I have a confession to make.
I love pro wrestling.
Controversial, I know, but I can’t help it. Since as early as I can remember, all things related to the squared circle held a special place in my heart. This ever-dormant passion for sports-entertainment became a virtual volcano of love once the WWF Attitude Era was upon us. I became obsessed with the WWF and it’s roster of superstars, and that obsession, while it has dwindled at times, is currently running strong. I took some time off, but I’ve been back watching WWE for about a year and a half now, watching the shows, reading blogs, checking out old matches and catching up on ones I’ve missed, attending a few new ones (SummerSlam, for instance, which was… awesome), playing the games, buying the merch; you name it. I’m hooked.
Raw has always been the high-point of the WWE calendar, and the show has been pretty fantastic as of late. I thought, what better way to share my love of wrasslin’ than to chat with you fine folks about my favorite show on TV. Now I know that Nerdist has rarely covered “sports” before, but that’s okay because I’m not a sports fan. I’m a sports-entertainment fan. And a Libra, in case you were wondering.
Here is the first edition of what will be my weekly RAW recap. The highs, the lows, the bumps and the belts. Every angle.
WWE Raw 9/30/2013 (Live from Biloxi, Mississippi)
One week from the inaugural Battleground PPV, and HHH and the McMahon Family (which includes Scrooge McHunter’s very own nephews, Huey, Duey and Roman Reigns) continue to terrorize the WWE locker room. There’s some big angle going on right now, and this should be a pretty intense PPV, drama-wise at least.
Will Big Show continue to be the Most-Cryingest Athlete in the world?
Will the Divas be able to contend with A.J, and her new best-buddy Tamina?
Will the Rhodes Bros. finally get their shot at Hunter and his stooges?
Will anyone care about Los Matadores?
Let’s find out together, shall we? It’s Raw time.
Enter CM Punk. It’s clobbering… I mean, talking time! We see replay footage of Punk being “tabled” last week by Ryback. Punk wants to fight Ryback, Axel, and Heyman all at once, with his hands tied behind his back and his hoodie pulled up over his eyes and… we get it, Punk. You’re tough. Also, you’re awesome, and the best promo guy in the company. Brad Maddox comes out not to wrestle (sans music, as Punk points out), but to remind Punk and the WWE universe that he’ll get his chance at revenge, on Sunday at Battleground. Brad has another offer for Punk; a match, tonight, on Raw.
Cue Big E Langston!!!
Big E wastes no time and rushes Punk in the ring. Maddox informs the refs that we’ve got a match!
CM Punk VS. Big E Langston
YES! Does this mean the Big E push is finally starting? This is by far the highest-profile match Langston has been involved in, and frankly, it’s about time we got to see Langston take on someone of Punk’s caliber. Big E is a powerhouse (as well as a hilarious guy – if you’re not following him on Twitter, do so). E manages to get a couple near-falls off of Punk, but our hero isn’t giving up this easily. After taking some big hits from the big man, and more importantly selling said hits, Punk rallies, hits an awesome Macho Man from the top rope, and finishes it all off with a GTS. Goodnight, Big E.
Winner: CM Punk
Promo: The Rhodes Bros
Michael Cole reminds us of this evening’s “Family Summit”; HHH and Stephanie meet The Rhodes family (Cody, Dustin, AND Dusty) in the ring tonight. Who wants to bet poor Dustin is wearing the Golddust makeup and a hoodie?
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi seems to be in the midst of a decent little push, and I’m way happy about that, as Kofi is the man. I am also an unabashed Fandango/Johnny Curtis fan, so while this match may not carry much “storyline” heat, it does feature two very solid workers. A quick match with a bunch of good exchanges (Fandango nearly beheaded Kofi with that clothesline); Fandango attempts his unnamed leg drop finisher, only to to get a one way ticket to Trouble in Paradise.
Winner: Kofi Kingston – As soon as the match ends, the Wyatt family does their sloooooooooooow walk to the ring, to which Kofi arms himself with a chair. However, Kofi may as well sit down, because all we get is a Bray promo that makes as much sense as all of Bray’s promos.
Backstage Promos: Brie’s wedding/Heyman’s goons
We see the “close to being babyfaces” Bella twins discussing Brie’s upcoming nuptuals to Goat-Boy, a/k/a Daniel Bryant, a/k/a the reason we are all watching wrestling. However, the Viper has different plans, and Orton, who is close to becoming his old psycho self (or Voldermorton, as my good friend Max Landis refers to him), lets Brie know that Daniel might not make it to the wedding after Sunday’s match. Scary.
Renee Young chats with Paul Heyman, and Paul Heyman proves why he’s one of the best mic-men in the business. I love the “heels getting bullied” angle, and Heyman and his two goons are doing a pretty serviceable job of it.
Los Matadores vs. 3MB
That’s right, it’s the moments you’ve been waiting for, the debut of two men who you last saw a few short months ago getting into a fight with the Great Khali over a parking spot, Primo and Epico, the Colons. Look, I don’t want to pass judgement on a gimmick so soon, but… that bull. The entrance is unique, to say the least (to say more, it’s – how do I put this kindly?- not very good). A fairly basic match follows, with Los Matadores hitting some pretty unique tag-team moves on the likes of Slater and Jinder Mahal. Los Matadores manage to dominate 3MB, but that’s not really a big deal, and… that bull. I’m scared, you guys.
