10/21 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton contract signing for Hell in a Cell, Shawn Michaels appears, Triple H addressed Big Show, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes, final hype for HIAC pay-per-view
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Memphis, Tennessee at FedEx Forum
[Q1] Raw opened with a video package that recapped Cody Rhodes and Goldust winning the WWE Tag Team Championship with help from Big Show... Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance.
The broadcast team of Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary and narrated footage of Big Show knocking out Brad Maddox on Smackdown. Cole said Triple H and Stephanie will preside over the Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton contract signing, plus Daniel Bryan will face Dean Ambrose during Raw.
The crowd booed and Steph opened by telling them they are just jealous. She hyped the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and ran through the lineup that no included A.J. Lee vs. Brie Bella for the Divas Championship. She turned the focus to the main event featuring Bryan vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match for the vacant WWE Championship.
Triple H said the fans all chose Shawn Michaels to be the special referee for the Hell in a Cell match because they all trust him. "And the fact is I trust Shawn Michaels," Hunter said. He added that he respects Michaels more than anyone. Big Show popped up on the big screen and took issue with Hunter using the word respect considering the lack of respect he's shown in recent months.
Hunter told Show that there are no more free rides and Show is finished. Show asked Hunter why he's so hostile. He questioned whether it's because he's suing Triple H for the remaining millions on his contract and slander. He questioned whether it's because Hunter woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He joked that there is no good side of the bed when you wake up to Steph every morning. Steph told him to shut up and then counted down and Show disappeared from the big screen.
Triple H said it was time to go on with the show. He introduced Dean Ambrose as the first competitor. However, Daniel Bryan's music played instead and Bryan headed to the ring leading the Yes! chant. Cole said Bryan would face Ambrose after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: There was nothing particularly special about the opening as it felt like more of the same. Hunter and Steph pointed out repeatedly that the fans voted for Michaels. It's either a setup for Shawn to turn and then they can say the fans can only blame themselves or they are taking the TNA Bound For Glory approach by teasing a screwy finish only to deliver a clean finish.
1. U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. Cole noted that Bryan pinned Ambrose in the six-man tag main event on Smackdown, so Ambrose was looking for revenge. Ambrose jumped out to the early offensive advantage.
[Q2] Bryan came back with his usual round of kicks and worked in a suplex. Bryan went up top, but Ambrose rolled to ringside. Bryan went right after him, but ended up jumping, missing, and eating a clothesline at ringside heading into the commercial break. [C] An ad for Smackdown focussed on it being the final episode before Hell in a Cell.
After the break, Bryan came back with a surfboard, which got a big reaction from the live crowd and Lawler via commentary. Ambrose gouged Bryan's eyes with his thumbs to break the hold. Bryan performed a double wing suplex off the second rope. Bryan came back with a backslide for a two count, then they did a simultaneous cross body block in mid-ring.
At 14:20, Bryan clotheslined Ambrose and followed up with a running dropkick in the corner. After a getting a two count, Bryan threw kicks and went for a tornado DDT off the ropes, but Ambrose tossed him down and then performed a spinebuster for a two count of his own. Bryan backdropped Ambrose to the floor and nailed him with a suicide dive.
Bryan rolled Ambrose back inside the ring and caught him with a missile dropkick. Bryan threw another round of kicks, but missed with the final one and Ambrose rolled him up, only to have Bryan counter into the Yes! Lock for the submission win...
Daniel Bryan defeated Dean Ambrose in a non-title match in 16:20.
Powell's POV: A good, competitive match. I'm never a fan of secondary champions losing non-title matches to wrestlers who aren't chasing their championship. Is there a reason it couldn't have been Seth Rollins having a long competitive match with Bryan instead? Aside from that, it was a long, entertaining match even though the outcome was predictable considering that Bryan is main eventing on Sunday.
[Q3] The announcers hyped C.M. Punk talking about his Hell in a Cell match for after the break... [C] A breast cancer awareness video featured on the Bella Twins discussing their aunt's battle with breast cancer... A graphic boasted that WWE and its wrestlers have over 200 million followers on Twitter and Facebook...
C.M. Punk entered to his music and delivered a promo on the stage. Punk noted that Paul Heyman and Ryback will be locked inside Hell in a Cell with him on Sunday. He said the structure defines legacies. He said his legacy will be defined by what he does to Paul Heyman once he gets his hands on him.
Punk said Heyman believes Ryback can save him, but he can't because he will be locked inside the structure with "the devil who will do whatever it takes to get the job done." Punk said he doesn't plan to use wrestling holds. He said the plan is to put Ryback to sleep, then watch Heyman squirm, corner him like the dog he is, and then smash his face into the structure.
