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The PG Rant: Monday Night Raw

So, when last we left our heroes, Superman was off to the Fortress of Solitude for recovery time.  With Parallax joining up with LexCorp and the rest of the Justice League nowhere to be found, it’s up to a small hero to step up and protect the Universe.  Okay, I’m stretching the DC to WWE analogy here, but the point is: Daniel Bryan is the hero we deserve right now.  But, against the McMahons, is he the hero we need?

Tonight: Rob Van Dam faces Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk faces Curtis Axel in a WWE App Match.  I’m a little surprised we’re getting these on Raw instead of the next Pay-Per-View, in which both Del Rio and Axel, as champion, are obligated to show up.

- The Rated-PG Rant for Monday Night Raw, August 26, 2013.

- Live from Phoenix.

- Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler.

- And we open with HHH, who once again has Shield as his bodyguards.  Which makes me wonder: the one time it makes sense for them to try to surround the ring, they’re all facing the same way.  Does that make sense to anyone else?  Some of the fans visibly didn’t get the memo of HHH’s heel turn.  HHH takes us down Memory Lane to SummerSlam.  He insists that the double title switch is just business.  Then we see the ending of last week’s Raw.  Cole fills a plot hole from last week: all of the roster just watched because they were afraid for their jobs.  Last week was personal, though.  And now, the motive: it’s all Bryan’s fault.  Maybe if Bryan hadn’t insulted Stephanie this wouldn’t have happened.  But HHH is willing to let it all slide and just do business.  On another note, ratings went up from last week, and it’s all because of Orton.  (Well, so says HHH, anyway.)  Enter Orton to… well, some cheers, actually.  Is it time to get nervous?  For the record, the Orton/Bryan rematch is at Night of Champions.  HHH heaps the praise on Orton, then offers a reward.  Finally, the crowd catches on to their role and begins a NO! chant.  Orton gets a new car for being champ, supposedly rom HHH’s pocketbook.  Orton thanks HHH for trusting in him… and here comes Bryan.  He points out how awesome the car is, then mocks the shortcut Orton took.  Bryan thanks the crowd for supporting him, John Cena for choosing him, and – here comes the snark – HHH for being Just Like Vince.  Bryan calls HHH a sellout and plays the big nose card.  Orton demands respect for HHH and himself.  Bryan is absolutely killing it with the sarcasm.  Bryan promises to win the gold at Night of Champions.  Great way to end the segment… but we don’t, because HHH needs to be condescending and patronizing.  And guess what: it matters who you are.  Bryan’s been demoted to B.  Tonight, Bryan faces the Shield in a gauntlet match – Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns, in that order.  It’s just business, he insists.  And NOW we end the segment.  Honestly, I could’ve lived without HHH’s disgusting talk-down.  He could’ve just set the match.  That said, this ought to be a fun match tonight.

- Your WWE App choices: Heyman banned from ringside; Heyman as referee; if Punk wins, he gets five minutes with Heyman.  You gotta admit, they’re good at forcing the fans’ hand.

- Cody Rhodes v. Fandango.  Damien Sandow is on commentary.  We look back at Fandango’s interference in Miz/Barrett last week.  Chain wrestling to start, but Fandango takes the advantage in the coorner only to get hit with a back elbow and front suplex.  Fandango retreats to the apron and kicks Rhodes… and Fandango’s music starts again?  Ah, it’s Miz as Fandango.  With Rosa Mendes, who was available.  Rhodes rolls Fandango up for the pin at 1:08.  The inevitable two on two brawl breaks out, and faces clean house.  And here’s Maddox to make the tag match.  (I believe that requires a sip and a HOLLA in the WWE Drinking Game.)

- Cody Rhodes and the Miz v. Fandango and Damien Sandow.  Joined in progress with Rhodes as face-in-peril.  Sandow drops a knee for one.  Fandango enters and does a cross-corner whip on Rhodes.  Sandow back in with a headbutt and elbow for two.  He works Rhodes’ arm.  Russian legsweep and Cubito Aequet follow for two.  Blind charge misses into a double clothesline as the commentary drops VMA jokes.  Hot tag Miz, who comes in off the top and follows with a kneelift and big boot.  Through-the-ropes corner clothesline by Miz, Fandango’s disposed of, and rollup follows for two.  Miz with the hamstring dropkick to Sandow and he teases the figure-four as Fandango quits the match.  Rhodes trips Sandow, and the Skull Crushing Finale ends it at 3:03.  Call the whole thing 3/4*.  But Fandango gets to dance.  Miz is not impressed.

