September 25, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Following a messy, yet enjoyably mad, night at Night Of Champions, during which the highlight came courtesy of someone who wasn’t even scheduled to appear, Raw opens with the very same guy – the lunatic fringe, as his hairdo is often described – cutting a promo about how he isn’t dead, but is rather the “ugly stepchild” of the WWE and has therefore been hidden. The man in question is, of course, the incomparable Dean Ambrose, but before he gets a MAJOR pop from the assembled crowd in Memphis, TN, we are treated to some lovely photos – not video, never video – of last night. John Cena looks particularly upset to be losing his hair, but otherwise it’s business as usual.
Ambrose is here to tell us all about how loopy he is after what happened to him the last time. Channelling Heath Ledger’s Joker, he reveals that tonight, he is The Authority, and he refuses to leave the ring until Seth Rollins is offered up to him. He grabs a chair, the crowd go nuts, and then Cena shows up to once again insert himself into a situation that has nothing to do with him – whenever Cena isn’t onscreen, everyone should be asking “Where’s Cena?” He gets less of a pop than Ambrose, rather brilliantly, and removes, then replaces, his hat twice in response – symbolic?
Cena’s like “let’s make this all about me, yo” but Ambrose, who claims to like him for some unknown reason, isn’t happy about that, especially when Cena uses his singsong voice to tell him he’s about to cash in his ass-kicking-in-the-bank-contract, which isn’t even kind of a thing. Ambrose is all “don’t get in my way” as Cena removes some of his coats, in preparation for a duel. The Authority then show up, with Rollins lagging behind. Trips tells the two in the ring to calm down before a “pinch fight” breaks out because his golden boy won’t be meeting either in the ring tonight.
Ambrose and Cena don’t wait for any further instructions before pouncing on the lot of them, with Ambrose and Rollins’ clash immediately spilling into the crowd, as theirs are wont to do. The camera cuts to Michael Cole as he gives a brief replay of what’s literally just happened a moment ago, while looking more stupid than King for once in a ridiculous pink shirt and tie combo. The brawl spills backstage, leading Rollins to steal someone’s car after pushing him out of the way. Ambrose takes a bump as he falls out the back of it and he and Cena stand around, breathing heavily for a bit as Tumblr creams its collective pants. Steph has the briefcase clutched safely against her implants, and Orton is overacting due to confusion. He’ll be facing Cena later, while Corporate Kane takes care of Ambrose. “But why?” Orton asks. Our thoughts exactly.
Intercontinental Championship Rematch: The Miz -v- Dolph Ziggler
We were all bummed when Ziggler lost last night, but he doesn’t look sad as he approaches the ring – alone, minus his stunt double – rather he feels robbed and is ready for a fight. Miz is with Sandow, who has his own replica belt that is clearly a child’s toy, while some horny bitch brandishes a sign about stripping for Ziggler – nobody wants to see that, love. The commentators are still discussing Florida Georgia Line, because they’re the only people who care about them. Sandow copies Miz beat for beat, to hilarious effect, as Ziggler kicks off the match by rolling him up pretty much right off the bat. A nice bit of chain wrestling follows as the two struggle for dominance before a clothesline, and a brutal elbow, by Ziggler lead to the first of many near falls. Miz tries to start his own chant but is booed out of it. He then manages to get some offence in before Ziggler sends him flying shoulder-first into the post. Miz apparently then does some stuff during commercials that we’re not at liberty to see, but when we return there’s a great superkick by Ziggler that sends Miz flying as he aims for a Splash. Ziggler clotheslines him twice, powerbombs him, and then goes for the Fame Asser, which Miz counters with the neckbreaker. Ziggler tries it again, but Miz counters with a DDT, leading to another near fall. Ziggler then tries for a comeback with a Splash but Miz counters with the Figure-4 and Ziggler very nearly taps, selling it like a champ as he finally makes it to the ropes. Taking control again, Ziggler clotheslines Miz and sends him flying into Sandow on the outside. He drags Miz back into the ring, only to fall victim to the skull-crushing finale as the match almost ends yet again. He rolls up Miz, leading to another near fall, utilises the Fame Asser, which results in another, and finally goes for the Zig Zag, which Miz counters. Sandow then tries to run interference as Ziggler rolls up Miz, is rolled up himself, and tumbles over to grab his tights – echoing how he lost to him last night – and finally pin him to win. Ziggler is champ once again, and all is right with the world.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Bo Dallas -v- Jack Swagger
Swagger won on Raw last week, but Bo beat him on Smackdown, so they’re kind of even now, right? Some lad is really proud of his “We The People” banner, even though it isn’t terribly impressive, and keeps waving it like a sap throughout. This match mostly involves a lot of stranding each other in the corners, but a clothesline by Bo, followed by several knee drops – complete with obligatory butt wiggle – after which he removes his protective pad to drive it home harder, lead to the first near fall. The legendary Zeb Colter shouts his support from the sidelines, as Bo shrieks “I’m America’s sweetheart” – just like John Cusack! There’s a cool Swagger Bomb as the chants for the US of A get louder – even though both participants are from there – and a neckbreaker by Bo leads to another near fall. Swagger then catches him in the Patriot Lock and he taps. Boo Bo! Following the match, Colter tells Bo, in his squeakiest voice, that he bo-liiiiiiieves Swagger just made him tap. It’s not the cleverest line, but it’ll do for a match of this calibre.
