7/29 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena vs. Ryback in a tables match, Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango, The Shield vs. Mark Henry and The Uso Brothers, Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped July 23 in Laredo, Texas
[Q1] A recap video focussed on Daniel Bryan's matches with Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, and Ryback, plus hype was given to Bryan vs. Kane, and John Cena vs. Ryback in a tables match...
Vince McMahon's music played and he walked out along with general manager Brad Maddox. Vince told the crowd they were going to have a good time. Maddox apologized for his "boneheaded decision" of allowing John Cena to select his SummerSlam opponent. Vince recalled Maddox listing the negatives of Daniel Bryan. Vince asked Maddox how he really feels about Bryan.
Daniel Bryan's music played and he headed to the ring as the fans stood and did the Yes! chant. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were on commentary and reminded viewers of the Bryan vs. Kane match for later in the show. The fans chanted Bryan's name. Vince told the fans to have a little decorum.
Bryan said Maddox may have made the negative comments about him, but he believes they were dictated by Vince. McMahon dismissed Maddox and said Bryan disrespected him by interrupting him. Bryan said respect is a two way street. He said that despite doing everything he's done for Vince's company, Vince hasn't given him an ounce of respect.
Vince asked Bryan if he respects Cena. He admonished the crowd for their Yes! chants. Bryan said he respects Cena as a human being, as a champion, and that he picked him as his SummerSlam opponent. Vince asked Bryan if he would respect Cena if he were lying through his teeth when he said all of those positive things about Bryan. Vince said Cena is a master manipulator and didn't mean any of it.
Vince said Cena is lying to Bryan and is making him look foolish. "Are you a fool, Daniel Bryan?" Vince asked. "John Cena knows what I know, you can't beat John Cena. You can't beat Kane tonight. The reason you can't is because you don't have that intangible quality. You don't have ruthless aggression."
Vince said Cena doesn't have ruthless aggression like he once did and is ripe for the picking. He said he doesn't want Cena to win because Cena walks around like he owns the place. Vince said the only one who wins in this is him. He crouched down to tell Bryan so he would be at his level. He said the way he wins is that Cena and Bryan lock up at SummerSlam and spontaneously combust.
Bryan said that if Cena is lying to him, he will have hell to pay. Bryan said there are things he likes about Vince. Bryan got on his tiptoes to be on Vince's level. He said Vince is always honest with him and tells him what he really thinks. "But in your own words, it doesn't matter what you think, it matters what they (fans) think."
Bryan said he thinks the fans want a new champion at SummerSlam. Bryan told Vince to take his own advice and listen to the WWE Universe. Bryan asked if the fans want a new WWE Champion. He received cheers and then led the crowed in a Yes! chant. Bryan went to ringside and kept chanting as he made his way up the ramp.
The Shield's music played and they headed toward the ring. Vince made his exit. Justin Roberts introduced The Shield, then Cole said they would face The Uso Brothers and Mark Henry after the break...
Powell's POV: A strong opening segment with Bryan coming off like the people's champion going against the big boss. The thing I found interesting is that when Bryan asked the fans if they wanted to see a new champion, he got a lot of cheers and no boos. It's not like every fan in the building wants to see him win, yet the pro-Cena fans weren't passionately against it enough to boo the idea either.
[Q2] [C] Highlights aired of The Uso Brothers saving Mark Henry from The Shield last week...
1. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso in a six-man tag match. Henry worked over Reigns in his corner early on and then asked, "Who wants some." He tagged in one of the Uso's, so apparently the other Uso didn't want none. The Uso's and Henry were in control heading into the break. [C]
[Q3] Late in the match, the Uso's had a big offensive run, but Ambrose put his knees up when one of the brothers performed a top rope splash. Ambrose followed up with his finisher and scored the clean pin. Afterward, Henry cleared Ambrose from the ring
The Shield defeated Mark Henry and The Uso's in 12:20.
Cole and Lawler set up footage of Ryback harassing a guy in the catering area. He backed the man against the wall and threw food in his face. Ryback picked the man up and slammed him through the table... [C]
Powell's POV: First off, I mistakenly wrote that JBL was on commentary earlier, but that's not the case. The six-man tag match was entertaining and I thought at one time that it would be a SummerSlam match. Ryback became Cryback and now he's Bully Ry.
A graphic noted that WWE delivers it's pay-per-views to the U.S. Armed Forces Network... Cole and Lawler spoke about the U.S. military and Cole wondered aloud what the troops think about the Wyatt Family. This awkwardly set up a Wyatt Family video...
Kane approached Brad Maddox backstage and asked where The Wyatt Family is. Maddox said he knows Kane has been looking for them, but they aren't there. He said that if Kane wants to send a message to them, then he should show them he's still a monster with a killer instinct when he faces Daniel Bryan...
