The PG Era Rant: Raw, 06.23.14

When last we left our heroes, the field
was narrowed to 7. Only seven people can possibly hold the WWE
Championship. Will it be John Cena, Randy Orton, Antonio Cesaro,
Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, or Sheamus? Tonight, who
gets the momentum? But wait – there will also be a Contract Match.
All we know is Seth Rollins is in. Who joins him? Which other six
men will have a chance to be one step away? And with the Authority
dismissing the main event of WrestleMania while a Conqueror is said
to loom in the background, does it even matter?
The PG Era Rant for Raw, June 23, 2014.
Live from RIGHT HERE in WASHINGTON, DC!
(thumbs up; cheap pop)
Your hosts are the Three Blind Mice.
Pre-Show notes:
Sir Not Appearing on this Raw: Santino
Marella.
Raw Preview: Stephanie McMahon will
address the Vickie Guerrero situation; Rematch of the 4-on-3 handicap
match from SmackDown; Intercontinental Title match as Wade Barrett
faces Dolph Ziggler.
Superstars Matches: Heath Slater vs.
Adam Rose; R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel.

It’s the 1100th Episode!
And how do you start other than with… Stephanie McMahon. Hm, not
the answer I’d have gone for. Eh – Stephanie’s cute, so I’ll let
it slide. We look back at the Last Chance Battle Royal which Roman
Reigns won, finalizing the field for the Championship Ladder Match.
Stephanie hears the boos and does a “for me?” to the crowd. She
says that she cannot tolerate gross negligence. For example, last
week Vickie Guerrero couldn’t even handle getting a cup of coffee.
So she calls Vickie out to face the consequences. Vickie is scared
as she walks out.
Vickie starts by saying she’s glad
Stephanie’s doing better and apologizing profusely. But she says
Roman Reigns poisoned Stephanie’s coffee. Stephanie says, yeah,
about that – that was your biggest failure. She had specific
orders not to let Ambrose or Reigns into the match. Now, not only
did he compete, he won, and he’s in to compete for the Championship.
Which, in turn, means he could become WWE Champion. And that’s
totally Vickie’s fault. Vickie says it won’t happen again, which is
famous last words.
For nine years, Vickie’s been riding
Eddie’s coattails. The Authority took pity on her – she sure as
heck is no Diva, so she became a General Manager, but she couldn’t do
that right. (Understandably, an Eddie chant breaks out.) Stephanie
says Eddie deserves respect, but not Vickie. So Vickie is…
…wait, Vickie wants a last chance,
and she’ll do ANYTHING to prove it. She’ll even beg. Crowd chants
NO, and Stephanie says too bad, she wants Vickie to beg. Stephanie
encourages Vickie to get on her knees and beg. And Vickie drops on
her knees and begs, as Stephanie demands it more and more.
She then tells Vickie she’s pathetic
and tells her to get up. Because Vickie can’t even beg right. And
Stephanie can’t even get rid of Vickie, either! So Vickie has two
choices: either she’s fired or she’s stuck on SmackDown…. IF she
wins tonight. Vickie: “A match? I’m not a competitor!” But
Vickie refuses to fall on her sword either. And the crowd is
cheering for Vickie. And Vickie’s opponent? Stephanie herself. Why
is the crowd cheering this?
So what’ll it be, Vickie? Stephanie
says Vickie doesn’t have the guts… but Vickie says that the
Guerrero name is more respected than the McMahon name. And Vickie
remembers how to lie, cheat, and steal, so she accepts! EXCUSE THIS!
And she walks out to her name being chanted. Stephanie smiles at
this development.
We reveal the field for the Contract
Ladder Match… actually, not yet. HHH will tell us in person!
Plus, Wade Barrett defends against Dolph Ziggler! Plus, the
SmackDown Main Event happens once again!
So the first ten minutes were spent
dragging out until we got a match between two barely trained
wrestlers. And the strangest part? I ain’t even mad, bro. They
finally had someone, anyone, stand up to Stephanie. The only thing
is I think Vickie needs to win.
SmackDown
#1 on Friday Nights!
Jimmy Uso v. Luke Harper. Harper
and Rowan as a spin-off act have a harmonica solo as their music and
no TitanTron at all. Supposedly it’s “Whole World In His Hands.”
Harper with a dropkick to start, then a double chop. An uppercut
follows, but Jimmy fights back only to get slugged down. Jimmy with
a superkick to the gut and a Dragon Whip, but he runs into a back
elbow. He misses a second one, and Jimmy superkick Harper for two.
