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   November 23, 2014



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Raw: Rogue crowd dominates post-'Mania show; Ziggler cashes in
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to defeat Alberto del Rio and become the new World heavyweight champion. Photos by Mike Mastrandrea


Raw kicks off from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ -- across the parking lot from MetLife Stadium -- with a look back at WrestleMania with stills of John Cena and the Rock, with a hearty helping of boos in the background.

The boos get even stronger when Cena’s music hits. He pulls off the old school look with the “The Champ is here” white tee shirt on instead of the seasonal yellow. We also learn that Rock had an injury midmatch last night.

Cena plays up to the heel crowd (for God's sake just turn him already), who eventually starts chanting “boring.” Next up, the “Yes” chant. Cena then starts to dance and I die a little inside. He mocks a “heel turn.” Please, let MVP destroy Cena soon.

Cena then announces he’s putting the title on the line tonight, and Mark Henry’s music starts playing. As he starts to talk to Cena, a “Sexual Chocolate” chant breaks out, followed by another “Yes” chant and a “Feed Me More” chant follows. Yeah, that’s going to be the most newsworthy part of the night most likely. Cena says the match is on, but Booker T comes out and interjects, noting that Rock is entitled to a rematch, but he will not be here tonight due to injury. Crowd? “Bullsh--” yeah you know the rest.

Booker then says that Mark Henry gets a title shot only if he beats Cena non-title tonight. And it is now officially on. Honestly, I'm looking forward to this. I can’t recall the two ever mixing it up.


Match 1 – Daniel Bryan vs. Big E Langston

On the way down to the ring, Langston botches by elbowing AJ. Wow… bad omen.

Langston looks impressive early with a Samoa Joe STO. Later, Bryan gains the advantage but AJ and Dolph cause the distraction. A short time later the “Big Ending” finishes the bout for Big E.

Winner: Big E Langston

We then get a promo from Kurt Warner about his new show The Moment.

Match 2 – The Miz vs. Wade Barrett (Intercontinental Championship Match)

Not much to the match as the “Lets Go Barrett” chant starts up. After this, the intensity raises from both men. Move of the night happens as we head to the break, with Barrett draping Miz outside and hitting a drop neckbreaker. Think of it as the polar opposite of Orton’s Draping DDT.

Back from the break, Miz is in control but botches his neckbreaker and hears it. Like I said, the crowd is the story tonight. Somewhere in the midst of this chaos, Barrett gets busted open in his mouth. Miz eventually locks in the Figure Four and to his credit has it locked in much better than the first time he did it. Barrett, however, reaches the ropes to a big pop. A Bullhammer later, Barrett regains his strap. I sense the feud is far from over. A Best of 7 Series may be a great way to elevate both men.

Winner: ... and NEW Intercontinental champion ... Wade Barrett

Backstage, Brad Maddox and Vicki Guerrero are chatting when Sheamus comes in. Sheamus gets his wish of a bout against Big Show.

Back after a break, Booker T gets congratulations from Randy Orton and asks for a match against Big Show. He then uses a big of psychology to get the match he wants.

Match 3 – Jack Swagger/Zeb Coulter vs. Alberto Del Rio

Match starts and so do the “We Want Ziggler” chants. Big spot comes early as Del Rio hits a Tope Canadienese sending Swagger violently into the announce table. The match actually turns into a good bout quickly with strong submissions and reversals. No Coulter yet as we head to break.

Back from break the back-and-forth resumes, with Del Rio eventually reversing the Patriot Lock into the Cross Arm Breaker. He can barely stand and needs a trainer to examine him. Ziggler time ... PLEASE!

And our prayers are answered.

Match 4 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Title Match)

Ziggler tries to get the win quickly with the Famouser but no dice. Del Rio gets a good round of offence but he falls apart from his leg. He does lock in the Cross Arm Breaker but Ziggler breaks it up and ends up getting the duke after the zig zag. HUGE pop for the win.

Winner: ... and NEW World heavyweight champion ... Dolph Ziggler

Next up The Undertaker comes out and starts to talk about the bout last night, but he’s interrupted by The Shield. Before they can attack, however, Kane and Daniel Bryan come out to back up ‘Taker and man, if this happens at Extreme Rules this would be one hell of a bout. Pardon the pun.

Match 5 – Zack Ryder/R-Truth/Santino Marella vs. 3MB

Okay too many jokey wrestlers in the bout for their not to be a Lesnar appearance or someone else coming in. Will MVP make his return? Hey I haven’t been bad on predictions so far.

