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   October 21, 2014



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COMMENT





Raw: Vince shakes up the Survivor Series card in England
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Traditionalists rejoice. It looks like the biggest names in the main event picture are going to be in a traditional Survivor Series match in less than two weeks. Ah, but things can still change, and they may do that tonight as Raw invades the LG Arena in Birmingham, England, not quite live but still on USA.

Speaking of that Survivor Series deal, The Miz wants to know what kind of leader runs away in cowardly fashion. Paul Heyman calls what happened last week a strategic retreat, and that the rest of Team Punk needs to get on the same page. But Miz says Heyman is full of crap, and he backs up his assertion that he doesn't need to be on the same page by quitting the Survivor Series team.

Match 1 – Rey Mysterio, R-Truth and Sin Cara vs. Antonio Cesaro and The Primetime Players

Rey and Sin Cara humorously mock the “millions and millions” part of the PTPers' ring entrance. Eventually, one would think they'd have to follow the lead of Cash Money and upgrade from millions to billions, eh? The face and faceless team has everything going its way up to and through the commercial break. Rey looks for a 619 on Darren Young, but Cesaro tags himself in and slams Mysterio to nearly steal the win. Rey suffers for a bit until he can hit a DDT and get Truth tagged in. All six men hit the ring, but it's Cesaro who eats all of the offense. Truth wraps up the victory with the Little Jimmy, leaving Rey and Sin Cara free to do their imitation of Young and Titus O'Neil again.

For the first time since his scary medical incident, Jerry “The King” Lawler returns to Raw next week. Love his commentary or not, it's great to see him healthy enough to get back to work.

I love that Vickie Guerrero is the Managing Supervisor of Raw. That title just sounds evil. She hits the ring to give her opinion on proper professional behavior and how John Cena and AJ Lee haven't been practicing it. More video “evidence” follows. Cena comes to the ring to make a self-deprecating joke about how Vickie running a clean show is like him learning a new wrestling move: It's not going to happen. Guerrero tries to reply with a clip that shows AJ in a bathrobe going from one room to another, followed by a clip of Cena in a towel hanging the “Do Not Disturb” on a door handle. But Cena claims that they are two different cameras, so Vickie asks for AJ to join them so she can defend herself. The Birmingham fans want her out there too. Instead, AJ appears on screen to warn Vickie about what might happen is she hits the ring. Ah, but when Dolph Ziggler appears next to AJ, Cena's mood changes, and he heads for the back while Vickie cackles in glee.

Heyman asks Wade Barrett (who gets a big reaction from his countrymen in attendance) to take The Miz's place. Though he says he doesn't trust Paul, Wade agrees to join up – but only if Heyman will put it in writing that he owes Barrett a favor.

Match 2 – Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes

Kane and Damien Sandow are on hand and quickly get involved. In fact, a distraction by Sandow allows Rhodes to get a very quick win, after which he boasts that his partner could beat Kane just as easily. Damien doesn't look too pleased with that idea.

Match 3 – Kane vs. Damien Sandow

The heels try the same tactics that won them the previous match, but Bryan steps up and make sure the hijinks are kept to a minimum. The referee sees what's going on and sends Bryan and Rhodes to the back. After a few minutes of action, Kane scores with a choke slam, and Sandow isn't getting up from that.

Referee Brad Maddox looks around anxiously as he heads down the ramp to answer for his actions at Hell in a Cell. Michael Cole reminds him why he's there by showing him the infamous low blow and fast count on Ryback. What possible explanation could he have, and is he a “Heyman guy?” Maddox says it was all him. He says that he's wanted to be a WWE Superstar for his whole life, and he's had the door shut in his face every time he's tried to get a shot. Maddox got a developmental deal, but his dream didn't die even when he was told that he'd never make the main roster. Though Maddox knows what he did wasn't right, he just wanted to make an impact, and now people know his name everywhere. He ends by asking for a contract and a match with Ryback, which brings Vince McMahon himself out to the stage. It's one thing to be famous and another thing to have a death wish. Oh, and McMahon thinks Maddox is lying. Vince offers Maddox a $1 million contract if he can beat Ryback next week on Raw. McMahon also wants some answers from Vickie, leading her to ask why she didn't have Punk defend his belt at Survivor Series. And not just in a regular match, but in a Triple Threat Match against Ryback and Cena. McMahon sarcastically thanks Gurerrero for making the right decision, as she changes up the card big time, albeit under some duress.

