Live from Toronto, Ontario this is the Raw Deal for episode #1059. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
I have been to many WWE events in Toronto in my life seeing as it's only two hours from me, but couldn't make it to this one. I'm glad that Toronto was hosting Raw because it's been three years since the last Raw in Toronto, which is silly considering it's one of the best cities that WWE goes to. I watched both NFL games live on Monday night so this is being watched Tuesday morning without much knowledge of what happened. Let's get to it.
Raw began with WWE Hall of Famer Edge starting the show with a huge ovation. The pop was huge for their hometown boy. Before Edge spoke, ring announcer Tony Chimel did the introduction with his famous "Rated R Suuuuuuuuuperstar" voice crack version. The announcers are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler.
The carpet was in the ring for the Cutting Edge segment. Edge said that every time he comes out there the fans remind him why this is home and he welcomed us to the Cutting Edge. He said he was told to be out there by Triple H because it would be good for business. Hunter wanted him to have a reunion, but not with Christian - with Randy Orton from his Rated RKO days. Edge said Orton had nothing interesting to say, so he's not going to be the guest on the Cutting Edge. Edge welcomed his guest, Daniel Bryan, who of course received loud "yes" chants.
Bryan entered to a big ovation as they replayed what happened last week when Big Show was forced to knock out Bryan. Very loud "Daniel Bryan" chants from the Toronto crowd. Edge said Bryan's been through a lot, Bryan said yeah but it helps when so many people chant your name. Bryan claimed there was satisfaction in the struggle no matter how many beatings he takes because he will beat Randy Orton to be the WWE Champion. Edge related to Bryan because this (wrestling) is what they've wanted to do since they were kids. Edge asked Bryan if he thought he could beat Orton. Yes, of course. Edge asked more questions that led to "yes" responses and before it could go on, WWE Champion Randy Orton showed up.
Orton stood at the top of the ramp with the WWE Championship on his shoulder. Orton said it's a shame that the only place that gives a crap about Edge is a place like Canada. He also said it was a shame that Edge's body failed him at such a young age. Edge said that Orton is supposed to be the face of the WWE, but he acts like another body part. Edge: "I may have problems with my spine, but at least I have one." Good comeback there. Edge said that Triple H sucked at picking talent. Cue Sin Cara's music! No. Just kidding. Triple H's music started up.
The WWE COO Triple H stood on the stage next to Orton. Edge said he didn't have to bite his tongue like everybody else because he wasn't an active talent. Edge told Hunter that he didn't think Edge, Jericho or Cena could make it. Now he doesn't think Bryan can make it. Edge: "I know that your nose is huge, but sometimes you have to look past it." Hunter said that seeing Edge here was good for business, which led to Hunter plugging Haven on Syfy Friday nights after Smackdown. Hunter admitted he was wrong about Jericho and Cena. Time will tell if he's wrong about Bryan. Hunter said he was right about Edge being a failure. He claimed that the Rated R Superstar was a failure and he said that Edge never drew a dime. All somebody has to do is prove him wrong. Hunter set up a match for Bryan against Dean Ambrose with The Shield in Ambrose's corner while the crowd wanted Edge in Bryan's corner. Hunter said Edge's ability to "fight like a man is long past." He put Big Show in Bryan's corner.
Hunter said that he was not a dictator. The Toronto crowd chanted "Asshole" at him, which is a familiar WWE chant from the Attitude Era although we don't hear it too much anymore. Orton had a good expression as he wondered what they were chanting. Edge responded to him by saying "I didn't have to marry into my success - I earned this Hall of Fame ring." Crowd let out a big "oooohhhhh" for that. Fun line. Did Koko B Ware earn his? He wasn't that good. Edge countered the dictator line by saying "you're not a dictator Hunter, you're just a dick." Clever. Hunter spoke quickly to cut him off by saying Edge knew nobody could hurt him. He said since he can't hurt Edge, maybe he can hurt the ones he loves. That led to The Shield bringing out Christian on the stage. He was in a lot of pain as The Shield left him on the stage, the heels left and Edge asked for help for his best friend. Some stupid fans were chanting "one more match" at Edge because I guess they don't understand what a career ending injury really is. They went to break there.
