Live from Memphis, Tennessee this is the Raw Deal for episode #1065. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. In case you missed it, here's my 10 Questions & Answers column about Hell in a Cell from Saturday.
There was a video package focusing on last week's tag title change when Big Show helped Goldust & Cody Rhodes won the WWE Tag Team Titles.
Triple H and Stephanie made their entrance that they're referring to as The Authority. I guess we should never question them, right Cartman? They showed a clip of Smackdown when Big Show knocked out Raw GM Brad Maddox, so Brad won't be on Raw. We'll get Shawn Michaels later on Raw plus Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose. The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (not a pantsuit) shared a brief kiss before delivering their opening promo. Stephanie talked about some of the matches at Hell in a Cell. The last match she mentioned was the Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Title with Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. They guarantee a new WWE Champion.
Triple H said the fans chose Shawn Michaels because they trust him just like he does. He told us that he respected Michaels more than anybody. Big Show interrupted with a promo via satellite. Stephanie wondered what was happening. Hunter told Show that he's nothing but a loser. Hunter said it's over for Show. Stephanie kept trying to figure out what was going on. Show said he was suing Hunter for a few different reasons. Stephanie told him to shut up. Show told her to shut up. She said that would be end of that and Show was gone. Hunter said now that we're done with that here's the first competitor of the night: Dean Ambrose. Instead of Ambrose, it was Bryan that made his full entrance to loud "yes" chants. Hunter and Steph were shocked. They went to break as Bryan did his entrance.
Analysis: For a "fired" guy Big Show gets more airtime than half the roster. I do like the idea that Stephanie doesn't know why he was able to get on the broadcast and did everything she could to get him off. They did a good job of showing Stephanie questioning people at ringside about it. That's better than just having her stand in the ring accepting it. She should question it. I wish babyfaces would question some things more often, but I'll take what I can get. It was a decent opening segment that went about eight minutes. Glad it didn't go longer.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose
This is not for Ambrose's US Title obviously. Ambrose was there without his Shield member buddies. Match started after the break. Lawler talked about how there's not outside interference in a Hell in a Cell match even though several HIAC matches have had interference in the past. Bryan took control early with a dropkick followed by a hard kick to Ambrose's arm. Bryan worked over the left arm of Ambrose. Bryan wanted another dropkick, but Ambrose held onto the ropes so he took control with an elbow. Bryan made a comeback as the action went outside the ring. Bryan missed a running attack off the apron because Ambrose moved. Ambrose hit a clothesline and Bryan was down outside the ring for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Ambrose drove his knee into Bryan's ribs as we returned from break. With Bryan tied up in the ropes, Ambrose hit a running dropkick for two. Back suplex by Ambrose as John Cena is mad that somebody is stealing his moves. At least he didn't spin before delivering it. Bryan applied the surfboard submission. Ambrose hit him in the eye to break free as Cole tried to say the ref didn't see it even though he was there. Nobody wants a DQ over an eye poke anyway. Ambrose had Bryan set up on the top rope and delivered a butterfly superplex off the top for two. Bryan countered a neckbreaker with a backslide for two. They each ran the ropes and crashed in the middle of the ring after a double cross body block. I love the double knockout spot. Bryan fired up with a running clothesline, a running dropkick in the corner and a Frankensteiner off the top rope for two. Bryan went for a Tornado DDT, but Ambrose shoved him off and hit a Spinebuster for two. Back body drop by Bryan over the top to the floor followed by the Flying Goat dive outside the ring. Back in the ring, missile dropkick by Bryan followed by some kicks. Ambrose tried a rollup, but Bryan rolled through and applied the Yes Lock. Ambrose tapped out after 16 minutes. Huge ovation as Bryan won the match.
