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   December 22, 2014



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Raw: Cena, Bryan and Orton are uneasy allies in Green Bay
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Raw pays a visit to Green Bay, Wisconsin tonight, home of the Packers and cheese. There’s no pre-opening sequence, so who knows what’s going to happen? Unpredictable is good! Let’s go live to the ring on USA.

Stephanie McMahon tells the fans in Green Bay that it's no secret that her father Vince doesn't believe Daniel Bryan has what it takes to be a WWE Champion, so she came up with a compromise. That means it's makeover time! Shades of the Corporation as Bryan comes out with a spiffy new suit and his hair tied back. He laughs about it a bit while addressing the crowd, saying he thinks the company wants someone jacked up who can sell a bunch of merchandise. Someone like, say, John Cena. And even though Cena has been king of the hill in the WWE for the last ten years, Bryan knows why he can win, because he's a wrestler and Cena is an entertainer. On top of that, if Cena gets fired tomorrow, he'll go back to his mansion, where Bryan would be seen in every armory with 30 people watching because he loves wrestling. He finishes by saying that he'll do what the brass wants him to do for know, because at SummerSlam he's going to do what all the fans want him to do and make Cena tap out. Looking unimpressed, Vince decides to come out and put in his two cents, mocking parts of the makeover and Bryan's stature. “You look like a miniature Mick Foley!” Ha, funny. McMahon feels the makeover needs one more thing... wait, not the beard! Oh yes, the Chairman wants the beard shaved off. If he really wants to be champion, he needs to take the final step and get in the chair that has been brought down to ringside. All we need is a barber, so McMahon summons Wade Barrett. Bryan feigns like he will play along, but then ambushes Barrett and shaves off part of his beard. Looks like Bryan is going to do this his way, pulling off his suit coat to reveal a “The Beard Is Here” shirt that plays off of Cena's “The Champ Is Here” tee.

Match 1 – Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio

The Miz prepares for his upcoming gig hosting SummerSlam (whatever that means) by joining the announcers for this bout. And he gets an early breather because there's a commercial break. Van Dam is building momentum when we return, but Del Rio rolls away from Rolling Thunder and hits a kick for two. A second Rolling Thunder connects for RVD to get a near fall, but he's prevented from going up top. Ricardo Rodriguez tries to help with a bucket in the corner only to see it backfire and Van Dam get the pinfall. A livid ADR repeatedly takes his frustration out on his ring announcer. Just like the bad old days! Maybe dropkicking the stairs into his head was a little much though, eh Alberto?

Cody Rhodes introduces a video that shows us some of the recent goings-on between him and his former best friend, Damien Sandow. Apparently Rhodes fished the Money in the Bank briefcase out of the Gulf of Mexico, though it's now “a little damp.” Sandow comes down the ramp, calling for Rhodes to put the case down and leave. He does, but it's just a ruse to sucker Sandow into a fight. Rhodes wins a brief scuffle and opens the case to reveal a very soggy contract.

Match 2 – Ryback vs. Mark Henry

There's a serious staredown as the two big men size each other up. They go toe to toe for about two minutes, but Ryback decides that discretion is the better part of valor and takes off slowly up the ramp. Yay, a count out! #WeakSauce

The Bella Twins argue about who is hotter and plug Total Divas something fierce. Eva Marie and Natalya also drops by to give Brie a literal slap in the face. Bam!

Cena makes his way to the ring to explain that even though Bryan is a legitimate fan favorite, he's speaking out of ignorance when he implies that John has never been through any hard times in his career. His promo takes a bit of an edge when he implies that Bryan glorifies wrestling in the indies because that's where he's most comfortable. Oh I get it, he's playing the company guy again. He tries to position himself as the underdog while some of the crowd breaks out a “Boring!” chant. Cena's about to wrap things up when Randy Orton comes out toting his Money in the Bank briefcase. He warns Cena about how he'll ultimately wind up the WWE Champion, but both men end up on the defensive as The Shield makes its way out. Bryan runs down and all of a sudden it's three-on-three. Brad Maddox quickly makes it official: there's going to be a six-man tag for tonight's main event.

Tons of Funk is about to come out when the Wyatt Family interrupts with its own dramatic entrance. Oh wait, this is an actual match.

Match 3 – Tons of Funk vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan)

This is a squash, or pretty darn close to one. The Wyatts win a quick match while hardly breaking a sweat, and Bray Wyatt nails Brodus Clay with the Sister Abigail. Bray uses the moment as a message for Kane, but the Big Red Monster has a message of his own from the big screen. Kane tells Wyatt that he understands why he wants to maim everyone in his way because he does the same things – but he does them for his own amusement, not to spread a message. He warns Bray that his family won't be able to save him inside a ring of fire at SummerSlam, but Wyatt simply laughs amidst the flames.

Josh Mathews asks CM Punk about Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman, and Punk questions why Axel is so blindly loyal to his manager. He also vows to neuter The Beast at SummerSlam. Um, probably not literally.

