12/2 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Daniel Bryan kidnapping update, Big Show's head trauma, the build to John Cena vs. Randy Orton at TLC continues
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at Chesapeake Energy Arena
[Q1] WWE Raw opened with C.M. Punk making his entrance. The broadcast team of Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in as Punk walked to the ring. Cole noted that Daniel Bryan was kidnapped after the handicap tag match last week, and Punk was speared by Roman Reigns of The Shield.
Punk said he's been trying to figure out why The Shield attacked him and he figured it out while he was walking to the ring. Punk accused The Authority of being behind the attack. A short time later, Stephanie McMahon walked out and denied that The Authority had any involvement. She said they had bigger things to deal with. She said that if he had any further grievances, he could take it up with Director of Operations Kane.
Kane walked out and gave a lengthy job description. He said the findings of their investigation show that The Authority had no involvement. Kane asked if Punk had any additional questions. Punk asked when Kane became "the big red ass kisser." Punk challenged Punk to meet him in the ring and get knocked out. Kane took a step toward the ring, but Stephanie stopped him.
The Shield's music played. Punk grabbed a chair as the trio made their entrance. Stephanie called out for The Shield to stop. "I will not have a repeat of what happened last week," she said. "C.M. Punk is to be respected and admired." Stephanie walked backstage. Kane said Punk should be respected, admired, and challenged. Kane announced Punk vs. The Shield in a handicap match for the TLC pay-per-view...
Powell's POV: Now we have handicap matches on pay-per-views? This one could actually be pretty good by handicap match standards, and I am happy to see Punk is finally in the mix with The Authority. Don't get me wrong, I wish Triple H and Stephanie would write themselves off the show, but it was silly that the anti-establishment Punk didn't seem to mind that they were abusing their power.
The announcers hyped the contract signing for later in the show. Cole said The Authority guaranteed that one man will leave TLC as the undisputed champion. He announced a poll that gave viewers a chance to determine whether the new champion should be called "The Unified Champion" or "The Undisputed WWE Champion" or "The Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion"... Cole announced Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: That's the announcement I've been waiting for. I suddenly have a lot more interest in the TLC main event. I think most of us just assumed we would get a screwy finish with John Cena and Randy Orton each leaving with the a championship. It's good to see WWE actually plans to give pay-per-view buyers an actual winner and a loser.
[Q2] Cole hyped The Slammy Awards for next week...
1. Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow for an Intercontinental Title shot at TLC. Big E Langston sat in on commentary. Cole mentioned that Ziggler and Sandow traded wins in their two hardcore matches. Langston said he would prefer to face Ziggler because they are friends and are both competitive with one another.
At 3:15, Ziggler went for the Fameasser, but Sandow caught him. Ziggler countered into a sunset flip for a two count. Ziggler hit the Fameasser moments later for another two count. Sandow came back with his You're Welcome finisher and scored the clean pin...
Damien Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler in 4:00 to earn the Intercontinental Title match at WWE TLC.
A graphic listed some of the accomplishments of Cena and Orton... [C]
Powell's POV: Langston came off better on commentary than he has in any promo he's delivered since joining the main roster. He spoke like a normal person for once rather than doing bad comedy bits. Langston vs. Sandow is official for the pay-per-view and gives the undercard a quality title match.
2. A.J. Lee, Tamina, and Summer Rae vs. Natalya and The Bella Twins. A.J. skipped around the ring as the match started and continued to do so early on.
[Q3] Summer performed a sloppy sunset flip on Brie Bella as Lee continued to skip around the ring. Brie, who had taken the abuse, tagged in Natalya. Moments later, Lee stopped skipping and took the tag. Lee jawed at the Bella Twins after a spot where all the women ended up in the ring. Natalya ended up pinned her off the distraction. Lee wasn't happy initially, but then skipped away...
Natalya and The Bella Twins beat A.J. Lee, Tamina, and Summer Rae in 4:25.
The announced played up Bryan's kidnapping and said he was left in a vacant parking lot. They hyped Bryan vs. Erick Rowan for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: It's hard enough to get excited about Natalya pinning Lee in yet another non-title situation, but it's impossible to care when Lee sells it by skipping away as if nothing happened.
Cole hyped The Slammy Awards and teased the Extreme Moment of the Year category. He also pimped the app since that's where viewers can vote...