Match 4 – Sheamus vs. The Miz

Big Show is out with the commentators to take this one in. He's not real happy with Cole and J.R. talking about Sheamus when he has the World Heavyweight Championship. Commercial time. Show's presence gets enough of Sheamus' attention that Miz takes control of the action. The champ finally gets a breather by falling back on top of Miz, but the Awesome One responds with a backbreaker for two. A DDT earns another near fall, much to the delight of Big Show. Sheamus finally rallies to hit White Noise, and the ensuing Brogue Kick wraps up his victory. Shoe defiantly holds up his belt in response.

Vickie and Dolph celebrate the fact that it is now Team Ziggler instead of Team Punk, but the WWE Champion isn't as crazy about this turn of events. Neither CM or Dolph like what she says next: The two of them will team up tonight to face Ryback and Cena.

Sheamus gets some congratulations from William Regal, but the Great White would rather save that for after he wins his belt back from Show at Survivor Series. Also we get to see the Cena-Vickie confrontation from earlier in the show. Because the “scandal” is fascinating stuff, don't you know.

Match 5 – Eve and Aksana vs. Kaitlyn and Layla

Have I ever seen Aksana wrestle before? I'm not entirely sure. Cole and J.R. pretty much ignore this match, preferring to discuss tonight's main event and the Maddox revelations. Anyway, Kaitlyn wins by pinning Eve. Let's move on, shall we?

Ricardo Rodriguez assures his boss that if he's on a team, it's pretty much automatically Team Del Rio. We also get a look at last week's collision between Del Rio and Randy Orton that saw the catering area take a beating on SmackDown.

Match 6 – Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio

Kofi continues what we've seen from him recently, mixing his athletic moves with some more straightforward, aggressive stuff. Del Rio weathers the storm and batters Kingston on the outside, rolling him back in the ring for a two count. He gets several more near falls before Kofi gets his second wind. The fans seem pretty uninterested in this. ADR ducks Trouble in Paradise but can't get the cross armbreaker applied. Kingston strikes with the SOS, but Del Rio manages to kick out at the last moment. Kofi misses off the top rope, though Del Rio can't take advantage because Orton's ring entrance hits. Randy is nowhere to be found, but Kingston rolls up Del Rio and happily takes the win. Ah, there's Orton: Behind Del Rio. An RKO leaves Alberto looking up at the lights.

Match 7 – Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Primo and Epico

Geez, it's almost like the matches tonight are just window dressing for discussion about the main event. Yes, Ryback and Cena are teaming together – we get it. Santino is able to get the Cobra to strike, and Team CoBro gets the duke. Side by side trombone playing ensues.

Match 8 – Brodus Clay vs. Wade Barrett

Everyone from Great Britain gets a showcase match in front of their own fans, which is as it should be. The crowd is certainly behind him even though he is the heel in this one. Clay gets smashed in the face with The Souvenir, and the fans are happy as their man gets the three count.

Match 9 – Heath Slater vs. Jey Uso

Hey, the Usos. Forgot they were still on the roster. And where is Drew McIntyre? Anyway, this seems like a match Slater might actually be able to win. Both men show off some nice kicks, but Uso gets caught with raised knees when he tries to come off the top rope with a splash. Slater connects with the Smash Hit to get the pinfall.

Before we get to the main event, Punk has a few things to say. Mostly, it's about how he's proven for 351 days that he's better than everyone else who steps in the ring, setting the bar at an unattainable level. He promises to celebrate 364 days as the champ at Survivor Series.

Main Event – CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena and Ryback

Punk and Cena start things out going hold for hold. The champ decides to let Ziggler test his luck instead. The Show Off nails Cena with a series of right hands and boots before Cena sends him scurrying to tag Punk back in. The heels show a willingness to work together to slow down Cena. Punk blasts him with a running knee and scores with a kick to the back of the head for two. Cena digs down deep for an Attitude Adjustment, and he and Punk are both down. Ziggler tags in first and races across to drag Cena back to a hostile corner. Dolph gets another near fall, as does Punk with a neckbreaker. Punk goes for a leg triangle, but Cena stands up and drops him to the mat back first. The beating continues until Ziggler misses a top rope missile dropkick. Ryback finally gets the tag, dishing out some quick pain before Punk gets Shell Shocked. The unstoppable force manages to pin the WWE Champion, but can he do it again in two weeks? Cena climbs back in the ring, and the show ends with John getting a close-up look at the “Feed me more!” chant. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk is very glad that Jerry Lawler is healthy enough to return but bummed that J.R. will probably be leaving again. At least there's WWE '13 for some classic J.R. and King commentary. Discuss this with Nick on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.