October 16, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Further adding to the weirdness of the non-existent buildup to Hell In A Cell, this week serves us another nothing edition of Raw, and if you’re catching up on it late, then you already know the big reveal of the show (there will be two main events at the PPV and, naturally, one of them features John Cena). We open with a little replay/catchup of the whole Ambrose/Cena saga thus far, even though they’ve been plugging the hell out of it for what feels like forever. Ambrose and his kerazy hair eventually turn up, but first we need to be updated on Smackdown for some reason. Cena was all gangsta on it, he had some baseballs in his hands to represent his own genitalia in a way the kiddies could laugh at, and also The Miz was there looking smug.
Ambrose gets a MAJOR pop as he enters – rightly so, he’s the best fucking thing on this show right now, along with Damien Sandow‘s ridiculous stunt double – in a new muscle shirt, that he seems to have cut for the occasion. It’s nice to make an effort sometimes. He’s all turned on by the idea of the cell and there’s that odd combination of cheers and boos for the first mention of Cena by name. Atlanta aren’t sure how they feel about the guy until he enters and they cheer him like he’s Hogan. There’s a pole match tonight, but there will be no dancing involved because that would make too much sense. Rather, a contract is going to be suspended and one of them has to grab it for the chance to grab Rollins at HIAC. Sexy.
Ambrose cuts a suitably odd promo about hitting Cena with the pole and bouncing Rollins’ head off the cell like a basketball but then Cena turns up to ruin all the fun. He uses the word “y’all” a lot, because this is HOTlanta, as the commentators refer to it, and he’s like “Relax, Ambrose, you need to calm down” Cena then reminds them of both their names. They both have a chance at this, he reckons, but Ambrose can’t let his crazy temper get in the way again or he’ll lose it. Eh, nobody wants your advice yo’. Ambrose calls him “big brotha” in a less than genuine way and then corpses like crazy as Cena blabs on about not calling him names or some shit.
The Authority show up to add fuel to the fire – and to shill The Network, obviously – by pretending that this match between Ambrose and Cena is still happening at the PPV. They actually go kind of meta, which is nice to see, by openly discussing whether the two of them are going to come to blows or if they’re scared, if they could work together as a team, and what it will mean when/if they do so. Considering the rest of the show is kind of a write-off, it’s a nice moment. They then decide to bet “the standard” on whether Ambrose and Cena can team up for a triple threat tag team match RIGHT NOW against The Usos and Goldust and Stardust. If Raw is anything like iCarly – and let’s face it, it totally is – then one of them is going to have to put a hose down their pants pretty soon.
Triple Threat Tag Team Match: The Usos -v- Stardust & Goldust -v- John Cena & Dean Ambrose
Triple threat tag team matches are the worst because the rules are all over the place, as Cole keeps constantly reminding us throughout this bout. It kicks off with some nice back and forth between Ambrose and an Uso, before Cena tags in and King notes it was a “civil tag” like woo hoo, they just got married. Cole repeats the rules again as Cena performs a running bulldog. Ambrose is tagged in and the two work together to double team Uso with a clothesline, before he manages to fight back and deliver a boot to Ambrose. The other Uso is tagged in, but Ambrose regains dominance again pretty easily. He and Cena then team up again against Uso, before Cena rolls through and goes for the AA. The Uso counters, leading to a near fall. The warring Cena chants get louder as he dropkicks the Uso, getting himself Samoan dropped as a result, leading to another near fall. “Come on, John” Ambrose yells from the sidelines, somewhat aggressively. Cole refers to himself as a journalist, and the other commentators mock him. An Uso dropkicks Cena, leading to a hot tag to Ambrose who lays into him with a flurry of punches and a brutal clothesline. Outside the ring, Stardust chucks an Uso into the barricade and then celebrates with the crowd. Following the commercial break, he’s managed to involve himself in the match proper, as he and his brother attack an Uso in the corner. Goldust takes over, as Cole refers to a man named “Ambroose”, whoever that is. Goldust stops the Uso tagging his bro in, before Ambrose legs it after him on the outside, leading him to tag Cena in – a move which epitomises everything that is wrong with these kinds of matches. He takes out Stardust, before utilising the ol’ 5-Knuckle Shuffle. He tries for an AA, but Stardust lands on his feet, leading Goldust to tag in and powerslam Cena. An Uso superkicks Cena before he and his brother double Splash to tackle the art freaks on the outside. Cena follows suit with a Splash from the top to tackle all four of them, before Ambrose tackles the five lads at once, eclipsing everyone as usual. Ambrose then chucks Cena and the Rhodes boys back in, so he and his partner can double team them with an AA and the Dirty Deeds to win.
