Monday Night Raw

July 1, 2013

Sioux City, Iowa

We start with Vickie Guerrero in front of the camera, and she says tonight we will honor the pinnacle of the business.  It will be champion vs. champion as World Champion Alberto Del Rio will face WWE Champion John Cena.  The Raw open then plays (first time in a while for that).  We’re live in the heartland of America and we begin with Daniel Bryan, sporting a brand new “Respect the Beard” shirt.  The MITB briefcase is hanging above the ring along with a ladder.  The YES chants are hot tonight.  Bryan says “Last week the burning question in the WWE Universe was finally answered.  Is Daniel Bryan the weak link?”  The NO chants then go.  He says “There’s an entirely new question.  Can he win MITB in the All-Stars match in two weeks and become WWE Champion.”  He wants to be champ, and follow in Bruno Sammartino and Hulk Hogan’s footsteps.  He mentions Austin and Rock.  Austin gets cheers, Rock gets boos.  He says “Two years I won MITB and cashed in to become World Heavyweight Champion and it’s been far too long.”  History can repeat itself.  Bryan gets interrupted by Sheamus.  He of course is going to the debbie downer and talk about how he lost the title at Wrestlemania in 18 seconds.  Honestly, it’s time to stop talking about that if Bryan’s going to be a top flight guy.  Sheamus won’t let anyone stand in his way of being champion.  Bryan says “Can’t I call 1-800-Fella and you can brogue kick yourself in the face?”  I wish.  Sheamus answers with “Wow a sense of humor, I thought trolls were grumpy.”  Both are interrupted by Randy Orton (no music) and he says “It’s been two years since I’ve been champion, and I’m starving.” Bryan mentions making Orton tap out last week.  Orton says “I’ll let that one go but next time I’ll drop you where you stand.”  Orton says “In two weeks no one is safe”.  The fire then ignites and out comes Kane (no music).  Kane agrees with Orton that “no one is safe”.  Kane says “I will commit unspeakable acts to my so-called friends to win the WWE Title.”  Kane says “No partners, no friends, only victims.”  Bryan and Kane start bickering until Christian comes out.  He says “Let me remind everyone that no one has more ladder match experience than me.”” He continues: “I’ve been gone for a while and I’ve been looking for one more match, and it will be for the WWE Title.”  Then out comes the final guy, CM Punk, again no music.  He wasn’t going to come out for the obligatory promo but “He heard the word ‘Best”.  He’s the only one who can say he’s won MITB twice.”  Punk mentions the last guy, Rob Van Dam.  “I know your game plan, which is no safety, and take any risk possible.”  He runs down every guy in the ring and their strengths.  Bryan bad-mouths Orton again and he goes to RKO him but Kane blocks him.  Bryan says he doesn’t need help so Orton RKO’s Kane.  Everyone bails.  Not a bad promo to start and everyone got their shots in.

Tonight they’re going to look back at all the great champions in history.  We begin with the first WWE Champion, the original “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers.  Then a great World Heavyweight Champion, Lou Thesz.  Wow this will be awesome all night, preparing for Cena/Del Rio.

We return from break with our first Wyatt Family vignette of the night.

MATCH: The Shield vs. Christian & The Usos

We have a rematch from a spectacular performance by all six guys Friday on Smackdown.  So it’s announced that the Tag Title match between the Usos and Reigns/Rollins will be on the MITB pre-show kickoff, which means the Usos will lose.  That’s ok.  This again has been a good match as all six guys are bringing the goods.  The Usos are working so hard to stay over they need to be commended.  Heel chicanery leads to Ambrose rolling up Christian with help from Rollins and gets the victory for the Shield.

Backstage Kane is stressing and his partner Daniel walks in.  He wants to make it up to Kane for last week but Kane wants none of it.  Daniel says he got a rematch with Randy Orton for Kane, but he is the guest referee.

MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. Jinder Mahal

We go back to Friday night when Dolph crashed Del Rio’s fiesta.  AJ and Langston didn’t join him.  Smackdown is a mess from a creative perspective in one sense.  Dolph isn’t totally over as a face and Del Rio was too so he’s back to being a heel.  That’s one reason I’m enjoying more heels than faces.  The faces just aren’t getting over on Smackdown.  Well except for Sheamus.  It’s a glorified squash and Dolph wins with the Zig Zag.

Drew and Heath try to bum rush him but Dolph escapes and 3MB end up beating each other up.

