9/3 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: C.M. Punk returns home as the build toward his Night of Champions match with John Cena continues, Daniel Bryan and Kane return to anger management therapy
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Chicago, Illinois at All State Arena
[Q1] The show opened with a recap that focussed on the C.M. Punk and Jerry Lawler match from last week... Michael Cole introduced himself. He noted that Jerry Lawler did not make his entrance prior to the show going on the air. Footage aired of Punk attacking Lawler backstage. As Punk was being pulled away by several referees, Lawler got back to his feet and charged at him, but Punk kicked him in the face... The opening video aired...
Justin Roberts introduced Sheamus. Cole said they show was live in front of 13,604 fans. Cole noted that he was alone on commentary. Cole said Lawler was undergoing medical attention. Meanwhile, Sheamus said the party never ends when he goes to Chicago, but it's going to end for Alberto Del Rio.
C.M. Punk's music interrupted Sheamus. The crowd popped big for Punk's music and when he walked onto the stage. Cole noted that it was a partisan crowd because they are in Punk's hometown. Punk raised his arms to the crowd on each side of the stage and received a hero's welcome.
Once Punk's music stopped playing, the C.M. Punk chants began. Punk listened to them for a moment and then turned his attention to Sheamus by telling him not to try to talk to his hometown. "They can't relate to a guy like you," Punk said. "They can relate to a guy like me because I'm from here."
Punk acknowledged the footage of him beating up Lawler. He said the cameras didn't catch Lawler attacking him from behind. He said that there is only one king in Chicago and when you come at him you better not miss. He said Lawler got a beating Chicago style. He accused Lawler of making false accusations about him on commentary, so he taught him a lesson in respect.
Punk said class was in session until "a little white knight" stuck his nose where it didn't belong. Punk mentioned John Cena's name and the crowd booed. Punk asked the fans whether he turned his back on them as Lawler insinuated. The fans roared in approval for Punk.
Punk said that by helping Jerry Lawler, that means Cena agrees with Lawler and disrespected him. Punk noted that he's been WWE Champion for 288 days. He said it's Cena who has turned his back on the WWE Universe. Sheamus finally interrupted Punk and was booed for doing so.
Sheamus asked Punk if he wanted to talk about disrespect. "You're interrupting me," Punk replied. Sheamus said he didn't have 30 minutes. He said Punk interrupting him is the same as the crime The Rock committed by interrupting Punk. Sheamus said that at least Rock had the guts to step in the ring. Sheamus invited Punk to do the same.
Punk smiled and noted that he's beat up one goon already tonight. Punk said that Sheamus is World Heavyweight Champion, which "at best makes you the second best in the world." Punk said there's a pecking order. "And in the pecking order, you're right behind me so shut your mouth," Punk said.
[Q2] A.J.'s music played. She said she meant no disrespect to either man. She said there will be two main events - John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio, and the champion vs. champion match with C.M. Punk vs. Sheamus. A.J. skipped around the ring, headed back up the ramp, and skipped past Punk to the backstage area...
A shot aired of Randy Orton walking backstage. Cole said Orton would face Dolph Ziggler after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A strong opening segment. Punk was very good here. Sure, his hometown fans cheered him and he didn't try to turn those fans against him, but he didn't say anything that babyface loving viewers would latch onto. Punk's delivery was great and the fans were hanging on his every word. Sheamus was in a no win situation as far as the fan reaction goes. The segment was effective in making this viewer want to see Punk vs. Sheamus, though I do wish it was the setup for a major match down the road rather than just a non-title Raw main event. Here's hoping they go above and beyond to make it feel huge that the WWE Champion will face the World Hvt. Champion in the main event.
Ring entrances took place for the opening match. Cole narrated highlights of the Orton vs. Ziggler match from Smackdown. He said Ziggler demanded a rematch on Raw...
1. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero). Dolph jumped out to a fast start and then played into his showoff persona. Orton came back and had Dolph lying on the mat at ringside as they went to commercial. [C] After the break, Orton was still in control.
