Tonight, Raw is from the home of Jerry “The King” Lawler. Will something special happen for the wrestling legend, or is it going to be business as usual with only six nights until Hell In A Cell?
Since it is the “go-home show,” who will get the advantage leading into the Pay-Per-View. Last week, we saw Daniel Bryan and The Rhodes Brothers get the upper hand on Randy Orton and The Shield, respectively, with a little help from The Big Show. I have a good feeling someone’s going to get punished by The Authority, so what will Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley have in store?
Also, following Shawn Michaels’ and Randy Orton’s confrontation, is the special referee’s side revealed, or was it just a one-off provoking by “The Viper” to persuade HBK?
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio is getting aggressive as he heads into H.I.A.C., defending his championship against John Cena. How will he intimidate the former “Dr. Of Thug-A-Nomics” tonight?
A.J. Lee was taken down by Brie Bella on Smackdown, thankfully for her though, not in a title match. Will Brie’s win earn her a Divas Championship bout soon.
C.M. Punk picked a bold match last week, choosing to take on both Ryback and Paul Heyman INSIDE Hell In The Cell. Who’s going to play mind-games tonight as they move a head, and “The Straight-Edge Superstar” looks to gain his revenge on Paul Heyman and his guys.
All this, plus my predictions, and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw T.V. Report for October 21st, 2013 – “Signed, Sealed, and Delivering to H.I.A.C”
Introduction Segment: Video Recap
The Rhodes Brothers’ Tag-Team Championship victory from last week’s Raw is recapped.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The Authority, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Triple H, kick off Raw. It is announced that they will oversee the contract signing between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for Hell In The Cell, plus Bryan will face United States Champion Dean Ambrose. Stephanie begins by plugging the card for H.I.A.C., including making it official that Divas Champion A.J. Lee will put her title on the line against Brie Bella.
They both put over Shawn Michaels, who is the Special Referee for the WWE Championship match, and they both “trust” him. Suddenly, The Big Show appears on the TitanTron (“live via satellite”), and denounces their “respect” line. He says HHH and Stephanie treat everyone with “distain.” Triple H fires back, saying that Show was getting a “free ride,” but he says that is all over.
Show is super-irate tonight, taking shots at both and angrily stating all the aspects of his life The Authority has ripped from him. Stephanie starts to count-down and the feed of Big quickly ends. Triple H moves on and introduces United States Champion Dean Ambrose; however his opponent for the night walks out instead, complete with his theme music. The fans pop for Daniel Bryan, who jumps around the ring with “yes” chants/taunts, much to the dismay of HHH and McMahon-Helmsley.
Match #1: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. United States Champion and Shield Member Dean Ambrose (Non-Title)
The bell rings and they lockup. Both struggle until Bryan gets the better with a wristlock, which Ambrose rolls through, then Daniel hops through too. They test each other’s strength, and Ambrose chops Bryan in the corner. Daniel comes back with a turnbuckle smash and chops/kicks in the corner. He throws Dean into the ropes and counters with a knee-to-the-gut and kick for a quick one-count.
He locks on an arm stretch, and steps on his inner elbow (ow!) Ambrose fights out, but gets dropkicked coming off the ropes, but he manages to kick out at two! Bryan goes back to working over the left arm, hammering it on his own shoulder, then kicking away at it. He continues to kick in the corner, but misses a front-dropkick as Ambrose held onto the ropes.
Ambrose methodically takes control with punches and stomps. He steps on Bryan’s left hand, then delivers a snap-suplex. He tries a move with Bryan running off the ropes, but Daniel kind of collapsed, botch-style, then regains control. He nails some kicks, but hops off the top rope after Dean goes to the outside. Dean comes back with a short-arm clothesline on the floor for a break.
Ambrose is back in domination with a rear chinlock. Bryan battles out, but the U.S. Champ hits a knee-to-the-gut to hurt Daniel and clamp on an arm/facelock combination. He locks Daniel’s head with a leg scissors, but Bryan turns it around into a surfboard and chinlock stretch! Ambrose gets out of it by pushing his fingers/thumbs into Bryan’s eyes, which lets him manage the bout again. He brings Bryan off the top rope with a suplex then goes back to a rear chinlock.
Bryan gets out of it with a backslide for two, then runs hard with a clothesline! Both men working to regain their composure. Daniel slugs it out, then hops over Ambrose and runs at him in the corner with a front-dropkick. He flips him over with a top-rope hurricanrana! 1 – 2 – Dean kicks out!
