[TV Recap] WWE Raw – 11/26/2012

Raw 11/26 Preview:

  • After putting Ryback through a table not once but twice last week, the mysterious “NX3” (Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns) have a lot to answer for and tonight Michael Cole will try to get those answers in their first ever live interview.
  • Vickie Guerrero brings out even more evidence of a John Cena/AJ Lee “affair”. Deja vu, much? Also the John Cena/Dolph Ziggler feud that has sprung from this scandal continues and it’s Ziggler’s turn for revenge after being locked in an STF last Friday on Smackdown.
  • The Sheamus/The Big Show feud continues as we get closer to their “Chairs match” at next month’s TLC.
  • As of today, the WWE Championship reign of CM Punk has lasted 371 days with no end in sight. However Ryback is still on the hunt. Will there be a match announced for TLC? Who knows!

Click “read more” for a full and detailed recap of the event, plus my own thoughts and analysis (now with fewer letter grades!).

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Ryback pinned Titus O’ Neil in 3:16.
  2. Alberto Del Rio defeated The Great Khali by submission (match was joined in progress).
  3. Tamina Snuka pinned Alicia Fox in 2:06.
  4. [WWE I.C. Champion] Kofi Kingston pinned Tensai in 3:29.
  5. Rey Mysterio pinned Daniel Bryan in 12:20.
  6. John Cena pinned Dolph Ziggler in 11:46.
  7. Sheamus defeated [WWE U.S. Champion] Antonio Cesaro by countout in 12:52.
  8. Damien Sandow pinned Zack Ryder in 4:50.
  9. [WWE Champion] CM Punk pinned Kane in 10:20.

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*****

Tonight on RAW: “Hustle, Loyalty…CONTROVERSY!” (the John Cena/AJ Lee scandal and Cena/Dolph Ziggler feud), the NX3 (Ambrose/Reigns/Rollins) speak tonight.

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“FEEED…ME…MOOOORE!”

Ryback makes his way out to open the show. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcome the home audience, and Cole hypes the interview he had with the NX3 earlier this week. Ryback’s opponent Titus O’Neil is already in the ring. His partner Darren Young is at ringside. Cole brings up that this stems from Ryback beating Young and Shell Shock-ing O’Neil on Smackdown last Friday.

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Match #1: Ryback Vs. Titus O’Neil (w/ Darren Young)

O’Neil grabs a side headlock but Ryback easily shoves him off. O’Neil drives a knee into Ryback’s midsection and hits a series of back elbows/forearms in the corner. Ryback grabs him and throws him into the corner, unloading with a series of strikes. Ryback goes for a splash but O’Neil kicks him, then takes him down with a shoulder tackle. O’Neil delivers a strong clothesline, taking “Big Hungry” back down. O’Neil hits the ropes, and Ryback hits a Thesz press out of nowhere. O’Neil bails to the outside and calls for a “Time Out” but Ryback rolls out and clotheslines him.

Ryback rolls O’Neil back in and Young holds Ryback’s leg on his way in. This allows O’Neil to take advantage and hit a spinebuster slam for the 1…KICK OUT. O’Neil tries again but Ryback sends him flying into Young on the apron. Ryback takes him down and sets up for the lariat. He connects with it, then signals for the end. One Shell Shock later and it’s all over.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Ryback (3:16)

  • Match Thoughts: O’Neil got some good offense in before being flattened by Ryback; maybe that was a weird reward of sorts for being awesome over the past week personality-wise? Probably not. Either way this ended up being far better than the usual Ryback squash, mostly because it was far more competitive and because The Prime Time Players are straight entertaining. Ryback’s matches are becoming less like squashes; I think I speak for all of us when I say f*cking finally.

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Post-Match: Ryback grabs a mic. He says whether it’s Punk or the three “outsiders” or all four at once, he’s going to stay in the ring all damn night until he gets what he wants. He leads a “Feed Me More” chant as we go to commercial.

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-Commercial Break-

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Ryback is still leading the “Feed Me More” chant as we come back from break. Instead five security men in yellow shirts make their way out instead. They get into the ring and create a boundary between Ryback and the entrance stage. The, erm, black one stands in front and stares him down. Ryback grabs him by the head and throws him out of the ring. Ryback tells the others to “do something” and “be a man”.

