Live from Austin, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1052. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you're on Facebook please "Share" this post as well. Thank you.
As mentioned above, this is episode #1052 meaning it was one year ago that Raw's 1000th episode took place and it was the beginning of Raw moving to three hours on a full time basis. I'll write a column soon about the pros & cons of three hours and if it has been beneficial to WWE.
Raw opened with a video package all about the CM Punk/Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman issue from last week. It also showed the end of Raw when John Cena picked Daniel Bryan as his SummerSlam opponent.
Raw GM Brad Maddox was in the ring to tell us that we would begin the show with the official contract signing for the WWE Title match at SummerSlam between John Cena and Daniel Bryan. There was a table in the ring along with two chairs for the men to sit in.
The WWE Champion John Cena made his entrance. Maddox asked Cena why he picked Daniel Bryan and Cena said he listened to the WWE Universe because the choice was clear in his mind. Maddox wondered if Cena only picked Bryan because he thought he might beat him. Maddox mentioned that some might say Bryan is a bit unstable. Cena tried to respond to all that, but instead Bryan's music started up.
Daniel Bryan entered to a huge reaction from the fans in Austin, who of course serenaded him with "yes" chants. Bryan was asked by Maddox why he thought he was picked for the match, but Cena cut him off.
Cena said size isn't all that matters. He said he had names like Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero that prove that ability and passion make a WWE Champion - not just size or strength. There was a nice "Eddie" chant there. Cool moment. Cena told Bryan he chose him because he earned it and he deserved it. He said that being WWE Champion means facing the best all the time. Cena picked Bryan to compete in this match, but that does not mean Cena is going to hand him the championship. Cena signed the contract. He said he was going to defend the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and even though Bryan was the best, the best wasn't good enough.
Bryan wanted to speak, but Maddox cut him off. Bryan told Maddox he doesn't get to interrupt him. Bryan said he really deserved it. Maddox didn't think that everybody believed in Bryan, so he's going to give him a chance to prove it. Instead of a match, Bryan had to have "matches" tonight. Maddox didn't think Bryan would prove he was worthy and he yelled "no" while the fans yelled "yes" at him. That was the end of the segment.
Analysis: That was a fun opening segment. I wish Bryan got a chance to talk some more, but it's not a major gripe. It's just that it would have been nice if he went face to face with Cena and told him he was going to beat him. The crowd would have loved it. They still have a month to get there, though. I'm happy he's working multiple matches. Cena's promo was very basic and straight to the point, which works for me. He didn't throw in his bad jokes or take Bryan lightly. He put him over as a legitimate threat, which is how Bryan needs to be booked heading into this match. Maddox was fine. He had to play the heel GM because in a babyface vs. babyface scenario you need to get the heat on somebody.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. They welcomed us to the show. Later on we'll see Mark Henry and up next is Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
This is not for Del Rio's World Title. They had a long feud in 2012 when Sheamus was World Champion. Sheamus has a big bruise on his left leg from the Money in the Bank match that took place a week ago. Del Rio was in control early on as he focused on the injured leg with a perfect dropkick. Del Rio went for an armbar on the apron, but Sheamus punched him in the face and that sent Del Rio to the floor. It's vintage floor to commercial break time.
Back from break, Del Rio got a two count with a bridging German Suplex. Del Rio regained momentum during the break by shoving Sheamus' leg into the steel steps. Sheamus came back with a powerslam. That led to Sheamus hitting some signature moves of his including a running high knee. The announcers were putting over how tough Sheamus was for fighting through the leg injury. Backstabber by Del Rio got a two count. Del Rio missed a charge, so Sheamus hit him with the ten forearm shots while Del Rio was trapped in the ropes. Irish Curse Backbreaker got Sheamus a two count. With Sheamus perched on the top rope, Del Rio attacked with a running enziguiri that connected for a two count. I always like that spot. Sheamus recovered, missed a Brogue Kick and Del Rio kicked him in the leg. Sheamus wanted White Noise, but his leg buckled and Del Rio rolled through for the rollup win after 13 minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The announcers did a good job of putting over Del Rio's brilliance in winning while also mentioning the guts of Sheamus for continuing to fight.