Ambrose comes back with a spinebuster for a near-fall, then runs at him against the ropes but is chucked over to the floor! Bryan follows up with a suicide dive, then soars off the top with a front-missile dropkick! He begins to kick away again, but misses the final swing. Ambrose rolls him up, but Daniel reverses into the Yes Lock Crossface and Dean soon taps out!
Winner via Submission: Daniel Bryan
Up next, “The Best In The World” C.M. Punk will be out to converse about his Hell In The Cell match at H.I.A.C.!
Segment #2: Arena Promo
C.M. Punk makes his way to the stage to a rousing ovation. “The Straight-Edge Superstar” talks about the legend of Hell In The Cell. He says it “ends careers and defines legacy,” and Punk’s legacy will be known after H.I.A.C. when C.M. says he is able to get his hands on Paul Heyman. “They’re both locked in there with the devil who will do whatever it takes to get it done.” Punk goes through his game-plan, first taking out Ryback then decimating Paul E. around the steel mesh of the cell.
“Sunday night at Hell In The Cell pay-per-view, three men walk into the structure, and only one man walks out. And you best believe that man is ‘The Best In The World!'”
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Triple H and Stephanie are asking Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero to handle the “little things” and “don’t screw it up.” They walk into their office promo to find their friend, Shawn Michaels, waiting. He questions them on why they don’t like the potential of Daniel Bryan being WWE Champion. HHH disses Bryan’s look, but Michaels makes HHH remember that the administration once said the same things about him and Triple H.
Shawn noticed how things have changed, but is thankful that “one of us hasn’t had to grow up.” He decides to go have some fun and skips away.
In a tribute to being in Memphis, Santino and company are dressed like the late-great Elvis Presley [Horrible!] as they make their entrance.
Match #2: Single – Santino Marella (with Hornswoggle and The Great Khali) VS. Heath Slater (with 3.M.B. members Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal)
Cheap comedy begins the bout, with bad martial-arts by Santino. Slater puts an end to it with a knee-to-the-gut, then a shoulder-ram in the corner. He clamps on a grounding waistlock, which Marella fights out of with a judo-arm-toss. Heath misses a running shoulder into the corner, giving Santino control. He pulls out The Cobra, but Slater counters with fists. He hops off the second rope, but walks right into The Cobra chop for the 1 – 2 – 3 by Marella!
Winner via Pin Fall: Santino Marella (with Hornswoggle and The Great Khali)
Post-match, Marella rightfully puts over Jerry “The King” Lawler, who climbs on the announce table and dances with Santino and friends.
Up next, Randy Orton will be in action!
Match #3: Single – “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton
Elbow/collar tie-up to start, and much like earlier, they both struggle to gain an advantage. Orton slides out for a quick break, then he viciously kicks at Dolph. He chucks him to the floor and subsequently into the barricade. He uses the ring to set up Ziggler for a DDT on the apron, but Dolph backs him up into the barricade and ferociously pounds away. Orton gains control again, then pushes down on his left arm and shoulder. Orton drives his knee onto the appendage, but Dolph battles back with fast fists!
Dolph comes out of the corner with a hard clothesline for two, but gets caught in Orton’s backbreaker. “The Viper” gets a two-count, then clamps on an armbar while pushing down on the side of Ziggler’s face. He switches to a grounding rear chinlock, which Ziggler counters into a sit-down jawbreaker. Dolph flies off the ropes with a forearm, following up with a neckbreaker. He plants Orton with the Fameasswer and covers! 1 – 2 – Orton gets the shoulder up!
Orton reverses and tosses Dolph overhead with a suplex, then drives him face-first with the slingshot DDT out of the ropes. “The Show Off” counters an R.K.O. attempt with a dropkick and almost gets the W, but Orton kicks out, then fends off Ziggler from a Zig-Zag try before hitting the R.K.O. to get victory!
Winner via Pin Fall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Segment #4: Video Promo
John Cena’s process from injury to return announcement from last week is played again.
