Live from Greenville, South Carolina this is the Raw Deal for episode #1067. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Before I begin, thank you to those that sent along birthday wishes via Twitter, Facebook, email or carrier pigeon (there weren't any of those actually). It was on Monday and I was hoping WWE would give me a memorable show for my 33rd birthday. Let's see if that happened.
Raw began with CM Punk entering the arena for a match. No video package. No theme song. No pyro. It's a CM Punk entrance to start. That's pretty rare. The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
CM Punk vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan)
This was set up last week on Raw after the Wyatt Family attacked Punk in the ring. Wyatt overpowered Punk in the early portion of the match until Punk created space with a back body drop. Harper decked him with a forearm shot to the face. I love Harper's facial expressions and when he goes "yeah yeah yeah" randomly. He's a unique character that's for sure. Harper missed a running boot in the corner, which led to Punk taking him out with a dive outside the ring. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Harper was in control again after a big boot to the face. Harper did the gator roll headlock a few times during the match. Punk came back with a tornado DDT off the ropes as both guys were down. Jumping side kick by Punk followed by a neckbreaker. Punk hit the running knee in the corner and then a clothesline. He went to the top, but instead of leaping on Harper he took out Rowan outside the ring with a double axehandle. When he turned his focus to Harper, he was met with a big boot by the big man. Punk ducked the clothesline and rolled up Harper to get the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: CM Punk
Analysis: **1/2 The match was mostly about Harper dominating the action due to his size while Punk showed great heart in fighting back. Harper's impressive for a guy that's about 6'6" and like I said his character traits make him very unique. I think he has a lot of potential. The finish was well done in the sense that it "came out of nowhere" as a way to prevent Rowan from interfering.
Post match, Rowan nailed Punk with a clothesline to the back. Harper joined in and Wyatt did as well while the crowd chanted "yes" for all of it. That's their way of calling for Daniel Bryan. Bryan ran down to the ring with a steel chair with tape around his injured shoulder. Bryan and Punk worked together to clear the ring. Loud "yes" chants for it.
Analysis: It's nice to see Punk and Bryan on the same side as babyfaces. They were both in long term storylines the last three months, yet they never really interacted.
There was a clip from WWE.com last week with Triple H saying Big Show was banned for WWE for life. There's a WWE App vote to pick Randy Orton's opponent: Dolph Ziggler, Big E Langston or The Miz.
Later on Raw it's John Cena, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger. It's the same match that main evented Smackdown, but this is WWE where they love repeating matches.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed CM Punk. Punk said it's never a fair fight in WWE. He accepts the fact that he's going to be outnumbered. He mentioned that obviously he wasn't the only one with issues with the Wyatt Family.
Michael Cole interviewed Paul Heyman via phone. Heyman said he was in Europe seeing doctors about all of his injuries. He ran through a list of ailments. I'm not going over them, but I can confirm that one of them wasn't anal bleeding. Heyman was crying on the phone about the beating he received. Cole asked him if he was crying, so he hung up.
Analysis: I'm not sure when Heyman will return as an on air character, but hopefully it's soon.
Ryback has a match with Great Khali because Ryback was bullying Hornswoggle in the catering area.
Ryback vs. Great Khali (w/Santino & Hornswoggle)
I did not wish for a Khali match on my birthday. Trust me on that. Khali got some offense in, but Ryback made a comeback. He couldn't lift Khali up for Shellshock. Khali almost fell over delivering a clothesline. Ryback ended up winning with the running Meat Hook Clothesline. It went about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ryback
Analysis: 1/2* Very short match thankfully.
Post match, Ryback pulled Santino out of the ring. He threw him into the security wall. Ryback looked for Hornswoggle, but the little guy ran under the ring. Ryback left.
Analysis: Hopefully this was just a one time thing instead of a feud because I don't need to see more of this.
More clips were shown of Big Show causing distraction over the last few months. JBL was saying Show should be in jail for what he's done.
