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   November 25, 2014



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Raw: Bryan beatdown in Baltimore, IC finals set
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling


With the reuniting of Evolution last week on Raw, one of the big questions this week will be seeing how the Shield responds to their newest adversary. In addition, will we find out Daniel Bryan’s next opponent for his newly won WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Tonight WWE comes to us live from Baltimore, Maryland in the aptly named Baltimore Arena.

We begin the show with the current champion heading down to the ring where his new bride, Brie Bella is waiting for him. If you're wondering why Daniel looks sad on the top of the ramp, the unfortunate news is that his father just unexpectedly died and he refused to take the night off. My condolences to Bryan and his family.

Daniel meets his wife in the ring and the new couple does Bryan’s signature YES! move but before anything else happens, out comes Stephanie McMahon, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Steph says she wants to congratulate Daniel on the past few weeks which included him being the new champion as well as his marriage to Brie. She has a wedding gift for the new couple, which she admits isn’t a traditional one. The gift? Bryan now knows his next opponent for his belt: Kane (hopefully with mask in tow).

Not what I would call a good gift, but different strokes I guess. Stephanie does suggest to Daniel that he gets his new bride out of harms way. As soon as she finishes, out comes Kane’s pyro, but not the Big Red Monster. Stephanie tells Kane, wherever he is, that now is not the time for him to come out. As Bryan tries to safely escort Brie, Kane (with the mask on) comes out of the crowd and grabs Daniel by the throat.

Stephanie tries to ward off Kane, and even tells Brie to get out of there now. Bryan tries to fight off Kane, but of course, he out muscles his former tag partner including hitting Daniel with a Tombstone Piledriver outside the ring. Steph admonishes Kane for his actions, but Kane isn’t done yet.

Kane removes the steel steps and hits another Tombstone on Bryan, this time on the steps. Steph calls for the EMTs to check on Bryan because he is out cold. Out comes the stretcher and as Bryan gets loaded up, Kane goes back to work on the champ. The announce table starts to get taken apart. Steph is furious at Kane and continues to yell at him to stop this, but Kane doesn’t respond. He gets Bryan up on the announce table and delivers Tombstone number 3.

Steph may have had enough. She calls Kane a bastard, and that at least gets his attention, as he heads off to the backstage. The EMTs come back and are finally able to load Bryan up. As we return from a quick break, Stephanie is still in the ring, holding both titles, but not in an arrogant way. Brie is with the EMTs and we’re shown a recap of the carnage that just took place. Stephanie asks the crowd to give the champ a round of applause. It’s tough to tell if her character is rubbing it in Daniel’s face or if she is actually concerned.

Match 1: IC Semi Finals- Bad News Barrett vs. Sheamus

Next up will be a continuation of the #1 Contender’s tournament for the IC Title. Of course, before #BNB enters the ring, he’s got some bad news (who would have ever guessed?). Basically he says that Sheamus’ luck of the Irish is coming to an end tonight as he will be advancing to the next round of the tourney. We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

A good match to start off the show. Lots of power moves by both men. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but Barrett counters it into the Winds of Change but only gets 2 for his troubles. Down goes the elbow pad and here comes the Bull Hammer! Sheamus counters that into White Noise but again, just a 2 count. The fight spills out of the ring for a little. Barrett slips outside the ring to catch his breath. Sheamus goes right after the Brit which ends up being a bad choice. The Bull Hammer connects out of nowhere and true to his words, the Irishman’s luck has run out.

Winner by pinfall...Bad News Barrett

After a commercial break, we’re told that Hugh Jackman will be at next week’s Raw. Somehow Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow got into a Twitter war about that. Maybe these two guys will be fighting at Extreme Rules? For now, it’s time for the WWE Universe to decide John Cena’s opponent tonight. Not really a fan of this one because the three options are as follows: Luke Harper, Luke Harper AND Erick Rowan or all 3 members of the Wyatt Family. I’m just curious why Erick Rowan can’t take on Cena by himself.

Out comes the Wyatt Family. Bray talks about the first time he was “struck by truth”. Turns out it tasted bitter to him, but he liked it because it was real. He goes on about free will being man’s biggest illusion because the sheep are led by the wolves who in turn answer to the pigs. (I just write this stuff, I don’t claim to understand it) Bray says tonight would be a wonderful night for change, and that it’s up to the WWE Universe to decide John’s fate: give Cena an easy path or force him to finally learn the truth.

