Live from Nashville, Tennessee this is the Raw Deal for episode #1012. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
There was a video package highlighting last week's big moments as Vince McMahon squared off with CM Punk.
The Raw theme song "Tonight is the Night" started up. Then we got the fireworks in the arena. Don't get them every week. Thank a budget. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show. He is joined by Jim Ross. No JBL. I assume he's only on Smackdown now since he worked Smackdown last week with Josh Mathews.
Big Show made his entrance. He mentioned the awful debate segment from two weeks earlier. Show claims that the point of the debate was to make him look foolish. The big angry giant showed us video from last week when he blocked Sheamus' Brogue Kick last week and threw him over the top. It was a cool counter to the move. Then there was a scientific challenge on Smackdown that showed his punch had more "force per punch" than Sheamus' Brogue Kick. If you think that's legit…well…I have no idea. I watched too much wrestling in high school to know anything about science. Show ranted on about how he's going to win the World Title. Then he complained about fans mentioning his 45 second World Title reign from last year when they tweet him things like "45 seconds fella" and other things that make him angry. "None of you are Irish. Don't tweet me fella." What about the Irish people? It was still a funny line. There was a "45 seconds" chant. Show was angry, so he called out Daniel Bryan to face him.
The camera went backstage where Daniel Bryan and others were watching the screen where Show was talking. GM AJ Lee walked up to Bryan, who didn't want to have a match. She told him to get out there. Bryan yelled "no" on his way to the ring as everybody else yelled "yes" at him. Bryan got a nice ovation for his entrance. He's not much of a heel these days if you listen to the reaction. There was a little kid with a goat face at ringside. Fantastic look!
Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan
Show charged at Bryan with a clubbing blows to the ribs. Bryan tried to slow him down with some kicks to the legs, but Show just dumped him out to the floor. There's the floor to commercial break.
Analysis: Didn't Show want to win in less than 45 seconds? He failed. It may seem weird that they would put a big match like this at the start of the show, but it makes sense to do it before the NFL game started at 8:30pmET.
Back from break, we got a replay of Show laying out Bryan with a Spear. Show applied the bearhug to Bryan in the center of the ring. JR was telling us we can't imagine how big the Big Show is. Show's been on WWE TV for 13 years. I love JR, but we all know how big he is. Bryan hit a dropkick to the knee of Show. He fired off a series of kicks to the chest followed by a kick to the head for two. The crowd was cheering and chanting "yes" for all of it. Bryan hit his running dropkick into the corner two times. Show was still on his feet. He caught Bryan with the Chokeslam. He covered for the victory. Match went about 7 minutes.
Winner: Big Show
Analysis: ** Good TV match. Show getting the win isn't a surprise because they need to continue to build him up as a serious threat to Sheamus' World Title at Hell in a Cell. Bryan worked as a babyface. Crowd loved everything he did. Only reason he's not a pure babyface is because he's not embracing the fans at this point. Bryan's the best in-ring performer in WWE. He proved it again in this match. He's always in the right place and has believable matches.
Post match, Kane walked to the ring. Show threatened to knock out Bryan, so Kane went into the ring to save his partner. Big Show left. Cole summarized it by saying that Kane can laugh at Bryan, but he doesn't want other guys hurting his partner.
CM Punk tweeted earlier in the day that he made his choice for his Hell in a Cell opponent. We'll find out "next" on Raw is what they told us. Did anybody really believe it would be this early in the show? Of course not.
The "Did You Know" bragged about WWE DVD success saying that they had 6 of the top 10 selling sports DVDs in America with SummerSlam at #1.
Paul Heyman was standing in the ring with the WWE Championship and there was a stand with a black cover that was hiding something from us. He introduced the WWE Champion CM Punk saying he would tell us who he was going to defend the WWE Championship against at Hell in a Cell. Heyman mentioned that Punk has held the title for 330 days. Awesome intro by Heyman. He's always been good at doing that.
CM Punk entered to mostly boos from the crowd. He talked about how he didn't like being disrespected and said it didn't matter who you were because if you disrespected him you would be put down. He called Vince McMahon's fight with him last week all about Vince. Said he had a big ego. Punk bragged about slapping McMahon last week. He also said that because of the beating he gave McMahon last week, we'll never see McMahon compete in this ring ever again. Gee I wonder if that's true. I also wonder who thought that was a good line to say. His name rhymes with wince. Punk remarked how it took two superstars to save McMahon.