Justin Roberts introduced "Bad News" Barrett. Wade Barrett stood at a podium positioned next to the announce table. He said the good news is they are live on Raw, but the bad news is they are stuck in an arena with hillbillies and overweight miscreants who named their city after their state just so they could remember it. At the end, a graphic popped up with the hashtag for Bad News Barrett...
Powell's POV: Someone had to set up a podium for that.
Backstage, Randy Orton told Brad Maddox to tell The Authority that he demands to be recognized as the greatest superstar. Orton said his name is bigger than John Cena's, and that he is even bigger than WWE itself. Maddox squirmed without saying anything...
Powell's POV: The worlds "bigger than WWE itself" won't mean much to the average fan watching at home, as they will see it as heel hyperbole. However, in the minds of the McMahon family, it's pretty much the most heelish thing a person can say.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance and did the Yes! bit on the way out. The announcers hyped Bryan's appearance on the Steve Austin Show podcast... [C]
Powell's POV: I can't be the only one who found it odd for the kidnapping victim to be leading Yes! chants and taking a business as usual approach. It was nice to see WWE finally give a little love to the great Steve Austin podcast.
[Q4] A generic ad for Smackdown focussed on Dolph Ziggler... A Slammy teaser included the award for Insult of the Year...
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper). Before the match, the Wyatt sounder played and the lights went out. When the lights were turned on, both Rowan and Harper were in the ring. Rowan got the better of the opening minutes, but Bryan came back with a series of kicks only to be shut down again heading into the break. [C]
Rowan remained on the offensive coming out of the break. Bryan performed a drop toe hold that sent Rowan into the turnbuckle. Harper shut him down again. JBL openly predicted that Bryan will join the Wyatt Family in 2014, so that won't be happening. Rowan performed a backbreaker and then missed a splash just as Lawler was telling viewers it seemed to be a hopeless situation.
[Q5] Bryan knocked Harper off the ring apron and then performed the suicide dive onto Rowan on the floor. Back in the ring, Bryan performed a missile dropkick and fired away with a series of kicks. Rowan came back and pressed Bryan over his head, but Bryan slipped away and rolled up Rowan for the win...
Daniel Bryan beat Erick Rowan in 14:00.
After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared on the big screen and told his men to stand down. Wyatt said his men would not hurt Bryan unless he told them to. He said he has done a lot of horrible things to a lot of people. He said he is man enough to admit when he is wrong. He said he was wrong about Bryan.
Wyatt said he saw Bryan buying his girlfriend diamonds. He asked Bryan how long he could live this live. He questioned how long before "they" realized that Bryan's "dirty little feet are soiling the red carpet." Wyatt said that together they could tear the place down. He told Bryan to open his eyes to conclude the promo... [C]
Powell's POV: A decent match aside from the outcome feeling predictable because Lawler laid it on so thick about how Bryan seemed to be in a hopeless position. The post-match promo from Wyatt was interesting, but I don't see it really going anywhere. Perhaps Bray recruits Bryan, but I assume Bryan stands on his own and feuds with Bray.
Backstage, Kane congratulated Bryan on his win. He said that since Bryan is friends with Punk, it's only right that he faces the same challenge. Kane booked Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family in a handicap match...
Powell's POV: Much like the Punk match, this has the potential to be more entertaining than your typical handicap match. However, I really question the idea of using The Shield and The Wyatts in only two matches.
4. R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. Brodus Clay and Tensai (w/Cameron, Naomi). Clay slammed Woods a couple times and asked him, "You wanna dance?"
[Q6] Later, Clay splashed Woods in the corner, then missed a followup move. Woods rolled him up and got the win. Clay and Tensai bickered amongst themselves afterward... [C]
R-Truth and Xavier Woods defeated Brodus Clay and Tensai in 4:05.
Powell's POV: The crowd sat on its hands because they weren't given any incentive to cheer one team over the other. Clay was heelish during the match because he mocked Truth for dancing, which is ridiculous when you think about it. Then again, nothing is more ridiculous than the dinosaur scales(?) he wore on the back of his gear again. Here's hoping Clay turns, ditches Tensai, Cameron, Naomi, the scales, Woods, and Truth as soon as possible.