Winner: Jack Swagger
The commentators are still obsessing over Florida Georgia Line for some reason, so a selection of their amazingly deep, insightful Tweets are shared next, along with a preview of their very badly-Photoshopped album art, which showcases the least-convincing graffiti in the history of popular culture. Speaking of social media, Roman Reigns Instagrammed from hospital. What a totally normal, non-invasive reaction to having surgery.
Total Divas Match: Natalya -v- Summer Rae
Summer is also back tonight, because she was filming with Ambrose but let’s not discuss that now, because we’ve got Total Divas footage to gawk at! In this particular clip, Summer is giving Nati shit and so she drags her out of the car by her hair, Jersey Shore style, like a totally rational human being. This is real life, people. Summer cuts a great promo before the match about what it’s like to be the most attractive person in the room, a problem she notes the WWE Universe couldn’t possibly understand. So she’s heel now, apparently. Give this woman a real match! Nati goes off on her during this bout, with Summer content to pose a lot and look pretty in the ring. Two people chant for Nati, thanks to her buddy Rosa Mendes and her dreadful dream-catcher tattoo. JBL reckons it’s never okay to throw someone out of a car, unless it’s Cole. Summer manages to roll Nati up, but is locked in the Sharpshooter and taps after about five seconds – why do the girls always tap so soon? It’s infuriating. Can’t they sell just a little?
Dean Ambrose -v- Corporate Kane
Are those slacks too tight for Kane or what? He doesn’t seem capable of walking to the ring like a normal person while wearing them. Ambrose lets loose on him as soon as the bell rings, with a cool flying elbow. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Ambrose counters and chucks him over the top rope for a Splash to the outside. He grabs a chair but is stopped from using it by a swift boot. Kane then gets chucked into the steps, leading to a near fall as Ambrose is forced to power out of an arm-breaker and deck his opponent, who counters with a simple uppercut. Kane then locks Ambrose in another armbreaker, as the crowd chant for him like crazy. Kane keeps telling him to tap while Ambrose sells the agony he’s in like a champ before faceplanting him, unleashing a flurry of uppercuts, clotheslining him and then delivering a flying dropkick from the top, followed by another faceplant in a quick succession of totally rad, high impact moves. He goes for the Dirty Deeds but suddenly Rollins turns up out of nowhere and kicks the shit out of him, before grabbing a chair, which Ambrose avoids, laying into him and chucking him over the ropes. Kane seizes the opportunity to chokeslam Ambrose, leaving him unconscious in the ring as Rollins strolls off triumphantly. Suddenly, he turns around just as Ambrose stirs and beckons him back but, upon spotting the chair in his hands, Rollins backs away again and Tumblr goes mad once more because of all the staring. They still care about each other, damn it!
Trips is backstage, waiting for Rollins who excitedly asks “That was awesome, right?” to which he responds “Er, no” echoing Orton’s earlier sentiment about making messes that other people have to clean up. Just as Rollins is desperately seeking some fatherly love and attenion, Ambrose shows up to continue where they left off and, for his trouble, is dragged off into a room and locked up while rambling like a lunatic. This is immediately followed up with some weird, news show footage regarding Reigns, who speaks groggily from hospital and does that fist thing he does. He wants people to please stop groping him as he enters the ring, because it’s causing him to get hernias. The “doctor” then says some shit that is totally convincing about injuries and manly men and whatever else.
