The PG Era Rant for Raw, December 1, 2014.
Your Pre-Show information:
- The “anonymous Raw General Manager” of 2010 is in charge.
- A Tag Team Turmoil: New Day, Rose/Bunny, Rhodes Brothers, Usos, Cesaro/Kidd.
- Added to TLC: Ryback/Kane, “Chairs”
Live from Tulsa, OK.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler.
A look back at last week's breather episode and main event.
And we open with an email. And He Quotes: he's back. He's the perfect person for what the WWE needs right now. You can't trust washed-up Superstars, so instead we...
...you know what, John Cena finally proves to be the lesser of two evils as he comes out to interrupt. Even JBL is happy at this development. John, why are you wearing pink after October? Cena says he loves nothing about Mr. 4chan over there – but he's just like Brock Lesnar, never showing up. But Cena's here, the fans are here, and the Authority isn't here tonight. He recaps the Survivor Series main event as he does, and says they proved what being a WWE Superstar means. So why did everyone risk everything? Well...
...anyway, Anonyswoggle interrupts, so Cena tells Cole to step aside and closes the laptop.
But if you thought the interruptions were done, here comes Seth Rollins with security instead. Rollins wants to give Cena a hand for being ultra-talented at so many things: bad jokes, waving his hand in front of his face, getting half the crowd to hate him... (that last one actually prompts a You Sold Out chant instead of the dueling Cena chants). But he's really great at taking credit from others. Cena didn't win at Survivor Series – in fact, Rollins eliminated Cena. And he would've won it all if Sting didn't step in.
Cena counters: it wasn't Sting, it was Dolph Ziggler. Cena isn't taking credit; he's going to give credit to Ziggler for kicking the Authority out. Rollins changes the subject to: is WWE better off now? (Crowd: YES!) All that hard work the Cena team did and now 4chan is in charge? Who's next, JBL? (Crowd wouldn't mind that.) How about Batista? (Crowd's less than enthused.) What's Eric Bischoff doing? (Crowd's torn.) The point is: the WWE has become a guessing game where your effort from one week disappears the next. Cena tells him to get to the point, and it's this: Cena says it's the fans' show, but what's best for everyone is what's Best For Business™. So before the show falls apart, Cena has to put HHH back in charge.
Cena doesn't like being ordered around and says Rollins' trump card (the Authority) is gone, and they ain't coming back. It used to be that Rollins could do whatever he wants, but now he's just a guy with a golden briefcase who has to prove it. So Rollins has to ask him. Nicely.
Cena tries to stampede the email tone, but instead it's announced that Cena/Rollins will be a Table match at TLC – with the stipulation that if Cena loses, his match with Lesnar will be pulled. Cena turns around in disgust, Rollins jumps him from behind, and out comes Kane to chokeslam Cena down. Rollins brings out the table, but this brings out Ryback to make the save and clean house. Kane stops him with a chair, but now Erick Rowan is next into the ring. What is this, the Royal Rumble? Rowan boots Kane down and turns the tide, but now Big Show enters to stop that. Show kicks Rowan out of the ring and picks up the steps, ramming them into Rowan's face. Dolph Ziggler is next out, leveraging Show into the post and grabbing a ladder. But Luke Harper appears and smashes Ziggler with the ladder repeatedly. Meanwhile, in the ring, Rollins sets the table up as Cena is being held by J&J. Cena escapes, though, and gets Rollins, but Harper intercepts and Show knocks Cena out. Noble, Mercury, and Rollins then Shieldbomb Cena through the table.
Took too long to get there, but the increasingly loony brawl was just fine. It also seems to tease Ziggler/Harper as the ladder match. So that's T, L, C, and TLC covered.
Medical personnel are helping everyone up and to the back as we find out about two matches for later: Rowan v. Show and Harper/Kane/Rollins v. Cena/Ryback/Ziggler.
But before the next match begins, let's take another commercial. Seriously, Vince?
TAG TEAM TURMOIL!
Team 1: Goldust and Stardust
Team 2: The New Day
It's going to be Kofi and Langston. Kofi and Stardust start, and Kofi comes out with a dropkick. Stardust with a forearm and monkey flip, but Kofi lands on his feet and dropkicks Stardust. Goldust in and he doesn't do much better. Stinger Splash by Kofi into a lariat by Langston for two. Goldust clips Langston, and Stardust rakes the back. Sliding kick by Stardust, but Kofi tags himself in and it's a Big Ending DDT combo to win at 1:37. The move is called the Midnight Hour.
