October 2, 2014 by Joey Keogh
This week’s Raw kicks off as all shows rightfully should, with the current most interesting prospect in the company, Dean Ambrose, and a ridiculous feud that will set the tone for the rest of the night firmly at “weird”. But first, we get a nice replay of his tussle last week with Seth Rollins, scored by what appears to be the theme of a mid-2000s, mid-level PPV. Also, something happened on Smackdown – no, really – last Friday – Ambrose stole the briefcase and legged it with it! Oh no! The Authority stroll out first, described by King as “the biggest power couple in the world” as JBL swoons “Don’t they look fantastic?”, to discuss the transgression as boos and chants for Punk fill the arena – well, we are in Chicago, after all.
“Thank you for that warm welcome” Steph quips, before wondering aloud why the crowd are chanting for a quitter. “Oh, that’s right” she almost immediately corrects herself, “It’s because you’re all quitters, too” Ambrose may have stolen the case, but it still belongs to Rollins yo, and this behaviour will not be tolerated in the WWE, because this shit is serious business. Trips goes on to explain that the case is a symbol that represents this business and he won’t let ANYONE disrespect this business. On cue, an unmistakeable voice cuts through the air – “Ladies and gentlemen”, it begins, as the crowd lose their minds, “My name is Paul Heyman”
The cheers grow louder as the man himself strolls out to explain to Trips that, actually, it’s his client Brock Lesnar who’s been disrespected because Rollins fucked up his title match at NOC – he even curbstomped him, the bastard! A giant Colt Cabana head bobs around throughout this little argument, which is pretty amazing, while a “Thank You Punk” sign is also visible (clearly a reference to this particular article, right?) Steph and Trips are all “don’t threaten us”, a silly thing to ask of Heyman who makes a living doing just that, when Rollins shows up, clad in an all black suit that really should be half black, half white to match his weird hair. King comments that he looks “naked” without the case, and Tumblr creams its collective pants at that mental image.
Rollins, eager to prove he’s not some corporate stooge even though he clearly is, is like “I’m a big boy. I make my own decisions. I went out there to attack Lesnar of my own accord. Right, mommy and daddy?” They nod sagely, like proud parents at a particularly dull recital. “Besides, none of us wanted to see John Cena win” There’s a pause here for evil laughter, before Rollins fake-apologises to Heyman, appealing to him as a man to understand. Heyman does understand, but next time, he warns him, it’ll be Lesnar he has to answer to. Trips gets in Heyman’s face and simply tells him “I enjoyed our conversation. Have a nice night” as though he’s actually saying “I’m going to kill you with a fork and eat your kids”
After he waddles off in terror, Rollins resumes sucking up to The Authority, complaining that it’s not funny, even if Ambrose thinks it is, and that he has some personal belongings in there that he needs returned immediately! Finding a sudden burst of confidence with his parents standing next to him, he’s all “Come down now and we’ll have it out” but Ambrose would rather hang out on the Titantron and wax lyrical about how Rollins makes him want to sew his eyelids shut. He refers to “corporate mommy and daddy” and challenges Rollins to come and get it – meaning the case, not his butt. Calm down, kids.
Unfortunately, before he can, Cena turns up to insert himself into a situation in which he does not belong, yet again, and attacks. Rollins flees, the crowd boos and when we cut to backstage, none other than Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury – who are rumoured to be gearing up for bigger roles on the show at a later date – are being briefed by The Authority on how to find Ambrose, beat him up and get the case. Noble wants a sledgehammer, but Trips reckons he couldn’t handle one.
Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler -v- Cesaro -v- The Miz
It’s worth noting that tonight’s Raw is more about the wacky story-lines than the actual matches, of which there are eight – but none are particularly standout or memorable. There’s a MAJOR pop for Ziggler as he enters, but barely a ripple for Cesaro, which is kind of sad. Damien Sandow is still the best thing to have ever happened to The Miz, making his appearances almost bearable, and tonight he’s on top form, even getting a shot at a match himself later on. The action kicks off with Miz and Cesaro stranding Ziggler in the corner with a succession of brutal kicks, as Cole goes over the rules of a Triple Threat for those of you who have only just started watching wrestling this week. Welcome. Cesaro goes for the Swing, but Miz intervenes, leading to the first of many near falls. Apparently, he got 115 people to sign a petition on Twitter, and JBL is confused as to why it wasn’t closer to 115 million. “Not the face!” Sandow yells from ringside as Cesaro shows off his incredible strength by holding Miz above his head and pumping him like iron. A dropkick by Ziggler leads to another near fall, before each man takes his turn rolling up the others for a seemingly endless run of near falls. Ziggler ends it by faceplanting the two of them simultaneously – he’s totally on fire, winning the belt has made him even more hungry for it – and going for the Fame Asser, which Miz counters, leading Ziggler to roll him up for another near fall. Ziggler then goes for the Figure 4, but Cesaro intervenes with a swift elbow. Ziggler then puts Cesaro in a slingshot, and shoots him into Miz’s crotch, before putting him in the Figure 4, much to Miz’s disbelief. Cesaro intervenes with several blows to Ziggler’s gut, but Ziggler quickly regains dominance with double hits to both before pinning Miz to win, retaining the championship. Following the match, Sandow mimics Miz’s injured legs ringside.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Backstage, Noble and Mercury are accosting Adam Rose‘s posse, among others, on their misguided quest to locate Ambrose and the briefcase. Khali and Big E have the best reactions to being asked if they’ve seen him, with the former going “who? I can’t hear you down there” and E saying “Nooooo” in the weirdest way imaginable – give this lot a sitcom! Up next, there’s a slick, super creepy Wyatt promo, during which Bray talks about “helping” Luke Harper before “setting him free” This is all conducted in a rather spacious barn, presumably Wyatt’s own homestead. It concludes with Harper going “Peekaboo. You’re doomed”
Back with the bosses, Mercury is desperately trying to explain that he and Noble went everywhere looking for Ambrose – including the ladies locker room, which, as Noble sheepishly tells them, “didn’t go too well”. Steph is very unhappy, noticing some stray mustard on his chin that hints they may have stopped for a snack. There’s no time for food while on the trail of a LOON like Dean Ambrose! Don’t you guys watch all those Marine movies!? Sandow turns up to speak on behalf of the injured Miz, and the two simultaneously shout “I demand action!” over and over until Rollins advances on them and Miz whimpers “I’m sorry” like a big baby. “You make me laugh” Trips sort-of chuckles menacingly, so now Sandow gets a match with Sheamo later because that is funny to him. And, if Miz ever bothers Trips again, he promises his “straight to DVD” career will be over. Chicago goes “oooooh” for that particular burn, and rightly so.
Total Divas Match: Layla -v- Rosa Mendes
Before we get started, as is now customary with these “matches”, we have to suffer through some show spoilers first. So, does Nattie mind being portrayed like a nagging, clingy wife who pulls other girls’ hair when they suggest maybe she should treat TJ a bit nicer or…? Speaking of Tyson Kidd, or Mr Natalya as he is more widely known, he’s here tonight, looking like an extra from an old-school Backstreet Boys video – the one set in space, you know the one – to argue with her ringside and then refuse to focus on the match. Well, who can blame him? It’s little more than a load of headlocks, kicks and hair-pulling, none of which looks even remotely painful and she isn’t even involved. The crowd chant “Nattie’s husband” throughout, but thankfully he can’t hear because of his sweet Beats headphones, y’all. Summer and Nattie tussle a bit ringside, before Layla wins with the Layout, apparently her finisher. She also, evidently, has entrance music and it’s terrible. Nattie takes Tyson’s phone and they squabble a bit more.
