WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 6/23: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - final MITB PPV hype from D.C., IC Title match, Vickie's farewell, much more
Jun 23, 2014 - 10:08:20 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
June 23, 2014 - Episode #1,099
Live in Washington, D.C.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Announced beforehand: John Cena, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns against Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, and Cesaro. Yes, the Smackdown main event from Friday. Plus, Stephanie McMahon addressing Vickie Guerrero in the opening segment. Plus, Wade Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title.
WWE Network Pre-Game Show
- This week's panel is Josh Mathews with Booker T, Alex Riley, and guest Santino, who noted he likes the museums in D.C. Heavy emphasis on the word "opportunity" on all of the talking points heading into Raw.
Regarding the WWE Title ladder match for the vacant WWE Title, Booker said he wants to see Sheamus win and face Brock Lesnar.
- Backstage: Renee Young found Vickie Guerrero arriving at the building. Vickie was excited about Stephanie McMahon opening Raw, but then became concerned when Renee told her that Stephanie will address her. "Excuse me," she quietly said. "I need to go."
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with Justin Roberts introducing Stephanie McMahon to boos. Stephanie walked out on-stage past a collection of ladders assembled in the arena to hype Money in the Bank on Sunday. The announcers noted Stephanie looks much better after becoming sick last Monday on Raw thanks to a spiked coffee.
Stephanie was greeted by boos once entering the ring, then introduced herself as one of the principal owners of this billion-dollar business. She said she cannot handle gross negligence, especially from an underlying like Vickie Guerrero. Steph called out Vickie to come down to the ring to face the consequences.
Vickie reluctantly walked out on-stage, climbed into the ring, and greeted Stephanie by noting it's so good that she's doing better. Vickie said she knows who put "that thing" in her coffee - Roman Reigns. Steph said that's interesting because Reigns was her biggest failure to-date, since she disobeyed The Authority's simple directions. Vickie stammered, then Steph noted Reigns is competing for the WWE World Title all because of Vickie. Steph offered WWE Math that Reigns has a one-in-seven chance of becoming WWE World champ, just like the other competitors. Interesting that everyone has the same betting odds on Sunday...
Stephanie "went there" that Vickie has been riding Eddie Guerrero's coattails for nine years. She said they took pity on Vickie and made her a General Manager, but she couldn't get it right. The crowd chanted, "Eddie, Eddie," which Steph said is reflective of Eddie deserving respect, but not Vickie. Steph started to fire her, but Vickie said she will do whatever it takes to keep her job. Steph told Vickie to beg on her knees. Vickie shouted that she's sorry and it won't happen again. "Get up, you're pathetic," Stephanie told her.
Steph said Vickie is like a cockroach or a twinkie that won't expire. She gave Vickie two options: fired or remain GM of Smackdown - if she wins a match tonight. Vickie said she's not even a competitor. So, that means you're resigning? Vickie asked who her opponent is. Steph said that's the best part. "Your opponent is ... me," she said with an evil smile. Vickie didn't accept right away, so Steph taunted her. Vickie shouted back that if there is one name more respected in the industry than McMahon, it's "Guerrero." She accepted, then shouted "Excuse Me!" in Steph's face. Vickie threw down the mic at Steph's feet, then Steph flashed a big, evil smile about getting Vickie in the ring.
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL hyped the question to be answered tonight of whether Vickie will keep or lose her job tonight in the match. Cole then announced that Triple H will announce the MITB ladder match participants joining Seth Rollins. Plus, Barrett vs. Ziggler for the IC Title and a repeat of the mega-Smackdown main event two nights ago.
[Commercial Break at 8:11]
[Q2] In-ring: WWE tag champs The Usos were introduced to the ring for the opening match. It's Jimmy Uso in singles action. And, predictably, his opponent was Luke Harper, who came out with Erick Rowan to dramatic, new entrance music of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hand" played by a loud harmonica.
1 -- WWE tag champion JIMMY USO (w/tag champ Jey Usos) vs. LUKE HARPER (w/Erick Rowan)
The singles match previewing the WWE Tag Title match at the MITB PPV went back and forth early on. Jey then took out Rowan on the outside, indirectly distracting his brother, who walked right into a big knock-down clothesline from Harper. Three count and it was over.
WINNER: Harper at 1:36. Another oddly quick match in their series of singles matches. It seemed like Harper picked up the win just for the new entrance music to play again.
