Monday Night Raw TV report For 09/09/2013

by Moe Tapp | 10/09/2013 10:06 PM

Tonight, Raw is back in “bizarro-land,” otherwise known as my home-country of Canada. Specifically, it lands in Toronto, also the home of WWE Hall-Of-Famer Edge, who will be returning to please his fans! What will the “Rated-R” Superstar and former World Heavyweight/WWE Champion have to say and/or do?

Also, the other big comeback is Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes! Cody Rhodes’ bigger brother has challenged and will face WWE Champion Randy Orton to avenge Cody’s firing. Who will come out on top, and could this lead to a bigger storyline with the Rhodes Family? (I hope so!)

The Big Show has begrudgingly “bowed” to Triple H and Stephanie’s commands – what will they have the former Giant do tonight?

And, of course, it is the “go-home” show for Night Of Champions this Sunday, so that will provide my usual Pay-Per-View picks for said card.

All this and much more, so read on to find out!

Monday Night Raw TV Report For September 09th, 2013 – “Homecomings For Redemption?”

Introduction Segment: Welcoming and Arena Promo

A loud pop from the fans kicks off the show, as does the hometown hero, Edge! The native Ontarian runs out, pumped up to be back. The camera pans back to exhibit the people excited to see their man!

In the ring, Edge takes the microphone and says the crowd gives him a reminder of “why this is home.” He gets straight to the point, saying that WWE C.O.O. Triple H wanted him to come back in front of his home-province, because it is “best for business.” HHH also wanted Edge to have a reunion of sorts with a former tag-team partner of his, the WWE Champion Randy Orton.

However, the “Rated R Superstar” is going against the “power that be” (I guess he can, since he’s a free agent!), and instead swerves to give the people who they really want – Daniel Bryan! Edge and the Toronto crowd welcome him to the “Cutting Edge” appropriately – loud! Bryan recounts how Triple H said that he “would get hurt’ if he didn’t relinquish his championship match, and Daniel does admit he did.

But, he is still satisfied, because he fought hard and kept coming back. “No matter how many times Randy Orton attacks me from behind, no matter times ‘The Shield’ triple-powerbombs me, no matter how many knockout punches I eat from giants, and no matter how many times Triple H tries to hold me down, I will beat Randy Orton! I will regain the title! And I will be the WWE Champion! Yes!”

Edge is inspired and admires Bryan’s “go-get-‘em” attitude. In fairness, Edge is truly not sure if Bryan can really beat Orton, but concedes he deserves a go. “Do you think you can beat Randy Orton?” “Yes!” “Do you think that you can shove it in the man’s face and become the WWE Champion?” “Yes!” “Can you show that you’re the face of the WWE?”

Before Bryan can respond, WWE Champion Randy Orton does interrupt and walk to the stage. He rips Edge for only being popular in Canada now, and insulting him regarding his career-ending injury. Not to miss a beat, Edge quickly retorts. “It’s a shame that you’re supposed to be ‘the face’ of the WWE but you act like an entirely different body part. It’s a shame that The Ortons always have these physical problems. Your daddy, ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton, he ran around with that cast for years; and I may have problems with my spine, but at least I have one! Randy, you’ve become Triple H’s ‘puppet.’ I mean, here’s a guy, he has a great mind for the business, don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to picking talent and seeing talent, he just flat-out sucks!”

Speaking of Triple H, “The King” now joins Orton on stage. He wants to give an opportunity for Edge to say it face-to-face. Edge takes him on the offer, especially since he is not technically an employee, so he can have free speech, unlike the roster. “So I’ll tell ya what I think about you. I think you don’t know a damn about picking talent. You didn’t think that I could make it. You didn’t think that Chris Jericho could make it. You were running around backstage, talking about this ‘Vanilla Ice’ wannabe named John Cena, said he couldn’t make it. And now, you say that Daniel Bryan can’t make it. I know that your nose is huge, but sometimes you have to look past it!”