Punk showed the poster for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. It was him dressed up as the devil. He said compared to the fans he was an angel. Punk talked about the devil he didn't know - Ryback. Even though he's a monster of a man, he has no business being a part of this conversation. He also referred to John Cena as the "hero" of the fans. Well, not all of the fans. He said will his Hell in a Cell opponent be the one armed man with 10 WWE Titles or "the next big thing" in WWE referring to Ryback? He was going to unveil his choice by lifting the cover off the stand beside him. Punk talked about how he needed more time to think about it. He told the fans to have more patience. It is a three hour show, so we are used to decisions coming later.
The music of Vince McMahon started up. He stood at the top of the ramp. McMahon said Punk blew his chance to pick his HIAC opponent. Now McMahon will make the decision for him. He said there would be a contract signing later in the show where McMahon would announce Punk's opponent at Hell in a Cell. "Your fate in Hell in a Cell is now in my hands. Respect that." Crowd cheered McMahon's promo. Punk and Heyman were angry in the ring.
Analysis: It wasn't a necessary segment. They could have done this in a lot of other ways. It's athree hour show, though, so they have to fill the time with something. Punk was fine in his promo as always, but nothing new was really said to us. It was mostly a re-hash of everything we've heard him say for the past month. If you're keeping track, they promoted the big announcement in the first 40 minutes of the show. Now it won't be until the end of the third hour. They do it all the time by now so I don't know if viewers are frustrated by it. I think we've just gotten used to it.
There's a rematch of Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett from last week. It ended in a DQ last week, so we get it again later. Fine with me.
There was a clip of Layla talking about her mom dying of breast cancer when she was 48 years old. Layla was crying about it. It was a plug for Komen.org/WWE. Very touching story and sad to know about, but it was brave of Layla to tell that story on WWE TV.
Officially announced for Hell in a Cell is Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Brodus Clay
Both guys were already in the ring. No Brodus dancing for us? Oh I'm so sad. Not really. Clay knocked Del Rio out of the ring early. Del Rio came back by focusing on the arm of Clay with attacks on the left arm of Clay. Love when he kicks a guy in the arm. Clay whipped Del Rio into the ropes and hit his headbutt to the chest of Del Rio. Clay missed a corner charge. Del Rio kicked him in the back of the head and then applied the Cross Armbreaker for the victory in under three minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: * I'm fine with Clay as the oversized jobber. He's not that good in the ring and his act is growing tired with the fans. Del Rio's in a big match at the PPV, so this was effective in terms of putting him over strongly heading into that big match with Orton in two weeks.
Backstage, Punk was talking with Heyman. Heyman told Punk that you could never "win" against McMahon. Punk told Heyman that he wanted to fight McMahon this week too. He sent Heyman to talk to McMahon.
Santino Marella and Zack Ryder made their entrance for a tag match. Team Cobro is their official name apparently.
Santino Marella & Zack Ryder vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young)
The match had already begun during the break. The PTPers were working on Santino in the ring. Ryder got the tag match about one minute into the match. Ryder hit a dropkick on O'Neil followed by a forearm in the corner. Ryder hit the Broski Boot in the corner. Young broke up a pinfall attempt. Young hit his finisher on Santino, Ryder hit his finisher on Young and then O'Neil finished off Ryder with the Sky High to win the match for his team. We saw less than two minutes of action.
Winners: The Primetime Players
Analysis: 1/2* An extremely rushed match done to put over the heels and remind people that they are still one of the top tag teams in the company. It also set up the next segment.
After the match, Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal entered the ring. They threw Santino out of the ring. Then they all stomped on Ryder until they rolled him out of the ring. All three of them talked briefly until Slater said they were going to hit the town and put the music back in the Music City - Nashville in case you don't know. Slater said they were the 3MB. Also known as the Three Man Band. Then they all played air guitar in the ring.
