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The PG Era Rant: Raw, 11-25-13

When last we left our heroes, an Ultimate Showdown appeared to loom. After brushing aside Alberto Del Rio, John Cena set his sights on Randy Orton. But why? He's already a champion, and one title isn't better than the other, is it? Meanwhile, what happens in the undercard, with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan taking out the Wyatts, Roman Reigns dominating his match, and Big E Langston and the Miz winning their singles bouts? Has Survivor Series any long-term impact?

The look-in ad informs us that we have special guest host Michael Strahan and will talk about the Show/Orton match, opening with the WWE Champion, whomever it may be.

- The PG Era Rant for Raw, November 25, 2013.

- Live from Long Island.

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

- This show is dedicated to the memory of Mad Dog Vachon.

- And now, Randy Orton joins us to confirm he won last night. Apparently Big Show lost to the Distraction Finish on Pay Per View. Ha ha! Tonight CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will face off against all three rednecks of the Wyatt Family. Orton starts by asking for an apology from all the doubters because he's still the champ. Orton introduces us to The Authority, just so we know who's important on this show. JBL and Cole are 4 minutes into the show and already JBL is resorting to threats. HHH says the Authority is pleased with what Orton achieved last night. HHH says he hand-picked Orton to be the future 10 years ago, and now they take credit for motivating Orton. And hey, it's nice to prove the McMahons right. Orton says what we're all thinking: why is this about you? Orton says he didn't need their help, but he got it and he doesn't like it. HHH makes sure to emphasize physical in physical interference as the crowd DEMANDS Daniel Bryan. Orton and HHH ignore the crowd (until Orton tells them to stop with the YES chant) and Orton says he can take care of himself. He can handle Big Show “unlike somebody else I know”. Orton, the face of the company, WON. Orton is the greatest superstar in the WWE's 50 years, and nobody can take it away from him. This is the Orton I miss. But before HHH can rebut, The Other Champ Is Here! Cena pretends to introduce himself to Orton. Stephanie stops their discussion before it gets heated. Stephanie doesn't like wastes of time, so what does Cena want? For them to listen to the fans! Cena stands up for Daniel Bryan and says the fans are sick of administrative BS. They hate entitlement, and they hate Orton being a little boy. But enough of that: who's THE Champion? After all, there are TWO champs. Cena uses this time to call for a title unification match. Cena cuts off Orton talking to HHH, and he demands that Orton himself answer. Cena wants the match TONIGHT! The crowd loves the idea, and even Stephanie admits it's a good idea. Orton says the Authority's in league with Cena, but HHH tells him to grow up. Really? HHH eggs Orton before making the match for TLC: the unification match in a TLC match. Orton hates this idea, but he agrees to do the photo op. If they're teasing a Cena/Orton double turn, it's done well, but I don't see them following through because Cena's their cash cow. Although does anyone else find it interesting that John Cena started by pointing out the love for Daniel Bryan and ended by getting himself the title match?

- Tonight, Rey Mysterio and the Rhodeses face the Shield.

- Shield v. Rhodes Brothers and Rey Mysterio. The announcers point out that Roman Reigns tied Diesel's record from 1994 with four eliminations. Shield jump everyone to start, which allows Reigns to attack Goldust to start. Rollins continues with the stomping before bringing in Ambrose, who gets the power drive elbow and big stomp. Enter Rollins, who floors Goldust with a gut punch and dropkick. Ambrose back in, and Goldust gets wishboned. Ambrose rakes Goldust across the middle rope and tries a dropkick only to get catapulted to the apron. Ambrose rolls back in, but is hit with the kneeling uppercut. Rollins in, who cuts off the hot tag but gets dumped over the top. Rollins springboards into an inverted atomic drop, but Reigns with a lariat to stop the hot tag. It gets two as we go to break. We return with Goldust trying to fight out of an Ambrose hold, only to get a knee to the gut. Reigns in, but Goldust DDTs both men and looks for a tag. Rollins knocks Cody off the apron, but Goldust backdrops him and it's hot tag Rey. Rey sticks and moves on Rollins, but his tilt-a-whirl is caught, only for Rey to send him into the ropes. Both men do body presses and go down. Now Cody's in, and he missile dropkicks Ambrose. Brisco rollup on Ambrose gets two. Alabama Slam, Reigns saves. Rey in on Reigns, low-bridging him. Rollins is set up for the 619, but Reigns returns and spears the hell out of Rey and Goldust. Cody dropkicks Reigns out of the ring, following with the Disaster kick on him. Rollins is set up for Cross Rhodes, but Ambrose with the bulldog driver to win at 8:26. WAY too short to have a commercial break. **1/4

- Up next, Michael Strahan. Plus, Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow will face off in a WWE App match. Is it hardcore, street fight, or lumberjack? And aren't two of them the exact same match?