Winner by submission: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ***1/2 It's like I say all the time if Bryan's in a match that gets more than 12 minutes it's always going to hit the three star level. Obviously Ambrose is an above average worker too, so there's a good formula for a very good match. I don't think anybody expected Ambrose to win, which is fine. It was done to be a competitive match. I could see them putting Bryan in a five minute match to make him look dominant heading into Hell in a Cell, but there's nothing wrong with going 16 minutes either. I really liked the finishing sequence with Ambrose going for the rollup and Bryan countering it into the Yes Lock for the win. I know we've seen that finish before, but it still works.
CM Punk is up next.
CM Punk entered the arena to a big ovation like usual. He stood on the ramp to deliver a promo. He mentioned that he'll be locked in Hell in a Cell with Paul Heyman and Ryback on Sunday. He said his career will be defined by what he does to Heyman when he gets his hands on him. Punk said Ryback won't be able to save Heyman. The plan is to put Ryback to sleep. Then he's going to smash Heyman's face into the steel because that's what he deserves. He said three men walk into the cell, but only one walks out and it's going to be the best in the world. He means himself, people.
Analysis: It was a basic promo that went about five minutes.
Backstage, Triple H told Vickie Guerrero not to screw something up. Stephanie was in the phone. They walked into their office as Shawn Michaels was in the room to give Hunter a big hug. Shawn asked Hunter if he thinks Bryan can become WWE Champion. Hunter said he can't see Bryan as the face of WWE. Shawn reminded him that they said the same thing about him and even about Triple H too. Stephanie wondered how Show appeared on screen. Shawn told her they used to do that to Vince and she said that was funny. She told Shawn that things have changed and he said one of them didn't grow up, so he took off to go have fun.
Analysis: It made sense for them to have Shawn in the office interacting with Triple H and Stephanie. There's so much history. I thought Shawn saying that people didn't believe in Hunter as the face of WWE was quite the reach. Hunter's a good height with a big physique. He was exactly the type of guy that Vince McMahon loved to push, so that was bullshit. I liked the idea of the promo.
Santino, Great Khali and Hornswoggle entered the arena with all of them dressed like Elvis. Actually, Santino was in the full white Elvis suit while Khali and Hornswoggle just had the hair. They went to break.
Santino Marella (w/Great Khali & Hornswoggle) vs. Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre)
They did some comedy early on. The announcers were trying to be funny, but I was just hoping this would end soon. Santino made the big comeback with a hip toss and falling headbutt. Cobra time for Santino - it had Elvis hair on it. Slater jumped off the middle rope, but Santino used the Cobra strike to knock him down. He covered to win the match after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Santino
Post match, Santino said there's only one king in Memphis: Jerry Lawler. Loud "Jerry" chants as he stood on the announce table with Santino. They did some dancing together.
Analysis: If I wasn't writing about the show I would have hit FF through all of that. It was just a comedy filler segment for the locals to give Lawler the hometown pop. I like Santino's comedy a lot of the time, but that wasn't very good.
There was a poll asking about what match they wanted to simulate in preparation for WWE 2K14 video game. Undertaker/Punk from WM29 beat out Savage/Dibiase from WM4, Michaels/Ramon from WM 10 and Austin/Rock from WM15. That's not even the best Austin/Rock match. The WM17 match is an all time great while WM19 was very good too.
Randy Orton was shown walking backstage as the show approached the top of hour two.
There was a recap of Big Show interrupting Triple H and Stephanie McMahon earlier.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
If they want to give Orton a good, competitive win on Raw before Hell in a Cell then Ziggler's the right guy to give him that match. I still wish Ziggler was used better. Orton took it outside the ring where he threw Ziggler into the security wall. Ziggler fought back outside the ring, but then Orton was able to drive Ziggler's head into the ring post. Back in the ring, Ziggler hit a clothesline for two. Backbreaker by Orton earned him a two count. Chinlock of death by Orton. Heel Orton loves the chinlock. Ziggler came back with a clothesline, neckbreaker and leaping elbow drop for two. Ziggler connected with the Fameasser for two. Good nearfall. Orton gave Ziggler a T-Bone suplex with a very awkward landing. It looked like Ziggler landed on his shoulder. If Orton took a bump like that he'd be swearing at the guy. It's happened before. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes. Orton wanted the RKO, but Ziggler connected on a dropkick. Ziggler wanted Zig Zag, Orton held onto the ropes and then Orton put him down with the RKO for the win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: **1/2 It would have been nice if they got another five minutes, but still very good for what they were given. The crowd still pops for all of Ziggler's big moves even though he rarely wins matches anymore. They totally bought into the Fameasser spot as well as the dropkick nearfall by Ziggler. Orton winning is obvious because he's in the main event of Hell in a Cell while Ziggler isn't even booked on the show at this point.
