After last week’s intriguing conclusion to Raw, with Ryback staring down WWE Champion C.M. Punk, what will go down in Jim Ross’ hometown/state?
Will John Cena be able to face “The Straight-Edge Superstar” for the WWE Title at Hell In A Cell? Or is Ryback going to step in? How about Mick Foley, after their confrontation last week? (That was well-done, and I’d like to see that even more!)
Who will advance in the Tag-Team Title Tournament? (I’m placing my bet right now that The Rhode Scholars will win it all).
Is there going to be anymore referee controversy, or much like the N.F.L., has General Manager A.J. been able to settle it?
And of course, what new matches will be added to October’s annual Pay-Per-View?
Plus, it is Jim Ross Appreciation Night!
Read on to find out!
Monday Night Raw Report for October 1st, 2012 – “Prove It!”
Introduction Segment: Recap And Welcoming
A montage plays, replaying last week’s events with WWE Champion C.M. Punk, Mick Foley, Paul Heyman, John Cena, and Ryback. The regular Raw opening video starts up and the pyro blows in the arena of Oklahoma City.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
“Cult Of Personality” begins over the speakers to kick off the show. WWE Champion C.M. Punk walks out, with his associate Paul Heyman in tow, who is holding the WWE Championship high and proud. Punk calls John Cena a “coward” for attacking him with a lead pipe behind his back. Punk then takes a shot at Mick Foley, saying that his “look” last week was disrespectful, which is why C.M. kicked him down. Punk asks Heyman and the crowd if Foley would’ve shown the same “disrespect” to John Cena or Dwayne or Steve Austin. The answer is no, but the WWE Champion does give credit for Mick making him think about stepping into the Hell In The Cell with John Cena. “The Second City Saint” announces his decision: “at Hell In The Cell, C.M Punk, John Cena, is still not going to happen.”
Punk whispers something in Paul’s ears, and Heyman replies, happy to handle “it.” Paul E says that he and Punk want to move on to a more “relevant piece of business.” A clip of Heyman “proposing” to General Manager A.J. last week is shown. Heyman happily points out that “A.J. Lee never said no. However, unfortunately it is my duty to inform you that what A.J. Lee did do is violate an edict from the Board Of Directors of the WWE.”
He pulls out a memo from the Board, which he quotes verbatim: “A.J. Lee’s actions have been inappropriate and sometimes juvenile, and she is not to put her hands on any superstar, manager, or anyone else ever again.” Heyman explains that he and WWE Champion Punk conquer and want herself to be removed from the G.M. position immediately. Heyman then cites that he should be put in place, recapping his experience as a previous General Manager. (Smackdown, era 2003/2004.)
Another want-to-be G.M. (and former) interrupts. Vickie Guerrero (with Dolph Ziggler) makes her case as to why she should be replacing A.J. and taking back control of Raw. Heyman disputes a little, but Ziggler suggests that he teams with Guerrero and become the most powerful team to take over.
Before this goes further, the current G.M. skips out as normal. She insults Heyman, then announces she has been placed on probation and that there is a “coach” to help her run Raw. That person is…one half of the Tag-Team Champions Daniel Bryan! He marches out, with “no’s, no’s, no’s.” And no, he’s not it. Instead, Bryan has come out to apologize. He is sorry for A.J.’s mental issues, ever since he dumped her following WrestleMania.
Daniel puts himself over, as a handsome, former World Champion with a great beard. Oh, and he is the “Tag-Team Champions!” His partner may disagree though, as Kane and the other half of team “Hell No” walks out. Kane reminds everyone in the ring that A.J. is a “phenemonal kisser.” Kane also agrees with everything Bryan said, except for who is the Tag-Team Champions.
They get into a verbal argument, until A.J. screams at them to stop it. She enforces her power, as she is still technically the General Manager of Raw. Lee then books a tag-team match for the night, where Dolph Ziggler and WWE Champion C.M. Punk will team up to take on the Tag-Team Champions Team “Hell No.” The four yell at each other, while A.J. skips to the back.
