November 13, 2014 by Joey Keogh
The Network has been indefinitely delayed in the UK, so it’s a bad week for Raw to be taping in Liverpool but, if there’s one thing Scousers hate more than not having the Network, it’s John Cena who tonight is greeted with a rousing “John Cena sucks” singalong in time with his music. You know the one, you never hear it in Texas? As you may recall, last week Vince Mc Mahon decided that, if Team Authority loses at Survivor Series they will no longer be in power. If Team Cena loses, well, nothing happens. This is the definition of lazy writing, a non-bet perpetuated by the chairman of the board in the hopes that we won’t notice there are no repercussions for one side – on that note, does anyone actually believe there’s a chance The Authority won’t win this?
There was some blood spilled last week also, which surely mad Vince very happy indeed due to his penchant for showing the red stuff on TV, and it led to Orton’s unceremonious departure from his team. As a result, The Authority are a man down, which we are told via overly-dramatic voice-over, almost as though we’re watching a Christopher Nolan film instead of, you know, Monday Night Raw. Anyway, Cena basks in the hatred from the dependably-hot UK crowd, quipping he loves the “English remix” of his entrance theme. He reveals that Zack Ryder is out for six months due to injury, and it’s safe to say nobody cares. Joining his team will be (drum-roll please) Jack Swagger, who’s always had a problem with The Authority! Er, okay, when was that established? He also has a match later with Rollins, because bad booking. Along with Swagger, current fan favourite Dolph Ziggler will be fighting alongside Cena, a reveal which leads to a rousing “We want Ziggler” chant that changes rapidly and grows even louder as Ryback enters because he’s over now, in case you missed that or can’t quite believe it.
He’s Cena’s opponent in tonight’s Main Event for some reason, and he’s also apparently the most sought-after wrestler for both teams. The Authority are hot on his heels, all but Rollins in suits. They step back dramatically to reveal their new recruit is none other than Mark Henry, before Steph reveals she may be considering changing her entrance theme to “God Save The Queen”. Liverpool is not impressed with this suggestion. Trips is all “everything is on the line” but, really, is it thought? It doesn’t seem to be, as there’s been absolutely no build-up for this shit. He gets pretty red in the face as he splutters that he’s God and that it’s career suicide to team up with Cena. The Authority are a safe bet because, let’s face it, they never lose. Steph is getting totally turned on by all this. The camera never pans over to her, but we know.
A sign in the crowd converting the $9.99 into British pounds is probably the cleverest one on show tonight, and it’s remarkable that it wasn’t taken off whoever is holding it on the way in. Cena reminds Trips that Daniel Bryan beat him and he responds with “oh, but he’s sitting around getting fat now so that doesn’t count” as though that somehow negates his stunning defeat. Ziggler is going up against Henry later because reasons, and Steph is all like “stop with the propaganda, John” before trying to use some herself to convince Ryback he’ll get more Main Event slots if he joins their team. She then gets visibly aroused as she describes him as a monster, the camera cutting to an unimpressed and clearly confused Kane as she does so, before Cena calls them all wankers and sellouts – Henry, he notes, is “sellout sexual chocolate” – and seriously can we say that word on TV? The crowd starts chanting for Ryback for some reason, he says he ain’t afraid a nothin’ and, last time he checked, Cena’s name wasn’t on the bottom of his pay-cheque. He delivers a spinebuster and Steph starts a “Yes” chant that quickly turns into a “No” chant even though, like, pay attention Liverpool, you hate Cena remember?
Seth Rollins -v- Jack Swagger
What a random match-up this is – do these two even have beef? Rollins does a little dance in time to Swagger’s entrance music, and suffers a brutal leg drop moments after the bell rings, before being put in an arm-lock. That’s what you get for mocking real Americans, kid. Swagger chucks him into the corner and starts laying into him, but following the commercial break Rollins has managed to gain dominance somehow. JBL notes he is on the side of truth and justice, telling King he would read his mind but the print is too small, which could be either a compliment or an insult depending on how you take it. Rollins’ bodyguards, Noble and Mercury, stand watching from ringside and clearly they’re not going to get involved in any of the matches tonight because that would render all of this pointless, right? Swagger manages to get some offence in with a quick and painful-looking clothesline, before putting Rollins in the patriot-lock. He makes it to the ropes but is chucked out and ends up in the lock once more. Swagger gets thrown into the turnbuckle, dragged back into the ring, and finally Rollins curb-stomps him to win. He then curb-stomps him again after the bell has rung because he is a mean old heel, in case you’ve forgotten due to him looking like the fifth member of 5 Seconds Of Summer (looking up how many members there are has made me die a little inside).
