Remember the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton match last week that had Bryan get injured and ended with the ref stopping it for Bryan’s safety while Orton gave him a pat on the head? Well that turned out to be a legit stinger and Triple H made the call the stop the match, causing a legit heated argument between Bryan and Trips. I never thought it was real as I assumed that Orton showing compassion would do more to irate Daniel and further push him to prove he isn’t a “weak link” It made total sense. Apparently the finish was supposed to have Bryan win on his way to a Summerslam push but that obviously didn’t happen. Instead, Bryan ended up getting headlines than he would have gotten had he just won clean, showing his passion by stepping up to his boss, and now will likely get that push from Orton this week in a rematch on Raw.
What better to kick off Raw than that very match? Sure they had a rematch on Smackdown but that ended in Bryan winning via count out but Daniel wanted to beat him clean and failed the have it restarted. So here we are. Bryan came out first and addressed the crowd, talking about how people think he has “little man syndrome,” and clarified that he was not an extra in The Hobbit. He says beating Orton via count out is not good enough, and is set on beating him in the ring. Orton cuts off YES chant with his entrance and tells him to shut up and fight. Bryan does just that, beating Orton out of the ring and the match is on. Randy gets back in and they brawl across the ring, with Orton throwing Daniel out of the ring to immediately follow and toss over the announce table. The ref tries to separate them but is unsuccessful and the match ends quicker than it started with a double DQ. Several other refs need to come out in order to separate the two and we get absolutely no resolution to this feud.
Backstage, Bryan is chewing out Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox about the decision and wants another match tonight. Maddox refuses, saying that the card is booked and they need to move on. It’s about time someone acted under the idea that the show is booked BEFORE they go live instead of just doing it all on the fly. Daniel then goes to Vickie, demanding that he either get a rematch against Orton, or he faces Maddox instead. Guerrero agrees to put him in a match with Randy, and makes fun of Brad for looking terrified. So I guess we will get some resolution. Vince McMahon then pops in, saying that Bryan doesn’t belong in the top tier of the WWE due to his size and mental state (something he probably did say about wrestlers in the 80s and 90s.
Team Rhodes Scholars in the ring next to face the team of Sheamus and Christian. Cody and Christian start off and exchange moves. Christian takes Cody outside but Sandow distracts him long enough for Rhodes to attack him from behind and steal the momentum. Sandow gets tagged in to deliver a flurry of knees and the elbow of disdain before bringing Cody back in to keep Christian from tagging Sheamus. Rhodes then holds Christian up on a long vertical hold before dropping him face first. Christian then escapes an Alabama Slam and falls into a double clothesline with Cody, allowing Sheamus to get a hot tag and punish Damien with some chest bashing. Sandow makes it to the corner to tag Cody, but they trip over each other a bit a Rhodes walks right into a Brogue Kick as Sheamus wins the match. Not much to take from this one.
Backstage, CP Punk is texting when Vickie Guerrero goes up to him. He asks if she’s seen Heyman or Lesnar, which she hasn’t. She tries to tell him that he has been put in a match, but Punk blows her off. So that happened.
Kaitlyn now with Layla in her corner against Aksana, because Aksana called her trash and she didn’t like it. In the middle of the match, Kaitlyn’s music hits and AJ comes out dressed like her. Aksana tries to use the distraction to roll up Kaitlyn but only gets a two count and gets speared and loses instead. AJ then does her best Kaitlyn impression, saying she wishes someone liked her and brings up the secret admirer. Big E then comes out with flowers and they reenact the scene from a couple of weeks ago. She (AJ) says she’s thrilled to have a guy with legs as big and a voice as deep as hers while the real Kaitlyn goes berserk and needs Layla to keep her in the ring. Pretty flat segment aside from Big E being hilarious as always.
