Commentators: Michael Cole & Jim Ross
Championship’s roll call: WWE Champion: CM Punk… World Champion: Sheamus… Intercontinental Champion: The Miz… United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro… Tag Team Champions: Team Hell No… NXT Champion: Seth Rollins… Diva’s Champion: Eve Torres
Paul Heyman and CM Punk open the show once again from “Jim Ross Appreciation Night”. He mentions getting attacked by John Cena from behind with a pipe and call him a coward. After that, in the back he bumps into Mick Foley, who apparently uttered something disrespectful under his breath, so Punk put him down like the dog he is. Punk then complains the fans are showing him disrespect (to try to draw some heel heat). Foley, who is an eloquent speaker, got through to Punk and he decided to NOT accept Cena’s challenge for HITC. He whispers something to Heyman who is going to speak for him; he is going to move onto another piece of business. We get clips of Heyman’s insulting proposal to GM AJ Lee and subsequent slap. Paul notes that AJ never said no and they mention the edict from the Board of Director, which I mentioned last week (that seemed to not get noticed). Heyman says that due to her violating the Board’s law therefore she must be removed as the GM. Heyman feels he should be the new GM. Vickie Guerrero, the one that got the decree initiated, interrupts; Vickie now shows her clips of the attack that started this entire situation. Heyman begins to dress her down verbally and suggests submitting violations through proper channels but Ziggler interrupts and plays peacemaker and suggests co-general managers. AJ skips out. She mentions that she’s on probation and calls Paul greasy. She has appointed an executive coach to assist her as the GM of Raw… Daniel Bryan? Oh, this should be gold. Bryan FREAKS out at the crowds’ “yes” chants. He came out to apologize and blames himself for breaking up with her, which lead to her mental issues. He calls himself a “catch”, handsome, a former world champ, having a great beard, and the tag team champions. Enter: Kane. Kane says AJ… is a phenomenal kisser. Kane and Bryan begin to argue over who the tag champions are so Dolph and Punk join right in and argue as well. AJ FREAKS OUT PLUS ONE and then composes herself and books the obvious tag match. Everyone in the ring then argues with each other. 7/10 The promo was rolling along well and then got upped one awesome level when Team Hell No showed up. At least they tied up the Board of Directors’ “no touch” clause with AJ, which I thought was going to get forgotten about. Did we ever find out who AJ’s “executive coach” was?
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Primo & Epico (w/Rosa Mendes) number one contender’s tournament, first round: This match should rock. Mysterio and Cara are now in matching ring gear so I do not like the Colóns’ chances. Epico starts with Cara and they trade schoolboys; Cara fires back with a springboard elbow. Primo tags and they double up on Cara who looks like Rey Mysterio in his younger years. Cara hits a hurracanrana and the top-rope twirling armdrag. Mysterio tags and gets an assisted head scissors; Epico tries a senton but misses. Mysterio backdrops Cara into a hurracanrana onto Epico putting him on the floor next to Primo; the Luchadores feign stereo topés but the Prime Time Players appear on the stage with some chairs to scout the opposition. Back from break, Mysterio is making a hot tag, to Cara, who nails a springboard crossbody to Epico; he also hits a slingshot armdrag off the ropes. He then tries a springboard with a crossbody but meets a dropkick. The similar ring attire confuses poor Jim Ross as Primo comes in off the tag and drops knees. Cara sneaks in a sunset flip off a powerbomb, attempt for two. Epico tags in and he counters a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a tornado DDT knocking everyone down. Rey tags as well and lassos Primo in a hurracanrana and a low dropkick, for two. He heads up top for a seated senton and a tilt-a-whirl reverse DDT but Epico saves the match. Cara hits a springboard dropkick to wipe Epico and pendulum kicks Primo right into the 619 (Epico joins him for a double). Mysterio and Sin Cara head to the same turnbuckle. Cara dives off onto Epico on the floor whilst Rey drops a dime on Primo for the three to advance in the tourney. 6/10 Fun tag match Luchadore style; Primo and Epico were able to run with Team Mask and it resulted in a spirited match (quasi squash) but fun nonetheless.
Here are your winners… Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio @ about 9:15 (broadcast) via Dime Drop pinfall.
“Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (w/Cameron & Naomi) vs. Antonio Cesaro: Cesaro says “appreciation” in five words. They lock up and Clay powers him into the corner; he hits a suplex and drops an elbow. Cesaro rolls to the apron allowing him to hang the overaggressive Clay off the top rope. Antonio charges right into Clay’s head. He looks for the Schuplex but Cesaro elbows himself free. Clay misses an avalanche and Cesaro capitalizes with a springboard European uppercut. Cesaro POWERS Clay up into the Neutralizer and get the surprising three. 5/10 That was an impressive (squash) match for Cesaro; impressive strength feat getting big Brodus up for that finisher. I’m shocked that Clay jobbed so quickly and cleanly.
Here is your winner… Antonio Cesaro @ about 3:05 via Neutralizer pinfall.
Kaitlyn is lacing her boots up when AJ Lee introduces her to her executive coach, Christopher J. Stephenson. He is there to evaluate her progress as the GM. AJ wants to talk to Kaitlyn about being friends. AJ admits that she should have taken Kaitlyn’s advice and NOT dated Daniel Bryan. She asks for her forgiveness… and then bursts out laughing and skips off. Coach says nothing.
Zack Ryder vs. The Miz: Poor Ryder, after getting squashed by Ryback he gets to face a Miz who is trying to regain his heat. Miz applies an armlock and shoulderblocks him; Ryder fires back, leapfrogging into a flapjack and dropkick; he charges… right into a boot in the corner. He takes over and hits a running boot, for two. He wears Ryder down with a chinlock. He tries to fight back but Miz puts him back down; he eventually hits a face planter and missile dropkick. Miz falls victim to the Broski Boot for a nearfall. Miz counters the Rough Ryder with a turnbuckle powerbomb. Ouch. The Skull-Crushing Finale ends Zack’s night. 3/10 Squash for Miz; Ryder barely got any O in at all save for the Broski Boot.
Here is your winner… The Miz @ about 2:55 via Skull-Crushing Finale pinfall.
Booker T comes out to moderate the debate between Sheamus and Big Show. Show comes out first to clips of him defeating and knocking Randy Orton from SmackDown. The Great White comes out next. This is the RawActive segment where fans can Tweet their questions. Show opens by thanking Booker… Show then changes his tune and says that the debate is stupid. There is no debate he’s going to knock Sheamus out with a WMD. End of story. Thank you. Sheamus retorts. He thanks Booker and plays up to the OKC crowd. Booker reads a Tweet; the most challenging thing about your opponent. Sheamus looks forward to the fight. Sheamus’ main concern is Show’s BO and that this match lasts longer than forty-five seconds. Show answers with the fact that he is a “very hygienic giant”. Show thinks that Sheamus is not taking him seriously; he says he will take that title from him. Another Tweet ponders the deadlier finisher, the Brogue Kick of the WMD. Show hypes the WMD and says that he’s too tall for the Brogue Kick. Sheamus continues to tease Show about losing the title to Daniel Bryan in forty-five seconds. Show leans on his podium and it collapses; Show says he is “slightly” overweight. Sheamus wants to see a Tout apparently his cousin Rey Mysterio Sullivan as a Tout. Sheamus cuts a Tout promo in a Rey Mysterio mask making fun of Show’s middle. Show gets mad. Sheamus asks him about the painfulness of losing the title in forty-five seconds only to have Sheamus defeat Bryan in eighteen seconds. They both drop their respective microphones. Jackets and shirts are removed and Show back off. 3.5/10 It’s no Scott Steiner/Christopher Nowinski and really did not seem to serve a purpose other than riling Show up and reiterating he’s a serious heel as opposed to the goofy babyface he’s been for years.
Ryback vs. Tensai: Tensai gets another shot to job to Ryback… they lock up and Tensai hits a shoulderblock. Ryback essentially no-sells it and pops right back up and the two big guys trade hammers. They each try to whip the other but no one moves. Tensai gets the better of it but charges right into a powerslam. Ryback looks for a belly-to-belly but a head-butt ends that; he fires right back with the Sheffield Lariat. Ryback signals the end is near and cannot seem to get the massive Tensai up. The commentators cover by saying Tensai blocked. Ryback calls him “stupid” and clobbers him with another Sheffield Lariat. Ryback gets the pinfall. 1.5/10 Well that match fell apart really quick; nice recovery by Ryback, not losing his cool in the ring when he could not get the big guy up.
