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The PG Era Rant: Raw, 06.23.14

When last we left our heroes, the field was narrowed to 7. Only seven people can possibly hold the WWE Championship. Will it be John Cena, Randy Orton, Antonio Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, or Sheamus? Tonight, who gets the momentum? But wait – there will also be a Contract Match. All we know is Seth Rollins is in. Who joins him? Which other six men will have a chance to be one step away? And with the Authority dismissing the main event of WrestleMania while a Conqueror is said to loom in the background, does it even matter?

The PG Era Rant for Raw, June 23, 2014.

Live from RIGHT HERE in WASHINGTON, DC! (thumbs up; cheap pop)

Your hosts are the Three Blind Mice.

Pre-Show notes:

Sir Not Appearing on this Raw: Santino Marella.
Raw Preview: Stephanie McMahon will address the Vickie Guerrero situation; Rematch of the 4-on-3 handicap match from SmackDown; Intercontinental Title match as Wade Barrett faces Dolph Ziggler.
Superstars Matches: Heath Slater vs. Adam Rose; R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel.

It's the 1100th Episode! And how do you start other than with... Stephanie McMahon. Hm, not the answer I'd have gone for. Eh – Stephanie's cute, so I'll let it slide. We look back at the Last Chance Battle Royal which Roman Reigns won, finalizing the field for the Championship Ladder Match. Stephanie hears the boos and does a “for me?” to the crowd. She says that she cannot tolerate gross negligence. For example, last week Vickie Guerrero couldn't even handle getting a cup of coffee. So she calls Vickie out to face the consequences. Vickie is scared as she walks out.

Vickie starts by saying she's glad Stephanie's doing better and apologizing profusely. But she says Roman Reigns poisoned Stephanie's coffee. Stephanie says, yeah, about that – that was your biggest failure. She had specific orders not to let Ambrose or Reigns into the match. Now, not only did he compete, he won, and he's in to compete for the Championship. Which, in turn, means he could become WWE Champion. And that's totally Vickie's fault. Vickie says it won't happen again, which is famous last words.

For nine years, Vickie's been riding Eddie's coattails. The Authority took pity on her – she sure as heck is no Diva, so she became a General Manager, but she couldn't do that right. (Understandably, an Eddie chant breaks out.) Stephanie says Eddie deserves respect, but not Vickie. So Vickie is...

...wait, Vickie wants a last chance, and she'll do ANYTHING to prove it. She'll even beg. Crowd chants NO, and Stephanie says too bad, she wants Vickie to beg. Stephanie encourages Vickie to get on her knees and beg. And Vickie drops on her knees and begs, as Stephanie demands it more and more.

She then tells Vickie she's pathetic and tells her to get up. Because Vickie can't even beg right. And Stephanie can't even get rid of Vickie, either! So Vickie has two choices: either she's fired or she's stuck on SmackDown.... IF she wins tonight. Vickie: “A match? I'm not a competitor!” But Vickie refuses to fall on her sword either. And the crowd is cheering for Vickie. And Vickie's opponent? Stephanie herself. Why is the crowd cheering this?

So what'll it be, Vickie? Stephanie says Vickie doesn't have the guts... but Vickie says that the Guerrero name is more respected than the McMahon name. And Vickie remembers how to lie, cheat, and steal, so she accepts! EXCUSE THIS! And she walks out to her name being chanted. Stephanie smiles at this development.

We reveal the field for the Contract Ladder Match... actually, not yet. HHH will tell us in person! Plus, Wade Barrett defends against Dolph Ziggler! Plus, the SmackDown Main Event happens once again!

So the first ten minutes were spent dragging out until we got a match between two barely trained wrestlers. And the strangest part? I ain't even mad, bro. They finally had someone, anyone, stand up to Stephanie. The only thing is I think Vickie needs to win.

SmackDown #1 on Friday Nights!

Jimmy Uso v. Luke Harper. Harper and Rowan as a spin-off act have a harmonica solo as their music and no TitanTron at all. Supposedly it's “Whole World In His Hands.” Harper with a dropkick to start, then a double chop. An uppercut follows, but Jimmy fights back only to get slugged down. Jimmy with a superkick to the gut and a Dragon Whip, but he runs into a back elbow. He misses a second one, and Jimmy superkick Harper for two. Harper ducks down, but Rowan prevents a dive anyway, so Jey takes Rowan out. Jimmy runs into the discus clothesline out of nowhere for the pin at 1:35. Yeah, now that I know what I'm listening for, it does sound like that gospel song. The crowd is singing along... but Jey demands Rowan get in the ring so they can have a match. He then dives onto Rowan and Harper to make a point. We go to break without an answer.

Even though we know it'll happen.

