Subsequent to last week's Raw and Smackdown (read that fine report on this fine website!), let us hope tonight's show follows them up with WRESTLING! Both programs last week provided some excellent in-ring action, so I want to see more of that on Raw this week.
Of course, speaking of which, what will go down from Greensboro? Will WWE Champion C.M Punk get another upper hand on his T.L.C. challenger Ryback? How might The Shield impact the proceedings?
Scheduled for tonight is a tag-team match, pitting John Cena and Sheamus against Dolph Ziggler and World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show. What kind of match will these four bitter rivals have? And is there anymore scandal between A.J. and John Cena?
All this and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw T.V. Report for December 03, 2012 - "To Lie or Not To Lie?"
Introduction Segment: Recap
The now-usual montage of recent events of Raw and Smackdown previews the new show tonight, including the tag-team match and The Shield's motives with WWE Champion C.M. Punk.
The only pyro is Kane's to kick off Monday Night Raw, lead us into...
Match #1: Tag-Team - Tag-Team Champions "Team Hell No" (Kane and Daniel Bryan) VS. "The Primetime Players" (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) (Non-Title)
Prior to the bout beginning, Kane takes the microphone and informs The Shield, who are standing in the box-seat section of the arena, that if they want to fight, come on down. They don't respond, but just stare the Tag-Team Champions down.
Titus and Kane start off, with O'Neil pushing Kane into the corner until The Big Red Machine fires back with punches and sends O'Neil to the outside. Titus switches with Darren, as does Bryan with Kane, who hits a running knee on young. Quick kicks in the corner by Daniel, then he slaps hands with Kane for the tag, who delivers a low-running dropkick for a near-fall!
Kane works over Young's arm, then switches again with Bryan, who dives off the top with a double axe handle. We quickly see that Roman Reigns has approached the ring closer, now standing in the steps between fans. They continue to control the Primetime Players, while Reigns keeps approaching ringside.
Back live, O'Neil has control on Kane with a standing-side-headlock and clothesline. A grounding rear chinlock is applied by Titus, but Kane battles out and reverses a suplex into one of his own, then gets the hot-tag to Bryan. Huge clothesline from Bryan, then a running-calf-kick in the corner. It later breaks down, with O'Neil breaking up a No-Lock submission. Kane takes him out, but gets distracted by The Shield, who are no inches away from the squared circle.
Darren tries the advantage roll-up, but it gets reversed by Bryan for the 1 - 2 - 3!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions "Team Hell No" (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Post-match, like a bunch of vultures, The Shield completely decimate Kane and Daniel Bryan, repeatedly kicking Kane's arm against the ring post, using the steel ring steps. They triple-powerbomb Bryan and then leave, with Kane checking on his comrade.
Segment #2: Locker Room Promo
Sheamus and John Cena discuss their alliance and match tonight.
Up next, A.J. returns to the ring.
Match #2: Single - Tamina Snuka VS. A.J.
A.J. ducks a clothesline and jumps all over Tamina, trying to bring the stronger woman down. A.J. climbs the top rope but is pulled down by her arm from Tamina. She stomps and knees away at the back of A.J., then props her backwards on the top rope, carrying her into a submission hold on her shoulders. A.J. does not give up and fights back with little kicks, but Sunka regains dominance quick.
Tamina drops A.J. with a jumping headbutt, then drags her to the corner. Tamina turns around, presumably setting up for the Superfly Splash, but A.J. surprises her with a roll-up from behind to receive the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: A.J.
Segment #3: Arena Promo
As Michael Cole and Jerry "The King Lawler" are discussing, WWE Champion C.M. Punk's music plays. The "Straight-Edge Superstar" walks out with Paul Heyman behind him, clutching the WWE Title. What will he say? We will find out after the break.
Back live in the ring, Paul E. has the microphone. He puts down Greensboro for cheap heat, then refers to the WWE Encyclopedia book (cheap plug, although he says he is not "shilling out for your Christmas or Hanukah lists!"). Heyman despises the book because there is "not nearly enough in this Encyclopedia about your reigning and defending WWE Champion C.M. Punk." Heyman cites that on December 5th at midnight, "C.M. Punk will surpass John Cena as the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the entire modern era."
Paul says this means that C.M. Punk is the longest champion in the last 25 years, quarter century! Heyman says that "C.M. Punk should be front and center on WWE's version of Mount Rushmore." Punk trades his championship for the microphone and goes on his usual tirade. He totes his success and says that his face should be going above everyone else that has been a legend in the company for the last 20 years (The Rock, Stone Cold, The Undertaker, etc...).