Later tonight, a World Championship debate will commence between The Big Show and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
Up next, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara will attempt to move on in the Tag-Team Title tournament, against Primo & Epico.
Match #1: Tag-Team (Title Tournament Advancement) – Primo and Epico (with Rosa Mendes) VS. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Cara and Epico start out, and trade schoolboy roll-ups for quick one-counts. Cara springboards backwards with an elbow for another one-count, but gets taken over by the cousins. Primo tags in and kicks away in the corner at Sin. A counter into a flying headscissors by Cara, then a springboard twisting armdrag takes down Primo. Mysterio in with a headscissors, then they double-team Epico, sending him to the outside. In the middle of the match, “The Primetime Players” make their presence known, as Titus O’Neil and Darren Young take chairs atop the stage and watch this bout.
Back live, Epico misses a splash in the corner, allowing Rey-Rey to slap hands with Cara. He comes in and flies around all over Epico with a springboard crossbody, dropkick, and springboard headlock takedown! Epico manages to counter with a dropkick to Cara’s stomach, then switches with Primo. Colon kicks and drops knees on Cara, but Sin reverses a powerbomb attempt into a rolling sunset flip for a close-call! Epico comes back in and takes control, until he gets a tilt-a-whirl DDT!
Primo and Rey now get respective tags, with Mysterio dominating. He flys off the top with a seated-senton and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors/reverse DDT for another nearfall! Mysterio and Cara set-up both Primo & Epico for a double-619, with Primo being the legal man, he gets a top-rope rocket-man splash by Rey for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners and Advancing via Pinfall: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Match #2: Single – “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (with the “Funkadactyls” Naomi and Cameron) VS. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (Non-Title)
Prior to the contest, a small side video plays of Ceasaro saying “appreciation” in five different languages – English, German, French, Italian, and Swiss. They lockup but Brodus over powers immediately with a suplex and big elbow drop. Hard headbutt by Clay, but Antonio moves out the way in the corner, springboards himself off the ropes with a flying headbutt, and then drives him down with the Neutralizer (Cradle-Faceplant) for the quick victory!
Winner via Pinfall: United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
General Manager A.J. Lee approaches Kaitlyn, and introduces her to the “coach,” Christopher Jay Stevenson. She tells Kaitlyn that she will have a match next week, when she is more healed. Lee then asks her for forgiveness after the way she treated Kaitlyn, but quickly laughs in her face, saying “I’m not really sorry at all,” then skips away.
Match #3: Single – “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder VS. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Non-Title)
Elbow/collar tie-up begins, with Miz turning it into a wrist and side headlock respectively. Ryder leap frogs, and gets Miz down with a flapjack drop and high dropkick from Ryder. “The Awesome One” regains domination with an elbow counter and stiff kick-to-the-face for a two-count. Miz delivers a hard knee-to-the-back, then clamps on a rear grounding headlock. Ryder counters in the corner now with knees-to-the-face, then a second-rope missile dropkick.
Ryder gears up and connects with the Broski Boot, but only for a near-fall! RoughRyder Leg Lariat attempt, but Miz counters, throwing him off with a powerbomb in the corner. Miz measures from behind and plants Zack with the Skull-Krushing Finale to finish the bout.
Winner via Pinfall: Intercontinental Champion The Miz
Up next is the World Championship Debate, moderated by Smackdown General Manager Booker T.
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Booker T., Smackdown General Manager comes out and introduces the participants in the debate and World Championship match for Hell In The Cell – The Big Show and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
Booker offers Big Show to go first. The 7-Footer denounces the point of this, as he sees that at H.I.A.C., he will basically rip Sheamus’ leg off, hit him with the Weapon Of Mass Destruction Knockout Punch, and become the next World Heavyweight Champion – end of story!
