8/26 Shore's WWE Raw live coverage: CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel, Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam, Will the McMahons try and stop Daniel Bryan's rematch after it has already been announced?
By Chris Shore
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Phoenix, Arizona at U.S. Airways Center.
[Q1] The show opened cold with the Shield at ringside. Triple H's music hit and he made his ring entrance dressed in a suit. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler and JBL checked in on commentary. Hunter cut a promo and said we might have missed it, but a new era had dawned. He setup a video that recapped Daniel Bryan's title win and loss at SummerSlam.
Hunter said that was business. He said there was nothing personal there, that was just what was best for business. He setup a video that recapped how Bryan got beat down last week. Cole went out of his way to protect the people who were on the stage. Hunter said he would admit that was personal. He rhetorically asked if Bryan wanted to know why. He said Bryan made it personal when he insulted the McMahon family, and that was the consequence Bryan got for his actions. He said he was willing to put all that aside and do business with Bryan if Bryan wanted.
He said business was big right now. He said the ratings were up and there was a ton of social media last week. He said it was all due to the new face of WWE. He asked the crowd to welcome Randy Orton, and Orton made his entrance. Hunter congratulated Orton on breathing new life into the WWE and the WWE Championship.
Hunter said as COO he likes rewarding people who deserve it. He said he got Orton a gift, but he was shut down by "No" chants. He said "Yes," and told Randy the gift was personal and not from the company. He said it was a brand new Cadillac Escalade. Hunter's music and the car drove out from the back and spit water. OK, I made up that last part.
Orton sold it big and thanked Hunter. He thanked Hunter for having the vision and business acumen to see he was the only one worthy of being the WWE Champion. Hunter smiled and told Orton to go check out his car. Before Orton could leave, Daniel Bryan's music hit and he came out to a huge pop and "Yes" chants.
Bryan had a mic and said Randy worked hard and deserved the new car. He said he wanted to thank some people too. He thanked everyone foe believing in him even when he wasn't the biggest, or the strongest, or the prettiest like "twinkle-toes" Orton. He thanked John Cena, which got an immediate mixed reaction, for giving him a shot at SummerSlam because Hunter never would have.
[Q2] Bryan closed with thanking Triple H for ending the charade and showing his true colors. He said it was obvious that Hunter's views about the business where just as wrong as Vince McMahon's. He said the rebel in the leather jacket was now loser in a suit. Orton jumped in and said Bryan should remember who he was talking to. He said Bryan should show them respect because he was the face of the company. Bryan said he was going to rearrange that face and take the title back.
Hunter said that was a sweet fairytale. He sang "When you wish upon a star" and I died laughing. Hunter said it does matter who you are, and Bryan was a "B" at best. He said he was all about opportunity, so he was going to give Bryan a chance to prove himself. He booked Bryan vs. The Shield in a gauntlet match and said it was because he believed in Bryan and that it was best for business…
The announce team hyped the CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel match and said fans could vote to either have Paul Heyman banned, as guest ref, or be forced to get in the ring if Punk beats Axel. Gee, I wonder how the voting on this goes…
Shore's Slant: Strong opening segment that finds a good balance for playing off Internet rumors while not requiring fans to know that history to get the story. Bryan continues to impress me on the mic, and his act is definitely over. I wonder what the long term payoff is. I almost hope it’s heel Cena returning to cost Bryan at some point.
Cody Rhodes was already in the ring and Damien Sandow joined the announce team. Fandango made his ring entrance as a video showed him hitting the leg drop on Miz last week…
1. Cody Rhodes vs. Fandango. Cody knocked Fandango to the floor, but Fandango kicked him while climbing back in the ring. Fandago's music hit and he looked confused. Miz and some woman danced out and Cody rolled up a surprised Fandango for the win…
Cody Rhodes defeated Fandango at 0:59.
Sandow jumped in the ring, followed by Miz, and the babyfaces dumped the heels. Brad Maddox ran out and booked a tag match…[C]
Shore's Slant: Phoenix is a hot crowd tonight because they popped for a match I couldn't care less about. I missed who the woman is but I'm sure 300 of you will email me to tell me.