Vickie Guerrero makes her way out to the stage. She says she’s a very understanding person and she gets that Ryback is “embarrassed” after the past few weeks. Guerrero says she will not allow him to hold her show hostage. Ryback interrupts and says he wants CM Punk at TLC and won’t go anywhere until he gets the match. Guerrero says in the interest of fairness, she will give him the match against Punk if he leaves the ring. Ryback tells her to “shut up” because he wasn’t finished speaking. He says he wants Punk at TLC but he also wants him “with tables, with ladders, and with chairs”. Guerrero agrees once again if he agrees to leave the ring and let the show continue. Ryback drops the mic and stares at the security guards. He fakes them out, and they scatter. Ryback’s music starts playing as he leaves the ring.

  • Segment Thoughts: Well Ryback is a little baby, isn’t he? “Waaaah gimme what I want or I’ll ruin your show!”. Not only did he act like a crybaby, he also bullied Guerrero into something even though she was just trying to do her job. Not cool; I know Vickie is evil and stuff, but he was being outlandish. Either way at least we apparently have a TLC main event…and Ryback showed improvement on the mic. He’s getting better…but his whole bully alpha male thing is awkward.

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Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler recap Hornswoggle spraying Rosa Mendes with a flower last week. We then cut to a video from earlier in the day where Hornswoggle and Mendes yell at each other backstage. Hornswoggle mocks Mendes by saying no one would ever want to give her a flower in real life, because he is apparently blind. Alberto Del Rio comes in and says if she’s looking for revenge, he can help. The Great Khali shows up and tells Del Rio to leave his friend alone. Del Rio and Mendes awkwardly walk away.

  • Thoughts: Can we…can we not have this match? Please?

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Justin Roberts introduces Ricardo Rodriguez, who handles the in-ring introduction for Alberto Del Rio. Dammit, this is happening. Out he comes in his fancy car, and he makes his way to the ring as we go to commercial.

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-Commercial Break-

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Match #2: The Great Khali Vs. Alberto Del Rio

We join the match in progress. Khali chops Del Rio in the corner, then sends him face-first into a different corner. Rosa Mendes watches backstage. Khali hits another chop and Del Rio crumples. Khali then chops him on the back. Del Rio ducks a clothesline and kicks at Khali, knocking him down with a running dropkick to the leg. Del Rio then zeroes in on Khali’s left arm to wear it down for his finisher. Del Rio hits the ropes and hits a running superkick to the kneeling Khali. Del Rio follows it up with a jumping stomp on Khali’s head. Del Rio goes for the pin. 2-count.

Del Rio continues wearing down the arm, wrenching it around the bottom rope. Khali retreats to the corner and Del Rio hits a running kick to his left shoulder. Del Rio goes for it again but runs into an elbow and boot from Khali. Khali takes him down with a couple of clotheslines then hits the Brain Chop. Rodriguez goes to the apron to distract the big man, and Hornswoggle takes care of him by biting his ass all the way down the ramp. MIDGET COMEDY SPOT. Del Rio takes advantage, drives the knees into Khali’s arm, then locks on the Cross Armbreaker for the submission victory. Mendes is ecstatic backstage.

Winner [via Submission]: Alberto Del Rio (3:34 of the match shown)

  • Match Thoughts: You know what? That match wasn’t bad after all. I expected much worse so I had my expectations sufficiently lowered to enjoy it. Plus you gotta love the MIDGET COMEDY SPOT; Rodriguez is the perfect guy to partake in that. We dodged a bullet here guys (Del Rio didn’t though judging by his chest).

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WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman confront Vickie Guerrero in her office. Punk is incensed that she gave Ryback the match at TLC. Punk asks if she knows what kind of danger she has put him in. Heyman questions Guerrero, saying she may not be thinking with a clear head due to the whole AJ scandal. Guerrero says she gave Ryback the match because of Brad Maddox at Hell in a Cell and because of the NX3 at Survivor Series. Punk again pleads his innocence, then Guerrero announces that Punk will face either Daniel Bryan or Kane tonight depending on the “RAWactive” poll results. Punk repeatedly asks what’s wrong with her as Heyman drags him out of the office.

  • Segment Thoughts: Guerrero botched the reveal of the RAWactive stuff tonight a little bit, but hey it’s live television. Also her character’s involvement in the show is weird; on one hand she’s making matches and keeping order, but on the other she’s antagonizing AJ Lee and essentially opening up John Cena to get his ass kicked by Dolph Ziggler. And if Punk and Ryback’s treatment of her is any indication…no one really takes her seriously or likes her and just want to go out of their way to be bullies.

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RAW Hype: The “RAWactive” poll on who will face Punk tonight.

Next on RAW: Michael Cole‘s taped interview with the NX3.

