Commentators: Michael Cole, John “Bradshaw” Layfield & 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
As promised John Cena opens the show. His arm has a weird armband on the arm with was worked on; almost looks like mesh. Cena asked if everyone missed him and received a mixed reply. He watched Raw from afar and makes fun of Team Hell No’s dysfunction, Antonio Cesaro’s unusually large nipples and the divas. Cena asks AJ Lee on a date. Vince McMahon is in the building. He then riles the crowd up and gets them to cheer/boo and rambles on about not having a voice. Clearly this leads to him talking about CM Punk and respect; he ponders if Cena versus Punk at HITC will be “a moment”. He implores the crowd to convince Punk to accept his challenge and then calls him “not a man”. He says that he will cement his legacy when he faces Cena in the cell. Cena leaves but Ryback comes out for a match; they pass each other on the ramp. We get clips of Ryback and CM Punk last week. 3/10 This is the kind of usual stuff from Cena that made me dislike him in the first place; a generic promo where his makes silly jokes that aren’t even funny, it feels like he tries too hard sometimes and it comes across as fake. In this case it was Cena Promo V2.4: rile the crowd, get them to cheer/boo, make fun of the more popular acts in the WWE and challenge the champ. Nothing special.
Ryback vs. Primo & Epico (w/Rosa Mendes) two-on-one handicap match: The commentators give Epico and Primo zero chance of winning here as do I. They get to fight him at the same time. He tosses both of him around and slams Primo. The former tag champs manage to take control with a leg sweep and second-rope missile dropkick. They stomps away on him and Epico backdrops Primo into a senton; they each try a pinfall but each get one counts. Fans chant “feed me more” as Primo holds him down and Epico punches him. Epico makes the mistake of SLAPPING Ryback and now he’s either mad or hungry, I do not know which. Anyway, he slugs Epico down and nails Primo with the Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder. Sheffield Lariats abound and the double Shell Shocked squashes both of them. 4.5/10 Total squash for Ryback over a legit tag team at the same time. He has run through the former tag champions, the current IC champion and a three hundred pound former Japanese champion, twice. Feed him more. It unfortunately makes the tag division totally weak, granted Primo and Epico are not Team Hell No or Team Rhodes Scholars, although, I think they would get treated the same as Primo and Epico did.
Here is your winner… Ryback @ about 3:15 via double Shell Shocked pinfall.
“Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (w/Cameron & Naomi) vs. R-Truth (w/Little Jimmy): This is an odd babyface versus babyface matchup. Pre-match, Truth apologizes for Little Jimmy going through puberty. He also mentions that Littlie Jimmy wants to dance. So they dance. Until Vince McMahon tosses them out of the ring for the State of the WWE address. 2/10 Not sure what that accomplishes other than a grand way from Vince to make his entrance.