The announcers went over key stories including John Cena's return on Sunday. JBL said Cena is coming back too early. Cole threw it to a video package that he called Cena's "diary of perseverance." Same thing we saw last week with Cena updating us on his progress. When it ended they reminded us that it's Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the World Title at Hell in a Cell. I'm predicting a Cena win.
Divas Champion AJ Lee entered with her bodyguard friend Tamina Snuka. She's defending the Divas Title against Brie Bella at Hell in a Cell. The reasoning is because Brie beat AJ on Smackdown. Of course Brie lost clean to Tamina last week on Raw, but that's irrelevant.
AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka vs. Brie & Nikki Bella
Nikki's been out of action with a foot injury for a while, so she's back here. Tamina dumped her outside the ring. Nikki immediately grabbed her leg as Tamina hit a suplex on her for two. Tamina body slammed Nikki a few times and then gave her a hair whip. When AJ tagged in, she received a reaction unlike the other girls in the match. AJ missed a corner charge, so Brie tagged in. Dropkicks by Brie as JBL says she's been on fire lately (again forgetting the loss last week) and a third dropkick got her a two count. AJ countered, so Brie countered into a half crab. Tamina interfered. Brie went for a running knee attack, but Tamina pushed AJ out of the way and took the knee to the face. AJ tried to fight back. Brie hit the X-Factor finish to cover for the win. The match went about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Brie & Nikki Bella
Analysis: *1/2 I liked Brie's offense. She has really improved in that regard. I think she's definitely the better of the Bella Twins in the ring although Nikki's been out for a while too. It's just that Brie looks a lot more credible in there. Brie's pinfall win makes me think AJ Lee is going over at Hell in a Cell because as I always say if you win/look strong on TV then you likely lose on PPV. I'm all for that because I want AJ to have a long title reign.
They reminded us again that Cena is back on Sunday by showing a youtube video about Del Rio's Cross Armbreaker. We get it. Cena's a big deal. Usos vs. Rollins & Reigns later in the show.
The lovely Renee Paquette was backstage interviewing Paul Heyman, Curtis Axel and Ryback. Before the interview, they showed Big E Langston helping Punk on Smackdown because Heyman called Langston a marginal talent. Heyman said Sunday would be an execution live on PPV. It was classic Heyman exaggeration. He spoke about how Punk wants to drive him away from WWE forever. Heyman gave a fiery promo about lava erupting from a volcano and it was just a lot of yelling at once. Then he calmed down. Heyman said he was in control just like he controlled Punk in the past and his monster Ryback. He's not locked in a cell with CM Punk. Punk is locked in a cell with him. Big E Langston showed up to interrupt because Heyman ripped him on Smackdown. Axel called him a rookie. This was a follow up from Smackdown. Langston challenged Axel to a match for later that was accepted.
Analysis: I liked how the Langston face turn was done on Smackdown. Heyman insulted him, so Langston stepped up and went after Heyman's allies. I expect Langston to be the guy that beats Axel for the IC Title whether it's this month or November. It will likely be soon. This promo by Heyman was a bit over the top with a lot of rambling, but when he calmed down he made a point to say that everything was in his control.
