9/16 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Will Daniel Bryan survive the night as WWE Champion? Dusty Rhodes meets Stephanie McMahon for a business proposition, WWE Night of Champions fallout
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to my WWE Raw audio review later tonight. They are currently listening to the 97-minute WWE Night of Champions audio review that Chris Shore and I recorded on Sunday night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Cleveland, Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena
[Q1] The show opened with a video that featured footage of Daniel Bryan celebrating his WWE Championship win at Night of Champions... Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Daniel Bryan as the new WWE Champion. Bryan made his entrance the live crowd was in big time "Yes!" mode.
Bryan stood in the middle of the ring with a mic in hand and stopped to soak up the cheers and the "Daniel Bryan" chant. "You guys are awesome," Bryan told the hot crowd. He said there were a lot of things he wanted to say, but he thinks the thing that said it best is "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Triple H's music played. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL checked in on commentary as Hunter walked to the ring wearing a suit. Hunter said he needed to address the 800-pound gorilla that was sitting in the room. He said it's what social media, the fans, and the talent were talking about.
Powell's POV: Too bad the broadcast team didn't talk about it during the pay-per-view. I guess they wanted the oblivious members of the pay-per-view viewing audience to end the night happy.
Triple H called out referee Scott Armstrong to address the fast count. After Armstrong joined them in the ring, Hunter showed footage of Armstrong's normal count cadence, then showed the fast count he made at the end of the match. Footage aired of Bryan drilling Orton with a running knee and Armstrong making the fast count.
Hunter had the production team showed the normal count and fast count simultaneously on a split screen, then asked Armstrong to explain himself. "It was a fast count, I don't know," Armstrong replied. Hunter mocked his response. Armstrong said he made a mistake. Hunter pushed him for more explanation, but Armstrong once again said he made a mistake.
Triple H said he's known Armstrong for 15 years and he's never seen him make such a mistake. He said he had a feeling that Armstrong wasn't telling him the whole story. Armstrong looked at Bryan and said, "They got us, Daniel." Bryan acted oblivious. "What are you talking about?" asked Bryan. Triple H sent Armstrong backstage.
"Daniel, I'm ashamed of you," Hunter told Bryan. He accused him of convincing Armstrong to make a fast count so that he could become WWE Champion. Triple H said he had no choice but to hold the WWE Championship in abeyance. "I am not going to return the WWE Championship to Randy Orton, but Daniel Bryan, as of this moment, you are no longer the WWE Champion." The crowd booed and Bryan protested.
Hunter said he understands that Bryan is upset. He said he would continue to investigate further, but there was no WWE Champion. Hunter asked him to hand over the WWE Championship. Bryan told him no way. Hunter said Bryan has embarrassed himself, disgraced himself and the WWE Championship. "I would have thought Shawn (Michaels) taught you better than this," Hunter said. "Hand over to me the WWE Championship belt or I will take it from you." Randy Orton's music played and he headed to the ring. Hunter once again insisted that Bryan hand over the title or he would take it from him.
[Q2] Bryan looked at the WWE Championship, then looked to the crowd as they chanted "No!" Bryan yelled "No!" at Hunter, who tried to take the belt. Meanwhile, Orton hit Bryan with an RKO that dropped him. Triple H grabbed the title belt and headed backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: First off, Vince McMahon is probably reminding Triple H that a belt is something that holds your pants up. It's also a title belt, but good luck convincing him of that. Anyway, what a difference a hot crowd makes. We all expected Hunter to take the title away tonight and the storyline and really the product felt flat coming out of the pay-per-view. The live crowd's passionate response doesn't fix all of the problems, but it sure made this angle feel a lot more relevant.
Backstage, Hunter was talking to Stephanie about Scott Armstrong when Randy Orton entered the picture and demanded his title be returned to him. Stephanie McMahon cut in front of him and chewed him out. She said he deserved to lose. She questioned what happened to the Orton who had no morality or remorse. She said that until he finds that Orton, they may have to find a new face of WWE. Stephanie walked away. "That's the guy we're looking for," Hunter told Orton...
