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Tonight, RAW looks like a packed show. Not only can we expect final hype for Night of Champions (2013), a rare appearance by former superstar Edge is being advertised. Also, over the weekend Brad Maddox announced that Goldust will face Randy Orton, the stipulation being that if Goldust picks up the victory, then Cody Rhodes will be reinstated. CM Punk and Paul Heyman should be on hand as well to hype their confrontation this coming Sunday.
Live from Toronto, Edge’s music hits to kick off the show…
Opening Segment featuring EDGE
Holy cow the crowd is HOT! Edge came out on stage and celebrated his entrance. Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler (in a polo?) introduced the show from ringside. The crowd chanted something unintelligable.
Edge took the microphone and called WWE “home.” He welcomed the crowd to The Cutting Edge. He said he was requested to come out tonight by Triple H, because it would be “good for business.” He came out to have a reunion with his former partner in Rated RKO, WWE Champion Randy Orton. Edge said that he didn’t have a problem with Randy cashing in his briefcase the way he did, but he does have an issue with Randy Orton being Triple H’s lackey. So, instead, Randy Orton is NOT going to be the guest star on The Cutting Edge tonight. He said he’s going to have a different guest that’s good for business… the crowd chanted “Yes!”… Daniel Bryan!
Daniel Bryan came down and shook hands with Edge. A “Daniel Bryan” chant broke out across the arena. Edge told Bryan that he appreciates him coming out, and Bryan said he’s been through a lot, but it helps when so many people are chanting your name. Bryan said there is “satisfaction in the struggle.” He promised to beat Randy Orton, and regain the WWE Championship. Edge said that’s why he likes Bryan – because he looks at an obstacle as an inspiration. Edge said, “we love this.” He questioned whether or not Bryan could beat Randy Orton, but said he at least deserves a fair shot in doing it. Just as Edge was hyping Bryan up with a few “Yes!” cheers, Randy Orton’s music hit…
Randy Orton came out on stage and said it’s a shame that the only place who gives a crap about Edge when he returns is Canada. He said it’s a shame that Edge’s body failed him at such a young age. Edge said it’s a shame that Randy is supposed to be the face of the WWE, but he’s actually a different body part. Funny. Just as Edge tried to praise Bryan some more, “King of Kings” hit, and Triple H walked out.
Edge told Triple H directly that he doesn’t know how to pick talent. He called out Edge, Chris Jericho, and John Cena as examples of guys that Hunter said couldn’t make it. Triple H countered with, “It’s great to see you,” because that’s what’s best for business. He plugged the premiere of ‘Haven’ right after Friday Night Smackdown. Triple H argued that he’s missed a few guys over the year, but he generally gets them right. He said there’s one guy he got right, though – Edge. He described the Rated R Superstar as an abject failure. Triple H said that he would give Daniel Bryan a chance to prove everybody wrong later, when Daniel Bryan takes on Dean Ambrose. But, since Ambrose has The Shield in his corner, Triple H said he’d give Daniel Bryan someone in his corner: The Big Show.
Triple H said he’s not a dictator. Edge told Triple H that he’s not a dictator, he’s just a dic…(PG rating?). Hunter said that if he can’t hurt Edge, he might as well just hurt the ones that Edge loves – on cue, The Shield carried out a beaten, limp Christian. Edge rushed up the ramp to check on his best friend as RAW went to commercial…
Rating: R! - Fantastic opening segment here. The producers were smart to kick-off with Edge, and get the crowd (and the fans at home – like me) totally stoked about the show. Smart way to go up against Monday Night Football. Also, the banter between these four men was very entertaining, and while I’m not looking forward to the Bryan-Ambrose match, at least this set the tone for the rest of the night. Well done.
Back from commercial, Stephanie was praising Triple H backstage. Edge walked in angry, but got stopped by The Shield. He said if his doctors would clear him, he’d come straight for Triple H first. Hunter asked Edge who he thought he was, coming in, running his mouth, in “my town, my city.” He told Edge to get off of “my show.” Edge simply shook his head and walked away.
Kofi Kingston vs. Curtis Axel
A return match from Smackdown? I like it. The announcers put over Kingston’s win against Axel from Friday Night Smackdown.
Axel started the match off in firm control. He punched Kingston and laid him into the ropes. When Axel went for a high back-drop, Kingston slipped off and fought for control. Kingston was able to hit an S.O.S., the same move he used to win on Friday night, but Axel grabbed the ropes to break up the count. After a quick run around the ring, Axel took control of the match again. He kicked Kingston in the corner. The ref tried to break it up, but Axel ignored him… so, the ref disqualified him.
Winner by Disqualification: Kofi Kingston
Paul Heyman finally got in the ring and pulled Axel off of Kingston. He told Axel that this can’t happen on Sunday night. Kofi used the distraction to his advantage, and hit Axel with a trouble in paradise. Paul Heyman looked very, very concerned.