There was a video about Shawn Michaels training Daniel Bryan in 1999. Michaels talked about how special people don't come along all the time and that people have to believe in you. The video didn't even have Shawn talking about Bryan in a current setting, but instead it was through clips from Michaels' wrestling shows in the 1999/2000 period and a Michaels interview from 2007 that wasn't even specifically about Bryan. Still a good video. It was just weird how they put it together.
The Wyatt Family arrived. Tag match coming up after the break.
Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. The Miz & Kofi Kingston
This is another match we've seen recently. It started after the break. Miz stared at Wyatt, so Rowan gave Miz a clothesline. In ring, Harper hit a big boot that knocked Miz down. Wyatt Family made a lot of quick tags to keep Miz trapped in their corner. Harper hit a Michinoku Driver (seated front slam) for a two count on Miz. That could be a finishing move. Miz broke free with a boot to the face and he tagged in Kingston. Kingston hit boots to the face on Harper and then a nice headscissors. Crossbody by Kingston led to a pin broken up by Rowan. Kingston dumped Rowan outside the ring and got a rollup for two. Trouble in Paradise by Kingston on Rowan while on the apron. When he turned around, Harper destroyed Kingston with a lariat clothesline for the win after five minutes. Where was Miz to break it up? Nowhere.
Winners by pinfall: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
Post match, the Wyatt Family continued the attack as Rowan decked Miz with a boot to the face. Harper threw Kingston over the top to the floor. Harper and Rowan held Miz up against the ropes. Wyatt said he wasn't there to tell Miz that hell was a real place. He just wanted to lead him to the gates. Follow the buzzards. The promo wasn't even one minute long.
Analysis: *1/2 We've seen the match recently with the same finish, so I felt like watching a replay. It's a good way to put the Wyatt Family over because Kingston great at selling a big move like Harper's clothesline. The post match promo was short and to the point. The good news about Bray's knee injury is that it wasn't too serious and he's going to be back in action any time now, so I assume we'll get Wyatt vs. Miz in the near future. I don't know if they even need to do it because Miz looks like a nobody right now.
The Axel vs. Langston match was about to start, but Langston was attacked by Ryback. The ref tried to break it up. The fans chanted for "CM Punk" for the save. Langston broke free and knocked down both guys. Heyman attacked Langston in the back with a kendo stick. CM Punk made the save. Vickie Guerrero came out for the Teddy Long Special by making it a tag team match. They went to break there.
Analysis: The tag match setup was obvious from the beginning. The fans knew it when they were chanting for Punk too. It's a good idea because that way Langston can get more of an ovation from being a teammate of Punk.
Curtis Axel & Ryback (w/Paul Heyman) vs. CM Punk & Big E Langston
The match was in progress as we returned from break with Punk & Langston in control of the action. During the break, Langston hit a belly to belly suplex on Ryback. Axel slowed down Punk and brought in Ryback as the heels worked over Punk thanks to a hard corner whip by Ryback. Axel tagged in with a chinlock on Punk. Punk broke free for a second with a cross body block, but Axel stopped his momentum with a clothesline. Cole mentioned that Ryback and Punk have been in Hell in a Cell matches, but didn't mention that they had a match last year. Ryback hit a clothesline for a two count. Punk decked Ryback with a roundhouse kick to the head. Langston got the hot tag and hit a splash on Axel, who tagged in for his team. Punk took Ryback out with a clothesline over the top. Langston hit the Big Ending on Axel for the win for his team after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: CM Punk & Big E Langston
Analysis: *1/2 There's the Langston pin on Axel to give him a IC Title match in the near future. It wasn't a long tag match. It was pretty basic with Punk taking the beating, bringing in Langston and letting the big guy finish it. They didn't do much to further the Punk/Ryback story. It was mostly about putting over Langston as a new babyface. As I've said I think he can thrive in the role. It depends on how he is booked, of course.
Post match, Punk chased after Heyman. Heyman ran out through the crowd and Punk stopped running after him. He just wanted to scare him I guess or maybe Heyman is deceptively fast. Perhaps Heyman will take on Usain Bolt in the next Olympics. You figure it out.