Match #4: Tag-Team – Tamina Snuka and Divas Champion A.J. Lee VS. The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) (Non-Title)
Tamina and Brie begin, with Tamina waistlock-takedown Brie twice. Brie backflips over Snuka and tags in her sister. Nikki drives Tamina down with a bulldog and snapmare, but Tamina hurdles her to the outside. Nikki may have hurt her right leg again. Snuka flips her over with a northern-light suplex and locks her in a snapmare-like submission. Nikki elbows her way out, but is dragged down by her hair. Tamina chokes Nikki using the second rope, then scoop-slams her to the mat. She finally tags in A.J.
Lee hops on Nikki’s back with a sleeper, then kicks away at her in the corner. A.J. skips around and goes to splash Nikki in the corner but misses! This allows Nikki to tag-in Brie, who comes in and flies all over Lee. She reverses and catches A.J. in a half-crab submission. Tamina comes in but Brie knocks her off twice, then counters A.J.’s roll-up attempt and plants her with the sit-down facebuster to give them a W!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie)
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is waiting for Paul Heyman. She uses footage from Friday’s Smackdown to show the beatdown that C.M. Punk took from Ryback and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel. This was until Big E. Langston helped him take the two “Paul Heyman Guys” out.
Back to Raw, Heyman, Ryback, and Curtis walk by. Paul goes full-on into car-salesman-type promo, faking what C.M. Punk’s going to do. He takes it seriously now, saying “I’m not locked in a cell with C.M. Punk. C.M Punk is locked in a cell with me!” Big E. Langston interrupts and challenges Curtis Axel to a match, which Heyman accepts on his behalf.
Segment #6: Video Promo
Using DVD interview splices, Shawn Michaels’ and Daniel Bryan’s mentor and student relationship is shown. (Cool to see the early footage of Daniel Bryan when he was first starting out!)
The Wyatt Family make their eerie way to the ring for a Tag-Team contest, next!
Match #5: Tag-Team – The Wyatt Family (Erik Rowan and Luke Harper) (with Bray Wyatt) VS. Kofi Kingston and “The Awesome One” The Miz
Erik Rowan starts with The Miz, with Miz taking Rowan to the outside. He faces off with Bray, who stands up out of his rocking chair, but Rowan puts him down from behind. He and Harper double-team Miz with Luke hitting a boot-to-the-face for a two-count! Miz comes back with a few punches and kicks, but Harper regains domination with a slingshot-into-the-ropes. Both Erik and Luke continue to double-team and control Miz and the match. Luke drops a big elbow, then rolls over back-and-forth with a front-facelock.
Kofi is encouraging Miz to get a tag, but it doesn’t work as Miz is scooped up and slammed down for a near-fall! Miz does start a comeback, booting Harper away then tagging in Kingston, who jumps in with a chop. He also takes out Rowan, then Luke in the face with double-boots. He twirls around with a Hurricanrana, and a crossbody! Kingston rolls up Harper and nails the Trouble-In-Paradise spin-kick on Erik, but turns around into a violent clothesline and the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Wyatt Family (Erik Rowan and Luke Harper) (with Bray Wyatt)
Post-match, The Wyatt Family hold back Miz and tie him up in the ropes. Bray takes the microphone and poses a question to Miz. “Do you believe in the creator, life after death?” “I am just here to lead you to the gates, follow the buzzards!”
Match #6: Single – Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman and Ryback) VS. Big E. Langston (Non-Title)
Curtis and Ryback double-team Big E. quickly, but Langston manages to hang tough against both. The bell has not rung at this point. They all brawl around the ring. Heyman takes a swing with a kendo stick, but it doesn’t fade Langston. Ryback clotheslines him down, but C.M. Punk charges out with a stick of his own and fends off Axel and Ryback.
Winner: No Contest due to No Official Start
Much like my Dad called, quel surprise’ that Smackdown General Manager comes out and makes this a Tag-Team Match now.
Match #7: Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Ryback (with Paul Heyman) VS. Big E. Langston and C.M. Punk (Non-Title)
C.M. Punk and Axel are going at it as we come back from break, but Ryback is tagged in and dominates. Axel is back in and locks Punk in a grounding rear chinlock. Punk counters a run with a boot-to-the-face and springboard crossbody for two! Axel takes lead again and switches with Ryback. He holds Punk up in a suplex position, but Punk counters with an inside cradle. Ryback clamps on a waistlock, and Paul E. taunts Punk on the outside, yelling “tag me, I’ll help you.” (Brilliant!)
Punk gets out of a shoulder-carry, and puts Ryback down. He tags in Langston, who is on fire against Axel. He hits a splash, then yanks the straps down. Punk takes out Ryback while Big E. plants Axel with the Big Ending to finish this one!