Analysis: Slater's theme song is still "one man band" so they'll need some new music for this to continue forward. I'm in favor of using three guys that deserve more screen time. Fine with me. TJR's Andrew Johnson named the Slater/McIntyre/Mahal trio the "Three Man Band" back on his September 21 review of Smackdown. I know that it's not that hard to name a team, but the fact that he called it nearly a month ago and it happened is pretty cool. Andrew, my friend, major props to you.
Coming up later is the decision about who CM Punk will face at Hell in a Cell.
A recap of the Punk/McMahon promo from earlier.
Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero came out to complain about how Ryback could be getting a WWE Title match. He said he had to go through seven other superstars to earn the Money in the Bank World Title contract. He called Ryback a flash in the pan and we won't remember his name in two months while he, Ziggler, will still be there. He said if anybody deserves a WWE Title match it's him. He wants to take on Punk at Hell in a Cell. He said he would also cash in the World Title all in the same night.
David Otunga entered the arena, also in his ring gear. He claimed that neither Ryback or Ziggler were worthy of a WWE Title shot. He insulted Vickie, calling her Ziggler's "mother." Otunga said he should get a WWE Title shot. Dear God man if Otunga ever main evented a PPV in a singles match I may just quit the business.
Raw GM AJ Lee showed up at the top of the ramp. She respected their opinions, but instead of expressing their opinions verbally they would be in a two on one handicap match against Ryback. It's a good thing they were all in their ring gear huh?
Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga
I'm not a fan of the "Big Hungry" nickname for Ryback. The response for his entrance was very loud. Loud "feed me more" chants early. Ziggler hit Ryback with a dropkick, but then Ryback destroyed him with a clothesline. Ziggler tagged out. Ryback dropped Otunga with a neckbreaker variation. Ziggler left the match. Ryback hit the Shell Shocked on Otunga for the win. It went under two minutes.
Post match, Ryback led the crowd in "feed me more" chants. They joined along. He's definitely earning the support of the crowd.
Analysis: I wasn't a fan of Ziggler being a part of a Ryback squash. Good thing is he wasn't destroyed that much. Ryback used less moves to finish off Otunga than he did in his handicap matches against jobbers. I have no complaints with Otunga losing convincingly.
Paul Heyman went into Vince McMahon's office. He sucked up to McMahon by saying Vince gave a "Herculean" effort last week. Heyman relayed the message that Punk wanted another match with McMahon. He said if Punk wins he gets to pick his opponent. Vince said okay. Then he added that the match was not with Punk. The match would be with Heyman. Heyman complained, so Vince told him to leave.
Analysis: The match never actually happened, which was the right decision.
Backstage, AJ was walking. Matt Striker walked up to her. He talked about how last week on Smackdown he was there to interview Kane and Daniel Bryan, but he was attacked. He used the words "crazy" and "nuts" when he talked to AJ, so she freakishly laughed. AJ put him in a match with Kane. He wasn't happy about that.
There were pictures of John Cena at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey (home of WrestleMania) on Sunday when he was the honorary captain of the New York Jets. There was a picture of him with Tim Tebow because posing with backup quarterbacks is cool.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel
This is non-title. There was a backstage pre-match promo with Cesaro saying the United States needs Cesaro. Last week Cesaro beat Tyson Kidd. Now he faces his partner. Cesaro destroyed Gabriel with a clothesline early on. Cesaro hit a running knee lift in the corner followed by a double foot stomp. There was a "USA" chant even though there was a guy from Switzerland and a guy from South Africa in the ring. I guess the crowd was cheering for themselves there. Gutbuster by Cesaro. After a submission hold, Gabriel fought out and hit a reverse DDT. He quickly went for the 450 Splash. He didn't hit it fully. Cesaro rolled to the ropes. When Gabriel covered, Cesaro put his foot on the rope. Gabriel went for a springboard attack, but Cesaro destroyed him with an uppercut shot to chest. Cesaro finished him off with the Neutralizer for the win after four minutes.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Analysis: *1/2 It was similar to the Cesaro/Kidd match from last week except that one went a bit longer. Cesaro's uppercut on his opponent in the air is a wonderful spot. It looked even better on the replay. He's not going to do that against every opponent, but when it's a smaller guy leaping in the air it looks devastating.
Another reminder of Hell in a Cell announcement later.
