Following last week’s ending, who will Curtis Axel pick on next to elevate himself? (He needs to now have a legitimate win, other than Sin Cara from Smackdown two weeks in a row! As long as Paul Heyman cuts a promo tonight with him, that’ll be good enough for me to sell the repackaged man for another week! Also, how will Chris Jericho get involved with his new feud with Paul Heyman and “Paul Heyman’s Guy,” C.M. Punk?
What will Ryback do next to intimidate WWE Champion John Cena leading to their 3 Stages Of Hell match at Payback? Or can Cena get some retaliation and gain momentum?
Plus, World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler is allowed to be back on the road, but not wrestle. Will “The Show Off” make his long, long awaited return? (I hope so!)
Monday Night Raw Report for June 3rd, 2013 – “The Weakest Or Strongest Link?”
Segment #1: Arena Promo
In a surprise return I was not expecting, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley walks down the aisle with smiles on her face. She is happy to be back, even though she wishes it was under “better circumstances.” Stephanie is talking about Triple H, and removing him from tonight’s planned rematch with Curtis Axel, due to his medical condition even though he has been cleared. The crowd are not fans of this decision, but pop loud when her daddy, Mr. Vince McMahon struts out.
He is also happy to see the fans and makes a personal request. He asks them not to boo Stephanie, to which of course, they respond with loud boos. He cites that he and Stephanie care more about HHH than they do, and backs up Stephanie by “emphatically” pulling Trips from the card.
He calls WWE “family entertainment,” not a “blood-sport.” (Nice shot at the UFC!) He asks what more do they want, as they also chanted “one more time, one more time” when Ryback slammed Kofi Kingston through a table last week and “injured him.” (In reality, a way to write him off for elbow surgery.)
McMahons are now shocked (as I was again surprised) at the sound of The Shield’s music blaring the arena and Tag-Team Champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, and United States Champion Dean Ambrose approach through the crowd. Cole wonders what’s going to happen.
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team – The Shield (Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns, and United States Champion Dean Ambrose) VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton and “Team Hell No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (Non-Title)
Back live, “The Hounds Of Justice” are alone in the ring, as Cole says that during the break, Vince and Stephanie were able to leave unharmed. (Blasted WWE App – seriously, not airing that is really stupid!) Ambrose and Bryan begin, with Daniel vicious with kicks in the corner and on the mat right off the bat. (Hey, that rhymes!).
He tags in Kane, who delivers a kick-to-the-face of Ambrose and slams him down for a quick one. He and Daniel double-team Rollins, and Kane takes over with a huge sidewalk slam. He ascends the turnbuckle but is cut off with a high dropkick by Seth. He covers for two before the break.
Back live, Rollins is in control, gripping Kane with a grounding rear chinlock, and running into him in “The Shield’s” corner. Dean is tagged in and repeatedly headbutts Kane. He and Rollins try to double-suplex Kane, but “The Big Red Machine” reverses with one of his one, then manages to get the hot tag to Randy Orton.
He takes out all members of “The Shield,” even double-slingshot-DDTing Ambrose and Rollins, then tries to plant Roman, but Seth nails him in the back-of-the-head with a jumping kick. He covers for 1 – 2 – kickout by Randy!
Ambrose is back and continuously stomps on Orton’s stomach, then wraps around him with a rear chinlock. Both Rollins and Reigns are switched in and out, dominating over Randy. Reigns locks in a grounding full-nelson. Off the ropes, Reigns delivers a hard right hand into Orton’s gut and Ambrose takes over again. He methodically wears Orton down with small stomps and punches around the canvas.
Orton finally reverses Reigns into a backdrop and begins the long crawl to his corner. Rollins is measuring Orton from the top rope, but as he flies off, Randy counters with a dropkick, then gets to slap hands with Bryan! He is on fire (figuratively!), taking out all members of The Shield, with kicks and a hurricanrana on Rollins from the top rope ONTO Ambrose!