HHH deflects politically, saying the real reason he brought Edge in was for business. He plugs Edge’s guest appearance on “Haven,” then gets back to the matter at hand. “It seems that you question my ability to judge talent, and while I may have gotten a few wrong over the years I’ll admit, I’m right quite a bit too. I’ll give you the fact that I didn’t think that Jericho would amount to much, and he proved me wrong. And I certainly was wrong about John Cena. And Daniel Bryan … well, time will tell whether I’m right or not. But there was one guy I was right about. There’s one guy I was definitely right when I said ‘he would be a failure.’ That’s you Edge.”

He calls Edge an “abject failure,” because he didn’t make the company money. He is going to give Daniel Bryan the opportunity to prove him wrong though, much like Jericho and Cena did years ago. He books Bryan to face United States Champion, and Shield member, Dean Ambrose.

And since he will have his Shield teammates in his corner, Triple H allows Daniel to have backup of his own – Big Show! “It would be so much easier if everybody would just learn to just get along with me. I’m not really a bad guy – contrary to popular belief, I am not a dictator, ok?”

The fans chant the appropriate name for him at this point, and Edge helps them with the lines “you see, Hunter, I didn’t have to marry into my success, I earned this Hall-Of-Fame. And see, here’s the thing. You’re not a ‘dictator,’ Hunter, you’re just a ‘dick!'” (That was truly unedited – production crew/Triple H didn’t catch it in time – beauty of live TV!)

Triple H reminds himself that he can’t touch Edge because of the severity of his permanent injury, but he can “hurt the ones you love.” The Shield then drag out Christian, who has appeared to be beaten up. Edge hops out of the ring and shows concern for his best friend as The Shield, Triple H, and WWE Champion Randy Orton walk away.

Commercials.

Segment #2: Office Promo

Stephanie and Triple H are discussing when Edge barges in. He wants to tear apart Triple H for assaulting Christian. The Shield cuts in front and HHH then gets on his high horse, saying this is his show and his town, so Edge must leave.

Match #1: Single – Kofi Kingston VS. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) (Non-Title)

Lockup by both, with Axel taking control via hammer blows. He hits a beautiful dropkick for a one-count. Curtis chokes Kofi on the middle rope with his knee, but Kofi flips out of a backdrop-like attempt. He nails a few high-flying moves, as well as the S.O.S. pin combo, but Axel grabs the ropes for a break. They chase each other around the ring, then Curtis regains control with a stomp. He knees Kofi repeatedly against the turnbuckle, but gets DQed for not stopping!

Winner via Disqualification: Kofi Kingston

Post-match, Paul Heyman gets in Axel’s face, telling him that he can’t do this on Sunday, for then C.M. Punk will be able to get his hands on him. Axel goes to take another shot, but Kofi counters quickly with a right hand and the Trouble In Paradise Tornado Kick! Axel is down as Paul looks shocked and freaked out.

Segment #3: Video Promo

A montage of Goldust’s WWF/WWE career is recounted, to hype his match with WWE Champion Randy Orton.

Ads.

Segment #4: Backstage Promo

Paul Heyman is being picked up off the floor by Curtis Axel and a referee. He has apparently slipped on the floor. They haul him to the trainer’s room, where they ice his knee. He believes he is hurt and wants his own doctor to check him out. (Nice cop-out!)

Segment #5: Locker Room Promo

Big Show is sitting down when Booker T. walks in. He gives Show some advice on his situation, saying that he would’ve also “done the exact same thing.” Booker tells Show that he only needs to consider his family, and to “be a ‘professional’ out there.”

Segment #6: Video Promo

The Wyatt Family’s recent prophecies are spliced together, and they will be up next!

Commercials.

