From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
After an episode of Raw that was pretty much identical to the episode of Smackdown that I reviewed last week, does this mean that the two shows have officially merged into one story line?
The Superstars vs. The Corporation
I have very fond memories of the attitude area when such themes were first played out but I have not forgotten how convoluted and confusing things got with all the heel and face turns and underhanded skulduggery that took place in that era. I hope that WWE has learnt its lessons and delivers us a new and improved version in 2013.
The weeks show starts with Triple H coming down to the ring to a standing ovation by the crowd and commentators, JBL and Michael Cole. He tells us that the Superstars are blaming management for their own failures. He says that despite all of the criticism from the WWE Universe, he and Stephanie McMahon are only doing what is best for business.
Awesome! The Miz makes his way to the ring. Triple H tells the Miz that he is the perfect example of the type of Superstar that he is describing, somebody who blames everybody else for their own mistakes.
Triple H tells him that he gave him an opportunity against Randy Orton and he failed. He then tells The Miz that he gave him a second opportunity by giving him Miz TV slot on Raw with special guest The Big Show but that ended terribly too. The Miz states that it was all a set up to get him knocked out by The Big Show. Triple H tells The Miz he is going to give him one last opportunity to get his revenge on Randy Orton tonight on Smackdown.
Somehow I don’t think this will turn out well for The Miz.
First match of the evening.
R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio
R-Truth gets a jobbers entrance. I’m pretty sure I reviewed this match last week, but let’s see how it turns out the second time round.
Del Rio attacks first with a couple of punches. R truth retaliates and the two go back and forth with a series of kicks. R- Truth tries to attack Del Rio with a Big Kick that he misses. Then he misses a big splash into the corner. Del Rio then kicks him in the face and rolls him up for the win.
After the match Del Rio attacks R-Truth in his usual heelish manor. RVD runs down to the ring to defend him. He attacks Del Rio with a chair and follows it up with a running kick to the face of Del Rio with a chair.
The Real American vs. Prime Time Players
Zeb Colter tells the crowd that he has a new rule. He states that people in the crowd are not allowed to use the phrase ‘We The People’ unless you are a ‘Real American’. Will this encourage them to say it more, I think so.
Jack Swagger starts in the ring with Titus O’Neil. After a couple of big moves from Titus the Real Americans quickly gain control of the match. Cesaro Is tagged in, He grabs Titus O’Neil by the legs and shows his incredible strength by swinging him around the ring 22 times. Darren Young gets tagged in and hits a couple of big spots to Cesaro. The crowd seem to really love him now he has came out the closet, but to be fair he is really talented in the ring.
After some shenanigans Titus gets knocked to the outside by Swagger, Darren has a pin on Cesaro but the ref is distracted. Darren Young hits the Gut Check and attempts to roll up Cesaro, but there was a blind tag to Swagger. Swagger enters the ring and applies the Patriot Lock to Darren Young. Darren Young taps out and sells like crazy by screaming in agony.
Happy to see the Real Americans win a match instead of jobbing out. I don’t think this hurts the Primetime Players in any way; they are still carrying a lot of heat at the moment.
Bray Wyatt vs. Zack Ryder
Before this match even begun the first word that came to mind was, squash. I am getting a little worried about the direction of the Wyatt story lines because I think at this stage we should have them in some sort of feud with somebody. I know they still have the Kane story simmering in the background but at this point I’m not even convinced they know where they are going with it. I still love the gimmick but I hope we have not already seen it at its peak.
Zack manages to hit Bray with about three punches before he is chopped in half by Brays variation on a cross body. The size of Bray Wyatt always makes this move look convincing for me. From that point on Bray grinds Zack down with a couple of stretch holds whilst laughing in a very cool sadistic way. Zack manages one last attempt at trying to remove his title as number one jobber before it is abruptly ended Bray Wyatt delivers Sister Abigail’s kiss and picks up the win.
Good match for Bray but he needs something bigger to sink his teeth into.
Dean Ambrose Vs Dolph Ziggler (United States Championship Match)
Ambrose makes his way to the ring accompanied by Reigns and Rollins. The Shield stands in the ring and intimidates Dolph. Kofi Kingston and RVD make their way down to accompany Dolph, to stop the Shield from interrupting the match. I sense a six man tag on the horizon.
The match is decent, both men wrestling with smarts, Ambrose slowing the match down and Ziggler speeding it up. No sooner had I thought this is turning into a really good title match, the match spills to the outside and everybody gets involved. DQ sees Ziggler lose his opportunity to win the belt.
Triple H comes out and says that he will not have anarchy in the WWE. If everybody wants to get involved then this match can now be a three on three, six man tag match. Silly me for thinking a title would change hands on Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and RVD vs. The Shield.
RVD takes control from the begging hitting a standing Moonsault on Rollins in the middle of the ring. He follows that up with a Rolling Thunder. Rollins manages to switch the offence by attacking RVDS bandaged up arm that he is still nursing after his fight with Del Rio. Ambrose gets the tag; he continues to work on RVD.
RVD tags in Ziggler, Ziggler starts his series of big elbows (the heart stopper) but is distracted by Rollins and Ambrose manages to regain offence. Reign’s is tagged in and he hits Ziggler with a devastating clothesline. A couple more quick tags keep’s Ziggler contained in the Shields corner.