He locks Dean in the “Yes Lock” crossface but it is broken by both Tag-Team Champions. Reigns drives Kane down with a spear, but Rollins gets RKO’ed by Orton. He tries the same on Roman, but Reigns shoves Orton into Daniel and takes him out of the ring. Ambrose capitalizes with his bulldog/DDT move on Bryan for the victory!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Shield (Tag-Team Champions Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns, and United States Champion Dean Ambrose)
Post-match, Kane and Bryan are frustrated with their most recent loss.
Later tonight, Big E. Langston will face Alberto Del Rio in their 5th match, with both tied at two wins each.
Segment #2: Locker Room Promo
Daniel Bryan is yelling at Randy Orton about the results, but Orton just wants to drop it and beat “The Shield.” Bryan continues with his insecurities, accusing Randy of not apologizing because he is “the weak link.” He claims that both Kane and Randy don’t respect him, despite them trying to convince otherwise. Bryan wants to prove it again and wants to have another match. He storms off as Kane and Orton look confused.
Segment #3: Office Promo
Triple H is in the building and barges into Mr. McMahon’s office. He wants to know what’s going on and why he’s not competing. Stephanie tells him how worried their family was when he collapsed two weeks ago. “The Game” doesn’t listen and demands to wrestle Curtis Axel. Vince warns him not to do anything that he won’t regret. (Ooooh!)
The Usos, complete with new face paint, perform their awesome entrance and are out for a bout next.
Match #2: Tag-Team – The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) VS. The Primetime Players (“Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young and “The Big Deal” Titus O’Neil)
Honestly, standard tag-team match with the heels controlling most until Jimmy and Jey make their comeback. Jimmy/Jey hits a Samoan Drop and superkick, and a “Superfly” splash for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Up next, it’s Big E. and Alberto!
A promo for WWE’s partnership with the Special Olympics is aired, then some of the athletes are shown at ringside as guests tonight enjoying the festivities. (Sincerely, awesome!)
Match #3: Single – Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) VS. Big E. Langston (with A.J. Lee)
Big E. is all over Alberto first, until Del Rio counters an Irish Whip with a front dropkick. Del Rio flies through the ropes but misses, and subsequently gets run over with a shoulderblock by Langston. He rolls him back in the ring and clamps on a grounding half-camel-clutch. Langston catches Del Rio in a backbreaker and drops him three times on his ribs for a two-count!
Alberto attempts a comeback with some kicks in the corner and an enziguri. He kicks him square in the jaw off the ropes, then gets the crowd riled up then locks on the Cross Armbreaker. Langston manages to power out, picking up Del Rio in that position and hanging him over the ropes! Del Rio clamps it on again in the middle of the ring, and puts even more leverage on, pressing Big E.’s shoulders against the canvas for the 3-count finish!
Winner via Pin Fall: Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
(And sadly, no Dolph appearance – yet.)
Up next, Sheamus will take on Cody Rhodes!
Match #4: Single – Sheamus VS. Cody Rhodes (with “The Intellectual Savior Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow)
Even at first until Sheamus clotheslines a running Cody. He chucks him over the ropes and tries to hammer against as per normal, but Rhodes catches him and slams his leg against the second turnbuckle. In the ring, Cody clamps on a grounding reverse facelock, but Sheamus gets out of it by tossing Cody across the ring.
He runs into him with a shoulderblock and smacking knee. Sheamus climbs the top rope and dives off with the Battering Ram shoulder-tackle. Sheamus goes for the White Noise drop, but Rhodes rolls him up for two!
Rhodes tries the CrossRhodes but Sheamus gets out of it. Cody leaps onto the top rope and soars off with a beautiful moonsault, although he does miss and gets dropped with the White Noise. Sheamus then polishes Cody off with the Brogue Kick!
Winner via Pin Fall: Sheamus
Post-match, Sheamus gets Sandow’s face (who was on commentary the whole time) and offers to shake hands, but Damien refuses. Sheamus slaps him into the corner and walks off to the glory of cheers.
Later tonight, Chris Jericho and Paul Heyman will engage in the contract signing for Payback.
