So I’ve decided to take a look at this week’s episode of Raw an hour at a time. I made a note of anything noteworthy that occurred during each hour. Let’s see how the show went down. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
The first hour
The show opened with a Triple H and Stephanie McMahon promo. In-keeping with their weird tendency to switch between heel and face every five seconds, they decided to book The Shield v Bryan and his rebel mates in an 11 on 3 handicap match. Kofi Kingston and Alberto Del Rio had a very long and surprisingly good opening match, which the Mexican won with the cross armbreaker (after taking advantage of a mid-match injury, sold very well by Kingston) The Wyatt Family beat Prime Time Players in a very good tag team match.
The second hour
The Miz invivted Big Show to be his guest on Miz TV, and challenged him to stand up to Stephanie. She took offence to this and came out. She really is on fire with this total bitch character right now. She made Show knock him out, which he seemed a lot less reluctant to do than he has been in previous weeks. A record breaking 1,000,000th heel turn could be in the pipeline for the big man. Rob Van Dam was chosen on the app to face Randy Orton, but the match never got started. Orton just viciously beat him down. He went to the back and bumped into Brie Bella on the way, and threatened to do the same to Bryan. Fandango and Santino faced off, to a chorus of Summer Rae chants. The returning speed-walker’s winning streak was cut short by the top rope leg drop.
The third hour
Now you will notice that a lot happened in the last hour. I made three or four times as many notes just for that last period. It was a really eventful and momentous way to finish the show. CM Punk came to the ring and cut a really inspirational promo. The hometown hero got a predictably insane reaction from the crowd. He compared his struggle to that of the Chicago sports teams (especially the newly crowded Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks) and that of the everyday Chicago resident. He was passionate, fired up and really powerful on the mic, as always. The guys in the truck did well to silence his curses when he got a little too emotional.
Paul Heyman came out alone to the ramp on his wheelchair to poke fun, and remind everyone of his historic win. After a lot of goading, Punk engineered a great bit of psychology by asking him “Can your goons get to me, before I get my hands on you?” The stand off ended when he rushed out of the ring and made his way straight to the walrus. He was simultaneously jumped by Axel and Ryback, of course. The three of them brawled around the stage area, and despite offering a great show of resistance to struggle, Punk was eventually left laying lifeless.
This was followed by a generic heel/face diva tag match. Brie pinned AJ for an apparent “big win” – CM Punk was still being helped to the back as they came out for the match. Then Daniel Bryan came out and cut a really good in-ring promo. He suggested that there may be a conspiracy between Armstrong and Hunter, hinting at the large severance package the former referee was paid. He was wearing such an awesome hair band. Bryan said he is coming back for the title, and warned Orton that one word is going to haunt his nightmares after their match: “Yes!” – Standard development but good passion from Bryan.
The Shield made their way to the ring, but before they could climb in, they were attacked by two intruders in black hoodies: Cody Rhodes and Goldust – so awesome! Before they could inflict any real vengeance, they were subdued by security and The Shield were able to start their crazy match. I can’t wait to see how this goes. The rules were the usual one man at a time tag rules, with an elimination stipulation. Once pinned or made to submit, you had to go to the back. An uphill battle for The Shield!
In the early stages, Ambrose killed off the already banged up Van Dam and Kofi with his awesome faceplant thing. He looked really, really strong! Titus and Reigns had a really cool face off, but after some classic tag isolation, he was speared and eliminated. Gabriel was speared and done pretty much immediately. Ryder got a bit of momentum and actually knocked the big man down, but he got speared and eliminated trying to do his stupid “woo woo” boot thing. It’s a shame to see how far Zack has fallen.
Down to six on three. Bryan came in and combined very well with both of The Usos to eliminate Roman Reigns, using all three of their respective finishing moves on him consecutively. Young came in at 6 on 2 and built some good initial momentum. Unfortunately for him, Rollins got the blind tag on Ambrose, just as Young had him rolled up. He hit that epic foot stomp from the top rope and put him down. Shortly after that, Dolph Ziggler eliminated Ambrose with the Zigzag and it was down to 5 on 1.
Rollins didn’t lie down straight away. He scored with a vicious foot stomp to eliminate R-Truth. Down to 4 v 1. I loved this match idea and thought it was executed brilliantly. Then in a strange change of pace, the four surrounded the ring, and pounced inside to give Rollins a taste of his own medicine with the gang beating. The other members came back to help but were taken out almost instantly by over the top rope acrobatics. Bryan pinned Rollins, after the referee peculiarly ignored the huge beatdown involving three non-legal men. That was kind of lame and lacked logic, but oh well. I was a little disappointed with the ending to the match because I was really rooting for Rollins to pull off the Rocky dream. I guess that wouldn’t be logical to the story either really though. The show ended there after a really great main event. Despite my personal reservations, this possible train-wreck of a match was pulled off very well and served as a great ending to the night!
The third hour was clearly the best, but I felt that the whole show moved at a good pace, kept me interested throughout and generally had good quality. The main event was clearly the gem, but most of the bouts were solid. The Punk promo was incredible, and the others were perfectly fine. Goldust and Cody showed up, and that gets me excited for the future! It’s good to see them add more and more levels to the regime angle. It’s branching off very well at this point. The build up to the pay-per-view is moving along nicely, but the line-up looks a bit like WWE Rematch 2013. Oh well, we shall have to see. I just hope it’s free.
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