Ryback def. Titus O’Neil
The show opened again, just like last week with Ryback having a quick victory over an opponent bigger than him. He then proceeded to hold the show hostage again until he got what he wanted. As he’s got his title match with Punk at TLC, hopefully this will be the last time we see this same opening segment.
Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Titus O’Neil in the future he really starting to develop as a wrestler and entertainer as he showed last week on commentary.
What was also good to see was Ryback do a promo that wasn’t just full of eating references throughout.
Alberto Del Rio def. The Great Khali
Why oh why is Khali been brought back? The guy can’t wrestle, he not entertaining in any way and it’s impossible to understand what he’s saying even when he’s speaking English.
He was as awkward as ever around the ring until Del Rio, who gains nothing from this match as everyone has beaten Khali now, applied the armbar.
The Shield Interview
My only hope for this segment was that Dean Ambrose would be allowed to continue the gimmick that he has been using at FCW. Listening to him talk is probably the best way to find out, and even though it doesn’t really make sense for him to carry on that psychotic, loner gimmick whilst being part of a stable, there was some glimpses of this persona.
Regardless of gimmicks he still displayed that he is brilliant talker, certainly the best in the group. Seth Rollins is getting there but still needs work, I’m not sure whether he’s had much experience in being a heel but he seems to be more natural as a good guy. Reigns is almost like Batista when he first started in the company, all muscle and no charisma, and though some say he could be the next big thing like his realtive The Rock he is still very green.
Vickie Guerrero, AJ, Cena & Ziggler segment
Our patient is starting to pay off with this storyline as it sees that it’s actually turned into more of feud between Cena and Ziggler. If what we’ve heard is true it looks like this programme is going to be used to help Cena make Ziggler a big star in the company, with a view to Ziggler cashing in his briefcase and becoming World Heavyweight after it’s all done and dusted.
As for the Cena and AJ romance, it’ hard for any of us to take it seriously really, AJ’s had so many on-screen romances in the last year or so many of which have just fizzled out with no real pay-off.
Kofi Kingston def. Tensai
Kingston’s push continued this week with another win,this time over Tensai, with a weak cross body which would do nothing more than wind an opponent. I think WWE sould just hurry up and admit that they have failed with Tensai, or they’ve failed him, just repackage him as Albert or A-Train already.
As for Kingston, I don’t know why but it’s just hard for me to believe he is capable of steeping up to the next level. Maybe a run as a heel would help, just something to give his character a bit of an edge or a mean streak.
Rey Mysterio def. Daniel Bryan
At the times of writing it looks like WWE are going with the idea that this vote was rigged in favour of Kane. I certainly hope so as it seems unlikely Kane won especially after they announced themselves that #WWEBryan was trending worldwide at one point.
John Cena def. Dolph Ziggler
Interesting that they went straight into a head-to-head singles match rather than continue the build-up until it take comes to a head at a major Ppv like TLC or even the Royal Rumble.
Normally I would have thought this would all lead up to a mixed tag-team match at TLC, but with Vickie as Managing Supervisor its unlikely to happen. Also a match between Cena and Ziggler is likely to be Ladder of Tables match.
Sheamus def. Antonio Cesaro
It was great to see Cesaro given a competitive match with Sheamus and shows that WWE are really increasing their faith in him as a performer. They would have normally had Sheamus go right through an opponent like this put having back and forth action like this does everyone a favour. The Celtic Warrior impressive matches with new rising stars in the company is proving invaluable, just as he did with Sandow not so long ago.
This was probably Cesaro’s best match in WWE so far. He showed some incredible strength to pick end the dead weight of Sheamus on to his shoulders and slam him to the canvas and the Neutraliser as well.
It would be great to see a match involving Sheamus or Big Show that doesn’t involve either of them interfering in some way in each others matches. It ruins perfectly good matches and seems to be happening every week with these two.
At the end of the match Big Show destroyed a chair with his own hands, seemingly to show Sheamus how he should be more worried of him than the chair. By making the chair look weak it really nullifies the stipulation of their chairs match at TLC look pointless. If it that weak then why would Big Show need one and why would Sheamus bother with one if it’s that ineffective.
Damien Sandow def. Zack Ryder
Before the match starts Damien Sandow takes to the mic, which is something we need way more of. His audience put downs will never get old and jut the way he talks is so different to everyone else on the roster is a joy to watch.