That gets followed by a real match as Chris Jericho takes on World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Their match on Smackdown was cut short when Dolph Ziggler attacked Alberto to lose it for Jericho. Ricardo starts his introduction with a hicked up South Carolina accent. They start slow, milking the crowd before Jericho landed a standing dropkick and laid in some chops to take control of the match. Things only turn around when Del Rio ducks under a springboard dropkick, sending Chris out of the ring. Back from break, Alberto is taunting Jericho until he tries a small package which leads to a momentum shift as Jericho lands an enziguri for a two count. Chris then hits a couple of shoulder blocks and goes to the top tope, where Del Rio drops him with an enziguri. The ref counts as Jericho is laid out on the floor but makes it back on 9 and Del Rio immediately goes back on the offensive with a snap suplex. Jericho then fights out of a chin lock and the two exchange chops only for Del Rio to regain control on a leaping stomp and we’re back to the chin lock. Alberto then puts Chris on the turnbuckle, but Jericho pushes him down and hits a flying cross body splash for a two count. Chris goes for a German suplex but Alberto takes a wild swing to face the other way, resulting in Jericho hitting a bridge for a two count. Jericho then goes for the Codebreaker but Del Rio catches him in the air. Jericho then flips over Alberto for a sunset flip but ends up trying to apply the Walls of Jericho. Del Rio fights him off and tries to apply the cross arm breaker but can’t, however he does block the Lion Tamer and applies the arm breaker on the second try. Jericho made it to the topes, but instead of breaking the hold, Jericho uses it to flip over an apply the Walls. At this point Ricardo runs in and attacks Chris with his bucket, ending the match via DQ. The attack continues until Dolph Ziggler runs in to attack Del Rio with a Zig Zag, leaving Jericho to take care of Rodriguez. The heels exit as Jericho and Dolph stare each other down. Jericho tries to blow Dolph off and Jericho lands a Zig Zag to send Chris out of the ring. The match was okay but it mainly pushed forward the feud brewing between Jericho, Ziggler and Del Rio.
Backstage, Triple H is making Vickie reverse her previous decision to cancel the Bryan/Orton match (at Vince’s request). He then has Vickie allow the WWE Universe to select the stipulation of the match (which they did last week already).
The WWE ’14 cover was revealed next, along with a contest where people can make the inside cover of the game. Naturally, Vickie made a cover of her own that featured the McMahons in a big suck up attempt. Maddox had a cover with himself alongside Cena and Punk, while the real cover had the Rock. Big hairy deal. This gave Cole an opportunity to talk about how big of a movie star Rock is.
Ryback now makes his first appearance since his Payback loss to Cena. The Pun-jobby Khali lives up to his name that I made up, although not before Khali laid some awkward kicks and some chops. All Ryback needed to do is hit Shell Shock once and the match was over. Khali actually had most of the offense in this one, but since he can’t bend his legs it is impossible for him to pin anyone. Is there no other Punjabi that can wrestle?
This shows seems to be moving pretty fast (or I’m just quicker with the DVR) as John Cena is now out to cut a promo on Mark Henry, who made a mark out of all of us when he convinced us that he was retiring only to drop Cena and make his big for a title shot. He talks about the respect that being WWE Champion brings and the shortcuts people have taken to try to get it. This led to describing how Mark Henry “disgraced” his family and the men who had to give the speech Henry gave for real. Cena thinks Mark did that because his time is running out in the business and sees the title as the justification of his career. Cena then yells about how he’s going to kick Henry’s ass and how the champ is here and all the stuff he says regardless of the opponent.
Back in the ring, Brodus Clay and Tensai are joined by an auction winner who paid to be in the ring with them. He got his own jump suit and everything! They are in a triple threat match against the Usos and 3MB to determine the number one contender for the tag team championships. Apparently this works by have two people in the ring and anyone can get tagged I guess. The Usos start off by beating on 3MB (who doesn’t) until Tensai tags out Mahal and takes charge of the match. Brodus Clay then takes cares of 3MB by himself, throwing them out of the ring and then jumping off the apron into them. In the ring, Tensai hits an Uso with a back splash for a two count, but then gets dropped with a super kick and finished off with a top rope splash to win the match and a title shot. Cute little match there. The celebration is short lived as the The Shield steps out to show off their tag titles and head back. It’s good that they didn’t bury them immediately after winning a big match.
