It’s another “go-home” show for Raw tonight, as we are six nights away from Battleground. The main-card is set, with Daniel Bryan beginning to “rise above the hate” (to borrow from another certain popular wrestler!). After last week’s ending, will Bryan continue to stay on top, or can Randy Orton get a leg up (no pun intended there, for real!) on his opponent for the vacant WWE Championship?
Also, C.M. Punk came back and cut a massively awesome promo last week in his hometown of Chicago. He then engaged in a big brawl with Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman’s new “guy,” Ryback. The trio got the better of “The Straight-Edge Superstar,” so how will Punk retaliate tonight, and get some revenge before his schedule match with Ryback at Battleground?
Last week, Rob Van Dam versus World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio was made a “Hardcore Rules” match, obviously favoring the challenger. Will we see the weapons tonight by either man to play “mind games” on the other?
Plus, the debut Los Matadores. I am interested enough to see where they will be placed in the program/on the roster, so I will reserve my judgment until my usual critiques after Raw.
And of course, the big angle will be the offering by C.O.O. Triple H to the entire Rhodes family. What will Cody, Dustin, and Dusty, say and/or do in response to the recent mauling of their beloved and legendary status in pro-wrestling history?
Finally, since there is a pay-per-view on Sunday, as usual, I will be giving my picks for the card at the end of my review.
Read on to find out all that goes down for Raw in Biloxi, Mississippi!
Monday Night Raw TV report for September 30th, 2013 – “Proposals and Beatings”
Introduction Segment: Arena Promo
Michael Cole welcomes us to Monday Night Raw and the music of “The Second-City Saint” blares the speakers, as C.M. Punk walks out. Cole also announces that WWE has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer research again, for the entire month of October. (Starting tonight, the last day of September!). The ramp has the Foundation’s logo on it, and the middle ring rope is pink.
C.M. says that people think Raw can be “unpredictable,” and calls himself as “unpredictable as they come.” But, he did also call last week’s events too predictable, reliving the promo by him and Heyman, then the beat down by Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Ryback. Punk says that “the story ends when I put an end to Paul Heyman.” He speculates when it may be; at Battleground, on Raw next week, or even tonight! “The Straight-Edge Superstar” threatens that “I am going to put Paul Heyman out of his misery.”
Raw General Manager cuts off Punk, walking down the ramp. He knows that Punk wants to get back at Heyman, Axel, and Ryback. However, that won’t tonight. He tells Punk he has to wait for Battleground, but has the ability to make a match for Raw.
Punk just wants to take out his frustrations, and the man who walks out next just might be right. Big E. Langston makes his return, and tells Punk “You want aggression, I’m your man.” A fight ensues until Maddox calls a referee down. This will be an official match following the break!
Match #1: Single – C.M. Punk VS. Big E. Langston
Back live, Punk is leaning against the ring post when Langston goes for a run. Punk moves and battles him back into the ring. He soars off the top rope with a crossbody for a two-count! C.M. tries for the “Go To Sleep,” but Big E. wiggles out of it and puts him down with a one-arm slam! 1 – 2 – Punk kicks out!
Big E. runs the ropes and splashes on the back of Punk, a la The Ultimate Warrior, also for a near-fall! Langston locks on a single-half-crab submission to begin to wear down the left leg of Punk.
Langston hits a body block off a running Punk for another two, but his finisher is reversed into a sunset flip by Punk. Langston regains control with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Big E. walks right into a couple chops then a few kicks, including a high kick to his head. Punk covers and almost takes it!
They both regain their composure, with Punk again picking up Langston, but he drops him and gets clotheslined! Punk moves out of a corner splash and builds momentum. He hits a running calf-kick, then a swinging neckbreaker. C.M. measures Langston in the corner and nails the running high-knee, and a clothesline and elbow drop subsequently!
“The Straight-Edge Superstar” signals for a third “Go To Sleep” and hits it this time! 1 – 2 – 3, C.M. Punk gets the well-fought victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: C.M. Punk
Later tonight, Daniel Bryan and “The Viper” Randy Orton will have a face-off prior to their WWE Championship match at Battleground.
Recaps the “firing” of Cody Rhodes and reminds us that The Rhodes Family will be in-house.