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-Commercial Break-

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WWE Slam of the Week: The NX3 attack Ryback and throw him through the table last week on Raw. Punk celebrates over his fallen body to create some intrigue.

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Michael Cole Interviews Ambrose/Rollins/Reigns

We go to a backstage interview done earlier today. Cole sits with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns who are still wearing their SWAT gear. Ambrose interrupts Cole and tells him to just ask his question. Cole asks them if they’re working directly for CM Punk. Ambrose says “nope”. Cole then asks why they’re here. Rollins says that’s the question he should be asking. Rollins says the whole WWE set-up is a popularity contest. Rollins says they have stepped in to right these wrongs and a be a “shield” of WWE justice.

Ambrose says it’s not about protecting Punk, it’s about right and wrong. He said Punk had been wronged so they stepped in and if it was Cena or Ryback they would’ve done the same for him. Cole asks Reigns for his take. Reigns says “when I wanna say something, I’ll say it”. Ambrose says they’re not renegades, or the Nexus, or the nWo. He says they’re honor and when they’re needed they will step in. Ambrose says “We are The Shield”. Cole goes to talk, but Reigns interrupts. He says they’ve said enough and the interview is over. They rip their mics off and stalk away.

  • Segment Thoughts: So apparently they’re “The Shield”. Fair enough. I like Nx3 better but that’s just me. Either way this was a damn good interview. Their motivation for showing up is a little shaky but Ambrose and Rollins sold it well. They also kept Reigns from talking too much which for those of us who watch NXT were thankful for. It’ll be interesting to see where they pop up next if they’re not really working for Punk.

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Cole and Lawler question The Shield and if they’re working for Punk or not; Lawler is especially skeptical of their motivations. They then hype up the RAWactive poll as well as the John Cena/AJ Lee kiss from last week.

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-Commercial Break-

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Wrestler Vignette: Fandango dances with his woman as he talks about how people need to “think on their feet” and “follow my lead and watch your step”.

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Alicia Fox is in already in the ring. Her opponent Tamina Snuka makes her way out to the ring, as we see a picture in picture promo from her. She tells AJ Lee to watch this match because this is her warning to stay away from Vickie Guerrero.

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Match #3: Alicia Fox Vs. Tamina Snuka

Fox goes on the offense the second the bell rings, stomping her down in the corner. Snuka grabs her and drops Fox face-first on the top turnbuckle. Fox shakes it off and tries to fight back but Snuka picks her up and throws her in the corner. Snuka follows up with a short-arm clothesline. Snuka drops Fox with a European uppercut and a back clothesline. Fox gets a surprise roll-up for a 2-count. Snuka easily regains the advantage with a Samoan drop. Snuka places the fallen Fox into position, then heads to the top turnbuckle. She connects with the Superfly Splash for the easy victory.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Tamina Snuka (2:06)

  • Match Thoughts: Short and simple but effective at making Snuka look tough as nails; her Superfly Splash also looked pretty damn devastating. Loved it. Her full body suit was ridiculous looking though as was her music; sounded like it was taken from the same “Dumb Savage” library that Umaga got his from.

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John Cena is backstage heading towards the ring as we go to commercial. More scandal stuff next!

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-Commercial Break-

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The Cena/AJ/Vickie/Ziggler Soap Opera Continues

“My Time is Now” plays as John Cena makes his way out to the ring. Justin Roberts gives him a proper introduction, then we see clips of his kiss with AJ Lee last week, plus the bathroom brawl, and other such things. Cena says he’s been in the WWE for 10 years and goes through some of his Wrestlemania moments. However, Cena says he has never been interrogated as much as he has last week thanks to his kiss with AJ Lee. Cena says a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell but he plans on making an exception because he’s not a gentleman.

Vickie Guerrero rushes to the ring yelling “Excuse Me!” going from GM mode to “angry heel” mode. Guerrero says it’s the season to give and has a gift for him and AJ. A ringside person hands Guerrero a box and she opens it up, revealing bathrobes for the both of them. Guerrero asks if he wants to try it on but Cena doesn’t know where it’s been. Guerrero says she’s going to enjoy when their world implodes and crashes down on them. Guerrero brings up AJ’s previous romances and such as well as her craziness.