- Los Matadores video.  So I guess the switch of Rosa to Miz will be to give her something to do.  Hey, if she enjoys working and wants to be better, good for her.  And allow me to be the 1,000th person to make the Aldo Montoya joke.

- Christian is asked about HHH.  That basically sums up everything I don’t like about Raw.  Christian talks about having been in the McMahon/Helmsley Era, but Orton interrupts, reads his mind, and reminds the world he lost at SummerSlam.  Orton will face Christian tonight.  Orton is HHH’s new tool, don’t you know.  Well, that escalated quickly.

- Meanwhile, CM Punk (who is apparently the only person who doesn’t care about HHH) says he wants to fight Heyman.

- Curtis Axel assures Heyman there’s nothing to worry about.  “You believe in me, right, Paul?”

- Curtis Axel v. CM Punk.  Hey, what a shock, Punk will get Heyman if he wins.  The crowd is now HUGELY behind Punk.  Headlockery to start, as Punk controls.  Punk with a headlock, twist into a rollup for one, and Axel avoids GTS to bail outside.  Punk then says “screw this” and goes for Heyman, allowing Axel to attack from behind and bring him back to the ring.  Back in, Axel stomps away as Heyman walks closer.  A slam and axehandle follow for two, and we go TO THE CHINLOCK.  Punk fights out and get the kneelift and short-arm clothesline for two.  Heyman’s position on the ramp is almost a momentum meter.  Punk to the top, but Axel again bails.  Punk dives onto him from the inside as we take a break.  We return with Punk chopping away on Axel as Heyman’s all the way on the stage.  Axel with a Northern lariat for two.  Dropkick by Axel gets two.  Axel shows off to Heyman’s approval, but Punk recovers enough to kick away.  Axel trips him and goes for a slingshot, but Punk leaps off with a crossbody for one.  Saito suplex by Axel after a big kick gets two.  A second one leaves Punk down, but the big cutter misses and Punk with a swinging neckbreaker for two.  To the top, and the Savage Elbow (or Heartbreak Elbow) gets two.  Remember, Punk: Savage tucked it in, Shawn thrust it out.  GTS try, but Axel slides out and gets the McGillicutter for two.  Axel takes forever to pick Punk up, and it’s a GTS out of nowhere for the pin at 10:53.  Axel’s improving thanks to Punk.  **3/4  Heyman runs for the exit, but the referees force him in.  Crowd starts a YES chant for Punk, who chases Heyman to the back, but security forces Heyman in.

- CM Punk v. Paul Heyman.  Heyman begs for mercy, but Axel – still in the ring – delivers a low blow.  And NOW Heyman’s ready to fight.  Axel cuffs Punk’s hands behind his back – that must’ve been a hell of a low blow – and it’s time to humiliate Punk.  One small problem: Punk roundhouse kicks Axel, and Heyman gets his ass kicked – until Axel returns with a chair to stop it.  Crowd is eating this shit up.  Axel finds a Singapore cane, hands it off to Heyman, and the caning begins.  Punk: “Make it count, you son of a bitch.”  Heyman: “I LOVED YOU!  I MARTYRED MYSELF FOR YOU!  I FATHERED YOU!  I CARED ABOUT YOU!”  Wow, this is getting a little uncomfortable.  Announcers are letting it play out.  Axel sends Punk to the announce table.  Axel: “You learn your lesson!”  Heyman looks like Colonel Kurtz.  More caning follows as this is going on just a little too long.  Heyman: “YOU BROKE MY HEART!”  The crowd turns on the segment at that moment.  Sometimes less is more, WWE.  And here’s the problem: this made fantastic TV, but not great live entertainment.  Which way do you go?

- JoJo is your ring announcer for the next match.