Analysis: That was a hot opening segment that went about 20 minutes. It was great to hear Edge's song again and to see him fire off some funny lines too. Of course during most of his main event career he was an underhanded that had Vickie Guerrero abusing power, but we're not supposed to remember things. I liked the line about marrying into success as well as the dick line. Hunter took shots at him too by saying Edge couldn't fight like a man anymore. Christian getting beat up to end the segment was an odd way to end it and I thought it took the focus off Orton & Bryan too much, but it's obvious they will get more attention later in the show so ultimately I'm fine with it. It was also awesome to hear an "Asshole" chant again.
Backstage in Triple H's office, he was talking with his wife Stephanie when Edge showed up. The Shield was there to stand in front of Hunter. Edge said he wishes the doctors could clear him so he could go after Hunter. Hunter told him the doctors will never clear him. Triple H said that tonight Toronto was his town, so he told Edge to get out of his town and get off of his show. Edge left on his own.
Analysis: That's a simple way of taking the focus off Edge and writing him out of the rest of the show.
Kofi Kingston vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)
Heyman had some facial hair because he's been so worried of late. This is a rematch from Smackdown when Kingston beat Axel clean. Of course the IC Title isn't on the line. Axel hit a dropkick early on. Kingston hit the SOS that beat Axel on Smackdown, but Axel grabbed the bottom rope. Axel drove his knee to the back of Kingston while he was up against the middle rope. The ref told Axel to break it. He didn't break it, so Axel was disqualified. The match went about three minutes.
Winner: Kofi Kingston via DQ
Analysis: I thought Axel should have got the win here. It would have been a better finish than what they did. I understand what they were trying to do with the story, but Axel looks like too much of a loser when he should be a guy that has momentum heading into the second biggest match at Night of Champions.
Post match, Heyman went into the ring to tell Axel that if that happens on Sunday at Night of Champions then Heyman has to go against Punk. The story is that Axel lost on Smackdown and here, so Heyman was really worried. Axel tried to go after Kingston again, but Kingston came back with the Trouble in Paradise kick to knock down Axel.
Analysis: Once again it makes Axel look weak when you book him like that. Too weak.
The announcers recapped the Cody Rhodes firing angle, which is leading to Goldust versus Randy Orton on Raw. Jerry Lawler was wearing a generic WWE t-shirt. He said on Twitter because United Airlines lost his luggage.
There was a video package about Goldust. It focused on the bizarre acts that his character did over the years.
Analysis: I've always been a fan of Dustin Rhodes and his Goldust persona was really huge in the mid to late 90s in WWE. It was also great to see him back in WWE in the early 2000s. For the past year or so since being fired from WWE (he worked backstage) he's been doing indies on the weekends. I actually suggested the Dustin vs. Randy match in my Canton's Corner column on the weekend and then a few hours later on Saturday it was made official by WWE. Not saying they got it from me, but it's nice to see great minds think alike.
Backstage, Axel and Heyman were in a hallway with a WWE referee. Heyman claimed that he fell down. He said he slipped on some water. Of course we didn't see the fall. It was during the commercial.
There was a video package of last week's Raw when crying Big Show reluctantly knocked out Bryan with a punch because Triple H and Stephanie made him do it.
In the locker room, Booker T showed up to talk to Big Show. We don't know what Booker's on screen role is, but there he is. Booker said he respected Show even though they didn't always see eye to eye. Booker said if it was him he would have done what Show did. He told Show to think about his daughter and his family. "Don't let your pride make a mistake that you cannot take back." Show said pride is about all that he has left. Booker told him to be a professional.
Analysis: I guess Booker's role is to offer career advice to people now. He's basically saying Show should do what's best for his career because his family matters more than anything else.
There was a video package that told us Bray Wyatt was up next.
Dolph Ziggler was in the ring. He didn't even get a televised entrance. Bray Wyatt told us that they were here as he made his entrance with the Wyatt Family. One of these two is getting a push. The other is Dolph Ziggler.
Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Wyatt hit a body slam followed by his routine where he turns his head upside down in the corner. Ziggler hit a dropkick, but Wyatt hit his awesome running cross body attack. Wyatt yelled: "Is this not what you asked for?" They went to break about one minute into the match.
Back from break, Ziggler hit a neckbreaker followed by a splash in the corner. Ziggler hit a Fameasser for two. Rowan and Harper jumped on the apron, so Ziggler was distracted. Wyatt hit a splash in the corner on Ziggler. That led to the Sister Abigail neckbreaker by Wyatt for the win after about six minutes.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: * We only saw about three minutes of action. The fall of Dolph Ziggler continues. I don't know who he pissed off or what he said to piss somebody off, but it's a damn shame that he's losing so much. Ever since he turned babyface he lost a lot of his momentum. Even JBL on commentary said it would be an upset if Ziggler won. I get that they're trying to book Ziggler as a sympathetic babyface, but he has looked like such a loser since he went babyface. Wyatt looks impressive. He needs a feud, though.