Harper ducks down, but Rowan prevents a dive anyway, so Jey takes
Rowan out. Jimmy runs into the discus clothesline out of nowhere for
the pin at 1:35. Yeah, now that I know what I’m listening for, it
does sound like that gospel song. The crowd is singing along… but
Jey demands Rowan get in the ring so they can have a match. He then
dives onto Rowan and Harper to make a point. We go to break without
an answer.
Even though we know it’ll happen.
Jey Uso v. Erick Rowan, joined in
progress.
Rowan is working a
neck crank, but Jey gets out only to get thrown into the corner. Jey
kicks away, but is caught off the ropes into a fallaway slam. It
gets two. Rowan with a pair of headbutts, then he rakes the eyes.
He drops Jey throat first on the top strand for two. Rowan hangs Jey
on the top corner and pounds away. A blind charge eats the post, and
Jey kicks him hard. Jimmy takes Harper out, and the big splash ends
it at 1:54. Harper pulls Jey out, so Jimmy dives onto him. Rowan
tosses Jimmy, and it’s a 2-on-1 on Jey. Avalanche/boot combo floors
Jey, and the duo grab Jimmy, with Rowan tossing him into the steps,
then into a Harper discus lariat. They examine the belts and pose
with them.
And
now Bray’s speaking on the Tron about how proud he is of his boys.
After all, the leader has to glorify the triumphs of his family, or
he’s no leader. The Family looks down on creation, trampling the
bodies of their enemies, and soon all will look up to him when he’s
on the ladder. When Bray wins, we’ll have a brand new era in which
the Eater of Worlds is the champion of the needy souls he trampled.
Bray is not alone. The brothers will prove their worthiness, and the
Family will roam the earth like giants, spreading their message and
following the buzzards.
The Wyatts have all the momentum,
but I can’t see Bray winning the title. Harper and Rowan, sure, but
Bray? I don’t buy it. It seems like he’s the kind of person who
doesn’t need the title, and I’m surprised he wants it.
Daniel
Bryan himself will be on the panel for the Pre-Show. That ought to
be interesting.
Earlier
Today, Alexander Rusev and Lana visited the major landmarks and cut
promos. In the Capitol, laws are made that make America the
laughingstock. And then there’s the White House, where the President
makes decisions to make the US inferior. Compare to the Kremlin,
which is the standard of excellence. And then we cut to the Gold
Star Medal ceremony. Apparently, our government is pathetic. (Won’t
argue that.) And America’s pathetic. (And that I argue.) Wake up,
America, and accept Russia’s dominance. A picture of Putin gets more
heat than Lana or Rusev. The Revolution of Rusev is upon us. The
Russian anthem is a nice touch.
Paige
is at commentary for the next match.
Alicia Fox v. Naomi.
Hey, Total Divas Season 1 is coming to WWE Network, starting on
Thursday! No promoting JoJo, which is interesting. Alicia tries to
do cat-style as Cameron joins commentary and this gets ugly. Naomi
gets a waistlock as we show commentary, and a rollup gets two. Naomi
with dropkicks, but the Rear View is missed. Hiptoss by Naomi, but
Fox with forearms and she works the arm. Naomi cartwheels out and
gets a running clothesline and rana. Fox bails and demands space.
Naomi misses a baseball slide, but lands right hands as Cameron and
Paige keep arguing. Fox pulls Naomi off the apron and kicks away.
Back in, Fox with more forearms and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for
two. Fox pulls the hair and taunts, but Naomi lands a right hand.
This angers Fox, who lands some nasty back elbows and a Northern
Lights suplex for two. Fox with a mat slam as we focus on the Divas
arguing. Fox with a kick to the face, then a knee to the back. Fox
chokes Naomi on the middle rope as Cameron says she’s the center of
attention. Fox cuts Naomi off and throws her out of the ring. She
goes up top to pose as we focus on the announcers again. Back in,
Fox works the hair into another backbreaker try, but Naomi reverses
to an inverted DDT for the pin at 4:57. Nice. *3/4
Paige says Naomi deserves it. Paige and Naomi then have an awkward
glance at each other as Paige enters the ring. It’s the old “hold
the belt high” thing, and they shake hands. Paige: “You want
this?” Naomi nods. Cameron, surprisingly, does nothing.
Sheamus
is taping up in the medical room for the rematch when Roman Reigns
walks in. They’re ready for tonight’s match. Reigns is always
ready, in fact. “4 on 3? They need more people.” Sheamus loves
Roman’s intensity, but Sheamus remembers the Shield attacking
everyone with a pulse, so on Sunday, everyone’s alone… without
backup. Roman makes a point: if he wanted Sheamus out, he’d be out.
Sheamus enjoys that. He’ll love tonight, but he’ll love winning on
Sunday more. Fella. Reigns doesn’t believe that. He just believes
in himself. That’s later tonight.
