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   August 29, 2014



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COMMENT





Raw: The Survivor Series picture gets cleared up in Columbus
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Raw: Jerry “The King” Lawler returns to duty for the first time since his heart attack, the evidence continues to stack up against John Cena and AJ, Brad Maddox gets the match he requested against Ryback, and CM Punk goes one-on-one with John Cena for the umpteenth time. Let’s head live to Columbus on USA.

Match 1 – Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

No Lawler yet, as Jim Ross joins Michael Cole to start the broadcast. This one doesn't last long before Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez come down to interfere. Their presence doesn't have the desired effect, though, as Orton is able to roll up Ziggler for the pin. All three heels (we'll count Ricardo as one too) jump Orton, but Kofi Kingston sprints down to help Randy clear the ring. Teddy Long makes an appearance to state that since Vickie Guerrero is too obsessed with the AJ scandal, he's going to do something super on the Supershow and restart this as a tag team match. Like right now.

Match 2 – Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio

The Show Off gets a chance to do just that with a big dropkick and a reverse chin lock combined with a handstand. Kingston makes him miss in the corner, and both Orton and Del Rio get tagged in. ADR briefly has the upper hand, but Kofi tags himself in and scores a near fall with the SOS. Though Kingston has thoughts of the Trouble in Paradise, a momentary distraction from Rodriguez allows Del Rio to deliver a step-up enzuigiri that ends the match.

Despite wrestling two matches, Ziggler decides to stay out in the ring to go over all the footage from the AJ scandal again. Because we haven't seen it too many times before (#dejavu). Guerrero demands that AJ come out and explain herself even though she warned Vickie that was a bad idea last week. Here's what happens next:

Vickie: “Tell everyone you are having an affair with Cena!”

AJ: “I'm not having an affair with Cena!”

Vickie: “Admit it anyway! I'm your boss! Admit it!”

AJ: “Fine, I admit it. John Cena and I are just friends.”

That's slightly paraphrased, but you get the idea. AJ thinks she knows what's going on here, and it's the fact that Guerrero is seeking revenge for losing out on the General Manager job and getting physically embarrassed in the ring. But oh snap, there are voice mails too. They seem pretty damning, and AJ accuses Vickie of hacking Cena's phone and editing the messages together. Ziggler can't resist getting in some cracks at the GM's expense, but Cena doesn't look amused as he comes down the ramp. AJ smacks Ziggler and Cena follows with a big right hand.

Cena checks on AJ's state of mind backstage, saying how he thinks it's crappy that Vickie is givng her a hard time over something that never happened and never would happen. Never would happen, asks AJ? Okay, maybe it would, given Cena's cheesy grin as he exits. Hmm...

Match 3 – William Regal vs. The Big Show

Well, Regal is a tough guy, but this seems like biting off more than he can chew. He gets in a few shots, but only a few before Show finishes him with a choke slam. The giant threatens a KO punch after the bell, but Sheamus comes flying out like a house on fire to stop him. Show decides to save it for Sunday, heading for the back.

Match 4 – Layla vs. Kaitlyn

Boy, Eve barely even gets time to discuss this match with the announcers before Kaitlyn gets the three count. She'll get a title shot against Eve at Survivor Series.

A video package recaps the night that The King had his health scare. It's kind of uncomfortable to watch, but at least we know it had a happy ending. Speaking of that, after a commercial break, Cole and J.R. are in the ring to welcome The King back to Raw. Lawler says this night is a dream, because there was a time when he wasn't sure if he would be back in a WWE ring ever again. He says he has lived the movie “It's a Wonderful Life” over the past few weeks thanks to all of the get well wishes he's received from family, friends and fans. Ah, but the moment is interrupted right near the end by the entrance of WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman. Pulling no punches, Punk tells Lawler he would have been beaten to death if he hadn't left the ring. The champ blames The King for his own health problems, calling it disrespectful for a 62-year old man to try to compete with Punk. How dare Lawler try to steal his spotlight with this “heart attack stunt.” Punk would rather talk about how long he's held the title, vowing to make it to the one-year mark by beating Cena and Ryback on Sunday. Heyman starts wheezing and drops to the mat, with Punk giving chest compressions and making the 'X' sign that signifies a real injury. It's not, of course, and the two heels have a laugh at Lawler's expense. That brings Mick Foley out to join the fray. Punk tries to blow him off by suggesting he worry about the vacant spot on his Survivor Series team, but Mick reveals that the WWE Universe is going to pick Ryback's replacement. Foley goes off with a passionate reminder that Lawler was dead and that the world doesn't revolve around Punk. He also feels like Cena and Ryback will end the only thing that matters to CM, which is his title reign. Punk retorts that there's nothing Foley can do about that, but maybe there is: Foley will be the special enforcer for Punk's match with Cena tonight.

Are cracks starting to form in the Punk-Heyman relationship? CM angrily tells Paul to fix the situation he's in, as Foley shouldn't be anywhere near his match tonight.