[Q3] 2. Damien Sandow and Fandango vs. Cody Rhodes and Miz. The match was joined in progress with the heels beating on Cody. Sandow hit his elbow on Cody, but they hit clotheslines on each other and Miz got the hot tag. The crowd popped for it and immediately died. Fandango left the ring and Cody tripped Sandow so Miz could hit the mic check for the win…
Cody Rhodes and Miz defeated Damien Sandow and Fandango at 2:55.
Post-match, Fandango did his name gimmick…The announce team hyped the vote for the Punk vs. Axel stipulation…[C]
Shore's Slant: The mid-card is so weak right now. I like Fandango and Sandow, but Miz and Cody aren't getting it do right now, and the stories here have run their course. Time to move on to something fresh. Also, it was Rosa Mendez. I thought she had been cut so my apologies for not recognizing her.
The Los Matadors vignette aired… Backstage, Josh Matthews asked Christian about the direction Triple H was taking the company. Christian said that was a tough question because questioning the new regime leads to bad things happening and he still has the scars from the McMahon-Helmsley era. He started to say more but Orton cut him off. Orton said he was going to beat Christian tonight just like he had in the past. Christian said he knew Triple H liked sledgehammers, but it looked like he had a new favorite tool…
The announce team hyped the WWE app by saying Punk had conducted an interview during the break on the app about the vote for his match. They then proceeded to show it anyway so forget downloading that app. Punk said he knew what he wanted to do and that was get his hands on Heyman.
Backstage, Heyman was shown watching on a monitor and sold upset. Axel said there was nothing to worry about because the only way Punk could get his hands on Heyman was if Punk outwrestled him and that wasn't going to happen. He said the situation was beyond perfect. He asked Heyman if he believed in him and Heyman said, "Like my life depended on it…"
[Q4] The announce team hyped the results of the vote and the match for next…[C]
Shore's Slant: Boy Axel suffers from a lack of charisma. He delivered his lines fine, but he's just wooden. That was rough. Heyman's line was great.
Curtis Axel stood in the ring but Heyman was nowhere to be found. Punk made his ring entrance. Heyman walked out onto the stage and the voting results were posted. Only 81 percent voted for letting Punk get his hands on Heyman…
2. Curtis Axel vs. CM Punk. If CM Punk wins, Paul Heyman must get in the ring with Punk. Punk attacked quickly and lifted for GTS. Axel fled to the floor and Punk followed. Punk went after Heyman, allowing Axel to attack him from behind. Axel started beating Punk and Heyman worked his way down the ramp. Punk started a comeback and Heyman backed up the ramp. Axel went to the floor again and Punk dove on him…[C]
Back from commercial, both men ducked clothesline attempts until Axel hit one. Punk came back with the top rope elbow for two, but Axel hit a surprise neckbreaker just after for two.
[Q5] Out of nowhere, CM Punk lifted Axel and hit the GTS for the win…
CM Punk defeated Curtis Axel at 10:54.
Post-match, Heyman tried to run away, but two refs came out and escorted Heyman back onto the stage. Heyman started down the ramp slowly, so Punk slid out of the ring. Heyman ran to the back and Punk followed. Security suddenly popped out of the back with Heyman. They dragged him to the ring and Punk rolled Heyman in. He backed Heyman into the corner, but Axel hit a low blow before Punk could do more.
Heyman shook off the attack and handed Axel a pair of handcuffs. Axel handcuffed Punk and held him up as Heyman slapped Punk in the face and screamed that he was going to do this to Punk. He said Punk was going to feel his wrath. Punk stood up and kicked Axel in the head. He kicked Heyman in the leg and put the boots to him until Axel hit Punk with a chair.
Axel found a kendo stick and gave it to Heyman. Punk told Heyman, "Make it count you son of a bitch." Heyman hit Punk in the back and then had Axel hold him up while he beat on Punk's abdomen while screaming about how he loved and raised Punk. Axel pulled Punk from the ring and slammed him on the announce table. He yelled that Punk needed to learn a lesson.
