After Night of Champions ended on a bit of a whimper, the WWE now has six weeks to get the hype machine going toward Hell in a Cell. Cena and Punk ended in a draw meaning they have every reason to meet again. but aside from that and Kaniel winning the tag team championship (although we’re still not sure if Kane or Bryan is the tag team champions) there isn’t a whole lot to take away from Sunday night. I’m curious to see if WWE creative takes the full time to develop new match ups for the next big show, or if we have to see Sheamus/Del Rio four.
Raw kicks off strong with Paul Heyman coming out to CM Punk’s music. He asks the referee from last night’s main event, Chad Patton, to come out and defend his decision to call Cena/Punk a draw. This is the second time Heyman has called out a ref after a PPV. He points out that Patton made the right call (which he technically did) and calls out Cena for complaining. Heyman also shows a video from a fan who conveniently had great seats and a camera phone, showing the end of the match which shows again that both men’s shoulders were down. Is this really being refuted? It would be better if he made the wrong call and the other angle proved Cena won. Eventually Cena came out and said that the call was right (duh) and that he was more pissed that the match ended in a draw instead of going on. Cena goes on about Punk not earning respect, but it’s just hard to take him seriously with all that pink on. I know it’s for cancer awareness and that’s great, but it still looks like Cena mixed his white and colored laundry. Anyway he wants a rematch tonight and since Punk isn’t there yet, Heyman speaks for him (he calls himself the voice of the voice of the voiceless. clever man) and tells him no. For some reason Alberto Del Rio comes out to tell Cena to stop crying about it because he already had his title shot, and that Del Rio deserves yet another rematch (oh god no), because he wasn’t ready to fight Sheamus with the brogue kick in play. AJ comes out to declare that Punk and Del Rio will team up against Cena and Sheamus, and that the winner could decide who actually gets a rematch. I rarely say this, but I really hope Cena wins.
Back from break, Michael Cole (wearing a “Long Live the King”t-shirt) gives a new update on Jerry Lawler. The King is in Memphis and apparently Cole will talk to Lawler on Raw next week. They showed some footage of him landing later in the show and he took an official WWE airplane. It’s really unbelievable how fast he has recuperated, but it would be nice to have some kind of announcement that a contingency plan is in place in the event something like that happens again. The show can’t always just go on. Like last night, JBL is on hand to add commentary with the now face Cole, and this time Jim Ross is there as well (yes still with the goatee). The cowboy hat to non cowboy hat ratio is currently 2 to 1.
The first match of the night has Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, fresh off losing in the Fatal 4 Way IC match, teaming up against Epico and Primo. They are either really committing to the two of them being a team, or they don’t know how else to fit them both into the show. Jim Ross and Michael Cole seem to be alternating doing play by play, which is kind of weird. JBL is lost in the shuffle. Mysterio hits a 619 on both Epico and Primo, Sin Cara does a front flip off the top rope for a pin and the match is over faster than you can say JR’s BBQ Sauce. The celebration is short lived however because the Prime Time Players ambush them in the ring. They say they had the number one contender spot taken from them, and they are going to start being the takers. None of the millions of dollars shtick. O’Neil nailed his short promo while Darren Young flubbed over his while basically saying the exact same thing. I think Titus O’Neil is going to get a solo shot at some point. He’s developing more every time I see him.
I guess three people weren’t enough at the announce table because Layla is now with them for the Divas match between Beth Phoenix and Eve, the new champion. I guess Beth Phoenix is a face? Layla says all the things the announcers already said. Eve, back to having the creepy smile, rolls up Beth for the win and gets in Layla’s face with the belt. It wasn’t that long ago when Beth Phoenix was unstoppable. Now she’s getting buried. Diva’s champions go sour faster than milk.
Now that Layla is gone, Antonio Cesaro now joins the announce table for Brodus Clay’s squash match against Heath Slater. Clay wasn’t at the PPV and his entrance was shortened a bit. Maybe they realized the less time Clay and his ladies are on the mic the better. Tries to help Slater win but he’s Heath Slater and Clay quickly takes him out. That’s two squash matches in a row.
The rubbish is followed by the debut of Miz’s talk show, Miz TV. His first guest his Smackdown General Manager Booker T, who he claims had it out for him by putting him against three other men at Night of Champions. He told Booker he thinks he put him in that match, and banned the brogue kick only to reinstate it before the Sheamus/Del Rio match, because he craves the spotlight and knows his wrestling career is done. The crowd has a “boring” chant going when Booker finally grabs the microphone. He says Miz needs a new guest, who is used to beating multiple opponents at one time. That’s right, he calls Ryback out. I was worried for a second because I thought he was actually going to have to talk. Instead Miz leaves the ring while Ryback trashes the set for absolutely no reason. He throws the two couches out of the ring. It is basically like every other Ryback match. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to pin the seat cushion.
Just when I thought there wouldn’t be any more real wrestling in this show, Dolph Ziggler comes out to answer my prayers. He’s up against Santino however so who knows what will happen. Their styles actually work pretty well together. Ziggler’s showing off gets countered with Santino’s usual antics, and he’s good for at least one chuckle per match. The “Let’s go Ziggler” chants are in full force as Dolph pulls out the cobra socks from Santino’s tights and shoves it down his throat. Eventually Santino gets the momentum back but when he goes for the cobra, Vickie has taken it and Ziggler hits a zig zag on the distracted Santino. For whatever reason Dolph goes for a second zig zag before winning the match. Solid match and the best of the night so far.
