-I hate it say it, fellow internet wrestling fans, but I think the Daniel Bryan main event dream is officially over. Let’s hope this week is the turning point and WWE starts to prove me wrong.
-We are LIVE from St. Louis, MO (home of an extremely ugly arch)
-So we don’t waste any time and bring out Shawn Michaels right away. Random thought: What if HBK screws Daniel Bryan out of the title at the PPV and that sets up a Bryan vs. Michaels match at WrestleMania? I know Shawn really doesn't want to get back in the ring but that would be a great rub for Bryan going forward. Anyways, Shawn loves Daniel Bryan but doesn't like Randy Orton, and that one comment is enough to bring Orton out for a retort.
Orton goes for the hometown pop early and quickly crushes it in a TV-PG heel manner. Orton tries to intimidate Shawn but of course HBK won’t be intimidated. Orton promises to hurt HBK if he tries to screw him over and goes for the RKO, but Shawn escapes and Orton bails. The Miz attacks Randy from behind (seriously, not Daniel Bryan? Who cares about the Miz anyways), and we take a break.
The Miz vs. Randy Orton
We join the match in action with Miz throwing knees, but Orton counters and hits a pair of clotheslines. Miz says “hey, I can clothesline too!” and takes Orton to the floor. He whiffs with a dropkick through the ropes though and Orton clotheslines him down. Notice a pattern developing here? Orton sends Miz into the ring steps and gets two back inside. Miz fights out of a chinlock, but Orton dumps him over the top and tries for the draping DDT off the crowd barricade. However, Miz drives him into the ring post.
Back inside, Miz makes his babyface comeback to zero reaction and hits his clothesline in the corner. Double axe handle hits and Miz looks to finish but Orton counters so Miz goes for the Figure Four instead. Before he can apply it though, the Wyatt Family appear on the stage and distract Miz long enough for Orton to hit the RKO for the win.
Winner: Randy Orton
-No real drama here as the crowd didn't buy the Miz as a serious threat at all *1/2.
-Post-match, Bray Wyatt wonders how long Miz will chase fleeting fame. Bray is going to do him a favor though and put the Miz out of his misery. That could be a mistake because getting rid of the Miz would make Wyatt the biggest babyface in the territory in my eyes.
Fandango vs. Santino Marella
I saw Santino wrestle in a mixed tag match on NXT, and it was the perfect role for him. This whole “Santino is a serious contender who knocks off quality opponents” is a complete waste. Summer Rae looks more like Kelly Kelly every single day and that’s not a bad thing. Santino and Fandango have a dance-off until Fandango gets a cheap shot and a clothesline for two. Suplex gets another near fall and Fandango looks to finish already, but Santino makes his comeback with a stunner and then the usual. Santino preps the Cobra but Summer Rae gets in the way, and Fandango rolls him up for the win.
-Total nothing match here, *.
-Meanwhile, Paul Heyman shows Brad Maddox a replay of Punk using a low blow to beat Ryback at Battleground then pitches a handicap match with Punk against the Paul Heyman Guys. Maddox instead books a Beat the Clock challenge with Ryback against R-Truth and Punk against Curtis Axel with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for their match at Hell in a Cell. Seriously, doesn't that make R-Truth and Axel look like total jobbers?
-Cole and Lawler recap Xavier Woods and his petition to get Big Show back on Raw. JBL sums things up nicely by saying “who is Xavier Woods?”. Wait a minute, isn't Bradshaw the NXT general manager? Shouldn't he know the roster on his show?
-Hype video for John Cena’s return because God knows that having him off television for two months has been torture. How can I miss you if you won’t leave, John? The should call the Cena-Del Rio match a Special WWE Panic Mode Match.
Los Matadores vs. 3MB
How many times are we going to get this match? The stupid matadors have already been getting cut out of the Hulu version of Raw, which I’m sure is a wonderful sign for their careers…they should be main eventing WrestleMania next year.
Diego chops away at McIntyre and takes Drew down with flying headscissors and a double-team back drop hits as well. Slater checks in and doesn't fair much better as he quickly gets dumped and has a showdown with the midget bull. Fernando hits a plancha while Slater is distracted but Heath comes back with a superkick back inside the ring. Double slingshot suplex puts Fernando down for two and McIntyre grabs a chinlock. Fernando comes back with a spinning DDT and gets the hot tag to Diego, who mops up on Slater and the Matadores finish with the double suplex in what feels like a repeat of the last two weeks.
Winners: Los Matadores
-Jinder Mahal gets taken out by the midget after the match because why not? I’m already sick of this team and they haven’t even been on TV for a month *1/4.
-Recap of Big Show getting fired and then knocking out Triple H. I know kayfabe is dead and all that but would it kill them not to advertise Big Show for future house shows while he’s supposedly fired?