- Natalya v. Brie Bella.  The rest of the Total Divas cast is out to join them.  Natalya corners Brie and kicks away, but misses a lunge and Brie takes over.  Knee to the back and hairpull slam follow.  Stomp either connects or misses, depending on who’s asking, and some abdominal stretch type thing follows.  Natalya reverses to a variant on the Bossman Slam, and a Sharpshooter follows, but the heel Divas bail Brie out.  Everyone fights on the floor, and Brie with the facejam to win at 1:38.  That’s it?  Well, no it isn’t, because here’s AJ.  She recaps Total Divas for us, because heaven knows that no one watches Raw and that show.  The crowd seems to agree with how dumb the show is.  AJ calls the entire cast useless and expendable.  I love shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments.  And she’s furious at the reality TV crowd.  The WWE needs to be careful because the crowd is on the heel’s side here.  Though I wonder how Natalya feels about being lumped in with this crowd.  Bottom line: she earned it, not through looks or family, but through TALENT.  The crowd is CHEERING AJ.  E! has to be thrilled by this development.  The best part?  Immediately after declaring her talent and her right to be here, AJ skips off and MISSES THE ENTRANCE.  Note to Maffew: you’re welcome.

- Alberto Del Rio v. Rob Van Dam.  As a reminder, three weeks ago, RVD pinned ADR, and the furious Del Rio beat up Ricardo Rodriguez, which brings us where we are today.  Ricardo’s wearing an RVD shirt as JBL namedrops Linda Tripp.  Seriously?  You couldn’t go with Vidkun Quisling?  Even Cole mocks him.  RVD kicks away and works over ADR in the corner.  Rolling monkey flip follows.  RVD eventually sort of puts ADR on the top rope and kicks him to the outside as we take a break.  We come back with ADR in charge with – what else – a chinlock.  Apparently he threw RVD into the barricade during the break.  ADR headbutts RVD down, but the stepover enzuigiri follows for two.  ADR with a German suplex for two.  Mushroom stomp by ADR to RVD’s back, and he goes to the top, but gets caught with a leg lariat.  I’m not sure what he was going for, there.  Slugfest, won by RVD with kicks and a clothesline.  Superkick leads to Rolling Thunder for two.  ADR recovers with headbutts, but RVD with a head kick and split-legged moonsault for two.  Blind charge by ADR misses, and RVD with a flying kick.  Back up for the Five-Star, but ADR crotches RVD and gets the step-up enzuigiri for two.  Ricardo jumps on the announce table, which OF COURSE distracts ADR enough to allow RVD a leg rollup for the pin at 8:27.  And because of the win, RVD will face ADR at Night of Champions.  This match deserved a better ending.  **1/4

- We remind you that John Cena is injured and has passed the #1 babyface torch to Daniel Bryan.

- Okay, with Bryan/Shield coming up, I have to ask: why is Roman Reigns being treated as the most important member of the Shield?  Wouldn’t they want Ambrose to bat clean-up, since he’s the singles champion?

- Meanwhile, Ryback beats up Josh Mathews.  This bully thing is being done very well as a consistent character.

- Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel gloat about what happened.  Heyman has red eyes as he talks about it.  Heyman mentions the Prodigal Son when he speaks of CM Punk, proving that he never read the Bible story.  Well, it is in the New Testament.  Heyman says he’s the last person Punk should ever come up against.

