The PG Era Rant: Raw, 2/10/14

Guys, one more thought that occurred to
me this weekend on CM Punk. Do you think he’s healthy? I don’t mean
physically – everyone in WWE is under 100% physically – I mean
mentally. Think about it: he’s been less that enthusiastic, he’s
noticeably been underperforming, he’s cut off all his friends from
contacts, he’s walked out seemingly out of nowhere…
…as someone who has clinical
depression and has had it for 15 years, I think I see a pattern.
And if it’s true, what are the odds
Punk feels like he can’t tell anyone? It’s more or less well-known
that Vince equates physical illness with physical weakness, and
Punk’s self-proclaimed lifestyle means he can’t say he’s looking for
a medicine that works. I can’t say for certain this is true, but I’m
not as mad as at him as I was… now, I think there’s way more going
on than anyone wants to admit.
Okay, enough of that. On with the
show.
When last we left our heroes, they tore
the house down. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton put on a wrestling
clinic, and while the champion ended on the short end, he got his
momentum back with the help of the Authority’s Kane. Tonight,
though, the gauntlet Orton’s been forced to run continues. Whose
side is everyone on?
The live look-in says that Betty White
is in the house. Plus, Randy Orton and John Cena meet one more time.
The PG Era Rant for Raw, February 10,
2014.
Live from Hollyweird.
Your hosts are Andy Kaufman’s rival,
J.R. Ewing’s stunt double, and a poor man’s Joe Buck.
Hey, remember the good old days when
this show would be pre-empted for the Westminster Kennel Club dog
show? Can we get someone to recap that?
This show is dedicated to the memory of
crew member Frank Bullock.

And we’re going to open with Betty
White herself, on the arm of the returning Big Show (back, though not
necessarily cleared to compete). And Betty White gets a chant.
White is thrilled to be here. Big Show asks about tonight’s show,
and Betty says she’s “gonna kick some ass”. Yes, this happened.
But here comes Triple H and Stephanie for the buzzkill. No, wait,
Stephanie embraces White. Betty White with Paul Wight – now you
can’t unsee it. And now that Betty White’s been here, HHH and
Stephanie head to the ring to take over the opening segment. It’s
like a bad internet joke come to life. The crowd asks for more CM
Punk, but it’s MUCH more muted that last week. HHH wants to clarify
his statement last week. If Bryan beat Orton, they’d consider
him as the Face of the WWE™. They are reconsidering him, and
Sheamus, and Christian, and Cesaro, and Cena, and basically the whole
Chamber that’s going to happen… and here comes Orton. If this is a
face turn for Orton, I don’t get it.
Before
Orton can talk, Stephanie asks if they’re doing this again, and she
recommends he leave. Orton, though, doesn’t take orders, and he says
he needs to apologize. No, not to the fans, but to Stephanie and
Hunter. He says he’s been childish, selfish, foolish… he needs to
compromise in order to get what he wants. And for that to happen, he
needs to be the Viper, and that starts tonight against Cena.
Stephanie says, yeah, that SOUNDS good, but they can’t trust him.
Crowd chants for Daniel Bryan. Orton says it’s from the heart.
Stephanie acknowledges the chants and asks if it’s the pressure, but
no, Orton brings up SummerSlam, where right in this building he
became the champion on Daniel Bryan. He was called the face of the
WWE that night. They were united then. Now, he wants to make good
on the promise he received that night: it’s not enough to be the face
of the company in the ring. He wants to be the face of the company
in every facet – publicity too. He’s the face of the company, not
the people in the Chamber, not the people in the locker room, and not
Batista. Before anyone can rebut, Daniel Bryan enters. Is it
September and no one told me? This all feels familiar. My hometown
of Fairfax, Virginia, gets a namedrop from Cole! I LOVE YOU MICHAEL!
Ahem,
sorry. Heat of the moment. Won’t say anything positive about Cole
again. I know I’m supposed to hate him.