Heyman beat Punk with the stick until it broke. He got in Punk's face and yelled that he loved Punk. Referees ran out and chased them off, but not before Heyman stopped to almost cry. A "boring" chant broke out right at the end…[C]
Shore's Slant: That was a risky storyline to take. Wrestling crowds are not known for behaving appropriately, and one man screaming that he loved another one in front of said crowds was a big risk, but it paid off well. I don't think the "boring" chants were bad, but it did go on about three minutes too long. It put at least good temporary heat for Axel. Now he needs to make that heat stick. Note, quite a few people say the crowd was chanting "Walrus" at Heyman instead of boring. I'm unable to look back right now, but even if it was "Walrus" it still went about three minutes too long.
[Q6] A commercial hyped Total Divas for next week…A video recapped Punk's beat down…JoJo was introduced by Justin Roberts, who mentioned she also sang the national anthem at SummerSlam. JoJo handled ring introductions for the Divas match…
3. Natalya (w/The Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikkie Bella and Eva Marie). Brie had the early offense, but Natalya hit a spinning slam and hooked in the Sharpshooter. Eva Marie distracted the ref while Nikki pulled Brie out of the ring. Brie slid back in and hit her finisher on Natty for the win…
Brie Bella defeated Natalya at 1:32.
Post-match, AJ's music hit and she came out and shit on Total Divas. An "AJ" chant broke out. AJ said she saw a bunch of cheap, expendable, and exchangeable women. She said they were on reality TV weren't talented enough to be actresses or champion. The Bellas and Eva Marie yelled obnoxiously for her to say it to their faces.
AJ said she has done more in the past year than they had done in their entire careers. She said they can't look her in the eye because they know she earned it. She said they knew she wasn't there because she was beautiful or part of a wrestling family or "sucked" up to the right people. She said none of them could lace up her Chuck Taylors. She said none of them will ever be champion and that was reality…
A video recapped Ricardo Rodriguez joining forces with RVD, then the two of them were shown walking backstage…[C]
Shore's Slant: The match was whatever, but AJ reminded us once again that she has mad charisma and mad mic chops. A great promo from her. Now if only they could give one of these women enough character on WWE regular programming to stand as her foil.
[Q7] Justin Roberts introduced Ricardo who introduced RVD. The introduction isn't near as good as it was with Del Rio. Speaking of, he was out next…
4. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Alberto Del Rio. RVD attacked at the bell and set Del Rio on the actual top rope. He missed a kick to the head, but Del Rio sold it anyway and fell to the floor…[C]
Back from commercial, Del Rio was in control as the announce team setup that if RVD wins he'll be able to challenge for the title. Van Damn hit a superkick as Del Rio jumped off the top and started his offense. He hit rolling thunder for two, and then hit the split legged moonsault for two. Del Rio grabbed his leg and they may have banged knees.
RVD went for the frog splash, but Del Rio knocked him down and hit his step-up enziguri for two. Del Rio setup for the arm breaker, but Ricardo jumped on the announce table and got the crowd chanting for RVD. Del Rio yelled at him, but that distraction allowed RVD to win via roll-up…
RVD defeated Alberto Del Rio at 8:27.
Post-match, the announce team confirmed it will be Del Rio defending against RVD at NoC…A video recapped Cena's announcement last week of his surgery and recovery. Still photography showed his busted elbow and the pictures of his arm wrapped up and the stitches…The announce team hyped the gauntlet match…
Shore's Slant: An OK match that had a predictable ending. I hope they put something better together for the actual PPV. I also hope they do more with this feud. I don't think it has enough juice right now just based on ADR and Ricardo, and RVD doesn't have enough stake in it yet.
