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   November 27, 2014



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Raw: A Divas storyline carries the night - really
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


I usually write these reports, including the opening paragraph, in the present tense. I'm going to make an exception tonight to say this: a feud between two females was the best thing about Raw from Houston, and I can't remember the last time I could say that. See what I mean by reading on - it was live from the Toyota Center on USA.

H-town stand up! John Cena admits that he was hoping his opponent at SummerSlam would not be Brock Lesnar, but since the Authority wants the belts off of him so badly, they were willing to get a mercenary to do their dirty work. He goes on to say that he understands some parts of the WWE Universe want to see Lesnar beat the hell out of him. Cena also says he knows what he’s up against, as no one can stop Lesnar and no one can control him, including Paul Heyman. Speak of the devil, Heyman comes out to say that his client is going to make Cena into a victim, Lesnar is going to conquer him, etc., and John responds the way you’d expect, by falling back on his passion for the business. It’s all pretty much paint-by-numbers stuff, until Cesaro comes out and gives a surprised Heyman a hug. Cesaro says that even though they decided to go their separate ways, he’s not about to allow Cena to insult his friend like that. After calling Cena a “walking billboard” who can’t wrestle, he issues a challenge, which the champ eagerly accepts.

Match 1 - John Cena vs. Cesaro

Cesaro’s power rules the early going, with Cena needing a minute to regroup on the outside. Cesaro counters a bulldog and takes us out to commercials. Cena looks like he had a mini-rally going while we were away, but he’s in trouble again until he’s able to counter the Cesaro Swing and get a two count. He gets another with a powerbomb, but he’s knocked off the top rope when he has thoughts of flying. Cesaro suplexes the champ in from the apron in impressive fashion, getting two near falls in a row. The Cesaro Swing is next, but Cena is able to worm his way out of a submission hold and hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cesaro grabs the top rope to escape the Attitude Adjustment and head butts Cena to the mat. The Swiss Superman leaps into a cross body, but Cena rolls through and lifts his foe up. The AA is attempted, but Cesaro hops down and delivers an elevated uppercut for two. He calls for the Neutralizer, and the two men exchange big boots to the face. They race for the turnbuckle, and Cena wins it by executing a top rope Attitude Adjustment to get the victory.

Stephanie McMahon tells her husband that she thought she could go back there, but she says she can’t bear to see the disappointment in her daughters’ eyes or get the smell out of her nose. Randy Orton barges in and complains about the way Lesnar horned in on their plan. Triple H explains that he could change the SummerSlam title match, but he’s not going to, because as long as Roman Reigns is in the picture, he’s just going to keep messing things up. He challenges Orton to take out Reigns, but when the Viper offers to do it tonight, he learns that Reigns already has a match with Kane. An angry Orton says he has a problem with Kane, with Reigns … and now with Triple H too.

Paige skips to the ring to try to explain herself. She blames her recent actions on her youth, and while she did get carried away by attacking A.J., she promises to never do it again. The Divas Champion doesn’t seem to believe her, looking more serious than normal. She says she doesn’t play games, and if she doesn’t like someone, she’ll say so in person. Paige claims she is a real friend, and if A.J. doesn’t believe it, she must be crazy. Ah, that touched a nerve. A.J. attacks Paige and they brawl outside the ring. Paige sticks to her story that they’re supposed to be friends even as she retreats up the ramp.

Man, they’re getting a ton of mileage out of this footage of the Steph-Brie confrontation. She’s in the ring with Hunter, looking like she’s going to cry. The Game says that there have been times he’s been disappointed in the fans over the years, but never as much as he was last week when they laughed at Stephanie getting arrested. Suggesting that the whole thing was a misunderstanding, he explains that the only charge that has not been dropped is the assault charge, so they want Brie Bella to come out and address it. That’s not Brie, it’s Chris Jericho! He’s not really feeling sorry for Steph since he leads the fans in singing the theme song from Cops. Making matters worse, Jericho wonders why Hunter didn’t go to the police station with her. The COO retorts that Chris should worry about Bray Wyatt, but when Jericho asks for Wyatt tonight, he’s told he’ll have to wait until SummerSlam. As for tonight … Seth Rollins clobbers Jericho from behind with his gold briefcase. There’s your answer.

