As we prepare for Hell in a Cell, AJ Lee is replaced by the only thing more annoying than herself, Dragon Fire discover who’ll challenge them for their tag-titles and it’s Champion vs. Champion in Raw’s largest Lumberjack Match ever!
Hello and thanks for showing up to reflect on the latest episode of Monday Night Raw.
And your host for this event, hailing from a dark corner in the North East of England, currently training for the next series of The Crystal Maze, a man more blunt than a sledgehammer to the bollocks, it’s Danny Damage.
The Raw Rant: October 22nd 2012
Jim Ross and Michael Cole sit at ringside as we kick off with the tag-team tournament final, the winners facing Daniel Bryan and Kane at Hell in a Cell for the titles.
Rhodes Scholars advance over Rey Mysterio Jr. & Sin Cara. Rey had Cody beat, but Sandow used his head and jumped under the referee’s hand before he could count to three. During the confusion, Cody hits Rey with the Crossroads for the win. Dragon Fire congratulate the winners on the Titantron and then Kane sets off his pyro. in the ring.
Kofi Kingston drops Michael McGillicutty with the Trouble in Paradise, The Miz watches the match at the commentator’s table.
Recap of the ending to Raw last week, Ryback getting his hands on CM Punk after signing the contract for HIAC.
John Cena comes out and gets a couple of cheap pops from the girls and kiddies, with underlying boos from the adult males in the audience. He plugs HIAC and puts Ryback over some more and says we’re finally getting change from CM Punk’s 337 day title reign. CM Punk comes out and antagonises the crowd and says Cena knows he can’t beat him and that’s why he’s cheerleading Ryback instead. Cena informs us that his arm is healed and he wants to fight Punk right here, right now. Punk psyches Cena out by accepting his challenge but backing down at the last second.
Justin Gabriel upsets Antonio Cesaro with the 450 Splash. Gabriel gets the best of a scuffle on the turnbuckle and manages to hit his finisher this week. Either a push for Gabriel or just a set-up for a rather one sided title match on the pre-show on Sunday, I’m going with the latter.
Vince McMahon and AJ Lee arrive and head down to the ring. Vince tells us that the nature of the emergency meeting that AJ was called to earlier in the day was about her position as General Manager.
Good news, everyone! AJ resigns as GM and flaunts her “acting” to anyone watching that has a place for her on an up and coming straight to DVD movie via a ten minute monologue. As Vince gives the weak little girl in the ring a hug, Paul Heyman struts down and rips AJ new one before putting his name forward to Vince for the recently opened position of GM. Vince quickly declines and introduces the new “Managing Supervisor” of Raw, Vickie Guerrero. The crowd give Vickie shit before she does her “Drunk Banshee” impression as they really got behind the idea of Heyman doing the job. Heyman asks Vickie to excuse him and asks her to cancel the match between Punk and Ryback at HIAC. She refuses and makes the main event for tonight, a lumberjack match between CM Punk and Sheamus. A pissed off Paul Heyman decides he’s done all he can and leaves. This leaves Vickie to goad AJ into a cat-scrap, bad times.
Ryback flattens The Miz with the Shell-shocked, again. No boot to the face for The Miz this week, shame.
Eve Torres, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, David Otunga and others spread the word for the Be a Star campaign.
Eve and Kaitlyn bicker backstage, Kaitlyn shows Eve the evidence she has on her regarding the attacker at Night of Champions. They pull each others hair for a minute before Layla breaks it up. Eve takes a cheap shot at Layla, who gives her the old “OI! AL FACKIN’ ‘AV YA, YA LITTEW CANT-FLAP!” and she joins in the fight. Referees appear and break the ladies up.
Josh Matthews interviews Sheamus about the largest ever Lumberjack match in history that he’ll participate in later on. He messes around with one of the talking dolls of him before The Big Show steps in and punches it out of his hand. He tells him again that his fate will be the same at Hell in a Cell, Sheamus is getting knocked out!
Dolph Ziggler defeats Daniel Bryan with a Zigzag from the second rope. During the match, Kane stood in his tag-team partner’s corner when Bryan took a release-suplex to the outside and favoured his knee, Kane distracted Bryan for Ziggler to sneak in the back door and get the win. PPV quality match here, both men gave it their all, putting on a great show and taking some mad bumps less than a week away from HIAC. Match of the night, for the weeks I care to call one.
After the match, Matt Striker announces that Vickie Guerrero has set-up some type of therapeutic game show pitting Kane and Bryan against their challengers at HIAC and it’s next.
–The Newly Tags Game Show
Dragon Fire are asked to tell us a little about themselves. Kane takes the piss which causes Rhodes Scholars to interrupt and dismiss the joke of a game show and claim victory for Sunday. Striker runs in fear as Kane and Bryan focus their attention on him. As he’s on the ramp, he tells the tag champs that he doesn’t wish them luck on Sunday. He turns around and bumps into The Big Show, who tosses Striker aside and heads to the ring for his match.