Another vignette on former WWE Champions and World Champions.  This time, new WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race.  These are awesome.  Did I mention Madison Square Garden should have a banner hanging recognizing Bruno’s sellouts?

Back from break and “Brickie” is chatting, when Triple H arrives.  He says Vickie is doing a great job.  He likes tonight’s match bookings, Vickie says it’s stressful when the other McMahons tell her what to do.  HHH says just let them blab, but ultimately do what he says.

We get a career retrospective on Mark Henry, dating all the way back to 1996.  This is pretty cool.  After some lousy formatics the past few weeks, tonight has been really good so far.

MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Kane

Daniel Bryan is the guest referee.  This year’s MITB will be Kane’s seventh, and of course he won in 2010 and cashed in on Rey Mysterio to become World Champion.  The match is typical TV fare, except when a frustrated Orton shoves Bryan and he disqualifies him. Kane doesn’t want it to end that way and the match is restarted.  We return from break and the match goes by the normal TV pace with both guys going back and forth.  Orton hits his rope DDT and coils into Viper mode, but Bryan holds him back and Kane boots Orton in the head.  Daniel with a quick three count gives Kane the tainted victory.

Kane isn’t pleased with the chicanery and is about to chokeslam Daniel but he decides not to.  Kane leaves the ring and Orton RKO’s him.

Backstage CM Punk tells Paul Heyman that he can beat the Primetime Players by himself and he doesn’t need or trust Curtis Axel.  Heyman says “You trusted my judgment in 2005, and you can trust my judgment now.”

Another vignette on former champions.  This time former WWE Champion Bob Backlund and former World Champion Dusty Rhodes.  FUNKY LIKE A MONKEY!

MATCH: Fandango vs. Sheamus

I hope the time off from the concussion didn’t quell Fandango’s momentum that he had over a month ago.  Fandango will be in the Smackdown MITB match with the other up and comers.  Now here though is a case of bad booking.  Fandango needs some momentum to get back on track and you put him against the guy who’s lost one match in the last 4 months?  We know Sheamus won’t lose so why do this?  Fandango keeps ducking moves and dancing after it.  He’s quite entertaining and it seems Curtis is legitimately having fun out there.  Sheamus then has to mock him, because that’s what he does.  This is a pretty good back and forth match with Fandango really bringing it to Pasty Pants.  Sheamus eventually does his chest clubs.  Fandango does his usual bailing act and gets himself counted out.  Well it’s not jobbing but it’s still a shitty ending to a decent match.

MATCH: The Miz vs. Ryback

Chris Jericho will join the guys at the broadcast table.  Will Ryback fold Miz up like a cheap suit?  I wish.  Miz is pretty much getting brutalized which is necessary go give Ryback his rub back after that lukewarm Cena feud.  Jericho should be a broadcaster when he retires, he’s good at it.  Miz starts making a comeback and is working the leg over for the eventual Figure Four.  Ryback is holding his knee and forfeits the match.  This character is toast.

Jericho comes in and gives “Cryback” the Codebreaker.  Ryback needs to slaughter him at MITB to get any semblance of his heat back.

We have another title vignette and this one is a special one, as it’s two of my all time favorites.  Former WWE Champion Hulk Hogan, and former World Champion Ric Flair.  Oh wait; let me do it the right way.  Ric Flair, former WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

Back from break and Mark Henry joins us.  He says “I didn’t get the nickname ‘World Strongest Man’ from a cracker jack box.”  He says “I have earned the respect of every superstar I’ve ever worked with, but in the workplace there’s jealousy and politics.  Also a lot of backstabbing.”  Where’s he going with this?  He says “All these many years I’ve earned it.  THEY never gave me legit chance to be WWE Champion.”  He talks about all the travelling and nights away from his family.  “All these years he pretended to like the boys and do the right thing.  But it got him nowhere.”  He calls the fans “puppets.”  Nobody is going to keep him down.  He wants the camera in his face.  “John Cena, at MITB, I’m gonna beat your ass!”  Succinct and to the point.  I like that.

Backstage with “Brickie” which means a McMahon is coming and here’s Vince.  What the fuck is up with his hair?  He’s pissed that Daniel Bryan is still on TV.  He says Cena/Del Rio shouldn’t be given away FOR FREE!  It’s not good business.  This storyline is fucking stupid.  STOP IT!

