Thanks for checking out this week’s review of Monday Night Raw here on The Real Mid Card. It was a very eventful show, so let’s get down to business and lock up.
The show opened with Triple H in the ring, once again a focal point of the show. He was up to his awesome heel antics introducing “the face of the company” to the ring. Company man Randy Orton engaged the crowd in a crowd participation “Yes/No” game. Then The Game stressed that popularity has nothing to do with what’s good for business (there’s that again) and compared the excellent technician Daniel Bryan to Doink The Clown. He was at his real best when he suggested bringing back the Cruiserweight Championship or the European Title. Patronising like never before.
Bryan hit the stage to huge chants. He called out Hunter again as a “corporate sellout” and gave a truly inspiring speech. The crowd reacted intensely when he asked “Should I give up my title match against Randy Orton?” They also popped big when asked if “Randy Orton is as masculine as Stephanie McMahon?” Triple H dished out the punishment again and booked him in a main event match against Big Show. I fully expected that to be a clinic in storytelling, especially with how things have transpired recently.
Cody Rhodes bumped into Orton and his mentor backstage and voiced his opinions rather timidly. Nonetheless, Hunter booked him in a match against The Viper for later in the night. Oh, and I forgot to mention, his career would be on the line. Now they’re picking on Cody? Too far!
Fandango continued his meaningless feud with The Miz. The highlight of the match saw him drop the leg on his neck, while he was tied up to the top turnbuckle – that was awesome! He immediately sold a tweak in his leg though, and tapped out shortly after to the figure four. If he carries on doing that leg drop from the top, he won’t just be selling an injury.
Booker T confronted Bryan in the locker room and suggested that he think long and hard about actually giving up the match. He wasn’t turning heel. He’s just shook by the regime, and believes that Bryan is in a fight that he simply cannot win. The dragon responded with “Tell me you did not just say that!” – Pretty funny.
Dolph Ziggler was jumped, beat down and hung up in the turnbuckle by Dean Ambrose, prior to his scheduled match with Ryback. When the big man came out, he was greeted to deafening “Goldberg” and “You can’t wrestle” chants. He totally annihilated his already beaten up opponent, but Ziggles did mount a hearty response. Say what you want about Ryback, but for a jacked up guy, he sold his dropkick like it was Hogan v Michaels. Sadly for Dolph, his reaction was swiftly quelled and he fell victim to the Shell-shocked finisher and another defeat.
Brad Maddox went into the office to inform the power couple that Show was refusing to compete. Stephanie told Hunter that she could handle it and made her way to the ring. She spoke of how she had grown up in the business, and always had a friend backstage as a young girl, her giant The Big Show. He came out when ordered, and listened to Steph air his personal business to the world. She spoke of how broke he is, and the fact that his contract is only ironclad if he competes. If not, he is in breach of that contract. I’m glad they have finally acknowledged that the internet is a buzz with laughter over this whole Big Show not-so-ironclad situation. Stephanie was on top form here. As was Big Show, who was almost in tears again. He sure was in a rage when he destroyed the backstage area, after his public blackmailing.
The Prime Time Players were unfortunately put against 3MB members Slater and Mahal. They have been building some good momentum and this seemed like a bit of a step back. However, they did have a pretty good match and the crowd were into them from the second they came through the curtain, until the moment their hands were raised, after an easy win. Titus O’Neill was particularly dominant in this one, and landed the win for them with the sit-down powerbomb.
Triple H got a chance to use his favourite “best for business” phrase when confronting Paul Heyman backstage. The walrus was trying to lay into Maddox but Triple H clarified the situation. His handicap match with Punk at Night of Champions is a win-win for the boss, apparently. He is even being a heel to the heelest of heels.
Then we saw another uniquely fascinating Wyatt Family vignette. Not only was it interesting, engaging and memorable, but it did a good job of maintaining the heat with Kane, while he is off filming See No Evil 2.
Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes came out for the match, which would decide Cody’s career path. I expected a classic here. It wasn’t quite that but it was the match of the night. The highlight of which for me involved more interesting use of the turnbuckle. Orton pulled off his trademark inverted backbreaker on Cody, who was in a perched position on the top turnbuckle. A bunch of superstars surrounded the monitor in the back to see the fight. I’m a huge mark for JBL, but he needs to tone his heeldom down a smidgen in my opinion. He is bordering on heel Cole.