Winners: John Cena & Dean Ambrose
The Authority show up on cue, immediately after the match, and Steph does a little royal wave to everyone. They then reveal that “the standard” bet is for $1. They’re all like “Let’s do this! No holds barred! Yeah! Now! On Monday Night Raw! The show you’re currently watching!” Steph looks super turned on by all this. A sign in the crowd reveals itself as “Keep Calm And Hug Me John Cena” Helloooo restraining order. Trips’ music plays while Ambrose and Cena stare each other out in the ring. It’s all very self-aware and weird. Later on, we’ll be treated to more racist bollocks in a USA v Russia match that only toothless yokels are excited for – luckily, since we’re in HOTlanta, it’ll most likely be very well received – but first, women!
Divas Tag Team Match: AJ Lee & Layla -v- Paige & Alicia Fox
Footage shot earlier reveals that AJ hates all the Divas (who can blame her), but hates Layla least and, as a result, she isn’t too bummed to team up with her or to endure a forced hug or two. She also said “Yaaaaaay” like she was being tortured, while spending time with Layla. Cole refers to last week’s debacle as “Emma-barrassing” because he’s cool. There’s a decent backbreaker by Alicia right at the beginning of this, but it’s tied for spot of the match because there isn’t a whole lot going on here (though it still eclipses the Total Divas bout later on). AJ keeps yelling at Paige to tag in and she’s all “You can’t tell me what to do, AJ!” She eventually tags, for about a second, before legging it and ensuring Alicia is the one to actually face AJ. Layla refuses to tag, leaving AJ stuck in the ring but also leading to a super cool Shining Wizard that wins the match for them. As punishment, AJ chases her partner up the ramp and faceplants her before chucking her into the barricade. AJ is then all “I have a belt” and Paige is like “I have a friend”
Winners: AJ Lee & Layla
Backstage, Steph is adjusting Triple H‘s pin when Orton shows up in his new shirt, the design of which looks a lot like a basement Metalocalypse ripoff. He cuts a promo, in his smooth, Barry White voice, about how he can’t be beaten, as he’s about to prove opposite Dolph Ziggler, and that he wants a HIAC match with whoever loses the pole thing tonight. “Give me the other guy” he argues. The Authority nod sagely in agreement. Before the match, we get a super cool Wyatt promo, focusing on Erick Rowan, and there’s a major pop from the crowd for it, which is nice considering poor Bray has been kind of lost the past few weeks – even Jericho couldn’t put him over.
Randy Orton -v- Dolph Ziggler
As Raw match-ups go, this one is pretty random but it proves that Ziggler is crazy over right now, so that’s something. Also, weirdly enough, it isn’t a bad bout, especially as Cesaro is on commentary, proving he should be allowed to talk more god damn it. He quotes Tina Turner, and that’s pretty bad ass unless you’re a total loser. There’s some decent chain wrestling to start, as Ziggler slaps his own butt in preparation for what’s to come. Orton tries to chuck him into the steps at one point, but he counters and sends him flying into them instead. Orton soon gains dominance, however, waiting for the crowd to cheer before he performs certain moves – he’s really smug during this match, and gloats a lot, which is cool because it’s nice to see him have a proper, in-ring, heel personality. A dropkick by Ziggler leads to a near fall. Orton poses after hitting back at him, as Ziggler writhes on the mat. A blonde takes a selfie with an exhausted Ziggler at the barricade before Orton grabs him and sends him flying into the turnbuckle. Orton goes for a DDT off the second rope, but Ziggler counters and dropkicks him off the apron. He then beckons him back into the ring. Rollins shows up, and Orton is like “what are you doing!? Go away!” as he grabs Ziggler in a headlock. Rollins stands there trying his best to look important. Orton Superplexes Ziggler off the top rope, leading to a near fall. A succession of clotheslines by Ziggler disable Orton as Cesaro gushes to the commentators about how talented he is, and how he makes everyone else better as a result. A neckbreaker by Ziggler leads to a near fall, and Rollins looks very turned on as a result. Ziggler goes for the Fame Asser, Orton counters by throwing him straight up and delivering the RKO in midair. He then slithers around like a snake, before pinning him to win. He and Rollins stand over Ziggler as the crowd chant “You sold out”. Rollins loves it, curbstomping Ziggler for good measure. Cole calls him a jerk.