The theme song for Hell in a Cell is "Sandpaper" by Chris Jericho's band Fozzy. It's a good song. Check it out. They did not mention Jericho's name by the way.
Kane made his entrance as Striker was already in the ring. There was a replay from Smackdown when Striker was put in the No Lock by Bryan and then given a Chokeslam by Kane. All Striker did was ask Bryan about being the weak link on the team.
Kane vs. Matt Striker
As the bell rang, Striker grabbed a microphone. He said he's a broadcaster now. All he wants is an apology. Striker said nobody wants to see mindless carnage. There was then a small "mindless carnage" chant. Nice job by the crowd. Kane invited him to hug it out. Striker hugged him. Then Kane gave him an aggressive hug. Kane gave Striker a Chokeslam. He covered to win the "match" after about two minutes.
Cole commented that calling AJ the "c" word is a bad idea. He means crazy, not that other "c" word you shouldn't call a woman. Kane tried to interview Striker post match. Crowd was laughing. He asked Striker how he was feeling. No response. Kane celebrated by saying that "I am the tag team champions." He left triumphantly.
Analysis: Not a real match. Just there for comedy purposes. The crowd is really into the Kane character, so it was positive in that sense.
Coming up later is Eve vs. Layla for the Divas Championship.
There was a recap of Larry King's segment with Miz and Kofi Kingston from last week. After the break is MizTV with Kofi Kingston as the guest.
MizTV with Kofi Kingston
The Miz was already in the ring with the couches around him as well as the "M" logo. Miz brought out Kofi Kingston, who has challenged Miz for his IC Title. They were both in suits. Wednesday on Main Event on Ion Television they have a IC Title match based on what happened last week. Miz talked about how Kingston has been there for five years and all people think about him is how he says "boom boom boom." He talked about Kofi was part of insignificant tag teams. He asked if he's headlined WrestleMania. Nope. Miz told Kingston that he would be a "B" player that puts a smile on the people's faces while Miz is the guy that the people will never forget. Kingston said maybe Miz is right that Kingston has to have more memorable moments. He said winning the IC Title on Wednesday would be memorable. He's already won the IC Title twice by the way. Then Kingston challenged Miz to a match on Raw. Miz accepted the non-title challenge. He said that Kingston will lose because he's reached his ceiling. Miz told him that the fans don't care about Kingston. Nobody cares about him. Miz said all Kingston will ever be is the guy that says "boom boom boom." Kingston attacked him. Miz bailed to the floor.
Analysis: You have to wonder if what Miz said to Kingston was a message from management telling Kingston he needs to "up his game" so to speak. I liked the tone of the promo a lot. I like Kingston and would like to see some changes in his career, so I'm glad they are putting him in a feud with Miz because it could benefit both guys.
Up next is Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett in a rematch from last week.
The "Did You Know" told us that WWE has more Twitter followers than TMZ, Nike, Coca-Cola, HBO, Under Armour, Disney and McDonald's. Most of those companies have way more money than WWE especially Nike, Coca-Cola, Disney and McDonalds. I doubt they care too much about having less Twitter followers. Just saying.
Sheamus made his entrance. His match with Big Show at Hell in a Cell was promoted. As far as I know it's not inside the cell. They used to have multiple matches in the cell. Now I think it's just the WWE Title match because everything else doesn't matter as much.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
This is non-title. The "former bare knuckle champion" line about Barrett was used two times by Cole within one minute. Sheamus blocked a hip toss with a clothesline. Barrett regained control with a pump handle slam for two. Sheamus came back with a back elbow followed by the rolling senton. Barrett went to the floor, so Sheamus hit a shoulder block off the apron. Big Show's music started up. He had a chair with him as they went the break because it was the vintage floor to commercial spot.
Analysis: I don’t like it when the music of somebody starts up in the middle of match. Can't he just walk out? We will notice him.