Kofi Kingston entered for a match against Alberto Del Rio.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
It feels like they got to his match about once per month every time ADR needs a win. Kingston hit a clothesline that sent Del Rio over the top. Kingston followed that up with a somersault dive outside the ring where he nearly jumped over Del Rio completely, but he did get a piece of him. Del Rio took control with a double foot stomp. Del Rio hit a jumping kick to the side of the head for two. Bridging German Suplex earned a two count for Del Rio. Another suplex plus a backbreaker earned nearfalls for Del Rio. Kingston avoided an enziguiri and hit a cross body block press onto the back of Del Rio for two. Cross body bock off the ropes by Kingston earned another two count. Kingston missed a clothesline, so Del Rio kicked him in the ribs, but Kingston came back with a nearfall. Del Rio was able to apply the Cross Ambreaker, which led to the submission victory after 7 minutes.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ** It was a solid TV match for the time given. The winner was obvious because Del Rio's likely getting a World Title rematch against John Cena at Survivor Series even though nobody really believes Del Rio has a chance of winning the title back there. Good nearfalls by both guys, but I don't think anybody believed Kingston had a chance to win.
There was a video package that was put together by Big Show's lawyer claiming discrimination, slander, defamation, breach of contract, intimidation, extortion, exploitation and wrongful termination with video clips of Hunter & Stephanie to accompany all of it as well.
Analysis: The video was well put together, but this storyline is too over the top and too ridiculous for fans to really get behind it.
The announcers had a conversation about the WWE App that was basically a commercial for it. The Orton opponent poll results are up next.
They showed photos of Boston Red Sox DH and MVP David Ortiz wearing the WWE Title at their World Series parade. John Cena sent him the championship. Good press for WWE for that.
Randy Orton entered as we hit the top of hour two. Orton cut off Lawler before he could reveal the voting results. Orton told the fans that the women in the crowd were fantasizing about what it would be like to wake up to Randy Orton. The men in the crowd will never amount to be half the man that he is. He said the only power the people had tonight was who would be the Viper's next victim. Poll results: Langston 75%, Miz 13% and Ziggler 12%. Poor Miz and Ziggler. Shows how far they've fallen off the radar.
Randy Orton vs. Big E Langston
This is not for Orton's WWE Title. The announcers talked about Langston's being a future champion as he overpowered Orton early on. Dropkick by Orton. Orton was trapped on the apron, so Langston hit him with a shoulderblock and Orton went into the security wall. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Langston threw Orton head first into the steps. Orton was able to regain control by pulling the straps of Langston. With Orton on the apron again, he moved out of the way and Langston went crashing outside the ring. Langston bounced back with a shoulder block to the ribs followed by a couple of clotheslines. Belly to belly suplex by Langston and then a big splash for two. Modified backbreaker by Orton for two. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes. Langston escaped the RKO and knocked Orton down with another clothesline. Langston went for the Big Ending, but Orton landed on his feet and dropped him with a RKO. That was enough for the pinfall. The match went 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: **1/2 Good match. Orton will always have a good match if he gets that much time. They really picked up the pace towards the finish and I liked that the finish "came out of nowhere" so to speak. As the match went on, it sounded like the crowd believed in Langston more and more. His future is definitely bright. I think he'll win the US Title very soon.
Another clip of Triple H saying that Big Show was banned for WWE for life. More clips of Big Show doing stuff. At least I DVR the show so I can fast forward through these things I've seen before. There was a plug for the WWE2K14 video game.
Fandango and Summer Rae made their entrance.
Tyson Kidd made his televised in-ring return along with his wife Natalya. They showed a clip from their wedding on Total Divas.
Tyson Kidd & Natalya vs. Fandango & Summer Rae
Tyson had major knee surgery at the start of the year and he's been back on the road for the past month. This is his return. Kidd started with Fandango. The girls tagged in with Summer hitting a facebuster for two. Summer went for a leg submission that Natalya fought out of and they each hit a clothesline at the same time. The guys tagged in with Kidd hitting a boot to the face and a missile dropkick. Kidd flipped Fandango outside the ring using his feet. Summer distracted Kidd, so Fandango tripped him up on the apron. Back in the ring, Fandango went for a legdrop, but Kidd moved. Kidd applied the Sharpshooter to Fandango and he tapped out after four minutes.
Winners by submission: Tyson Kidd & Natalya
Analysis: *1/2 It was great to see Kidd back in action. It makes sense to bring him back with his wife last week. I had complained about Natalya being paired with Khali in the weeks before this, so I'm glad that WWE came to their senses by putting the husband and wife together this way. The babyfaces getting the win was the right booking. It would be nice to see Kidd on the receiving end of a push in the near future.