Jey Uso v. Erick Rowan, joined in progress. Rowan is working a neck crank, but Jey gets out only to get thrown into the corner. Jey kicks away, but is caught off the ropes into a fallaway slam. It gets two. Rowan with a pair of headbutts, then he rakes the eyes. He drops Jey throat first on the top strand for two. Rowan hangs Jey on the top corner and pounds away. A blind charge eats the post, and Jey kicks him hard. Jimmy takes Harper out, and the big splash ends it at 1:54. Harper pulls Jey out, so Jimmy dives onto him. Rowan tosses Jimmy, and it's a 2-on-1 on Jey. Avalanche/boot combo floors Jey, and the duo grab Jimmy, with Rowan tossing him into the steps, then into a Harper discus lariat. They examine the belts and pose with them.

And now Bray's speaking on the Tron about how proud he is of his boys. After all, the leader has to glorify the triumphs of his family, or he's no leader. The Family looks down on creation, trampling the bodies of their enemies, and soon all will look up to him when he's on the ladder. When Bray wins, we'll have a brand new era in which the Eater of Worlds is the champion of the needy souls he trampled. Bray is not alone. The brothers will prove their worthiness, and the Family will roam the earth like giants, spreading their message and following the buzzards.

The Wyatts have all the momentum, but I can't see Bray winning the title. Harper and Rowan, sure, but Bray? I don't buy it. It seems like he's the kind of person who doesn't need the title, and I'm surprised he wants it.

Daniel Bryan himself will be on the panel for the Pre-Show. That ought to be interesting.

Earlier Today, Alexander Rusev and Lana visited the major landmarks and cut promos. In the Capitol, laws are made that make America the laughingstock. And then there's the White House, where the President makes decisions to make the US inferior. Compare to the Kremlin, which is the standard of excellence. And then we cut to the Gold Star Medal ceremony. Apparently, our government is pathetic. (Won't argue that.) And America's pathetic. (And that I argue.) Wake up, America, and accept Russia's dominance. A picture of Putin gets more heat than Lana or Rusev. The Revolution of Rusev is upon us. The Russian anthem is a nice touch.

Paige is at commentary for the next match.

Alicia Fox v. Naomi. Hey, Total Divas Season 1 is coming to WWE Network, starting on Thursday! No promoting JoJo, which is interesting. Alicia tries to do cat-style as Cameron joins commentary and this gets ugly. Naomi gets a waistlock as we show commentary, and a rollup gets two. Naomi with dropkicks, but the Rear View is missed. Hiptoss by Naomi, but Fox with forearms and she works the arm. Naomi cartwheels out and gets a running clothesline and rana. Fox bails and demands space. Naomi misses a baseball slide, but lands right hands as Cameron and Paige keep arguing. Fox pulls Naomi off the apron and kicks away. Back in, Fox with more forearms and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Fox pulls the hair and taunts, but Naomi lands a right hand. This angers Fox, who lands some nasty back elbows and a Northern Lights suplex for two. Fox with a mat slam as we focus on the Divas arguing. Fox with a kick to the face, then a knee to the back. Fox chokes Naomi on the middle rope as Cameron says she's the center of attention. Fox cuts Naomi off and throws her out of the ring. She goes up top to pose as we focus on the announcers again. Back in, Fox works the hair into another backbreaker try, but Naomi reverses to an inverted DDT for the pin at 4:57. Nice. *3/4 Paige says Naomi deserves it. Paige and Naomi then have an awkward glance at each other as Paige enters the ring. It's the old “hold the belt high” thing, and they shake hands. Paige: “You want this?” Naomi nods. Cameron, surprisingly, does nothing.

Sheamus is taping up in the medical room for the rematch when Roman Reigns walks in. They're ready for tonight's match. Reigns is always ready, in fact. “4 on 3? They need more people.” Sheamus loves Roman's intensity, but Sheamus remembers the Shield attacking everyone with a pulse, so on Sunday, everyone's alone... without backup. Roman makes a point: if he wanted Sheamus out, he'd be out. Sheamus enjoys that. He'll love tonight, but he'll love winning on Sunday more. Fella. Reigns doesn't believe that. He just believes in himself. That's later tonight.

So we had a Divas segment where the champion was given mic time, a bitter heel turn was teased, the challenger was established, and the match lasted a decent amount of time. And that's before we get into Fox getting TV time with her new character. Man, who knew booking Divas was just like booking Superstars, only with women?

We look back at SmackDown, where Adam Rose beat Titus O'Neil with a rollup. Twice.