The match had some decent back and forth action before Sandow got the inevitable victory. It just makes me feel so sorry for Ryder he has done everything the WWE has asked of him and more and still they give him nothing in return, I think he’s the only wrestler that Cole continues to bury despite his face turn.
CM Punk def. Kane
I was surprised and disappointed that CM Punk didn’t to elbow drop in tribute to Randy Savage that he usually does especially since he has just surpassed his record of 371 days as champion.
The Shield once again came to the ring after the match and beat down Punk’s opponent. If they are going along with the idea that they are looking to ‘right injustices’ then they should probably have the group help a face who has been wronged, just to keep viewers guessing.
Randy Orton def. Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler def. Randy Orton & Kofi Kingston
Raw must have been handed the standard Smackdown script for the last several years for the start of this show as Teddy Long made an appearance after a singles matches ended in interference and just so happened to have itself nicely positioned for a tag team match.
Unsurprisingly, both teams got one win from each of these matches making it as even and unpredictable WWE likes to to try to make these matches to be.
Vickie has yet more evidence
With the announcement that Cena was going to be in the title match at Survivor Series I was worried that this storyline would fizzle out with no pay-off, but luckily that doesn’t seem to be the case. I don’t know why this story interests me so much as the only thing that could possibly come out of this would be nothing more than a personal victory for Vickie over AJ. AJ already has her job back as a wrestler, so there really wouldn’t any consequences if she just admitted she did have an affair with Cena if she had.
Big Show def. William Regal
A few weeks ago I was wondering whether there was any thing that could help rekindle my interest in this storyline, well adding William Regal to the mix is the way to go. Playing up to the real life friendship between Sheamus and Regal has certainly added a far more personal feel to the programme.
I know he is semi-retired but I would definitely like to see Regal have one more good run with the company as he has been one of the most underrated and underused stars over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s being only used as enhancement talent as he barely got any offence in this match.
Jerry Lawler’s Return
It was a classy move by WWE to allow to give Jerry Lawler another chance to thank everyone for their well-wishes. However, this is WWE TV I think we all knew at some point deep down that someone was going to turn up and spoil it by interrupting. And this case it was CM Punk and Paul Heyman.
For those who are moaning that it was insensitive and cheap for them to have Heyman fake a heart attack in front of Lawler, you’re right it was, but there’s no way they would have done that without getting permission from Lawler beforehand. I was more offended by the cameraman who continued to film Lawler while he was given CPR and loaded onto the ambulance as he was fighting for his life.
Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio def. The Prime Time Players, Primo & Epico
This match was great fun to watch and as a bonus was the perfect way to advertise the tag-team division. Four teams competing, having equal opportunity inside the ring with fast paced action will never become dull to watch.
It was also nice to see that they haven’t broken up the team of Kidd and Gabriel, as it looked at one point that they were going to give Gabriel a run with the US Title, but I don’t think he’s ready for that step up yet.
Ryback def. Brad Maddox
Well done for once to WWE for actually surprising me for once. I would put everything I had on Maddox having some sort of agreement with Punk and Heyman to help him win the match in some way or another, but no, it was just a normal typical squash match for Ryback.
Of course, this won’t be the last time we see Maddox. I’m excited to see what they do with this character, there’s something interesting about him as this outsider desperately trying to get in that intrigues me. At this moment in time there’s certainly a lot of similarities between him and ‘Dangerous’ Danny Davis.
For Ryback there isn’t really a lot to be gained from beating up a referee, it doesnt make him look tough. If he beat him up outside of a sanctioned match then that would at least make him look like a loose cannon.
Sheamus def. David Otunga
After several weeks of decent matches Sheamus was given the standard squash match against David Otunga. You got to give Otunga some credit, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen him be the whipping boy to one the company’s top good guys. He must love what he’s doing to put up with the amount of times he’s being buried of TV. Presumably, he must be paying his dues before he eventually gets a push. Whether or not fans will believe it or not after how pathetic they make him look is another question for another time.
Kane & The Miz def. Team Rhodes Scholars
For the sporadic ‘Raw Active’ feature of Raw, the fans chose The Miz to be Kane’s partner and the final member of Team Ziggler. As WWE seem to be in the process of turning The Miz onto a babyface I’m sceptical, as I always am, as to how genuine this ‘poll’ was. They benefit entirely by having him on the team and would speed up the whole transition of his character which leaves me dubious. It would also be odd to have the man who is on the poster not be on the show at all.