Match #2: Single – “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler VS. Bray Wyatt (with The Wyatt Family Luke Harper and Erik Rowan)

Bray runs and Dolph ducks twice, but quickly is downed with a kick and big forearm-to-the-back. Wyatt throws him into the ropes and turns him around with a big scoop slam. He sets up in the corner, but is cut off with a dropkick by Ziggler. Bray comes back with a fast, smacking crossbody off the ropes. “Is this not what you asked for?” he yells before break.

Ads.

Wyatt now has Dolph locked in a chin-clutch-lock. He elbows Ziggler off the rope and nails him with a headbutt. Ziggler gets out of a grounding chin-stretch-lock with a jawbreaker, then begins to fire up with many punches against the corner! Dolph brings him out with a neckbreaker and jumps on him with an elbow drop!

He flips out of a backdrop then plants Bray with the Fameasser. 1 – 2 – Wyatt gets the shoulder up! Luke Harper gets on the apron, as does Erik. Dolph fights them off, but is squished in the corner from Bray, and finishes him with the “Sister Abigail” spinning flatliner!

Winner via Pin Fall: Bray Wyatt (with “The Wyatt Family” Luke Harper and Erik Rowan)

Commercials.

Segment #7: Video Promo

More footage of Goldust’s career is shown, this time from his comedic skis involving himself and various wrestlers.

Segment #8: Arena Promo

Paul Heyman is hobbling on crutches to the ring, along with Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and his personal physician. The doctor has speculated that Paul E. tore his meniscus or ACL, and therefore, has to cut himself from the two-on-one match at Night Of Champions. Heyman regrets this, as he was looking forward to the bout.

Heyman begins to walk out, but General Manager Brad Maddox cuts him off. He is walking with Dr. Gerry Sampson, the legitimate WWE doctor. Maddox orders Heyman to go through a proper examination. The good doctor does so, and of course, gives him a good report. Maddox obliges and keeps Paul in the match.

Just now, C.M. Punk charges out with a Kendo Stick. He whacks Curtis Axel as Heyman is shown running scott-free. Heyman’s doctor is the only one left, and he is the recipient of “The Second-City Saint” unleashing the kendo stick.

Ads.

Match #3: Six-Diva Tag-Team – Natalya, Naomi, and Brie Bella (with JoJo and “Funkadactyls” partner Cameron) VS. Layla, Alicia Fox, and Aksana

Aksana and Naomi lock up, with Naomi giving Aksana an Atomic Drop. She hits her “Rear View” butt-bump for two, but gets pushed off the top turnbuckle backwards. Layla is in and hooks Naomi with a choke on the ropes. They both switch out, and Natalya hits a snap-suplex on Alicia, and a spinning scoop slam. She hits her with a spinning discus clothesline, then locks in the Sharpshooter for the tap-out victory!

Winners via Submission: Natalya, Naomi, and Brie Bella (with JoJo and “Funkadactyls” partner Cameron)

Segment #9: Video Promo

Goldust’s athletic ability and accomplishments are highlighted.

Commercials.

Match #4: Single – R-Truth VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Non-Title)

The champ starts off hot with a standing side headlock and shoulder block. He kicks and punches away in the corner, but misses a clothesline and gets one to the outside. R-Truth follows with a slingshot-plancha! A.D.R. catches Truth with an Enziguri as he climbed back to the apron. Del Rio rams his head repeatedly on the apron, and receives a one-count. He clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, which Truth battles out of and almost gets it with a sunset flip!

Del Rio comes back with a hard clothesline, then double-stomps his back. He works over Truth’s head with a couple mini-headbutts, but R counters with a jumping calf-kick off an Alberto run. Truth gains momentum with a couple clotheslines and a front-suplex faceplant. 1 – 2 – A.D.R. kicks out!

Truth goes for the scissors kick, but Del Rio moves and scoop slams R. He measures and smacks Truth with the kick-to-the-face, following up with the Cross Armbreaker to force R-Truth to give in!   Winner via Submission: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio

Ads.

