Live from Cleveland, Ohio this is the Raw Deal for episode #1060. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Here's my full review of WWE Night of Champions, which I attended live on Sunday. Not a great show by any means. It's still fun to see a pay-per-view live, though.
There was a brief video that highlighted key moments from Night of Champions when Ryback helped Paul Heyman beat CM Punk and then Daniel Bryan's victory over Randy Orton in the WWE Title match to become the new WWE Champion.
Raw began with the new WWE Champion Daniel Bryan entering the arena to loud "yes" chants and the WWE Title around his waist. They even put "YES" plates on the title. Loud "Daniel Bryan" chants once his music stopped. Bryan yelled "yes" repeatedly while holding up the WWE Title. Before he could continue the celebration, WWE COO Triple H made his way down to the ring.
Hunter mentioned the fast count from Sunday night. He claimed it was what everybody was talking about, which was true. Hunter called referee Scott Armstrong down to the ring. With Armstrong in the ring, Hunter showed footage of Armstrong's normal cadence when counting a pinfall. Hunter showed the footage of the finish of the match when Armstrong counted to three at a faster speed than normal. There was a side by side shot of the normal count as well as the faster one, so we could visually see that the count during the final pinfall was quicker than his normal count.
Hunter asked Scott to explain himself. Armstrong: "It was a fast count. I don't know." He said he made a mistake. Hunter told him he was a senior official in WWE and wanted an explanation. Scott said he made a mistake. Hunter mentioned he's known Scott for 15 years and he's never seen him make that kind of a mistake. Hunter wanted Scott to tell him the truth. Without the microphone by his mouth, Scott spoke to Daniel and Hunter mentioned that Scott said "they got us, Daniel" with the idea that Scott was working with Daniel. Daniel was shocked by all of it. Hunter sent Scott to the back.
Hunter went into a speech about how Daniel went into a conspiracy with Scott even though clearly Daniel had no idea. Hunter said he was going to hold the WWE Championship in abeyance, which is not a word you hear often in WWE. It means that the championship is now vacant. Hunter said he wouldn't give the WWE Title to Randy Orton, but Daniel is no longer the WWE Champion. There might be a rematch in the future. As of right now there's no WWE Champion. Hunter told Daniel to hand him the WWE Title. Hunter kept going on how Daniel was part of a conspiracy to win the WWE Title. "I would have thought that Shawn taught you better than this." That's a reference to Shawn Michaels, who helped train Daniel over a decade ago.
Daniel didn't want to give up the WWE Title, so Randy Orton walked down to the ring. Hunter told him to calm down. Hunter said Daniel needed to hand over the WWE Title or else Hunter promised he would take it from him. Daniel told him "no" so Randy hit the RKO on him. Hunter left with the WWE Title in his hands. Randy stood over Daniel's fallen body to end the segment as they went to break.
Analysis: That means Bryan is a two time WWE Champion in the last month while holding the championship for less than a day total. I think the Armstrong thing could have been explained a bit better. He could have said he bumped his head (there was a ref bump on Sunday) and didn't mean to count that fast. I think it will be revealed down the road that Hunter told him to count fast if Bryan was in a position to win, so that way they had a reason to strip him. Perhaps that's a part of the story in the future. Hunter got massive heat for this. I think from his character's perspective he did a good job of justifying his actions and obviously the fans are sympathetic towards Daniel about what happened. Speaking as a fan that was at Night of Champions, I noticed the fast count immediately. Most people in the building did. I expected this to happen, so I'm glad they got it out of the way quickly.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were talking about what happened when Randy Orton showed up. Randy wanted the WWE Title back. Stephanie told him he deserved to lose on Sunday. She wondered what happened to the real Randy Orton who once handcuffed Triple H and gave her a DDT. She said until he finds THAT Randy Orton they might have to find a new face of WWE. She left and Hunter told Randy that's the guy they're looking for.
Analysis: In other words, they want Orton to be more of the heel character he was four years ago when he was feuding with Hunter and would do anything to get what he wanted. That was a nice segment with Hunter & Steph as a way to bring out the more aggressive side in Orton.
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is a rematch from Night of Champions except this time Dean Ambrose's US Title is not on the line. Ziggler hit a cross body block followed by a clothesline that sent Ambrose over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Ziggler applied the sleeper and then Ambrose grabbed a sleeper of his own. Ambrose whipped Ziggler into the corner, which sent Ziggler over the top to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial break.
