9/23 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: WWE wrestler walkout teased in response to the Triple H and Stephanie McMahon abuse of power, C.M. Punk homecoming, Battleground pay-per-view build continues
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a tribute to the late Angelo Savoldi. It was narrated by Vince McMahon, who noted that Savoldi died at the age of 99. "They don't make 'em like they used to," Vince said... A recap aired of Triple H putting the WWE Championship in abeyance...
Rob Van Dam, Justin Gabriel, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, The Prime Time Players, The Uso Brothers, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston stood on the stage with a microphone and stand in between them. Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary. Cole noted that the ten wrestlers were protesting what happened to them and said there has been talk of the wrestlers galvanizing in response to the abuse of power.
Triple H's music played. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon headed to the ring and walked past The Shield, who were standing in front of the ring, which was covered in red carpeting. Hunter welcomed the fans to Raw. "Boy, it feels great to be here in Chicago," Stephanie said.
Hunter recalled the ten wrestlers holding Daniel Bryan above their heads as he chanted "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Hunter said they asked all ten wrestlers to be there to thank them. Steph thanked them for taking matters into their own hands and finally being men. Hunter said it had nothing to do with Bryan and that he was in the ring.
Rob Van Dam stepped up to the mic and said they were fighting for Bryan. Hunter said he finds it hard to believe they were fighting for Bryan because he's never known a WWE superstar that fought for a WWE Champion, he's only known superstars who fought for the WWE Championship.
Hunter questioned whether they were fighting for Bryan to get another title shot when it could have been one of them. Steph said there's one reason that they don't get the opportunities and that's The Shield. Hunter suggested that their frustration is due to The Shield rather than Bryan. Hunter said he would give all ten wrestlers on the stage their shot at The Shield in an elimination handicap match. Hunter said they would also had a partner who thinks he is better than they are - Daniel Bryan.
Stephanie said that they also want to thank the WWE Universe. She said the fans will have an opportunity to choose who will face Randy Orton. She listed the voting options as R-Truth, Ziggler, and RVD. She said fans simply have to download the WWE app to cast their vote. There was some booing from the live crowd. Hunter said that what's best for the fans is what's best for business... [C]
Powell's POV: Have Triple H and Stephanie McMahon been watching the disingenuous Mickie James character for inspiration for their own characters? Probably not, but Mickie's TNA character is pretty similar. As much as I enjoyed the Mickie character, Hunter and Steph would be more compelling if they weren't doing the insincere routine and instead went after the fans as true heels. Here's hoping we get to that sooner rather than later.
[Q2] The announcers plugged the app poll again. They played the goddamned tutorial again because they think their viewers are idiots...
Powell's POV: It would actually be funny if a heel Stephanie walked viewers through an in-ring demonstration of how to download the app.
Highlights aired from Smackdown of Triple H information Rob Van Dam that he would get a rematch against Alberto Del Rio at Battleground, then of Del Rio attacking RVD. The announcers questioned whether it was a coincidence that Del Rio attacked RVD just seconds after Hunter left the room...
1. World Hvt. Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. Kingston dropkicked Del Rio to ringside, then teased a suicide dive and instead bounced off the ropes when Del Rio fled. [C] Del Rio came back and worked over the left arm of Kingston. He caught him in the Cross Arm Breaker over the ropes and broke the hold at the ref's four count.
The fans amused themselves with ole chants as Del Rio went to the second rope. Kingston threw a dropkick that showed a lot of light. Lawler said it didn't fully connect but it seemed to have connected just enough. Del Rio came back with a good kick to the ribs.
[Q3] Kingston caught Del Rio with the SOS for a good two count at 11:00. Kingston played to the crowd and performed the Boom Drop, then set up for the Trouble in Paradise kick. Del Rio caught Kingston as he went for the kick and suplexed him for another good two count. Del Rio performed a double stomp on Kingston's back. Del Rio signaled for his finisher, but Kingston avoided it.