Sheamus now offers his rebuttal. He introduces who he is, then politely asks Show not to rip his leg off, as “I’m going to need it to kick his teeth in.”
Booker then provides the first question, courtesy of the WWE Universe. The question is, “what do you find the most challenging aspect of your opponent?” Sheamus responds first, saying that the thing he is looking forward to the most is to fight. Sheamus’ main problem is whether the match will go longer than 45 seconds or not. Show is not pleased at this “jab” as he calls it, then informs Sheamus’ that he is a threat and will take the World Championship from him.
The next question is “who has the more dangerous move – the Brogue Kick or the W.M.D.?” Both obviously say their own finisher is devastating, then Sheamus takes another shot at Show. The Giant inadvertently breaks his podium and calls this a joke. That point is proven when Sheamus airs a tout from his “cousin,” Rey Mysterio O’Sullivan. It is obviously Sheamus in a Mysterio mask, saying nothing important. Even Booker chastises Sheamus for the silliness. (And trust me, this really bad).
Sheamus becomes serious again, asking Show how it feels to lose the World Heavyweight Championship to Daniel Bryan in 45 seconds, then have him lose to Sheamus in 18 seconds. He wants to know how it feels.
Both men get real serious and disrobe (Big Show his jacket and Sheamus his shirt), but Show backs out and walks up the ramp to the back.
Match #4: Single – Tensai VS. Ryback
They circle around the ring then lockup, with Ryback running into a shoulder-block, but getting right back up. They slug it out back and forth, then Ryback throws Tensai into the corner. He clutches Tensai on the sides of his head, and catches him off the ropes with a powerslam. Tensai connects with a headbutt, but Ryback fires back with a forceful clothesline, then tries to hoist up Tensai for the marching Samoan Drop, but to no avail. Tensai was too heavy, so instead he delivers another stiff clothesline for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Segment #4: Locker Room Promo
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow discuss their new team name, “Rhode Scholars,” which they love and are happy they picked, not the WWE Universe. They also are not pleased with the previous debate, and take shots at Sheamus’ lack of “professional attire.” They realize this is an opportunity to show how champions dress, when they win the Tag-Team Championships at H.I.A.C.
Match #5: Single – Divas Champion Eve Torres VS. Beth Phoenix (Non-Title)
Eve offers to shake Beth’s hand, which Phoenix takes, then pulls her in and sweeps Eve down. Beth picks her up and puts her in the corner, kicking away at her. Eve quickly dives out of a running shoulder block, letting Phoenix throw herself shoulder-first into the steel post. On the outside, Eve pounds away and then chucks Beth into the barricade. Phoenix slides in at 9, then hits Eve with an Inverted Atomic Drop and a sledge blow. 1 – 2 – Eve kicks out. Out of nowhere, Eve kicks Beth in the gut, then drives her down with the Tornado Neckbreaker for the W!
Winner via Pinfall: Divas Champion Eve
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
G.M. A.J. is with her “Coach,” telling Wade Barrett who he is. Barrett berates her for her wacky mind-changing decisions, and for also not being in a match. As he walks off, Stevenson can’t believe what he saw, and A.J. says that he is intimidated.
Match #6: Single – Santino Marella VS. Heath Slater (with Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre)
Starts out as a “one-upsmanship” comedy (pretty dumb) then turns into an actual contest. Right hand knockdown and a grounding rear chinlock by Slater. Marella reverses into a toss over his shoulder, but Slater hits him with a jumping calf-kick. Scoop slam from Heath, but he gets a boot-to-the-face from Santino. Hip-toss and headbutt by Marella, then he gears up for The Cobra. Nails it, but gets beaten down by Jinder and Drew, causing a dq for Slater.
Winner via Disqualification: Santino Marella
Post-match, Slater orders the assault, with McIntyre dropping Santino with the Future-Shock DDT. They then get on the mike and call-out their catchphrases. (More on below in “Bogus,” but this group doesn’t work/fit for me.)
