Another Wyatt promo starts us off this week, recapping the amazing end to RAW this Monday. A match has been set for Punk and Bryan vs. Harper and Rowan, and I’m looking forward to it, but my worry is that this will somehow become a traditional Survivor Series match with Rhodes2 and the Usos and the Shield, which would dilute it.
We’re over here in Manchester tonight, but apparently WWE won’t be using the Coronation Street theme music to go to commercial. There’s Punk and Bryan vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel, and Del Rio has challenged the man with the injured arm to an arm-wrestling contest. In a long list of potential dick moves, that’s got to be near the top. We see the attack on Cena from RAW, just to truly get across what a douche-canoe Alberto is. Apparently there’s some doubt as to whether Cena will accept the challenge, but when have the WWE ever not delivered an event they’ve advertised?
The Usos Should Have Worn All-Black Kit
THEY’RE HERE. And they truly are: the Wyatts are in Manchester, and what makes them stick out the most here is the lack of tracksuits and ridiculous accents. Their opponents are the Usos, and English people know what Samoans are capable of, considering one of our national sports involves, eventually, sprinting at a New Zealander so that he can rip our spines out.
Jey tries to jump Rowan, but the man with the beard (although that could be a lot of people in WWE right now) gains the upper hand with a powerful knee and tags in Harper. An uppercut sends Jey into the corner and Harper tries for a clothesline, but Jey gets his feet up and Luke runs into them. Jey manages to drive Harper into his corner and tag in Jimmy. Jimmy and Luke jockey for control before Jey gets the blind tag and the two Usos working together manage to bring Harper down to his knees. Harper still catches Jey with an uppercut and tags in Rowan, who drops some knees on Jey and then hits a bodyslam, which gets two, before wrenching Jey’s head around and going for a back suplex. Jey manages to backflip out of it, letting Jimmy tag himself in and start taking it to Rowan as the action heats up. Jimmy’s hitting forearms, kicks and then gets slammed roughly to the mat as Rowan regains control. The slam gets two and Rowan attempts a back body drop, but Jimmy goes for a sunset flip. Rowan tries to sit himself down on Jimmy, who avoids that and comes off the ropes with a dropkick to the face. Jimmy punches Harper, apparently for the sheer hell of it, and then gets thrown bodily into a corner by Rowan, leaving the Wyatts in control as we go to commercial.
Back from the break, Harper has Jimmy in a headlock which gets turned into the Gator Roll and another headlock. Jimmy tries to fight his way out, but it’s no good and he gets guillotined on the second rope. Tag made to Rowan, who nails a backbreaker for two. Jimmy manages to pull out a Dragon Kick and make the tag to Jey as Harper tags in as well. Jey comes in with a head of steam and takes it to Harper, knocking the big man around the ring, hitting a splash and a clothesline off the top rope. Harper runs into a Samoan Drop, but the Samoan Wrecking Ball is countered by one hell of a big boot, which gets two. Jimmy and Rowan brawl in the ring before Rowan is sent to the outside and Jimmy is knocked out after him. Harper turns around, right into a superkick from Jey: near fall. Jimmy throws himself out onto Eric Rowan, but when Jey tries to follow he gets hit with That Clothesline for the win.
That was fairly solid, if a little unexciting. You could hardly expect the Wyatts to lose, but at least the Usos gave them some pause during the match. 2.5 stars.
Bray enters the ring and the Usos attempt to get themselves some of the fat man, but are beaten down by Harper and Rowan. Wyatt rocks out on Jimmy for a while, and puts him out with Sister Abigail. He then spouts his particular brand of crazy into the microphone to close.
We see a panoramic view of Manchester: why is that? We also recap the beating of a wheelchair-bound Heyman, which I was a little uncomfortable watching. When you see a film about a man beating the hell out of his disabled, abusive father-figure, it’s a morally-ambiguous drama. In wrestling, it’s…funny?
Ryback is pacing around backstage as Curtis Axel watches him, bemused. Apparently neither of them are Paul Heyman Guys anymore. And they didn’t have to keep using the word ‘suck’ in that conversation: they really didn’t.
R-Truth and the Prime Time Players do silly things backstage: that is as true a way to say that as any other.
How Short Does WWE Think Bathroom Breaks Are?
It’s Natalya vs. Tamina tonight, and AJ’s skipping looks very out-of-place with Tamina’s angry music. We see what went down on Main Event to explain Natalya’s beef with Tamina. Natalya takes control early on, but Tamina hits her Samoan Drop. She misses a splash and Natalya regains control with a clothesline. AJ gets up on the apron, but Tamina runs into her. A roll-up is turned into the Sharpshooter and Tamina taps.
