The Good, the Great and the Awesome from Raw 11/11/13
With just under two weeks until the 27th annual Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 25, a pre-recorded episode of Raw came to us from the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
Plenty of questions remained involving the Wyatt Family and their targeting of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Would fans get any answers to their questions and, more importantly, would Punk and Bryan finally form a united front against their attackers?
With COO Triple H and Stephanie McMahon away for the week, who would assume control of the show? What role would new Director of Operations Kane play?
With thirteen days until he receives his long-awaited shot at redemption and the WWE Championship at Survivor Series, what would Big Show have in store for champion Randy Orton?
Those are just a few of the questions surrounding Monday night's broadcast.
What answers would await the Superstars involved in the company's top angles and what, if any, new announcements would the company make regarding its marquee November pay-per-view spectacular?
Find out now as we look at what was good, great and awesome about the Veteran's Day edition of Monday Night Raw!
Who's in charge?
Without Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in Manchester for this week's show, control of the show was left up in the air.
Throughout the evening, Raw General Manager Brad Maddox, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, Director of Operations Kane and even WWE Champion Randy Orton argued over who was in charge and the matches they made in response to others on the show made for an interesting night of action.
The show-long angle was both entertaining and made sense. In any company that sees a high ranking official take time off or enjoy a vacation, there is always some sort of power struggle as those beneath him or her jockey for position.
It should be interesting to see if Triple H and Stephanie have any sort of response to the lack of order in key positions on Raw or if it was simply a one-week angle to help make the show feel a bit fresher.
BIG problems for Orton
The opening match of the evening featured Randy Orton taking on WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a Handicap Match set up by Vickie Guerrero. It was a solid way to kick off the evening's broadcast and all three Superstars were able to save face, thanks to a voluntary count-out taken by Orton.
It was what happened after the match that warrants inclusion in this week's article.
Big Show made his way down the aisle, attacked Orton and delivered a massive chokeslam off the top ring step and through the announce table.
It was a fitting bit of revenge for Show, who was put through the same table a week ago by the WWE Champion and The Shield.
Better yet, it took the focus off of the Big Show-Triple H conflict for a week and put the attention on him and Orton as their Survivor Series main event rapidly approaches.
Kane's still got it
As the WWE physician checked on Orton following the table spot, Brad Maddox, Vickie Guerrero and Kane all arrived to check on him. Frustrated and angry, The Viper talked down to all three. It was Kane, however, that dipped into his Big Red Monster bag and warned Orton that, if he did not stop running his mouth, Big Show would be the least of his worries.
It was a throwaway line on an episode of Raw that, at times, felt like a placeholder on the road to Survivor Series. With that said, it was nice to see Kane still have that edge to his character, despite ditching the mask and turning to the corporate dark side.
Intercontinental Championship Match
On the November 4 episode of Raw, Dolph Ziggler defeated Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel in a non-title match.
This week, he would have the chance to wrest the Intercontinental Championship away from the second-generation Superstar.
The match between them was a very solid, well-wrestled match, as one can expect between the talented workers, even if the Manchester audience remained fairly quiet throughout it.
The clean win for Axel over the two-time former World Heavyweight Champion Ziggler helps raise his stock, which had fallen in recent weeks.
Big E. Langston vs. Alberto Del Rio
The former NXT Champion once again looked impressive as he squared off against Alberto Del Rio in a match set up earlier in the evening when Langston made the save for a beaten and battered John Cena.
Langston and former World Champion Del Rio showcased some of the chemistry they exhibited this past summer en route to a solid bout late in Monday's broadcast.
The finish, which saw Del Rio force a submission out of Langston, was questionable in that it negated the work done by Randy Orton to really make Langston look like a legitimate threat last week. With that said, it was a very impressive win for Del Rio and, considering that he is heading into Survivor Series for a high profile World Heavyweight Championship against Cena, that is a good thing.
John Cena vs. The Real Americans
The World Champion has shared the ring with Antonio Cesaro on three different occasions since returning from injury, and, each time, the chemistry between them has been outstanding. Cena has gone out of his way to make the critically acclaimed Swiss Superstar look strong in their encounters and, according to reports from a house show event in Germany, Cena addressed the audience and strongly voiced his approval of Cesaro as a future heavyweight champion.
Jack Swagger was also very good Monday night as he continues to rediscover his motivation in hopes of ending an up-and-down 2013 on a strong note.
Cena defeating the Real Americans may be considered controversial or stupid to some but the World Heavyweight Champion is portrayed as being on such an entirely different level than the other Superstars that it really does nothing to kill the momentum that the number one contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships have amassed over the last few weeks.
Tyson Kidd vs. Fandango
While the length of the match was rather short, Kidd and Fandango packed a considerable amount of action into their match Monday night and left fans wondering what they would be capable of with more time.
Kidd has long been one of the more undervalued in-ring workers in the business while Fandango is far better than his corny gimmick would indicate.
If the company builds on Monday's match with more interactions between the Superstars, not to mention longer bouts, it could very well have the makings of a highly-entertaining midcard rivalry on its hands.
"This is awesome!"
The main event of the evening saw Daniel Bryan and CM Punk team up to meet The Shield in a two-on-three Handicap Match.
As is the case anytime Bryan and The Shield mix it up on Monday Night Raw, the in-ring product was outstanding. Add to that the fact that Punk and The Shield had never competed against one another prior to Monday night and you have the makings of a special main event.
Special, as it would turn out, was exactly what the closing moments of Raw would be.
Punk and Bryan were surging late in their match and looked poised to put away The Shield. Then the lights went dark and when they came back on, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family were in the squared circle.
Punk and Bryan would gather at ringside as the long-awaited interaction between The Shield and the Wyatt Family finally occurred. The fans in the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester exploded as altercation erupted into a brawl.
All six Superstars assaulted one another as a loud "this is awesome" chant filled the arena.
Soon, however, the competitors recognized their hatred for vendettas against Punk and Bryan were stronger than their dislike of one another and they targeted the two best workers in the company. Fortunately for the former WWE Champions, Goldust, Cody Rhodes and the Usos would hit the ring, clearing the squared circle of the villains and standing tall to end the evening's broadcast.
The entire angle was outstanding as it teased fans with tension between The Shield and the Wyatt Family, delivered a chaotic and exciting conclusion to a fairly solid, if unspectacular, episode of Raw and set up a potential elimination tag match for Survivor Series in the process.
One of the better angles in recent Raw history.