Vince McMahon comes out for the State of the WWE Address. Vince refers to the prior segment and calls this “the state of the WWE”. He’s cool with it because there is room for it along with goat-faced vegans, big red monsters, leprechauns, masked Luchadores, giants, etc. He says there is room of all of it but the most important thing is “action”. He also says you want to see the best take on the best… CM Punk interrupts with spiffy new yellow shirt. He now has his head shaved. Vince calls the shirt ugly and tells Punk that he disrespected him. Boy, Vince laying that one right across the plate for Punk. Punk feels that Vince disrespected him by not even mentioning him in the State address; he adds that the disrespect is because he is not accepting John Cena’s challenge. He says that the GM that Vince himself appointed and the decision is his. The fans boo out of disrespect. He insults the fans that do support him. He asks Vince if he disrespects him. Vince respects the fact that he’s held the title for 323 days; he does not respect him for being a “Paul Heyman guy”. Vince tells him that he is not a “CM Punk guy”. Punk tells him that he should be a Punk guy. Last year he was a spoke on the wheel; this year he is the wheel. He also calls him the best thing he has in the WWE. Paul makes a suggestion to calm down. Punk dismisses the warning and tells Vince he should be kissing his feet and bitches about not having an “appreciation day”. He threatens to quit the WWE (as champion) if he does not get the respect. Vince than asks him the reason the WWE exists is because of Punk to which Punk overreacts. Vince tells him that no one man makes the WWE, the WWE Universe does. Vince listens to the fans and the fans want someone to shut Punk’s mouth. Vince also gets disgusted that he feels he’s the best over people like André the Giant, Shawn Michaels, Triple H or Bret Hart. He also mentions Steve Austin so Punk takes the opportunity to rip Austin apart; he says his claim to fame was beating up an “inept millionaire” who is now a senior citizen. Punk feels that Vince slaps him in the face so he SLAPS McMahon right in the face and leaves. Vince says he ought to fire him but he challenges him to a match tonight. He says he may get his ass kicked but he will teach Punk something about respect. Heyman is concerned but Punk is nonplussed and says that they have Vince right where they want him. 7/10 Excellent work from Punk as usual; his rants feel a little less risqué perhaps a little more calculated than his original ones that got him over in the first place. I’m sure Vince is doing this because he’s worried about the slight ratings drop in recent weeks.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. The Prime Time Players number one contender’s tournament, semifinal round: There is a bit of a backstory as the Players decimated the Luchadores a few weeks ago. Young and Cara start off and Cara takes him over with a Mexican headlock. Cara then goes into his top rope twirling armdrag and a hurracanrana. Mysterio tags and low bridges Young to the floor. He leaps off the apron with a seated senton; O’Neil approaches but he forgot about Cara who topés out onto him. Back from commercial, with Sin Cara nailing O’Neil with a head-butt. Titus fires back with a big backbreaker. Young tags in and slaps on a bearhug. He wanders too close to the corner and Cara is able to sneak in a tornado DDT and tag in Mysterio. Rey leaps off the top with another senton and kicks him down. O’Neil comes in and breaks up a lateral press; he goes after Cara but eats a pendulum kick and a springboard missile dropkick. Young nails Cara with the Gut Check for some reason since Mysterio is the legal man. Darren realizes this and charges in the corner; Young tries another Gut Check but Mysterio counters into the 619 and drops a dime for three. 4.5/10 Not a bad encounter but I was hoping for a Players win. Obviously the WWE is going for the major stars in the tourney to take on Team Hell No. I anticipate Team Rhodes Scholars to take the whole thing.
Here are your winners… Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio @ about 7:15 (broadcast) via 619.dime drop pinfall.