Titus O'Neil v. Bo Dallas. Hm... either this is a heel/heel matchup, Titus is just a jobber, or Dallas turned face when I wasn't looking. Bo Dallas has his own hashtag. Bo talks about how Titus needs to get back on that horse like he did on Friday... only to fall off again. But hey, winning isn't everything. And tonight, he'll prove it again, because all you have to do is Bo-Lieve! Bo Dallas has a black eye. Dallas gets a dropkick off a criss-cross but runs into a backbreaker and toss. Crowd is chanting Let's Go Bo. O'Neil throws Bo in over the top rope and chops him down. Titus clubs Dallas repeatedly, then Hammer Throws him into the corner. Bo avoids a charge and the Stratusfaction ends it at 1:08. Dallas does his victory lap with a 9-Bo singles record. JBL calls it the greatest streak in sports entertainment with a straight face. Dallas tries to cheer Titus up only to get the mic slapped away... but that doesn't stop him. (“Silly me, Mr. Butterfingers!”) He encourages Titus to try again, then thanks the crowd. Don't Stop Bo-Lieving!

Will Bo Dallas be in the Contract Ladder Match? We'll find out next, when HHH tells us live!

This is weird. In NXT, Bo Dallas was a face whose act caused people to turn him heel. I'm hearing cheers for Dallas – it appears in WWE, the opposite may well happen. Maybe it's because he has a character that he applies himself to. It's not a hard concept.

And here comes HHH. The single briefcase is now gold-plated. (Of note: there have been 14 MITB contracts; 12 have led to title changes.) HHH says it's funny that Washington is where no one changes anything, while HHH does what's Best For Business™ and is somehow the bad guy. Business is what's at the root of everything he does. That's why on Sunday, we'll have both the Championship Ladder Match and the Contract Ladder Match. HHH explains what the contract guarantees: a title match whenever the holder wants, inside any WWE ring, for one full year. It all but guarantees a new champion. (85.7%, by the way.) He says that on Wednesday, he informed everyone Seth Rollins is in the match. The rest of the lineup is coming, but there is no favoritism, oh no. Everyone in the match is Best For Business™. Those men are: Kofi Kingston! Jack Swagger! Dolph Ziggler! (Crowd LOVES that.) Rob Van Dam! Bad News Barrett! (HHH's overblown Cockney accent is amusing.)

HHH says they could all be favorites, but HHH believes the favorite can only be Rob Van Dam... no, just kidding, it's Seth Rollins. HHH all but guarantees it. Rollins is the future of the business and a technician like no other... and Rollins is on his way out. We look back at Plan B for the 1100th time.

Back live as Rollins gets to talk, but not before a weak You Sold Out chant. Rollins: “Oh, come on, you guys aren't over it yet?” He chides the crowd for not moving on from the footage that plays incessantly. Seth, though? He's over it. And if the fans loved the other two as much as they say, then they should thank Rollins for all of their success. See, Seth took the Shield as far as they could go before dropping the deadweight. Call him a sellout; scowl like Roman Reigns; get twitchy like Ambrose; nothing changes. Seth Rollins made the Shield and has the right to break it up. Yes, the Shield got Rollins this far, too. But this Sunday, he'll go futher on his own by climbing the ladder. He will win the contract and be called Mr. Money in the...

...wait, here's Rob Van Dam. He can't help but feel like he's not taken seriously. Seth tries to correct that, but hey, it's not 2005 or anything. RVD laughs and says that's when he was asking to stay up late so he could watch him on TV. You may have forgotten, but RVD's held that briefcase. In fact, he won the title with it. And he knows FOR A FACT that HHH remembers when Van Dam crushed HHH's trachea back in 2002 at the inaugural Elimination Chamber. “Good times!” So as Hunter says, it's lame to brag about the past. So instead, let's live in the moment. How about a match right now? Rollins clearly wants it...

...and HHH makes it official! Bring out a referee!

Seth Rollins v. Rob Van Dam. Rollins takes control early with right hands and kicks in the corner. A whip is reversed, and RVD with a spin kick and monkey flip. Another running spin kick follows, then RVD clotheslines Rollins out. He follows with a slingshot plancha. A quebrada off the apron follows, then the RVD chant as we go to break.

Hey, a long match! Nice! Though I do question leaving Ambrose out of it. Yes, HHH would never put him in the match, but at some point this has to be addressed. At the very least, he needs a match of some sort on Sunday, right?

