I wrote the Raw Deal live on Monday night this week. Enjoy.
Live from Lafayette, Louisiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1018. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The voiceover guy told us about what we can expect on Raw tonight. It focused on the Cena/Ziggler rivalry stemming from last week as well as Smackdown when Cena applied the STF to Ziggler. There was also a clip of the end of Raw last week when Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns attacked Ryback. We'll hear from the three men later on Raw. What are their motives and who are they working for?
No theme song or pyro to start the show. Instead we get Ryback. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Ryback vs. Titus O'Neil
O'Neil was already in the ring when Ryback made his entrance. Darren Young was in O'Neil's corner. Ryback opened up with punches, but O'Neil came back with a shoulderblock followed by a clothesline. O'Neil charged into the ropes, so Ryback came back with a Thesz Press. He slammed O'Neil's head into the mat. O'Neil went to the floor, so Ryback decked him with a clothesline. Young grabbed Ryback's head. O'Neil hit his Clash of the Titus finisher and Ryback kicked out at one. That's how you bury a finishing move. Ryback threw O'Neil into Young, who was on the apron. Spinebuster by O'Neil. Meat Hook Clothesline by Ryback. Shellshocked by Ryback finished this match. It went about three minutes. Ryback covered and made sure to face the camera when he did so.
Analysis: A typical Ryback squash win we've seen many times. I liked how it was booked with Young interfering when he could, but Ryback was able to neutralize that. It was interesting to see Ryback kick out of O'Neil's finisher on a one count instead of a two count. I guess in the long run it doesn't really matter.
Ryback cut a promo. He said he didn't care if it was CM Punk or three guys dressed in black, he's going to stand there all night until he gets what he wants. He led the crowd in "feed me more" chants and they chanted it along with him. They went to break with the idea that he wasn't going to leave the ring.
Analysis: Promo was short and to the point like all of his promos have been. He doesn’t need to give longer promos. Keep it simple. This is the second straight week where the show started with a Ryback match.
Back from break, Ryback was still chanting "feed me more" in the ring. I assume they stopped chanting it for the three minute commercial break. Five security dudes (indy wrestlers) dressed in yellow shirts made their way into the ring. Ryback threw one of them over the top rope to the floor.
Vickie Guerrero showed up at the top of the ramp. She's the Managing Supervisor of Raw, in case you don't know. She said she understood why Ryback was angry, but he can't put his hands on security or hold the show hostage. Ryback said he wanted CM Punk at the TLC pay-per-view. She said that she'll give Ryback his match at TLC against Punk, but only if he leaved the ring. He told her to shut up and that he wasn't done. He said he wants Punk with tables, ladders and chairs. She said Ryback will get the match if he leaves the ring so that she can get on with the show. The security dudes left the ring because they were scared of Ryback.
Analysis: It's official. CM Punk vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship at TLC in a TLC Match. Ryback spoke a little more here and the crowd enjoyed it when he was telling Vickie to shut up.
There was a recap of last week when Hornswoggle sprayed water into the face of Rosa Mendes.
Earlier in the day, Rosa was yelling at Hornswoggle. Alberto Del Rio walked up to Rosa. He said no real woman would ever take Hornswoggle seriously. Great Khali showed up to save Hornswoggle from that situation: "Leave my friend alone." They walked away together.
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance. His match with Great Khali is after the break.
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Great Khali
They had a back and forth match early on. Del Rio took him down with an enziguiri. Khali made a big comeback with a chop. Ricardo distracted Khali. Del Rio came back with his two knees to the arm of Khali. That led to the Cross Armbreaker. Khali tapped out. Match went about two minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Post match, they showed Rosa Mendes watching the match backstage and she was happy Del Rio won.
Analysis: I doubt Khali could wrestle longer than two minutes at this point in his career. Del Rio usually wins short matches on Raw.
In the office of Vickie Guerrero, CM Punk complained about the WWE Title match at TLC. Paul Heyman joined in on the complaining by saying that maybe Vickie wasn't thinking with a clear head. Heyman said Vickie is clearly biased against Cena, so to cover for that she's biased against Punk as well. She said Ryback deserved a WWE Title because of Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. Punk and Heyman claimed they had nothing to do with what Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns did to Ryback. Heyman calmed Punk down as they left.