Obviously that brings out AJ Lee to say her piece. Cena gets in between her and Guerrero. Guerrero asks Lee if she’s going to deny the fact she’s acted like a lovesick puppy the entire year. Lee says she isn’t going to deny it; Guerrero’s right. Lee says she knows that she’s had a lot of issues in the past but is trying to become a better person. Lee brings up the fact Guerrero cost her the GM job. Lee thanks her because since she’s not GM, she can date whoever she wants and do whatever she wants. She caresses Cena’s face at first, then slaps his ass, causing him to drop the mic. Lee goes to kiss Cena, but Guerrero stops them. Lee then says Guerrero couldn’t get a man unless she was a boss and calls her a dog.

Dolph Ziggler thankfully interrupts this whole thing. Ziggler says they’re all losing sight of the real issue: the fact Cena can’t handle the fact he got smashed through a bathroom stall. Ziggler then brings up Cena’s “unprovoked” STF on Smackdown. Ziggler says something about that didn’t sit right, and asks why Cena would resort to such cowardly tactics. Ziggler says he knows what’s eating Cena up inside: AJ was thinking about him while kissing Cena. Gag me with a spoon.

Cena goes to walk over and beat up Ziggler, but Guerrero stops him. She says they’re going to settle this tonight and sets up a Cena/Ziggler match for this show.

  • Segment Thoughts: Well they’ve officially gone off the rails with this whole thing and they’re hot shotting the Cena/Ziggler match that should be taking place at TLC. Wonderful. This was…this just was.

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RAW Hype: Sheamus takes on Antonio Cesaro tonight. Sign me up.

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-Commercial Break-

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Wade Barrett heads over to the commentary table to “scout” Kofi KingstonTensai is already in the ring. Out comes his opponent, the WWE Intercontinental Champion. We see clips of Barrett beating Kingston on last week’s Raw.

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Match #4: [WWE Intercontinental Champion] Kofi Kingston Vs. Tensai

Tensai uses his power to get the advantage early. Tensai catches him off the second rope, then drops him with a shoulder tackle. Tensai delivers a headbutt immediately followed by an elbow drop then does so again. He goes for a pinfall and is unsuccessful. Tensai wrenches Kingston’s head. Kingston tries to fight out but Tensai knees him in the gut. Tensai works over Kingston’s left arm, dropping a leg on it and applying a couple of different armbars.

Tensai sends Kingston into the corner, but Kingston scales the ropes and strikes him. Kingston finally knocks Tensai down and connects with the Boom Drop. Kingston sets up for the Trouble in Paradise. Tensai blocks it but misses a corner splash. He grabs Kingston’s legs though and smashes him to the mat. Tensai goes for the pin but only gets a 2-count. Kingston rolls to the outside and kicks Tensai in the head when he tries to grab him. Kingston follows it up with a springboard crossbody for the victory.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Kofi Kingston (3:29)

  • Match Thoughts: Tensai may or may not be on his way out, but he’s making sure to at least have some okay outings before then. I enjoyed his offense in this match. He was the monster he should’ve been the entire time. I guess when WWE isn’t paying attention you can get away with more. Kingston winning with the crossbody was weird though; maybe they botched something.

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Post-Match: Barrett grabs the IC Title and hands it to Kingston in the ring, before immediately leaving.

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Daniel Bryan and Kane are backstage arguing over who will get to face CM Punk tonight. Bryan says he has empirical data and the TV screen shows a map of the U.S. He says the areas that voted for him are in blue, and naturally all of them are blue. Bryan says they don’t have polling data in Hell and Kane grabs him by the throat. Josh Matthews interrupts to reveal the RAWactive results: it’s Kane! Bryan is incensed and Kane exits happy. Matthews informs Bryan that he does have a match though, against Rey Mysterio. Matthews informs him that this match is right now and Bryan immediately heads to the ring as his music starts playing. Bryan makes his way out incensed, ripping up posters and such. He yells “NO!” at the audience as we go to commercial.

  • Thoughts: That was one hell of a rigged poll, right there. They just completely made RAWactive irrelevant. There is no way that Kane won that one. No way in hell. Ridiculous. All for the sake of an already dated Presidential election joke. Wow.

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-Commercial Break-

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Rey Mysterio makes his way to the ring as we come back from break.

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Match #5: Rey Mysterio Vs. Daniel Bryan

Bryan gets a quick armdrag takedown then yells “NO!” to prevent the audience from cheering. Another armdrag takedown from Bryan followed by another “NO!” yell. They go to lock up, but Mysterio opts for a series of hamstring kicks instead. Bryan spins his way out of a wristlock and applies one of his own. Mysterio kicks Bryan a couple of times and takes him out with a top rope monkey flip that sends him to the floor. Mysterio tries for his splash but misses. Bryan regroups and hits a running knee off the apron.

