The show started very brightly once again, with The New Corporation (if that’s what they are called) shaping up rather nicely. Triple H introduced Randy Orton to the ring, with The Shield keeping guard at ringside. They are officially corporate security now it seems. He showed Randy a new gift he got him, a brand new Cadillac. Bryan came to the stage to spoil the party. He said a heartfelt thank you to the fans for putting him where he is, and to John Cena for giving him the opportunity that Hunter would never have given him. He called Triple H a “sellout in a suit!” thus getting himself booked to run the gauntlet in the main event against The Shield. This was a pretty great start to the show, and Triple H is growing and growing every week.
Cody Rhodes rolled up Fandango after The Miz came out doing his dance and mocking him. Sandow (who was at the announce desk) jumped in the ring to beat down Cody. Maddox came out and did Teddy’s job, booking the tag match. Miz got the win with the skull crushing finale, after Rhodes pulled Sandow’s leg from the outside. Fandango just walked out on him. I found out on the sick app (yeah, I’m back on it) that Rosa Mendez was the random girl with Miz during his impersonation. I literally forgot she existed.
Us app users would be instrumental in CM Punk’s fate. We decided that the stipulation for his match with Curtis Axel would be that should he win, the walrus would have to get in the ring and face him. I fully expected Axel to cheat and win, but he actually dominated for large periods and looked strong. Punk got him though, with the GTS out of nowhere. The Straight Edge Superstar was foaming at the mouth to get his hands on his former best friend. It took referees, and even security to force Heyman back down the ramp and into the ring.
Punk got him in the corner and was about to give him a real beating, when Axel came in with the low blow from behind. He handcuffed him, and what came next was pretty crazy. Heyman beat him down with the steel chair, and a kendo stick. Axel followed suit, and the two of them literally destroyed him on the outside. The whole thing was done really well. The crowd were silent. I think Axel is really coming into his own as a heel, and Heyman’s performance was beyond emotional. Great stuff! Heyman and Punk were both flawless in their respective roles. By the time it was over, the stick was completely obliterated. Incredible segment.
Kaitlyn and Brie Bella (I think) took part in some bullshit match, with all the “total” divas at ringside. I don’t even know who won, sorry. AJ came out to rip into them and their show in general. I found this utterly hilarious. She gave an absolutely epic speech that felt a lot like a half shoot. She spoke of the useless, expendable women in the ring and how they are handed fifteen minutes of fame. She spoke of their lack of talent. I totally agree.
What is it with Del Rio having to face his title contenders multiple times on every episode of Raw going into the pay-per-view? It’s not making them more special, I can tell you that. As for Rob, I’m more than happy with him doing jobs to help put over the younger guys. Del Rio is neither young, nor over. He is very stale, and has zero momentum now he doesn’t have Ricardo. The only two acceptable ways for this to go are Ricardo screwing Van Dam out of the title and rejoining Del Rio, or Van Dam having a short run with the belt. I’d be happy with either. As for this match, Rob got the win after Ricardo distracted Del Rio, so he is officially going to Night of Champions, due to the stipulation that was added before the match.
Ryback continued to play the bully, this time on Josh Matthews during a backstage interview. Still nothing meaningful for his character to do apparently. A tearful Paul Heyman then told Renee Young that he was a “father figure” to Punk at one time, but now that is all over. This feud is continuing to hot up with every week.
Then the new face of the WWE came out because he still has to work. He faced one of his oldest rivals Christian in a great match, probably the fight of the night. Orton is a master of heel psychology and is evolving in the role that he has always been much happier and better in. Both men put up a great showing in this match. The highlight for me was the top rope superplex from Orton. Christian was so close to getting the win with the spear though, but shortly after, a thumb to the eye helped The Viper get the RKO, and the win, in true Evolution style.