Rating: Good – The match was short and not too notable, but I like the story that creative is telling between Heyman and Axel. Axel continues to lose, and Heyman continues to look even more worried. They’re in the business of selling PPVs.
A vignette hyping Goldust’s return to RAW aired…
After the commercial break, Paul Heyman was limping back to the locker room. A trainer tried to look at his knee, but Heyman said he has his own doctor. Axel and Heyman complained about the water in the hallway.
Dolph Ziggler vs Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt took control of Ziggler early. Ziggler tried to fight back in, but interference from the Wyatt family gave Bray the upper hand again. He maintained control as RAW went to commercial…
Back from the break, Dolph Ziggler managed to fight his way back in. He hit the fameasser, but only got a two count from the resulting pin. Unfortunately, the Wyatt Family provided the distraction, which gave Bray Wyatt the chance to grab Ziggler, and score the win.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Rating: Bad - First, it sucks that Bray Wyatt can’t win a match on his own. Secondly, it sucks that Ziggler can’t win a match AT ALL anymore. Finally, this match sucked. Suck, suck, suck.
Paul Heyman Segment
Paul Heyman hobbled down to ring on his crutches. Some guy (his doctor?) follwed him and Axel. Heyman got on the mic and said he doesn’t believe in the Canadian Healthcare system. That’s why he always brings his own doctor. Heyman said that the doctor confirmed his fear – he’s either torn his ACL or his meniscus, but a proper MRI in the United States will have to confirm. As a result, he is withdrawing himself from competition at Night of Champions. He promised to get the proper medical care, and return eventually when he can.
Brad Maddox came out and brought Doctor Sampson with him. He said that if Paul Heyman is truly injured, the only way to be removed from the match is to be evaluated by the WWE doctor. Maddox asked for a chair in the ring as Heyman looked on in dismay. Doctor Sampson rolled up Heyman’s pant leg as Heyman gave his sob story. The doctor bent Heyman’s knee around. Heyman kept complaining, and the crowd broke out a “this is awkward!” chant. Doctor Samson got back up, used a few impressive medical terms, and basically said that Paul Heyman seems fine. Heyman threatened Doc Sampson when suddenly ‘Cult of Personality’ hit…
CM Punk ran down the ramp with a kendo stick. Heyman immediately pushed “his” doctor straight into Punk as the ring cleared. Heyman escaped through the crowd. Back in the ring, Heyman’s doctor was left alone with Punk, who beat the crap out of him with a kendo stick. CM Punk yelled, “Paul Heyman!” as the crowd went crazy.
Rating: Great - Fans have a reason to buy Night of Champions; that is, people are dying to see Heyman finally get what’s coming to him. Heyman’s squirmy heel-tactics only make the fans hate him more, and CM Punk looks like an absolute star in his quest against Heyman. I’m convinced that Punk WILL get his hands on Heyman this coming Sunday. However, I also think he’ll wind up on laying flat on the mat when Heyman debuts his new guy…
Naomi, Natalya, and Brie vs. Layla, Oksana, and Alicia Fox
AJ joined on commentary. She told Jerry Lawler, “I think I’m a little too old for you, Jerry – I’m 36. I know you like ‘em younger.” Hilarious!
Sorry, missed most of the match. Natalya locked Alicia Fox in the sharpshooter, and Alicia quickly tapped.
Winners: Naomi, Natalya, and Brie
Rating: Meh - Not much to see here, folks. Minimal build for a minimal story line. (I still hate they’re pushing AJ Lee as a heel when the wrestling fans in attendance obviously support her over the ‘Total Divas.’ Oh well.)
R Truth vs Alberto Del Rio
Before the match, a clip of RVD promoting his match against Del Rio showed.
Albert Del Rio maintained control throughout the early stages of the match. Del Rio beat R Truth in the corner. However, R Truth tossed Del Rio over the top rope, and hit him with a cross-body outside the ring. Del Rio was able to regain control by hitting an enziguri. Back inside the ring, Albero Del Rio locked R Truth in a sleeper lock, then went for a quick pin. He only earned a two-count.
R Truth fought back with a few clotheslines. He then hit suplex, and covered Del Rio for the pin. Del Rio kicked out after two, and the crowd started an “Undertaker” chant. Funny. Truth got back to his knees. Del Rio hit R Truth with his signature super kick, then locked Truth in the cross-armbreaker. R Truth had no choice but to tap.
Winner by submission: Alberto Del Rio
Rating: Mediocre - The match just never got off the ground. Also, it feels like creative took a nap on the build for Del Rio’s match against Rob Van Dam this coming Sunday. Mediocre in every sense of the word.
