Things sure picked up a bit in the WWE over the last week haven’t they? CM Punk hits a fan (the wrong one), a mother complains about Alberto Del Rio ripping up her son’s sign (she obviously doesn’t know what wrestling shows are about), and John Cena’s arm is not healing as quickly as WWE had hoped (although it’s proceeding exactly on schedule with what John Cena had told us). This all leads into a Monday Night Raw that promises to tell us if CM Punk will end up facing John Cena (booooo) or Ryback (BOOOOO) at Hell in a Cell. Punk and Ryback actually had a couple of matches at house shows recently to see how the crowd would take it, and early reaction was good. Enough delaying, let’s find out who it’s going to be.
But first here’s the Big Show! He sums up the last couple of weeks which is essentially all about the WMD (now being called the Knock Out Punch) being more effective than the Brogue Kick. The crowd has none of it and gets a “45 seconds” chant going (for the amount of time he held the World Heavyweight Championship), which drives Big Show over the edge. He wants to erase the memory of that moment by beating Daniel Bryan (the man who took his title by cashing in his MITB briefcase) with one punch tonight. He demands that Bryan comes out to the ring. Backstage Bryan is watching with Kane and some other superstars. He wants no part of Big Show, but AJ makes him go out there. Kane laughs right in his face and gets YES/NO argument going with everyone backstage (including Little Jimmy). Oddly enough there was a kid ringside with a goat mask, that Daniel Bryan took and ripped. Hopefully his dad doesn’t send the WWE a letter.
It’s all Big Show early on, including a spear during the commercial break. Bryan creates an opening with a dropkick to the knee and scores with a barrage of kicks. It just occurred to me that this is the first time I’ve really seen Bryan just flat out wrestle in a while. After another flurry of dropkicks in the corner, Bryan goes for a double axe handle from the top rope, but Big Show catches him and delivers a chokeslam for the win. Not a bad match. Before anyone leaves, Kane comes out to laugh at Daniels misfortune. When Big Show gets ready to hit Bryan with a WMD however, Kane steps in to stop him and Big Show backs off. Of course they argue immediately afterwards. Such is Team Hell No.
After the break, Paul Heyman was in the ring to introduce CM Punk. Punk is again without the sleeves on his boots. I guess he’s just done with those (and I guess I’m paying too much attention to a man’s shoes). Some recapping as usual, and Punk displays the poster for Hell in a Cell where he poses as the devil, to show how the fans think of him. This all leads into Punk choosing between the devil he knows (Cena) and the devil he doesn’t know (Ryback). The whole time there is a picture in the middle of the ring that is covered. That picture shows the man he will face. He says he will reveal who he will face now, but the crowd’s booing makes him decide to put off his decision until later. All of a sudden Mr McMahon’s music hits! Vince tells Punk that he just blew the chance to make the decision himself, and Vince will now make it for him. Now the show will end with a contract signing, where McMahon will reveal the man Punk will face. I’m personally thinking it will either be Ryback with Cena as referee, or a triple threat match. That way Cena is still involved and doesn’t have to carry the match.
Alberto Del Rio up next against Brodus Clay. For some reason Del Rio will be facing Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. That’s fine. Clay’s introduction was completely skipped by the way. Hey guess what? According to the announcers Del Rio is getting more aggressive. By the numbers of times they’ve said that over the last year you’d think he was a full on rageaholic. The only thing this comment is good for is guaranteeing a Del Rio win. Sure enough he dodges a rush by Clay into the corner, kicks him in the head and applies the cross arm breaker for the submission win. Clay barely lasted a second before tapping. He’s totally done. Ricardo also announced the win the faces of the funkadactyls. That was the best part of the match.
Backstage, CM Punk is complaining about Vince McMahon taking the decision from him, while Paul Heyman reiterates the fact that you don’t mess with Vince McMahon. He says you can beat McMahon in a battle, but you can’t win the war (again, Heyman would know). Punk decides that he is going to beat Vince again like he did last week, and tells Heyman to tell Vince that he has to beat Punk in the ring to earn the right to make the decision for him. Heyman objects but Punk makes him do it anyway. For some reason this was all done in front of Cody Rhodes locker. It would really be a shame if they were both going to pick the same person wouldn’t it?
In the ring Zack Ryder and Santino, going by the name team Co-Bro (which sounds too much like a certain slur to me) go against the Prime Time Players. This match was only on TV for about 60 seconds as Young hits Santino with his finisher, Young gets hit with the Rough Ryder, and Ryder gets slammed by O’Neil to get the win for the Prime Time Players. Once again with Santino and Ryder down, Santino Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre get in the ring. They are now calling themselves the 3 MB, as in Three Man Band, and I love it. They are also dressing like Guns N Roses. They aren’t actually doing anything yet but it’s pretty hilarious. With Raw being in Memphis, they crashed a stage at a local bar and tried to perform their music. The crowd was supposed to hate them but instead the people in the front absolutely went nuts for them. Sadly, security kicked them out before they actually got started.
