Thursday, 10 October 2013

WWE Raw 7th October 2013 Review



After a disappointing debut for the Battleground Pay-Per-View, WWE rolled into Pittsburgh for Raw, with a lot of explaining to do. Could the company begin to regain the trust of it's fans, after two consecutive dodgy finishes to pay-per-view main events, and begin to convince people that they should buy Hell in a Cell in less than three weeks time? Let's find out!

We start of the show with a short recap of last night's main event between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. Despite WWE's superb production work on the video, it's still a crappy ending, especially when you think about the money people would have payed to watch it (It was free the UK though)

The first person out tonight is Stephanie McMahon, who is now being billed as a “Part-Owner” of WWE, for what ever that's worth. Of course, she only has one thing on her mind, and that thing just happens to be The World's Largest Athlete. She calls out Big Show and begins verbally eviscerating him, with a series of wonderfully bitchy barbs about his private life. Stephanie is such a good heel, because it's legitimately easy to hate her, I don't even think she needs to put that much effort into her performance. It all built up to Stephanie asking Big Show to beg for forgiveness, with Show snapping once again, in a really enjoyable moment where he stood up for himself against the family that had been oppressing him for so long. The emotion that Show portrayed felt believable making it easy to get behind him here, especially when Stephanie began repeatedly slapping him in the face. The segment finished with Stephanie transforming into her father (not literally!) and firing Show, who walked out saying he didn't care. Whilst this was enjoyable as I had been waiting to see what would happen once Big Show snapped, it would have been much more enjoyable if it had not come off the back of a disappointing conclusion to a pay-per-view main event.

They then repeated the key moments from the opening segment, come on WWE, that's just insulting your audience's intelligence.

Dolph Ziggler
vs.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Holder
Damien Sandow

(12 Minutes, 15 Seconds)

It's amazing that after such a sub-par effort on Battleground Kick-Off, that in the rematch on Raw, Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow could turn things around and create a contest that I actually wanted to watch. The difference between the two, this bout had a defineable, followable storyline that was put over well by both the competitors in the ring and Michael Cole on commentary. Sandow attack Ziggler viciously from the outset, with the story being that Sandow was upset with Ziggler for injuring his knee the night before, meaning Sandow couldn't cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. The match continued in this vein, with Sandow putting quite a beating on Ziggler, who we know can sell like a boss anyway, with number of Ziggler's comeback attempts cut short only building the anticipation of a comeback from Ziggler. The finish was quick, pacy and somewhat surprising, with Sandow whipping Ziggler into the ropes and Ziggler attempting a quick roll up, Sandow rolled through but ended up on the receiving end of Fame-Asser from Ziggler, who went on to pick up a pinfall victory. It would've been nice to see Sandow at least get his victory back here to give him some momentum, and Ziggler winning with a move most people have kicked out of, doesn't really help the Intellectual Saviour of the Masses.

Winner: DOLPH ZIGGLER

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was up to more heel antics and on the receiving end of her bitchy diatribe this time was Raw General Manager Brad Maddox. With Stephanie berating him for a number of occurrences from Battleground, including the power outage, before sending him out to the arena to apologise. Both play their roles fantastically well at the moment, and it looks like they are slowly turning Maddox into a face, which could be a nice twist on the dynamic they currently have.

They showed a video of what was supposedly “App Exclusive” footage of Jerry Lawler bringing out WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino for the fans to sing happy birthday to the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time, which was a heart warmingly nice touch.

Six Woman Tag Team Match
Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes & Aksana
vs.
Natalya, Eva Marie & JoJo

(3 Minutes, 20 Seconds)

This was really quite awful. It was Eva Marie and JoJo's first match, and quite simply they aren't ready, but to be fair to them there are a number of women in this match that have been wrestling for sometime that shouldn't be on television either, I'm looking at you Aksana and Rosa Mendes. JoJo didn't even get as far as getting into the ring, as she stood as ringside looking awkward, as Eva Marie flailed around the ring with an expressionless face attempted to sell. Natalya and Alicia Fox did have a decent exchange to finish things up, with Natalya picking up the submission victory with a Sharpshooter but it wasn't enough to stop this match from stinking the place out.

Winners: NATALYA, EVA MARIE & JOJO

Before the women had chance to leave the ring, Brad Maddox was out to make his public apology, by order of Stephanie McMahon. This apology came in the shape of booking Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match at the Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View. A truly shocking revelation I'm sure you'll agree, but that's the problem with these themed Pay-Per-Views in the first place. Maddox then announced that there would be a Guest Referee for the contest, that the WWE fans could vote on, with a choice of three candidates. It sounds like a nice idea, but if your a regular viewer of WWE then you know that there really isn't any choice. The first candidate was revealed as Booker T, who got a decent pop, before explaining why he should the Guest Referee with an alright promo, bigging himself up, before the use of the phrase “Best for Business” almost guaranteed that he wouldn't be winning the vote later on tonight.