Bryan
says, wait, Orton’s the heart and soul of the WWE? “Seems to me
like you’re a different body part entirely.” Stephanie doesn’t
appreciate either of them interrupting the Authority on live TV, so
they need to make an appointment with Kane if they want to do this.
But that’s why Bryan’s here: Kane’s not in the building. Unless, of
course, when he’s attacking Bryan. Too bad it didn’t work. Because
last week, Bryan won. Orton is stewing at all this. So this week,
he wants to go through Kane to the people up top: he wants Kane,
one-on-one, TONIGHT. Stephanie makes it clear: Bryan jumped the gun
on Kane. But Kane is being suspended for a week, so he’s not in the
building, due to what he did. Bryan is not impressed with the
punishment, and then he asks: who’s watching the watchers? He calls
the Authority “a combination of arrogance and stupidity”. Orton
immediately tries to get on HHH’s good side by defending them.
Stephanie’s vision will lead the WWE into the future, and he needs to
show them respect, if not honor. Bryan admits that, yeah, Orton
REALLY likes Stephanie – bringing up the 2009 assault to back up
his point. Orton says that he’s ready to attack if HHH will just let
him. But HHH defers: he has a better idea. Daniel Bryan will face
off tonight against… nobody. Yes, he’s sending Bryan home. Bryan
doesn’t want the night off, though. So he says NO to the proposal.
HHH won’t budge.
Later
tonight: the return of Mark Henry! Plus, it’s Orton against Cena
once again! But first, Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust will
face the Wyatt Family NEXT.
Opening match: Rey Mysterio and the
Brothers Rhodes v. Wyatt Family.

JBL with quality snark during the intros as he says of a magazine
insert poster of Rey: “It’s life-size.” The Wyatts interrupt the
Rhodes entrance with their transmission cut-off. Meanwhile, we look
back at SmackDown, where Bray Wyatt beat Goldust. Rowan and Cody
start. Rowan goes clubbing on Cody to start, getting a back suplex,
but Cody flips over it and gets the sliding uppercut. Dropkick
staggers Rowan, and Dustin’s in. Dustin with a headlock, but Rowan
knocks him down and goes with the right hands. Dustin escapes, but
Rowan stays in charge. Harper in, and he misses a clothesline as
Dustin gets the kneeling uppercut. Charge by Harper eats boot, and
Dustin gets a rana into a springboard dropkick by Cody. He sends
Harper to the outside, and he and Rey do the Fastball Special on
Harper as we go to break.
Mysterio/Cody/Dustin v.
Bray/Harper/Rowan, part two.
We
return with Rowan getting a neck crank on Dustin as they won the
commercial break. Dustin fights out, but Rowan with a forearm smash
and he works over Dustin in the corner. Harper has to pull Rowan off
of Dustin, and they do the T&A combo for two, Cody saves. During
the Break, Bray steamrolled Dustin to take control. Bray in, and he
uppercuts Dustin and gets a seated senton. Bray slaps Dustin around,
but Dustin fights back. A slugfest breaks out, but Bray wins it with
a back elbow. Rowan back in, and he drops a knee for two. Rowan
sends Dustin across the ring with a Hammer Throw, then checks his
mouth for blood (negative). He rakes Dustin’s face with his boot
before adding headbutts. Dustin with a springboard back elbow to
Create Separation™, but Rowan cuts off the tag only to get
low-bridged. Harper tosses Rowan in and tags in, cutting off the
face corner with a shot to Cody, but Dustin with a powerslam when he
turns around. Hot tag Rey, and he goes to town on Harper with a
tilt-a-whirl headscissors into the post. He goes up, and he lands a
standing senton followed by a tilt-a-whirl tornado DDT. Bray saves,
but Rey gets Bray in the 619 position. And Harper. It’s a double
dose of 619, but Bray escapes and Harper gets it. Bray slams Rey
into the apron, but Cody with a double jump crossbody. Rowan sends
Cody into the barricade, but Dustin takes out Rowan with a cannonball
off the apron. Back to Rey and Harper, as Rey gets caught but
reverses Harper back into the 619. Bray tags himself in and catches
Rey with a running
Sister Abigail’s Kiss for the pin at 10:26. Whew. These six are
always good for an above average six-man. **3/4
Now Bray has a mic and taunts the Shield. He says the Shield are
toy soldiers trying to play a part in a way that isn’t theirs. They
will fall. And then, Bray’s next game will begin when they’re
disposed of.
