Commentator: Michael Cole & Josh Matthews
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 Championship: Seth Rollins… Diva’s Champion: Eve Torres
The Big Show opens the show in large fashion. He says he’s certain that Sheamus has “a plan” to beat him but everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. There are too many guys in the WWE with KO finishers right now; Big Show, Wade Barrett, Kassius Ohno down in NXT… Show says that after he kayos Sheamus to win the title, he does not need to feel bad because he is joining a long list of victims. We get a video package of Big Show destroying people. Show shows off the fist and Sheamus comes out; he appreciates the heads up. Sheamus says that he was fucking around before but now he wants to look Show right in the eye and says “may the best man win” and offers a handshake. Show just casually walks away. Sheamus shows clips of Daniel Bryan cashing in the MitB briefcase and winning the title from Show to taunt him as well as clips from WrestleMania where he wins the title in eighteen seconds. Show comes back and now offers his hand to shake. Sheamus spurns him and walks off pissing Show off even more. 3/10 Show’s portion was pretty good but Sheamus’ cavalier, “poke the bear” attitude is rather painful.
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (w/Little Jimmy) vs. The Prime Time Players number one contender’s tournament, first round: this is the final opening round match and the winners get Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. Young and Kofi start off and they lock up; Kofi tries his monkey flip counter off a hiplock but Young pushes him off into the ropes. Kingston hits a running dropkick instead. Truth gets a tag and they hit a double hiptoss and the What’s Up Legdrop, for two. Young powers Truth into the corner and tags O’Neil; Truth fights back but falls victim to a nasty stomach breaker. The Players, taunt, pound away, and get a few nearfalls. They hit the tandem Millions of Dollars Suplex and Young applies a rear bear hug. Truth tries to begin a comeback but Young knees him a bunch of times. He hits the ropes… right into a leg lariat. Kofi gets the hot tag and springs into clothesline sand dropkicks. The Boom Drop follows. Titus provides a distraction and Truth takes him out. Young tries to take advantage but Kingston sidesteps him and tries Trouble in Paradise; Young knows what’s coming and hangs on the ropes. He ducks a leg lariat and O’Neil recovers to grab Kofi’s leg allowing Young to finish with the Gut Check. Titus pulls Truth out to prevent him from breaking up the pinfall. 6/10 Very good tag match with an excellent ending showing that the Players “did their homework”. The obvious semi-final match between the two teams in the tournament that is actually feuding. Good match.
Here are you winners… The Prime Time Players @ about 6:10 via Gut Check pinfall.
Ryback vs. Primo (w/Epico & Rosa Mendes): I guess Ryback is going to face a few lighter opponents; ones he can toss around better with ease. Primo tries a waistlock and gets tossed aside. He hides in the ropes and tries to take advantage. Primo runs into a big boot stomp and slams his face into the mat; he tries a powerslam but Primo slips free and takes his knees out. He kicks and tries to wear him down with a front facelock. Ryback tosses him off. Sheffield Lariat connects and a hammer-toss puts Primo on the floor. The Colóns try to run away but Ryback comes after them and kills the poor unsuspecting Epico with a clothesline and presses Primo back into the ring. He finishes the squash with Shell Shocked. 3/10 Total squash for Ryback to get the train back on the tracks after the little “mishap” on Raw with Tensai.
Here is your winner… Ryback @ about 3:00 via Shell Shocked pinfall.
Paul Heyman and CM Punk are wandering around looking for Dolph Ziggler.
Layla vs. Alicia Fox: Fox gets a babyface reaction and slaps fives. I guess all girls hate each other. They lock up and Layla gets a one off a schoolgirl. Alicia gets the split-legged sunset out of the corner but Layla rolls through and hits a low dropkick and slaps her ass. Giggity. She nails Alicia with a low clothesline and drives her down into a crucifix but it gets two. Fox takes over and works on the leg that kept Layla out of action for months. Alicia slaps Layla’s ass back… that one is also sexual. Layla fires back but Fox snags her in a Northern Lights Suplex. Fox uses a weird standing inverted figure-four leglock. The commentators call Alicia “an instigator” in the locker room, who is she Woody Woodpecker? Seinfeld reference in case you were wondering. Layla kicks back but Fox maintains the advantage; she fires back with the bouncing crossbody but somehow hurts her own abdominals with the move. Fox rushes over but Layla avoids her and hits the Nasty Kick for the pinfall. Post-match, Matt Striker talks to Layla who says she is taking the title back and points the finger at Eve Torres for attacking Kaitlyn. 4/10 Better than the usual divas malarkey but still nothing to write to home about. The obvious whodunit here is Eve and they only way this payoff is going to be interesting is if someone other than Eve did it and had a good explanation, say for example, Layla.