Team 3: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
But first, a commercial break. This is getting annoying.
Tag Team Turmoil, continued. We return with Kofi getting gutwrenched by Cesaro. Kidd in, and Kofi gets kicked hard. Kidd chokes out Kofi on the bottom rope, then it's a snapmare and chinlock. Kidd switches to a slam and jogs around to celebrate, but Kofi with a rana out of nowhere, hot tag Langston. Greco-Roman throw to Kidd, then an Ultimate Splash. Cesaro stops the Big Ending, both heels are on the apron and get bowled off by Langston, and Kofi is alley-ooped onto both men. Back in, Springboard clothesline, but the Dusts attack Woods and Kidd gets a cradle with tights for the pin at 8:12. Really?
Team 4: The Usos
Jimmy goes after Cesaro off the bell, but he runs into an overhead suplex. Jimmy dodges a charge and floors Cesaro, following up with a Rikishi hip check for two. Jey in with an axhandle to the arm, but Cesaro takes over and Kidd enters by choking away. They muck up an Irish Whip, and in the chaos, Cesaro tags himself in and gets a Northern Lariat. German suplex by Cesaro for two as we go to another break.
It should be noted that Jey wanted to dive onto Kidd, but Kidd (off-camera) threw Natalya in the way to stop him, which is what allowed Cesaro to get the lariat. It should also be noted this is another commercial break.
Tag Team Turmoil, continued, again. Cesaro to the chinlock as we've had more ad time than match time during this match as of right now. Jey tries to fight out, but Cesaro catches him with a powerbomb for two. Jey tosses Cesaro, but Kidd comes in with a lariat that hurts himself and leads to the hot tag to Jimmy. Uppercut and elevated Samoan Drop by Jimmy leads to a two-count, Cesaro saves. Jey and Cesaro leave via Cactus clothesline, but Natalya holds Kidd from Jimmy. Apron kick by Kidd, but Code Blue runs into a superkick. Jey with the Superfly Splash for the elimination at 16:14. JBL says they're the #1 contenders, but there's one more...
Team 5: Adam Rose and The Bunny
Rose sends the Express to the back as he starts, but Jey cuts him off with a cradle for two. Rose cuts off a blind charge and gets elbows and a spinebuster for two (as Naomi is watching backstage, being Jimmy's wife and all). Bunny tags himself in as it's BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA! Rose and Bunny argue, so Jimmy shoves them into each other and tries a superplex on Bunny. Bunny stops that and gets a sunset flip bomb for two. Rose tags himself in now, and Bunny seems to have finally had it. Rose bullies him away, allowing the superkick and big splash on Rose for the finish at 19:11. Too much ad time. *3/4 Meanwhile, Miz and Sandow say they're looking forward to seeing Naomi in the ring. Oh, and they love the way she twerks. He tries to hook her up with a producer.
Vince McMahon is here!
Is this show even trying? I mean, one match in the first hour, much of which is during commercials? Ugh. This is not what I want in my Raw.
Slammy Awards next week, hosted by Seth Green. (Hey, that could work – he did well last time he hosted.)
Mr. Phillips interviews Erick Rowan. He doesn't regret targeting Big Show. It turns out Rowan is a Mensa person, a guitarist, and a vintner. But why target Big Show? “He's a bully.” And he completed a Rubik's Cube during the interview.
Big Show is out next and says, yes, he IS a bully. Because he can. He has to be – everyone betrays him. He says the fans sold out on him. He doesn't care about earning respect, just about hurting people. He's ready to show what a mean, nasty giant he is.
Big Show v. Erick Rowan. It's a massive war to start, as Rowan punches down Big Show and gets him to bail. The chase is on, but Rowan runs into a clothesline back in the ring. Show works the arm, then just strikes Rowan down. He casually kicks away at Rowan, keeping him down. The kicks and taunts continue, snuffing out a Rowan comeback and CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY. Show chokes Rowan down and gets a short-arm lariat. Cobra clutch is applied as JBL keeps trying to get “Big Red” over as a nickname for Rowan. Rowan fights out and floors Show with tackles and an avalanche. He sends Show to the floor with a clothesline and follows on the outside, but Show sends Rowan into the steps. Show grabs the stairs and uses them for the DQ at 4:19. That was just boring. DUD
Vince almost says something to the Exotic Express before Renee Young interviews him. He's happy, because he'll be on the WWE Network podcast with Steve Austin. He reminds us that only John Cena can bring the Authority back. But he's more concerned about the podcast.