Analysis: I think we get the "Punk complains about something backstage" segment every week. His complaints are fine, but Vickie's reasoning for the WWE Title match at TLC is justified too.
We found out about a match for later in the show. It's the RawActive choice. Vote for CM Punk's opponent: #WWEBryan or #WWEKane. Of course I voted for #WWEBryan.
Michael Cole threw us to an interview he conducted with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Ambrose cut off Cole before he could summarize the situation. Cole asked if they are working for CM Punk. Ambrose: "Nope." He asked if they're not working for Punk then why are they there. Rollins said they sat down at NXT and realized that somebody has to answer to somebody whether it's Vickie, Booker or the Board, who listens to the WWE Universe. Rollins said they stepped in. Rollins said they were the "Shield of Injustice." Ambrose said it was wrong that Punk had to beat two guys in one match and they would have done the same thing if Cena or Ryback were in that situation. Cole asked Reigns a question. He just said he'll speak if he has something to say.
Ambrose said they're not renegades, they're not mercenaries, they're not the Nexus and they're not the NWO. Ambrose said they are the Shield of Injustice. Then he said: "We are The Shield." Reigns said he had something to say and said that the interview was over. They left.
Analysis: Ambrose did the majority of the talking, which is smart. Rollins said a bit, but not that much. Reigns barely spoke. Ambrose is the best speaker of the group and if you've seen any of his work in NXT or before that then you know that he can be a top promo guy in the business. I liked how they didn't say they were associated with Punk. If they are with Punk, which I believe, save that reveal for the TLC PPV. Don't give that away on Raw. Hopefully we see more of these three. My interest in this angle is very high. Also the name of the group is officially The Shield.
Back to the show, Cole said he believed them saying they weren't involved with Punk. Lawler wasn't buying it.
Coming up later is Vickie's "Lovebirds Surprise" for John Cena and AJ Lee later in the show. We got a reminder of the RawActive vote for Punk to wrestle Bryan or Kane.
There was a short promo featuring Fandango dancing with a woman. He said that you need to follow his lead and watch your step.
In the ring was Alicia Fox. Her opponent is Tamina Snuka, who recently turned heel when she attacked AJ Lee. There was a promo from earlier in the day when Tamina said she attacked AJ Lee because AJ doesn't know her place. This match is a warning to not mess with Vickie Guerrero ever again.
Alicia Fox vs. Tamina Snuka
Tamina dropped Fox face first into the top rope. Tamina used power moves early on, but Alicia got a quick rollup. Tamina came back with a Samoan Drop. Tamina dragged Alicia by the hair to put her in position for her finishing move. Tamina went to the top rope, the crowd woke up a bit and Tamina hit her Superfly Splash to win the match. The match went just under two minutes.
Winner: Tamina Snuka
Analysis: There wasn't much to the match. It was just a showcase to put Tamina over since she turned heel a couple of weeks ago. The crowd didn't care. The finishing move did draw a reaction, though.
There was a photo of Mr. McMahon, The Miz, R-Truth, Miz & Layla visiting the troops overseas.
John Cena was walking backstage because it's the top of hour two coming up so that means more of the romance angle with AJ Lee.
That John Cena fella made his entrance. He had a bit of a limp on his way to the ring. There were some videos that showed us what happened last week when Cena hurt his knee and then Ziggler attacked Cena in the locker room. Then on Smackdown, Cena applied the STF to Ziggler.
Cena talked about how he's been in WWE for ten years. He mentioned WrestleMania moments with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Rock. He said in the ten years he's been there he's never been interrogated the way he has been in the last week with people asking if AJ Lee is a good kisser. Before he could talk about her kissing skills, Vickie Guerrero made her way out to the ring.
Vickie said what happened last week proves that John and AJ had an affair. Vickie said she had a gift for them. John said he wish the gift was that Vickie was retiring. Clever line, John boy. She gave them matching bath robes. He didn't put it on because he didn't know where it has been. She said she would enjoy watching their whole world implode. Vickie claimed that AJ cost Bryan the World Title, she mentioned that AJ proposed to CM Punk without dating him and that Kane even confirmed that AJ was unstable.