1. U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match. Ambrose applied an early sleeper hold, which Ziggler broke with a jaw jacker. Ambrose came back by whipping Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler flipped over the ropes and to the floor heading into the break. [C]
[Q3] Ambrose remained on the offensive coming out of the break and performed a superplex for a two count. Ziggler came back with a strong DDT at 8:25. Ziggler drop kicked Ambrose, then splashed him in the corner before throwing ten punches at him. A short time later, Dolph dropped ten elbows. "You're not going to like this, Dean," Lawler said. JBL labeled the sequence "a heart stopper." Ambrose came back with a spinebuster for a two count at 10:00. He set up for his finisher, but Ziggler avoided it and caught him with the Zig Zag for the win...
Dolph Ziggler pinned Dean Ambrose in a non-title match in 11:10.
Powell's POV: For those who didn't listen to the Steve Austin Podcast with Jerry Lawler, The King expressed his belief that the stiff Ziggler elbows caused his heart attack. Ziggler celebrated the win at ringside, perhaps with family since he's from the area. A good television match and the live crowd continues to be hot.
Backstage, Brad Maddox and Big Show stood silently until Maddox said Triple H and Ms. McMahon would be there shortly... [C] Maddox confirmed that Hunter wanted Daniel Bryan to face Roman Reigns on Raw. Steph stared a hole in Big Show. Maddox told Steph that Dusty Rhodes had arrived. Stephanie told Big Show that he was to sit down in the office and stay out of trouble. She said she would call him if she needed him...
The announcers spoke about the C.M. Punk vs. Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel match as shots aired from the pay-per-view match. They noted that Ryback attacked Punk and helped Heyman pin Punk. The announcers questioned why Ryback got involved and whether Heyman knew anything about it. They said they would find out later...
Fandango and Summer Rae made their entrance. Cole said Fandango would be in action after the break...
[Q4] [C] R-Truth made his entrance and JBL sang the "What's Up?" lines on commentary. Lowlights aired of the godawful dance contest from Friday's Smackdown...
2. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. R-Truth. Truth was in offensive control early, but he missed a scissors kick and Fandango ended up taking control. Fandango caught Truth with a kick and followed up with a top rope leg drop for the win...
Fandango pinned R-Truth in 3:25.
Powell's POV: There wasn't much to the match. The live crowd was hot for Truth's entrance, but they were quiet for the first time all night during the actual match.
Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was surrounded by The Prime Time Players, Ricardo Rodriguez, Booker T, Natalya, and Hornswoggle... [C] A commercial aired for the new Triple H DVD that comes out next Tuesday... Highlights aired from last week of Randy Orton beating Goldust...
Dusty Rhodes' music played and he received a nice reaction as he headed to the ring. Rhodes, dressed in a suit, kept a serious face and waved quickly to the crowd. A loud "Dusty" chant broke out and Rhodes gave them a quick smile. "I appreciate that, but I'm not here as the American Dream tonight," Rhodes said. "I'm here as Virgil Runnels and I want the McMahons to hear what I have to say."
[Q5] Dusty said the McMahons never went down the bad road, whereas he has. He spoke about not being able to pay a light bill or for a rental car or mortgage or to have someone cut the lawn. He said you reach down for your children and find a way to do it.
Powell's POV: Is a person really struggling when you're trying to scrape up money to pay for a rental car or a lawn service? Has the Dream lost touch with common man problems?
Dusty recapped what's happened with Cody and Goldust. He called for "Stephanie McMahon, Stephanie Levesque" to drag her "long legs out here and get with it." Stephanie's music played and she clapped as she walked to the ring with a big smile on her face.
Stephanie said she could relate to what "Virgil" said as a fellow parent. She said Cody's wedding just took place and she presented him with a gift card. Dusty mocked that it was from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. She said that's where Cody and his bride were registered. She said she could offer Dusty's son his job back. Dusty agreed and started to leave, but she told him he had to choose which son would get the job.
Dusty didn't want to make the choice and yelled at Steph not to interrupt them. Steph said Dusty could give the job to Cody, the son who did everything right, or Goldust, the son that Dusty neglected all those years while they were on the road. Dusty asked how Steph's daughters were doing. She said fine, but it's not about that.
