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   September 21, 2014



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Raw: Punk's anniversary as champ turns into bad news for Cena and Ryback
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Raw: CM Punk has made it to a year with his WWE Championship, but it didn't come without controversy. Will we learn more about why NXT wrestlers Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns took out Ryback on Sunday? Maybe, maybe not, but either way, Raw is live from Dayton, Ohio on USA.

He talks! Ryback asks for Punk and his “three men” to come to the ring right now or face the consequences of him tearing the arena apart looking for them. Vickie Guerrero begs to differ, telling Ryback he'll be subject to a fine or suspension if he causes any chaos tonight. But she does enjoy the way he destroys people, so she has a match for him to kick things off.

Match 1 – Ryback vs. Tensai

I feel like we've seen this before. Ryback does a Thesz press (kind of), which is a bit of a new twist. Tensai actually gets in a fair bit of offense. Any offense against Ryback is a fair bit, really. He finally has enough of this, sending Tensai to the outside with a clothesline while muttering about Punk. A Meat Hook softens Tensai up to be Shell Shocked, and that is that.

Match 2 – Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett

Apparently Barrett feels like since he eliminated Kingston from their Survivor Series match, he's the better man. He looks like it before the commercial break, controlling most of the action. Kofi is still under duress after that mattress ad, eating a big boot to the face and trying to fight his way out of a neck crank. Barrett uses a series of knees and another kick to the face to knock Kingston to the floor. The fans try to psych Kofi up as he fends off several pinfall attempts, and he finally gets going with multiple kicks and a Boom Drop. Barrett's tilt-a-whirl side slam is a good response, getting him a near fall. Kofi comes off the top with a cross body and hits the SOS for a two count. That ends up as his last hurrah, as Barrett smacks him with the Bull Hammer and earns himself a victory.

We walk back through the saga of Brad Maddox and his run-in with Ryback. Seems it's just a plug for his YouTube video that captured that night as it happened. Elsewhere, Paul Heyman is excited for the celebration of Punk's anniversary as champion. Matt Striker wants a comment from Punk about Ryback and the champ's affiliation, if any, with Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns. Heyman dismisses Striker by saying tonight is about the celebration, and everyone is invited – even Ryback. Punk seems a little uncertain about the wisdom of that idea. The champ is wearing the “I'm a Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirt, a nice touch.

Match 3 – Kaitlyn vs. Aksana

It's revenge time! Kaitlyn wants a piece of Aksana for assaulting her last night. I'd kind of just like this storyline to be over. Kaitlyn does get the win here, for what it's worth.

A WWE-themed episode of The Soup? I'm so there! Little Jimmy may or may not be there, but he's not on hand tonight as R-Truth joins Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to take in this next bout,

Match 4 – Brodus Clay vs. Antonio Cesaro

Clay's dancers find themselves urging on their man early on after Cesaro swarms him with strikes and stomps on his chest. Brodus misses his corner splash, though, and Cesaro smacks him with an uppercut off the turnbuckle. The Neutralizer ends Clay's night, and Antonio takes a moment to do some jawing with Truth.

A video highlights Cena's work with the Make A Wish Foundation. However you feel about him as a wrestler, he deserves all kinds of props for this.

Vickie wants to set the record straight about Tamina Snuka's attack on AJ Lee. You know, the one that took up some of the time on Sunday's show that we all paid to see? Guerrero has witnesses to back up her allegations about AJ and Cena, including a waitress and a parking attendant. That leads to another confrontation with AJ, who really wants Vickie to either fire her or shut the hell up. Cena storms out and says he'll give people something to talk about if that's what Vickie wants. Some tonsil hockey ensues. Ziggler apparently has an issue with it, attacking from behind. Cena fends off the Show Off and chases him to the back, but he looks like he may have injured his knee in the process.

Match 5 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton – Two out of Three Falls Match

This should be good. Orton scores early on with a dropkick and a suplex, while Del Rio looks to work over his opponent's arm. ADR is sent out to the floor, where he uses the ring post to damage Orton's left arm even more. He goes too far in the eyes of the referee, leading to a DQ that gives Randy the first fall. We step out for some adverts and return to find Orton is still trying to get his left arm free of Del Rio's clutches. He rallies with some clotheslines and a one-armed power slam, but Del Rio rolls into the cross armbreaker and gets a quick tap out. We're tied at one fall each, and Orton certainly looks the worse for wear. Randy almost steals the win with a roll-up, but he's soon scrambling to kick out from a pinfall attempt. Orton counters Del Rio's charge with a backbreaker only to have his foot grabbed by Ricardo Rodrguez. The ref tells Ricardo to his the showers, and Del Rio uses a Backstabber to get a sneaky two count. ADR mocks his foe's call for the RKO and pays for it by taking the rope-aided DDT. Now it's Orton legitimately calling for his finisher. Del Rio counters with a cross armbreaker attempt that Orton manages to fight off. Hurled into the corner, Orton evades the step-up kick and connects with an RKO that wins the match.