There was a video package about Goldust's humor over the years. Some classic stuff there especially with Booker T as his partner.
Paul Heyman was shown coming down to the ring on crutches along with Curtis Axel and a man he claimed to be his doctor. Heyman said he wasn't an advocate for socialized medicine, so he didn't believe in the Candian "Health Claire" system. He meant to say "care" there. I guess mocking us Canadians for having a better health is a way to get heel heat. Heyman said his doctor was named Michael Kirshenbaum. The "doctor" was an indy wrestler named Asylum. Heyman said he would go back to the US to get an MRI on his knee and he was withdrawing himself from competition at Night of Champions. The crowd booed. He said he was going home to New York.
Raw GM Brad Maddox showed up with WWE's Dr. Sampson to say that if Heyman was getting out of the match then it would have to be determined by WWE's licensed doctor. Heyman sat on a chair as the doctor rolled up his pant leg to look at his right knee. JBL said it was a family show. The crowd topped that joke with a "this is awkward" chant. It's awkward writing about it too! The doctor determined Paul was fine after all.
CM Punk ran down to the ring with a kendo stick. He hit Heyman's fake doctor and Axel with the kendo stick. Heyman ran out of the ring and into the crowd showing that he was absolutely fine after all. Axel got out of the ring while Punk focused on the fake doctor. He teased like he would let him out of the ring, but instead Punk destroyed him with the kendo stick. He ended it with a KO shot to the head. Punk's music played to end the segment.
Analysis: That segment went a little long. Heyman's acting is great, but it was pretty obvious where this was going from the moment it started. It was a nice payoff with Punk coming out to get revenge after all the beatings he has taken of late. If you're wondering, Michael Kirshenbaum is actually a WWE Writer's Assistant, so that's where the fake doctor name is from.
Bryan vs. Ambrose later.
AJ Lee skipped her way down to the ring to join the commentary team. Other divas were in the ring for a match.
Natalya, Brie Bella & Naomi vs. Alicia Fox, Aksana & Layla
Lee said that one team is actual divas while Total Divas are a cast of a reality show that are not here for wrestling. Problem with that is Natalya is more of a wrestler than any woman there. Heels lie, though. It's okay. AJ said she had the date of when she won the Divas Title tattooed on her neck. Lawler asked if she had any more tattoos, so she said she's a little old for Jerry - she's 26. Haha wow that was funny. In the ring, Layla was working with Naomi although I didn't have too much interest in that. Layla missed a leg drop, so Naomi made a hot tag to Natalya. Natalya hit a suplex to Fox, some clotheslines and a body slam. AJ said she was main eventing Raw and running the show "for a year." It was actually three months (I looked it up to be sure). She said she main evented Raw three times - in terms of segments that's probably true. Natalya hit a spinning clothesline and applied the Sharpshooter to force Fox to tap out. It went about three minutes.
Winners: Natalya, Brie Bella & Naomi
Analysis: It was a very basic and short divas tag match. The crowd was into Natalya's offense, so that's good. AJ's commentary was fun even though some of it was BS, but again heels like to lie. Brie didn't even tag in for her team. What a competitor. I'm leaning towards AJ retaining the Divas Title at Night of Champions at this point although we'll see how the Smackdown taping goes in terms of who has the most momentum.
There was another video about Goldust that focused on his in-ring accomplishments. He's been the Intercontinental Champion and Tag Team Champion as Goldust.
R-Truth was in the ring doing his "What's Up" song. As soon as I saw him in the ring I thought "who is he going to lose to?" Then Alberto Del Rio's music started up. Rob Van Dam did a pre-taped promo saying that he would be the World Champion at Night of Champions. He didn't say much at all, dude.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
This is not for Del Rio's World Title of course. The crowd was bored with the match from the beginning so they did a "JBL" chant at the start of the match. Truth gave Del Rio a clothesline outside the ring followed by an attack outside the ring. There was a "Jerry" chant too as the announcers mentioned Lawler's heart attack on Raw a year ago. Even a "Cole" chant too as Del Rio attacked Truth outside the ring. Del Rio hit a clothesline as fans chanted "Justin Roberts" at them. There was a "RVD" chant too as Truth hit a jumping side kick and then a front suplex. Crowd with an "Undertaker" chant that the announcers didn't acknowledge. Del Rio hit a tilt a whirl slam, side kick to the face and Cross Armbreaker for the tapout win after five minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: *1/2 Just an average five minute TV match to give momentum to Del Rio as the World Champion heading into Night of Champions. I didn't care about it too much just like the crowd, who chanted random names rather than show an interest in the match. It might be time to move the World Title off Del Rio.
