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   August 01, 2014



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Raw: Bryan gets a choice, the Shield gets a lesson
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


The road to Payback doesn't exactly have the same cachet as the road to WrestleMania, but it doesn't matter since we're nearing the end of it anyway. Raw hits the University of Tennessee tonight to set the stage for the next pay-per-view, so let's get to the action, live on USA.

The Authority comes to the ring to kick off tonight’s show, and Stephanie McMahon is excited. Specifically, she’s excited about the possibility that Daniel Bryan will “do the right thing” and hand over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H talks about superstars who get to the top and stand the test of time, adapting to become legends instead of perishing as flashes in the pan like Bryan. Like Eddie Vedder once said, it’s evolution baby! Trips says the Shield is going to find out on Sunday that you can’t stop Evolution. There’s going to be a contract signing tonight, and the COO suggests that the members of the Shield not show up for that. There’s some business to attend to with Brad Maddox too, and Hunter seems a bit upset that the Raw GM allowed Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to be out at ringside in an official capacity last week. He explains that he had no choice because he was forced to do that. Steph suggests that they know feel they have no choice, at which point Kane comes down the ramp. Triple H decks Maddox with a right hand, and Kane delivers a chokeslam and Tombstone. To add insult injury to insult, Stephanie “future endeavors” Maddox, telling him he’s fired -- that’s assuming he’s even conscious to hear that.

Oh good, Bo Dallas is making his Raw debut tonight. I’m (not) ready to Bolieve!

Match 1 - Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam

Hey, both these guys are getting title shots on Sunday! But first, Bad News Barrett is afraid he’s got some bad news: not only will everyone discover that they’re too fat for their swimsuits now that summer is here, but he’s going to beat RVD on Sunday. Barrett joins the announcers for some guest commentary, extolling the versatility of the Bull Hammer. Van Dam tries a moonsault off the apron but is caught and dropped atop the barrier as we step out for commercials.RVD flies all over the place when we return, stopping only to drop Barrett with a thrust kick. A split-legged moonsault earns him a near fall, and he signals for the finish. Unfortunately, a distraction from Barrett is enough to allow Cesaro to hit a German suplex for the win. He can’t celebrate for long as Sheamus rushes to the ring to dish out a Brogue Kick, leaving Paul Heyman with a look of irritated astonishment.

Match 2 - Eva Marie vs. Summer Rae

There’s some Total Divas foolishness behind this one, but since I don’t watch that show, I don’t know or care what it is. Fandango and Layla come out and begin making out on stage, giving Eva Marie a chance to roll up Summer for the pinfall.

Randy Orton and Batista are interrupted by the Rhodes brothers, dropping by to make an open challenge to any tag team on the roster. Cody drops some verbal bombs, calling Batista a “skinny jeans sellout” and Randy “R-K-blows.” That gets him the action he and Goldust are looking for when Triple H shows up, but The Game warns it won’t be a normal match, it'll be an "interesting" one. Hmm ...

Match 3 - El Torito vs. Drew McIntyre

The little bull is getting tossed around, with JBL comparing him to a life-sized WWE wrestling buddy. As 3MB and Los Matadores get into it on the floor, El Torito is able to crotch McIntyre on the top rope and pin him. After the bell, Torito is surrounded, and Hornswoggle pulls off his tail.

Bray Wyatt and his followers lead another sing-along in the ring. He really does have the whole world in his hands as he reminds the people of Knoxville that they are poisoned every day they go to work and have someone pointing in their faces telling them what to be. Is he the snake or the cure? Wyatt wants to know if Cena is the enemy to all of them, but he also would like to speak to Jerry Lawler. The King refuses, but Wyatt sends Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to “persuade” him. JBL tries to come to Lawler’s aid, but that just gets him blasted by Wyatt’s henchmen. Cena tries making the save, but Harper and Rowan beat him down while Wyatt has Lawler trapped in the corner. Here come the Usos, clearing the ring and saving Jerry right before he was about to get a taste of Sister Abigail. Cena warns Wyatt about the lines he’s crossed and vows to bring him to justice at Payback. JBL is still out on the floor, in case you were wondering.

Zack Ryder is about to talk about Memorial Day when he’s quickly interrupted by Lana. She talks up the leadership of Vladimir Putin and, of course, the super athlete Rusev.