It was then time to learn how to download an app for all those technical noobs that are watching Raw.

Tag Team Match
3MB
(Mahal/McIntyre)
with Heath Slater
vs.
Los Matadores
with El Torito

Ah, Los Matadores. Los Matadores. Los Matadores. I actually enjoyed this short squash match, Los Matadores having some interesting offence, including their finish the Double Wrist Lock Samoan Drop which picked them up a quick victory here. I'm beginning to warm to their gimmick as well, it's incredibly goofy, there is no denying that, and probably wouldn't be the first thing you'd show to someone you were trying to get interested in wrestling, but it's a bit of fun and it's reignited Epico and Primo who were looking pretty stagnant, so, for now atleast, I'm willing to ride the wave of excitement that Los Matadores are bringing to WWE.

Winners: LOS MATADORES

It was then time for the second replay of the opening segment with Stephanie McMahon and Big Show is WWE targetting this at goldfish or what?

It was then time for our weekly sermon from Paul Heyman, surrounded by his guys Ryback and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, as he Heyman masterfully lead us through the occurrences of Battleground that saw CM Punk beat Ryback following a low blow. Once again it was clear that Heyman believed what he was saying was true, and the hypocritical nature of the speech after Heyman hardly won his bout at Night of Champions through honourable means! Out came CM Punk saying he could beat Ryback again and that he accepted the challenge of a rematch before it was even issued, Punk does those rallying promos excellently and the crowd seemed to agree. With Heyman claiming that Ryback was being bullied again, it was left to Ryback to challenge Punk to step into the ring. With Punk being joined by R-Truth the challenge was accepted and it was time for some tag team action.

Tag Team Match
Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel & Ryback
with Paul Heyman
vs.
CM Punk & R-Truth

(12 Minutes, 45 Seconds)

I thought this was a strong piece of tag team action, playing to each man's strengths to create a logical bout. After some interaction between Punk and Ryback, saw Ryback quickly exit the ring, Heyman's team quickly took control of the bout, with Ryback looking convincing when running through Truth, who did a good job of selling the attack, with Punk working the crowd into a frenzy on the apron. Truth eventually made a comeback hitting Ryback with a heel kick, before making the hot tag to Punk, keeping Ryback's selling to a minimum was certainly a good idea. Punk went on to destroy Curtis Axel, running through a crowd pleasing series of signature moves, before hitting a GTS, Ryback tried to get involved but got quickly bundled out of the ring. Punk allowed Truth to pick up the win, after Truth hit the Corkscrew Leg Scissors to pick up the pinfall victory. This bout did wonders from R-Truth who is actually beginning to look mildly relevant again!

Winners: CM PUNK & R-TRUTH

It was then time for the reveal of the second option in the WWE App vote to become the Guest Referee for Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton's match at Hell in a Cell, WWE Hall of Famer, Bob Backlund. Wow, just wow. Backlund is as crazy as he ever was, barking to the crowd why he should be named Guest Referee, in a hilarious rant, in a “What am I watching?” moment. I wouldn't mind seeing Backlund step into Hell in a Cell, I'm sure it would be a spectacle of one kind or another, but I have a feeling that they might be saving the best til last. Oh, for those that missed it earlier they showed how you can download the App as well, riveting stuff.

Kofi Kingston
vs.
Randy Orton

(13 Minutes, 45 Seconds)

This bout was a little paint by numbers for me, whilst the action was sound, I just found it difficult to get into, as it was so obvious what was going to happen. With the past history between these two they could have built a really interesting storyline that people would have been interested in seeing, as well as fuelling the realism of the main angle they're running at the moment. Orton beat on Kingston for quite some time, before Kingston had a comeback that no one really bought into, even if what was happening in the ring was decent, before Orton snapped and totally destroyed Kingston like we've seen a number of times in recent Orton matches. Orton hit a DDT from the barricade to the arena floor, before rolling Kingston into the ring, hitting an RKO and picking up a pinfall victory. It was far from awful, but felt like more like a missed opportunity than anything else.

Winner: RANDY ORTON

After the bout, Daniel Bryan appearred and took the beating back to Orton, with a series of strikes, before sending Orton over the announce table and Bryan having to pull away from Orton by a number of official and producers, including Jamie Noble and Finlay. Orton managed to escape to the back, with Bryan continuing the chase. Whilst on paper this probably looked like a good idea, it just had me wondering why exactly Bryan was attacking Orton? It wasn't exactly Orton's fault that Bryan didn't win the WWE Championship the night before.

Backstage, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio found Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, with Guerrero revealing she was there to announce Del Rio's opponent at Hell in a Cell. With Del Rio apparently coming onto Guerrero, in one of the most cringeworthy scenes on WWE television in recent years. I'm not quite sure what Del Rio's character is anymore either. It didn't work on Guerrero though as she defiantly threw down Del Rio's scarf once Del Rio had disappeared.

