michael dworkis is feeling RAW …
We begin Raw with Chris Jericho vs. Fandango in a Dance Contest
I have gone blind! Raw began and Fandango walks out in some Technicolor jacket blinding all my senses. Oh the inhumanity! Dancing with NXT Diva, Summer Rae, Johnny “Fandango” Curtis gyrates his way into the ring while maintaining the same face when I have difficulty smashing one in the toilet. Speaking of toilets, here comes a man whose career is starting to spiral down in similar fashion, Chris Jericho with his dancing partner Edyta Sliwinska. The ring actually has a dance floor. Jerry Lawler is officiating. Lawler reminds the crowd this is not a popularity contest, just like when Fandango lost a recent contest to Khali. This is a contest about actual dancing. So, we have a character who is dancer, and a lead singer who failed to be a dancer on Dancing with the Stars. Jericho reflects on his win in Raw Musical Chairs, and even winning a game when Bob Barker was guest host, so winning Raw Dance Off will be easy.
Fandango and Summer Rae begin their routine. Except they do nothing. Fandango stands frozen as the music runs, resulting in a crowd chant of “You Suck” towards this event. Well, they actually start dancing and then within moments Summer Rae dramatically falls obviously hurting her ankle. Fandango leaves in disgust and Jericho and Sliwinska tend to the fallen Rae. Suddenly, Fandango returns and drops Y2J with a running boot. They brawl all over ringside, Fandango gaining the upper hand with ease, concluding with a promise to defeat Jericho at Extreme Rules.
Fandango gets back in the ring, and Summer Rae jumps up and into the arms of her man. It was a setup! Pretty funny stuff actually. Very well done. So, Sliwinska, a supposedly high-profile dancer got paid … to do nothing. You know what WWE, hire me to do nothing and pay me half of what you paid her. That would be enough to cover my student loans. Please?
The announcement for a big match tonight: An Elimination six-man tag team match! Team Hell No and John Cena vs. The Shield!
Ryback defeats Zack Ryder by Pointless
I would like to present the “Why Is This a Match?” award to Zack Ryder, but he has fallen so far down the pit of jobberdom, he does not have a signal.
Lots of promos tonight. Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock.
The Prime Time Players defeat Tons of Funk by pinfall
Hey, a real match! Where is Rufus “Pancake” Patterson at? Back to reality, Titus is incredible, and now Tensai even has a few more moves. Clay lobs Titus across the ring with a T-Bone Suplex, and is about to go for the big splash, but Darren Young uses a foreign object to stun Clay, allowing Titus to roll the Funkasaurus up for the pinfall victory. Short, but good match.
Recap from SmackDown, showing Swagger punting Ziggler in the head, for real, and causing the World Champion to suffer a concussion. Knowing Ziggler, he will want to compete on Sunday. Not the storyline, but because Mr. Ziggler is just that dedicated. Hopefully smart though, if he really is injured, then he needs to sit on the sidelines if he wants a long career.
Theodore Long comes to Raw to make an announcement about the World Heavyweight Championship match, but is immediately interrupted by Swagger with Zeb Colter, but they are interrupted by AJ Lee and Big E. Langston. The result is, Swagger will go one-on-one with Alberto del Rio in an “I Quit” match to determine the number one contendership to the title. Well, that is disappointing.
In case you missed it, tonight, Team Hell No will team with John Cena to challenge The Shield in a six-man elimination tag match!
Cole and JBL announce Kofi Kingston will defend the United States Championship against Dean Ambrose at Extreme Rules. Gee golly folks, I predicted that announcement last week, now didn’t I. In the words of my favorite genius, “You’re Welcome.” Speaking of whom, our next match features the intellectual savior of the masses against the United States Champion.
Kofi Kingston defeats Damien Sandow by pinfall
Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain, but then Kofi takes control. Kingston misses a top-rope splash, allowing Sandow to hit a jumping swinging neckbreaker. Unfortunately, the Duke of Decency could not capitalize and Kofi struck down Sandow with the Trouble in Paradise. Good match but too short.
Short promo for an elimination six-man tag team match with The Shield taking on the pairing of John Cena and Team Hell No. Tonight! Wow!
Mark Henry and the Hall of Pain
Henry addresses the crowd, sweating with each word. Flashback to last week on SmackDown, where Henry pulled two tractor trailers, total of 55 tons, actually breaking a world record. Well, to top that, this week he puts a strap around interviewer Josh Matthews and drags him around the ring, touching each corner demonstrating the rules of the Strap Match, the type of match in which he will face Sheamus at Extreme Rules. Sheamus comes out and engages in some witty banter and I will give it to Henry, he is good on the mic. He says Sheamus traded in his green for the coward’s yellow. Very clever. Sheamus brings out his own strap and they whip each other senseless. Henry makes the retreat this time.