Eventually, Marella and Slater are left alone and Marella hits the Cobra on Slater for the duke. Bad match.

Winners: Ryder/Truth/Marella

We then go to a summary match of WrestleMania week before we see Orton and Sheamus arguing backstage about who gets to face Big Show. Sheamus wins the argument, and the heel turn of Orton begins...

Match 6 – Big Show vs. Sheamus

Before the match can go, Orton comes out and claims that he gets Show tonight. It ends up becoming a Raw Active decision.

Vickie and Booker come out before the Raw Active can happen, and make Orton and Sheamus square off for the opportunity to face Show. So...

Match 6 (for real) – Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

The fans chant “Ole! Ole! Ole!” What, did the Habs just score? The match plods along and an “RVD” chant breaks out follows by a “JBL” chant. Bored post ‘Mania crowds are awesome. “Lawler” is next, followed, unbelievably by “Cole.” This is better than ‘Mania.

Back from break the still bored crowd is chanting “E-C-Dub” and then start the wave. Dear God, this is getting better and better. As Orton gets the advantage a “Randy Savage” chant breaks out. Awesome. I’m seriously loving it. “HBK” is next. How about “Tulip” next?

After Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick, Show comes out and takes out Sheamus, necessitating a “Thank You Big Show!” chant before he punches out Orton to a huge pop. A “Yes!” chant follows before Show drags his sorry carcass outside and chucks him hard into the barricade.

As Show continues to decimate Orton, the crowd chants “We are Awesome” and indeed you are. Show then attempts to chuck the announcer chairs into the ring but hits the ropes twice. The crowd chants “One More Time” then “One More Chair” but Show doesn't oblige, since he’s a heel and all.

Winner: Everyone in the crowd, though technically a no contest.

Match 7 – Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston

Fans are chanting Fandango’s entrance music. Spectacular. Chris Jericho interferes shortly in.

Winner: Fandango by DQ

Jericho continues after the bell to the delight of the crowd. Awesome. The crowd pops huge when Jericho puts Fandango in the Walls of Jericho. Fandango has the audacity to get up but eats a Code Breaker for his troubles.

Paul Heyman is interviewed backstage teasing that Brock Lesnar will only fight on PPV and that CM Punk will comment on his bout with ‘Taker next week.

Match 8 - Rhodes Scholars/Bellas vs. Tons of Funk/Funkadactyls

The Fandango chant continues as some craziness goes on in the ring, including Naomi hitting a 'Rana on Cody Rhodes The match ends quickly after a double splash on Sandow.

Winners: Tons of Funk/Funkadactyls

Match 9 – John Cena vs. Mark Henry

Crowd is booing Cena even before he comes out. The Fandango music starts up again and Cena dances. Hey, at least he can have some fun with it. He eats a couple hard shots from Henry right after though. The fight continues as the crowd chants "same old ----." Yeah, I'm not finishing that.

Before the match can truly get started, Cena gets a countout win. Weird.

Winner: John Cena


Ryback laid out John Cena to massive cheers from the unique post-Mania crowd.
Okay, now’s the time when the big surprise debut comes right? Wrong. Henry comes back to the ring and punks Cena big time. Ryback comes out with Cena laid out. Calling it -- heel turn for Ryback.

And sure enough, Ryback stands over the fallen Cena and has death in his eyes. The crowd chants “Yes! Yes!” then boos as Ryback helps Cena up. The two stare at each other as Cena starts to celebrate. Ryback goes for his chant again and then does lay out Cena to the delight of the crowd. This is like Warrior vs. Hogan if the crowd was as sick of Hogan at WM6 as they were at WM9.

Wow, that’s quite the visual to end the show. I get that WWE was trying to turn Ryback heel here, but this was the wrong night to do it. Now, you've got Ryback looking still like a massive babyface, and the after effects of this insane crowd won’t wane for a couple weeks still. By that time we’ll be at Extreme Rules.

Well, there were no debuts or returns tonight, which was pretty disappointing, but you can never go wrong with a post ‘Mania crowd. It’ll be debated which was hotter -- post WM29 or post WM28, but that’s the fun of this brand of entertainment -- a crowd goes rogue and everyone has a good time.

RELATED LINKS

  • Loving life in a Raw crowd gone wild
  • Raw in East Rutherford, NJ, Photo Gallery