We’re
in LA! The announcers talk about the Royal Rumble match, focusing on
Roman Reigns’s star-making performance. This leads to an interview
with Reigns and the rest of the Shield about the Elimination Chamber
six-man. Reigns: “Actions always speak louder than words.”
Rollins says they don’t speak in riddles, but in absolutes. Ambrose
makes it clear: they will absolutely destroy the Wyatts. Meanwhile,
there’s the comment that the US Title has been inactive. But he
hasn’t had a chance to. Reigns asks what kind of champion he wants
to be. Ambrose simply says no one wants to step up and take the belt
away, so he puts up an open challenge for a US Title defense.
Ambrose will remind everyone he’s a champion.
The
Total Divas are talking to Betty White until Vickie Guerrero
interrupts and gladhands Betty. Natalya talks about the show Off
Their Rockers and the pranks pulled… and now the New Age Outlaws
comment. They will prevent any pranks from being pulled on White.
They offer a cup of tea to Betty and walk off with her. No one knows
what to make of it.
We
look back at the long-standing rivalry between Randy Orton and John
Cena, focusing on their Breaking Point I Quit match. They will meet
again, TONIGHT. Later tonight, it’s Sheamus and Christian against We
The People!
Santino
and Emma are on their way to the ring. They’re power-walking in
unison. Yep.
Santino
Marella v. Fandango.

But first, we look at the dance-off last week. NXT is on the WWE
Network. Santino reverses a hammerlock, then punches away in the
corner. Fandango reverses a whip and nails Santino in the back,
following up with a chop to the head. He keeps up the attack and
poses, but Santino… fails his kip-up. Fandango chops away as the
crowd wants JBL. Meanwhile, Miz whines. Fandango goes to the
chinlock as Miz completes his sarcastic rant and HHH thinks he’s
clever getting one over on CM Punk. Santino fights out with a back
suplex and begins his comeback, but the saluting headbutt lands on
the knees. Fandango goes up top, but Santino meets him, gets knocked
off, and the legdrop by Fandango connects for the pin at 2:17. I
don’t get it. 1/4*
Byron
Saxton is back! He’s here to interview Sheamus about the Elimination
Chamber. But hey, tonight he’s teaming with one of his future
opponents. But first, Sheamus is happy to be back. He respects
Christian even if they haven’t gotten along. So they’ll team up and
drink after the show. He’s ready for the Chamber, his last chance to
headline WrestleMania. Legacies are created in the Chamber, and
that’s what he’s going to do. He promises to kick everyone’s teeth
in and win the title. That tag match is NEXT.
Christian
and Sheamus v. We The People.

Well, I can’t imagine who’s going to job. Christian gets an inset
promo about the Elimination Chamber, saying maybe his face will be
the face of the WWE. And even if he isn’t poster boy material, he’s
a former 2-time champ, and he wants to make it 3. And when you’re
against an Irishman and a Canadian and you’re Zeb Colter, you
absolutely need to say something. “You two non-Americans make me
sick.” After all, they were gone for months and jump back into the
Chamber. How did they sneak back across the borders and get rewarded
with a title shot? And now, Cesaro talks. Crowd is happy with this
development. Cesaro says it won’t matter, because he’ll be the first
Real American Champion. Swagger isn’t too happy to hear that.
Colter tells Cesaro to start against Christian. Christian and Cesaro
do waistlocks as a HUGE We The People chant starts. Cesaro with a
Karelin suplex and Swagger tags in. Christian floows Cesaro and
dodges Swagger, getting a cradle for one. Christian gets out of a
fireman’s carry to a sunset flip, and after some reversals, Christian
gets the pendulum kick and missile dropkick for one. Sheamus in, and
he pounds away in the corner. Suplex gets one. Swagger with a
reversal and knee to the gut, and in comes Cesaro (the most over man
in the match). Cesaro works over Sheamus, but Sheamus blocks a
hiptoss and knocks Cesaro over for one. Sheamus kicks Cesaro in the
back and gets a neckbreaker for one. JBL makes another rugby
reference that no one will get as Christian’s in with an axhandle.
