10/29 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: C.M. Punk vs. Ryback followup, Vickie Guerrero to present evidence showing John Cena and A.J. had an affair, Jerry Lawler announcement
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Charlotte, N.C. at Time Warner Cable Arena
[Q1] The show opened with still shots of the C.M. Punk vs. Ryback main event from Hell in a Cell... Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced C.M. Punk, who limped to the ring with Paul Heyman carrying the WWE Championship behind him. Punk had his ribs taped to sell the beating Ryback gave him.
Michael Cole and Jim Ross checked in on commentary and addressed the Hell in a Cell main event finish. Ross said he's never seen anything as controversial as what referee Brad Maddox did to Ryback on Sunday night. Ross said Ryback should be the champion. Cole said Ryback was "flat out robbed."
Punk mocked the fans for believing that Ryback was going to take the title and leave him lying. "Well, I proved you all wrong," Punk said. He pointed out fans and said, "You were wrong." Punk gloated that he's survived all of the fans' heroes. He boasted that he beat Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and John Cena.
Punk said he had no idea that "rogue official" Brad Maddox was going to low-blow Ryback. He pointed out that Maddox was hired by former general manager A.J. Lee. He recalled Maddox costing him a match on Raw and questioned whether he was trying to return the favor. "Trust me when I tell you, I had nothing to do with it," Punk said.
Punk said he's on day 344 as WWE Champion. He said he looks at Ryback in a completely different way. "He's behind me," Punk said. "I beat him. It's done. There will not be a rematch." Mick Foley's music interrupted Punk's promo. Punk threw a fit because he was cut off and then mocked Foley for being a homeless man displaced because of the storms.
Foley said Punk was making light of something that is affecting millions of Americans. "Stay classy, Punk." Hey, I stole that line from Ron Burgundy and made it my own fair and square. Anyway, Foley said he gave Punk a chance a month ago to become a legend or a statistic. "You blew it," Punk yelled.
Punk showed off the H shaped scratches on his shoulder and ripped into Foley for chastising him about tradition. He goaded the crowd by saying he doesn't suck because he's not from Charlotte, which drew good heat. Punk said that if Foley wants to talk tradition, they could have a traditional Survivor Series match with Team Foley vs. Team Punk.
"You're on," Foley said regarding the Survivor Series challenge. The fans chanted Foley's name. Ryback's music played and he headed to the ring. Punk and Heyman snuck out through the crowd. Ryback led the crowd in "Feed Me More" chants...
Powell's POV: A good opening segment with a surprise appearance by Foley. It remains to be seen whether Foley intends to wrestle or will just pick the members of his Survivor Series team. If he is going to wrestle, this would be the ideal scenario since he could limit his involvement in the match.
[Q2] [C] 1. Ryback vs. JTG. Cole said Vickie Guerrero booked JTG in the match against Ryback. Ross said he wouldn't want to be JTG for any money in the world. A smattering of fans tried and failed to get a Goldberg chant going. Ross said there's nothing pretty about Ryback's offense, "but it is so effective." Ryback roughed up JTG with his usual offense and then finished him off with Shellshocked.
Ryback pinned JTG in 2:00.
After the match, Josh "The Stalker" Mathews appeared in the ring behind Ryback and asked if he had an appetite for revenge. "Revenge is a confession of pain," Ryback said. "I am not hurt. I am hungry. And when I feast again it will be on C.M. Punk." Ryback led the crowd in chanting, "Feed Me Punk"...
Powell's POV: Ryback may look like Goldberg, but it sounds like he's been listening to Ultimate Warrior promos. His promo wasn't nonsensical, but the speech pattern was similar.
The announcers narrated a clip of Big Show knocking out Sheamus at the pay-per-view, and then hyped Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett for after the break... [C]
2. Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett. Barrett did not get a televised entrance. The announcers aired footage of Barrett's win over Orton on Smackdown. Cole wished the East Coast viewers the best with Hurricane Sandy and told them to ride it out.
[Q3] Orton dumped Barrett to ringside heading into the break. [C] Barrett regained control after the break and nailed Orton with a big boot when he was hung up in the ropes. Barrett licked the tape on his fist. Orton started his comeback and performed his powerslam followed by his hangup DDT.