- Christian v. Randy Orton.  You know, I’d have had this match on last, but I understand the rationale the other way.  Christian with a quick rollup to surprise Orton.  LONG lockup, but Orton wins the exchange.  Orton with a quick kick and he thugs down Christian, but Christian comes back only to get caught with the draping DDT, only for Christian to dump Orton outside instead.  Christian with a dropkick to Orton, then brings him in.  Inverted DDT gets two.  Christian leaps over a charging Orton but eats dropkick.  Orton goes ground and pound, then stomps the face.  Choking ensues.  Orton drapes Christian on the top rope and delivers a kneelift.  He drags Christian in and performs the Garvin Stomp and kneedrop for two.  Christian fights out of a chinlock, and after a series of reversals, Orton headbutts Christian down for two.  He clubs the chest of Christian before going to the chinlock.  Christian starts a slugfest as he fights out and blocks a blind charge, following up with a Tornado DDT try that just results in Orton shoving him over the top to the floor as we take a break.  Notice: the champion has the answer for everything the non-contender is doing.  This is how you book a strong champ.  We return with Orton still controlling Christian with a chinlock, as I wonder if this is some way to prevent Orton from being liked (see Cactus Jack in ECW for what I mean).  Christian again fights to his feet, this time blocking a blind charge.  Christian to the top, but AGAIN Orton cuts him off, building to a superplex on Christian.  Christian with a small package out of nowhere for two, but Orton controls only to jump the gun on a powerslam.  Notice: as soon as Orton got predictable, he made a mistake.  Orton charges out of a cross-corner whip with a clothesline, only to get Hotshotted.  Christian back up again, and FINALLY he connects with a cross body for two.  What happened to Christian’s back?  Christian dives off again but gets caught, leading to a pinfall reversal sequence before Orton goes back to the headbutts to take over.  Draping DDT is blocked, Killswitch is blocked, blind charge is blocked, and NOW Christian gets the Tornado DDT for two.  Christian with the over-the-top leap into an uppercut, but gets caught with a Draping DDT coming back in.  See?  Can’t be predictable.  Orton signals for the RKO, but Christian pushes off.  Spear try by Christian which he gets on the second try for two.  Maybe Christian should be a contender after all.  Orton sends Christian into the corner, and RKO is countered to the Killswitch, which is shoved off.  Orton with a thumb to the eye, and the RKO wins it at 16:04.  Sue me, I loved this.  ***3/4  But before he can celebrate, Bryan offers congratulations and is standing in front of the car from before.  I see Kofi Kingston’s legacy stands.  Only the WWE can turn attractiveness into an insult.  Yup, Bryan’s defaced Orton’s car with the word YES over and over and over.  Of note: while Bryan leads the crowd in YES chants, I could hear Orton shout NO – presumably over his car being defaced.  If so, nice.  This match and follow-up was what wrestling is about – the challenger babyface trying to prove his worth against the arrogant heel champion.  See?  Who needs McMahons when you have these two?

- Maddox, Hunter, and Orton stare at the car.  Maddox says that everyone is on Bryan’s side.  Now Hunter claims the car as his own, as is the belt.  Orton just carries it for HHH.  Work, shoot, who knows anymore.  He wants the entire roster to watch Bryan get beaten up by the Shield, and if they interfere, they’re fired.

- Titus O’Neil v. Jack Swagger.  This is a follow-on from last week.  Zeb Colter gets to talk, of course, and or once he talks about the Prime Time Players being their enemy… before going after welfare queens.  So close and yet so far.  I’ll say it again: they’ve gotta be careful because the “We The People” chant is getting over.  Swagger attacks O’Neil and backs him into the corner with knees, the last one a charging one, into a clothesline for one.  Shoulders in the corner, but O’Neil fights out only to run into a knee to the gut.  Swagger does the Foot DDT (hey, if the video games call it that so will I) before choking O’Neil on the ropes.  Back suplex gets two.  An overhead armlock follows, but O’Neil fights out.  Blind charge by Swagger misses, and O’Neil tackles Swagger down into a fallaway slam.  Swagger clips O’Neil, but the Patriot Lock can’t get hooked on.  O’Neil KO’d by a blind charge, and a Flair Pin gets two before Young breaks it up.  This buys O’Neil enough time so that he can catch Swagger in a standing spinebuster for the pin at 3:18.  Too much sideshow.  *1/4

- Bray Wyatt says… something.  I think it deals with why he calls his finisher the Sister Abigail.  I don’t know what it is, but Wyatt’s charisma is carrying it, so I’ll let it go.

- Meanwhile, Punk refuses medical attention and demands a match with Heyman.  So at Night of Champions, it’s a handicap elimination match.  Punk threatens Maddox’s life to make sure it happens.