He works the arm, bringing Sheamus back in. Sheamus with European
Uppercuts, but Cesaro fights out and an uppercutfest follows. Cesaro
wins it (the crowd approves) and goes nuts in the corner with
uppercuts. Sheamus just asks for more and it’s a war. Sheamus wins
it and goes up, landing the flying shoulder for two. Cesaro dumps
Sheamus in front of Colter, and Swagger distracts Sheamus long enough
for Cesaro to get a boot to the head to knock Sheamus to the floor as
we go to break with a Cesaro chant.
Christian/Sheamus
v. Swagger/Cesaro, part two.

Cesaro throws a knee to Sheamus and gets a boot, but runs into the
Irish Curse. It’s a race to tag, and Christian gets in. He pounds
on Cesaro, blocking a blind charge and getting the sunset flip for
two. Big right hand and over-the-top uppercut follows. Christian is
up, and a spinning elbow connects. Christian claps up the crowd, but
Swagger distracts. Christian goes for the Killswitch, but Cesaro
blocks it and lands the Catapult Uppercut for two. Twice. Swagger
in now, and he stomps away from the apron and gets a bottom rope
guillotine for two. Swagger with the Gator Roll into a front
chancery, keeping himself between Christian and Sheamus, but
Christian to his feet. Swagger puts his head down and regrets it,
but Swagger stops the tag and gets the Vaderbomb into Cesaro’s
leapfrog stomp. It gets two. Cesaro works over Christian in the
corner, but Christian knocks Swagger down only tob be caught. It’s
GIANT SWING OF DOOM time, and Christian gets dumped to the outside.
We The People want a countout, but Christian is back in, only to get
covered for two. Swagger in, and it’s a catapult into a Greco-Roman
suplex for two. Back to Cesaro, but the double-team misses and
Swagger is dumped. Cesaro went into the corner on the double-team
throw attempt, and Swagger and Sheamus are in! Sheamus goes nuts on
Swagger with a shoulder ram, kneelift, and Finlay Roll. It gets two.
Swagger rolls to the apron, which is not smart because it leads to
the Ten of Clubs. Oklahoma Slam by Sheamus and he wants the Brogue
Kick, but Cesaro out of nowhere with a European Uppercut. So Sheamus
gives HIM the Ten of Clubs, but Swagger attacks from behind with the
Patriot Lock. Christian intercepts with a crossbody off the top rope
and DDTs Cesaro on the outside. Swagger misses a clothesline and
gets Brogue Kicked for the win at 14:26. Unbelievably hot finish.
***1/2
Colter is none too pleased on the outside. Cesaro is trying to help
Swagger recover emotionally.
Renee
Young is with John Cena and his mixed reaction. Cena talks about the
long history of the WWE and how those two names have been dominated
by them. But… but now it appears we’re in the middle of change.
The WWE Network will change TV, but the Universe has given Daniel
Bryan and new superstars their support. So change is coming, which
means tonight’s match is very important. Yes, it’s non-title, but
tonight is likely about the future. He says this is the Last Round
of their rivalry. Cena will win right in the middle of the ring in
front of all of LA. The statement goes to all the new guys, too: if
you want to be the future, you gotta go through the present: him.
SIDENOTE
on We The People: it’s clear they’re building towards Colter losing
Swagger, which is good because Swagger is long overdue for a face
run. But the fans understandably prefer Cesaro, who has not shown
any signs of disloyalty to Colter. Remember, though: turning Colter
face is a PR nightmare, so that possibility is out. If they’re going
to both men disowning Colter, more power to them, but who does Colter
use instead? This would be much more intriguing if the American
Wolves were still in NXT, since they’d be a perfect replacement.