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Triple H (or Paul as Stephanie talks to him), is marching toward a waiting car. He proclaims that he is leaving, feeling extremely angry with Vince, and says that instead, next week he will be on Raw as it kicks off to face Curtis Axel. He chucks his luggage into the vehicle and drives off.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Daniel Bryan is also frustrated, kicking objects while walking through the hallway. Ryback confronts him and warns the “little puke” that he put Kofi in the hospital for surgery (he notes it was last Thursday, but my Dad pointed out, correctly, that the show didn’t air until FRIDAY – oops!). Ryback calls him “the weak link” but challenges him anyway to a match tonight. Bryan accepts.
Segment #6: Office Promo
Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel are in Vince’s office when the boss walks in. He congratulates Axel on his success so far, but completely ignores Heyman, even when Paul E. offers his hand for a shake. Heyman tries to slide out, but McMahon informs them that Curtis will not be taking on Triple H tonight, or next week, but instead be facing John Cena tonight in a rematch, and it will be a no-disqualification match with the WWE Champion. Axel seems fine with this.
Up next, Fandango with Summer Rae will be in action!
Match #5: Single – Fandango (with Summer Rae) VS. The Great Khali (with Hornswaggle and Natalya)
Khali controls all of this bout with his usual repertoire of slow punches, until Fandango escapes to the stage, not wanting to get Double-Chokeslammed. He wants to go further, but is cut off by The Miz, who is in turn cut off by a Bullhammer blow from Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. They are schedule to wrestle after the break!
Winner: No Contest due to Non-Finish
Match #6: Single – “The Awesome One” The Miz VS. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (Non-Title)
In the midst of this bout, Fandango returns and interrupts by dancing on the stage with Summer Rae. This distracts Barrett and allows Miz to lock in the Figure-4 to force Wade to tap!
Winner via Submission: “The Awesome One” The Miz
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Jerry “The King” Lawler is in the ring and is presiding over the contract signing between “Y2J” Chris Jericho and Paul E. Heyman. The ring is decorated with the usual big leather chairs and table. Lawler presents the contract in front of them after they sit down.
Prior to signing, Heyman cuts a promo, telling Jericho that when he wrestles “my client, ‘The Best In The World’ and the longest-reigning WWE Champion….” Jericho cuts him off and says he doesn’t “give a damn about all that. All I care about is you delivering C.M. Punk on June 16th.”
Heyman signs the document, then asks “Y2J” if he is honestly ready to face “The Straight-Edge Superstar” in his faithful hometown of Chicago, where Punk “can do no wrong.” Jericho mocks Paul’s threats by naming other cities to wrestle in, before of course going for the cheap pop of wanting to have the match “right here in Hartford, Connecticut.”
Paul responds with a blatant “no,” and Jericho agrees to have it in Chicago. He says that “when you act like a ‘jackass,’ like C.M. Punk acts, you get treated like a ‘jackass.'” Jericho wonders where to file this contract though, his lawyer’s or Heyman’s. He gets up and approaches “Mr. Walrus.” Chris knows exactly where the contract should be put, and shoves it down Paul’s pants. “See you in Chicago” Jericho gleefully gloats and walks off.
Match #7: 6-Woman Diva Tag-Team – The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki) and A.J. Lee VS. The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron) and Divas Champion Kaitlyn
A.J. and Kaitlyn start out, with Kaitlyn clutching Lee’s hair. A.J. backs out quickly, tagging in a Bella Twin as Kaitlyn tags in a Funkadactyl. The Bella Twin takes control after Naomi makes a mistake and misses a crossbody, springing herself back off the ropes.
Both Twins now dominate Naomi, but she battles back with quick punches and a smacking enziguri. She gets the tag to the Divas Champion. Kaitlyn (sloppily) drops a Twin with a reverse DDT, but is shoved down. The Twin goes to tag A.J., but Lee hops off the apron, not wanting to wrestle with Kaitlyn. This allows the Twin to turn around into a spear and receive the loss for her team!