Punk said Heyman doesn't know anything about being extreme but he will find out on Sunday what it's all about. He said three men will enter the Hell in a Cell and one man will walk out, and it's the Best in the World...
Powell's POV: A brief promo that cut to the chase. It still feels a bit repetitive because Punk got his hands on Heyman at Night of Champions. Granted, he lost the match, but the beating he gave Heyman before that was too satisfying.
Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie spoke with Vickie Guerrero and put her in charge of the little stuff that Brad Maddox does. "Don't screw it up," Hunter told her. They entered their office where Shawn Michaels was waiting. HBK and Hunter shared a hug while Stephanie barked orders to someone on the phone.
Shawn questioned whether Hunter feels Bryan can be WWE Champion. Hunter conceded that he can become champion, but objected to him being the face of WWE. "We're not a wheatgrass company," he said. HBK said they said the same thing about him and Triple H years ago.
Stephanie vented about Big Show managing to get himself on the air. Shawn said they used to do the same thing to Vince McMahon and Steph thought it was funny. Steph said it was funny, but Show has been fired. Steph said things have changed lately. Shawn said he has noticed, but he didn't want to believe it. "It's a shame," he said. "It really is. Thankfully, one of us hasn't had to grow up, so if you don't mind I'm going to go have some fun"...
Powell's POV: So Shawn has been at Raw three weeks in a row and we're supposed to believe this is the first time that he and Hunter have spoken? The least they could have done was played up the idea that Hunter has been acting like he was too good for him the last two weeks.
Santino Marella, The Great Khali, and Hornswoggle came out in Elvis costumes. JBL said rock-n-roll is dead and was just killed. Santino would be in singles action after the break...
[Q4] 2. Santino Marella (w/Khali, Hornswoggle) vs. Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre). Lawler laughed the hardest at the Elvis silliness. Santino opened his Elvis jumpsuit and pulled out The Cobra, which had Elvis hair attached, but Slater avoided the Cobra. Slater went to the ropes, jumped off, took a Cobra shot, and lost...
Santino Marella defeated Heath Slater in 3:25.
After the match, Santino took the mic and stood on the announcers desk. He said there is only one king in Memphis and it's Jerry Lawler. Santino led the crowd in Jerry chants, then had Lawler stand on the desk with him. Lawler, Santino, Khali, and Hornswoggle all danced Elvis Presley style...
There was a poll on which match fans wanted to see in WWE 2K14. The winner was Punk vs. Undertaker... [C]
Powell's POV: The hometown curse strikes again. I don't care what anyone says, dancing around like Elvis with Santino, Khali, and Hornswoggle is better than only the kiss my ass club when it comes to hometown stupidity in my book. I feel for the Memphis fans much like I feel for the Vegas fans who have to put up with Raw Roulette whenever WWE comes to town. The whole Elvis thing has to get old. We're nearly an hour into the show and nothing has me any more excited about Hell in a Cell than I was going into the go-home show.
A recap video showed Triple H talking about how much he respects Shawn Michaels only to have Big Show interrupt on the big screen... Ring entrances for the next match took place. Cole spoke about his latest WWE website interview with Triple H...
[Q5] 3. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler. Orton was the early aggressor and ran Ziggler into the barricade at ringside, clotheslined him on the floor, and then threw him back inside the ring where he got a two count. Orton set up Ziggler for the hanging DDT off the ring apron, but Ziggler fought out of it and went on the offensive.
The announcers noted that Jerry Lawler and Elvis Cobra were trending on Twitter. F--- me. Orton came back and locked in a chinlock, which Ziggler broke up with a jaw jacker. Dolph performed a bulldog for a two count. Orton came back with a suplex that Ziggler took on his head. Orton performed the hanging DDT.
Orton played to the crowd and then struck the Viper's Pose. He went for the RKO, but Ziggler dropkicked him. Moments later, Orton hit the RKO and pinned him...
Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler in 7:45.
Powell's POV: It's just a thought, but WWE creative could have given the Bryan and Orton matches a little more oomph if they had Bryan and Orton select the other man's opponent. The matches just felt a little random even though both were entertaining. It really is sad that Ziggler went from being a guy that many of us expected to have a long World Heavyweight Championship reign to being a mid-card performer. By the way, I should point out that if you're emailing me during the show, as some of you do, I won't see it until late tonight, as I am in information blackout mode due to recording the football game to watch later tonight.
