kick for two. Summer goes for the Cobra Clutch, which is sold like a resthold. Summer uses the hair to keep control, getting one. Back to the Cobra Clutch. Brie snapmares out of it, and they do the double hairpull slam. Brie with forearms and a dropkick to take control, and the running knee connects. Brie Mode missile dropkick misses, and Summer gets two. Summer stomps away, but Brie reverses a whip and gets the missile dropkick on the second try. Facebuster gets the pin at 3:40. 3/4*
Hot Take: Honestly, Brie is messing up a lot less than AJ lately. I don't know what's going on with AJ, who has shown she can have a fantastic match, but she's looked off her game lately. Combine this with Paige's stage fright, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Bellas match is better than AJ and Paige. It's not odds-on, but it's not a long shot either.
Dean Ambrose has a huge duffel bag with him as he heads to the ring. He looks up at the Cell before speaking. He says he's dreamed about what he will do to Seth Rollins, and it will happen on Sunday. He gets that “Power Ranger Suit Sellout” inside the Cell where no one will stop him. He opens the duffel bag to reveal a Seth Rollins CPR dummy. He addresses the dummy, calling him a puppet for the Authority for a pat on the back and a paycheck. But dirty isn't right, because Seth doesn't get his hands dirty. But Ambrose does still care, so he'll start by ripping Seth's hands off (which he demonstrates). That way Seth will never getting his hands dirty again. Ambrose slaps “Seth” with his own arm. Seth should know what Ambrose does – he screws other people back harder as he drives a screwdriver into “Seth”'s nose. He then smacks the dummy with a hammer. He then says he “saw” himself chopping off Seth's testicles... but Seth's testicles are Authority property, so instead he'll jam the hot dog tongs back into the sensitive area. (“You don't need to have kids anyway.”) And then the dummy gets a piledriver.
But now the real Seth Rollins appears, flanked Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble. Seth says he's finally found an opponent Ambrose can relate to. We all know Dean can't beat Rollins, but at least he can parlay this into stand-up comedy. What's next, a watermelon? Balloon animals? (Ambrose throws the detached arm at Rollins.) Rollins admits to selling out, and he hates hearing it from fellow Mid-westerners. But that's where similarities end. He knew he was more than trailer-park trash. Rollins says no one can relate to him because he is a SOMEBODY. That's why people are taking pictures of him while calling him a sellout, saying it's the best part of Raw. So what if he sold out?
Ambrose, though, has an electric drill and tells Rollins to be quiet or get a preview. Rollins doesn't sweat Ambrose. He's not worried. The Cell means nothing...
...but before we go any further, here's Mick Foley! Mick said he wanted to visit an old friend (meaning the Cell). He wants to congratulate both for fulfilling their destinies, since he remembers the TLC match back in 2012 that stole the show. The bar is high, and he watches WWE TV all the time (including the Network). And yes, the Shield were great as a team... but he thinks it'll be better as opponents.
He finds Ambrose “disturbingly poetic”, but in every scenario he thinks of, he sees Rollins winning. Rollins: “Now we're talking!” Just when Foley seemed like a dinosaur who mocks wrestling, he still has some brains left. But Foley said ALMOST any scenario – the Cell is slightly different. Foley knows Ambrose can rip Rollins's face off. And yeah, Foley has worn Santa attire all year because he believes in his last vestiges of innocence that he didn't lose in Pittsburgh. He's proud of the Hell he went through then. But as a veteran of the Cell, he knows those scars will be there – emotional scars that won't heal.
Ambrose says thanks, but... he has no innocence and more scars don't bother him. He doesn't care what he loses, and he knows no one else understands him. He thinks Foley just might. He's ready for Hell in a Cell – will it be worth it, Seth? ASK YOURSELF!
Rollins declares them both crazy, but if they think crazy matters on Sunday, they've lost it. It's not about crazy (and Ambrose is out of his damn mind). Rollins will beat Ambrose the same way he always does – through superior intellect. His mind is way above Ambrose's. It's not about crazy, it's about smart.
