The SmarK RAW Rant – 09.16.13
Live from Cleveland, OH
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Daniel Bryan joins us to start, finally with his own personalized nameplates on the belt. I should note that my wife HATES Bryan because he looks like a troll. Before the celebration can even begin, COOHHH interrupts and declares his victory TAINTED. So we get TV time for Scott Armstrong, as HHH breaks down Armstrong’s counting cadence, complete with side-by-side comparison like it’s the Hogan-Orndorff cage match or something. After HHH gets to the bottom of things, Armstrong FRAMES Bryan as a co-conspirator and we have no choice but to hold the title in ABEYANCE. Now there’s a word you don’t get on many pro wrestling TV broadcasts. HHH is mostly just disappointed in him, because he thought Shawn would have taught him better (ouch). Randy Orton interrupts all the abeyance going down and lays out Bryan with the RKO so that HHH can forcibly take that title and put it into abeyance. I’m glad they didn’t have Bryan puss out and give up the belt willingly like every other neutered babyface. By the way, the Vacant WWE Title feed on Twitter has already been suspended, and I bet THAT was a setup from that jerk HHH, too. On the bright side, a vacant title could lead to a tournament, and Tournaments Are Awesome.
Meanwhile, Orton is pissed at not getting the belt back, but Steph-zilla cuts off his bitching.
Dean Ambrose v. Dolph Ziggler
High stakes here, as a win will get Dolph “back in the hunt” for the US title. Given how far he’s fallen I guess he should lucky to be even at that low level. They slug it out and both hit the floor early, and Ziggler gets the sleeper on the way back in before getting bumped to the floor again. We take a break and return with Cole saying “abeyance” again, which is starting to remind me of something.
Back with Ambrose getting a superplex and going to a chinlock, but Ziggler fights back with a DDT and pounds away in the corner. The 10 elbows get two, as Dolph has now taken to pointing at Lawler while he does it. Hey, if Lawler’s fine with it, then great. Ambrose takes him down and slugs away on the mat, but Dolph gets a backslide for two. Dolph goes up and gets hauled down again, but the Zig Zag finishes at 13:21 to get Dolph back in the hunt for the US title. Someone get on Twitter and tell social media! Fine match. ***
Meanwhile, Brad Maddox sucks up to HHH, and Stephanie dresses Big Show down yet again. What’s Show’s problem, anyway? He gets paid his guaranteed money and punches people when asked. He loves to punch people!
Dusty Rhodes joins us, which is weird just typing it. Years of blades have not been kind to his aging visage. Dusty rages about HHH firing his sons because it’s “best for business”, and he doesn’t even know what “best for business” means. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. So apparently there was a “business proposition on the tweet”, and that brings Stephanie out to bond over parenting. She offers to hire one of Dusty’s kids back…but only one. Dusty tells her to go to hell, so it’s time for some tough love with the Shield. And since Dusty is so indecisive, Steph offers him a choice here: Get killed by the Shield, or knocked out by Big Show. The choice is made for him and Show gets the call, choosing to put Dusty down himself rather than let the Shield maul him. Poor Dusty doesn’t even get to lay all three Shield members out with elbows before taking one for the team. Show, as usual, is all broken up about it. As long as Dusty is confined to cutting promos and not booking, he’s awesome, and this was no exception. When you need someone to sell pathos and self-sacrifice for the family and RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION at the 1% acting like assholes, you call Dusty Rhodes. It’s a character that’s actually kind of missing these days, although I guess it’s not surprising considering the company is run by Wall Street moguls.
Rob Van Dam v. Damien Sandow
This RVD-Ricardo thing…just no. Rob is his own best hype man. Sandow drops an elbow for two as we get more “abeyance”. Was it trending on Twitter too? Rob with a crossbody for two. Rolling Thunder hits knee and Sandow gets two, but Rob kicks him down again and goes up with the corner dropkick. Frog splash finishes at 2:34. Serious question: Has Sandow even won a match since getting that briefcase?
Meanwhile, Scott Armstrong approaches HHH for another “abeyance” mention, and gets fired, which gives us some nice subtle acting as Hunter promises to “take care of him”, and Armstrong was clearly working with HHH and didn’t think he’d get fired. Although usually if that’s the case they’d hammer it home on commentary like it was ABEYANCE, so who knows.
Randy Orton v. The Miz
Miz Sr. is at ringside, so this probably won’t go well for his son. And Orton runs him into the stairs right away as we take a break. Back with the match actually starting, and Miz attacks as they fight over who did a crappier job in John Cena movie sequel. This results in a swift double countout at 1:30. Orton continues the beating, but Miz fights back, as Orton is such an effective heel that PEOPLE ARE CHEERING THE MIZ. Orton, as annoyed by MizTV as the rest of us, wedges his head in a chair and Pillmanizes Miz’s neck to hopefully write him out of the show for a while. This is turning into a rough show for the babyfaces again.
Paul Heyman and his new Guy are out to gloat about beating CM Punk, and he’s doing it from a wheelchair just to be a slimy heel douche. And if there’s one thing that Ryback hates, it’s a BULLY. So he pledges to protect Paul from big bad Punk, and Paul gives him a kiss on the cheek in gratitude. You have to think that the Punk and Bryan stories are going to intersect like the climax of a Seinfeld episode soon and it’s going to be glorious.
Los Matadores are still coming, as long as they don’t accidentally shred their passports or something.
Daniel Bryan v. Roman Reigns
They cut out any of the usual setup for this, so I had no idea what the main event was going to be until we got here. Bryan works on the leg, but Reigns pounds him in the corner until Bryan goes back to the leg again. And we take a break. Back with Bryan reversing a full nelson into a rollup for two, but Reigns keeps coming with a superplex attempt. Bryan puts him down and follows with a flying headbutt for two, but Reigns beats him down again for two. Swinging uranage gets two. Back in 2003 or so, every Samoan in wrestling was using that stupid move. You literally couldn’t throw a rock on the street without hitting a Samoan using it as a finisher. LITERALLY. Bryan makes the comeback and throws kicks, but Reigns catches him with the samoan drop for two. Reign looks to put him in permanent abeyance with the powerbomb, but Bryan reverses to a rollup for two and the high kick gets two. Bryan just DESTROYS Rollins with a baseball slide, and walks into a lariat from Reigns as a result. Reigns moves in for the pin and gets wrapped up with the Yes-Lock, but Orton runs in for the DQ at 15:00. **3/4 The beatdown is ON, and it’s time for another Pillmanizing, but now finally the locker room stands up and makes the save. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if Kane had been the one to stand up as Bryan’s buddy once and for all? It’s likely coming later, of course. And so the Shield gets some comeuppance, Rollins takes GOAT 2 SLEEP (thanks Justin!), and finally we get a babyface celebration to end the show. See, you can do all the heel beatdowns during the show as long as you end on a high note.
Good stuff this week, as again Hulu cuts it down to the Bryan and Punk storylines and jettisons literally everything else. I’m sure none of it was worth worrying about anyway.
Tags: Daniel Bryan, HHH, monday night raw, Paul Heyman, randy orton, Raw, ryback, SmarK Rants, The Shield