Wyatt Family Debuts As Brad Maddox Is New GM On Raw

RAW_1050_Photo_166Money in the Bank is less than a week away and it took until now to notice something I should have picked up on weeks ago. I’ve made a big deal out of an all heel MITB Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but I somehow ignored the fact that the WWE Championship MITB match is all faces. How can this be the case? You can’t have everyone take the high road, just like you can’t have everyone be an ass. They just even each other out and you get no payoff. Of course a face or heel can turn in the middle of the match and get that payoff we want, but to go into it this was is just so peculiar.

That matters very little right now however because the Wyatt Family are making their in-ring debut, and based on the video vignettes I’ve got my in-ring adult diapers on. I don’t know what to think of have multiple 3 man stables trying to take things over though. The Shield seem to only lose as a group now and all have titles, so there I guess there is room for another group of guys to just cause trouble. I also don’t even know if I can call the Shield heels anymore, since they fight fair and don’t interrupt other people’s matches (just their own occasionally) and everyone loves them. Sheamus and Jericho are more heel-ey than the Shield.

With a ladder in the ring, Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox start the show to talk about how cool ladder matches are. She talks about the great ladder matches before mentioning how he ladder symbolizes how she climbed up the ranks to where she is today. She then climbs up the ladder (as the crowd chants “fall”) and talks about how nobody helped her along the way or showed her how to run the show. She says that even though the fans haven’t seen eye to eye with her, she has made every decision for them. At this point, Jerry Lawler chimes in to inform her than there will be a fan poll to determine how her job evaluation goes, that will factor into the McMahon’s overall decision. Vickie then goes through the card, that starts with Daniel Bryan taking on Sheamus, RIGHT NOW! The segment fell pretty flat but at least it gave out the entire card so we know what to look for.

The WrestleMania rematch begins slowly, with some grappling and a shoulder tackle giving Sheamus the edge. Bryan comes back with a clothesline and the two start exchanging shots (kicks for Bryan, punches for Sheamus). Great White starts to overpower Bryan again and goes into an arm lock. The crowd is just not feeling it. Bryan again gains steam with a knee lift, but Sheamus escapes and arm bar to hit a neck breaker followed by a tilt a wirl back breaker (vintage Del Rio!). Bryan the uses the ropes as leverage to send Sheamus out of the ring over the top rope. He tries to follow with a running knee off the apron but Sheamus kinda catches him and they both go into the barrier. Back from break, Bryan is in the ring getting out of a chin lock to do his back flip off the turnbuckle, only Sheamus catches him coming back with power slam. Sheamus then takes control with a shoulder to the gut and a knee lift, setting up for the Brogue Kick. Daniel ducks under it however, sending Sheamus out of the ring where Bryan hit a spear through the ropes to the outside. Back in the ring, Bryan connects on a missel dropkick for a two count. Sheamus ducks under a roundhouse kick and bashes Daniel’s chest on the apron before going to the top rope. Bryan knocks him to the turnbuckle and goes for a hurricarana, only for Sheamus to hold on to the ropes and hit a flying battering ram for a two count of his own. Sheamus picks Bryan up for White Noise but has to settle for driving him into the turnbuckle. Bryan then toe drags Sheamus into the turnbuckle and hits a roundhouse kick to the head for another two count. Bryan then misses a flying headbutt and the two are on even footing. The exchange shots until Bryan gains the edge and just barely rolls over Sheamus in a crucifix for a two count. Bryan then immediately tries to apply the NO Lock (which Cole calls a YES Lock. Which is it?) but Sheamus turns it into a Cloverleaf in the middle of the ring. Somehow Bryan rolls out of it into a small package to pick up the win! The crowd didn’t totally get into it until the end, which is a shame because it was pretty good. So Sheamus loses clean (how about that?) and the two shake hands at the end of the match. This is the problem with an all face MITB Ladder match. Are they all going to shake hands at the end like a playoff hockey game? BORRRRRRRINNNNNNNG!

What a sneaky bastard
What a sneaky bastard

Backstage, AJ is telling Big E to keep a look out for Kaitlyn who is still trying to beat the snot out of her. Dolph then steps in and we see the two of them together for the first time since the face turn. He tells Langston to give them some alone time so that he can figure out why AJ hasn’t been out for his matches, instead following Kaitlyn around. AJ assures him that she is focused on Ziggler winning back the WHC so that they can be a title holding power couple, and will do anything to help him as long as he is willing to do anything to help her retain the Divas Championship against Kaitlyn. Dolph begrudgingly agrees after succumbing to the sex card, and the making out happens.

