9/1 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Chris Jericho interviews Randy Orton on The Highlight Reel, Growing Up Bella, Night of Champions build continues on the Labor Day show
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena
[Q1] Chris Jericho stood in the ring for The Highlight Reel while Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL checked in on commentary. JBL said Jericho always holds out for the fan reaction. "I'm bored already," JBL said. Jericho was about to introduce Randy Orton as his guest, but he was interrupted.
Triple H's music played. Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane, and Seth Rollins walked onto the stage wearing suits. "This is how you kick off Monday Night Raw," JBL commented. Jericho looked at the foursome once they entered the ring and said he was expecting Orton to come out alone. "I wasn't expecting you to bring out your lawfirm of sellout, suck up, and schnoz."
Triple H said Jericho never grew up. "I mean that both figuratively and literally," Hunter said. Jericho mocked that he's "just a wittle guy." Jericho said he's confused because Hunter normally doesn't conduct important business in the ring unless his wife is being thrown in jail. Hunter mocked Jericho's scarf. Jericho mocked Hunter's pink tie. Hunter said it was "violet, nimrod."
Hunter said he watched the SummerSlam match and listened to the experts. He said having a Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena rematch might not be best for business. Hunter said he is contemplating coming up with a new No. 1 contender for Night of Champions. Jericho acted shocked and then said, "You mean you can get WWE Network for $9.99?" The crowd laughed.
Jericho turned his focus to the possibility of someone other than Cena getting the title shot. Orton made his case. Kane said maybe he will open the gates of hell. "Or maybe the future has already arrived," Rollins said. The crowd came to life for Rollins. Cole quickly pointed out that Rollins is from Iowa, where Raw is being held. Jericho started to make a case for himself.
John Cena's music played and he walked to the ring without the usual entrance routine. Once inside the ring, Cena paced back and forth before asking Hunter what the hell he was talking about. Cena said that just because Hunter's friends Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels don't think he can't beat Brock Lesnar doesn't mean he won't. He said they also believed he couldn't beat Triple H at WrestleMania 22, but he tapped him out. Cena said he could go back and watch that match for $9.99.
Cena said he would sue Hunter for every penny he has if he doesn't get his rematch. He said he would take over Hunter's job and fire him. Cena told Hunter to save himself a headache and his job. Cena stated again he's not just going to beat Brock Lesnar, he's going to beat his ass.
"All I can say is wow," Hunter said. "This is actually where you're at with this." Triple H mocked the idea of Cena suing. Hunter said he may not feel that John Cena as World Heavyweight Champion is best for business anymore, but Cena's career ending at the hands of Lesnar at NOC "is not best for business at all."
Rollins said he'd let Cena have the match. "If an opportunity should present itself, there's always Plan B," Rollins said in reference to his Money in the Bank briefcase. Orton asked whatever happened to his rematch from way back at WrestleMania. Jericho said it's still the Highlight Reel and Orton has had 4,000 title matches and never succeeded.
Jericho recalled Roman Reigns beating Orton at SummerSlam. Orton said the loss and Reigns mean nothing. He said if Reigns were there he would drop him on the spot. Reigns' music hit and he made his entrance through the crowd.
[Q2] Reigns entered the ring and looked at Orton. "Well, here I am, Randy," he said. "Drop me." Reigns told Triple H that his name belongs in the mix for a title shot. Hunter said it seemed like everyone in the ring thought he's "the guy." Hunter said he doesn't know if he or even Cena believes in Cena's resolve.
Hunter said he would give everyone in the ring a chance to prove themselves in a six-man with Cena, Reigns, and Jericho vs. Rollins, Orton, and Kane in a six-man tag. "Let's see who can earn their spot," Hunter said. "Let's see who can prove it. I'll sit right down there (ringside) and I'll be watching. Hunter left the ring. Rollins tried to hit Reigns with his briefcase, but Reigns saw it coming and punched Rollins, then threw his briefcase at him...
Cole hyped Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a tag match. Footage was shown of Miz attacking Sheamus on Smackdown, then the broadcast team hyped Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler vs. Miz and Cesaro for later in the show as well... Backstage, Sheamus and Ziggler were shown walking... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd was fairly lively for most of the segment, but they were pretty quiet after the six-man tag match was announced. The tease for the possibility of Cena not getting the title shot is interesting. I still assume the match is on, but it almost seemed like they were trying to go back and act like Cena might not be in Superman mode even though he clearly was last week. The 20-minute segment overstayed its welcome, as they probably could have accomplished everything they did and had a better segment had they trimmed it by five minutes.
1. Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro and The Miz (w/Damien Sandow). Miz wore shades in the corner as Cesaro got things started for his team. Ziggler chased Miz off the apron. He sat down in a chair and got water from Cesaro, as well as a makeup touchup from an unnamed woman. Miz entered the match and was roughed up until Cesaro made a blind tag and caught Sheamus with a dropkick heading into the break.
[Q3] [C] Ziggler took a hot tag and had a nice run of offense on Miz that woke up the crowd. Cesaro and Sheamus ended up at ringside. Ziggler went for a Fameasser, but Miz fled the ring. "Action!" Sandow yelled before entering the ring. With Ziggler distracted, Miz grabbed him from behind and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win...
The Miz and Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus in 11:20.
Powell's POV: Somehow, playing the role of Alex Riley actually feels like an upgrade for Sandow compared to what he had been doing. I like the way Cole questioned how Sandow's distraction was fair. JBL and Lawler praised it and Cole actually sounded off against the heels cheating for once.
Footage from last week's Raw aired of Nikki Bella chewing out her bad actress sister Brie Bella. They included the "I wish you had died in the womb" line. Ugh...
Growing Up Bella time. Nikki's promo photo was shown. Nikki said her prom date Ryan disappeared. She said she found Ryan in the parking lot with Brie. She said she went home and cried her eyes out, but she never told anyone that...
Powell's POV: Everything Nikki says about Brie makes Brie out to be the worst person alive. Last week Brie just did an awful job of trying to cry. She really needs to shoot down the things that her sister says about her or viewers will be left wondering whether there's truth in what Nikki is saying. By the way, I get the feeling that creative is way more excited about the Bellas feud than the fan base is.
2. Naomi, Summer Rae, and Layla vs. Rosa Mendes, Eva Marie, and Cameron. The match was thrown out quickly when all six Divas fought in the ring. The babyface trio (Naomi's team) sent the heels to ringside after the match...
Naomi, Summer Rae, and Layla fought Rosa Mendes, Eva Marie, and Cameron to a no-contest in 1:00.
Powell's POV: This match was all about the broadcast team pimping the premiere of Total Divas for Sunday night. It still managed to be lousy in just one minute.
[Q4] Footage aired from last week of Roman Reigns trying to throw a cinderblock at Seth Rollins.. The broadcast team hyped the six-man tag main event and reminded viewers that Triple H would be at ringside trying to determine who will be in the ring with Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions. Lawler hyped Henry and Show vs. Rowan and Harper for after the break... [C]
3. Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Lawler marveled at Henry and Show being billed at a combined weight of 824 lbs. The Wyatt Family received the cellphone treatment, yet there wasn't much of a vocal crowd reaction. They cut to break roughly 2:30 into the match. [C] After the break, Rusev and Lana walked out and stood in the aisle.
[Q5] Harper and Rowan isolated Show, who eventually fought his way out. There was actually a "Sexual Chocolate" chant. Then again, there are also Macho Man and Ric Flair impersonators in the front row. Who says Iowa is behind the times? Henry took a tag and worked over Harper and slammed him. Rowan broke up the pin attempt. Show shoved Rowan over the top rope and chased him to ringside. In the ring, Henry went for his finisher, but Rusev entered the ring and caught Henry with a kick for the DQ. Show chased off the Wyatt Family members with a chair and then helped Henry to his feet...
Big Show and Mark Henry defeated Luke Harper and Erick Rowan by DQ in 11:00.
Powell's POV: I am as baffled as everyone else when it comes to the way the Wyatt Family members have become secondary players in WWE. I guess the Rusev vs. Henry feud is back on this week.
Another Growing Up Bella segment aired. Nikki recalled taking the driver's test when they were 16. Nikki said she passed and Brie failed. She said her mom bought them a car. Nikki said she drove them around everywhere and they had fun. Nikki said Brie stole the car and her driver's license, then got in an accident and gave the police Nikki's license. "But I never told anyone," Nikki concluded...
Cole hyped a John Cena segment for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: At what point does Nikki start acting like a heel rather than a borderline sympathetic figure?
Cut NFL player Michael Sam was invited to appear on next week's Raw. The broadcast team said the first openly gay NFL player deserves to be on a roster or a practice squad, and they would give him an open mic if he accepts their invitation...
Powell's POV: WWE would certainly get a lot of media attention if Sam takes them up on the offer. Heck, I'm sure they'll get some just for issuing the invitation since ESPN reports on all things Sam, including his locker room showering habits. That said, I will be surprised if Sam takes them up on the offer if he's still focussed on making an NFL team, as he should be given his talent. It's hard enough for him to get looks from NFL teams due to the perception that he brings the media circus to town with him, and appearing on Raw wouldn't help that. That said, if he chooses to move in a different direction then why not take the payday?