Rollins/RVD, part two. Rollins applies a camel clutch in the ropes before being forced to break. Rollins follows up with the Three Amigos for two. (Cole makes the connection to Stephanie/Vickie.) Rollins with a chinlock now. RVD fights up, but Rollins kicks out of it only to put his head down. He recovers with a spinning leaping neckbreaker... thing... for two. Rollins kicks away on RVD in the corner, then gets a charging forearm and lariat. That gets two. Rollins switches to a body-scissors chinlock. RVD breaks the body-scissors, but the chinlock remains. JBL: “Everyone here has a 1 in 7 chance. For those who don't have a calculator, that's 12.5%.” RVD fights out, and switches an enzuigiri to a leg cradle for two. RVD begins the comeback with clotheslines and a thrust kick, which leads to a Rolling Thunder try. Rollins is up too fast, so RVD gives him a spinkick and Rolling Thunder for real. Rollins shoves him off the top, but he lands on the apron and gets a springboard DDT. Back up top RVD goes, but the Five-Star misses. Rollins tackles down RVD and gets mounted punches, daring the ref to do something. Buckle bomb and Curbstomp, but Ambrose races in for the DQ at 9:56. **1/4 Ambrose sends Rollins into the timekeeper area, then mounts him and fires away. Officials try to hold them apart as the crowd goes nuts. Ambrose leaves peacefully, having made his point. No, just kidding, he runs the announce tables and tackles Rollins again. Officials try to separate them again, and this time Rollins hightails it out.

Ambrose has a mic. He says he should be in the Contract Ladder Match, because if they don't, he'll grab the briefcase and derail the show if he has to. He'll be at the show regardless, and he ain't playing nice. There we go.

Meanwhile, Vickie Guerrero is stretching and shaking her head in discomfort. That's later tonight! Plus, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler contest the Intercontinental Title! The 4-on-3 handicap match! Del Rio! Bray! Orton! Cesaro! Sheamus! Cena! Reigns!

That would be interesting. What happens when someone not in the match tries to win it?

Backstage, HHH tries to talk Rollins into something. Rollins doesn't want Ambrose to ruin the moment for him. Rollins even says Ambrose has to be in the match so that Rollins can control him. Rollins controlled him in the Shield; he needs him where he can keep track of him. HHH understands. Besides, Rollins says, he wants to see Ambrose's look when Rollins wins. HHH says okay, but if this backfires it's on you. Rollins isn't worried. He demands Ambrose. HHH loves that confidence, and Ambrose is in. That's better.

Wade Barrett is here for his match. Barrett says that, yeah, last week, Ziggler got a miracle win over Barrett and his ego expanded. But the Bad News is, after tonight and Sunday, Dolph will be so embarrassed he'll have to change his name. Much like the racist NFL team. Careful, Wade, some of agree with that statement. Cole and JBL won't even say the name. That's next!

So, in case you're wondering why I quoted JBL above, it's because he's wrong. 1 in 7 is not 12.5%. It's 14.3%, rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent. In full, it's .142857, repeating, when you divide 1 by 7 and... yeah, where's Leroy Jenkins when you need him.

The Slam of the Week is Dolph Ziggler's non-title win.

Intercontinental Title: Wade Barrett (champion) v. Dolph Ziggler (challenger). Did someone order boxing intros? Because you're getting them. Dolph is from Hollywood, Florida, again after being from Cleveland last week. Hashtag alert! Barrett with clubbing to start, and he sends Dolph into the corner. He kicks away, picking him up and tying him in the ropes, but Ziggler fights back and rolls him up for two. Dropkick gets two. A whip is reversed, but Barrett cuts off a charge and sends Dolph out of the ring. Barrett sends Dolph into the apron and rolls him in, getting two off of it. Barrett hooks a chinlock, but Dolph fights out of it only to get elbowed. Dolph avoids a back suplex and cuts off a charge, getting a crossbody and punches. Stinger Splash and ten-punch countalong follows, then the Rude Awakening. Dolph's already being tired? Why? Famouser misses, but the Bossman Slam doesn't, getting two. Both men getting chants. Wasteland is set up, but Dolph gets the Zig Zag out of it... only he can't cover. Barrett rolls out of the ring to gain time. Dolph feels like his best chance slipped away as we go to break.

Wait, why was Dolph selling a 15-minute match three minutes in? It's not like he took any big blows. I guess it's force of habit to oversell everything, but I don't really like that. I guess I'm just too old-fashioned.

I-C title, part two. We return with Dolph doing ten elbowdrops for two. Barrett again rolls to the apron, getting a shoulder thrust and backdropping Dolph to the outside. Cactus Elbow follows by Barrett, complete with Bang Bang. Back in, it gets two. Into the chinlock we go. Dolph elbows out, but Barrett retains control with a corner kneelift for two. Barrett goes up top, but Dolph catches him with a facebuster off the top, finally crawling over for two. This Is Awesome, says the crowd, as a slugfest breaks out leading to a Barrett ten-story drop. Powerbomb try, but Barrett stops the counter and changes it to Wasteland. It's STILL two. Crowd with a YES chant as Barrett warms up the Bull Hammer. It hits the post, and the Famouser gets two. Crowd re-iterates the Awesomeness. Sleeper is blocked, as it always is, but Wasteland is reversed to a crucifix for two. Stinger Splash dives into the Bull Hammer out of nowhere to retain at 11:29. ***1/2 Man, that match had another five minutes in it!