Post-match: Jey Uso took the mic and told the Wyatts they're just getting started. He told Erick Rowan to get back in the ring so he can give him what's coming to him. Uso then flew over the top rope to splash the Wyatts heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:20]
2 -- WWE tag champion JEY USO (w/tag champ Jimmy Uso) vs. ERICK ROWAN (w/Luke Harper)
The follow-up match was joined in progress, getting both singles matches out of the way, as opposed to saving one for Main Event or Smackdown. Rowan was in control of the action as Harper watched with confidence ringside. Rowan missed a corner splash, then Uso superkicked Rowan into the ringspost. Jimmy took out Harper on the outside, then Jey came off the top with a Superfly Splash to Rowan for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Uso at 1:54. Another oddly quick match in their series of singles matches.
Post-match: The Wyatts picked up a fight with The Usos as they received their Tag Titles. Harper and Rowan got the best of this exchange, knocking down the tag champs before leaving the ring. Rowan ran Jimmy into the ring steps, then Harper delivered a big knock-down clothesline. The Wyatts posed in the ring before picking up the Tag Titles and staring at the belts before holding them in the air. JBL told the audience to get used to this sight. The crowd answered with a "No!" chant as the Wyatts continued to hold the belts and the announcers kept trying to fill time.
Suddenly, Bray Wyatt interrupted on the video screen. Bray gave Harper and Rowan a pep talk celebrating their triumph tonight. He transitioned to his ladder match quest to become WWE World Hvt. champion. Bray noted he will not be alone, as his brothers will take out all of these "unworthy little creatures" also in the ladder match. "Follow the buzzards," he said, sending Raw to break.
[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:29]
Announcement: Michael Cole announced former WWE World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan on the MITB pre-show to address being stripped of the WWE World Title by The Authority and neck surgery recovery.
Earlier Today: Rusev and Lana did some sight-seeing in D.C. A video package showed Rusev standing in front of the Capitol building in a suit. Lana noted they have come to examine America's meager landmarks, including this place where lawmakers made bad decision after bad decision. And, the White House, where America's weak leader makes more bad decisions. Lana said the American government, citizens, and America are pathetic. She said the one remaining option is to bow down and embrace Vladimir Putin. Lana said no one can stop the Revolution of Rusev. "America," he said before removing his glasses, "Rusev crush."
In-ring: Divas champion Paige was introduced for commentary on the next match. Alicia Fox was introduced as the first competitor in the Divas division match, followed by Naomi, flanked by Cameron. Cole announced Season 1 of "Total Divas" premiering on WWE Network this Thursday.
3 -- ALICIA FOX vs. NAOMI (w/Cameron)
Cameron also joined commentary, setting up a tense situation sharing airtime with Divas champ Paige. Fortunately, JBL, Cole, and Lawler were in the middle to create a human shield. Fox dominated early on, then dumped Naomi to the outside. Cameron noted she's not going to help her tag partner since she didn't help her last week. No matter for Naomi, who made a comeback back in the ring and scored a pin. Paige proudly stood up and smirked toward Cameron as the announcers hyped a potential Paige vs. Naomi match.
Post-match: Paige hopped on the ring apron, held up the Divas Title belt, and Naomi shook her hand. Tons of Funk's music played and Naomi smiled on the way out of the ring. Meanwhile, Cameron was yawning, according to Lawler.
WINNER: Naomi at 5:00. The slow burn of the Funkadactyls breaking up continues.
[Q4] Backstage: Sheamus was shown taping himself up for action tonight. Roman Reigns was shown standing next to him, drawing cheers and shrieks. Reigns said he's always ready for a fight, but Sheamus said he still remembers Shield taking him out a while ago. Sheamus noted it's every man for himself, then Reigns cut him off and said he could take him out right now if he wanted to. Sheamus ignored, then vowed to magically walk away new WWE World champ on Sunday. Reigns sold not buying that vision. "I don't believe in magic. I believe in Roman Reigns. And so should you," Reigns told Sheamus.
[Commercial Break at 8:46. A spot for The Rock's "Hercules" movie out next month aired.]
In-rijng: Titus O'Neil was standing by in the ring for the next match. Bo Dallas's music then played to bring out "the inspirational" Bo Dallas to face O'Neil. In the ring, Bo told O'Neil that he fell of his horse last Friday on Smackdown. Then, he fell off again. But, he proved that winning is not everything. And he will prove to everyone that all he has to do is Bo-Lieve.