[Q3] Ziggler came back with a neckbreaker and then ran Orton into the ringside barricade. Orton came back with a superplex at 11:25. The crowd counted along with the referee's two count. Dolph regained control with a DDT for a two count of his own. Dolph went for the Fameasser, but Orton moved and followed up with a DDT off the middle ropes.
Orton struck the Viper's Pose and went for the RKO, but Dolph dodged it and shoved Orton into the corner. Dolph charged at Orton, who slipped aside and rolled him up. Ziggler rolled through and held the tights while getting the three count...
Dolph Ziggler defeated Randy Orton in 13:40.
Powell's POV: Cole is calling it straight while flying solo on commentary. He's not trying to fill every second with his call so there are some moments where you just hear the live crowd. I like the serious tone that Cole is using and the old school feel of the solo commentary. I wouldn't want it every week, but it's working for me thus far. Plus, anything is better than the bland Cole and Josh Mathews pairing. That said, I could have done without the third mention of the attendance in the first 31 minutes of the show. As for the match, it's a nice win for Ziggler to beat Orton on Raw.
After the match, The Miz's music hit. Miz came out just as Dolph and Vickie were walking backstage. Cole teased the double main event as Miz was heading to the ring. Miz joined Cole on commentary... [C]
Powell's POV: This should be an interesting pairing. Here's hoping Cole doesn't go overboard with his pro-Miz schtick, but I am curious to see how Miz does as a color commentator.
Cole and Miz spoke briefly at the desk. Cole set up the latest anger management therapy video. The therapist asked the group to show off their collages. Daniel Bryan was first. He held up a piece of paper that had "Yes!" and "No!" written all over it. He said he can't take the back and forth with the fans.
Kane was up next. He held up a blank piece of paper. The therapist asked if Kane feels blank inside. Kane asked if he wanted to see how he feels inside. Kane stood up and threw the piece of paper in the trash. He did the arm drop for pyro, and a flame shot out of the trash can. "Teacher's pet," Bryan told Kane...
A shot aired of Sin Cara walking backstage. He walked to Rey Mysterio and they shook hands. Cole said they would be teaming during the show. Footage aired of Sin Cara and Mysterio getting the better of Cody Rhodes. Cole said Mysterio and Sin Cara would team up for the first time ever after the break...
Powell's POV: I guess they aren't counting the six-man tag match from Raw 1000 when they teamed with Sheamus and beat Ziggler, Del Rio, and Chris Jericho.
[Q4] [C] 2. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes and Tensai (w/Sakamoto). Cole pimped a WWE article in which Sin Cara explains why they wear masks. Miz said they can keep the masks. He said he likes to show his face because he gets free stuff that way. Cole said they had a standoff in the ring. Ugh. They cut to break 35 seconds into the match. [C]
Cole said Lawler would not be able to return to commentary because he was having chest problems and issues breathing. They went right back to calling the match. Cole later added that Sheamus vs. Punk was coming up next. At 7:00, Rey hit the 619 on Tensai, and then Sin Cara followed up with a missile dropkick.
Rhodes cut off Mysterio and got a two count. Rey came back with a 619. Rey tried to tag in Sin Cara while both were standing outside the ropes, but the referee didn't allow it. Mysterio entered the ring and tagged in Sin Cara, who hit a Swanton Bomb on Rhodes for the win...
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeated Cody Rhodes and Tensai in 7:50.
Powell's POV: I like the way the referee insisted they make a legal tag. It would have been easy to let that slide, but he did the right thing. I suppose it's possible that it was by design to set something up for the future, but it looked like the ref was just enforcing the rules.
[Q5] Back at anger management, it was time for trust falls. Bryan had to fall backwards and Kane would catch him. "I will?" Kane asked. Funny. Bryan fell and Kane caught him, then shoved him back to his feet. The therapist asked Bryan and Kane to work together by catching a reluctant Harold (indy wrestler Scorpio Sky). Harold fell backwards but they didn't catch him.