The announcers were arguing about the Triple H/Bryan story from earlier with Lawler wondering if Triple H and Armstrong were in cahoots. Back to the match, Ambrose hit a superplex for two. Ambrose drove his knee into Ziggler's knee in order to slow down his momentum. Ziggler came back with a leaping DDT as the Cleveland crowd rallied behind him. Ziggler hit a dropkick followed by a corner splash, clothesline and then ten elbow drops. It's the heart attack elbow drop sequence (he did that to Jerry Lawler the night he had a heart attack last year). Ambrose came back with a spinebuster for two. Ambrose slammed Ziggler down while he was on the middle rope. Ziggler countered Ambrose's finisher attempt and hit the Zig Zag to win the match after 11 minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: **1/2 It was a good TV match with each guy hitting their signature spots and Ziggler countering a finisher to get the win. Ambrose won on Sunday. Ziggler won on Monday. It's likely that they'll have another US Title match soon. I'd like to see Ziggler in a more important storyline, but I don't mind seeing him against a talented young guy like Ambrose either.
Raw GM Brad Maddox was in his office with Big Show. Maddox told him that Triple H and Ms. McMahon will be there.
Back from break, we were in the GM's office. Maddox and Triple H talked about how it would be Bryan vs. Roman Reigns later in the show. Maddox also told Stephanie that Dusty Rhodes was there. Maddox left. Stephanie told Big Show that he was suspended without pay last week on Smackdown, so he should learn to follow orders. She told him to stay in the office unless she needs him, in which case she'll call for him. He just said "yes Ms. McMahon."
Analysis: That sounds like a good job if all you have to do is sit on a couch in an office all day. They even pay for your flights. Count me in!
The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL narrated the story regarding Punk vs. Heyman/Axel match that ended with Ryback helping Heyman pin Punk.
Fandango and Summer Rae made their entrance for a match.
R-Truth made his entrance, so they showed the awful segment from Smackdown last week that featured a dance contest that Miz won with comedy dancing. This led to the boring Miz/Fandango match on Sunday as well as this match on Raw.
Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. R-Truth
Some fans were chanting "Summer Rae" and I agreed with them. Fine looking woman. Fandango whipped Truth hard into the corner a couple of times to knock him down. JBL and Lawler were arguing about two different things. Truth hit a jumping side kick to the face. Fandango knocked him down with a kick to the face while he was on the apron. Fandango hit the top rope legdrop to win after about three minutes.
Analysis: 1/2* Below average match. It was a short TV match to get Fandango a win after losing on Sunday. Same thing they did for Ziggler earlier in the show. Since I have nothing else to add, I'll just point out that R-Truth was the coach of Fandango (Johnny Curtis) on NXT when Curtis won. I guess they'll never get that tag team title shot they were supposed to get huh?
Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was talking to some babyfaces like Prime Time Players, Natalya, Hornswoggle, Ricardo and Booker T in preparation for his segment coming up next.
We were shown videos from two weeks ago when Cody Rhodes was fired and then last week when Goldust lost the match against Randy Orton to get his brother Cody's job back.
There was a nice ovation for Dusty Rhodes as soon as his music hit. "He's just a common man" is a fun song. The WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes made his entrance. He said he was there as Virgil Runnels - his real name. He talked about all the hardships in his life, but he reached down deep because of the love of his children and he found a way to do it. It's not about him; it's about Cody's job. We saw his son lose his job not for the love of the game, but because of "what's good for business." He spoke about Goldust stepping up to the plate to take a mighty swing and that having two sons that you're proud of is really what's best for business. Dusty talked about how in one night they broke Cody's heart by taking his job away. He wanted Cody to have the opportunity to get his job back. He called Stephanie McMahon out and even said Stephanie Levesque (her last name due to her marriage to Triple H) too.
Stephanie Pantsuit McMahon made her entrance. She shook Dusty's hand when she went into the ring. She called him Virgil. Stephanie handed Dusty a card for Bed, Bath & Beyond for Cody's wedding. He threw it away. She said that Dusty was the son of a plumber while she was the daughter of a genius. Stephanie wants to offer Cody his job back or she can give that job to Goldust. There's only one open spot, but Dusty has to make that choice. He said he wouldn't do it. Stephanie said she could help his youngest son Cody who did everything right or his older son Dustin who made mistakes whiles Dusty was on the road all those years. Dusty said he couldn't pick a favorite just like she couldn't pick a favorite one of her daughters. She wondered if he was going to leave his kids behind. Dusty told Stephanie that she could go straight to hell. She said she was sorry he felt that way.
