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Raw: Building to the Cell
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight is the last Raw before Hell in a Cell and we should get a few matches announced as we head into Sunday's PPV.

And appropriately, we start with the helpful point-out that the Hell in a Cell is hanging above the ring. I can think of only one HIAC match that ever took place on Raw – Mankind vs. Kane – and that one was pretty brutal itself.

Triple H then comes out to start talking about the firing of Miz and R-Truth before announcing that Mark Henry gets a $250,000 fine for beating up JR and Jerry Lawler. He moves on to Nash next but is soon interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler, who complain about the punch by Hugh Jackman last week. Then, Cody Rhodes comes out and shows off the major damage done by Randy Orton. He wants justice, as does Christian who comes out next. Christian gets booked against Orton for Smackdown and Sheamus at HIAC for his trouble, as well as vs. John Cena tonight. What, no Superstars opponent?

Hunter then makes a match for Ziggler to put up the US Title tonight against Zack Ryder, and Rhodes, who’s almost skipped, is put into a 10-man Battle Royal with his Intercontinental Title on the line.

Match 1 – Battle Royal (Participants: Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, John Morrison, Justin Gabriel, Alex Riley, Daniel Bryan, Ted DiBiase, Drew McIntyre, Ezekiel Jackson, and Sheamus)

Fairly quick match which is a shame since I like battle royals generally. Rhodes ends up eliminating Sheamus last thanks to some help from Christian from the outside.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Post-match, Christian gets more digs in on Sheamus.

Next we find out about the extent of Lawler’s injuries. Hope he recovers soon.

Backstage, David Otunga, or Clarence Mason if you prefer, chats legalese with Johnny Ace, who exits by texting.

Match 2 – Divas of Doom vs. Eve/Kelly Kelly

Again? Really? Is the Divas roster that thin? Look forward to match #702 of Phoenix and/or Nattie vs. AJ and/or Kaitlyn on Smackdown.

This time the heels go over, thankfully, setting up Beth’s 3rd shot at the Diva’s Title on Sunday.

Winners: Divas of Doom

Match 3 – Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali

Henry attacks Khali with the belt and then hits the World’s Strongest Slam to ensure no match takes place.

Winner: No Contest

Cena then comes out for a promo before his match. We also get ADR and Punk (wearing his announcing jacket) coming to ringside.

Match 4 - Christian vs. John Cena

Both ADR and Punk are at rinkside on commentary for this.

A lot of people over the years have begged for a Cena/Christian feud after their battle rap a few years back, and this will only serve to whet those appetites more

To the surprise of no one, ADR ends up interfering, giving Cena the DQ win after Cena threw Christian into the announce area.

Winner: John Cena (DQ)

Post match, ADR gets on the mic and chews out Cena and the WWE Universe. There’s something about ADR that I’m just not buying these days, I just can’t put my finger on it and it’s bugging me, because I really like him as a competitor.

Match 5 - Zack Ryder vs, Dolph Ziggler (United States Title Match)

There’s something so odd with Ryder – some towns he gets huge pops, others it’s dead silence.I could make a joke about how some states don’t have computers, but yeah…

Of course, Vickie and Jack Swagger are with Ziggler, at least to start. Naturally, Vickie interjects herself when Ryder has control and then, to my actual surprise, Swagger contributes to Zigglers cause, hangmaning Ryder on the top rope. This leads to the Zig Zag and the duke.

Post-match, the assault on Ryder continues until Air Boom comes out. Those guys are starting to annoy me. This leads to Teddy Long coming out (you know, since he has authority on Raw in his role as Smackdown GM). Long says there will be a 6-man tag match, and Vickie has the commercial break to find a third person for her boys to tag with. Hmm… the stable grows again?

Match 6 – Air Boom/Zack Ryder vs. Vickie’s Boys/???

No partner can be found by the time the match starts so it’s handicap time, at least for now. The match goes quickly to the WWE Tag Team Match Format® and the crowd dies. Kingston, once tagged in, gets the crowd going a bit, as Vickie brings out the third man for her team ... Mason Ryan(!). Now THIS is how you add to a stable.

Ziggler and Bourne, however, continue to have the advantage, channeling the Hardys at one point (no, not that way). Eventually, Ryder gets tagged in and inevitably becomes the sacrificial lamb to Ryan... or so we think. Before you can say Woo Woo Woo, Ryan takes out Ziggler and Swagger, polishing Ziggler off with a combination Gorilla Press – Front Carry into a Boss Man Slam. Yikes!

The finish, now is academic, with Ryder hitting the Ruff Ryder for the duke.

Winners: Air Boom/Zack Ryder

Backstage, Clarence Mason... I mean David Otunga, holds court with Guerrero, Ziggler, Christian and Rhodes talking about unsafe working conditions and how they can protect themselves. He thinks a lawsuit may be the way to go. I’m betting we get a union out of this, which would be a surreal angle (especially since WWE already did it once).

Match 7 – Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk

Before the match begins, Cena comes out to do commentary. At one point, Punk beals ADR in Cena’s direction in a nice spot.

Decent and long bout between the two with some great back-and-forth action with both men really getting their licks in on each other. Match ends rather abruptly when Punk escapes the Cross Arm Breaker setup with two VICIOUS kicks. I think there was concern that ADR was KO’d…

Winner: CM Punk

Post match, the Cell lowers as Ricardo tries to hit Punk to no avail. He then rolls out right into Cena’s stare. Ricardo is stuck in the cell with Punk and Cena and takes a big-time beating before the two go after each other. Del Rio, who I guess was at ringside, then attacks Cena and Punk with a chair to finish his Sunday opponents off but good.

Decent ending, but WWE has not been striking well of late with Raw. Hopefully next week will be better. See you next week.