Backstage, Vickie passes some of the talent before being asked about her concern by Renee Young. Vickie nearly snaps before admitting she's not beloved. She's been the Authority's doormat. She's been humiliated for years, more than anyone else ever. So tonight, she is taking her dignity back. She doesn't want forgiveness and she has no regrets. But this leads to Randy Orton showing up... and he says Vickie will regret last Monday's decision. Tonight, Vickie gets what she deserves, like Orton will get what he deserves on Sunday. Orton would say it's nice knowing her... only that's a lie. The match is next.

Next week, a special one-hour show on the Special Olympics! Monday just before Raw on FS1!

Hm. I have to think that Vickie's in trouble now. This seems like the final humiliation out the door. I don't know. I do know I could watch 15-minute matches between Barrett and Dolph all day.

Tomorrow night's Main Event main event is Kofi/RVD/Dolph against Barrett/Rollins/Swagger. Odds on Ambrose running in for the DQ have been taken off the board in Vegas.

Vickie Guerrero v. Stephanie McMahon. Vickie comes out to Eddie's music and a polite ovation. We look back at how this match was set up. If this match doesn't end with Vickie cheating at least once, I'll be disappointed. But wait... Stephanie's not dressed to wrestle. See, the match will take place in a mud pit instead of the ring. Really? At least, it looks like mud. Stephanie's not sure. Crowd loves it, for some bizarre reason. First one in the pool loses. So when Vickie loses, she's fired, says Stephanie. Oh, and out come Rosa, Layla, and Alicia to grab Vickie. They surround her in the ring, smug, as Vickie runs away. She's headed to the entrance for some idiotic reason, which means she'll run into Stephanie. Stephanie tells the Divas to surround Vickie. And they catch her and drag her to the pool. Stephanie narrates them as they pick her up and throw her into the pool. Wait, no, Vickie fights out and shoves Rosa in! Then Layla gets ole'd into the pool. But there's still Alicia, who grabs a wedgie and... gets sent in as well. Vickie celebrates, which allows Stephanie to shove her in herself, celebrate like it means something, and fire Vickie. Well, that was a complete waste of time. Stephanie is so happy, she wants to sing the goodbye song to Vickie. Vickie is too humiliated. But Stephanie gets between Vickie and the pool, then turns around while singing. Vickie gives an evil glance, and Stephanie stops singing, suddnely realizing the problem. Crowd is SO ready for this. She grabs Stephanie, and in she goes! JBL: “Michael, go help Stephanie!” Cole: “WHY?” Stephanie is dunked in whatever it is as Vickie leaves. Crowd starts a Thank You Vickie chant, and Vickie shimmies, her dignity mostly intact. Still not worth it, in my opinion, but heck, humiliation of the top heel is always good. Stephanie accidentally pulls a referee in before throwing a minor fit and throwing the ref back in. Crowd tells Stephanie she sucks, and Stephanie vows revenge on the world.

On Sunday, seven men will have a chance to become WWE Champion, but tonight, they face off in a 4-on-3 handicap match!

Um... I got nothing more to add. Too drawn out for the purpose, but the crowd loved it.

You know, I haven't mentioned this yet, but... what's with Cole's jacket? I bring this up because they show the announcers talking about Stardust. This leads to Byron Saxton interviewing Goldust. He asks about Cody transforming... but that's not Cody, that's Stardust! And here's Stardust to blow golden dust at Byron and sing Disney showtunes like he's Jimmy Durante. He forms the star with his gloves, and he's out. Goldust acts star-struck. “Now I'm the normal one!” There is nothing about this that is not awesome.

Jack Swagger v. Kofi Kingston. WE THE PEOPLE! Sorry, I had to. This is a rematch from last monday. No, not Swagger/Kofi. USA/Ghana. Kofi with kicks to start, stopping any Swagger counter attempts, but Swagger with a big tackle. Criss-cross leads to a leaping back elbow. Swagger cuts off a corner charge and tosses Kofi into the corner, adding knees to the gut and throwing him into the post. Clothesline gets two. Swagger sets up the Vaderbomb, connecting for two. Double-arm lock by Swagger finally wakes up the crowd, but Swagger with a judo throw and armbar. Kofi gets a jawbreaker to break, then the pendulum kick to stun Swagger. Swagger reverses a whip and dives onto Swagger, which ends awkwardly before Kofi sends Swagger packing. Back in, dropkick by Kofi and Swagger's out again as Kofi gets a somersault senton. Kofi's favoring his right hand as they go back in. Kofi up top, but he gets caught and Swagger tries to toss him. Kofi bounces back with a Victory Roll for two. He charges, but Swagger with the Ankle Lock. First try to break fails, second try can't reach the ropes, and he taps out at 3:58. 3/4* Swagger has a bloody nose from whatever. Kinda sloppy, but it served the purpose. America beats Ghana again!