Bryan rolls Mysterio in and attempts a pinfall. Bryan smashes Mysterio’s arm over his shoulder and locks him in a submission that turns into a pinfall attempt. Bryan transitions into a hammerlock when the pinfall fails. Mysterio elbows Bryan and takes him down with a flying snapmare. Bryan charges, and Mysterio drop toeholds him into the second turnbuckle. Mysterio hits the ropes, but Bryan comes charging with a clothesline, turning Mysterio inside out. Bryan drops the knee on Mysterio and throws him to the outside. Mysterio beckons Bryan to come out, but slides back when he does, enraging the Tag Team Champion. Bryan and Mysterio have themselves a stand-off as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Bryan reverses an Irish whip but Mysterio side steps a splash. Bryan backdrops him to the apron, and Mysterio climbs the ropes but Bryan crotches him. Mysterio ends up in a Tree of Woe and Bryan hits a couple of No Kicks before a baseball slide. A few more No Kicks and Mysterio finally crashes to the mat. Bryan drags Mysterio to the center of the ring and goes for a surfboard but Mysterio slips out so he rips at his face instead. Bryan follows up with an elbow to the back. Bryan connects with an uppercut and then slides Mysterio under the bottom rope and onto the floor.

Bryan goes to the outside and sends Mysterio shoulder-first into the ring post. He slides Mysterio back in and goes for the cover but it’s unsuccessful. Bryan applies an armbar to wear the arm down. Mysterio goes to fight out but Bryan headbutts him to stop it. Bryan places Mysterio on the top turnbuckle and ascends to the top rope himself. He goes for a superplex but Mysterio blocks it and headbutts him, sending Bryan to the mat. Mysterio flattens him with a seated senton, followed by a flying head scissors. Mysterio rolls through a sunset flip and kicks him in the head for the 1…2…KICK OUT.

Mysterio dropkicks Bryan to the second rope, but Bryan moves out of the way of the 619. Bryan quickly applies the No Lock but Mysterio gets to the ropes to force the break. Bryan goes for another No Lock but Mysterio blocks it and catapults him into the second turnbuckle. Mysterio hits the 619 around the ring post and hits the splash from the top for the victory.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Rey Mysterio (12:20)

  • Match Thoughts: Excellent television match between the two, which should only shock you if you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years and have never seen either of these men wrestle. The 619 around the ring post was especially nice, and Bryan was on in terms of his submissions. All in all a welcome consolation prize since we’re not getting another Punk/Bryan match sadly.

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Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez are discussing something backstage in Spanish when Rosa Mendes shows up. She thanks him for defending her against Hornswoggle. Del Rio flirts with her and walks off, leaving Mendes to get all hot and flustered as he and Rodriguez exit.

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Dolph Ziggler is getting ready backstage when Josh Matthews interrupts him for an interview. Ziggler says he’s the sole survivor and Mr. Money in the Bank and is in the main event of Raw tonight. Ziggler says John Cena is preoccupied with a nutcase and can’t wait to see the look on AJ Lee‘s face when she sees what he does to her “boyfriend” tonight.

  • Thoughts: Judging by that 5 o’clock shadow, Ziggler hasn’t slept in about five days. Solid promo from him. I really hope the ascension continues, he’s just getting better and better.

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-Commercial Break-

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Last Week on RAW: AJ Lee confronts Dolph Ziggler in the locker room. Ziggler completely destroys her verbally. Lee attacks him, John Cena appears out of nowhere to intervene and gets put through a bathroom stall. It’s shown in its entirety.

Last Week on Smackdown: Dolph Ziggler defeats Randy Orton but John Cena locks him in an STF on the entrance stage.

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Dolph Ziggler makes his way out for the next contest. His opponent John Cena makes his way out next, completely fine and not selling the knee “injury” from last week at all.

  • Thoughts: At least the overuse of replays and stuff from last week actually served a purpose. Good on them.

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Match #6: John Cena Vs. Dolph Ziggler

Cena takes Ziggler down with an armdrag, then locks him in an armbar until Ziggler gets to the ropes to force a break. Cena grabs a side headlock and Ziggler sends him into the ropes. Cena blocks a hip toss and takes Ziggler down with a headlock. The dueling Cena chants return as usual. Ziggler escapes the headlock but gets taken down with a shoulder block. Cena whips Ziggler into the corner but gets an elbow to the face during a splash attempt. Jawbreaker by Ziggler to take Cena down. Both men struggle to recover as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cena is recovering from being sent into the ring steps as we come back from break. Cena makes it into the ring before the 10 count but Ziggler continues to hammer him. Ziggler starts doing push ups next to his fallen foe but Cena goes for a pinfall attempt. Ziggler kicks out then immediately drops Cena with a running clothesline. Ziggler follows up with his many many elbow drops. Ziggler goes for a final one but Cena moves out of the way. Cena takes him down with the shoulder blocks and side slam. Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Ziggler pokes him in the eye and delivers a devastating DDT. Ziggler goes for the pin but only gets a 2-count.