Match #2: Single – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. Kofi Kingston
The measure each other up, then Fandango gains control. He hits a tornado elbow for two, then begins to work over the left arm of Kofi. Fandango follows with a snap suplex and floats over with a cover for two. He clamps on a grounding rear chinlock to wear Kingston down.
Kofi punches out of it, then spins himself over and drives Fandango down with a DDT! Kofi hits a coup0le chops and a dropkick, but is tossed up against the top turnbuckle. Fandango ascends said turnbuckle, but Kofi moves and nails the “Trouble In Paradise” spin-kick for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: Kofi Kingston
Post-match, “we’re here.” “The Wyatt Family” approach the ring in the dark, and Kofi is already armed with a steel chair. Bray sits in his rocking chair and takes a microphone. “I have spent the majority of my life trying to understand these horrible things happen to me. Why me? I would wake and wonder.” “And now, finally, I understand what I must do. One-by-one, they will all fall down. Follow the buzzards.”
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
The Bella Twins are discussing their Battleground match when Randy Orton walks up. He congratulates Brie on her engagement to Daniel Bryan (for real), and wants to know when the nuptials will take place. Orton warns her to speed up the day, as soon Bryan “won’t make it down the aisle, because he won’t be able to walk.” He walks off, leaving the Twins freaked-out.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is with Paul Heyman. He says that “C.M. Punk is a nobody. A nobody that became a ‘Paul Heyman Guy.’ A ‘Paul Heyman Guy’ that became WWE Champion. A WWE Champion that made US, US the ‘best in the world.'” Young points out Axel and Ryback hiding and wonders if they are there to ambush C.M. Punk. Heyman calls everything a trap for Punk, and announces that he has a “huge night planned for C.M. Punk here on Raw.”
Match #3: Tag-Team – “3.M.B.” (Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal) VS. Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego)
Los Matadores make their debut, complete with a little-person dressed as a bull for their mascot. Diego begins against Mahal with a snapmare and hurricanrana. He monkey-flips Jinder out of the corner then tags in Fernando. Mahal also switches with Slater. He is taken down with a headscissors, then they both double-backdrop Slater.
Fernando is shoved into the corner and punched away. Mahal is back in and suplexes the Matadores. He drives his knee down using the ropes, then Heath comes in and jumps down too. He grasps a grounding rear chinlock on, then scoop-slams The Matadores down. Slater is quickly turned over with a tornado headscissors, then tags in Diego.
He flies around over Heath, then both Los Matadores double-team and double-back drop/reverse Samoan drop Slater for the finish and their first victory!
Winners via Pin Fall: Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego)
Again, Cole recaps the struggles of The Rhodes Family, this time with Dusty being knocked out by Big Show at orders of Stephanie McMahon. Up next, the confrontation will take place!
Segment #4: Video Promo
Various WWE Wrestlers talk about breast cancer and promote the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the fight against breast cancer.
Segment #5: Arena Promo
Justin Roberts welcomes Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. HHH has the mike first, and invites The Rhodes Family to the ring. He tells them to “don’t be afraid. I guarantee your safety just like the safety of any WWE Superstar.” Dusty’s theme music, “American Dream” plays and the three men walk out. All are donned in suits, and Dustin “Goldust” Runnels has his makeup on.
Stephanie welcomes them back to Raw, and Triple H wonders why they seem to be ticked off. He cites the opportunities they have given the Rhodes men, and is puzzled by their animosity. “The Game” recalls the firing of Cody, the failure of Goldust to get Cody’s job back, and Dusty continuing his “bitter feud” with the McMahon Family.
McMahon reminds Dusty of his role within WWE, helping out the up-and-coming WWE wrestlers. She also states the irony in the fact that they hold his future in their hands. Triple H names the “lucrative offer” they have for them. If Cody and Goldust team-up and defeat Tag-Team Champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins of “The Shield,” then they will become employees of WWE again. However, if they lose, then all three will never work in WWE again.
Stephanie threatens Dusty “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Triple H and McMahon leave, then as The Rhodes clan goes to exit, The Shield charge out from behind and dismantle them. They stand over a downed Dustin, Dusty, and Cody.