It was then time for the final option as Guest Referee for the Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton to be revealed and it was none other than the Heart Break Kid himself, Shawn Michaels. It didn't even matter what Shawn had to say it was obvious that he would be winning this vote. He was the only name that actually makes sense to fit into that match. With his connection with both Orton and Bryan, as well as Triple H, they didn't even need to have to the vote to justify Michaels being apart of the match. Either way, it's always great to have Michaels back on Raw, so I'm not going to complain too much.

Once again it was back to the announce desk to learn how to download an app, for all those Redneck Goldfish still tuning into the show.

In an unbelievable twist, they replayed the opening of the show between Big Show and Stephanie McMahon for the THIRD TIME!

World Heavyweight Champion
Alberto Del Rio
vs.
Ricardo Rodriguez

(35 Seconds)

Before the match could even get started Vickie Guerrero was out to announce Del Rio's opponent at Hell in a Cell. It was none other than a returning John Cena. For me, that's huge news. Not only does it look like WWE have panicked with the dipping ratings, but it could do wonders for the World Heavyweight Championship, which has struggled with somewhat of an image problem lately, when compared to the WWE Championship, so someone of Cena's calibre going after the title can only be a good thing for that strap. Rodriguez used the distraction to get a quick roll up victory over Del Rio, in a bit upset.

Winner: RICARDO RODRIGUEZ

After the bout, Rodriguez attempted to celebrate but Del Rio wasn't ready to mess around, as he destroyed Rodriguez on the announce table, before sending him into the steel steps and locking in the Cross Armbreaker with the aid of a chair. This was definitely needed to keep Del Rio looking good and to mean that Rodriguez quick victory wasn't dwelled on too much by the audience. Can they make Del Rio look like someone who could beat Super Cena? Probably not.

REPLAYS! REPLAYS! REPLAYS!

Zack Ryder
vs.
Fandango
with Summer Rae

(2 Minutes, 45 Seconds)

Pretty short match this one, with the crowd really not giving a monkeys what was going on, except for any of Zack Ryder's crowd participation moves. I'm not really sure what the point of this one was, it didn't exactly do anything for anyone, and just felt like a bit of a time filler. Fandango picked up the victory after a Diving Leg Drop. WWE clearly has no idea what to do with Fandango, he's had so many botched pushes and misguided rivalries (The Miz anyone?) that it's becoming a bit silly for the Ballroom Dancer.

Winner: FANDANGO

It was then time to reveal the result of the vote on the WWE App to choose who would be the Guest Referee for Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton's match at Hell in a Cell, with Shawn Michaels taking first with 61%, Bob Backlund in second with 32% and Booker T bringing up the rear with 7%. It wasn't exactly a surprise, but it was definitely the best decision for that match, with a lot of interesting ideas for them to play around with over the next two weeks, I'm interested to see how things will play out at Hell in a Cell. Is it enough to convince people that WWE won't produce another screwy ending? Not really.

Tag Team Match:
The Real Americans
(Cesaro/Swagger)
with Zeb Colter
vs.
The Great Khali & Santino Marella
with Hornswoggle

(3 Minutes, 45 Seconds)

This bout was essentially a cut down version of the one they had one night previous at Battleground. Therefore all of the fun stuff and different spots that had gone into that had made that bout so entertaining were stripped away and we were left with a three minutes build up to the Cesaro Swing on Khali, which is all anyone wanted to see anyway, and gave Cesaro another pinfall victory over the Punjabi Playboy.

Winners: THE REAL AMERICANS

After the bout, Swagger tossed Hornswoggle into Cesaro to attempt the Cesaro Swing on the midget. Of course, it was easy for Cesaro, but then Santino recovered and after waiting like a child trying to get on a roundabout, Santino hit Cesaro with The Cobra, before Khali hit Swagger with the Brain Chop. Pretty much classic even steven booking, although I'd expect WWE have more plans for The Real Americans than they do for Santino and Khali, which is fine by me.

A lovely video package of an interview with Titus O'Neil about his late grandmother was shown, in conjunction with the Breast Cancer awareness campaign that WWE is running at the moment. The package was very classily done, and I commend WWE for the work they are doing at the moment.

Miz TV was thankfully interupted rather quickly by The Wyatt Family's eerie entrance into the arena. When the lights came on Erick Rowan and Luke Harper were in the ring, as they chased Miz towards Bray Wyatt. In a strange move, The Miz actually got the better of Wyatt managing to escape, but Wyatt wasn't phased, hanging from his family upside down and staring at Miz. Who knows what WWE are doing here, or why they chose to have The Miz of all people get the upperhand with Wyatt. After a lot of initial buzz, The Wyatt Family is cooling off pretty quickly, and if they don't get Kane back on television soon, WWE might have managed to botch one of the hottest new acts they've had in quite sometime.

