WWE Raw Review (10/1/12): Bryan and Kane Challenge CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler
-We are LIVE from Oklahoma City (meaning Jim Ross will almost certainly be embarrassed publicly).
-CM Punk kicks off the show, and Paul Heyman adds a nice touch by carrying the world title like a UFC manager. Punk thinks Cena is a coward for attacking with a lead pipe and Foley deserved to get booted because Mick disrespected him. Oh, and by the way, there’s still no rematch for John Cena.
Heyman turns his attention to GMAJ, who violated her edict from the Board of Directors by slapping Heyman, and he wants her removed immediately. Of course, Heyman volunteers to fill the vacant GM position but he’s interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Dolph. Vickie and Paul have a war of words until Dolph proposes that they become co-GMs of Raw.
This causes AJ to come skipping out and let everyone know that the BoD have put her on double-secret probation. She’s also been appointed an “executive coach” to teach her how to act properly. Bryan says AJ has been unstable since her dumped her and brags about being the tag team champions (“that’s not even grammatically correct!”).
Kane comes out next, and the whole segment breaks down as all the heels(?) start screaming and yelling, causing AJ to flip out and book Team Hell No vs. CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. This whole thing was rather long just to set up a thrown-together tag match between four guys who have nothing to do with each other.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Primo and Epico
This is apparently round one of a tag tournament set up on Smackdown, which I didn’t know about because I don’t watch Smackdown (and judging from the ratings, no one else does either). But hey, who doesn’t like tournaments, right? Rosa is looking extra-skanky tonight, so that’s good enough for at least another 1/2*.
Epico and Cara exchange roll-ups, but Cara hits a handspring elbow for two. Epico hammers away to take control, and Primo stomps away while Cole hypes yet ANOTHER WWE show (Main Event), which is something called “Ion-TV”…that must be up in the 500s on my satellite dish or something.
Cara catches Primo with flying headscissors, and they REALLY screw up a springboard armdrag, but Cara gets the hot tag anyways. Both heels end up on the outside, but that draws out the Primetime Players, who take a seat on the entrance ramp as we go to break.
We return with Mysterio making a hot tag to Cara, who hits Epico with dropkick, but gets caught on a springboard cross body for two. The Miracle Jobber Connection traps Cara in the heel corner, but Cara snaps off a sunset flip for two. Cara hits Epico with a tornado DDT, and yet another hot tag goes Mysterio’s way. Kick to the face gets two, and a seated senton sets up a tornado reverse DDT in a nice spot. A big brawl erupts, and both heels end up taking the 619 to set up Rey hitting a splash off the top onto Primo for the win.
Winners: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
-Not a bad tag match but it was a little sloppy in places and they never really seemed to click **1/2.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Brodus Clay
Brodus doesn’t even get to make his entrance, which can’t be a good sign for the Jobbersaurus. Clay hammers away and hits a suplex, causing Cesaro to roll to the apron. Antonio uses a necksnap, but he runs into a headbutt and gets forced to the corner. Clay misses a blind charge, and Cesaro hits a springboard European uppercut before impressively hitting the Neutralizer for the win.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
-Bye bye, Brodus…enjoy WWE Main Event duty *.
-Meanwhile, Kaitlyn shows off her boobs and meets AJ’s coach (some no-name guy). AJ apologizes because Kaitlyn warned her about Daniel Bryan a long time ago. However, it’s a SWERVE and AJ’s NOT REALLY SORRY…OK, then.
Zack Ryder vs. The Miz
Basic sequence starts us off, and Ryder hits a flapjack but runs into a boot in the corner and Miz stomps away for two. Cole and JR ignore the match completely and talk about Larry King as Ryder hits a facebuster and a missile dropkick. Broski Boot hits for two, but the Ruff Ryder is countered into a powerbomb to the corner and the Skull Crushing Finale makes the pin academic.
Winner: The Miz
-Not too much to see here, as Ryder never really had a chance *1/2.
World Title Debate
Sheamus vs. Big Show
WOW…a debate. That’s exactly the kind of stuff I want to see on a wrestling show, especially with two hugely charismatic microphone guys as Big Show and Sheamus.