[Q6] A brief John Cena video was shown... Paul Heyman was introduced and he delivered a promo while standing on the stage. Heyman said Cena didn't listen to reason from the Hall of Fame panel last week, nor did he listen to reason when Triple H spoke to him early.
Heyman said Cena is so desperate to hold onto the image the fans have of him and that's why he'll be spectacular in the main event of Raw. Heyman said you could stack the entire locker room together and multiply it by infinity and it still wouldn't equate to half the brutality that Cena will be subjected to when he steps into the ring with Lesnar at Night of Champions...
The broadcast team hyped the Lesnar vs. Cena rematch for Night of Champions as the graphic was shown. Cole questioned whether Heyman was right. Lawler said you can't believe what Heyman says. JBL reminded viewers that Triple H said he would observe what happens in the main event... Jack Swagger made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: I guess they want the Cena fans to stay up late to make sure their guy gets his match. It's really strange to hear Hunter say that he'll observe what happens in the main event before making up his mind, only to have graphics promoting the match and Heyman delivering a promo for the match.
Footage aired from Smackdown of Bo Dallas throwing in the towel for Jack Swagger during his match with Rusev on Smackdown...
4. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Curtis Axel. Chairs were set up on the stage as Bo Dallas stood smiling in front of them with a mic in his hand. Two men and a woman sat down in the chairs behind Bo. In the ring, Axel threw a nice dropkick, then Swagger rolled to ringside for a moment. Cole said Swagger has been missing the motivation that Zeb provides. Swagger went for the Swagger Bomb, but Axel put his foot up. Swagger spotted it and stopped the move and instead applied the Patriot Lock for the win...
Jack Swagger beat Curtis Axel in 2:35.
After the match, Dallas congratulated Swagger on his win and said he had something he wanted show him. He whipped out his Bo-nis, er, no, that's not what happened. He introduced the first fan, Ricky, and said he was a farmer who bet an entire months' salary on Swagger, then went double or nothing and lost his farm.
Bo introduced Angelo and said he was an up and coming singer who emigrated to the country a few years ago. Bo said Angelo was so disappointed by Swagger's performances that he failed his citizenship test and is being deported. Bo introduced the female fan as Jennifer. She said her son's favorite wrestler was Swagger, but now he idolizes Vladimir Putin, whose image was shown on the big screen. Dallas had the trio stand up with him, put their hands on their hearts, and said, "All you have to do is Bolieve"...
Powell's POV: I love the Bo Dallas character and even I thought that was the shits. For that matter, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the first half of the show. Monday Night Football starts next week and so far the only compelling thing the company has going for next week involves Michael Sam, who probably won't even be there.
[Q7] [C] 5. Adam Rose vs. Titus O'Neil (w/Heath Slater). The Rosebuds danced to the ring with Rose. The bunny that accompanies Rose hopped toward Slater, who punched him. The bunny got up and threw repeated punches at Slater. Rose rolled up a distracted Titus and pinned him...
Adam Rose pinned Titus O'Neil in 2:00.
Powell's POV: The bunny silliness got a decent reaction from the crowd. It's one of those things I would get a kick out of if Raw was really clicking, but on this show it just felt like sports entertainment garbage.
Growing Up Bella time. Nikki said Brie almost didn't graduate. Nikki said Brie had her switch places with her and take her final exam for her. "But I never told anyone," she said...
Powell's POV: And that's how Twin Magic was born.
Rusev and Lana made their entrance... [C] A WWE Network commercial aired. The broadcast team hyped the network and Attitude Era Week. JBL actually said "all pay-per-views" are included, which is much better than the odd call of listing certain shows...
Lana delivered a promo about how Russia celebrated a day of knowledge, while the Americans celebrated Labor Day. "In other words," she started before saying she was struggling to come up with the "American words." "You suck"...
[Q8] 6. Rusev vs. Zack Ryder. It only took Lana 40 seconds to tell Rusev to crush. He did and won with the Accolade...
Rusev defeated Zack Ryder in 0:50.
After the match, Mark Henry's music played while Lana and Rusev were celebrating in front of the giant Russian flag. Henry entered the ring and Rusev fled to ringside. JBL said he didn't expect to see that and questioned what Rusev was afraid of. Henry took the mic and accused Rusev of being afraid, then said he was afraid of what he would do to Rusev if he got his hands on him. He said he's the strongest man in the strongest country.
