michael dworkis begins his weekly look at monday night raw…
Hey folks, Michael SD here to present weekly recaps of Monday Night Raw, and of course accompanied by my glorious commentary. Before we get into it, I want to throw in some info you may or may not already know. I have no inside connections with WWE or TNA. I do not have “insider info” like the dirtsheets claim to have. My past, present, and future columns all are my reviews and my predictions. I call it like I see it, without the influence of any inside knowledge of what will happen. I believe this helps cover WWE as there is no fake speculation or pretending not-to-know what happens next. You get a genuine look at what happens on television. Here we go!
Well folks, here we are, the Monday Night Raw before Survivor Series. I have to say for being just a few weeks after Hell in the Cell, WWE could have given us more than just the hype for three matches, those being the WWE and World Title Matches, as well as Team Ziggler vs. Team Foley. However, it does leave fans acting like Ryback, hungry for more. Heading into tonight’s show, Punk takes on Cena one-on-one, Team Ziggler members face off with Team Foley members, and Ryback brings fork and knife cause the man is HUNGRY.
Leading off, Cole announces the Jerry “The King” Lawler returns tonight after his heart attack several weeks ago. We begin tonight with Randy Orton versus Dolph Ziggler.
Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler
Orton and Ziggler went right at it, but the interference from the self-proclaimed “New Predator” Alberto del Rio turned the tide to Ziggler’s favor very quickly. However, in a surprise moment, Orton fended off both Alberto del Rio and his sidekick Ricardo, and rolled up Ziggler for the fast win. The trio did not take the loss very well, and began to overmatch The Viper. This attack brought out Kofi Kingston who drove off the attackers. This resulted in the appearance of Teddy Long and we now get…
Kofi Kingston & Randy Orton vs. Alberto del Rio & Dolph Ziggler
Now a tag match, Kingston and Del Rio showcase their talents, and Ziggler yet again graces the ring and does what he does best, shows off. Again, a quick paced contest. Kingston seemed to have the upper hand until chaos broke loose, Orton fought Ziggler on the outside while Alberto del Rio surprised Kofi with a climbing enziguri for the pinfall.
Winners: Alberto del Rio & Dolph Ziggler
Vickie Guerrero and MORE EVIDENCE!
Wow. The boos are LOUD. You can barely hear Vickie crow on and on about her disdain about AJ Lee. This gimmick has run its course, and at one point, I think everyone forgot their lines. Vickie plays some creepy voice mail messages Aj left for Cena, the Ziggler taunts AJ forcing Cena to come out and clean house. Meh. Backstage Cena and AJ talk about the incident with the possibility of there being some truth to all this. Great. Yawn.
Recap where while overseas, Sheamus and “his friend” William Regal are getting drinks at a pub that looks an awful lot like someone’s dining room with a cash register on the counter, but in any event, the small not-at-all-staged crowd cheered on as Big Show seemingly went unnoticed until he started beating down Sheamus and KO-ing William Regal. Then flash to a recap of SmackDown where Big Show and Wade Barrett dispatch the team of Sheamus and Regal, easily.
William Regal vs. The Big Show
Regal wants revenge, so now he gets the World Heavyweight Champion one-on-one. Sadly, Regal is overmatched and overpowered. The match lasts less than five minutes, including ring entrances.
Winner by Chokeslam: Big Show
I get that this the send-off show for Survivor Series, but Big Show demolishing a guy who retired from active competition really does no justice. Well, this Sunday the Celtic Warrior gets his rematch for the title.
Layla vs. Kaitlyn in a #1 Contender’s Match for the Diva Title
Eve is on commentary, basically saying that there is no one left for her to face since she beat them both. In a match shorter than Show vs. Regal, Kaitlyn defeated Layla using a Scoop-Driver Neck-drop. Hmm… Kaitlyn surprised me with a few unique moves, and perhaps she will get more time to shine?
Winner via an actual wrestling move: Kaitlyn
Flashback to several weeks ago when Lawler collapsed and had a heart attack on-air. I recall this quite well, and it was a scary thing to see. They showed footage of medics treating Lawler, even pushing with chest compressions in the ambulance. This was a big deal. Cole was so broken that the rest of the show went without on-air commentary. It was very serious, and no one knew if he would ever recover. I hope he stays out of in-ring competition in the future. I for one would be devastated if something were to take The King from us.
In the ring, we have Michael Cole and Jim Ross standing in the ring, and they bring out Jerry “The King” Lawler. The crowd goes crazy, giving him a standing ovation. He begins with thanking everyone, and you can hear the emotion in his voice. Lawler is relieved to be back, and was driven to come back because of all the friends, family, and fans who supported him. The emotional moment is interrupted… of course because EVERYTHING needs to be a storyline… by WWE Champion CM Punk, with Paul Heyman in tow.
And it’s only one-hour into the show.