This is one midcard split I’m actually interested in.
Did
you know Vince McMahon has a star on the Walk of Fame? You do now.
We
look back at Betty White opening the show, promising to “kick some
ass”. This leads into a look at Batista and his 30-second fury on
YouTube. POWERBOMBS FOR EVERYONE!
Dolph
Ziggler v. Alberto Del Rio.

Shouldn’t Dolph update his Twitter handle, or has someone already
co-opted @FACEZiggler? We look back at Del Rio and Batista’s
confrontation from last week. Del Rio punches away on Dolph, adding
a whip, but Dolph hooks the ropes and gets a dropkick and ten-elbow
countalong. It gets one. Zig Zag try is blocked, tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker blocked, and a Rocker Dropper gets two. Dolph pulls up
Del Rio, who was goldbricking and gets the armbreaker and superkick
for the pin at 1:33. Del Rio gets the SIGN POINT OF DOOM after the
match. He’s asked to leave, but he thinks better(?) of it and keeps
up the attack with the cross armbreaker. Batista jogs in to make the
save and spears the everloving heck out of Del Rio. He throws Del
Rio into the steps and clears the table. Crowd is divided on him
now. Del Rio into the barricade as he gets ready for the coup de
grace. You’d better believe it’s a Batista Bomb through the table.
Expect a match at Chamber even though there’s nothing left to prove
for Batista and the fans aren’t getting behind his decimation of Del
Rio. Del Rio is being checked on by doctors, so Batista threatens a
monitor shot before walking off.
And
now, the Bella Twins will explain how to get the WWE Network.
They’re dressed as flight attendants. Nice. And now the countdown
puts it back at 11:05 PM again. They can’t seem to make up their
mind.
Up
next, someone joins the Hall of Fame!
Backstage,
Batista is walking. HHH finds him and wants to talk. He’s glad to
have Batista back, but he doesn’t want him going off, even if Del Rio
deserved it. He asks Batista to keep it in the ring, because things
aren’t the same as they used to be. After all, if disaster strikes,
HHH is in trouble. He knows Batista is Best For Business, but Del
Rio is Batstia’s business. So HHH makes the match for Elimination
Chamber. Batista: “I guess things really have changed around
here.”
And
your latest Hall of Fame member is… LITA! Yes! My favorite
women’s wrestler ever is now in the Hall of Fame! I love it!
So
Betty White and the Outlaws are having their tea, but White is
worried about her friends. Not because they’re tag team champions,
of course. The tea is orange pico with a hint of chamomile. Road
Dogg puts some eye drops in White’s tea while Gunn distracts her.
But White asks for some lemon, so the Outlaws leave to get it.
White’s too smart for this, and switches her cup with Gunn’s. Drink
up, everyone! Especially you, Billy.
Later
tonight, Mark Henry is back from injury.
Ryback
and Curtis Axel v. The Usos.

The Outlaws are on commentary, and Billy Gunn looks under the
weather. Axel wil start against Jey. He works the arm, adding
clubbering, but Jey avoids a backdrop and does Road Dogg’s punch-out
in a direct message. Jimmy in, and he gets the Superelbow. Axel
with a dropkick and Jimmy’s stuck in the corner. Ryback in, and he
slugs away and kicks Jimmy in the corner. Billy Gunn is sick.
Ryback uses shoulder rams on Jimmy, then a Hammer Throw. Axel in as
the crowd doesn’t care about the heels. Jimmy fights out, but Axel
kicks away. Knee to the face and a forearm drop, and Ryback gets in.
Ryback stomps away to a Goldberg chant. Jimmy into the corner, and
Ryback puts him on the top rope. Jimmy elbows Ryback off from behind
him, and a corkscrew senton follows. Hot tag Jey, and he gets a
flying clothesline and gut kick. Samoan thrust and hamstring kick
follow, and Jey gets a Samoan Stampede. Ryback saves on the cover,
but he eats the post. Axel is surrounded, and Jey gets a superkick
and flies onto Ryback. Jimmy with the Superfly Splash for the win at
4:22. Cole demands the Outlaws face the Usos in the future. I
demand Ryback and Axel be cut – they just bring nothing more to the
table. 3/4*
The Outlaws leave commentary to meet the Usos, but Gunn has an
attack of diarrhea (implied, thankfully) and races off.