Backstage, Ambrose is wandering around with a gym bag and the briefcase, looking a bit lost, but he soon turns up ringside – to rapturous cheers – slightly confused as to how he got there. He sets up a table, and reveals that he was in the concession stand the whole time – he even waved at Noble and Mercury but they walked right past him! D’oh! The merch sucks up there, so he’s going to have a clearance sale, mostly of Rollins’ stuff – and, let’s face it, his shirt is a bit shit so you’d only really take it for free. Ambrose makes yet another reference to Ledger’s Joker as he explains that he’s a man of simple tastes, who likes “inexpensive” things. He also notes that he didn’t realise what Rollins was into when they were in The Shield together, but he sure as fuck knows now after going through the briefcase! Cena shirts are then offered, “if you’re into that kinda thing”, along with Sheamo merch “for a quarter”
Mercury and Noble soon turn up to put a halt to these shenanigans, but are too afraid to actually get in the ring with Ambrose and instead ask him to throw the briefcase to them. He refuses, they run away and, in a spectacular move, Ambrose throws all of the merch into the crowd, making sure some eager kids in the front row don’t get anything. Rollins storms out next and his old teammate is like “I’m busted” A load of security guards follow and Ambrose quips “Are you real security? I could’ve sworn you were Rosebuds last week” He offers the case, before legging it into the crowd to watch Rollins open it and get seriously slimed. It’s like the Kids Choice Awards, only with Rollins instead of Big Show. Fuming, he’s like “It’s not funny!”, making it much funnier because, come on, his hair and beard are green. Ambrose watches from the crowd, grinning from ear to ear and hilariously drops some chick’s hand matter-of-factly as she tries to grab a hold of his.
There’s more footage of Ambrose totally loving the sliming, before it’s revealed that Hulk Hogan will be here later because he really needs the money, brother. Backstage, Trips is stifling giggles as Rollins complains that he could’ve been “permanently blinded” Orton still refuses to wear pants for these meetings – maybe Ambrose threw them into the crowd? – and he and Kane aren’t happy that they have to team up against Ambrose and Cena later in a tag. Trips explains that Rollins can’t possibly compete tonight, because he’s all green, but their conversation is interrupted by some weird, rumbling vibrations coming, Jumanji-style from the case. “It’s an electric razor” Rollins explains, before storming off.
Mark Henry -v- Bo Dallas
Henry is a pussy now, so he tries to kick things off by giving an impassioned speech but is rudely interrupted by his opponent, who tells him not to apologise to us, but to himself. Henry puts the mic down ominously as Bo advances, speaking of realising his “bo-tential” He headbutts him to start before a cool throw in spite of his bad back disables Dallas somewhat. However, he rolls him over and pins him to win because he’s in pain and whatever this feud makes no sense anyway. Afterwards, Renee tries to interview Bo backstage but Henry attacks, chucks him into a load of equipment and tells him “that’s what I do” Is his back not sore anymore, or..?
Winner: Bo Dallas
Next up, Goldust and Stardust – who, confusingly, don’t have a match tonight – cut a backstage promo with a plasma ball, on which Stardust rubs his nose, all about science fiction and the cosmic key and how it will determine their fate. They then smash everything in sight, apart from their beloved blackboard, before Stardust gets over-excited for his brother to blow in his face. And no, that is not a euphemism.
Divas Handicap Tag Match: Nikki Bella -v- Cameron & Eva Marie
Brie has shitty ring gear and an even shittier song, but Nikki comes out to talk before the match and she can at least do that better than her sister, so you know, can’t rain all the time. There’s a massive “Yes” chant upon a mention of Daniel Bryan, as Nikki explains to her sister that clearly Brie quit “for all the ugly little trolls” out there, just like her husband. There’s another sitcom “oooooh” from Chicago for this line. Anyway, as punishment, now Brie gets a handicap match with two stupid jobbers, both of whom are dressed like particularly rubbish strippers. There’s a “We want AJ” chant throughout, which is nice considering usually they yell for her husband during her matches, Eva is in a headlock and desperately wants to fix her hair, Nikki watches and silently fumes, Cameron gets Brie in a shitty-looking headlock and Eva does something with her foot that may be an attempt at a kick or a hold, who knows. Finally, Brie rolls up Cameron to win. Woo-hoo.