Here is your winner… Ryback @ about 3:15 via Sheffield Lariat pinfall.
In the back the Rhodes Scholars are thankful the Universe did not select their team name. Cody makes fun of the debate; Sandow notes Sheamus was not even wearing pants. Cody agrees with Sandow’s observation that Sheamus is a Neanderthal.
Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres: Pre-match, Eve puts over the diva’s division. This was probably signed because of the suspension angle from SmackDown (which was overturned by Booker T). Torres begs off at the bell and extends a handshake. Phoenix grabs the head… and mauls Torres. Beth charges in the corner but misses and posts her shoulder. Torres takes over and tosses Beth about the ringside area. Beth barely makes it back in at nine’ She hits a backbreaker for two. Eve quickly takes back over kicking Beth’s knee and hits the snap-neckbreaker to score the pinfall. 1/10 The whodunit storyline may be a little intriguing but the matches still suck.
Here is your winner… Eve Torres @ about 4:50 via snap-neckbreaker pinfall.
AJ Lee introduces her coach to Wade Barrett; he of course says she’s doing a shitty GM job. He’s also mad because he’s not booked tonight; he tells her to keep personal away from business. She turns to the coach and says he’s intimidated. Stephenson stares at her blankly. After that, John Bradshaw Layfield Touts from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre): I have no idea why they’re aligned as a stable but I like it. Perhaps tired of jobbing? Slater’s got some new tights for the occasion as well. They have a dance off and Marella gets a side headlock. Heath fires him off but eats a shoulderblock. They go through a silly one-upmanship game where they try to out shoulderblock each other; Slater wins with a reverse elbow and stamps on Santino. Slater applies a chinlock as the commentators ponder the alliance. Michael Cole mentions that the three of them have been tweeting with the hashtag “Encore”, I guess that’s the stable’s name? Heath nails the Whammy Bar Leg Lariat and gets two. He heads to the second rope for a move (with air guitar taunt) but Santino gets the boot up. Slater misses a splash in the corner and Marella begins his comeback; punches, split-legged hiptoss and the Salute head-butt as Jim Ross reminisces back to Santino’s “Milan Miracle” debut. The Cobra makes its appearance but Drew and Jinder charge in for the DQ. Post-match, Encore three-on-one decimates Marella. McIntyre nails the Future-Shock DDT. Slater grabs the mic and they each introduce themselves: McIntyre is still the “Chosen One”, Mahal is still “the Maharaja” and Slater is still the “One Man Band… baby!” 4.5/10 Match was nothing but I like the formation of Encore (if that is what they are going to be called). These three have talent and are entertaining but have been stuck in Jobberville for a long while.
Here is your winner… Santino Marella @ about 4:15 via DQ.
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (w/Cody Rhodes): Rhodes joins for commentary. They lock up and Michael Cole asks Cody how they came up with their team name, “Rhodes Scholars”; I’m shocked Rhodes did not go with the obvious “duh” reply. Sandow uses the ropes and referee shield to try to take over on the Irishman. Sandow manages to control with an armbar; it does not work and Sheamus takes over again. Sandow retreats to the ropes again. Damien comes back with an armbar; Sheamus shoots him off the ropes and gets a shoulderblock. Sandow tries a hiplock but Sheamus knees him in the gut and grabs his beard. Sandow runs to the floor and threatens to walk out as we head to break. When we return, Sheamus is tossing Sandow off the ropes… and Sandow regroups on the floor again. Sheamus comes out after him so Cody provides a brief distraction and Sandow capitalizes with a lunging clothesline from the crowd. Back in the ring, Damien gets two. Sandow aggressively knees the snot out of him and gets a nearfall; he locks up a half nelson. Sheamus powers up but eats a kneelift. Sandow keeps the advantage with a low clothesline and clubbers him on the mat; he applies another chinlock. He hits the rapid fire knees, Russian leg sweep and the Cubito Aequet also for a nearfall. Sandow drags him onto the apron and lays into him with an elbow padless elbow to the face. Sandow continues to wear Sheamus down with a chinlock. He fires but Sandow drop-toeholds him into the ropes and hits a Bossman Straddle. Sandow with a seated figure-four head scissors. Sheamus begins to build momentum with clubbers; he heads to the top but Sandow punches him off the top. This is the longest I’ve seen Sheamus worked over by a midcarder in months. Sandow goes for another (different) wear down hold with a front facelock. Sheamus tries yet another comeback but Sandow keeps him back, this time with a backdrop to the floor; Sandow tosses Sheamus back in and gets