The PG Era Rant for Raw, November 17, 2014.
Here's your pre-show announcements:
- Everyone signs for the main event of Survivor Series. The match graphic implies Luke Harper is on Team Authority.
- However, later in the show, that fifth spot is blank.
- Then Alex Riley says Harper is on Team Authority.
- Anyway, Harper will face Dolph Ziggler.
- ADDED TO SURVIVOR SERIES: Cosmic Keys, Usos, Los Matadores, Miz and Sandow. Fatal Four-Way rules as opposed to elimination rules, ironically enough.
- Nikki Bella will have a warm-up match against a mystery opponent, potentially Brie.
Live from Roanoke, VA. Not that the Pre-Show will admit it.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL.
We open with a look back at the Chronicles of Ryback.
Up first out of the curtain is Team Authority (with Luke Harper this time), and introduced as such so let's say it's official. HASHTAG! The crowd WHATs HHH's recap. HHH: “You'd like that, wouldn't you? You'd like to see us with no power.” Crowd: “YES!” Stephanie tells us to remember this, asking how it feels to want. HHH calls the audience sheep in need of a leader. For example, they cheer Vince McMahon now, but not while he was in charge. Those in charge are meant to be evil. He asks if they want the inmates to run the asylum... and says that's what WCW was. It's Team Authority, led by the future and the standard-bearer, Seth Rollins, against Team Cena, a bunch of “self-righteous malcontents led by the golden boy, John Cena”. HHH says that an Authority loss cannot happen. And with a free Network, you can all see it!
But that's Sunday. Stephanie is ready to talk about tonight. Since they can't get Cena's teammates to see what is good for business, they have no choice but to destroy the team. And at the end of the night, it's a contract signing – if anyone's left to sign their name. We know who's signing for Authority: Rollins, Mark Henry, Kane, Rusev, and Harper. (Harper: “I'm a team player!”) And that's a full team – as opposed to Team Cena, who is down one.
And then there's Ryback. The Authority thought they had Ryback, but well, sometimes you can't seal the deal, “yada yada yada”. And then what?
Well, “then what” means Ryback's here. He says that unlike the wants of both teams, he just wants what's best for himself. Stephanie says she respects that, and a McMahon believes in respect. Everyone made mistakes (Kane “regret[s] what transpired”), and now she asks if Ryback really wants to join John Cena, a man with no respect – no matter what he claims. And we cut to April 2013, where Cena claims Ryback has no brains or manhood. (Why this gets the Superstars backdrop I don't know; it was on Raw.) And we're sure Cena said that out of jealousy and hatred. So, seriously, you really want to join that? Which is it – contempt or respect? The answer? Neither. And with that, he storms off.
HHH approves of the decision of neutrality, because anyone in the fight will be decimated. Luke Harper's match with Dolph Ziggler is next!
Another 20-minute promo. Another missed opportunity for more matches and more midcard pushing.
Meanwhile, During the Break, this is made a title match.
Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler (champion) v. Luke Harper (challenger). Seth Rollins is on commentary. But before the match begins, Mercury and Noble jump Dolph from behind and, along with Rollins, knock him out with the briefcase. Dolph slowly pulls himself up and, against the referee's better suggestions, demands the match begin. Harper with a big boot for two right off the bell. Powerbomb gets two. Corner big boot misses, though, and Harper flies out of the ring as we go to break.
This is basic wrestling 101. The heel gets an advantage illegally, the face tries to rally.
IC Title Match, continued. Harper has floored Dolph as we return, and the referee is checking on Dolph, who refuses to stop. Harper fakes a front suplex, settling for a palm strike for two. Gator Roll follows, into a headlock. Dolph breaks with a jawbreaker. Harper eats the steel post on a charge, and the Rocker Dropper gets two. Superkick is caught into the Bossman Slam for two. Harper measures Dolph for a long time, but the discus clothesline is interrupted with a superkick for two. Harper with a knee strike as Rollins demands the finish, but the powerbomb is escaped only to result in the Discus Clothesline for the pin and the title at 8:29. **1/4 Rollins stands over a beaten Dolph, taunts him, and delivers the Curbstomp for good measure.