Backstage, R-Truth was standing by the WWE merch stand plugging merchandise. This is really a segment on Raw? If you ordered from WWEShop on Monday with "TRUTH" as the promo code you would have received 20% off. Of course they said this at 10pm on Monday, so it's not like there was a lot of time. Tricky.
Contract signing coming up later with Orton & Bryan along with referee Michaels. I wonder how many contract signing segments I've written about in 4.5 years of writing the Raw Deal. At least 30. Maybe more. They do them far too often.
This week on Main Event it's Goldust vs. Seth Rollins.
Tons of Funk were in the ring dancing. They're facing the Real Americans. They're doing this again? Yes they are. They showed the video from Smackdown when El Torito gored Zeb Colter leading to the Usos beating the Real Amricans. Zeb did his angry face after the replay. Cole played an interview with El Torito, which was in Spanish.
The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) vs. Brodus Clay & Tensai (w/Naomi & Cameron)
Zeb Colter joined the announce team for this match. Tensai dumped Swagger outside the ring, which led to Cesaro attacking from behind as he knocked down Tensai. The heels worked over Tensai in their corner. Back suplex by Swagger on Tensai as Colter was ranting about Los Matadores. Running double foot stomp by Cesaro, who was the legal man. Tensai did a back body drop leading to a tag to Clay, who got the hot tag three minutes into the match. Cesaro hit an uppercut on Clay. Cesaro Swing on Clay, which was impressive as usual. At least he didn't pin him after it like he did to Khali. Swagger tagged in. Patriot Lock on Clay, who tapped out. Match went about four minutes.
Winners via pinfall: Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger
Analysis: * Clay & Tensai are jobbers to heels just like 3MB are jobbers to the faces. That's why the crowd is dead for anything Tons of Funk does. At least the Cesaro Swing gets a big pop.
Post match, Colter unwrapped the yellow flag to reveal a bull whip. He has it to deal with El Torito. The segment ended with a "we the people" by the Real Americans.
Up next a special look at John Cena. We know who he is. Enough already.
It was announced that the Hell in a Cell Kickoff match will be Curtis Axel defending the Intercontinental Title against Big E Langston. I expect a title switch at some point although I'm not sure if it will be there.
There was a video package about John Cena including clips of his first match against Kurt Angle in 2002. Cena said "ruthless aggression" from the beginning, which was a big thing that Vince McMahon pushed in those days. The video focused on Cena's success over the years including many championship wins. It also touched on the resentment he feels, but he said he's not going to change who he is. "He is hustle. He is loyalty. He is respect." And he returns this Sunday. The video was pretty good, but I think it's been excessive. I'm sure they'll play that same video on Smackdown too.
Analysis: The best part of the video was seeing Kurt Angle in it. He needs to come home while he can still go. Give me those Angle vs. Punk and Angle vs. Bryan dream matches.
They aired a clip from Smackdown when Alberto Del Rio gave Josh Mathews the Cross Armbreaker after an in-ring interview. JBL: "That's just Josh Mathews." Fair point.
There was a Goldust/Cody Rhodes song mashup as they made their way to ringside to watch the tag team match coming up. It was awkward.
This week on Smackdown it's Miz TV with Randy Orton as a guest.
Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (w/Dean Ambrose) vs. The Usos
The stipulation is that whoever wins this match gets a tag title shot this Sunday at Hell in a Cell. Cody and Goldust were at the announce table for this match. Cole pointed out that The Usos earned a tag team title shot already, yet they have to earn another shot. He complained about The Authority making it unfair for them. At least there's some continuity there. Jimmy Uso knocked Rollins out of the ring and hit a dive over the top to the floor to take him out. The Usos got some offense in on Reigns as Jey hit a clothesline. JBL was ripping on Cody for giving generic statements on commentary. Pretty funny actually. Rollins avoided a charge, so the heels took control with Reigns isolating their opponent in their corner. Rollins provided a distraction, so Reigns shoved one of the Usos off the apron and he went crashing into the announce table. There's the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Reigns hit a suplex as they continued to work over Jey in their corner. Jey was finally able to create some space after a DDT on Reigns. Rollins tagged in and hit a clothesline. Back body drop over the top on Rollins and Reigns did a blind tag. Kick to the head by Jey led to the hot tag to Jey. The action picked up as Jimmy hit a big clothesline to knock down Reigns. That came after a dive by Jey onto Rollins outside the ring. Reigns came back with a huge clothesline on Jimmy. He did a flip for the bump. Jey broke it up and hit a Samoan Drop on Rollins. Reigns dumped Jey out of the ring. Powerslam by Reigns on Jimmy. Reigns went shoulder first into the corner and was on the receiving end of a superkick. Top rope splash is countered by Reigns with knees to the gut. Ambrose went after Cody and Goldust, so they started brawling with him. Rollins joined the brawl. The Usos joined on the brawl. All three teams were brawling so the ref rang the bell. The match went 15 minutes.
Match Result: Double Disqualification
After the bell rang, they kept brawling. Goldust was thrown into the security wall. The Shield focused on Goldust, but Cody made the save. Double clothesline to Reigns and then the Usos hit a double clothesline to knock Rollins out of the ring. The Shield left the ring while The Usos looked at Cody and Goldust holding the tag team titles.
Analysis: *** It was a good tag match that was given plenty of time to tell a story. There wasn't a clean finish, but that's okay because of what it was building to. The Usos are really good at all the fundamentals in terms of tag team wrestling. They sell everything well, the offense after the hot tag looks very good and they just know how to pick up the pace at the right time. Rollins and Reigns didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but they're always in the right spot making sure the match is entertaining. The chemistry is there for these teams. I enjoy their matches. As for the brawl to end it, once again it makes sense with the story.
It's contract signing time up next.
It's official for Hell in a Cell. Tag title match with Cody & Goldust defending against The Usos and Reigns & Rollins. That makes sense. I don't love triple threat tag matches, but once in a while they're good to do if you need to go that route.
Main Event Contract Signing
Triple H and Stephanie were in the ring for the contract signing. There was a table along with two leather chairs. Randy Orton made his entrance followed by Daniel Bryan. Triple H introduced us to Shawn Michaels with a big intro by also saying that he was his best friend. Michaels received a very favorable ovation of course. Do we really need five people out there for this? Apparently we do.
Orton gave Bryan credit for fighting back, but after the beating he receives on Sunday he will not be getting right back up. Orton said he has survived against The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell and he's beat Sheamus & John Cena inside Hell in a Cell. He told Bryan he had no idea what he was getting into. He made it clear to Bryan that his first HIAC will be his last. Orton signed the contract for the match.
Bryan said he expects threats like that from Orton. He said that they both know that if it weren't for others, he would be standing in the ring right now as the WWE Champion. "Yes" chants from the crowd. Bryan said he's capable of smashing in the face of WWE. He said he has two words for us, but it's not that ("suck it") it's a "thank you." He thanked Orton for exposing Hunter and Stephanie as the spoiled brats that they really are. Hey come on now, Hunter married into that spoiled brat role. That takes talent!
Hunter spoke about guys like Jericho, Edge and RVD as guys that were talented who were very popular, but not the one. He said they were never the top guy. If any of those guys had been the face of WWE back in the day they'd be working for Ted Turner right now. He told Bryan that he's going to prove to the world that he's a B+ player. Bryan told Hunter to trade in the suit for some wrestling gear so that Bryan can show him just how good he is. Hunter told Bryan if he wrestles it would be to fight a star like Undertaker, The Rock or Brock Lesnar, not Bryan. He claimed that he wouldn't waste his time fighting somebody like Bryan. Hunter said Shawn Michaels shouldn't have wasted his time training Bryan.