Paul Heyman in the ring and he has a lot to explain since he has two of his guys in a feud. He says he has ignored Punk’s texts and emails, choosing to talk to him face to face on Raw instead. He calls Punk out, who reminds us how Heyman believed in him when the rest of the WWE didn’t which is why Punk is standing by him. He then tells Paul to let Brock Lesnar know that he’s coming after him, and that despite being bigger and stronger, Punk is still better than him and will bring him down. Punk then asks Heyman if he sent Lesnar after him, asking Heyman to tell the truth for a change. Paul says he never wanted it to be this way, but since he feels Punk deserves the truth, he swears that he did not know Brock Lesnar would be there last week. He tells Punk that when he told Paul that Lesnar needed his help, he picked a fight with Lesnar. Heyman says that this was bound to happen as there was professional jealously between the two of them, which is why Heyman never put Punk and Lesnar together at any point. Heyman says that he wanted to help his best friend by keeping Lesnar away, and would not screw him and will not be in any man’s corner against Punk, including Lesnar. He says he loves Punk and doesn’t want to throw his friendship away just because he can’t accompany him to the ring anymore. Punk apologizes for doubting him and gives Heyman a big hug. Really dramatic segment that has to end in Heyman siding with Lesnar, doesn’t it?
Coincidentally, Punk is scheduled to wrestle next against Darren Young with Titus O’Neil in his corner. Punk controls things early with a snap suplex, but Young fakes a knee injury which Punk doesn’t fall for but Darren goes on the offensive anyway with knees and a clothesline. He signals to the ref that he is going to try a pin which is something I’ve never seen before. Punk breaks out of a chin lock and steps right into a belly to belly suplex and returns to the chin lock. Punk again tries to fight back but Young avoids a splash in the corner and starts talking trash. CM hits a back body drop to lead into the high running knee in the corner. He goes to the top rope but Darren takes him down. Punk then pushes him away with a shoulder and hits a springboard clothesline for a two count. Punk starts selling his knee injury and can’t pull off the GTS. Darren Young then hits his gut buster drop thing for a two count. Punk hits a sloppy roundhouse kick and applies the Anaconda Vice which Young taps out to immediately and the match is over. Titus jumps in and the Prime Time Players double team Punk, who is saved when Curtis Axel (another Paul Heyman guy) runs in to help. The two take care of the PTPs while Punk continues to be hobbled, and Heyman explains how he didn’t think there was another way with the odds being 2 on 1. Punk tells Axel that he doesn’t need his help, and Curtis walks out with Heyman.
Moving things along, Stephanie McMahon is out to announce who will be in the MITB Ladder Match for the WWE Championship. Vickie Guerrero was too busy so Steph is doing it instead. The competitors are CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Christian (meh), Kane and Rob Van Dam. I’d pay to see a match that just had Punk, Bryan and RVD. I’d pay less to see the other guys involved.
Backstage Ryback goes up to Brickie to brag about how easily he beat Khali (who doesn’t beat him easily?) and how if it wasn’t for a poorly made ambulance roof he would be champion right now. He wants Vickie to cancel the Henry/Cena match and give him a title shot instead. Jericho then jumps in to say that he deserves better instead, after being ganged up on tonight and that he should be a part of the MITB match. Ryback tells Jericho to “cry me a river” (yeah, he’s quoting Timberlake) and says he can eat him alive. Jericho gets in Ryback’s face and Vickie books them in a match together at MITB just to get them out of her hair. So I guess we’ll have that match now.
Meanwhile, Punk is yelling at Heyman for getting involved in his match. Paul says he was just helping his friend who was in trouble. Punk reiterates that he doesn’t need anyone’s help, but Paul says he fixed things by getting the Prime Time Players in a match against Curtis Axel and CM Punk next week. This makes Punk more pissed, as he says he’s going to beat the PTPs by himself to prove he doesn’t need help, then he’s going to come after Lesnar, and then he is going to win Money in the Bank to become to WWE Champion because that is all he is focused on right now. He storms off and the plot thickens.
