Battleground has come and gone, but the WWE Universe is left with more questions then answers.
– Who will grab that championship belt, and just what does abeyance really mean?
– Will the Rhodes Bros. be the single best thing to happen to this company in a long time?
– What will the ramifications be of Big Show’s decisions during the title match?
– Where was that tiny bull?!?!?
The answers to these questions and more, as we step inside the squared circle one again for another edition of Monday Night Raw!!!
WWE Raw 10/7/2013 (Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
And we’re off. Our “hero” and corporate overlord Stephanie makes her way to the ring to discuss last night’s main event results, and the current lack of a WWE champion. You knew they were going to use the word “abeyance” a lot tonight, and Steph definitely doesn’t let us down. Why are the McMahons so naturally able to just exude… evilness? I’m just gonna take a guess here and say that Big Show may be in for some “harsh words”… and I was right (thanks guys, I appreciate it), as Show is immediately asked to the ring, smirking instead of sporting his usual crying face of late. Princess McMahon is very unhappy with Show’s job performance as of Sunday night and despite the big man’s “apology”, Stephanie has some very familiar words for him, and they’re not “let’s get Ice Cream!” (which honestly, would only be familiar if you were friends with me). Big Show refuses to beg for his job, and Stephanie is only glad enough to oblige him; Show is fired.
Dolph Ziggler Vs. Damien Sandow
A rematch of Battleground’s kick-off show pits the show-off and underused superstar Dolph Ziggler against the always entertaining and currently angle-less Damien Sandow (who is still the Money in The Bank holder for the Heavyweight belt). The match gets off to an aggressive start, with Ziggler taking some of his now signature bumps; the guy is not only a talented wrestler, but he sells his bumps like the best of them. Sandow seems to be in top form against Dolph, really showing that the company hasn’t been using this guy (or either of these guys) effectively. Two of the best workers and mic-men in the company relegated to PPV pre-shows and first matches on Raw? A strong match with ends with Dolph hitting the Fame-Asser and owing Billy Gun at least a meal. I guess these two are feuding now? I’m just happy that we get to see them.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Promo: Stephanie is Mad(dox)
Backstage we see Stephanie continuing to lay the blame for Battleground’s finale, this time chastising Raw GM Brad Maddox, ordering him to give an in-ring apology (which is about the only thing Maddox does in-ring these days).
Rosa, Alica Fox and Aksana Vs. Natalya, JoJo and Eva Marie
Our first chance to get to see the newest Divas in ring, and… they’re new. The WWE seems to be putting a heavy emphasis on the Divas division as of late, and while I’m sure that’s spurred on by the E! show and its ratings success, at least the company is paying attention to what was not long ago a seemingly forgotten division. Nothing major to report other than Rose is a blonde now, and that the non Divas divas have a long road until they get anything substantial to do on WWE TV. Natty hits a sharpshooter on Alicia for the very obvious win.
Winner: Natalya, JoJo and Eva Marie.
Promo: Brad is sorry
Brad Maddox, spiffy dresser he is, makes his way to ring-side to apologize to the WWE universe and to announce the Byran-Orton rematch for Hell in the Cell, with the added bonus of a special guest referee (of which the universe will get to choose from one of three WWE hall of famers, on that ever-important WWE App). I like it. We all knew the Orton/Bryan fued was ending no-time soon, and the added element of an impartial hall of fame ref makes the main event for Hell in the Cell and exciting one (and hopefully WAY more entertaining then the headlining match of Battleground). Booker T is our first choice, and he makes an emboldened speech… suckas. WWE Idol, yo.
3MB Vs. Los Matadores
THAT BULL!!! In the week since the Los Matadores debut, I’ve actually watched quite a few videos of “El Torito,” and he may be the best “mini” of all time. I’m still less hot on the entire gimmick in general, but at least we know the lil’ bull can actually wow ‘em, in ring. Because 3MB is involved, I’m going to assume that they lose. A lightning-quick match, with the world’s ultimate jobbers 3MB obviously winding up worse for the wear, as the Colon boys hit their tag-team finisher on Drew Macintyre for a painfully easy win. Keep pushing, WWE; at least we like the bull now.
Winner: Los Matadores
Promo: Heyman’s Kids
They don’t die, they multiply; and get booed from the crowd. Paul Heyman (who is really cementing his stance as one of the best managers in sports entertainment history) is joined in ring by the charisma machines that are Curtis Axel and Goldber-… Ryback. Heyman whines for a bit, doing his current “best in the world” schtick before the actual best in the world, CM Punk, makes his way out from the curtains. Punk is pissed and willing to take on the world by himself, but won’t have to, as R-Truth follows Punk to the ring to take on Axel and Ryback. We’ve got a match on our hands here, folks.