In the back Paul Heyman is concerned they are in a must lose situation; CM Punk says he is going to annihilate him. Heyman is concerned about repercussions from Vince McMahon. Punk is nonplused.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: I always thought these two should be battling over a world title, trading it back and forth. They lock up at the bell and Big Show wastes no time wandering out. Sheamus gets back jumped by Barrett while everyone is distracted by Show’s presence. Sheamus twists him into a headlock takeover. Show plops himself down in a chair at ringside. Sheamus maintains the headlock until Barrett fires him off but gets planted with a shoulderblock. More headlock; Barrett backs him into the corner and tosses him onto the apron. Sheamus nails the slingshot battering ram and reapplies the headlock. Wade backs him into the corner and gets some elbows; Sheamus blocks a hiplock and tries a clothesline but it’s ducked. Barrett keeps atop with stomps; he tries a suplex but Sheamus blocks and hits his own. Barrett gets a boot in but almost gets caught in a Finlay roll. Sheamus deposits him onto the apron and kneelifts him to the floor. He heads to the apron and tries, whit looks like a Brogue Kick (which makes no sense since Barrett is on the floor), and Sheamus trips him up. Back from break, Barrett has his opponent in a bow-and-arrow lock. During the break, Barrett and Sheamus traded kicks and blows. Back to live action as Sheamus clotheslines Barrett to the floor. They continue to battle on the floor where Sheamus tries to whip Wade into the steps but he steps over them and kicks the top step into Sheamus’ knees; he floors him with a boot to the face. Back in the ring, Barrett nets two. Wade wears him down with a double chinlock. He tosses him into the ropes and hits a knee to the gut while Big Show licks his chops. Barrett traps Sheamus in the ropes and knees the crap out of him; he NAILS him with a boot. He misses a second rope elbow but misses. Sheamus nails a clothesline. The comeback begins with Irish Hammers and a kneelift. He tries a slam but Barrett slips free. He looks for the pump-handle but Sheamus pushes him into the ropes and sidesteps him out of the ring. Wade tries to reenter but gets caught in O’Clubbering. JBL adds as a fat guy in polka dots used to say, he’s goin’ to clubberin’. Jim Ross adds an “if you will”. Tensai shows up to attack Sheamus and draw a DQ. Post-match, Barrett and Tensai assault Sheamus. It’s Sheamus though, so he quickly regains his composure and flattens Tensai with a Brogue Kick. He tosses Barrett to the floor as Big Show slides in and looks for the WMD. Sheamus tries a Brogue Kick but Show catches the boot. Show tosses him over the ropes backwards and splats on the back of his head. Pretty wicked bump there; he pops right back up and heads back into the ring a bit woozy. 6.5/10 Good match between these two; an extended feud between these two would be pretty epic, if this match were an indication.
Here is your winner… Sheamus @ about 8:15 (broadcast) via DQ.
Jim Ross leaves the announce position to go and talk to Vince McMahon about his match with CM Punk tonight. Elsewhere, Punk talks to AJ Lee. Punk tells her that he is going to put him in a wheelchair and the Board of Directors may look to AJ to blame for Vince’s potential injuries. AJ thinks he’s scared; Punk says Vince’s condition will be on her head. Clips from John Cena on Live with Kelly and Michael sending a message against breast cancer, are shown.
Tyson Kidd vs. Antonio Cesaro: Pre-match, we get clips of Cesaro making fun of Americans’ eating habits. They lock up and Cesaro gets a hammerlock; Kidd walks through the ropes to reverse. Clever. Cesaro gets a knee in and stomps away. He twists up Kidd’s arm; Tyson comes back with an Owen Flip into a armdrag. He gets two off a wheelbarrow cradle. Kidd charges in the corner but meets a boot to the face. Cesaro boxes the crap out of him in the corner; he adds a double stomp on the apron and the gutwrench suplex. Antonio goes to the side cravat. Kidd gets his dropsault in the ropes but Cesaro counters hanging him off the top rope. Cesaro heads to the floor but Kidd outquicks him and gets a running knee on the apron. Kidd with the springboard body scissors cradle, also for two. Cesaro checks with the ref to make sure he wasn’t pinned; he then blindly charges into a low dropkick and winds up in the 619 position. Kidd hits a slingshot guillotine legdrop but misses the slingshot elbow drop. Antonio hits him with the Very European Uppercut and follows with the Neutralizer for three. 6/10 Excellent for a squash; Kidd makes anyone look good, unfortunately that means jobbing a lot. I like Cesaro and hope he can become a star in the WWE.
Here is your winner… Antonio Cesaro @ about 5:30 via Neutralizer pinfall.
Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez & Vickie Guerrero): Vickie is wearing the oddest looking skirt, with a slit straight up the middle, almost revealing where Raquel Diaz came from. Guess what Team Hell No does before the match starts. Bryan begins with Dolph. Ziggler gets an armdrag and SHOWS OFF. Ricardo and Vickie harassing each other on the floor is pretty funny. Dolph hits a shoulderblock but Bryan comes back with a kneelift and DOES NOT tag Kane. Del Rio tags and Bryan drop-toeholds him; he wanders too close to Kane and the blind tag is made. Kane pounds on ADR and wrings his arm and DOES NOT tag Bryan. Alberto runs over and tags in Dolph who charges right into an uppercut. Kane hits his low dropkick but Dolph fires back in the corner; Michael Cole makes a mistake on commentary and JBL will not let it slide. Funny. Bryan tags in and hits a leaping knee in the face off the apron. Back from commercial, Ziggler has Kane in a side headlock. Kane as babyface in peril does not work. He quickly realizes this and kicks Ziggler out of his boots. Bryan gets a tag and hits a running clothesline and the running No Dropkick. He heads up for a Super Frankensteiner but Ziggler rolls through for two. He tosses Bryan into the ropes and Del Rio gets a Tully Blanchard move on the apron and Bryan stumbles into a beautiful dropkick. Alberto applies a chinlock and wears Bryan down. Bryan gets a surprise sunset for two but gets his teeth kick out by Del Rio; Dolph tags and hits a Rude Awakening (JBL even mentions the homage to Rick Rude on commentary). The Show Off elbow gets two; Dolph makes a tag and Del Rio applies a snap-suplex. He kicks away in the corner but Bryan reverses with a bunch of No Kicks; a charge is avoided and Ziggler tags in. Dolph with a side headlock. Bryan counters with a jawjacker. Ziggler tries a Stinger splash but Bryan moves and Dolph gets a nice Hennig bounce oversell. Kane begs Bryan for a tag but Ziggler prevents it. Del Rio returns and viciously stamps him down; a back suplex allows another side headlock. Alberto cuts off a potential comeback with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker drawing Kane into the ring to break up the lateral press. Bryan and Ziggler battle in a “boo/yay” spot but the fans chant “yes/no” at them. Dolph kicks the legs out and tags in ADR again. Alberto gets a boot in but Bryan kicks out again. ADR with another chinlock; this is a really long television match. Del Rio misses a charge and posts his shoulder allowing Kane the hot tag. He hits a bunch of clotheslines on ADR; the corner clothesline sets up… another one which is countered by knees. Ziggler tags as Kane goozled ADR. Dolph off the top… right into another goozle; the heels collect themselves and Kane takes a Namedropper, for two. Dolph tries the Zigzag but Kane grabs the ropes. Kane hits the sidewalk slam. Kane to the top but Bryan tags in; he nails Dolph with a missile dropkick but ADR interferes. Kane dispatches him and Vickie pops up on the apron. Dolph tries to take advantage but Bryan kicks out. Daniel waffles him with a roundhouse kick but stumbles into his corner so Kane can tag and plant Ziggler with a chokeslam for three. Post-match, they argue over who won the match. Kane ends the argument lighting the ringposts afire. 7/10 [Insert Dolph Ziggler jobs again complaint here] Good match but long as Hell (No); this is PPV length time here. This is what the WWE can get the three hours good for, longer tag matches. Match was fun with a longer heel beating in the middle and really kicked into a different gear after the hot tag. Team Hell No is not as over as they were when they started but that is to be expects as they are getting along a lot more and look more like a tag team instead of two men stuck together who won the tag titles.
Here are your winners… Team Hell No @ 17:40 (broadcast) via chokeslam pinfall.
Jim Ross finally catches up with Vince McMahon and warns him about taking the match. JR said that Vince called him an icon and his friend after Raw went off the air last week. He is worried considering what happened to Jerry Lawler a few weeks ago (after facing CM Punk). McMahon wants the honor of JR calling his match; Vince asks for a classic JR commentary line… RIGHT NOW DAMMIT! Ross gives him a McMahon! McMahon! McMahon! He’s whipping him like a government mule and stomping a mudhole and walking it dry! JR offers his warning and Vince quotes The Rock and tells him it does not matter what he thinks.