Michael Cole announces that there will a Tag-Team Turmoil match on the pre-show of Night Of Champions to determine the #1 Contender’s to “The Shield’s” Tag-Team Championship. The title match will take place on the Pay-Per-View itself. Participants are: “3.M.B.”, “The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro), “Tons Of Funk” (“The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay and “Sweet T.” Tensai), “The Prime Time Players” (“Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young and “The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil), and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey). Got all that?!

Match #5: Single – Antonio Cesaro (with “Real Americans” partners Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter) VS. ???

Prior to the contest, Colter cuts his usual oratory promo. He calls Canada “our good neighbour to the North, but neighbour ‘in name’ only.” He doesn’t recall the last time Canada gave aide to the U.S., and calls us (I’m Canadian) “lazy, directionless, maple syrup-chugging, French-loving, moose-hunting, boring cousins.”

However, Zeb says that “it’s not too late, if you can find the passion for something a little more than a ‘stupid’ hockey game.” Before he can get the fans to say “We The People,” another hometown wrestler makes his return from a long absence …. Santino Marella! He is thrilled to be back, as were the fans to have him interrupt Colter.

Cesaro doesn’t waste time, hitting Marella with a dropkick-to-the-head. The fans are firmly behind Marella, with loud “Santino” chants. Meanwhile, Antonio flips him over with a gutwrench suplex, but Santino comes back with rights and lefts, both punches and kicks.

Cesaro counters, picking up and slamming down Marella, then swinging him around for 36 consecutive seconds! (I timed it – wow!) Marella is too dizzy to get up, so Cesaro takes more advantage with right forearms. Santino ducks a clothesline and scoop slams Cesaro. He is gearing up and goes for The Cobra Chop, but Cesaro counters with a boot-to-the-face and an uppercut. 1 – 2 – Marella gets the shoulder up!

Cesaro rips the Cobra covering off Marella’s arm, then slams him down again for another two-count. Antonio hauls at Marella in the corner with another uppercut for another near-fall! He goes for another forearm, but Santino reverses it into a pinning combination for the surprise victory!

Winner via Pin Fall: Santino Marella

Commercials.

Match #6: Single – “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow VS. “The Awesome One” The Miz

Before the match starts, Damien talks about still being our “uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion.” Elbow/collar tie-up and waistlock trades to begin. Sandow clamps on a standing side headlock, but is taken down with an elbow block. He hits a suplex, but is turned into the corner and rammed by Sandow’s shoulders.

Miz reverses a whip and runs opposite to hit Sandow with his clothesline, then gets a close-call after a top-rope double axe handle smash. Miz gives knees-to-the back of Sandow, but is tripped up into the middle rope. Sandow slugs away with rights, then smashes him with his right thigh. 1 – 2 – Miz gets his shoulder up! Sandow knees him, then brings him backward with a side Russian legsweep. He drops the “Elbow Of Distain” for a two-count, then grips on the grounding rear chinlock.

Miz battles out and flips Sandow over, hitting an elbow to Sandow’s face. He knees him then boots Damien in the face. He kicks, then dropkicks, Sandow’s thigh. Before he can go further, Fandango and Summer Rae dance out to distract Miz. This gives Damien the chance to roll-up Miz for the 1 – 2 – 3!

Winner via Pin Fall: “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow

Post-match, Fandango pronounces his name.

Segment # 10: Backstage Promo

Rene Young welcomes back Goldust. She asks him if he is ready for his match against WWE Champion Randy Orton. After a patented hiss, Goldust says that Cody has done the right thing all his career, while he has been “the screw-up of the family.” He says that he has had many shots and messed them all up, then calls Cody’s firing “ridiculous, all because of Triple H throwing his weight around, embarrassing MY family’s name, The Rhodes’ name. That’s not cool! So tonight, Cody has a second chance. He gets it. Because I mean business, and Randy Orton, after tonight, you will never forget the name of ….”