Backstage, Damien Sandow was interviewed by Renee Young. Here's a clip of Sandow failing to cash in the Money in the Bank contract successfully last week. Sandow said you have to look deep within yourself after you lose a match like that. He sees himself as a man that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Zeb Colter showed up with the Real Americans to talk about their team with Sandow.
Analysis: I liked Sandow's promo. I hope the loss from last week means that he will be booked to be more aggressive and vicious in the ring. It will help him if that's the case. I know some fans were mad he didn't win the World Title last week. It doesn't mean he never will. I'm optimistic about his future.
More Big Show clips. I'm getting sick of him by now. I don't mind Show either. It's just that WWE is going overboard with it.
The World Champion John Cena made his entrance. He did a promo talking about the Susan G. Komen foundation to fight breast cancer. Cena thanked the fans for supporting them in the fight for life. Cena asked the breast cancer survivors and their families to stand up. Cody Rhodes & Goldust made their entrances as the show went to break.
This Wednesday on main event it's Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston. It's non-title show. Main Event isn't a must see show. I usually skip it.
John Cena, Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
Colter and Alberto Del Rio were on commentary for this one. There were a lot of quick tags early on. They said Tyson Kidd was the #1 trend on Twitter and Cole credited Total Divas for it. Shouldn't you credit the guy for working hard to get back into action? That was awful, Cole. Del Rio and Colter kept arguing even though they're heels. Cena faced off with Cesaro as the crowd erupted into the traditional "let's go Cena/Cena sucks" chant. Suplex by Cena for two. Very slow pace in the first few minutes here. Cody tagged in with a front suplex on Cesaro for two. Back body drop by Cody on Sandow. It's a shame that feud didn't last longer. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment on Sandow, but he went to the floor. There's another vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Sandow hoisted Cena up in the air and gave him an uppercut. I love that spot. Double suplex by the Real Americans on Cena followed by the Swagger Bomb for two. Cena hit a neckbreaker variation on Sandow for two. Looks like he added a move. Swagger tagged in for his team and he applied the Patriot Lock, but Cena fought out. Swagger hit a clothesline for two. Del Rio and JBL made fun of Cole for how much he loved Cena. Cesaro kept Cena grounded until Cena hit a hurricanrana variation that was more like a headscissors. Sandow tagged in to prevent the hot tag as he focused on Cena's left arm injury. Sandow hit a neckbreaker variation for a two count. Clothesline by Sandow on Cena as the heels continue to focus on Cena. Cena was able to create some space after a powerslam. Goldust received the hot tag for his team and unloaded on Cesaro, who was legal for his team. Goldust hit a cross body off the top for two on Cesaro. Cody hit a missile dropkick on Sandow. Cody hit a Disaster Kick on Swagger and then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Swagger. Sandow with the You're Welcome (Full Nelson Slam) on Cena. In the ring, Cesaro gave the Cesaro Swing to Goldust for about twenty revolutions or so. Outside the ring, Cesaro charged at Cena, but JC moved and Cesaro knocked down Colter. Goldust hit a bulldog on Cesaro for two. Rhodes with a moonsault on Sandow. Cross body by Cena on Cesaro. Goldust hit the Final Cut on Cesaro to win for his team after 19 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: John Cena, Goldust & Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ***1/2 That's a long match on Raw, which is fine with me. They were able to tell a great story with each man being given plenty of time to shine. The match they had on Smackdown was a bit better, but this was still an entertaining match to watch. The tag champs continue their roll while Cena was sharp like usual. The finishing sequence was outstanding. Great pacing, timing and a happy ending for the good guys as well.
More Big Show clips this time with the same video about Big Show's attorney and the video package. You played this an hour ago. We don't need to see it again!
Big Show was shown arriving at the arena while the announcers wondered what he was doing there.
Triple H was in the office. Vickie Guerrero walked in to say that Big Show was there. Hunter wondered how he got in there. Stephanie McMahon walked in to say that she let Big Show into the building. She told Hunter that the Board of Directors demanded that Show return to action because the Board didn't want to risk the lawsuit against them. She told him that it's not about them - it's about the business. Hunter was pissed, so she said Hunter never had a problem taking McMahon family money. Well played. She said they had to sort it out with no attorneys involved. Hunter sent Vickie to get Big Show.