Bryan vs. Ambrose is coming up later.
As they returned from break, they showed a graphic for a "tag team turmoil" match on the Kickoff Show at Night of Champions. Cole narrated it. The teams in the match are Tons of Funk, Prime Time Players, The Usos, The Real Americans and 3MB. The winning team gets a tag title shot at Night of Champions. I love how 3MB is one match away from a tag title shot despite losing all the time. Great logic. Anyway, I'd expect the Prime Time Players to win that one.
Zeb Colter was in the ring with Antonio Cesaro for a promo. He complained about how Canada didn't help out America despite being neighbors. There was a nice "Zeb snuck across our border" sign. Zeb insulted hockey, so the fans booed. That's massive heat in Canada. Santino's music hit as he made his return. Santino opened up a gym in the Toronto area recently and has spent the last few months working on that. This is his return in his home city. Yes he's Canadian.
Santino vs. Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter)
Cesaro hit a dropkick to start the match. Cole mentioned Santino's Battle Arts Academy business that just opened up. Cesaro gave Santino the Giant Swing move. That was amazing! It lasted about 45 seconds. Maybe the best Giant Swing ever and the crowd even gave it a standing ovation. The crowd even chanted "holy shit" after that move. Santino hit his hip toss and headbutt combo. He wanted the Cobra, but Cesaro prevented that. Cesaro threw the Cobra sleeve into the crowd and hit a slam for two. Uppercut in the corner got another two count for Cesaro. Santino countered Cesaro with a side takeover that was enough for the win after about three minutes.
Analysis: * Fluke win. Fun match to get Santino back in the swing of things. Yes I said swing on purpose.
Goldust vs. Orton coming up later.
In the ring, Damien Sandow was doing a promo. He said when he cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase he'll take his thrown, but for now he'll be our uncrowned World Champion. The Miz' music cut him off.
Damien Sandow vs. The Miz
Miz hit a corner clothesline early followed by a double axehandle off the top. Sandow regained control as the crowd chanted "Randy Savage" because there was apparently a guy dressed like Savage in the crowd (that's what I was told). Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain for two. The crowd chanted "you can't wrestle" at Miz. He didn't seem thrilled by it because after he hit a dropkick to the knee of Sandow he stared at the crowd. Fandango's music started up as he danced on the stage with Summer Rae. The crowd popped huge for it. Sandow rolled up Miz for the win after four minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Analysis: * The "music plays, guy gets distracted and other guy gets the rollup win" is my most hated match finish that there is. It's even worse than when the heel walks out of a match. That's how much I hate it. Sandow actually won something. Crazy. Too bad it was a match nobody cared about.
Post match, Fandango said "it's Fandango" to a nice ovation. Fandango's boring feud with The Miz is still going on? Ugh. End it. It's not helping either guy.
The lovely Renee Young received a nice ovation because she was a sportscaster in Canada before being in WWE. She interviewed Goldust. Goldust did a great job in saying that he made mistakes in his life, but Cody always did things the right way. Goldust said he means business and that after tonight Randy Orton will never forget the name of...but before he could say it Triple H showed up. Hunter said Goldust was probably nervous. He re-iterated that if Goldust wins then Cody gets his job back, but if he doesn't then who knows what happens. He told Goldust he hopes that he doesn't let his family down.
Analysis: Good passion by Goldust in the promo. Hunter came off as a jerk like usual. I enjoy heel Hunter way more than the babyface version. It's a natural role for him, just saying.
The WWE Champion Randy Orton made his entrance to boos. Goldust received a nice ovation during his entrance. It was nice to hear that song again.