The Shield entered the ring. The announcers said it wasn't right. Stephanie called for Big Show to come out there. She told Dusty that since he couldn't make a decision he had to choose if he would be dismembered by The Shield or knocked out by Big Show. Dusty couldn't decide. She decided for him and told Big Show to knock out Dusty. Show entered "crying giant" mode. She told Shield to get him, which led to Show telling them to get back. Show cried as he gave Dusty a hug. The "crying giant" cried some more and then he hit Dusty with the KO Punch. He held Dusty in his arms as he fell down. Stephanie left with The Shield as the doctor checked on Dusty. There was a stretcher for Dusty as the announcers used SERIOUS VOICES~! before going to break.
Analysis: Excellent segment. I loved Dusty's promo because it was easy for people to relate to it even if they were too young to see Dusty in the ring or know much about his character. It was about a father looking out for his family. I liked the tone of the promo when Stephanie showed up. I really like her as a bitchy character. She has no interest in being a cool heel (like her husband sometimes). She's only there to get booed by the fans based on her actions. Show did a good job as the "crying giant" again. One of these days he's going to unleash on Triple H and The Shield to a huge reaction. I like that they aren't rushing it. The stretcher job was a nice touch as a way to put over how serious Big Show's KO Punch is.
Back from break, Dusty was loaded in the ambulance with Big Show going with him. Other babyfaces looked on.
Brie Bella, Cameron & Naomi vs. Layla, Alicia Fox & Aksana
Divas Champion AJ Lee was on commentary with Natalya except Natalya's headset wasn't working. She blamed AJ for it, which is pretty silly and funny at the same time. Naomi hit her flying butt splash move. The heels worked over Cameron in their corner. AJ said she didn't need friends. Lawler gave Natalya his microphone, so Natalya pointed out that AJ tapped out the last time they had a singles match. Brie got the tag for her team after she bumped Naomi out of the way. Brie slapped Aksana and hit an X-Factor while the Funkadactyls took out the other girls. It went about three minutes.
Winners: Brie Bella, Cameron & Naomi
Natalya told AJ that while AJ is a title holder, Natalya is a born champion. They had a staredown after the match.
Analysis: DUD The match was pretty bad. Sloppy finish. A slap and one move finished off Aksana. AJ and Natalya on commentary was fun when Natalya's headset finally worked. Hopefully they have a Divas Title feud.
The Miz was shown talking to Brad Maddox backstage, but we couldn't hear what was said.
The announcers recapped the Dusty Rhodes story with him getting stretchered out of the building after a Big Show KO Punch. The replay focused on Stephanie's smile after the punch. Cole and JBL mentioned that Dusty is a 68 year old man, so there was concern about his health.
Before the next match, they showed when Damien Sandow won the Money in the Bank briefcase. How many matches has he won since then? Not very many.
Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
RVD won by DQ against World Champion Alberto Del Rio on Sunday, so that feud is likely continuing. Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain early on, which is a sign that it's going to be a short match. RVD made the comeback with a hurricanrana and a cross body block off the middle ropes for two. Clothesline by RVD, a side kick and then Rolling Thunder was blocked by Sandow getting his knees up. RVD hit a back kick to the face and then a side kick off the middle rope. Five Star Frog Splash by RVD wins it after three minutes.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
After the win, they played Sandow's music at first. Oops. Then they played RVD's song. After the replays, Sandow reminded us that he was still Mr. Money in the Bank (also "guaranteed next World Heavyweight Champion) and his music played despite losing the match.
Analysis: * A short match that felt rushed with how fast they were going through some of the spots. It was a way to get RVD a win as he likely gets another shot at the World Title in the near future. Sandow continues to lose while telling us that he's a future World Champion. He doesn't look like one with all of the losses he has.
The Miz vs. Randy Orton is up next as a result of the meeting that Maddox had with The Miz.
Backstage, Triple H was in his office when referee Scott Armstrong walked into the room. Hunter said there's no WWE Champion because of what happened with Armstrong's fast count. He called Armstrong a loyal employee for 20 years. 20 years? Armstrong wasn't in WWE until the mid 2000s and he was in WCW for years before that. Does buying WCW mean they can claim that WCW employees were WWE employees before WWE bought the company? Even I can't justify that logic. Hunter told him he was going to give Scott a generous severance package. He told him he had to let him go, but that he would take care of him. Armstrong was fired.