Back to the action, Show was sitting on the chair at the top of the ramp. Barrett went for a big boot, but Sheamus avoided it. They fought on the floor where Sheamus countered some of the offense of Barrett. Sheamus got a high knee while they were on the apron, but Barrett came back with a hard kick to the gut of Sheamus that sent him out to the floor. In the ring, Barrett hit Sheamus attacked the ribs of Sheamus with his knees. Barrett hit some knee strikes while Sheamus was tied up in the ropes and then a boot to the face while Sheamus was in the ropes. That's a great boot to the face by Barrett. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse backbreaker leading to the double KO spot where both guys were out in the ring. Sheamus hit his shoulder block to the ribs followed by the running kneelift and then a powerslam for two. It's nice to hear Cole reference the British Bulldog there. Sheamus hit his ten clubbing forearm blows to the chest of Barrett while he was on the ring apron. Suplex by Sheamus got him a two count. I like seeing him use a suplex after that spot. Barrett shoved Sheamus into the turnbuckle sternum first, hit a clothesline and then hit an elbow drop off the middle rope. Barrett went for Wasteland, Sheamus avoided it, missed a Brogue Kick and then Barrett hit the Bossman Slam for two. Sheamus came back. He missed his shoulder block off the top. He came back with the Texas (Irish?) Cloverleaf. Big Show walked down to the ring. Barrett shoved Sheamus towards the ropes and Big Show pulled the ropes down, which led to Sheamus crashing to the floor. Disqualification win for Sheamus. The match went about 15 minutes.
Winner via DQ: Sheamus
Analysis: *** Another very good television match with these two. I think this is a future main event feud. I wouldn't be shocked if that main event match happens within the next twelve months for them. By main event I mean for the Smackdown title not the Raw one that is clearly booked as the superior one. Barrett needs a feud. He should be wrestling on every PPV at this point and instead has nothing going on, so hopefully they give him somebody for Hell in a Cell. The finish was, much like last week, another way to have this match without giving away a winner because it's likely they'll come back to it down the road.
Post match, Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Barrett in the ring. Show went after him, so Sheamus knocked him out of the ring with a clothesline. The crowd cheered loudly as Sheamus stood tall…like usual.
Analysis: Sheamus won the match via DQ and he won the post match attack as well. You can make a case that he is booked stronger than anybody on the roster in 2012. Yes even more than Ryback.
Another recap of the Punk/McMahon segment from earlier.
We head back to Vince McMahon's office where John Cena showed up. McMahon asked Cena about the health of his right arm. Cena told him that he belongs out there whether he's hurt or not. Cena said if he chooses him then he'll do what he does.
The Divas Champion Eve made her entrance for the title match.
Layla finally gets her Divas Title rematch.
Divas Championship: Eve vs. Layla
Layla entered during the break. The bell rang as they returned from the break. Eve grabbed an armbar for the first minute. The announcers went over the "blonde wig" storyline from Night of Champions that nobody seems to care about. Myself included. Eve dumped Layla to the floor, threw her into the side of the ring apron and then they went back into the ring. Another armbar variation by Layla. The crowd didn't seem to care. Eve came back with a side kick followed by a clothesline and then a hair whip. They did a spot where Layla hit a springboard cross body block. No reaction for the babyface comeback. Layla got her boot up in the corner. Layla went to the middle rope, Eve kicked the leg of Layla while she was on the middle rope and then Layla went crashing down face first. Eve covered. Layla got her foot on the rope and the ref didn't see it. Eve won after about five minutes of action.
Analysis: DUD That was pretty awful. They got five minutes. Three minutes of the match involved them laying on the mat in armbar moves. Then nobody went after the arm for a finish, so why even apply submissions? It didn't help the match and the crowd was dead for most of it. The ref John Cone missed the call, so this likely means there will be a rematch at Hell in a Cell. Yawn. There's no chemistry with them.
The WWE was at the Social Good Summit to promote malaria awareness. Stephanie McMahon was there.
Another reminder that the Hell in a Cell main event announcement is coming up later. This is where the show felt like it was dragging quite a bit.
There was a mention of a New York Post article saying that WrestleMania 29 could bring in over $100 million for the metro area. Here is the link to that article. I'm not going to WrestleMania. Went to the last two. They were fun. Don't have interest in going every year. Maybe I'll go to WrestleMania 30 depending on where it is.
Backstage, Kane was talking to Daniel Bryan. They were arguing. Bryan was mad at Kane for laughing at him. They yelled "yes/no" at each other like usual. Bryan said if he thought it was funny that he got chokeslammed by Show then how about Kane faces Big Show next week. Bryan said he was the tag team champions and then left.