Randy Orton vs. Goldust
This is not for Orton's WWE Title of course. The crowd chanted "yes" during Goldust's punches. Goldust hit a back elbow, so Orton rolled out to the floor for a breather. "You still got it" chant from the crowd. Already? Orton missed a dropkick, which led to a Goldust jackknife cover for two. Orton regained control with his body stomping and Goldust got another nearfall. He set up Orton in the corner for the Shattered Dreams kick, but Orton rolled out to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back in the ring, Goldust got his feet up to prevent a corner attack. Goldust whipped Orton's face into the steel steps. They went back into the ring, which led to Orton throwing Goldust into the steel post while Goldust was on the apron. Orton hit his back suplex off the security wall spot that he does all the time now. In the ring, Orton did more body stomping. Following an Orton chinlock, Goldust came back with a bulldog. Time for the pace to pick up. Goldust hit a couple of clotheslines and then his awesome uppercut punch. He always had one of the best looking punches in the business. Goldust got a rollup for two. That was a good nearfall. Orton came back with his DDT off the middle ropes. Orton mocked the "yes" chants as the crowd chanted "no" at him. Orton wanted the RKO, but Goldust hit the Cross Rhodes for a two count. Awesome nearfall. Huge pop for that. Orton came back with a nearfall of his own. Goldust tried a clothesline, Orton ducked and hit the RKO. He covered for the win after 15 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: *** Best match of the night by far. I thought they did an awesome job in terms of creating believable nearfalls that the crowd really believed. When Rhodes hit the Cross Rhodes they thought that was it. Orton winning obviously makes sense since he's the WWE Champion. It makes sense to hold off on bringing Cody back. Might as well build up to it some more. I think we'll see Cody do some kind of run-in perhaps as soon as Night of Champions or Raw next week. I think it could wait a few weeks. Bring back Dusty for a promo next week. Keep building up the sympathy for Cody without putting him on screen.
Post match, Orton had the microphone as he spoke while standing over Goldust. He told Goldust that his dream of getting Cody's job back has been shattered just like Daniel Bryan's dream of being WWE Champion will be shattered at Night of Champions. They went to break there.
There was a video package for Los Matadores (Primo & Epico with new names) coming soon.
Backstage, Goldust looked sad as Stephanie McMahon walked up to him. She told him he let his brother and father down. He let the WWE Universe down. She asked him how it felt to be a loser just his brother. She told him to go join Cody in the unemployment line and to tell his dad she says hi. Goldust walked off.
Analysis: What a bitch. Speaking of his dad, Dusty is basically the man in charge of NXT and that show is a lot of fun.
Rob Van Dam made his entrance after being introduced by Ricardo Rodriguez. On Smackdown, Orton beat RVD after Del Rio went after Ricardo and RVD came to his aid. After that match, Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker. They went to break there.
There was a "Did You Know" about how WWE has 9 of the 10 DVDs in the sports category. Somebody tell WWE that people don't buy DVDs at the rate that they used to. I don't think other major sports companies even release a lot of DVDs these days.
Ryback made his entrance. Alberto Del Rio showed up on the stage to say that RVD was a washed up loser while Ricardo is nothing. After Night of Champions we won't be chanting "RVD" we'll be chanting "ADR" according to Del Rio.
Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Ryback
It's the battle of the guys that wrestle in singlets that look similar. Belly to belly suplex by Ryback. RVD came back with a spinning back to the face and then the Rolling Thunder for a two count. Off the top, RVD hit a somersault dive. Then a jumping side kick off the top by RVD. Ryback went to the floor, so RVD jumped off the top rope. Ryback moved, which led to RVD crashing jaw first on the barrier. Ryback picked him up and drove RVD groin first into the steel ring post two times. The ref DQ'd Ryback for that. Match went about three minutes.
Winner: Rob Van Dam by DQ
Analysis: * Short match that didn't really get going. You can throw somebody's head into the ring post repeatedly during a match without a DQ, but if you put their groin into it then it's a DQ. I guess that's similar to hitting a low blow in the ring. Weird ending, though. That's the finish you do when you don't want to make either guy look weak. Ryback doesn't care about wins. He just wants to hurt people.
Post match, Ryback hit Shellshock in the center of the ring.
Backstage, Big Show was walking when Stephanie McMahon showed up to tell him if he touched The Shield he would be terminated. She said "it's what's best for business." Show was angry as she left. Apparently John Laurinaitis isn't very good at writing up ironclad contracts for WWE employees.
Edge is back on Smackdown this week in Ottawa.