Mark Henry now in the ring to brag more about how he fooled us all. I am certainly included in that. Even when he slammed Cena I thought it was just one last move before leaving for good. It was awesome. He says that after his performance, directors are calling him and he’s being nominated for an academy award. That doesn’t matter thought because all he wants is the WWE Championship. He says that at Money in the Bank, a lying, cheating, dirty Mark Henry is going to show up, and he’s going home with the WWE Championship. Brief promo but he has been really good. He said he doesn’t care that he used his family and friends and fellow wrestlers in his speech last week, and is just crushing it right now.
After opening the show 3 hours ago, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan now prepare to finish what they started. The fan vote decides that they will have a Street Fight Match, taking 50% of the vote over Lumberjack Match (22%) and Falls Count Anywhere (28%). They start off just like they started the first time, with a brawl in the ring. They repeat the spot going to the outside from earlier tonight, only Bryan ducks Orton and Bryan ends up back in the ring, where he hits a running dropkick through the ropes into Orton. Bryan then tries to dive through the ropes, but is my by Randy swinging a chair at him. Spot of the night for sure. After a commercial, Orton is still beating Bryan on top of the apron. Randy then pulls out a table and drops Daniel onto the top rope, giving him time to prop the table into the corner. Daniel avoids being thrown into the wood, going into his backflip spot and hitting the clothesline. He follows with a running dropkick, but when he goes for a second one Randy throws a chair at him. Orton then attempts to suplex Bryan over the top rope from the apron onto a table outside, only Bryan blocks it and starts running at Randy to try knocking him into the table with dropkicks. Orton holds onto the rope however, so Bryan slides under his legs to the floor, where he grabs Orton’s legs and slams him through the table. Bryan then brings him back into the ring for a two count. Daniel then pulls out a kendo stick, where he starts hitting alternating kicks and swings on Orton. Randy catches one of the kicks however and hits a fisherman’s suplex into the bottom of the table in the corner. Orton just can’t get that move right. He’s going to break someone’s neck. Bryan only hit the very bottom of the table. The two get up and exchange blows again, with Bryan getting the upper hand until Randy hit a dropkick. Orton then takes Bryan to the top rope for a supleplex, but Bryan knocks him down and attempts a flying hurricarrana. Orton sees it though and powerbombs him from mid-air for a two count. Randy tries a little ground and pound next but Daniel turns him over into the NO Lock in the middle of the ring. Orton can’t reach the ropes, but he does get to the kendo stick and breaks the hold with a barrage of swings. He beats Bryan to the apron and hits the second rope DDT. Orton then calls for the RKO, but Daniel counters with a backslide for a two count. Bryan follows with a round house kick and grabs the kendo stick to continue the beating. Daniel then applies the NO Lock again. Randy reaches the kendo stick again and starts the hit Daniel with it, but Bryan grabs the stick with his hands and uses it to gain leverage on the NO Lock. Finally Orton taps out and we get the finish we were supposed to get last week. Orton shakes Bryan’s hand and exits as the show ends with Bryan celebrating his win.
Considering how bad he wants to turn heel it’s pretty amazing how Orton may be the only face who actually acts like a face most of the time. Certainly can’t say that about Sheamus or Jericho. He’s had a good face versus face thing going with Bryan, meanwhile Punk and Ziggler are turning face without doing the whole smiling hand slapping thing. It’s reminiscent of the Attitude Era that way. The line between face and heel is blurring. Del Rio knows he’s a heel now right? Curtis Axel is facing Wade Barrett and helping Punk, yet he’s a heel too. Fans are responding to the best performers now regardless of status. Ziggler and Punk get more cheers than Del Rio and Miz so it makes sense to reverse the roles, however being heels gives these characters the extra bite that make them connect. This is how we get to this point, where wrestlers are wrestlers and the crowd decides who is the face and who is the heel.
Except Mark Henry. He is a perfect heel and doesn’t need to change a thing. THAT’S WHAT HE DO!