Match #4: Single – R-Truth VS. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) (Non-Title)
Lockup by both and an armdrag takedown by Axel. R-Truth tries to intimidate Curtis with some dance moves, then gets in his face. Truth pushes him against the ropes then kicks him twice in the left thigh, flipping him over. Truth begins a 10-punch in the corner, but Axel drops him against the top rope.
Truth starts to punch away again, but Curtis gets dominance quickly with a dropkick and grounding rear chinlock. Truth fights back with an uppercut and clothesline, then plants Axel with a suplex-cutter! 1 – 2 – Curtis kicks out!
Truth misses a front-dropkick as the I.C. Champion holds onto the ropes, then “Cult Of Personality” rings out in the arena. C.M. Punk doesn’t show up, but it is enough of a distraction for R-Truth to regain himself, then spin Axel around and drive him down with the jumping flatliner to take this one!
Winner via Pin Fall: R-Truth
Up next, Brie Bella will in a contest!
All three announcers congratulate Trish Stratus, former 7-time Women’s Champion, on the birth of her son today (09/30), Maximus.
Segment #6: Video Promo
A quick package airs of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella’s relationship, most footage from “Total Divas.”
Match #5: Single – Alicia Fox VS. Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella)
Elbow/collar tie-up between both women, then Brie uses the ropes to flip over and flip Fox with a fireman’s carry takedown. Alicia gets up and pushes Brie back against the ropes, then to the outside. She rolls Brie back into the ring, then chokes her with a lock and the ropes. Fox gets a two-count with a Northern Light suplex pin, then clamps on a leg scissors headlock.
Brie fights out of another submission, then hits a couple of dropkicks. She fires up the fans, but gets kicked in the head and a clotheslined from behind. Brie flips out of a backdrop attempt, then plants Alicia with the sit-down facebuster and 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: Brie Bella (with Nikki Bella)
Segment #7: Locker Room Promo
Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel is pacing around and Paul Heyman tells him not to worry. Ryback walks in and wants to take out C.M. Punk. Heyman tells Ryback to go eat something and he will collect him later. Apparently developing a “man-crush” on Ryback, Paul E. informs Curtis that he is going to go “propose” to Ryback later in the middle of the ring!
The commentator’s recap The Big Show’s recent dilemmas, courtesy of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is with The Big Show and inquires how he’s doing. “I’m just trying to do what’s right by my family, for me,” he responds. “I knocked out a WWE Hall-Of-Famer, a man that I idolized growing up.” Big gets upset about Dusty being assaulted by The Shield, and recounts “every sick, weird thing they’ve ordered me to do.”
Show is basically “hulking-up” (the green dude) and ready to explode! “I’m going to find Triple H and I’m going to show him exactly, EXACTLY, how I feel.” Rene wonders what he means, and Big Show retorts, “I’m going to knock Triple H the hell out!” He walks away through the hallways.
Segment #9: Office Promo
R-Truth is pleading for an Intercontinental Championship when Big Show barges in. He demands to know where Triple H is and holds General Manager Brad Maddox up against the wall by the throat. He orders the Raw G.M. to go find “The Game.”
Match #6: Single – Zack Ryder VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Non-Title)
Lockup between the two, which is broken up by Marty Smith, the referee. Del Rio runs at Ryder with a shoulder block, but gets flipped with a hip-toss. He give Del Rio a flapjack and clothesline over the ropes, but misses a plancha. Alberto goes to work, hurling Zack into the barricade and becoming aggressive with stomps.
Ryder lands a sunset flip, but is taken down with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio clasps a chin-stretch lock, which Zack battles out of. Ryder hops to the middle rope and hits a missile dropkick, then a running forearm in the corner. He nails the Broski Boot for a close-call!
Ryder leaps for the Roughrider leg lariat, but Alberto tosses him up and also receives a two-count with a German suplex pin. Pretty quickly, the World Champ makes Zack tap-out via the Cross Armbreaker!
Winner via Submission: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
Up next, Paul Heyman’s “proposal!”
Justin Roberts welcomes all the survivors of breast cancer, as well as participants in the Susan G. Komen Foundation, to Raw.
Segment #10: Arena Promo
Ryback and Paul Heyman happily strut out. Heyman reminds us that he pinned C.M. Punk and is now “the best in the world.” He also recalls last week, where “C.M. Punk had to put down by me as if I was the great dictator.” Paul produces footage from the brawl last week. “C.M. Punk is a man of commitment, but his commitment has been to break my face.”