Match 5 – Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel vs. The Primetime Players, Primo and Epico

Mysterio hits a springboard moonsault to the floor in the early going, and all eight men rush over while the show heads out for ads. Things get predictably crazy once the action gets back in the ring, leading to a sequence where everyone but Kidd and Darren Young end up back on the floor. Mysterio returns with a 619, and Gabriel follows with a 450 Splash to win one for the good guys.

Heyman asks Maddox to have an off the record conversation with him. Next up is a video promo for a wrestler whose gimmick is obviously a shot across the bow of Dancing With the Stars, a man apparently called Fandango. And in the back, Ziggler and The Miz get into a verbal altercation, leading to a bit of a challenge once Foley stops by. Dolph nominates Team Rhodes Scholars to take on any two men from Foley's squad, one of whom will be the winner of the fan voting. Miz asks Mick for the opportunity to be on the ballot for his Survivor Series team, reasoning that even though they don't like each other, they have a common enemy in Ziggler. Foley doesn't like his chances – he's up against fan favorites Santino Marella and Zack Ryder – but Mick places him on the ballot.

Match 6 – R-Truth vs. Tensai

Antonio Cesaro joins the announcers for this one, where he is quickly (and justifiably) teased by Lawler about his man purse... er, satchel. He also does the typical anti-American foreign heel thing. Oh yeah, there's a match going on too. Truth is able to get the pinfall, and he snatches the microphone away from Cesaro when the U.S. Champ tries to get in his face after the bell. He's going to knock Cesaro's teeth down his esophagus on Sunday. And that's the truth.

Highlights should be for halftime shows, not Raw. Nevertheless, we see all the most important events from the first two hours of the show.

Match 7 – Brad Maddox vs. Ryback

An ambulance comes out during Maddox's silent ring entrance (he's not “officially” on the roster, so he gets no entrance music), perhaps as an ominous sign of things to come. Once the bell rings, Maddox spends the first few minutes on the outside avoiding trouble. He finally is forced to engage, leading to a predictable beatdown. Ryback continuously bounces Maddox's head off the canvas before throwing him hard into the corner. A running power slam connects before Maddox gets clotheslined over the top rope. The ref has to check on Maddox after he takes three straight power bombs. The fans urge the big man on as he delivers the Meathook. Maddox is Shell Shocked, and that brings this squash to an end. The EMTs try to push Maddox out on a stretcher, but Ryback isn't finished with him yet. The rogue ref eats another clothesline and gets smashed into the back door of the ambulance. Ryback finishes by sending him into the ambulance with authority and slamming the doors. Revenge complete.

Match 8 – David Otunga vs. Sheamus

It's tough being the sacrificial lamb du jour. Just ask Otunga. This goes as badly as you might guess, with a Brogue Kick mercifully ending things after just a few minutes. Sheamus hopes Show was watching, but he's too busy beating the snot out of Regal backstage.

Josh Mathews reports that Regal has a concussion and a possible broken jaw. Elsewhere, Daniel Bryan is upset that Kane is teaming with a new partner. Kane tries to explain that it's simply one of their new teammates, but that concept doesn't seem to be sinking in.

Match 9 – Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Kane and The Miz

In the end, Miz won by a landslide, taking 60 percent of the vote. Even Nate Silver looks amazed at that. Bryan cheers from ringside as Kane and Miz actually work pretty well together. So well, in fact, that they pick up the win after Rhodes takes a choke slam from Kane. Bryan tries to horn in on the post-match celebration. I smell dissent in Team Foley already.

Main Event – CM Punk vs. John Cena w/ special enforcer Mick Foley

Cena comes out fired up, but it's Punk who takes control after a final commercial interruption, leaping to the outside. They fight back to the ring, where Punk gets two quick near falls. So far all that Foley has done is look on, chewing his gum. Punk gets a sleeper hold applied, though Cena is eventually able to free himself. Strikes are traded until Cena lets loose with some shoulder blocks. He tries for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk gets his second win and earns a pair of two counts. A high running knee sets up Punk to come off the top rope, but Cena rolls away from the elbow. Punk returns the favor by evading the Five Knuckle Shuffle. The second one connects, but Punk is able to wriggle his way out of an Attitude Adjustment and get another near fall. Multiple counters lead to Cena getting trapped in the Anaconda Vice. He gets his feet to the ropes to break the hold. Cena responds with an STF, but Heyman breaks things up by threatening a shot with the title belt. Foley takes care of him, yet Punk is waiting to hit a kick to the head. Cena kicks out, then reverses a Go to Sleep attempt into the STF. Punk barely manages to reach the safety of the ropes. The champ attempts to limp his way up the ramp to safety, but Ryback starts coming down to meet him. Cena returns the action to the ring to hit an Attitude Adjustment that finishes Punk off. No time to celebrate, though, because Ryback is in the ring for a friendly little staredown. Okay, maybe not so friendly. The fans start a “Feed me more” chant as both men go for the title belt, and Punk can only look on is dismay from the apron. See you in six for Survivor Series!

Nick Tylwalk has video evidence that Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero is also engaged in a scandal, but no one wants to see that surveillance video. If you think you do, Nick can be reached on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.