What is that truth? Regardless of who John faces, the fact is that the Universe no longer loves him. As you can imagine, that gets a decent pop. Bray then starts singing “The Whole World” song and of course the Universe joins in with him.

Match 2: Six-Man Tag- Los Matadores and El Torito vs. 3MB w/ Hornswaggle

In case you didn't see Main Event last week, El Torito and Hornswaggle are now beefing with each other. No idea why. I don’t care the reason. I’m glad I finally get to see this because now 3MB actually has a chance at winning the occasional match. In case you were wondering, Heath Slater is the lone member of 3MB not officially in the match. Of course, this is still 3MB, so it’s no surprise when they lose the match.

Winners by pinfall...Los Matadores

Before we go to commercial, we’re shown the carnage that Evolution caused last week. What do you know? It’s the 3 member of Evolution as they exit their obligatory stretch limo as they head to the ring. I would like to say that it’s nice to see Big Dave no longer wearing the hipster fashion. He looks a little odd wearing the Brad Maddox vest and tie, but it’s a serious improvement nonetheless.

After the commercials, here comes Evolution. Hunter is REALLY horse when he talks tonight, even by Johnny Ace standards. It’s a little distracting. Hunter describes the Shield as the kid on the block who bragged about how tough he was. But then once his father shows up and puts a whoopin' on that kid in front of the whole world, it’s tough to take him at his word ever again.

We get a quick video package of the destruction Evolution caused when they first formed more than 10 years ago (wow, time does fly) but before they get much more in, the Shield comes to the ring. Evolution wisely hightailed it out of the ring before the Hounds of Justice get their hands on them.

Dean takes the mike, admits that last week they were beaten, but that wasn’t the first (or the last) time the Shield will be on the receiving end of a beat down. Dean reminds Hunter that they were originally hired to protect Trips and “that little creampuff to the left of you, Randy Orton”. That gets a nice pop.

Seth gets his say in and says that the Shield is going to rip Evolution apart. Roman doesn’t have much to say, but he doesn’t need to. He basically says in a few seconds he’s going to drop the mic and then the Shield is going up the ramp and beat Evolution’s asses. Roman says Evolution has two options: act like men and try to stop them, or act like creampuffs and run and hide. Cue mic drop and we’re about to find out answer.

Evolution goes with Option C which means most of the heel wrestlers instantly come to the ramp as the new hired goons. The Shield fortunately knows how to count and they decide not to tempt fate right now. Before we go to commercials, we’re once again shown Kane’s beatdown of Daniel Bryan.

Match 3: Tag Team- Usos vs. Rhodes Boys

Rybaxel joins up for commentary on this one. I’m not a follower of Total Divas, so I was surprised to know that last night on the show was the wedding between Jay and Naomi. Congrats to the second WWE newly-wed couple in as many weeks.

Of course, Rybaxel makes some disparaging remarks during the match, but it was nice to hear both guys actually talk like people, as opposed to wrestlers. The Usos get the win in an interesting fashion. Cody is going for the Cross Rhodes but before he can connect, the other Uso twin nails him with a superkick for the win. Even Ryback says he’s impressed with the Usos winning the match. Hopefully Rybaxel will get more opportunities to do guest commentary.

Winners by pinfall...The Usos

After the match Goldust tries to help up his brother, but Cody wants to part of it. He pushes Goldust away and rolls out of the ring noticeably angry. Goldy goes after his brother and with that Rybaxel jumps in the ring to beat down on the champs. Of course, the Usos are tired so Rybaxel gets the job done with minimal effort. Before we go to commercials, we’re reminded of the other IC Semi-Final match taking place later tonight.

Match 4: Divas- Layla w. Fandango vs. Emma w/ Santino Marella

Layla gets some cheap offense in at the beginning as Fandango caused a distractions by knocking Santino off the mat. However, Emma is able to recover and gets her own offense in. Turnabout being fair play, Santino hits Fandango with the Cobra. This allows Emma to start hopping on one leg (seriously). However, there’s a reason for this. She has her own Cobra (a purple one) stuck in her boot and that’s how she recovers it. One hit on Layla and that’s all she wrote.