Forget all that though because some real talent is in the ring now in the form of Dolph Ziggler. I met the man this weekend at the New York Comic Con and he is as awesome as I hoped he’d be. Not only that, but you can hear me in the video WWE.com posted from the event (go to the 0:27 mark). He stayed in character without being rude to anyone and his hair is even more glorious in person than it is on TV. He’s getting his push, sure. But he needs to be put front and center. Anyway, he’s complaining about Ryback getting a chance at a title without earning it like Ziggler had to in the Money in the Bank match. Ziggler says he deserves a title shot. He wants to face Punk at Hell in a Cell, win the WWE Championship, and then cash in the MITB briefcase to become a unified champion. David Otunga decides to come out and declare that he is more deserving than both Ziggler and Ryback of a title shot. Before they can start anything, AJ comes out to announce that the two of them will prove what they are saying by facing Ryback right now in a 2 on 1 handicap match. Poor Dolph. He almost immediately gets destroyed with a clothesline. He really has to get a winning streak going soon. He doesn’t even have a match yet at Hell in a Cell, although the he keeps saying that he plans on cashing in his briefcase at the PPV. After tagging Otunga in, Ziggler leaves ringside and Otunga is left alone to be fed to Ryback. Shellshock, pin, match over. It would be nice if Ryback had a couple more real matches before getting thrown into the main event of a PPV.
Backstage, Paul Heyman is making his case to Vince McMahon about meeting Punk again in the ring. Heyman builds it up by making CM Punk the underdog and throwing in that Vince McMahon never backs down from a challenge. McMahon agrees to be in a match tonight with Punk’s ability to choose his opponent on the line. However instead of Punk, McMahon says it has to be against Paul Heyman. Heyman of course refuses, and McMahon kicks Heyman out of his “office.”
Antonio Cesaro beat the complete snot out of snot out of Justin Gabriel. The crown gets a USA chant going, but they fail to realize that Gabriel is from South Africa. Eventually Gabriel gets Cesaro down and actually hits a 450 splash (which I think is just a 360) but Cesaro gets his foot on the rope to avoid losing the match. Gabriel goes for a spring board move but Cesaro hits him with an uppercut in the air to knock him out. A neutralizer and a pin later, and Cesaro is victorious. Gabriel is getting a lot more TV time lately, and he has certainly earned it. He looks good out there. Cesaro of course has all the tools himself.
Remember when Matt Stryker was a wrestler? Well earlier he went to AJ to try to get Kane and Daniel Bryan to apologize for attacking him on Smackdown. He makes the fatal mistake of using he word “crazy” in any way at all, so AJ (who is definitely not crazy) puts him in a match with Kane. In the ring (and in his wrestling gear) Stryker tries to talk Kane out of having the match. He mentions the anger management therapy, and how nobody wants to see mindless carnage. Kane brings Stryker in for a hug, which eventually turns into a bear hug, and finally a choke slam to end the match. Michael Cole puts the perfect cap on the segment. “You shouldn’t call AJ the C-word.” That is the best thing Michael Cole has ever said. After the match, Kane interviews an unconscious Stryker and declares himself the tag team champions. Fantastic.
Time for a little Miz TV. His guest is Kofi Kingston, who he will be facing on Wednesday on Main Event with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. Despite being suited up, Kofi still does his full entrance. Miz berates Kofi by saying he has no legitimate career highlights aside from being part of forgettable tag teams, while Miz has headlined WrestleMania and held several championships. Kofi says that Miz is right, and that he needs to add more memorable moments, starting with taking the Miz’s Intercontinental Championship. Furthermore, Kofi challenges Miz to a match tonight, which Miz accepts. Miz continues calling Kofi worthless until Kofi snaps and attacks Miz. Miz leaves the ring while Kofi holds up Miz’s IC belt.
Up next, Sheamus went against Wade Barrett for the second week in a row. Last week’s match was great. This time they start off with some pretty decent mat wrestling. The power game comes in soon enough. Punches and power slams going both ways. The action heads outside the ring, and after Sheamus delivers a shoulder block, Big Show comes out with a chair to…sit down and watch the match (what did you think he was going to do?). Barrett takes control of the match mostly with knees to the side and the head. Sheamus fights back with a back breaker, leading into his signature series of moves. Barrett counters with a second rope elbow and reverses the Brogue Kick into a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Sheamus fights back again and applies the clover leaf, but releases it when Big Show gets close to the ring. The match ends when Show lowers the rope as Sheamus hits it, causing him to go over the top and out of the ring. Show then tosses Sheamus back into the ring, where he Brogue Kick’s Barrett and clotheslines Show over the top rope and out of the ring. The back and forth between Sheamus and Show continues, and I actually am curious at how it will play out.