- Main event, gauntlet match: Daniel Bryan v. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns.  Neither Dolph Ziggler nor Big Show will say anything in an interview.  In fact, no one will.  Miz is about to say something, then stops.  Anyway, Rollins starts.  Bryan kicks away on Rollins, and it’s a quick bow-and-arrow.  Rollins punches out as the announcers mention Rollins’ knee tweak.  Bryan knocks over Rollins and gets an uppercut and Cactus clothesline.  The other two Shield members try intimidation, and it works inasmuch as Rollins gets the advantage.  Rollins gets one back in.  He stomps a mudhole in Bryan’s beard, but neglects to walk it dry, which allows Bryan a flurry of offense.  Bryan does the leap on the corner whip and clothesline.  Yes Kicks follow, but Rollins avoids the final blow and drapes Bryan on the top rope.  Rollins goes for the knee drop, but Bryan reverses to a half-crab.  Rollins makes the ropes and bails, so Bryan dives into Rollins and sends him into Michael Cole as we take a break.  We return with Rollins applying a cobra clutch to Bryan (as he got a turnbuckle bomb during the break).  Rollins slaps around Bryan and gets a flying forearm.  He gets a second one while taunting Bryan.  Rollins: “All you gotta do is stay down.  It’s that easy.”  Bryan surprises Rollins with a dropkick as Rollins backs up for another charge.  Strikefest follows, and Bryan has some momentum, but a pinfall reversal sequence follows.  Rollins with an enzuigiri, and he gets a huge inverted DDT for two.  Rollins puts Bryan on the top rope and follows, but Bryan slides out and crotches Rollins, adding a German suplex off the top rope!!  Bryan gets whatever to win at 11:57, and in comes Ambrose for Round Two.  And don’t tell me I missed it – so did the camera!  Ambrose stomps and goes for a slam, but a quick Yes Lock gets Ambrose.  Reigns charges for the DQ at 12:28.  And now it’s Reigns’ turn.  And now HE gets the Yes Lock, and Ambrose attacks to return the favor.  It’s the whole Shield charging in.  Hey, the match is over, do something!  Reigns with a spear to Bryan as I’ll say it ended at like 13:00 or so.  Honestly, for once in my life I want Big Show to do something to justify his ironclad contract.  Triplebomb to Bryan follows.  HHH glares at Show, who looks the other way, as Orton surveys the damage.  He enters, taunts Bryan, and gets the RKO to end.  Crowd chants for Big Show as they remember what I do.  HHH taunts the locker room as he leaves, end of show.  Call Bryan/Rollins about *** depending on the stuff the camera missed.


When even the crowd remembers your storylines better than your writers do, there better be a good reason.  Right now, that reason seems to be to make HHH the #1 heel.  Look, I’m not a HHH fan at all, and I hope I’m not being colored by it, but my opinion remains that right now, Randy Orton doesn’t matter.  I want him to matter, because he is the WWE Champion, but he’s just a prop for HHH to get his feud with Daniel Bryan.  Hunter even said so.

This is the big deal right now.  They gave Orton a great match against Christian, which makes him a solid champion.  That’s what you need: a champion you can believe is able to beat anyone.  Look, like I said last week, you cut the authority figures out and the story doesn’t change: illegitimate champion against people’s choice.

Now, while discussing this online during the show, I was reminded that Bryan beat Orton on his way up to the top.  But – and this sounds like splitting hairs, but work with me – that was face Orton.  The heel is the person who will get himself disqualified, cheat like crazy (like he did tonight with the thumb to the eye), and take every Ric Flair shortcut to keep the gold.  And when it ends, Dusty Bryan will beat him.

And this bothers me more than anything else because I want to enjoy this show.  It had three good matches in it in Punk/Axel, Orton/Christian, and Bryan/Rollins.  Instead, I’m forced to watch as everyone is afraid of HHH and he gets his way again.  I don’t expect everything to get blown up in a week, but this is now four straight shows – all four, really – that HHH and Orton have made Bryan flat at the end of the show, and the top heel hasn’t broken a sweat.  Tommy Hall said it right: at some point, you have to make Bryan look like he can hang with the leaders.  They don’t do it.

The longer they don’t, the more I believe that it will never happen.  And then, I change the channel and walk away.  I ask one thing of WWE: make me believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.


MATCH TIME: 57:41 over 8 matches (the gauntlet match is considered one match).
BEST MATCH: Orton/Christian
WORST MATCH: Rhodes/Fandango, but at least it made sense.
NIGHT MVP (kayfabe): Cody Rhodes

FINAL SCORE: 7 – all that good feeling for three hours died in the overrun.  Maybe it’s my Triple H hatred, and I’ll accept that, but the heck with it.  Authority figures swallowing the heat of wrestlers has always rubbed me the wrong way.  Thankfully, wrestling still exists, and it is still awesome.  Go find all three matches and enjoy them.  See you for the holidays.