6-Man Tag Team Match: Sheamus & The Usos -v- Goldust, Stardust & Cesaro
Sheamo gets a huge pop as he enters, for whatever reason. The art kids vamp a lot, and Goldy kicks thing off against an Uso who dominates from the outset. However, he recovers quickly after being clotheslined out of the ring, as Cole refers to Stardust by his full name, “the weirdo Stardust” as he is tagged in. Why does he follow his goddamn Twitter account so closely if he thinks he’s such a freak!? Stardust runs away after a bit, as things heat up with a simultaneous hot tag to both Sheamo and Cesaro. The latter goes totally fucking nuts on his opponent, before Goldy is tagged back in to back Sheamo into a corner but he manages to clothesline Goldy and tag in an Uso for assistance. The brothers then swap to tackle Stardust, as the camera gets a great shot of Cesaro‘s butt. Uso is dominating before a hot tag to Sheamo leads to a rolling senton, after which he tries for the 10 Beats with Goldy attempting to interrupt, but he gets it anyway. Cesaro takes the opportunity to grab Sheamo’s feet and faceplant him off the apron. He then grabs him in a headlock and yells at him, before repeated uppercuts and blows to his belly leave Sheamo winded and exhausted. Goldy is tagged in and strands Sheamo in the corner, giving Cesaro the opportunity to kick him while he’s hanging off the ropes, before smirking to himself. Goldy is tagged in again, to deliver an awesome superkick from the top, before being double-teamed by The Usos, leading to a near fall. Both then do a simultaneous Splash to tackle Stardust and Cesaro on the outside, before another splash to Goldy in the ring. Uso goes for the Final Cut, but is intercepted by Sheamo, before Goldy is Splashed once more and finally pinned to win.
Winners: Sheamus & The Usos
Backstage, Orton is messing around with a skipping rope but not actually using it when Rollins turns up to halfheartedly apologise for all the trouble he’s caused and to advise that there’ll be a surprise waiting for him ringside later. “I do like surprises” Orton tells him, as the crowd go nuts for no apparent reason.
Rematch: Mark Henry -v- Rusev
Is Henry going to cry again? That was uncomfortable for all concerned. He’s very sorry for letting us all down and wants a second shot at Rusev. On cue, he and Lana turn up to extol the virtues of Russia while the crowd chant “USA!” over and over. On that note, the hashtag for this match, if you’re playing along at home, is “USAUSAUSA” because once just isn’t enough, damn it! The commentators make a point of reminding us that Henry isn’t 100% tonight, and as a result his opponent is focusing on his injured ribs throughout. He grabs him in a headlock, and Lana is proud, before following it up with a massive dropkick with his massive leg. Henry tries to summon the strength for a Slam as the fight spills outside. He manages to throw Rusev into the steps, leading Lana to scream at him to get up even though he’s only been down for about ten seconds. Henry drags him back in, then climbs the ropes in an effort to deliver some kind of move, but Rusev grabs his legs and pulls him down onto his ribs. It’s pretty much over from there as Henry lies motionless on the mat and Rusev waits and waits for him to get up again, before finally giving up and putting him in the Accolade until he passes out. Fine family fun, there.
Tag Team Match: Adam Rose & The Bunny -v- Heath Slater & Titus O’Neill
Yes, you read that correctly, the bunny is in a tag team match. How warm and fuzzy must Slater and Titus feel right now, eh? Especially as they are sure as fuck going to lose to him. Rose must be out on the road for months at this stage because he doesn’t seem to have shaved in ages. He also appears to be kind of hungover, but that may just be the beard. One day his posse won’t catch him as he stage-dives off the ring and that day will be glorious. A backbreaker by Titus to Rose is one of the only decent spots in what is essentially a comedy match with zero comedy. Slater is tagged in, gets distracted by the bunny and then Rose tags back in and dropkicks him. The bunny hops around happily as Rose administers the Party Foul to win. Cole points out that these two poor sods lost to a bunny, while JBL confirms he is saving his last clothesline for the bunny, so at least we can all take solace in that fact.