Winner: Randy Orton
Seth Rollins -v- Jack Swagger
Another random match-up that leads to some fun, if nothing more. Rollins is proudly remembering his curbstomp as Swagger enters, flanked by the great Zeb Colter as always. The “We The People” chant is a little bit too emphatic in Georgia, but that’s to be expected. One lady in the crowd is particularly proud during it, too. Rollins dances around at first, goading his opponent with a “Come on, Swag” Colter raises a supportive fist each time Swagger lands a move. Orton is already Tweeting about his victory, apparently, so good for him. Rollins leaves the ring to shout that it’s all a bit too easy, dodging Swagger easily upon his re-entry. Swagger goes for a Superplex, but Rollins counters. He spends much of the match focusing on his opponent’s injured left arm, so there are a lot of locks and boots and twists. King notes that Colter has “combed his face” for the occasion. Again, it’s nice to make an effort sometimes. Rollins is dominating throughout, but Swagger finally manages some offence by chucking him into the steps, just as Orton shows up, without pants, to watch from ringside. He waves at Rollins, mirroring what Steph did earlier. Rollins delivers a brutal knee to Swagger’s ribs as the crowd shouts “You suck!”, which he really, really enjoys. He grabs Swagger in a devastating armlock, before he finally turns it around on him with a cool Suplex. Orton is impressed, but still gloating over his win. There’s a massive back body drop by Swagger, followed up by a Swagger Bomb, leading to a near fall. Orton watches quietly. Rollins aims from the top but gets caught in another Swagger Bomb, leading to a near fall again. He sells the shit out of his knee as he summons the strength to dropkick Swagger before going for the curbstomp, and getting caught in the Patriot Lock off the ropes as a result. However, in a clever move, he manages to roll Swagger over and up to pin him and win. It’s a very roly poly match overall, with Rollins establishing himself further as a more fluid, athletic wrestler than he was as a face. Orton joins him in the ring, following his win, and RKOs Swagger. The two then shit-talk each other for a bit but we can’t hear what they’re saying so they may be doing some background acting and going “rhubarb!” over and over.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Recently, an invasive photo surfaced of Renee and Ambrose in a taxi together, with the accompanying story claiming they are “friends with benefits” and that she likes it that way. In light of such allegations, the interview she conducts with him seems even weirder, especially because he spits a lot during it. He’s all “anytime, anywhere” and references a “long, hard ride” and…we’re still discussing the match later, right? He ends with a little strain of Highway To Hell. It’s a nice touch for someone whose finisher is named after a classic AC/DC hit. Elsewhere, Work Experience Tom is with Big Show, who dwarfs him so much it’s actually frightening. There’s talk of Rusev tapping because he never has before or whatever but he was buried last week by The Rock, so why is he still even performing on Raw? Show says he’s going to shatter Rusev‘s glass jaw, which is very poetic, if slightly nonsensical.
Rusev -v- Big Show
One dude does an emphatic thumbs down as the non-Russians enter, and a couple of kids in the front row seem terribly upset by all the anti-Columbus Day talk. They probably just heard all about it in school today. There’s some sort of sports reference that doesn’t go down well and leads everyone in attendance to do a weird, racist salute. One guy is really mad. Rusev has learned a big word this week, though, “consequences”. And he pronounces it just right, too. Next he will work on “hiphopanonymous”. Show delivers a strong boot to Rusev to start, and wow this match is already boring. There are some flying elbows, Rusev gets his chest beaten at the announce table, is thrown into the steps and then gains dominance after about twenty seconds of pretending he can’t. Since he suffered at Rocky’s hands last week, though, he clearly isn’t winning this, so the match quickly devolves into face-face-face-HEEL-face-face. It’s dull as fuck, in spite of Show’s best efforts, and if these two have a match at the PPV, it might as well be subtitled “Piss Break”. There’s an odd moment when Rusev is calling shit, and Show is trying to shield them with his arm but he can’t quite make out what he’s saying so it takes him a moment before it registers and they continue on. “Big Show is mine!” Rusev yells, as though someone has turned up to make a counter offer. He grabs the big dude in a headlock, but Show powers through for a backdrop. An attempt at his rubbish finisher is countered with a kick, after which Rusev puts him in the Accolade. Mark Henry then shows up and edges slowly, slowly, slowly towards the ring to cheer his buddy on. Rusev shoves him off the apron, before resuming holding Show in the Accolade. Henry intervenes, leading to a DQ, he chucks Rusev out and Show manages to KO him finally.
Backstage, Renee is interviewing Sheamo en route to the ring. He calls her “darlin”, making her blush, before revealing that the only thing worse than The Miz is two Mizzes, or “missuses” because Miz is a woman and women are only good for being wives, geddit? Anyway, he and his overlong beard are off to kick some arse now. Take two Brogue Kicks and call me in the morning, Renee! Weh weh weh, Oirish humour.