The announcers spoke at ringside and set up the John Cena return video. The announcers played up the question of whether Cena is returning too soon, and predicted that Alberto Del Rio will go right after his injured elbow... Lawler hyped the contract signing for later in the show... [C]
[Q6] 4. The Bella Twins vs. A.J. Lee and Tamina Snuka. Tamina worked over Nikki Bella early on while A.J. smiled in the corner. Tamina tagged A.J. into the match at 3:05. Nikki eventually broke free and tagged in Brie, who worked over A.J. and caught her with a dropkick off the second rope for a two count.
Later, Brie tried to kick A.J, but Lee moved and Brie caught Tamina with the kick instead. A.J. rolled up Brie, but Brie rolled free and hit the facebuster for the clean pin. Cole played up that Brie pinned the Divas Champion for the second time...
The Bella Twins beat A.J. Lee and Tamina Snuka in 5:05.
The announcers hyped The Uso Brothers vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for later in the show with the winner getting the tag title shot at the pay-per-view... [C]
Powell's POV: I guess that explains why Rollins couldn't do the honors for Bryan earlier in the show. Meanwhile, Brie Bella is working hard and seems much more confident in the ring. The fans aren't really responding to the Bella Twins because they never had a real turn, but I think Brie will get over if they stay the course with her.
Backstage, Renee Young set up footage of Big E Langston joining C.M. Punk in fighting off Ryback and Curtis Axel on Smackdown. Young then interviewed Paul Heyman, Ryback, and Axel. Actually, she held the mic while Heyman went off about how Punk was going to destroy him and lava exploding from a volcano was going to destroy the villagers. Heyman flipped the switch and said he's cold hearted and in control. Heyman said Punk can't get past his monster Ryback to get his hands on him.
[Q7] Big E Langston walked into the picture and asked, "Who's the marginal talent now?" Ryback asked him about manners, Curtis Axel referred to him as a rookie. Langston set up a match against Axel, who had to be held back by Heyman, who told him he doesn't fight for free...
Powell's POV: Heyman sounded like a monster truck hype man on Heisenberg's blue meth.
The announcers set up a a video package that focussed on the history between Shawn Michaels and Daniel Bryan... The Wyatt Family started to make their entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: It's about time they focus on the relationship between Bryan and HBK. The classic footage of a thin Bryan working the HBK shows in San Antonio was cool. It really is a shame that WWE didn't make a bigger fuss over Michaels training Bryan right from the start.
5. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Kofi Kingston and The Miz. Harper and Rowan isolated Miz and dominated him early on. The beating was lopsided enough that the announcers made an excuse for Miz kicking out of a move by saying Harper seemed distracted by Kingston and released the hold. Miz made the hot tag to Kingston. After a brief offensive run, Kingston caught illegal man Rowan with Trouble in Paradise, but then ran into Harper's clothesline and was pinned.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan defeated Kofi Kinston and The Miz in 4:55.
Afterward, the Wyatts roughed up Miz and left him lying. Wyatt slowly made his way into the ring as his duo tied up Miz in the ropes. Bray said he has won wars without lifting a finger. He said he wasn't there to convince Miz that hell was real, rather he was there to lead him to the gates...
Powell's POV: Harper and Rowan continue to be a kick ass dominant heel tag team. Rowan is still a bit clumsy at times and he fell after a kick here, but the duo is a fun throwback monster heel team.
[Q8] The Curtis Axel (w/Ryback, Paul Heyman) vs. Big E Langston non-title match never got started. Langston speared Axel before the bell. Ryback attacked Langston. They fought to ringside and the numbers game caught up with Langston, but the announcers played up that he wasn't going down without a fight.
Langston fought back and Heyman struck him with a kendo stick, which Langston no-sold. Ryback speared Langston. C.M. Punk ran out with a kendo stick and ran off the heels. Vickie Guerrero came out and announced that the match would be restarted as a tag team match... [C]
6. C.M. Punk and Big E Langston vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman). The match was joined in progress.
[Q9] Ryback got the better of Punk until Punk responded with a kick that looked a little awkward. Langston took the hot tag and roughed up Axel, who tagged in at the same time. Langston performed a running splash that drew gasps from the crowd. Ryback and in and Punk cleared him.
Langston performed The Big Ending on Axel for the win. Heyman shook his head in frustration at ringside. Punk eventually chased him into the crowd. Punk pumped up the crowd and then celebrated with the fans...
C.M. Punk and Big E Langston defeated Ryback and Curtis Axel.
Powell's POV: JBL doubted that Punk could actually trust Langston, but he changed his tune at the end of the match. My guess is that Langston getting the win leads to him getting an Intercontinental Title match on Sunday.