That led to AJ Lee making her way down to the ring. AJ said that she had some issues when it comes to men, but she's tried to be a better person. AJ said that now that she's not GM she can date whoever she wants and she can do whatever she wants. For example, she can do this and she played with the ear of Cena. Then she slapped the butt of Cena. She wanted to kiss Cena, but Vickie stopped them. Cena looked upset that Vickie stopped them. AJ said she's not that lovesick puppy anymore, but between them there's only one female dog in the ring right now. That means she's calling Vickie a bitch…just in case you couldn't figure that out.
Dolph Ziggler's music started up. He stood at the top of the ramp. Ziggler said the real story is that Cena can't deal that last week Ziggler took him down in a bathroom stall. Then for some reason Cena attacked Ziggler from behind on Smackdown. Ziggler wondered why Cena would resort to such cowardly tactics. He figured it out because he knows that when Cena kissed AJ she was thinking about Ziggler the entire time. Cena fired back by mentioning the name of Lafayette, Louisiana to get a pop out of the crowd. Vickie booked a match for later on Raw: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena. Both guys seemed happy about it. That ended the segment.
Analysis: The Ziggler vs. Cena match was heavily rumored for TLC. It could still happen and they'll likely use the finish of this match to set it up. The promo went about 12 minutes. All four of them got a lot of time to talk. Ziggler showed good heel charisma. I'm tired of this storyline, but if it elevates Ziggler in the long run then it could turn out to be great in the end. Could AJ turn heel to join Ziggler in this feud? Doubt it because she'll likely get a babyface push, but that's certainly a possibility with how WWE has done angles like this in the past.
Coming up later is Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro. That could be very good.
There was a clip of Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins holding a replica of the WWE Title. It was a tradition of the Redskins to present a title to their MVP of the game. He had four TDs on Thanksgiving. Great player.
Wade Barrett joined the announce table. Tensai was in the ring awaiting Kofi Kingston, who Barrett has a feud with. There was a brief clip of last Monday when Barrett pinned Kingston. The Barrett vs. Kingston IC Title match at TLC is official.
Kofi Kingston vs. Tensai
Kingston used his speed early, but Tensai decked him with a shoulder tackle. Headbutt into an elbow got a two count for Tensai. Cole mentioned the "Most Beautiful People in WWE History" list on WWE.com with Barrett at #31 and Kingston at #24. Barrett said he'd rip off Kingston's ears. Tensai applied an arm bar. Kingston came back with a chop off the top rope, then a dropkick and a leaping clothesline to knock down Tensai. Boom Drop by Kingston. I actually wrote "Boob Drop" before a quick edit there. I miss Rosa. Tensai blocked the Trouble in Paradise with his forearms. Tensai blocked a kick attack by Kingston with a hard elbow to the chest. Tensai went for a splash off the middle rope and Kingston moved. Then Kingston dropped to the floor. Tensai looked out through the middle rope and Kingston hit a Trouble in Paradise kick. Back in the ring, Kingston hit a springboard Crossbody Block for the pinfall win. The match went four minutes.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: * As has been the trend all show so far, Kingston won in a squash. I guess it's not considered a squash because Tensai got some offense, but I don't think anybody thought he had a chance. I didn't mind Kingston winning with the Crossbody Block because he dazed Tensai with the Trouble in Paradise before that.
Post match, Barrett handed the IC Title to Kingston. Then Barrett left. The music of Barrett played.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane argued about who the fans would pick. Bryan showed a picture of voting data showing everybody was voting for him. Then he showed a picture of the world. None of them voted for Kane either. It was a bad comedy segment. Kane ended up choking him after Bryan said they couldn't track the votes in hell. Josh Mathews showed up to tell us it was time for the reveal. The numbers were 59% for Kane and 41% for Bryan. Mathews said that Bryan is facing Rey Mysterio. Bryan made his entrance. That's next after the break.
Analysis: When they showed a trending topic earlier it showed that Daniel Bryan was trending. More people voted for Kane? I doubt it. It doesn't matter that much to me since we're getting Bryan vs. Mysterio for the first time.