Sheamus -v- The Miz
Although it’s bizarre to even say this, The Miz doesn’t cause a sense of dread to fall upon us anymore because Damien Sandow has made him somewhat palatable. But before the two can make their entrance, poor Sheamo has to stand around like a freak while this weird cyborg man is interviewed. Apparently, he’s a millionaire from Atlanta with his own show but he looks like he’s about to kill us all. Sheamo seems on the verge of tears. He knows. Sandow is ridiculously good during this match, selling bumps and copying Miz’s moves with ease – he’s actually better than him most of the time, which is odd considering he isn’t technically involved in the match. Miz is dominating, in fairness to him, with a succession of brutal kicks to Sheamo’s big, orange head. Cole is mad that JBL turns down offers to appear on podcasts, because he never gets asked. Sheamo gets caught in a headlock, before Miz faceplants him, leading to a near fall. He retaliates by chucking Miz out onto his knee, leading Sandow to run over and join him as he writhes on the floor. Then, Sandow takes a kick on his behalf as Miz scurries under the ring – pausing for a cuppa with Kane on the way, of course – and hops back in, leading Sheamo to get counted out. He only gets a few seconds to celebrate though, as Sheamo chases after him in annoyance at his loss.
Winner: The Miz
Total Divas Tag Team Match: Total Divas Faces -v- Total Divas Heels
Before this match, there’s a Total Divas bitch-fight backstage as Nene Leakes – a reality star who makes her own, rather rubbish clothes including jumper/capes – has stopped by for a visit and certain ladies won’t show her the respect she deserves. Or something. Anyway, suffice to say this is a nothing match, the best spot of which is courtesy of Cameron, who delivers an okay-looking Suplex in spite of her slutty schoolgirl ring gear. JBL notes that Total Divas = Total Drama, while ringside Nene holds Rosa Mendes‘ hand because she is so dumb she might run away upon spotting something shiny. Brie is dressed as a giant baby girl, but there’s some nice back and forth between her and her sister – as a possible warm up to HIAC – before she utilises an X-factor to win.
Winners: Total Divas Faces
Backstage, Renee is chatting with none other than John Cena, who’s all “y’all remember Wrestlemania 27!?” and shouting into a microphone in spite of the fact it is, you know, a microphone. He promises to rip Ambrose to shreds. Renee hits him with her handbag.
Main Event: Contract On A Pole Match for HIAC: Dean Ambrose -v- John Cena
If you’ve been following the news all week, then you know how this shit ends. Even if you haven’t been, it’s pretty obvious. There are some genuinely decent moments to enjoy here, but they are few and far between. Before it all kicks off, though, we are treated to another cool Wyatt promo, which makes good use of dry ice and an empty rocking chair. The Authority watch from ringside throughout, and King notes that Steph hates Cole. Rollins turns up, looking a bit lost and walking funny because, let’s face it, the latex is probably chafing a bit by now. He’s followed by Orton and finally Kane, because they paid him for the night so they might as well show his face. Ambrose and Cena both leg it to the pole the moment the bell rings, but of course it’s not going to be that easy and when one of them does come close to reaching it, they move slower up the ropes than Mark Henry did making his way to the ring during that shitty Russia v USA bout earlier. There are some cool spots, including a succession of fisherman suplexes, and Ambrose bites Cena’s hand when he locks him in the STF, but this isn’t anything other than time wasting because we all know they’re both going to get a shot to shine at the PPV. Cena Splashes to tackle Ambrose on the outside and gets his head rammed into the steps as payback, before being chucked into the barricade. Orton stops Ambrose climbing the pole at one point, before Cena tackles him from behind. Eventually, it’s all a mess of bodies in the ring, as the commentators continue to reiterate that this is a NO HOLDS BARRED match. When he finally does make it to the pole, Ambrose does the “You can’t see me” and Cena weeps silently. Ambrose seizes the contract, and nobody is surprised.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
With just one more episode of Raw left until the PPV, there seems to be very little information as of yet about what we can expect. And, as a result, it’s hard to get excited about it. Aside from the two Main Events – seriously, Cena couldn’t take a backseat just once? – we can look forward to a Bellas match, another USA v Russia bout and also for The Miz and Sheamo to lock horns, all of which we have pretty much already seen at this point.
The momentum being built towards the Rollins/Ambrose match-up is great, even if they did drop the ball with the whole Cena angle. Speaking of whom, this will be he and Orton’s millionth bout this year, in case you weren’t counting, so it’s definitely overkill at this stage. Why isn’t Cena up against a new heel, like Bray? Why is Sheamo getting a shot at Miz when Ziggler has more than earned that spot? Why is Cesaro being wasted, when he perfectly straddles that weird line between heel and face? And what of the only decent Divas storyline in years, AJ and Paige? Are they getting a shot at the PPV?
There’s a lot to consider going into Hell In A Cell. The go-home show next week may provide some clarity, but as it stands the only matches being plugged properly are the two main events. Take from that what you will.
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