So
we had a Divas segment where the champion was given mic time, a
bitter heel turn was teased, the challenger was established, and the
match lasted a decent amount of time. And that’s before we get into
Fox getting TV time with her new character. Man, who knew booking
Divas was just like booking Superstars, only with women?
We
look back at SmackDown, where Adam Rose beat Titus O’Neil with a
rollup. Twice.
Titus
O’Neil v. Bo Dallas.

Hm… either this is a heel/heel matchup, Titus is just a jobber, or
Dallas turned face when I wasn’t looking. Bo Dallas has his own
hashtag. Bo talks about how Titus needs to get back on that horse
like he did on Friday… only to fall off again. But hey, winning
isn’t everything. And tonight, he’ll prove it again, because all you
have to do is Bo-Lieve! Bo Dallas has a black eye. Dallas gets a
dropkick off a criss-cross but runs into a backbreaker and toss.
Crowd is chanting Let’s Go Bo. O’Neil throws Bo in over the top rope
and chops him down. Titus clubs Dallas repeatedly, then Hammer
Throws him into the corner. Bo avoids a charge and the
Stratusfaction ends it at 1:08. Dallas does his victory lap with a
9-Bo singles record. JBL calls it the greatest streak in sports
entertainment with a straight face. Dallas tries to cheer Titus up
only to get the mic slapped away… but that doesn’t stop him.
(“Silly me, Mr. Butterfingers!”) He encourages Titus to try
again, then thanks the crowd. Don’t Stop Bo-Lieving!
Will
Bo Dallas be in the Contract Ladder Match? We’ll find out next, when
HHH tells us live!
This
is weird. In NXT, Bo Dallas was a face whose act caused people to
turn him heel. I’m hearing cheers for Dallas – it appears in WWE,
the opposite may well happen. Maybe it’s because he has a character
that he applies himself to. It’s not a hard concept.
And
here comes HHH. The single briefcase is now gold-plated. (Of note:
there have been 14 MITB contracts; 12 have led to title changes.)
HHH says it’s funny that Washington is where no one changes anything,
while HHH does what’s Best For Business™ and is somehow the bad
guy. Business is what’s at the root of everything he does. That’s
why on Sunday, we’ll have both the Championship Ladder Match and the
Contract Ladder Match. HHH explains what the contract guarantees: a
title match whenever the holder wants, inside any WWE ring, for one
full year. It all but guarantees a new champion. (85.7%, by the
way.) He says that on Wednesday, he informed everyone Seth Rollins
is in the match. The rest of the lineup is coming, but there is no
favoritism, oh no. Everyone in the match is Best For Business™.
Those men are: Kofi Kingston! Jack Swagger! Dolph Ziggler! (Crowd
LOVES that.) Rob Van Dam! Bad News Barrett! (HHH’s overblown
Cockney accent is amusing.)
HHH
says they could all be favorites, but HHH believes the favorite can
only be Rob Van Dam… no, just kidding, it’s Seth Rollins. HHH all
but guarantees it. Rollins is the future of the business and a
technician like no other… and Rollins is on his way out. We look
back at Plan B for the 1100th
time.
Back
live as Rollins gets to talk, but not before a weak You Sold Out
chant. Rollins: “Oh, come on, you guys aren’t over it yet?” He
chides the crowd for not moving on from the footage that plays
incessantly. Seth, though? He’s over it. And if the fans loved the
other two as much as they say, then they should thank Rollins for all
of their success. See, Seth took the Shield as far as they could go
before dropping the deadweight. Call him a sellout; scowl like Roman
Reigns; get twitchy like Ambrose; nothing changes. Seth Rollins made
the Shield and has the right to break it up. Yes, the Shield got
Rollins this far, too. But this Sunday, he’ll go futher on his own
by climbing the ladder. He will win the contract and be called Mr.
Money in the…
…wait,
here’s Rob Van Dam. He can’t help but feel like he’s not taken
seriously. Seth tries to correct that, but hey, it’s not 2005 or
anything. RVD laughs and says that’s when he was asking to stay up
late so he could watch him on TV. You may have forgotten, but RVD’s
held that briefcase. In fact, he won the title with it. And he
knows FOR A FACT that HHH remembers when Van Dam crushed HHH’s
trachea back in 2002 at the inaugural Elimination Chamber. “Good
times!” So as Hunter says, it’s lame to brag about the past. So
instead, let’s live in the moment. How about a match right now?
Rollins clearly wants it…
…and
HHH makes it official! Bring out a referee!
Seth
Rollins v. Rob Van Dam.

