The second to last Raw before Hell in a Cell was a long show in which we were all wondering who CM Punk would choose to face at the pay-per-view. Would it be Ryback or John Cena? All champions except CM Punk were in action so let’s get started with the breakdown.
Opening Segment – The Big Show
Surprisingly RAW starts off the Big Show coming to the ring. Show brings up the WHC debate from two weeks ago. He says it was a clever joke to make him look foolish by Sheamus and Booker T. Big Show says the fans are fools because they warn him to look out for brogue kick. Big Show plays a clip from last Monday when he blocked the brogue kick and pushed Sheamus out of the ring. Big Show says he liked the look on Sheamus’ face – the face of someone who is way over his head. Big Show brings up the scientific challenge on Smackdown and claims that he didn’t want to embarrass Sheamus. Big Show says at HIAC he’s going to KO Sheamus and become new WHC. Big Show says he’s been getting tweets that say “45 seconds fella.” Big Show says you are not all Irish so stop saying fella! The crowd begins to chant 45 seconds. Big Show calls out Daniel Bryan for a match. We see DB in the back with Kane, R Truth and others. DB says there is no way he is going out there. AJ enters and tells DB that Big Show has a great idea so he better get out there. DB asks Kane if he has his back, but Kane just laughs.
[adinserter block=”2″]I really don’t understand why this segment opened Raw. It could have been done at any other time during the show. You will read later on which segment should have been first. In any case, Big Show starting Raw? The number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship should not be opening Raw when the big question going into the night has to do with who CM Punk will face at Hell in a Cell. Ok I am done.
Match #1 – Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show
Big Show starts off the match slaps and a head butt. Kicks by DB, but Show catches him by the throat and throws him out of the ring. Commercial break. Back from break, DB is trying to fight backm but gets stuck in a bear hug. We see a spear that occurred during the break. Bryan tries to break out of the bear hug until Show throws him down. Daniel Bryan dropkicks Big Show’s legs to knock him down. DB with kicks to midsection of Big Show. DB with a kick to the head of Big Show leading to a 2 count. DB signals it’s over. DB with running drop kicks to Big Show in the corner. DB on the top rope gets caught with a chokeslam by Big Show for the pin and the win.
Winner: Big Show
Post match – Kane’s music hits and out comes the big red machine. Kane enters the ring and stops Big Show from giving the WMD. Big Show exits the ring.
WWE made the right move having Big Show win this one. Daniel Bryan is in a tag team now and didn’t need to beat Big Show.
CM Punk Chooses His Opponent
Paul Heyman is in the ring when we come back from commercial break. Heyman introduces CM Punk. Punk discusses last week. He says someone acts out of turn and disrespects him, calls out of turn and questions his integrity and he proves them wrong. He doesn’t care who it is. He doesn’t care if it’s Cena. OR The Rock. Punk also doesn’t care if its anyone of the fans. He will put you down. Punk says he is the best in the world. Last week it was Mr. McMahon’s turn. Punk says it was sad. He says it was typical Vince. Vince was making it all about Vince. Punk says McMahon disrespected Punk. So he slapped him in the face. Then he challenged Punk to a fight. Punk says he did a good job, but he gave him such a beating. Punk says you will never see Vince compete in the ring again and you can thank him for that. Punk says it took two superstars to save McMahon from Punk. He says Vince told him he has to choose his opponent for HIAC. Punk shows the poster for HIAC to show what people think of him. Punk claims to be an angel. We know devils don’t exist. Punk says let’s pretend they do. There is the devil Punk doesn’t know- Ryback. Punk says Ryback physically inserted himself into a conversation he shouldn’t be a part of. Then there is the devil he does know – John Cena. Punk calls Ryback the next big thing. Punk is about to announce his opponent. Then he says since everyone is disrespecting him, he needs more time to think about it. Vince McMahon’s music hits. Out comes the chairman. McMahon says he was hoping Punk would have learned something about respect last week. McMahon says Punk just blew it and Vince is going to make the decision. McMahon announces there will be a contract signing for the match later tonight and that’s when we will learn who Punk’s opponent at HIAC will be. Vince says RESPECT THAT!
THIS should have opened Raw! I mean come on. Everyone is waiting to hear from McMahon or Punk regarding the main event for Hell in a Cell. Why wait until 8:30 to do this segment? It made no sense. Regardless, this was a good segment. I liked this set up for the end of the show. It would have been better to set it up at 8pm, but I am done talking about that. I promise. I think we are all enjoying Vince McMahon’s involvement lately, which makes me feel even more how useless AJ is. But that is for another day.