Foley then reminds Rollins that brains mean nothing when you're thrown off a Cell. The Cell defines Foley, and it will define both of them. He doesn't think they're ready for life on the other side. Tomorrow, the Kansas City people (cheap pop) will get the game they've been waiting for all their lives. On Sunday, that's what Ambrose and Rollins get too. Have a nice day. Ambrose is excited, but Rollins is hesitant – more so when Ambrose goes to swing a chair at him. Ambrose throws the dummy at Rollins and the stooges. They sell it.
So. The bit of Ambrose attacking the dummy probably looked like it could've worked on paper, but in practice came off flat. Foley saved the segment and provided the contrast needed: Ambrose is more mentally prepared than Rollins... but that doesn't say much.
Cesaro v. Dolph Ziggler. Wait, what? Now? Isn't this a match for Sunday? HASHTAG! JBL gives his condolences to Ox Baker's family. A tie-up goes nowhere. Both try for some amateur wrestling, leading to a Cesaro headlock. Cesaro knocks over Dolph and drops on him for one. Another headlock, but Cesaro blocks a hiptoss and slugs out Dolph. Dolph falls out the back of a powerslam and dropkicks Cesaro, who bails before the giant elbow. Cesaro gains control only to be sent to the floor. Dolph follows, sending Cesaro to the barricade. Back in, Dolph with a sunset flip for two. Cesaro gets a Stun Gun on Dolph to take control as we go to break.
Hm. Nope, that match isn't official yet.
Cesaro/Ziggler, part two. Cesaro has Dolph ties up but Dolph elbows out. Dolph ties a sunset flip, but Cesaro pics him up and does a clean-and-jerk gutbuster for two. He walks the middle rope for a double axhandle, then a second rope elbowdrop gets two. Back to a Cobra Clutch. Cesaro sends Dolph into the corner, getting a Hotshot out of it, but he leaps off the top into a dropkick. Dolph begins the comeback, getting the Stinger Splash and Rude Awakening. Giant elbow gets two. Rocker Dropper try, but after some reversals it's Dolph with a cradle for two. Cesaro tries the Ricola Bomb, but Dolph gets the Kidman counter for two. Dolph with an uppercut, but the leaping DDT is caught. Kicks are missed, and Cesaro with an uppercut for the pin at 9:31. That was abrupt. ** Cesaro adds a Neutralizer while calling for the belt.
Orton and Rollins are arguing when HHH stops them. He names Kane the captain of the team, since neither Orton nor Rollins can trust the other. Kane yells them to attention, and says they have to begin the process tonight, so PUT ASIDE YOUR DIFFERENCES already. It's time to give a taste of Hell. Orton and Rollins still don't trust each other, but they fall in line.
This needs to be a great main event. This show so far has been mediocre. It's felt off.
Hell in a Cell Kickoff will have Damien Sandow interviewing the Miz, while Paul Heyman will join the panel.
Hell in a Cell gets the Royal Rumble “By The Numbers” treatment.
The same Wyatt Family video as before.
I didn't say it then, but before the main event's as good a place as any: I think it's a very good sign that Cena/Orton got the 9:00 slot and Ambrose/Rollins got the 10:00 slot.
Main Event, no DQ: John Cena and Dean Ambrose v. The Authority. HASHTAG! It's a brawl to start, with Ambrose going after Rollins and leaving Cena to fend off the other two. Kane bails and Orton is tossed, so Ambrose and Rollins start. Ambrose reverses a whip and gets a forearm and bulldog combo. Ambrose with the Bret Hart wishbone stomp and a bow-and-arrow hair pull. Ambrose with a Hammer Throw next, following up with a clothesline. He clears the apron before dumping Rollins and following. He clears the announce table, but the partners jump in to stop whatever happens next. Ambrose elbowdrops the mob. Ambrose introduces a chair to the match and throws Rollins in. He uses the chair liberally on Rollins across the back. Ambrose enters a trance before ducking outside and looking for more weaponry. He finds a table, but Kane throws Ambrose on it, denting it. Kane sends Cena into the steps as we go to break.
Why is this match being held under tag rules? It's a street fight!