- MizTV is on the air. Miz gets the honors of talking to Michael Strahan. Only not really: it's Titus O'Neil pretending to be Strahan. Lisp and all. Miz asks “Strahan”: what's with the gap in his teeth? O'Neil says it shows life – especially when he smiles. Miz: “That gap's wider than the one between the Giants and the playoffs.” Yes, Miz is a BAD PERSON now. “Strahan” talks about how great O'Neil is. But before the joke an go any further, the real Michael Strahan emerges. Strahan fires up the crowd and thanks Titus and Miz for being entertaining, though their jokes were WEAK. He tells Titus his Gap routine is weak. Strahan says he wants to have fun tonight, and hams it up. He then says that “on very good Authority” there will be a “Double Team Tag Team Main Event”. It will be Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio (“Oh, you don't like them. Okay.”) against Big Show and John Cena. Is Strahan trying to be cool or is he always like this? Miz compliments Strahan on being a host, but Miz is a host AND a wrestler. He asks Strahan if he thinks he can hack it? Strahan: “I think Kelly Ripa's tougher than you.” Now it's O'Neil playing peacemaker between the two as the crowd chants for Kelly Ripa. Seriously. Miz offers to give Strahan a hiptoss, which Strahan agrees to. Did I miss something? Is there a point? Strahan blocks the hiptoss (“He was stiff”), so O'Neil decides to step in. Strahan blocks O'Neil too. At least I assume they're blocking. Miz asks Strahan to pretend Miz is Tony Romo (even O'Neil thinks that's a mistake). O'Neil hypes up the crowd... and Strahan reverses the hiptoss on the Miz. O'Neil and Strahan dance... until Strahan hiptosses O'Neil too. But no hard feelings. Congratulations, you're now on daytime talk TV and all you had to do was expose the business.


- Curtis Axel and Ryback v. Big E Langston and Mark Henry. That title already looks cooler around Langston than it ever did around Axel. Langston and Aexl start, with Axel punching away. Langston reverses a whip and rams Axel in the gut, following up with multiple rib busters. Ryback tags himself in and gets a spinebuster and splash for one as the crowd keeps up the Goldberg chant. Military press follows for another one. Axel is back in, and he throws the elbows and goes ground-and-pound. Ryback returns and hooks a vicious... chinlock. Langston fights out and catches Ryback in a Greco-Roman throw. Hot tag Henry, who steamrolls Axel and gets the Junkyard Headbutt. Running powerslam and Langston knocks Ryback away. World's Strongest Slam to Axel ends it at 2:31. Nothing to see here, but welcome back to Henry. 1/2*

- For those of you who loved that Divas match last night, we're doing it again tonight! For the rest of you, sorry.

- Let's look back at the opening segment and talk about tonight's main event and stuff.

- Team Total Divas v. Team True Divas. Eliminations count. Aksana starts against one of the Bellas – I think Brie – and shoves her away before ducking out of the ring. Brie with a Russian legsweep and rollup for one as the crowd asks for Tamina of all people. Brie spanks Aksana and gets the faceplant to eliminate Aksana at 0:55. Rosa is dropkicked and dragged to the Total corner, bringing in Nikki as they get Double Trouble for the pin at 1:17. Tamina and Naomi jump in, and the Funkadactyls get a double suplex on Tamina, followed by a double split legdrop. Naomi does a Rube Goldberg stunner to Tamina, but gets superkicked hard for the pin at 2:19. Cameron dives in, but Tamina rolls through and (eventually) gets a Samoan drop to pin her at 2:45. Natalya's in with a cradle for one, but Tamina clotheslines her. Tamina stomps away in the corner and gets the JACKET THROW OF DOOM. Blind charge misses, and Natalya with a discus lariat and suplex. Slam to Tamina, and JoJo comes in to pin at 3:37. Alicia Fox misses a high kick and gets cradled for one. Rollup for one as JoJo looks for quick pins. Alicia with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and JoJo's out at 4:07. Eva Marie in to big boos as she takes over on Alicia. Fox goes for the Brisco roll, but Eva Marie blocks it for the pin at 4:29. Natalya and Kaitlyn now, and Natalya gets out of a headlock to run into a shoulder tackle for two. Natalya with a kick, discus lariat misses, and Kaitlyn with the gutbuster try. Natalya gets out, and eventually tries the Sharpshooter, hooking it to get the tap at 5:31. AJ enters now as Natalya is HUNGRY for more. She jumps into Natalya's arms as the crowd is on AJ's side. Sunset flip by AJ is blocked. AJ avoids the Sharpshooter and pins Natalya with the tights at 6:09. She taunts Natalya, so Brie enters and gets the facejam to pin AJ at 6:30. It's 3 on 1 now on Summer Rae, who is none too happy with this development (JBL: “She can count!”). Summer Rae tries to dance for no discernible reason, so Nikki dances the Worm. Summer Rae tries it (it's more of a spastic tantrum) and tries to leave, but Eva Marie won't let her leave as the fans ask her to twerk. Brie and Eva Marie won't let Summer walk out, so Nikki gets a torture rack drop for the pin at 8:19. Well, if you HAVE to give the Divas ten minutes on Raw, I can think of worse ways to do it. 1/2* JBL and Lawler ask Cole to do the Worm.