Match 2 - The Miz, Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler and The Usos

There was only one match in the first 75 minutes of this show. Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods watch thanks to the magic of the convenient backstage monitor. The faces are in control leading up to a commercial break. Some fun action here, but the Miz’s need to protect his money maker leads to Ryback being left alone and falling prey to a Zig Zag that wins the match.

Match 3 - R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas

Taking a premature victory lap proves a poor move for Dallas, as Truth is able to roll him up, and …

I can’t believe what I just saw!

Do you Bo-lieve in miracles? Yes!

(Insert incredulous sports cliche here.)

Dallas shows his true colors by acting like he’s going to congratulate Truth before destroying him and leaving the ring sporting that goofy smile.

I don’t think this is a match, just a philosophical battle of words between Lana and Zeb Colter leading into a brawl. They fight to the ring, where each man tries and fails to apply his signature submission. There’s a flag-waving battle, but it’s Swagger and Old Glory who stand tall in the ring.

Damien Sandow gets called a sour, sour spaceman by Adam Rose. Oh, that’s because Sandow is dressed like an astronaut. Is he going to wrestle like that? Guess so.

Match 4 - Damien Sandow vs. Adam Rose

Well, it’s not much wrestling. Rose hits the Party Foul and pins Sandow. Dancing ensues.

Match 5 - Kane vs. Roman Reigns

Orton tries getting involved in this one right away, making this not even a match. The three-way battle ends with Orton eating a superman punch and Reigns taking a chokeslam. Kane leaves, so Orton just beats up on Reigns. Roman ends up helpless in-between the ropes as Orton kicks him in the chest, and the beating continues outside the ring. Reigns ends up taking not one, but two RKOs atop the announce table, likely because the first move didn’t break it.

Match 6 - Fandango vs. Diego

Summer Rae and Layla are, or course, dressed as female bullfighters and in Diego’s corner. And yes, Fandango loses, and the ladies dance.

Stephanie goes looking for Brie backstage and finds Nikki Bella instead. This is kind of an awkward conversation, and includes Nikki saying she hopes Steph likes the way eating a plate of crap tastes. Wha?

The bumps coming back from commercials that used to brag about the WWE’s social network supremacy are now almost all plugging content on WWE Network. Sign up for it, darn it!

Match 7 - Cameron and Alicia Fox vs. Naomi and Natalya

There’s some decent wrestling going on, but I’m having a hard time recapping it because Naomi’s leggings are giving me a migraine. The former partners really want to punish each other, and Naomi makes Cameron tap out to a cool-looking submission move that I don’t know what to call. I like it though.

The announcers always look silly every time the show cuts to them behind a wrecked table.

Match 8 - Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins

I have a feeling this is the last match, as the Stephanie-Brie confrontation is probably the final segment. Jericho won’t let Rollins catch an early breather on the outside, and he smacks Seth in the head as he attempts a dive of some sort. Rollins goes for a suplex ride back in the ring and takes an enzuigiri for two. Y2J can still do some flying even though he’s a bit older now, and his springboard move takes us out to commercials. Rollins has assumed command while we were away, but you know there’s at least one more Jericho rally coming. Will it come before Rollins comes off the top rope? Yes, because Seth takes a back body drop off the top and a high cross body that nearly pins him. Y2J gets powerbombed into the corner, but Chris avoids the Curb Stomp and tries for the Walls of Jericho. Rollins pivots away from the ropes and hits a dropkick, and he’s caught coming off the top turnbuckle with a Codebreaker. Aw crap, here’s the Wyatt Family. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan stomp the crap out of Jericho.

Oh man, Brie Bella wastes no time calling Stephanie a bitch again. Steph wants the charges dropped because she doesn’t deserve this. She promises to treat Nikki fairly and professionally and even give her a raise. But Brie has some more demands, including getting her job back. One Bella is enough in the WWE … okay, great, I’ll see you in court. Stephanie agrees to give Brie her job back, but Bella wants something else: a match at SummerSlam against McMahon herself. Despite protesting that she hasn’t competed in the ring in more than 10 years, and almost crying because of how unfair it is, Steph really has no choice. She agrees, but says Brie has to consider one thing …

(Slaps Brie off the apron)

“At SummerSlam, I’m going to make you my bitch!”

Brie recovers and jumps on Steph, and we get a legitimate, pull-apart brawl between two females on Raw for the first time in I don’t know how long. And there’s a “This is awesome!” chant to boot as the show fades out from Houston. See you in seven!