[Q8][C] Backstage, Josh Matthews asked Ryback about bullying people and Ryback laughed for a moment before getting serious. He grabbed Matthews by the face and shoved him to the ground. He grabbed him again and said he finally found a way to shut Josh up. He shoved him down and walked away…
A video recapped the beating Punk took. Backstage, Renee Young asked Heyman about what happened. Axel said what happened was something Punk would never forget. Heyman said he felt like a man right now. He said he felt like a man who had disciplined his prodigal son. He said Punk should learn that Paul Heyman was not a man you go up against…
Christian made his ring entrance…[C]
Shore's Slant: More good stuff from Heyman here. I love where this story is going. My only concern is I don't know if Axel is ready for all this. His lack of charisma and mic skills stand out in stark contrast to Heyman and Punk, and I'm worried this feud hurts him in the long run.
Randy Orton made his ring entrance…
[Q9] 5. Christian vs. Randy Orton. The first minute happened in the last quarter. Christian dumped Orton to the floor and hit a dropkick through the ropes. He followed with a reverse DDT inside the ring and the crowd hardly reacted to the near fall. Phoenix seems tired all of a sudden. Orton came right back with a drop kick. Orton worked heel on Christian as the announce team nickered over whether Triple H did the right thing helping Randy Orton. Orton put Christian on the top rope and knocked him to the floor…[C]
Back from commercial, Orton was in control, but they battled with Christian sitting on the top rope. It took them a moment to get set, but Orton finally hit the superplex. Christian hooked a small package when Orton tried to cover and started his comeback. Christian went for a missile dropkick, but Orton caught him in the air and hit a slingshot into the corner. Orton went for the hung DDT, but Christian escaped, teased the killswitch, and then hit an ugly tornado DDT for two.
Christian hit his punch through the ropes, but Orton hit the hung DDT when Christian climbed back in. Orton stalked around the ring and then dropped the viper pose. Orton went for the RKO and Christian shoved him off where Orton landed on his back. Christian went for the spear, but Orton jumped over it. They turned and Christian hit the spear, but with less run so Orton kicked out at two.
Orton went for the RKO again, but Christian shoved him off. Christian went for the Killswitch, but Orton shoved him toward the ref. Christian kept from bumping the ref, but Orton hit a thumb to the eye and the RKO for the win…
Randy Orton defeated Christian at 16:09.
[Q10] Daniel Bryan appeared on the screen and congratulated Orton on his win. He said coming from a B "at best," that was an A+ effort. He put over the car Hunter gave Orton and then you realized he was sitting on it. He asked if he beat Orton for the WWE Championship did that make him the new face of the WWE. He stepped aside and there was the word "Yes" spray painted in orange on the car. Bryan walked around the car and it was covered in orange "yes"es. Orton sold being pissed off in the ring…[C]
Shore's Slant: A very good match. We've seen better from Christian and Orton, but don't let that be the reason you miss this match. It was very entertaining. Bryan painting the car orange was as obvious as the nose on your face, so it didn't move this viewer, but average fans probably got a kick out of it.
Backstage, Hunter and Orton stood with Maddox by the "Yescalade" [credit Dot Net Member liftnw8z]. Maddox said the fans loved what happened and that the locker room was laughing and cheering as well. Hunter said this was his personal property and everyone wants to make this personal. He told Maddox to tell the locker room they had to come to the ring for the main event to see what happens to Daniel Bryan. He said if any one of them even thinks about interfering, he would personally fire them. Orton said Bryan was going to pay…
The Primetime Players made their entrance. The Real Americans made their entrance while Zeb Colter said a Primetime Player must be a person who acts like a hoodlum and barks like a dog. He said people in welfare lines should get jobs, and added, "If you can’t feed 'em, don't breed 'em." He said they were what was wrong with America, but the Real Americans were what was right. He had the crowd do the "We the people: gimmick…
[Q11] 6. Titus O'Neal (w/Darren Young) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter). The first two minutes where in the last quarter. Swagger went for a pin on O'Neal with his feet on the ropes. Young pushed them off and he argued with Swagger. Swagger turned around into O'Neal's finisher for the win…
Titus O'Neal defeated Jack Swagger at 3:11.
Still shots recapped the Kane vs. Wyatt match from SummerSlam. A promo from Bray Wyatt was hyped for next…[C]
Shore's Slant: Dreadfully boring match that the crowd died for. At least the Divas had the AJ moment to redeem it. This just went over like a fart in church. Ring time is great, and important, but we need characters WWE. So far it's four guys who wrestle and one guy with a weird mustache who talks a lot. Who cares about that?