Just added for Sunday: Paige defends against Naomi! Order the WWE Network now!

Renee Young is with Alberto Del Rio... though that's not who she was introducing. ADR is unbeaten in a Money in the Bank ladder match, and he's successfully cashed in. So this Sunday, he'll do it again and become the Champ. But now Paul Heyman and Antonio Cesaro show up. Heyman's sorry to interrupt, but he heard the number 1 and Brock Lesnar blah blah blah. Also, Cesaro is the 1 who will climb the ladder and be the champ, so there's that. With all due respect. ADR wonders if Cesaro is Heyman's puppet, so Cesaro says he speaks five languages, but Loser ain't one of them. Del Rio's angry as we go to break.

Coming soon, my theories on a money in the bank ladder match.

Sheamus and Bray Wyatt will meet one more time on SmackDown.

Damien Sandow is dressed as Abraham Lincoln, and he's not too happy about it. To be Honest, he's rather be in Ford's Theater than let the fans dictate his career. He's taking his destiny back, and he doesn't want people telling him his worth. And here's his opponent.

Big E. Langston v. Damien Sandow. Did you know Abe Lincoln could have been NWA Champion? JBL: “Lawler was on his undercard.” Sandow keeps the coat and top hat on. Sandow doesn't give a clean break and kicks away in the corner, ignoring the referee until he's pulled off. Langston catches Sandow celebrating and begins the comeback with clotheslines, a Greco-Roman throw, and the Big Ending to finish at 55 seconds. I bet Vince finds this awesome.

Some guy (Tom Phillips) interviews Langston, but he cuts Phillips off and is mad about Rusev mocking America. So enough is enough! This is America, dadgummit! This is the land of the free and the home of the brave! This is OUR country! He keeps yakking until Rusev finally realizes he's supposed to be there... no, wait, it's Lana instead.

You foolish American!” Pride comes before the fall... and Rusev is behind Langston, beating him up with a fallaway slam. Jumping superkick follows as we get a USA chant. Rusev Crush follows, and he holds it on for a VERY long time before breaking on his own. Against all odds, he's over.

Tonight's main event is next! It's a 4-on-3 handicap match that you already saw on SmackDown!

For the record, I had Sandow-as-Lincoln losing to Rusev in the pool on the Sons of Sam Horn website, so I claim partial credit.

As a reminder, Daniel Bryan on the Pre-Show to talk about his perspective.

Okay, so Renee Young interviews her real target: John Cena. She asks about tonight and Sunday. On Sunday, we'll hear about a new champion. As for tonight, the ones he fights with he'll have to fight against. Never before have so many people been in one ladder match to crown a champion. Careers are on the line. People will be hurt. Moments will exist that will last forever. But there's one guarantee: a new WWE Champion. Time for talk is over – pick a side. Who walks in a Superstar and walks out a Champ? Boston is the home of the Green Monster – and green is money. So the Champ is HERE. Bank on it.

John Cena then acts like he ran from the interview area to the arena proper for the match. That's kind of cute for some reason.

John Cena, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt, Antonio Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton. In that order of entrance. Cena gets a mixed reaction as always, Sheamus is muted, Reigns gets a good pop, Wyatt's is less but still pretty big, Cesaro is hard to tell, Del Rio has no heat, and Orton gets squeals from the ladies and not much else. Cena and Orton start (of course), and Orton gets a headlock as those chants start again. Cena fires him off but gets knocked down. Orton then argues with a fan at ringside, which allows Cena the edge with a headlock and tackle of his own. Sheamus in now, and he pounds away in a neutral corner. Short lariat follows, and Cena's back in. Cena goes for a backdrop and gets kicked hard, and Del Rio's in to chop away. Whip is reversed, and Cena gets a facejam. He tags in Cesaro as the crowd wakes up a tad. Test of strength, which Cesaro wins. Cena fights to his feet and kicks out, but he leaps into a backbreaker for two. Cena's in the wrong corner, and Bray's in. He pummels Cena down in the corner and makes faces. Bray with a suplex throw and he gets in Cena's face before covering for two. Bray holds the arm and stomps away. It's dance time, and this leads to an uranage for two. Bray goes for the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, going to both traps, as Cena is fading. Wyatt sets Cena down and delivers a senton as we go to break.