-Triple H and Stephanie hit the ring as they remain the only characters on this show to be kept strong even though Steph offers no payoff whatsoever and Triple H is a part-time, old guy. Steph says that Triple H dominated the Attitude Era and is now defining a new era: The Era of the 2.5 Rating! OK, I made that last part up. Hunter freaks about everyone cheering after Big Show knocked him out and promises that he will be the bad guy from now on. Doesn't Scott Hall still own that trademark?
Daniel Bryan comes out the entrance ramp to lead some chants but Alberto Del Rio attacks from behind and lays out Daniel with a kick. This is totally logical because they have a match at the pay-per…wait, Del Rio is wrestling John Cena? Oh, alright, it’s going to be Daniel Bryan vs. Del Rio tonight because we need another screwjob ending in the main event.
Beat the Clock Challenge
Ryback vs. R-Truth
The “Goldberg” chants start immediately, and R-Truth wisely runs away to milk the clock a little. He catches Ryback with a kick for two as Paul Heyman finally runs interference and allows Ryback to catch Truth and level him. Ryback beats on Truth in the corner and a splash gets two. An elbow puts truth down again while Lawler plugs the Goldberg DVD (hint, hint).
Ryback powers him around the ring and generally bores the crap out of the crowd, so they entertain themselves by chanting for JBL. Ryback sends Truth hard into the corner for two, but Truth recovers and makes his comeback with a low dropkick and a DDT. Dropkick off the top rope gets another near fall but he whiffs on the Axe Kick and Shellshock gets the win at 5:44.
-Ryback on offense is just total death for a match, especially since no one cares about R-Truth. 1/2* for some decent spots but nothing else to see here.
-Backstage, Steph books Brie Bella against Tamina Snuka and bans Nikki from ringside. Yay, more babyfaces doing absolutely nothing against a heel authority figure!
Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans
Tons of Funk still have jobs? Zeb Coulter speaks out against Los Matadores because we need the evil Swiss guy to rage against illegal Mexican bullfighters. Speaking of the evil Swiss guy, Cesaro gets overpowered by Brodus Clay to start and Tensai (why not just call him Albert again?) takes him over with a huge monkey flip. Swagger gets a blind tag though and chop blocks Tensai before going to work on the knee. The heels switch off on Tensai and the Swagger Bomb into a double stomp from Cesaro gets two.
Tensai breaks a resthold and comes back with a clothesline but Cesaro comes in and impressively gutwrenches Tensai in an unreal display of strength. This guy is just on another level. Tensai dodges Swagger though and gets the hot tag to Clay, who is indeed a house of fire. Fisherman’s suplex (incorrectly called a t-bone suplex by Cole) gets two, but Cesaro knocks out Clay with a European uppercut and delivers the Neutralyzer for the win.
Winners: The Real Americans
-I’ve loved Antonio Cesaro since ROH, but seriously, this guy is something special in the ring *1/2. Cesaro delivers the big swing on Tensai (only three times around) because that’s what the people want to see.
Brie Bella vs. Tamina Snuka
AJ Lee is at ringside because all babyfaces must face insurmountable odds. Brie weakly attacks and Tamina hits the floor where Brie jumps on her from the apron. Tamina quickly sends her into the apron though and chokes her out inside the ring. Brie counters to a half crab (kind of), but Tamina floors her and hits a suplex for two. Short-arm clothesline gets another two and more sloppy offense from Tamina leads to a chinlock. She hits boot on a blind charge though, and Brie makes her comeback with various moves resembling kicks. She gets too cute on the top rope though and Tamina yanks her off and hits a big boot for the win.
Winner: Tamina Snuka
-Typical sloppy women’s match, *. The heels continue the beatdown afterwards, and only the referees save her because babyfaces are never allowed to gain and advantage on television…ever.
-Backstage, Steph and Maddox are watching the Goldberg DVD until Bryan bursts in and yells at Stephanie but, as usual, she gets the final. Remember: No babyfaces are allowed to look strong…ever.
Beat the Clock Challenge
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel
Punk has to beat Axel in under 5:44 to pick the stipulation for his match with Ryback. Punk attacks immediately and tries a jackknife cover but it only gets two so they exchange chops in the corner. Axel gets a slam for two and stays in control, until he runs into a boot in the corner. Punk then hits him with a high cross body for two.
Axel recovers and hits a backbreaker but misses an elbow off the second rope, and Punk hits a high knee in the corner for two. Macho Elbow gets two and Punk looks to finish, but Axel counters with an ugly swinging neckbreaker for two. Axel hits a clothesline to the back of Punk’s head with a minute left and gets two as the crowd starts buzzing. Perfectplex gets two for Axel, and Punk hooks a surprise small package for two. Axel tries to keep the offense going but Punk hits a desperation GTS and gets the win with 11 seconds left on the clock.
Winner: CM Punk
-I think we can all agree that the Curtis Axel experiment is over. They had a pretty good match though for it only being five minutes long **. Punk decides it’s going to be Ryback and Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk in a Hell in a Cell match at the pay-per-view.
Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio
Bryan attacks and kicks Del Rio down in the corner then follows with a running knee lift and wrenches Del Rio’s arm. Alberto comes back with a kick and a suplex for two, but Bryan fights out of a chinlock with a back suplex. Yes Kicks connect, but the last one misses and Del Rio turns it into a Back Stabber for two. Bryan kicks away in the corner but whiffs on a blind charge, landing on his head, and we take a commercial break.
We return with Bryan missing a diving headbutt from the top rope, but Del Rio talks a little too much trash and almost gets caught in the Yes Lock. Bryan instead hammers away in the corner but gets caught in a nice tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio uses repeated headbutts to drive Bryan into the corner but again, he gloats a little too much, and Bryan explodes out of the corner with a flying clothesline. He’s too hurt to capitalize though and Del Rio goes to the arm to put Bryan down then follows with a missile dropkick. That looked like a blown spot or maybe it was just a weird sell job by Bryan.
Bryan makes a brief comeback with strikes but runs into the ring post and has to bail to avoid Del Rio’s enzuigiri. Now, Bryan makes his legitimate comeback with a running clothesline and a hurricanrana from the top rope for two. Bryan low-bridges Del Rio to put him on the floor and a dive through the ropes sends Alberto into the crowd barrier.
Back inside, Bryan hits his own missile dropkick for two, but the match is interrupted by Orton appearing on the TitanTron and going into the training room to torture Brie Bella. Del Rio rolls Bryan up for two but Bryan knocks him out with a kick to the head and goes running backstage for the cheap ending.
Winner by Count Out: Alberto Del Rio
-Backstage, Bryan breaks into the training room to find Brie screaming at…nothing? Why was she screaming then? Obviously, Orton attacks from behind and lays out Daniel because no babyface is allowed to look strong…ever. Call the whole thing *** for a good TV match with no finish.
No DQ Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield
If “no DQ” doesn’t signal a screwjob finish, then please turn in your smark card at the door. Cody and Goldust switch off on Rollins, and a dropkick by Cody gets two. Boot to the face gets another near fall for Cody, and a forward suplex gets another. Dean Ambrose gets involved on the outside, and that allows Reigns to get a cheapshot from the apron to turn the tide. Reigns beats on Cody at ringside as Rhodes tries to fight out the heel corner but takes a back suplex for two. What ever happened to the Usos being the number one contenders, by the way?
Cody and Rollins do a nice reversal sequence in the corner. Cody then gets the hot tag to Goldust, who tees off on Rollins and preps Shattered Dreams, but Reigns interrupts. Goldust channels his inner Dustin Rhodes and hits a bulldog for two, but Rollins goes low with a kick that sends Goldust flying to the floor on a missed cross body as we head to break.
We return with Goldust playing Ricky Morton and Rollins wrenching in a submission hold. Goldust briefly counters with a backslide for two, but Rollins floors him with a clothesline. Reigns cuts off the ring but Dustin hits a desperation back elbow, so Rollins knocks Cody off the apron.
Goldust catches Rollins with a powerslam though, and Cody finally gets the tag to a nice pop and sends Reigns into the ringpost for two. Moonsault connects for two, and he gets rid of Ambrose with a Disaster kick. Cody hits a springboard dropkick on Reigns for two, saved by Rollins. Goldust gets rid of Rollins and brawls with him on the outside as Cody preps Cross Rhodes, but Ambrose beats him down. The Shield triple-teams the babyfaces, but Goldust evens things up with a steel chair.
Reigns floors Goldust from behind and looks for a final chair shot, but Goldust hits a cross body for the double KO. Meanwhile, on the outside, Cody looks for a hurricanrana on Rollins, but he powerbombs Cody against the barrier in a sick spot. Goldust takes on both Shield members and clears the ring, sending Reigns to the outside with a Cactus Jack clothesline.
Ambrose makes his return and distracts Goldust long enough for Reigns to recover and spear Dustin through the barrier and into the first row…awesome spot. Rollins tries to end things ,but the crowd pops huge as the Big Show charges in through the crowd and destroys Ambrose and Rollins. He knocks out Reigns with one punch and Cody crawls over to win an awesome tag match.
Winners and NEW Champions: Cody Rhodes and Goldust
-Started as a typical tag match but the finish was nonstop with a completely awesome series of spots as all four guys worked a tremendously fast pace and had the crowd eating out of their hands by the end. Adding to that, the babyfaces finally scored a big win on the evil henchmen and the crowd left happy. One of the best tag matches I've seen in awhile on Raw, ****.
Seriously, fast forward through the entire show and just watch the main event. I’m actually glad I didn't give up on this show halfway through because that was one amazing main event. The rest of the show was the typical, boring crap but hey, give me a **** tag match and I’m a happy guy.
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