Winner: Brie Bella
Tag Team Match: Los Matadores -v- Slater Gator
Slater Gator is a thing now, y’all! Not only do they have their own bad-ass Titantron and swampy entrance music, but Swoggle is their gator mascot. How cool! To be fair to him, the costume is way better than El Torito‘s. Adam Rose sort of does commentary for this, but his Bunny perches on his knee as he does so, and that’s super creepy. This match doesn’t really go anywhere, in spite of Titus’s efforts, and all just builds to the two, er, “animals” locking horns. However, Slater, to his credit, takes the opportunity to pin a Matador and win it for them, so it’s not all bad. “Cheap victory” Rose judges as Titus grabs Torito and powerbombs him. Swoggle then gator rolls him, to spectacular effect (on a small scale). “That bull has a family” JBL wails, almost as distraught as Rose, who’s begging us all to please think of the children. The matadors steal the spotlight for a moment by double-teaming the gator, before the fucking bunny gets involved and splashes the lot of them from the top rope. And then Rose’s music plays, for some unknown reason.
Winners: Slater Gator
There’s a Rusev promo next, and some poor child is so distraught that he does a sad little thumbs down as he enters with Lana, who no longer is gifted her own music. There’s a “USA” chant as she speaks Russian, to wonderfully irritating effect, before revealing a slideshow of her client’s past triumphs against Big Show. The man in question then appears, to call bullshit. Poor Show is such a good speaker, but he never gets given enough mic time. He’s all “You can’t handle the truth” and Rusev, who has just received his diploma in entry-level English for the workplace goes Schwarzenegger on his ass by telling him he’s going to “bite his ear” But he quickly flees as Show advances on him. Once in the ring, Show pulls down the Russian flag – something the WWE have had to apologise for since – and the two sort-of Russians just stand there and watch, apparently powerless to stop him for some reason. Eventually, once the flag is properly desecrated, Rusev leaps into the ring and is immediately chucked back out for his trouble. Backstage, Renee is with Cena, who is loving the boos from Chicago as always, remarking that “I love this place. This is my kinda town. Loud and proud” Ambrose lurks behind them the whole time, taping up his hands, but, when asked if he has anything to contribute, he simply states that no, just Rollins is his later. Cena disagrees, but anyway.
Divas Match: AJ Lee -v- Alicia Fox
AJ’s ex-BFF Paige emerges first, and has to raise her voice over the din of Punk chants. She takes her sweet time introducing her new BFF, and AJ’s opponent, Alicia Fox who sadly has not died in a fire as we all had wished. Boo. She then runs over to try to steal a kiss from JBL, who is having none of it. “Three loonies” Cole quips. A cool dropkick by AJ starts things off on the right foot – har de har – before she Splashes to the outside to tackle both her opponent and Paige, but Alicia somehow wins and then Paige hops in the ring, circles her ex and administers the Ram-Paige, which is cooler than anything that’s happened in the last five minutes of gameplay. The creepy Wyatt/Harper promo follows again, and it, too, is more exciting than the match itself.
Winner: Alicia Fox
Damien Mizdow -v- Sheamus
Sandow is being billed as Mizdow now, and that’s cool if you’re into that kind of thing – like Cena merch. Speaking of Miz, he’s on commentary, and he’s actually kind of funny too, but nothing he says can top JBL telling Cole to “call the action, Michael!” like they ever actually do that. Sheamo grabs Mizdow in a headlock to start and Miz is all “don’t mess with the money-maker, you wouldn’t understand because you’re ugly” – maybe he and Nikki should have a thing? Mizdow continues to copy him exactly, to hilarious effect, as Sheamo gets bored and starts chucking his opponent around the ring like a rag doll. Miz explains that Sandow tans his back because he can’t reach and the camera catches Cole dissolving into giggles as he tries to keep it together. Sheamo gets locked in the corner, at the mercy of Sandow’s knees, before clotheslining him, delivering the 10 Beats (snore), throwing him into Miz and finally Brogue kicking (snore) him to win.