Tonight:
Dean Ambrose will defend the US Title, but against whom?
United
States Championship: Dean Ambrose v. Mark Henry.

Oh snap. Ambrose does NOT look happy. More to the point, he’s
looking for an exit. Reigns finds this hilarious. We get boxing
intros because why not. Ambrose is very nervous as we start.
Rollins and Reigns love the trouble Ambrose has gotten himself into.
Henry shoves Ambrose down on a lockup. Twice. And Ambrose bails to
look for some moral support from his teammates. He keeps stalling on
the outside, slowly returning. Ambrose is cornered, but avoids a
club and kicks the injured arm repeatedly. Henry gets the big boot
on Ambrose, then sends him into the corner arm-first. Back and forth
Ambrose goes, including into the post, as Henry slowly walks over and
throws Ambrose in from the apron. Ambrose kicks away and goes to the
arm again, ripping the brace off and wrapping the arm around the top
rope. Henry sends Ambrose out with just the one arm as we go to
break.
United
States Championship, part two.

Ambrose is posing Eddie-style on the top rope before going back to
the arm with a single-arm DDT and Fujiwara armbar. This goes on a
while. Ambrose headbutts the wrap on the arm and goes up, but Henry
meets him and throws him off. Clotheslines follow, and a British
Bulldog Powerslam, but a blind charge eats boot. Bulldog Driver
misses, and the World’s Strongest Slam leads to Rollins forcing a DQ
at 8:00. Henry cleans house on the Shield, but he goes outside and
gets speared by Reigns as Rollins is sent flying on a sleeper try.
Just a boring match. *1/4
But
before the Shield can leave, “we’re here”. The Wyatts do their
full entrance as the Shield look at them. Crowd is clearly loving
the Wyatts, clapping along with their theme. There’s a standoff, and
the Shield are back over the barricade to start something. They
stare from the opposite sides of the ring as both sides approach.
It’s the calm before the storm… and the crowd goes for YES chants.
Reigns is on the apron first, then the Shield. Reigns clearly mouths
“Let’s go” as the Wyatts are on the other apron. Crowd says the
STAREDOWN is awesome. Reigns enters the ring first. Wyatt
follows…. halfway before stepping back out. The Wyatts stand down
first as the Shield enter the ring. Bray finds it funny how he
played the Shield. The Family backs away from the ring. Bray: “Make
your move.”
Later
tonight, Orton and Cena for the final time (we think) as we look back
at Orton attacking John Cena Sr. last month.
Wiz
Khalifa in the house!
In
honor of Black History Month, here’s a look at WWE Hall of Famer Bobo
Brazil. OWW has a great story about a match between Bobo and The
Sheik from St. Louis. If you want me to elaborate, I can in the
comments, but I’m just going to assume you can look it up.
AJ
Lee, Aksana, and Alicia Fox v. Cameron, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella.

AJ and Nikki start, and Nikki wins the lockup. She gets a
half-Stunner on AJ, who bails to the ropes. AJ takes over with
kicks, but Nikki sweeps the leg for two. Naomi is injured, but Eva
Marie is at ringside. Nikki tries a powerslam, but AJ bails out of
the ring and consults with Tamina. She tags in Aksana, but Nikki
with an STO and the Worm into a dropkick. It gets two. Brie comes
in, and they do… well, TRY Poetry in Motion. Brie recovers with a
missile dropkick for one. Aksana with a spinebuster off a
distraction, getting two. Aksana drops the knees on Brie and brings
Alicia in. They stretch Brie out, and Alicia gets two. Alicia
misses a tilt-a-whirl and Brie rolls her up for two. Alicia with a
tackle and an Aztec chokehold. Brie fights out, so Alicia knocks
Nikki off the apron. Brie with a dropkick on Alicia, hot tag
Cameron. She takes out AJ and Alicia, sending the latter into the
ropes and slapping her hard. They show air on some clotheslines
before Cameron gets headscissors and a seated dropkick for two.