"The Second-City Saint" wonders why he has to take on Ryback again, after defeating him at Hell In The Cell and both him and John Cena at Survivor Series. He says it is because the fans have turned their backs on him. Punk claims it was not because of Paul Heyman, Brad Maddox, or The Shield that he is still WWE Champion. It is because he is the best in the world!
An unexpected interrupter walks out to challenge Punk. "The Awesome One" The Miz struts out and disputes Punk's claims that he is the "best in the world." Miz says that at least when he was WWE Champion, he had the guts to admit when he lied and cheated to keep the title.
Miz dares Punk to come on "MizTV" and take a lie detector test to prove he is not in cahoots with anyone help him retain his championship. After some bantering back and forth, Punk relents and finally agrees. It is set for later tonight!
Up next, the tag-team match between Cena/Sheamus & Ziggler/Show
Match #3: Tag-Team - John Cena and Sheamus VS. "The Showoff" Dolph Ziggler and World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show (Non-Title)
Sheamus and Ziggler begin, with a waistlock by Dolph, which is turned into a side-headlock takedown. Sheamus reverses a side-headlock into a whip and elbow-to-the-jaw. He tags in Cena, and they deliver a double-elbow, with Cena covering for a quick near-fall. Cena whips Dolph off the ropes with a hip-toss and armdrag. He clamps on a grounding armbar, which Ziggler punches out of then slaps hand with Big Show to switch.
Lockup between Cena and Show, with the World Heavyweight Champion shoving Cena down. Cena attempts a jumping shoulder-tackle, but it does nothing to the 7-footer, who just brushes him off. Big corners John and slaps him hard with his giant-sized hand. Show continues to dominate the former "Dr. Of Thuganomics," falling on him out of a fall-away slam.
He tags Ziggler back in, who drops a series of elbows onto Cena. 1 - 2 - Cena kicks out. Ziggler measures up Cena, but misses the corner splash. This allows both to get their hot-tags, respectively, and Sheamus is the one on fire.
The Irishman punches away at Show, and rams his shoulder into his gut in the corner. Sheamus runs off the ropes and knocks show off his feet with a jumping flying-forearm. Sheamus ascends and dives off the top rope, but is taken down with a mid-air spear by Show! Both men are down and referee Mike Chioda begins the count.
Live again, Show headbutts Sheamus, then kicks him in the nose after a small comeback from Sheamus (who is now busted open). Ziggler is in and hits his picture-perfect dropkick, then grasps Sheamus with a grounding rear-chinlock with scissors. Sheamus manages to stand up and toss Ziggler aside, then hot-tag Cena again.
John explodes on Dolph, hitting his usual repertoire of moves, but is booted by Show prior to the Attitude Adjustment. Sheamus comes in illegally and goes for the Brogue Kick, but Show catches him by the throat. Sheamus counters that into the White Noise, while Cena does it the A.A. on Ziggler for the triumph!
Winners via Pinfall: John Cena and Sheamus
(Great match, wrong finish!)
Segment #4: Arena Promo
"The Intellectual Saviour of the WWE" Damien Sandow is out, and wants to give another fan a chance to prove himself smart. He selects a man from the audience and asks him three questions (after first telling him to stand up straight - nice touch!):
"Question #1: H2O is the chemical formula to what?" "Water," the fan answers correctly.
"Question #2: Who was the first president of the United States?" "George Washington," he gets right again.
"Question #3: What famed English poet wrote, 'much have I travelled in the land of gold?' "Seriously?" the man wonders? Sandow confirms, but the fan doesn't know. Sandow calls him an "ignoramos," and leaves him with a quote "ignorance is curable, stupid is forever!" (How true, in some cases!)
Santino Marella interjects and has a question for Damien of his own. "How many sea-shells does she sell by the seashore?" Sandow dismisses this, since he is looking for an apprentice and he is asking him about "cru stations!" Santino says that actual answer is "conk," then goes to nail Damien the head with the microphone, but Sandow beats him to it. A referee comes out and a match will happen next. (This part was lame)
Match #4: Single - Damien Sandow VS. Santino Marella
Santino begins by "powerwalking" then tripping up Sandow in a jackknife cover for a near-fall! Damien quickly takes control and hits a Russian legsweep, followed by the "Elbow of Distain." Santino counters into a small package for another near-fall, then breaks out the Cobra. D
amien goats him into the ring and stomps away, taking the Cobra hand-sleeve and chucking it. Santino uses the ropes to jaw-break Damien, but misses a top-rope headbutt, allowing Sandow to finish with the "Termanuse" neckbreaker!
Winner via Pinfall: Damien Sandow
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Dolph Ziggler is with Vickie Guerrero and demands a rematch against John Cena at T.L.C. He claims he can beat him and "look good doing it." "I can steal the show like no-one's ever seen." He walks off following an attempted kiss, and Vickie walks into her office to "find that on one forgets the name Brad Maddox."