  1. "Maybe it's my Triple H hatred"

    Might be.

    Orton coming across as a cog in the machine is sort of inevitable. I like the guy, but he can't really do anything for heel heat except RKO people when they're not expecting it (like what happened on SD). Whatever you think of HHH, he's got a lot more personality than Orton and is a lot more believable as a devious douchebag, partly because that's the perception of him we have.

    Also, the roster-not-interfering thing wasn't a plot hole. HHH mentioned it last week, as did Cole on commentary, I believe.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the show, the Corporation versus Bryan angle especially, but I do think D-Bry needs to get one over on the heels next week. As for Big Show and his ironclad contract, I think they're going to go that route. They had a shot of him glaring daggers at Trips at the end of the show.

  2. Crowd didn't turn on the Heyman segment as far as I could tell. They were chanting "walrus" at Heyman cause they hated him, which, ya know, is the reaction you'd want out of that segment.

  3. Yeah, lots of people thought they were saying "boring", but it sounded like "walrus" to me.

  4. "Anyway, I enjoyed the show, the Corporation versus Bryan angle especially, but I do think D-Bry needs to get one over on the heels next week."

    You will be saying this next week.

  5. Exactly. This is the perfect role for Orton--- he's a bland hollow personality with main event credibility. Corporate puppet heel champ is perfect for him at this stage.

  6. Hopefully not either, but Orton needs a PPV win to solidify his reign.

    Bryan will get some comeuppance, but when it counts.


    The match will be good though

  7. "Heyman mentions the Prodigal Son when he speaks of CM Punk, proving that he never read the Bible story. Well, it is in the New Testament."

    Best part of the recap.

  8. After a decade of Cena split reactions, it's almost bizarre to see two top baby faces with universal, intense crowd support. Punk and Bryan are the definition of over right now, and it's fun to watch.

    Now all they need is for Ziggler to cross the corporate line to an insane pop, and WWE will have a trio of super over main event faces.

  9. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighAugust 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Great TV to close things out... Crowd will erupt when Ziggler or Big Show help D-Bry... I really do hope Big Show gets involved and his ironclad contract is referenced. Things are going good. I am enjoying RAW again.

  10. A wrestling writer who hates Triple H. Inspired and innovative hiring.

  11. Going to be hilariously predictable when people bitch about Orton winning dirty or via DQ at the PPV.

  12. I don't know how much of this will be taken as a compliment or an insult but *holy crap* I had no idea this wasn't Scott until I hit the byline at the end. (don't ask me how I missed the headline).

    Awesome job, loved reading it and the New Testament joke was choice. Stick around!

  13. They weren't saying "boo", they were saying "Jew".

  14. Actually, I hope Orton's win at NoC is by DQ. That would open the door for someone else to be a stopgap challenger as they keep the two of them apart as long as possible. This has WM30 main event written all over it IMO.

  15. Next there'll be a member of the IWC who hates TNA.

  16. Threadjack: The Marlins did a legends of wrestling thing, Jim Neidhart was there and he was well & truly fucked.

  17. What? That's unheard of!

  18. Huh. Okay, I can buy that. Was kind of hard to make out, so hopefully you're right. That was a fantastic segment, although like I said it may have gone on a little too long. The point was made already.

  19. Yeah, Andy is excellent.

  20. That was a hell of a lede right there. Kudos.

  21. They better have a killer angle next week cuz Football starts and without Cena AND Bryan getting shit on every week...

    A good chunk of that audience is gone.

    What has the ratings been like for the summer?

  22. That's what I thought but it didn't sound exactly like boring which gave me hope.

  23. Good job, Andy. Just like last week I enjoyed this review as well.

    Keep up the great work.