Orton struck the Viper's Pose and went for the RKO, but Barrett shoved him off and executed a side slam for a two count. Barrett went for a clothesline, but Orton ducked it and dropped him with the RKO for the win...
Randy Orton pinned Wade Barrett in 10:10.
Powell's POV: Barrett hanging with Sheamus and Orton in recent matches is helping him, but having Orton avenge his loss on Smackdown this quickly hurts whatever momentum Barrett was developing.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and A.J. Lee bickered. A.J. insisted she did not have an affair with John Cena. She said they are only friends. Vickie said the board of directors asked her to consider hiring A.J. back as an in-ring performer. Vickie said she had all the information she needed and wished her good day.
A.J. called her back and apologized. She said she wants to be an in-ring performer. Vickie asked A.J. what her biggest weakness is. A.J. said she can become too emotionally attached to her job. Vickie asked if she's crazy. A.J. flashed her the mean face. Vickie told her to come to her office later and give her one good reason why she should get a contract... [C]
Powell's POV: Vickie as the managing supervisor can't end quickly enough. I enjoy Vickie's act, but putting her in the authority figure role feels like a step backwards. The logic that A.J. was fired for fraternizing with talent is beyond ridiculously considering that Vickie's character has had relationships with Edge, Dolph Ziggler, etc.
[Q4] 3. Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. The Prime Time Players in a non-title match. The Players wore pink gear with the ribbon and a logo that read, "Real Men Wear Pink." In the end, Bryan locked Darren Young in the No! Lock and got the submission win...
Daniel Bryan and Kane defeated The Prime Time Players in 4:25.
Powell's POV: As backward as it may seem for heels to wear the pink gear for the cancer awareness effort, I'm not bothered by it. After all, are we really supposed to believe that heels are pro breast cancer? Of course, it did look odd that the heel team wore the pink while the babyface team wore their usual gear aside from Bryan's pink wristband.
The announcers hyped comments from Sheamus following his title loss at Hell in a Cell... A shot aired of Vickie Guerrero walking backstage. Ross hyped that Vickie promised to prove that John Cena and A.J. had and affair... [C]
An ad for Smackdown questioned whether Sheamus or Big Show left Hell in a Cell as the World Heavyweight Champion...
Powell's POV: I could get all worked up since they've already told us the outcome of the match, but they do this every month. At some point you just have to throw your hands in the air.
Footage aired of the Foley and Punk segment from earlier in the show... The announcers spoke about the Brad Maddox situation as his image was shown on the screen. They aired footage of Maddox counting a pin on Punk even though his foot was on the ropes during a Raw tag match. Footage aired from Hell in a Cell of Maddox low-blowing Ryback. Cole said no one has been able to locate Maddox since then...
[Q5] Vickie Guerrero headed to the ring to decent heat and introduced John Cena as "the superstar at the heart of the A.J. scandal." Cena was happy, saluting, and smiling as he did his usual entrance. ECW super fan Tie-Dye Guy was visible in the front row. Cena encouraged Cena to show her proof.
Vickie had the production truck air footage from a past Raw of Cena saying he wanted to take A.J. on a date. Cena said it was a joke and everyone understood that. Vickie set up footage from last week of Cena embracing a crying A.J. after she was fired. Cena said A.J. lost her job because of Vickie and he was consoling her.
Vickie questioned whether friends meet for romantic dinners. A photo of Cena and A.J. having dinner together. Cena said he explained that they had a business dinner. Vickie aired footage of Cena motioning for A.J. to join him on an elevator. "You are busted," a few fans chanted. Cena said he knows how it looked. He said A.J. lost her job and was going to confront Vickie and he talked her out of it. Cena said it was two people on an elevator and that's it.