Del Rio went for a tilt-a-whirl back breaker, but Kingston countered into a DDT for another two count. Kingston caught Del Rio with a kick in the corner and went for a cross body block, but Del Rio avoided it. Del Rio rammed Kingston through the ropes and into the post. Del Rio drove Kingston's arm into his knees and then applied the Cross Arm Breaker for the submission win. The announcers questioned what condition Kingston will be in when he takes part in the elimination handicap match later in the show...
Alberto Del Rio defeated Kofi Kingston in a non-title match in 13:25.
Lawler hyped the return of C.M. Punk to his hometown of Chicago for his first comments since losing to Paul Heyman at Night of Champions... [C]
Powell's POV: An entertaining television match. I'll never understand why they don't do more with Kingston. Even when they bury him, the kids still love the guy. And when they actually push him, the live crowds are always receptive. That said, I really like the way Del Rio wins matches. They haven't been afraid to put him over clean on television lately. It makes him look like a credible heel champion rather than the usual fluky heel champion who loses non-title matches.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed The Miz. First, they showed highlights of Randy Orton kicking his ass in front of his parents. Then Triple H showed up and asked Miz how he was feeling and if he's sore. Hunter said he's responsible for Miz's wellbeing and he can't let him near him because there's no telling what he would do to Miz in his condition. Hunter instead announced that he was giving Miz a chance to host MizTV with guest Big Show...
The announcers and video footage recapped the Rhodes family battles with Randy Orton, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon... Cole hyped the 11 on 3 handicap elimination match main event...
The Wyatt Family made their entrance. "Now this is good for business," JBL said. Lawler responded with a "What?!?" Bray Wyatt took his seat in the rocking chair...
Powell's POV: It would play better if all three announcers were creeped out by The Wyatt Family. Even heel announcer JBL should find the trio disturbing.
[Q4] [C] 2. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. The Prime Time Players. Rowan wore the sheep mask until he took the tag. He removed it slowly and then headbutted Darren Young aggressively. The lights dimmed at one point. Cole covered by saying the lights have been known to go off when the Wyatts are in the ring.
Young sold for the family members until he made the hot tag to Titus O'Neil. Titus had a momentary run, but he was flattened by a clothesline from Harper, who pinned him. JBL was proud because it was similar to his Clothesline From Hell. Afterward, Wyatt kissed Young and performed Sister Abigail on him...
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan defeated The Prime Time Players in 4:30.
The announcers hyped the main event and C.M. Punk's appearance. A shot aired of Big Show and the announcers noted that MizTV was up next... [C]
Powell's POV: WWE desperately needs a strong babyface tag team. The teams of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, and Harper and Rowan could make money with the right babyface opponents, but instead it feels like we have to wait for the day when one of them turns and they can feud with one another. I like the way they used the Wyatt entrance as a hook heading into the previous commercial break. Obviously, the idea tonight is to soften up the babyfaces who will be in the elimination match. It's also making them look pretty weak thus far and that's the last thing that some of these emasculated acts need.
A serious Miz said he would normally smile and welcome viewers to the show, but he's banged up and pissed off. He said Orton beat him up in front of his friends and mom (and MIZ'S DAD!!!). He said payback will come for Orton and it will be awesome. Miz introduced Big Show as his guest.
[Q5] Big Show headed to the ring as they replayed a reluctant Show knocking out Dusty Rhodes last week. A gloomy Show watched the footage. Miz said he's known Show for nearly a decade as tag partners and opponents. He said he respects Show as a man, but has to ask him as a man how he could do that to Dusty when he's been a mentor and a father figure to him. Show stood silently. Miz said he knows Show has personal issues that Hunter and Stephanie are taking advantage of.
Powell's POV: So why did he ask?
Miz asked Show if he sees what they are doing. He said they are trying to break Show because he's the biggest guy in the locker room and they feel they can break anyone if they can break him. Miz said it's time for Show to step up. Miz told Show to look the witch demon in the eye. Right on cue, the witch demon's music played and she headed to the ring.