- We look back at the Broadway Brawl from last week, including the Double J homage. This is our way of saying we have a WWE App rematch.

- The Slammys are coming December 9.

- Before we can have the WWE App Match, Damien Sandow says he's above this sort of thing. He calls the match “circus-like”, and it's hard to argue. Where were we?

- Hardcore Match (37%): Damien Sandow v. Dolph Ziggler. All three choices got at least 30%, which goes to show that maybe there's no interest in any of them. Ziggler is in a Tavares Islanders jersey. And yes, the weapons are the upper-crust props because it's called the HAMPTONS Hardcore Match. Really. Well, that and a garbage can. Sandow charges with the nine-iron but gets dropkicked. Dolph goes for a club, but Sandow knocks him down as it sounds like the crowd wants a Ryder run-in. Sandow punches away in the ropes and slides Dolph out of the ring, as we see why – Dolph's wearing Ryder's T-shirt. Sandow rips THAT shirt off too and throws Dolph into the trash can on the outside. Dolph reverses Sandow into the timekeeper area and clotheslines him into the area as JBL and Lawler exchange rich jokes. Sandow uses the house mic on Dolph as Cole references the Mean Street Posse. Sandow dives off onto Dolph, but Dolph climbs out of a pick-up and puts the trash can on Sandow before dropkicking it/him as we go to break. We come back with Sandow choking Dolph with his boot as we see the weapons are gone. Sandow continues stomping away and empties a trash can, but Dolph gives him a Rude Awakening on the refuse. Dolph with the YACHTING OAR OF DOOM, but Sandow cuts him off and throws knees before slamming him down. He puts the jersey over Dolph and lands the Cubito Aequet as the crowd appears to be asking for Ryder again. Dolph crawls halfway under the ring and finds a fire extinguisher, and Sandow gets a face full of CO2. Back in, Dolph leaps onto Sandow in the corner for the ten-punch count-along into a neckbreaker. As this is a hardcore match, no one tries a near-fall. Dolph smashes Sandow with the oar and gets a Rocker Dropper for two. I hate being proven wrong. Sandow crawls out of the ring, with Dolph following but running into a trash can. The crowd is losing patience and begins a Randy Savage chant. Sandow sends Dolph into the steps as security appears to be escorting someone out and the crowd cares about that. Sandow stomps and punches away. He gets a tennis racket, but Dolph catches him with the high jump DDT on a chair for two. Stinger Splash misses, and Sandow breaks an oar over Dolph's back before hitting the full nelson slam on a trashcan for the pin at 11:35. You know, the Hardcore matches of the Attitude Era were quickly descending into self-parody, and this doesn't help matters at all. *3/4

- The Miz is in a made for TV movie on ABC Family. And here's the star of the show in the audience!

- Meanwhile, Santino and Michael Strahan are having a fun talk we know nothing about, but Santino freaks out because Erick Rowan is in the picture. He offers Strahan a sheep mask. Strahan puts it on, feeling pressured to do so. They both look to the camera and back at each other as Rowan leaves. Strahan is as unsettled as Santino... who attempts to tie this into Thanksgiving with a lamb's mask turkey. Strahan is as confused as the rest of us. Had they done the Wyatt cut-out when they looked to the camera, that would've been perfect.

- It's going to be a special Thanksgiving SmackDown on Friday, and they're all but promising a food fight.

- Renee Young is in the ring and will interview CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Punk starts by feeding the crowd some questions that have YES answers, with Bryan answering. They survived last night, and now the deck is stacked against them because Bray Wyatt's in it. But they'll get their hands on the false prophet Bray Wyatt in Long Island. They're ready for a fight. Also, it's weird that they have their own microphones and Renee's doing nothing. CM Punk than asks what their team name should be, which throws Bryan because the answer isn't YES or NO. Punk says most people would be afraid of the Wyatt Family. Handicap matches are the Authority's way of fixing problems (“Good thinking, HHH. Real creative.”). Punk then starts naming random team names (and all of Colt Cabana's ring names) as opponents. Also, the Ring Crew Express gets a name check. But Punk and Bryan will burn them all to the ground. I think Punk drank WAY too much Pepsi tonight. Bryan says he's stared Wyatt down and knows he's not done and won't stop until Bryan and Punk are done, but that WILL NOT HAPPEN. Bryan asks what time it is, and now Punk answers. And here comes the opposition.