Another Slammy Awards teaser aired and hyped the Double Cross of the Year award... Cole announced A.J. Lee vs. Natalya for the Divas Championship for TLC...
5. Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara. Sin Cara miraculously grew in size and suddenly has a shoulder tattoo. JBL said Sin Cara looked better than ever. Late in the match, Del Rio missed his corner kick. Sin Cara followed up with a Swanton bomb and scored the pin...
Sin Cara defeated Alberto Del Rio in 4:50.
Powell's POV: Did WWE get the Survivor Series buy rate numbers and decide to blame John Cena's challenger? That was odd and unexpected. It appeared to be Hunico working as Sin Cara again.
[Q7] [C] Lawler noted that Korn's "Never Never" is the theme song for TLC...
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed John Cena, who made references to Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan while talking about the lineage of the two World Titles. He said the fans deserve one champion. He said being that champion would mean everything to him...
Powell's POV: Longtime fans are sure to love Cena's reference to the WWF Title vs. NWA or WCW Title from the Hogan and Flair days. Cena didn't overstay his welcome or get too cute.
The Shield delivered a promo from a dark storage area. Roman Reigns said he's going to beat Punk's "little ass." They mocked the idea of facing Punk in a handicap match... Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Big Show made their entrance for a match against The Shield... [C] A great commercial aired for the Raw 20th Anniversary Collection DVD and hyped it will be "uncut and unedited"...
Powell's POV: I guarantee you that the uncut and unedited tease will sell extra DVDs. There's definitely an Attitude Era fan base that will eat that up.
The announcers hyped the "This Is Awesome" award for the Slammy Awards...
6. Big Show, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag. Big Show controlled the early portion of the match.
[Q8] Show delivered the big slap to the chest of Reigns, who fired back with a slap of his own. Show no-sold it and gave Reigns another slap to the chest. Ambrose checked in and was slammed off the top rope by Show. C.M. Punk was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cody checked in and held up Rollins before dropping him with a face first suplex. [C]
After the break, The Shield isolated Cody, who came back with a nice springboard dropkick onto Rollins and Ambrose. Cody tagged in Big Show, who worked over Reigns. The Shield gained control quickly, and Rollins tagged in and jumped off the top rope and connected with a knee to Show's face. Punk was again shown watching the match.
Show came back with a chokeslam on Reigns at 18:15. Show made the hot tag to Goldust, who performed his uppercut on Rollins. Goldust followed up with a spinebuster, but Ambrose broke up his pin attempt. Ambrose went for a double team move off the ropes, but Show pulled the top rope down, causing Ambrose to fall to ringside.
[Q9] Reigns caught Show with a spear on the floor. Rhodes leapt off the top rope and onto Reigns on the floor. Goldust went up top and was met by Ambrose. Goldust got the better of it and performed a superplex. Rollins was in the ring and rolled out of the way before the superplex, then pinned Goldust after he landed...
The Shield defeated Big Show, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes in 20:40.
Powell's POV: It doesn't seem to matter how they tag with, Goldust and Cody continue to have good matches with The Shield. I am curious to see whether the tag champs defend their titles at TLC now that the Wyatt Family and The Shield have matches. I suppose it could be another match with The Real Americans or The Uso's.
The announcers hyped the contract signing segment... [C] Cole hyped "Total Diva of the Year" as a Slammy Award...
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed C.M. Punk about facing The Shield in a handicap match. Punk acted over the top happy about facing the trio. He started singing, "I Feel Pretty." Funny. He said he is going down and he knows it. "The question is how many of The Shield am I taking with me"...
Another Bad News Barrett update took place from the podium at ringside. He said Americans celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday and now their arteries are clogged, they sweat when they eat, and are all constipated. "Thank you," he concluded...
Powell's POV: Punk's promo was fun early and very strong once he flipped the switch and got serious. The Barrett updates suck. I have no idea where it's going, but I can't believe it's been all downhill for him ever since The Nexus. Why can't they get this guy back on track?
Backstage, Kofi Kingston and The Miz shook hands. Lawler said they put aside their differences for a match against Ryback and Curtis Axel... Cole hyped the poll for what the undisputed champion should be called... [C] Cole announced Goldust vs. Ryback in a singles match as the featured match for WWE Main Event on Wednesday...