Rollins takes control early with right hands and kicks in the
corner. A whip is reversed, and RVD with a spin kick and monkey
flip. Another running spin kick follows, then RVD clotheslines
Rollins out. He follows with a slingshot plancha. A quebrada off
the apron follows, then the RVD chant as we go to break.
Hey,
a long match! Nice! Though I do question leaving Ambrose out of it.
Yes, HHH would never put him in the match, but at some point this
has to be addressed. At the very least, he needs a match of some
sort on Sunday, right?
Rollins/RVD,
part two.

Rollins applies a camel clutch in the ropes before being forced to
break. Rollins follows up with the Three Amigos for two. (Cole
makes the connection to Stephanie/Vickie.) Rollins with a chinlock
now. RVD fights up, but Rollins kicks out of it only to put his head
down. He recovers with a spinning leaping neckbreaker… thing…
for two. Rollins kicks away on RVD in the corner, then gets a
charging forearm and lariat. That gets two. Rollins switches to a
body-scissors chinlock. RVD breaks the body-scissors, but the
chinlock remains. JBL: “Everyone here has a 1 in 7 chance. For
those who don’t have a calculator, that’s 12.5%.” RVD fights out,
and switches an enzuigiri to a leg cradle for two. RVD begins the
comeback with clotheslines and a thrust kick, which leads to a
Rolling Thunder try. Rollins is up too fast, so RVD gives him a
spinkick and Rolling Thunder for real. Rollins shoves him off the
top, but he lands on the apron and gets a springboard DDT. Back up
top RVD goes, but the Five-Star misses. Rollins tackles down RVD and
gets mounted punches, daring the ref to do something. Buckle bomb
and Curbstomp, but Ambrose races in for the DQ at 9:56. **1/4
Ambrose
sends Rollins into the timekeeper area, then mounts him and fires
away. Officials try to hold them apart as the crowd goes nuts.
Ambrose leaves peacefully, having made his point. No, just kidding,
he runs the announce tables and tackles Rollins again. Officials try
to separate them again, and this time Rollins hightails it out.
Ambrose
has a mic. He says he should be in the Contract Ladder Match,
because if they don’t, he’ll grab the briefcase and derail the show
if he has to. He’ll be at the show regardless, and he ain’t playing
nice. There we go.
Meanwhile,
Vickie Guerrero is stretching and shaking her head in discomfort.
That’s later tonight! Plus, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler contest
the Intercontinental Title! The 4-on-3 handicap match! Del Rio!
Bray! Orton! Cesaro! Sheamus! Cena! Reigns!
That
would be interesting. What happens when someone not in the match
tries to win it?
Backstage,
HHH tries to talk Rollins into something. Rollins doesn’t want
Ambrose to ruin the moment for him. Rollins even says Ambrose has to
be in the match so that Rollins can control him. Rollins controlled
him in the Shield; he needs him where he can keep track of him. HHH
understands. Besides, Rollins says, he wants to see Ambrose’s look
when Rollins wins. HHH says okay, but if this backfires it’s on you.
Rollins isn’t worried. He demands Ambrose. HHH loves that
confidence, and Ambrose is in. That’s better.
Wade
Barrett is here for his match. Barrett says that, yeah, last week,
Ziggler got a miracle win over Barrett and his ego expanded. But the
Bad News is, after tonight and Sunday, Dolph will be so embarrassed
he’ll have to change his name. Much like the racist NFL team.
Careful, Wade, some of agree with that statement. Cole and JBL won’t
even say the name. That’s next!
So,
in case you’re wondering why I quoted JBL above, it’s because he’s
wrong. 1 in 7 is not 12.5%. It’s 14.3%, rounded to the nearest
tenth of a percent. In full, it’s .142857, repeating, when you
divide 1 by 7 and… yeah, where’s Leroy Jenkins when you need him.
The
Slam of the Week is Dolph Ziggler’s non-title win.
Intercontinental
Title: Wade Barrett (champion) v. Dolph Ziggler (challenger).

Did someone order boxing intros? Because you’re getting them.
Dolph is from Hollywood, Florida, again after being from Cleveland
last week. Hashtag alert! Barrett with clubbing to start, and he
sends Dolph into the corner. He kicks away, picking him up and tying
him in the ropes, but Ziggler fights back and rolls him up for two.
Dropkick gets two. A whip is reversed, but Barrett cuts off a charge
and sends Dolph out of the ring. Barrett sends Dolph into the apron
and rolls him in, getting two off of it. Barrett hooks a chinlock,
but Dolph fights out of it only to get elbowed. Dolph avoids a back
suplex and cuts off a charge, getting a crossbody and punches.
