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   October 20, 2014



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Raw: Is there a new "Face" of the WWE?
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling


With the WWE shaken up after the questionable decisions regarding the Royal Rumble, what’s going to happen now that the wrestling world has had a week to digest some of the changes?

We kick off tonight’s Monday Night Raw, from the now famous city of Omaha, NE (thank you Peyton Manning). Since Denver was not victorious last night, I get the feeling there isn’t going to be much said about Manning’s favorite Nebraska city.

Orton comes out to kick off the show. Of course he has his usual diatribe about how unfair it is for him to have to compete inside the Elimination Chamber in a few weeks. The crowd begins this speech by chanting “CM Punk” maybe hoping that the Authority will take notice and give Punk what he wants so he’ll return to the WWE.

Randy says he’ll be victorious inside the Chamber as well as at WrestleMania when he takes on the “jacked-up, muscle-bound, genetic freak Batista.” (His words, not mine.) Orton continues to run his mouth for a little while longer, saying he’s the best WWE Superstar of all time...blah, blah, blah.

Cue Hunter’s music and Stephanie and Triple H come out. As Stephanie talks, the crowd starts chanting for CM Punk again. Steph says that Randy is overthinking everything and it’s making him paranoid. She asks if Randy is going to let the WWE Universe get to him. Orton says he doesn’t care what they (Universe) think.

Hunter says he’s heard Orton time and time again, and that complaining about this isn’t what he’d expect from the Face of the WWE. Hunter says maybe it’s time for the Authority to place their faith in someone else. The YES! chants begin.

Stephanie says that until the Chamber PPV, Orton will be taking on each opponent in a singles match. And should tonight’s opponent become victorious, Steph adds that she can’t believe she’s saying this, then the Authority would strongly consider this man as the new face of the company. Who is said wrestler, you ask? Why it’s Daniel Bryan! Even Trips starts doing the “YES!” motion with the Universe, effectively leading the YES! movement.

We’re shown a recap of the Rumble Kickoff match between the Rhodes Boys and the New Age Outlaws. If you tuned into Smackdown! last Friday, Hunter announced that there would be the official title rematch tonight inside a steel cage.

The Shield music hits and all three members head down to the ring to compete in a 6-man tag match. We’re shown a recap of the Wyatt’s costing the Shield the Chamber opportunity, as well as on Smackdown with the Shield getting their match against the Wyatts. Before this match we’re going to commercials.

Match 1: Six-Man Tag The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston

We start off with the IC and US Champions going up against each other. JBL might be doing a slight face turn as he asks a very good question about when was the last time Dean Ambrose had a match with his US title on the line. As JBL says “It’s easy to hold it (the title) for 14 years if you never defend it.” While it hasn’t been that long, he does bring up a good point, kind of like with Shawn Michaels and the European title back in the late 90’s who went more than 2 months without defending that title.

Kofi and Rollins have a couple nice spots together. Kofi hits a nice monkey flip before the Shield starts their extended beatdown of Kofi. All three members tag in during this but Kofi is able to finally get a tag into Rey who nails Rollins with a seated senton and gets a few more good shots in. However, Romain Reigns is able to get a tag in and while Rollins hoists Mysterio over his shoulders, Reigns is able to deliver his Superman Punch, kind of like how Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart did the Hart Attack. But Kofi breaks up the pin.

We go to commercials and when we return Reigns is still in control of Rey. There’s an extended beatdown on Mysterio, but he is finally able to tag in Big E. Big E hits Reigns with a few nice high impact moves including a belly-to-belly suplex and a corner spear. Pandemonium ensues with all the competitors getting involved before it’s just Big E and Roman in the ring.

Roman hits the Superman Punch on Big E, but before he can hit the spear, Dean tags himself in and picks up the win. Reigns isn’t pleased, but Seth intervenes, reminding them that they still won, it didn’t matter who made the cover.

The arena goes dark and Bray Wyatt appears on the big screen. Bray says he’s figured out the Shield and I have to say, he’s got a good point. According to Bray, the Shield is nothing more than a group of pawns. They never move backward, only forward. And they claw their way forward a little at a time until it’s time for them to sacrifice themselves for their true master. Both Harper and Rowen each add their own two cents and basically tell the Shield they’re in trouble.

It’s #BnB time! Barrett talks about the Super Bowl and for all the 111 million American who watched the game, he’s of course got bad news. Something about us shoving way too much unhealthy food into our stomachs yesterday that most of us won’t be around for the next Super Bowl.

King doesn’t like this and speaks up to Barrett. It’s short and simple: hopefully Barrett won’t be around next week. Cue King’s music and Michael Cole pimps out the WWE App and the WWE Network, which leads into a promo for the network. Captain Charisma makes his way to the ring for the next match and we go to commercials.