Analysis: *** It was technically very good since Del Rio worked on that injured leg the whole match and it factored into the finish too. Is it too much to ask that matches make sense? I like when they do. That's the great thing about Del Rio - he wrestles in such a smart way. Sheamus did a really good job of selling the injury the entire match. I enjoyed it a lot. Where are they going with these guys in the future? Not sure. I hope it's not another World Title feud since we saw it last year. Sheamus lost clean, so he doesn't deserve another match. They should move on from this rivalry. It's been done.
Tonight on Miz TV, The Miz talks to the cast of the Total Divas show. At least Natalya will get some screen time. Also we'll see CM Punk later in the show too.
Plug time. TJR Radio returns Tuesday night at 10pmET/9pmCT. The Ace and I are joined by Arda Ocal (Twitter @arda_ocal) of the Baltimore Sun and Layfield Report. We'll talk about some famous interviews he's done (4 out of 10?), his involvement in wrestling, where he'd like to go and of course some current WWE topics as well. You can listen live right here (or any time after the show at your own convenience) or get it on iTunes on Wednesday morning. We do the show every couple of weeks, so give it a listen and let me know what you think too!
Backstage, Renee Young talked to Booker T and Teddy Long. Booker's no longer the GM of Smackdown since Vince McMahon named Vickie Guerrero the new Smackdown GM. Booker said he was shocked by Vince's decision while Long mentioned that he filled in for Booker while he was home (Booker had triceps surgery). Long was angry that he was kicked out of the building last week. They continued to argue until Long left.
Analysis: What are their roles in WWE now? We don't know.
Christian made his entrance for a match. They went to break there.
Titus O'Neil entered as Christian's opponent for a singles match.
Christian vs. Titus O'Neil (w/Darren Young)
Cole just mentioned Happy Birthday to Shawn Michaels, who turns 48 years old today. He's my favorite wrestler ever. O'Neil hit a huge backbreaker followed by a slam and then Young got in a cheap shot on Christian. O'Neil slammed Christian into the ring. O'Neil had a whistle in his mouth as he kicked away at Christian. Christian came back with a missile dropkick for two and then back elbow off the middle rope. Young distracted Christian, which led to O'Neil hitting a big boot to the face for two. O'Neil wanted a slam, but Christian countered it into the Killswitch for the victory after four minutes.
Analysis: *1/2 It seemed like a showcase match for O'Neil to see if WWE officials were impressed by him. The announcers were doing their best to say it's only a matter of time until O'Neil figures things out. Christian's the right opponent to be in there with because he's one of the best workers in WWE. I think Christian's a likely future opponent for either the IC or US Title, which are both held by heels right now.
They showed a clip from Smackdown when Ryback attacked Chris Jericho after Jericho lost a match.
Backstage, Josh Mathews spoke to Ryback for this Tough Enough reunion. Ryback spoke about how he hated average people. "The big guy needs to eat." People like Josh deserve to be intimidated by him. If they're not, he'll prove why they should be. Josh quickly got out of there as Ryback smiled.
Analysis: No clear direction for him at this moment, but it was a good promo. He's better when he doesn't have to say too much.
Plug time again. Check out my exclusive columns on LayfieldReport.com, where I post blogs like this one with five thoughts from Smackdown last week. I also do them about Raw too. Earlier on Monday I did a post about the British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart match from SummerSlam 1992 as part of my SummerSlam Memories series. Keep checking out the site, sign up for the newsletter and you can win some prizes too.
At the top of hour two, Mark Henry made his entrance. There was a video from Raw last week when The Shield attacked Henry. They didn't show what happened on Smackdown when Henry got some revenge.
Henry said he was proud of the fact that he was a born and raised Texan. He's proud that he was raised down the street in Silsby, Texas. He's proud of the effort he had in his WWE Championship match against John Cena. He wasn't proud of what happened last week on Raw. "My heart don't pump Kool-Aid." He said he was wide awake and if The Shield wants him, he's right there.
The Shield made their entrance through the crowd as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns surrounded Henry, who was alone in the ring. Henry tried to fight them, but The Shield took control. The Usos ran out for the save of Henry. It's reminiscent of these six guys going at it on Smackdown. Henry and The Usos worked together to knock The Shield's three guys out of the ring. The Usos hit a double superkick on Reigns and Henry hit a splash on him in the corner. Rollins and Ambrose pulled Reigns out of the ring to save him. They left through the crowd. The fans were solidly behind Henry and The Usos.
