11/11 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Kane as Director of Operations, fight for power while Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are away, Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston, Survivor Series build
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped earlier in the day in Manchester, England at Phones 4u Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a video package in acknowledgement of the Veteran's Day holiday in the United States... A video package recapped the Big Show and The Authority drama from last week...
Powell's POV: This show was taped earlier today, but I will not mention anything spoiler related in this review for the benefit of those who would prefer to watch as if it were live.
The opening theme song played as the British flag was shown and then the camera panned the crowd. Michael Cole hyped that they were playing to a sold out crowd of 13,614 fans. Cole announced that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were on vacation, so the question was who was in charge. Cole was joined on commentary by JBL and Jerry Lawler...
Powell's POV: Who really gives a damn about who is in charge? Seriously, the likely candidates are all heel anyway, so what would change? WWE continues to fool itself into believing that these fight for power storylines are more interesting than the actual wrestlers.
Randy Orton made his entrance. Cole said Big Show was not expected to appear because of injuries suffered at the end of last week's show. Orton said it looked like Show had his job back and a title match at Survivor Series. He brought up the attack on Show that closed last week's Raw and said it means he will retain his WWE Championship and keep his status as the face of WWE.
Orton said that with Hunter and Steph "on a well deserved vacation" he is in charge of WWE Raw. Brad Maddox interrupted Orton and walked to the ring. He told Orton that he is the general manager, so he has the authority and responsibility to be in charge of Raw.
Kane's music played and he came out dressed in a suit. A loud "you sold out chant" started. Kane said he was appointed as the new director of operations, which means he's in charge. Maddox said Kane is the new guy in town and suggested he follow his lead. Maddox booked Orton in a match against Cody Rhodes. Kane said no. Kane booked Orton vs. Goldust. Orton said he can't fight the both of them and told them to make up their minds.
Vickie Guerrero drew loud boos for her "excuse me" routine. She wished Hunter and Stephanie a wonderful vacation. She said she has complete confidence in Orton's in-ring skills. The crowd gave her the "What?" treatment. She ended up booking Orton vs. Cody and Goldust in a handicap match. The crowd responded with "Yes!" chants. The tag champs made their entrance for the handicap match... [C]
Powell's POV: Well, that didn't make any sense. Vickie's decision was final simply because she spoke last. It doesn't exactly help Kane to be overruled by the Smackdown general manager in his first moment in his new position. The live crowd is already living up to expectations.
A generic ad for Smackdown focussed on John Cena and Alberto Del Rio's feud...
[Q2] 1. Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a handicap match. JBL said Triple H and Stephanie probably were not even watching the show while on vacation. JBL said the fans were chanting Randy Orton. Lawler corrected him and said the fans were chanting "Randy's boring." Orton got the better of Goldust as they went to commercial around 4:30. [C]
Cody got the better of Orton after the break. The brothers teamed up and clotheslined Orton to the floor. Orton chose to allow himself to be counted out...
Cody Rhodes and Goldust beat Randy Orton by count out in 10:45.
The crowd booed. Big Show's music played. Cole acted shocked as Show headed to ringside and roughed up Orton with punches. Show ran Orton into the ring steps and then clotheslined him. The crowd chanted "yes" as Show took the top of the announcers' desk off. Show chokeslammed Orton through the announcers' table. Trainers checked on Orton's left shoulder afterward...
Powell's POV: Vickie tried to explain that she trusted Orton's in-ring ability, but why in the world would she book the chosen one in a handicap match? It's a silly story unless it's revealed that Hunter and Steph wanted to test him. The crowd was into the match and it was better than a typical handicap match if only because of the Rhodes family's recent history with Orton.
[Q3] [C] A graphic touted that WWE offers free live tickets to all U.S. Military personnel... A recap of the previous segment was shown...
2. Santino Marella and Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. The Union Jacks. The Jacks were simply 3MB dressed in Union Jack gear. Santino wore fake horns on his head. Torito got Slater to chase him around, which was a setup for Santino goring Slater's ass. Torito flipped off the ropes and onto Slater on the floor. In the end, Santino hit The Cobra, which had horns on it, on Jinder Mahal and pinned him...