Bryan asked Kane if he knew he wasn't going to catch him. Kane responded by asking the same question. "I think I finally understand you, Kane," Bryan said. The therapist said Harold needs medical attention...
Powell's POV: A Kane and Daniel Bryan tag team? The therapist sounds just like David Van Driessen, the hippie teacher on Beavis and Butt-head. I'd gladly catch the blonde if she fell forward.
Sheamus made his entrance. CM. Punk followed up with his own entrance while wearing his street clothes. "Sweet home Chicago," Punk said. He told Sheamus that Chicago respects his decisions. He said the Chicago fans know that Punk is a main event wrestler. He said you don't just parade Punk out in the 8:00 hour because he's from Chicago.
Punk said it's Labor Day and there are a lot of people who probably took the day off the work. Punk said he knows those fans will also respect that he's doing the same thing. Punk left the ring and held the belt up over his head as he walked to the back. Once Punk was backstage, Sheamus said that if Punk wants to talk disrespect, that's exactly what he's showing the fans by walking away.
The camera cut backstage and showed Punk in the garage area. A.J. ran up to him and told him that he couldn't leave. He told her to check his contract because he has personal days and today is one of them. Punk climbed in the passenger's seat of a car that then drove away.
Matt Striker approached A.J. with a mic and asked what she is going to do about her main event. She acted like she didn't know who Striker was. She told him to tell Sheamus to stay in the ring because she would find him an opponent... [C]
Powell's POV: I love it! I figured WWE would just roll with the punches in Chicago, but they actually went out of their way to get the Chi-Town fans to boo Punk. It actually led to some boos too. Punk's slow, monotone delivery tonight is awesome and the new hairstyle he debuted last week was a nice change that freshens up his look.
After the break, Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez headed to the ring. Cole said it was a very fluid situation. Miz said he didn't agree with Punk leaving. He said he was the hardest working man when he was WWE Champion and that's what C.M. Punk should be. Jack Swagger made his entrance as Del Rio took at seat with the broadcast team...
2. Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger in a non-title match. Del Rio sat at the broadcast table and wore headsets, but he didn't say anything.
[Q6] Late in the match, Sheamus caught Swagger with a knee and then locked in a Texas cloverleaf. Cole said he's never seen Sheamus use a submission hold. Sheamus got the win while a surprised Del Rio looked on.
Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger by submission in 2:45.
After the match, Del Rio attacked Sheamus from behind while Ricardo distracted him. Sheamus came back. Ricardo entered and was slammed into the middle turnbuckle. Sheamus hit White Noise on Del Rio. He tried to follow up with the Brogue Kick, but Ricardo shoved Del Rio aside and took the kick instead... [C]
Powell's POV: I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Texas is about to lose exclusive rights to the cloverleaf as far as WWE is concerned. Ricardo continues to shine. He's great at what he does as the personal ring announcer and at taking bumps. That said, he appeared to take a stiff kick.
After the break, footage aired of a glassy-eyed Ricardo looking up at Del Rio during the break...
3. Eve vs. Kaitlyn. Eve was out first. She clapped for Kaitlyn as she was introduced (she may have been the only one). Footage aired of Kaitlyn winning the battle royal to become No. 1 contender. Layla joined the announcers on commentary. There was a rough looking hip-toss by Kaitlyn on Eve early on.
Cole defended Eve and said she's turned over a new leaf. A skeptical and mocking Layla said she could say she the same about herself, which didn't make much sense given that she's best known as a heel and his trying to get over as a face. I don't even know WTF they were trying to do when they both ran the ropes and Kaitlyn took a bump out of nowhere.
Eve showed sportsmanship by waiting for her to get up. Eve kicked Kaitlyn in the gut, performed a neckbreaker, and got the pin. Eve helped Kaitlyn to her feet afterward and then approached Layla and went for a handshake. Miz told her to shake her hand. Layla told him to stay out of it. Layla shok Eve's hand...
Eve defeated Kaitlyn in 3:15.