Extremely short match with three good moves to it. Also odd that you’d give someone such a decisive win over AJ’s enforcer. 1 Star.
We recap Orton’s Spanish Announce Table Moment at the hands of the Big Show, because that’s what we do on SmackDown. Brad Maddox and Vickie try to shift the blame onto each other backstage and apparently our hook for watching RAW is that we get to find out who gets in trouble with their boss. Whooo…
If Drew McIntyre Votes SNP, Those Tights Have To Be Killing Him
It’s the Union Jacks vs. the Prime Time Players and R-Truth. I quite like the new tights, really, but the real joke would be if they all did Beatles accents. Admittedly, Liverpudlian probably wouldn’t fly all that well in Manchester…
Titus starts off against Jinder, throwing him around the ring. Drew gets a blind tag and hits Titus with his knee. O’Neill is trapped in the corner as Jinder tags back in and hits a knee of his own. Slater tags in, putting Titus in a headlock. The crowd actually comes to Titus’ support as he fights out of it and shoulder-blocks Slater before getting the tag to R-Truth. Truth knocks Slater back and forth and hits the inverted suplex slam. The rest of the Union Jacks break up the pin, only for the Prime Time Players to send them out of the ring. Truth hits the What’s Up and gets the win.
Another short match where we knew the result. The crowd seemed to be fairly into it, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me. 1.5 Stars.
We see another recap of Del Rio’s attack on Cena, which makes this Recapception. Michael Cole introduces Alberto. Del Rio claims that he is the greatest Mexican athlete in history, and I know nothing about Mexican athletes, so he honestly could be. He says that he’s proud of what he did to Cena, and that Cena had it coming after stealing the title. At Survivor Series, he will regain the championship, and it would be quite a swerve if he showed up and said ‘yeah…I’ll probably lose. I mean…you know…it’s Cena.’
Del Rio’s refusal to accept narrative convention brings out John Cena himself, because Del Rio’s losing at Survivor Series and Cena wants him to say it. Cena says that he loves coming to Manchester, the lying bastard. He points out a fan dressed as Superman in the audience, who actually gets a brief chant. Cena looks at Del Rio and he sees a desperate man, because if he doesn’t get the job done at the PPV, he loses everything. He also makes a masturbation joke: for the kids, I assume. Superman starts a YES chant: never thought I’d type that sentence, and the arm-wrestling contest is on. And Cena slams Del Rio. Like…instantly. So roll on Survivor Series, I guess. Del Rio begs for ‘uno más’, and that phrase is a trap wherever you hear it.
Cena decides to oblige him, and they get ready to go. Cena slams Del Rio again, and I wish there was some clue as to the Survivor Series result in all of this. Alberto punches Cena in the face, then tries to attack the arm. Cena tries to fight back, but Del Rio spinebusters him right through the table. But Cena won the arm-wrestling match, and that’s what’s truly important here.
Uncomfortable Sex Noises vs. Random Shrieking
Naomi and Cameron make their way to the ring, and I wonder if Cameron’s got her ‘screaming uncontrollably’ problem under control. They will be facing the Bella Twins, and I don’t know if something happened on Total Divas. I will never know if something happened on Total Divas. Nikki gets a waistlock on Cameron, who fights out of it. Cameron attempts a sunset flip, but Nikki counters into an Alabama Slam of all things. Nikki then picks Cameron up and starts squatting with her before dropping her to the ground for the two count. Cameron manages to create enough separation to hit a crossbody from the top rope for two and tags in Naomi. The Funkadactyls then hit a double dropkick, followed by a double leg-drop whilst doing the splits: I really appreciate that more and more teams are getting their own signature double-team manoeuvers. Nikki counters whatever was happening when she was off-camera, putting Naomi into a front facelock and Brie gets the tag, dropkicking Naomi from the ground and from the top rope. Naomi rolls out of the back suplex and hits Brie with what seemed to be a wheelbarrow stunner, but Nikki breaks up the pin by running over it to clothesline Cameron: rather a nice spot, I thought. Brie attempts a facebuster, but Naomi sends her off the ropes and hits the Rear View for the win.