Rollins and Reigns out to the ring next as the tag team champs take on Tensai and Brodus Clay (Tons of Jobbers). Clay starts of tosses Rollins around, giving way to Tensai who does more of the same. Brodus this hits a suplex but misses on a splash before Seth tags in Reigns who claims control for the Shield. Roman and Seth both work Brodus over, keeping him away from his corner. The both splash into Clay in the corner, and I really like how Seth would hold Brodus down until right before Reigns hit him so Clay couldn’t get away. Reigns gets the crowd into it when he gets Brodus up for a Samoan drop, but Brodus drops down and rolls up Reigns for a two count, then reaching Tensai for a hot tag, hitting his rolling senton thing on Rollins. Clay then hits a two handed choke slam on Rollins for a two count. Seth then dodges Tensai in route to leaping through the ropes into Brodus, as Reigns (now the legal man) spears Tensai to pick up the win for the Shield. Another slow starting match that had a nice finish. This is pretty typical for most tag matches nowadays.

If only
If only

Time for John Cena and Mark Henry to have a face to face encounter before their match at MITB. Cena comes out first and calls out the World’s Strongest Man, who obliges pretty quickly. I always like heels that don’t back off from a fight. A villain is supposed to make the hero the underdog, which is not easy when facing John Cena. Cena makes his jokey jokes and Henry threatens to beat him down for it. Mark says he is not the same guy Cena knew for the last ten years, and that winning the WWE Championship will validate his career, and he’d sell out his own mama and family to get it. Cena said he better win it then, as he is acting desperate by putting his family and the fans respect on the line (is he really? are the fans gone if he loses? does his family move out?). Henry says he doesn’t care what the fans think, and Cena immediately asks how he could not care about the fans. Henry tells John the match will start early. Cena replies by saying if he wants to cross a line he will let him, and takes his shirt off (what kind of line is he going to cross?). Henry initially says he isn’t going to fight for free, but then says he’ll give him a preview and takes his shirt off too (uhhhh a preview of what?). After looking like he was going to leave the ring, Henry blind sides Cena with a running elbow and they go at it. Cena starts to put Mark up for an Attitude Adjustment but he is too heavy, and Henry falls down on Cena. Mark then hits a World’s Strongest Slam and holds the strap up. No way Mark Henry wins on Sunday.

Backstage, Josh Matthews is talking to Randy Orton about his match tonight against CM Punk. Orton says he never bought the Best in the World moniker since he beat Punk at WrestleMania a few years ago, says he’ll win MITB and won’t hesitate to cash it in asap.

Now that's a shiner
Now that’s a shiner

The Miz is ringside to add commentary (and most likely a run-in) to Chris Jericho’s match against Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel. Paul Heyman comes out with him wearing dark sunglasses due to being tagged by Alberto Del Rio. Heyman makes a point to say that he is not out to be a martyr for CM Punk, but is instead there to bask in the perfection that is Curtis Axel. Axel then lays out a promo about how Jericho needs a light up jacket to let people know he’s here while Axel only needs the shine of his IC belt, while neither Jericho or the Miz can stand in the way of perfection. He still needs some mic work and does not need to say perfect all the time. We all know who his dad was. Jericho starts the match strong, clotheslining Axel out of the ring and dropkicking him through the ropes. Curtis knees Jericho trying to get back in the ring and hits a second rope neck breaker to take the momentum. During the break, Axel tagged Jericho with a dropkick while Chris was coming down from the top rope and maintained control until Jericho moved away from a top rope elbow. Chris hits a couple of shoulder tackles and a single axe handle from the top rope. Jericho tries to apply the Walls of Jericho but Axel escapes and Chris ends up hitting a german suplex for a bridge pin and a two count. Jericho then avoids getting hit in the corner, landing a cross body splash for a two count. Axel then blocks a lionsault and hits the one handed swinging neck breaker for a two count. Now Jericho hits the lionsault for two and sets up for the Codebreaker. Axel catches him however and drops him onto the top rope, following up with a Perfectplex that Jericho kicks out of on two. A frustrated Curtis goes for a neck breaker but Jericho reverses it into the Walls and Axel quickly gets to the ropes. Curtis stands on the apron until Jericho knocks him off into the announce table. Curtis then gets into a stare down with the Miz and Heyman has to pull him away so that he doesn’t get counted out. Axel is still distracted on the way back in the ring however, and Jericho takes advantage by hitting a Codebreaker to win the match. Decent stuff. Nothing crazy.

Backstage, Josh Matthews is talking to Team Rhodes Scholars about how they are competing against each other in the WHC MITB match. Sandow says if he didn’t win he’d love for his best buddy Cody Rhodes to win instead. Damien then cuts off Rhodes before he can answer the same question and they are both interrupted by Zeb Colter with Cesaro and Swagger. Colter jabbers quickly about how America sucks now until he is interrupted by Wade Barrett. They all start to argue when Fandango pops in and makes everyone shut up so he can say his name. All the other heels agree on is hating ‘Dango, as they each tell him to shut up before Barrett pops him in the mouth to the joy of Rhodes and Sandow. Barrett leaves and we’re left with Swags and Cesaro staring down Rhodes and Sandow. Ambrose wisely was nowhere to be scene, and if anyone is going to turn face at the end of that match it has to be Cody.