[Q10] 7. Kofi Kingston and The Miz vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel. The crowd chanted "you can't wrestle" while Miz and Ryback were in the ring together. Axel checked in and dropkicked Miz. Kingston cheerleaded from the corner while Ryback checked in and worked over Miz.
Miz made it to the corner and tagged in Kingston. Ryback charged at Kofi in the corner. Kingston moved, leading to Ryback knocking Miz off the apron. A short time later, Ryback performed Shellshocked on Kingston. After the match, Miz helped Kingston to his feet and then slapped him across the face. Miz left the ring and Kingston yapped at him as he walked to the back...
Ryback and Curtis Axel defeated Kofi Kingston and The Miz in 5:55.
Los Matadores got the merchandise pimping spot for the week. El Torito showed up and marked out for the various items... Highlights aired from last week's Raw of Randy Orton standing over John Cena with both title belts in hand. The announcers pushed the contract signing segment... [C]
Powell's POV: Okay, so Miz and Kingston still don't get along and no one seems to care. Meanwhile, the center items on the merch stand were the WWE and World Hvt. Championship replica title belts. So maybe, just maybe we will be getting a new unified championship. If WWE really wants to convince everyone that there will be a new champion, they will introduce a new title belt and announce that it will hang above the ring at TLC.
The LOL Moment of the Year is back as a Slammy Award...
[Q11] 8. Mark Henry vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae). Henry dominated the early part of the match and performed an early slam and clothesline before walking over Fandango. Henry danced for Summer, who didn't care for it. Fandango tried to take advantage of the distraction, but Henry saw him coming.
Henry missed a splash in the corner. Fandango clipped Henry's knee and performed a DDT for a two count. Fandango caught Henry with a few kicks, then dove off the top rope. Henry caught Fandango, but fell backward for a two count. Henry came back with clotheslines and the World's Strongest Slam for the win...
Mark Henry defeated Fandango in 3:25.
Powell's POV: My guess is that Henry was supposed to catch Fandango and perform the World's Strongest Slam from that, so the finish may have been improvised. It worked out fine. The crowd was pretty quiet going in, but they reacted to Henry playing to them and mocking Fandango and Summer by dancing.
At ringside, the announcers spoke about Titus O'Neil puking on Smackdown. Cole said it was disgusting, so of course they aired a video package...
Powell's POV: If you're old enough, then you remember when Thanksgiving was a huge night in pro wrestling and it didn't revolve around food fights, turkey suits, or barfing. Sigh.
Cole hyped C.M. Punk against a member of The Shield on Smackdown. He played up the mystery of tuning in to find out which Shield member it would be...
Powell's POV: That match will be taped at the Smackdown taping on Tuesday in Tulsa. As always, we are looking for correspondents. If you are going to the Tulsa taping (or the TNA tapings this week in Orlando) and want to help, email me at email@example.com.
9. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. The Prime Time Players. Colter cut a promo about how PTP now stands for Prime Time Pukers. Cesaro performed the awesome leapfrog over Swagger into the double stomp onto O'Neil. Later, Cesaro performed the Cesaro Swing on Titus even though Colter and Swagger advised him against it due to the vomit factor.
[Q12] Titus stood up and started heaving, but he backed into his corner and tagged in Young. In the end, Young dove off the second rope and into an uppercut from Cesaro, who got the win...
The Real Americans defeated The Prime Time Players in 6:45.
A shot aired of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon walking backstage as Cole hyped the contract signing... [C]
Powell's POV: For the love of all that is good in the world, do not let the puking thing become a regular part of the PTP act. I am actually stunned that we didn't see any vomit or any type of humiliation for Swagger while the show was in Oklahoma. I just assumed it was an unwritten rule to humiliate an Oklahoman whenever WWE rolled through OKC. I guess that only applies to one other Oklahoman.
Match of the Year will actually be a Slammy Award again... Lawler read the poll results. 38 percent went with The Unified Champion, WWE Undisputed Champion and World Heavyweight Undisputed Champion each drew 31 percent. Cole said he was sure The Authority would take the vote under consideration...
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance. Once the music stopped, it was shockingly quiet. Triple H hyped the TLC main event and said the winner will walk out the champion. Stephanie said definitively that there will be one winner. "We guarantee it," she said. Nice.