Analysis: Like I said, this was similar to what they did on Smackdown so in some ways it didn't feel fresh. It was still a good segment that the crowd loved. I like that they are associating The Usos with Henry because it will elevate them and make them bigger stars.
In the locker room, John Cena walked up to Daniel Bryan. Cena wondered about what Maddox had planned later. Bryan said he'd be fine on his own no matter who his opponents were. Bryan said Maddox was right because it was the night for him to prove he belonged there. "I'm going to fight and I'm going to win." Bryan told Cena if he came out there for any of his matches then what Cena has said before is nothing but a load of crap. Bryan walked away as the segment ended.
Analysis: Well done. Bryan said exactly what I expected him to say. It did a good job of setting up his matches for later in the show.
Darren Young was in the ring awaiting his opponent. Who was that? Dolph Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Darren Young
Ziggler opened up with the best dropkick in the business for a two count. Young gave Ziggler a back suplex into the top turnbuckle and then hit a clothesline for a two count. Young applied a chinlock as the fans chanted for Ziggler. Young missed a corner charge, which led to a corner splash from Ziggler and then a leaping clothesline for two. Young hit a nice face first slam for a two count. Young was trash talking, so Ziggler popped up and hit the Zig Zag to win the match in about four minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *1/2 Much like O'Neil earlier, Young was given a chance to look good for a few minute before falling to the more veteran performer. The finish was cool because it came out of nowhere with Ziggler popping up to his feet to hit his finisher.
Post match, Big E Langston ran into the ring. AJ Lee was at ringside. Langston tried an attack, but Ziggler countered by throwing Langston outside the ring. Ziggler escaped to the floor to prevent an attack.
Analysis: Ziggler running away from rivals is his new thing. It's not a cheep heel move. It's a smart babyface tactic to escape an attack. It looks like we're heading towards Ziggler vs. Langston, which is okay with me, but also feels like a step down for Ziggler too.
The announcers led us through how we can download the WWE App. We need a reminder again? Apparently we do.
The Total Divas are on Miz TV up next.
There was a brief commercial for Summerslam on August 18th.
MizTV with Total Divas
The Miz was in the ring talking about how he's the host of SummerSlam, which basically means he's not on the SummerSlam card. The Total Divas girls were all seated in the ring. There was a clip from the show with The Bella Twins meeting new divas Eva Marie and JoJo. I'm not going to summarize the bad acting involved here.
Miz introduced us to the cast of Total Divas Nikki (Boobs) Bella, Brie Bella, Eva Marie, JoJo, Natalya, Naomi and Camera. Natalya got the biggest pop of the girls. The Miz asked Jerry Lawler to come into the ring to talk to the girls. He introduced himself to the girls, said hi to the ones he knew and shook Jojo's hand. Then Eva Marie said she wanted to make a name for herself, so she slapped Lawler in the face.
Analysis: That was it? What a waste of time. Best part was Natalya getting the biggest ovation. It would be even better if she was booked to wrestle on Raw.
EDIT: Shortly after I tweeted about this, I had a few people messaging me about Brie Bella (the smaller one) having a "nip slip." You can view the picture here if you want to.
Backstage, Brad Maddox was in his office when Triple H showed up to talk to him. He wasn't a big fan of Maddox saying that he didn't think Bryan was big enough or championship material. Hunter said he didn't care what the "old man thinks" (he means Vince McMahon) and he said that Daniel Bryan might be the future of WWE. He feels that it doesn't matter what you throw at Daniel Bryan because he's so driven he can overcome anything. Hunter told Maddox that one train was the future (him) and the other was a dead end (Vince). Hunter left. Stephanie showed up backstage to say she had an idea and basically told Maddox that he should be on board.
Analysis: I liked how Hunter put over Bryan with his words like that. The booking of Bryan on this show has been very good. I'm not sure what the point of the Stephanie segment was.
The announcers talked about the Wyatt Family, so they showed a video package about their attacks in the last couple of weeks.