Winners via Pin Fall: The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron) and Divas Champion Kaitlyn
Segment #8: Locker Room Promo
Daniel Bryan is psyching himself up for his second match when his “Team Hell No” partner walks in. Kane calls what Bryan is doing crazy, because he has never seen anyone with more heart “night, after night, after night, after night…” Bryan shakes his head and still is defiant, ordering Kane to stay away from him tonight. Kane obliges, telling Bryan to call him when he’s “found his mind, because you’ve clearly lost it.”
Segment #9: Video Promo
The second airing introducing The Wyatt Family is shown, which is similar to last weeks, complete with “lamb masks.” Bray is preaching that parents should not tell their children there are not monsters under their beds, because there ARE monsters. Other people are holding their hands out up to Wyatt, and Erik Rowan and Luke Harper are walking around. This footage is all filmed in a forestry-type area with a cabin. (very different and could go over very well!)
Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring and his contest with Ryback is next!
Match #8: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. Ryback
Bryan holds his own, kicking away at Ryback until the “Human Wrecking Ball” puts him down with a big boot. Daniel comes back with knees and kicks, but Ryback catches him and tosses him over by the legs. He takes control for a bit, but Bryan ties him up in a half-crab submission and hammers away with fists when he turns it around to the front. Bryan launches himself over Ryback out of the turnbuckle, but gets tossed over the ropes.
Ryback is back dominating, running himself into Bryan against the turnbuckles. He holds on to the top rope and stomps away on Bryan’s arm, then his stomach and taunts him by shouting “you are a weak, little man.” He grips on a grounding rear chinlock, then hurls Bryan across the canvas with a choke-toss. He goes to ram Bryan in the corner, but misses and nails the ring post instead!
Daniel gets fired up again, even soaring across the ring with a diving headbutt off the top! He slaps himself awake and kicks at Ryback again, but gets caught on the last one and slammed down with a powerbomb! Ryback is “waking up,” but gets locked in the Crossface “No Lock, middle of the ring!
He is struggling to find the ropes and does manage to after at least thirty seconds in the submission! Ryback falls to the floor, and Daniel follows up with a suicide dive, however Ryback sees him coming and tosses him into the front of the announce table. Ryback now runs Bryan’s back into the ring post three times and goes for the table.
Referee Mike Chioda warns Ryback not to do this, but Ryback sets up the structure anyway. He high-powerbombs Bryan through the wood, resulting in a dq for Ryback!
Winner via Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Post-match, Ryback sets up another table against the corner of the barricade, but before he can try again, WWE Champion John Cena runs out to stop Ryback to a massive pop. He faces off against “The Human Wrecking Ball,” threatening him with the WWE Championship.
Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman takes this opportunity to walk out and begin their match with the WWE Champion.
Match #9: No-Disqualification Single – WWE Champion John Cena VS. Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) (Non-Title)
Cena runs off the ropes but is quickly tripped up by Heyman. Axel takes advantage with a high dropkick. Cena lands a few punches back, but gets driven down with a sidewalk slam coming off the ropes. Heyman gives a chair to Axel, but Cena grabs it and instead slams Curtis in the back. He chucks Axel over the commentator’s table, but the count reaches eight from referee Scott Armstrong, so Cena brings Axel back into the ring.
Curtis swings another chair, but hits the ring post instead. Cena looks worried as he sees a loaded-weaponed-Curtis. Heyman is licking his lips (disturbing!), but Cena counters with a dropkick to Axel’s face with the chair in front! Curtis gains control again, whipping Cena hard into the corner and ripping at his face with his hands.
Axel puts the boots to John’s head, but Cena powers up with his common spin-out backdrops and shoulder-tackles. He runs at Axel in the corner, but Curtis moves and Cena rams a chair that Heyman had placed. Axel viciously pounds away on Cena, then brings another chair back in the ring. He whacks Cena across the back, but only gets two with the cover! Axel repeats the process many times, then measures him and delivers a running swinging neckbreaker on the chair! 1 – 2 – Cena kicks out!
Axel sets up the WWE Champion for the Perfect Plex, but Cena reverses into the STF submission, right in front of Paul E. Axel struggles for the ropes, but Heyman helps him out by giving him a computer from the announce table. Axel nails Cena with the device to break out of the STF.
