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   October 20, 2014



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Raw: Bray Wyatt has the whole world in his hands -- including London
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


It's time for the time-honored tradition of having a Raw originate from London. On the minus side, that means the WWE will act like the show is live when it's really not. On the plus side, British wrestling fans are just awesome. See what I mean by reading up on this week's episode, all the way from the UK yet broadcasting on USA.

Bray Wyatt wants to sing, and he also wants to talk. He tells a story from his youth and a philosophical disagreement he had with one of his teachers, who called him evil. According to Bray, he’s had the last laugh since she’s in a retirement home with all of her regrets while he has the whole world in his hands. Wyatt admits he is evil, but he’s the necessary evil needed to balance the world out. With most of the fans behind him, he promises to end John Cena’s fairy tale at Payback -- if Luke Harper doesn’t put him down tonight. Cena sneaks in, hits Wyatt with an Attitude Adjustment and sneaks out before Harper and Erick Rowan can get their hands on him.

Video is shown of the most recent attack on Daniel Bryan. What’s his status following neck surgery? We’ll find out later tonight.

Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman. Just in case we’re not all clear, we’re supposed to worship his client Cesaro. Here comes someone who probably won’t, though: Sheamus.

Match 1 - Cesaro vs. Sheamus

Well, we’ve got ourselves a slugfest here.Sheamus is looking good after a commercial break, but Cesaro sends the United States champ shoulder-first into the post and nails him with a superplex. The Celtic Warrior kicks out of several pinfall attempts and catches Cesaro with an Irish Curse while rushing in. A high knee and rolling senton follow, and an exchange of blows leads to an extremely hard Irish whip by Cesaro. Sheamus flips himself up onto the top rope but gets smacked with an uppercut when he leaps forward. He manages to kick out at two, and the two men smash each other with strikes until Sheamus gets another near fall with a front slam. Heyman is up on the apron distracting the ref, allowing Cesaro to hit a German suplex from behind and steal the victory.

Graphic images of Roman Reigns getting stitched up are shown after last week’s donnybrook. Just kidding. Unless you faint at the site of any blood like my wife, you should be able to handle what’s on screen right now.

Match 2 - Big E vs. Ryback - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

So the deal here is that there will be a series of these matches, and whoever wins one of them the fastest will get a title shot against Bad News Barrett at Payback. That means we’ll be seeing tons of quick pinfall attempts with no chance of success, like right after a series of punches. JBL discusses how two big guys like this probably can’t finish as quickly as, say, Big Show against Barry Horowitz.Ryback connects with a huge running clothesline around the 4:15 mark, but it’s not enough to keep Big E down. Shortly after that, Big E pins Ryback with the Big Ending at 5:02, giving everyone else a target for which to shoot.

Match 3 - R-Truth vs. Fandango

At least I think there’s going to be a match here. The real drama is that Summer Rae marches down to the ring, kisses Fandango, and promptly gets into a scrap with Layla. No match then? Fine.

Please Bolieve that he’s finally going to make his debut this Friday on Smackdown. I’m fine with that, especially if it means we get to stop seeing those vignettes.

Mocking Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” chant, a gleeful Stephanie McMahon heads for the ring. She’s also got some bad news, though she uses a clip of Barrett to get that idea across. Since the fans deserve an active champion, Steph says she’s considering stripping the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and giving it to Kane, Barrett, Batista or Triple H. Eventually she says she won’t strip Bryan of the title, but she is demanding that he show up at Raw next week to surrender the belt, because that’s what is best for business.

Hey, 3MB is back to being the Union Jacks. Makes sense given the setting for tonight’s show. Lana comes out and talks up Vladimir Putin while putting down America. I’m not sure what the fans are chanting, but they’re really giving it to her. Naturally, this was a long-winded way to introduce the super athlete, Rusev.

Match 4 - Heath Slater vs. Rusev

Slater tries attacking Rusev on the ramp, which I suppose is as good a tactic as any considering what’s about to happen. He gets utterly destroyed, eventually forced to submit to the Accolade.

The Shield sounds off on Triple H, with Dean Ambrose wondering if Evolution is afraid. Reigns shows off his nine stitches and asks again if that’s all they’ve got. Seth Rollins adds that the repeated attacks haven’t taken them out, which is Evolution’s big mistake.

Match 5 - Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

Before the match, Del Rio says the “future of the planet” depends on him becoming a champion again. I love these matches simply because the first one sets the bar and the others have the time counting down instead of up. ADR gets a near fall with the Backstabber, but RVD prevents the cross armbreaker and goes up top. Del Rio evades the Five Star Frog Splash, and we’re down to less than 90 seconds. Van Dam kicks out of an enzuigiri, ducks a kick and rolls up Del Rio for the pin with plenty of time to spare. The new time to beat is 4:15.