Fandango made his entrance for a match as they went to break.
Mr. Money in the Bank Damien Sandow was at the announce table for this match between Fandango and Cody Rhodes.
Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
Sandow said he made Rhodes better while arguing with the announcers except JBL, who supported Sandow. Fandango was on the offensive early on in the match. The crowd was chanting "Cody's Mustache" even though it wasn't an endearing chant for a guy who is a babyface now. Fandango really loved the headlock in this match. Rhodes did the Goldust punch with his back on the mat. He went to the top for a moonsault and landed awkwardly because Fandango was a bit too far away. Sandow was on the ropes, so Rhodes hit a Disaster Kick on Fandango and Sandow at the same time. Rhodes hit Cross Rhodes on Fandango to win the match in four minutes.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Post match, Sandow went up the aisle with his briefcase.
Analysis: *1/2 It was fine. Fandango has become just another guy on the show after looking like somebody that might get a push a couple of months ago. The Rhodes/Sandow feud has the potential to be great. I just hope the crowds open up to Rhodes a little more than this crowd did. They didn't cheer him that much. The face turn is still a work in progress although I think he'll be successful at it.
CM Punk is up next.
The Bella Twins are on the Today Show on NBC Thursday morning. I'll make sure to not watch. Try not to expose a nipple, Brie.
CM Punk made his entrance to a big ovation. He was in a Punk shirt and jeans while limping down to the ring. Punk spoke about no matter how hard Lesnar hit him, Punk kept getting up. I made that point last week. That's what made it so brilliant. He spoke about how he feels like he was in a car accident, but he said "I'm still standing" to a big ovation. Lesnar may be able to beat him down, but he can't keep him (Punk) down. Punk spoke about Lesnar's credentials saying he's broken guys like Triple H, John Cena and Undertaker in the past. He said Lesnar's biggest weapon is fear because he instills fear in others. Punk said: "I am not afraid of Brock Lesnar." He's not afraid of Paul Heyman's monster. Punk said that it didn't matter what Lesnar or Heyman think because that's his ring. He mentioned guys like John Cena, The Rock and Undertaker as people he's proved how good he is against. He would have shown Lesnar last week if Heyman didn't stab him in the back for the second time.
Punk said Heyman won't stab him in the back for the third time. He won't let that happen. He won't pretend that Lesnar isn't a big son of a bitch. Punk said that he was going to slay the beast Lesnar. Punk said that he wants CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. "I want the best vs. the beast." He dropped the microphone.
Paul Heyman appeared on the video screen "via satellite" as Punk wondered if Heyman was there or if he was really via satellite. Heyman ripped on the fans by saying that Punk has been reduced to sucking up to people like the ones in Texas. Heyman was talking as if Lesnar was with him even though we never saw Lesnar because he was likely not there. Heyman wondered if Punk was a fool that wouldn't stay down. Punk said he'd give his answer at SummerSlam. Punk was mad about the "via satellite" thing. Heyman said that his strategy helped Punk keep the WWE Title for 434 days. Heyman pointed out that Punk was all beat up from the attack last week. Heyman accepted the challenge for SummerSlam as Punk will take on Lesnar. Heyman said that "The Beast is the Best" and that he was his best friend in the world, Brock Lesnar. Punk's music played as the segment came to a close.
Analysis: Take my money, WWE. I absolutely love this feud and the promos leading up to it are not letting me down. They are perfect. This is the kind of rivalry I love seeing. It feels like a big deal. It feels real. It makes sense. It's pro wrestling storytelling at its finest. Punk came across as a confident babyface that the fans love. It works. Heyman's natural as a jerk. It's easy for them to get their points across because they are so good at it. I love how Heyman acted as if Lesnar was there when he obviously wasn't. They did a good job of furthering the story without paying Lesnar to appear, which is smart considering his limited schedule. When Lesnar appears they can do the physical attacks, but obviously Punk and Heyman can carry things on the microphone since they are two of the best talkers in the business.
Rob Van Dam was walking backstage for a match after the break.
This week on Smackdown it's Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio. It wouldn't surprise me if that was a SummerSlam match.