Steph accused Dusty of making this all about himself like he always does. Dusty got in Steph's face and told her to go straight to hell. "Well, I'm sorry you feel that way," Steph said. The Shield's music hit. The Shield members surrounded the ring. Steph told them to hold on for a second because it didn't seem fair.
Stephanie called for Big Show to join them. Show walked to the ring. Steph said that since Dusty couldn't decide which one of his sons would get the job, he could decide whether he wanted to be dismembered by The Shield or knocked out by Show. Steph noted that Dusty couldn't make up his mind, so she ordered Show to knock him out.
Show said he couldn't do it. "Fine, Shield, get him," Steph said. Show stepped forward and yelled. The Shield members stood there with chairs while Show agonized. She hugged Dusty and apologized to him and said he had to do it. Show punched Dusty and then grabbed him and lowered him to the ground.
Steph and The Shield headed backstage. Show knelt over Rhodes and a trainer entered the ring and asked if Rhodes could hear him. He called for the crew to mobilize Rhodes and get him out of the ring...
Powell's POV: Stephanie comes across as the most heelish person in the company. Even Triple H seems tame by comparison. She's really doing a hell of a job. Dusty delivered a good Dusty promo, though I could have done without all of the shoot stuff with the real names. I just don't think it was necessary, and I don't think anyone was fooled into thinking it was real because real names were used.
[Q6] [C] After the break, Dusty was stretchered into an ambulance....
3. Naomi, Cameron, and Brie Bella vs. Layla, Alicia Fox, and Aksana. A.J. Lee and Natalya both sat in on commentary. Brie pinned Aksana to win the match for her team. Afterward, Natalya got face to face with A.J., who held up her title belt...
Naomi, Cameron, and Brie Bella beat Layla, Alicia Fox, and Aksana in 3:00.
The Miz and Brad Maddox were shown talking backstage... [C] The announcers recapped Big Show punching out Dusty Rhodes. Back live, Cole said Rhodes is a 68 year-old man. JBL said he was simply defending his sons....
[Q7] Highlights aired of Damien Sandow winning the Money in the Bank match...
4. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Damien Sandow. Ricardo delivered the personal ring introduction for RVD again. Van Dam dominated with his signature offense until Sandow lifted his knees on Rolling Thunder. RVD came right back with a couple of kicks and finished off Sandow with a Five Star Frogsplash...
Rob Van Dam beat Damien Sandow in 2:35.
Powell's POV: This was essentially a squash match. Winning the Smackdown version of the Money in the Bank match seems to guarantee the winner nothing but misery until they finally cash in. There was a production mistake, as they accidentally played Sandow's music afterward before switching to RVD's music. Sandow also did his usual bit of proclaiming himself the next World Hvt. Champion.
Cole announced Randy Orton vs. The Miz for after the break and noted that they were in Miz's hometown... [C] The announcers spoke at ringside...
Backstage, Scott Armstrong tried to talk to Triple H about what happened earlier. Hunter said it's a problem that he had to hold the WWE Championship in abeyance. He said that the WWE officials have t have integrity. He said Armstrong has been loyal and he will give him a great severance package, but he has to let him go. Whenever Armstrong tried to talk, Hunter told him that he would take care of him...
Powell's POV: So Hunter had to prevent Armstrong from talking because he didn't want Armstrong talking about how he put him up to making the fast count at Night of Champions. By the way, I'll fast count the f--- out of anyone for a nice severance package. I have no shame.
Ring introductions for the Orton vs. Miz took place. Miz received a strong hometown reaction. He went to ringside and hugged his mom and dad, only to be attacked by Orton. Randy ran Miz into the ring steps and then threw a series of punches at him while Miz's parents watched with concerned looks on their faces...
Powell's POV: Deep down, even Miz's mom and dad want to cheer for him getting his ass kicked. I'm pretty sure Miz's dad was a roadie for Judas Priest back in the day, but I could be wrong.