Match could've been longer the way they were milking it, but what the heck. Now the question is if Dolph is capable of competing on Sunday.
Kofi Kingston's new day is coming.
Meanwhile, Miz gives Damien Sandow a pep talk – but Sandow is busy copying Miz. This is for the benefit of Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat's response: he has none. He's a cat. So they have a Grumpy Stunt Cat. Still no smile. So Miz tells the cat off. The crowd noticeably hated this.
We get Adam Rose's intro for his match before the break. Notably, The Bunny does Rose's stage dive before Rose can and is admonished by Rose. He seems to realize his faux-pas.
Adam Rose v. Tyson Kidd. Both Natalya and the Bunny are at ringside. Rose makes damn sure to keep Bunny in his corner and stay there. Rose pummels Kidd in the corner and does reverse stomps in to a seated Kidd. Kidd reverses with a running kick and goes nuts in the corner. Rose with a spinebuster for two as the Bunny hops to Natalya. Rose reminds the Bunny to go back to the corner, which allows Kidd the Sharpshooter for the tapout at 1:54. Rose wanted Bunny's help, but Bunny was too busy asking Nataya to join the Express. Bunny tries to ask forgiveness, but Rose goes to take him out... only this time the Bunny twerks his way out and escapes.
WrestleMania tickets are on sale. I expect Matt Perri to report on this.
Why? Why are you turning Adam Rose heel? And why are you turning him heel on a member of his entourage? I'm certain this is Kevin Dunn's fault.
Bray Wyatt comes down to talk. He says They tried to convince us that love was the greatest wealth. They said love was the greatest gift. But They never said that everything you love can be destroyed. And a man with nothing to love or lose is the most dangerous man. “Poor... Dean... Ambrose.” See, every day is another pathetic attempt to share love out of obligation. He has no choice – he will always be miserable and alone. But he has to make sure Bray's generosity is not malignant. Yeah, Bray had to get Dean's attention, but he comes in peace. Yes, Dean still feels the pain, but that pain is a gift. Bray knows Dean's pain. An absent father, a drunken mother – Bray brings these up because he can save Dean. He asks Dean to feel the salvation Bray has. Embrace it, Dean, and all the pain goes away.
But Ambrose interrupts from the TitanTron. He heard everything every night. Every rambling word – he hears it and it's nails on a chalkboard. But Dean wants to see things Bray's way. Maybe Bray does want to help – why else go into his past? It's not because it's to get the leg up on Survivor Series, or because Dean cares. But Dean has learned from Bray Wyatt – like this magic trick called “Video Recording”. Ambrose is in the arena right now... and here he comes! It's a war in the ring, but Wyatt escapes. Dean says he needs no savior, but Bray must save himself.
Michael Cole tells us Dolph Ziggler is no longer in the arena and is getting medical attention.
Do you think there's any chance of telling you my master plan if you could stop it? I began things 35 minutes ago.
Dan “Larry the Cable Guy” Witney is next week's guest star.
Ryback v. Cesaro. Ryback runs him over for one to start. Ryback reverses a headlock and gets a slam and splash for one. A chop battle breaks out, with Cesaro getting an uppercut and suplex, but Ryback no-sells and gets a facejam and stalling suplex for one. Ryback runs into an Exploder suplex from Cesaro, and Cesaro punches away as John Cena is watching the match. Cesaro chokes Ryback down in the ropes, but runs into a Thesz Press and mat slams. Cesaro with a powerbomb out of the corner on a mounted Ryback. Running mushroom stomp gets two, and to the chinlock. Cesaro with a slam of Ryback for two. Ryback rushes Cesaro into the corner with shoulder thrusts, but Cesaro with a Hammer Throw and sleeper. Ryback sent into the corner, but he gets a big boot. Splash hits the knees, and Cesaro clears Ryback out of the ring as we go to break.
I can't be the only one thinking this should've been a squash.
