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   September 21, 2014



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Raw: Stephanie and Brie face off at UT
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Everything is bigger in Texas, and this should be a big episode of Raw. We’re less than two weeks away from SummerSlam, after all. Let’s get ready to hook ‘em with the ‘Horns and go live on USA.

In a throwback to the Corporation days, the Authority comes down the ramp with Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins following in their wake. Triple H plugs SummerSlam and the fact that you can see it for just $9.99 on the WWE Network (with a six-month commitment). And why stop there? He runs down some other matches while also mentioning a Beat the Clock Challenge: Rollins and Dean Ambrose will have separate matches tonight, and whoever wins in the faster time will get to name the stipulation at SummerSlam. Ambrose will take on Alberto Del Rio while Rollins faces Rob Van Dam. Hey, both of their opponents have three names! Oh, and there’s going to be a contract signing between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella. But wait, there’s more! It’s Orton promising to decimate Roman Reigns. Speaking of that guy, he pauses partway through the crowd and points out that he took the Viper’s best shot and is still standing. Orton wants to fight tonight, but Triple H has a better idea. He books Reigns to face Kane in a Last Man Standing Match, something that Reigns appears to find quite agreeable.

Match 1 - Roman Reigns vs. Kane

These guys waste no time getting after it, inside and outside the ring. Kane gets thrown into the steps and hit with a superman punch off those same steps. A kendo stick and the steps both end up smacking Reigns in the head, and he’s bloodied right before we head out for commercials. After the break, Reigns is in full control, forcing a count that gets past six before Kane rises. The demon gets thrown halfway up the ramp and over the stairs, then slammed into the barricade. Reigns gets a table out from underneath the ring, but it’s Kane who sets it up after clobbering Reigns from behind. A superman punch is on the way, but Kane sidesteps it and chokeslams Reigns through the table. To Kane’s frustration, his foe just barely gets to his feet before the ten-count. There are thoughts of a Tombstone on a chair, but Reigns reverses it into a DDT and hits the superman punch. There’s no count from the official for some reason, so Reigns bounces off the ropes and hits a spear. Kane tries to use the ropes to get back to his feat, but his failure to do so means Reigns wins the match.

A video package hypes the John Cena-Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam. It’s notable for Lesnar’s rare appearance speaking on his own behalf, as well as his potty mouth -- by PG standards, at least. Then we go back to pushing the WWE Network again.

Ah, Damien Sandow comes out dressed in full Oklahoma Sooners gear. It’s the opposite of the Mick Foley cheap pop.

Match 2 - Damien Sandow vs. Mark Henry

As my son says, that was easy. Sandow lasts about 45 seconds before taking the World’s Strongest Slam and getting pinned.

Adam Rose has the mirror from Oculus. He mocks the idea that it’s inhabited by an evil spirit, but … ah, this segment has made me lose my will to type about it.

Match 3 - Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

These matches kill me because you see people go for quick covers after routine moves in the hopes of ending them quickly. Unfortunately for Ambrose, ADR is nobody’s jobber. Thus, we go thundering past a commercial break and into some solid chances to win the match for both men. After the 14-minute mark, Ambrose tries a small package and the springboard clothesline, but Del Rio kicks out both times. Much is made of Ambrose’s injured arm, but he manages to fight off the pain and hit the Dirty Deeds to pin ADR in 15:42. That gives Rollins plenty of time with which to work.

It’s almost impossible for you not to have seen it unless you were off the grid for the last few weeks, but we see the confrontation between Stephanie and Brie again.

Rusev comes out, apparently for the sole purpose of having Lana sing “Happy Birthday” to Barack Obama in Russian. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger march to the ring to interrupt, and Zeb says he’s sick of tired of hearing about Vladimir Putin, Russia and Rusev. He says Swagger is fighting for all real Americans, including the men and women in uniform. That gets a “USA” chant going. Zeb predicts that Old Glory will be waving in the breeze at SummerSlam and that the only thing that will get crushed is Lana’s ego. Rusev answers by attacking Swagger with his flag, knocking him out of the ring. He turns to menace Zeb but is halted by Lana.