It’s luchador time as World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio takes on worst Mexican wrestler in WWE history, Sin Cara. Why he still gets to have the light changing gimmick is still a mystery to me. Cara gets in a couple of arm drags and a hurricarana for a two count, but Del Rio clocks Sin Cara on the top rope with an enziguri to take control. Alberto briefly works the shoulder before stopping Cara from gaining momentum by hitting another enziguri in the corner. Del Rio is in full control when DOLPH ZIGGLER comes out! While the match is still going on, Ziggler says that since he injured Ricardo, he will introduce him instead. Ziggler announces Del Rio as a coward and the loser of the match, as Del Rio runs out to attack him. Del Rio takes the upper hand, but Sin Cara uses the distraction to hit a splash from the top rope onto Del Rio on the outside. No idea why he did that since the match should officially be over due to outside interference, making Del Rio the winner. It would be interesting if Ziggler won the title back, only to immediately lose it to the MITB winner. Then leading into a gimmick where Dolph keeps winning titles, only to lose them on his next appearance. Instead I get the impression that AJ is going to cost Dolph the title, leading to their breakup and a Ziggler feud with Big E and AJ.

Third hour begins with Vickie Guerrero’s job evaluation. Triple H, Vince and Stephanie McMahon all come out together to confront Vickie, who is perched on a stool in the middle of the ring while they sit behind a wood table in front of her. Guerrero gets to make an opening statement, where she says she loves the McMahon family and the fans. This is of course met with boos. Vickie says she took pride in producing high quality entertainment, taking credit for RVD, the Rock and the Undertaker returning. Steph calls bull on it, while brining up how she brought in Brock Lesnar, who took out Vince and Triple H. Steph asks if she thought that was a good idea, which Vickie answers as it being good for business (in a whiny way). Vince agreed with that (despite getting beat up by him) and thinks that she is highly entertaining despite some bonehead decisions. Triple H then cuts in, crediting Vickie with being occasionally entertaining before saying she is terrible at her job. He says that every week she is booed out of the building, and not in a good way. He says the WWE Universe wants and deserves better than Vickie Guerrero, and says her voice is the most annoying one in television. Vince then stands up, calls Triple H short sighted and things Vickie should be permanent GM of Raw. Triple H then gets up again, knowing that no matter what he says, Vince is going to do what he wants anyway. He says this is the whole point, as Vickie would just be a puppet who does whatever Vince wants her to do. With that in mind, Trips suggests that Stephanie, who called this evaluation, decide what happens to Vickie. Vince agrees to let “daddy’s little girl” make the decision, and Triple H has no issue with “his wife, the mother of his children” make the call. Steph decides that she isn’t going to go against either of them, and has the WWE fan vote decide her fate. Well it should come as no surprise that 75% of the fans said she failed. Vickie then goes off, saying he learned from Vince that you can’t trust the fans and blah blah blah. Steph then says the two magic words, telling Guerrero she is fired. She goes more nuts, getting on the table and screaming that they need her running the show. Trips and Steph leave, and Vince yells at the fans for breaking her heart. In her place, Vince names Brad Maddox as general manager of Raw. Vince says the fans deserve it, and Brad looks like a deer caught in headlights as Guerrero is escorted out by Vince. Really weird segment that leaves us with a new GM in what was all just a bigger part of the power struggle between Vince and Triple H. Apparently this will all culminate at WrestleMania with what I’m assuming is a match between the two (or a wrestler with Vince in his corner. No idea though).

So long Vickie
So long Vickie

Backstage, Vince is still consoling Vickie who is in tears. Vince says he is going to make things right somehow. Brad gives condolences to Vickie, and thanks Vince for the opportunity to be the GM. Vince refuses to shake his hand of course and Vickie bitches slaps Maddox and screams at him until he leaves. Vince is pissed because she ruined his jacket.