Here is your winner… Layla @ about 4:55 via Nasty Kick pinfall.
CM Punk finally finds Dolph Ziggler and quickly dismisses Vickie Guerrero. Punk is annoyed that Ziggler walked out on him. Dolph calls Paul Heyman a “worm” and mentions that Punk did the very same thing to him a few weeks prior. Dolph has a point. Punk complains of something. I’ll let you guess what it is. Booker T shows up and books the obvious match, sucka.
Mike Rays vs. Wade Barrett: I see they fixed Barrett’s Titantron; he says in a cut-in promo that he is enjoying torturing opponents. Barrett pummels the kid in the corner and hits the savate kick. The pump-handle slam follows and STANDS on the back of his opponent’s head. Rays tries to fight back but gets shoved into the ropes and pushed to the floor backwards for a nasty looking bump. The Souvenir finishes. 2/10 Squash for Barrett. I guess “open for business” means squashing jobbers. I know Barrett is due for a huge push and this version is kind of bland but I know Barrett is a good worker and when he gets into longer matches the “real” Barrett will appear. The WWE is also pretty good at tweaking guys who aren’t quite over yet but just needs that little adjustment. It’s the guys who the crowds do not care at all that the WWE Creative team seems to have problems with: Tensai.
Sheamus vs. The Miz: This was set up on MizTV last week; they lock up and Miz slips free before he can gets forced into the corner. He mauls Sheamus in the corner but it is reversed and Sheamus shows Miz how it’s done. He drops a knee and then tries to catch Miz with O’Clubbering but Miz frees himself. He almost walks into either a Finlay roll or White Noise; they both look the same when set up, and Miz counters and tosses Sheamus to the floor. Miz keeps him there with a pair of knees. They fight on the floor with Miz posting Sheamus. Back in the ring, Miz gets a one. Miz takes over with stomps and a low running boot. He applies a chinlock for a while. Sheamus frees himself but gets nailed with the Vintage Neckbreaker and reapplies the chinlock. Sheamus fires up and hits Irish Hammers, shoulderblocks and the Finlay roll; Miz blocks the Irish Curse and kicks his knees out. Miz with a snap-DDT for two which segues into a break (or does it); Miz charges in the corner for the Vintage Clothesline but gets caught in the Irish Curse and then entangled in O’Clubbering. White Noise follows. If this were a video game Sheamus’ finisher icon would be blinking. He preps for the Brogue but Big Show decides to come out to the ring. Sheamus eyeballs him as Show saunters up on the apron and knocks Miz out with the WMD getting Sheamus disqualified. 5/10 Not a horrible match with an ending that would appear as crummy but it was specifically a message match. I prefer this stuff on network TV as opposed to a PPV. Good build.
Here is your winner… The Miz @ about 5:55 via DQ.
David Otunga is in the ring and shows clips from after SmackDown went off the air last week where Alberto Del Rio attacked Randy Orton and decimated him. Otunga thanks Del Rio (on behalf of the entire locker room) for destroying the Viper. Otunga begins to insult Orton but is interrupted by the Viper’s music but it’s actually Del Rio coming out doing a pretty good impression of Orton’s entrance. He even does the taunt on the ropes, with help from the WWE camera crew, giving him the proper angle. Alberto says Orton is scared to be there because Del Rio would cut off the head of the snake. Del Rio calls himself the new “Ahh-pex Predator” of the WWE. Booker T comes out and books a tag match with Team Hell No. 2/10 Just a brief promo to explain Orton’s absence and to book the following match. Del Rio making fun of Orton’s entrance was pretty entertaining but all else was meh.