MATCH: CM Punk & Curtis Axel vs. Primetime Players

IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m so glad he says that again.  Axel tags himself in to start the match, and after 15 seconds Punk wants in but Axel says “I got this.”  Axel has the upper hand on DY, and he tags to Titus.  The crowd chants “WE WANT PUNK” but Axel ignores Punk’s tag pleas.  Axel eventually eats a clothesline and the PTP take control.  Axel finally hot tags Punk who cleans house.  He gives DY the GTS, but after throwing Titus over the rope, Axel blind tags Punk and steals the pin.

Heyman wants to celebrate but Punk is pissed and leaves the ring.

Our next Championship vignette includes former WWE Champion Steve Austin, and former World Champion Sting.

MATCH: Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn

I thought Alicia Fox was a babyface?  Layla comes out with Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn wins.  Not much more to say.

AJ and Big E come out.  AJ is pissed about what happened Friday night.  She talks about Kaitlyn old modeling pictures, and she shows one.  Of course the picture is doctored and it looks like she weighs 500 pounds.  Kaitlyn has her rematch at MITB for the Divas Title, but AJ says she’ll remain trash after that match too.  Apparenly Dolph told AJ on the App to cut the crap.  Dolph being a babyface, doing babyface things.

“Brickie” is chatting which means we see the last McMahon and sure enough there’s Stephanie.  I fast forwarded the skit because I really don’t give a shit what she’s saying.

We get a fresh vignette for RVD, who makes his return July 14 in Philly.

MATCH: Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro

Damien Sandow talks about their MITB match, and they will remain best friends.  Cody says “We are men of character who can battle in competition and still be friends.”  SILENCE!  Cesaro comes out and we get a Zeb Colter rant about immigrants and the gay marriage decision last week.  I’d avoid that.  Jack Swagger returns tonight as well, after his court issues.  I guess next week Stephanie will give Vickie a performance evaluation on Raw.  Maybe that will end this insipid storyline.  The match is standard and Cesaro hits the Equalizer for the victory.

Our next Championship vignette includes former WWE Champion Triple H and former World Champion Booker T.

We have a skit with the Bellas, Jo Jo and Eva Marie.  FF BUTTON!

We get our final Wyatt Family vignette, which is the empty rocking chair.  They debut next week on Raw.

CHAMPION VS. CHAMPION: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena

We get no Ricardo Rodriguez intro as he got injured Friday night when Dolph Ziggler smacked him in the head with a guitar.  Cole announces that CM Punk will be on Smackdown this Friday night!  Excellent.  The match isn’t bad as Del Rio controls early but misses a baseball slide and hits the floor.  Back from break and Del Rio is back in control.  Of course Del Rio’s focus is Cena’s arm for the Cross Arm Breaker.  This has been one of the better Raw main events in a while.  Del Rio gives Cena an Enzuigiri while Cena’s on the second rope for a 2 count.  He tries it again but Cena ducks and almost locks the STF.  Cole just called Cena “WWF Champion”.  FIRED!  No not really.  Cena hits a nice high cross body for a 2 ½ count.  Cena goes for the AA but Del Rio reverses into the Cross Arm Breaker but Cena rolls out of it into the STF.  Del Rio is fighting but the Mark Henry comes out.  Cena’s distracted and Del Rio almost gets a cheap 3 count.  Then Dolph Ziggler comes out and gets to the top rope, he yells Del Rio’s name and the World Champ is distracted, which allows Cena to hit the AA for the win.  I’ll take it, matches that good need a winner.

Mark Henry grabs the WWE Title belt and gets into the ring.  He fakes a belt shot to make Cena flinch, then drops it on the ground.  Cena goes for it and Henry jolts forward, making Cena flinch again.  Henry is smiling and stands on the apron.  Henry leaves the ring.  We actually get one more Wyatt Family vignette with the empty rocking chair.  Wow that’s tremendous, a real pump up for these guys.  With that we’re out.

SCOTT’S TAKE: This was a great Raw (except for the Vince/Steph/HHH crap) with a great main event, maybe the best since Cena/Punk  in February.  The Wyatt Family will easily make next week great.

Scott’s Raw Top 5:

1)       John Cena

2)       Mark Henry

3)       CM Punk

4)       Curtis Axel

5)       Rollins/Reigns

For more great writing on Wrestling and everything else pop culture, join us at Place to Be Nation!  www.placetobenation.com

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