[Q7] Backstage, A.J. ran after Jack Swagger, who told her he was leaving and taking extended time away. Swagger said he was taking extended time off because he doesn't know what happened to him, but he's better than this. A.J. was freaking out because "everyone is leaving me." Swagger told her "sorry" and walked away... [C]
Powell's POV: Aside from Cole and Miz being on the same page regarding Eve, Cole hasn't been fawning over Miz like he would have done at one time. The Eve stuff is a start for the women having an actual angle rather than just an opponent of the month. Meanwhile, celebrities with minimal training have been better job in the ring than Kaitlyn is at this point in her career.
At Anger Management class, Dr. Shelby congratulated the group on completing their therapy session. He gave the graduates a chance to talk. Daniel thanked the doctor and said he realizes he had an anger management problem. Bryan said he would be happy to give Kane a rematch. Kane thanked Bryan and said he would do his best not to eviscerate him.
Bryan took offense because Kane assumed he could eviscerate him. They jawed back and forth. Harold tried to intervene and they told him simultaneously to shut up. Kane grabbed Bryan by the throat. The therapist threw a shit fit and stormed out of the room... Cole introduced a pole. The viewers can choose between the two of them having a match, tagging together, or hugging.
Backstage, Matt Striker asked Alberto Del Rio for an update on Ricardo. David Otunga walked out of the room and said his client would not have a comment at this time...
Powell's POV: Wow, Ricardo did a hell of a job of selling that kick. The glassy-eyes had me. Oh, and hug it out, bitches.
Cole hyped the UK Sun story about The Rock breaking up the burglary. Cole giddily announced that WWE has come up with a Boots2Burglars hashtag...
Powell's POV: Michael Cole could make a hashtag about free beer and hot women sound completely dorky.
4. Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal. The Goldberg chant started early and ended quickly. Miz compared himself to Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho on commentary.
[Q8] The "Feed Me More" chant started up and ended. Ryback hit his finsiher for the win and then led another "Feed Me More" chant...
Ryback beat Jinder Mahal in 2:10.
Powell's POV: Will someone feed this guy more? Watching him beat the shit out of Jinder Mahal every week is even less exciting than watching him do the same to Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. Hell, I miss the jobbers.
The announcers looked at the new WWE app... [C] The announcers pimped some Kevin Rudolf collaboration with a bunch of other guys I don't listen to is the Night of Champions theme...
Backstage, A.J. told Matt Striker to go tell John Cena and Alberto Del Rio that their match is a falls count anywhere match...
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. He tried to keep his cool while the fans chanted "Yes!" at him. Kane made his entrance. Footage aired of Del Rio beating Kane on Smackdown, which led to Kane beating up Josh Mathews.
Powell's POV: This isn't nearly as cool as Tensai beating the hell out of Sakamoto, though I do enjoy watching Mathews get his ass kicked, especially if it means he's going to sell it by not calling matches in his weird hybrid role. Josh is fine as a play-by-play voice, but this hybrid crap has to go. Hey, wait, the tag match loss didn't lead to a Sakamoto beating?!? Bullshit!
Cole introduced the poll results. Hug It Out got the nod with 55 percent of the vote.
Powell's POV: 45 percent of WWE voters suck.
Kane and Bryan weren't pleased by the poll results. Cole stated on commentary that they have to do it because it's the will of the fans. The live crowd chanted, "Hut it out." Funny. Bryan teased hugging Kane, then yelled "No!" He tried to keep his cool. They bumped chests. The fans booed.
[Q9] Bryan hugged Kane, but Kane did not reciprocate. "You didn't hug me!" Bryan yelled. Kane finally complied. However, Miz said they must hug one another at the same time. Cole questioned how in the hell he knows the rules to this. Funny. Sure enough, that's what the referee wanted. They complied and the crowd roared.