Stephanie introduced Randy Orton and then John Cena. Cole said only Ric Flair has held more World Championships than Cena. Triple H thanked both men for joining them and said it was time to get down to business. Stephanie noted that she got the message regarding Orton saying he was bigger than WWE. "Thanks, Randy," she said.
[Overrun] Orton sat down at the contract signing table as Hunter ran through a list of top names who have held the WWE Championship. Stephanie included Triple H's name. "That's right, all the greats have held the WWE Championship," Hunter said. He turned his attention to the World Heavyweight Championship and said it has an even longer lineage. He ran through some of the greats who have held that title, and Stephanie once again mentioned Hunter's name. "A championship once again held by all the greats," Hunter said. Funny.
Triple H said this was a match that they had been planning for a long time. He said they had to know that both men walking into the match could carry on as the face of WWE. "We have reached that time with two great champions," he said. "You have both earned your place in history, but now with the whole world watching you have a moment in time to cement your legacy forever."
Orton stood up and put his title belt on the table. Hunter slid the contract over to Orton, noting that both men had a chance to review it. Orton signed the contract while Cena smiled. Hunter passed the contract to Cena, who signed it and patted his hand on it. Stephanie said they both have a chance to speak about the "historic, once in a lifetime matchup."
Orton said Hunter was right when he said some of the biggest names in the industry held those titles. Orton said he's better than all of them, including Triple H. "But that's why you chose me to be the face of WWE," Orton said. He added that they have something in common. "We don't like John Cena very much, do we?"
Orton said Triple H knows he is the only one capable of putting Cena down. He said he will walk out with both titles in his hand. Cena said Orton is talking like they've never met before. He said they have had several matches before. Cena started to introduce himself, but Orton told him to shut up and said he knows who he is. Orton recalled kicking Cena's father in the head.
Cena cut off Orton and told him to shut up and then mocked him. He asked if he got his line about turning dreams into nightmares off a fortune cookie. He said Orton never lived up to his potential despite Hunter handpicking him. Cena said he doesn't blame Triple H. He said Orton is the most gifted WWE Superstar ever. He said everything came easy to him, he got cocky, and then he got lazy.
Cena said Triple H gave Orton Hall of Fame mentors to learn from, but he let some kid wearing shorts and a ball cap beat him. Cena said he is the first to show up and the last to leave. He said that if Orton thinks he should get opportunities because of his name or his talent, he should crap in one hand and think in the other. Cena said he has earned everything. He said he is not an Apex Predator. "I'm just John Cena," he said.
Cena gave Orton the option of leaving or making a move. Cena warned that if Orton chose the latter option, the crowd would be reminded of what a TLC match is and threatened to use tables, ladders, and chairs. "Are you gonna step up or are you gonna step aside?" Cena asked.
Orton flipped the contract table toward Cena, who pushed it aside. They fought to ringside, where a ladder was set up. Orton got the better of the brawl and ran Cena into the ring post. Orton took the announcers' table apart, but Cena recovered and rammed a ladder into Orton's head. Cena picked up a chair and jabbed it into Orton's gut and then slammed it over his back.
Cena slammed a mic into Orton's head and then slammed his head into the ring steps. Cena rolled Orton back inside the ring and slapped the hand of a fan at ringside. Once Cena entered the ring, Orton slammed a ladder onto Cena. Orton picked up a chair and slammed it over Cena's back twice, then jabbed it into his chest a few times.
Orton moved some of the tables, ladders, and chairs that were set up for effect in the ring. He set up one of the two remaining tables in the middle of the ring, leaving the other in the corner. Orton set up to RKO Cena through the table, but Cena fought back and ran Orton into the table set up in the corner, then performed the Attitude Adjustment on Orton through the other table. Cena held up both title belts to close the show...
Powell's POV: A good closing segment to hype the TLC main event and to establish that there will be one winner. They could still pull a fast one at the pay-per-view, but it would be a pretty ballsy move at this point. Either way, the TLC main event feels more meaningful tonight than it did before Raw.
Overall, this was a better effort than we've seen from WWE. A big part of it was that it was newsworthy due to all of the pay-per-view matches they had to announce. If nothing else, it feels like this pay-per-view is more important to the company than the throwaway Survivor Series was last month. I will have more to say in the member exclusive audio review later tonight, and in the WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me.
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