Cena said he walked A.J. to her door after the elevator ride and that was it. Vickie asked if A.J. opened her hotel room door for Cena. Vickie started to tear into A.J. Cena cut her off and said Vickie can call him all the names she wants, but A.J. is stronger, more resilient, and attractive than Vickie. Vickie played up Cena saying A.J. is attractive.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance and said he thinks people have seen enough to know something was up between Cena and A.J. Cena grabbed Ziggler and told him not to mention his and A.J.'s name in the name sentence again... [C]
Powell's POV: This storyline is awful. Vickie's evidence was somehow tamer than I expected. I thought we'd at least get doctored photos, not just footage of Cena and A.J. on the same elevator. I mean I've shared elevators with thousands of women and it's only led to hundreds of sexual encounters. Okay, so I'm a bad example. Cena's sudden protectiveness of A.J. is totally out of left field. I would ask why he suddenly cares about her, but I wouldn't want anyone to misinterpret that to mean I give a damn.
[Q6] Antonio Cesaro cut a mid-ring promo about fat kids begging for sweets from irresponsible adults who don't see a crisis when it's standing right in front of them when it's dressed up like a fat Power Ranger. Miz was on commentary and backed up Cesaro's statement...
4. Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro in a champion vs. champion match. Miz was on commentary for the match. The match spilled to ringside, where Kingston threw Cesaro over the announcers' table and knocked Miz over. Miz got up and attacked Kingston for the DQ. The heels teamed up on Kingston until R-Truth made the save. Kingston and Truth cleared the ring...
Kofi Kingston defeated Antonio Cesaro by an apparent DQ in 2:35.
Ross hyped that Team Foley and Team Punk would be revealed for Survivor Series... [C]
Powell's POV: Kingston vs. Cesaro never got going and was positioned as just another meaningless champion vs. champion match, though they probably didn't play it up too much in advance because of how it was laid out. I guess we haven't seen the last of Kingston and R-Truth as a tag team.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero told A.J. that she has to admit that she cares a little bit about John Cena. A.J. said there's nothing going on. Vickie pressed it and said she would make her a Diva if she admitted it. "No, I'm not going to do that because nothing happened," A.J. said. She said WWE means everything to her, but Vickie isn't worth lying for, hurting Cena, or shredding her dignity.
Vickie told her she's hired under the condition that she'll never be allowed around the company again if she lays a hand on her. Vickie booked A.J.'s first match against Beth Phoenix for later in the show. Vickie smiled, but A.J. wiped it away by thanking her and skipping away...
Powell's POV: Why would A.J. be fearful of Beth Phoenix, who loses 99 percent of her matches?
A sitdown interview with 3MB was shown. Jinder deadpanned while saying he has hte reputation for being the fun one. Drew McIntyre told a joke about Bono not being able to do a dead lift. The interviewer asked if we're finally going to see them perform. They got upset and said the interview was over.
"Absolutely riveting," Cole said sarcastically after the video. Ross said it may have been one of the worst interviews in the history of WWE... Santino and Zack Ryder made their entrance...
Powell's POV: This isn't so bad it's good, which I think is the idea. It's just plain bad. Aren't you happy Raw is three hours long so they can find time for compelling programming like 3MB and the A.J. saga?
[Q7] [C] 5. Zack Ryder and Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal (w/Drew McIntyre). Santino received a good reaction when he checked into the match. He put on the Cobra glove and knocked McIntyre off the apron, but then walked into Slater's finisher...
Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal defeated Zack Ryder and Santino Marella.
The announcers hyped the reveals of the Punk and Foley teams for Survivor Series, and Beth Phoenix vs. A.J. Lee... [C] An ad for WWE Main Event hyped Randy Orton, Sin Cara, and Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio and The Prime Time Players...
Powell's POV: Heath Slater was good, dumb fun. 3MB is painful. The good news is that we haven't been subjected to a bunch of bad Halloween comedy. Maybe they're saving it all for WWE Main Event.
Michael Cole announced on commentary that Jerry Lawler will return to commentary on Raw on the November 12 edition of Raw in Columbus, Ohio...
6. A.J. Lee vs. Beth Phoenix. The announcers played up the size difference. A.J. flipped out and fired away on Beth, but she was cut off. Beth controlled the offense until A.J. caught her with an inside cradle for the win...
A.J. defeated Beth Phoenix in 2:05.
[Q8] After the match, Vickie Guerrero came out and said she expects a lot more from A.J. Beth Phoenix attacked A.J. from behind. Vickie said she was going to give A.J. another chance to do better. She ordered the referee to restart the match.
7. Beth Phoenix vs. A.J. Beth picked up A.J. and dropped her with the Glam Slam for the win...
Beth Phoenix defeated A.J. in 0:15.