- Wyatt Family v. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Rowan and Punk start. Punk kicks away, but Rowan throws him down. Punk throws forearms, but Rowan mauls him in the corner and pulls him out by the ear for a slam. Punk bails out and kicks the legs away. Bryan in, and he keeps the kicks up. Rowan throws Bryan into the ropes and gets a back elbow. Bryan is caught in the wrong corner, and Harper comes in with headbutts. Bryan does the corner flip and clothesline to Harper, bringing Punk in. Punk tries a snapmare, but Harper blocks and sends Punk into the corner. Blind charge misses, and Punk works Harper over in the corner to bring Bryan in. They kick away on the hamstring, with Bryan getting a dragon screw. Bryan with a European Uppercut series. Harper returns in kind and wins the exchange. Wyatt demands in, and Harper obliges. Wyatt slaps the taste out of Bryan (“YOU ASKED FOR THIS”) before casually kicking away on Bryan. A headbutt follows as Wyatt keeps taunting, then a falling headbutt. Rowan enters with a kick to Bryan's head, then a slam. Rowan picks Bryan up by the beard and headbutts him. Big boot in the corner misses, though, and Punk gets the tag. Diving clothesline to Rowan, but a few more are needed to knock him over as a leg lariat does it. Running knee to Rowan in the ropes sends Rowan to the floor, and Punk follows with a tope suicida before climbing the barricade to celebrate. Back in, it's Punk's floating neckbreaker to set up the Savage Elbow. It connects for two. Punk calls for GTS, but Harper cuts it off. Rowan is able to get up and FLINGS Punk out of the ring face-first and at Harper's feet as we go to break. [For those curious why I interchange names for the flying elbow, remember this: Randy Savage would tuck the elbow to his body when he flew. Shawn Michaels would extend the elbow outward and lead with it. So when Punk overestimates his flying capabilities and has to compensate by extending the arm, it's the Heartbreak Elbow, not the Savage Elbow like it was tonight. I love having commercial breaks for these sidebars.] We return with Rowan beating up Punk and applying a chinlock. Punk elbows out, but gets clubbered. Wyatt tags in and kicks away, adding headbutts. He boxes Punk in the corner and slams him down. It gets one. He puts his weight on Punk to stop him and tags Harper in for the Gator Roll into a side sleeper. Punk punches his way free, only to get his eyes raked and receive an uppercut. Rowan in, and Punk gets whipped into a bearhug by Rowan. Punk elbows out to get free, then tries a sunset flip, but Rowan picks him up only to get roundhouse kicked. Harper and Bryan both in, and Bryan clears out Wyatt before punching away on Harper. A dive to Wyatt and Hotshot to Harper leads to a missile dropkick on Harper and kip-up. YES kicks are next, but the exclamation point is missed, so Bryan hooks a rana and the YES lock. Rowan saves. Bryan avoids a charge and goes coast-to-coast with dropkick on both men. Harper catches Bryan with a Michinoku Driver for two, Punk saves. It's BONZO GONZO now as the ref tries to clear the ring a little before DQ'ing the Wyatts at 13:27. LAME. Punk is disposed of by a Harper discus lariat as Wyatt and Rowan throw Bryan into the barricade. The Family picks Bryan up and carries him off away from Punk, so expect him to be in a suit and the Authority's stooge in three months. Punk sees this and tries to do something, but Roman Reigns and the Shield cut him off with a spear. They throw Punk back into the ring and surround him, hitting the Triplebomb. The crowd is numb. Good match that needed a finish before they did that heel beating, but other than that, TV gold. **3/4

- Meanwhile, Miz and his co-host talk about their TV movie and Miz's match later that night. She wishes him good luck.

- Kofi Kingston v. The Miz. At least there's logic behind the linear booking here. I approve. As a reminder, during the pre-show last night, Miz won by reversing a roll-up, but Kofi refused a handshake. Kofi offers it to start tonight, but BOTH men try to slap the other in a neat spot. A long lockup spot as Miz gets a headlock and Kofi reverses out into a headlock takedown. Miz to the scissors, Kofi slides out, and both men get quick one-counts and reverse hiptosses back and forth. Kofi even calls back to Strahan. Kofi lands on his feet out of another one, but Miz avoids a big jumping kick. Kofi with the back waistlock, but Miz reverses, so Kofi reverses, so Miz with a snapmare but walks into a dropkick and gets dumped. Kofi fakes a dive to the outside. Kofi with a trip into a front facelock. Miz fights out, but Kofi tries a headscissors only for Miz to get a knee to the gut and running kick for one. Miz HITS THE CHINLOCK as the crowd doesn't care much. Neither do the announcers. Miz goes to knees to the gut, but Kofi avoids a back suplex and blind charge and chops away on Miz, landing a dropkick. Leaping lariat follows to set up the Boom Drop. The crowd is dead and won't even do much of the clap to build up Trouble in Paradise. Miz catches it, Kofi avoids the Figure-FOur, and Kofi with the SOS for two. Miz runs into the pendulum kick from Kofi, who springboards in with a bodypress for two. Miz with a crucifix to get the pin at 4:58. Not a bad five-minute match, but the crowd just plain didn't care. **

- Mick Foley does some WWEShop stuff. As all of his personalities. Well, sort of – I guess Cactus Jack has been subsumed into regular Foley.

- Jerry Lawler talks to the winner of a benefit auction – Charles “The Kosher Butcher” Tebele. Even R-Truth is caught off-guard. But he recovers to do his shtick. He and Brodus Clay decided to give a brother a chance. So, the Funkadactyls will join Xavier Woods on their way to the ring to Brodus Clay's music. This is just silly enough to get over.