Winners via Pin Fall: Big E. Langston and C.M. Punk
Post-match, “The Second-City Saint” chases Paul Heyman through the crowd, and hangs out with the people to psych himself and them up!
Match #8: Tag-Team – Tons Of Funk (“The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay and “Sweet T.” Tensai) (with The Funkadactyls Naomi and Cameron) VS. The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) (with Zeb Colter)
Swagger and Tensai begin, with Tensai being aggressive early. He catches Jack’s leg and hits an uppercut, then tosses both him and Cesaro over the ropes. Antonio comes back with a dropkick and rear drop for two. Swagger back in with ground-punches and a leg twist. Swagger and Cesaro go back-and-forth, slow down and work over Tensai. He counters a chinlock with a backdrop then tags in Brodus.
Clay powers over Cesaro a bit, but Antonio sweeps him up and swings him around four times! Jack comes in and locks on the Ankle Lock for the submission success!
Winners via Pin fall: The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro) (With Zeb Colter)
Post-match, Colter cuts a promo, explaining how he is going to deal with El Torito. He pulls a bull whip out of a bag and subtlety threatens The Matadores’ mascot.
It is announced that the Intercontinental Championship will be on the line, as Curtis Axel will defend against Big E. Langston on the pre-show kick off to Hell In A Cell.
Segment #7: Video Promo
A fantastic highlight package of John Cena’s career, highs and lows, his start on the main roster in 2002 until now is exemplified.
The Rhodes Brothers walk down in triumph to join in commentary for the next bout!
Match #9: Tag-Team for the #1 Contender’s Spot to the Tag-Team Championship – The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) (with Shield Member Dean Ambrose) VS. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Seth and an Uso are even and slug it out. The Uso is on fire with an over-the-top splash to the floor on Seth! He come back and tags in Reigns. Both Usos dicate the pace of this bout, frequently switching in and out. Uso fights his way out of both Usos, but misses a diving crossbody and lands on the second rope. Reigns grapples with a front-facelock. He tries to suplex Jimmy back in the ring, but Jimmy blocks it. Roman comes back by forcing Jimmy off the apron, and sending him flying into the announce table!
Back from break, The Shield is in control again. Reigns flips The Uso over with a suplex, then clamps on a grounding cobra-clutch. He picks him up in a Samoan drop position, but The Uso wiggles out of it and drives Reigns down iwith a DDT! Rollins is tagged in, but soon tags Roman back in. He spins around The Uso, who counters with a kick-to-the-head, and tags in Jimmy! He ascends the turnbuckle and dives off with a crossbody.
Both Usos take out The Shield and are building momentum. Reigns comes back with a viscious clothesline! 1 – 2 – Uso breaks it up! Rollins hits a Samoan drop, and Reigns a powerslam! The Uso leaps over Reigns and kicks him in the head! He soars off the top with a splash, but Reigns counters with knees-to-the-gut.
On the outside, all Shield members engage in a brawl with Tag-Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes. The Shield manage to triple-team Goldust until Rhodes comes in for the rescue. They take out Reigns as The Usos clothesline Seth over the ropes. The Shield retreat through the crowd as The Usos and The Rhodes Brothers are left alone in the ring.
Winners: No Contest due to Referee Stoppage
Up next is the contract signing!
Segment #8: Arena Promo
Triple H and Stephanie are already in the ring, when Justin Roberts announces Randy Orton as “the face of the WWE.” Daniel Bryan comes out next. Triple H then brings out the Special Guest Referee, “The Showstopper,” “The Icon,” “Mr. Wrestlemania,” “Mr. Hall-Of-Fame,” “a Founding-Father of Degeneration-X,” “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. HBK dances his way out, shaking hands with Bryan in the ring.
Stephanie gives Randy the first opportunity, since he is the “face of the WWE.” Orton gives Bryan his dues for taking the punishment and continuing on. “I have survived against The Undertaker at Hell In The Cell. I have beaten Sheamus and John Cena.” He threatens that Daniel’s first H.I.A.C. will be his “absolute last.”
Bryan takes the microphone and is not surprised by the “threats” from Orton. Daniel says that he would be WWE Champion, had it not been for all the backing that “The Viper” got from both The Shield and Triple H. He cites his wrestling ability, then thanks Randy for all the wrong things he and The Authority have done to him, because it has driven him over the last two months.