Henry said Rusev thinks he's invincible because he's undefeated. Henry said he just opened an international wing in his Hall of Pain and Rusev will be the first entrant. Henry's music played while JBL said he wants to see Henry beat the Russian and have Old Glory fly above the ring again...
Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon spoke about the Bella segments. Stephanie said that her door is always open for their employees who have problems. She said the opportunity to give back is in front of her. Hunter said Steph has a big heart and is trying to help everyone. Stephanie giggled and said she can't wait to see Nikki's face when she makes the big announcement... [C]
Powell's POV: A decent promo from Henry followed by a cutesy backstage exchange from Hunter and Steph. I don't have high hopes for Steph's announcement, but it was a solid hook heading into the commercial break.
Footage of Nikki attacking Brie on last week's Raw was shown... Stephanie McMahon came to the ring and applauded Nikki Bella for having the courage to tell her story. She invited Nikki to join her in the ring. Nikki came out to the usual entrance music and received no reaction whatsoever.
Nikki thanked Stephanie for the opportunity to get those things about Brie off her chest. A boring chant started. Stephanie was quick on her feet and said the audience understands how it feels to be weak and be in the shadow of people greater than them as she is. It quieted the "boring" chants, but it just brought the crowd back to silence. Stephanie told Brie that she's proud of her.
Stephanie brought up being a mother of three daughters and thanked God there isn't a Brie among them. Stephanie said Nikki is the face she is looking for in the Divas division, and thus she granted her a Divas Championship match. Nikki hugged Stephanie.
The Bella Twins music played again and Brie came out. Steph called for the music to be cut and said it will be reserved for Nikki from this day forward. Brie told Steph that it doesn't involve her. Brie said Nikki is tearing apart their family and questioned for what. Nikki said she was doing it for herself. The boring chants started up again. Nikki brought up Brie's "goat faced husband."
[Q9] A.J. Lee's music played and she skipped to the ring. The C.M. Punk chants started as she greeted Steph by saying, "Hi, boss lady." Lee said she is No. 1 contender because she never got her rematch. She told Stephanie to let the Bella Twins work out their issues on their own time and leave the Divas Championship to her. Stephanie thanked Lee and said she always enjoys being enlightened.
Paige's music played and she skipped to the ring. She said there was a lot of talk about the Divas Championship, but the thing missing was the "bloody Divas Champion." Nikki said she would forgive Nikki if she quit. She said Brie should go back and have troll babies with Daniel Bryan. Brie teased leaving and then Brie started yelling at her to go and leave her alone.
Brie turned around and shoved her down, which knocked Paige down in the process. Brie left the ring (to go make troll babies?) as the fans chanted Yes! A.J. Lee picked up the Divas Championship belt and skipped around the ring with it as her music played. Stephanie cut off Lee's skipping by standing in front of her and gold her to give her the Divas Championship. The fans chanted No. "Now!" Stephanie demanded. Lee smiled and let Stephanie take it, then they exchanged a tense look and Lee left the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: I can't believe how much time they are giving this Bella Twins breakup angle. The Bella portion of the segment was really bad, though I imagine the only thing that the people responsible for writing it will remember is the fans chanting Yes! at the end as if that somehow negates the boring chants. Ugh. I am mildly intrigued by the A.J. Lee and Stephanie McMahon tease.
WWE Main Event will feature Dolph Ziggler as the special guest on the Miz TV talk show... Footage was shown of Brie Bella shoving her sister into Paige... The broadcast team spoke about the Divas segment. Cole hyped that Raw will be in Baltimore next week and announced Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt in a cage match for that show...
Backstage, Bray Wyatt said it's time for Chris Jericho to pay for his sins. "Run," Wyatt concluded...
Powell's POV: I really thought they would save that match for the pay-per-view. That said, at least they have something advertised for next week's show, which goes head-to-head with the ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader...
[Q10] 7. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. Goldust (w/Stardust). Cole noted that Jey's knee was heavily taped due to the Goldust and Stardust attack last week. They aired footage of Uso selling a knee injury and being counted out. Before the match, Goldust took the mic and started to apologize for what happened last week, but the Uso Brothers attacked them. Goldust and Stardust fought them of quickly and the match got underway.
At ringside, Stardust kicked Jey's injured knee. Jimmy dove onto him, but was kicked in the head when he tried to enter the ring. Goldust hit the Final Cut and scored the pin. After the match, Goldust and Stardust picked up the injured Jey at ringside and worked over his knee. Stardust picked up a chair and slammed it on the bad knee...
Goldust defeated Jimmy Uso in 2:10.