Michaels spoke up to say that Bryan was very good. He wondered what happened to Hunter and the guy that drove the tank to WCW. Michaels didn't care that Hunter was the COO. He didn't care that he trained Bryan. He cares that the fans voted for him to guarantee a new WWE Champion at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Orton claimed that Michaels had an agenda. Hunter said that at the end of the day, Shawn will do what's right. Shawn said he'd do what's right for the business that he loves and that the fans love. He wondered what Hunter has against Bryan and went over possible reasons. Michaels thinks that Hunter's problem with Bryan is that Bryan has proved Hunter wrong. Loud "yes" chants from the crowd.
Orton told Bryan that he knows he can't beat him. He already has multiple times. Orton said he was going to take Bryan straight to hell. Orton said "yes" multiple times.
The camera cut backstage as a truck drove into the arena. It was a big rig driven by the Big Show. He drove into the arena beside the stage. Show popped his head up and told Orton to turn around. Like a dummy, Orton turned around. Daniel Bryan decked him with a running knee attack that the director didn't really catch. Bryan chanted "yes" along with Big Show and the crowd. The replay showed the running knee to the face by Bryan.
Bryan went over to the big rig. He stood on top of it and chanted "yes" along with the crowd while Triple H, Orton and Stephanie looked on from inside the ring. That was the end of Raw.
Analysis: It was a solid main event segment. All five people got a chance to speak with Stephanie barely saying much, which was shocking to me. The biggest reaction occurred when Michaels mentioned that Bryan has continually proved Hunter wrong. That's the thing that I wish they talked about more. They could have had Michaels in segments with Bryan where they were backstage or something of nature to try to show that Michaels is still a mentor to Bryan. Instead they barely interacted, which I think is a mistake.
The problem with what Hunter said to Bryan is that some fans are going to believe what he says and in doing so it hurts Bryan's chances of ever being one of those truly top guys. I realize that Hunter's just being an asshole heel that is doing anything he can to rile up the fans, but I would agree with those that think Hunter buries Bryan too much with what he says.
I was leaning towards Bryan winning the WWE Title on Sunday. However, since he had the upper hand here I'm a bit apprehensive about it. I guess what happens on Smackdown will play a part in it too.
As for Big Show, the fans are reacting positively to him. I don't think he's going heel. I think it's building up to a match against Triple H at Survivor Series where Big Show will try to get his job back. Either that or they are part of an elimination tag that will lead to a future match between them in singles. If Orton wins the WWE Title then Big Show is also a future opponent for him, so there's an argument for Orton winning.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan
2. Randy Orton
3. Dean Ambrose
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2013 Average: 5.83
2013 High: 8.5 (August 27)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5, 4.5, 6, 7.5
It gets a 6.5 this week, which is slightly above last week. That's above average largely because I thought the in-ring action was very good.
There were two matches that hit the three star level. In addition to those very good matches, I also liked Orton/Ziggler and the tag match designed to put Big E Langston over as a babyface star.
Of course there was still too much filler and matches that make me scratch my head wondering what's up, but for the most part I enjoyed the show. Not all of it. Most of it.
I also liked that they added three matches to Hell in a Cell after some of the things that took place here. I'll take more about the card on the weekend. I'm just glad there's better build for these midcard stories because the midcard really suffered at Night of Champions and Battleground.
Finally, at least we didn't have to see Los Matadores vs. 3MB again. That's a positive. It's also a paddlin'. That's a Simpsons reference, by the way. Let's end it there.
That's all for this week.
TJR Radio is back on Tuesday at 10pmET. We had technical difficulties, so we didn't have a show last week. The link for this week's show is here and I'll also link to it in Wednesday Headlines on TJRWrestling.com and you can get it on iTunes as well.
I'll be back on the weekend with the WWE Hell in a Cell preview. Then next Monday it will be the Hell in a Cell recap.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org