Larry King has The Miz on a special episode of Larry King Now on the stage. Miz comes out before King can even introduce him. Miz feels it’s an honor for King to talk to him; it is also Miz’s birthday. He wants the crowd to sing happy birthday with King leading. Larry tells him that no one cares. King decides that Miz is too boring so he brings out his new guest, Kofi Kingston. I guess the Kofi/R-Truth tag team is over and Kingston is headed back to singles matches. Kofi talks to King as Miz skulks around in the background. Kofi gets a Sacramento cheap pop in; Miz gets annoyed (really?) and calls King a “has been” and Kofi a “never was”. Miz shoves the IC title in King’s face and says he’s had more titles than Larry has had wives and Kofi has had main events. Mix threatens to divorce King’s head from his body. King’s wife tosses her water into Miz’s face and Kingston attacks him and tosses him off the stage. Kingston leaps off the apron and splashes Miz and they fight into the backstage area. 6.5/10 That was a lot of fun and much more entertaining than the usual crappy celebrity segments the WWE usually churns out. I guess Kofi is moving onto an IC program with Miz now.
Santino Marella & Zack Ryder vs. Team Rhodes Scholars number one contender’s tournament, semifinal round: Michael Cole says that Santino and Ryder call themselves “Team CoBro”. Pre-match, Sandow calls this the greatest mental mismatch in WWE history. Cody ad Ryder start off and Zack counters a suplex with a backslide for two. Ryder gets two more off a reverse rollup. Cody charges in the corner and meets knees; Ryder clotheslines him, for two more. JBL ponders how the bulbous Dusty Rhodes managed to have such a lean son. Sandow tags in and takes over and stomps away; Damien applies a front facelock. Rhodes tags in and stomps the balls for two. Sandow tags in and hits the Cubito Aequet for another nearfall. Cody drives Ryder back down into a facelock. Ryder counters with a flapjack and tags in Marella. Santino hits Comeback #43 (punches, split-legged hiptoss, Salute head-butt). Santino goes for the Cobra, Sandow briefly distracts, and Rhodes plants Marella with the Disaster Kick for three. Post-match, Encore (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) runs into the ring and destroys Santino and Ryder. 3/10 Well, that was quick. Squash for Rhodes Scholars to get them in the finals against the Luchadores. I think it’s funny that McIntyre and Mahal have adopted Slater’s rock ‘n’ roll approach in their beat downs and mannerisms.
Here are your winners… Team Rhodes Scholars @ about 3:05 via Disaster Kick pinfall.
Vince McMahon is in the GM’s office prepping for the match when he’s approached by Paul Heyman. Heyman apologizes to Vince and kisses his ass. He begs him to broker peace between Vince and CM Punk. McMahon feels that Heyman has been poisoning Punk’s mind for years. Paul ends the conversation with, “don’t let Punk do to you what Brock Lesnar did to your son-in-law, Triple H”.
WWE Divas Championship Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn: Layla is on guest commentary. Kaitlyn has her ankle heavily wrapped; they lock up and Kaitlyn tosses Eve around and hits a clothesline and a vertical suplex. Eve charges into a backdrop and cowers in the ropes so Kaitlyn lifts her up into a Torture Rack. Torres rakes the eyes and takes over with punches but Kaitlyn continues her dominance with a backbreaker but hurts her bad ankle on the impact. Eve heads to the corner again and takes over on the overaggressive Eve kicking her leg out of her leg. She stands on the ankle and then applies a leglock. Kaitlyn eventually taps out. Post-match, Eve refuses to release the hold until Layla comes in and gets her to stop. Torres feigns concern and Layla angrily shoves her. 1.5/10 So that’s Kaitlyn’s big revenge match?
Here is your winner… Eve Torres @ about 3:15 via leglock submission.
