I’ve been away for a few weeks (on a trip to Japan, where I wasn’t allowed to buy a Ribera jacket because apparently I’m not a pro wrestler! You find out new stuff everyday), and boy, have there been some shakeups in the company we all hold so dear. Belt changes all around, impending lawsuits, and THAT TINY BULL! Lots of new questions, but did this week’s Raw provide any answers? We all watched it. Now, let’s talk about it. It’s like therapy, but with much more spandex.
It’s time for a recap of the latest edition of WWE Monday Night Raw!
WWE Raw 11/4/2013, live from Greenville, South Carolina
CM Punk vs. Luke Harper
It’s clobbering time! The kendo-stick enthusiast we all know and love, CM Punk, makes his way to the ring with a match against the Wyatt Family’s resident “really tall guy without a goat mask,” Luke Harper. The Wyatts have shown a recent interest in Punk (or in reality, a recent interest in being relevant and trying to get over with an audience), and I can only imagine this bout won’t end in a “clean” finish. It’s a quick match that has Harper putting some hurt on Punk to zero crowd reaction, until Punk can get it together and dodge a massive head-clearing lariat from Harper to roll up the quick 1-2-3. The family comes to the ring for a good ole’ “Punk Bashing,” but our hero is saved by our other hero, a ring-clearing Daniel Bryan and his friend the chair. We’re off to the races.
Winner: CM Punk
Ryback vs Great Khali
You know you’ve been waiting for this epic match-up. The stiffest wrestler in the company vs. the stiffest human being in the world. At least Khali isn’t in a “comedy match” (I say at least, because I guess we are operating in a world where Khali should still be employed, as opposed to us realizing that the man can hardly walk, let alone wrestle). As you can guess, Khali hits a few chops, Ryback is super charismatic for a while, and Hornswoggle… Hornswoggles it up. Ryback hits a monstrous looking clothesline for the inevitable win.
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
I like Kofi, but like much less the direction that management seems to think he’s headed in: forever the mid-carder with brief glimpses of angles that never come to be. Now that Del Rio is free of the belt, maybe this can finally be a feud that can elevate the high flyer. A pretty decent match which sees both men playing to their respective strengths, Del Rio’s brutality and Kofi’s acrobatic antics. Solid work from two very solid workers, which ends with Del Rio getting Kofi to tap to the cross-arm breaker. Straight up wrasslin’, yo. I’ll take it.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Randy Orton vs. Big E. Langston
Oh, hells yes! I LOVE Big. E, and putting him in the title hunt is a fantastic idea for this new and exciting (and awesome) young talent. It’s the “Face of the WWE” vs “The Funniest Tweeter in the WWE.” Orton is back to his evil ways (Voldermorton), and Big E., finally free of team Dolph/AJ, is really starting to shine on his own as a wrestler to watch for. As physical a match as you’d expect, with both men trading momentum and finisher attempts until Randy can dodge a big-ending and nail a vicious RKO for the win. More of this, please!
Winner: Randy Orton
Fandango and Summer Rae vs. Natalya and Tyson Kidd
What’s that, Michael Cole? Is Total Divas returning? Really? Is that why Tyson Kidd is making his first appearance on Raw in a year or so? Shocker. Summer Rae has proven herself a decent in-ring talent in recent weeks, and Fandango is still one of my favorite parts of the company, so you can guess I’m Team Heel on this one. I like these mixed tag matches, and hope we get to see more of them (and less Divas fueled content in general). A fairly lackluster contest in which the returning Kidd locks in a sharpshooter on Fandango for his first win in a year (and that being said, he was in pretty great form. Glad to have you back, man).
Winner: Natalya and Tyson Kidd.
John Cena and the Rhodes Bros. vs. Damian Sandow and The Real Americans
What starts with a backstage promo (Zeb got an early start on Movember) turns into my favorite match of the night. I’m no huge Cena fan, but by lowering his status to “world champ”, it’s made me excited to get to see him face-off against some mid-carders he’d never otherwise see in the ring (such as Cesaro, who is probably the most underused wrestler in the company). Mix in Cody and Golddust, and you’ve got the makings of a fantastic match. Both teams quickly get into it (and with matches this long/go over a commercial, you know you really only need to “pay attention” to the last few minutes). Cody and Dustin are a phenomenal tag-team, and I hope the brothers don’t break up anytime soon. Cena is Cena, but undoubtedly a great worker, and seeing him battling Cesaro was pretty damn exciting. After a few back and forths, Golddust manages to hit a Final Cut on Cesaro for the big win.
Winner: Cena/Rhodes Bros
Dolph Ziggler vs. Curtis Axel
Oh, Axel. I was interested in your debut, and over time… have become much less interested. Ziggler remains great, but he’s in great need of a good angle to take him out of the mid-card mire he’s currently stuck in. Axel enters the ring sans Heyman and sans crowd reaction, making me think he won’t have the IC belt for much longer. A pretty uneventful contest, which has Dolph hitting a zig-zag for a decisive (and clean) win over the heel IC champ. Better enjoy that belt while you’ve got it, Curtis.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Usos vs. 3MB
Lemme just take a wild guess as to who will win this one. Need a hint? 3MB is wrestling. Yep. Uso with a splash, for the easiest win of the night.
Bella Twins and Eve Marie vs AJ, Aksana and Tamina
We get it. Divas is coming back. What’s more interesting than arbitrary Diva matches was the hinted at Bella split, which seems to have been tabled for now. A decent match (except for Eva, who is… very pretty), that only goes to prove that the right woman has the belt, as AJ is MILES above her competition in both talent and personality. Eva tags herself in for a surprise 3-count on Tamina, getting the Divas gals the win.
Winner: Bella Twins and Eva Marie
Big Show vs. The World
So, we know that Big Show is “suing” the WWE. Right. Sure thing, gang. Anyway, Show confronts HHH in-ring and asks for his job back AND a championship match against Orton at Survivor Series (greedy, Show) and gets them both. However, first he’ll have to deal with a handicap match against Orton and The Shield, which he is very down to do. Show manages to fight off the baddies until an unmasked, suit-and-tie-wearing Kane/Glenn comes to the ring for the distraction, which works, because Orton and the Shield proceed to DISMANTLE Big Show. Oh, that rascally Kane!
Winner: The World
Final Thoughts: Not the best Raw, but enough to get excited about (new corporate Kane, Axel losing the belt soon, Tyson Kidd’s return) and keep us watching through a kind of “Dead-zone” of programming (Wrestlemania looms near). I’m curious about with whom Big Show will ultimately align in his quest against the company, and am even more curious as to when Vince will make his triumphant return (and hopefully it’ll be as a face). Also… WE NEED MORE LITTLE BULL!!!