Cody got a second win and responded with a textbook standing dropkick, then a disaster kick for a long two. He fed off the huge chants he was getting to build momentum towards a big high risk move. He hit a flawless moonsault from the top rope, but Orton sidestepped it. I thought that was gonna be it, but when Orton went for the RKO, Cody managed to dodge him and hit Crossroads. He got a long, long two. Randy hit his DDT using the ropes, to which JBL responded “Vintage Orton” – Okay, I have to admit, that was funny. Cody managed to rebuild again and was going for another disaster kick. Unfortunately he landed weird on his leg. Orton capitalised, hit the RKO and got the win. Triple H came out to officially fire Cody Rhodes. It was a despicable act and I’m going to miss his character, but now the real life man can go and get married and honeymooned.
CM Punk came out to the ring for a promo, with his kendo stick. He gave a real good speech, that even included a cheap pop. He is still so, so, so, so, so over! He guaranteed that in thirteen days, he will get his hands on Heyman, and he plans to lay such a beating on him, that it will make people “uncomfortable” – I’m very excited to see that!
Bryan and Show briefly interacted in the locker room. The big man tried to make him understand that he was in a bind. DB wasn’t interested.
Naomi, Brie and Natalya “battled” it out in a triple threat match, the winner getting a title shot with AJ Lee at the PPV. The crazy chick joined the announce team, and was quick to pounce into the ring early on and start beating on the Divas, causing a No Contest. They followed suit and beat her down. This was the highlight of the night for them. Man that division desperately needs Paige! Kaitlyn coming back wouldn’t hurt too.
Rob Van Dam took on Damien Sandow. He was in relative control with his striking flurries, until an extremely smooth Alberto Del Rio came out to the stage to distract him. Sandow got the upper hand, but not for long. Van Dam still went on to win fairly comfortably with the five star frog splash. Del Rio looked concerned.
It was announced that Edge will be back next week in Toronto live on Raw. That’s very good news. I can’t wait to see him, and I fully expect him to get stuck into this central storyline. He even tweeted: “That’s good for business”
Stephanie responded to the Diva scuffle by booking them all in a Fatal 4 Way match with AJ, for the title at Night of Champions. I would usually be crying about how they never seem to make these things elimination anymore, but in this case, I think I’ll leave it.
Cody was interviewed by Josh Matthews on his way out of the back door. He complained of how McMahon’s have always hated Rhodes’ – They took his father, one of the biggest stars in history, and put him in polka-dots. They took his brother, a superstar in the making, and put him in gold paint. And now they victimise the third generation star. He has a point!
The superstars lined the stage again to be forced to watch the main event. I expected a great story to be told here, through excellent psychology. Bryan kept coming straight at him with the strikes, only to be swatted away and begged to stop. Eventually his persistence made the giant mad, and he responded. He took full control with his rage-induced power. After a while though, he tried to leave the ring, doing brilliant work with his face again. Triple H came down with The Shield and ordered him back into the ring to “finish it”
After a brief stand-off, Show ignored him and tried to leave. Steph came out and urged him to think of his family, as the jackals once again beat down a defenceless Bryan. Show got in the ring with a purpose, but Hunter ordered him to back up and watch the triple powerbomb happen right in front of his face.
He then told him to ball up his fist and knock Bryan out. Okay, then the giant started actually crying. After a lot of beating around the bush, he caved and punched him straight in the face. I’m 23 years old and I still found this utterly depressing. Orton came out, and put his foot on Bryan’s chest, to pose with his championship.
It’s not that this was average or bad, but the McMahon’s once again dominated this show. I guess it may just be personal preference but despite how good it’s been, it is starting to overshadow the entire roster and become too depressing. You need to give us marks a few mini-payoffs, before you get to the big one, because if not we may have to bail before you get there. I don’t know if I can watch these beat-downs every single week. Even as an adult, it’s just sad and it will get old.
As far as matches go, they were mostly average, not bad. Orton and Rhodes were great, but that’s about it. The Shield are in a good place now, but they could do with some actual matches. Critically, the show was good, not great, and the mark in me is getting quite sad.