The Big Show KO’s Kane with the WMD. Rhodes Scholars distract Bryan and Kane while Big Show catches Kane with the big right hand when he finally remembers he’s in a match. Cody and Sandow double team Daniel Bryan and the tag-team champions are left down and out in the middle of the ring.
Santino Marella’s good will is kicked aside when John Cena tells AJ Lee that he’ll do anything he can to help her. She reveals that Cena was the superstar she was apparently playing around with. She believes Vickie Guerrero was the one that started the rumour but it’s probably going to end up being her long-winded, bunny boiling attempt at getting with Cena. Balls, I was hoping her resignation would result in her being on my screen less.
Cena interrogates Vinny Mac about their decision with AJ. Vince tells him it would have been something with AJ, sooner or later and that Cena should just let it go.
Alberto del Rio makes Zack Ryder tap out to the Cross Arm-breaker. ADR keeps the hold on after the match while pretending Ryder is Randy Orton. Orton doesn’t show to make the save and ADR guarantees a win on Sunday.
John Cena badgers Vickie Guerrero about AJ. Vickie also tells him to drop it and tells him it’s his fault anyway. He wanders off in wonder of how he’ll save the day this time.
Josh Matthews interviews Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler explains his disgust at John Cena’s actions that cost AJ her job.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman grumble about Punk’s Lumberjack match soon. Heyman reassures Punk that he’ll still be the champion this time next week.
–Biggest Lumberjack Match In Raw History
CM Punk pins Sheamus after The Big Show takes advantage of the distracted referee and Choke-slams Sheamus. Bog standard Lumberjack match here, at least William Regal got to be on Raw.
As soon as the bell rang at the end of the match, Ryback’s music hits and he marches into the ring. Punk tries to flee through the face lumberjacks, but is tossed back in. This happens several times. Each time Punk is rolled back into the ring, Ryback punishes him with a different high impact move, the double-handed choke into a power-bomb was impressive. Punk finally manages to escape the meat-head’s wrath and clutches his title on the ramp as Raw ends and we look forward to Hell in a Cell………..and Smackdown too I guess.
My ears rejoicing at the prospect of AJ Lee fucking off for a while was short lived with Vickie Guerrero replacing her. Plus, suggesting a feud between the two simply horrifies me. I know Halloween is coming up soon but I don’t need to adopt three hours of “Battle of the Ear Bleeders” into my weekly routine, thank you very much.
AJ is good in the ring, either wrestling or refereeing, not talking and certainly not pitching her skills to anyone else daft enough to mic. her up and put her on screen. Guerrero is awesome at getting anyone instant heat, as a personal ring announcer and as a ring-side manager, using that repulsive bark of hers to get the fans to hate her and her guy in the ring even more. Having these two arguing with each other isn’t something that I’m going to enjoy.
Several months after his heel turn, The Big Show is still pulling off his “all business hard-man” persona pretty well. He shit Cole up during the Lumberjack Match when he overhead him mention the 45 second title reign, he’s still KO’ing people and he hasn’t reverted back to the less serious role he’ll inevitably be demonstrating in the future, enjoying it while it lasts.
I said a few months ago that Ryback needed a manager/cheerleader to help get his “Feed me more” catchphrase, I never expected John Cena to be the one to fill those boots. Although, I’d rather him do this than wrestle one of his three matches for the millionth time, pretty impressed he’s not on the card this weekend.
Speaking of the card for Hell in a Cell, here’s an almost final line-up for the PPV. There’s still the pre-show to be announced on Smackdown I assume, possibly a title match between Cesaro and Gabriel.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
Sheamus vs. The Big Show
Dragon Fire vs. Rhodes Scholars
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
-Piss Break Match of the Same Old Shit
Randy Orton vs. Alberto del Rio
All but the RKO vs. ADR snoozer will be well received by me I’m sure. Hell in a Cell matches normally deliver and with the no-DQ factor, there’s always a chance for weapons, mayhem and the occasional run-in.
The tag-team title match will be interesting to see. While Kane and Bryan seem to have better chemistry in their skits and sketches backstage, Rhodes and Sandow are getting better and better in all areas. Matt Striker’s problems with the tag champions may cause him to get involved on Sunday and align himself with the fellow intellects. I’m reminded of him standing in the ring with a chalk board, trying to educate us all, using big words and mocking the crowd for being stupid. Sound familiar?
I’m still looking forward to seeing what CM Punk and Ryback have to offer at Hell in a Cell. Last chance here for me to back down on the optimism I’ve prepared for their encounter at HIAC, not taking it. It’s going to be fun.
Digest and discuss! You can follow me on Twitter for additional nuggets of wisdom or find my Mid-card Manifesto over on PRO-WRESTLING POWERHOUSE – Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll see you next week.