Wade Barrett makes his way back to Raw after coming back from injury on Smackdown a couple of weeks ago. He gets to beat up on Justin Gabriel in what’s another squash match. The smart crowds gets a “We want Nexus” chant going as Barrett just beats the crap out of Gabriel. Justing actually starts to get some offense of his own going, landing a springboard moonsault for a two count. It doesn’t last long however as Barrett hits a big forearm smash or something to get the win. Barrett’s punches look a little bit harder than everyone else’s . Good sign.
Did you know Subway turned 50 years old and started in Bridgeport Connecticut? I know that now because Jared was backstage giving everyone sandwiches. Truth, Kofi, Sandow and Ryder were involved as well. The only part of it that was worth anything was Ryback yelling at Jared to FEED HIM MORE, with Jared giving him a sandwich. So far tonight’s Raw sucks.
That can all change right now as Team Friendship are out to defend their tag team championship against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. Bryan has totally stopped trying to remain calm and is back to yelling NO! at everyone again. This is by far the most talent we’ve had in the ring at one time tonight so far. Kofi and Truth continue to do strong tag team work, while Bryan tags in Kane with a hard slap to the chest. Kofi lowers the rope on Kane to get him outside the ring, then Bryan gets tossed over by Kofi onto Kane, causing another argument between Kaniel. They eventually get going and Kane is preparing to give Kofi a choke slam but Bryan tags himself in, leading to more arguing. This gives Kofi time to tag Truth and turn the momentum again. Bryan tags Kane in clean this time and he beats up on Truth and again goes for a choke slam. Only this time he turns around before Bryan can tag himself in, and Kane grabs Bryan by the throat. Bryan then drops Kane’s neck down on the rope and Truth goes for a pin, but Bryan breaks it up. Kofi takes Bryan outside the ring and Kane finally hits Truth with a choke slam. Bryan however manages to tag himself in again and apply the NO lock to win the match by submission. Bryan then grabs both belts and yells that he’s the tag team champions until Kane grabs them from him to do the same thing. The crowd chants for them to hug it out, and that’s exactly what they do. At the end of the hug Daniel rips his belt back from Kane and they start yelling at each other again. If that’s how all of their matches go for the next month, I can deal with it.
Middle finger waving Randy Orton out next against Tensai. Tensai controls the match early on and the crowd just isn’t into it. Instead a “Let’s go Yankees” chant starts, which is countered with a “Yankees suck” chant. Eventually an “Albert” chant starts for Tensai and it looks like Orton starts laughing when he hears it. Randy finally gets back into it with a power slam into a second rope DDT. You can see the face “tattoo” starting to peel of Tensai’s face as Orton goes for an RKO. Tensai pushes him away the first time but then hits it on the second attempt for the win. Best overall wrestling match of the night. By the way, there is a group of attractive women with front row seats that just got their 58th closeup of the show.
Damien Sandow must be done with his meatball sub because he is out to tell us how happy he is that it is back to school season. To expand the crowd’s vocabulary for the occasion, he explains big, derogatory words to them. The man can get heat at an ice cream store. Zach Ryder interrupts to inform him that they have a match right now. Ryder is like the Spicoli to Sandow’s Mr Hand. It works. The crowd is very much behind Ryder but for the most part it’s all Sandow. Zack eventually hits a facebuster to get going and hits the broski boot for a two count. By the ropes, Sandow takes Ryder’s legs out from under him and nails a neck breaker for the win. Damien celebrates with a cartwheel and I am in the Damien Sandow fan club.
Main event time. Punk comes out last and works Heyman into his entrance. He checks Paul’s watch to discover that it is indeed clobberin’ time. They then high five going down the ramp. They are like best buds. Punk holds up the title like he did at Night of Champions for what seems like forever. The crowd builds up the longer he holds it. Cena throws his shirt to the hot chicks in case you were wondering. Cena and Punk start the match in the ring but Punk immediately tags Del Rio in and ducks out. Cena hits a monkey flip and tags in Sheamus to a small chorus of boos. Punk gets tagged in against Cena and immediately gets pummeled and escapes the ring again. Punk gets back in and starts working Cena. John eventually tags in Sheamus and we get a small sample of the Sheamus/Punk match that almost happened on Labor Day. Punk pulls off a modified Mexican surfboard which Sheamus reverses into a near fall. Well done. Punk and Cena get tagged in at the same time and Cena goes for the 5 knuckle shuffle. Punk tries to reverse it but Cena turns it into an STF. Del Rio breaks it up but gets knocked out with a brogue kick by Sheamus. Cena then hits Punk with an AA and pins Punk, who gets his foot on the rope but the ref doesn’t see it and Cena gets the win. Punk and Heyman immediately start arguing with the ref but it doesn’t change the decision. The show ends with Punk and Heyman following the ref up the ramp and yelling at him. The last thing you hear is Heyman say “He’s a referee, don’t crowd him!” Awesome.
Aside from a few highlights this episode of Raw stunk up the joint. The matches were mostly squashes or rehashes of last night, and much like my main complaint about Night of Champions, nothing actually happened. It looks like Cena will get a rematch against Punk for the WWE Championship but we already figured that much. The Prime Time Players mean business. Big deal. Raw has been surprisingly good since the move to three hours and a dud had to come eventually and that is normally typical for shows right after a PPV. Let’s hope things pick up next week.