4 -- BO DALLAS vs. TITUS O'NEIL
Bo was sporting a black eye, prompting the announcers joke about how Bo got the black eye. The discussion turned to badminton, of all things. Titus missed with a corner attack, then Bo sprung on him with the Bo-dog. Dallas covered for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Bo Dallas took a victory lap around the ring as the announcers offered as many puns as they could thing of. Dallas then returned to the ring and told "buddy" O'Neil that he's "Nine and Bo." Titus slapped the mic out of Bo's hands, so Bo left the ring and grabbed the mic again. Oops, it slipped. He told Titus to get back on that horse before thanking everyone. He told Titus not to stop Bo-lieving. "Just bo," Lawler muttered.
WINNER: Dallas at 1:07.
Up Next: Triple H announces the MITB ladder match field, joining Seth Rollins.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
Raw returned one minute before the top of the hour with Triple H's music playing to bring out Hunter in a suit by himself. Hunter surveyed the ladders set up on the stage, then slowly made his way to the ring as Cole hyped the MITB PPV on Sunday.
[Q5 -- second hour] Hunter continued the "Linda McMahon anti-elected leaders" theme of the night saying political leaders make bad decisions all the time in this town, yet he's still the bad guy when he comes back to D.C. Hunter transitioned to hyping the MITB ladder match, noting Seth Rollins is the first entrant.
Hunter said he does not make his decisions based on favoritism, but what's best for business. He announced Kofi Kingston as the first addition to Rollins. Next was Jack Swagger. Hunter said this next man is Dolph Ziggler, who people think he does not appreciate the talent of. Rob Van Dam was announced next. And, just in case people thought that was it, Hunter said he's got some bad news (complete with the bad accent). IC champion Wade Barrett rounded out the field.
Hunter noted the one man he "bo-lieves" will win the match is Rob Van -- haha, no. He said he can't even say that with a straight face. Hunter said this man is a specialist, ring technician, and the future of WWE, Seth Rollins. Out came Rollins dressed in new ring gear that consisted of a t-shirt, tight hockey-style long black biker shorts, long black boots inspired by the Hunter Hearst Helmsley era, and black biker gloves.
In the ring, Rollins took the mic and said he wants the crowd to move on from what happened three weeks ago. He said if the fans like Reigns and Ambrose as much as they claim, they should be thanking him because he is responsible for all of their success. Rollins said he took Shield as high as they could get, then he dropped the dead weight. Rollins mocked Ambrose and Reigns's mannerisms, then turned his attention to the MITB contract hanging above the ring.
Rollins vowed to climb the ladder and grab the contract. Suddenly, RVD's music interrupted. Will he show any real fire or emotion tonight? RVD said hello, then said he gets a sense that they don't take him seriously. Rollins said he would take him seriously ... if this were 2005. RVD laughed and said Seth was asking mom and dad to be a wrestler watching him back then.
RVD then took a jab at Hunter, noting he crushed his trachea at the first Elimination Chamber match. Hunter sneered, then RVD challenged Seth to a match. From behind, Rollins looked like Paul Burchill in the new ring gear as he consulted with Hunter, who smirked, shrugged his shoulders, and dry-humored a referee request.
5 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. SETH ROLLINS
The match quickly moved to the floor, where RVD took out Burchill with a splash from the ring apron. RVD posed for the crowd as Seth sold on the floor heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:13]
[Q6] Back from break, Rollins was working on RVD's back after returning to the ring. Rollins then snapped off Three Amigos suplexes, continuing the Eddie Guerrero theme of the night. RVD came back with Rolling Thunder, then climbed to the top turnbuckle for a Five-Star Frogsplash, but Rollins moved in time. Rollins got a crazy, mean look in his eyes, then stalked RVD to tackle him from behind. Bucklebomb from Rollins, then a Curb Stomp, but Dean Ambrose stormed the ring and attacked Rollins, causing a DQ.
WINNER: Rollins via DQ at 9:56.
Ambrose continued to beat up Rollins ringside until refs showed up to try to separate Ambrose from Rollins. Ambrose teased walking away from the situation, but ran around the refs to attack Rollins again. Rollins took his leave, then Ambrose jumped into the ring to stare down Rollins, who hit the top of the stage and threw a fit at Ambrose ruining his moment again.