[Q8] [C] Miz was selling a shoulder injury, he had a determined look on his face. Cole said Miz was blowing off the referees who were attempting to get him backstage to get his shoulder examined...
5. Randy Orton vs. The Miz. Miz put up a brief fight, but Orton ended up getting the better of him and roughing him up at ringside where they were both counted out.
Randy Orton fought The Miz to an apparent double count out in 1:45.
After the match, Orton brough Miz over by his parents. Miz fought back and clotheslined Orton over the barricade. Orton fought back and ended up performing the hanging DDT off the barricade right in front of Miz's parents. Orton took Miz inside the ring and placed his head inside a chair and then dropped a knee on it... [C]
Powell's POV: If Miz's parents actually liked their son, they would have at least pushed his legs off the barricade rather than watching Orton perform the hanging DDT on him. I'll bet they would have done that if it wasn't for that shit-fest dance contest that aired on Smackdown. I want to go bar hopping with Miz's dad. Now that I have that out of the way, it was a good angle and a solid followup to Steph encouraging Randy to regain the eye of the tiger or whatever the hell he was missing. Was I the only person hoping that Orton would put the exclamation point on this by seducing Miz's mom?
Still shots aired from Night of Champions of Ryback helping Paul Heyman beat C.M. Punk...
[Q9] Ryback's music played and he walked onto the stage. Curtis Axel wheeled Paul Heyman out in a wheelchair, shook his hand, and headed backstage. Heyman, who was clean shaven, introduced himself as the best in the world. Heyman told the fans to boo that all they want, but he gets that envy is one of the seven deadly sins and everyone knows how many heathens there are in Cleveland.
Heyman said it must be hard for the fans to compare their insignificant accomplishments to the things he's achieved in his life. "I pinned C.M. Punk," Heyman said slowly. Heyman said he would like to take credit for having a master plan, but he didn't have one. Heyman said Punk had him dead to rights when he gave him a beating that was so heinous that he's confined to a wheelchair.
Heyman said Punk gave him perhaps the most vicious beating in WWE history. He said it's a miracle that he's not a vegetable rotting away in a nursing home. Heyman said he appears before the fans because one man took the initiative to change history. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here tonight and will continue to torment each and every one of you because of the actions of this big, beautiful man right here," Heyman said. "I want you to know from the bottom of my heart, I owe my life to Ryback."
Ryback took the mic and said that if here's one thing he can't stand it's a bully. He said Punk bullied Heyman. "You're a human being, Paul," Ryback said. He added that he doesn't like Punk because he's a bully, and said he was there to stop him. Ryback knelt down and told Heyman that he never has to worry again because Punk will never put his hands on him. Heyman leaned in and kissed Ryback on the cheek. Ryback stood up and yelled, "Ryback Rules"...
Powell's POV: What's the over/under on the number of weeks until Heyman goes flying off the stage in the wheelchair? Good fun and good heat. Heyman looking lovingly at Ryback was hilarious, and the kiss on the cheek was a riot. I haven't been that excited to watch a man kiss another man since Friday night. Er, I mean, never.
The latest Los Matadores vignette aired. They are still in coming soon mode... [C]
6. The Real Americans vs. The Uso Brothers vs. Tons of Funk for a future WWE Tag Team Championship match. Jerry Lawler noted that Browns running back Trent Richardson was seated behind them and is married to a cousin of the Uso's. I would bitch about his fantasy performance so far this season, but I'm not going to rattle that cage when he's playing against the Vikings on Sunday.
[Q10] Anyway, Cesaro rolled up Tensai to eliminate Tons of Funk in 4:30. [C]
Powell's POV: Things aren't going well for Tons of Funk. They've been on the losing end of two elimination matches in two nights and the Funkadactyls don't even accompany them to ringside anymore.
After the break, the fans were chanting this is awesome. They showed footage of Cesaro using the big swing and the announcers pimped the app. The crowd chanted JBL as the match continued, stopped to do We The People, and then chanted for Jerry Lawler. The Uso's went on an offensive flurry and performed a simultaneous dive over the top rope and onto Cesaro and Swagger at ringside.