Match #2 – Brodus Clay vs. Alberto Del Rio
During introductions, it is announced that Del Rio will face Randy Orton at HIAC. Clay has control early on in the match. Del Rio fights back and aims at Clay’s arm. Clay hits a head-butt. Clay misses the splash in the corner and gets a kick in the head from Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio wins with the cross arm breaker.
A match between former NXT pro and rookie was just a way to give Del Rio some heat and Clay some TV time. Speaking of Clay, has anyone else noticed that he has gone from squasher to squashee? I enjoyed typing that.
Backstage – Heyman and Punk
Punk complains about Vince taking away his right to choose his opponent. Heyman says this is what he warned Punk about. Punk says he is going to fight Vince again tonight and sends Heyman to tell McMahon.
Match #3 – Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Prime Time Players
When we come back from the break, Darren Young has control in the ring with Santino. Titus comes in and then Santino tags Ryder in. Ryder attacks Titus and hits a knee to the best and a missile dropkick from the corner. Ryder hits the broski boot for a two count. Santino comes back in the room but gets dropped by Young with knees to the gut. Ryder takes out Young, but Titus power bombs Ryder for the pin and the win.
Winners: Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Post match – Heath Slater runs out with Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. They throw Santino out of the ring and beat down Ryder before tossing him also. Slater renames the group 3MB.
In terms of this match, it was very boring and unnecessary. I do give credit for WWE having the match to show off the tag team division, but the match meant nothing to me. Also, when will Slater, McIntyre and Mahal finally stay with a group name? We went from Encore to the Band to 3MB.
Match #4: Dolph Ziggler/David Otunga vs. Ryback
Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler enter. Ziggler complains about Ryback getting a chance when he had to work hard for his MITB. Ziggler claims he deserves a WWE title match. He wants to face Punk at HIAC and then cash in his MITB and win the WHC on the same night. David Otunga enters and claims that he deserves a title shot. AJ enters. AJ announces a 2 on 1 match between Otunga and Ziggler against Ryback. Ziggler starts the match while the crowd chants “feed me more.” Ziggler hits a dropkick but Ryback comes right back with a huge clothesline. Ziggler tags Otunga in but Ryback scoops him on his back for a big atomic drop. Ryback looks at Ziggler, which prompts him to leave ringside with Vickie. Ryback performs shellshocked on Otunga for the win.
Another day, another Ryback squash. I almost would have preferred Ziggler vs. Otunga in a singles match. I did say almost. Regardless, Ziggler needs to stop ditching matches. He also needs to start winning matches. I am still waiting for him to turn face.
Backstage – Vince McMahon
Vince is on the phone when Heyman enters. Heyman tells Vince he did a great job last week and Punk wants a rematch. Heyman suggests that if Punk wins, he chooses his opponent at HIAC. Vince agrees, but tells Heyman the match would not be against Punk, but against Heyman. Heyman is upset and Vince tells him to get out of his dressing room. Vince says he loves being himself.
McMahon vs. Heyman never happened. That is a match though that I think we would all love to see!
Backstage – AJ and Matt Striker
Striker brings up how Kane and Daniel Bryan attacked him. Striker says he won’t do what Josh Mathews did and go to the board of directors, but he does want an apology. AJ laughs and tells Striker to ask for his apology after his match with Kane.
Match #5: U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel
Prerecorded promo – Cesaro says he doesn’t need the United States, but the United States needs Antonio Cesaro. Match starts with Cesaro in control, but Gabriel kicks Cesaro in the gut. Cesaro takes control. Cesaro throws Gabriel on the top turnbuckle and knees him in the gut. Gabriel tries to fight back with an inverted DDT. Gabriel hits his 450 splash, but Cesaro’s foot is on the ropes to break the count. Cesaro hits a very European uppercut. Cesaro wins with the neutralizer.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Another unnecessary match that actually happened already on Superstars. I like WWE giving Cesaro the TV time, but when are they going to start building him into a real feud? They are just giving him jobber after jobber.