Powell's POV: Shouldn't Steph get a reaction similar to Vickie Guerrero given how cold and ruthless she's been? Instead, her entrance music was greeted with the sound of silence.
Steph threatened Miz with slander. Miz started to tell her where she could stick the legal threats, but she cut him off and said spoke about how humiliating the beating that Miz took was. "You know you're not a major player, Miz, and there's nothing worse than a superstar that peaks too early," Steph said. She labeled him a utility player and said he's the guy they call on for early morning radio, personal appearances across the world, and supermarket openings.
Steph said she watched Miz's mother go from hopeful to disappointed last week because he failed. "Randy Orton dismembered you in this ring and once again you couldn't measure up," she said. Steph told Big Show to knock out Miz. Show turned Miz around and punched him out. Show left the ring as Stephanie looked down at Miz and smirked...
Powell's POV: No drama from Show this week. He didn't look happy about punching out Miz, but he didn't hesitate this time either. The punch looked really good and Miz sold it like he was shot. Steph continues to be very good when she is ruthless and heelish rather than playing the phony nice owner routine. I have prefered her performances to Triple H's since SummerSlam.
The announcers hyped Punk's appearance and the app poll. Lawler said the Orton vs. RVD, er, app poll winner would be up next... [C] A WrestleMania 30 ticket sale ad aired for the on-sale date on November 16... A graphic noted that the WWE website is localized in over 20 languages...
Randy Orton made his entrance for his match. Cole said they drew the second largest number of poll voters to date.
[Q6] Lawler stood up and read the results - Rob Van Dam won with 57 percent, Ziggler had 26 percent, and Truth had 17 percent...
Powell's POV: Clearly, 17 percent of the voters are shit faced drunk.
3. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez). The crowd erupted with RVD chants. Orton was in control as they headed into an early break. [C] An ad for Smackdown focussed on Triple H and offered no match announcements. After the break, Orton was on the offensive inside the ring. Cole plugged the app and what viewers missed during the break.
RVD came back with Rolling Thunder and the crowd counted along with the two count even though RVD never beats anyone with that move. RVD went for a split-legged moonsault, but Orton moved. Orton performed the hanging DDT on RVD. Orton struck the Viper's Pose and went for the RKO, but RVD caught him with a kick and rolled him up with a leg scissors for a two count.
RVD performed a summersault splash off the top rope, then went to the other corner, but Orton recovered and kicked his legs out from under him. Orton then kicked RVD off the ropes and down to ringside. Orton followed and slammed RVD's head into the announcers' table and whipped him into the barricade.
[Q7] Orton beat up RVD at ringside until he was counted out, then continued the assault. It concluded with Orton performing a hanging DDT on RVD off the top rope... [C]
Rob Van Dam defeated Randy Orton by count out in 10:40.
Powell's POV: Okay, we get it, Triple H and Stephanie are smart and the babyfaces they are feuding with are stupid and weak. Orton's attack on RVD looked good and I like the way they are rebuilding Orton's mean streak. However, each match thus far has made the babyfaces look pathetic. Shouldn't they be more concerned with setting up the World Hvt. Championship match for the pay-per-view (that we're hardly hearing about) than telling their story for an 11-on-3 handicap match?
A Los Matadores vignette aired. They debut on Monday's Raw...
At ringside, the somber broadcast team spoke about what happened during the break. Alberto Del Rio snuck inside the ring and applied the Cross Arm Breaker. Lawler asked if he's trying to prove he's a tough guy. JBL asked what it proved when RVD performed the Van Terminator after their match at Night of Champions...
Powell's POV: JBL asks too many logical questions for a heel color commentator.
The announcers plugged the WWE 2K14 video game. Be prepared to hear a lot about the game int he weeks ahead, as it will be released on October 29...
Backstage, Randy Orton approached The Bella Twins and asked if they saw what he did. He told Brie that what he did to RVD was only a fraction of what he's going to do to Daniel Bryan. He offered her a chance to upgrade to a real man. She said she has one in Daniel Bryan...