Winner: Seth Rollins
Ambrose and Wyatt cut a great promo on Smackdown, and for ease of reference – because nobody watches that show – we get a nice little replay of it. Apparently, Ambrose’s father turned his back on him as a kid by going to prison, which would explain a lot about his personality. Too far, though, Bray Wyatt! Too far! Wyatt tells him “there’s a special place in Hell for people like us, all I ask is that we go together” before turning up right behind him and yelling “Run!” Why was this not done on Halloween? It would’ve been perfect, and made more sense than weird in-costume matches. Ambrose turns up onscreen next, because he isn’t here tonight due to wrestling in a house show earlier in the day. Likewise, Bray Wyatt. So if you were looking forward to the progression of their feud before the PPV, well, too bad. He’s all like “I ain’t a hero” and “I’m gonna self destruct spectacularly and take Wyatt with me” because guess what they’ve got a match at Survivor Series! Shock, horror! Backstage, Ryback is preparing for his next meal when Kane shows up to welcome him to the team and advise him to be humble. Ryback mishears him and thinks he’s says “hungry” and is all “I always am, stoopid” as he tries in vain to eat his tie. Ryback‘s voice is so soft that he could be saying the sickest shit ever and it would still sound soothing, but suffice to say he doesn’t want Kane‘s advice either way.
Divas Match: Alicia Fox -v- Paige
Since the only actual Divas feud we had involved AJ, and she now has a match against Nikki Bella for the belt at the PPV, her ex-opponent Paige must now fight opposite Alicia Fox, who deserves more attention than she’s getting but still not this much. Naturally, there’s a major pop for the Brit as she enters, resplendent in Union Jack-toed Docs. Foxy launches at her immediately, and she responds in kind, but a boot to the face sends Paige flying off the apron before being dragged back in and suffering a backbreaker. However, she fires back with the Ram-Paige to win and, well, that’s really it.
New US champion Rusev is en route to his celebration ceremony or some shit, with his lady Lana in tow, when the two are interrupted by Steph, who tries to give them the hard sell to join her team. Lana is like “due to political reasons-” but Steph cuts her off to explain that there are no politics in the WWE, you Russian twit. Why can’t she call her a twat? This is England, after all, and they just said wankers earlier. Up next, there’s a super weird Xavier Woods vignette, during which he’s some sort of gospel singer who talks instead of singing. It’s odd, and not in a good way. For a moment, though, I thought it was Darren Young, so that was even weirder.
Elsewhere, Trips and Steph are watching Vince’s speech from last week with an air of respect usually reserved for the president. Apparently, all is not well in the Mc Mahon household, as Vince was mocking his daughter for growing up with a silver spoon in her mouth. She wonders aloud if he’s trying to split her and Trips up, and her husband assures her that’s ridiculous. They rub noses and have a little smooch and the crowd don’t boo nearly enough.
Next up, comes the aforementioned celebration for Rusev, during which Lana cuts a promo about how great Russia is and some dude really overdoes his “Russian” accent when he has to read something aloud. Apparently, Putin is very proud. But if that’s the case, why isn’t this so-called proclamation they’re reading in bloody Russian!? They stand for the national anthem as their flag hangs over the ring. Suddenly, Sheamo turns up to interrupt like the big Irish bastard he is and Rusev legs it. The crowd are not impressed because traditionally Scousers hate the Irish and also show some respect to the Russian federation, god damn it!