- Xavier Woods v. Heath Slater. Slater with a waistlock. They trade arm holds as the crowd chants... something... and Woods gets the advantage. Slater fights out and corners Woods, but Woods gets out with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and BIG chop. Slater catches Woods trying to jump over him and delivers Snake Eyes. Slater stomps away on Woods and hits the chinlock on the ground. Slater nails a leg lariat for two after Woods fights out. Slater keeps in control in the corner, but a blind charge misses. Woods uses the left hand repeatedly, followed by a headbutt and discus punch. Comeback is on as Slater goes into the corner and gets hit with the Honor Roll. Lost in the Woods finishes at 3:18. Woods goes to celebrate with the auction winner from earlier. Everybody looked like they had fun, so I'll be generous. *1/2

- A look into the History of WWE's chapter on Saturday Night's Main Event, which had better ratings than SNL! Of course, those were SNL's dark days, but honestly, it's still nothing to sneeze at.

- The Bella Twins are fangirling over Michael Strahan. Strahan signs footballs for them, even IF they like the Eagles. Then the Funkadactyls get their footballs signed and do some flirting. And then it's Eva Marie's turn... but she thinks SHE'S the celebrity. And then Goldust is the next Diva. He snarls at Strahan. Goldust just saved Michael Strahan's appearance.

- We look at WWE 2K14 and at the Rock/Cena series, the Rock/Austin series, and Rock/Hogan. The WWE dot-com crowd said Austin was Rock's greatest rival. Of course.

- Backstage, Strahan meets John Cena, and the two laugh about his appearance on Kelly & Mike earlier. This is to let us know the tag match is next.

- We get a videogame ad disguised as a package on Randy Orton's kayfabe greatness.

- Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio v. Big Show and John Cena. Wait, was Fandango on Superstars? His silhouette was clearly visible above the ring on Orton's entrance. And by the way, why is JBL yelling “VIVA LA MEXICO”? First off, it's Viva Mexico, no article. Secondly, JBL was Zeb Colter before Colter was Colter. It was his whole thing during his feuds with Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. Are we supposed to forget that? Show races (if you can call it that) to the ring and chases the heels away. Show and Del Rio start as JBL finally says what I'm thinking: why was Big Show distracted? Show backs Del Rio into the corner and slugs away, including a CHOP OF DOOM. Show throws Del Rio into the corner and hushes the crowd before adding another megaCHOP. Del Rio tries to fight out to the gut, but Show runs him over. Back in the corner again, but the crowd ignores Show's calls for quiet. Not that it matters, as Del Rio avoids the CHOP only to get headbutted down. Show throws Del Rio to tag in Orton, and Show boxes him down too. Big shots to the gut and another CHOP OF DOOM as Show hasn't sold a thing. Crowd asks for One More Time, and Show obliges. Show with a headbutt to Orton to floor him, then a slam and elbowdrop for two. Show chokes Orton away on the ropes like the Hogan disciple he is as we go to break. [For those who are new to the PG Era rant: I hate Big Show and think he needs to retire.] We return with Cena as face-in-peril as Del Rio kicks Cena in the legs and DDTs his foot. Del Rio with punches to the side of the head. He hangs Cena in the Tree of Woe and grinds his forearm into Cena, but a diving charge misses. Cena goes up top, but Del Rio catches him with a step-up enzuigiri for two. Orton in with European uppercuts, and Del Rio adds a cheap shot. Orton gets two off of it. Kneedrop gets two. Orton goes straight to the chinlock now, but Cena back suplexes out of it. Del Rio charges into an AA, but escapes and gets a DDT for two. Del Rio mocks Cena, but does his out-of-the-ring miss (I like that spot). Del Rio is VERY slow to recover, and that allows the hot tag to Show. Show beals Del Rio in and clotheslines him over repeatedly. Backdrop follows, but a blind charge misses and Del Rio gets a basement dropkick as Show finally sells something. Superkick follows, and Del Rio wants the armbar. Show is dazed as the official looks at him, but Del Rio does a boot rake to keep on the pressure. Orton enters and stomps away on Show's head, getting two. Del Rio in with another thrust kick, getting two. Show tries to tag Orton in, not sure where he is, then crawls into a dropkick by Del Rio. Orton drops a knee on Show's head for two. The doctor runs in at this point to check on Show and make sure he's okay, and we can hear Show say he doesn't know where he is. Show insists on continuing, so Orton jumps him to continue the match. Show shoves Orton aside and wants the chokeslam, but Orton gets a DDT. Del Rio wants the Punt, and Orton is ready to give it. But Show is able to catch him with a spear for a Double KO. Hot tag Cena, and he runs over Del Rio with his comeback. Five Knuckle Shuffle is set up, but Del Rio kicks Cena and gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Big Show is still dazed. Del Rio with the armbreaker, but Cena gets the STF as a counter for the tapout at 15:33. This match was a Hogan match. **1/4 Del Rio nails Cena from behind and stomps away, kicking Cena. He goes for the armbreaker, but Cena avoids it and gives Del Rio the AA, only for Orton to nail him with the belt. Orton then grabs Cena's title and poses over Cena with BOTH belts to end the show.