Ryback/Cesaro, continued. Ryback fights out of a chinlock, but an awkward exchange puts Cesaro back in charge. Clothesline gets two. Cena is still watching during another chinlock. Ryback fights out, catching Cesaro off the top rope with an overhead suplex. Comeback begins here with a spinebuster. Cesaro goes to the apron and drapes Ryback on the top rope, but Ryback flips him into the ring and gets a second-rope splash. He catches Cesaro's boot attempt and powerbombs him out of the corner for two. Shell Shock try is escaped into a German suplex. Ryback escapes a second one, but goes into the post. Rolling Germans into a bridge get two. To the top, and the HBK elbow gets two. Military press into a slam out of nowhere by Ryback gets two. Meathook is ready, but Ryback runs into Swiss Death for two. Neutralizer is reversed to a Shell Shock try, but Cesaro cradles for two. Meathook and Shell Shock wins it at 14:12. I mean, it was a decent power match and all. *1/2
Rene Young finds John Cena backstage and asks about the Authority's plans. Cena says everything's on the line, but he sees the Authority's game. All he can do is hope that everyone's at the contract signing. So is Ryback on the team, she asks? Cena says probably not.
I do not understand the booking here. Ryback is best used to steamroll people to retain his aura, especially since this is a new push. Meanwhile, Cesaro has been sent down the ladder. This match shouldn't have gone 5 minutes, let alone 15.
Lana wants us to shut up. Putin was disrespected at the G-20 Summit and stuff. Americans have no taste for salivating over Kim Kardashian. We all know Lana's sexier than any American. (“I'm the best.”) And she has a topless photo of her own – of Vladimir Putin, of course. But Heath Slater comes out to some patriot rock and dressed as Uncle Sam, asking Lana to shut up. And tonight, it ends. “Ding ding, you son of a _____!”
Non-title: Rusev v. Heath Slater. Superkick, Rusev Crush, goodnight at 31 seconds. What, you expected something else?
Back to Grumpy Cat and Miz, as Miz wants to do a buddy comedy with Grumpy Cat. Erick Rowan shows up. “Here kitty kitty kitty... I want that cat.” And so he takes Grumpy Stunt Cat.
As always, the important thing about these segments isn't that someone gets over, or that a story is advanced, or that wrestlers do somethin that will get the people talking the next day. No, it's that Vince is amused by them.
Big Show has a match, but here's Stephanie McMahon instead. Stephanie remembers Big Show being billed as the son of Andre. It shows Big Show has always been in a person's shadow. He wanted to be the big draw, but he thinks the fans determine it. The fans don't decide that sort of thing – the Authority does. So do you pander to the fans or resent them? He's flip-flopped repeatedly, but all he had to do was listen to the Authority. Here's her offer: step away from Team Cena and they will put him into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 31, while still active. This clearly gets Big Show's attention. After some off-mic conversation, and some prodding by Stephanie (“Don't listen to these people; listen to those who can actually make a difference”), Show clearly is seen saying no.
And here comes Sheamus. “Sorry, Mrs. Haitch.” He too is proud to be a part of Team Cena and will make history on Sunday. This time next week, the only time people will see the Authority is if they buy a ticket. Stephanie's not intimidated, though. See, there was an office issue: Sheamus's passport has complications and there might be a clerical error that makes Sheamus's work visa null and void. “That would be a bit problematic, wouldn't it?” And now Stephanie ups the ante: Big Show will face Sheamus tonight, and the winner will face Brock Lesnar in the future. And this is NOW!
Big Show v. Sheamus. Both men are hesitant to start. Handshake, though. Clean break in the ropes by Show, then one in the corner. And another in the corner. Shoving match begins, and Show works Sheamus down in the corner. Sheamus fights back but eats turnbuckle and the CHOP OF DOOM. More chopping in the corner, but Sheamus kicks away only to be tossed over the ropes. Show throws Sheamus into the timekeeper's area as we go to break.
As much as the lows of this show have been low, the Story of the Episode has been pretty interesting so far. I wonder who's going to win here, even though I'm certain it'll end in a no-contest beatdown, and I can't wait for the payoff at the contract signing.