Match #7: Single – World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus VS. Damien Sandow (with Cody Rhodes) (Non-Title)
Lock up and break into the corner by both. Damien chickens out of a punch by Sheamus, but quickly catches him in a wrist lock and arm submission. Sheamus reverses it into one of his own, but gets slammed with a side headlock takedown. Sheamus comes back with a shoulder knockdown, but misses a clothesline as Sandow rolls out of the ring for a break.
Back live, Sheamus sends Damien off the ropes, but Sandow pulls out. He runs away, giving Cody a chance to distract on the outside, then Sandow jumps over the barricade with clothesline. In the ring, Sandow takes control with a knee-to-the-gut and low-clothesline. 1 – 2 – kickout by “Great White!” In the corner, Damien runs his shoulder three times into Sheamus’ stomach then hammers away and clamps on another grounding rear chinlock. Repeated knees now to Sheamus’ sternum and Russian Legsweep, followed by “The Elbow Of Distain” drop, otherwise known as a corkscrew elbow. 1 – 2 – Sheamus kicks out! Damien runs at Sheamus against the ropes and locks on a ground headscissors/leglock. Sheamus rolls out of it with clubbing punches and a big boot, but Sandow cuts him off the top rope and takes control again.
He chucks Sheamus over the top rope, then rolls him in for another near-fall. Sheamus finally reverses another chinlock into a backdrop suplex, and the ref begins the count. Both men back up at six, with Sheamus beginning a comeback. A knee lift and rolling fireman’s carry help Sheamus regain momentum. However, Sandow chokes him off the ropes and twirls him around with a whirl-around neckbreaker. 1 – 2 – kickout by Sheamus! (Great shot of Damien looking frustrated with not getting the pin.)
Sandow chokes Sheamus in the corner but runs into a boot. Sheamus dives off the top rope with a shoulder-block! 1 – 2 – Sandow kicks out! (Sheamus has an expression of exasperation on his face now!) A Brogue Kick attempt is ducked by Damien, but he gets tied up in the ropes and hammered away on the chest by the World Heavyweight Champion!
On the outside, Sheamus instinctively blocks Rhodes and throws him in the ring too! He ends up nailing both at the same time with the Brogue Kick, then covers Sandow for the hard-earned victory!
Winner via Pinfall: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
Up next is Jim Ross Appreciation!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
In the ring, Michael Cole welcomes a “man who has been the most respected commentator in the history of WWE. A man, who for three decades, has been the voice of this company. A man, who when he sits at ringside at the announce table and calls a match, makes it seem, just, well a little ‘extra special.’ Ladies and Gentleman, please join me in appreciating the Hall-Of-Famer, ‘Good Ole’ J.R.’ Jim Ross!”
The man himself walks out and salutes his hometown faithful. Cole gives his congratulations and props to the Oklahoma City fans. Before Ross gets to answer Cole’s question, the WWE Champion interrupts, once again followed by Paul Heyman and the WWE Champion.
C.M. Punk takes the microphone and orders Cole to back to ringside. The crowd boos him loudly. Punk says he will fill shoes but gets a “J.R.” chant going. He says that Ross is the best announcer we got and “I respect the hell out of you.” However, C.M. points to the fans and say they “don’t know the first thing about respect.” “The Straight-Edge Superstar” wants to be the example of respect, and makes J.R. tell them that Punk is the “best in the world.”
Ross first thanks Punk for not embarrassing him, but tells the Champion that he has embarrassed himself the last several weeks of T.V. Punk is disappointed, because he came out to put over J.R. positively, but did not expect that response in return from the legendary commentary. C.M. turns the tables and wants to treat Jim with disrespect, mocking J.R.’s calling of “Stone Cold, Stone Cold, Stone Cold.” Punk says that Jim’s friend Steve Austin can’t help him, nor can Jerry Lawler.