Match 4 – Layla vs. Kaitlyn

For some reason, Layla has turned on Kaitlyn and turned heel. Okay then. Kaitlyn has things going her way when some familiar music hits and AJ Lee skips around the ring. The distraction allows Layla to hit the Bombshell, and once again, someone gets over on poor Kaitlyn. The heels skip away holding hands.

Match 5 – Christian vs. Heath Slater

The rest of 3MB is lurking, and Christian ends up walking into a jumping kick. Of course Christian can do some of that too, getting a near fall with a big dropkick. Christian flips Slater back into the ring from the apron and almost gets the win with a leaping sunset flip. Heath dances after hitting another move in the corner, but that just gets him speared and pinned.

Match 6 – CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel

The fight stars on the ramp as Punk tries to go after Heyman. The ref finally gets the action in the ring, where Punk shows off his mat wrestling skills before sending Axel out to the floor and taking flight with a suicide dive. Commercial time. Heyman finally makes his way to ringside after the break, and Punk stares holes in him while connecting on a suplex. Punk's anger gets him to chase after Heyman on the floor, where Axel lies in wait with a big clothesline. Curtis misses coming off the middle rope, and Punk hits some running shots and a swinging neckbreaker. A high knee and a clothesline put Axel on his back, but he rallies quickly with a neckbreaker for two. Punk rises to hit a high kick and both men are down. CM goes after Paul, the ref calls for the bell, and Brock Lesnar heads for the ring. Axel tries to ambush Punk from behind only to get the Go To Sleep for his troubles. Punk and Lesnar collide, and a jumping clothesline off the announce table puts Brock down. Unfortunately for the Second City Saint, Lesnar revives and uses a belly-to-belly suplex to gain control. They head for the ring where a chair comes into play, and when Punk gets distracted by Heyman again, Lesnar is able to drop him with an F-5. Punk eats some chair shots before Heyman raises his man's hand in victory.

Lesnar and Heyman deliver a message through the backstage interviewer: Punk may not make it to SummerSlam. For some reason, Heyman challenges Punk to a one-on-one fight next week. Wait, what?

Match 7 – Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston

Nice to see Kofi back from injury, but he looks rusty in the opening minutes as Fandango makes him kick out of multiple pinfall attempts. There's some aerial moves from Kingston, who finishes his flurry with a Boom Drop. Fandango kicks Kofi from the apron and uses the ropes for leverage, but to no avail. Kofi rolls away from a top rope move and hits a high cross body for two, and the Trouble in Paradise that follows makes this one a wrap.

Triple H is visited by a crying Stephanie, who reveals that her dad chewed her out for the disaster that was the makeover segment. The Game goes off on how Vince has lost it, and he's tired of it. He promises to upend whatever schemes the chairman has to ruin SummerSlam.

Hey everyone, the Real Americans are here! Zeb Colter accuses the fans of allowing the cheese they eat of clogging their brain cells as well as their arteries. Nice.

Match 8 – Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro vs. The Usos

The Real Americans look very impressive right from the opening bell, using quick tags and good teamwork to seize control of the match. Jimmy Uso strains as he needs to make a tag, and he battles his way out of the neutral corner to get Jey involved. Swagger saves Cesaro from being pinned, but he gets thrown to the floor and neutralized by a flying Jimmy. Cesaro jumps into a big kick but manages to kick out at two. Swagger sneaks in a right hand from the floor, and Cesaro uses the Neutralizer to pin Jey.

Match 9 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston

AJ looks on as Ziggler gets tossed to the outside, and Langston rolls him back in for a near fall. Dolph uses a jawbreaker to get himself out of trouble, attacks Langston in the corner and gets his own two count with a neckbreaker. Back and forth they go with near falls until Kaitlyn wanders down. The women scrap on the floor, then take the fight into the ring. Ziggler looks to break them up but that gives Langston a big opening. The Big Ending spells lights out for Ziggler, and Kaitlyn looks sheepish as she realizes what she's inadvertently done.

Hey let's promote USA's Summer Camp show. Um, no thanks.

Main Event – Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and John Cena vs. The Shield

Doesn't seem like there's a lot of time left for a match this big, but here we go. Bryan takes on Dean Ambrose and quickly falls prey to some good Shield teamwork. Roman Reigns takes the baton and keeps up the pressure, and Bryan is forced to kick out of pinfall attempts by all three of his opponents. Bryan eventually gets the Yes Lock applied but the rest of The Shield invades and gets the match thrown out. Orton hits Bryan with an RKO, helps Cena repulse The Shield, then hits Cena with an RKO. JBL urges Orton to cash in his briefcase, and he summons it from the officials. The Viper slowly climbs into the ring, but The Shield decides to return and beat up on Cena and Bryan some more. He's not helping either of his two rivals as Raw comes to a close. See you in seven!