Rob Van Dam vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett was in the ring before the match. He has fallen down the midcard ladder quite a bit hasn't he? Barrett was the aggressor early on while the crowd chanted heavily for RVD. Big boot by Barrett slowed down RVD. RVD made his comeback with a kick off the top rope. Rolling Thunder by RVD for a two count. A somersault flip off the top got two for RVD. Barrett hit a kick to the ribs. RVD came back with a jumping side kick off the middle rope. To the top, RVD hit a Five Star Frog Splash to win the match after four minutes.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Analysis: ** It was basically a squash win by RVD. That Five Star Frog Splash was impressive because he hit it by changing directions in mid-air. I love when he does that. He looks fresh and happy to be back in WWE. Good for him. The fans love him as much as ever.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage. Think he told his girlfriend Brie Bella that she had a nip slip?
Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring for what ring announcer Justin Roberts called a Gauntlet Match. Huge ovation for Bryan on his way to the ring.
The music of The Real Americans started up as Zeb Colter did a promo about Texas independence. He spoke about how John Cena gave Bryan a handout last week. Jack Swagger is Bryan's first opponent. Antonio Cesaro is at ringside too.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger (w/Antonio Cesaro & Zeb Colter)
Swagger clipped the knee of Bryan and then dropped him with a shoulder block. Suplex by Swagger. Bryan made a brief comeback with a dropkick, but Swagger cut off an attack with a right hand to the face. Swagger Bomb connected. He yelled "We The People" so Bryan slapped on the Yes Lock and Swagger tapped out after three minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: *1/2 It was a quick match where Swagger didn't have much of a shot. It's fine with me. Bryan was selling for 90% of it and used his intelligence to take advantage of Swagger's cockiness to win the match. Easy story to tell.
The next opponent is Antonio Cesaro. They went to break there.
Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro (w/Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter)
It started during the break and when they returned Cesaro was in control until Bryan came back with a series of leg whips followed by a kick to the head. Cesaro hit a suplex to regain control. Bryan made the comeback with a running clothesline as the crowd chanted "yes" in support of him. Bryan hit his series of kicks to the chest and Cesaro ducked a kick to the head. Bryan came back with two dropkicks on Cesaro, who was against the turnbuckle. There was a great sequence as Bryan went to the top, Colter distracted the ref, Swagger pushed Bryan off the top and Cesaro hit a beautiful uppercut to Bryan's chest for the two count. Nice spot. They went to break there.
Back from break, Bryan tried to come back only for Cesaro to knock him down with a powerslam. Bryan hit a release German Suplex and then a hard kick to Cesaro's head for a two count. "This is awesome" chant by the crowd. I agree. Bryan went to the top, Cesaro tripped him up and hit an uppercut. Bryan countered a superplex, which led to a series of kicks to Cesaro's chest followed by a running dropkick. The crowd loved that. Me too. Bryan went for a belly to back suplex off the top rope, but Cesaro countered by landing on top of Bryan. That got a two count for Bryan as we hit the 13 minute mark.
They got to their feet and they hit a series of uppercut shots on each other with Cesaro winning that battle. Cesaro hit a clothesline that Bryan sold by doing a somersault. Bryan was able to avoid the Neutralizer. He applied a leg lock on Cesaro leading to a series of forearm shots by Bryan. Bryan hit the Flying Goat dive outside the ring onto Cesaro and Swagger. The crowd is on fire for all of this. Cesaro went for the uppercut, but Bryan ended up rolling him up with the inside cradle. It went about 19 minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ****1/4 It was an outstanding match between two of the best workers in WWE. I'm not surprised by it at all. The finish was absolutely brilliant. Cesaro had been using the uppercut to overpower Bryan all match, so when he had the chance to go for his final shot, Bryan was able to counter with an inside cradle to win. It was the perfect counter to end the match. I absolutely loved it. Cesaro isn't hurt from the loss too much because he went toe to toe with a top guy and held his own. In addition to the great work in the match, the crowd was into everything they did for 20 minutes. That's proof that not only is Daniel Bryan the right guy to get this kind of push, but that great wrestling really can carry a show if given the opportunity.
Raw GM Brad Maddox was shown backstage saying Bryan was impressive so far, but let's see about the next one.
The next (and final?) opponent for Bryan is Ryback.