Rob Van Dam made his entrance for his match against Fandango... [C]
[Q4] Highlights aired from Smackdown of Alberto Del Rio beating RVD. Cole said RVD hasn't forgotten that...
Powell's POV: For those who haven't kept track, this edition of Raw was actually taped a day before that episode of Smackdown.
Fandango made his entrance. Meanwhile, Cole hyped the WWE Battleground pay-per-view ticket on sale for Buffalo on Saturday.
2. Rob Van Dam vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae). Van Dam caught Fandango on the floor with a moonsault off the ring apron. RVD performed some of his signature offense, including Rolling Thunder and a springboard kick. He went to the top rope, but Fandango rolled to ringside. Van Dam teased jumping onto Fandango on the floor, but Summer Rae stood in the way. Fandango and Summer backed their way up the ramp and Fandango was counted out. Fandango took the mic and said his name...
Rob Van Dam beat Fandango by count out in 4:10.
Powell's POV: I've been more tolerant than many of you when it comes to Fandango getting himself counted out because it seemed like the heat went on him rather than on the company for a lackluster finish. As perhaps the last defender, even I have reached my limit with this copout finish.
Backstage, A.J. Lee bitched to Big E Langston about not doing anything when Kaitlyn spears her. Then she started laughing and said he watches because Langston likes her and what she does in the ring. Lee said Langston never knows what she's going to do next. She skipped away... [C]
[Q5] 3. WWE Divas Champion A.J. Lee (w/Big E Langston) vs. Kaitlyn in a non-title match. Lawler told a Carlos Danger joke as A.J. controlled the early offense. Kaitlyn came back with a clothesline and followed up moments later with a spear for the win...
Kaitlyn defeated A.J. Lee in a non-title match in 4:30.
After the match, A.J. threw a fit in the ring. Dolph Ziggler came out and stood on the stage while congratulating her on her loss. He told her that she could cry on Langston's shoulder, and then she could return the favor because he wants a match with Langston on the spot. Langston jawed from the ring and Ziggler was headed there when the show cut to commercial... [C]
Powell's POV: Lee dominated the slow paced match until Kaitlyn came back at the end. Lawler's joke about Carlos Danger might be the most modern reference he's made in the last 15 years. It looks like they are giving away another match I expected to see at SummerSlam.
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston (w/A.J. Lee). Cole said Ziggler and Langston were once best of friends before things fell apart. Langston went on the offensive early.
[Q6] Ziggler came back and knocked Langston to the floor, which was Lee's cue to hit the ring and maniacally attack Ziggler for the DQ. Afterward, Langston entered the ring and asked Lee what she was doing. She fell to her knees and cried like she was Kaitlyn or something. Ziggler returned and put Langston down with the Zig Zag...
Dolph Ziggler beat Big E Langston by DQ in 5:20.
Powell's POV: Did you ever get the impression that Ziggler and Langston were best of friends, as Cole stated? It looked more like Langston worked for Dolph as his heavy and therefore tolerated his obnoxious make out sessions with A.J. Lee. The outcome of the match was cheap, yet it's more understandable here than the RVD vs. Fandango finish. By the way, I saw way more of Langston's ass than I ever wanted to see. Seriously, can they get the guy some gear that leaves a little more to the imagination?
John Cena was on the phone backstage when Daniel Bryan entered the room. Bryan asked Cena whether what Vince McMahon said was true. Cena said Vince is a promoter and he wouldn't believe a thing he says. Bryan said Vince has always been honest with him. "Well, Daniel, are you calling me a liar?" Cena asked. They glared at one another, then Cena walked away...
Powell's POV: Daniel Bryan falling for Vince's claims leaves the door open for a Mick Foley-like run as Vince's champion. Keep in mind that Vince has mentioned the negatives that people say about Bryan, but he has done so in a way where he doesn't actually use the insults himself. My guess right now is that it's pretty straight forward between Cena and Bryan at SummerSlam, but I like all of the storyline possibilities they've set up.
5. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian in a non-title match. The announcers hyped JBL's summit climb. They also hyped that Alberto Del Rio would reveal his SummerSlam opponent on Friday's Smackdown television show. Christian controlled the early offense and knocked Del Rio to ringside. Christian tried to slide into Del Rio under the bottom rope, but Del Rio moved and then threw Christian into the ring steps. Del Rio caught Christian with a kick to the arm that drove it into the steps. [C]
[Q7] After the break, Del Rio remained on the offensive. He hung up Christian in the ropes and put the boots to him. Christian came back with a tornado DDT off the second rope. He sold his arm injury by failing to hook Del Rio's leg. Del Rio came back, but Christian clotheslined him on the top rope. Del Rio responded with a backbreaker for a two count.