CM Punk and R-Truth Vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback
Strange placement for a match this big, but Raw has had strange placement lately (Santino headliner, anyone?). We’ve heard the rumors that Truth is getting a HUGE push for Hell in the Cell, and those rumors thankfully seem to be true. I dig Truth; his former Little Jimmy gimmick and his rapping on the way to the ring, not as much, but I’m happy anytime a deserving performer gets elevated above the mid-card status in which they’ve been trapped, and Truth seems like a genuinely good guy to boot. Punk and Truth start the match by dominating, and Heyman is increasingly “unsure” of his IC champion Curtis Axel’s abilities. The momentum shifts, and Heyman’s boys start to put the damage to our heroes, until Truth (with the help of the crowd and Punk’s urging) gets the upper hand, setting up Punk to rock a GTS on Axel and a kick to Ryback’s generously sized head, followed by Truth hitting a gnarly kick on Axel for the win. I like CM Punk and friends! More of this, please.
Winner: CM Punk and R-Truth.
Promo: Ref #2
Our second choice for special ref at Hell in the Cell is WWE legend and chicken-winger Bob Backlund, who the crowd doesn’t seem to know. Bob gives an impassioned speech about why he should ref, and the crowd gives an impassioned “why should we know who you are” in response. Sigh.
Randy Orton Vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi is in the midst of one of his annual pushes that seem to go nowhere, and this week it sets him against the Viper and WWE Championship contender Randy Orton. A great match between two truly great athletes, Kofi surpisingly is able to hold his own with the apex predator for the majority of this match. Randy controls the pace and doesn’t let Kofi fly much, but Kingston is definitely better than the mid-carder status he seems to linger in, and watching him toe-to-toe with Orton only reinforces that. The bout wraps up with a flurry of DDTs and the inevitable RKO on Kofi. Suddenly, Daniel Bryan rushes the ring and basically beats the crap out of Randy Orton for a few minutes. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Winner: Randy Orton
Promo: Backstage Fun
Alberto Del Rio chats with Vicky Guerrero about an announcement he intends to make later in the evening. We then meet our third choice for guest referee and I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and assume he’s the one who gets the vote. Oh yeah, his name is Shawn Michaels, or something like that. HBK, we’ll see you at Hell in the Cell.
Ricardo Rodriguez Vs. Alberto Del Rio
Before Del Rio can blink or check his bank account, Ricardo manages to take advantage of a distracted Alberto for a quick roll-up and win, to which Alberto responds by almost breaking his former ring-man and best friends’ arm. Such a gem, that Del Rio.
Winner: Ricardo Rodriguez
Fandango Vs. Zack Ryder
When the company has as few jobbers as it currently does, it’s almost a foregone conclusion to assume that the Long Island Broski gets Fandangoed on this one; and, after a quick fairly uneventful match, Fandango goes up top and wrecks Ryder with that fancy leg drop of his, dancing his way to the win.
HBK is revealed as the winner of the WWE fan vote for special guest ref at Orton/Bryan’s Hell in a Cell match. Shocker.
The Real Americans Vs. Santino and Khali
These matches are really starting to scare me, in terms of how “funny” the WWE will try and be. I like a good comedy match as much as the next man, but every week?! A quick match, with varying ability levels (Cesaro is the MOST underrated guy in the company, whereas Khali is… Khali) that ends quickly with our man Antonio impressively hitting his new “Cesaro Swing” on the massive Great Khali. A truly staggering feat of athletic strength and just another reason that Cesaro should shed Swagger and get a push of his own.
Winner: The Real Americans
MizTV is cut short tonight as the Wyatt family attempts to indoctrinate their newest member, but Miz manages to evade the weirdos. Will we see a Wyatt vs. Miz angle, and will anyone care? Buzzards are around dead things, and the Wyatt family was DOA for me. Such a wasted opportunity that has only netted boring television (in my humble opinion).
The Shield vs. The Rhodes Bros. and Daniel Bryan
On paper this looks like a dream match. In real life, it was pretty damn good. It’s no secret I’m a big Attitude Era guy, and getting to see Dustin/Golddust back in the ring and legitimized is one of the happier moments in my life as a wrestling fan. The Shield, while stale, can still work a great match; and we all know Daniel Bryan is our personal savior, so this match had a lot going for it before it even started. Best match of the night is a vast understatement, with all men wrestling at top form. Everyone gets in the act, and the match seems to be a pretty tight one until the Shield manages to get DQ’d by bringing a chair into the ring. HHH, not content to “disappoint the fans,” decides that the match deserves a second go round, and before the action can take off, Orton hits the ring and an RKO on Bryan, allowing Rollins to get the pin. A great match which leaves me hoping to see a lot of these fantastic workers (can we just give the belts to the Rhodes now, please, thank you?) in main events in the near future.
Winners: Rhodes Bros. and Daniel Bryan
Winners: The Shield
Oh yeah… then this happened. Good on ya, Show.
Final Thoughts: Kind of a lackluster Raw, which is a bummer, coming off the lackluster PPV that was Battleground. The high points: Rhodes and Rhodes, Ziggler and Sandow, R-Truth coming to the forefront, and my new best friend, El Torito. The low points: kind of the rest of the night, sadly. We have a month until Hell in the Cell, and having HBK around certainly won’t hurt our chances for quality programming. The Bryan/Orton saga is getting a bit tedious for me, but with Big Show’s current war against the corporation, we may see some big changes to the way the company is being run. Big Show changes. Get it? Hey, it’s 2 am, gimme a break.
See ya next week, wrasslin’ fans!