Santino Marell and Los Matadores defeated The Union Jacks in 2:55.
Powell's POV: I have no idea why the heel team would dress in British colors in England, but it didn't really matter. There were some fans who liked yelling "Ole!" but most sat on their hands.
Backstage, Orton scolded Maddox for allowing Show to attack him. Vickie entered the picture and apologized to Orton, who told her to save her apologies for next week when Triple H and Stephanie return. Kane showed up and Orton lashed out at him, but Kane told him to calm down or his shoulder won't be his only problem...
A graphic hyped Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title for later in the show...
Powell's POV: I don't know if you guys know this, but Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are on vacation. I was really hoping that Kane's new role would lead to Hunter and Stephanie appearing less frequently so the focus could shift back to the actual full-time wrestlers. Instead, Hunter and Steph aren't even there and they are positioned as the stars of the show. If you decided to take a shot whenever their names were mentioned tonight, you'd already be dead. Hell, you could be drinking Zima with a lime twist and you'd already be dead.
[Q4] [C] 3. Damien Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston. Kingston was going for a springboard move when Sandow tripped him up. Sandow followed up with "You're Welcome" and scored the clean pin...
Damien Sandow defeated Kofi Kingston in 3:45.
Shots aired of Curtis Axel and Dolph Ziggler walking backstage... A commercial hyped "Raw Country" from Nashville next week as a "one night only" event...
Powell's POV: The crowd was really flat for that match. You can tell this crowd wants to be lively, but WWE isn't giving them much to get excited about. Raw Country? Will it be three hours of inside jokes about TNA? I'm not a country music fan, so the thought of Raw going country does absolutely nothing for me.
Highlights aired of Ziggler beating Axel in a non-title match, and Ziggler cutting a promo afterward about stealing the show... Ring entrances for the Intercontinental Title match took place...
[Q5] 4. Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship. The crowd started a "Let's Go Ziggler" chant when the bell rang. Ziggler performed the heart stopper elbow drops for a two count. Axel came back by tossing him over the top rope. JBL questioned why Axel would go to the floor rather than having Dolph get counted out. Cole quickly said Axel may want to prove that he can win without Paul Heyman.
Later, Dolph threw ten punches in the corner and followed up with a neckbreaker. He scored a two count off of an elbow drop, but the fans didn't buy into it. Axel slingshotted Ziggler into the turnbuckle and then rolled him up for two. Ziggler came back with the Fameasser for a two count of his own.
Dolph performed a facebuster off the top rope and got a good near fall. Dolph went for his finisher, but Axel held onto the ropes. Axel pressed Ziggler up and let him hit the mat, then hit his finisher for the clean win...
Curtis Axel defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the Intercontinental Title in 9:05.
Powell's POV: The live crowd liked Ziggler and the match held their interest, but it didn't exactly have them rocking. Ziggler took the slingshot similar to the way Curt Hennig did when he dropped the AWA Title to Jerry Lawler back in the day. The big difference is that Hennig went over the top rope and went head-first into the ring post before Lawler pinned him.
Backstage, Brad Maddox told Kane that he is off to a bad start and that he should listen to him. Maddox said he thinks Kane will be in big trouble when The Authority returns. Kane said Maddox will be in big trouble if he doesn't show him respect. Maddox booked The Real Americans vs. John Cena in a handicap match. Kane responded by booking The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk. Maddox said they should shake on it. "Let's not," Kane said before walking away... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd was pretty pumped for the announcement of the Punk and Bryan match. Kane is off to an awkward start. He threatened Maddox a little bit there, but it's odd not to see him snap and clothesline Maddox to assert his authority. Perhaps that's coming later in the show, but I really thought he should have done it and taken control in the opening segment. He currently comes off as just another person with a worthless title that answers to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
[Q6] Zack Ryder was the merchandise hype man this time around...
5. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. Tamina (w/A.J. Lee). The announcers once again told viewers about Hunter and Stephanie being on vacation and questioned who is in charge. Nikki had an offensive flurry with a couple of clotheslines. Tamina came back and then A.J. Lee clotheslined Nikki via the second rope. Tamina performed a big boot and followed up with a Superfly splash for the win. Afterward, Brie Bella cleared the heels from the ring...
Tamina defeated Nikki Bella in 4:00.
Powell's POV: It appeared Tamina suffered a bloody nose during the match. We are now 80-plus minutes into the show and they have done absolutely nothing to get me more excited about Survivor Series. At least they made an effort with Big Show and Randy Orton, but they seem most focussed on telling everyone that Hunter and Stephanie are on vacation. How does the "who is in charge while Hunter and Steph are gone" storyline sell anyone on a pay-per-view with two lousy title matches? I hate to be so negative, but this has been a really flat show on a night when they desperately need something hot.
The announcers played up the WWE 2K14 poll about Taker's greatest WrestleMania opponent. Shawn Michaels won with 56 percent of the vote, Kane got 35 percent, Triple H got five percent, and Batista received four percent. Cole plugged that some of the best fan created superstars for the video game will appear on Smackdown...
Powell's POV: Who says they don't do enough to promote the Friday night show on Raw? Sigh.
Backstage, Orton was still getting his shoulder checked out when The Shield entered the room and dismissed the trainer. Orton asked where the hell they were when Show attacked him. Dean Ambrose told Orton it was none of his business where they were. Tyler Black said they don't work for Vickie Guerrero, Brad Maddox, or Kane. "And we damn sure don't work for you," Roman Reigns said...
[Q7] Fandango and Summer Rae danced on the stage... [C] Footage aired from an upcoming Total Divas episode of Tyson Kidd getting jealous because Natalya was training in the ring with Fandango...
Powell's POV: Fortunately, it did not appear as though anyone pissed themselves (see last night's episode).
6. Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya). Fandango wore Union Jack themed pants. Kidd got the crowd at ringside to chant his first name after performing a move on the floor. He followed up back inside the ring with a springboard into a sunset flip attempt, but Fandango ended up catching himself and sitting down on Kidd for the pin...
Fandango pinned Tyson Kidd in 3:00.
Powell's POV: I was hoping for a longer match from those two.
Several kids were featured in a Be A Star spot in which they spoke about being bullied online. Sean Combs appeared on camera and spoke out against bullying... [C]
Richie Incognito's POV: Pussies.
[Q8] John Cena made his entrance and received more boos than cheers. He showed off his "Even Stronger" t-shirt that reads "You Can't Stop Me" on the back. Zeb Colter lead The Real Americans to the ring while cutting a promo. He said England is full of soccer thugs, bad food, evil monarchies, and people who actually found the antics of Mr. Bean hilarious. He said England would be in a lot better shape if there were Real Americans. He encouraged the fans to say "We The People" in recognition of a superior nation, and a lot of the male fans did. Funny...
7. John Cena vs. Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter). There were dueling chants for Cena as the match got underway. Cena got the better of Swagger, who tagged Cesaro into the match. Alberto Del Rio's music played and walked out to ringside. The distraction led to the heels getting the advantage heading into the break. [C]
Del Rio sat in on commentary after the break. Cesaro tagged Cena with an uppercut that drew a big pop from the crowd, then he went for the Cesaro Swing, but Cena countered out of it. Swagger tagged in and applied the Patriot Locck, which Cena kicked out of. Cesaro tagged back into the match and dove at Cena, who rolled through and then picked up Cesaro for the Attitude Adjustment, only to have Swagger break it up.
Later, Swagger applied the Patriot Lock again, but Cena rolled out of it and hit the Attitude Adjustment and went for the pin, but Cesaro broke it up at 10:10. Cesaro tagged in and took a powerbomb for a two count. Cesaro came back with the big uppercut for a two count of his own.
[Q9] Swagger tagged into the match and went for a move on the ropes, but Cena pushed him down. Cena cross body blocked Swagger, then knocked Cesaro to ringside. Cena applied the STF on Swagger and got the submission win. Cesaro attacked Cena after the match with headbutts, but Cena came back and cleared him from the ring.
