Shawn Michaels kicks off Monday Night Raw in St. Louis. He talks about reffing the match at Hell in a Cell and how it’s all about crowning a new WWE Champion. Randy Orton comes out. Orton exchanges words with Shawn and they almost get into it but duck each others’ signature moves. Miz comes down and attacks Orton and we go to a commercial break.
^Good opening segment here! HBK gives the match more hype, regardless of whether or not he affects the outcome at the finish. Nice to see Orton and Michaels’ past history brought into the story with some of that tension.
Miz and Orton are under way when we come back from the break. The St. Louis crowd seems to really be heavily booing Miz here. Michael Cole reminds us that the SKF is the Miz’ finishing move. The Wyatt Family appear on stage during the match and Orton nails an RKO on the distracted Miz to get the victory. Wyatt cuts a promo on Miz after the match about his obsession with fame.
^Good physicality here, but the match didn’t last long enough to gather more than 1 1/2*. Can’t wait to see the Miz/Wyatt Feud unfold further as Miz is a guy that can really help elevate Wyatt further and both are great at cutting promos. Should be interesting to see how they book it.
^Match went less than three minutes and was pointless. No rating, and no point. Why do they do this to us when there was plenty of time for an actual match here?
Paul Heyman is talking to Brad Maddox backstage. Heyman wants Maddox to do something about Punk cheating at Battleground. Maddox says Ryback has his rematch at HIAC so what more does he want? Heyman wants Punk to be punished further for making Maddox look ridiculous. Heyman wants Punk to face Ryback and Axel in a handicap match at Hell in a Cell. Maddox says he isn’t sure if that is fair for CM Punk. Maddox says he never thought he would hear a Walrus refer to a Punk as a weasel. He says it will be Ryback vs R-Truth and Punk vs Axel in a beat the clock challenge. He says if Ryback beats the clock then Heyman can choose any stipulation his heart desires. If Punk wins, then Punk gets to choose the stipulation for Hell in a Cell.
^Awesome booking here. Maddox not playing full heel here was awesome.
Michael Cole talks about Xavier Woods in NXT starting a petition to bring back Big Show. Interesting. JBL says he’s never heard of Xavier Woods when he’s supposed to be the new GM of NXT. Brilliant Layfield. Brilliant. Moron.
We get a video package hyping John Cena.
Los Matadores make their “grand” entrance with El Torito. They defeat the 3MB with their double team finish.
^Same thing we’ve seen multiple times now. Lame.
We get a video recapping Big Show’s actions last week. Again. Thanks WWE.
The show started off quite entertaining, and then it just slowed down immensely for the first hour. Let’s hope this picks up!
Stephanie and Hunter cut promos on running the company and about Big Show. Hunter says he’s reached his breaking point and he will now be the bad guy like something they’ve never seen before. This is an amazing promo from H. Daniel Bryan interrupts and does yes chants at the top of the stage. He’s attacked by Alberto Del Rio. Stephanie announces Del Rio as Dbry’s opponent tonight and Triple H chants yes while the crowd chants no.
^I really enjoyed this segment to kick off the second hour. Let’s continue this sort of momentum!
It’s Ryback vs R-Truth in the next match. I hope Truth stays healthy and Ryback goes away. Either one of those would be a fine outcome for this match. We get a lot more Goldberg chants during this match. No one wants to see that dream match, despite what Vince might think. The crowd starts chanting JBL and then Jerry as the match drags on. Truth is working hard to make this an interesting story as the crowd chants walrus at Heyman. Ryback nails shell shocked and gets the win in 5:44.
^Not the worst match Ryback has ever had, and they told a reasonably decent story for a six minute match. Call this one 1 3/4*.
Stephanie runs into the Bellas and informs Nikki that she cannot be at ringside tonight while AJ Lee can when Tamina takes on Brie. Loving the bitch Stephanie character each week. She’s really come into her own over the years.
The Real Americans defeat Tons of Funk when Cesaro pins Clay after his finisher.
^Just another way for Cesaro to show off his strength. Why not showcase his amazing wrestling ability sometime instead? No, wait, that would just make too much sense for WWE’s booking team.
Tamina takes on Brie Bella with AJ at ringside. Tamina defeats Brie and AJ is pleased. Tamina delivers a samoan drop and a big shoulder breaker(Rocky Maivia’s old finisher) to Brie after the match before doing her signature splash. AJ then puts Brie in a black widow submission hold.
^Nice to see the aggressive Tamina get some tv time this week in action. AJ is great as divas champion and I hope her run continues.
Daniel Bryan confronts Stephanie with Brad Maddox backstage about Brie. He leaves angry. Good acting skills by Dbry.
CM Punk takes on Curtis Axel and needs to beat the 5:44 time that Ryback set earlier. I don’t generally like beat the clock, but it worked well for just these two matches. Punk defeats Axel with twelve seconds to spare. Punk now gets to choose the stipulation for Hell in a Cell. Punk tells Heyman after the match that the stipulation for the match at Hell in a Cell is indeed a handicap match with Heyman and Ryback facing Punk INSIDE THE CELL.
^I like the stipulation for the pay per view, and now it looks like we’ll have two cell matches on the card! By the way, people can hate Axel for his lack of charisma all they want, but that dude is a ring veteran and he showed it here working with Punk.
Daniel Bryan goes one on one with Alberto Del Rio. Nice and lengthy match thus far. Easily a 3 and 3/4* ranking thus far. Could go even higher if it gets a proper finish. Randy Orton shows up on the tron during the match. He’s checking on Brie Bella backstage and they scream as the camera cuts away. Del Rio beats on Dbry but Dbry gets to the back to check on Brie. Orton attacks him and leaves as everyone checks on Dbry.
^That match was great. The intensity of the feud is well booked for Orton and Dbry, but like most other Randy Orton stuff in the past I have a hard time believing him as an actor. It’s going to be difficult for the tag match to top that one, but I think it may be possible.
Hunter and Stephanie inform the Shield that their championship match tonight is no DQ. Hunter tells the boys to finish it because the gloves are off. That one could easily backfire in the face of the champs and the authority.
A John Cena return video is shown.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust challenge Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the tag team titles in our main event. I find JBL more annoying on commentary lately than Michael Cole as a heel. Big Show comes down and knocks out all of the Shield and Cody pins Roman Reigns for the victory! New tag team champs! Triple H is furious after the match as the show ends and Big Show celebrates with the crowd!
^Great match to end the show. The opening, the Del Rio/Dbry match, and the main event made the show worth watching. Can’t complain about the overall quality of what we were given tonight. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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