The WWE Champion says that 3:16 used to mean a tough guy, but that number now is the days Punk has been WWE Champion. Punk pokes fun at Ross’s “John Wayne hat and your phony Stone Cold goatee.” He commands Ross to say that he is the best in the world, but Ross vehemently denies that demand.
Ross says that he has been “blessed to call some of the greatest WWE matches in history, involving the best in the world. I have called WrestleMania main events with men like Shawn Michaels and Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. I have called WrestleMania main events involving men like Triple H and The Undertaker. And you talk about ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin? Well Austin and all those men have one thing in common: they didn’t ask to be called the best in the world, and if they had, I damn sure would’ve done it. You know why? Because they earned that distinction! They earned that distinction! So here’s the bottom line, as ‘Stone Cold’ would say, and I’m just being dead-honest with ya, with no disrespect. You want to be called ‘the best in the world?’ Then what I suggest that you do, is that you accept John Cena’s challenge. You walk into Hell In The Cell and you kick his ass! And if you do that, if you do that, then I will be the first man in line to look you in the eye and say, ‘C.M. Punk, by God you are the best in the world!’ But until then, we got nothing to talk about!”
Huge “J.R.” chants blare from the crowd, as Punk takes off his sweatshirt and flips off Ross’ cowboy hat, stomping on it. “I don’t runaway from fights, I’ve beaten John Cena time and time again,” declares Punk. The WWE Champion threatens Ross that he should run, as he is standing in the ring with “the most dangerous man in the WWE,” as he will “knock you into next week, and I will hurt you, and I will make sure that you never, ever commentate another Monday Night Raw broadcast ever again. So you think real hard. You get your hands up and you fight me, or you leave.”
Ross begins to go back to the announce booth, but Punk continues to intimidate him, and orders him to walk to the backstage area instead. Jim follows suit, as Punk berates him more. However, a man who equaled Punk last week marches out and engages in another staredown. Ryback faces Punk in the ring and brings J.R. with him.
Loud “feed me more” chants as the two glare at each other for about a minute, then Punk backs down and out with Paul Heyman and the WWE Title.
Match #8: Single – Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) VS. Kofi Kingston (with R-Truth and “Little Jimmy”)
Alberto is aggressive right away with a quick snap suplex, but Kofi leap frogs him a couple times, then jumps on him with an elbow and clotheslines Del Rio over the ropes. Kofi grabs the ropes and springboards himself off the top rope with a high, high crossbody to the outside!
Back live, Del Rio is dominating now with an abdominal stretch. Kofi begins a comeback with more leaping offense and clotheslines. Boom ledgrop by Kingston, as he sets up for the Trouble In Paradise spin-kick, but Del Rio ducks. He also moves from another springboard crossbody and locks in the Rolling Cross Armbreaker for the tap out!
Winner via Submission: Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Segment #7: Office Promo
Christopher Stevenson gives G.M. A.J. some advice on being a good executive and a good leader, by putting aside her personal differences. Lee agrees, and teases him being the referee for tonight’s main event, but then quickly “fires” her “coach.”
Match #9: Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Daniel Bryan and Kane) VS. “Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) and WWE Champion C.M. Punk (Paul Heyman) (Non-Titles)
(Note: Ads ensue between the faces and heels’ entrances). Justin Roberts then announces there will be a special guest referee – General Manager A.J. Lee!
Kane and Dolph start this match, with Kane taking Ziggler down with a shoulder block. He scoop slams him then drops a big elbow for a two-count. Kane mocks tagging Bryan, then goes back to work on Dolph. Kane throws Ziggler up in the air and lets him drop with a flapjack. Kane clotheslines Ziggler over the top, but is standing right beside Daniel, who tags himself in!
Kane is still in the ring, with Ziggler wrapped around his head and back in a sleeper/scissors position. Kane regains advantage with punches in the corner, then does tag in Daniel, who gets a near-fall with a dropkick in the corner! Another switch and Kane is back in, but gets driven down with a jumping DDT by Ziggler. WWE Champion C.M. Punk is now in, and hits the running high-knee in the corner, but gets caught in a sidewalk slam by Kane. He soars off the top rope with a clothesline, but Bryan blind-tags, and gets kicked in the gut coming off the top rope.