So, on the WWE App, will it be Natalya, Naomi, or Alicia teaming with AJ Lee against the Bellas?
Interesting note: they were hyping the six-man tag for later, but the graphic replaced Harper and Ziggler with Show and Rowan – which Lawler didn't notice, as he was giving the original lineup. As always, this means Kevin Dunn needs to be fired.
Fandango v. Jack Swagger. Wait a minute, Swagger doesn't enter. It turns out Zeb Colter was ambushed and someone messed up his leg. So Swagger forfeits the match via no-show, since he's busy checking on Colter. Now Rusev and Lana are headed to the ring as Fandango and Rosa celebrate outside.
So clearly, after that exciting segment, we need another commercial break.
Lana has the mic and tells us to shut up with the USA chant already. She's furious about how Rusev was ordered to take the Pledge – some freedom country this is! But Rusev bravely refused and was punished with the Battle Royal on SmackDown. But he won that, because everyone failed. Rusev then takes the mic and says he crushes the challengers... and those who don't listen, more or less claiming responsibility for injuring Colter. Rusev and Lana then pledge allegiance to the Russian flag.
And now Swagger, who clearly heard Rusev's confession, storms the ring and takes it to Rusev right away. Rusev wins a slugfest, but both men go tumbling out of the ropes and Rusev eats barricade over and over. Seventy million refs try to keep them apart, but it ain't working. Rusev finally escapes and heads to the back as Swagger is so furious he's practically in tears.
In the SmackDown thread, there was a long discussion about how Rusev is booked as a face against Show and Henry, but is booed just for being foreign. I noticed that too, but I also wish to point out that in both iterations against Swagger, Rusev is more clearly the heel: he attacks first, he keeps up the fight after the bell, and now he's beaten up Colter. I truly believe this shows Dutch Mantell understands wrestling and has a hand in his own angles, which as the driver of the Swagger Wagon I truly approve of.
Damien Mizdow v. Epico El Matador. During the Pre-Show, El Torito interrupted an interview with Miz, so we get this match. Epico with a snapmare and crucifix for one, but Mizdow gets a single-leg for one. Epico's blind charges hits elbow, but Epico with a rana and dropkick for one. He works the arm as Miz talks about Naomi's talent on commentary. Mizdow headbutts out, getting a backslide for two. Epico with a leaping clothesline for two. Back to the armbar. Blind charge by Epico misses and Mizdow gets the comeback with the Million Dollar Neckbreaker. Epico escapes a full nelson and gets a sunset flip try, but Mizdow reverses to the Figure Four for the submission at 2:24. I have nothing wrong with this match. 3/4* Jimmy Uso comes out and slaps Miz upside the head for the bit with Naomi earlier.
For those who pay attention to that sort of thing, like me, the six-man tag graphic has been changed back to what everyone said it would be throughout the show.
Jimmy Uso and The Miz will be your Main Event main event.
R-Truth v. Bray Wyatt. Truth loses a slugfest to Wyatt, who headbutts him down. Wyatt chops away, then gets a Hammer Throw and rebound clothesline. Wyatt demands Dean Ambrose come out during the match, but he has to go back to beating up Truth with another Hammer Throw. Wyatt with a cravat on Truth as he screams about how Dean doesn't want this. He switches up to a slam, but the running senton misses. Truth with a leg lariat to take over, and the Lie Detector connects. Axe kick misses, and Bray with a standing uranage. To the apron, and Bray clubs Truth down onto it. Back in, he taunts Truth and does the INVERTED LOOK OF DOOM into a crabwalk. Sister Abigail's Kiss ends it at 4:23. Truth getting in offense was not smart, but this was more or less a squash. 1/4* Bray decides to prove a point by tossing chairs into the ring (Truth has been aided to the back) and screams for Ambrose to show up. A ladder comes out next, and he looks for more as we go to break.
Let's hope this leads to something good.
We return with Bray Wyatt telling us the Bible story of Jacob's Ladder. In the story, God was atop the ladder, telling Jacob how to bring Israel to Paradise. But, Bray Wyatt has his own Ladder – he ascends it and laughs at the creatures God has created. He sees all creatures as insects, just like Dean Ambrose. He sees the tables, ladders, and chairs (Crowd: Oh my!).