With Bryan already in the ring, Mysterio made his entrance sponsored by his 619 area code.
Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio
This is the first time ever for this matchup on television. These are two of my favorite wrestlers ever, so I hope they get a lot of time. The fight spilled to the floor after Mysterio knocked Bryan out of the ring. Mysterio went for a Senton attack, but Bryan moved. Bryan came back with his running knee attack off the apron. They went back into the ring where Bryan worked over the left arm of Mysterio. Mysterio came back with a snap mare followed by a drop toe hold that sent Bryan into the middle turnbuckle. Bryan came back with a clothesline to slow down Mysterio. Bryan wanted to throw Rey out of the ring, but Rey stopped that from happening. Bryan was on the floor alone yelling "no" at the fans as they went to break for the vintage floor to commercial spot.
Back from break, Mysterio got tied up in the corner where he was upside down. Bryan hit a running dropkick to the face of Mysterio. Bryan dropped an elbow to the kidneys of Mysterio. Bryan threw Mysterio out of the ring in the bump where Mysterio lands on his chest outside of the ring. Bryan threw Mysterio into the ring post with the focus being on the left arm of Mysterio. Mysterio had some read goatee hair on his chin, by the way. Bryan applied an armbar in the ring and knocked down Mysterio with a headbutt. To the top rope, Mysterio knocked Bryan off of there. He hit a seated Senton and then a nice headscissors on Bryan. Mysterio hit a hard kick to the side of the head of Bryan. Mysterio went for the 619. Bryan moved. Bryan applied the No Lock, but Mysterio got to the ropes before Bryan could really lock in the move. Bryan yelled "no" repeatedly as the crowd yelled "yes" at him. Mysterio gave Bryan a slingshot into the turnbuckle. Then Mysterio hit a 619 around the ring post. Mysterio followed that up with the top rope Drop the Dime splash. He covered for the victory after 12 minutes.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***1/4 That was fun. I would love to see a feud between those two. Bryan worked exclusively as a heel because he was against a babyface like Mysterio, who of course had the crowd behind him. Their chemistry was good. Lots of good counter wrestling too, which is impressive considering it was their first match. The Mysterio win sets up a possible tag title match for the Mysterio/Sin Cara down the road. It could be a match with multiple teams getting a tag title shot. We'll see what happens with that.
Backstage, Del Rio and Rodriguez were walking. Rosa walked up to him to thank him for saving her from Hornswoggle earlier. Del Rio said he could do whatever he needs for her. He winked.
Analysis: That should be a good pairing. I'm all for Rosa getting more screen time. As long as she's not wrestling. I'm a technicality kind of guy.
In the locker room, Josh Mathews walked up to Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler said he's Mr. Money in the Bank, the sole Survivor and he beat Orton on Smackdown. He's in the main event. He said Cena's pre-occupied with a nutcase. Ziggler said he can't wait to see AJ's face after what he does to her boyfriend. He left.
Analysis: Nice intensity by Ziggler. I'm very happy he's getting more promo time.
Plug time: I answered 50 questions in a Q&A on TJRWrestling.com on Saturday. It was a lot of fun and we covered a lot of topics about wrestling's past, present and future, so give it a look.
Back from break, they recapped the entire segment from last week when AJ Lee stormed into the men's locker room to confront Dolph Ziggler. That's right. We got the whole thing once again. Granted it's only about two minutes long, but did we need to see the whole thing again? Then there was a video of what happened on Smackdown when Ziggler beat Randy Orton by grabbing the tights and then Cena applied the STF to Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. In the previous segment, Ziggler said he was in the main event of Raw. A match at 9:45pmET is not the main event. That's a fact. John Cena made his way down to the ring with his usual running routine. He was limping a bit, but not that much.
John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
Cena had hit a nice arm drag on Ziggler. The Cena worked injury is a partially torn left meniscus. Cole said that this is the first time we've seen this match in about one year. I probably reviewed it. I don't remember it. Dueling "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chant. Headlock takedown by Cena. Ziggler got back up, so Cena decked him with a shoulderblock. Ziggler dropped Cena with a modified neckbreaker. Yeah that's what I'm going to call it. The match went to break with Cena down on the mat while Ziggler looked to take advantage.