Match 2: Singles-Christian vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Antonio and Zeb)

When these two men fought last week, it was for a spot in the Chamber with Christian coming out with the win. While this isn’t for another spot in the Chamber, it’s time for Swagger to get some retribution. Jack maintains control for most of the match. Both men go for the kill, but each time they hit the Killswitch or Patriot Lock, the other is able to escape. Christian is finally able to counter one final top turnbuckle move and turn it into a seated pin for the victory.

Neither Antonio nor Zeb is happy, but there doesn’t appear to be another breakup like with PTP last week. We’re shown the reason for the Steel Cage match and the cage begins to lower. The Outlaws appear and cut their traditional promo. Still not sure if the WWE wants them as tweeners because the crowd still loves them (at least their intro), even though they beat the Rhodes Boys for the title. Cody and Goldust make their way to the ring and we go to commercials before the match starts.

Match 3: Steel Cage Tag-WWE Tag Team Champions New Age Outlaws vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust

Before the match starts, we’re informed that Raw will have a guest star next week: Betty White? This seems like something that would have only worked with Mae Young still around. #RIPMaeYoung

At last, the cage has lowered and the match begins. Thank you Michael Cole for letting us know that you can ONLY win by pinfall or submission, escaping the cage doesn’t win the match. Also, it’s not a Tornado Tag match so the teams do have to tag in.

Road Dogg isn’t happy about this match and tries to escape the match at the beginning, even though he can’t. He asks Billy what they are doing in this match and tags in Billy. Throughout the match, the crowd continues to chant for CM Punk. We’re informed that during the match #SteelCage (what Cole told us to tweet during the match) is the top thing trending on Twitter worldwide right now. We then go to commercials.

Cody starts to climb the cage and Road Dogg tries to stop him but is knocked down for his troubles. Cody gets to the top of the cage and goes for a moonsault. Cody just grazes Road Dogg but it looks like Cody took the worst of it. Billy hits the Fame-Ass-er for the win. We’re shown the replay and Cody’s tumble looks pretty bad. Cody is helped up by his brother and before we go to commercials we’re shown a preview of the Chamber match.

Match 4: Singles-Zack Ryder vs. Titus O’Neil

I like the new no-nonsense theme of O’Neil. We’re shown last Friday, the breakup of PTP. Titus goes to work on Zack and during the match the Miz, in suit and tie, comes down to help out with commentary. He has a problem with Zack Ryder being in the match because of his fake Internet Championship and then leaves. Okay…Ryder gets in some offense, but Titus is able to put him away for the pinfall.

Dance off: Summer Rae w/ Fandango vs. ??? w/ Santino Marella

Before the match starts, the WWE is honoring Black History Month and does a piece on Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd, the original 2-sport athlete, according to the WWE. Not only was Ladd an athlete but he also fought for civil rights, including boycotting the 1965 AFL All-Star Game due to it’s unfair treatment of African American athletes. Ladd is the only man to be a member of both the WWE and AFL Halls of Fame.

I would like to say I’m digging (seriously) Fandango’s outfight tonight. It looks like Bam Bam Bigelow’s flaming attire. Before the match, Santino gets a mic and starts talking to “Fandingo.” Marella asks the WWE Universe if they’d like to have a dance-off between Summer Rae and an audience member. Summer Rae agrees. Guess who will be her competition? Emma, the #EMMAlution sign girl from NXT.

It’s really hard to describe the actual competition. Summer actually did a good job and Emma was kind of spazzy. But this is a popularity competition, so Emma wins. I really hope this doesn’t start Emma-ing or whatever it could be called. Sheamus is introduced and we go to commercials before his opponent comes out.

Match 5: Singles-Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel w/ Ryback

Sheamus and Axel each get an extended beatdown on each other. Axel starts wearing down Sheamus with a series of holds, but in the end, the Celtic Warrior is able to put Curtis down with a Brogue Kick for the pinfall victory. After the match Ryback and Sheamus start talking back and forth to each other, but they don’t come to blows.

We go backstage as Batista heads to the ring. We’re shown a promo for the new Shawn Michael “Mr. WrestleMania” Blu Ray that comes out next week. We get back from commercials and the Animal gets a mixed reaction. Maybe there aren’t a lot of boos, but he certainly isn’t getting the cheers that a typical face would get.

Big Dave gets a mic but before he can say anything, ADR’s music hits and Del Rio decides to speak his mind. Apparently ADR thinks they still have unfinished business, but Dave says he has no problem with Del Rio and his return to the WWE has nothing to do with ADR. It turns out ADR just isn’t too happy with Batista taking four years off before returning.