Triple H interjects at this point and asks Goldust how he is. He plays mind games with Goldust, inciting how much pressure he has to live up to in beating Orton, to help out his brother. Triple H wants it to work out, then walks away.

Ads.

Match #7: Single – WWE Champion Randy Orton VS. Goldust (Non-Title) Stipulation: If Goldust wins, Cody gets a second chance

Goldust charges at Orton right away with right hands. He slams Orton’s head off the turnbuckle then uppercuts him. Goldust continues to punch away, but is stopped with a quick kick. Goldust counters and shoulder blocks Randy to the outside. Loud “you still got it” calls from the fans.

Orton gets back in the ring and wants to engage in a test-of-strength. Goldust grabs his hand, but Orton baits him into a kick, and now begins to stomp away. He chokes Goldust on the middle rope, but misses a front-dropkick. Goldust jackknife covers Orton for two! He delivers right hand chops in the corner. Orton counters with a cheap poke-to-the-eye, then slows down the bout with punches and stomps.

Goldust holds onto the ropes, which threw Orton’s powerslam attempt off, and rolls him up for a two-count! He sets Randy up for “Shattered Dreams,” but the WWE Champion slides to the outside for a break.

Commercials.

Goldust counters a run with a double front-dropkick, then scratches Orton’s back on the outside. He climbs to the apron, but Orton jawbreaks him with the top rope, and runs him into the steel post. Referee Mike Chioda begins the 10-count, but Orton breaks it by backdropping Goldust on the barricade. He rams him into the steel steps and covers, but Goldust gets the shoulder up!

“The Viper” stomps away on Goldust’s body again, taunting him and the fans by holding his foot on Goldust’s throat. Orton wears Goldust down with a grounding rear chinlock. Goldust battles out with back-and-forth punches-to-the-stomach, then counters a whip with a running bulldog!

Goldust is fired up with clotheslines and a drop-down uppercut. He gives Orton a 10-punch in the corner, and just about whips him into the referee. He rolls up Randy from behind for a close near-fall, but is quickly planted with the slingshot DDT. Orton mimics Daniel Bryan’s “yes” taunt, as he gears up for the R.K.O., but Goldust reverses into the CrossRhodes! 1 – 2 – Orton still gets out. He now rolls up Goldust, but “The Bizarre One” also escapes! Unfortunately, Goldust misses a clothesline, which turns into an R.K.O. Randy covers and takes the contest!

Winner via Pin Fall: WWE Champion Randy Orton

Post-match, Orton stands over Goldust and proclaims “Goldust, looks like your ‘dream’ of saving your baby-brother Cody’s career has been shattered. Just like Daniel Bryan’s ‘dream’ of taking this (holds WWE Championship high) away from me will be shattered at Night Of Champions.”

Ads.

The “Los Matadors” promo airs again, and they are still “coming soon.”

Segment # 11: Backstage Promo

Goldust is walking around visibly upset when Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley comes up to him and lays on the guilt for not getting Cody’s job back, and disappointing everybody. She tells him to “go join him in the unemployment line. Oh and Dustin, tell your Dad I said ‘hi.'”

Ricardo Rodriguez announces his “#1 Amigo” R.V.D. for his match next!

Commercials.

Match #8: Single – Rob Van Dam (with Ricardo Rodriguez) VS. Ryback

(Note: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio walks to the stage and calls Van Dam a “washed-up loser.” He tells them both that the new chant after Night Of Champions will be “A.D.R., A.D.R.”)

Van Dam takes Ryback down early with a few of his usual kicks, but is slammed off a rolling monkey-flip. Ryback dominates with blows-to-theback after an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Ryback locks R.V.D. in an abdominal-stretch and brings him to the corner.

Van Dam gets out with more kicks, then rolls over him with the Rolling Thunder somersault. He hops to the top-rope and flips over for a two-count on Ryback! He dives again with a kick-to-the-face, setting him up for the 5-Star Frog Splash! Ryback rolls out of the way, and moves on the outside when Van Dam attempts a plancha, therefore eating the wall!