Before he can continue, Dean Ambrose interrupts. He yanks Bray out of the ring and the fight is on. After a while, Bray gets the edge, but Ambrose bounces off the barricade and slams Wyatt into the announce table. Ambrose headbutts Bray into a gooey paste and gets another ladder. The usual suspects try to stop Ambrose, but they just succeed in stalling him long enough for Bray to escape the table. So Ambrose runs the tables after him. He brawls Bray all the way to the aisle, where officials finally get between them as Bray gets some space. Ambrose wrecks Bray's rocking chair to a big ovation as Bray, for the first time in his career, seems emotionally hurt.
Now, this is kind of interesting: all this time, we've seen Bray Wyatt as a symbol for a cause or as a demon in a human's clothing. Right here, we see him finally as a human beneath the cause. And it's clear whatever happened hurt deeply. If it's personal on both sides, it could make the brawl more intense.
Nikki Bella and Brie Bella v. AJ Lee and Naomi (48%). AJ is knocked off the apron, so Nikki starts with Naomi with a suplex for one. She dropkicks the knee and gets a facebuster, then adds a boot choke. Brie in, and she connects with the running knee for two. Brie with a running uppercut, and Nikki's in to get a two-count. Crowd chants for you know who as Nikki gets a chinlock. Crowd then FINALLY chants for AJ herself as Naomi bridges out, only to get yanked down by the hair. Naomi flips out of a suplex, hot tag AJ. Nikki with a Stinger Splash and neckbreaker, and Brie is sent flying. Tornado DDT by AJ gets two, Brie saves. Naomi dropkicks Nikki, but Brie dumps Naomi. AJ dumps Brie, and the Shining Wizard hits Nikki. Black Widow ends it at 3:25. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. * Nikki doesn't want Brie's sympathy as they leave.
Santa Foley shills WWEShop with Noelle dressed as an elf.
I noticed in the SmackDown recap that when AJ charged the ring, Nikki basically told Brie to handle it. The dynamic is still there on Nikki's side, which makes me think the long con may be on. It would make a better ending than what we have now.
SmackDown will feature Rusev facing Dean Ambrose in a non-title match.
Ladies and gentlemen, the man joining you via satellite's name is Paul Heyman. First, he laughs at Cena's comment on Brock's absenteeism and says Brock is too special to be around all the time. Brock is too can't-miss and must-see to be around all the time. Brock will beat him so badly he wishes it was SummerSlam... assuming Cena's even the #1 contender. Is it Seth Rollins? The Undertaker (if you can find him)? Sting (which is a retirement match in waiting)? Everybody at once? It's simple: Brock Lesnar IS the Authority, because he has the gold and the power. And second... uh, there is no second. That's it.
Now, see, this is where things could get interesting. I don't see anyone being the kind of person to play the mindgame, but they should point out that now, Cena won't have anyone to even the numbers the way he almost did earlier tonight. See, Rollins and Company are all out to win the match, and anyone who tries to even the odds is just helping Cena remain #1 contender... when that's a spot they themselves should want for themselves. I mean, we all know Cena's winning anyway, but at least throw that out there and see if anyone is selfless.
Main event: John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryback v. Seth Rollins, Kane, and Luke Harper. Harper and Cena start (Rollins loudly declines). Cena takes over on Harper, getting a Hammer Throw and clothesline for one. Running back elbow, and he drags Rollins in and puts the STF on him. Harper breaks (not like it would've mattered) and rakes the nose, but Cena with a belly-to-belly for two. Dolph in, and he and Cena do a double dropkick to Harper for two. Rude Awakening try is blocked, and Harper jabs the throat of Dolph before Kane comes in with an uppercut. Dolph stops the momentum and tags in Ryback as the crowd is buzzing for it. Crowd chants Feed Me More during the slugfest, which Kane seems to win before Ryback gets a Thesz Press and mat slams. “Stupid” Splash gets one. Harper tags himself in and jabs away at Ryback, adding a headbutt. Ryback reverses and kicks away in the corner, and a corner whip only leads to the Meathook for one. Ryback with a front chancery, but Harper fights out and Rollins comes in to pick up the bones. He punches away at the midsection of Ryback, and Harper comes in. But Ryback reverses and chops away, only for Harper to re-reverse. A suplex battle goes Ryback's way (eventually) as we go to break.