Punk gains dominance now, choking Daniel in the corner. Daniel ducks a move and hits a running clothesline, followed by continuous kicks-to-the-chest. Punk gets momentum back, tags in Ziggler, who hits his patented high dropkick, sending Bryan to the outside, and harshly chucking him into the crowd-control border. Back in the ring, Ziggler gets a near-fall, then tags Punk back in. Daniel crotches Punk on the post, then flies off with a double-underhook/butterfly suplex. Bryan clamps on the “No-Lock” crossface, but Punk manages to get his foot on the ropes, with a little help from Paul Heyman. A.J. catches this and orders Heyman to leave. The same happens for Vickie when she argued with the special ref/G.M.
Ziggler is livid and follows Guerrero. Bryan dropkicks an alone Punk from behind, then Kane comes in and Chokeslams the WWE Champion for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Daniel Bryan and Kane)
As per normal, “Team Hell-No” face-off as to who the “Tag Team Champions” are to close tonight’s show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Third-time’s a charm, as they say. Another awesome episode, particularly again with many great matches and one magnificent promo!
Excellence: Almost every match on the card tonight (save one, mentioned below). I really loved the Sandow/Sheamus bout, even though I was leery and knew that Damien was going to lose. I was slightly apprehensive because I don’t think he should’ve lost, being a part of the Tag-Team Title tournament. However, they put on a strong, strong, wrestling match (with Damien getting the grunt of the bout to show off), and because Cody tried to help out, it didn’t take away from Sandow’s forward motion as a rising star. Even the Tensai/Ryback match was impressive, and a good showing of two strong-willed powerhouses.
Knew that Mysterio/Cara were going to move on in the tourney, but still had a nice match Epico & Primo (great length, too) and showed what they can do. The only thing that Rey/Sin can’t do anymore is wear nearly-identical attire, as I got confused a couple times as to who was who!
Finally, on the plus, LOVED the ENTIRE segment with Michael Cole/Jim Ross/WWE Champion C.M. Punk/Paul Heyman/Ryback. That was passion and realism at it’s finest in a promo. I believe I said about a month ago that I wasn’t sure about the Punk heel turn, whether he’d still be cheered by a good number of fans much like the love/hate Cena has, however interviews like tonight’s with J.R. make him a clear-cut bad guy and all-around jerk. I love that he is using intimidation factors on non-active superstars (last week Mick Foley and this week Jim Ross) to gain both major heat and demand what he wants. This is a perfection he can do beautifully.
And I really don’t need so say much about J.R.’s response, as I typed out the whole thing verbatim while he was talking – absolutely a shining example of how to cut a promo and make it both real and effective, winning over the people. J.R. is one of the top 5 in my book who exuberates the passion and love for professional-wrestling and tonight hammered it home even more. And Ryback coming out to defend J.R. (even though he didn’t get physical) was a nice touch, and liked that Punk and him haven’t touched each other yet. Maybe Ryback will be the H.I.A.C opponent?
Bogus: Really only two issues: #1 – the opening promo. While it made sense in the end, and set up the main-event, I still felt it was overload and was enjoying the WWE Champion C.M Punk/Paul Heyman promo with only them. I felt it got a bit “crowded” with everyone there. But again, it did make sense at least, with them all being tied to A.J. somehow.
#2 is Heath Slater/Jinder Mahal/Drew McIntyre – Mahal has no personality, Drew’s time is gone I think as the “Chosen One,” but Slater has miles to go and could actually pull off a decent gimmick/guy you’d love to hate. My point – get ride of the other two and just push Heath – he can carry himself on his own just fine (as proven through the summer with the Legends storyline.)
In general, another wonderful edition, with some really paths leading to Hell In A Cell. As always, until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online readers and wrestling Fans!