Analysis: Oh crap. Big Show vs. Kane? Seen it too many times. Never want to see it again.
In Vince McMahon's office, Ryback was there. Vince was talking to him as Ryback just stared off in the distance. Maybe he was dreaming about feeding time? Vince thanked Ryback for saving him last week. Vince said that people are saying that people are talking about Ryback saying he's unstoppable. He asked Ryback what he thought. Ryback said this: "Feed me Punk." The crowd cheered. He left.
Team Rhodes Scholars made their entrance. Cole called them "the most intellectually compatible team in history." No Rhodes Scholars vs. Sin Cara/Mysterio because Mysterio is ill with the flu. The tag team tournament finals to determine the number one contenders will be next week. I would expect Rhodes Scholars to win.
There was a shot of the "Honky Tonk Central" bar in Nashville as 3MB (Slater, McIntyre & Mahal) entered the bar. They went on the stage. They wanted to sing. The security guys kicked them out.
Analysis: Failed attempt at comedy. I do like that they get TV time, but I don't think that was a productive segment.
Team Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes) vs. Primo & Epico
Quick tags by Primo and Epico. Weird dynamic here because they're both heel teams. Rhodes missed a corner charge. Primo got a rollup for two. Sandow interfered, so his team gained control. Sandow put Epico in a headlock. The shots of Rosa at ringside are very welcome. There were a lot of quick tags. Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain for two. Nice running kick to the chest by Rhodes. The crowd was pretty quiet. The Rhodes Scholars kept tagging in and out while working on Primo yet the crowd didn't care because the Primo/Epico team is usually booked as heels. After about five minutes, Primo finally tagged in cousin Epico. Epico hit a clothesline and dropkick on Sandow followed by rolling belly to back suplexes for two thanks to Rhodes breaking up the pin. Rhodes threw Primo out of the ring. Epico clotheslined Rhodes out of the ring. Sandow avoided a cross body block and then hit his neckbreaker The Terminus. It's Latin for "the end" as Cole informed us. Fine by me. It needed a name. Sandow covered for the win after 7 minutes.
Winners: Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes
Analysis: *1/4 It was a very average match. The crowd wasn't into the match much because heel vs. heel in a tag team setting doesn't really work. Why not use a babyface team in this situation like Kidd & Gabriel? They could have had somebody else lose to Cesaro. The team that's further along in the tag tourney won here, so that makes sense of course.
Another reminder of the Hell in a Cell main event announcement.
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
This is non-title. It's for the IC Title Wednesday on the Main Event show on Ion TV. JR called it a "special challenge match." No. It's just a match. Like everything else is just a match. Kingston hit a clothesline on the floor. Running dropkick by Kingston. He booted Miz in the ribs multiple times. Miz came back with a clothesline while the announcers talked about Kingston's career. Miz hit his corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top by Miz. Kingston got a rollup for a two count. Miz came back with his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. The announcers kept talking about how Kingston has to win on Wednesday to prove that he can be great. Kingston fought out of a headlock with a back suplex for the double KO spot. Kingston hit his leaping clothesline. Miz rolled out of the ring for the Boom Drop spot, so Kingston booted him in the ribs. Miz went for Skull Crushing Finale. Kingston fought out of it. Miz went into the ropes stomach first and when he turned around Kingston was there to nail him with the Trouble in Paradise for the victory after six minutes. I mean he REALLY (sorry Miz) connected on that kick.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
The replay of the Trouble of Paradise really showed that Kingston connected very hard with that kick. The doctor at ringside was looking at Miz while the referee made the "X" symbol. That could be an angle, but there's no question that Miz took a shot from Kingston at the end of the match there. You could see blood on Miz' face, so obviously that part wasn't planned. Kingston celebrated his win.
Analysis: *1/2 It was an average match with a memorable finish because of how hard Kingston kicked Miz at the finish. Their match on Main Event will likely be given more time because the matches on that show usually get over 15 minutes. I'd expect Miz to retain his title there. The commentary about Kingston was interesting. I wonder if it will lead to a heel turn down the road. I would be in favor of that since I wrote about it as one of my 20 Ideas for WWE to Consider in 2012.