Heyman is jubilant that his “happy face” is still here, all because of his “one big bad beautiful man, Ryback.” Ryback takes the microphone and was sickened at out Punk “bullied” Paul Heyman. He declares that “there’s nothing, nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”
Paul E. tells Ryback that he wants “something much more meaningful for us.” Heyman wants to make a “commitment” to Ryback, “from the opening match to the main-event. In sickness and in health. ‘Till death do us part.” He gets down on bended knee, and after a bit of teasing, inquires “Ryback, will you become a ‘Paul Heyman Guy?'” You can’t surgically wipe the smile off Paul’s face, but before Ryback can give a response, C.M. Punk’s music blasts.
Ryback and Heyman look towards the stage, but no Punk. Instead, C.M. runs out from the crowd behind and jumps over the barricade, but has appeared to injure his knee. He hobbles around and tries to climb in the ring, but tumbles down. The ringside doctor checks on him, then Punk suddenly pulls a kendo stick from under the ring and jumps in the squared circle.
He was faking, and is now whaling on Ryback and Curtis Axel. Heyman has high-tailed it, but did receive the initial shot to his ankle. Punk drops the Intercontinental Champion with the “Go To Sleep,” as Ryback gazes from the stage. Heyman is behind, holding his left leg.
We are shown Big Show waiting in Triple H’s office prior to break.
Match #7: 6-Man Tag-Team – The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) (Non-Title)
Ambrose and Ziggler start off, with Dean being aggressive early. Ziggler ducks a clothesline and hits a running dropkick and a crossbody with subsequent punches. Ambrose tags in Rollins, who is hip-tossed. Jimmy Uso comes in and scoop-slams Seth, then tags in Jey who cross-bodies Rollins for a two-count!
Rollins turns an arm wrench lock into a punch and switches with the United States Champion. Ambrose takes control over Jey, then tags Rollins back in. He hammers and stomps away at Jey’s back, and “The Shield” play the domination game. They try a double-team, but Jey blind-tags Jimmy who comes back with a dropkick while Jey was in the arms of both Dean and Seth. Both Usos fly over the ropes with a plancha for a break!
The Shield now back in control, with Seth holding Jey in a rear chinlock. Ambrose is in and does the same. He hits an elbow off a running Uso, and now Roman Reigns is in for the first time. He jumps down with an elbow drop from the mat. He runs at Jey but the rope is pulled down and he goes over the top. Reigns quickly gets back in but is shoved out of the corner and superkicked! Jey manages the hot-tag to Ziggler, who goes to town on The Shield.
Dolph jumps with the 10-punch, and almost gets the duke with the Fameasser on Ambrose before The Shield saves him. The bout breaks down, and apparently it is Roman Reigns who is legal. He hauls in with a spear on “The Show Off” for the victory!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)
Big Show is still waiting for Triple H in his office, but is getting ready by taking off his suit jacket, tie, and rolling up his sleeves. (Don’t go any further!)
Segment #11: Office Promo
An official (not a referee) and “police officers” enter Triple H and Stephanie’s area. They want to take him away for his threats, but Stephanie walks in. She convinces them not to, given the hardships he’s fallen on. Stephanie taunts him more, by saying that she has spoken to his wife and he “isn’t measuring up to her expectations either.”
They all walk off, leaving an irate Big Show to punch Triple H’s DVD poster into the wall.
Segment #12: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is interviewing Rob Van Dam. The hardcore fan-favorite exhibits his array of hardcore moves, between his careers in ECW and WWE respectively to intimidate his opponent for Battleground, the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio.
Up next, Santino Marella will take on Antonio Cesaro!
It is announced that Triple H has booked a 3-on-1 match for Smackdown this week, where “The Shield” will take on The Big Show.
Match #8: Single – Antonio Cesaro (with “Real Americans” partners Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter) VS. Santino Marella (with Hornswaggle and The Great Khali)
Santino starts off with a headlock, but is taken down quickly. Cesaro dominates for a bit, but is cut off with splits and hip-toss by Marella. Cesaro comes back with his Revolutions move, counting around twenty spins! Marella tries to get back up but falls to the mat. He counters a move into a pinning combination, however, and receives the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pin Fall: Santino Marella (with Hornswaggle and The Great Khali)
Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan face-off next!
