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   October 24, 2014



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Raw: New authority, hot match stand out on debate night
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Raw tonight is facing its greatest competition for a viewing audience probably in its history – Game 7 of the NLCS, Monday Night Football and the last presidential debate. I’m betting Vince will come out with guns a blazing. Let’s see what WWE does have ready to go.

Match 1 – Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara vs. Rhodes Scholars (#1 Contender’s Match – Tag Team Titles)

It’s good to see Rey back in the ring, but its’ too bad that the half-and-half masks are gone. They looked really cool.

Match starts out pretty much as you’d expect. Rey and Cara pulled off a pretty good double team at one point, basically a sacrifice double springboard Moonsault. Soon after, we go into the standard WWE Tag Team Formula® before we go to break amidst the hot tag crawl? Weird…

Back from break the heels are still in control until Rey comes in and shows more moxy than I’ve seen from him in ages, including pulling off the seated Moonsault. At one point he looks to have the match one for the Technicos until Sandow pulls off the most brilliant count stop I’ve ever seen – putting his body between the mat and the ref’s hand coming down. Awesome.

Soon after, Rhodes turns the tide and hits Cross Rhodes for the duke.

Winners: Rhodes Scholars

After the match, Kane and Daniel Bryan cut a quick promo.

Match 2 - Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty

Uh oh. Usually when a guy we haven’t seen in a while gets on WWE TV out of nowhere, he’s soon future endeavoured…

Before the match, we get caught up on Kofi winning the IC title, and the match goes pretty quickly afterward. We barely even get a chance to hear Miz on guest commentary. Oh well.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

John Cena’s next out and gives the rub to Ryback in advance of the HIAC main event. CM Punk then comes out and rips Cena a new one. Cena tries to retort and challenges Punk to come to the ring for a battle which he nearly does until Punk pulls back and walks to the top off the ramp.

Match 3 – Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel

Gabriel gets a good amount of offence in here leading to a clean pin for the admittedly surprise victory. Given some true time, these two could have a fantastic bout.

Winner: Justin Gabriel

Backstage, a limo rolls up bringing Vince McMahon and AJ Lee to Raw. 10 years ago…

Back to the ring McMahon has the mic before giving to AJ who speaks to rumours of her ‘fraternizing’ with a memb3er of the Raw roster before resigning as Raw GM. She denies the allegations and gives one heck of a sendoff speech as she tells her life story of growing up with nothing to what she has become.

Paul Heyman comes out before she can completely finish and does his usual excellent job on the stick. He suggests he should be the new GM. Instead, Vince names Vickie Guerrero as Managing Supervisor of Raw (whatever the heck that means). Heyman starts to interrupt and gets a face pop for it. Vickie announces that the main event tonight will be champ vs. champ – Sheamus vs. Punk – in a Lumberjack Match. I like.

After Heyman exits, Vickie picks on AJ and AJ goes nuts on Vickie and does a damn good job of it.

Match 4 – Ryback vs. The Miz

What you’d expect.

Winner: Ryback

Backstage Eve is on her cell talking to someone about AJ when Kaitlyn comes into the picture and talks about the attack at Night of Champions and busts her. The two come to blows and quickly Layla gets right in the middle of the fracas.

Elsewhere Josh Matthews promo’s a talking Sheamus doll before the real deal comes in. Big Show later enters the picture and makes a menace of himself.

Match 5 – Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler

These two mad the WWE match of the year a couple years back and showed that they still have great chemistry in the ring. Bryan at one point pulls out the Figure 4, while Ziggler executes the rarely seen Suplex to the outside. Soon after this, Kane comes out to second Bryan who gets back in control after a commercial break. The match continues its awesomeness until Kane inadvertently distracts Bryan, leading to a second rope Zig Zag to give Ziggler the duke in a potential MOTY candidate. This was a pure clinic.

Winner: Ziggler

For some reason Matt Stryker comes out amidst arguing post match between Kane and Bryan. He then reveals that Vickie has a surprise for the two – a therapeutic game show called “The Newly Tagged Game” against the Rhodes Scholars. This is not going to go well.

Kane and Bryan have their usual skirmish before Rhodes Scholars come out and refuse to participate in the game. Kane and Bryan threaten Stryker before he escapes the ring. Man, I get the feeling he’s going manager quickly. Before that can happen, Big Show tosses him around on the stage, just prior to coming down to the ring for our next match.

Match 6 – Big Show vs. Kane

Extremely boring match which finishes when Rhodes Scholars come out to distract Kanem leading to Show getting the duke with the KO punch.

Winner: Big Show

Post-match, Rhodes Scholars attack Bryan.

Backstage Santino talks to AJ before Cena interjects (surprise). Cena gets all defensive and we soon find out why – AJ says it was him that she had an affair with. Cena says it was a friends’ dinner. Hmm… art imitating life?

Cena later confronts Vince about the issues for AJ and that goes nowhere.

Match 7 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder

One of these men is on the PPV, one is not. Guess who wins. Yup.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Post-match, Del Rio continues the work on Ryder’s arm.

Backstage, Cena continues to go over what happened to AJ, this time confronting Vickie Guerrero. The two have a good interchange.

Back from a break, Ziggler puts on a good promo before we head into a Ryback promo video. We then see Punk watching the end of the video.

Match 8 – CM Punk vs. Sheamus

Okay folks, I'm getting Raw Exhaustion at this point... no make that Raw extreme exhaustion. I'll have more to say on this in a Mat Matters soon.

This was your standard Lumberjack match and nothing special, other than Big Show taking out Sheamus with a chokeslam leading to Punk getting the duke.

Winner: CM Punk

Post-match, Ryback comes out and feasts on Punk who gets tossed back into the ring repeatedly by the Lumberjacks. The booking tells me Punk wins by nefarious means Sunday.

Overall, the show tonight was decent, but man it felt like an eternity. Usually, i sit with my TiVo remote on Monday nights, fast forwarding so I can watch 3 hours in two or less, no such luck when you're reviewing. Like I said, I'll have more to say upcoming on this matter, for now, let's shut'er down for the night. Maybe Romney's trash talking the Gobots.