We are live from somewhere too small to warrant mentioning...gotta love WWE.
CM Punk hits the ring as we recap Ryback’s attack from last week. Could Curtis Axel look like more of a doofus lately? A pretty standard promo follows with Punk promising to put Paul Heyman out of his misery until Brad Maddox interrupts, looking like he just raided Vince McMahon’s closet from 1992 (Punk: “You don’t even get an entrance song?”). They argue for a bit, and Big E Langston makes his way to the ring and attacks Punk. Maddox orders a referee to the ring, and we have our first match of the evening...
CM Punk vs. Big E Langston
We return from break with both guys brawling on the outside, and Punk hits a kick to bring Langston back into the ring. A high crossbody from the top gets two for Punk, but a GTS attempt is countered into a slam by Big E, which gets a near-fall.
Splash off the ropes gets another two-count, and Langston works a single-leg crab. Punk easily fights out, though, and kicks away, but he runs into the massive Langston and gets put down for two. Punk surprises him with a sunset flip for two, but Langston quickly puts him down with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Punk mounts him comeback with a knockout kick to the head, but Langston kicks out at two. GTS attempt is again countered, this time by a short-arm clothesline, which gets a two-count. (By the way, not one of these moves have been called by any of the three announcers yet.)
Big E tries for another splash off of the ropes, but Punk rolls out of the way and delivers a mule kick and a leg lariat. Neckbreaker hits, as does the running knee in the corner, followed by the Macho Elbow. Go To Sleep hits the target and the pin is academic after that.
Winner: CM Punk
Pretty standard TV match, as Langston got the majority of the offense, and Punk ran through his trademark spots before hitting the finish. As with any standard match, this one gets two stars.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Wrestling School 101 to kick us off until Kofi hooks a flying headscissors, but Fandango comes exploding out of the corner with a clothesline, allowing Kofi to work a 180 sell job (Marty Jannetty would be so proud). Floatover suplex gets two for Fandango, and he goes to a chinlock to bore the crowd a little. Kofi fights out and counters a clothesline with a 360 spin into a DDT in a nice spot but gets launched face first into the corner. Fandango heads up top but has to abort. He runs into Trouble in Paradise for the relatively easy Kingston victory.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
But wait...the Wyatt Family is here. Where have they been? They cut a promo on no one in particular while Kofi guards himself with a chair.
Meanwhile, the Bellas talk backstage when Randy Orton interrupts and tells Brie that she might want to marry Daniel Bryan as early as possible because Orton is going to cripple him.
Still backstage, Paul Heyman dares CM Punk to attempt to make a move on him tonight.
And yes, the wrestling bullfighters are still coming whether you want them to or not.
3MB vs. Los Matadores
They have a midget in a bull costume! Seriously? This is actually a thing? This is such an indy gimmick, it’s not even funny. Diego starts with Mahal and hits a hurricanrana, followed by a sloppy monkey flip before bringing Fernando in the ring. I’m going to assume you guys are smart and I don’t have to tell you Los Matadores are Primo and Epico, but you never know.
Some double-teaming on Heath Slater goes well, but Fernando gets trapped in the heel corner and takes a suplex from Mahal for two. Slater takes a turn on the bullfighter but gets taken over with flying headscissors and gets the hot take to Diego. The crowd sits on their hands during the comeback while Michael Cole screams, “Ole!” like an idiot. The Matadores finish Slater with a double back suplex to finish a very unimpressive debut.
Winners: Los Matadores
On the plus side, the midget didn’t botch any of his springboards, so that puts him a step ahead of Sin Cara. Plus, he kind of looks like mini Mantaur, so that’ll earn him some nostalgia points. In all seriousness, this gimmick is DOA and the match wasn’t much better. One-and-a-half stars.
Rhodes Family Summit
Triple H and Stephanie head to the ring first and invite Dusty, Cody and Dustin to join them. Hunter doesn’t understand why the Rhodes family is so upset considering all the chances they’ve been given. Triple H thinks that Dusty is just upset that he could never make it outside of the NWA.
Steph offers Goldust and Cody both a job if they can beat Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins this Sunday at Battleground. However, if they lose, neither will ever work in WWE again and Dusty will be fired as well.