Kane versus Christian because why not. Christian tries to trade blows with Kane and gets powered down, getting beaten into the corner. Kane goes for a power slam but Christian escapes and hits a flying elbow on the standing Kane. He tries to go for the roll up off the top rope but Kane s too big and avoids it. After a toe drag onto the ropes, Christian lowers the rope to send the oncoming Kane to the outside, following up with a splash off the top rope. Back from break, Kane is looking to chokeslam Christian off to the top rope when Christian hits a tornado DDT instead for a two count. Christian then tries for the Kill Switch but Kane hits him with a big boot. Kane misses with the one handed axe handle and Christian looks to spear Kane. Kane however catches Christian coming at him and lands a chokeslam to end the what was a pretty good match. Before Kane can celebrate however, the lights go out and the final Wyatt family video plays on the screen. It ends with them saying they are here, and their music hits as Bray walks down with an oil light, strolling to the ring. When the lights go on, Kane is being attacked by the other two members of the Wyatts, both of whom are almost as big as Kane. After a short back and forth with Bray watching from a rocking chair at the bottom of the ramp, Kane is overpowered and tossed into the steel steps. Then knock him out for good by tossing the steps into his face. No appearance from Daniel Bryan by the way. While he’s down, Bray walks over to him, kneel down and says “down with the machine” while laughing. The crowd gets a “Husky Harris” chant going (Bray’s previous name in WWE). They got a good pop from the crowd and definitely have the creepy thing down. They just seem a little too 90’s for me at the moment. I’m hoping to be proved wrong through.

I really hope this becomes a thing
I really hope this becomes a thing

Backstage, Vickie is making the walk of shame with her stuff, when she walks into Ryback. Ryback puts her stuff down, gives her a hug, tells her she deserved better, then gives her stuff back and walks away. That was creepier than anything.

Cooling the crowd before the main event is Layla and Kaitlyn versus AJ and Alicia Fox. It’s all faces early as Kaitlyn runs after AJ and Layla works over Fox. AJ distracts Layla so that Alicia can get some offense in. AJ then gets in the ring, causing Kaitlyn to lose her mind again. She goes right after AJ and is full cat fight mode. Layla and Alicia separate the two, as they each exit the ring from opposite sides. Layla then runs full steam around the ring to spear AJ into the floor. If there is one thing you can’t deny about AJ’s ring skills, it’s that she can sell a damn spear. No match just ends on that as Big E carries AJ to the back.

Backstage, Josh Matthews is interviewing CM Punk about the MITB match and Orton being confident about winning. Punk says he’s entitled to his opinion, but can’t deny that holding the WWE Championship for 434 days makes him the best in the world. Beating Orton tonight also makes him the best in the world, as will winning the MITB match. I think sporting Wolverine sideburns makes him the best in the world as well.

The main event match between CM Punk and Randy Orton closes things out. They start off with a long grapple that goes all the way around the ring and gets a little awkward as it is broken up in the corner. They exchange moves and are remain in a stalemate, switching chin locks and shoulder tackles. Punk hits a kick to the gut but is responded with a standing dropkick by Orton and some Garvin stomps. Randy isn’t in control for long as Punk dodges a knee drop and lands a snap suplex. The crowd is split as Orton tries to hit the second rope DDT. Punk escapes however and dropkicks Randy off the apron to the floor. Punk follows up with a dive through the ropes, sending Orton into the barrier.During the commercial, Orton hit a back body drop onto the barrier and is in control again with a chin lock in the ring. Punk tries to fight out but Orton hits a t-bone suplex (silly me, I’ve been calling it a fisherman’s suplex). CM again fights out of the chin lock and hits a leaping side kick. Randy bounces back with a couple of clotheslines, but Punk holds on to the rope to avoid getting power slammed, applying a crucifix pin for a two count. Punk starts gaining momentum as he hits the swinging neck breaker for another two count, followed by a running knee into the flying elbow. The crowd is really up for this one. Punk goes for a GTS but Orton escapes and hits a second rope DDT. Now Orton is calling for the RKO. Punk tries to turn it into a backslide pin, but Randy turns it into a power slam and a two count. Orton starts beating Punk down in the corner from the second rope, but Punk pulls his feet down and hits a running knee. Orton again escapes the GTS, but Punk counters the RKO with a roundhouse kick. Punk then hits a dazed Randy with a GTS and wins a really good match. I enjoyed in pretty much from start to finish. After the match, Daniel Bryan runs in and attacks Punk, then pulls out a ladder and runs over Orton with it. Now alone in the ring, Bryan climbs up the ladder and grabs the Money in the Bank briefcase that has been suspended from the ceiling. If anybody is going to turn heel in the all face match, it has to be Bryan right?

Could this be how MITB ends? (probably not)
Could this be how MITB ends? (probably not)

A busy go home show made for a pretty good Raw. Not quite as good as the few weeks when they were rolling, but much better than last week’s stinker. They have made the PPV sound interesting while barely mentioning in the ring that Rob Van Dam is coming back. Looking forward to it.

 

By the way, as next week’s Raw is in my local area, I can tell you that commercials for the show teased Brock Lesnar, Rob Van Dam and Triple H appearances, as well as John Cena defending the WWE Championship against Mark Henry. No spoilers or anything, right?

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