#StreetFight, part two. Rollins hooks the nose of Ambrose and drops an elbow. He adds a neck crank for good measure. Ambrose bites the hand to break, so Rollins stomps away. Orton tags in, dropping Ambrose on the top rope. He rakes the face with his knee pad and brings Rollins back in. Rollins punches Ambrose down and looks at the Cell before adding back elbows. He taunts Cena, so Ambrose tries to fight out but gets nowhere. Orton helps Rollins work Ambrose over in the corner. He tags in (“Same team”) and stomps Ambrose's foot. Cover gets one. Orton follows Ambrose crawling to Cena, then begins the Garvin Stomp to stop it. It gets two. Ambrose fights back with some boxing jabs, but Orton goes low. Blind charge eats boot and Ambrose goes up with a missile dropkick. Hot tag Cena, and he goes to comeback town on Rollins. Five Knuckle Shuffle (as Orton can't see Cena), and an AA to Kane. Cena finds another table and brings it in (since the first one broke). He has Rollins stuck with the corner empty, and it's AA time, but Rollins avoids the table and sends Cena into a wedged chair in the corner. Orton works on Ambrose on the outside, sending him into the steps. Kane picks up the stairs, and Orton sends Ambrose into them. Rollins has Cena down and puts the table up in the corner. But Cena gets up and goes for an AA only to be reversed to a Shiranui for two. Kane drags Cena outside the ring and throws him into Michael Cole. Cole got out of the way. Kane then sends Cena into the steps as Cole and JBL try to get mic'd up again. Cena eats post on the outside, and back in, Kane sends Cena through the table. Kane drags Cena out of the rubble, but instead of covering, he kicks Ambrose away. Kane demands the Cell be lowered, and it is – with Ambrose stuck outside and Cena in it! Kane uppercuts Cena and tags in Orton as Ambrose barely sneaks in under the lowering Cell and gets the hot tag. He dives onto all three men and tosses Rollins and Kane before working on Orton. Dropkick to Rollins sends him into the Cell, and Ambrose with the rope-tangle clothesline on Orton. Ambrose has kendo sticks now, and he goes to town on Orton. White Russian legsweep follows, and Ambrose gets a chair. He goes to the top rope with it, and it's a chair-aided elbowdrop to Orton. Kane returns and tries a goozle, but Ambrose has a chair and uses it. Orton is dumped, and Rollins is tossed onto Orton. And Ambrose dives into Rollins and the Cell, knocking everyone out. Orton is up first and tosses Ambrose into the post. He's ready for the RKO, but Cena catches him for an AA. Orton escapes, and Kane chokeslams Cena. Dirty Deeds to Kane, and Orton gets the RKO for the pin at 18:31. And right after the match, Rollins gives Orton the Curbstomp. “I call the shots around here!” Rollins is the only one standing – on top of the Cell, even – as we go off the air. ***1/4
Unlike last week, this show seemed a mess. It was like the show was re-written at the last minute... which, knowing Vince, it probably was. Other than that, a typical go-home show.
HOW I'D BOOK IT:
- Sheamus beats the Miz to retain the US Title.
- Rusev beats Big Show by TKO.
- In the Cell, John Cena defeats Randy Orton.
- In an added match, Dolph Ziggler defeats Cesaro to retain the Intercontinental Title.
- AJ Lee pins Paige to retain the Divas' Title.
- Goldust and Stardust beat the Usos.
- Nikki Bella beats Brie Bella with aid from Stephanie.
- In the Cell, Dean Ambrose beats Seth Rollins when Randy Orton turns face.
MATCH TIME: 53:01 over six matches
BEST MATCH: The main event
WORST MATCH: AJ/Fox
NIGHT MVP: Seth Rollins
FINAL SCORE: Meh, 4/10.
Let's check the calendar: Matt Perri reviews Main Event on Tuesday. Tommy Hall does the other shows the rest of the week. Stranger in the Alps will run the daily discussion. Brian Bayless will run the e-fed. Danielle Stolman will be tortured with Total Divas. And I'll be back in seven days, if not sooner.
I'll be on the Network.