As the Rhodes family goes to leave, The Shield attack from behind and destroy Goldust with a spear. The Shield gets a couple of shots in on Dusty, too, before hitting the triple powerbomb on Cody, leaving the whole family strewn about the ring. It’s not a good month to be a member of the Rhodes family, that’s for sure. There was some major heat on his whole segment, so hopefully they pay it off properly on PPV this Sunday.
R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel
They stall to start, a big mistake for these two, but Axel immediately redeems himself by taking the Mr. Perfect flipping bump, as Truth kicks his legs out from under him. (Anyone who has watched the Bret Hart-Mr. Perfect match from Summerslam 1991 knows exactly what I’m talking about.) Axel comes back with a dropkick for two but runs into a kick in the corner as Truth makes his comeback. Vertical suplex stunner hits for Truth, but he whiffs on a dropkick. CM Punk’s music interrupts. Axel gets distracted like an idiot by the music, and Truth hits him with What’s Up for the win.
Seriously, could Curtis Axel beat “Iron” Mike Sharpe at this point? To make it worse, the match was completely boring outside of the Axel bumps that probably only entertained me and the 20 wrestling fans left from 1991. Call it one-and-a-half stars, and that’s being very generous.
So Trish Stratus had her baby, and I’ll use this article to let her know that the child support checks will start coming next month.
Video proving that, yes indeed, Daniel Bryan is making out with Brie Bella on a regular basis.
Brie Bella vs. Alicia Fox
They trade armbars and Alicia works as a heel despite the Bellas being portrayed as heels since they came back. Am I seriously analyzing character development in the Divas division? What happened to my life?
Northern lights suplex gets two for Alicia, and a facebuster gets another near-fall as the crowd grows eerily silent. Fox works a chinlock to really amp up the workrate, but Brie fights out and makes her babyface(?) comeback with a dropkick and a running knee. Alicia catches her with a kick and a weak clothesline, but Brie flips out of a suplex and hits a facebuster for the win.
Winner: Brie Bella
Typical Divas crap here. One star.
After a break, Paul Heyman gives a pep talk to Curtis Axel. Ryback makes an appearance and Paul Heyman says he is going to “propose” to Ryback later tonight. Um...what?
Meanwhile, Big Show gets interviewed backstage and says he’s a good person but his financial situation forces him to do evil. However, he has finally had enough and promises to knock Triple H out.
After a break, Big Show bursts into Brad Maddox’s office demanding to see Triple H and throws him up against a wall.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio
I’m not liking Zack’s chances here. Basic spots to start with Zack hitting an armdrag and hammering away in the corner before adding a flapjack. A clothesline sends Del Rio to the floor, but Ryder whiffs on a plancha, and Del Rio tosses him into the crowd barrier.
Back inside, Zack fights out of a chinlock and hooks a sunset flip, but he walks into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio works a chinlock, but Zack breaks with a facebuster and hits a missile dropkick. Broski Boot connects for two and he looks to finish, but Del counters to a German suplex for a near-fall. Del Rio snaps Ryder’s shoulder on the bottom rope and quickly applies the Cross Armbreaker for a fast submission.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Zack actually got the vast majority of the offense, but the crowd knew he had absolutely no chance of winning. That tends to happen when you spend an entire year turning a formerly over midcard guy into a complete jobber. Match was good, though. Two-and-a-half stars.
Ryback and Paul Heyman hit the ring and recap the whole Heyman-Punk saga. Ryback promises to protect Heyman from Punk’s bullying, and Heyman launches into a big speech about 2013 being more open and how his life has been more meaningful since Ryback saved him. Funny moment as the crowd chants “get a room” and Heyman alludes to marriage multiple times—you can almost feel the awkwardness in the air. Finally, Heyman gets down on one knee and...asks Ryback to become a Paul Heyman Guy.
CM Punk’s music hits one more time and Punk tries to attack from the crowd but “injures his knee” jumping the barricade and crumples to the floor. Heyman is wary of the injury, even as a trainer checks on Punk, but slowly makes his way over to the apron. Of course, it’s a trick, and Punk beats down everyone with a kendo stick, even poor Curtis Axel, who is becoming the 2013 version of Shawn Stasiak.