Punk rants how Lawler should not have been getting back in the ring at his age in the first place. He says he got hate mail and the blame being put on him for what happened. He goes as far to point out that Lawler was clinically dead for a few minutes, and came back. Therefore, Jerry Lawler is a Bona-Fide Zombie, and everyone LOVES zombies!! Punk is glad Lawler is back so he can watch Punk stretch his title reign to one-year after he defeats Cena and Ryback at Survivor Series. Punk continues to taunt Lawler as Paul Heyman suddenly collapses in the ring. Clearly mocking Lawler, Punk resuscitates Heyman who laughs out loud. As Cole apologizes to everyone watching, the sound of a Car Crash hits, and Mick Foley hits the ring and immediately unleashes a verbal assault on Punk and Heyman. Foley announces the WWE Universe will choose the final member of his team, and Foley will also be the special guest enforcer for tonight’s match between John Cena and CM Punk.
Backstage Brad Maddox gets ready to face Ryback. Should Maddox win, Vince McMahon promises to give the wrestler-turned-referee-turned-wrestler a one-million-dollar WWE contract.
Rey Mysterio Jr., Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, & Justin Gabriel vs. The Prime Time Players, Primo & Epico
Sin Cara comes out in something stolen from Trish Stratus. Rey comes out to the cheers of no one, while the heels are all in the ring waiting. Strangely, Ricardo Rodriguez comes out and hands a note to Rosa Mendez. Cole emphasizes that Rey is training Sin Cara. The Players dominate early on, but Rey gains the upper hand after Epico is tagged in, sending him to the outside and scoring a flying second-rope moonsault. All eight men surround each other as Raw goes to commercial. We are back from commercial and Titus O’Neal is putting the hurt on the yellow-clad Rey. The Players are starting to impress me as a team. Hopefully they remain a team for a long time and you know what, I hope they become future tag champs. Primo and Epico take turns beating down Rey, until he escapes from Darren Young, making the hot tag to Tyson Kidd who kicks the stuffing out of Young over and over again. He scores the Blockbuster and then goes for the Sharpshooter, but is stopped with a backstabber by Primo. An all-out brawl ensues but the high-flyers gain the upper-hand, with Kidd countering a powerbomb attempt by setting up Young for the 619 as Rey is tagged in. Rey hits and tags out to Justin Gabriel who crushes the beaten and battered Darren Young with the “Thing of Beauty” 450 splash.
Winners by Overcoming Mid-card Hell: Rey Mysterio Jr., Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, & Justin Gabriel
You know something, this focus on the tag teams in WWE is really starting to pay off. Besides the reigning champions of Kane and Daniel Bryan, we have four solid teams consistently featured. Now, bring in the Usos and you can have yet another solid team in WWE. Where are the Usos anyway?
In the locker room. Punk is panicking and wants Heyman to fix his problems. Heyman finds Maddox and decides to have a little chat with him.
Backstage Ziggler berates Miz for being a loser, and Miz assures him he does not care to be on “Team Ziggler.” The argument over stardom is interrupted by Foley. Ziggler chastises Foley for allowing The Miz to be one of the choices for fans… to… vote… whoops. Ziggler jumped the gun there. Way to screw that one up Mr. Show-Off. Anyway, Foley and Miz dismiss Ziggler, and act as if he did not just give away who Foley is adding to the ballot to join his team. Foley announces that the winner of the vote will team up with Kane to face Ziggler’s hand-picked opponents Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow.
R-Truth vs. Tensai
R-Truth comes to the ring, and we are informed that he will face Antonio Cesaro at Survivor Series for the United States Title. They dropped the “Lord” from Tensai, and Lawler asks Cesaro why he hates America so much if he wanted to win the United States Title. He responds with some gibberish about him speaking English and Lawler speaking “in Memphis.” Oh look, Truth somehow “overcame the odds” and “pulled the upset” and every other underdog cliché you can think of.
Winner by boredom: R-Truth
Seriously WWE, it is time for Tensai to fade into the sunset in order to usher the return of…
Just past 10pm. Wow, they really are getting a lot done in a three-hour show! Announced a lot of matches for Survivor Series! Yay!
Brad Maddox vs. Ryback
Maddox comes down to the ring with no music, but we soon hear sirens as an ambulance is backed in to ringside. Cole and Lawler muse that could be the upstart’s ride home. Maddox cuts a promo saying no one will forget him after costing Ryback the title at Hell in the Cell. Well, Maddox lasted quite a while… only because Ryback decided to show off EVERY SINGLE MOVE he knows. Running British Bulldog Powerslam, Triple Powerbomb, two Meathook clotheslines, Ryback just picked Maddox apart and cleaned the meat off the bones. This made Bastion Booger defeating Barry Horowitz look like a 3pm schoolyard fight.
Winner by Total Humiliation and Mutiliation: Ryback
Post-match, Ryback dumps the lifeless Maddox into the ambulance. Bye bye.