The broadcast team narrated footage of the Dean Ambrose injury angle, and last week's handicap match with Rollins and Kane vs. Roman Reigns... [C]
Powell's POV: Jey Uso sold the hell out of that chair shot to his knee. He cried out in believable agony and was still slamming his hand on the ringside mat and crying out while trainers tended to him on the floor. The only negative is that they damaged the effect by having the broadcast team scripted to move on rather than cut to commercial.
A Total Divas commercial aired for Sunday's premiere. The broadcast team acted excited and Cole excitedly hyped that Rosa Mendes joins the cast, which means nothing to viewers unless they happen to have the hots for her. Let's face it, it's not like her character has meant anything on WWE television...
[Q11] Backstage, Show told Henry he's proud of him for running off Rusev. Show said he doesn't want Henry to forget about their deal to be the most dominant team. Henry said he has to get Rusev first. Show said he will be in Rusev's corner. Henry said he has to do it himself. Show looked a little bothered, but then yelled about how Henry should go get him and put him in the Hall of Pain...
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance as the crowd sat on their hands. Footage aired of the setup for the six-man tag main event... John Cena made his entrance... [C] Roman Reigns made his entrance... Cole hyped Paige vs. Brie Bella on Friday's WWE Smackdown television show... Cole hyped Reigns vs. Randy Orton for next week's Raw... The remainder of the ring entrances for the main event took place...
8. Roman Reigns, John Cena, and Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and Kane. Reigns and Orton started the match and the fans chanted, "We want Rollins" for the hometown guy. The fans got their wish when Reigns pulled Rollins over the top rope and into the ring. Reigns roughed up all three heels and stood tall heading into the break. [C] The Michael Sam invitation video package aired again. JBL said he would also like to see the NFL commissioner show up and debate Sam.
Powell's POV: What would Roger Goodell and Michael Sam have to debate? It's not like Goodell has been critical of Sam in any way that I've ever seen.
Reigns sold for the heel trio. Orton roughed up Reigns and played to the fans for heat as the broadcast team hyped their match for next week's Raw. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown talking and smiling at ringside when Orton was in control, and then they had straight faces when Reigns managed to tag in Jericho.
Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Rollins only to have Orton break it up, then Reigns hit him with a Superman punch, Kane chokeslam Reigns, Cena hit the AA on Kane, and Rollins caught Cena with a springboard knee. Jericho rolled up Rollins for two. Rollins caught Jericho with a kick for a two count. Jericho came right back with the Codebreaker and the show cut to commercial even though Jericho had just performed his finisher. [C]
Jericho was battling Orton coming out of the break. Lawler said Cena was pleading to get into the match from his corner. Footage was shown of Jericho covering Rollins after the Codebreaker only to have Orton pull him out of the ring. Rollins checked in and jumped off the top rope and into a dropkick from Jericho. Kane checked in and prevented Jericho from tagging in Cena.
[Overrun] Jericho continued to sell for the heels. JBL said he can't stand Jericho's talk show. Cena finally took the hot tag from Jericho at 20:10 and got the better of Kane, then performed a German Suplex on Rollins. Cena scooped up Kane, gave the You Can't See Me hand gesture to the Authority, and put him down with the Attitude Adjustment. "Is that enough?" Cena asked. Cena tagged in Reigns, who performed a spear on Kane and covered him for the three count...
John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Chris Jericho defeated Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Kane in 21:05.
After the match, Cena went to ringside and jawed at Triple H. Cena picked up Rollins, glared at Hunter, and gave Rollins the AA onto the broadcast team's table. "I will see Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions," Cena told Hunter. Cena's music played. Cena returned to the ring to celebrate the win. Cole hyped the Michael Sam invitation for next week's Raw, as well as Reigns vs. Orton, and Jericho vs. Wyatt in a cage match. Cole said Cena showed The Authority and the world that he is ready for Lesnar at NOC. Cena went to ringside and grabbed a sign. He returned to the ring and held up a "Tag Me In" sign...
Powell's POV: A good six-man main event albeit with a predictable outcome. That said, it was one of those predictable outcomes that certainly worked for the live crowd, as the pop of the night occurred when Cena took the hot tag. I'm not sure they needed to go this route with Cena needing to prove himself again after he destroyed everyone he came in contact with last week, but they executed it well in the main event.
Overall, this was a very flat show until the main event. The mid-card programs have mostly basic storylines and are not very compelling. The Bella Twins are getting way too much television time, but I suppose we better get used to it since Total Divas returns this weekend. It was one of those nights where I found myself looking at the clock hoping that the marathon would end. I will have much more to say in tonight's member exclusive audio review. Join us on the ad-free version of thew website (and special section of the iPhone and Android apps) by signing up today via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
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