Powell's POV: Beth Phoenix lost the fair fight? Knock me over with a feather. Psycho A.J. was fun. The underdog "John Cena is my friend" A.J. isn't doing anything for me. I can't say this won't work, but it has been astonishing to see how badly they've mismanaged A.J.'s character and how quickly her stock has fallen.
Highlights aired from earlier in the show of the C.M. Punk and Mick Foley angle... Highlights aired of Brad Maddox low-blowing Ryback at Hell in a Cell...
Sheamus made his entrance to a good reaction. The announcers put over that he became the first man to kick out of a knockout punch before eventually falling to the second knockout punch. Sheamus was happy even though he lost. He said he came to WWE for fights and that was the best fight he's ever had.
Sheamus praised Show for being the better man last night. He said he's dying to fight Show again and vowed that it would be an all out war. He said that when it's over, he'll still be standing in the ring with a smile on his face and the World Hvt. Championship back around his waist.
Big Show's music played and he walked out holding the World Hvt. Championship belt above his head. Yes, I wrote belt. You know why I wrote belt? Because it's a goddamn belt. It's designed to be fastened around the waist of a wrestler. Perhaps WWE would be in a better place if Vince McMahon spent more time worrying about the sad state of creative and less time thinking about pointless rebranding issues like this one. Wait, where were we again?
[Q9] Big Show gloated that Sheamus gave it everything he had, yet he was still able to take the title from him. Sheamus eventually had enough. He asked if Show has ever seen a ginger snap. He scooped up Show and performed White Noise. Show got up quickly and was seething...
The announcers hyped Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Team Rhodes Scholars... [C]
Powell's POV: I'd rather see straight forward ass kicker Sheamus, but I can live with happy Sheamus minus the cornball jokes like we saw here. It's hard for me to say whether White Noise was as impressive tonight for viewers who didn't see the pay-per-view as it was when he hit the move during the actual match. It was a hell of a moment during the pay-per-view.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero was shown watching A.J. from a distance. After A.J. walked away, Beth Phoenix approached Vickie and thanked her for restarting the match. Vickie told her she wouldn't have needed to do that had she done her job right the first time. Vickie fired Beth Phoenix, who questioned why since she won the match...
Powell's POV: And there it is. Beth reportedly asked for her release a while back so we've been waiting for her to be written off television ever since. I can't say I'm very impressed with the the forgettable manner in which they fired her character.
8. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. The announcers noted that Sin Cara was cleared by the WWE medical staff after landing on his head at the pay-per-view. Sin Cara performed an Asai moonsault onto Rhodes, and then Mysterio performed a senton on Sandow on the other side of the ring before the break.
[Q10] [C] After the break, Sandow and Rhodes got the better of Mysterio. Rey came back with a double DDT and made the hot tag to Sin Cara for a change. Sin Cara hit a cool spring board cross body block on both heels. Later, Sin Cara went for a swanton on Sandow, but Rhodes pulled his partner out of the way. Sandow hit his finisher on Sin Cara for the win...
Rhodes Scholars defeated Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio in 14:40.
Powell's POV: Good action after the break. Sandow and Rhodes are clicking as a tag team. I am concerned that WWE is burning through all of their potential tag matches. Meanwhile, I would like to thank Subway for featuring someone other than he who shall not be named in their commercials for a change. But is it just me or is Michael Phelps a couple missed morning shaves away from becoming the Geico Caveman?
Backstage, Mick Foley hyped the WWE 13 game while talking with Kaitlyn. Paul Heyman showed up and suggested Foley should be worrying about his Survivor Series team. Foley said his team is set. Heyman said Punk's mission is to victimize Foley at Survivor Series and remind him why he's the best in the world... [C]
Powell's POV: Does that mean Foley is wrestling or simply that Heyman's character thinks Foley is wrestling? I'd like to think they would have made a huge fuss over Foley returning to the ring in the earlier segment. I guess we'll find out when Foley reveals his team later tonight.