Winners: Adam Rose & The Bunny
Up next, Nikki Bella‘s boobies are here to explain why she lost last night. Basically, her sister was mean about her ridiculous spiked hat/weapon and that threw her off. Speaking of whom, here she is now, dressed in a slight variation of her sexy lumberjack outfit from before! Nikki refuses to allow Brie to carry the Bella name anymore, and she finds that really insulting, even though it’s not even her real surname. This turns into a total bitch-fight – that’s the only way to describe it, seriously it’s like two drunk chicks fighting in a club – after Nikki insults Daniel Bryan but soon we don’t have to care much anymore because AJ comes out and skips around and is awesome.
Divas Match: AJ Lee -v- Nikki Bella
AJ’s ex-best friend, and previous titleholder, Paige is on commentary for this match-up but she’s mostly talking shit and saying “Oh no” really insincerely whenever AJ gets hit, so it’s more amusing than most other guest commentators – Florida Georgia Line, we’re looking in your direction. Nikki shows off what she’s learned from a year of wrestling Cena offscreen with a powerful eblow to AJ early on, for which she pays her back with a load of powerbombs, leading to a near fall. Nikki then clotheslines AJ, before throwing her into Paige, as some dude in the crowd sings her entrance theme like a complete weirdo. Back in the ring, Nikki grabs AJ in an arm-lock but she powers out to roll her up, leading to another near fall. AJ then utilises the Black Widow from the top rope, as Nikki aims to strand her there with a shoulder. Paige is not happy when Nikki taps, and she yells at AJ for a bit to make her point known.
Winner: AJ Lee
Backstage, security are still guarding the room in which Ambrose is trapped. Trips asks if anything has happened since he last strolled past and they reply “Not a peep” and we all know those are famous last words and someone’s going to get his butt kicked soon enough. In a totally unrelated development, a big, black box of cinderblocks has been delivered ringside, as promised by Rollins. Not ominous at all, that.
Main Event: John Cena -v- Randy Orton
Even “deja vu” doesn’t adequately explain the feeling of seeing these two in the ring once again – King even references how well they know each other, as though we haven’t seen this a million times previously. Rollins looks in awe of Orton as he enters, while one dude raises his dishcloth in support as Cena makes his descent, utilising the “Keep Calm” trend about two years too late with his new shirt. There’s a lot of dancing around to start, before Orton gains dominance pretty quickly as Kane and Rollins watch the action sagely from ringside. Cena manages to faceplant Orton, leading to a near fall, before he is thrown through the announce table – does Orton’s feud with that table ever end!? – as JBL scrambles to save his hat. Cena sends him flying out of the ring as punishment, which Orton pays back with a backbreaker for good measure, after some decent back and forth between the two . “Nobody likes you, Randy” some dude screams as he delivers an Irish Whip. A giant Cena head bobs in the crowd as Orton powerslams him, before swerving an STF attempt and countering with a clothesline. Rollins intervenes as Cena almost wins it, leading to a DQ. He, Orton and Kane then triple-team him but he fights them off, even as Kane chokeslams him. The three grab him and drag him out of the ring towards the ominous box, only to lift the lid and reveal not cinderblocks, but Ambrose! He lets loose on all of them, leaping off the announce table to tackle all three at once before Rollins flees, leaving Ambrose to stare after him. It’s all very sexy and it doesn’t feel as though anyone else is even involved, which is pretty cool considering it’s Cena main eventing yet again.
Considering the past few episodes of Raw have been almost unthinkably bad, this one floated by on a breeze of okay-ness. The matches, for the most part, were good, the IC championship changed hands to its rightful owners, Nikki Bella proved she can kinda wrestle when she wants to and Dean Ambrose solidified himself as the coolest motherfucker on the roster right now. He may have been interrupted by Cena, but it didn’t dent his confidence, which is the mark of a great Superstar.
Lesnar has been confirmed not to appear at Hell In A Cell, meaning all signs point to a Rollins/Ambrose match-up, if not a Main Event, then it should be high enough on the card. Until then, we can only hope that whatever bullshit angle Cena is involved in fades into the background. It’s time for someone else to take the lead, because, in all seriousness – and this recap is very serious business, after all – if he isn’t being beaten to a pulp, we don’t want to see him in a Main Event.
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