Ryback rams Rob into the ring post, crotch-first, thereby causing a dq.

Winner via Disqualification: Rob Van Dam (with Ricardo Rodriguez)

Post-match, Ryback drops R.V.D. with the “Shellshock” Marching Samoan Drop, then yells “Ryback rules!”

Segment #12: Backstage Promo

The Big Show is walking backstage when Stephanie cuts him off. She tells him that he is not to “lay a finger on ‘The Shield.'” McMahon-Helmsley threatens that if he gets involved, then he’ll be fired. “It’s what’s best for business.” He does not take the news well, and smashes up an old monitor/TV

Ads.

Match #9: Single – United States Champion Dean Ambrose (with The Shield partners Tag-Team Champion Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) VS. Daniel Bryan (with The Big Show) (Non-Title)

Daniel is on fire, punching and kicking Ambrose into the corner until Referee Mike Chioda has to break it up. Ambrose turns it around and does the same. Bryan comes back with more kicks, and Dean goes to the floor for a break. He converses with his Shield friends, then walks back up the steps to the squared circle.

Bryan turns him around with a knee-to-the-gut, then a few kicks-to-the back. Ambrose comes off the ropes with a shoulder block, but Bryan counters with a drop-toehold and stomps on his left shoulder. Bryan focuses on that left arm/shoulder, tying him up in his modified surfboard stretch.

Ambrose gets to the ropes to break it off, then manages to corner Bryan and deliver shoulders. Daniel flips over again and ducks a clothesline, then back with one of his own. He puts Dean down with a double-underhook/butterfly suplex, then ascends the turnbuckle. Seth Rollins stands on the apron to distract both the referee and Bryan, allowing Dean to push him to the floor.

Commercials.

Ambrose is now firmly in control, harshly whipping Bryan into a turnbuckle. (Note: the camera frequently shows Show cheering on Daniel.) Bryan moves again and Ambrose runs into the post, ramming his own left shoulder. Daniel follows up with two charging front-dropkicks, then his patented kicks-in-the-corner. He sets up Ambrose on the top and brings him down with a Hurricanrana! 1 – 2 – Dean rises his shoulder!

Bryan misses his kick-to-the-head, but turns a double leg-grab into a victory roll combo! 1 – 2 – Ambrose kicks out! Bryan ducks again and manages to trap the U.S. Champion in the “Yes Lock” Crossface. Ambrose struggles, but does grab the bottom rope. Bryan misses a third front-dropkick, and Ambrose almost got this with a roll-up of Bryan, using his tights.

Dean mount-punches Bryan. He perches Daniel atop the turnbuckle, but Bryan hops out and pushes Dean down. He puts him upside down, kicks away, then runs again with a low-front-dropkick! Bryan brings Ambrose down with a top-rope backdrop for and covers for a close call! (Loud “this is awesome” chants, and I agree!)

Daniel kicks away again, but Ambrose catches and hurls Bryan outside. Reigns tries a Spear, but Bryan moves and he eats the steel steps. Daniel also thwarts an attempt from Seth, but gets DDT’ed by Ambrose. The U.S. Champ puts him back in the ring and lays atop for a two-count!

He picks up Bryan again, but Daniel reverses into an inside cradle and gets the hard-earned victory!

Winner via Pin Fall: Daniel Bryan

Post-match, Ambrose tries to attack, but Bryan chucks him into “The Shield.” Daniel is celebrating when WWE Champion Randy Orton runs down. Bryan wastes no time, charging outside with a suicide dive. He stomps away until The Shield come back and gang up on Bryan. Big Show gets a chair and marches over. He stares down the four assailants, then drops the weapon and walks away. The Shield roll Daniel back in the ring and Orton is in the ring with his foe.

He shows him off to Big Show, then drops him with the R.K.O. Show walks off angry as Randy Orton holds his WWE Title high above Daniel Bryan.