Del Rio attacked Cena. Del Rio wrapped Cena's arm in a chair and stomped on it, then applied the Cross Arm Breaker. Three officials failed to pull Del Rio off Cena. Big E Langston ran out and broke it up...
John Cena defeated Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro in a handicap match in 12:55.
Powell's POV: A well worked match, but I do question the logic of building up The Real Americans by having them beat the tag champions in a recent non-title match only to feed them to Cena in a handicap match. Cena needs believable opponents to work with and having him beat potential candidates in handicap matches really limits that. Del Rio's attack afterward still wasn't enough to make viewers see him as a threat to Cena's title. I like Langston saving Cena, but Cena needs to praise him in order for him to get something out of it.
Cole hyped The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk for later in the show... [C]
Cole announced A.J. Lee vs. Natalya for the Divas Championship as the main event of WWE Main Event on Wednesday. Footage then aired of Natalya beating A.J. Lee in a non-title match on Smackdown...
Powell's POV: You know, just like Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston was going to be the featured match on last week's WWE Main Event.
Backstage, Kane told Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero that John Cena had the attack coming to him. Del Rio entered the picture and celebrated. Maddox said they may have a new World Champion. Kane told Del Rio to let Big E Langston know how John Cena feels. Del Rio was fine with it. Kane smiled after apparently booking them in a match...
7. Ryback vs. R-Truth. Ryback dominated the early portion of the match.
[Q10] Late in the match, Ryback performed a spinebuster, then set up for the Meathook Clothesline. Truth avoided the clothesline and rolled up Ryback and pinned him. The announcers questioned whether Ryback slipped. JBL said Truth got lucky...
R-Truth pinned Ryback in 4:10.
Powell's POV: Well, I don't think anyone who didn't read the spoilers saw that one coming. Again, though, where is the hype for Survivor Series? The entire pay-per-view is built on two matches that I don't view as marketable. Based on what we've seen tonight, you'd think the pay-per-view was six weeks away. Instead, we have only the go-home show to go on the Raw side, and that's a country themed episode. This is bizarre.
The announcers narrated footage of Big Show and Orton from earlier, then plugged their Survivor Series match... Big E Langston made his entrance for his match against Alberto Del Rio... [C]
8. Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston. The Mexican flags are still on the ring posts for Del Rio's matches. Langston hit a belly-to-belly suplex and followed up with a splash. The crowd was too busy amusing themselves to get caught up in his offensive flurry. Langston went for his finisher, but Del Rio avoided it and applied the Cross Arm Breaker. Langston tapped out...
Alberto Del Rio beat Big E Langston in 4:10.
Powell's POV: Another one of those "looked good in defeat" losses for Langston. I don't think they are doing much for him. I haven't seen anything to make me think he wouldn't be better off beating lesser wrestlers than losing to top wrestlers. Del Rio could put the entire roster in the Cross Arm Breaker and cut off Cena's injured arm with a hacksaw and I still don't think most fans would see him as a threat to Cena's title at Survivor Series.
[Q11] [C] A graphic boasted that Smackdown was the most socially active show of the night... Cole announced Alberto Del Rio challenged John Cena to an arm wrestling contest for Smackdown. Lawler said the question is whether Cena would answer the challenge..
Paul Heyman sat in a wheelchair in the ring with Curtis Axel standing behind him. He wore neck and leg braces and had his arm in a sling. He said the hero of the fans C.M. Punk did that to him. Heyman said Punk could never have done it to him by himself. He said Punk had a lot of help. "Like just for example that big, ugly dummy Ryback," Heyman said.
Heyman said he took Ryback under his wing and offered him a chance to be a Paul Heyman Guy. "Thank God he never accepted," Heyman said. He added that Ryback bit off more than he could chew when he went one on one with Punk. Heyman also blamed "each and every one of you." He said the fans encouraged Punk to climb to the top of the Hell in a Cell structure and to lay a beating down on the "innocent father of two small children."