Announced for Sunday’s pre-show is a “Tag Team Turmoil” match between The Usos, The Real Americans, 3MB, The Prime-Time Players, and Tons of Funk. The winner will go on to face The Shield at Night of Champions for the Tag Team Championship.
Santino vs Antonio Cesaro
Santio came out to a pretty loud pop. The crowd loves him!
Cesaro started things off immediately with a drop-kick. The crowd chanted, “San-Tin-O!” Cesaro followed up with a scoop-slam, and then put his hand over the heart and chanted “We the People!” Cesaro grabbed Santino by the ankles and kept him in a tilt-a-whirl for AT LEAST 30 seconds. Impressive! A much deserved “Holy Sh*t” chant broke out.
Santino was finally able to regain control with his pattened hip-toss and diving headbutt. He went to pull out the cobra, but Cesaro stopped it with a European uppercut. He went for a cover. The ref reached a two-count before Santino kicked out. Cesaro continued the assault. Just as Cesaro went for the killing blow, Santino used a Judo toss, and covered Cesaro for a quick pin. 1…2…3!
Winner: Santio Marella
Rating: Good - This seemed a little out of place on a Pay-Per-View go home show, but I enjoyed the heck out of it. Santino was a ton of fun, Antonio Cesaro was impressive (as always), and these two put together the best match of the night so far. Good stuff.
RAW returned from break with Damien Sandow putting himself over as the Money in the Bank holder…
Damien Sandow vs. The Miz
Things started off in a waist lockup. Miz maintained control with a suplex, before Sandow scored with a quick kick to the gut, and an Irish whip to the corner. However, Miz countered, hit Sandow with a hit from the top rope, but only earned a two-count on the resulting pin-attempt.
Sandow capitalized on The Miz’s misfortune. He buried Miz on the middle rope, then laid him out with a side-Russian legs-sweet. Sandown then nailed his elbow of disdain. When Miz kicked out of the pin-attempt, Sandow kept him in a chin-lock. Miz, however, fought back with a high-running knee, and a boot to the face. He focused all of his energy on Sandow’s knee. Just when it looked like The Miz was in firm control, Fandango’s music hit, and he danced out on stage. This allowed Sandow to steal the quick roll-up pin, and the three-count.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Backstage, Renee interviewed Goldust. He admitted that he’s been the screw-up of the family. But, he said that Cody Rhodes deserves a second chance. He told Randy Orton that Orton would never forget the name… GOLDUST. Just as he said that, Triple H interrupted. Hunter said he must be nervous. Goldust has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He told Goldust that it’s a lot of pressure, but wished him good luck, and said that he hopes Goldust doesn’t let them down…
Randy Orton vs. Goldust (if Goldust wins, Cody Rhodes gets reinstated)
The announcers put over Goldust’s championship history. Michael Cold discussed how this isn’t about Randy Orton’s legacy, it’s about the Rhodes dynasty. Goldust made his traditional slow-motion entrance.
Both men stared each other down at the opening bell. Goldust delivered a strong slap. He followed it up with a big knee in the corner, and a few more slaps. The crowd ate up every move. Goldust eventually tossed Orton over the top rope, and the crowd chanted “You Still Got It!” Back inside the ring, Goldust and Orton attempted a feat of strength, before Orton kicked Goldust square in the gut. Goldust almost captured the victory, however, with a quick roll-up pin.
Goldust continued the assault with slaps. Orton broke free, then hit Goldust with a series of punches from the top turnbuckle. He stopmped and kicked Goldust, but Goldust went for a quick roll-through. He earned a two-count shortly before RAW cut to commercial.
After the break, Goldust still looked fresh. He brawled with Orton around the outside of the ring before Orton rolled back in. While Goldust stood on the apron, Orton shoved him directly into the turnbuckle. The ref reached a four-count before Orton stepped outside to reset the count. Orton smashed Goldust face into the steel-stairs, then rolled Goldust back in the ring. A pin attempt only scored him a two-count. Orton maintained his methodical approach with kicks and stomps, but Goldust stayed alive. Orton locked Goldust in a sleeper hold as the crowd rallied behind him.
Goldust fought back and created separation. He followed it up with a bulldog, then an uppercut off of an Irish whip. He punched Orton to a 10-count in the corner. When Orton was distracted, he went for a quick roll-up, but Orton was able to fight out after a two-count. Orton took advantage of the confusion and knocked Goldust down with his vintage DDT. As Orton attempted an RKO, Goldust grabbed him and hit the cross-Rhodes. He covered Orton as the ref counted 1.. 2.. kickout.
Orton tried for a quick roll-up of his own, but Goldust kicked out. As both men stood, Orton seized the opportunity, and hit the RKO. It was enough to keep Goldust down for the three-count.
Winner: Randy Orton
Randy Orton grabbed a microphone after the match and taunted Goldust, telling him that his dream of saving his baby brother’s career had been “shattered,” just like Daniel Bryan’s dream of re-capturing the WWE Championship.