Analysis: Maybe Road Dogg can have a match to get his brother's job back! I'm sure I wasn't the only one to make that joke. Scott hasn't been refereeing that much on TV in recent months anyway. He works backstage as a producer most of the time, so this was a storyline way to cover that. They have about eight regular referees anyway. Firing a referee is a way to put over the idea that Hunter is on a power trip.
Randy Orton made his entrance. The Miz received a bigger than normal reaction because he was in his hometown of Cleveland. Miz hugged his mom and dad at ringside. Randy Orton attacked him from behind while Miz was hugging his parents. Orton threw Miz into the steel steps. He attacked Miz with punches outside the ring. Referees tried to keep Orton back as they went to break.
Analysis: Awesome cheap heel heat move.
Back from break, the ref asked Miz if he wanted to have the match still. He said yes.
Randy Orton vs. The Miz
Orton wanted his DDT off the middle rope, but Miz countered wit ha back body drop that led to Orton being knocked out of the ring. Miz whipped Orton into the barricade as well as the die of the ring. Orton recovered by sending Miz face first into the steel ring post. The bell rang so the match ended in a double countout. It went about two minutes.
Match Result: Double Countout
The beating continued post match as Orton threw Miz over the announce table. They went into the crowd. Miz fought back with a clothesline that sent Orton over the barricade onto the floor. Orton gave Miz a DDT with Miz' feet hanging off the barricade while he was right in front of the parents of The Miz. The mom of The Miz had a good reaction to it with fear on her face while Miz' dad had the same expression on his face. His mustache and long hair look was unique for a guy likely in his 50s or 60s. Orton rolled Miz into the ring. He grabbed a steel chair while looking at the parents of The Miz. Orton placed the head of The Miz between the seat of the chair and the back of it. He gave a running knee drop to the chair/head at the same time. Officials tended to Miz to end the segment.
Analysis: That was vicious, violent and brutal. At least it was in a PG sense. It's better than seeing a guy taking steel chair shots to the head that we might have seen a decade ago. Remember that earlier in the show Orton was told to bring back the old Orton that showed no remorse and that's what we got here. He took Miz out with the help of a steel chair while taunting the family of The Miz. This was another very good segment that wasn't about the match. It was more about the angle and putting over Orton as a jerk again.
Ryback's music hit as he entered the stage along with Paul Heyman, who was in wheelchair that was pushed by Curtis Axel. Axel left as Heyman sat on the stage with Ryback. "My name is Paul Heyman and I am the best in the world." Big boos for that.
Heyman insulted the Cleveland crowd for their insignificant lives. "I pinned CM Punk." He can say it over and over again. Every time he says it, it will be the truth. Loud "CM Punk" chants from the crowd. He said that the first time he went face to face with Punk in the ring the winner of the match was Paul Heyman. Heyman said there was no backup plan and that Punk beat him so much that he is now confined to a wheelchair. How did he survive? Because of one man that took the initiative to make history. He's here and will continue to torment CM Punk (plus all of us) because of the actions of this big beautiful man right here - he means Ryback. Heyman said he owed his life to Ryback.
Ryback said he can't stand a bully the way Punk was bullying Heyman. He told Punk that he didn't like him or anything about him. Ryback said he was there to stop Punk. Ryback told Heyman that the never had to worry again because as long as he's around, Punk will never put his hands on Heyman. Ryback knelt down to Heyman as Heyman kissed him on the cheek. Ryback's music played to end the segment.
Analysis: Very good promo. The kiss on the cheek was pretty awkward, but showed how grateful Heyman was to Ryback for saving him. Obviously this will lead t a Ryback vs. Punk rivalry that is a repeat of what they did last year except with Punk in the heel role while Ryback was the face. I think pairing up Heyman with Ryback is a good fit because Ryback won't have to talk as much and will get the benefit of Heyman drawing incredible amounts of heat for his matches.
Bryan vs. Reigns later.
Los Matadores are coming soon as the video package told us.
Tag Team Elimination Match: Tons of Funk vs. Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. The Usos
The winning team gets a future tag title match. All three teams were in the ring. Two guys work in the ring while the others stand on the apron. Clay slammed Jimmy Uso a couple of times followed by a backbreaker. Lawler mentioned that Browns running back Trent Richardson was married to one of the Usos cousins. That's a big family. Cesaro gave Jimmy a suplex, but then Tensai tagged in for a delayed butterfly suplex on Cesaro. Jey tagged in Cesaro to join the match and he got knocked down by a Tensai shoulderblock. Cesaro did a blind tag on Jey, which led to a rollup of Tensai to eliminate them from the match after four minutes.