a pair of nearfalls. More chinlocks follow. Sheamus breaks it up with a back suplex. He finally begins the comeback with Irish Hammers and a kneelift. The Finlay Roll follows; Sandow retreats to the apron, which usually isn’t very intelligent in a Sheamus match but he manages to hang him off the ropes! Back in the ring, Sandow hits the Idolizer but it only gets two and a half. He charges in the corner but meets boots; Sheamus skins-the-cat onto the buckles and hits the Battering Ram, but it merely gets two. He looks for White Noise but Damien slips free; Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick but Sandow runs away. Sheamus grabs his leg and holds him in the ropes; Damien winds up on the apron, which is a bad position for him, and O’Clubbering follows. Sheamus heads to the floor and tosses Sandow back in; Cody tries to backjump him but Sheamus sees it and tosses Cody into the ring as well. Rhodes and Sandow try to regroup but Sheamus wipes them both out with one Brogue Kick and pins Sandow. 7.5/10 This was quite the match here; is showed that Damien “has arrived”. JR calls it a “career match” and it’s hard not to argue. I’m sure the brass in the back is drooling over his potential. Clever ending wiping two men out with one kick; I don’t mind Sheamus (the strong World Champion) taking out two men, it just makes the tag division look weak.
Here is your winner… Sheamus @ about 11:45 (broadcast) via Brogue Kick pinfall.
Michael Cole is in the ring to introduce Jim Ross for “Jim Ross Appreciation Night” in his home state of Oklahoma. I’m sure this is all just a ruse to get more heel heat on CM Punk. Cole, who is now complete babyface, doing a complete 180 since insulting JR for months; JR does not even get to say one word before Punk makes his obvious appearance with Paul Heyman. Punk takes the mic and kicks Cole out of “his” ring and then (heel) plays to the crowd. He tries to lead the crowd in a “JR” chant. Punk says that he respects Ross… but the crowd does not know anything about respect. He says the fans turned their backs on him. Punk shows us how someone is respected; he tells JR to tell the fans that Punk is the best in the world. JR tells Punk that he’s made a jackass out of himself in recent weeks. NOW the fans chant “JR”. Punk is flabbergasted that Ross would show him such disrespect. He threatens to kick his ass; no one will help him, even making fun of the “Stone Cold” line. Punk makes fun of the 3:16 slogan and says that today is 316 is his because it is how long he’s held the WWE title consecutively. He reiterates to JR that he MUST tell the crowd that he’s the best in the world. Jim says he’s NOT going to say it. JR goes through Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Undertaker and Triple H, those guys EARNED the respect. JR tells him to accept the challenge from John Cena, kick his ass in HITC, and then Ross promises to call him the best on the world. Punk stomps JR’s hat, insults the OKC Thunder (for cheap heat), and plans to fight, like men. Punk tells JR to run otherwise to get his ass kicked. Ross chooses to leave but Punk stops him and drill sergeants him and tells him to leave the building, no more commentary for him tonight. JR obliges and walks out to Punk’s insults all of the way up the ramp. Ryback comes out and tells JR to follow him back into the ring. Fans loudly chant “feed me more” as Ryback stares the champ down. Punk takes his leave to a massive crowd eruption. 4.5/10 This went a little long to get to the point; Punk did his usual great mic work but the substance is kind of dry. Ryback as John Cena Plan B is progressing but I think it’s too soon for him to be in world title matches. The one thing I did like is that Ryback did not have to say anything at all to make his point.
Kofi Kingston (w/R-Truth & Little Jimmy) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez): This is the point that I want the WWE to get to the main event. Ricardo joins for commentary. Alberto hits a snap-suplex; Kofi comes back with a pair of leapfrogs and a reverse elbow. Kingston clotheslines Del Rio to the floor and hits a springboard plancha. Commercial? Now? Back from commercial, Del Rio has an abdominal stretch. Ricardo pointing out the unfair three-on-one disadvantage Del Rio faces here is pretty funny. Kofi hiptosses himself free and cuts off the enziguri with a Superfly chop. Kingston hits a pair of dropkicks and Superman punch; the Boom Drop follows. Alberto ducks Trouble in Paradise; Kofi manages the pendulum kick but misses a springboard crossbody. Del Rio finishes with the cross-armbreaker tapout. 2.5/10 Del Rio wins again, meh… The problem of the tag division is that they are used as jobbers to the main eventers. Del Rio, not sure what they are going to do with him now, he’s kept strong but the bloom is off the rose with him now; the fans groan when he comes out instead of boo.