Okay, I need to be more optimistic than normal, but I can't find anything that stood out on this show. Even the big announcements could have been handled better. The Authority is played at this point; Orton doesn't seem like a strong champ, and they're teasing a switch from Orton to Cena pretty hard in a way that doesn't make sense from a meta-standpoint. The Strahan segment seemed like they just wanted material for The Soup rather than Raw, and it didn't seem like it helped anyone involved. Which showed, because Miz had no heat against Kofi. Even the handicap match, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, went nowhere because of a bad DQ finish. I have nothing against ending that match with a DQ, mind you, but for excessive attacking? It just doesn't work.

The Hardcore stuff between Ziggler and Sandow really don't benefit either man because they're so goofy and against the strengths of either man. Reigns has been given the big look in the past few shows, but as long as the Shield are together, the fans are going to believe Ambrose is the best of the three by virtue of being champ. And don't get me started on Big Show basically not selling anything short of a catastrophic injury in this match. It annoyed me a ton, and it doesn't do anyone any good.

Back to Orton for a second: the Authority's existence seems to be hurting his character development. Is he a cowardly heel hiding behind the men in the suits, as HHH segments would have you believe, or is he a vicious champion who can destroy anyone, as his actions in the ring dictate? It's the kind of schizophrenia that guarantees he won't be taken as seriously as a threat as he should be. How can you look at him as a vicious threat to the safety of everyone if he cowers behind a retired man in a suit? Randy Orton – and I felt this before I got this job, before SummerSlam, when he held the briefcase – could've easily rebuilt himself by cashing in in the right way. Instead, he's nothing more than HHH's avatar. How do you take that seriously?

And now, with Orton questioning HHH's loyalties, I'm worried the Cena/Orton match will be about the Authority's loyalties rather than about, say, the title unification. And what's the fun in that? Why would you make your main event, whatever the stakes, as a backdrop to the run-in? This is what WCW would do all the time, and it led to their demise. Of course, it got the Kliq over in WCW, and look who's in charge in WWE now.

I know, shows like this made people hate my recaps because I was cynical and sarcastic. But really, what am I supposed to like about the main event scene? About the midcard? About anything?

(I'm serious, by the way: if you think I'm too negative today, please post in your reply what the bright spots of this show are. And I'm someone who tries to get the bright spots.)


MATCH TIME: 68:07 over eight matches
BEST MATCH: The handicap match
WORST MATCH: Langston/Henry v Ryback/Axel
NIGHT MVP (kayfabe): Roman Reigns

FINAL SCORE: 2. I hated this show, though maybe I'm just in a bad mood. Still, I can't find much of a bright spot out there, especially with the main event for TLC having Orton's mixed loyalties hanging over it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'll see you in December. Tommy, hold the fort down until I get back.  Mad Dog Vachon, you deserved better than this show.


  1. Orton and Cena trade titles. Calling it.

  2. I kinda liked Cena's making the hot tag as Del Rio was still only just crawling back up onto the apron. Subverts the usual trope of the face just making the tag by the skin of his teeth.

  3. Oh boy so fresh and exciting and zzzzzzzzzzzz....

  4. Well, my production failed

  5. I don't book it; I just see it coming.

  6. You were not too negative. You were just the right amount of negative. Glance through some of the live thread. I think the consensus is that show sucked donkey balls--essentially sucking ass and balls at the same time.

    On one hand, I'm not sure if there have ever been more African Americans on the main roster of a major promotion. On the other hand, apparently all black wrestlers are good for, in the minds of those with power, is dancing and teaming together.

    The Authority continues to piss me off because they are the most erratic, inconsistent characters who legitimately aim for boos one night and cheers the next. Meanwhile, our god known as HHH gets the upper hand in ever verbal sparring session. Orton, Bryan, Big Show, even HBK--where does any of this lead? Does a HHH match that no one cares about really warrant putting himself over on every bit of talent that sniffs the main event?

    And the Strahan/O'Neill/Miz segment... what was that? Were we to believe they were legitimately trying to do a hip toss on him and he was just too big and strong? Or were we to believe that he was too "stiff" and didn't know how to "work" like a sports entertainer? And then it all goes to crap by everyone breaking character and posing at the end. Tension sells. Competition sells. Championship rivalries sell. Telling us that you're trying to entertain us while barely coming up with entertainment does NOT sell, believe it or not.

  7. It's good to see that Brie is taking Bryan's Hillbilly Deliverance abduction so well.

  8. "Next week on Total Divas: Daniel's new friends TOTES mess up Brie's couch!"

  9. (Nikki runs up to John Cena, smirking.)

    NIKKI: Did you hear that Daniel Bryan got kidnapped and raped by the Wyatt's?

    CENA: That... sounds pretty awful, Nikki.

    (Nikki continues to smirk. Cena shakes head and beds her while making sure she can never access his bank account or see the amount he's earning.)

    I haven't watched the show, That's just what I imagine it's like.