Del Rio stood on Christian. For some reason, the referee didn't bother to count Christian down. Del Rio missed a move off the ropes. Christian set up in the corner and went for the spear, but Del Rio rolled to ringside. Christian went after him. When they ended up back inside the ring, Del Rio caught Christian with the superkick for a two count.
Del Rio went for a kick in the corner and missed. Christian went for his finisher, but Del Rio countered with the Cross Arm Breaker. However, Christian rolled through and rolled up Del Rio for the clean pin...
Christian pinned Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match in 13:45.
Highlights aired from last week of the Daniel Bryan, Ryback, and John Cena drama from the end of the show... The announcers hyped Cena vs. Ryback in a tables match for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Del Rio vs. Christian was a good back and forth match that got better as it went along. They ate up a lot of television time and kept things entertaining throughout the match. Christian is getting a lot of wins, but he could use some mic time. Meanwhile, WWE aired a great commercial for the ECW Unreleased Volume 2 DVD that will be released on Tuesday.
[Q8] An ad aired for a buy one WWE shirt and get one half off...
Powell's POV: My advice is to make the second shirt a Diva's shirt and pray that they are talking about the top half.
6. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett. Before the match, highlights aired from Smackdown of Rhodes throwing Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico. Rhodes countered a pumphandle move into the CrossRhodes for the clean win...
Cody Rhodes defeated Wade Barrett in 4:20.
After the match, Damien Sandow stormed out and complained about Rhodes throwing his briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico. He said he's already filed a complaint with management. Sandow said he tried to help Rhodes while they were together, but Rhodes grew a mustache. He said he comes from a family of scholars, while Rhodes comes from a family of clowns. Sandow said he should send Rhodes back to the circus where belongs, but carny folk are beneath his constitution...
A shot aired of Kane walking backstage, then Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: It's nice to see Rhodes get a real push, but I remain baffled by the way Wade Barrett is wasted as a glorified enhancement wrestler.
A video recapped the Daniel Bryan and Vince McMahon segment, and the backstage exchange between Bryan and John Cena...
[Q9] 7. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane. Both men looked reluctant when the bell sounded, but Bryan charged Kane and drove his knees into him. Kane came back with an uppercut. Bryan responded with a half crab only to have Kane power out. The announcers spoke about the Cena vs. Bryan match.
Lawler picked Cena, but said Bryan does have a chance and he won't be an embarrassment to WWE if he does win. "Daniel Bryan is a hell of a competitor," Lawler said. In the ring, Bryan used his legs to flip Kane to the floor, then performed the running knee to Kane's head going into the break. [C]
Powell's POV: Steve Jobs played by Ashton Kutcher? I would say that Jobs is rolling over in his grave, but he probably designed an app for that.
The back and forth action continued after the break. Kane went for a chokeslam, but Bryan countered with and attempt at the Yes! Lock. Kane used his power to avoid it and push Bryan aside. Bryan threw repeated kicks at Kane, but Kane caught his leg the last time. Kane went for a chokeslam, but Bryan countered into a pin for the win...
Daniel Bryan pinned Kane in 11:45.
[Q10] After the match, Kane chokeslammed Bryan. He set up to motion for the pyro with his arms, but he was interrupted by the Wyatt Family entrance video. The Wyatts walked to the ring. Kane went after Bray Wyatt, but Erick Rowan and Luke Harper cut him off. Kane fought the pair in the ring, but they eventually beat him down while Wyatt watched from ringside.
After the damage was done, Wyatt entered the ring and performed his finisher on Kane. Wyatt took the mic and said Kane likes to call himself the devil's favorite demon. "You ought to be careful who you say those things in front of because you never know who might be listening," Wyatt said...
Powell's POV: It was business as usual for the Kane character until the end of the match. Is his frustration leading him to be more like the Big Red Monster of old or will he ultimately join the Wyatt Family? Either way, I'm enjoying this ride.
8. Brie Bella vs. Natalya. Backstage footage aired of Nikki Bella telling Natalya that every good show has an ugly duckling. Brie performed a cool clothesline on the ropes and then hung on for a kick. Cool spot. Later, Natalya was setting up for her finisher when Nikki walked out with a duck call device. Natalya was distracted and rolled up by Brie for the win...
Brie Bella pinned Natalya in 4:15.
Powell's POV: Yes, that actually happened. Lawler said Natalya was humiliated and embarrassed. It's just a thought, but maybe the fans would identify with the babyface Divas more if they weren't always subjected to stupid storylines that leave their characters humiliated and embarrassed by things like duck callers and catfishing.