Show/Sheamus, continued. Show signals for the chokeslam, but Sheamus fights out and gets the Ten of Clubs in the center of the ring. Running kick and kneedrop follow, for two. Sheamus tries a slam, but uh, no. Show reverses, following with an elbowdrop for two. Show slams Sheamus down again, three times in a row. Elbowdrop gets two. Headbutt by Show, and the Haas of Pain follows. Sheamus barely makes the ropes. He's fired up and throws punches and Irish Hammers to begin the comeback. Kneelift, but he runs into a Show thrust kick. Another elbowdrop, but it misses. Sheamus drapes Show on the ropes, but gets speared in mid-air for two. Chokeslam time, but Sheamus escapes and gets the White Noise for two. Brogue Kick is caught, and chokeslam gets two. Show goes to the second rope, but Sheamus catches him with an electric chair drop (!!). And right on cue, here's Rusev and Mark Henry to take everybody out at 11:13. Good power match while it lasted. ** Rusev stomps away on Show as Henry sends Sheamus through the table with the World's Strongest Slam. Rusev Crush on a knocked out Big Show just to rub it in. Crowd wants Cena to make the save, but he's not dumb enough to run into a 1-on-2.
So for the record, Sheamus was the first one hit. So if on Monday, Sheamus demands Brock Lesnar at TLC or Fastlane, this is why. I kind of hope they follow through.
On the Kickoff Show panel will be Paul Heyman and Bad News Barrett. Plus, Fandango will have a match.
Nikki Bella v. AJ Brie. Remember on the pre-show about how Nikki had a special warm-up match? Here it is. Brie dressed as AJ looks pretty good. But before the match, AJ Lee emerges for real to watch and do commentary. The fans even chant CM Punk at the fake AJ. Nikki does some warmups after the bell rings, then has Brie run into a hiptoss. Nikki runs Brie over (AJ: “She looks better than I do in it.”), then gets a pair of backbreakers. She pulls Brie up at two. She drags Brie around by the hair, then gets a hair slam into the corner. Charge eats elbow, which Nikki is furious at. AJ jumps onto the apron, Nikki swings at her, and Brie rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:02. Nikki loses it and beats Brie down after the match, with AJ saving and getting the Shining Wizard. Then she stops a YES chant and DDTs Brie. 1/4*, but the angle of the match was a good idea.
Darn. I was hoping AJ and Brie would form an alliance just to troll all the self-proclaimed “RoH-bots”.
Yup, it's official: Big E is in New Day.
Backstage, John Cena approaches Ryback for one last desperate sell job. But Ryback is still offended by what was said a year ago. But Cena says, after that, he earned Cena's respect. If Ryback joins Cena, the Authority is in big trouble – besides, HHH can throw Ryback away on a whim, or Ryback can control his destiny. But Ryback knows the Authority's games and doesn't care; he's on his own. Cena then says Ryback is playing it safe and selfish. Why would the guy who wants to be fed more turn down a spot at the big table? Cena walks off on that.
It seems clear Ryback is going to jump to Team Cena, but they'll keep it until the very last second. So because I have nothing else to say: a new Little Big Planet AND both WWE15 and GTA V on PS4? Tomorrow's a big day for video games, isn't it?
On SmackDown, we will have the Dean Ambrose Survival Kit. Whatever that is.
The Usos and Los Matadores v. Goldust, Stardust, Miz, and Damien Sandow. Thankfully, no Mizswoggle present. Miz and Primo start. Miz (and Sandow by proxy) works a headlock, and a criss-cross goes nowhere. Primo trips Miz into the ropes, and Epico with a tope atomico for two. Miz with a boot off of a crossbody and he works the arm. Goldust in (and not Sandow), and he works Epico in the corner. Epico reverses as the crowd wants MizDow. Epico with a diving rana, and Primo does it to Stardust. Miz falls to a double hiptoss, and Sandow... imitates the bump from Miz. The Matadors dive onto the champs, and El Torito lands on Miz (with Sandow selling it) as we go to break.
Damien Sandow's face turn is going to be amazing.