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
Bryan has been wrestling for over 30 minutes by this point. Ryback threw Bryan hard into the turnbuckle. There was a "you can't wrestle" chant as Ryback threw a suplex. They were talking to Ryback in case you couldn't figure that out. Ryback hit a Thesz Press, but Bryan rolled through and applied a Half Crab. Ryback was able to get to the ropes. Back elbow by Ryback and then a splash got him a two count. Bryan hit a knee right in the jaw and then he hit a couple of corner dropkicks. He went for a third one, but Ryback countered with a clothesline for two. Ryback pulled out a table from underneath the ring. Bryan hit the Flying Goat dive outside the ring to send Ryback into the announce table. He had to jump over the table to do it. That was a cool spot. Ryback threw Bryan back first into the steel steps. They went back into the ring where Bryan hit a series of kicks and then got a nearfall on a rollup. Bryan went to the top rope for the missile dropkick that got him a two count. Bryan applied the Yes Lock in the middle of the ring. Ryback was able to get to the ropes. Bryan went for a running knee attack on the floor, but Ryback caught him and slammed him on the floor. It looked like a Powerbomb. The ref talked to him right after. Perhaps that was supposed to be through the table. Ryback picked Bryan up and gave him a Powerbomb through the table. The ref rang the bell, which meant that Bryan won via disqualification. It went about 11 minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan via disqualification
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for the time given and the story they were going for. Ryback was the right guy for that spot and Bryan did his best to put on a good match like he always does. I'm fine with Ryback not getting beat via pinfall or submission. The DQ finish works for me.
Post match, John Cena ran down to the ring for the save. He gave Ryback a clothesline that sent him over the top rope to the floor. Cena got on the microphone to challenge Ryback to a Tables Match. Ryback seemed to agree with it. That's likely going to be next week.
They cut backstage where Brad Maddox was in his office. Vince McMahon showed up. Maddox said they had a match for next week with Cena vs. Ryback in a Tables Match. McMahon suggested more competition for Bryan, perhaps even a friend and then Maddox figured it out that he wanted Bryan vs. Kane next week.
Back to the arena, Bryan was in the ring alone as the crowd chanted for him. Cena looked on from ringside.
Analysis: I like that they ended it with Bryan celebrating in the ring. He was the star of this show by far and that's how it should have come to a close. It was a fitting end to one of the best performances in Raw history.
As for Ryback vs. Cena and Bryan vs. Kane next week, they probably announced them because Raw is being taped on Tuesday due to most of the roster going on tours of Australia, South Africa & China in the next couple of weeks. Because they are taping tomorrow they have the matches booked, so it's smart for them to announce them at the end of this week's show.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan - Obviously. That's probably the easiest star of the night there's ever been in my four years of writing this column!
2. Antonio Cesaro
3. CM Punk
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2013 Average: 5.79
2013 High: 8 (April 8)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 7, 4.5, 6, 7
The booking of Daniel Bryan is absolutely brilliant. They are really doing everything they can to make him into a big deal and the crowd is buying into it. He wrestled three guys for about 40 minutes and they were behind him every step of the way. It's so encouraging to see.
I'm also thrilled about the Punk/Lesnar/Heyman story. Even without Lesnar there, they were able to advance it in an intelligent way.
Randy Orton was absent. There was a story about a neck injury on WWE.com last week, but he claimed he was fine on Twitter. I'm not sure if it's legit or not. They didn't mention him.
There was no sign of the Wyatt Family, which is a shame. I'm not sure why they were off.
Big Show was advertised for the show. He wasn't on at all. I didn't particularly miss him, but why advertise without having him return? That's weird.
There were still parts of the show that dragged and a lot of 3-5 minute matches that weren't too exciting, but it was still above average again.
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TJR Radio returns Tuesday night at 10pmET/9pmCT. The Ace and I are joined by Arda Ocal (Twitter @arda_ocal) of the Baltimore Sun and Layfield Report. We'll talk about some famous interviews he's done (4 out of 10?), his involvement in wrestling, where he'd like to go and of course some current WWE topics as well. You can listen live right here (or any time after the show at your own convenience) or get it on iTunes on Wednesday morning.
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John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org