Winner: Los Matadores
The Family Summit
Hunter and Stephanie come out, head to the ring, and call out the Rhodes, who make their way from backstage to Dusty’s music (and I was right about Goldie’s suit and facepaint combo). HHH tries to calm the visibly angry Rhodes boys, and reminds them of the “chances” he’s given them as of late. Some veiled threats later, and the McMahon camp has a deal for the Rhodes; Cody and Golddust vs Rollings and Reigns in a tag-team match (with Dusty in the Rhodes corner), for a chance at winning their jobs back. The southern boys accept, and then the Shield runs out to powerbomb the hell out of Cody. To be continued on Sunday, at Battleground!!!
R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel
Can the fairly newly returned Truth defeat Heyman’s guy, the current IC champion Curtis Axel? More importantly, will we get to see the full “What’s up?” rap? A quick match which sees Axel putting some damage on Truth early, until suddenly Punk’s music plays, distracting the third generation champion and allowing Truth to hit his finisher, whose name currently escapes me. Axel is pissed. Oh, Punk, you wily varmint!
Alicia Fox vs. Brie Bella
Poor Alicia, like Brad Maddox, doesn’t even get entrance music, but that’s okay, as the point of this short but well-executed match is to show just how good at wrestling Brie has gotten in the last year, and that without her sister she’s a formidable singles wrestler and a threat to Divas‘ champ A.J. I’ll admit; I watch Divas. I like Brie. I like this push. More, please, thank you!
Winner: Brie Bella
Promo: Zeb doesn’t like Los Matadores
That’s okay, Zeb; I’m not sure I do either. THAT BULL!?!?!?
Backstage Promos: Heyman, Show and Truth
Paul Heyman has a mysterious proposal for Ryback.
Big show is ready to knock-out HHH.
R-Truth wants an IC title match, but Big Show REALLY wants to knock out HHH.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio
This plays out exactly as you’d think it would; Del Rio dominates, Zack gets a lone broski boot, and Del Rio then proceeds to dominate and get a real early victory. It’s good to see Ryder on TV again, even if it’s only in a jobber capacity. Yoshi Tatsu, you’re next!
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Promo: Punk scorches the earth.
Heyman and crew head out to to ring, where Paul drops to one knee and proposes to Ryback. “Be a permanent Heyman guy!” Adorable; Ryback hates bullies but loves romance. Punk’s music hits and Heyman and co. prepare for an ambush, but Punk trips and hurts his knee. Huh? Oh, never mind – our hero was hiding a kendo stick and proceeds to DESTROY Heyman, Axel, and Ryback with the weapon, before hitting a GTS on Axel. Sunday will be fun, gang.
The Shield vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler
I love this line-up. While The Shield has gotten a tad stale, they’re still super entertaining to watch, and the Usos and Dolph are some of my favorite people in the company, so I’m excited for this one. This match is fast-paced and busy, and sees all the participants getting a lot of ring time. WWE Universe: meet the future of this business. Lots of tags, lots of finishers- this is our best match of the night, and luckily it’s given time to develop (WWE has been great lately about matches running longer in time). The match ends when Roman hits that monstrous spear on the show-off Dolph Ziggler, and a great match it was. On a side note, I love that they refer to Ziggler’s Fameasser as “The Fameasser.” DX for life.
Winner: The Shield
Promo: Show gets shut down
Big Show waits backstage for HHH, but is met by the Biloxi police department, who has arrived to investigate Show’s “threats” to Hunter. Stephanie oddly sticks up for the big man, which seems to infuriate him even more as he lays waste to the wall and a HHH poster. You show em, Show!
RVD presents a highlight package of his hardcore prowess, reminding us that Sunday night is going to get brutal, and I for one can’t wait.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino
Zeb and The Real Americans don’t like Santino (and his valets, Khali and Hornswoggle). Santino doesn’t like making us take him seriously. I joke, as I think Santino is hilarious (and save that flute stuff from Smackdown) and always a welcome addition to the show. Cesaro continues to be the most underused pure talent in the company, and he makes quick work of Santino, until our “Italian” friend manages to get a quick roll up and steal the win. Sure. At least there were no flutes.
Promo: The Goat vs the Snake
The night comes to a close with some Battleground teasing, as Orton and Byran showdown in the ring; first on mics (Orton’s “No” chant was pretty great), and then in a vicious series of exchanges that finds Brie running to ringside to protect her fiance, which Orton takes as an opportunity to dismantle him on the steps, and finally with an RKO through a table. Sorry Brie.
A decent show, with some real highlights (Shield vs. Usos and Dolph, the Rhodes bros.) and some lows (THAT FREAKING BULL COSTUME, YOU GUYS!!! 50 shades of the Gobbledygooker!) that should lead into what seems to be, on paper, the most exciting PPV in quite a while. HHH and the corporation are making for fantastic heels, and the inevitable Big Show meltdown will be a sight to see. WWE, keep up the good work… but LOSE THAT BULL!
So there we have it. I hope you enjoyed my take on RAW, and if you’d like to see more wrestling content like this covered on Nerdist, you know who to let know. Wrestling fans – please leave comments if you feel like it. I’d love it if this recap turns into a sort of conversation amongst the Nerdist readers each week, ’cause you know that being able to chat wrestling with like-minded folks is a rare treat indeed.