Del Rio says that being famous doesn’t make you a champion, but having a pair of cojones , does. ADR doesn’t consider Batista an animal, but rather a little Chiwawa and that he’s going to hurt Batista. Dave says again that he doesn’t have an issue with ADR but Del Rio sucker punches him and goes to work on the 2014 Rumble winner. Alberto goes to dish out more pain, but Dave counters. He can’t hit the Batista Bomb as ADR escapes, but it seems like we have another Elimination Chamber match set up.

Before we go to commercials, the first team for the next match makes their way to the ring to face the Wyatt’s next. We’re told that Mark Henry will return to Raw next week.

Match 6: Six-Man Tag-Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. the Wyatt Family

I think we all know what to expect in a match like this with the Wyatt’s preparing for their match against the Shield in less than three weeks. The smaller team of Truth, Woods and Ziggler get a lot of quick offensive moves in on all three bigger members of the Wyatt Family, but in the end, Harper nails Ziggler with the 360 clothesline and tags in Bray to deliver Sister Abigail for the pinfall.

After the win, the Shield appears on the Titantron. Dean says they don’t live in the same world with these imaginary monsters. Seth says Bray is delusional if he thinks the Wyatts can beat the Shield. Reigns adds that the Wyatt’s are now in the Shield’s yard and come Elimination Chamber, playtime is over. Bray laughs and yells at them to bring it. Can’t wait for this match!

We come back from commercials and are “treated” to another promo of Alexander Rusev. I don’t speak Russian, so I can’t comment.

Match 6: Divas Singles- Naomi w/ Cameron vs. Aksana w/ Alicia Fox

Before the match starts, Michael Cole informs us of an “on this day” in WWE history. Back in 2000, Jacqueline defeated Harvey Wippleman in 18 seconds to become the new Women’s Champion. On cue, the current Divas Champion, AJ Lee, alone with Tamina Snuka. AJ gives JBL her hat and proceeds to do commentary with the trio. According to AJ, she’s been the Divas champion for 232 straight days now, the longest reigning Divas champion.

Without getting into too much detail, Naomi was able to pick up the win. With a few wins under her belt over the Divas champ, will a title opportunity be in the near future for Naomi? Here’s hoping! We head to commercials but before that, we’re reminded that in just 62 days WrestleMania XXX comes to NOLA.

Main Event: Singles-Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

Before the match starts, we’re told that on Smackdown Orton will be taking on Christian in his second of five matches against his Chamber opponents. Of course the crowd is all for Daniel. We get some interesting offense from Bryan. Maybe thanks to his two weeks with the Wyatts, Daniel got more vicious. He drags Orton to the turnbuckle and wraps Orton’s legs around it. Then Bryan goes back to the ring divider, runs up and delivers a dropkick to Orton’s knee while it’s still wrapped around the ringpost.

Bryan continues to work on that injured knee, including a modified sharpshooter and a very unique pinning attempt from an Indian Deathlock position. Randy is finally able to get some offense but it seems like every time Orton gets some offense in, Bryan quickly stops his momentum and continues to work on the injured leg including a Half Boston Crab.

The fight spills out to ringside and its here when Orton finally get some constant attacking in. Randy drops Bryan on the barricade but can’t put him away. Bryan fights back inside the ring and we finally get our first commercial break of this match with both men on the mat in pain. We return from commercial and Bryan is kicking Orton’s midsection. Daniel goes for a running kick and Orton goes for an unusual counter I don’t know the name for.

Bryan ends up landing on the shoulder he injured earlier in the match and Orton headbutts Daniel out of the ring. Orton now goes to work on the injured shoulder including using the ringposts to his advantage. Orton keeps going for different armlocks, trying to wear down Daniel, but Bryan doesn’t submit. Orton goes for a superplex, but Daniel knocks him off and delivers a missile dropkick. The two men get up and start trading attacks on their respective injured limbs.

Orton takes a little too long to showboat and Bryan gets the YES! Lock. Orton was able to reach the ropes with his feet so Bryan goes back to kicking Randy’s legs. Bryan goes for the knockout knee when Orton delivers a great dropkick to stop Daniel. Orton hits the hanging rope DDT but can’t deliver the RKO as Bryan counters and heads up for the flying headbutt but Orton kicks out at two.

Bryan can’t believe it and goes to town, kicking Orton repeatedly. Before Daniel can go for a pin, out comes “Corporate” Kane who Bryan greats by hitting with a suicide dive outside the ring. Bryan tosses Orton back in the ring and hits a drop toe hold on Kane into the ring steps before he can finally hit the running knee for the win.

The crowd loves it and the chanting starts. Orton and Kane get into the ring and start double teaming Daniel. Kane hits a chokeslam on his former tag partner and out comes Kane’s pyro as Orton and Kane stand over Bryan. It’s funny to see Orton holding his titles up high like he won the match when it took two men to finally stop Bryan as we go off the air.

Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He wonders if the CM Punk chants will continue or if this was a one-time deal. What do you think? Email him your thoughts.