Segment #13: Arena Promo
Jerry “The King” Lawler brings out both Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan to mediate their “verbal confrontation.” Randy says that Triple H’s decision to vacate the WWE Championship has “motivated me, inspired me.” He has returned to the old “viper,” the one who doesn’t care what the people think.
“This Sunday Daniel Bryan, I will beat you for the WWE Title because I am genetically superior to a small, pathetic, weak, B+ goat-faced troll like yourself.”
Lawler asks Bryan for his response. Daniel sarcastically mocks Orton’s oratory, then inquires why he felt Triple H needed to inspire and motivate him. He thinks that without HHH’s motivation, Randy would never reach his full potential. “I may be some small, pathetic, B+ goat-faced little troll, but I have never, EVER needed someone else’s motivation to reach my full potential!” He gets the fans going in a resounding “yes” chant.
Orton takes it even more personal, telling Bryan that his fiancee is not sleeping with a “handsome champion like myself, but a barnyard animal.” This makes Bryan explode in a fit of rage, and the two duke it out. “The Viper” gets the upper hand, pulling Bryan into the ring post, and punching away near the barricade. He goes to plant Bryan with the DDT off the apron, but Brie Bella runs out to plead. It does no good, as Bryan drops him anyway, then chases Bella off.
He tears apart the announce table, then puts Bryan through it with the R.K.O. Brie yells at him to stop, and Orton sadistically looks back at the carnage. Referees check on Bryan, as does Brie to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Another pretty great Raw, and a great set-up overall for Battleground. There are few more questionable things than last week, but I still felt the show flowed pretty smoothly as a “homer” for the pay-per-view. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: C.M. Punk/Big E. Langston opener, Los Matadores/3.M.B. tag-team, Kingston/Fandango, Brie/Alicia, and Cesaro/Marella matches – great (Punk/Langston & Matadores/3.M.B.) to decently good (the others) wrestling from those 5 bouts. “The Wyatt Family” – again always creepily cool promos. And much like “The Wyatt Family,” Paul Heyman can also do no wrong. He was gold tonight with his segments. He made me believe he truly had a crush on Ryback! And as my Dad said, “how could he do it with a straight face?!”
Loved The Big Show promo with Rene Young. That is the man I want to see, but at the same time, he also a true talent that can really go from range of emotions just like that. He displayed that extremely (no pun intended) well tonight, transferring from harsh anger to utter disappointment and resentment, both in himself and Triple H/Stephanie McMahon.
Bogus: I was obviously super-spoiled by last week, because I felt that C.M. Punk’s beginning promo fell kind of flat. Yes, the fans were into it, which always helps; but I think he could’ve talked just a bit longer to get more riled up. Same with The Rhodes Family promo – after all they have been through, I was quite disappointed that they all didn’t get mike time to voice their intense frustrations with McMahon and Triple H. I think Cody and Dustin/Goldust could’ve really ripped them to make this angle a bit more believable, the way the younger Rhodes did following his firing.
Would’ve like some interaction between World Heavyweight Champion Alberto and R.V.D. before their contest, to see who can one-up the other and create a little suspense. The 6-Man – I thought it could’ve gone longer and better, given all the natural talent involved. Speaking of which, Ziggler goes from this to the pre-show against Damien Sandow with no back story? What rip!
The ending to Raw I also felt was slightly boring. I think they could’ve cut a much better promo, a la Cena/Bryan, to both get the fans to really, really love Daniel and really, really hate Orton. The beat down was good though, and now will have people thinking that Daniel will win to exact revenge.
Battle Ground Picks: Unfortunately, I don’t see Rob Van Dam winning the World Title. He needed to do it last month, (if not in the summer already), and I think his time is past. WWE Championship – I’m going to go with a non-finish, especially since it is too soon after Night Of Champions. This rivalry will continue through Hell In A Cell. A.J. Lee will keep her Divas Championship. The Rhodes will get hired back after defeating “The Shield” somehow. C.M. Punk/Ryback will also end in a controversial manner, probably DQ/count-out or non-finish – thereby also continuing that feud, probably through Survivor Series if not longer.
Until next week, where the land of the WWE could change again following another Pay-Per-View, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!