Alicia stops the momentum with a forearm smah, and Aksana in with a
blind charge that eats boots. Gurl Bye (a DDT) ends it at 4:41.
Points for effort on Poetry in Motion, but Cameron just isn’t ready
yet. DUD
Meanwhile,
BAStar visited a local middle school.
Time
for the Tale of the Tape on Cena vs. Orton. Get ready – that’s
NEXT.
John
Cena just granted his 400th
wish! Please don’t hate him!
Another
vignette on the latest result of the Communist War Machine: Alexander
Rusev. Where’s Vladimir Kozlov when you need him?
Meanwhile,
two and a half hours ago, Randy Orton… you know what, just scroll
up. I’m not recapping a recap.
Wait
a minute, Kane’s here? We were told he was suspended this week,
complete with a VERY strongly worded reprimand. JBL tries to argue
the 168 hours have ended, but Cole counters by saying that he was on
SmackDown so that can’t be it. Kane lets us know he’s on leave, and
he accepts his punishment. He says he acted on his own, and that it
was a bad idea. Crowd: “WHAT?” Anyway, before this continues,
Daniel Bryan – who also was supposed to be gone – comes out. And
he’s storming the ring to start the fight! Kane floors Bryan with a
throat thrust to stop his rally, and he’s ready for another
chokeslam, but Bryan avoids it and low-bridges Kane, following with a
tope suicida and more kicks. Crowd is going nuts. Bryan dropkicks
Kane over the barricade and begins a ginormous YES chant. This, I
believe, was to get it out of the crowd’s system so they can focus on
the main event as is.
Meanwhile,
on SmackDown, it’ll be Cody/Dustin/Jimmy/Jey against
Gunn/Dogg/Ryback/Axel, plus Randy Orton faces Antonio Cesaro.
Backstage,
Betty White tells the crowd how much fun she had and thanks them for
making her feel at home. And now, the main event!
Non-title
Main Event: John Cena v. Randy Orton.

Cena on the ramp: “This defines our future TONIGHT!” Lockup,
and Orton with a headlock. Cena gets the duel chants as Orton cranks
it on. Cena fires off, getting a hiptoss and covering for one.
Orton bails out and stalls. He slowly walks back in as the crowd is
loud. Cena goes to the chinlock to control Orton, switching to a
headlock. Orton fires off, but Cena reverses his hiptoss and gets
one again. Orton bails out a second time as the crowd boos him hard.
Orton returns slowly, playing the Memphis heel, and pounds away on
Cena after a sucker kick. He stomps down on Cena and smiles
maniacally, only to get caught with right hands. Facejam bulldog by
Cena gets two. Orton catches Cena with a back elbow and gloats to
the crowd. He goes to stomp the leg and kicks away at it, adding a
stomp to the head for two. Orton basks in the Cena duel chants as he
pulls Cena up and gets a suplex try… but Cena blocks and reverses.
Orton sidesteps Cena into the turnbuckle, though, and basks in the
heat before stomping Cena out of the ring. By heat, I mean CM Punk
chants right now, though not much of them. Orton sends Cena into the
rebuilt announcers table, then suplexes him into the barricade. He
picks Cena up by the armband and throws him in. It gets two. Orton
pounds away on Cena’s chest and stomps him in the gut before posing
to massive boos as we go to break. Orton is so Southern tonight. I
like it.
Main
event, part two.

Back to the match, as Orton stomps away on Cena. He tells the crowd
to settle down, which draws more boos, but walks into a slam.
