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   October 24, 2014



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Raw: Champ versus champ with Vickie at wit's end
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Happy Canada Day! Or rather, hope you had a happy Canada Day, as you’re probably reading this the next day. In any case, it looks like we’re getting a cold open tonight featuring Vickie Guerrero, so let’s head directly to Iowa and live to Raw on USA.

Guerrero wishes us all good evening. Tonight we will honor both the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship by having current titleholders John Cena and Alberto Del Rio face each other.

Daniel Bryan gets a great crowd reaction as he stands in the ring with a ladder. He thanks the fans for answering the question of whether he was the weak link after his submission victory over Randy Orton: no! Can he ride that wave of momentum into Money in the Bank and win the briefcase? The fans think so. Bryan says he wants to follow in the footsteps of legends from Bruno Sammartino to The Rock. He reminds everyone that he won the match once, and even though this year's match is full of all-stars, he can do it again. Sheamus also feels it’s been too long since he's held one of the big titles, so he joins in the fun. The two men exchange jokes at each other's expense before Orton comes out as well, saying he's starving since it's been two years since he was champion. Randy is planning on taking the briefcase and cashing it in quickly. Bryan rubs salt in a recent wound, bringing up the fact that he made Orton tap out last week. Randy says he'll let that slide, but in two weeks, no one is safe. Kane agrees as he comes down the ramp. The Big Red Machine has no problem committing unspeakable acts, even against his friends. Kane and Bryan argue over who will be WWE Champion, but the “lovers' quarrel” is broken up by the most experienced ladder match participant, Christian. He might not be the biggest, strongest, scariest or hairiest guy in the match, but he is without a doubt, the best. CM Punk is last, offering his respect for Christian but touting his previous record of success in this match. He claims no one can touch him in the ring, and he gives a mention to Rob Van Dam. Bryan interrupts because he doesn't want to hear Punk talk about everyone individually, Orton ends up giving an RKO to Kane, and the tension gets high in a hurry. No further blows are exchanged though.

Throughout the night, there are going to be looks back at great WWE champions. We start with Buddy Rogers and Lou Thesz. And there's a Wyatt Family video. Can we just debut these guys already?

Match 1 – The Shield vs. Christian and The Usos

In case you missed it, this is a rematch from Smackdown, and The Shield actually lost the first meeting. The faces have the early success and... oh crap, exclusive footage on the WWE app during the commercial break! Who would have guessed? Roman Reigns gets a near fall on one of the Usos, and Dean Ambrose mocks Christian after he tags in. Jey Uso smacks him with a hard kick and manages to clothesline Seth Rollins. The tag goes to Christian, who gets two on Rollins with a missile dropkick. Ambrose tags back in and finds himself in trouble before all six men get into it. Christian looks for the Killswitch, but Rollins guillotines him with the ref distracted, and Ambrose rolls up Christian to get the pinfall.

In the dressing room, Bryan apologizes to Kane. The big man is happy that his former partner got him a rematch with Orton, but seems less pleased that Bryan will be the special guest referee.

Match 2 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Jinder Mahal

This is the first time Ziggler has been in action since returning from his (real life) concussion. Mahal gets the first near fall with a jumping knee and another one follows right behind. Ziggler fires back with a dropkick for two but finds himself in some trouble again. A Zig Zag changes that, giving him a sudden victory. Mahal's 3MB teammates hit the ring, but Ziggler manages to outwit them on the outside before dropping Heath Slater with a Zig Zag of his own.

Next up in the review of champions are Bruno Sammartino and Harley Race. Backstage, Guerrero and Brad Maddox seem a little concerned about McMahon family interference. Triple H drops in and is actually happy with the show so far, but Vickie admits to her nervousness about Vince and Stephanie's differing opinions. The Game recommends listening to his wife and father-in-law... and then ignoring them and doing what he says. Plus, there's a look back at Mark Henry's career, because why not?

Match 3 – Randy Orton vs. Kane with special guest referee Daniel Bryan

Bryan is in full uniform to do his refereeing duty. Orton has the early momentum thanks to a Thesz press, but momentum slowly starts swinging toward the man in the mask. He boots Orton to the floor but loses control when Randy returns to the ring. A flurry of right hands follows, but when Bryan steps in, he gets shoved by The Viper. Bryan calls for the bell and a disqualification, but Kane will have none of it, demanding for the match to be restarted. It is – after a commercial break. A DDT has Orton firmly in control, and he calls for the RKO. Bryan steps in briefly, Kane hits a boot to the face, and the bearded one makes a quick count so his buddy can get the win. That still has Kane upset, but he thinks better of sending his (soon to be former?) friend for a choke slam ride. Orton has no qualms about hitting Bryan with an RKO after Kane leaves though.