Big Show starts by saying this debate is stupid and pointless (AMEN!) because he’s going to win the title. Sheamus panders to the crowd and makes a crack about Big Show having body odor (wow, this is making me want to buy the PPV right now).
They answer a couple of lame Twitter questions and Big Show accidentally breaks his podium, resulting in a funny moment (“I’M SLIGHTLY OVERWEIGHT!”). It ends with a staredown and Big Show heads to the back. What a total and complete waste of time.
Ryback vs. Tensai
Ryback immediately no-sells a shoulder tackle, and they have a weak slugfest. Ryback hits a powerslam and a stiff clothesline to set up a muscle buster attempt, but embarrassingly, he can’t get Tensai up after two tries. Ryback finally abandons the finisher and hits another clothesline for the lame win.
-DUD DUD DUD…If this show was in Chicago, they would have booed the piss out of Ryback the second he dropped Tensai for the second time. I guess these Oklahoma people are more forgiving…might not want to try that one again, Skip.
Eve vs. Beth Phoenix
Eve offers a handshake, so Beth accepts and beats her down. Beth misses a blind charge to the corner and hits the ring post, allowing Eve to attack the shoulder on the outside. Beth gets slammed into the crowd barrier and barely beats the count at 9.
Beth comes back with an inverted atomic drop to set up a Polish Power axehandle for two. Eve fakes an eye injury to get a break and hits her neckbreaker for the win.
-Boring and lame, but that’s pretty much par for the course for the women’s division *.
-Meanwhile, AJ and her coach (Christopher Stevenson?) meet Wade Barrett, who isn’t pleased about not being booked tonight.
Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater
Slater is joined by his new stablemates, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal….not exactly the nWo right there (or even the bWo). Goofy start leads to them trading shoulderblocks, and Slater hits a dropkick for two. Leg lariat puts Santino down for two once again and adds a slam, but he hits boot coming off the top rope, and that triggers the babyface comeback (after a comedic kip-up attempt). Marella hits the Cobra, but Mahal and McIntyre run in to break everything up.
Winner by DQ: Santino Marella
-Match was real basic stuff and had no finish, so that gets 1/2*. I don’t think the Mahal-Slater-McIntyre combintion is going to main eventing PPVs anytime soon.
Sheamus vs. “Leaping” Damien Sandow
Sheamus tries to punch Sandow, causing Damien to cower away and they exchange armbars. Sheamus fires off a shoulderblock, but Sandow stalls more, pissing off the crowd and taking us to a commercial break.
We return with Sandow stalling more by running away into the crowd. Rhodes runs some interference, and Sandow hits a clothesline to get a one count back inside. Sheamus fights out of a chinlock, but runs into a knee for two. Sandow hits a Russian leg sweep and follows with the Elbow of Disdain for two. Drop toe hold puts Sheamus against the ropes, and Sandow drops a leg across his neck for two. Sheamus fights out of head scissors and heads up top, but Sandow brings him down with a right hand.
Sheamus charges, but Sandow dumps him to the outside with a back body drop and gets two back inside. Sandow goes back to the chinlock, but Sheamus hits a back suplex to break and hit the double KO spot. Sheamus makes his babyface comeback and hits a kneelift and a rolling fireman’s carry, but Sandow counters and hits a neckbreaker for two.
A blind charge only hits boot, though, and Sheamus comes off the top rope with a flying shoulder tackle for two. Sandow dodges the Brogue kick, but Sheamus catches him on the apron and hits the repeated forearms.
We head outside and Cody gets involved, but Sheamus tosses him in the ring. The heels try to console one another, but Sheamus hits a double Brogue kick and gets the pin on Sandow.
-It started slow but it built to a really good TV match ***. I don’t understand jobbing Sandow clean already, though; this would have been the perfect match for Cody or Big Show to run in for the DQ or something to keep Sandow strong. Sheamus beating Sandow (and pretty much Cody at the same time) doesn’t do anything to help Sheamus; it only hurts the Rhodes Scholars.