On the outside, Cena sets up Curtis for the Attitude Adjustment and walks over to the corner table. Heyman gets in the way, begging Cena not to put Axel through the table, saying “he’s a human being.” Out of nowhere, Ryback assaults Cena, running him through the table. This allows Axel to get his third-straight Raw victory by count-out!
Winner via Count-Out: Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman)
Post-match, Ryback stands over a laid-out WWE Champion, yelling “you can’t see me. Ryback rules at Payback” to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Tonight was a promo-heavy show that continued storylines/angles, decently enough. However, the crowd in Hartford was awesome, and helped make Raw even better! On to the analysis.
Excellence: As has been the theme the last few weeks, the wrestling! Some of the matches tonight were great again, especially the 6-Man opener. “The Shield” seem to have the all-around cliche “package” right now – can get “over,” wrestle, and cut awesome promos! Also loved the Daniel Bryan/Ryback match (mainly because Bryan is turning into the man that can have a great bout with anybody and make them look good, even if they can’t wrestle very well.), as well as Sheamus/Rhodes. Definitely into the Bryan “weakest link” storyline and absolutely loved the passionate locker room promo he had with Kane (and Kane’s delivery/intensity too) and Orton. Really putting in some new “fire” (no pun intended) into “Team Hell No.”
Glad to see The Usos get a “fresh” start with a long-awaited “W.” I hope they will be moved up in the ranks of the tag-team division from now on, as they bring me back to the days of the 80s/90s of “golden era” tag-team wrestling – an actual team that dress/look alike, and have specific move-sets and/or perform actual double-team moves. (“The Shield” can definitely be classified here too)
The match tonight between Miz and I.C. Champion Barrett felt like just a “write-off”/quick one for the sake of continuing the angle, but the way they and Fandango have been interacting lately has been very entertaining. Since it’s a triple-threat storyline, I can see this continuing until Summerslam, with the big blow-off match then.
Anytime Paul Heyman is on screen is gold! Whether he is trying to weasel (reference, great Bobby Heenan!) is way out of a situation, or boldly pontificate his client’s abilities to put them over, Paul E. can do no wrong. And right now, his rivalry with Chris Jericho is a masterpiece of microphone work banter between the two, and Jericho is the perfect guy to both get C.M. Punk back and put over Curtis Axel.
Bogus: Triple H/McMahon storyline. This formula is tried, tested, and in this case, will not be true. I think Trips should’ve taken another extensive leave of absence, as this angle is really there just to put him back in the spotlight, since it did take most of the show! Not good.
And I slagged it initially in the show recap, but man is this “WWE App” thing stupid! I mean, stuff like “The Shield” coming down to the ring and McMahon’s leaving only being shown on the app and not TV is wrong. I was in a little suspense after the first commercial break, because I thought Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns, could’ve done something decent and cut a promo with Vince and Stephanie. But nope, they just made their entrance and went into the match. Same with Zeb Colter, would’ve like to actually hear what he is saying instead of it being a visual in the corner of the television. Also, much like the twitter feeds at the bottom of the screen, it is very distracting and I sometimes find myself paying more attention to them instead of the match I’m supposed to be typing about!
Hated the ending – love everything character/wrestling-wise about Curtis Axel, but he needs to get a real pin fall win over a big star to get a reputation. These three count-outs don’t cut it. First one is a pass, but three weeks in a row is WCW-esque – yikes! Also, they didn’t even show him at the end of the night. The camera was just focused on Ryback and a downed Cena. I think that hurt Curtis a little. Alright, this and the above paragraph are my two rants for the week!
Quickly, in the don’t care file belongs the Divas storyline with Divas Champion Kaitlyn/A.J. and Bellas, as well as Big E./Alberto – only because they are without World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler, who adds an exuberant amount of “spice” into this storyline. Please come back next week, “Show Off!”
In general another good show overall, but I really do hope it isn’t going to be HHH-dominated again for the next long while! Keep the young guys (Bryan, “Shield,” Usos, Axel) at the forefront for interest. Until next week, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!