Match #6: Kane vs. Matt Striker
Striker is waiting in the ring when we come back from commercial. Striker gets on the mic tells Kane we don’t need to this. He is a broadcaster now. He would be fine with just an apology. He tells Kane to think about his therapy and all the progress he has made. What would Dr. Shelby say right now? The WWE Universe wants legit competition. Kane puts his arm out for a hug. Striker and Kane hug. Twice. Kane turns the hug into a bear hug. Kane grabs Striker by the throat and choke slams him for the pin and the win.
Post match – Kane grabs the mic and interviews Striker about the match. No response from Striker. Then Kane yells “I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” and exits.
The match was what you expected from a Matt Striker match. Kane interviewing Striker post-match was great though.
The Miz introduces his guest – Kofi Kingston. They show footage for Main Event when Miz accepted Kofi’s challenge for a match. Kofi asks Miz if he liked the footage that ended with trouble in paradise. Miz asks Kofi if he likes being relevant because of him. Miz tells Kofi he will carry him just like everyone else. Kofi says Miz seemed like the one who needed to be carried. Miz calls Kofi out for not being memorable or doing anything memorable. Miz tells Kofi he should be thanking him for main eventing something. Miz says Kofi will be there to smile at, while Miz will be the one they never forget. Kofi says maybe he needs to add more memorable moments to his career like this Wednesday when he beats Miz and becomes IC champion. Kofi says that will be must see. Kofi thanks Miz for the pep talk. Kofi says he might step up his game tonight against Miz. Miz says he doesn’t back down from a challenge and he is on. Miz tells Kofi he will choke because he has hit his ceiling. Miz tells Kofi no one cares about him. All he ever will be is someone who says boom boom boom. Kofi attacks Miz. They brawl and Kofi is left standing in the ring.
Many people have not enjoyed MizTV at all. However, I am a big Miz fan. A Mizfit if you want to call me that. Either way, I thought this was the best MizTV segment to date. Miz is always great on the mic and Kofi really impressed me. I think he did great. Although I don’t necessarily see him winning the title, I do like this feud. I will get to that more later.
Match #7: Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
The match starts with a lock up, Sheamus and Wade fighting for position in the corner and break it up. Takedown by Sheamus. Sheamus working on Barretts arm but gets a number of punches from Wade. Barrett takes control of the match. Sheamus reverses and continues the attack on Barrett’s arm. More back and forth until a clothesline by Sheamus. Barrett doesn’t allow Sheamus to give his forearm shots on the aprom and takes back control. Barrett gets a two count for the first near fall of the match. Barrett with Sheamus in a headlock. Barrett ends up on the floor. Sheamus leaps out after him and takes Barrett out. Big Show’s music hits. Show enters with a chair. Commercial break. When we come back from the break, Sheamus is in control and Big Show is sitting on the chair from the top of the ramp. A lot more back and forth action. In the end, Sheamus locks in the cloverleaf, but Big Show walks down to the ring to cause a distraction. Sheamus blocks Barrett and goes for White Noise on Barrett, but its blocked and he’s pushed to the ropes where Show pulls down the rope. Ref calls for a DQ. After the match, Sheamus hits Barrett with a brogue kick and clotheslines Big Show over the top rope.
Winner: Sheamus by DQ
Another great match by two of the best in WWE today in their rematch from last Monday. My only concerns are that they keep ending in DQ because of the Big Show and it’s not for the World Heavyweight Championship. Vince, please tell me our wish will come true and Barrett will be number one contender soon!
Backstage – Mr. McMahon and John Cena
Vince is on the phone when John Cena enters. Vince asks what’s the story on Cena’s arm injury and wants to know the doctors have said. Cena says it doesn’t matter what the doctors say. Cena says he belongs out there but the choice is up to Vince. Vince says he will take that under consideration
Match #8: Divas Championship Match – Eve vs. Layla
The girls lock up. The girls push each other until Eve gives a headlock take down. Layla breaks out but Eve brings Layla back down with an arm hold. Layla reverses Eve. Good back and forth action between the two. Eve gets the pin, but Layla’s foot is on the ropes. Ref doesn’t see it.
I thought this was the right match for these two to have. However, how many times are we going to see the old foot on the ropes and ref misses it? How many times? Seriously. Come up with something more creative. Please.
Backstage: Kane and Daniel Bryan
Kane and Bryan go back and forth about their night. Bryan tells Kane if he thinks getting chokeslammed by Big Show is so funny then next Monday Kane should face Big Show.