Here is your winner… Alberto Del Rio @ about 4:45 (broadcast) via cross-armbreaker submission.
In the back Christopher J. Stephenson gives AJ Lee some advice; she thinks that there should be a special guest referee for the main event. She thinks it should be him. He stares at her; AJ fires him (I think) and tells him to leave. I guess the point of that was to prove that she is completely unstable.
Team Hell No vs. CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero & Paul Heyman): AJ Lee appoints herself the special referee for this match; no one is happy with this decision. She acts all cute in her little shorts. Dolph and Kane (after some arguing with his partner); Ziggler gets shoulderblocked and tossed around by Kane. He slams him and drops an elbow for a one count. Bryan wants a tag but Kane says no. He misses a charge in the corner; Dolph tries to capitalize with the Zigzag but Kane holds the ropes to block. Kane tosses Dolph into the air and clotheslines him to the floor. Bryan tags himself in to the chagrin of Kane as we head to commercial. Back from break, Ziggler has the sleeper hold on Kane. He get rammed into the corner to break; he hits a nice dropkick as Michael Cole throws out a crazy statement, mainly because it’s true, Kane debuted in the WWE this week FIFTEEN years ago! The one man, brought into the WWE specifically to feud with the Undertaker, and has survived, through many character tweaks and probably had some of the most interesting character developments in the WWE; usually Undertaker opponents don’t last long past that due date. Dolph decides to go after Bryan on the apron and eats a Kane uppercut. He gets pummeled there and Bryan tags in with no arguments (to a HUGE reaction) and Team Hell No hit a tandem whip dropkick in the corner. The fans are salivating for them to get along. Bryan and Kane bust out some more tandem O; this time a snapmare into a Kane low dropkick, which gets two. Dolph comes back with a leaping dropkick. Punk finally gets a tag and hits the knee in the corner but the bulldog is countered into a side slam a nearfall. Kane goes up top and hits the diving clotheslines. Bryan tags in and tries his top rope dropkick but leg lariats him in midair. Punk stomps away and kicks him in the corner drawing AJ over to break it up. He cross-corner whips Bryan but he counters with a top-rope flip and running Hart attack clothesline. Bryan begins the No Kicks but misses the Roundhouse No Kick. Punk shoves him into Ziggler so Bryan nails him off the apron but turns right into a roundhouse kick for two. Dolph gets tag and dropkicks him; on the floor he tosses Bryan into the barricade. Kane wanders over so AJ puts him back and Ziggler tosses Bryan into the barricade again. Back in the ring, Ziggler gets two. Ziggler applies a chinlock but Bryan counters with a jawjacker; Punk tags and hits a springboard clothesline. He heads up top but gets crotched; Bryan brings him down with a top-rope butterfly superplex. Bryan locks in the No Lock but Punk gets his foot on the ropes. AJ believes Heyman put the foot on the rope so she ejects him. Vickie hops up on the apron and also gets tossed by the referee. Dolph follows his manager out (a little tit-for-tat, Punk deserted Ziggler in a tag match a few weeks ago) and Punk has no one to tag. Bryan hits a dropkick and Kane tags himself in and chokeslams Punk for three. Post-match the tag champions get into an argument to close the show. 6/10 The unique thing here is you got four men that the WWE is/was trying to push as heels but for various reasons but the fans all appreciate, respect or love them too much and all have generated much babyface heat recently.
Here are your winners… Team Hell No @ about 10:00 (broadcast) via chokeslam pinfall.
OVERALL 6/10 Boy, these shows are marathons. It wasn’t that bad of a show just long. If they trimmed a few things down (got rid of the Del Rio squash, shortened the JR Appreciation Night and tossed the debate segment and put it on SmackDown) this could fit neatly into that two hours and fifteen minute box it had fit into for the past fifteen years.