Clubber Lang's POV: Hey, woman. Hey, woman! Listen here. Since your old man ain't got no heart, maybe you like to see a real man. I bet you stay up late every night dreamin' you had a real man, don't ya? I'll tell you what. Bring your pretty little self over to my apartment tonight, and I'll show you a real man.
Footage aired from the Triple H DVD. Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was shown watching the footage when A.J. Lee entered the room. Stephanie said A.J. might want to see what a real wedding looks like and then presented her with the Triple H DVD.
Powell's POV: Does the DVD include footage of a drunken Michael Hayes singing at the reception?
A.J. complained about the "ridiculous tag team match" she had against members of the Total Divas cast. She asked if they could just go away and said it was no way to treat the Divas Champion. Stephanie got in A.J.'s face and looked down at her in a menacing manner. Lee said Steph was all up in her personal space. Steph told her that the company is her personal space and she will compete in the 10-Diva tag team match or maybe she won't be Divas Champion much longer...
Powell's POV: Just in case you were crazy enough to think that A.J. Lee was the top female heel in WWE, there's your unnecessary reminder of who wears the pant suits in this company. Speaking of crazy, shouldn't A.J. be crazy enough to bitch slap Stephanie and worry about the consequences later?
Fandango and Summer Rae made their entrance. Cole hyped that the Rise Above Cancer campaign begins next week...
[Q8] [C] 4. Santino Marella vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae). Lawler said there was a rumor that Orton wasn't 100 percent because he was dropped on his head. The live crowd chanted for Summer Rae. Some fans tried to get the Fandangoing thing going, but then everyone told them that it's no longer April.
Santino pulled out the Cobra glove and danced. Summer got up and distracted him. Fandango attacked him from behind and went up top for his finisher. Santino met him on the ropes, but Fandango knocked him down and performed the top rope leg drop for the win...
Fandango beat Santino Marella in 3:45.
The announcers noted that Kofi Kingston tweeted that his night was not over. They set up C.M. Punk's segment by showing still shots from Night of Champions of Ryback attacking him and helping Paul Heyman win the match...
Powell's POV: It's a pretty lousy night so far if you actually like the babyfaces.
A shot aired of Wrigley Field and a sign that read, "Go Blackhawks." Cole cracked that baseball season ended in April so now they're rooting for the the hockey team...
C.M. Punk made his entrance wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey. Kofi Kingston ran out wearing a Bruins jersey and attacked him from behind! Okay, the Kingston part didn't happen, but Punk is wearing the jersey. Cole announced C.M. Punk vs. Ryback for the Battleground pay-per-view.
[Q9] Punk soaked up the cheers and then told the crowd that they "completely ruined a perfectly good bad mood." He said he hasn't smiled in eight days. He said he tried to get the Stanley Cup to Raw, but he couldn't because it was in Montreal getting engraved. He said he feels like he let everyone down.
Powell's POV: Wow, that would have been really cool if Punk could have scored the greatest trophy in sports. Here's hoping WWE gets back to Chicago before the end of the hockey season (though the Hawks are strong enough to repeat).
Punk said he doesn't know if he can do it anymore after losing to C.M. Punk. He said he may not deserve to wear the Blackhawks jersey or to perform in front of the greatest crowd in the world. He said he's thinking that he let everyone down so bad that he doesn't deserve to say he's from Chicago.
Punk said then he came out to one hell of an ovation and he wore the Blackhawks jersey with pride. He spoke about the Hawks being down 3-1 to the Red Wings. He said the Hawks didn't feel sorry for themselves. He said they shut their mouths, kept their eyes forward, and then eventually won game seven in overtime. "And that is the Chicago way," Punk said. "Yeah, maybe sometimes we lose and the other city gets the better of us and we get beat up, but we pick ourselves up by our boot straps and we go to work the next day."