A creepy ass Wyatt promo video aired with Wyatt half talking, half singing "Down by the River to Pray." Wyatt cut a crazy ass promo about some woman teaching him how evil the world is. He spoke of her in motherly, yet sensual, terms. He said, "I love you Sister Abigail," and laughed before going back to singing…
A video recapped Hunter giving Orton the Escalade, and then Bryan turning it into the Yescalade…Backstage, Maddox was talking with the doctor and the doctor said "he" was refusing treatment. Punk stormed in and said he didn't need medical help, he needed Maddox's help. He demanded a match against Heyman. Maddox booked Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman in an elimination handicap match. He said if Hayman tried to get out of it Punk would never see him again. Punk says if Heyman tries they will never see Heyman again, but if he does get out of it, they will never see Maddox again…The locker room filed out onto the stage…
Shore's Slant: Wow. That Wyatt video was all kinds of bizarre. I'm surprised they are giving them this much room with it. Boy I hope at least one babyface steps up tonight. It would be devastating for all of them to just sit and watch two weeks in a row. This is a potential bomb, folks. Be careful going forward.
[Q12][C] The locker room was shown again standing on the stage. Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance. The Sting made their entrance. Renee Young asked Big Show about being forced to face the Shield in a handicap match last week. She asked him if he had any comments. Big Show just looked at her. She posed the same question to Dolph Ziggler, who gave her the same answer. She asked Miz if there was anything he wanted to say. He started to say a critical statement, but trailed off and never finished…
7. Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield in a gauntlet match. Seth Rollins was first. Bryan attacked and clotheslined Rollins over the top rope to the floor. The other two members closed in, allowing Rollins to attacked Bryan and slam him around the floor. Bryan started his comeback with a running clothesline. He hooked a single leg crab on Rollins, but Rollins used the ropes and rolled to the floor. Bryan hit a dive that knocked Rollins over the announce table, nearly killing Cole. A "Yes" chant broke out…[C]
Back at 7:36, Rollins worked a rest hold on Bryan as a video showed Rollins driving Bryan into the barricade during the break. Bryan hit his string of kicks, followed by several pinfall reversals. Rollins hit a standing kick to the head, followed by a reverse driver for two. Rollins put Bryan on the top turnbuckle and attacked, but Bryan dropped him on the buckle and hit a super German suplex throw.
[Overrun] Bryan followed up with the running knee for the pin fall victory. Daniel Bryan eliminated Seth Rollins at 11:59. Ambrose hit the ring immediately and started stomping on Bryan. Bryan suddenly reversed into the Yes Lock, but Roman Reigns attacked him and caused the ref to throw the entire match out.
Daniel Bryan apparently defeated the Shield by disqualification at 12:27.
The Shield put the boots to Bryan and beat him down, complete with spear from Reigns. Triple H's music hit and he came to the ramp and looked at everyone. He nodded at the Shield and they hit the triple powerbomb. Big Show turned his back on Hunter. Orton's music hit and he came to the ring. He held Orton while the crowd chanted for Big Show and then hit the RKO. He walked back up the ramp and posed. Hunter asked the locker room if they wanted to laugh now. He and Orton left and the Shield posed over Bryan to close the show…
Shore's Slant: An interesting situation to say the least. I really like this story, but there are so many problems with it. They are making the babyfaces look very bad in all of this, and there are huge logic problems. Doesn't Big Show have an iron clad contract for like the next 500 years or something? The good news, I think, is that by going back to this again, they should have a plan for a way to get all of the heat back for the babyfaces they are killing right now. The problem is, "should" does not equal "is" and WWE is notorious for changing plans.
All in all this was a C to C- episode of Raw. The WWE Championship and CM Punk stories were on point, as were Wyatt's and AJ's promos, but everything else was bland at best. Jason Powell will have more tomorrow on the Hitlist and I will have more for our members later tonight in my member's exclusive audio review. Thanks for watching along tonight.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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