Analysis: We can finally see the end for this ridiculous firing angle.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Curtis Axel
This is not for Axel's IC Title. The crowd isn't very into this one as Axel hit a dropkick for two. Axel missed an attack in the corner, so Ziggler came back with a neckbreaker and elbow drop for two. Axel hit a clothesline to the back for a two count of his own. Ziggler hit the Fameasser for two. The announcers barely talked about the match because they kept talking about the Big Show angle. Axel wanted a neckbreaker, but Ziggler fought out of it and hit the Zig Zag to win the match via pinfall. It went 5 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *1/2 The other champions actually won non-title matches earlier in the show, so of course one of them has to lose. Ziggler looks like he's back in the IC Title picture, which is where he was for many years. The crowd didn't care about this match although the finish did earn a pop for Ziggler. It's just a shame to see how far down the ladder he has fallen.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage when Renee Young showed up to interview him. He said he saw an opportunity for payback earlier, so he took it. He added that it looks like there's somebody else that has an issue with the Wyatt Family.
Analysis: It's likely leading to some kind of tag match at Survivor Series with Punk & Bryan against the Wyatt Family. If it's a 4 on 4 elimination tag they will need to add some other people to it.
The Usos made their entrance for a tag match.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were in their office. Vickie showed up to say Big Show wanted to have the meeting in the ring. Hunter said Show wanted witnesses. The crowd cheered even though they should have realized they spent a lot of money to watch a promo in the main event slot.
The Usos vs. Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal)
Double suplex by McIntyre and Slater. McIntyre hit a spinning slam on Jimmy. Slater tagged in to knock down Jimmy with a kick. Jimmy came back with a superkick to Slater. Jey tagged in and hit the top rope splash to win the match for their team after three minutes.
Winners: The Usos
Analysis: * The winners were never in doubt. I wouldn't have a problem if McIntyre & Slater were booked as a legit team because they have a lot of talent, but it will be hard for the fans to believe in them as threats unless they are booked better. The Usos will win the tag titles eventually. Not sure when. It will happen, though.
The lovely Renee Young was backstage conducting another interview this time with Los Matadores. There was a highlight video of them in action. She clarified their names Fernando (Epico) and Diego (Primo). They said the bull El Torito was horny, but not that way. They said he was horny in the knees meaning he liked to attack people in the knees (because he's a little person) with his bull horns.
Analysis: A one note joke. Vince probably loved it.
The Bellas and Eva Marie entered for a tag match. Eva Marie's attire is much better than it was before.
Last week Kane gave Stephanie McMahon his mask and said she could unleash the monster. Welcome back, heel Kane.
Eva Marie, Brie & Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka & Aksana
Tamina gave Nikki a Samoan Drop for two. Aksana tagged in, threw a couple kicks and AJ tagged in. Tamina tagged in while Brie tried to wake up the crowd. Nikki got a two count on a sunset flip. Yelling Brie tagged in with a dropkick and then a dropkick off the middle rope. Tamina hit Eva Marie with a clothesline and gave Brie a boot to the face. Tamina went up top for a splash, but Brie moved out of the way. Eva Marie tagged herself in, rolled up Tamina and won the match. It went 3 minutes.
Winners: Eva Marie, Brie & Nikki Bella
Analysis: Eva Marie wasn't in the match until the finish. It's the dreaded rollup finish for a divas match. They love that finish.
Triple H and Stephanie were shown walking backstage for the main event promo.
This week on Smackdown it's Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper. I missed Bryan in action this week, but it makes sense that he was selling the attack by the Wyatt Family last week.
Main Event Promofest
Triple H and his wife Stephanie Pantsuit McMahon made their entrance for the main event promo. Hunter acted like he didn't want to do this in the ring. Of course they had nothing scheduled as the actual main event, so what else are you going to put here? Another Eva Marie "match" or something? I should stop losing logic. Sorry.
Big Show made his entrance in a suit. He received a good reaction, but it was not a main event level pop. It's not like the reactions that Cena, Bryan or Punk get.