Cena regroups in the corner and side steps a Ziggler splash. Cena goes for the STF but Ziggler kicks him off. Ziggler ducks a clothesline, then locks on the sleeperhold. Cena smashes Ziggler in the corner to break the hold, then locks on the STF. Ziggler crawls towards the bottom rope and finally gets to it to force the break. Cena finally lets go to avoid the DQ. Ziggler regroups and connects with a dropkick almost out of nowhere.

Ziggler climbs the top turnbuckle and goes for a flying crossbody but Cena rolls through and picks him up. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment, but Ziggler slips out and connects with the Zig Zag for the 1…2…KICK OUT. Damn. Cena and Ziggler trade strikes. Ziggler ducks a hail mary and rolls him up for a 2-count. Cena slams Ziggler to the mat and goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but his right knee gives out and he rolls out of the ring. The ringside doctor and ref check on Cena, allowing Ziggler to try to take off the top turnbuckle. AJ Lee comes out to stop him. Vickie Guerrero pulls her off of the apron, and Lee begins stalking after her. Back in the ring Cena ducks a briefcase shot and hits the Attitude Adjustment on Ziggler for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: John Cena (11:46)

  • Match Thoughts: I’m honestly shocked that this wasn’t on the PPV but at the same time I’m glad I got to see it because this was a damn fine match. Good stuff from both men. I don’t agree with the ending, but since it’s Cena it’s not all that surprising. I hope this is just a taste though; I want them to wrestle again with a longer length. Mixed tag match at TLC maybe? Hm.

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Post-Match: Lee rolls into the ring and watches Cena celebrate in the corner. Cena turns around and sees her standing there all cute and stuff. They approach one another. Cena extends his hand but Lee goes in and kisses him as furiously as WWE will allow. Cena opens the ropes for Lee to leave then rolls out. They walk to the back, arms around one another.

Next on RAW: Sheamus takes on Antonio Cesaro.

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-Commercial Break-

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Sheamus makes his way out for the next match. We see clips from his Survivor Series match against The Big Show where he beat him mercilessly with a chair. They then plug their chairs match at TLC. His opponent, WWE U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro, makes his way out next. No pre-match promo.

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Match #7: Sheamus Vs. [WWE U.S. Champion] Antonio Cesaro

Cesaro grabs a side headlock and takes Sheamus down with a running shoulderblock. Sheamus charges at him and locks on a side headlock, taking him down to the mat. Cesaro backs him into the corner and cheap shots him in the midsection. This only enrages Sheamus who quickly attacks back. Cesaro whips Sheamus into the corner but Sheamus floors him with a running forearm. Sheamus follows up with a suplex and goes for the pin. 2-count.

Cesaro backs Sheamus into the corner once again and connects with a headbutt. Sheamus fights back with a series of rights and forearms. Cesaro backdrops Sheamus to the apron, and Sheamus drops him on the top rope. Cesaro, however, responds with a baseball slide as he tries to get back up. Sheamus pulls Cesaro to the outside and throws him into the barricade. Sheamus climbs the ring steps but Cesaro sweeps the legs and sends him crashing face-first into them. The match continues after this commercial break.

-Commercial Break-

Cesaro has Sheamus in waistlock on the mat as we come back from break. They get to their feet and Cesaro hits him with an European uppercut. Sheamus responds with a forearm. The exchange continues with Sheamus getting the win and the takedown with a series of running forearms. Cesaro connects with a running clothesline out of the corner and gets a 2-count. Cesaro dead-lifts Sheamus and suplexes him to the mat. He goes for another pin. 2-count.

Cesaro traps Sheamus between the ropes and delivers a series of uppercuts. Sheamus fights back from the apron and hits a series of knee strikes. He bends Cesaro over the top rope and hits his 10 clubbing forearms of doom. Sheamus launches himself over the rope and takes Cesaro down with a shoulder block. Sheamus then connects with the Irish Curse for a 2-count. Cesaro fights out of White Noise but Sheamus slams him to the mat anyway and goes for another pin. Another 2-count.