Backstage: Vince McMahon and Ryback
Vince says thank you for helping him last week. But he wonders if Ryback knows what people say about him. They say that he’s heartless, merciless and cold blooded. They are saying that he’s unstoppable and king on the mountain. Vince asks Ryback what he says. Ryback looks at Vince and says FEED ME PUNK!!! Vince says he will take that under consideration.
FEED ME PUNK. Enough said.
Match #9: Tag Match – Rhodes Scholars vs. Epico and Primo
Rey is sick and finals will be next week.
After Rhodes Scholars enter the ring, we go to commercial. When we come back, we see 3MB at a local bar named Honkey Tonk Central. 3MB tries to get the crowd on their side, but security stops them and forces them out. Very boring match between the two tag teams. In the end, Sandow hits the neckbraker on Epico for the pin and win.
Winners: Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes
As I said, this was a very boring match. One I paid very little attention too. It was obvious Rhodes Scholars would win. By the way, are Epico and Primo faces? They don’t do much anymore. Also, I will be attending Raw next week so for that reason I had no problem with the finals being pushed to next week.
Match #10: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
Unnecessary match but the usual back and forth match. Towards the end, Miz has control and clotheslines Kofi into the corner. Miz gets on the top rope and crashes down followed by a two count. In the end, Kofi connects with a very hard and big Trouble in Paradise for the pin and the win. After the match, a trainer attends to Miz.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
As I said, another unnecessary match. Their segment earlier was so good that it would have been enough. We are going to see this match on Wednesday so the only reason I see for having the match is giving Kofi some momentum going into Wednesday. For that reason I am okay with it. As a side note, it looked as if Kofi’s trouble in paradise move at the end at least semi seriously hurt Miz as a trainer had to assist him.
Ending Segment – Hell in a Cell WWE Championship Match Contract Signing
[adinserter block=”1″]Mr. McMahon comes out and first introduces CM Punk. Vince then introduces and welcomes Ryback out to the ring. John Cena is introduced last. Vince tells Punk he has been thinking about it all night. Vince has been thinking about his decision all week because Punk wouldn’t have the grapefruits. Punk cuts off Vince and tells him he’s already sick of hearing him. Punk complains that Vince took away his right to choose his opponent. Punk signs the contract and tells Vince he knows Vince will just do whatever he wants anyway. Vince tells Punk we wouldn’t be standing there if he had just accepted Cena’s challenge weeks ago. Cena cuts off Punk. Cena says he respects Punk’s achievement of holding the title for 330 days, but tells him he needs to shut the hell up! Vince says let’s get this over with. Vince is about to announce the opponent until Cena cuts him off. Cena says he wants to go to Hell in a Cell and then he thinks about Ryback who doesn’t care about the WWE championship he just wants to beat people up. Cena says it’s an easy decision that can be summed up in 3 words: FEED ME MORE. Ryback signs the contract! Vince makes it official. Punk vs Ryback. Ryback stares down Punk. Ryback slams Punks face into the table. Ryback picks up Punk marches around and shellshocks Punk. Chants of FEED ME MORE end the show.
I really enjoyed this last segment. I was thinking it was going to end up being a triple threat. There was a lot of cutting people off during the segment, but it worked well. I liked that Cena basically gave the match to Ryback. Cena will probably take the pay-per-view off.
Overall, the show felt a lot longer than usual. It really felt like three hours. You can tell I didn’t go in as much detail with the matches as the show went on. Some segments and matches could have been left off and made it a better show. Both tag team matches and the Kofi/Miz match were unnecessary. Also the Del Rio/Brodus Clay match. Once again we have little build up to Hell in a Cell other than the two world title matches. However, we did learn that Del Rio and Randy Orton will face each other at Hell in a Cell. Hopefully, more matches will be announced before the next Sunday. I am most excited to see where they take Ryback here. I will be attending Raw next week so you won’t hear from me next week, but follow me on twitter for all the on goings during the commercials and show!
Seth Guttenplan is a teacher by day, writer by night. In addition to being the Monday Night Raw reviewer for CamelClutchBlog.com, Seth is a Bleacher Report writer and host of Smackdown Rundown, ProWrestlingPowerhouse.com’s weekly radio show reviewing Friday Night Smackdown and previewing all upcoming WWE pay-per-view events. To read more from Seth, follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and visit http://guttwrenchpowerblog.com
[amazon_link id=”B008WAM2N8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE Attitude Era DVD[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”B008IG0ESG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: CM Punk Best in the World DVD[/amazon_link]