Main event, part two. Del Rio has the chinlock on Cena as we return. Cena fights out but gets kicked down and given a DDT for two. Cesaro back in (on his own doing), and he kicks away on Cena. GIANT SWING OF DOOM is teased, but Cesaro refuses and does a Boston Crab instead. See, that's how you get heel heat. Cena walks Cesaro to the face corner, but Cesaro pulls him away only to get countered into the STF, but Cesaro blocks that. Cesaro tries a Neutralizer but gets backdropped. Cena dives for the WHITE HOT TAG to Reigns, who cleans house on the corner and gives a lariat to Del Rio. Running avalanche and big uppercut sets up the Drive-By Dropkick (with a stopoff to bounce Orton off the announce table). Superpunch to Cesaro, then Orton, but Del Rio with the Backstabber for two. Bray tags himself in – man, no one can get along with Del Rio – and delivers the running forearm for two. Bray stomps away, keeping Reigns down, but Cesaro tags in and keeps it up. Karelin Suplex by Cesaro gets one. Not two, ONE. Cesaro with a right to Reigns, and Orton tags himself in much to Cesaro's disgust. Orton pulls Reigns out with a suplex for two. Orton to the chinlock – Reigns' hair is in his mouth from the hold, but that's unintentional – only for Reigns to fight out and get a headbutt. Orton with a hairpull slam on Reigns to stop him. Orton with a big stomp to the gut, and he tags Del Rio in. Del Rio with a Protoslam variant for two. He chokes Reigns in the corner, but Bray tags himself in too and works Reigns over in the corner. Bray tries an avalanche, only to be intercepted by the Superpunch in a wild spot. Cesaro can't cut off the hot tag to Sheamus, and it's Irish Hammers for Cesaro and a kneelift. He throws Cesaro into Del Rio, then it's the Ten of Clubs (dedicated to Paul Heyman at ringside). Actually, it goes to 13. Finlay Roll fails, but Sheamus with an Oklahoma Slam. He's ready to finish this, but Orton with a backbreaker. Cena stops an RKO and gets the AA on Orton, but Del Rio gets the low superkick. Armbar is blocked, and he too gets an AA only to turn into an elevation uppercut from Cesaro. Problem: Sheamus is legal, and a Brogue Kick ends it at 15:26. ***1/2 BUT WAIT! Kane is on his way to the ring! Sheamus is ready for it, but Kane instead goes after Reigns. Del Rio with the enzuigiri to Sheamus, but Kane boots Del Rio and chokeslams Sheamus. Uppercut to Cena, then a chokeslam to Del Rio and Cena in turn. And, as you may have guessed, here comes HHH to expand the match and put Kane in it. Orton escaped early and is standing by HHH as he makes this announcement. But after Kane sets off the pyro, Reigns comes out of NOWHERE and spears him. Reigns's music plays as we end the show! Believe in Roman Reigns.


Okay, so as I load up the Post-Show, let me explain what I look for in one of these berserk ladder matches. There's a reason that six appears to be the magic number. I see six roles for a good Money in the Bank Ladder Match:

  • Favorite. You know which one he is because he enters last. He's the one everyone focuses on, and when he's involved, the business picks up. For the record, despite being nominally the favorite, odds are he won't win. He's almost always there to build to the finish.
  • Brickhouse. Just because Money in the Bank is a spotfest doesn't mean it has to be a high-flying spotfest. There must be someone who can throw people around and beat people down. Mark Henry was an expert in this role. It usually takes multiple people to even slow him down, and it emphasizes the need for temporary teamwork to narrow the field.
  • Offensive specialist. Remember, folks, the winner is the one who gets the briefcase. Whatever else there is, once you grab it, it's over. This man's role is to remind you of that by constantly making quick climbs for the belt early. He may not win, but he looks like a threat early in the match.
  • Defensive specialist. On the other hand, you can't win if someone else gets the briefcase. This role is for someone who consistently stops everyone else from climbing. They don't take that many bumps early, but they also likely don't win. In fact, you can chalk up their eventual attempt to climb as the moment they're going to take a massive bump and get knocked out.
  • Mechanic. A match like this gains something when it's not just a spotfest. Power men can have spots, high fliers can have spots, but there still needs to be some glue holding it together. The mechanic is the guy who seems most out of place in the match based on his style, so he wears people down traditionally. He serves a purpose early rather than late.
  • Loony. When you talk about Money in the Bank Ladder Matches in retrospect, this is the guy who gets all the attention usually. He knows you expect to see people dying for your love, so he goes and tries to kill himself. He takes part in the biggest moment of the match, and whether he wins or loses, he'll elevate his career from just being in it.