Match 4 - Zack Ryder vs. Rusev

Remember when Ryder was actually getting pushed? Hopefully he keeps those warm memories in mind while he’s getting beaten down and submitted by the Accolade. Big E fares better when he runs down, driving Rusev from the ring and proudly waving the American flag.

Stephanie McMahon talks to Alberto Del Rio backstage. What could that be about?

Match 5 - Randy Orton and Batista vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust

I’m not sure talking your way into a match with ⅔ of Evolution is really a good idea, but we’ll see. It certainly doesn’t start out that way for Goldust, who ends up taking serious abuse both before and after a commercial break.Cody gets tagged back in but runs into an RKO while coming off the ropes. A second RKO finds its target, and the Rhodes brothers lose. Or do they? The ring announcer reports that it was an elimination match, so Cody has to leave, and Goldust has to continue under No Holds Barred rules. They fight on the outside with Goldust quickly taking the worst of it. Yeah, he doesn’t last much longer, getting pinned in painful fashion.

JBL makes it back to the announcer table, just in time to Bolieve.

Match 6 - Sin Cara vs. Bo Dallas

Apparently Dallas’ gimmick includes getting very excited about routine moves. Sin Cara gets in a fair amount of offense, but Dallas ends up winning with a springboard bulldog before taking a victory lap. The win doesn’t really matter though, as long as you give it your all.

It must be decision time for Bryan, because Stephanie is on her way back to the ring. Sporting a neck brace but carrying both belts, the WWE World Heavyweight Champ gets the crowd going as he comes down the ramp. Bryan says his neck injury was worse than originally suspected, and there’s no shame in healing and coming back stronger than ever. But he’s a little angry about how she tried to put this on him, pointing out that Steph is doing this for herself. Handing over the titles would negate everything Bryan has fought for, so he’s going to tell Stephanie a word she’s not used to hearing: no (times like 12 or 15). Was that a tactical error? Steph rolls video of Brie Bella putting her hands on the owner a few weeks ago and gives Bryan one more chance to “do the right thing.” On Sunday, he either needs to hand over the titles or see his wife get fired.

Match 7 - Alicia Fox vs. Emma

Emma’s early offense make it appear that Fox will walk out on the match, but it’s just a ploy to get Emma to run into a big boot. Alicia has some fun smacking Emma around in the corner, but it’s not all smiles when she misses a running kick and gets rolled up for a three count. An enraged Fox takes out some frustration after the bell, tossing Emma right between the ropes and out to the floor.She abuses some of the ringside officials before stealing the bell and giving some poor guy a huge wedgie. An amusing outburst, to say the least.

Match 8 - Davy Crockett vs. Adam Rose

Rose only gets to showcase a few of his moves before Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter try to throw him off his game by threatening the lemon (and by that, I mean a guy in a lemon suit). Rose recovers and gets the victory with the Party Foul, but Swagger attacks after the bell and a brawl ensues. Rose ends up triumphing, telling Swagger, “Nobody touches my lemon.”

Match 9 - Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus

I sense interference coming in this one. Sheamus seizes the upper hand early but gets kicked off the apron to the floor. Time for commercials. The Celtic Warrior fights back after the break following Del Rio’s brave but dumb request for him to get up and fight. Sheamus looks a little woozy from a kick to the head but still slams ADR and sets up for the Brogue Kick. The trouble is that he’s still dazed, and Del Rio nails him with an enzuigiri. Somehow, Sheamus digs down, escapes a cross armbreaker attempt and wins the match with a Brogue Kick. Heyman makes the post-match announcement instead of the normal guy, but all that turns into is a ruse so Cesaro can attack without warning. Sheamus is hit with the Neutralizer, earning Cesaro a handshake from Heyman.

To finish things off, we’ve got a contract signing. The Shield comes to the ring first, emerging from high up in the stands as usual. They decide to rearrange the furniture a bit, and by that I mean throwing all of it out of the ring. Triple H warns that if they sign the contract, it’ll be the last time they’re ever seen on Raw. They do it anyway, with Roman Reigns expressing his disdain for Evolution by tossing the paperwork out on the floor. Reigns wants their foes in the ring for a fight, and it looks like he’s going to get it. Evolution teases leaving, but all three members climb in the ring, and the fight is on! With the help of a sledgehammer, Evolution gets the upper hand, and Reigns ends up taking a triple powerbomb ride through the announce table. Experience trumps youth for now, but will it be that way on Sunday? See you in seven!