Stinger Splash and ten-punch countalong follows, then the Rude
Awakening. Dolph’s already being tired? Why? Famouser misses, but
the Bossman Slam doesn’t, getting two. Both men getting chants.
Wasteland is set up, but Dolph gets the Zig Zag out of it… only he
can’t cover. Barrett rolls out of the ring to gain time. Dolph
feels like his best chance slipped away as we go to break.
Wait,
why was Dolph selling a 15-minute match three minutes in? It’s not
like he took any big blows. I guess it’s force of habit to oversell
everything, but I don’t really like that. I guess I’m just too
old-fashioned.
I-C
title, part two.

We return with Dolph doing ten elbowdrops for two. Barrett again
rolls to the apron, getting a shoulder thrust and backdropping Dolph
to the outside. Cactus Elbow follows by Barrett, complete with Bang
Bang. Back in, it gets two. Into the chinlock we go. Dolph elbows
out, but Barrett retains control with a corner kneelift for two.
Barrett goes up top, but Dolph catches him with a facebuster off the
top, finally crawling over for two. This Is Awesome, says the crowd,
as a slugfest breaks out leading to a Barrett ten-story drop.
Powerbomb try, but Barrett stops the counter and changes it to
Wasteland. It’s STILL two. Crowd with a YES chant as Barrett warms
up the Bull Hammer. It hits the post, and the Famouser gets two.
Crowd re-iterates the Awesomeness. Sleeper is blocked, as it always
is, but Wasteland is reversed to a crucifix for two. Stinger Splash
dives into the Bull Hammer out of nowhere to retain at 11:29. ***1/2
Man, that match had another five minutes in it!
Backstage,
Vickie passes some of the talent before being asked about her concern
by Renee Young. Vickie nearly snaps before admitting she’s not
beloved. She’s been the Authority’s doormat. She’s been humiliated
for years, more than anyone else ever. So tonight, she is taking her
dignity back. She doesn’t want forgiveness and she has no regrets.
But this leads to Randy Orton showing up… and he says Vickie will
regret last Monday’s decision. Tonight, Vickie gets what she
deserves, like Orton will get what he deserves on Sunday. Orton
would say it’s nice knowing her… only that’s a lie. The match is
next.
Next
week, a special one-hour show on the Special Olympics! Monday just
before Raw on FS1!
Hm.
I have to think that Vickie’s in trouble now. This seems like the
final humiliation out the door. I don’t know. I do know I could
watch 15-minute matches between Barrett and Dolph all day.
Tomorrow
night’s Main Event main event is Kofi/RVD/Dolph against
Barrett/Rollins/Swagger. Odds on Ambrose running in for the DQ have
been taken off the board in Vegas.
Vickie
Guerrero v. Stephanie McMahon.

Vickie comes out to Eddie’s music and a polite ovation. We look
back at how this match was set up. If this match doesn’t end with
Vickie cheating at least once, I’ll be disappointed. But wait…
Stephanie’s not dressed to wrestle. See, the match will take place
in a mud pit instead of the ring. Really? At least, it looks like
mud. Stephanie’s not sure. Crowd loves it, for some bizarre reason.
First one in the pool loses. So when Vickie loses, she’s fired,
says Stephanie. Oh, and out come Rosa, Layla, and Alicia to grab
Vickie. They surround her in the ring, smug, as Vickie runs away.
She’s headed to the entrance for some idiotic reason, which means
she’ll run into Stephanie. Stephanie tells the Divas to surround
Vickie. And they catch her and drag her to the pool. Stephanie
narrates them as they pick her up and throw her into the pool. Wait,
no, Vickie fights out and shoves Rosa in! Then Layla gets ole’d into
the pool. But there’s still Alicia, who grabs a wedgie and… gets
sent in as well. Vickie celebrates, which allows Stephanie to shove
her in herself, celebrate like it means something, and fire Vickie.
Well, that was a complete waste of time. Stephanie is so happy, she
wants to sing the goodbye song to Vickie. Vickie is too humiliated.
But Stephanie gets between Vickie and the pool, then turns around
while singing. Vickie gives an evil glance, and Stephanie stops
singing, suddnely realizing the problem. Crowd is SO ready for this.
She grabs Stephanie, and in she goes! JBL: “Michael, go help
Stephanie!” Cole: “WHY?” Stephanie is dunked in whatever it
is as Vickie leaves. Crowd starts a Thank You Vickie chant, and
Vickie shimmies, her dignity mostly intact. Still not worth it, in
my opinion, but heck, humiliation of the top heel is always good.
Stephanie accidentally pulls a referee in before throwing a minor fit
and throwing the ref back in. Crowd tells Stephanie she sucks, and
Stephanie vows revenge on the world.