The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler and The Usos
Ambrose starts with Dolph and hammers away in the corner but gets caught with a dropkick for two. Rollins checks in but takes a hip toss. Jimmy tags in for the babyfaces and hits a headbutt for two. Now it’s Jey’s turn, and he nails Rollins with a clothesline and goes to an armbar. Rollins fights out, though, and gets trapped in the heel corner, which is not a good place to be with The Shield. Jey manages to get a blind tag to his brother, though, and the babyfaces clean house, ending with all the heels on the floor. The Usos fly out of the ring with a pair of dives, and we take a break.
We return with Jimmy Uso fighting out of a chinlock and hitting a suplex, but Ambrose cuts off the tag and drags Jimmy back to the corner to bring in Reigns. Roman goes to a chinlock for a bit, then hits a back suplex for two as this heat segment is dragging. Jimmy dumps Reigns when he charges and hits a superkick, but Rollins cuts off the tag yet again. Jimmy manages to backdrop him, though, and gets the hot tag to Ziggler, who is indeed a house of fire.
Ziggler takes out Rollins with a dropkick and hits a Fameasser on Ambrose, but Reigns breaks the count at two. Jey dumps Reigns, but Ambrose cuts off the dive, distracting Jey and allowing Rollins to nail him from behind. Ziggler hits Dean with the Zig Zag, but Reigns comes flying in from out of nowhere with his spear and gets the win.
Winners: The Shield
Good, strong heel booking, but I still don’t know why Ziggler is being treated like a job guy all of a sudden. The heat segment dragged a bit but the finishing spots were money. Three stars.
Meanwhile, police meet Big Show in Triple H’s office, but Stephanie calls them off while insulting Show’s finances and working in a cheap shot about Big Show’s lack of bedroom skills. Big Show takes his aggression out on a picture of Triple H’s DVD cover.
Still backstage, Rob Van Dam gets interviewed and introduces his top 10 “extreme moments” to prove he’s going to win the title this Sunday at Battleground. RVD stumbles over his promo a little but at least it was short.
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro
Santino has the Great Khali and Hornswoggle with him to complete the freak show. Santino gets overpowered to start and an uppercut puts him to the mat. Double stomp gets two for Cesaro. He tries for the Cesaro Swing, but Santino kicks out of it. Marella preps the Cobra, but Cesaro catches him in the swing as the crowd is starting to catch on and counts along. Cesaro blocks a judo throw, but Santino falls backwards and accidentally gets the win.
Winner: Santino Marella
Seriously, what’s the point of putting Santino over anyone at this point? The match was centered around one spot and the rest was pointless. Dud. Can we please move Cesaro on to something that actually matters now?
Main Event Interview
Jerry Lawler brings out both Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for a final build to Battleground. Orton starts us off and says he will win because he’s “genetically superior.” Bryan sticks with his basic “YES!” stuff, which whips the crowd into a frenzy and pisses Orton off. He asks Bryan what’s wrong with Brie Bella for settling for someone like Bryan. That causes Daniel to snap and the brawl is on as they head to the floor and
Bryan begins to beat Orton down. Orton turns the tide and sends Bryan into the ring steps and then into the post. Orton repeatedly rams Bryan’s head into the ring post and then dumps him on the ring barrier. The Viper then looks for the draping DDT from the ring apron when Brie Bella runs out to beg for mercy. Of course, Orton looks her in the eye and then plants Bryan on the floor. Now that’s a heel.
Orton hasn’t had enough, though, and preps the announce table for some pain. He sends Bryan through the table with an RKO, which allows Brie to show her “acting talents.”
No one in the back wanted to help Bryan this time? Anyways, Orton stands tall as we fade to black and listen to the annoying 10-year-olds in the background.
A rather lackluster show leading into the pay-per-view on Sunday, as it seems like the Big Show storyline is just kind of cruising along and Bryan just keeps getting beat up. I still think the Bryan-Orton, Show-Triple H and Rhodes-Triple H angles have some life in them, but this show just seemed like a “greatest hits” version of the last couple of weeks. It didn’t help that the crowd in Mississippi (or wherever they were) was pretty much dead all night long, even for guys like Punk and Dusty Rhodes.
Still, there’s enough intrigue to probably get me to order the pay-per-view on Sunday, so, as WWE defenders online are so quick to say, let’s let it play out and see where it goes.