Now, obviously, we don't know who the mechanic, offensive specialist, or defensive specialist are untilt he match begins. But the others? Well, in the Contract match, you have a series of Loonies in Ambrose, Rollins, and Kofi. Swagger is the best Brickhouse, though he may bounce to Mechanic. Who's the Favorite, though? RVD? Barrett? The fact that you have multiple people who can fit each role is a good thing, mind you.

And now the big concern: the main event match. There's tons of Favorites, and although Cena's the likely one, anyone can fit the role. Kane is the Brickhouse now, although Cesaro and Sheamus could've fit that role. But who's the Loony? Who's going to do something crazy, take the wild spill? I can't tell.


  1. Wade Barrett wins the contract, last toppling Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins at the same time.
  2. Alexander Rusev beats Big E. Langston again.
  3. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan win the WWE Tag Team Titles over the Usos when Harper pins Jey.
  4. Bo Dallas wins a squash.
  5. Paige defeats Naomi when Cameron turns.
  6. Randy Orton regains the WWE Championship, last toppling Roman Reigns as Kane helps him.


MATCH TIME: 51:18 over nine matches (Stephanie/Vickie never had a starting bell, so I can't time it)
BEST MATCH: Barrett/Ziggler
WORST MATCH: Stephanie/Vickie

FINAL SCORE: Call it a 5. It was a go-home show that was almost all hype. Barrett/Ziggler was great, and the main event was just fine, but there was a lot of meaningless filler matches, including four that were so short I couldn't rate them. And that's before we mention Stephanie/Vickie – yes, seeing Stephanie humiliated was fun, and they had to write Vickie out and gave her an ovation on the way, but it took too long to get there, had the Authority win while barely lifting a finger, and won the war regardless of the final battle.

Kind of the way it usually happens with HHH. But I digress. (Hey, I don't LIKE the guy. Never have. I've said this since day one.)

Matt Perri is out tomorrow, so I'll repay him by doing Main Event! Scott does NXT on Thursday! Tommy got the short straw and does Impact! We make it up to him with SmackDown! Everybody get together for the big show Sunday! I'll see you then!


  1. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    This was a perfectly cromulent RAW.

  2. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANJune 23, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    It's the DEMON Kane, dammit.

  3. I enjoyed the little dance Stephanie did when Vickie lost. Should be a gif.

  4. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    I'm pretty sure every single thing that ever happens on RAW is made into a GIF somewhere on the internet.

  5. Either that or a meme.

  6. Glad Vickie got a fairly nice sendoff. When Bryan was announced as appearing on the preshow, a little part of me (the same part, albeit now smaller, that thought he would surprise win the Rumble) thought Brie would sneak in to dump Stephanie rather than heel Vickie, but oh well.

    MITB should be interesting, but I share the concern about the main event not being able to live up to (potentially) the briefcase one. Considering that many in the briefcase match have issues with those in the title match, what stops them from running down to interfere a la Lita/Spike/Rhino in one of the TLCs in the title match?

  7. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Only in WWE could "covered in shit" ever be considered a "fairly nice sendoff".

    Well that and German porn.

  8. I Bo-lieve in Bo Dallas. His noble spirit, embiggens us all.

  9. Live notes from tonight's RAW....
    this show fucking sucked.

  10. So Kane losses a MITB qualifying match, but HHH inserts him in anyways. Sometimes, I just hate this company.

  11. Hey, don't question HHH. He's being a heel! It's what heels do! And if you don't like it, you're just a mark!

    That's what Extant told me, so it must be true.

  12. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    So we're marks if we believe what the wrestling promoter tells us... but we're also marks if we DON'T believe what the wrestling promoter tells us.

    I think I got it!

  13. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Your sources are WRONG again Davey, this RAW actually was mediocre but largely inoffensive.

  14. At least it's not without precedent. Vince McMahon put Big Bossman back into the Survivor Series 1998 WWF title tournament after he lost his first round match.

  15. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    He's just pining for the fjords!

  16. Yep! You're a mark!

  17. You are seriously the only person who cares about Randy Orton winning the title on sunday. Or at least thinking that Orton winning is even REMOTELY best for business.

  18. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 24, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    Naww, there's probably some chicks who care too.

  19. I think those chicks care more about whether Orton shit in their purses or not! ;)

  20. Aric Johnson, Ambrose FanaticJune 24, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Sometimes I feel like we're unfair to Randall. It's not as if he's the first wrestler to shit in somebody's bag. He's just the first one to get in trouble for it.

    Still, I will continue to make Randy Orton bag-shitting jokes until the man retires, and possibly several years thereafter.


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