Next up, Hogan is still alive! And he looks like Blossom! Actually no, he’s still a walking sofa but it’s Pinkamania and let me tell you something, breast cancer – we all fast-forwarded this bit, don’t lie to yourself. You listened to his bad ass entrance theme, and then skipped everything else. Admit it. So, after Hulk does whatever he was paid ten bucks to do, we move backstage, to where Orton and Kane are giving out about Rollins. Steph turns up and is like “Silence, slaves!” She then uses emotional blackmail to remind them that they’re a “family” – like the Mafia, not an actual family – and that they have to stick together. The whole time they’re chatting, a big Ambrose eye is watching from a HIAC poster behind them. It probably was planned, but it’s pretty amazing.
Main Event: John Cena & Dean Ambrose -v- Randy Orton & Corporate Kane
There’s a replay of the sliming before the match kicks off, and it’s better the second time. And third. Cena is loving the boos again as he enters, while Kane‘s entrance is interrupted by Orton midway through, leaving him to make his way to the ring in his awful slacks, to a theme that is not his own. Ambrose is pissed that Cena is kicking off the fight instead of him, as he lines up against Orton and the warring chants for and against him begin. Kane and Orton double team Cena in the corner for a bit as Ambrose stretches his arm as far as it’ll go to try and get the tag. Soon, Kane takes over and uses the ol’ nerve pinch on Cena – it probably hurts, but it looks like shit – before a side-slam leads to a near fall. A hot tag to Ambrose finally gives him entrance, to utilise a crossbody lock, before clotheslining Orton over the ropes. He then Splashes out to tackle him on one side, and Kane on the other before utilising the Dirty Deeds on Orton back in the ring. Rollins shows up to intervene, leading to a DQ, and naturally everything turns to chaos immediately afterwards, with Kane working on Cena at first, before Ambrose takes over and chucks him over the ropes. He splashes out to tackle him before going after Rollins and clotheslining him. Cena takes a shot at the upstart next, laying into him in the corner. He and Ambrose then fight over Rollins for a bit before Ambrose chucks Cena out entirely. He robs the case again, but suffers an RKO as a result. Kane then chokeslams Ambrose, while Rollins is all “Thanks guys” and he and Orton are like “we hate you” Rollins sets up Ambrose on the case for a brutal curbstomp and, when Cena comes back for more, he does the same for him. Rollins still has slime on his face, though, so his maniacal laughter is even more effective than usual.
Suffice to say that Raw was totally nuts tonight. There were eight matches in total, none of which were particularly awe-inspiring or even interesting. In a weird way, for once, the matches seemed to exist solely to fill the gaps between storyline progressions and promos. It was a refreshing change, in a weird way, because it allowed for some fun – at times, very silly – surprises and a lot of lengthy speeches, including some great work by Dean Ambrose and a short segment involving the legendary Paul Heyman.
This is all leading up to Hell In A Cell, of course, and as of yet we don’t have any solid details on match-ups for that PPV. However, rumours abound that Rollins and Ambrose will finally come to blows inside the cage, along with the, er, Bellas. The stage certainly seems set for them, while Rusev and Big Show are probably going to come to blows too, along with maybe a Ziggler/Miz rematch.
Although, Ziggler/Cesaro would be better – and, with Harper leaving the Wyatts, he or Bray should really get a push for the PPV, too.
As for Cena, Orton and Kane, well, the less we worry about those people, the more we can focus on some actual feuds. Lesnar is not scheduled to appear, so Cena has no reason to Main Event again, no matter how much the kids want it. Your time is not now, sir, because it’s Ambrose’s turn. Or at the very least Rollins, once he gets the green out of his beard by then, of course.
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