[Q11] A breast cancer awareness video aired... Vince McMahon stood on the stage with members of the talent roster. Vince introduced John Cena, who unveiled a check for $1 million for the Susan G. Komen For The Cure charity. The director of the charity delivered an acceptance speech and expressed her gratitude. Cena pointed to a group a breast cancer survivors and their families in the crowd... [C]
Powell's POV: A classy video to close out breast cancer awareness month on Raw. As much as WWE's creative issues frustrate me on Monday nights, I commend them for getting involved. I don't think I'll ever forget Layla's heartfelt video regarding the loss of her mother to breast cancer.
9. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Justin Gabriel. Cole lost credibility with viewers who saw the pay-per-view by talking about how Gabriel was in a "great match" with Antonio Cesaro. He also delivered his half-assed pitch for Gabriel being a thrill seeker who sky dives and swims with sharks.
[Q12] Ross mentioned that MMA star Chael Sonnen was talking about Del Rio's Cross Arm Breaker. Del Rio dominated the early offense. Gabriel got a hope spot, but Del Rio tagged him with the enziguiri and finished him off with the Cross Arm Breaker...
Alberto Del Rio defeated Justin Gabriel in 5:25.
The announcers hyped the reveal of Team Foley and Team Punk for Survivor Series... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd was really flat for the match. The fact that they haven't done anything to establish Gabriel's persona doesn't help. How about some video footage of Gabriel's adrenaline junkie exploits? Having dorky Cole talk about his thrill seeking makes something cool sound cheesy. As for Del Rio, I'm becoming numb to his dominating wins on Raw when they always seem to be followed by losses to bigger names on pay-per-view.
Paul Heyman introduced C.M. Punk. Once Punk arrived in the ring, a huge banner fell from the ceiling to show off the WWE 13 video game cover that features Punk. Heyman introduced each member of Team Punk to Punk and built them up while doing so. First up was The Miz, who came out to a minimal reaction.
Heyman said introduced Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow as the next WWE Tag Team Champions. Ross noted that it is two teams of five competing against one another. Team Rhodes Scholars received about five seconds of introduction music. Heyman then introduced Alberto Del Rio and included the rolling R's.
Punk told the fans to shut up. He said Survivor Series will be a celebration of his one year title reign. Punk boasted about surviving Hell in a Cell. Mick Foley made his way to the ring and received just as much entrance music time as Rhodes Scholars did. Ouch. Foley questioned whether Punk calls what he did at Hell in a Cell survival.
Foley accused Punk of enlisting the talent of a crooked referee. Punk said he knows Foley is missing an ear so he asked him to turn his good one so that he could hear him say again that he didn't have anything to do with the referee's action. Foley said he would walk through the gates of hell with his teammates because they've proven themselves over the years.
Kofi Kingston was introduced first. You would have thought a Diva had just been introduced based on the flat crowd response. Foley introduced Team Hell No to an equally flat reaction. Foley then introduced Randy Orton, who received a better reaction, though not a great one from the burned out crowd.
Punk said Foley assembled a hell of a team. He said his team intends to eliminate the other four so that he can teach Foley a lesson. Foley said that would be a good strategy, but he's not competing. He said he will be in the corner watching. Foley introduced Ryback as the final member of the team.
The two teams started brawling. Punk was the first man to escape. Punk and Heyman went to the top of the stage as Team Foley cleared the rest of Team Punk. Ryback glared at Punk. Rhodes took a clothesline from Ryback, who followed up with Shellshocked and then went back to glaring at Punk...
Powell's POV: It was pretty obvious that Foley wasn't wrestling when neither Ryback nor John Cena were introduced and Punk assumed Team Foley was set. I am surprised that Cena isn't in the match. I doubt that it's elbow related, though, as they could easily protect him in a Survivor Series match if that was the case. Perhaps he'll work Dolph Ziggler in a singles match.
The followup to Hell in a Cell left a lot to be desired when you consider that the guy at the center of the controversy wasn't on the show tonight. I don't know if fan interest in that finish is going to carry over for another week now that WWE has already moved on Survivor Series hype. Overall, another flat show from WWE. The three-hour shows continue to be mostly snoozers and they are killing these live crowds by the time the marathon shows conclude. It was also bothersome that they couldn't be bothered to deliver a hook for next week's show. I'll have more to say about Raw in Dot Net Members' Audio later tonight.
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