Stephanie said they all agreed to settle. She asked Show what he wanted. He told Stephanie to fly back on a broom to Connecticut (because she's a witch). Hunter interrupted asking how much money he needs to be paid to sell his dignity one more time. Show said he didn't have money problems because he doesn't have any money. What? I'm pretty sure the people with a lack of money are, in fact, the ones with money problems. Show said he just wants his job back because it's a fantastic place to work.
Hunter repeated what Show said in case we couldn't hear it. Hunter didn't want to do it, but Stephanie calmed him down. Stephanie officially re-hired Big Show. That's the second "fired" WWE employee that got their job back with Cody Rhodes being the other. No more firing angles, please.
Show said there was one more thing. He said to make the lawsuit go away, the world's largest athlete needs a bonus. Show spoke about being there for 18 years (more on that in the analysis part). Show said he wants to be the face of WWE. Stephanie freaked out about that. The Shield's music hit as they entered the arena.
Analysis: Apparently working for WCW for four years counts because he's really been in WWE for 14 years. He also took some time off along the way. I guess that means if Sting goes to WWE they will count his WCW years as WWE years too? It makes no sense. But that's me being technical again. A weird spot for a commercial break. I'm just glad that the firing storyline is over.
Big Show told Hunter that he wanted a WWE Title shot against Randy Orton at Survivor Series. Hunter told Show he was lucky to get his job back and told him to get out of the ring or else he's going to leave him in a pool of his own blood. Show asked him if he was sure of it. Hunter said he was. Show said that early tomorrow morning his attorney will be in touch with the Board of Directors and he will own all of them. Show walked out of the ring. Hunter told him to wait.
Hunter quietly said that Big Show had his match at Survivor Series. Show made him repeat it a few times. He got right in Hunter's face. Hunter: "You have your job back. You have a WWE Championship match at Survivor Series against Randy Orton." Show wanted a handshake, but Hunter didn't want that. Hunter booked him in a match against The Shield and Randy Orton right now.
Analysis: Oh right, Randy Orton is a part of this. It felt like a build up to Show vs. Triple H more than anything.
Big Show vs. Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
Show tried to fight them off, but Reigns destroyed him with a Spear. Show fought back on The Shield by hitting a Chokeslam on Reigns. He also hit a double suplex on Rollins and Ambrose. Kane's music started up.
Kane walked down to the ring in a suit and tie. Of course the tie was red. He had no mask on. He also had some hair, so he's not going back to the bald look at least for now. That distracted Show. Orton hit a RKO on Show in the center of the ring. Kane tossed some chairs in the ring. They attacked Show with chair shots as the referee called for the bell. The match only went about three minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Big Show
Analysis: I think calling it a match was a stretch, so I'm not going to rate it. It was merely done for the angle.
Show was pulled outside the ring. Reigns hit him in the head with the steel steps. The crowd didn't react too much of this. It was stunned silence, but I also think it's a case of not being that interested in Big Show as the main event babyface right now. The Shield gave Show the Triple Powerbomb through the announce table. There was a mild reaction to that, but nothing major. Orton stood over Show with the WWE Title in his hand. That's how Raw ended.
Analysis: It was a well constructed main event angle in terms of what they accomplished. It just felt like it took so long. The babyfaces on the show look like such losers all the time and they rarely get revenge. Nobody tried to save Show. That will likely change in the future, but the problem is they've been doing this same sort of thing for nearly three months now so you would think at some point there would be some help for the babyfaces.
I'm not sure if there's going to be a name for this stable or what Kane's role will be, but it's interesting to see him in a suit and tie. Perhaps they just go with "The Authority" as the name or maybe they will just use that to refer to Hunter and Stephanie.
As I mentioned above, I'm not sure how well Show will do as a top babyface. The crowd was not that interested in the main event angle. They still have a few weeks to try to build him up more. In terms of his performance he did well. He's a good talker. His acting skills are above average for a wrestler. That doesn't mean he's the best person for this role. Punk would be incredible in this spot, but I guess that will happen down the road.
Three Stars of the Show
The six guys in the six man tag deserve it. You know their names. Insert them here.
5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2013 Average: 5.84
2013 High: 8.5 (August 27)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 6, 5, 4.5, 6
It's a 5 out of 10 this week.
The six man tag was the highlight of the show.
Main event angle was fine, but it dragged on a bit too much. At least the firing angle is over.
There was nothing else that left much of an impression on me. I was hoping for a better show. It was pretty average all things considered.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org