More promos. Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock Brock.
Randy Orton defeated Antonio Cesaro by pinfall
Well, we get the rematch from Main Event. Nice to see a good match on the A show. Maybe Orton is improving since he has to keep pace with an actual wrestler in Cesaro. The Swiss Sensation takes control of the match, because he can. Good back and forth match, Orton goes for his second rope DDT but Cesaro counters into a roll-up but only gets a two. Both men up fast and Orton drops Cesaro with an RKO out of nowhere! Orton covers and earns the three count. Good match, but again, short. Is Hornswoggle scripting the matches tonight?
The Miz defeats 3MB by submission
Well, no. Just Heath Slater. Or Jobber #1. Cole, Lawler, and JBL must all be drunk because they have made no sense on commentary during this one. Miz dominates most of the match, until Slater does something which resembles a wrestling move. Slater with a reverse chinlock, the choice move of jobbers. Miz breaks out and just floors Slater back and forth over and over like a bad cartoon. At some point, I do not hear any commentary, just laughing and snickering. Everyone had enough to drink? I surely have not. Miz wraps up Slater in the figure-four and earns the tap-out victory.
WWE/Susan B. Komen video package. Beautiful stuff. This is what WWE is all about, not just entertainment but using their stardom for good causes and outstanding outreach.
Reminder: We have a big match tonight! It is an elimination six-man tag team match! Daniel Bryan, Kane, and John Cena vs. The Shield! Did we not mention that already??
More promos for Triple H and Brock Lesnar. Brock Brock Brock HHH HHH Brock HHH Brock HHH HHH HHH Vince McMahon.
Hey! Here is a surprise! The main event is right now?! Oh… The Main Event is going to be a face-to-face confrontation between Brock Lesnar and Triple H. Oh wait, not surprised.
Announcement for Extreme Rules: Rollins and Reigns will challenge Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Hmmm… Did I predict this only a month ago? Why yes, I think I did. You’re Welcome.
John Cena & Team Hell No vs. The Shield
Kane mauls Ambrose from the start throwing him from corner to corner. Bryan gets the tag and kicks over and over all over Ambrose. Bryan puts on a very painful hold, using his foot to bend the arm of Ambrose backwards. Rollins manages to tag in, but is immediately met by Bryan and back from commercial we get the Kane/Bryan double-team. Bryan gets backed into Shield territory and the tide now turns. Reigns barrels over Bryan. Why is Bryan always the one beaten down in these sorts of matches? Let Cena take some bumps. He can take it. I thought he was Super Cena? The Shield trio executes a nice triple team, with Reigns hold Bryan and allowing Ambrose and Rollins to attack with two consecutive running dropkicks. Great teamwork, these three work very well as a unit. Kane finally gets the hot tag, runs over Rollins and Reigns, then crushed Ambrose with a huge DDT. This is elimination style, and no one is gone yet! Kane clears the ring and goes to the floor attacking all three Shield members. His assault weakens the trio, throwing them into the barrier, hitting them with the ring stairs, and so on. This results in his own elimination… either by DQ or count out, I am not sure but the ref ejects the Big Red Machine from the match. Back from another commercial, Cena is the one taking the beating, having just eaten a huge knee strike from Rollins coming off the top rope. Cena makes a hot tag to Bryan who erupts like a house on fire dodging a clothesline by Rollins and dives to the floor taking out Reigns. Bryan back in the ring floors Rollins with a top rope dropkick but only gets a two count. Rollins counters out of an attempted No-Lock, allowing Ambrose to make a blind tag in, Bryan caught unaware is cracked in the side of the head with a jumping kick by Rollins, and Ambrose finishes off Bryan with a forward DDT drop, eliminating him. Cena in, and overwhelmed by the numbers. Somehow he powers out and hits all his signature moves on Rollins, and eliminates him! What? Oh come on. Cena now gets Ambrose up for the Attitude Adjustment, but Ambrose held onto the ropes. Reigns readies for a spear, but the ref stops him! Reigns shoves the ref, hitting the spear anyway, and the ref DQs Reigns from the match. Ambrose taunts Cena, who then perks up, locking the remaining Shield member in the STF. Rollins and Reigns dive back in and cause the DQ finish, not that it matters to them as they triple powerbomb Cena.
Match Result: Either Cena won by DQ or No-Contest. No announcement was made. If there was, I clearly did not pay attention.
So after a 15-minute match, Cena eliminates one person, the other gets DQ’d just moments later, and then ends with a DQ finish. Wow. This was a great match, until it was down to Mr. Cena. Way to be a buzzkill. Oh, now Ryback comes out. Walks into the ring, looks down at Cena, leaves. No wait, he comes back with a chair in hand and blasts Cena in the leg. Sigh.