  24. 1. HHH singing the Disney song
    to Bryan was discourteous, insufferable, and aggravating, meaning he is precisely
    portraying the character he is supposed to be. The fans have distinguished that
    Daniel Bryan is better than Orton is from both a kayfabe and non-kayfabe perception. However, upper management is purposely being delusional, all because they do not consider Daniel Bryan to have the suitable look. Now, the thing that made the Vince McMahon vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin feud so effective was that the
    authority figure would get his comeuppance. Daniel Bryan has to do something so
    that Triple H receives his comeuppance, because an enormous portion of the heat
    is on him.

    2. Axel is not improving thanks to Punk. Sure, he
    looked better in the ring tonight with Punk, but that is only because Punk is a
    terrific worker. That would be like saying Kevin Nash was improving in the ring
    when he faced HBK or Bret Hart. He did not improve; they just comprehended how to
    get the best out of him. If he had a match with Miz next week, I would bet it
    would suck. Besides, his ring work is not his biggest concern. Instead, it is
    his total lack of charisma, lack of an ability to connect with the crowd, and how
    contrived he sounds on the microphone.

    3. Heyman’s beat down on Punk was tremendous. It
    was very emotional and penetrating, and it made Punk’s character even more
    sympathetic. This vendetta is traditional booking at its premium, as it has been
    a compellingly articulated narrative where the courageous hero seeks to avenge
    his former friend that turned on him. I don’t compute on why this segment was less-than-stellar
    live entertainment. I would have been emotionally invested into this angle even
    more if I had been there live.

    4. I thought AJ Lee delivered her best promo yet.
    AJ is very eloquent, as she vividly and expressively voiced her backstory. She
    kind of channeled one of CM Punk’s famous rage in contradiction of the machine
    while conveying what the voiceless have desired to express for a long time promos.
    In my eyes, this indicated that AJ Lee going to be turning babyface soon.

    5. Christian vs. Randy Orton was just okay to me. It served its purpose,
    though, as it made it palpable to the fans who were not completely certain
    yet if Orton had officially transformed into an antagonist or not,
    and, despite cheating, it still Orton come out looking strong. I just never
    thought Orton was in peril of losing, and that is mainly why I just thought the
    match was okay.

    6. The Shield/ Daniel
    Bryan closing segment was effective. I was worried either Bryan or the Shield
    would come out looking weak after, but neither did due to how it was booked.
    Seth Rollins was working hard, hence the insane bumps he was taken, and, as
    usual, so was Daniel Bryan. After Daniel Bryan was on the verge of overcoming
    the odds, The Shield followed by Randy Orton ambushed him as the roster looked
    on in discomfort. It is debatable on whether or not WWE made the right decision
    of no one helping Bryan, but, without question, I would eventually like to see
    someone jeopardize their career to help him.

    7. Decent Raw. It would have been better if it wasn't a two hour show stretched out to three.

  25. What the fuck, did he find a stash of bath salts in the luxury box?

  26. Umm, this was awesome. I don't know what else to say. Polished, superb, insightful writing. You even use bold font for the star ratings if someone just wants to skip to your evaluation. The breakdown at the end is great as well. Wow.

  27. Outside of the Bryan angle and Heyman/Punk, WWE is death right now. They have no idea what to do with anyone who isn't a main eventer.

  28. That's been a problem with them for years now.

  29. I know and it makes no sense. All that brain power and the best they could do this week with ADR and RVD was have them just wrestle each other?

  30. Also wanted to throw my hat into the camp saying that this was a very good recap. Kudos!

  31. Tonight, on When Champions Get Pinned...

  32. During AJ's promo I'm watching the Total Divas cast (especially Brie Bella) do the "Why don't you come down here and say it to my face?" thing and I'm thinking, "Why don't YOU go up THERE and shut her up?" That's they kind of pro wrestling thing where you can't even suspend your disbelief. AJ was talking down to all seven women at the same time and none of them approached her because ... she was up on a ramp?
    Anyway, I do think that promo will lead to AJ being a babyface, first because she's the most entertaining Diva on the roster, and second because after Kaitlyn and Natalya there aren't really any faces worth putting her in a feud with. If/when TNA goes under, I hope WWE signs Gail Kim and Mickie James. At least they can wrestle.

  33. Great review. The "New Testament" joke was genius. <--- I approve

  34. The crowd turns on the segment at that moment. Sometimes less is more, WWE. And here’s the problem: this made fantastic TV, but not great live entertainment. Which way do you go?

