-What the hell is up with the narrator at the open? Sounds like Access Hollywood.
-R-Truth’s stunner converted from a suplex was pretty sweet.
-Cena took a nice jab at himself by talking about only having five moves.
-British crowd was awesome. Especially during the Barrett/Clay match (special marks to the guy giving the middle finger during the Kofi/Del Rio match).
-I’m not a fan of seeing Daniel Bryan and Damien Sandow job out the way they did.
-Brad Maddox is a worse actor than he is a referee. TWO-THOUSAND DOLLARS!?
-I like the idea of a Punk/Cena/Ryback triple threat match much better than the Team Foley/Team Punk match. Cena versus Ryback should be very interesting and it gives Punk an opening to still walk away with the title. Also who wouldn’t want to be on Team Ziggler? The main issue though is that the switch has to be made in the first place. What was it that caused such a quick retraction of a main event? Was it the realization that Cena would be relegated to midcard status with a non title match against Dolph Ziggler? Did they realize they were putting all their eggs in one 10 man basket? I feel like the answer is somewhere between a backlash with the WWE Championship not being put on the line at a PPV and John Cena pulling rank after not appearing at the last big show (coming off his real confrontation with Vince).
This week’s Raw opened up with an unusually long narrated open. They keep trying to find new ways to fill those three hours. Fortunately that is followed by an actual match instead of a promo, putting Randy Orton against Dolph Ziggler. It’s going to suck having the show start with my favorite superstar jobbing to a guy that looks as bored as Orton does lately. Jerry Lawler meanwhile has to wait a little longer to make his return to the announce table since his heart attack, as Cole and JR open the show. The flurry of elbow drops that Ziggler has been doing the last couple of weeks really gets the crowd going. He has a ton of energy. Orton gets rolling and prepares for an RKO, but Alberto Del Rio comes out to distract Randy. Ziggler moves in for a leg drop bulldog but Orton ducks out and rolls up Ziggler for the pin anyway. Del Rio comes in the ring and attacks Orton with Ziggler and Ricardo Rodriguez, until Kofi Kingston comes out to clean house. Then for whatever reason, Teddy Long comes out to the stage. I’ll give you one guess as to what he decides to do. Let’s make it a tag match playa!
So now it’s Orton and Kofi versus Ziggler and Del Rio. At least we get more Dolph. The upcoming Survivor Series match this Sunday has one main feature in common with the old elimination tag matches the PPV got famous on. The match ups are almost totally random. There are some rivalries between teams but there is no big draw to the match. I’m sure there will be some good spots (specifically with Bryan, Kingston, Sandow and Ziggler involved) but there is just nothing on the line. It’s an exaggerated midcard match. I have no prediction on who will win, but it also doesn’t matter. Anyway through no fault of his own I’m sure, Ziggler was slightly too late breaking up a Kofi pin attempt on Del Rio, so the ref had to slow down his three count to a crawl so he could stop it. Ricardo then distracted Kingston from trying a trouble in paradise just long enough for Del Rio to hit an enziguri and pin Kofi for the win. Consider Sunday’s match promoted.
This must be my lucky day because after the commercial Dolph is still in the ring to cut a promo. He’s with Vickie still trying to convince us Cena and AJ were having an affair, which matters for some reason. Ziggler took at shot at Cena for wearing his ring gear to dinner. He must have read my recap from two weeks ago. Vickie demands that AJ explain herself. Naturally AJ denies that anything happened. AJ then turns the tables by saying this is all about Vickie trying to get back at her for being appointed GM over her and beating her up in the ring multiple times. AJ then essentially calls her fat, and Vickie responds by revealing voicemails where AJ apparently tells John Cena that “what happened last night was a mistake” and that they “have to stop doing this.” AJ accuses Vickie of hacking into Cena’s phone and editing messages (which it clearly sounds like) and Dolph starts giving her the business about hooking up with Cena (which, again is a problem now because?). Finally Cena comes out, AJ stops him and slaps Dolph herself. Cena then punches him out of the ring and Ziggler retreats with Vickie. Rough night for Dolph. This storyline seemed all set to come to a head at Survivor Series but then they through Cena into the triple threat match with Punk and Ryback. So now where is it going? They wouldn’t really drag it out to TLC would they? (Drops head knowing they totally could)
Backstage Cena and AJ talk about what’s happening and of course it turns into them flirting. AJ has now been involved with Bryan, Punk, Kane and now Cena. #AJALL keeps getting stranger doesn’t it?