  10. But they've BOTH got new hats!

  11. Exactly my thoughts when I read both titles will be hanging above the ring.

  12. I agree with you regarding Orton's character. It's gotten ridiculous how he wavers back and forth between being a vicious, violent sociopath who looks out for his own interests, and a submissive, cowardly lackey hiding behind the power of authority. Hell, there have been quite a few times where he's switched mid-promo.

    Honestly, the only explanation I can come up with - beyond just basic incompetence on the part of the writing staff (which is probably a factor anyway) - is that they're hesitant to let Orton go fully into the vicious heel character, cause every time he starts to the audience immediately and vocally supports him.

    The new developments in this angle are just the latest screw-ups in a storyline that has basically been screwed up at every opportunity. If they want to create a fissure between The Authority and Orton, then they could have done so in a way that helps the character. Instead of framing him as a petulant, paranoid brat that HHH/Stephanie tire of, they could have framed the situation as HHH/Stephanie gradually dawning on the realization that trying to control an increasingly defiant and violent Orton as their corporate champion is akin to trying to take a Great White Shark for a swim on a dog leash.... and they need to find a way out of the mess they created.

  13. That just great, now idiot teenagers are going to start playing The Hiptoss Game.

  14. "Although does anyone else find it interesting that John Cena started by pointing out the love for Daniel Bryan and ended by getting himself the title match?"

    No, it's not interesting at all, it's more like a quick summary of why I stopped watching WWE months ago.

    "WAY too short to have a commercial break."

    What is this, a fucking ROH TV review? Oh, wait...

  15. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    I just made it through this show in around 45 minutes. And they said it was DVR proof.

    Orton/Cena SHOULD be a big match the way they set it up, but the problem is they've copped out so often lately that even with a stip that means someone HAS to win, people will probably expect a cop-out. That, and I'm not sure anyone gives a shit anyway.

  16. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 25, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Oh, and I eagerly away the Doomsday Cage match between Punk and Bryan vs. everyone

  17. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Well, I guess there is a copout then.

  18. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomeryNovember 26, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    As a Browns fan, Miz should be prohibited from talking shit about any other football team. Ever.

  19. Bryan should have been kidnapped by the Wyatt's yesterday. Other than that, nothing at all interested me on this show. I shouldn't watch these live I just get bored.

  20. Don't make Orton outright vicious, then. Just turn him back into the cocky asshole Orton circa 2004 --- he was tough enough to be a threat, but just so unlikeable douchy that nobody would cheer him.

  21. WWE really do think their fans are morons. They treat titles as garbage, treat the WHC as shit and expect us to be excited about a unification match bc why? I didn't care about Orton/Cena before and don't care now either.

  22. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 26, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I thought it was a pretty hot segment. And they really should get rid of the World Midcard Championship anyway. Problem is the show was skippable junk and the ME was a pile of junk where the Big Show inexplicably overshadows the angle again

  23. Serious question...does the unification stip get you any more excited for the Cena/Orton match then a regular wwe title match?

  24. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    If it was a 1 on 1 match, no. It's the TLC stip, that someone actually has to win... probably.... right? I guess it's a low bar they're setting right now. "Are they going to screw us with a fuck finish? No? ALRIGHT!"

  25. Who cares about the titles? It's Cena/Orton!


  26. Cena/Orton XIV. Get excited.

  27. What's great about today's show? CM Punk apparently trying cocaine for the first time and delivering an awesome promo.

    I skipped the Strahan shit and just watched Punk and Bryan have tons of fun beating up goober hillbillies.

  28. Y'know what? I'd love that. I really would. Punk Hogan? I know he does the Savage Elbow, but he's the more charismatic one of the duo, and the worse technician.

  29. That's...not far off, actually.

  30. But Randy's going to wear a red and black shirt this time instead of a black and white shirt so it's shocking and unheard of!

  31. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANNovember 26, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    They gotta have the cage in their prop bunker, right? I mean, they have the Thunder set, why wouldn't they have the Doomsday Cage.

    Punk and Bryan vs. 3MB and the Wyatts and the Shield and Dolph Ziggler, because someone has to take the fall.

  32. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 26, 2013 at 2:39 AM


  33. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 26, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    He wasn't just negative, he was... Type O Negative.

  34. They couldn't bother having Kelly Lee Ripoff ref the Divas match?


  36. Could be worse.He could be a JaXR4Tis fan

  37. I couldn't agree with this more but Vince likes chicken shit heels so we are stuck with this weird version of Orton. Evolution Orton was awesome, he had the last great elevating IC title run

  38. I missed the first two hours of the show so I thought you guys were joking about Langston and Mark Henry. There are now three black tag teams and I can't for them to all feud with each other and have a dance off.

  39. the 'E would like to point out that Big E and Mark are a power lifting team that happens to be black.

  40. And then all the White tag teams will feud with each other and play beer pong?

  41. I wonder what they plan to do about the WWE and World Heavyweight titles. Will the Orton/Cena winner just be the next undisputed champion until they find some reason to split the titles again, or are they actually going to eliminate one of the belts? I hope not, because (1) we all know it's going to be the WHC belt that gets eliminated, (2) the big gold belt has too much history and looks too cool for them to get rid of it, and (3) having two champions helps make Smackdown seem like less of a throwaway show, since the WHC is like the unofficial Smackdown champ.