Rating: Great - Let it be known that Goldust can still go in the ring. These two delivered one heck of an entertaining match. I like how Goldust looked strong throughout, and how the tension built. The nearfalls down the stretch were perfect. The crowd worked itself into a frenzy as Goldust hit his brother’s finisher, which made Orton’s victory all the more upsetting. Impressive match, great storytelling, all-around good wrestling segment.
Backstage, Goldust looked incredibly disappointed. Stephanie walked up to him and said that Goldust must be very disappointed. She told him that he let his brother, his father, the whole WWE Universe down. “How does it feel… to be a loser?” Stephanie told him to go join his brother in the unemployment line.
Rob Van Dam vs. Ryback
Battle of the singlets! Alberto Del Rio came out and cut a promo against RVD and Ricardo Rodriguez, claiming the crowd will start charting “A-D-R!” after Night of Champions.
Ryback used his strength to dictate the early stages of the match. He hit RVD with a belly-to-belly throw, and smacked Van Dam’s skull against the mat. When Ryback stretched RVD out in a submission attempt, Van Dam used his kicks to fight out. He scored with a Rolling Thunder, but Ryback quickly kicked out. He hit Ryback from the top rope with a front-kick. RVD jumped to the top rope for a Five0Star Frog Spash attempt, but Ryback escaped outside the ring. When RVD followed him, Ryback picked RVD up and tossed him crotch-first into the ring post. The referee called for the bell…
Winner by DQ: Rob Van Dam
After the match, Ryback hit RVD with a shell-shock, then yelled out that “Ryback rules!”
Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose
Stipulation by Stephanie McMahon is that Big Show, sitting at ringside, cannot touch The Shield.
Bryan literally kicked things off. Dean Ambrose quickly switched places, and delivered a series of punches and kicks to Ambrose in the corner. Ambrose re-grouped with his parters Rollins and Reigns. It still wasn’t enough to get the upper hand on Bryan, who dominated the square circle. He put Ambrose in a chicken wring. Bryan then dropped Ambrose to the mat as he focused on Ambrose’s left arm. Ambrose was tossed up in a submission move, but he grabbed the ropes to break it up. Bryan was tossed off the ring apron as RAW cut to commercial…
When RAW returned, Amabrose had Bryan exaclty where he watned to. Ambrose used an Irish Whip to keep control over Bryan. Unfortunately, Bryan fought back, eventually hitting a hurricanrana from the top rop. This only earned him a two-count. Finally, Bryan locked Ambrose in the Yes! lock, but Ambrose fought his way to the ropes. Eventually, Bryan locked Ambrose in the tree of woe. He followed that up with an amazing superplex, but unfortunately Ambrose was able to kick out.
Daniel Bryan eventually spilled outside the ring. Roman Reigns tried to hit a ddt, but Bryan countered it with a move of his own. Ambrose did eventually hit Bryan with a suplex outside the ring, but he still couldn’t pick up the victory. Back in side the ring, just as Ambrose was yelling at Bryan to “stay down,” Bryan grabbed Ambrose in a small package, and picked up the victory.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
After the match, The Shield w/Randy Orton made its way down to the ring. When Big Show was prepared to help out, he got a look from Orton that pretty much said not to do it. Triple H came out and told Big Show to walk back to the ring where a now beaten Daniel Bryan laid sprawled out. Big show reluctantly made his way back to the ring. He walked around Bryan’s limp body before Randy Orton grabbed him by the shoulder and said that Big Show needs to follow the orders of his COO. Randy Orton picked up Daniel Bryan, and urged Big Show to “do it.” Big Show still refused. Randy Orton and Big Show started jawing off at each other. He demanded that Big Show pick up Daniel Bryan, and then knock him down.
Suddenly, Bryan scored against Orton with a knee to the face. He grabbed the WWE Championship and celebrated inside the ring. Big Show slowly walked away to close the show…
Segment Rating: Good - I’m still a little over the “Daniel Bryan vs The Shield” story line. This also felt a lot like previous weeks, just with Bryan on the winning end of things. So I think it was enough to excite people about the possibility of a WWE Championship win come Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to excite me about the whole show. Or maybe I’m just tired. Who knows?
Final Thoughts: Show was a mix of highs and lows. I enjoyed the Punk/Heyman stuff, and I think this “Rhodes vs. McMahons” storyline has legs. On the other hand, there seemed to be a high level of filler in-between the major stories. I understand that a three-hour show is going to have some of that, and I respect that tonight’s show still proved entertaining. But with Monday Night Football back, WWE needs to oversell if it hopes to stay afloat.
What’d you think of tonight’s WWE Raw? Did it convince you to buy Night of Champions this coming Sunday? Give me your thoughts in the comments below!