Analysis: No floor to commercial spot. With Vince McMahon visiting troops overseas this show is going out of control!
Back from break, Ziggler was in control of the match. He threw Cena into the ring steps. In the ring, Ziggler did some sit-ups while Cena was down. Cena rolled him up for a two count as Ziggler came back with a clothesline. Ziggler hit ten elbow drops in a row. All of them hit the chest of Cena. He went for one more, but Cena move. Cue the Cena comeback with the shoulderblocks and the spinning suplex. Ziggler used a boot to block Cena and then Ziggler hit a great leaping DDT for two. That was an awesome move. Ziggler missed a splash in the corner, but he escaped the STF so that he could apply the sleeper hold to Cena. After about 30 seconds, Cena drove Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Cena applied the STF, but Ziggler was able to get to the bottom rope. Ziggler came back with a dropkick to the face, which Cole called "the kisser" in tribute to Gorilla Monsoon. Nice one, Cole. Ziggler went to the top rope, Cena caught him on the roll through and he went for the Attitude Adjustment. Ziggler landed on his feet. Ziggler came back with the Zig Zag. Cena kicked out at two. Great nearfall right there. After some punches were exchanged, Ziggler got a rollup for two and then Cena came back with a spinning suplex. Cena went for the "you can't see me" spot and Cena limped all the way out to the floor. The doctor was looking at his knee. Referee Scott Armstrong was also looking at it. Ziggler exposed the turnbuckle on the top rope or at least he tried to. AJ Lee ran out to prevent that. Vickie came out to yell at AJ. The ref was busy with them. Back in the ring, Ziggler went for a briefcase shot to Cena. Cena avoided it and then Cena gave Ziggler the Attitude Adjustment. Cena covered for the victory after 12 minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Post match, Ziggler rolled to the floor. AJ went into the ring. She gave John Cena a congratulatory kiss. That's good for healing a knee injury, I think.
Analysis: ***1/2 I liked that match a little bit more than the Mysterio/Bryan one. Both were pretty awesome. This one told a good story with both guys connecting on big moves, some believable nearfalls were done and the finish was creative. Obviously Cena's a work and he did a decent job of selling it when he had to, but why not sell the injury more before that? Also I would have liked to see Ziggler work over the knee during the match. Still, they really built it up well and gave us an exciting finish. I think we'll get a rematch at TLC because neither guy has a match there. I figured Ziggler might win here to set that one up, but they can still get to that match based on what happened here. If they get 20 minutes they could have an outstanding matchup. I have no doubt about that.
Later in the show is CM Punk vs. Kane. Next up is Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro.
Sheamus made his entrance for his match. They replayed what happened at Survivor Series when Sheamus hit ref Scott Armstrong with a Brogue Kick after Big Show pulled Armstrong in front of him. Then Sheamus attacked Show with a series of steel chair shots. That has led us to TLC with a Chairs Match between Big Show and Sheamus. Antonio Cesaro made his entrance.
Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro
I'm a fan of both guys. The crowd wasn't that loud at the start of this one probably because the last match had a lot going on. I'm surprised they didn't have a segment or two between these matches. They did some brawling and then Sheamus hit a suplex for two. Sheamus made a charge, Cesaro went for a back drop and Sheamus stayed on the apron. He dropped the neck of Cesaro across the top rope, but then Cesaro knocked Sheamus down to the floor. Sheamus came back by throwing Cesaro into the barricade surrounding the ring. Cesaro got the advantage after driving Sheamus knee first into the steel steps. That was an awkward looking bump, but I'm sure Sheamus is okay. They went to break with Sheamus in pain outside the ring. Floor to commercial spot.