Punk was censored when he said, "Goddammit, I'm proud of you people." Punk said he may be down 3-1, but he will come back and tie the son of a bitch up, go to overtime, and win. "That is the Chicago way, we fight," he said. Punk said he wants a fight whether it's Curtis Axel, Ryback, or Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman wheeled onto the stage on a Rascal singing "New York, New York." Punk told him it's the wrong place and the wrong time and he will catch a bigger beating than he did at Night of Champions because they are in Chicago. Punk said he has 18,000 people who will bail his ass out of jail when he gets his hands on him.
Heyman said Punk doesn't need to remind him of the beating he took in Detroit. He said he's been in physical therapy since the Night of Champions pay-per-view and he suffered a relapse that has him confined to "this contraption." Heyman said he takes solace in the fact that he can walk through life saying he beat C.M. Punk.
Heyman said it's not Punk's fault, it's simply geography because Punk is from Chicago. Heyman said it's the Second City with second rate teams, second rate citizens, and the second best in the world. Heyman set up a still shot of him pinning Punk at Night of Champions. The fans chanted walrus. Heyman said he may be a walrus, but he pinned the biggest shark in the city of Chicago.
Punk said he knows how this ends and Heyman needs to ask himself a question. He said that when he jumps out of the ring and makes a move, can his two goons get to him faster than he can get to Heyman. Punk said that if he gets to Heyman even two seconds before they get to him, he would rip his face off. Heyman said he not only beat Punk, but he did so with both hands tied behind his back.
Heyman tried to leave, but his motorized contraption wasn't moving. Punk smiled and went after Heyman. Just as he got to him, Ryback and Curtis Axel attacked Punk from opposite sides. Punk, who had his knee heavily bandaged, fired back. Axel got the better of him and tried to whip him into the set, but Punk reversed him. Punk dove off the stage onto Ryback on the floor and then rammed him into the set.
Ryback fought back and then ran Punk into the set and ripped the jersey off his back. Ryback slammed Punk onto a WWE production crate and then press slammed him through a table. Heyman stood up and jumped off the stage with a big smile on his face and presented the mic to Ryback. "This is what happens to bullies," Ryback said...
Powell's POV: Punk appearing with his hometown fans is right up there with Bret Hart appearing in Calgary back in the day. I really enjoyed the Blackhawks talk and that's coming from a fan of the first team they eliminated from the playoffs and the team they beat in the Stanley Cup Finals. The regional sports team taunts of heels from city to city feels cheap, but Punk bonding with his hometown fans over their championship was a cool moment. The post promo angle was well done and I think they sold some pay-per-views with the heat that Heyman generated and Ryback scored by leaving Punk lying in his hometown.
[Q10] [C] The announcers recapped the previous segment and showed footage of Punk getting back to his feet and walking out. He was still moving gingerly as the ring entrances for the Divas match took place...
5. A.J. Lee, Layla, Aksana, Alicia Fox, and Tamina vs. The Bella Twins, Cameron, Naomi, and Natalya (w/Eva Marie). Brie Bella performed a facebuster on A.J. and pinned her...
The Bella Twins, Cameron, Naomi, and Natalya beat A.J. Lee, Layla, Aksana, Alicia Fox, and Tamina in 1:55.
Powell's POV: Wait, so Eva Marie is a babyface now too? I assume she turns heel once the A.J. vs. Brie match takes place.
Footage aired of a Youtube segment of 30 Randy Orton RKO's in 30 seconds...
Backstage, The Shield delivered a promo. Dean Ambrose questioned whether Triple H and Stephanie threw them to the wolves or whether they are the hounds who will chase them down and eat them alive. Ambrose said their beef isn't important. He said their backs are against the wall. Rollins said when that happens they revolutionized the industry. Roman Reigns wrapped it up by saying, "Believe that"... [C]
[Q11] Daniel Bryan made his entrance and Cole plugged his Battleground match for the WWE Championship that is currently held "in abeyance." Bryan told the chanting crowd that they are awesome. He said he was stripped of the WWE Championship last week because he was accused of conspiring with referee Scott Armstrong. Bryan mocked the idea that he would approach Armstrong and ask him to make a fast count.