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon reminded Brad Maddox that he had a long way to go if he was going to make a decent General Manager, before Triple H turned up and put Maddox in place once more, telling him to do nothing with the main event, saying that he would go to make sure the match was “Best of Business”. I'm really sure what they're doing with the Maddox stuff at the moment, or where it's all leading, it is however been well played and brings some extra depth to Triple H and Stephanie's characters, so it's not neccesarily a bad thing, for now.

Six Man Tag Team Match:
The Shield
vs.
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust




Another well crafted six man tag team match involving The Shield. After a few back and forth exchanges between Rhodes, Goldust and The Shield earlier on in the match, The Shield gained the upperhand after Ambrose sent Rhodes from the top rope to the outside, thanks to a Roman Reigns distraction, in a well worked spot. After this The Shield worked quick tags to wear down Rhodes, with the best action coming between Ambrose and Rhodes with the two gelling well in the ring. Of course, this was to build up to a hot tag, as it was continuously teased that Rhodes could be making the tag, meaning that once Rhodes reached Daniel Bryan, after Ambrose got distracted by Goldust, the crowd popped nicely and the match really lifted from here. With Bryan and Seth Rollins reminding us what they can do when paired together in the ring, with an exhilarating series of moves, and everyone else taking each other out with a series of signature moves. It looked like Bryan might have the match won for his team with the Yes Lock applied to Rollins, however Ambrose had recovered sliding into the ring with a Steel Chair which ended up being placed in the gut of Goldust to give Bryan, Rhodes & Goldust the disqualification victory. I thought this finishing sequence was strong, with the base of the work from Rollins and Bryan making a good backdrop for everyone else to do their thing.

Winners: DANIEL BRYAN, CODY RHODES & GOLDUST!

But it wasn't going to end like that, with Triple H at ringside, the Chief Operating Officer of WWE got on the mic to announce that the match wouldn't end like that, restarting the bout as a No Disqualification bout. WWE really are incredibly desperate to get back some trust after some questionable finishes recently, even if it means Triple H having to basically step out of character to do so.

No Disqualification Six Man Tag Team Match:
The Shield
vs.
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust

This one didn't last very long at all. With Bryan getting the upperhand over Rollins in the ring, and Reigns and Ambrose taking control of Rhodes and Goldust on the outside, Bryan hit a Suicide Dive onto both Reigns and Ambrose and it looked like Bryan might have won the bout single handely for his team. However, that was not to be the case, with Randy Orton appearing through the crowd to hit an RKO on Bryan, before rolling him into the ring and allowing Rollins to pick up the pinfall victory for The Shield. A pretty disappointing ending to a good six man tag, and probably not what WWE should be doing after having problems with finishes over the last few months, but it contiues the Bryan and Orton feud well and gives it a little more intensity heading into Hell in a Cell.

Winners: THE SHIELD!

With The Shield beginning to pick apart Goldust in the ring, Big Show came back out into the arena, making a bee line for the ring. The Shield quickly got the upperhand on the giant, with Triple H screaming for them to finish him. However, once The Shield went for the Triple Powerbomb, Show overpowered them sending them to the outside and leaving Show standing face to face with Triple H. In a moment that has been built up to very well over the last few months, Show punched Triple H straight in the face, sending the COO crashing to the mat. I really enjoyed this moment simply because it has been built up to so well, and Big Show had done such a good job in his role. The show finished with Daniel Bryan leading the crowd in a load “YES!” chant. It was certainly a good decision to give Bryan the spotlight to close the show, because he is the one in the main event of the next Pay-Per-View, not Big Show or Triple H.

Overall, this was an alright Raw. It wasn't particularly special, with a lot of filler bouts and a ridiculous amount of replays and other pointless things, but had a fair amount of story development, as well as Big Show finally knocking out Triple H after months of being put down by his boss.

Quick Results

1. Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow via Pinfall

2. Six Woman Tag Team Match
Natalya, Eva Marie & JoJo defeated Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes & Aksana via Submission.

3. Tag Team Match
Los Matadores defeated 3MB (Mahal/McIntyre) via Pinfall

4. Tag Team Match
CM Punk & R-Truth defeated Ryback & Curtis Axel via Pinfall

5. Randy Orton defeated Kofi Kingston via Pinfall

6. Ricardo Rodriguez defeated Alberto Del Rio via Pinfall

7. Fandango defeated Zack Ryder via Pinfall

8. Tag Team Match
The Real Americans (Cesaro/Swagger) defeated The Great Khali & Santino Marella by Pinfall

9. Six Man Tag Team Match
Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust defeated The Shield by disqualification

10. No Disqualification Six Man Tag Team MatchThe Shield defeated Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & Goldust

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