Back to the action, Cesaro grounded Sheamus with a bearhug. Then they traded European uppercuts because they're awesome. Sheamus hit running forearm smashes, but then Cesaro decked him with a hard clothesline for two. Sheamus got a suplex for two. Cesaro delivered a series of uppercuts to Sheamus. Then Sheamus tied up Cesaro in the ropes and delivered the ten clubbing blows to the chest. Shoulder tackle by Sheamus. Irish Curse backbreaker got two for Sheamus. Sheamus hit a powerslam for two. Cesaro picked up Sheamus on his shoulders and dropped him with a hard slam to the ground. That was an awesome counter that showcased the power of Cesaro. Sheamus used some kicks to knock down Cesaro. Sheamus went to the top rope and he jumped off, but Cesaro decked him with a European Uppercut! Great spot. Cesaro went for the Neutralizer. Sheamus fought out of it and he connected on a Brogue Kick to Cesaro. That sent Cesaro to the floor where he was knocked out. During the match, Big Show's music started up and he stood on the ramp while the ref was counting. The ref counted to ten, so Sheamus won by a countout. The match went about 12 minutes.
Analysis: *** It's interesting that they wouldn't go with a pinfall finish to the match, but I don't mind that. It protects Cesaro to not have him get pinned by Sheamus min a match like that. They could always go back to this feud down the road. I really enjoyed the power spots in the match particularly all of the great European uppercut shots. You could tell these guys really enjoyed working with eachother because in terms of style they're similar in a lot of ways. I'd love to see these two have more matches in the near future. The chemistry is there for them.
Big Show had a steel chair in his hand. Post match, Sheamus said that Big Show has called him barbaric. Sheamus said that at TLC he'll get his hands on that chair and he'll show Big Show what he's capable of. Show was angry, so he destroyed the steel chair by ripping it apart and then slamming it against the steel ramp.
Analysis: The announcers talked about Show's chair destruction as this massive thing. It wasn't that impressive, though.
They plugged the WWE '13 video game. I bought it for my 13 year old nephew for his birthday. It's fun to play. I'm not much of a gamer anymore, though.
There were pictures of Vince McMahon and the WWE crew in the Persian Gulf.
"Silence the music. I am about to speak." It's Damien Sandow time. He said his sole purpose for being in WWE is to rescue us from the doldrums of our ignorance. He doesn't want to be WWE Champion? He said he he's going to destroy his opponent this evening. That's basically what he said. You're welcome from Damien and me.
Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
Sandow got a shoulder tackle, but Ryder came back with an arm drag. Sandow hit a headbutt to the stomach of Ryder. Sandow got a pinfall attempt after a series of punches to the face of Ryder. Knee drop by Sandow. Knees to the ribs by Sandow and then a Russian legsweep that set up the Elbow of Disdain for two. Ryder came back by slamming Sandow's head into the mat. Ryder hit a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Sandow avoided the Broski Boot in the corner by rolling to the floor, but Ryder still kicked him in the head. Ryder went to the top and Sandow made it to the ropes to knock Ryder off the top rope. Sandow hit the Terminus (The End) neckbreaker for the win. The match went about four minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Analysis: * Ryder didn't get much offense in. We don't know when Cody Rhodes is going to be back from his concussion/shoulder injury, so this was a way to keep Sandow on TV with some momentum. Hopefully the Rhodes/Sandow team is back in action because I want to see them get the tag team gold. Cole spent a lot of time mentioning nicknames of Sandow along with names for nearly all of the moves. It's a fun gimmick.
Backstage, Mathews talked to Heyman outside of Punk's locker room. Heyman wasn't happy about the TLC match against Ryback. He mentioned this is the 372nd day of Punk's WWE Title reign and he just passed Randy Savage. Heyman didn't really answer any questions. Mathews left as the show went to break.
Analysis: Awkward segment. Promotes the main event, I guess.
There was a replay of the full interview that Michael Cole conducted with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. I already recapped this earlier in the show. As mentioned they showed the whole thing. It's a good sign that they replayed it because it means they're important, but it's bad when you consider that they are repeating full segments on a three hour show.
Kane made his entrance for the main event. The WWE Champion CM Punk made his entrance along with Paul Heyman. They showed a picture of CM Punk as the Grand Marshal of the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago and mentioned he was on the show Talking Dead that airs on AMC after Walking Dead. We were reminded that he had to defend the WWE Title against Ryback at TLC in a TLC Match.