US Championship Rematch: Sheamus -v- Rusev
Somehow, Sheamo is already red, even before the match has properly started, which is really funny. Rusev is, of course, dominating pretty much throughout, grabbing his opponent and chucking him onto the announce table at one point before grabbing him in a headlock in the middle of the ring. A crazy high kick – considering Rusev‘s size and build – winds Sheamo considerably, as a happy Wade Barrett head in the crowd bobs along in solidarity, banishing years of UK/Ireland hatred. Shockingly, Sheamo manages to lift Rusev up and powerslam him, before delivering the 10 Beats, followed by a Battering Ram. He goes for the Cloverleaf, but can’t quite lock the fake Russian in. However, he manages to nail him with the White Noise soon after. Rusev ducks a Brogue Kick, before Sheamo delivers a Splash from the top to the outside, dismantling him further. However, Rusev cleverly gets Sheamo counted out after interference from Mercury and Noble, which makes sense because they’re all working together now or something. Backstage, following the match, Ryback and Rollins are in the locker room shooting the shit, and Rollins’ merch still sucks. Nothing comes of this conversation and it has nothing to do with the match that just happened, so deal with it.
Los Matadores -v- The Miz & Damien Mizdow
So, The Miz is more exciting now than he ever has been before thanks to his “stunt double” and yet they’ve stuck him in a lowly comedy match with jobbers tonight. Does anyone like Los Matadores? If you do, you should stop. Right now. Hornswoggle makes a good mini triplet, and Miz does a fine job against a matador for a bit but a hot tag to Sandow, which leads to absolutely nothing pisses the crowd off hugely. Miz rolls up a matador in a bid for the win, but it takes Sandow grabbing his foot to cheat and actually end the match.
Winners: The Miz & Damien Mizdow
Dolph Ziggler -v- Mark Henry
There’s a HUGE pop for Ziggler as he appears onscreen prior to his match, even with Cena standing next to him. His new teammate offers to be stationed at ringside in support but Trips turns up on cue to poo-poo that idea by banning him. He also sings and dances to a certain Queen song that the crowd jump in on immediately. Funnily enough, Ziggler actually manages to roll the massive Henry up early on, but it’s an otherwise uneventful match as Henry gets DQed after about a minute of fighting for hitting his opponent with a chair, and then continues to beat on him even after the bell has rung. He’s about to slam Ziggler into the steps when his old buddy Big Show turns up to intervene. The two fight over the steps but then Henry flees before anything can happen. Show taunts him, “Don’t run” he says, “I’m Team Cena, and I’ll see you at Survivor Series”
Another Xavier Woods vignette follows, this time presenting him more as a preacher. There’s been talk of whether WWE are presenting their black wrestlers as racist caricatures, and if these vignettes are anything to go by, that may be the case. Either that or they’re being really clever and subversive, which seems less likely. Backstage, Cena and Show shake hands and he’s all “ain’t nothin’ I hate more than The Authority”. Cena seems genuinely chuffed because obviously he’s the dude in the locker room who tries too hard to be liked by everyone and ends up universally hated as a result. Now he has friends! “You’ll need one more fella” comes a familiar voice as Sheamo strides into view, clapping Cena’s hand also. It’s a sweet moment. He looks almost on the verge of tears as he says “one more”.
Divas Match: AJ Lee -v- Brie Bella
As noted previously, the Divas division is a mess right now and this supposed warm up for the title match at SS doesn’t help – not least because Nikki isn’t even taking part tonight, just shouting orders from ringside as her sister takes a beating from AJ. Maybe AJ will be the fifth member of Team Cena! An elbow from the champ starts things off, before Brie attempts to take her frustration at Nikki out on her opponent and fails miserably because she can’t wrestle. AJ wins it with a Black Widow, out of which Brie taps after a respectable five seconds. Nikki hops into the ring, kicks AJ from behind and starts beating her head against the mat, as a taster of what’s to come, before administering the still-funny Rack Attack on her and holding the title aloft.
Winner: AJ Lee
Adam Rose -v- Tyson Kidd
Whoever booked tonight’s show should be shot on the basis of this match alone. Apparently The Bunny was stealing the spotlight on Smackdown to the point that R-Truth managed to get a win. Rose was not pleased, so much so that he’s wearing even more eyeliner tonight as a sign of protest. He kicks things off with a shoulder tackle, before Erick Rowan turns up and the cave-girl in Rose’s posse way overacts at the sight of him. He wanders around the ring for a bit before determining aloud that “she’s not here” and leaving through the crowd. The Bunny tries to intervene in the match but Rose throws him out, giving Kidd the opportunity to catch him in a sharpshooter and win. Rose then kicks The Bunny in a SHOCKING heel turn that will shock absolutely nobody.