William Regal one on one against Big Show next. Um, okay. He came back to the ring on Smackdown and is just being used to show off how big the Big Show is. Regal took a couple of chops and his chest is an absolute mess. Blood, black and blue handprints, just brutal (I can kind of relate thanks to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine but that’s neither here nor there). Show chokeslams him to end the squash match, but then he looks to hit Regal with a Knock Out Punch until Sheamus runs in to attack Show and get him out of the ring. My instinct tells me Sheamus wins and Dolph cashes in on Sheamus, leading to Dolph versus Ziggler at TLC. That is of course if Dolph isn’t already booked to get thrown through a table by Cena already.
Kaitlyn beat Layla in a sloppy match while the crowd chanted “We Want Puppies” (that one’s for you Jerry). She’ll now face Eve for the Diva’s Championship on Sunday.
One hour into the show, Jerry Lawler is introduced back into the ring for the first time in two months. He gets a standing ovation, along with hugs from JR and Cole in what really was a warm scene. A somewhat choked up Lawler remarks on how he didn’t realize how much he meant to so many people, and thanks everyone for their support and prayers. All great. CM Punk then comes out to spoil the celebration. They are really getting Jerry back into things quick. Punk then says that if Lawler didn’t leave the ring he would have beat him to death again, calling Lawler a zombie because he came back from being clinically dead briefly. He attacks the fans for sending him hate mail for causing the heart attack, when in fact it was Lawler’s fault for wrestling at his age and trying to steal the spotlight with his heart attack “stunt.” He then turns it into a promo for Survivor Series, saying he’ll win and that he hopes Lawler doesn’t croak before it happens. Paul Heyman then fakes having a heart attack, as Punk gives him CPR to revive Heyman, at the end of which Punk says “Paul you almost gave me a heart attack.” Yes it was pretty sadistic, but it was pretty clever too. Enter Mick Foley now (remember him captaining a team at Survivor Series) to announce that the WWE universe will vote on who will replace Ryback on his team. Foley then snaps on Punk, telling him he doesn’t care about respect or anything else but the WWE Championship which he will lose this Sunday (not likely). He then tells Punk that he will be the special enforcer for Punk’s match against John Cena on Raw. Backstage Punk starts to argue with Heyman, telling him to “fix it.” “It” in this case is the triple threat match, Foley as enforcer and the Brad Maddox situation. Heyman is not too pleased about it.
The first match Lawler calls is an 8-man tag putting Epico and Primo with the Prime Time Players against Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. Lawler is noticably rusty. He’s blerting out generic statements and apparently no one told him Michael Cole is a face announcer now (although its good natured ribbing I’m sure). Lawler gets a pass of course, but I have to say I’ll miss JBL on Monday nights. JR was fine but he sounded like he couldn’t wait to leave by the end of this run. The most interesting thing about the match is Ricardo Rodriguez coming out to pass Rosa Mendez a note from Del Rio. They are like the latin version of AJ and Cena. That means that I don’t care if they hook up or not, in espanol! Tyson Kidd proved to be the star of the match. He was like a talented white Sin Cara. A sequence picks up with everyone hitting a big move that ends with Kidd setting up Young for a 619 by Mysterio, leading to a 450 splash from Gabriel for the win. Sin Cara did stuff too. This could have been a traditional Survivor Series match and I wouldn’t have complained much.
Dolph Ziggler (now with a shiner!) tries to talk the Miz into joining his team. Miz declines and Ziggler turns on him and says he isn’t good enough anyway. Foley then proposes that he and Ziggler put two of their team members against each other in a tag match. Dolph goes with team Rhodes Scholars, while Foley with have Kane join whoever wins the fan vote. The Miz then asks Mick to put him on the ballot, saying that even though they don’t like each other, it would be “AWESOME.” Looks like Miz is getting a face turn. Maybe the time is right for Orton to make that long awaited heel turn and even it out. I like Miz as a heel but he seems to be stuck with nowhere to go. This could create some new opportunities for him. The other choices for Team Foley are Santino and Zack Ryder. Meh.
R-Truth took on Tensai with Antonio Cesaro on hand. Lawler keeps calling Cesaro’s satchel a man-purse (it looked pretty standard to me). It was apparently just there for Lawler to make fun of. Truth won because Tensai will never beat anyone again ever, and then got into a brief shouting match with Cesaro (“Europe in my face!”). It could be the fact that I just had a baby this week, but there isn’t much exciting me about Survivor Series. U fear that the next two months are just a hold over for Royal Rumble, where Rock with beat Punk and Cena will win the Rumble. The main issues I have with that are which will happen last (Rumble always closes but would Rock not end the show?) and there is no way Rock stays around all the way to ‘Mania, meaning the title could be out of the picture for two months. Those are some fairly big issues. I suppose if the Rumble goes last then when Cena wins Rock can come out and have a stare down fade out with the crowd going nuts. But what do I know.