R-Truth pimped WWE merchandise in front of a merch stand. He even put on the silly Daniel Bryan beard they are selling. Truth gave viewers Truth as a promo code to save 20 percent... The announcers hyped the contract signing... [C]
Powell's POV: The contract signing better be awesome. This hasn't been a bad show from an entertainment standpoint. It would be fine if this were a few weeks before a pay-per-view, but it's just not selling me on Hell in a Cell.
Cole hyped Seth Rollins vs. Goldust as the featured match for WWE Main Event...
The tail end of the Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls dance routine was shown, then The Real Americans made their entrance...
7. Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Brodus Clay and Tensai (w/Cameron, Naomi). The announcers replayed the footage from Smackdown of El Torito goring Colter, then Torito was shown speaking in Spanish in a pop box promo. Colter sat in on commentary and complained about "that little bull."
Tensai suffered a small cut on top of his head. The Funkadactyls tried to lead the crowd into caring about the match, but they were no successful. However, Cesaro performing the Cesaro Swing on Clay did get a reaction. Swagger tagged in and applied the ankle lock on Clay for the win...
The Real Americans defeated Tons of Funk in 3:35.
[Q10] After the match, Colter introduced viewers to his "newest little friend." Colter pulled out a bullwhip and said, "And that's no bull." Colter led the crowd in saying We The People to close the segment... [C]
Powell's POV: Welcome back, Shoo-Baby. Colter referred to Cesaro as the strongest man in the world while he was performing the Cesaro Swing. It looks like The Real Americans are married to Los Matadores for now so I'm not reading too much into it, but I suppose it's at least possible that he was foreshadowing a match with Mark Henry for somewhere down the road.
Cole announced Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston for the Intercontinental Title as the Hell in a Cell kickoff match... Lawler played with a John Cena brawling buddy and the announcers set up a Cena video package...
Powell's POV: The video package was really well done. It included footage of Cena facing Kurt Angle in his debut on Smackdown, Undertaker asking him his name, and additional footage throughout his career.
Powell's POV: The only major positive about tonight's show has been the consistent hype for Cena's return. They have shown the graphic for his match several times and played a couple of video packages.
The announces spoke about Cena at ringside and JBL once again questioned whether he was returning prematurely... Footage aired from Smackdown of Alberto Del Rio saying Cena will be just like the rest of the gringos in the crowd once he loses to him at Hell in a Cell. Del Rio then applied the Cross Arm Breaker to interviewer Josh Mathews. "It's just Josh Mathews," JBL said afterward...
Goldust made his entrance complete with the "Shattered Dreams" intro video. Cody Rhodes accompanied his brother on commentary for the No. 1 contenders tag match... [C]
[Q11] Cole announced that Friday's Smackdown television show will feature MizTV with special guest Randy Orton...
Powell's POV: Normally, I would mock the idea of advertising a MizTV segment for Smackdown, but the recent history between Miz and Orton makes this more interesting. The show will be taped on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama and we still need correspondents. If you are going and want to help us out, contact me at email@example.com and I will get back to you late tonight or first thing Tuesday morning.
8. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (w/Dean Ambrose) vs. The Uso Brothers in a No. 1 contenders match. Cole said the Uso's earned the right to become No. 1 contenders by winning a Triple Threat match. He said it's favoritism by The Authority. The Uso's jumped out to a fast start, but Rollins dodged a body block and one of the Uso's crash into the ropes.
Cody said if you build a liar from the ground up it would look just like JBL. Goldust replied with a loud, "Oh, snap" for the cornball line. Cody asked JBL where he and Goldust rate as a brother tag team. Cody said that even though they have only teamed three or four times, they are definitely better than the Brisco Brothers (no, kids, not the ROH team). Meanwhile, Reigns shoulder blocked one of the Uso's off the ring apron and into the announcers' table. [C]
Powell's POV: Okay, so the Uso's won No. 1 contender's status in a Triple Threat match, but shouldn't The Shield members have a rematch clause? Given the current storyline with Hunter and Steph, you'd think they would have been granted an immediate rematch. I'm actually surprised they're not going right back to that match given that Rollins and Reigns have had two strong matches with Cody and Goldust.
Jimmy Uso took the hot tag and worked over Reigns, while his brother cleared Rollins from the ring. He led the crowd in the name chant and then ran into a big clothesline from Reigns. Rollins took a great Samoan Drop from Jey Uso.
[Q12] Ambrose taunted Cody, who stood up and had his headset knocked off (thank you, Ambrose). The Rhodes boys brawled with The Shield members and then The Uso's got involved so the referee called for the bell.
The Uso's fought Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to a no-contest in 14:40.