On
Sunday, seven men will have a chance to become WWE Champion, but
tonight, they face off in a 4-on-3 handicap match!
Um…
I got nothing more to add. Too drawn out for the purpose, but the
crowd loved it.
You
know, I haven’t mentioned this yet, but… what’s with Cole’s jacket?
I bring this up because they show the announcers talking about
Stardust. This leads to Byron Saxton interviewing Goldust. He asks
about Cody transforming… but that’s not Cody, that’s Stardust! And
here’s Stardust to blow golden dust at Byron and sing Disney
showtunes like he’s Jimmy Durante. He forms the star with his
gloves, and he’s out. Goldust acts star-struck. “Now I’m the
normal one!” There is nothing about this that is not awesome.
Jack
Swagger v. Kofi Kingston.

WE THE PEOPLE! Sorry, I had to. This is a rematch from last
monday. No, not Swagger/Kofi. USA/Ghana. Kofi with kicks to start,
stopping any Swagger counter attempts, but Swagger with a big tackle.
Criss-cross leads to a leaping back elbow. Swagger cuts off a
corner charge and tosses Kofi into the corner, adding knees to the
gut and throwing him into the post. Clothesline gets two. Swagger
sets up the Vaderbomb, connecting for two. Double-arm lock by
Swagger finally wakes up the crowd, but Swagger with a judo throw and
armbar. Kofi gets a jawbreaker to break, then the pendulum kick to
stun Swagger. Swagger reverses a whip and dives onto Swagger, which
ends awkwardly before Kofi sends Swagger packing. Back in, dropkick
by Kofi and Swagger’s out again as Kofi gets a somersault senton.
Kofi’s favoring his right hand as they go back in. Kofi up top, but
he gets caught and Swagger tries to toss him. Kofi bounces back with
a Victory Roll for two. He charges, but Swagger with the Ankle Lock.
First try to break fails, second try can’t reach the ropes, and he
taps out at 3:58. 3/4*
Swagger has a bloody nose from whatever. Kinda sloppy, but it
served the purpose. America beats Ghana again!
Just
added for Sunday: Paige defends against Naomi! Order the WWE Network
now!
Renee
Young is with Alberto Del Rio… though that’s not who she was
introducing. ADR is unbeaten in a Money in the Bank ladder match,
and he’s successfully cashed in. So this Sunday, he’ll do it again
and become the Champ. But now Paul Heyman and Antonio Cesaro show
up. Heyman’s sorry to interrupt, but he heard the number 1 and Brock
Lesnar blah blah blah. Also, Cesaro is the 1 who will climb the
ladder and be the champ, so there’s that. With all due respect. ADR
wonders if Cesaro is Heyman’s puppet, so Cesaro says he speaks five
languages, but Loser ain’t one of them. Del Rio’s angry as we go to
break.
Coming
soon, my theories on a money in the bank ladder match.
Sheamus
and Bray Wyatt will meet one more time on SmackDown.
Damien
Sandow is dressed as Abraham Lincoln, and he’s not too happy about
it. To be Honest, he’s rather be in Ford’s Theater than let the fans
dictate his career. He’s taking his destiny back, and he doesn’t
want people telling him his worth. And here’s his opponent.
Big
E. Langston v. Damien Sandow.

Did you know Abe Lincoln could have been NWA Champion? JBL: “Lawler
was on his undercard.” Sandow keeps the coat and top hat on.
Sandow doesn’t give a clean break and kicks away in the corner,
ignoring the referee until he’s pulled off. Langston catches Sandow
celebrating and begins the comeback with clotheslines, a Greco-Roman
throw, and the Big Ending to finish at 55 seconds. I bet Vince finds
this awesome.
Some
guy (Tom Phillips) interviews Langston, but he cuts Phillips off and
is mad about Rusev mocking America. So enough is enough! This is
America, dadgummit! This is the land of the free and the home of the
brave! This is OUR country! He keeps yakking until Rusev finally
realizes he’s supposed to be there… no, wait, it’s Lana instead.
“You
foolish American!” Pride comes before the fall… and Rusev is
behind Langston, beating him up with a fallaway slam. Jumping
superkick follows as we get a USA chant. Rusev Crush follows, and he
holds it on for a VERY long time before breaking on his own. Against
all odds, he’s over.
Tonight’s
main event is next! It’s a 4-on-3 handicap match that you already
saw on SmackDown!
For
the record, I had Sandow-as-Lincoln losing to Rusev in the pool on
the Sons of Sam Horn website, so I claim partial credit.
As
a reminder, Daniel Bryan on the Pre-Show to talk about his
perspective.