Dean Ambrose made his entrance through the crowd with Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns joining him. Big Show entered so he could sit in the corner of Daniel Bryan. He wasn't thrilled about it. Bryan made his entrance to a huge ovation.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose (w/Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns)
Ambrose bailed to the floor when Bryan opened up the match with a series of kicks. Back in the ring, Bryan tripped up Ambrose and stomped on his left arm a couple of times. Bryan put Ambrose in a surfboard like submission, but wasn't able to hold it long enough. Bryan hit a running clothesline. Ambrose hit Bryan with a forearm while Bryan was on the apron and that sent flying into the barricade wall. That's the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Ambrose was still in control of the action. Ambrose missed a corner attack, so he went shoulder first into the ring post. Bryan hit two running dropkicks in the corner and then a Hurricanrana aka Frankensteiner off the top for two. Bryan was able to apply the Yes Lock, but Ambrose made it to the ropes. Ambrose moved out of the way of another corner dropkick by Bryan. Ambrose put Bryan on the top rope, but Bryan fought out of it and hung Ambrose upside down leading to a dropkick to the face. To the top rope, Bryan hit a top rope back suplex for two. Against Rollins he did a German Suplex in that spot because he's more athletic than Ambrose. Crowd chanted "this is awesome" for that. Bryan went for a charge, but Ambrose avoided it and sent Bryan outside the ring. Reigns went for a Spear, but Bryan sidestepped it and Reigns went into the steps. Rollins attacked too only to hit the announce table because Bryan moved. Ambrose capitalized with a DDT on the floor. Ambrose rolled Bryan back in the ring for a two count. Ambrose yelled at him to stay down. Bryan grabbed him in a small package and that was enough to win the match for Mr. Small Package after 15 minutes of action.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/4 If you give Daniel Bryan more than 12 minutes he'll always have a match better than three stars. I don't have a problem with him having these main event matches with guys like Rollins and Ambrose week after week. I like that Bryan's the guy that can win matches via Yes Lock, running knee or small package and it all fits his character. He excels at wrestling so much that you believe him in everything that he does. That's why he's such a likable performer.
Post match, Bryan sent Ambrose outside the ring. That meant all three Shield guys were down outside the ring.
Randy Orton ran down to the ring. Bryan took him down with a dive outside the ring. The Shield attacked Bryan outside the ring. Show stood up with the steel chair, but Orton and The Shield told him he couldn't do anything about it. Orton went into the ring with Bryan. Orton hit the RKO on Bryan.
Triple H and Stephanie showed up at the top of the ramp. Hunter told Show to be a professional. He wanted Show to knock Bryan out again. Show went into the ring. He had second thoughts. Orton told Show to do what he was told. Show couldn't do it. Orton reminded him that he had the authority from Triple H to tell Show what to do. While all that was going on, Bryan got back to his feet and he hit Orton with the running knee to the face. Show left with a smile on his face. Bryan grabbed the WWE Title and led the crowd in "yes" chants while Orton was down in the ring. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: I liked the ending. Bryan needed to end Raw with the advantage at some point. They set it up well with Orton yelling at Big Show, so that gave Bryan time to get back to his feet and knock out Orton with the running knee. It made sense and worked well. No complaints from me. Technically Stephanie said Show couldn't touch The Shield, but I think it's also implied that he can't touch Orton either.
Right now I'm thinking Bryan doesn't win the WWE Title at Night of Champions. It's too soon. Plus, he ended Raw on a triumphant note so the "advantage on TV, lose on PPV" theory is in full effect.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
3. Randy Orton
6 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2013 Average: 5.81
2013 High: 8.5 (August 27)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 8.5, 6, 7, 6
Two good matches, a hot promo segment to open the show and some decent stories throughout. It was a slightly above average edition of Raw to me.
I'm happy that Goldust was back in action. I don't think WWE has interest in him as an active wrestler anymore, but I hope they can find a role for him again. He showed he could still go in the ring and he had a very entertaining match with Orton.
There was still too much filler in the show, though. It definitely dragged at times.
The Toronto crowd was awesome. Maybe I'm biased because I've seen many shows in Toronto over the years, but they really were great. It would be nice if Toronto got at least two Raw episodes per year. This is the first one in three years. It's a major city with a hot crowd. Who cares if they chant random stuff. If the story and product is good they will pay attention to the match. Listen how invested they were in the Goldust/Orton matches. It's not the crowd's fault that Miz is a boring face. A PPV would be nice since the last one was September 2006.
I'll write more about the storylines in the Night of Champions Preview this weekend. I'll be at Night of Champions too, so I have more interest than usual.
Thank you for all the feedback on my 20 WWE Ideas column. It was a lot of fun to write. Also check out my Canton's Corner column from Saturday with some Night of Champions Q&A plus some thoughts on Cody Rhodes too.
That's all for me. The Night of Champions preview will be up after Smackdown.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org