As for the match itself, it’s a testament to just how entertaining Daniel Bryan is that even with all that great talent in the ring, he is still the most entertaining part of the segment. He has proven that he can be not only be one of the best wrestlers in the company but also one of the most reliable personalities as well in recent months.
John Cena def. CM Punk
Another good match between the two ruined by inevitable interference from Ryback. Once again the show ended with a stare down between Cena and Ryback which adds to my worry that WWE official still believe that they are the two biggest draws in the company. This all adds ammunition to Punk’s cause that he is not being the given the respect that he deserves, but at least Punk was in shot this time which acts as some kind of reminder that he is still in this match.
The fact that Punk is being deliberately pushed into the background of people’s minds only makes me more confident that he will retain the title on Sunday in some way or another.
It has been reported recently that WWE officials are looking at overseas stadia to host a major PPV event in the future. Seemingly impressed with the crowds they got in the recent UK tour, it looks like this is going to be the most likely destination. With this in mind I thought I would evaluate the most likely candidates;
Home to – The F.A. & the England Football Team
Capacity – 90,000 (105,000 with standing)
This was the last British stadium to host a PPV outside of North America as it hosted Summerslam 1992. Of course this is a very different stadium nowadays as the stadium was torn down in 2003 and rebuilt on the same plot of the land as the old incarnation of the stadium.Given that WWE like the tradition of returning to arenas where they know they can and have had success in the past is something that must make this stadium the favourite.
Opened eventually in 2007, it actually began hosting music concerts rather than football matches as the F.A. Were desperate to pay as much the staggering £798million price tag off as quickly possible, they are still doing so they probably be open to any of WWE’s interest. The busiest time for the stadium will be mid-late July as it hosts Play-Off mates and FA Cup Final ties here but that should avoid the usual time-slots of Summerslam and Wrestlemania.
The stadium has a partially retractable roof to try and keep the pitch in sunlight for as long as possible, which is a slight setback as Britain tends pretty unpredictable summers.
What will definitely appeal to WWE officials is its potential 105,000 capacity with added seating over the pitch. WWE always likes to go somewhere they can break a record there is definitely scope to achieve a new record here.
There would certainly be a lot of prestige to be gained here for any PPV as this stadium is so highly regarded by football fans as being the ‘Home of Football’ and having the first wrestling event at this venue will probably be something that would attract WWE.
As you would expect with heavily populated city like London there are plenty of transport options available through trains, buses and the London Underground.
Home to – Welsh Rugby Union, Welsh Football Team
Capacity – 74,500
Opened in 1999, in Cardiff, Wales, it is another stadium that has been used as a multi-event stadum having hosted speedway, show-jumping and music concerts for the likes of U2, The Rolling Stones and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Most notably though it has hosted boxing matches, which considering their similar requirements e.g. ring-wise and seating plans, would give the stadium the edge as it has a good reputation for being able to host events of this variety.
Another attraction to this stadium for WWE officials is most likely to be its fully retractable roof, which only takes 20 minutes to open and close. This will be a lifesaver if the weather turns sour at the last minute.
I’ve been to this stadium myself, and despite the large capacity it is a surprisingly small stadium when you get inside it. So I think that even those the cheap seats will have a very good view from the rafters here.
Home to – Manchester United F.C.
Capacity – 76,765
Although its not the prettiest or typical choice of venue for a stadium event that WWE usually go for, it certainly has the prestige value as its home the most successful football club in England in recent times.
As its used a lot more than previous stadiums because of the football season it will be unlikely it will be chosen for Wrestlemania as the season is still ongoing around the beginning of April. Furthermore, the football season usually restarts around August, the same time as Summerslam is normally held, so it’s an outside shot that this stadium will be available, let alone chosen.
It doesn’t host many other events, but when it does it either hosts rugby matches or music events with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart performing here before.
This is one the most central stadiums available in the UK which would be a bonus for all travelling fans in Britain as it would obviously lead to reduced travelling for most attending. The stadium also has its own railway station adjacent to it which is ideal for those looking to travel back home straight after the event.
As this is stadium was built in 1910 it does not have a roof and with Manchester having reputation for being one of the wettest places in Britain it may scare off WWE officials.
