The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.15.12 Live from Nashville, TN Your hosts are Jim Ross and Michael Cole Big Show starts us out, complaining about the debate and Sheamus in general. So tonight, he’s going to erase the spectre of his previous 45 second loss to Daniel Bryan by beating him tonight. We cut to the back, where the tag champs happen to be watching, and AJ forces him to go out. Sadly, Kane does not have his back. Why can’t those crazy kids just get along? Big Show v. Daniel Bryan Bryan stops to tear up a little kid’s goat face mask at ringside, so hopefully they won’t get sued over THAT. Show pounds on Bryan and tosses him by the beard right out of the ring, and we take a break. I’m really beginning to find it obnoxious when they take commercial breaks 30 seconds into a match instead of waiting for a more organic point later on. We return with Show holding a bearhug until Bryan escapes. Bryan dropkicks the knee and the crowd goes APESHIT for him as makes the comeback with kicks in a great sequence and gets two. Corner dropkicks, but he walks into a chokeslam at 7:30, most of which was during the commercial break. Still fun. ** Why are they taking the hottest act in the company and beating him on TV like that, though? Kane saves Bryan from a knockout punch, so he kinda has Bryan’s back. Paul Heyman introduces CM Punk, who is ready to announce his opponent for Hell In A Cell. He notes that if anyone, including fans, physically disrespect him, he’ll put them down. Well he certainly showed that. And Vince disrespected him, so Punk beat him up so badly that he’ll never compete in the ring again. Whew. So he goes over the choices for his opponent: The one-armed man, or the next big monster. The choice seems obvious, but fans are DISRESPECTING him, so he decides to think it over and reveal his answer later, in a higher-rated quarter hour no doubt. This brings out Vince (is it halftime in the football game or something?) and now there will be a contract signing later tonight where Vince will announce his opponent instead. What a f------ waste of time this was. Just a totally cynical ratings grab on their part. Alberto Del Rio v. Brodus Clay Clay is now sans entrance, so this probably won’t last long. Clay puts ADR on the floor with a shoulder tackle, but Del Rio goes to the arm and gets two. Brodus misses a charge and Del Rio finishes with the armbar at 2:00. ½* Meanwhile, Punk wants another fight with Vince McMahon. Santino & Zack Ryder v. The Primetime Players We’re joined in progress because they must be running short on time AGAIN. Apparently Zack and Santino are “Team Co-Bro”, because all teams must have “team” in their name. We’re joined with Titus holding a chinlock on Santino, but Zack gets the hot tag and hits the Broski boot for two. Titus finishes with the powerbomb at 1:33, however. Fine for a 90 second match, I guess. * Heath Slater’s newly named 3 Man Band runs out for the beatdown afterwards, as they are indeed now dressed like Poison after last week’s comment from JBL. Dolph Ziggler is out to challenge CM Punk for the PPV because Ryback doesn’t deserve the shot, and David Otunga also joins him to complain. So AJ brings out Ryback for a handicap match. Ryback v. Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga Ryback no-sells a dropkick and hits Ziggler with the clothesline, and Dolph tags out to Otunga. Ryback hits him with a jawbreaker drop, prompting Ziggler to walk out on the match. Ryback finishes Otunga with the Shellshock at 1:45. So I guess it’s Ryback v. Ziggler at the PPV when Cena gets the shot tonight. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman sucks up to Vince and pitches the rematch, but Vince makes the match against Heyman instead. Meanwhile, Matt Striker goes to AJ, looking for an apology from Kane, but he gets a match with Kane instead. There is some wantonly irresponsible matchmaking going on tonight. Antonio Cesaro v. Justin Gabriel Cesaro gets a vicious clothesline and double stomp, then puts Gabriel on the top and hits a kneelift and another double stomp. The crowd starts a USA chant for some good old fashioned xenophobic heat, and Cesaro holds a waistlock on the ground. They slug it out and Gabriel fights back with an inverted DDT and 450 splash, but it only gets two. Gabriel springboards at him, but lands on the UPPERCUT OF DOOM and the Neutralizer finishes at 3:44. I think Gabriel actually got too much offense – Cesaro is the future and he should have just destroyed him hardcore. ** Matt Striker v. Kane Wonder if the ratings CAN get to 2.4 or lower? Because they’re sure trying. Striker asks again for an apology, noting that no one wants to see mindless carnage. The crowd chants “mindless carnage”, thus giving last night’s TNA crowd a run for their money. This has been a really great crowd for a pretty crappy show. Kane and Striker hug it out, but Kane gets carried away and chokeslams him at 1:55. No actual match here. Miz brings out Kofi Kingston for his interview segment. Miz again reminds us all that he main evented Wrestlemania and Kofi is a B-lister, so Kofi challenges him to a match tonight. Miz points out that all the little kids go “Yay, Kofi”, but no one actually cares about him. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Sheamus v. Wade Barrett Wade slugs away in the corner and works on the arm, but Sheamus hits him with a short clothesline and follows with the forearms on the apron. Barrett fights out of it and stomps Sheamus down. Pumphandle slam gets two. Barrett hits the chinlock, but Sheamus fights out with elbows and hits the Regal roll. Barrett bails and Sheamus follows with a shoulderblock off the apron, but now Big Show interrupts like last week. And we take a break while everyone stands around watching him come out. Back with Barrett in control, but Sheamus uses CLUBBING FOREARMS to put Barrett on the floor, and back in Barrett kicks him off the apron in retaliation. Barrett pounds away and gets two, then goes to a rear chinlock. Sheamus escapes with the backbreaker as Michael Cole promises yet ANOTHER recap of the Vince-Punk segment after this match. Yeah, that’ll make stay tuned in. Sheamus comes back with the forearms on the apron, and a suplex into the ring gets two. Barrett comes back with a clothesline out of the corner and he goes up with a flying elbow for two. Sheamus escapes the Wasteland, but walks into the Bossman slam and that gets two for Barrett. Both guys are down and Sheamus misses a charge, but goes up and misses the shoulderblock. Cloverleaf, but Big Show distracts him and pulls him out of the ring to draw a DQ at 16:45. Match was going well before the b------- finish. Not as hard-hitting as last week, but I guess they had extra time to fill now. *** Meanwhile, John Cena advises Vince that he’s ready to go if he’s picked. Divas title: Eve v. Layla Shoving match to start and Eve works on a headlock. JR notes that Eve and Kaitlyn are very talented “in different ways” inside the ring. That’s a very generous assessment of Kaitlyn’s talents. Eve tosses Layla and gets two back in the ring. Low kick gets two. Eve figure-fours the head in a cool submission attempt that ends up going way too long, but Layla makes the ropes. Are they just trying to burn up time now? Layla comes back with a high kick for two and they botch a bodypress spot before Layla manages to hit it for two. Layla goes up, so Eve trips her and pins her to retain at 4:44. Layla had her foot on the ropes, but no one cares. *1/2 Meanwhile, Kane and Daniel work things out backstage and argue about how funny the Big Show chokeslam was. So Bryan tells Kane to face Show next week. Meanwhile, Vince interviews Ryback. The Rhodes Scholars v. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara No, wait, because after promising this match for the whole show, Cole now clarifies that Rey Mysterio is not here because of illness, and thus the match will take place next week instead. What the F---? There’s gotta be more to that one. I mean, how ill could he be that he couldn’t stand on the apron for a couple of minutes? Meanwhile, the 3MB gets kicked out of a bar. The Rhodes Scholars v. Primo & Epico The Colons attack Sandow and chase him out of the ring. Back in, Primo gets a dropkick on Rhodes for two, and slingshots into the ring with a senton for two. I think they’ve finally succeeded in burning out this awesome crowd, because they’ve been dead silent since the women’s match. Sandow comes in with a chinlock and the heels cut off the ring and work Primo over in pretty dull fashion. Primo gets the heat forever and makes the hot tag to Epico, who hits Sandow with rolling backdrop suplexes. Blind charge hits Sandow’s elbow, and the neckbreaker (“The Terminus”) finishes at 7:31. Zzzzz. * The Miz v. Kofi Kingston Kofi attacks in the corner to start and they brawl on the floor, where Kofi gets a clothesline. Back in, Kofi with a dropkick, but Miz drops him on the top turnbuckle and puts him down with a clothesline. Corner clothesline and Miz goes up with a double axehandle for two. Kofi with a sunset flip for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Miz hits the chinlock, but Kofi makes the comeback and they trip over their own feet while fighting for the finisher, which leads to Kofi getting the wacky kick out of nowhere at 5:15. Probably doesn’t bode well for his chances on the Main Event. Another dull match in a series of them tonight. *1/2 Main event contract signing: Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a Vince-Heyman deal, or was that just Vince being a jerk and they didn’t intend to follow up on it? Anyway, Vince brings out Punk and Heyman, Cena and Ryback, and hopefully they wrap this up quickly because this has been the most boring f------ show since the original NXT. Everything since Sheamus-Barrett has literally been putting me to sleep. Vince is about to announce his decision, but Cena interrupts and gives us up his shot to THE RYBACK. In the Cell. That’s gonna be quite the trainwreck. Ryback signs the contract and then lays out Punk with the Shellshock. Either they’re gonna need an epic way to weasel out of this one at the PPV, or else Ryback is gonna have to squash him and win the belt. The Pulse What a weirdly paced show, as they rushed through the first 90 minutes and then everything slowed to a crawl for the rest. As usual, I was just begging for it to end by third hour, and the live crowd seemed to feel the same way.