Ziggler eventually gets the hot tag to Kofi. Kofi jumps into action as you would expect with a series of kicks and chops. He lands the Boom Drop on Ambrose and attempts the trouble in paradise which he misses but then follows up with a huge back flip off the top rope but only picking up the two count before it’s interrupted by Rollins.
Then all hell breaks loose. Ziggler hits Rollins with the Famasser, Reigns hits Ziggler with a spear, RVD hits Reigns with a cross kick from the top rope and then clotheslines Reigns to the outside and follows it up with a Moonsault to the outside. Kofi lands a big chop to Ambrose and sets up his finisher. More shenanigans ensue, Rollins hits Kofi with a kick to the head and Ambrose rolls Kofi up for the win.
Great finish to the match. Really enjoyed all the spots and I thought the timing was pretty close to perfect. Dolph and Rollins continue to sell like masters of the craft and Ambrose continues to put on a master class. If anything I would say RVD is the weak link in this line up. He is miles away from what he once was. He looks slow and rigid; I can’t see him getting any better. Eventually the crowd will get bored of the same old spots and then it’s downhill from there.
Backstage Triple H reminds The Big Show that he is in charge and Big Show has no choice but to do what he says. He tells him he could find other remedial jobs for him to do if he doesn’t want to be a wrestler. The Big Show gets angry, balls his fist up, screams and exits stage left.
Cameron Vs AJ Lee
This next match is terrible, with a least three noticeable botches from Cameron. AJ’s character is really suffering because of the lack of any legitimate opponents to match her in the ring. It’s such a shame that Natalya is such a botch queen because I think there is potential there for a decent match. Even the possibility of Naomi vs. AJ could be good but not with its current story line. Hurry up and get Paige on Smackdown.
I won’t bore you with the details of the match. One, Two, Three, AJ Wins.
Paul Heyman walks out to the ramp and thanks Curtis Axel and Ryback and the whole WWE Universe for helping him ambush CM Punk on Monday Night Raw. He tells us that CM Punk has no chance against Ryback at Battleground. He tells us that at the end of the night at Battleground CM Punk will be lying on his back looking up at Paul Heyman, ‘The Best in the World’.
Heath Slater vs. Santino Marella
This match will possibly go down as one of the smartest or one of the dumbest gimmicks this year. I’m undecided. Either way the crowd hated it.
After a normal mundane start from Heath Slater and Santino, Santino reaches into his tights and pulls out the cobra. Before he can attack Slater, Jinder Mahal jumps up onto the apron and starts playing an instrument to attract the snake’s attention. (The correct name for the instrument that snake charmers use is called a Pungi). That is not what Jinder Mahal is playing.
The sock, sorry I mean the snake on Santino’s hand seems to be working against him until The Great Khali jumps up on the other side of the ring and starts playing his instrument. (This is also not a Pungi). Eventually Hornswoggle attacks Jinder Mahal, thus freeing Santino’s Cobra from the trance. Santino then attacks Slater with the Cobra and wins the match.
That was possibly the most surreal match I have seen or reviewed this year. I can imagine being eight years old again and really enjoying it. There is nothing wrong with a bit of fun in wrestling and for some strange reason I think this actually worked. Only real reservation I have is that both men are supposed to be from India. I know Jinder is from Canada but Khali is actually from India but neither of them brought the correct instrument. It’s all in the details.
Video segment – Triple H tells us that he is giving the Rhodes family the chance to come to Raw next week and he is going to offer them a proposition.
Randy Orton Vs The Miz
A couple of minutes into the match I took a cheeky look at the clock and realised there were only eight minutes left of the programme. At this point I realised there would be no Daniel Bryan this week on Smackdown.
This match is supposed to serve as a punishment for The Miz for disrespecting the McMahons. Shortly into the match The Miz sells a shoulder injury. The medic approaches The Miz to check if he is ok but Randy attacks him. Randy gets disqualified.
Triple H comes out and says that he is not going to allow Randy Orton to get disqualified and restarts the match with a No DQ stipulation. This then gives Randy the opportunity to inflict more pain on The Miz on the outside. He throws The Miz into the steal stairs and railings. The Miz retaliates with a chair shot. Randy delivers his signature DDT to The Miz on the outside, leaving The Miz unconscious. Randy Rolls The Miz into the middle of the ring and thinks about pinning him but not before he delivers the RKO. Randy pins him and get the win.
I thought this was a clever ending because Triple H’s intervention serves two points; firstly it upsets and frustrates Randy because he has to fight The Miz again, and secondly it allows Triple H to inflict more pain on The Miz for disrespecting Stephanie McMahon. This is a good way to demonstrate Triple H’s power. After seeing what he did to the Shield on Raw I can only assume that the angle they are going for is not alliance with the heels, but instead the McMahons control everybody like puppets. Nobody is safe. I am not sure where this will end up but it is interesting at the moment.
This week’s episode had its moments. The lack of Daniel Bryan was not too much of an issue. Randy Orton continues to get better now he can play the heel again, and until the McMahon family becomes fractured this could be an enjoyable journey. I would say this week was a step up from last week’s Squashamania.
– By Sebastian Bowen