Sheamus goes for the Texas Cloverleaf but Cesaro gets to the ropes before it can be fully applied. Cesaro kicks Sheamus to the mat and hits a Torture Rack slam for the 1…2…KICK OUT. So goddamn close. Cesaro is in disbelief. Cesaro goes after Sheamus in the corner, but Sheamus repeatedly kicks him away. Sheamus heads to the top rope and goes for the Battering Ram, but Cesaro connects with a European uppercut. Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer, but Sheamus back drops him and then sort-of connects with the Brogue Kick. Cesaro spills out to the floor. The Big Show makes his way out to the entrance stage, chair in hand, as the ref counts Cesaro out.

Winner [via Countout]: Sheamus (12:52)

  • Match Thoughts: In a night full of great matches, this one takes the cake. A brutal hard-hitting affair with some tremendous spots, especially from Cesaro (the dead-lift of Sheamus, the European uppercut out of nowhere on Sheamus mid-Battering Ram). Excellent stuff all around. Despite the countout finish, which actually wasn’t bad overall but a bit of a downer, I loved it. I loved it. They worked even better together than Sheamus/Barrett.

—–

Post-Match: Show teases going to the ring but turns and heads towards the back. Sheamus grabs a mic and says if Show is bringing a chair he might as well use it. Sheamus says he’d be happy to send Show into retirement and he will hit him with a chair 100 times if he has to. Sheamus says when he gets a chair in his hands at TLC he’ll show Show just what barbaric truly means. Show then proceeds to break the chair apart. He stares Sheamus down for a second, then heads to the back.

  • Thoughts: That was amazing. I love this Sheamus/Show feud so much. It’s just two giants trying to beat the hell out of one another. Yes they threw in that Regal stuff, but it didn’t distract. I want to see these guys rip each other apart.

—–

RAW Hype: Punk/Kane main event.

—–

Slideshow: WWE visits the troops.

—–

Damien Sandow makes his way out to the entrance stage. He silences the music, and the crowd boos. Sandow says his sole purpose for being in the WWE is to rescue the Universe from the doldrums of their own ignorance. He asks the crowd to remain silent while he’s speaking and naturally they don’t. Sandow says he will further his crusade by beating his “mouthbreathing” opponent this evening. He ends with an emphatic “You’re welcome!”. His opponent, Zack Ryder, makes his way out next.

—–

Match #8: Zack Ryder Vs. Damien Sandow

Ryder backs Sandow in the corner and Sandow yells at the referee to get Ryder off of him. Sandow grabs a side headlock, and Ryder sends him into the ropes. Sandow floors him with a shoulder block but falls victim to an armdrag takedown. Sandow bails to the outside and hits Ryder with a shoulder to the gut. Sandow rolls back in and repeatedly hammers Ryder. He rolls outside and hangs Ryder over the apron, striking him repeatedly, before rolling in and going for the pin. 2-count.

Sandow grabs Ryder’s arm and drives a series of knees into Ryder’s side before attempting another unsuccessful pinfall. Sandow continues the assault with a series of knee strikes followed by a Russian legsweep. This sets up Sandow for the “Elbow of Disdain” which he successfully hits. He goes for the pin. 2-count. Sandow applies a sort of cross face chicken wing. Ryder gets to his feet and starts fighting out but Sandow lands a headbutt to stop him. Sandow rakes Ryder’s eyes with his boot laces and attempts a back drop, but Ryder slams him face-first into the mat.

Ryder chops Sandow and hits Sandow with a double knee to the jaw of a charging Sandow. Ryder connects with a dropkick off the second rope, then splashes him in the opposite corner. Ryder goes for the Broski Boot but Sandow rolls out of the ring. Ryder kicks him anyway from the ring. Ryder rolls Sandow back in then heads to the top turnbuckle. Sandow shakes the top rope to crotch him and send him to the mat. Sandow follows it up with the Terminus for the pinfall victory.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Damien Sandow (4:50)

  • A showcase win for Sandow to set up his match against Cena this Wednesday. And considering how much I love Sandow obviously I enjoyed it. But I can’t help but wonder if they’re going to keep him a holding pattern until Cody Rhodes returns from injury or if they’re just going to say “f*ck it” and start him on a singles push. As much as I dig The Rhodes Scholars, I’m sort of hoping for the latter.

—–

Post-Match: Sandow celebrates by bowing and doing a cartwheel as Cole hypes up his match against John Cena this Wednesday on Main Event.