CM Punk vs. Kane
Paul Heyman held the WWE Title at ringside. Non-title match of course. Kane used his power early on. Punk came back with a boot to the face followed by forearms and then Kane was able to come back by knocking Punk out of the ring with a big boot the face. Punk was sent flying to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Punk had grounded Kane by working over Kane's legs. Punk escaped to the floor, then went back in and then Punk knocked Kane to the floor. Punk hit a dive onto Kane on the floor between the middle and top ropes. Cole noted that Punk had his left knee taped up because he injured it recently. Back in the ring, Punk hit his running knee in the corner. He hit it a second time. Punk signaled for a third one, but this time Kane decked him with an uppercut. Kane hit a corner splash attack and then a sidewalk slam for two. Top rope clothesline by Kane. Punk came back with a neckbreaker. Punk went to the top rope for an attack, but Kane caught him when he landed and he gave Punk a Chokeslam. Heyman pulled Punk towards the ropes to prevent a pin. Kane signaled for the Chokeslam. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were standing in the crowd watching on. Kane went for the Tombstone, Punk fought out of it and Punk hit the Go To Sleep to win the match. The match went 11 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: ** They've had better matches together. It didn't have a great flow to it. The ending was a little weird because the focus was on the guys outside the ring, but I'm glad Punk won in a relatively clean fashion.
Post match, The Shield made their way into the ring as they stared at CM Punk. Then the trio of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns attacked Kane. Punk slowly got out of the ring. Daniel Bryan made his way down to the ring. The Shield attacked Bryan to keep him down. Nice kick to the head by Rollins on Bryan. I'd love to see that match. Bryan went to the floor. The Shield worked over Kane, who then fell to the floor.
The music of Ryback started up. He made his entrance. Punk left through the crowd. Powerbomb from Rollins. Clothesline for Ambrose and for Reigns. Punk ran back into the ring to attack Ryback. Ryback used his power to set up for a Powerbomb. Reigns ended up giving a Spear to Ryback before he could connect. The Shield recovered to give a group Powerbomb to Ryback once again. It's the same move they did twice to Ryback last week. Punk was outside the ring during this and he just stared at The Shield.
The show ended with CM Punk standing with his foot on the chest of Ryback and the WWE Championship above his head. The Shield left through the crowd. Cole asked the question of whether or not The Shield is working with CM Punk.
Analysis: Ryback nearly got his revenge. It's interesting to note that when Ryback was about to finish off Punk is when Reigns hit the Spear on Ryback. That will lead us to believe that The Shield are working for Punk. Of course they're denying it.
I think this angle is going at the right pace. Save the reveal that they're working with Punk until TLC. Be patient about it. Makes more sense. To those wanting answers now I am telling you to be patient. There's no reason to give it all away so soon.
I like how it's being booked. They're leaving it up to the viewer to think what they want to think. We don't have to know everything. Let's see how it plays out.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Dolph Ziggler
2. John Cena
3. Daniel Bryan
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2012 Average: 5.90
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 6, 4.5, 4, 7.5
It was an above average edition of Raw because of the strong in-ring content. Storyline advancement was pretty good too.
The wrestling in the first 80 minutes was pretty bad. It was full of squash matches that didn't hold my interest. The last 100 minutes featured four big matches that were fun to watch. The Bryan/Mysterio, Cena/Ziggler and Sheamus/Cesaro matches all got about twelve minutes and they were all fresh. We've seen Cena/Ziggler before, but not very often. That's what I like to see on an episode of Raw.
My point with that paragraph is that it doesn't surprise me if anybody watching the show tunes out in the first hour because there wasn't a lot of interesting content there. Aside from seeing Ryback have the same match he always has and that interview with The Shield there were a lot of things in hour one that was pretty boring. Then once the four big matches took place in the last two hours the show became a lot better.
What I'm getting at is I don't blame anybody for saying they get tired watching this show. I get tired watching about it and writing about it too. However, in terms of content I'm pretty happy with how things are going. We're seeing some new faces and on this week's show we got some fresh matchups as well.
I like the direction headed to TLC.
That's all for me. The end of the year is coming so I'll start work on the Johnny Awards soon. I'm not sure the exact date for them, but I would guess the Wednesday or Thursday after the TLC PPV. Something like that. I'll figure that. Before that hopefully I can find the time for some other columns. Things are busy this time of the year, though, so we'll see how it goes.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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