Segment #6: Office Promo
Brad Maddox is documenting his chat with Vickie, who ends up giving him a match against a mystery opponent, following A LOT of ego-boosting and sucking-up by Maddox!
Match #5: Single - Sin Cara VS. Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Lockup into the corner, then Alberto kicks and stomps away. Scoop slam by A.D.R. for a two-count, but Cara turns into an armdrag and armlock. Alberto shoves Sin into the corner again and rams his shoulder into the gut, plus a harsh-kick for another 2. Cara comes back with a springboard armdrag, then a top-rope armdrag!
Sin kicks away at Del Rio's left arm, but gets sling-shotted into the second rope. Del Rio chokes Cara on the second rope, but gets front-dropkicked and kicked off the apron to the floor. Cara runs off the apron with a hurricanrana!
Back live, Cara jumps on Del Rio's shoulders again and brings him down with another hurricanrana! 1 - 2 - Del Rio kicks out! Outside, Alberto tosses Cara into the barricade and rolls him back in the ring for a two-count. Del Rio tries to rip off Sin's mask, then measures him for a run-in-the-corner, but Cara moves.
Another smacking kick from Cara, followed by a Tornado DDT! Both get up and Cara hits a springboard back-elbow, then another hurricanrana. Resounding kick again, then a flying crossbody for a near-fall!
Cara with a backward-spinning reversed DDT, but misses a swanton. He tries to take Del Rio down with his spinning-jumping-armbar, but Alberto rolls through and manages to clamp on the Cross Armbreaker to force Cara to tap out!
Winner via Submission: Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
The rumors were true, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon walks through the backstage hallway and informs a technician he wants to have a talk with Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero, next! (That's probably not a good thing!)
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Vickie Guerrero introduces "The Boss," (not Bruce Springsteen!) and out comes Mr. Vince McMahon. She tries to suck-up, calling him "handsome," but he returns with a half-hearted compliment. He wants to talk to her about T.L.C., so she quickly books Dolph Ziggler VS. John Cena.
He urges her to make it more "epic," so she tries a "no-disqualification" stipulation. He shoots down that one quickly, then whispers in her ear. She shouts out "a ladder match!?" Mr. McMahon loves that idea, but Guerrero says it doesn't make sense, since they don't have championship to hang above. Vince arranges something else, to put the Money In The Bank briefcase on the line. Vickie reluctantly accepts and tires to shoo the boss away quick.
Vince says that there is one more piece of business to deal with. He is aware of the lie-detector test tonight, and says that if WWE Champion C.M. Punk is found to have been lying all along, than there should be some punishment. Guerrero comes up with the idea of Paul Heyman facing Ryback next week. This delights Mr. McMahon as he exits.
Match #6: Single - Brad Maddox VS. "The Viper" Randy Orton
(I think you know how this one will go.) Randy polishes off Maddox with the sling-shot DDT and R.K.O. for the 1 - 2 - 3!
Winner via Pinfall: "The Viper" Randy Orton
Post-match, The Shield assault Orton out of no where and leave him laying after their triple-powerbomb.
Segment #8: Office Promo
Vickie Guerrero is yelling at referee Charles Robinson about The Shield, then Dolph Ziggler walks in and gives her a piece of his mind, regarding is newly booked Pay-Per-View match. He accuses Guerrero of becoming a "power-hungry amateur," just like A.J. He walks off and Paul Heyman walks in, staring Guerrero down. Vickie warns him that he should hope Punk is telling the truth, then he walks off smiling.
Speaking of smiling, John Cena walks in happily. He is in a great mood because of his newly-booked match at T.L.C. He thanks her, as he claims that he will become champion when he takes the briefcase. She tries to frame Cena again, but he argues with her, calling it "crap" and walks off.
Match #7: Fatal 4-Way for the United States Championship - Wade Barrett (Challenger) VS. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston (Challenger) VS. R-Truth (Challenger) VS. Antonio Cesaro (Champion)
(Note: This match was originally a tag-team, but changed due to the "Raw Active Fan Vote.") All men brawl, leaving it to Cesaro and Kingston in the ring. Antonio slams Kofi down with a waistlock and runs at him in the corner with a spinning elbow.
He tries another run, but Kofi counters with a kick, then Barrett clotheslines Cesaro over the ropes. Wade gains control over Kofi with a pump-handle slam and whips Kingston off the ropes, but Kofi dives out of the ring with a dropkick to Cesaro!
R-Truth slaps Barrett out of the ring and faces off with his former tag-team partner R-Truth. Chain-wrestling by the good friends, but Cesaro and Barrett come back into separate. Cesaro runs Truth into the barricade and uppercuts a diving Kingston!