“Oh, Randy… Oh, Randy” echoed across the arena, as attention turned to the big screen, and Daniel Bryan. He complimented Orton on his new car, but showed him some of the modifications he had made. Huge “Yes” tags sprayed all over it! This was really funny to be fair, and Orton was fuming. After the break, Hunter and Orton were investigating the damage. The COO ordered Maddox to tell every superstar to be on the stage to see what happens when you disrespect the new regime, during Daniel Bryan’s main event gauntlet match. If anyone chose to get involved, they would be fired. He is surpassing McMahon now in his new role as the evil king of the WWE.
Titus O’Neill went one on one with Jack Swagger. He and Young have been getting a nice push as of late, since Young came out of the closet. They got a very decent pop and plenty of guys in the crowd were doing their dance. Good times. Come to think of it, they all loved proclaiming “We the people” at the end of another epic Zeb Colter entrance speech, so who knows what they like. Titus got the win and the Prime Time Players continue to build momentum on Raw.
We were then treated to another messed up Wyatt Family vignette. Bray even sang a little weird country song, with the sound of a wallowing banjo in the background. He spoke of “she” whoever that is, and rambled about a bunch of other scary stuff. Then CM Punk barged into Brad’s office, refused medical attention and demanded a match with Heyman that offered him no escape. Maddox decided to book him in a handicap match against Axel and Heyman for Night of Champions. I don’t get how that’s what he wanted, but he seemed happy about it. I found this really disappointing because it seems to rule out the possibility of an Intercontinental Championship match between the two of them. That’s what I would rather see, but I guess this makes more sense for building attention to the storyline.
Bryan made his way through the superstars on the stage for his gauntlet match. Lots of them were doing “Yes!” gestures as a sign of silent support. He kicked off with Rollins, much to my glee. This brings back memories of the great bouts these two had in Ring of Honor as Brian Danielson and Tyler Black. If you want to read more about that, click here. Renee Young tried to interview Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and even The Miz but none of them had the courage to comment, fearing for their livelihoods. This was all handled so, so well. They are really building this McMahon regime angle perfectly!
Bryan and Rollins had a very good match, which I expected. I figured they’d put him in there first for these two to hit the ground running, and develop it from there. The two of them played out probably the best surfboard I’ve seen. All the usual flurries and strikes were there. My favourite moment came when Rollins attempted a high knee from the top rope, but was dragged by Bryan, kicking and screaming, into a half crab. He then through him over the announce table. These two both executed their incredible striking abilities.
This match made me ponder something. Who is going to challenge the corporate security for their respective titles at Night of Champions? I’m very interested to see how they pans out, now that they are Hunter’s boys. Bryan hit the move of the night with a top rope German superplex on Rollins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. He flipped completely in mid air and was planted face first. Amazing! Bryan followed it up with that new vicious high knee finisher (that really needs a name) and got the win.
Ambrose rushed into the ring but was immediately put into the Lobell Lock. Reigns ran in to interfere, causing the match to end by disqualification. When Reigns’ bout started, he too was locked up by Bryan, forcing Rollins and Ambrose to just beat him down. The referee lost complete control of the match and it seems that Bryan won all three falls, two of which by DQ. The Game’s music hit and he came to the stage to watch the post-match beating, alongside the superstars. He kept looking Big Show in the face, and he just turned away looking glum. So amazing! This whole thing couldn’t have been done better.
The incredible heel Hunter gave The Shield the nod from the stage signalling for the triple powerbomb. Then Randy Orton came out. Hunter tapped him on the shoulder, authorizing him to go to the ring and dish out some vengeance of his own. The Shield held a lifeless Bryan up for an emphatic RKO. The crowd gave off huge “Big Show” chants, but he could only stand there and watch. Triple H then gestured the wrestlers to part like the sea, and allow him and his hand picked champion to walk to the back.
This show was very well done. For the last three months, I’ve been giving shows 8/10 almost every time. It’s a sign of how consistently good the company has been performing since Wrestlemania, in a period that is supposed to be the most stagnant of the year. This show epitomised this new found energy within the WWE. The development was there. We were treated to two very good matches, and some very memorable moments. I think this is the first time in years that I’ve actually been excited about Night of Champions.