First Team Eliminated: Tons of Funk
Cesaro hit a dropkick on Jey to send him out of the ring for the floor to commercial break spot.
Back from break, they showed the spot during the break when Antonio Cesaro did the Giant Swing on Jey. The fans were even chanting "this is awesome" from it. There was a chant for JBL and Jerry. There was even a mild Michael Cole chant. Jey kicked Cesaro away to make the hot tag to Jimmy, who hit a clothesline off the top on Swagger, who also tagged in. Jimmy hit the running butt splash in the corner for two as Cesaro broke it up. The Usos hit the Double Trouble dive over the top onto Cesaro & Swagger outside the ring. Back in the ring, Swagger put the Patriot Lock on Jimmy. Jimmy came back with a side kick to the face. Jey made a blind tag as Swagger gave Jimmy a belly to belly suplex off the top. Swagger laid on the mat after delivering the move, which led to Jey hitting a top rope splash to win. You don't see that very often where a guy hits a move and then gets pinned right after it. It went about 14 minutes.
Winners: The Usos
Analysis: **3/4 That was an entertaining tag match. Lots of fun. Those two teams could have some great matches together if they have more opportunities. It's nice to see that the tag match is growing with more teams having longer matches on television like this. Another tag title match between The Shield and The Usos will be a lot of fun.
The announcers gave us some health updates. The Miz has a "damaged thorax" and that Dusty Rhodes is conscious. His vital signs are fine, but he's going to be kept overnight for evaluation. At least nobody had anal bleeding, right Jerry?
There was a video about WWE's reading program with Walmart as Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle were shown reading to kids.
The Wyatt Family had a video where Bray Wyatt talked about beyond the city walls there's another world full of animals - his world. In his world when one of his animals is sick or hurt they don't let them fall in agony - they put him down. The video showed Wyatt winning matches. "Don't you worry about a thing Abigail; I'm going to put them down. I'm going to put them all down." That was a cool video. I love this gimmick.
There was another replay of when Big Show was forced to hit Dusty Rhodes with the KO Punch.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage. He received encouraging words from R-Truth and Kofi Kingston. Then his girlfriend Brie Bella gave him a hug, so I guess that relationship is making it onto Raw now. Other babyfaces encouraged Bryan as he walked towards the ring.
Analysis: That's the first time they acknowledged the Bryan/Brie relationship since Total Divas started a couple months ago. They could use her in the story to make things difficult for Bryan with Hunter/Steph making things tough on her or firing her.
Roman Reigns was in the ring with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a big reaction like usual. Randy Orton made his way down to the ring to watch the match.
Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns (w/Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose)
Bryan's had singles matches with Rollins & Ambrose in recent weeks, so now it's Reigns' turn. Bryan was in control early as Orton took a seat at ringside to watch the match. Lawler and JBL argued about the WWE Title situation with Lawler believing HHH was in cahoots with Armstrong while JBL thought that Bryan worked with Armstrong. Reigns hit a clothesline to the back of Bryan to knock him down hard. Bryan hit a running knee to slow down Reigns, but Reigns came back with a high knee to slow him down. Bryan worked on the leg of Reigns with a submission hold. Reigns hit a clothesline in the corner followed by a suplex for two. They replayed the regular count and fast count from Night of Champions while this match was going on. The announcers debated whether Bryan knew about it as Cole pointed out that criminals implicate others the way Armstrong did towards Bryan. Not saying Armstrong is a criminal, but that he could have been guilty of conspiring with HHH. I like that the announcers are talking about the major storyline in that way. Bryan sent Reigns face first into the middle turnbuckle corner. Bryan hit the missile dropkick on Reigns. Bryan went for his dive outside the ring, but Reigns ended up catching him. He drove Bryan back first into the ring apron. That was an awesome feat of strength by Reigns. I loved that spot. They went to break there.