Punk, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel have a pre-match meeting, though CM has no plans to be a team player. Mincing no words, Punk says he trusts Heyman but not Axel. Paul tries to convince his old friend otherwise. And the review of champions rolls on with Bob Backlund and Dusty Rhodes.

Match 4 – Fandango vs. Sheamus

Speaking of guys coming back from concussions, that applies to Fandango as well. Sheamus welcomes him back as only he can, but the dancing superstar weathers the storm and tries wearing out the Celtic Warrior on the mat. Sheamus recovers to batter Fandango with kicks and punches in the corner, following with clubbing shots to the chest on the apron. Will he walk out on the match? Yes sir. Sheamus wins by count out, though he looks like he wanted to continue the punishment.

Match 5 – Ryback vs. The Miz

Chris Jericho joins the announcers, trying to get his nickname of “Cryback” to catch on. There's some funny banter between him, JBL and The King as Miz goes tries working over Ryback's legs. Eventually the damage to Ryback's left knee proves to be too much, and he asks for the match to be stopped. The Miz wins, and Jericho sneaks in to deliver a Codebreaker.

More champions: Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, to be specific. In the arena, Henry comes out to... talk? He's doing more promos during this angle than in all of his previous angles put together. This speech is a semi-shoot about how he deserves to be the WWE Champion after all he's given to the company over the years. Then he says the fans are puppets, then he says the fans will say he earned the belt after he kicks John Cena's ass. #MakeUpYourMind

Vince pays Vickie a visit to say he likes the main event, but she's giving it away for free when it could be on pay-per-view. McMahon reminds Guerrero and Maddox what happens to people who don't listen to him.

Match 6 – CM Punk and Curtis Axel vs. The Prime Time Players

Axel starts the match, but Punk wants in ASAP. The fans want it too, though Axel ends up in no position to make a tag as Titus O'Neil grinds him down. Finally Punk gets a chance to work, much to Darren Young's chagrin. The top rope elbow sets up a Go To Sleep, but when O'Neil forces Punk to deal with him, Axel tags himself in and gets the three count.

We're getting closer to the present as we look at Stone Cold Steve Austin and Sting.

Match 7 – Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn

Well, this match is pretty short, and Kaitlyn wins. AJ comes out after the bell to object to the “character assassination” that Kaitlyn tried on her last week. Furthermore, she brings an unsavory modeling picture from Kaitlyn's past. It looks like it might be Photoshopped. Just a tad.

Of course Stephanie takes her turn to harass Vickie about the Divas situation. She seems more unhappy than the male McMahons, and Vickie sounds like she's going to have a nervous breakdown. Stephanie says she understands the mixed directions she is getting, but Vickie crosses the line by trying to be too friendly. That gets her... an official job evaluation in the ring next week. Oh noes!

Match 8 – Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro

It takes a while for this match to begin because both Damien Sandow and Zeb Colter want some microphone time. Oh, and Jack Swagger is back if anyone cares. Cesaro wins in short order with the Neutralizer.

Triple H and Booker T get the spotlight as the look at champions continues. Elsewhere, the Bella Twins run into two new Divas and all the girls start bickering over their E! reality show. Whatever. And the Wyatt Family will be on Raw next week. #AboutTime

Main Event – Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena

Del Rio takes Cena right down to the mat before getting a taste of his own medicine. Cena hits a shoulder block but receives a hip toss. Alberto slides out of the ring to gather his thoughts, then stomps away in the corner and gets the match's first two count. A Cena suplex and a bulldog have him rolling, but he misses a corner charge and smacks his shoulder off the post. Del Rio batters Cena on the floor and comes off the top rope with a double axe handle. But Cena evades a jumping kick and Del Rio flies out to the floor, sending us to commercials. Or as the WWE calls it, “app time.” Cena's dropkick catches Del Rio coming off the top again, but the World Heavyweight Champion connects with a Backstabber for two. A German suplex gets Del Rio another near fall, but Cena gets one of his own with a belly-to-belly suplex. Cena goes up top only to have Del Rio nail an enzuigiri for yet another two count. He goes for it again, Cena ducks, and Del Rio hits a backbreaker that still isn't enough for three. Hung upside down in the corner, Cena is still able to sit up and force Del Rio to run himself into the post. A high cross body connects and Del Rio is just barely able to kick out at two. Cena rolls into the STF but has to release the hold when Henry comes to take a look. Del Rio tries to take advantage, yet Ziggler is also there to cause a distraction. That's enough for Cena to hit the Attitude Adjustment and finally win the match. Henry grabs Cena's belt and makes his way slowly up the steps. Cena is wary, but the World's Strongest Man simply points to his wrist as he walks away.

Don't forget the Wyatt Family is coming next week, because the WWE isn't letting us. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk wants to shoot his own cryptic videos about how he's coming to SLAM! Wrestling under a new gimmick. Anyone with the technical expertise to make this happen, please follow him on Twitter or Google+ or shoot him an email.