In the back Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez wander about and ponder dinner. Josh Matthews shows up to read a tweet from Randy Orton; apparently, Orton will be at SmackDown. Del Rio walks off with no comment. Larry King is wandering around the back area with his wife when a “caller from Aberdeen, Washington” approaches. Daniel Bryan has a problem with people calling him a goat face. He refers to a comment that David Letterman called King an owl; Bryan wants to know how he dealt with it. Daniel admits that King does look like an owl. Bryan hits on King’s wife but she calls him a troll that sleeps under a bridge. Larry tells him to deal with it. A caller from nowhere shows up. Kane and Bryan, of course, get into a spat over appearances. Bryan says that it looks like someone slapped Kane with a fruit rollup. Bryan yells at Kane for scaring off Larry King. Kane: “that was Larry King? I thought it was Skeletor”, which wraps up another awesome Team Hell No segment. We move on to CM Punk and Paul Heyman who is still concerned that Vince McMahon will hold a grudge… unless Punk beats him so severely that he cannot make another decision ever again. Punk tells him that he is going to victimize Vince tonight and Paul should enjoy it.
Vince McMahon vs. CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman): Welp, ratings slip and Vince is in the main event. Punk blindsides Vince during his entrance and kicks his head a bunch of times and then clubbers him on the floor. Punk tosses him into the ring and removes his new jazzy yellow shirt as Vince gets to his feet and tackles him. Punk quickly retains control but the crotchety old man has some fight in him until he walks into a stiff roundhouse kick to the head. Vince is down. He pulls Vince up and tosses him to the floor and rams his face into the announce table. Jim Ross wonders if the match officially started. Punk grabs his headset and screams “whatta maneuver!” at him. Funny. He looks for the GTS but he takes a little too long yelling at the commentators and McMahon is able to shove him into the post. Vince tosses Punk across the announce table. Vince now grabs the mic and says he’s going to teach Punk about respect; he dives over the table and punches away. JR calls this “a main event full of attitude”. Ha! Vince rams a chair into Punk’s guts, or perhaps balls, and tosses him back into the ring. Vince brings a Kendo stick in with him. Punk sees it and rolls to the floor to regroup. He demands Heyman grab the title as he wants to take a walk. Vince cuts Paul off at the pass with a right hand and brings the WWE title into the ring and draws “the line in the sand”. Punk wants his title but Vince swings the Kendo stick at him. Punk looks under the ring and find a Singapore cane (he’s a Paul Heyman guy). He enters the ring and a Kendo stick/Singapore cane duel ensues. The whack each other with the sticks and Punk loses and begs off as the building EXPLODES. Vince charges… right into a grapefruit shot. Crowd didn’t like that. Punk unmercifully pounds on Vince with the sticks and signals for the GTS. Ryback, or Big Hungry as he is now nicknamed, heads to the ring to make the save. Punk quickly retreats and turns right into John Cena who feeds Punk to Ryback for a deadly Sheffield Lariat. The building is rocking now as Ryback hoists Punk up for Shell Shocked. Punk slips free, grabs his title, and escapes into the crowd. Vince grabs the mic and calls it “decision time”, Punk must choose Ryback or Cena at Hell in a Cell and if he does not make the decision by next week, Vince will decide for him. During all of this, Punk looks to be getting into a shoving match with some overzealous fans in the crowd. 6.5/10 Fun main event, although I did not hear a bell, so I don’t think a “match” actually happened. JR’s cryptic attitude comments makes me feel that Vince is trying to recapture the popularity and exposure that the Attitude Era brought, but in PG format. Problem is, once stockholders are involved, you cannot do what the WWE used to do back in 1998. I like “Big Hungry” for Ryback as opposed to “the Human Wrecking Ball”; Vince is looking for his next John Cena, he may have found him.
OVERALL 6/10 Vince made his return… and the show was pretty entertaining; some decent matches and fun promo segments. They are REALLY trying to get Punk a heel and they may have found it. Say what you want about Vince, he elicits a reaction regardless of whether he’s a babyface or a heel. Punk will probably face Ryback at the PPV pending on Cena’s condition; although, I think it is WAY too soon to put Ryback that high on the card since, once you get there, there is no turning back. If it fails, it is very difficult to recover from.