Cesaro spins Kofi around then locks on a half Boston Crab as we return to the bout. Truth comes in and drives Antonio down with the suplex-faceplant. Barrett sends Truth to the outside via pulling the ropes, and now the two European brutes slug it out. Kofi flies off the top with a crossbody, but Barrett breaks up the impending pin! Truth does the same to Barrett following a spinning-sideslam, then nails Wade with the scissors kick for a two-count!
Truth dumps Barrett off the middle rope, as does Kofi to Cesaro, but both Truth and Kingston take Wade off the top with a Tower Of Doom suplex/powerbomb combo. 1 - 2 - Cesaro breaks up with a headbutt! Down to Barrett and Kingston now, with Kofi all over Wade. Boom drop legdrop, but gets pulled out of the ring before the Trouble In Paradise.
Cesaro in and sets up Barrett for "The Neutralizer", but Truth scissor-kicks him out. Barrett hits the spinning back elbow, but Kofi nails him with the Trouble In Paradise spin-kick. As he is covering, Cesaro comes back in and picks him up, dropping him with "The "Neutralizer" faceplant to prevail!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Segment #9: Arena Promo
The Miz is in the ring, all set up for the lie-detector test with Mr. Abramson. Miz waists no time and brings out the WWE Champion and Paul Heyman. C.M. Punk gets strapped in and mocks this procedure and The Miz's antics. The test begins, with simple questions to get the "baseline." Miz asks him his name, that he has been champion for 379 days, if Rey Mysterio shaved his head bald at Over The Limit 2010, and if he lost at Wrestlemania XXVII against Randy Orton.
He says yes to all, then gets the hard inquiries grilled at him.
He is revealed to be lying about being able to beat Ryback on his own, but as soon as he is asked if he worked with Brad Maddox at Hell In The Cell and The Shield to win at Survivor Series, the three men attack Miz, stopping this.
They tear apart "MizTV" and triple-bomb Miz, then "Team Hell-No" walks out and engage in a brawl. Loud "feed me more" chants, enticing Ryback to march out. The beast runs out and goes at The Shield. It's all-out warfare as Kane and Daniel Bryan come back to help Ryback take Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns into the crowd.
Left alone, C.M. Punk stands over a defenseless (thanks Michael Cole) Miz. He kicks Miz out, literately, and poses happily, but turns right into a Shell-Shock from Ryback! He grabs a chair and ladder from under the ring, and beats down Punk with the symbolic objects. With a smile on his face, Ryback sets up a table and powerbombs the WWE Champion through the wooden structure!
Ryback steps over Punk and flexes to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter's Rumblings - By Moe Tapp
Back to an "ok" show. There was some great wrestling - always a plus - but I thought some of the promos and ending were just average. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: The promo with Paul Heyman, WWE Champion C.M. Punk, and The Miz - awesome talkers, all three, and built up the ending segment beautifully. However, they will also be in my "bogus" for another reason. Tag-Team match with Sheamus/Cena & Show/Ziggler - awesome, awesome wrestling, even though I don't think Dolph should've eaten the pin. However, I think they can "save" it by having (and better have) Dolph win at T.L.C., where he'd claim to losing "meaningless" tags, but succeeding when it counts, when something is on the line.
Del Rio/Cara, even though seen numerous times, was better and longer than I expected. Damien Sandow - on one hand, loving his new role looking for an apprentice, however do wish they team him back with Cody Rhodes when he returns from injury - they're a great, old-school tag-team. (The bit with Santino was just dumb and unnecessary). Like the fact that Kane/Daniel Bryan have put their "issues" away and now can just act like serious tag-team champions.
Great 4-way match for the U.S. Championship and glad a significant bout like that was on LAST, before the main-event promo.
Bogus: The start to Raw just started. No hype, no nothing. Getting right into the match felt "bland." The whole A.J./Cena storyline needs to end, especially since there was absolutely no interaction between the two tonight. (Nice to see her wrestling again). Even though I loved the promo between Heyman/Punk/Miz, it felt "out of no where" with Miz in there. At the moment, why would he be bothered with C.M. Punk, when the WWE Champion is already occupied with Ryback? It didn't really make sense to insert another person into this rivalry.
Not sure where they're going with the Brad Maddox character yet. Also, Vince being in town was really a let down. They need to now save him for "big" announcements, not to just entice already-made Pay-Per-View matches. While the actual wrestling was great, definitely did not like the way the Fatal-4-Way was set-up. The "fan-vote" as to which championship would be decided diminishes the belt in my opinion. At least it was with guys that were feuding with each other, and not a throw-away with wrestlers you know weren't going to win the title anyway.
Overall, a "so-so" episode, so let's hope they have much better plans for next week, when it will be the "go-home" show before T.L.C. Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!