Hey, the WWE Network is soon going to be available in 170 countries. That means more of you will soon get to experience what it’s like to be bugged to subscribe.

Match 4 - Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro

The Miz is on guest commentary again, watching as Ziggler gets caught and dropped into a backbreaker. Cesaro is beaten shockingly easily, and Dolph and Miz have a brief in-ring showdown.

Footage is shown of Paige pushing AJ Lee off the stage, and Paige tells the backstage interviewer that she wishes her friend a speedy recovery.

Match 5 - Goldust and Stardust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel

My son is irritated because these teams seem to wrestle each other on a continuous basis. All I know is that Stardust’s move set is a lot more fun than when he was plain old Cody Rhodes. He puts away Axel with a new finisher; I’m not sure what it’s called. Get on that Wikipedia!

Kane drops in on the Authority and turns in his mask. Also his hair.

Match 6 - Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper

Erick Rowan accompanies Harper to the ring, but Bray Wyatt is nowhere to be found. If Jericho wins, Harper will be banned from ringside at SummerSlam and Wyatt will have to face Y2J mano e mano. Harper ends up in the Walls of Jericho, but Wyatt conveniently shows up right at that moment. Jericho wins the battle thanks to a disqualification, but Wyatt might win the war after administering the Sister Abigail.

Match 7 - Diego vs. Fandango

Hey look, Fandango has Hornswoggle out as his helper. The partnership ends up as a disaster, with the two men running into each other and Diego quickly taking advantage with a Backstabber for the win. Summer Rae and Layla recruit Hornswoggle to join their team, and El Torito intervenes when his fellow short person needs help.

Match 8 - Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth

If you would have told me a few weeks ago that Dallas’ first real feud would have been against R-Truth … Anyway, Dallas take a shortcut to get back in the win column, and Truth isn’t happy about it, pursuing him after the bell. Dallas comes out on top, so he’s able to take his delayed victory lap.

This just in: WWE Network is $9.99 a month. This is starting to sound like a public television pledge drive. In other news, Wyatt cuts a promo warning Jericho that he is never alone, even without his thralls to accompany him into battle in Los Angeles. He sings a little bit too; I’m sure you know which song. And the Cena-Lesnar hype video is shown again.

Main Event - Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

Rollins has 15:42 with which to work, possibly the longest time I’ve ever seen for a match like this. But the Authority steps in and pulls a fast one. RVD isn’t going to be Seth’s opponent. Instead, we’re about to see …

Main Event - Seth Rollins vs. Heath Slater - Beat the Clock Challenge Match

It looks like Rollins is trying to convince Slater to lay down or walk out, but it doesn’t work. And to make things even more interesting, Ambrose comes to ringside to taunt Rollins about how much time he has last -- and his appearance almost costs Seth when Heath rolls him up for two. Dean is also walking around, with the briefcase, and he even tears the contract in half. Slater dumps soda and popcorn into the briefcase stuffs JBL’s hat into it, and generally makes a nuisance of himself until Slater sneaks in from behind and rolls Rollins up to get the three count.

It’s contract signing time, and Triple H says the conflict of interest means he’s only out there as a loving, supportive husband. Steph taunts Brie about her husband, Daniel Bryan, not being present. Bella responds that Bryan is still recovering, but has Steph recovered from this!

(Rolls footage of Steph’s arrest)

That gets under McMahon’s skin. Brie vows to not only beat Stephanie, but embarrass her as well, in front of the entire universe. Yes, even aliens light years from here will be watching SummerSlam. And she’ll dedicate the win to Vickie Guerrero, the Rhodes family, Big Show and everyone else McMahon has screwed over. Stephanie accuses Brie of selling out her own sister and husband in order to get some shine off the McMahon spotlight. She also promises to tear Brie’s heart out. Steph clocks Nikki Bella with the clipboard, and Triple H shoves the signing table into the corner, trapping her there while his wife drops Nikki with a Pedigree. Brie battles her way out but suffers the same fate as her sister. And that’s a wrap. See you in seven!

Final thought: Considering her family’s history in the business, the Pedigree makes a lot more sense as a name for Stephanie’s finisher than it even does for Triple H.