Back inside the ring, Swagger applied the ankle lock, but one of the Uso brothers kicked him off and then tagged him with a super kick. The Uso went to the top rope and Cesaro tried to cut him off, but the other Uso took care of him. Swagger recovered and suplexed the Uso off the top rope, only to have the other one perform a top rope splash onto Swagger for the win...
The Uso Brothers beat The Real Americans and Tons of Funk in 13:10 to earn at WWE Tag Title shot.
Powell's POV: Good action once it was down to the Uso's vs. The Real Americans. The Uso's are pretty cool until their post match dance routine starts. I have no idea who that is supposed to appeal to.
Lawler said all of Dusty Rhodes's vital signs checked out... Cole hyped the Bryan vs. Reigns match, then set up a video for a reading celebration that took place earlier at a local elementary school. They are going to try to break a record on October 3 for the most kids reading the same book...
Powell's POV: I was the type of kid who would have taken part in attempt to set the record, let them celebrate that we broke it by one kid, and then informed the Guinness people that I was only pretending to read the book so the record wasn't actually broken.
[Q11] Highlights aired of Dusty Rhodes being placed onto a stretcher. JBL said Dusty was there to defend his sons, not to fight. Lawler said Dusty would be held overnight for obsevation...
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was wished luck by a bunch of babyface wrestlers as he walked through the backstage area. Brie Bella stopped him and hugged him... [C]
Powell's POV: And there it is. Get ready for Hunter and Stephanie to start messing with Brie Bella to get to Daniel Bryan.
7. Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns (w/Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Randy Orton). Before the match, Orton headed to ringside and spoke with Rollins and Ambrose as the match got underway. Bryan caught Reigns with a series of kicks to start and targeted his left knee. Orton took a seat next to the announcers but didn't put a headset on. Bryan caught Rollins in a leg lock and then leaned forward and threw a series of forearm shots.
[Q12] Reigns came back with a clothesline to the back of Bryan's neck and was in control for the next few minutes. Bryan tripped up Reigns in the corner and then kicked the middle turnbuckle into his face. Bryan went up top and performed a missile dropkick. He followed up with a suicide dive. Reigns struggled to catch him, but powered him up and then drove him into the bring apron and threw him into the barricade. [C]
After the break, Reigns put Bryan on the ropes for a superplex, but Bryan fired punches into this protective vest, er, gut to break it up. Later, Reigns came back with a twisting slam for a two count. Bryan made his comeback and threw a series of kicks to that worthelss protective vest. He kicked and missed on the last one and Reigns slammed him down for a two count.
Reigns set up for a powrbomb, but Bryan flipped over him and rolled him up for a two count. Bryan caught Reigns with a kick and got another two count. Bryan kicked the other Shield members, but ran into a clothesline from Reigns. When Reigns reached down to pick him up, Bryan put him in the Yes! Lock. Randy Orton ran in to break it up for the DQ.
Daniel Bryan beat Roman Reigns by DQ in 18:15.
After the match, Orton and The Shield ganged up on Bryan and put the boots to him. Orton went to ringside and grabbed a chair. He wrapped the chair around Bryan's face just as he did to Miz.
Powell's POV: How awesome would it be if Miz's dad ran in here after not saving his son?
The Uso's, Kofi Kingston, RVD, The Prime Time Players, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Justin Gabriel, R-Truth, and others ran out for the save. The Shield members took finishing moves from the various babyfaces. Bryan ended up giving Seth Rollins the running knee, then led everyone in a big Yes! chant...
Powell's POV: It's about damn time that someone stands up to Triple H and company. Granted, I would have had one guy be the first to help give that person some momentum rather than just going with everyone, but at least they finally gave the babyfaces their balls back. By the way, Orton headed for the hills before the babyfaces ran out, so he went untouched.
Overall, this was a good followup to Night of Champions thanks in large part to the hot live crowd making everything feel much more over than it did last night. I am surprised that they didn't kick off the hype for WWE Battleground since it's now less than three weeks away. I will have more to say about the show in my Dot Net Member exclusive audio later tonight, and in the WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.
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