The opening thoughts of this week’s Saturday Shoot involve John Cena’s injured Achilles tendon. This past week, I learned that Super Cena had injured the all-important tendon during World Wrestling Entertainment’s European Tour. Initially when I heard this, I figured that Cena would have to drop the WWE Title, sooner rather than later. From my understanding, you simply cannot do anything on an injured Achilles tendon. I mean this would be the reason that Edge was out of action for a number of months in 2010. However, not only is John Cena keeping the belt around his waist, but he will compete at Extreme Rules! I think that this is amazing, but questions whether this injury can be looked at as a tremendous work by WWE. I do not believe that WWE would try and fool people like that, but something about this injury seems skeptical to me. If this injury happens to be legitimate, which it most likely is, than John Cena really is Superman! However, Superman could use a few new moves, or a character tweak.
A Triple Threat Match involving Big E. Langston, Ricardo Rodriquez, and Zeb Colter starts off Monday Night Raw from Columbus, Ohio. The stipulation to the match is that the winner allows their representative to pick the stipulation for the World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match at Extreme Rules. The concept itself was actually pretty intriguing. I also liked seeing Ziggler, Del Rio, and Swagger get involved on behalf of the guy that they needed to win. The match ends with AJ disrupting a two count from the referee during a Zeb Colter pinfall, accidently leading to Ricardo rolling Zeb up for the win. As mentioned up above, this victory now allows Alberto Del Rio to pick the stipulation for Extreme Rules, which he reveals later in the night.
Even though the IWC is highly critical of John Cena the wrestler, including myself, I must say that it is amazing that John Cena the human being grants so many wishes for sick kids. I am glad that they aired that segment on live television.
Randy Orton versus Cody Rhodes was a competitive matchup that saw both superstars hit all of their respective signature moves. Cody had a nice counter into the Cross Rhodes, but got a two count out of it. In the end, Cody Rhodes got caught with a mid-air RKO, giving Orton the win. During the post-match interview, conducted by Matt Striker, Orton says that he has never felt so extreme, before hitting Cody Rhodes with another RKO.
The Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls Divas Tag Team Match followed this contest. The Bella Twins used twin magic to score a quick victory, only for the referee to reverse the decision after realizing the switch had been made, giving The Funkadactyls the victory by disqualification.
I know that it is starting to sound like a broken record, but tonight featured yet another great promo by The Shield. I just love how well Dean Ambrose speaks on the microphone. They end up getting interrupted by 3MB, only for 3MB to get beat down by Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns. Team Hell No then came out, and sent a message to the fleeing Shield members by finishing off 3MB.
What a great contest once again from Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. I loved how you get the feel that these superstars know each other so well after being in the ring with each other a lot during these past few years. The interferences by AJ and Big E. were both well-done during the course of the matchup. The finish could have been better, but overall, I really liked this Champion versus Champion Match that saw the World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler, defeat the United States Champion, Kofi Kingston. P.S. Big E.’s post-match attack on Kofi has me thinking that we could see a Big E./Kingston feud over the United States Title in the near future.
We are then shown that Kaitlyn has a creepy/sweet, secret admirer. I predict it will end up being Hornswoggle as World Wrestling Entertainment has used him as the big reveal in mystery storylines before.
Zack Ryder getting defeated by Jack Swagger, followed by Zeb Colter mocking him, happens to be the most relevant thing he has done in months.
Ryback leaving the arena as he refuses to team with an injured Cena or Team Hell No was well-booked as it showcases that Ryback’s new character only looks out/thinks about himself.
Mark Henry defeating Tons of Funk in a tug of war was different. I liked Sheamus coming out and taking the challenge, only to purposefully let go of the rope to make Mark Henry fall as well as Brogue Kicked him. While I hope that we do not see any more tug of war battles in WWE, this was a unique way to continue this rivalry.
Alberto Del Rio versus Antonio Cesaro was a decent matchup with a good finish, which saw Del Rio locking in the Cross-Armbreaker out of nowhere for the win. He then announces that the stipulation for the Triple Threat World Title Match is a Ladder Match. I really liked this stipulation as the Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View needed something like this on the card.
We are then treated to, or punished by, witnessing a dance-off between Fandango and The Great Khali. Khali ends up actually winning the dance-off, as it was up to the fans, only to be attacked from behind. Fandango then hit the top rope leg-drop on “The Punjabi Playboy.” Is a dance-off featuring Khali really what Raw has become?
The Main Event featured John Cena and Team Hell No taking on The Shield. Kane being enraged because of the attack on his brother, The Undertaker, from Smackdown, was great booking sense. You could also tell that WWE protected John Cena on Raw because of his injury, not only by making the match a 6-Man Tag with Team Hell No as his partners, but also due to his limited involvement in the match. This could also just be coincidence because as it is stated in the opening thoughts, John Cena appears to be ready to go with his injury at least through Extreme Rules. The surf board/dropkick tag combination from Team Hell No on Dean Ambrose was one of the best spots of the contest. The finish featured Cena getting the hot tag, only for his Achilles tendon to give out, causing him to get caught with a Spear from Reigns, leading to a Shield victory.