  42. The fact that both titles are on the line does not make it a unification stip.

    It's probably just a lame way of getting them to swap titles.

  43. As I mentioned in the live thread, Kofi and Xavier will probably make Token Black Team #4...

    Although if there's four, that kinda kills the "token" aspect.

  44. More like she probably wanted NOTHING to do with Raw.

  45. That and the Shield tag were the only positives to the show.

  46. He was kidnapped... Punk got speared by Reigns going to help him.

  47. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 26, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    I'm going to go out on a limb: ever since they decided to have two world titles eleven years ago, they've lost a lot of potential for success.

    The brand split was one thing. Two world titles demeans and devalues the prestige and importance of a world championship. As a matter of fact, the difference between one and two is unbelievable; up until 2001 (or 2002 if we're not counting the WCW thing) the champ was THE CHAMP and that was that, and only the absolute best could vie for it. Fast forward to a mere few years later, and you get shit like WWE Champion Bradshaw and Youngest World Champion Randy Orton and World Champion Great Khali.

    For the record, probably the biggest offence in regards to this was Kurt Angle trying and trying to beat Cena for the WWE Title, only to magically switch brands and win the World Title. Well, that kind of defeats the point, doesn't it? To fail and then be rewarded with a title of supposedly equal value?

    Point is, you have two world titles, and all of a sudden everything kinda loses meaning, and any competition for the two world titles hasn't had the same gravitas since the last Austin run. If this leads to a unification, it'll at least be a step in the right direction.

    So they won't do this.

  48. At least they won this weekend, and are possibly one more win away from missing the #1 pick.

    (Because I can see the Texans losing out completely.)

  49. Replace Dolph with Sandow, and I'm sold. (He even has enough beard to pass as a Wyatt... the smart one.)

  50. There are quite a few on here who see it coming. Enough to tempt Vince to swap results? Probably not, although it would be a little humorous if he did.

    This will be a good PPV for Dolphin, if he can get anything.

  51. Sorry, Texans fan. They have fallen into the Pit of Complete Suck, and I see no way out this season.

  52. Honestly, Superstar SHOULD get the biggest push ever in today's environment. He'd literally be the perfect wrestler for them.

  53. Pat Patterson Prolapsed!November 26, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    Also, Cena's head looks really thin. If he were put in jail, he could probably stick his whole head through the bars.

  54. There wouldn't have a 4 Horsemen.

    Arn and Ole wouldn't get through the door with the way they looked. Tully would've been told he's too small and would've been labeled an indie geek or whatever. Flair might've gotten into developmental based on the way he was originally built (he was a powerlifter when he first started and before he slimmed down).

    Some of the later Horsemen would've gotten in though. Obviously Luger and Sid. If Windham walked in looking the way he did in his early years, they probably would've force fed him until he bulked up enough.

  55. And could you imagine what theyd' have said about Dusty Rhodes if he started out today?

  56. Good point. What the fuck would the point of that be?

  57. It feels like reading that review took about 3 long hours. How did you manage to sit through that last night?

  58. "The brand split was one thing." Well, the brand split was the reason for two titles, and in that regard it not only made sense, it was fun. The bigger issue they had was that the two shows were never treated equally and as competition, despite what the original purpose was. I remember a story from 2003 where Vince literally shot down the idea of the two brands trying to one-up each other in the PPV department because he didn't want the WWE to compete against itself, despite that being the whole point of two brands. Of course, once HHH merged the brands (on-screen) in 2011 to show he was a True Leader or something, the whole point of two champs was lost.

  59. You really missed the point of the exercise here...

  60. Sorry, my mind was stuck in reality.

  61. Hey ' you doin'? You haven't seemed quite yourself the last couple of days or so.

  62. I was around for his "comeback" in the 80s, and I seriously dug the whole tie dye thing. I wound up wearing lots of tie dye shirts just cause of him. I still have some some stuff today, and and will buy cool items when I see them.

  63. Just found this funny. Unrelated to the topic.

  64. Yesterday was a marvelously shitty day and I was delirious during the "Live Thread Presents: Monday Night RAW" last night (I wasn't kidding when I said I fell asleep) but I am good today.

  65. Taker is all about timing. Calloway would not thrive in any other era without the Taker gimmick. But the Taker gimmick would not have had the success and no where near the longevity if given to anyone but Calloway. Put Taker in the 80s and he's overshadowed by Andre. Put Taker's debut later in the 90s, and clique politics destroy his push before it gets started. And of course if Calloway came along today he'd never make it to the main roster.
    Bret WAS a cowboy in the 80s and would be a cowboy now. Only difference being he would be punished for trying to change his gimmick today and fired for thinking he was better than everyone else...

  66. With his physique, he'd never even pass a try out. He'd be an indie darling though, I bet.

  67. Brodus Clay has a job.


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