I just lost an eBay auction for a RobotMasters Starscream “black” version. This is my punishment.
Promo for the main event: Brock HHH Brock HHH HHH HHH Brock Brock Brock HHH. Yawn.
Big E. Langston vs. Jack Swagger
This match was put together by you, the WWE fans. Yep you voted for this one. The choices of opponents, Jack Swagger and Alberto del Rio. You chose the Real American, Jack Swagger. I wonder if people are already tired of the Mexican Aristocrat being a good guy. It is too funny to hear JBL, Jerry, and Cole try to rationalize it as “the WWE Universe wants to see these two hurt each other” or “the fans want to see Swagger beaten up by Langston.” Maybe one of those statements could be the truth, or just more smoke, or alcoholic breath in the case of JBL. Swagger won by a landslide. It does not help the cause JBL, when you say “I can’t believe Alberto didn’t win” and “I’m surprised.” It also does not help when Lawler chimes in, repeating his surprise over and over again. We get it already. I know WWE fans are not the brightest, but I think they can figure even that cover up out. Anyway, this match has been a lot of back and forth nothingness. Langston is a big man, big power, but as I say every week, something is missing. Swagger is a freakin’ wrestling pro. This match for some reason does not show the strengths for either wrestler. Nice top rope superplex by Langston, planting Swagger down hard. The Real American cinches in the Patriot Act ankle lock, but Langston reaches the ropes. On the floor, Langston throws Swagger into the barrier, charges, but Swagger backdrops Langston over and into the crowd! Swagger rolls back into the ring, and Langston is unable to return to the ring by the time the ref counts to 10!
Winner by Count Out: Jack Swagger
Post match, Alberto del Rio charges the ring and brawls with Swagger, locking in the Cross Arm-breaker until Langston arrives to try to inflict damage, but both Swagger and Langston are downed by Del Rio.
AJ Lee defeated Natalya… by Submission
No, I am not making this up. With a disastrous commentary supplied by The Bellas and Kaitlyn who gets a mysterious gift, Natalya owns the match until AJ is seemingly knocked out. As Natalya lifts AJ for a backbreaker, the sly devil quickly spins around, locking on what appears to be a version of the Octopus Stretch to earn the tap out victory. I do not know what to say anymore.
Clips of the dance-off where Jericho got played. Backstage, Matt Striker talks to Jericho, who is clearly pissed off and says the time for games and jokes has come to an end, and Jericho promises Fandango a very special dancing lesson come Extreme Rules.
The final 10 minutes of the show is allotted for Triple H and Brock Lesnar to breathe heavily in each other’s faces, sweat all over the place, and grunt like bears. Welcome to the Main Event of Monday Night Raw!! Hell, I would have taken the six-man tag match over this, even with the lame ending and Ryback being Ryback. Well, Trips comes out dressed in his brawling attire. To add some sort of drama, a steel cage is lowered around the ring. Triple H rambles about hate and he hates Brock. Lesnar and Heyman come out to the stage, and The Game interrupts Heyman within three words. Hunter wants to fight now, and Heyman does not oblige. Heyman cuts a good promo on The Game, turning his own words against him. Heyman reminds everyone, that while The Game and everyone else want to see a fight tonight, Heyman repeats, Brock does not “fight for free.” Before the duo leave, Triple H says Heyman is afraid he will beat Lesnar again. HHH says Brock is a beast, but since losing at WrestleMania 29, Heyman is afraid Lesnar is not the beast anymore. The taunting works, and Brock is on his way to the caged ring. The opponents go at it, unloading into each other until Brock ducks a swing and launches HHH with a huge German Suplex! Somehow, Trips gets back into it, throwing Lesnar out of the cage. The show closes with The Cerebral Assassin standing tall in the cage.
My Extreme Rules preview column will hit later this week, but here is a quick look at the matches we can expect to see.
I Quit Match – Alberto del Rio vs. Jack Swagger. Both men have submissions as finishers could make for an interesting match. Winner becomes the number one contender to the World Title currently held by the cranially injured Dolph Ziggler.
United States Championship – Kofi Kingston defends against Dean Ambrose. This might be the actual show-stealer in the absence of the triple threat ladder match.
Tag Team Championship – Rollins and Reigns challenge Team Hell No for the belts. Could be another great match. Will the Shield sweep?
Steel Cage Match – Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. This will be a brawl.
Pre-show: The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes. Just announced tonight. The Miz is Mr. Preshow now?
Mark Henry vs. Sheamus in a Strap Match. Will be brutal, I see lots of pain.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango – Yep. It is happening again.
Randy Orton vs. The Big Show in an Extreme Rules match. No rules I suppose.
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship. I just do not know what to say about this one. I feel like it could be a disaster, yet a glimmer of hope this could be decent.
All photos credit: WWE