Backstage, Vince is talking to Cena. McMahon asks Cena how his arm feels, but Cena says it doesn’t matter how he feels. He belongs in the ring. Cena tells Vince he’s felt better, but he’s felt worse. The whole conversation was just a time wasting method of telling us Cena is in the building.
In another possible waste of time, Eve put her Diva’s Championship on the line against Layla. At the house show I went to a few weeks ago, these two actually had the match of the night. Hopefully we see more of the same. A “This is awesome” chant breaks out, but that could be because Layla’s boob was coming out of her top during a head lock. She fixed it and the chant stopped. Eve knocked Layla off the second rope on her bad knee and went for the cover. Layla put her leg on the rope but the ref didn’t see it, giving Eve the win. I’m assuming we’ll be seeing this match again in two weeks.
Backstage, Kane and Bryan are arguing about whether or not it was funny that Bryan lost to the Big Show. Bryan decides that if Kane thinks it’s so funny, he should face Big Show next week. So I guess that’s happening. Meanwhile, Ryback is staring into nothing while Vince talks about how much of a monster he is. All Ryback says in return is, “Feed me Punk.” We really have a superstar on our hands huh?
Tonight was supposed to be the finals of the tag team tournament to determine the #1 contender between the Rhodes Scholars and Mysterio and Sin Cara. However, since Rey Mysterio is still suffering from the flu bug that sent him home a couple of days ago, that match will be put off until next week. Instead, we get Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow against Epico and Primo. For some reason Jim Ross only refers to them as Primo and Epico. Did you know Sandow was trained by Killer Kowalski? Just one more reason to love Sandow. Ross and Cole spend the whole match talking about how great Sandow and Rhodes are as a team. They have to win the tag tournament right? The only question it leaves is what do Sin Cara and Mysterio do. There has been talk of turning them into rivals, but I feel like they are better as a team long term. Sandow wins that match by hitting his finisher on Epico (or Primo, it doesn’t matter which). Nothing special about this one.
It is followed by Miz’s match against Kofi Kingston. Kofi took the early charge, but almost missed his spot on Miz’s charge into the corner (he had to stagger backward), The commentary is all about how Kofi lost the edge that he had in 2009 when he was fighting Randy Orton at Madison Square Garden. If he wasn’t getting the title shot this Wednesday instead of at the PPV, I’d say that he was being set up to win the IC title. Kofi reverses out of the skull crushing finale into trouble in paradise to take the win. Miz has been getting bested by Kofi every week lately, and with the title match happening on Ion Television it all means there is no way Miz loses the Intercontinental Championship this week. If a rematch is set up for Hell in a Cell however, all bets are off. After the match Miz was being treated for a cut above his eye. It didn’t seem too serious, but if he doesn’t appear on Main event or Smackdown this week, you’ll know why.
After three hours of waiting it’s finally time to find out who CM Punk will face in the only Hell in a Cell match at Hell in a Cell. All the interested parties enter the ring. If you’re looking for any sign of Cena being better, he does not have the cyborg tape job applied to his arm. He did have it however on Sunday at the Jets game. Punk cuts off McMahon immediately, saying that Punk must have knocked a few of “screw looses” (yes that’s what he said) before signing the contract and declaring that since Vince will do whatever he wants to do anyway, he should just choose now and Punk will break whoever it is. He calls both McMahon and Cena insecure little men before Cena decides to open his mouth and tells Punk to shut his. Cena then cuts Vince off right before he was going to make the announcement, to say that while he wants to face Punk for the championship, Ryback looks like a man who doesn’t care about winning and just wants to kick someone’s ass. Cena then tells Punk he looks like someone who needs to get his ass kicked. With that, Cena gets a “Feed me more” chant started and Ryback signs the contract (I’m thinking he just wrote a big “X.” Punk then starts to get in Ryback’s face and Ryback slams his head into the table in the ring, and proceeds to hit him with Shellshock. End of show.
First off, as a match I have no idea what to expect because I’ve barely seen Ryback in a full on actual match. Second, there is no way in hell Ryback is getting the WWE Championship. There might actually be a riot. The only question is how does Ryback lose? This is complete speculation, but how about Brock Lesnar interfering to help his fellow Paul Heyman guy, CM Punk. I had speculated that the three of them could team up in the pas, and that could get a Lesnar/Ryback feud going which would be pretty epic. Furthermore, Punk is still getting played on Raw regularly, which is just about a lock for him finally getting the upper hand at the PPV. As for Cena, his arm must not be ready at all yet, and I wonder when we might see him again in the ring. It is still possible that he acts as guest referee for the match, but I now wonder if he can even be counted on the compete at Survivor Series in November. As always, we’ll have to wait until next week and hope for some answers.