Brad Maddox finally gets his shot in the big time against Ryback. If he wins he gets a 1 million dollar contract. He hired a cameraman to follow him for a YouTube show he’ll be a part of and he has “Beef More” on his tights. His arm band thing says “PUNCH” on it. His boots say “JUMP” and “KICK.” Maybe the most ridiculous ring outfit I’ve ever seen. He reminds me of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly (yes I made an Along Came Polly reference). As Maddox walks down the ramp an ambulance is brought out. An EMT crew comes out with a stretcher ringside. Not a bad joke. Ryback tosses him around and wins easily. It’s probably the most vicious Ryback has looked since he stopped facing local athletes. Maddox has to get some credit for it. He never attempted an offensive move, but he sold well enough. They put Maddox in the stretcher but Ryback threw him out of it and hit him with another meat hook clothesline outside the ring. He then carried him to the ambulance, threw him in it and closed the doors to send it away. RIP Brad Maddox. Odd way to end an angle that could have easily been planned by Heyman. I wonder when we’ll see Brad Maddox again.
David Otunga jobbed out to Sheamus while William Regal watched backstage with Michael McGillicutty and Aksana. What a weird group of people to throw together. Also, why are they always standing when they watch backstage? Don’t they have chairs? Anyway after the match, cut a promo about beating Big Show and reclaiming his World Heavyweight Championship. They then went backstage again, where Big Show was knocking Regal out, again. When did William Regal turn into Ray Jackson from Bloodsport (is that a better movie reference?).
Time for the weekly SNL Team Hell No skit. Kane is on his way to the ring for his tag team match with whoever wins the fan vote when Daniel Bryan comes out to stop him. Bryan is jealous that Kane is having a match with a tag team partner that isn’t him. Right off the bat it’s great that this starts with Kane wearing his psycho second mask. Kane says he doesn’t have a new partner, but they have a new teammate instead. Bryan says he would have refused to partner with anyone else and starts to talk to himself. When he turns back, Kane is gone, Bryan yells NO at himself and cries a little. Outstanding.
Big surprise as Miz wins the fan choice with 60% of the vote. So now I’m convinced that the Miz will either win the match for team Foley, or do a double cross and cost Foley’s team in the end. Option two would be pretty good but the face turn might be better for him long term. He’d work well in a Ziggler fued. Bryan comes out to ringside to cheer on Kane as he and Miz face the Rhodes Scholars. It’s really weird how fast Miz turned to all smiles. Every time Miz and Kane tag each other Daniel Bryan loses his mind. As “Miz is awesome” chants come from the crowd, Bryan distracts Miz leading to Rhodes hitting Miz with a disaster kick. Bryan cheered on Miz and Kane in the cheesiest way possible for the entire match. With Rhodes, the legal man, outside the ring, Bryan somehow got tangled up with Miz who threw Bryan towards Rhodes who went into the post. Miz then got Cody into the ring to receive a chokeslam from Kane and get the win. Bryan then runs in and tries to celebrate with Kane and it all turns into Bryan and Miz fighting over Miz. So weird. I like it though. It adds something new to the Kane/Bryan schtick that was getting a little old. Even though I thought the last backstage bit was hilarious. It’s like watching a sitcom now.
Cena versus Punk to close out the show of course. Punk’s wearing his traditional gear for the first time in a while. As always, these two put on a high level back and forth match. Punk seems to have completely abandoned the bulldog coming off the running high knee in the corner. They reverse out of each other’s finishers and Punk applies a submission move which Cena breaks by reaching the ropes. Punk then goes for a spring-board clothesline which Cena moves away from and very clumsily locks the STF in. Heyman runs in to seemingly hit Cena with the belt when John gets up and stops him cold. Special guest enforcer Mick Foley finally wakes up and pulls Heyman out of the ring and the match goes on. Punk then goes for another GTS but Cena blocks it and applies the STF again in the middle of the ring. After an extended period of time Punk reaches the ropes to break the hold and starts to head up the ramp. Ryback appears at the stage however and Cena brings punk back in the ring. Cena again escapes a GTS (that’s 3, what the hell!?), hits Punk with an AA and gets the win. Ryback then gets in the ring and stares down Cena again just like last week. With the belt on the mat between them then both grab it and have a half assed tug of war while Punk keeps his distance trying to figure out how to get his belt back. So Punk has to win by pinning Cena after Ryback lays him out right? There is no way Punk it losing the title and Cena can take the hit of being pinned more than Ryback can. I think I’d be much more interested in a Cena/Ryback match than this triple threat thing. Either way, it’s the only match on the card I’m really interested in.
As for Raw, aside from Lawler coming back and Miz turning face (maybe), absolutely nothing happened. Not unexpected with a PPV Sunday, but this was all pretty lazy. They recycled last week’s ending for crying out loud! I have a bad feeling about all this.