8-man tag, continued. Goldust is working over Primo, sending him into the corner. Stardust in, and the two stomp away. Stardust with a front suplex for one. Stardust works the arm, dropping his knees on it. Miz in, as the crowd is tired of waiting for Sandow and chants for the announcers. Running kick gets two. Miz works the headlock, but Primo with a sunset flip try, cradling Miz off of a figure-four attempt for two. Goldust in (as Sandow is getting sick of waiting for his turn), and he gets a running elbow for two. Stardust steals the tag from Sandow and gets some knee strikes. Primo tries to fight back, but Stardust cuts it off as Miz tags himself in to continue. FINALLY, Sandow is tagged in, only for Miz to tag himself back in before contact. That's some great heeling. Primo chops away, but Miz cuts it off with a kneelift. Figure-four try, but Primo sends Miz out of the ring. Sandow crawls next to him, while Stardust cuts off the hot tag. Primo with a flapjack, and it's hot tag Jimmy and Jey. Jey dives onto Sandow, and Jimmy gets the comeback on Stardust. Samoan Throw by Jimmy, then the Rikishi hip check. Goldust cuts it off, so Epico with a Backstabber, Miz with the Skull-Crushing Finale, Primo a dropkick, Stardust tosses Primo, Jimmy superkicks Epico by mistake, and Stardust with Dark Matter for the win at 11:36. Whew. *** Sandow himself is worth a full half-star. Grumpy Cat is not amused.
According to the announcers, Sheamus is out of Survivor Series now.
And there's the opening to bring Orton back in. I hope they don't forget about Swagger, though.
If Larry the Cable Guy is going to be hosting Raw, you think they can bring Ron White or Bill Engvall in for my sake?
So, it's contract signing time, as we look back at everyone getting taken apart. HASHTAG! HHH reminds us what's at stake on Sunday, and says that in the WWE... wait, you people don't get it. The fans think they love the WWE and have a passion, and so does Cena. BUT, none of this compares to HHH and Stephanie. Everything about them is the WWE. This is their life and family, and the fans have no idea. This is for the family, going back to Stephanie's great-grandfather. It's the air they breathe. They cannot lose. (He emphasizes this to Stephanie, who responds “We won't lose.”) The sudden change of tone lost the crowd until HHH barks “we won't lose” to each of his teammates. He calls this the last chance for Team Cena to withdraw, because if they don't, they will regret it.
Stephanie makes it clear: there's nothing wrong in walking away. Vince challenged the Authority to be better leaders, and now look at the team they've assembled. In this ring, it's survival of the fittest, and this team has taken Cena's team apart all night. So here's what's left: only John Cena.
Cena comes out alone, thinks about walking away, then heads to the ring. HHH pretends to look for teammates. “I can't see the rest of your team.” Cena promises all the laughs stop on Sunday. With the entire world watching – for free – they will see the Authority out of business. Stephanie: “You and what army?” Sheamus is in the hospital, remember. There's no Big Show or Ziggler either – or anyone else, because they value their career over anything else. Cena's alone in his myopic quest. “Wake up, Cena!”
Cena tells Stephanie to stop orders, because the Authority will lose on Sunday. Yeah, Stephanie has a dream team with bases covered, and the underhanded sabotage has happened, but they missed one man – the man who will make sure they lose. Every week, they waltz out and put the people to sleep, then claim it's Best For Business? Really? It's best for them! Cena will go to war with four fans if he wants! (And he even asks if the crowd wants it.) He looks for four good team members, picking random audience members to say he'll fight with the crowd on his side. And even if he was outmanned, his team has passion for the WWE, with no suck-ups and sell-outs. So here's a preview: for free on the WWE Network (“it ain't even 9.99 anymore”), the Authority will watch their Dream Team try to destroy John Cena. They will sit at ringside and wait for the formality. But that's where the Authority team falls. Kane will go first. Kane has gone from Brother of Destruction to a Drew Carey wannabe. (HHH pretends to fall asleep, but he gets called on it.) Luke Harper is next. And then they'll be stunned when Rusev fails... and that's when they get nervous. Stephanie will be too sick to watch. Then they'll be hungry, and they'll get fed Sexual Chocolate. And after all that, it's Seth Rollins. And when he gets HIS attitude adjusted, the Authority will see their nightmare happen in 3 seconds. It'll be fitting, he says, if they become janitors.
Stephanie slaps Cena to cut him off.
Cena calls it go-time, removes the table, and is ready to fight the world. But he's not alone – Dolph Ziggler returns to stay on the team. And then Big Show is out to declare he's not done. HHH still counts the numbers and realizes he has the edge. And then Luke Harper's music plays? Because here's Erick Rowan to side with Cena! Crowd knows Ryback is next. Stephanie is surprised, but notices Cena's still down one man. And if you go 4-on-5, you will lose. She offers them one last chance to reconsider...
