10/7 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Stephanie McMahon opens the show with a WWE Championship update, Rob Van Dam on his future, Cody Rhodes and Goldust rehired following their WWE Battleground win
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to my WWE Raw audio review later tonight. They are currently listening to the 84-minute WWE Battleground audio review that Chris Shore and Jake Barnett 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 Pittsburgh, Pa. at Consol Energy Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a WWE Battleground pay-per-view recap that focussed on Big Show causing the non-finish to the WWE Championship match... Michael Cole welcomed viewers to Raw. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Stephanie McMahon, who made a full entrance. Cole, who was joined on commentary by JBL and Jerry Lawler, noted that Stephanie and Triple H were not at Battleground because they had business to take care of.
Powell's POV: This report is dedicated to the memory of Tim Clay. Rest in peace, Uncle Tim. I miss you.
Stephanie called out Big Show and said he would have to answer for his actions at the pay-per-view. Show made his entrance. Show started to talk, but Steph immediately told him to shut up. She said she knows he's been under a lot of stress at home and when he's stressed he makes foolish decisions. She recalled how he knocked out referees, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton and then asked him what he had to say for himself.
Show gave a simple, "Sorry." She said he couldn't say that with any conviction. She said he can't manage his finances or even himself. She told him to man up. "Okay, can I go now?" he asked. She told Show that he couldn't go because they own his house and even him. She said he doesn't do anything without the approval of her or Triple H. Steph told Big Show to get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness. She said he's worthless, has no heart, and doesn't even have a soul.
Powell's POV: Damn, it's not like he's a ginger.
Show said he knocked out Daniel Bryan because she told him to. Steph said she and Hunter weren't even in the building. She tried to blame it on Brad Maddox. Show said everyone knows that Maddox works for her and her "son of a bitch husband." Stephanie slapped Show across the face repeatedly. He smiled intensely with each slap. "What are you going to do about it, Show?" she asked. "Nothing, because you're fired." Show left the ring and played to the crowd as he walked confidently to the back...
A graphic hyped Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust vs. The Shield in a six-man tag match for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Stephanie played her part well. She's a very good heel when she's not playing the game of trying to make it seem like they are actually good people. My concern remains that she won't end up being put in her place in a meaningful way since none of the Divas are being positioned that way. Perhaps they can get Brie Bella there. However, I suspect the closest we will see is slop being poured on Steph's head or something equally silly at some point.
Cole set up a recap of the opening segment for viewers who initially tuned into The Voice and then remembered that it sucks...
[Q2] 1. Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow. Sandow was the early aggressor and worked in a "You're welcome!" in the process of working over Ziggler. Sandow maintained control heading into the commercial break. [C] Sandow was still in control after the break. Cole said Show was escorted out of the building after Steph fired him.
Ziggler finally started his comeback around 10:00. He threw a dropkick and got a two count out of it. Ziggler went for his finisher, but Sandow held the ropes. Ziggler went up top and was tripped up by Sandow. Dolph came back hit the Fameasser and scored the clean pin. JBL said Sandow dominated the match, but Ziggler hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win it...
Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow in 12:15.
Powell's POV: JBL's description of the match seemed to be the story they wanted to tell. It didn't make for the most exciting match, though, as it was so one-sided for the first ten minutes.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon scolded Brad Maddox for what happened at Battleground. She said Triple H has been trying to clean up the mess that Maddox made.
[Q3] Steph said Maddox is lucky that he's not meeting the same fate as Big Show. She asked if he made the proper arrangements and he said he did. She told him he was to go to the ring and apologize for his actions... [C]
Cole noted that during the break, Jerry Lawler introduced WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino to his hometown crowd. Footage aired of the crowd singing happy birthday to Bruno, who turned 78 on Sunday. The footage was shown live on the WWE app...
Powell's POV: A nice moment. I wish they would have trimmed five minutes of Sandow's offense to make room for that on the live show.
2. Natalya, Eva Marie, and JoJo vs. Alicia Fox, Aksana, and Rosa Mendes. Natalya forced Alicia to tap out to the Sharpshooter...
Natalya, Eva Marie, and JoJo defeated Alicia Fox, Aksana, and Rosa Mendes in 3:20.
Powell's POV: Jo Jo never even tagged into the match. Eva Marie did, but she spent most of her time selling and then threw a couple of weak knees. She eventually crawled to her corner, missed a tag attempt, and then connected with Natalya's hand the second time around. Rosa dyed her hair blonde again. Boo!