Bryan said you don't need to fast count a man when he's already knocked out. Bryan said it seems strange that after firing Armstrong, he gave him a lot of money. He said he doesn't know what happened at Night of Champions and he doesn't care because what's done is done. He said it doesn't matter what version of Randy Orton shows up at Battleground, he will take back the WWE Championship.
Bryan said that when Orton wakes up at the pay-per-view, he will hear a word that will haunt him for the rest of his life - Yes! She Shield made their entrance through the crowd. Once they arrived at ringside, they were attacked by Cody Rhodes and Goldust. Security and referees quickly intervened and escorted the Rhodes brothers to the back. [C]
Powell's POV: Good intensity and a nice job by the production team to make it feel like an "out of nowhere" moment. I'm not really sure why they are mad at The Shield since it was Big Show who knocked out their old man, and Randy Orton who defeated the both of them, but it was still cool.
Cole hyped Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. Championship for Friday's Smackdown television show...
6. The Shield vs. R-Truth, Rob Van Dam, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Zack Ryder, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston. Kofi wore a big wrap on his arm to sell the Cross Arm Breaker. Ziggler started the match and was isolated in the heel corner. RVD tagged in and he was also bandaged from the Orton attack. RVD ended up running through the ropes and into the post before taking the Dean Ambrose finish, leading to his elimination around 3:00.
[Q12] [C] After the break, Ambrose worked over the bad arm of Kingston and eliminated him from the match at 8:10. Titus checked in and Ambrose quickly tagged in Roman Reigns for a big man showdown. Reigns ended up catching Titus with a spear and pinning him in 9:40. Justin Gabriel checked in and ate a quick spear and was pinned at 10:00.
Ryder entered the match and performed a missile dropkick. He set up for his kick in the corner, but Reigns speared him and pinned him at 10:35. Daniel Bryan entered the match and went on an offensive flurry that included dropkicking Rollins and Ambrose off the apron. The Uso's performed a superkick and top rope splash on Reigns to eliminate him from the match in 11:20. Cole said it was the first time that Reigns had been pinned in WWE. [C]
After the break, the match was down to a six on two and Young got the better of Ambrose. There was a cool spot where Young rolled up Ambrose following a blind tag only to have Rollins knee him in the face off the top rope and eliminate him in 17:35. Ziggler checked in and ended up pinning Ambrose following the Zig Zag in 19:00.
Rollins ran in and attacked Ziggler, who eventually tagged in Truth. Rollins caught him with a curb stomp and pinned him in 21:05. Bryan led the remaining babyfaces by having all of them surround the ring and then enter the match and attack Rollins at the same time. Ambrose ran out and was clotheslined over the top rope Ziggler, then Reigns ran out and was knocked out again. The Uso's performed dives over the top onto Ambrose and Reigns.
Rollins struck Bryan from behind. They went to the top and Bryan shoved him off, then performed a top rope headbutt. Bryan pumped up in the corner, led the crowd in a loud Yes! chant, then performed the running knee to win the match for his team. The broadcast team played up Daniel Bryan becoming a locker room leader...
Daniel Bryan, The Uso Brothers, and Dolph Ziggler won the handicap match elimination match for their team over The Shield in 23:15.
Powell's POV: The match was entertaining as the guys you would expect to see eliminated quickly were, and they set up Ziggler vs. Ambrose for Smackdown by having Dolph pin the U.S. Champion. Reigns being pinned would have felt a lot more monumental had they actually bothered to play up that he had not been pinned before. My fear was that the babyfaces wouldn't look like they accomplished anything due to the lopsided nature of the match. I'm not sure that they did, but the live crowd enjoyed it and the fast paced match was entertaining.
Overall, the only thing this show managed to sell me on as far as Battleground is concerned is the Punk vs. Ryback match. Bryan's promo was solid, but they are spending too much time focussing on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's power plays, and I fail to see how that would inspire the masses to order a pay-per-view. We know Randy Orton is mean again, but does he want the WWE Championship? It's hard to say since he's not talking about it. I'll have more to say in tonight's Dot Net Member Exclusive WWE Raw audio and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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