...and out comes Cesaro to complete the team! Just kidding – he's with the Authority. Stephanie laughs at her prank as Cena feels backstabbed. “Any more surprises?”
And here comes Ryback. And he charges the ring and the fight is on! Team Cena clears the ring with Rollins up for an AA, but HHH cuts it off. He goes for a Pedigree, but Ryback glares at him and wants some. (For the record, Cesaro was a fake-out and left right away.) And Cena catches HHH during the staredown and sends HHH through the table to end the fight.
Erick Rowan? I like that! This is exactly what we need – use a match like this to elevate someone. That's what they're doing with Harper and Rowan here. If this sticks, it will be very interesting.
MATCH TIME: 49:57 over seven matches
BEST MATCH: Eight-man tag
WORST MATCH: Rusev/Slater
NIGHT MVP: Luke Harper
FINAL SCORE: 5.5. This was cruising for a 4/10 after all the good and bad seemed to cancel out. But the contract signing, despite the monologues, produced some big surprises and made Erick Rowan and Luke Harper very big deals. Heck, maybe the fake-outs (Swagger and Cesaro) will be revived. With all the emphasis on the main event, they had to do something crazy, and they did this.
Matt Perri is here for Main Event. Tommy Hall does NXT and SmackDown. Brian Bayless will give you our Raw and Survivor Series for our e-fed. Scott Keith will provide the old-school 1995 stuff, while Bayless digs into the 1986 stuff. Dock Muraco looks at the goings-on in Japan. And we'll keep the forums open for you to talk.
For those here for Raw, see you on Monday! If you want more of my opinion, stick around.
Okay, so if you want to go to the comments, you won't miss anything. But it's time for a How I'd Book It, and this is supersized. Not just Survivor Series, but... you'll see.
SURVIVOR SERIES – HOW I'D BOOK IT:
- Fandango defeats Adam Rose. Rose blames the Bunny and pulls off the head to reveal Sami Zayn.
- Dean Ambrose defeats Bray Wyatt.
- Goldust and Stardust win the Fatal Four-Way when Stardust pins Mizdow. A furious Mizdow turns on Miz afterwards.
- BONUS MATCH: Team Swagger (Jack Swagger, Heath Slater, Big E, and Kofi Kingston) defeat Team Cesaro (Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, and Titus O'Neil). Order of elimination: Kidd submits Slater, Kingston pins Gabriel, Big E pins Titus, Swagger pins Cesaro, Kingston and Big E pin Kidd.
- Nikki Bella pins AJ Lee to win the Divas' Title.
- The Authority defeats Team Cena. Order of elimination: Rusev submits Rowan, Cena pins Kane, Rusev and Ryback are counted out, Ziggler pins Harper, Rollins pins Ziggler, Henry pins Show, Cena pins Henry, Rollins pins Cena. But, as the match ends, a furious Randy Orton returns and attacks Rollins.
WRESTLEMANIA 31 – HOW I'D BOOK IT:
I have felt for some time that by the end of Survivor Series, you should know your WrestleMania. So, I do. Here it is:
- The New Day defeat Goldust and Stardust to win the WWE Tag Team Titles.
- Roman Reigns wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
- Seth Rollins defeats Randy Orton.
- CURTAIN CALL: Shawn Michaels defeats Sting.
- Team Vince (Vince McMahon, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Jack Swagger) defeat Team HHH (Triple H, Kane, Luke Harper, and Bad News Barrett) for control of the company.
- John Cena defeats Rusev.
- Brie Bella defeats Paige, AJ Lee, and Nikki Bella to win the WWE Divas' Title.
- Royal Rumble winner Dean Ambrose defeats Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Heavyweight Title.
HALL OF FAME: Sting, Brutus Beefcake, Rock and Roll Express, Reverend Slick, Rick Martel, Davey Boy Smith, celebrity inductee Butterbean.
The next night on Raw, Seth Rollins cashes in on Dean Ambrose and is ready to win the gold, but Daniel Bryan appears out of nowhere to break it up and allow Ambrose to retain.