Just in case your wondering why I didn’t include the Olympic Stadium. It is still undetermined what it’s next use is going to be. Regardless, of whether it goes on to be permanent home for a football team, an athletics stadium or a multi-purpose stadium like the O2 arena, it is likely that the capacity will be greatly reduced below the figures that WWE usually likes to get for a major PPV.
While The Ascension is a tag-team that excites me, it is hard to determine what exactly the gimmick is all about. It must be hard for Cameron and O’Brian to believe creative have faith in the gimmick seeing as it has already had several variations involving Ricardo Rodriguez, Primo and Raquel. But luckily it looks like they have found a formula that is going to work.
Back to direction of the group, several vignettes have been aired, all of them more vague than the last. Presumably, when WWE divulges more information about them
I’m not saying for a second that I don’t like the mystique and intrigue that their creating around Ascension, it’s just that’s normally left to debut promos and left behind once they reach television and more colour is added to the characters.
One of the problems I have with the gimmick is the decision for them to keep the aliases they were using before they started the group. The trouble I have is that the just sound to ordinary, there’s is nothing scary or intimidating about a man called Kenneth, and Conor O’Brian could do with changing his name so he can distance himself from his ‘rat-like’ angle that fans remember him more on the original NXT.
While they have similarities to The Ministry when it comes to there apparent interest in the darkness, their pretty ordinary everyday sounding names really take away from from any sense of mystique from their characters. I’m not suggesting that they have gimmicky names like Viscera or Mideon, but they could have something that would strike a little more fear into their opponents eyes.
I’m definitely a fan of their entrance though. The creepy, atmospheric music coupled with flashes of their entrance video is a throwback to the days of D-Generation X, and certainly makes what is just a slow walk to ring seem energetic, intimidating and kind of epic. It’s certainly one of the most exciting and unique entrances we’ve seen since The Undertaker and gives the WWE plenty of room to experiment with different video and lighting effects just like they did with the Phenom.
Something that would assume from the name of the team is that they would adopt a high-flying moveset inside the ring, instead they have a much more physical style to them where they like to keep their opponents in their quarter of the ring. However, their finishing move as a tag-team, a leg sweep and spinning heel kick, is a little anti-climatic. Whether or not their not timing the move right or just not getting enough power in the move called the ‘Fall of Man’ leaves it just looking very weak and disappointing.
As good as it is to see tag-teams regularly facing each other, it would be great if NXT would feature more established teams to face The Ascension other than the Uso’s for a change. Although it’s good for them to form some sort of chemistry before they’re both called up to the main roster but it would be good for them to test themselves against varying styles of opponents rather than just the USO’s high-flying style.
I’d love to see this tag-team on one of the main rosters very soon as their very unique and offer something completely different to the growing tag-team division.
Guy Fawkes Night Eve’s episode of Raw came from Birmingham, England in front a great crowd who into the entire show making even some of the normally dull parts of the show entertaining. Just makes me hope that they increase the amount of live television shows they do in my home country. Also, nice to hear that the commentators had been finally made aware that we don’t over-emphasise the ‘ham’ part of Birmingham like they do in Alabama. Next Milan, not ‘Mee-lon’.
Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara & R-Truth v Team Rhodes Scholars & Antonio Cesaro
I know he’s still learning the WWE way of wrestling but its still amazes me that a man of Sin Cara’s talent and experience still needs to be seemingly stewarded around the ring when it comes to doing some pre-planned spots. I did enjoy see them mocking PTP’s ‘move’ dance, its shows that they are really starting to gel as a team in and out the ring.
Vickie gives more evidence
Once again Vickie Guerrero claimed to have yet more proof that John Cena and AJ Lee were having an ‘inappropriate relationship’ whilst she was General Manager. I don’t know exactly where their trying to go with this storyline. AJ has just been put on probation so she really has nothing to lose if its proved she did have an affair with Cena, and only JR seems to have been more fired than him so if his jobs on the line again no fan is going to take the threat seriously again if his jobs on the line.
The only thing this angle currently successful in doing is creating some kind of image of Cena being a stud, certainly judging by the crowd. Or maybe it’s just that it’s been so long that we’ve anything that could be interpreted adult on WWE TV in recent years that even the slight hint of sex happening can get an audience excited.
Also, with Cena thrown back into the title picture again it’ll be interesting to see how much attention this storyline will get as it is mainly about events in the past that no bearing on whats occurring now.