Ryback standing at the top of the entrance ramp, showing he did not leave, was a very 90s wrestling way to end a good Monday Night Raw.
Cesaro’s title rematch versus Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship opens up WWE Main Event. While this match was not pretty to watch technically, it was still a pretty good back and forth match. I particularly liked Cesaro working on Kofi’s leg for the majority of the match as it kept fans on the edge of their seat to see if Cesaro would win. In the end, Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise to the back of Antonio Cesaro’s head for the victory. P.S. Cesaro is right up there with John Cena for the strongest pound-for-pound superstar in WWE. I would also like to take a moment to congratulate Kofi Kingston on the birth of his son.
The other contest featured on Main Event was Justin Gabriel versus Heath Slater. This was a pretty decent matchup among former Tag Team Champions, which saw the talented Justin Gabriel getting the victory with the 450 Splash. Like I stated a few weeks ago, Gabriel should be featured more on Monday Night Raw.
A Ryback promo starts off this Friday Night Smackdown. It was decent, but too quick for my liking. We then see him take on Daniel Bryan in what was a great match to kickoff Smackdown. Daniel Bryan’s kicks to Ryback’s hamstring came off well on television and Bryan might have set a record for most kicks he has thrown in a match. I also liked Bryan’s suicide dive to the outside onto Ryback near the middle of the matchup. Daniel Bryan took Ryback to the limit, but Ryback ended up Shell-Shocking Bryan for the win.
Fandango versus Zack Ryder was not the typical Ryder squash loss, but ended in the same result as Fandango got the victory with the top rope leg-drop right across Ryder’s forehead.
Does anyone know what The Great Khali said during his segment with Kaitlyn?
Zeb Colter versus Ricardo Rodriquez with Dolph Ziggler on commentary ends up being a disqualification after Swagger interfered, leading to Teddy Long coming out and making it a Tag Match involving Del Rio, Ricardo, Swagger, and Colter. They proceed to have this Tag Match, until that match gets disrupted by Ziggler, causing Long to once again come out to make it into a Triple Threat Tag Team Match. Del Rio ends up locking in the Cross Armbreaker to get the win for his team. None of the three matches were long, but all combined to be entertaining to watch as well as killed time on Smackdown. This portion of Smackdown had me wondering where Smackdown General Manager, Booker T was.
The Shield then cut a promo telling Kane that they took out his brother, The Undertaker, and tonight they will take him out. Upon lying the camera on the ground, we see that The Shield have beaten down Daniel Bryan.
After this, we are treated to Randy Orton versus Damien Sandow. I have to say that I was excited to see these two superstars go at it in the ring as I am high on Sandow and I like the veteran Orton. However, the match itself was just okay and saw Orton defeating Sandow with the RKO. I would rather Creative have booked it better because it could have been a Match of the Week candidate if done properly. Here’s hoping that we are treated to this match again in the future when it is given enough time to be great. Big Show’s promo after the match causes Orton to get attacked by Sandow. P.S. Big Show’s cackling was odd and felt forced because it went on for too long.
Kane’s interview coming out of the training room was well-done on his part. It was intense and sounded badass.
We then witness an arm-wrestling contest between Mark Henry and Sheamus. After some back and forth, Henry defeats Sheamus in the arm-wrestling contest. Sheamus then challenges him to a second arm-wrestling match, only this will just be left arms. He uses this to goat Henry into a right hand to the face as well as a Brogue Kick. I will say that I liked this segment a lot better than the tug of war from Monday Night Raw.
The Main Event is Kane taking on The Shield’s Dean Ambrose. It is worth noting that Roman Reigns carried Daniel Bryan’s Tag Title Belt to the ring. I loved watching Kane explode on Reigns and Rollins before his match with Ambrose. I thought this match, as well as Kane’s interactions with The Shield, were booked well, except the shoddy Ambrose finisher to give him the victory over Kane. After the match, Kane tries to fight off The Shield, even telling them to come and get him, but ended up getting triple power bombed to close the show. As noted up above, it is clear that The Shield officially has their sights set on the Tag Team Championships.
Overall, a pretty good Smackdown to close out a nice week of WWE programming.
Clean Finish(Final Thoughts)
Earlier this week, I read a report that stated that CM Punk is currently removed from WWE listings through Summerslam. The article notes that plans could and most likely will change. I just want to say that it has only been a few weeks and I already miss CM Punk. WWE has gotten by without him, but his absence is noticeable as there does not appear to be that sense of, “What is CM Punk going to do or say this week?” Here’s hoping he takes as much time as he needs to rest some injuries, but not too long to the point where I stop watching the product, until he comes back.
Match of the Week
Next Week Will Be My Final Saturday Shoot for Quite Some Time as I Am Taking a Break for a Number of Months
Photos and Videos Courtesy of WWE.com and Youtube
News Articles/Reports Courtesy of Wrestlezone.com
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