We open Raw with a flashback to the tag title match last week.
^You knew WWE would do this when it was the most exciting thing they’ve done on Raw since Ziggler cashed in.
We kick off Raw from Memphis with Bow Down to the King! The principal owner and King of Kings comes to the ring while holding his queen’s hand.
^What a lovely power couple they make.
We flash back to Smackdown where Big Show knocked out Brad Maddox. This must explain why we may not see Maddox tonight(Cole and Lawler confirm this).
Stephanie hypes Hell in a Cell this Sunday after smooching her husband. She runs down what we have so far confirmed for the card. Hunter and Steph talk about Shawn Michaels being voted in as referee and Hunter says he respects Shawn more than anyone else in WWE. Big Show pops up on the tron and talks about the lack of respect in WWE. Hunter and Show exchange words as Stephanie looks angry that Show popped up on the tron via satellite by “magic.” Stephanie has show cut off the tron as he’s ranting. Hunter says on with the show and brings out Dean Ambrose. Daniel Bryan’s music hits instead and he comes out to the usual yes chants. We go to commercial.
^Solid opening segment with Hunter, Steph and Show. Way to keep it short but very passionate in Show’s end with his rage towards the McMahon-Levesque power couple.
Dbry defeats Dean Ambrose with the yes lock in just a hair under thirteen minutes.
^Outstanding match to start off the show and hype up the crowd! Three and a half stars just like that for Dbry. Dbry going over with all this momentum is the right move, but it only makes sense if he finally gets his hands on the WWE Championship after Sunday. You can only build momentum for someone for so long before it peaks if you don’t give him some gold.
CM Punk cuts a promo on his match and rivalry with Heyman and Ryback. Punk says three men walk into the structure and only one walks out under his own power, and that will be himself.
^Love Punk’s passion, but I’m surprised he cut such a short promo here.
Hunter and Steph talk to Vickie backstage. Hunter tells her not to screw up the little stuff that she’s handling. Shawn Michaels is in the office when Hunter and Steph walk in. Steph is trying to get extra security for Big Show. Shawn teases Hunter. Stephanie can’t figure out how Show popped up on the tron since he was fired. Steph tells Shawn that things have changed, and he says he’s noticed but doesn’t want to believe it. Shawn says thankfully, one of them hasn’t had to grow up.
^That was an outstanding scenario with those three, and it was awesome to see Shawn remind Hunter that people doubted if either of them could be WWE Champion. Great stuff.
Santino comes to the ring with Khali and Hornswoggle and they’re all dressed as Elvis impersonators for the show in Memphis. Santino takes on Heath Slater. Santino wins the match with the cobra and then says there is only one king from Memphis and that’s Jerry Lawler. Lawler climbs on the announce table as Santino raises his arms and the Elvis music plays. King dances.
^Props for making Memphis relevant, and thanks to whoever booked the show for keeping this segment short. Not much of a match, so I’m not giving it a rating.
Randy Orton is shown walking to the ring and he’s going one on one with Dolph Ziggler! Orton defeats Ziggler in just under eight minutes of tv time with an RKO.
^I don’t think these two are capable of having a bad match. In just eight minutes of action, we were treated to an excellent story. Winning and losing doesn’t matter when you put on a show this good. Three stars, maybe even three and a quarter in just eight minutes.
We see the John Cena road to recovery video…again. No one can say WWE doesn’t know the meaning of repetition.
The Bellas take on AJ Lee and Tamina in a tag team match. Brie pins AJ after an x-factor after knocking Tamina off the apron.
^For a five minute match, that was pretty fast paced. Not a bad match whatsoever from the divas, but not long enough for me to remember it next week.
Renee Young interviews Paul Heyman w/his guys. Heyman talks about the match against Punk on Sunday and goes into a psychotic rant as Axel looks on puzzled. Heyman says Punk cannot get past the monster Ryback. Big E. Langston walks up and exchanges words with Axel and Ryback. Heyman says Axel should teach Langston what respect means. The match is on.
^Great promo work from the genius Heyman. I like Big E. getting involved in a legit rivalry; the guy has a ton of talent and charisma to be something special.
We get hype around Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels’ relationship. Neat little video package.
Erick Rowan and Luke Harper defeat the Miz and Kofi Kingston. Harper pins Kingston after a massive clothesline. Bray Wyatt cuts a creepy promo after the match about leading Miz to the gates of Hell.
^Nice tag team match, but not nearly long enough for my liking. I love any promo Wyatt cuts, but what is the culmination of his gimmick eventually going to be? Is he just going to plateau and challenge for a World Title and lose? His heel gimmick just reminds me too much of Umaga in the sense that he’ll only be pushed to a point before he flatlines.
Big E. Langston vs Curtis Axel becomes a tag match with Punk and Ryback added after both men get involved with the match. Vickie Guerrero changes it up.
Punk and Langston defeat Axel and Ryback. Big E. nails the big ending on Axel for the win.
^Nice action here, and even better booking Big E. in a potential IC Title rivalry. Loving this, but I’m praying Punk is able to pull a better match out of Ryback inside the cell. Punk chasing Heyman has been a long story told, and hopefully we see the culmination in the next big match.
The Real Americans defeat Tons of Funk. Zeb Colter cuts a promo about Los Matadores after the match.
^I like that the tag team division has all these matches and rivalries happening right now. It’s refreshing that none of these six are involved with the tag titles but still make a feud relevant. Brilliant and simple booking CAN work!
We get a video package on John Cena that actually starts with his WWE debut against Kurt Angle. I’m shocked to see Angle’s words used here as he’s still in TNA.
We flash back to Smackdown and see what Alberto Del Rio did to Josh Matthews. Tough guy to pick on an announcer like that.
Goldust and Cody Rhodes come to the ring with a new mixed theme music and join the commentary table. The music is weird, but I like it!
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns w/Dean Ambrose take on the Usos. The match ends by DQ when a brawl breaks out and we now have no number one contender. Rhodes, Goldust and the Usos stand tall when all is said and done.
^I assume we’ll find out we have a triple threat match at Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Great action here despite the no-contest ending. I love seeing the Usos on the verge of finally having the tag team titles.
It’s announced that a triple threat tag team match WILL INDEED take place this Sunday at HIAC. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Hunter and Stephanie come back to the ring. Randy Orton is out next and then Dbry. Hunter then gives HBK a ridiculous kiss-ass intro. Stephanie allows Orton to talk first. He says Dbry won’t be getting back up this Sunday before signing the contract. Dbry says his piece next and insults everyone. Hunter cuts a promo next comparing Dbry to Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam. He says never were they THE top guy. Hunter says Dbry will prove to the world this Sunday that he’s a B+ player. Hunter and Dbry exchange more words. Hunter goes on to say that Shawn shouldn’t have wasted his time training Dbry and Shawn takes exception to that. Hunter says Shawn will do what’s right at the end of the day, and Shawn says Hunter’s right. Shawn says Dbry has proved Hunter wrong after everything he’s been put through…
Big Show is then shown driving a semi truck into the arena. Dbry takes out Orton with the flying knee after the distraction from Big Show and Dbry leads the crowd in yes chants to close the show!
^Great ending to a great show! The hype for Hell in a Cell was excellent(minus the lack of any World Title discussion), and the wrestling delivered nicely overall. Call it seven out of ten overall. Thanks for reading!