A trainer tells Cena he may have a torn meniscus. At least he did it while in the midst of some action. Zing!

Match 6 – The Great Khali vs. Primo and Epico

Hornswoggle is out with a bouquet of flowers. Looks like they're for Rosa Mendes, but they're hiding a little surprise. Mendes gets squirted with water while Epico is on the receiving end of the Punjabi Plunge. That's a wrap, except for the dancing.

Heyman is in the back going over the particulars for Punk's celebration. He wants balloons!

Match 7 – David Otunga vs. The Miz

Cole and The King discuss whether Miz has actually made a face turn. Not in those words, mind you, but that's what they're doing. Otunga looks to change his jobbing ways by taking it to Miz for several minutes, making the Awesome One kick out of a whole bunch of near falls. The inevitable Miz rally finally does arrive, and the Skull Crushing Finale puts Otunga away.

Sheamus gets some microphone time, saying that even though he came up short against Big Show a few weeks ago, he took pride in knowing that they had a fight to remember. But then Show had to make it personal by attacking his friend William Regal, and he took it to another level by dragging a defenseless ref in the way of the Brogue Kick at Survivor Series. He wants Big Show out to settle their feud once and for all, and the big man comes out to the stage, showing some damage from the chair shot rampage that Sheamus unleashed on him Sunday night. After a short exchange of pleasantries, Show steps aside for Sheamus' actual opponent, a.k.a. our intellectual savior.

Match 8 – Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow

Sandow has to go into survival mode to ride out Sheamus' initial burst of rage, but he is actually in control once we come back from the commercial break. He blasts Sheamus with knees and a clubbing shot to the back to get a two count. The beating continues long enough for Sandow to set up for the Elbow of Disdain, but Sheamus counters with the Irish Curse. Sandow ends up on the wrong side of the ropes, which means he takes a series of shots to the chest. Sheamus goes up top to hit the Battering Ram and follows with White Noise. The Brogue Kick is on target, and Sandow is down for the three count.

AJ goes looking for Vickie and finds that Tamina is by her side. Guerrero finds the whole thing pretty amusing, laughing off AJ's threats. #pleaseendthis

Layla tries to talk AJ out of going into the men's locker room. She ignores the advice, stomping in to confront Ziggler. Dolph goes off on the GM, calling her desperate and pathetic. Oh, and sad, weak and pitiful. Also trash. Not surprisingly, AJ starts smacking Ziggler, which gets Cena into the ruckus as well. Ziggler tackles Cena through the wall of one of the bathroom stalls, and that's not going to help that injured knee any. Josh Mathews reports that during the commercial break, Cena was rushed to get more medical attention.

Match 9 – Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane)

The Prime Time Players are out with the announcers, claiming that they saved Cena's life by pulling him away from Ziggler back in the locker room. They also take exception to Cole's news that Sin Cara and Mysterio will get a title shot if they win this match. Meanwhile there's a pretty decent match going on too. Sin Cara takes some punishment from both of the tag champs until he's able to get Mysterio tagged in, and Rey scores several near falls against Kane. Sin Cara flies to the outside to neutralize the only non-masked man in this match. Mysterio hits the 619 and tries to drop the dime on Kane, but the Big Red Machine catches him on the way down. Darren Young and Titus O'Neil storm the ring, and the ref calls for the bell. The Prime Time Players end up decimated by the combined forces of the other two tag teams, much to the delight of Cole and Lawler.

Heyman does one last round of butt kissing to Punk in the back, vowing that no one will tarnish this night for him. The celebration awaits after the break.

The fans give Heyman a less than warm reception, which he takes as an opening to taunt them a bit. He says the WWE Universe can't really handle the way Punk raises the bar so far each and every night. The champ comes out and points out that Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and The Rock were all unable to hold the title for a whole calendar year. He and Heyman watch a highlight video of the title reign on the big screen. Punk says tonight isn't just about reminiscing but also about looking to the future. He's got his sights set on the summer of 2018, when he'll surpass Bruno Sammartino as the longest reigning champion in WWE history. Heyman says even though he's a fan of Bruno, he could never beat CM Punk. Nor could Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin for that matter. And at the Royal Rumble, it's going to be proven that not even The Rock could defeat Punk. The champ calls his victory on Sunday night the greatest of his career, because he was able to survive both Ryback and Cena. An unhappy Ryback heads for the ring, but Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns are on hand again. They brawl to the ring, where the numbers game gets the best of Ryback for the second straight night. Just like at Survivor Series, Ryback takes a free ride through the announce table. Punk leaves the ring so the NXT crew can stand tall, and the champ ends the show by standing over the body of his challenger. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk wants everyone to know that when he was just starting out as a SLAM! Wrestling developmental talent years ago, he wrote under the name Tyler Nichols. Ask him about the long days his trainers had him putting together sentences by reaching out to him on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.