Daniel Bryan v Cody Rhodes & Kane v Damien Sandow
First of all it’s got to be said that a great crowd like we had on Monday make any match doubly entertaining, it only a shame that the Daniel Bryan match that they were so into was such a short match.
With both teams scoring a win in each of their respective matches means that really we’ve learned nothing from this as neither team have built any momentum going into Survivor Series so far. Maybe it would be better if some sort of jeopardy was created for one the sides.
Brad Maddox Explanation
I worry about Brad Maddox. Given that WWE script writers went back and forth about how to finish the main even at HIAC there’s no way that this was their original plan for him. Which leads me to suspect their not going to have much for him in the long run as their already seemingly making it up as they go along. And assuming he was not expecting this push and possibly not ready himself for the amount of TV time he’s having, if he doesn’t make a good impression now it could ruin his opportunities in the future.
Although he did seem a little nervous at first when speaking at first, as he constantly scratching his forehead suggesting he wanted to shy away as he wasn’t comfortable with the attention, he did get better and more confident the promo went on so there’s definite potential there.
CM Punk v Ryback v John Cena announcement
What a complete shambles the creative team are turning out to be at the moment. After spending most of last weeks episode hyping the announcement of the teams for Team Punk v Team Foley they throw a spanner(wrench) into the works and confuse everyone. Apparently they weren’t happy with the reaction this match got.
Another problem as they have to find a way of having CM Punk keep the title and not only keep Ryback looking unbeatable but also ‘Super Cena’ as well. Furthermore, Cena hasn’t wrestled in about a month and a half so God knows why he deserves a title shot. Then again Rock’s going to walk back in in a few months and take it anyway.
Now it’s Team Ziggler v Team Foley, two captains who have no reason to go against each other so their going to have scramble a reason together before next week. The Miz has also quit Team Ziggler so its going to be difficult for those two to further their feud from hear to Survivor Series.
Sheamus v The Miz & Alberto Del Rio v Kofi Kingston
Two matches here that involve feuds that I really wish just end as they seem to have run their course. What more can be done with Sheamus and Big Show? They both kicked out of each others finishers, Big Show has defended his title for longer than 45 seconds. A new angle is needed to breathe new life into it.
The same can be said for Del Rio and Orton. As soon as the latter’s music hit in Del Rio’s match you just knew what was coming next. It’s great to see Kofi’s get another chance at making it big in the company, however I think he benefit more if he had his own match Survivor Series rather than being lost amongst nine other wrestlers in the traditional elimination match.
Wade Barrett v Brodus Clay
Great to see Barrett get a heroes welcome in his home country for once after years of being booed by his fellow compatriots. Despite being back since September, he has yet to be given any kind of programme, only playing a peripheral role in the Randy Orton-Alberto Del Rio rivalry.
As for the Funkasaurus, another loss suggests that WWE are beginning to cool on his character, and no that their starting to bring out kids to dance with him, much like with Heidenreich. It’s about time they gave him that push as a monster heel.
Heath Slater v Jey Uso
I’m delighted to see that their finally giving Slater, McIntyre and Mahal a chance to give something to sink their teeth into with a regular spot on TV and along with the Uso’s there are a lot of future stars in the company in this match that they need to spend more time on.
That being said it really doesn’t really make any sense that a man like Jinder Mahal who was so stern, traditional and religious would suddenly give that all up to join a ‘rock group’ however it’s fun gimmick, for us and for them by the looks of it, so I’m not complaining for once. He also looks completely uncomfortable and out of place, especially with the turban, just isn’t what you expect near bandanas but its unique so it might work.
Ryback & John Cena v CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler
The match concluded with Ryback getting another pinfall victory over CM Punk. The fact that they are giving him pinfall victories over him is just to show that he can beat him before he inevitably gets screwed at Survivor Series. The problem here is that if they are to keep the title with CM Punk until Royal Rumble as rumoured then they need a finish to the match that makes everyone competitor come out with their credibility unharmed. It should be easier than HIAC as there are less restrictions without the Hell in the Cell match and its rules.
Apparently the finish they did on the show of having Ryback and Cena stare each other down has been continued at house shows as well. I just hope that doesn’t mean their going to take the focus off of CM Punk and the WWE title as it would be a horrible case of art imitating life.