Winner: Tyson Kidd
The Authority are having a little crisis meeting backstage, and Rusev is confused because he doesn’t speak English and can’t follow whether Trips is rallying them to arms or trying to make dinner plans for later. Kane is worried about Ryback, who shows up on cue to go all Real Housewives on him like “are you talking behind my back?” Trips gives him a quick pep talk for the Main Event, which just adds to Rusev‘s confusion. Next, Wyatt cuts an onscreen promo about how he’s a sinner and so was Ambrose’s father. Too far again! The only way is his way, with a battered old sock on your hand and a beard that most definitely has woodland creatures living in it. Someone randomly shouts “Let’s go Cena!” at the quietest moment during this promo and everyone in the arena laughs at him. Good luck making it home in one piece, buddy.
Main Event: John Cena -v- Ryback
As he enters, Cena is once again loving the “John Cena sucks” jingle, but maybe he’s just happy to learn he has some friends, at least for the PPV. Before the match starts, we get a little vignette with the great Paul Heyman, who urges us to watch ECW Exposed immediately after Raw on the Network. Unless we’re, you know, in the UK in which case no, none for you. Heyman should be on Raw every week. And Smackdown. And every PPV. Fuck Lesnar, we want Heyman! Anyway, Cena and Ryback stalk each other for a bit before the latter quickly gains dominance. However, Kane distracts him at one stage, which allows Cena an opportunity for some offence. It’s short-lived though, and The Authority clap slowly as Ryback destroys him with a Suplex, recalling his defeat at the hands of Lesnar, which will never not be funny. Cena manages a Belly To Belly, but Ryback responds with a Thesz Press followed by a Splash, leading to a near fall that Cena barely escapes. Ryback tries to get the crowd riled up but fails miserably. Cena catches him in the STF, making Rollins and Rusev not very happy at all. Ryback tries to counter but Cena locks him in again, and tighter. He manages to get to his feet eventually, and deliver a spinebuster. However, Kane intervenes once more, laying into Cena with a succession of stomps, which pisses Ryback off no end as it leads to a DQ. He gets in his face, and shoves him around a bit. Rollins gets whacked in the process as Kane kicks Ryback. Everyone suddenly pours into the ring as Sheamo legs it out, followed by Show. Ryback takes out The Authority and then leaves. Cena is confused and claps slowly in the ring. Steph and Trips are watching backstage and are furious, when suddenly Ziggler is thrown at their feet and the camera pans back slowly to reveal Luke Harper, who tells them simply that he’s a team player. It’s unclear whether they’re thrilled or disgusted by his intentions. Possibly both.
Another week, another rubbish episode of Raw. It seems like we’ve been in a rut since Hell In A Cell, the ending of which divided fans considerably. Although there must be a plan in motion leading up to Survivor Series, it’s just two weeks away and it doesn’t feel like it at all. The Ambrose/Wyatt feud has legs, but it has yet to be properly developed and although scheduling conflicts no doubt led to their awesome promo being broadcast on Smackdown, and then simply replayed on Raw, it’s annoying that it wasn’t given a main show spot.
The Divas division is an absolute disgrace right now, with the only actual storyline – AJ v Paige – shoved to one side in favour of more Bella time. Nikki is getting better with each week, but she doesn’t deserve a title match. Not yet, anyway. Paige, meanwhile, has more than proven herself but now she’s been relegated to throwaway matches against Alicia Fox, who deserves more in her own right, too. However, at least it’s not the biggest embarrassment right now, that title goes to the Rose/Bunny non-feud that is so headache-inducing, it’s almost insulting. If you are invested in that storyline, you have serious problems.
It’s incredibly difficult to get excited for the penultimate PPV of the year when it doesn’t even really feel like it’s happening any time soon. Maybe the next two weeks will be amazing?
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