Jim Ross Appreciation Night
Well, this could be really classy or really terrible depending on what kind of mood Vince is in tonight. Sure enough, CM Punk interrupts immediately and does his respect thing for a while before finally asking Jim Ross to tell everyone how great he is. Of course, JR refuses, and that causes Punk to flip out and run down Ross and pretty much everyone JR is associated with (especially Steve Austin…hmmmmmmm). Once again, Ross refuses because the best in the world doesn’t need to ask to be called the best in the world.
JR tells him to accept Cena’s challenge for Hell in a Cell, and, if he wins, he’ll be the best in the world. Punk makes things personal by STOMPING ROSS’S COWBOY HAT…oh, it’s on now. Punk goes for some cheap heat by running down the Oklahoma City Thunder (isn’t he above that at this point?) and refuses Cena once again.
Punk throws JR out of the ring, calling Ross an embarrassment and a joke the whole time until Ryback comes out and escorts JR back to Punk. Of course, Punk decides discretion is the better part of valor and slowly heads to the back.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Quick start as Ricardo joins Cole and JR on commentary and Kofi clotheslines Del Rio to the floor and follows with a nice springboard cross body to the floor, which gets almost zero reaction from the live crowd…weird. WWE heads to commercial and I head to the garage to get something more to drink.
We return to Kofi fighting out of abdominal stretch and hitting a dropkick to set up the Boom Drop. Kingston looks to finish, but Del Rio ducks out of the way of Trouble in Paradise and a high cross body. Del Rio gets angry and throws knees in the corner before locking on the cross armbreaker for the win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
-Del Rio basically treated Kofi like a jobber, but Ricardo was pretty good on commentary *1/2.
-Meanwhile, Christopher Stevenson inspires AJ to book a special guest referee for a main event, so she throws him out of the arena. There was a rare production gaffe for WWE during this segment, as JR could clearly be heard discussing the rest of the show.
Team Hell No vs. CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler
Of course, AJ Lee is YOUR special guest referee for the match. Kane floors Dolph with an uppercut and adds a slam and an elbow for two. Kane refuses to tag Bryan and he hits a flapjack on Ziggler and sends him over the top and to the floor as we go to yet another commercial break.
We return with Kane fighting out of a sleeper and taking a dropkick from Ziggler for two. Bryan runs some interference and Kane tags him in, much to the delight of the crowd. Team Hell No actually double teams successfully a few times, but Dolph catches Kane with a jumping DDT and gets the tag to Punk.
Punk hits a pair of knees in the corner, but Kane counters a bulldog into a side slam for two. Top rope clothesline hits and Bryan tags himself in but jumps into a dropkick. The crowd is TOTALLY dead tonight, which is really hurting the show. They’ve only really popped for Bryan and Jim Ross.
Bryan picks up the pace and hits a running clothesline before throwing some stiff kicks. Punk shoves Bryan off and hits a stiff kick of his own to the side of head for two. Dolph hits a dropkick which puts Bryan on the floor, and Dolph introduces Bryan to the ringside barrier in a most aggressive manner.
Punk comes in and tries the Randy Savage elbow, but Bryan brings him off the top with a butterfly suplex and applies the No Lock. Heyman pushes the ropes towards Punk, allowing Punk to get a break and earning Paul an ejection to the backstage area.
Vickie jumps up on the apron to protest, and she also gets tossed to the back. Punk tries to make the tag, but Ziggler follows Vickie to the back and Bryan hits a very stiff dropkick. Kane tags himself in and quickly hits a chokeslam for the three count.
Winners: Team Hell No
-The push of Team Hell No continues, as the match was pretty good outside of the AJ Lee nonsense ***.
This show really dragged for tonight, as there were a ton of squash matches that meant nothing and a long debate that bored me to tears. Listen, I’m all for putting guys like Heath Slater and Zack Ryder on television, but please DO SOMETHING with them. Slater has a stable now, but so what? Why do I boo the guy, because he plays air guitar? Do I boo Antonio Cesaro because he can speak in five different languages?
You have to make these guys do something to get cheered or booed, not just have them all act arrogant or heroic and expect the crowd to react appropriately. Hopefully, next week, they get back on track.
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