Okay,
so Renee Young interviews her real target: John Cena. She asks about
tonight and Sunday. On Sunday, we’ll hear about a new champion. As
for tonight, the ones he fights with he’ll have to fight against.
Never before have so many people been in one ladder match to crown a
champion. Careers are on the line. People will be hurt. Moments
will exist that will last forever. But there’s one guarantee: a new
WWE Champion. Time for talk is over – pick a side. Who walks in a
Superstar and walks out a Champ? Boston is the home of the Green
Monster – and green is money. So the Champ is HERE. Bank on it.
John
Cena then acts like he ran from the interview area to the arena
proper for the match. That’s kind of cute for some reason.
John
Cena, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt, Antonio Cesaro,
Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton.

In that order of entrance. Cena gets a mixed reaction as always,
Sheamus is muted, Reigns gets a good pop, Wyatt’s is less but still
pretty big, Cesaro is hard to tell, Del Rio has no heat, and Orton
gets squeals from the ladies and not much else. Cena and Orton start
(of course), and Orton gets a headlock as those chants start again.
Cena fires him off but gets knocked down. Orton then argues with a
fan at ringside, which allows Cena the edge with a headlock and
tackle of his own. Sheamus in now, and he pounds away in a neutral
corner. Short lariat follows, and Cena’s back in. Cena goes for a
backdrop and gets kicked hard, and Del Rio’s in to chop away. Whip
is reversed, and Cena gets a facejam. He tags in Cesaro as the crowd
wakes up a tad. Test of strength, which Cesaro wins. Cena fights to
his feet and kicks out, but he leaps into a backbreaker for two.
Cena’s in the wrong corner, and Bray’s in. He pummels Cena down in
the corner and makes faces. Bray with a suplex throw and he gets in
Cena’s face before covering for two. Bray holds the arm and stomps
away. It’s dance time, and this leads to an uranage for two. Bray
goes for the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, going to both traps, as Cena
is fading. Wyatt sets Cena down and delivers a senton as we go to
break.
Main
event, part two.

Del Rio has the chinlock on Cena as we return. Cena fights out but
gets kicked down and given a DDT for two. Cesaro back in (on his own
doing), and he kicks away on Cena. GIANT SWING OF DOOM is teased,
but Cesaro refuses and does a Boston Crab instead. See, that’s how
you get heel heat. Cena walks Cesaro to the face corner, but Cesaro
pulls him away only to get countered into the STF, but Cesaro blocks
that. Cesaro tries a Neutralizer but gets backdropped. Cena dives
for the WHITE HOT TAG to Reigns, who cleans house on the corner and
gives a lariat to Del Rio. Running avalanche and big uppercut sets
up the Drive-By Dropkick (with a stopoff to bounce Orton off the
announce table). Superpunch to Cesaro, then Orton, but Del Rio with
the Backstabber for two. Bray tags himself in – man, no one can
get along with Del Rio – and delivers the running forearm for two.
Bray stomps away, keeping Reigns down, but Cesaro tags in and keeps
it up. Karelin Suplex by Cesaro gets one. Not two, ONE. Cesaro
with a right to Reigns, and Orton tags himself in much to Cesaro’s
disgust. Orton pulls Reigns out with a suplex for two. Orton to the
chinlock – Reigns’ hair is in his mouth from the hold, but that’s
unintentional – only for Reigns to fight out and get a headbutt.
Orton with a hairpull slam on Reigns to stop him. Orton with a big
stomp to the gut, and he tags Del Rio in. Del Rio with a Protoslam
variant for two. He chokes Reigns in the corner, but Bray tags
himself in too and works Reigns over in the corner. Bray tries an
avalanche, only to be intercepted by the Superpunch in a wild spot.
Cesaro can’t cut off the hot tag to Sheamus, and it’s Irish Hammers
for Cesaro and a kneelift. He throws Cesaro into Del Rio, then it’s
the Ten of Clubs (dedicated to Paul Heyman at ringside). Actually,
it goes to 13. Finlay Roll fails, but Sheamus with an Oklahoma Slam.
He’s ready to finish this, but Orton with a backbreaker. Cena stops
an RKO and gets the AA on Orton, but Del Rio gets the low superkick.
Armbar is blocked, and he too gets an AA only to turn into an
elevation uppercut from Cesaro. Problem: Sheamus is legal, and a
Brogue Kick ends it at 15:26. ***1/2
BUT WAIT! Kane is on his way to the ring! Sheamus is ready for it,
but Kane instead goes after Reigns. Del Rio with the enzuigiri to
Sheamus, but Kane boots Del Rio and chokeslams Sheamus. Uppercut to
Cena, then a chokeslam to Del Rio and Cena in turn. And, as you may
have guessed, here comes HHH to expand the match and put Kane in it.