I preferred this Divas match to the Tamina/Natalya encounter, but I do wish that they’d cut this and given the first match some more time. The Alabama Slam and Nikki’s way of breaking up the pin were some stand-out moments here, and the match was okay if brief. 2 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, and they’re answering the questions with simultaneous ‘YES’s. They term themselves ‘The Beard and the Best’, and I’ve heard worse names, but they were from a crackhead. They say that they want to get through Harper and Rowan and get to Bray, before Punk says that the easiest way to kill a snake is to cut off its head. Is this based on empirical evidence? Just how many snakes has CM Punk killed?
Welcome Back, Guys…Welcome…Back…
In the ring are…Hunico and Camacho? They’re alive? But they’re facing Khali, so they probably think that they’re in hell. This can be described as your standard, slow-paced beatdown without any deviation from the facts. Khali ends this little drama with the Punjabi Plunge, the most graphically sexual pin I’ve ever seen and some horrible, horrible dancing.
I’ll give that 0.5 Stars because the match was not quite so terrible that the sky split and the apocalypse began out of pure embarrassment. But it was pretty bad.
Indie-Jesuses vs. Paul Heyman Exes
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan make their way to the ring, followed by Axel and Ryback. Here’s hoping for some more Goldbergian offense. And it’s Punk and Axel to start, with Axel putting Punk in a headlock. Punk shoots Axel off the ropes, hip-tossing him and making the tag to Bryan. Bryan hits a double-axe handle off the top rope and a knee to the midsection, attacking the arm before Axel manages to make the tag to Ryback. Bryan avoids Ryback’s assault and tag in Punk for a double-dropkick which gets one. Punk attempts a crossbody, but Ryback bodyslams him and allows Axel to come in and work Punk over. Axel puts Punk back into a headlock, but Punk escapes using a back suplex and follows it up with a high knee in the corner and a clothesline. Punk goes up to the top, but Ryback pulls Axel out of the way and out of the ring. But Punk and Bryan aren’t the sort who give up a kill, so dive out after them as we go to commercial.
Back to the action as Axel is in control, crotching Punk on the top rope and tagging in Ryback. Ryback hits a delayed vertical suplex and Punk kicks out at two. Ryback hits splashes, leg drops and stomps before tagging in Axel. Axel is still firmly in control; Punk almost gets the fall off a roll-up, but Axel kicks out and then levels him with a clothesline for a near-fall of his own. Axel has the arm locked as Punk tries to fight out of it, then knocks Bryan off the apron and dropkicks Punk before putting him in a sleeper. Ryback holds Punk’s arms behind his back as Axel attacks him, but Axel backs up and accidentally blasts Ryback off the apron. Punk hits a swinging neckbreaker and starts trying to reach Bryan, getting the tag. Bryan starts taking it to Ryback with kicks, backflipping off the top rope and then hitting his clothesline. Ryback eats a dropkick in the corner, with another knocking Axel off the apron. Bryan wrenches Ryback’s knee and starts hammering him with kicks, smashing a final one into his head. Axel tries to break up the pin, but Bryan moves out of the way and Axel hits Ryback instead. Goddamnit, Curtis.
Punk clotheslines Axel out of the ring as Bryan comes off the top rope, gets caught, but then rolls Ryback up and almost gets the pin before locking on the Yes-Lock…and then the Wyatts make an appearance. Ryback is flat on his back; Axel is on the outside and Punk and Bryan have apparently made a run for it: not enough people did that to the Undertaker. Axel is trying to help Ryback, but Ryback is apparently mightily pissed about the two shots that Axel got on him earlier, and shoves him into Harper. ohshit.jpg. Axel deserves an award for his delivery of the line ‘I didn’t do nothin’!’ That means technically he did do something. Bray yells ‘NO MERCY’ from the outside, which is a good enough argument for Harper and Rowan and they start beating the shit out of Axel, and then Ryback. Ironically, Ryback’s finally been handed the real definition of bullying; unfortunately the hand in question is balled up into a fist and is being repeatedly slammed into him. Bray, smart man that he is, checks under the ring but no dice. Punk and Bryan emerge from under the other side of the ring and both nail Harper and Rowan with kicks before getting out of there. The two big guys are incensed, but Wyatt is laughing hysterically.
The match was pretty good, although the majority of the excitement came once it was over. Still, Punk and Bryan showed us what they were capable of, and having Ryback as one of their opponents was a smart move in terms of size differences. The match itself gets 3 Stars.
This show felt a little out of step for me. The final match was a lot of fun, but most of what came before it, with the exception possibly of Usos/Wyatts, felt almost like everyone was distracted by something. Hopefully the go-home show can really sell Survivor Series to us. Five out of ten for the night.