Bryan and Kane shook hands. Bryan slapped Kane on the shoulder. Kane did the same. They did it a second time with the slaps becoming harder. Bryan shoved Kane, who then returned the favor. They eventually got into it and brawled in and out of the ring. Kane finally chokeslammed Bryan in the middle of the ring. Kane went to the ropes. The referees stopped him. Bryan recovered and struck Kane with a chair and then ran backstage...
The announcers hyped the main event... A shot aired of Santino Marella walking backstage. You know, because they need a little comedy relief after the, um, comedy relief. Cole said the U.S. Title match between Santino and Antonio Cesaro was coming up next... [C]
Powell's POV: If this is what stemmed from a hug, then thank God they didn't snuggle. Clearly, one of them would have died. The movie "Stepbrothers" now has competition for best male hug. I still give the nod to Brendan Huff and Derek Huff.
5. Antonio Cesaro (w/Aksana) vs. Santino Marella for the U.S. Title. Miz said Santino finds a way to win in spite of his comedic antics. Santino through about using The Cobra early, but he thought better of it because it's horny.
[Q10] Santino performed the move without the sleeve and it didn't hurt Antonio. Yes, really. He then struggled to get it back. Once he did, Antonio knocked him down and followed up with his finisher for the win...
Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella in 2:05.
Powell's POV: Okay, WWE creative needs to take the crowd's lack of response as a clue that their ongoing attempt to make people laugh at The Cobra having a mind of its own (get it?) is not as funny as they think it is. Kudos to The Miz for at least attempting to make the secondary title belts seem important.
6. Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater. Miz praised Ryder for his social media efforts. Cole praised Slater for being a One Man Band or something. Ryder won with the Rough Ryder...
Zack Ryder pinned Heath Slater in 3:00.
After the match, Vickie Guerrero came out and did the "excuse me" bit. Both wrestlers left the ring as she entered it. She called for a chair and said she wants to give A.J. a piece of her mind. Vickie sat down on the chair. Cole assumed this was a sit-in by Vickie... [C]
Powell's POV: We're at that point in the show where it feels like it should have ended at least 30 minutes ago. These three-hour shows are marathons. By the way, here's hoping what we saw earlier with Punk and Sheamus is a setup for a match next week. If they do a good enough sales pitch, it will give viewers who intend to watch the Monday Night Football doubleheader some incentive to watch Raw next week.
[Q11] Vickie was still in the ring. She set up footage of A.J. attacking her last week. Vickie complained about A.J. putting her hands on her last week. She said A.J. is losing control of her show. Vickie went into Clint Eastwood mode by pretending as if A.J. was in the chair (timely,yet the crowd didn't seem to care). It didn't last long. A.J.'s music played and she stormed to the ring.
A.J. said she just got off the phone with the WWE Board of Directors. They told her some of her actions were inappropriate and sometimes juvenile. She's not allowed to put her hands on a superstar, manager, or anyone else ever again. The board wants her to apologize. "So, I'm just going to say it, I'm sorry," A.J. said.
Vickie said that was so touching. She asked if A.J. was apologizing because she's an inept general manager or apologizing to her personally. She continued to twist the knife. The audience chanted "Slap her." A.J. once again said she was sorry. The fans booed. Vickie laughed and said that was pathetic. She told A.J. to apologize and make it mean something.
The hugged. Okay, not really. Time stood still as A.J. paused before responding. She apologized again. Vickie slapped A.J. across the face. A.J. lunched toward her but stopped herself. "No, no, no, A.J., you can't touch me," mocked Vickie. Rinse and repeat with Vickie slapping A.J. Vickie cackled as she skipped poorly up the ramp. A.J. had a temper tantrum. She slammed a chair on the mat and then threw it up the ramp. One of the announcers said it looked like A.J. was having a nervous breakdown... [C]
Powell's POV: Wow, that was awful. I guess the fans are supposed to be dying to see A.J. attack Vickie, but the "slap her" chant was more playful than the fans really being anxious to actually see it. The crowd was dead by the end of that segment and for good reason. For what it's worth, I think A.J. would be a great heel. She could be a babyface underdog type because of her size if the Divas division meant anything, but I think she makes a better as a heel in her current role. Either way, I don't think the fans know whether they are supposed to cheer or boo her. I guess a feud with Vickie will steer them in the babyface direction.