After the match, The Shield worked over Goldust, but the Uso's and Cody saved him. Cody and Goldust were left standing in the ring with the Uso Brothers. JBL questioned how the No. 1 contenders are...
The announcers hyped the contract signing for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Can they just keep Cody away from commentary? He was awful when he was trying to explain his logic during the Damien Sandow feud a while back. Now he clowns around with JBL and delivers the cornball line that even his brother mocked, and then wasted valuable air time trying to get a reaction out of WWE employee Gerald Brisco. Anyway, look for a Triple Threat tag announcement. The match was entertaining, but the drained crowd only reacted to the bigger spots and was very quiet otherwise.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stood in the ring where a table and chairs were set up for the contract signing. Randy Orton made his entrance, then Daniel Bryan made his. Triple H said the special referee needs no introduction, but he was going to give him one anyways. Hunter gave HBK the build buildup introduction. HBK made his entrance and his pyro went off.
Once all the players were in the ring, Orton said he had to give Bryan credit for continuing to get up from his beatings. He said he would not be getting up on Sunday. Orton boasted about the big names he's beaten inside Hell in a Cell and said he is entering the match with the utmost confidence. Orton signed the contract.
Bryan said Orton wouldn't have been champion had it not been for the help of The Shield and Triple H. He said he had two words for Orton - thank you. He thanked Orton for pushing him and proving that he is way more than a B-plus player. He thanked Orton for exposing himself as a corporate patsy, and exposing Triple H and Steph as narcissistic spoiled brats. Bryan signed the contract.
[Overrun] Triple H said he's seen guys like Bryan come and go a million times. He compared him to Chris Jericho, Edge, and Rob Van Dam. He said they are all talented and very popular, but they were never the one. Hunter said no one wants to say it, but it's a fact that if any of those guys had been the face of WWE back in the day, they would all be working for Ted Turner right now.
Hunter said that when Bryan steps inside Hell in a Cell, he will prove to the world that all he is is a B-plus player. Bryan said Hunter talks a big game behind the suit and challenged him to trade it in for wrestling gear so he can show him how good he really is. Hunter said that proves how out of it Bryan is.
Hunter said that if he gets back in the ring, which he is capable of doing, it would be to face a star like Undertaker, Rock, or Brock Lesnar, not Daniel Bryan. He said he fights A-plus players because they want to fight a star. He said neither he nor they would waste their time with someone like him.
"Shawn Michaels never should have wasted his time training you," Hunter said. Shawn interrupted and said he didn't waste his time. He said Bryan is "good, very good." He asked what happened to Triple H and the guy that drove a tank into WCW and played strip poker on Raw. Shawn said he doesn't care that Hunter is the COO or that he trained Bryan.
"What I care about is these people voted for me to guarantee them a new WWE Champion at Hell in a Cell this Sunday," Michaels said. Orton fired up and said he warned Triple H last week that Michaels has an agenda. Triple H looked at Shawn and said, "At the end of the day, Shawn will do what's right."
Shawn said he will do what's right for the business he loves and that the fans love. "What do you have against him?" Shawn asked. "Is it that he's smaller than you? Is it that he had an insanely grotesque beards? I had one a couple months ago and I kinda liked it. Is it that he marches to the beat of a different drum? Or is it that after everything you've put him through, it's turned out that he proved you wrong?"
The crowd chanted yes. Orton told Bryan that he knows he can't beat him because he sees it in his eyes. Orton said he's going to take him straight to hell. Orton started leading a yes chant.
Suddenly, a semi-truck was shown entering the building. Big Show was behind the wheel and he drove it through the backstage area and into the arena. "A monster with a monster truck," Lawler yelled. Show opened the door, stood on the edge of the cab, and led a "yes" chant. He told Orton to turn around. He did and Bryan hit him with a move that the damn production team missed. Bryan led the yes chant as he backed up the stage to close the show...
Powell's POV: A good final segment when Shawn Michaels spoke. It was more of the same from Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, but HBK and Triple H were very good. I'm sure everyone will focus on what Hunter said about Jericho, Edge, and RVD, but I actually liked the promo and even that line because it fit with his character's view on Bryan, even though I never saw Triple H as the guy that truly carried WWE either. I'm not really sure what Big Show was supposed to add and I'm not even sure why he's in this already crowded picture involving the WWE Championship, but perhaps we'll get our answer on Sunday.
Overall, the final segment likely sold some pay-per-views, assuming viewers stuck around to watch it. The rest of the show featured the setup for the undercard and ho-hum hype for Hell in a Cell. I will have more to say about this show on Tuesday in the WWE Raw Hit List as well as in an audio review. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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