Orton escaped early and is standing by HHH as he makes this
announcement. But after Kane sets off the pyro, Reigns comes out of
NOWHERE and spears him. Reigns’s music plays as we end the show!
Believe in Roman Reigns.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Okay,
so as I load up the Post-Show, let me explain what I look for in one
of these berserk ladder matches. There’s a reason that six appears
to be the magic number. I see six roles for a good Money in the Bank
Ladder Match:
  • Favorite.
    You know which one he is because he enters last. He’s the one
    everyone focuses on, and when he’s involved, the business picks up.
    For the record, despite being nominally the favorite, odds are he
    won’t win. He’s almost always there to build to the finish.
  • Brickhouse.
    Just because Money in the Bank is a spotfest doesn’t mean it has to
    be a high-flying spotfest. There must be someone who can throw
    people around and beat people down. Mark Henry was an expert in
    this role. It usually takes multiple people to even slow him down,
    and it emphasizes the need for temporary teamwork to narrow the
    field.
  • Offensive
    specialist.

    Remember, folks, the winner is the one who gets the briefcase.
    Whatever else there is, once you grab it, it’s over. This man’s
    role is to remind you of that by constantly making quick climbs for
    the belt early. He may not win, but he looks like a threat early in
    the match.
  • Defensive
    specialist.

    On the other hand, you can’t win if someone else gets the
    briefcase. This role is for someone who consistently stops everyone
    else from climbing. They don’t take that many bumps early, but they
    also likely don’t win. In fact, you can chalk up their eventual
    attempt to climb as the moment they’re going to take a massive bump
    and get knocked out.
  • Mechanic.
    A match like this gains something when it’s not just a spotfest.
    Power men can have spots, high fliers can have spots, but there
    still needs to be some glue holding it together. The mechanic is
    the guy who seems most out of place in the match based on his style,
    so he wears people down traditionally. He serves a purpose early
    rather than late.
  • Loony.
    When you talk about Money in the Bank Ladder Matches in retrospect,
    this is the guy who gets all the attention usually. He knows you
    expect to see people dying for your love, so he goes and tries to
    kill himself. He takes part in the biggest moment of the match, and
    whether he wins or loses, he’ll elevate his career from just being
    in it.
Now,
obviously, we don’t know who the mechanic, offensive specialist, or
defensive specialist are untilt he match begins. But the others?
Well, in the Contract match, you have a series of Loonies in Ambrose,
Rollins, and Kofi. Swagger is the best Brickhouse, though he may
bounce to Mechanic. Who’s the Favorite, though? RVD? Barrett? The
fact that you have multiple people who can fit each role is a good
thing, mind you.
And
now the big concern: the main event match. There’s tons of
Favorites, and although Cena’s the likely one, anyone can fit the
role. Kane is the Brickhouse now, although Cesaro and Sheamus
could’ve fit that role. But who’s the Loony? Who’s going to do
something crazy, take the wild spill? I can’t tell.
HOW
I’D BOOK IT:
  1. Wade
    Barrett wins the contract, last toppling Dean Ambrose and Seth
    Rollins at the same time.
  2. Alexander
    Rusev beats Big E. Langston again.
  3. Luke
    Harper and Erick Rowan win the WWE Tag Team Titles over the Usos
    when Harper pins Jey.
  4. Bo
    Dallas wins a squash.
  5. Paige
    defeats Naomi when Cameron turns.
  6. Randy
    Orton regains the WWE Championship, last toppling Roman Reigns as
    Kane helps him.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 51:18 over nine matches (Stephanie/Vickie never had a starting
bell, so I can’t time it)
BEST
MATCH: Barrett/Ziggler
WORST
MATCH: Stephanie/Vickie
NIGHT
MVP: Kane
FINAL
SCORE: Call it a 5. It was a go-home show that was almost all hype.
Barrett/Ziggler was great, and the main event was just fine, but
there was a lot of meaningless filler matches, including four that
were so short I couldn’t rate them. And that’s before we mention
Stephanie/Vickie – yes, seeing Stephanie humiliated was fun, and
they had to write Vickie out and gave her an ovation on the way, but
it took too long to get there, had the Authority win while barely
lifting a finger, and won the war regardless of the final battle.
Kind
of the way it usually happens with HHH. But I digress. (Hey, I
don’t LIKE the guy. Never have. I’ve said this since day one.)
Matt
Perri is out tomorrow, so I’ll repay him by doing Main Event! Scott
does NXT on Thursday! Tommy got the short straw and does Impact! We
make it up to him with SmackDown! Everybody get together for the big
show Sunday! I’ll see you then!