Heyman said he left his first class accommodations seeking first alternative medical treatments to be with the slumming working class in Manchester. He said he needed a roomful of witnesses who could testify to the fact that he went public with his intentions. Heyman said he will return with a vengeance and he will hover over C.M. Punk like the sword of Damocles.
C.M. Punk's music played and he walked onto the stage. "Oh, no," Heyman shrieked. Punk smirked at Heyman and walked toward the ring. Axel went to ringside and fought Punk, who got the better of the exchange and left Axel lying with the GTS. Heyman told Punk he's done enough damage to his life and told him to leave him alone. Punk grabbed a kendo stick from underneath the ring.
Punk entered the ring and spun Heyman around in circles in the wheelchair and dumped him into the ring. Punk struck Heyman repeatedly over the back with the kendo stick and the crowd cheered along with each shot. Daniel Bryan's music played and he made his entrance and led "Yes!" chants along the way. Referees tended to Heyman as they headed into break before the handicap match... Another ad aired for Raw Country...
[Q12] [C] 9. C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield in a handicap match. Cole said it was one year ago at Survivor Series that The Shield made their debut. JBL said The Shield put out Undertaker and no one has seen him since. Punk and Dean Ambrose started the match. Bryan tagged in and joined Punk in a double suplex on Ambrose.
Later, Roman Reigns checked in and clotheslined Bryan and Punk simultaneously. A short time later, Bryan performed a wicked suplex on Seth Rollins and performed a top rope huracanrana for a two count. Bryan fired kicks at Rollins and then blasted Ambrose with a kick to keep him out of the ring. Rollins took advantage of the distraction to get a shot in on Bryan headed into the break. [C]
Cole and JBL announcers praised Kane for booking the handicap match. Lawler pointed out that it was only great if you are The Shield due to the numbers advantage. The Shield worked over Bryan.
[Overrun] Bryan eventually made a hot tag to Punk, who worked over Ambrose before catching him with a top rope elbow drop. Punk had Ambrose pinned, but Rollins broke it up, only to be greeted with a missile dropkick that Bryan followed up with a suicide dive. Punk caught Ambrose with a good kick in the ring, then signaled for the GTS. Reigns ran in and Punk caught him with the GTS. Ambrose rolled up Punk for a two count.
Punk caught Ambrose in the Anaconda Vice. The Wyatt Family video clip played and the lights went out. When they came back on, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were standing in the ring and Bray Wyatt was at ringside. Rollins yelled at them. Ambrose tried to calm him down, then joined him. The two teams went face-to-face.
The Wyatt Family and The Shield threw punches simultaneously. At ringside, Reigns yelled at Wyatt, who tagged him with an uppercut. Reigns came back and threw Wyatt inside the ring. Reigns pulled his guys to his corner, while Wyatt did the same with his men. The crowd chanted "This is awesome."
Both trios looked down at Punk and Bryan who were standing on the floor. Cole pointed out they have a common enemy. Punk and Bryan went to the ring and were outnumbered, but The Uso Brothers, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust ran out to make the save. The heels and bayfaces brawled and eventually the babyfaces cleared the ring. The announcers questioned what the fallout would be when Triple H and Stephanie return next week... An ad aired for Raw Country...
C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan fought The Shield to an apparent no-contest in a handicap match.
Powell's POV: A cool ending to an otherwise forgettable show. The Shield and The Wyatt Family squaring off felt premature, but hopefully it was just long term foreshadowing rather than something we'll be seeing soon. Of course, I think there's money in The Shield turning babyface, but I would like to see them have a longer run as heels. I assume that all of the wrestlers or some combination of the wrestlers who fought at the end of the show compete in a traditional Survivor Series match at the pay-per-view.
Speaking of Survivor Series, this show failed when it came to raising my interest level. Okay, so the likely traditional Survivor Series match interests me, but it's not official. The only official matches are the same two bad title matches and there's only one episode of Raw left before the pay-per-view. WWE has so much work to do to sell Survivor Series and they are running out of time. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. I'll be back with a member exclusive audio review later tonight, and the members are listening to my 70-minute Q&A audio show right now.
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