Vince McMahon was shown walking backstage.
Back from break, it was announced that WWE was going to produce the Rolling Stones concert live on PPV Saturday December 15. I guess this is where they point out they are entertainment rather than sports yet earlier they were bragging about their sports DVDs. It's sports entertainment.
Main Event Hell in a Cell Contract Signing
The boss Vince McMahon made his entrance. He introduced WWE Champion CM Punk along with Paul Heyman. McMahon introduced Ryback, who got a nice ovation. Last person to come out was John Cena, who got a much louder ovation than Ryback.
McMahon said he knew Punk wouldn't have the grapefruits to make his own decision. Punk called McMahon an egomaniac. He said he turned McMahon into half a cripple. Heels lie. Punk signed the contract, so he told McMahon to choose his opponent. McMahon said if Punk accepted Cena's challenge they wouldn't be there right now. Punk ranted on, so Cena said "enough" and the crowd liked that. Cena mentioned that Punk has been WWE Champion for 330 days. He said he respected the achievement, but from one man to another Punk needed to shut the hell up. Cena would like nothing more than to beat Punk for the WWE Championship. Then he looks at Ryback and wonders if he wants to be WWE Champion or if he just wants to kick somebody's ass. Cena said that Punk needs to get his ass whipped. Cena said that Punk's mind over the next two weeks are going to be filled by three simple words: "Feed Me More!" Cena left the ring and led the crowd in "Feed Me More" chants. The chants were as loud as ever. Ryback signed the paper. McMahon announced that CM Punk would defend the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell versus Ryback. McMahon left the ring.
Loud "feed me more" chants as Ryback faced off with Punk. Ryback threw Punk's into the contract signing table. He put Punk on his shoulders and delivered the Shell Shocked to the WWE Champion. The crowd cheered loudly. More "feed me more" chants for Ryback. JR did a good job of putting over how it's the WWE Champion against the undefeated challenger.
The show ended with Ryback celebrating what he just did to the WWE Champion while Punk was out in the center of the ring.
Analysis: I thought it would be Cena. It's likely that he's not cleared to compete by the doctors, so that's why they made the call to put Ryback into the WWE Title match. It was smart to not let Ryback speak. As I've said the key to the character is that he's all about his business. He wants to kick ass. He doesn't talk much. He just wants to fight. Cena putting him over like he did was a smart move because if Cena endorses the guy then the majority of fans in the WWE Universe will as well.
As for the Punk/Ryback match at HIAC, it will be interesting to see how they book it. I think Punk has to leave with the WWE Title, but when it's inside the cell how do you book a cheap win? It could mark the return of Brock Lesnar to save Punk from defeat since he's a "Heyman Guy" and that way they can build up to Lesnar vs. Ryback for down the road whether that's at Royal Rumble or WrestleMania 29. Could they put the WWE Title on Ryback? Maybe, but I doubt it. Punk vs. Rock is a big match for the Royal Rumble and I doubt anything will happen to change that.
I'm not opposed to Punk vs. Ryback. We always want "new" faces in the main event. Ryback is popular with the fans. He's been built up well. It's feeding time. Let's see what he can do.
Three Stars of the Show
2. Wade Barrett
6 out of 10
Last week: 8
2012 Average: 5.88
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 8, 6, 7, 6, NR
There were ten matches on this show. The first half of the show was pretty good. The second half just dragged. It was another one of those "I really wish this was two hours" type of shows. That's why it gets a rating of 6 out of 10, which is right above the average for the year.
Last week I didn't write a whole lot. This week I'm back at it. Working on a bigger column and also have a few smaller ones lined up for later in the week, so be on the lookout for them. One of them might be a CM Punk DVD review. I've seen it and I love it.
Keep checking out TJRWrestling.com for extra columns from me and the wonderful work of the TJR staff as well. We have weekday headlines column plus an assortment of other columns reviewing the relevant shows of the week and offering opinions on everything going on in WWE as well. Also at TJRSports.com we're covering the NFL from all angles. I'm writing weekly picks. Others are writing analysis of the games. We've also got NBA previews going up. We're all over it. Thanks for all the support!
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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