[Q11] [C] 9. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. R-Truth in a non-title match. Heyman cut a promo on his way to the ring and said that being a Paul Heyman Guy means you're among the most top tiered talent in history. Axel took the mic and said his father won the IC Title in Texas. He said despite that, he went to become Mr. Perfect. Axel said he's already more perfect than perfect.
Truth jumped out to a fast start, but he missed the scissors kick and took a shot to the back of the head. Axel put the boots to Truth and fired away with punches. Truth came back briefly, but Axel put him down with a dropkick. The fans chanted for C.M. Punk. Axel performed his finisher.
C.M. Punk came out and ended up throwing Axel into the barricade. Punk looked at Heyman, who was on the other side of the ring. Punk went after Heyman and caught him trying to escape over the barricade, but Axel saved him before any damage could be done. Punk got the better of Axel as Heyman fled backstage...
Curtis Axel fought R-Truth to an apparent no-contest when C.M. Punk interfered.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were shown walking backstage... Lawler hyped Cena vs. Ryback in a tables match... [C]
Powell's POV: Axel looked more poised on the mic than he has in the past, but he's still spitting out campy lines like being more perfect than perfect. Still, this was an improvement in his delivery. I assume we will be seeing a lot of Punk coming close to getting physical Heyman in the weeks and months ahead. The longer they hold off on the payoff the bigger it will be. Is it just me or should Cena vs. Ryback feel bigger than they've made it out to be?
[Q12] Backstage, Triple H asked Vince McMahon if he was done jerking Daniel Bryan around. Vince said maybe he was trying to use reverse psychology on Bryan. He said maybe deep down he wants Bryan to be champion. Hunter said Vince can't even say that with a straight face. Vince said he wants someone to beat John Cena. He said he wants someone like Triple H, only some like him that's 23 years younger.
Stephanie McMahon entered the picture and said Vince can't throw stones when it comes to age. She said she would like to give Daniel Bryan a corporate makeover. "Good luck with that one," Vince said. Hunter told her it was worth a shot...
Powell's POV: Fear for the beard. Keep in mind that while Daniel Bryan may not fit Vince's description of what a champion should look like, Money in the Bank contract holder Randy Orton does.
10. WWE Champion John Cena vs. Ryback in a non-title tables match. Ryback got the better of Cena on the floor and ran him into the ring post. Ryback picked up the table and ran toward Cena, who moved out of the way. They took a rough cut commercial break. [C]
After the break, Ryback whipped Cena into the ring steps. Ryback stood up and jawed at the referee. Cena came back by driving Ryback into the barricade and then into the ring apron. Cena set up a table on the ring steps and the ring apron and went for a suplex, but Ryback countered with a suplex on the floor.
[Overrun] Later, Ryback slid under the ring and came out the other side, where he speared Cena. Ryback picked up the ring steps and slammed them onto Cena's head. Ryback set up another table on the ring steps and ring apron. Cena kicked Ryback toward the announcers table. They knocked over one of the tables and traded punches near the other.
Ryback pressed Cena over his head and tried to put him through the table, but Cena overshot the table and landed on his feet. Ryback picked up the ring steps and broke the table. Cena picked up the other ring steps, so they both stood there with ring steps, which they ended up throwing together.
Cena got back inside the ring and called for Ryback to join him. Cena got the better of the exchange and slammed Ryback onto the top of another set up ring steps. Cena performed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He slid a table inside the ring. Ryback came back with a jaw-jacker. Ryback performed the Meathook Clothesline on Cena, but Cena came right back with the Attitude Adjustment through a table...
John Cena beat Ryback in a non-title tables match in 15:10.
After the match, Daniel Bryan headed to ringside doing his Yes! routine. He took the WWE Championship belt from the timekeeper and entered the ring with it. Cena struck a fighting pose, but Bryan simply held the belt out for Cena. When Cena went to take the belt, Bryan pulled it back. There was a Yes! chant. Cena bobbed his head to the chant, but then got serious and took the belt away. Cena told Bryan that he has a long way to go if he wants the belt. Bryan did the Yes! chant to close the show...
Powell's POV: A good main event and a show filled with more wrestling than usual. Still, I missed the anything can happen feel of a live show. WWE did a good job of covering that the show was taped by showing the footage from Smackdown even though it was taped a day later and by having a couple of timely comments. Thus, the average fan watching at home had no reason to suspect it wasn't a live show.
I'm intrigued by the Vince McMahon role in the John Cena and Daniel Bryan match, but the whole thing feels awkward at this point. I'd rather see the focus shift to Cena vs. Bryan, not on what Vince feels a champion should or should not look like. One can only assume it's going somewhere. I will be by later tonight with a Dot Net Member Exclusive audio review. Stop back on Tuesday for the WWE Raw Hit List, birthday boy Will Pruett's Pause review, and Ryan Kester's Rundown review.
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