Slugfest breaks out, but the crowd doesn’t seem to be on either man’s
side. Cena with a tackle, but a second one misses. Orton calls for
more noise this time before talking trash to the crowd. He goes to
the apron and catches Cena, pulling him back into the ring with a
suplex. It gets two, and Orton goes to the chinlock. Crowd wants
Daniel Bryan back. Orton hooks that head and chinlock on, wearing
Cena down, but Cena fights out and teases the AA. Orton escapes and
gets a DDT for two. Orton is stunned, but recovers to go for the
Garvin Stomp. He rubs his ear to get more noise, then tells them to
be quiet, which gets him rolled up for two. Cena goes into the video
game comeback now, and the Five-Knuckle Shuffle connects. AA is
loaded up, but Orton escapes to his inside-out backbreaker for two.
Draping DDT is set up, but Cena reverses to launch Orton over the top
rope. Orton races back in this time, but he’s caught by Cena into
the AA position. Orton slides out and gets a powerslam for two.
Cena rolls to the apron, but Orton catches him and sends him into the
buckle. He goes up, pulling Cena up with him, but Cena fights out of
the superplex and knocks Orton down. Orton recovers to crotch Cena
(“Watch this!”), landing the top-rope Draping DDT and yelling at
the crowd. Working the crowd: such a lost art. Orton keeps
stalling, because he wants to end with the RKO. He calls for it, but
he took so long that Cena recovers into the STF. Orton barely makes
the bottom rope. Crowd is behind Cena now when they weren’t earlier.
Orton with a beautiful dropkick and we get a double KO. Orton is up
first, wobbly, but Cena hasn’t moved. Orton with the SIGN POINT OF
DOOM for heat, and he has Cena lined up for the Punt. He’s taking
forever to set it up, and indeed, he misses. AA is fought out of,
though, and the RKO gets a VERY close two. Crowd was certain it was
the finish. Orton is baffled as the crowd chants for Cena, and Cena
gets the AA out of nowhere for two. Crowd doesn’t know what’s going
to end this. Cena gets Orton puled up for a bearhug into the corner,
lifting him to the top rope. He wants an Avalanche AA (the crowd is
excited), but Orton fights out and drop down only to run into the
boots. Rocker Dropper off the top follows, then another AA to end it
at 20:47. The wrong guy won, but the heck with it. ***1/4

FINAL
THOUGHTS:
You
know, it’s no shame to be worse in the ring than Daniel Bryan, John.
That said, I was hoping Orton would win this so that the story wasn’t
“Orton can be beat by any one person”, but “Only Bryan has
Orton’s number.” That said, it does look like they want to test if
he’s for real over the next few weeks, and given the crowd reaction,
it seems like Cena knows it’s time to go spend some time away from
the title. Seeing as how he has no qualms with facing Bray Wyatt,
good for him.
Orton,
tonight, did his part very well. Southern heel heat is a lost art,
but his timely stalling and playing to the crowd is something midcard
heels could learn from. It’s too bad he’s being caught between the
Bryan tsunami and the Batista brick wall, because he deserves to be
in the top flight of WrestleMania with how he’s handled what has been
a very inconsistent booking thus far.
The
midcard delivered nicely, too. The Wyatt Family can get an above
average match out of any three people, but they lack that certain je
ne sais quoi
that
the Shield has. The Chamber Preview tag match was a breath of fresh
air, and it’s interesting to see where they go with Cesaro, Swagger,
and Colter. Mark Henry’s return was handled about a well as you
could hope, although he doesn’t look like he’s ready for a full-time
comeback.
That
said, this show wasn’t exactly one you have to go out of your way to
watch. If you DVR’d it, you can afford to wait for tomorrow. Good
shows aren’t necessarily must-see… but I don’t mind. It’s worth my
3 hours.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 66:32 over eight matches
BEST
MATCH: Sheamus/Christian v. We The People
WORST
MATCH: Alberto Del Rio v. Dolph Ziggler
NIGHT
MVP: Betty White
FINAL
SCORE: 6. Nothing to go out of your way to see, but you know what?
Nothing to annoy me either. I enjoyed it more than disliked it.
Stay
tuned for Tommy, for Scott, for Logan, and for everyone else. We’ll
be in Denver next week for Raw. Get ready! See you then!