WWE Week in Review, Sept. 7: Cody Rhodes Gets Fired, Big Show Sheds Tears
During WWE's first full week of September, nothing noteworthy occurred on any of WWE's three weekly shows. While there were a few good matches here and there, none of them will be remembered a week from now, unfortunately.
However, there was plenty of enjoyable action throughout the week, starting on the Labor Day edition of Raw. The true talking point coming out of that show was Cody Rhodes getting fired at the hands of Triple H following his loss to WWE Champion Randy Orton.
Also that evening, Big Show was forced to go one-on-one with his "good friend" Daniel Bryan. Show refused to go through with the match at first, but he eventually came to terms with HHH and did his dirty work for him by knocking out Bryan.
Ryback scored momentum for the first time in weeks, scoring decisive victories on both Raw and SmackDown. Could this be signaling a potential push for WWE's resident bully?
Here, I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing the Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and WWE Main Event broadcasts, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, an award will be given to the show and Superstar that shined the brightest over the course of the week.
Match of the Week: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes: Raw, September 2
When Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes joined forces in mid-2008, many fans assumed that DiBiase would be the breakout star of the two. Over time, however, it became quite clear that Rhodes would have the brighter singles career.
Although it was ultimately Randy Orton who turned face once The Legacy split up in early 2010, Rhodes went on to shine as a singles competitor on the singles brand. He and Orton have had a handful of matches over the years, but their best match to date occurred on this past week's episode of Raw.
With Rhodes' career at stake, the second-generation star put it all on the line in his match against Orton on Monday night. The crowd was red hot for Rhodes' offense and were fully behind him throughout the bout.
Rhodes came close to putting Orton away, but it was The Viper who sealed the deal by nailing the RKO on Rhodes for the victory, essentially ending Rhodes' career in WWE in the process. Here's hoping a rematch is on the horizon.
Superstar of the Week: Ryback
Yes, I realize Randy Orton was once again dominant these past seven days, but I thought it would be boring to name him the Superstar of the Week for the second consecutive week. Instead, I'll be giving the honor to Ryback, who had his best week in quite a while.
He went from bullying backstage personnel to being put in a match with Dolph Ziggler on this week's Raw. After Dean Ambrose viciously attacked Ziggler prior to the bout, Ryback soundly defeated the former world champion.
He repeated that same success on SmackDown by decisively dominating Ziggler in their match and scoring the victory following interference from Ambrose. Ryback's gimmick may need some tweaking, but at least he's gradually gaining momentum.
Show of the Week: Monday Night Raw, September 2
The Labor Day edition of Raw each year usually isn't anything special, but this year's installment was an exception. It wasn't fantastic by any means, but it proved to be an entertaining episode when all was said and done.
Of course, the show mainly revolved around Daniel Bryan, Triple H and WWE Champion Randy Orton. Each of them had their respective shining moments on this show and stood out from the rest of the pack.
The stellar performances from Big Show and Cody Rhodes were also worth watching. Friday Night SmackDown is usually entertaining, but this week's broadcast wasn't anything special.
Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam and Daniel Bryan vs. Rob Van Dam were great matches, but everything else that was featured was mostly filler. As we enter the month of September, I hope WWE can maintain their strong momentum, especially since they'll be facing competition in the ratings on Monday nights going forward.
This Week's Highlights
CM Punk promo: You would think that Punk would have run out of things to talk about by this point regarding his current feud with Paul Heyman. That couldn't be any farther from the truth. His promo on this week's Raw was excellent. He did a superb job of selling the Handicap Elimination match at Night of Champions.
Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler: Ryback and Ziggler wrestled two brief, albeit nice matches on Raw and SmackDown this week. They put heat on Ryback, made Ziggler look sympathetic and furthered Ziggler's feud with Dean Ambrose. In short, it was a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam: Their match from SmackDown was nothing short of awesome. I enjoyed their initial encounter from a few weeks ago a bit more, but this bout was still a ton of fun. There were a handful of exciting spots and the both competitors came out of it looking good. Alberto Del Rio was also able to further his feud with RVD and Ricardo Rodriguez from ringside.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins: They could have easily gone longer than they did in their match on SmackDown, but they made the most out of the time they were given. The action was fast-paced and non-stop for nearly 10 minutes. There is no doubt in my mind that these two will be crossing paths again someday on a major stage for a world title. Count on that.
The Wyatt Family vs. The Prime Time Players: Despite being mere minutes long, I enjoyed it for what it was. It wasn't a total squash, and The Prime Time Players were able to score some offense before ultimately coming up short against The Wyatt Family. Sure, I'm a bit disappointed PTP's winning streak has come to an end, but Erik Rowan and Luke Harper needed the win that much more.
This Week's Low Points
The Miz vs. Fandango: The match itself was fine, but it was far too short to mean anything. It consisted mostly of a commercial break that left viewer confused, which was where Fandango apparently broke his nose. I understand they are feuding and all, but I'd rather see Miz featured in the top-tier storyline with Triple H and company than this undercard filler.
Rob Van Dam vs. Damien Sandow: I'm glad this match went longer than their previous match did from last week's SmackDown, but there was no point in it happening again. Sandow lost yet again, and RVD didn't need a win. If nothing else, it served as nice hype for the upcoming world title match between Alberto Del Rio and RVD.
The Prime Time Players vs. 3MB: As much as I like The Prime Time Players, it is hard to take their win seriously when it is against a tandem such as 3MB. I despise that group to no end, and they have zero credibility. The Raw crowd died the moment they gained the upper hand in their match against Titus O'Neil and Darren Young.
Naomi vs. Brie Bella: The Divas match from SmackDown (as well as the Triple Threat match from Raw) was a complete and utter mess. Actually, the whole Divas division is a mess right now. I like the fact that AJ Lee will be defending her Divas Championship at Night of Champions, but I couldn't care less about the drama surrounding the Total Divas cast.
Damien Sandow vs. R-Truth: You know you're in the doghouse when you're losing to R-Truth on WWE Main Event. Okay, Sandow probably isn't in hot water with officials, but why the hell is he losing so much lately? I understand all SmackDown Money in the Bank winners lose in order to make their eventual cash-in feel more like a surprise, but that concept has grown tiresome and rarely works. Sandow should be building momentum, not losing to everyone on the roster.
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Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is currently a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.