    What the hell are you talking about?

  35. Not sure they'd forgive Gail for the way she quite WWE.

  36. Bret's reactions to Neidhart's outbursts made this even sadder. He knows he's too far gone and there's not much he can do.

  37. Well done Mr Andy PG. I got drunk and missed the show but feel caught up after reading this.

  38. Well, as I mention somewhere else in these comments: I misheard the crowd. It sounded to me like they were chanting "Boring". (Of course, they were chanting "Walrus", but I wasn't expecting that chant, so there you go.) Because of this, I concluded that they felt the segment had made its point and gone on too long. Which led to the problem: on TV, this was gripping drama that served to get Heyman, Punk, and even Axel to a degree over. The live crowd, on the other hand, didn't seem to like it. So, who's your bigger master, the TV crowd or the arena crowd? It's not as easy as saying "the TV crowd, because there's more of them", since the arena crowd (if they hate something) can make the TV crowd hate it too (Orton/Sheamus on the Raw after Mania comes to mind). Of course, this was all based on a misunderstanding, so it's moot.

  39. I don't know if it will go all the way until WM30 - but NOC has 'Orton retains the title in screwy fashion' written all over it. It's too early in the story to have either one of them win cleanly.

  40. Ziggler is no longer over enough to get an insane pop. It'll be Big Show, which makes sense from a storyline perspective. Although it should be Mark F'n Henry....

  41. Good review Andy - your analysis of why this HHH bullshit is taking us down the wrong path is spot on.

  42. I also gotta say, your shit is way too wordy.

  43. Bryan beats Orton, Cena and takes on the Shield by himself. How is this not hanging with the big boys?

  44. I completely disagree, because it's all about Daniel Bryan. All of it. They've given us no reason so far to think anything else.
    This isn't 02-05 HHH dominating the show. This is HHH and Orton, in their separate ways, representing a corporate ideal that is the perfect machine for a guy like Bryan to rage against. If you think this is "HHH bullshit taking us down the wrong path," he's doing his on-screen job perfectly: they're trolling us. They want us to believe that our perceptions of what the McMahons- and by extension, Triple H- value is true. And part of that is Triple H playing up the overbearing, spotlight-dominating corporate domineer.
    In lieu of a guy like The Rock to play the part of the corporate champion- after all, guys like The Rock aren't exactly a dime a dozen- a vapid whore like Randy Orton who meets their supposed aesthetic ideals is the next-best thing. And it's fine in this instance if the champion is playing second fiddle, because it actually elevates the championship itself: Triple H cares so much about the belt being worn by someone who fits his corporate championship image that he'll do anything to keep it from Bryan.

  45. Good review, but I have to TOTALLY disagree with your sentiment. The Daniel Bryan thing is working, Triple H or no Triple H. He's getting Austin-level pops at this point. Yeah, the heels have gotten the better of him, but with MASSIVE odds in their favor. In my eyes, Bryan is being booked like their No. 1 face.

  46. Much better than last week, good review!

  47. Scott made a good choice. I really like how much effort you put into framing your comments and arguments.

  48. They have one of the deepest mid cards ever too. I don't know why they can't give them some angles

  49. The thing is, Bryan is already established as the top face. Now, they need to establish Orton and Triple H as the top heels.

  50. He's the Jack Black character from Tropic Thunder - wow

  51. "Triple H cares so much about the belt being worn by someone who fits his corporate championship image that he'll do anything to keep it from Bryan."

    Replace "Triple H" with "Vince" and "Bryan" with "Austin" and you have the most successful storyline conflict they have ever run. Not a bad one to be duplicating.

  52. It was clearly walrus.

  53. Exactly. And it was 15 years ago. Statute of limitations has expired. It's a near-direct ripoff, and a good one.

  54. I cant believe my ears but I just rewatched the main event and before they were chanting for Big Show there was a HUGE Cena chant going.

  55. I thought they were saying Boo Urns!

  56. Can't see MJ ever coming back as long as Super Cena is around. Which sucks as I'd rather see Mickie over Cena.

  57. Andy has mastered the "Main Event" style of rant writing. And that is a compliment.


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