This week’s show opened up with an epic new Raw recap vignette, which included another awesome worked interview between Michael Cole and Triple H. This was really, really high quality. Then the cameras hit the ring, where Vickie Guererro spoke. She made a really funny comparison between Daniel Bryan’s title reigns and those of Bob Backlund and CM Punk, in terms of length. When confronted by The Beard, she booked a really cool 11 on 3 gauntlet match featuring Bryan and his band of Raw supporters, each taking on The Shield one by one in a handicap match.
AJ v Naomi: Finally a divas match worth watching! Natalya was at the announce desk. I’ve never noticed before, but does she have some kind of speaking problem? I’m not making fun but she did not sound good. This was a pretty good match between these two athletes. AJ got the win with the black widow submission out of nowhere. What a pleasant surprise for the opening!
Tito Santana and Hercules was The Vault match, which I skipped. Glad they got this out of the way early.
Santino Marella v Jack Swagger: The show came back with Zeb in the ring, flanked by his awesome flagged Americans. He spouted his brand of good old fashioned xenophobia like usual. I am such a Swagger mark and always have been damnit! Santino won this short match with a roll up. He’s on a role! I smell another meaningless mid card title reign.
Ryback v local jobber/established indie darling who I’m not aware of: Wheelchair Heyman cut another victory promo on CM Punk with his brilliant arrogance. Axel was suited up, which was awesome. Ryback squashed this guy quick. I don’t really know what to say about that.
Randy Orton cut a really, really strong promo in the ring. He was powerful, articulate and furious! He said he made an example of The Miz on Raw, and was looking forward to once again becoming “
your MY WWE Champion!”
The Crazy Gauntlet Match: Michael Cole described this as “punishment Vickie Guerrero style!” The cougar herself sat on a chair outside the ring. Darren Young was out first. He suffered total annihilation and was done quickly by the spear. In ran Titus O’Neill, who offered a bit of resistance but ultimately succumbed to the numbers game and the triple powerbomb. Dolph Ziggler came in next and offered a really strong showing. He gave a spirited fightback and at one point took them all out, but he was speared outside and counted out.
Kofi came out and had some great early offence, making good use of his speed and agility. He was inevitably taken out though, and made way for Rob Van Dam. Reigns was still down from suffering Trouble in Paradise, which gave RVD a real chance against only two of them. He took advantage and had them both down. When he was setting up for the five star frog splash, Triple H came down and shut down the match, dragging Vickie to the backstage area.
He tore Vickie a new one for not being “fair” – Maybe this is the return of “In the interest of fairness”, could be a good addition to “best for business” – Then Hunter sent Ryder and Gabriel to the ring and promised to send out some good, honest competition for them. Then The Wyatt’s music hit.
The Wyatt Family v Justin Gabriel & Zack Ryder: It didn’t take long for Black Beard to get the win here with a vicious clothesline that seemed to put the broski in a coma. He pinned him, then stepped aside for Bray to do his weird post-match sacrifice Sister Abigail.
Hunter then checked on Van Dam in the training room, apologised for how things have been, and told him he had a title rematch with Del Rio at Battleground. Triple H is switching between face and heel far too much. It’s confusing and a bit too complex in my opinion. After he left the room, ADR came in and beat Rob down with the blindsided attack. Michael Cole played up on the suspiciousness of the timing here, which I liked. It leads me to believe that Hunter is just playing games with the talent, and that’s a good direction to go. I just think he needs to be a bit more clear about where his character stands.
R-Truth v Alberto Del Rio: This was a very short bout. Truth tapped out to the cross armbreaker.
The Shield v The Usos & Daniel Bryan: Triple H booked this earlier, during his fairness meeting with Vickie. I expected a good main event here and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a good, well organised, balanced and traditional tag team match. It’s a shame the commentators talked about the fast count through the entirety of it and didn’t describe one hold though – matches like this deserve Jim Ross. JBL is getting rather irritating now. I even loved Heel Cole for like a year, but sometimes things can get too much.
The Shield used double team tags to perfection to tell the heel half of this story, effectively isolating their opponents. They are so flawless together. If all three of these guys don’t end up being World Champion at some point, something is seriously wrong! One of the Usos’ struggled throughout to try and get to his partners, which made the hot tag pay-off at the end, with Bryan’s entry, so great!
He shot in with his high speed flurries, taking out Shield members all over the place. The high point saw a super-hurricanrana on Ambrose! Rollins was just one of the guys hitting a senton over the top rope into a pileup of bodies on the outside, next to the ramp. This left Bryan and Ambrose alone. With an assist from one of the Usos’ outside, he hit the running high knee and got the win. This finisher has really took him to the next level!
This was a good show. The matches were very solid. There were some good surprises. A lack of Punk marks it down a bit, but I understand the need to do that for storyline purposes. The episode wasn’t shown until midnight, and it kept me awake and on my toes into the early hours, so fair play to it.