HHH says he has “seen guys like you come and go many times.” He tells Daniel all these guys were also very popular, but if they were the “face of the WWE back in the day, we’d all be working for Ted Turner right now.” Bryan challenges Triple H to a match, but “The Game” retorts and says his own ambition would be to face a “star,” like The Undertaker or Brock Lesnar.
“I wouldn’t waste my time fighting someone like you. Shawn Michaels shouldn’t have ever wasted his time training you.” Michaels interjects and backs Bryan, calling him “good, very good.” He wonders what happened to the real Triple H, the hell-raiser and controversial man from his D-X days. Michaels doesn’t care about anything else, other than making sure there will be a new WWE Champion at H.I.A.C.
Orton speculates that Shawn has a hidden agenda, and Triple H warns that “at the end of the day, Shawn will do what’s right.” Michaels does agree, and wonders what HHH’s beef with Daniel is. Bottom line, “HBK thinks it is because “after everything you’ve thrown at him, he’s proved you wrong.”
Orton says that Daniel can’t beat him, and he’s going to “take this ‘A+ player’ straight to hell. Yes, yes, yes…”
Just now, a semi-truck appears on the TitanTron and barrels into the arena! It is The Big Show driving the vehicle! He signals to Orton to spin around, and Bryan nails him with a running knee-to-the-face, then hops out of the ring and chants “yes, yes, yes,” with the fans. Daniel stands tall on the truck beside Big Show, yelling “yes, yes, yes,” with Triple H, Randy Orton, Stephanie, and Shawn looking on to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Once again, I thought Raw flowed smoothly and built up H.I.A.C. nicely. Aside from a few minor quirks, I pretty much liked everyone/everything else. The show did it’s job to “go-home.” Onto the analysis:
Excellence: Another hot start, both with the opening promo and match. Really loved the “live via satellite” jaw that Big Show gave. It felt really old-school with the lighting and background appearance of a brick wall, plus his attire dressed in black. Most of all, absolutely loved the irrate-ness of his voice, and made me believe he was legitimately/realistically ticked off at The Authority. Great matchup too with Bryan and Ambrose, especially with Bryan story-telling by working over Dean’s arm right away to weaken him for the Yes Lock Crossface.
Decent-to-great matches for everyone BUT the Santino comedy match. Everyone else worked hard and the bouts seemed efficient.
Loved the video build-up for John Cena, and Daniel Bryan/Shawn Michaels relationship. Nice to get the background history on Bryan/”H.B.K.”, and good way to keep Cena in play until he makes his return at H.I.A.C.
Bogus: As mentioned above, the Marella-Slater match was just a waste of time and just bad. (Along with the post-match shenanigans.) I really thought Santino would get a better push than this (I.C. Title-wise), but it’s sad to see that they’ve penned him in a just a stereotypical comedy figure.
Writing about the I.C. Championship, hate that it’s not on the main-card of H.I.A.C. That title used to be one of the premier championships, and has been really de-valued in the last ten years. They need to build it up again, soon!
While the match was fine itself, I am tired of singles-turning into brawls-turning into tag-team matches. Way too predictable way too often.
I didn’t really get The Big Show’s disruption at the end of the show. It just didn’t seem to fit to me, and I would’ve liked him to not appear after his initial promo at the beginning, then do something big (no pun in intended, for real!) at Hell In A cell.
Hell In The Cell Picks: Randy Orton will win the WWE Championship by nefarious means, thanks to The Authority, Big Show, Shawn Michaels, or a combination of all. A.J. Lee keeps her Divas Championship, courtesy of help from Tamina Snuka. I know I called The Rhodes Brothers not holding the Tag-Titles long, but I’ve changed my mind. They will keep them after H.I.A.C. and lose them by December. Too soon to play “hot potato” and put the straps back on The Shield. In an upset, I’ll call John Cena losing his returning match, then making a triumphant return to his home-town of Boston at Survivor Series and win the World Heavyweight or WWE Championship there. Either C.M. Punk wins, or Ryback Heyman do, but either way, Punk does not get his hands on Paul E. as much as he wants too. (Read: return Brock Lesnar?)
All in all, a pretty great Raw, which is why I didn’t review too much. I think it spoke for itself and put over H.I.A.C well.
Until next week as always, where the land of WWE should change again following a pay-per-view, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!