—–

Paul Heyman is nervously clutching the WWE Championship outside of CM Punk‘s locker room. Josh Matthews rushes in for an interview to ask him about his match with Kane. Heyman says Matthews’ question should be how much injustice Punk should tolerate and shoos him away. The match is next!

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

Earlier on RAW: Michael Cole interviews The Shield (Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns).

—–

The pyro goes off and out comes Kane for the main event of tonight’s show. “Cult of Personality” starts up, bringing out WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman. They hype Punk’s Chicago parade duties and his appearance on The Talking Dead. About time they got around to promoting him. More hype for the Ryback/Punk TLC match at, erm, TLC.

—–

Main Event: Kane Vs. [WWE Champion] CM Punk

Kane backs Punk into the corner immediately, but Punk ducks a strike and responds with a chop. Kane stares daggers at him, taking Punk aback a little. Punk lays into Kane with a series of strikes to the head and hamstrings. Punk chops Kane again, angering the “Big Red Machine”. He throws Punk into the corner and stomps him all the way to the mat. Kane sends Punk into the ropes but gets a boot to the face during a back drop attempt. Punk takes advantage with a series of strikes, but gets dropped on the top rope for his troubles. Kane follows up with a running kick, sending Punk falling to the floor. Punk recovers from the big boot as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Punk is back on the offensive end as we come back from break. Punk works over Kane’s left leg but Kane fights him off. Punk favors his ankle and rolls to the outside to check on it. Kane follows and rolls him in. Punk fights Kane off and hits a suicide dive through the second rope onto the “Big Red Machine”. Punk rolls Kane in and continues working on Kane’s left leg. Punk hits the running knee in the corner and follows it up with one more for good measure. Punk decides to go for a third, but Kane catches him with a right hand on his way in.

Kane pushes Punk in the corner and hits two running clotheslines, followed by a sidewalk slam for a 2-count. Kane heads to the top turnbuckle and drops Punk with his stupid looking top rope clothesline. Kane signals for the Chokeslam, but Punk ducks and takes him down with a swinging neckbreaker for a 2-count. Punk rolls to the apron and goes for a springboard move, but Kane catches him and delivers the Chokeslam. Heyman tries to drag Punk out of the ring but is stopped once the ref sees him. Kane signals for the Tombstone Piledriver. He lifts him up for the move, but Punk slips out and clips the knee. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns show up to stare at the proceedings in the crowd. Punk connects with the GTS on Kane for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: CM Punk (10:20)

  • After so many damn good matches tonight, there was no chance Punk/Kane was going to match it. But it was an okay match for what it was. Punk tweaking his ankle was scary though and you could see the terror in his eyes. Legitimate terror, not storyline terror.

—–

The Shield jumps the barricade and circle the ring. They make their way into the ring and tease attacking Punk before swarming Kane. Punk rolls out of the ring confused as The Shield continues their attack. Daniel Bryan makes his way out to help his partner, but The Shield is too much for him. Ryback makes his way out to the ring and runs into the ring as Punk jumps behind the barricade. The Shield attack but he shoves them off. Power bomb for Rollins, lariats for Ambrose and Reigns. Punk attacks from behind but Ryback goes for a power bomb. Reigns spears Ryback, flattening him and stopping the attack. Ambrose and Rollins lift Ryback onto Reigns’ shoulders and he delivers a power bomb to “Big Hungry”. The Shield and Punk stare one another down. A replay of what just went down plays. The Shield exit through the crowd as Punk once again stands over the fallen Ryback.

  • Thoughts: And the intrigue continues. Cool ending brawl, but it was pretty much deja vu from last week minus the table and adding the involvement of Team Hell No. I like what they’re trying to do here, and The Shield feels just different enough to work for now, but it’ll depend on how they continue this storyline. I’m on board to find out though.

*****

Overall Show Thoughts:

  • The first hour was a bit weak, but the next two were really great from a wrestling perspective. The in-ring action was great, with four matches given lots of time to really tell stories and deliver. Storyline-wise it was weak, the Vickie/AJ stuff is wearing very thin, but The Shield did well in their debut interview and I’m digging that story for now. This is definitely an episode worth watching. 
  • Best Match: Sheamus Vs. Antonio Cesaro
  • Worst Match: Khali Vs. Alberto Del Rio
  • Personal Highlight: The Shield interview. Love hearing Dean Ambrose talk, and his mannerisms were great as well. You really can’t tell what their motives are. At least not yet.

—–

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