Cena tells Renee Young that his plan is to even the odds with the Usos watching his back, but also acknowledges that the arena is filled with Wyatt supporters so there’s going to be some desperation. There’s an impromptu jam session of sorts too. Elsewhere, Evolution plans on having Batista ensure that Rollins doesn’t even make it to Payback.

Match 6 - Seth Rollins vs. Batista

Triple H decreed earlier that only official personnel would be allowed at ringside for this match. Conveniently, he’s named himself the official guest ring announcer and Randy Orton the official guest timekeeper. Rollins counters by introducing a pair of guest commentators, Ambrose and Reigns. Touche! JBL argues that guest commentators are not official. Ambrose gets into a verbal sparring match with him, while Reigns doesn’t even have a headset on. And we step out for commercials. Things threaten to turn into stable against stable combat when Batista knocks Rollins to the floor with a sliding kick, but both men find their way back into the ring. Rollins get hit with a huge elbow coming off the ropes and barely kicks out at two. The Game is over talking smack to Rollins, but he uses a flipping neckbreaker to get out of a tough spot on the top rope. Batista uses a big boot to slow his foe, but Rollins hits another acrobatic move to regain the momentum. A series of counters ends with Rollins kicking Batista to the floor and diving between the ropes to take down the big man. Orton rushes over and distracts Rollins, getting Ambrose and Reigns up from their chairs. Batista hits a spinebuster but can’t hit the spear, and Rollins connects with his flying knee for a near fall. The fans cheer Rollins as he goes up top, and there’s now a big scrap on the outside. Evolution has the edge on the outside, and Triple H clobbers Rollins with a big right hand. That loses the match for Batista, and he ends up getting a spear from Reigns. Triple H and Orton manage to save Batista from the triple powerbomb, but it’s Evolution who ends up in retreat.

Match 7 - Alicia Fox vs. Paige

Fox gets off to another strong start against Paige, and even after a strong rally from the champ, this is a very competitive bout. The champ gets smashed into the corner and knocked down with a kick, and Fox drags her back to the center of the ring, covers and gets the pinfall. Wow. She celebrates this week by taking Jerry Lawler’s crown and declaring herself the Queen.

Hey, we’re getting a Harper promo! Okay, just a short one before Wyatt gets another chance to talk. Bray calls the Usos dominoes in a line who will fall one by one.

Match 8 - Mark Henry vs. Dolph Ziggler - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

Ziggler says he loves this format, but maybe not against Henry, eh? The World’s Strongest Man hits the early offense, but both men have their chances to win as they go back and forth. Ziggler uses a dropkick to take Henry down with about 1:15 less and both men are slow to rise. Dolph heads for the top rope but gets caught in mid-air and nailed with a running powerslam. Ziggler kicks out at two, and while he slips out of a World’s Strongest Slam and hits the Zig Zag, time expires before he can make the cover. That means RVD wins the title shot, but his “prize” is a Bull Hammer from behind by Barrett. The Intercontinental Champ comes out to give us a lesson on Greenwich Mean Time. He says there’s no way this Englishman is going to lose to a bloody Yank at Payback.

Renee Young summons Adam Rose to the ring, and he naturally shows up with the Exotic Express in tow. He points out the cheeseburger in his entourage and says that it’s very important to be a rosebud and not a lemon. A question about Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter turns into a full-on bunny dance session. Of course Colter isn’t standing for that, but the fans try drowning him out by chanting Rose’s entrance music. Eventually, Swagger clocks Rose and menaces the Exotic Express. Rose recovers and comes flying back to drive Swagger off, but this feud is just beginning, methinks.

Main Event - John Cena vs. Luke Harper

The odds may be evened on the outside, but Cena is taking it on the chin early on in the ring. He finally gets Harper down, but the big man quickly gets up and interrupts the Five Knuckle Shuffle for a near fall. The fans are still chanting Rose’s music as Harper uses a dropkick and a suicide dive to take out Cena on the floor. A huge superkick finds its target back inside the ropes, but it’s still not enough to keep Cena down. A running clothesline finally gets Cena a second wind, and Harper soon finds himself in the STF. Eventually everyone ends up getting involved, and when Cena low bridges Wyatt, Harper almost wins the match. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment, but Rowan comes rushing in and the ref calls for the bell. The Usos have both been laid low by Sister Abigail, and that spells trouble for Cena, who also runs into Sister Abigail. Wyatt orders Rowan and Harper to continue their assault, and Cena takes a fallaway slam on the ramp. Cena gets another taste of Sister Abigail on the ramp, and Wyatt starts singing as Harper counts to ten. Maybe he really does have the whole WWE world in his hands as Raw fades out. See you in seven!