After the match, Brad Maddox walked onto the stage. He publicly apologized for what happened at Battleground, then announced that Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton would meet in a rematch inside the Hell in a Cell structure. He said there will be a special referee for the match. Later in the show, three WWE Hall of Famers will appear and the fans will vote to determine who the referee is.
Maddox introduced Booker T as the first referee candidate. Booker ran through his credentials and said he would do the right thing for the people if they voted for him. "More importantly than that, I'm going to do the right thing for business," he said...
Lawler also acknowledged that he's leery of voting for anyone who says they will do what's best for business. Cole explained how to download an app. The announcers hyped Los Matadores for after the break...
Powell's POV: There were some groans when Booker said he would do the right thing for business. It seems like they were trying to scare viewers away from voting for him rather than trying to foreshadow something.
[Q4] [C] 3. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal (w/Heath Slater). In the end, Matadores performed a double back drop type move on McIntyre and pinned him. Afterward, Slater chased Torito around the ring like a jackass and ended up taking a huracanrana that sent him out of the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: Well, it's not for me. I noticed two kids in camera view. One kid seemed to love it, while the other didn't seem to give a damn. Meanwhile, Will Pruett is somewhere giddy right now. Hey, whatever happened to Pruett's Pause on WWE Battleground?
Another recap of the Stephanie McMahon and Big Show segment was shown for the benefit of the viewers who needed a full hour to realize that The Voice and all singing shows suck ass...
Paul Heyman stood in the ring with Ryback and Curtis Axel. Heyman introduced himself as the best in the world and boasted that he's the only man on the planet who can make the claim that he beat C.M. Punk with both hands tied behind his back.
Powell's POV: False. I can also claim that I beat Punk with both hands tied behind my back. It would not be true, but I can claim that I did.
[Q5] Heyman set up a still screen shot that showed Punk kicking Ryback with a low blow that led to the finish of their Battleground match. Heyman said Punk is a cheater - a dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking, whorish cheat of a man. Punk's music played and he made his way onto the stage.
Punk admitted that he kicked Ryback in the balls (censored) but said he did so only to see if he had any. Heyman said Punk would never get that opportunity again. Punk said Heyman's promises mean nothing and he can do it again. Punk took it as a challenge to a rematch and said he accepts. He said that's what you get when you're a bully and you pick on someone smarter than you.
Heyman told Ryback that Punk was bullying him and he wanted him to do something about it. Bully Ry said that if Punk had any balls he would have hit him with them a long time ago. Huh? Ryback challenged Punk to come to the ring. R-Truth's music played. Fortunately, he didn't sing. Rather, he motioned that he and Punk could go to the ring together, which they did. A referee entered the ring to make it official...
4. C.M. Punk and R-Truth vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman). The babyface duo controlled the early offense on Axel and the show went to break. [C]
Powell's POV: The Hall of Famer voting would be a great place to introduce Shawn Michaels into the storyline. Here's hoping he doesn't dust off those biker shorts he wore in a past referee stint.
[Q6] After the break, Ryback was getting the better of R-Truth. Then Ryback and Axel took turns working over Truth while Punk waited for the hot tag. Punk eventually took the tag and went Macho Man style with a top rope elbow drop on Axel. Punk hit the GTS on Axel, then hit a charging Ryback with a kick. Punk tagged R-Truth in to let him hit his scissors kick on Axel for the win,..
C.M. Punk and R-Truth beat Ryback and Curtis Axel in 12:45.
Powell's POV: Punk was a lot of fun and went more Macho than usual with his top rope elbow drop. That said, this made it even harder to view Ryback as a threat to Punk.
The announcers spoke at ringside about the Hall of Fame referee vote and said the second candidate would be introduced after the break. Lawler hyped the six-man tag match for later in the show... [C]
Justin Roberts introduced WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund as the second candidate for the Hell in a Cell referee spot. The crowd responded with near silence. Backlund paced on the stage and then then started yelling about how he uses the world heck because he doesn't like to use the world hell or foul language. Backlund said he's been a good guy in the business and he's been bad. He said he doesn't care about who wins or who loses, he is going to do the best job. He said if the match gets out of control, he will put someone in the Crossface Chicken Wing...
Powell's POV: As someone who normally gets a kick out of Backlund's antics, that sucked. The live crowd wasn't playing along even a little.
5. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston. Footage aired of Orton getting in Big Show's face at Battleground. Orton tossed Kingston to ringside and followed him to the floor, where he threw Kingston into the barricade twice.
[Q7] Orton roughed up Kingston until Kofi caught him with a kick and some punches. Kofi crashed and burned with a dive off the top rope and rolled to ringside heading into the break. [C] An ad for Smackdown focussed on the question of which wrestler won the World Hvt. Championship match at Battleground and whether Damien Sandow cashed in...