Stephanie and Triple H now walk out, and tell Big Show to put everything aside. He orders him to “walk back to that ring. I want you to pick Daniel Bryan up, and knock him out. Go.” Show appears to oblige, approaching the ring and steps into it. He delays the process and Orton has to remind him of what he has to do. Orton gets Bryan in position, and Big winds up. He still refuses though, and gets into an argument with the WWE Champion. Orton yells at Show to “ball up that fist, pick him up, and knock him back down.”

Orton turns around and suddenly is dropped with a knee-to-the-face, courtesy of Daniel Bryan! He holds up the WWE Championship and gets the fans to chant “yes, yes, yes.” “This title is coming to me,” he declares to close the show.

End Of Raw.

Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp

This was a great Raw overall and a nice “go-home” show before the Pay-Per-View. Tons of wrestling, and absolutely built up storylines last-minute well. Onto the analysis:

Excellence: The opening segment – that was awesome! I really loved them bringing out Edge right away, get the crowd “hot” to start. (Not that you really need to, it is Toronto, after all!) But for real, the chemistry between everyone involved was so smooth, and even though it was a long segment, it didn’t feel “dragging.” Great job on building up the return of Goldust with the video footage. I felt this was a superb way to remind fans who may have forgotten how great he was, and introduce him to new fans who may not have known about him at all. Also, a great way to build this match/storyline and make it bigger than just a “one-off” appearance.

Loved the “breakdown” between Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman. Paul E. is a genius with his character, and really plays the “scared” part extremely (pun-intended!) well! I really didn’t see them having Heyman come up with a “way” to get out of the match on Sunday, but they did and I liked it. The man can run too when he’s scared – wow!

Hey, General Manager Brad Maddox actually made a “General Manager” decision on his own – way to go!

Nice to see Kofi getting back-to-back wins and back on the upside. He is very, very talented all-around and deserves a big push from now on.

As always, “The Wyatt Family” can do no wrong and are rolling along nicely in my book!

Kudos to Toronto for making Santino Marella’s return almost (if not just) as special as Edge’s. I realize now he really is underrated and actually does have a great amount of charisma and wrestling ability. I’d be happy to see him get another good-size push. Very good match with Cesaro too!

Even though it did feel like a “stalemate/filler,” the match between Sandow and Miz was pretty well done too.

FANTASTIC bouts between Orton/Goldust and Bryan/Ambrose. I honestly would’ve been really surprised to see “The Bizarre One” win, but they told a great old-school psychological story in their match. Same with Ambrose/Bryan, even though Daniel seemed to dominate a bit more.

Bogus: The Divas Tag-Team bout – could’ve been given more time, those involved have great talent in the ring and should’ve been allowed to display for longer. Also, if they’re all vying for the Divas Championship, why was there no brawl between Natalya, Naomi, and Brie to get a one-upsmanship before the Pay-Per-View?

While a nice match between World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and R-Truth, I thought it really did nothing (as did Rob Van Dam’s on-screen corner promo) to enhance/entice the storyline/match between Del Rio and R.V.D. With Van Dam and Ryback – it was a crap ending and put his momentum going into the World Title match down. How can we believe now that he will be able to win the World Championship on Sunday after getting the win via disqualification because he got crotched? Really stupid booking. Rob Van Dam should’ve out-right won that match clean.

Now my predictions/hopes …

Randy Orton will retain the WWE Championship over Daniel Bryan – too soon to play “hot potato” again.

Rob Van Dam BETTER win the World Heavyweight Championship. He can use a good run and make that title interesting again.

A.J. Lee squeaks away with her Divas Championship.

Screw-job and/or decisive finish in favor of Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman, over C.M. Punk.

Usos move on from pre-show and actually upset The Shield for the Tag-Team Titles. (Long shot, but that’s a “hope!”)

Again, a very enjoyable Raw before Sunday’s big show. (No pun-intended!) Until next week, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!

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