Winner by pinfall...Emma

Afterwards we get the awkwardness of both Santino and Emma which includes their cobras refusing to let each other go. I’m going to avoid this one so you just use your imagination.

After the commercial break we get a backstage interview with John Cena. He seems genuinely upset. John says that since ‘Mania has ended, he keeps hearing the Universe chant “He’s got the whole world” song and it gets louder every time. And if Cena has to face all 3 members tonight, so be it.

Match 5: IC Semi Finals- Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman vs. RVD

Finally Cesaro has a new song for his entrance. I’m curious if Heyman is going to keep bragging about Brock beating ‘Taker at ‘Mania this year until next year’s ‘Mania. My guess is that he will. During Paul’s speech Raw randomly goes to commercials in the middle of Heyman’s sentence so I have no idea what he said. We finally come back and Heyman sounds like he’s just repeating himself over and over again about Brock doing the unthinkable, over and over again.

RVD’s music hits and we finally no longer have to listen to Paulrus speak. As King points out, we have the new Paul Heyman guy vs. one of the original Paul Heyman guys. As you can imagine, it’s Cesaro’s strength against RVD’s agility. Cesaro gets ready to deliver the Cesaro Swing but Jack Swagger’s music hits and out comes his former tag partner.

Swagger comes to the ring, but appears to just be distracting Cesaro. RVD goes for a top rope move to Cesaro outside the ring, but Cesaro hits a European uppercut to quell that offense. Cesaro pushes Van Dam back in the ring, which allows Swagger to shove his former buddy into the ring post. For once we actually get a reasonably quick (by wrestling standards) 10 count as RVD will advance to face Bad News Barrett in the finals.

Winner by countout...Rob Van Dam

After that we get Swagger going to town on Cesaro momentarily. Cesaro tosses Swagger out of the ring and it’s now just Zeb and Cesaro together. We all know what’s about to happen now. Cesaro grabs Zeb by the facial hair, but before he can swing his former manager, Jack steps in and sacrifices himself so Zeb can escape. Swagger gets spun 11+ times for his effort.

We return from commercials and have Renee Young talking to RVD about his “victory”. Cesaro and Paul show up to voice their displeasure and I can’t say I blame them. However, it’s not like Van Dam orchestrated the ending. RVD has some words of wisdom for Cesaro: make sure to keep his wallet, house and future as far away from Paulrus as possible.

Match 6: Non-Title Divas- Aksana vs. Divas Champion Paige

Just like the past two weeks, Paige seems over-matched through the beginning of the match. However, Paige finally gets momentum including a nasty knee to Aksana’s nose. King and Cole both agreed that if that move happened to them, they would have given up right then. Paige gets that modified Scorpion Cross Lock for the duke.

Winner by submission...Paige

Match 7: Singles- Александър Русев (Alexander Rusev) w/ Lana vs.Sin Cara

We all know how this one is ending. However, I would simply like to tell Lana: “Я тебя люблю”. That’s the literal translation of “I love you”. Sin Cara actually lasts a lot longer than I expected, but in the end, Rusev gets the Accolade locked in and that’s all she wrote.

Winner by submission...Александър Русев

After the commercial break, John Cena makes his way to the ring. But who will he be facing? It turns out the WWE Universe is feeling quite sadistic as the Wyatt Family will all be against Cena tonight. But that’s not until after the next commercial break.

Match 7: 3-on-1 Handicap- John Cena vs. Wyatt Family

While it is a handicap match, the Wyatts do need to tag each other in. The match is what you’d expect. The numbers game means the Wyatts are in control. Cena gets occasional flurries of offense, but nothing sustainable. However, the Wyatt’s can’t put Cena away.

Cena hits Bray with the AA but before he can get the pin, Harper and Rowan start mugging Cena, “forcing” the ref to call for the bell.

Winner by disqualification...John Cena

Of course, Bray didn’t care about the win in this one. He hits Sister Abigail on John and then Bray sits down, cradling Cena’s head like it was a baby and says “In time, all things come to light.” Before his traditional song as the Universe joins along as we fade to black with him still cradling Cena's head. Creepy indeed.

Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He wants to know what you think of the current Extreme Rules lineup, specifically which titles you think will be changing hands in two weeks. Email him your thoughts.