Back from the break, Orton was still in control and the live crowd was very flat. Kingston came back with a tornado DDT off the second rope at 9:45. Kingston threw an awkward double chop that Orton sold prematurely. Moments later, Kofi hit a high cross body block for a two count. Kingston missed Trouble in Paradise, but connected with SOS for another two count.
Kingston clotheslined Orton on the top rope and then went for a springboard move, but Orton caught him on the way down and turned it into a cool power slam. Orton went for the hanging DDT, but Kingston backdropped him to ringside. Orton dodged a slide kick from Kingston and clotheslined him, then threw him into the barricade.
Orton dropped Kingston onto the barricade and performed a hanging DDT on the floor. Orton rolled Kingston back inside the ring to beat the incredibly slow ten count, then performed an RKO and pinned Kingston...
Randy Orton beat Kofi Kingston in 13:45.
Powell's POV: The action was pretty good down the stretch, but the overall match was nothing to write home about.
Afterward, Orton was celebrating his win when Daniel Bryan hit the ring and attacked him. The previously dead crowd came to life as Bryan performed a suicide dive onto Orton and then threw punches at him behind the announcers' table. Several referees and producers ran out to pull Bryan off of Orton...
[Q8] The announcers hyped the six-man tag main event... [C]
Powell's POV: A good high energy attack from Bryan at a point when the live crowd needed something to get excited about. I'm not really sure what Bryan is so pissed about since Big Show knocked them both out at Battleground, but it was still fun.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero scolded some guy about not running something by her. Alberto Del Rio entered the picture and said he's the new face of WWE because he's the only champion they have. He said he was hoping for the night off after destroying Rob Van Dam at Battleground. However, he said they need to see their champion and he trusted Vickie to find the right opponent for him.
Del Rio laid it on thick as he offered high praise for Vickie. He placed his scarf around her neck and kissed her on the cheek. As he walked away, Vickie's mood changed and she didn't look happy...
Justin Roberts introduced the third Hall of Fame candidate for the HIAC referee job. After a pause, Shawn Michaels' music hit and he strutted onto the stage in his Elmer Fudd attire. The crowd chanted HBK as Michaels played to them on the stage. Shawn said he knows that the fans know he is best friends with Triple H and that they are personal friends.
HBK said the key word is personal, whereas tonight they are talking business. HBK noted that he trained Daniel Bryan. He said he won't let that sway him, nor will he let his friendship with Triple H sway him. HBK said he doesn't like Orton, and Orton doesn't like him. HBK encouraged viewers to download the WWE app and to vote for HBShizzle. A light chant broke out and Michaels said that will be trending. HBK said he will guarantee that there will be a new champion because he doesn't care what's best for business, he cares about what's best for "each and every one of you"... [C]
Powell's POV: I love it. Of course, we must remember that Booker T apparently has amazing appeal with viewers who voted him the best World Hvt. Champion in history. Yes, that's sarcasm. I wish there was more focus on the Hell in a Cell structure, so hopefully they will get to that once they get the special referee announcement out of the way this week.
[Q9] The Stephanie McMahon and Big Show highlights aired for the 50th time... The announcers noted that voting was open for the special referee slot...
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance. The announcers noted that Rob Van Dam was taking time off because he wasn't one hundred percent mentally and spiritually. They said RVD apologized to the fans who give him energy every night. Vickie Guerrero walked out and introduced Del Rio's opponent - Ricardo Rodriguez.
6. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Ricardo Rodriguez. Ricardo apprehensively walked to the ring. The bell rang to start the match, but Vickie interjected. She said Del Rio would defend the title at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view against John Cena. Del Rio threw a fit. Ricardo rolled up Del Rio and pinned him...
Ricardo Rodriguez pinned Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match in 0:35.
After the match, Ricardo celebrated on the announcers table only to be tripped by Del Rio. Ricardo took a hard landing and then was whipped into the ring steps. Del Rio put the boots to Ricardo. The fans chanted for RVD. Del Rio wrapped a chair around Ricardo's arm and stomped it... [C]
Powell's POV: The announcers played the Del Rio vs. Cena match seriously. It was a really strange announcement since it came from heel Vickie and set up the quick roll up win and the ensuing beatdown. I really expected Vickie to laugh it off and say she was kidding, as I expected much more fanfare for the announcement of Cena's return.
After the break, the announcers recapped the segment and said the Del Rio vs. Cena match is official. They noted that Cena tweeted about the match and concluded with "The Champ is Back." Cole noted that Cena will be on Good Morning America on Tuesday...
7. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Zack Ryder.
[Q10] Fandango put Ryder away with the top rope leg drop...
Fandango pinned Zack Ryder in 2:45.
Powell's POV: Fandango was a little more aggressive than usual in the mostly one-sided match. I'm still in a state of disbelief over the half-assed Cena announcement.
Lawler stood up and revealed the results of the referee poll. HBK won the voting with 61 percent, Backlund received 32 percent, and Booker received only seven percent of the vote. HBL shook hands with Backlund backstage, but Booker stormed off... The announcers hyped the six-man tag main event... [C]
Powell's POV: So, um, about that best World Hvt. Champion vote...
An ad aired for the new Goldberg DVD...
8. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Santino Marella and The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle). Cesaro performed the Cesaro Swing on Khali again and pinned him clean.
[Q11] Afterward, Cesaro performed the Cesaro Swing on Hornswoggle. Santino broke it up with a Cobra, then Khali chopped Swagger...
The Real Americans beat Santino Marella and The Great Khali in 3:45.
Powell's POV: There were actually more boos than cheers for Santino breaking up the giant swing. Okay, so there were only a few boos and no cheers, but the crowd was definitely receptive to the Swing on Khali.
A video aired with Titus O'Neil talking about losing his grandmother to breast cancer...
The Miz was shown walking backstage. Lawler said Miz was coming out for a very special edition of Miz TV with special guest The Miz...
Powell's POV: Yes, I am guilty of a lot of typos in these live coverage reports, but that actually is not one of them. Lawler said Miz will be his own guest on MizTV. It's double douchey!!!
Before things could get too douchey, The Wyatt Family music interrupted Miz. When the lights turned on, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were in the ring with Miz and his set. Miz fled. Bray Wyatt was in the aisle. Miz punced Wyatt a couple times and fled to the stage. Wyatt held onto his men and leaned backward and laughed at Miz to conclude the segment...
Powell's POV: Did that really just happen? The Miz eluded all three members of the Wyatt Family?
Backstage, Brad Maddox asked Stephanie if he has acquitted himself with his performance this evening. She said he had a long way to go. Triple H showed up and Steph greeted him with a kiss. He said he's spent the day cleaning up Maddox's mess. Hunter told Maddox to stay backstage. He said he would personally make sure that what happened would be best for business...
The Shield made their entrance through the crowd for the main event... [C]
Cole announced that the main event of Smackdown will be Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth for the Intercontinental Title... The babyface trio made separate entrances for the main event...
[Q12] 9. Daniel Bryan, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag match. Triple H headed to the ring just before the opening bell. Ambrose tossed Cody off the top rope and down to the floor at ringside heading into the break. [C]
After the break, the babyface trio went on a roll. Bryan applied the Yes Lock on Rollins. Ambrose entered the ring with a chair and struck Rhodes with it. The referee called for the DQ. However, Triple H said he wasn't going to end with "another undecisive night." The bell rang to restart the match. A short time later, Bryan was getting the better of Rollins when he performed a suicide dive onto the other Shield members. Randy Orton appeared out of the crowd and hit the RKO on Bryan, then rolled him back inside the ring, where Rollins pinned Bryan.
The Shield defeated Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust in 13:00.
After the match, The Shield put the boots to the babyfaces. Big Show's music played and he headed to the ring with a smile on his face. Triple H stood behind The Shield inside the ring and pointed to Show to head backstage. Show continued to smile, then shook his head, and started to enter the ring.
The Shield members attacked Show, who put them down in record time. He walked toward Hunter, only to have his leg clipped by Reigns. The Shield put the boots to Show as Hunter took off his jacket. Hunter told the trio to finish Show, but Show shoved them all aside and punched out Triple H, which received a strong pop from the crowd. "Big Show has knocked out the boss," Cole exclaimed. Bryan entered the ring and stood over Hunter, then led the crowd in a Yes! chant...
Powell's POV: A good segment for Big Show and Daniel Bryan. Unfortunately, the followup to the Rhodes family's big night at the pay-per-view was worthless. I can't believe we didn't hear from Cody and Goldust tonight. That said, the live crowd was hot for Bryan, and they were happy to see Show knock out Hunter, who sold it as if he had been shot.
Overall, WWE threw a lot at viewers tonight with the Shawn Michaels as special referee announcement, the half-assed John Cena return announcement, and other Hell in a Cell hype. It worked in that they have less than three weeks to promote HIAC, and the sooner they can wash the bad taste of Battleground from the mouths of viewers the better. I will have more to say about this show later tonight in Dot Net Member Exclusive audio. Join us by using the link at the top of this page. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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