A video recapped Punk announcing that he was taking the night off and then informing A.J. that he was leaving...
Powell's POV: Dear heavyset girl behind the announcers, the "Feed Me More" t-shirt was not a wise choice.
[Q12] Ring entrances for the main event took place. Cena came out to boos and said something into the camera. Del Rio drove a sports car inside the arena. Highlights aired from earlier of Sheamus taking out Ricardo Rodriguez with a kick...
A Tout from David Otunga was shown. He and Ricardo Rodriguez have decided to pursue legal action against Sheamus. He teased more information on Smackdown... [C]
Powell's POV: Now that's a hook! I was thinking about going out with my girl on Friday, but that's not happening now that I know David Otunga is going to address a legal dispute on Smackdown!!! In related news, it's safe to assume that this is the only thing written for the Smackdown tapings that they are confident will actually stick after Vince and the producers pick it apart.
7. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The match was joined in progress after the commercial break. Cena jumped out to the fast start, but Del Rio took control and ran him into the ring steps. Cena came back and politely took the announcers' table apart. Del Rio recovered and performed his running kick to the head at 4:30.
Del Rio went for a suplex on the table. Cena slipped out and went for the Attitude Adjustment. Del Rio avoided it and then shoved Cena into the ring post. Cena returned fire by whipping him into the barricade right in front of the fan dressed like Randy Savage. Cena went for Attitude Adjustment on the announcers' table, but Del Rio avoided and belly-to-back suplexed him through the table instead.
[Overrun] Back inside the ring, Del Rio picked up the mic and told Cena that he is beneath him. Then he said WWE, the entire roster, and the fans are beneath him. Del Rio said he was going to break Cena's arm. Del Rio went for his Cross Arm Breaker, but Cena countered with the STF. Del Rio hit him with the mic to break it up.
The "Let's Go Cena" and "Cena Sucks" chants started momentarily. Del Rio took Cena to ringside and suplexed him on the entrance ramp for a two count. They fought over by Del Rio's sports car of the week. Cena slammed Del Rio's head off the stage, looked at the car, and then raised his eyebrows while looking directly into the camera.
Del Rio recovered and they fought their way backstage where Cena threw Del Rio into the interview set curtain. Del Rio went for the Cross Arm Breaker. Cena avoided it and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Punk showed up and caught Cena with a kick. Punk mocked Cena with the "You Can't See Me" routine and then put Del Rio on top of Cena for the 1-2-3.
Punk hoisted up Cena and dropped him with a GTS. Instead of catching Cena with a knee, he dropped Cena on the hood of a car as part of the GTS. The car pulled forward and Paul Heyman stuck his head out the driver's side door and looked down at Cena before driving off...
Alberto Del Rio pinned John Cena in 12:30.
Powell's POV: Punk and Heyman together? Okay, if this doesn't break the internet then it clearly is an unstoppable force that will someday revolt and kill us all. Cena and Del Rio worked their asses off during that main event. The match was overshadowed by the shot of Heyman driving Punk out of the building, but they really deserve credit for the effort they put forth. The Punk and Heyman alliance will be interesting and it would seem to indicate that Heyman's role has increased beyond his work with Brock Lesnar.
Overall, this felt like a marathon and I'm very curious to see what affect it has on the way fans of WWE and the NFL watch Raw once Monday Night Football returns. You have to wonder whether people who would watch the game live and Raw on DVR will find themselves speeding through anything that doesn't look appealing. The Night of Champions hype left a lot to be desired. They haven't created the feeling that Punk vs. Cena is a mega event. I love the Heyman twist tonight, but they have to make this match feel important considering the wrestlers involved. I'll have more to say on Tuesday in my WWE Raw audio review and in the WWE Raw Hitlist. Thanks for watching along with me.
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