So, if you followed Raw tonight, the three choices for the new member of Team Foley are Zack Ryder, Santino Marella, and The Miz. Well, I guess WWE is trying to make it really obvious who should get the vote. Well, we will find out how much of the vote is really up to the fans. We now get David Otunga in the ring and Sheamus is on his way to greet him, but he did not bring flowers. Only pain.
Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Lawler is already losing his voice. Sheamus just mauls Otunga. Backstage, William Regal is joined by Oksana and Michael McGuillicutty, and they watch Sheamus take Otunga apart on a big screen. Huh, guess that contributes nothing to the match. Sheamus drops the Harvard Law Grad with the White Noise, followed by the Brough Kick and there goes Otunga’s head, right into the upper deck.
Winner by Uber-Big-Boot-Of-Doom: Sheamus
Post match Shemus tells the world that he will regain the World Title. Wait just a minute, on the Titantron, Big Show is beating up William Regal. OH! Now that five-second clip backstage makes sense. Show KO’s Regal, again, and Sheamus runs from ringside. Regal is getting a lot of face-time lately, and by face-time, I mean, time his face keeps getting punched inside out.
Kane and Mystery Partner vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
Backstage Daniel Bryan throws a temper tantrum about Kane getting a new tag partner, even if it is for just one night. Brilliant segment. Go on WWE.com and watch it. So it’s time to find out who Team Rhodes Scholars will face. 60% of the vote goes to… The Miz! Of course it did. Miz comes down to cheers, but is interrupted by Daniel Bryan who takes to the ring to patch things up with his fellow titleholder. Action continues on, and Miz seems to be working very well with Kane, much to the chagrin of Daniel Bryan. Miz and Kane using double-team tactics, as Bryan looks on with either sadness or confusion. Either way, it is fantastic. Bryan distracts Miz, allowing Rhodes to take control with the Disaster Kick. Bryan feigns concern as Sandow, the Intellectual Savior of WWE takes over the match. Miz manages to make the hot tag to Kane, who cleans house and Bryan now cheering. Brawl ensues, and Miz is out on the floor with Rhodes. Bryan appears to go after Miz who dodges, sending the would-be-attacker colliding with Rhodes. Miz sends Rhodes into the ring, where he is greeted by a huge chokeslam. Kane makes the cover and wins it for his team.
Winners by Awesome: Kane and The Miz
Post-match, Bryan and Miz argue with Kane in the middle, Bryan proclaiming that “he started it.” At first I thought this stuff was starting to wear out its novelty, but I am so very wrong. This is comedy gold.
CM Punk vs. John Cena
I watched the match, and then I went back on my DVR and watched it again. Something about this match felt off. I can’t put my finger on it, but the match felt very lackluster, almost as if they both just went through the motions just to get through the night. Heyman is perfect at ringside, acting like the sleazy manager he is. A work of art. Yes, I just called Heyman a work of art, deal with my crazy. Cena dodges a top-rope elbow from Punk and goes for the Five-Knuckle-Shuffle but Punk counters by ROLLING OUT OF THE WAY. Wow, I cannot believe no one thought of THAT before. Cena fights back an eventually hits it anyway, to the delight of six-year-olds and teenage girls everywhere. Cena seems to have victory after locking in the STF, but Heyman rushes the ring. Foley drags Heyman out and Cena again tries to make Punk tap, but no avail, Punk reaches the ropes. The WWE Champ tries to leave the match, but Ryback arrives and Punk is forced into an awaiting Cena and thrown into the ring. Cena scores with the Attitude Adjustment and he picks up the win…
Winner by Pinfall: John Cena
Ryback enters the ring and both he and Cena stand over the WWE title left in the ring. They grab it, with Punk standing on the ring apron crying: “That’s mine!”
A lot of questions after tonight. What was the purpose of Heyman and his little chat with Maddox? What was the point of giving Maddox any hype at all if Ryback was going to display cannibalism live on television? Cena is involved in the WWE title match, and starting a feud with Ziggler through this AJ/Vickie spat. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think I saw this gimmick done in TNA with AJ Styles and Dixie Carter… and it was bad there too. Can we get A-Train back please? William Regal had his face punched inward half-a-dozen times in a week. Maybe he will get tired of being the stand-in punching dummy for Sheamus, turning on The Great White and cause Show to retain the World Title? Did anyone really think that either Santino or Ryder were really going to join Team Foley? Once Ziggler slipped that Miz was Foley’s third choice, we all knew, vote or not, would be the Ryback Replacement. Miz is about half his size, but he is awesome, so he will do just fine. I am very happy to see Lawler back behind the table, but you could hear throughout his time on the show, he was struggling with his voice. I really do care for the guy, maybe it is time he consider stepping down. I enjoyed hearing Good Ol’ J.R. again, and there is nothing wrong with Lawler stepping aside to let the original voice or RAW take his seat back.
Overall, tonight’s RAW was good. While they did rush the rest of the pay-per-view card, it still felt built up enough to be a good event. Will the triple threat be the way WWE takes the belt off Punk without losing cleanly, or will Punk be allowed to stretch his title reign closer to the all-time longest?