That was abrupt. The announcers never knew it was happening, and the feed cutting out so fast made me think the lights went out in the arena. Which means, of course, that Kevin Dunn needs to be fired. On the other hand, the crowd here is way behind Ryback, which is a good sign. Haven't heard a single ironic Goldberg chant yet.
Main event, continued. We come back with a suplex by Ryback for two. Dolph in, but Harper slugs him down and escapes to bring in Kane. He slugs Dolph down in the corner, but Dolph leaps up his back and gets a sleeper. Kane backs him into the corner to break. Dolph with a dropkick to the knee on Kane, then a Stinger Splash. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Dolph escapes only to leap into an uppercut for two. Rollins in with a kneedrop, and Harper enters with the Gator Roll. A chest shop leads to a suplex try, but he aborts and does an uppercut for two instead. Kane in, and he gets stomps and a short lariat for two. (Of note: JBL says Ziggler is an idiot for constantly beating himself up by being out there every night just to please the fans. I wonder if that's a Punk reference.) Kane with a kneelift, and Rollins gets a Hammer Throw or two. Rollins stomps on Dolph's hand and drops elbows on the head before getting a snapmare and chinlock. He adds a bodyscissors, but Dolph blocks it and gets to his feet. Jawbreaker stops the hold, and he avoids an avalanche to make the hot tag to Cena. Comeback begins here, and Harper can't see Cena before the Shuffle. Cena AA to Harper, and he and Ryback suplex Kane together. Mercury and Noble slug out Cena, getting Rollins two as we take another break.
Current working theory: Vince's mind is fully on the podcast, but it didn't stop him from insisting on rewriting this show because he's Vince. This show looks like it was booked by someone who didn't put much thought into it.
Main event, continued, again. Kane slugs down Cena, who tries to clear the apron but walks into a Bravo Side Slam for two. Kane goes to a side headlock, but Cena pulls the arms away and gets a dropkick to Kane. Harper stops the hot tag and gets a front slam for two. He picks Cena up by the ears and slaps away, but Cena reverses a Hammer Throw and both men wind up on the wrong side of the ring. Harper with a thrust kick for two. Rollins in, and he lands a Five Knuckle Shuffle of his own. He taunts Cena repeatedly, leaving him open for a haymaker. Rollins recovers first with a clothesline and stomps away. To the chinlock as the crowd is just waiting for the hot tag. Rollins stops a power-out with a shot to the back, but the Stinger Splash airballs. Hot tag Dolph (which the ref manages to find), and he goes nuts on Harper with a Rude Awakening and giant elbow drop. Leaping DDT is stopped, but Harper eats post and gets Rocker Dropped for two, Rollins saves. EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL as Cena comes in via the top rope and bowls over the pile. AA try on Kane is reversed to a big boot, but Ryback gets an Oklahoma Slam on Kane. Flying knee by Rollins, leaping DDT by Dolph, Bossman Slam by Harper gets two. Powerbomb try, but Dolph with a sunset flip for the win at 25:16. *** Harper is furious and continues the attack, and the fight continues as though the match never ended. Crowd wants tables added to the insanity. Big Show joins the fray to tilt the ledger to the villains, and he and Kane corner Ryback. Erick Rowan now returns with steps (Harper and Kane eat them), then Dolph sends Rollins into Rowan's stairs. He enters, but Show uts him off for a chokeslam try. Dolph with a superkick, Ryback with a Meathook, Cena with an AA, and everyone agrees Rowan gets the icing on the cake with a stairs shot (crowd chants YES furiously).
Well, the last half-hour or so saved this show from absolute suckage. Now it was only mostly suck.
MATCH TIME: 58:58 over six matches (counting Tag Team Turmoil as one match)
BEST MATCH: The six-man main
WORST MATCH: Show/Rowan
NIGHT MVP: Dean Ambrose
MY SCORE: 2.5. The first hour just annoyed me to heck, so I had no patience for the lull that usually comes. Vince, if you're going to book Raw, focus on it completely.
Matt Perri yells about Main Event tomorrow. Tommy Hall is stuck doing SmackDown. Scott Keith runs through 1996 and leads open forum discussions. Brian Bayless gives the daily update.
And someone needs to recap the Austin/Vince interview, but it won't be me.