Back from break, Bryan countered a Full Nelson into a rollup for two. Reigns regained control, but his superplex attempt was blocked. Bryan fought out of that predicament and then he missed a top rope headbutt. Reigns covered for a two count. Bryan tried to come back again, but Reigns caught him and powered him down with a side slam for two. Bryan made the big comeback with a running clothesline. He started to do his Ultimate Warrior-like shaking to get the crowd fired up like he always does. Loud "yes" chants for every kick by Bryan. Reigns ducked the roundhouse kick and dropped Bryan with a Samoan Drop for two. Bryan countered the Powerbomb into a rollup for two. Roundhouse kick got a two count for Bryan. Reigns pulled Rollins towards the apron, so Bryan hit a dropkick on Rollins that sent him back/neck first into the side of the announce table. Ouch! That had to hurt a bit. Bryan hit Reigns with a running dropkick and then he knocked Ambrose off the apron. Reigns hit a clothesline on Bryan. Bryan quickly recovered with the Yes Lock. Randy Orton ran in to break it up for the DQ finish. The match went 18 minutes.
Winner via Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good main event. Like I say every week, if Bryan gets more than 12 minutes in a match it's likely going to be at least three stars. I continue to be impressed by Reigns. It was not a carry job by Bryan. Reigns held his own and I really liked all of the power spots they did too. The improvement that Reigns has shown in the past year is great. He really has a bright future ahead of him. Rollins and Ambrose are more polished as workers, but Reigns continues to impress as well. The finish of the match was predictable. However, it came after 18 minutes of great wrestling so I'm fine with that kind of ending because it's about furthering a major story.
Post match, The Shield saved Orton from a Yes Lock as they attacked Bryan as a group. It was a scene we have seen many times in the past month. Orton grabbed a steel chair from ringside. He placed Bryan's head against the chair like he did to The Miz earlier. The camera shot focused on Orton backing up in the corner of the ring while we could see the entrance.
A number of babyface wrestlers ran down to the ring including The Usos, Kofi Kingston, Prime Time Players, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, R-Truth, Zack Ryder and more. Orton left through the crowd. Reigns hit a Spear on Kingston. Ziggler and RVD took out Ambrose. The Usos destroyed Reigns with a double superkick. Bryan hit the running knee attack (Buisaiku Knee Kick) to knock down Rollins. Young and O'Neil put Bryan on their shoulders as the audience chanted "yes" in support of Bryan. Other wrestlers were chanting it too. There were about ten guys in there. No Big Show. Congrats to Zack Ryder for being in the main event on Raw. The show ended with Bryan leading everybody in "yes" chants.
Analysis: Finally we get the ending with the babyfaces making the save. The next step in the story will be to see if those guys will be punished for supporting Bryan like that. It would make sense just based on the recent history of Triple H and Stephanie punishing anybody that does something that goes against their wishes.
It was a happy ending to Raw, which is a nice change from what we have been getting usually although last week it ended with Bryan triumphant too. I actually liked that Orton hightailed out of there when the others came down to the ring because it shows he's somewhat of a cowardly heel that didn't stay to fight with The Shield.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
2. Randy Orton
3. Roman Reigns
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2013 Average: 5.86
2013 High: 8.5 (August 27)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5.5, 8.5, 6, 7
It was a really good show this week. In terms of in-ring action it was average in some ways although the main event made up for it a lot. I absolutely love these long TV matches that Bryan gets every week. In terms of the story development it was an excellent show. I liked the Stephanie/Dusty and Randy/Miz segments a lot. The heels are getting legitimate heat right now because of how strong they are booked. The ending of Raw showed how much the fans are ready to cheer the babyfaces in this battle.
I hope they follow up on the Triple H/Armstrong angle in the near future because they need something better than what they did. There should be some sort of secret footage where Triple H is telling Armstrong that if it looks like Bryan is going to win make sure you count fast so I can strip him of the title. The way they left it was fine, but it could be better.
The vacant WWE Championship will likely lead to another Orton vs. Bryan match at Battleground in Buffalo on October 6th. Then later in October it's the Hell in a Cell PPV, so they will have a hot storyline heading into that one.
Finally, one more point to make. Long term storylines are better than short term ones. If the babyface has the title and holds it for a while it gets boring. The struggle and the chase is the most fun. These months are for building to major storylines. They are not the right time to book major title wins. To the haters out there that don't like the story, I suggest you hang in there. Be patient. There will be a satisfying payoff in the end. If they can make some performers into bigger stars along the way then that's for the betterment of WWE long term as well. The future is bright.
We will have another edition of TJR Wrestling Radio tonight at 10pmET/9pmCT talking about Night of Champions, some Raw and probably some NFL talk as well at the end of the show.
My next column will be Canton's Corner on Saturday most likely. Also be sure to check out TJRSports.com for many different sports columns and my NFL prediction columns on Thursday & Friday every week. Went 13-3 picking games last week. Hopefully I can keep that momentum going.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org