Team Hell No vs. Alberto Del Rio & David Otunga (w/Ricardo Rodriguez): The champs get into their usual tiff about who starts and Bryan wins. The former Nexus members start off and Otunga gets a slam… and that’s his one wrestling move he knows. Just kidding… I think he knows two moves. Bryan comes back with No Kicks and the running Hart attack clothesline. He hits the running No Dropkick and mocks the muscle flexing and even gives Kane a flex. Otunga tries to backjump him but Daniel quickly counters and tries the No Lock. Otunga smartly retreats to the ropes and whiplashes Bryan’s arm off the ropes; he takes over with lots of stomps and a neckbreaker (two). Del Rio tags in and the crowd goes meh. He stomps the crap out of Bryan in the corner and then hits a nice snap-suplex with a float-over for two. Del Rio works the arm and taunts Bryan. He tries a charge in the corner but Bryan drop-toeholds him into the bottom buckle. Kane gets the tag and boots Del Rio down; he hits a pair of corner clotheslines and side slam for two. Kane mounts the buckles and hits the diving clothesline. He looks for the chokeslam and Bryan looks to tag in (by tagging the chokeslam hand) but Kane CATCHES THE ARM and tells Bryan “no”. Funny. Alberto seizes the opportunity and shoves Kane into Bryan and nails a step-up enziguri for a nearfall. Del Rio looks to have Kane in position for the cross-armbreaker but Otunga pulls a Bryan and tags himself in… and actually nails the Verdict and ALMOST gets the pinfall. Kane goozles Otunga and chokeslams him; Del Rio walks off (can’t blame him there) as Bryan finally get that tag and hits the swandive head-butt to win the match. Post-match, arguing ensues. 5.5/10 More fun from the tag champions; the little things that this team does in the ring is what got them over. I’ve always noted that little things get people over, look at CM Punk or Dolph Ziggler they are perfect examples. Del Rio never does little things in the ring, it’s the same thing over and over, which is why the fans are already tired of him.
Here are your winners… Team Hell No @ about 6:00 via swandive head-butt pinfall.
In Booker T’s office Teddy Long and Eve Torres argue over the whole Beth Phoenix suspension thing. Long sees through Eve and accuses her of attacking Kaitlyn. If he were in charge Eve would be fired; Booker, of course, enters now and poor Teddy is caught with his foot in his mouth. He dismisses Eve and has a man-to-man with Long; Booker tells him to cut the infighting.
Big Show vs. Tensai: They lock up at the bell and Tensai pummels Show and even no-sells a Big Show head-butt? He drives Show into the corner and beats the crap out of him. Show comes back with a chop and gets a chop in the opposite corner. Show charges but meets Tensai’s boot. Tensai tries a whip but Show blocks and pulls Tensai to the floor; they battle out there with Tensai actually getting a few shots in before falling to a shoulderblock. Back in the ring, Show misses a running elbow drop by a mile and Tensai capitalizes with the running senton, which is his finish but I’m sure Show will kick out. He does (after two at least). Tensai misses the Locomotive Splash in the corner and Show submarines him with a big spear. He looks for the WMD but guess who shows up. Brogue Kick to Tensai as Sheamus continues the tit-for –tat between them. 6/10 The match was shockingly good actually as it was kept short and both guys emptied their respective gun barrels with all their big moves before the DQ ending. See above comments for the storyline.
Here is your winner… Tensai @ about 3:45 via DQ.
The Raw Rebound is all about AJ Lee’s mental status.
CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero): Some taking ensues as the bell rings; respect is discussed. They push each other. Punk clamps on a side headlock; Ziggler fires him off and hits a shoulderblock and dropkick. Ziggler slips out of the GTS and we head to break. We return with Punk applying a waistlock. Ziggler reverses into a chinlock but a head scissors gets Punk a figure-four neck lock. Ziggler turns it into a standing side headlock and Punk back suplexes free. They fight atop the buckles and both crash and burn, falling to the floor. Wow, Punk landed awkwardly got his leg caught on the apron and fell onto the back of his head. Both make it back in at a nine count and fight on the mat. Punk gets a rollup with tights as does Ziggler then Punk complains to the ref and gets planted with a nice leaping DDT. Punk is out at two. Ziggler misses the Namedropper, Punk also misses a roundhouse kick, and Dolph hits the Namedropper for two. Punk gets that roundhouse kick and also gets two. He nails the corner knee strike and hits a short clothesline off the counter and gets two more. Punk hits a slam and tries the Macho Man Elbow but Ziggler crotches him and Flairs him off the top. Ziggler misses the Stinger splash and Punk plants him with the Go2Sleep for the pinfall. 6.5/10 Good match as expected from these two; it started slow but built to a nice crescendo. I would like to see these two get twenty minutes or so on a PPV to really let it all hang out.
Here is your winner… CM Punk @ about 10:50 (broadcast) via Go2Sleep pinfall.
OVERALL 6.5/10 Good show this week as a whole; I know the match grades do not equal the total but the show was good complete rather than a sum of its parts. A couple of squashes and angle developments and a few decent matches along with a better build to the World title match at HITC than that stupid debate on Raw.