Ambrose then grabbed the mic and told Triple H he better put him in the MITB ladder match. Otherwise, he'll show up at Boston, bash Rollins's head in, grab the briefcase, and walk right out of the building. Ambrose vowed to screw up the PPV and show up at Money in the Bank one way or another. Cole said he doesn't think that was a threat, but a promise.
Backstage: Vickie Guerrero was shown warming up to face Stephanie McMahon later tonight.
Still to come: Barrett vs. Ziggler for the IC Title. And, a replay of the Smackdown main event.
[Commercial Break at 9:25]
[Q7] Authority Office: Seth Rollins and Triple H discussed what to do about Dean Ambrose. Rollins told Hunter that he's got to put Ambrose in the ladder match, otherwise he will screw things up. Rollins said he needs to be able to see Ambrose at all times and have eyes on him, not looking over his shoulder wondering where Ambrose is. Plus, he needs to see Ambrose's look when he wins the MITB match. Hunter said if this blows up in his face, it's on him. "I got this!" Rollins declared. Hunter thought it over, then said Ambrose is in the match. Hunter slapped a fired-up Rollins across the shoulder to give him a boost of confidence.
In-ring: Wade Barrett came out to the ring to run down Dolph Ziggler before defending the IC Title against him. Barrett vowed to beat Ziggler tonight, then again on Sunday, and force Ziggler to change his name. "Just like your racist, constantly-losing football team," Barrett said with a big laugh. He made his way to the ring as WWE found a fan wearing a Redskins cap on the front row heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:34]
Back from break, Dolph Ziggler got a full ring entrance. WWE cut to a shot of Barrett talking to the ref, then snapping back into character sneering at Ziggler, telling him to hurry up and get in the ring. Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros for the IC Title match before the bell sounded.
6 -- IC champion WADE BARRETT vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- Intercontinental Title match
Ziggler snapped off an early dropkick, selling that he was here to play and get the title. But, Barrett clotheslined Ziggler over the top rope to the floor, putting Ziggler on the defensive on the outside. Back in the ring, Barrett nailed Winds of Change for a close two count. He was too cocky following up, allowing Ziggler to nail Zig-Zag. But, he could not make a pin, and Barrett slowly rolled out of the ring to the floor, just out of Ziggler's grasp. Raw cut to break with Ziggler frustrated by his bad fortune.
[Q8] [Commercial Break at 9:44]
Back from break, both men exchanged big moves, but neither could score the win. Barrett went to the top turnbuckle, but Ziggler caught him with a facejam, but Barrett kicked out of a pin in time. Barrett came right back with Wasteland, but Ziggler kicked out again. Barrett freaked out, then regrouped and measured Ziggler for the Bullhammer, but Ziggler ducked and hit the Fameasser. One, two, kick out.
Ziggler clutched his head in frustration, then regrouped and sprung on Barrett for a close two count on a crucifix pin. Ziggler tried to immediately follow up with a corner attack, but Barrett caught him out of nowhere with the Bullhammer Elbow. Ziggler sold being knocked out, Barrett covered, and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Barrett at 11:29 to retain the IC Title. Very good TV match. Good chemistry in the ring here. (***1/4)
Backstage: Vickie Guerrero was shown walking past various wrestlers gathered together having conversations. Renee Young tried to get a word from Vickie before her match against Stephanie McMahon. Vickie snapped at Renee, then calmed down and said she is taking her dignity back after being humiliated more than anyone else in WWE. Suddenly, Randy Orton walked into the shot. Orton, who has plenty of history with the Guerreros, said Vickie is going to regret putting Roman Reigns in the ladder match on Sunday and she will pay for her actions tonight. Orton said he wishes he could say it was nice knowing Vickie, but they know it would be a lie.
Next Monday: A WWE-produced special on the "Special Olympics USA 2014" will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Interesting partnership.
[Commercial Break at 9:56]
Main Event plug: Ziggler & Kofi & RVD vs. Rollins & Swagger & Barrett in a six-man tag match tomorrow night on WWE Network.
In-ring: Eddie Guerrero's music played to bring out Vickie Guerrero. The crowd was muted, either because they're too young to remember Eddie or it was uncomfortable hearing the theme music of a dead wrestler. The announcers played up a nostalgia theme for Eddie as Vickie confidently walked to the ring.
[Q9 -- third hour] Stephanie McMahon's music played to bring out Stephanie in the same dress she wore at the top of the show. Steph said she sees that Vickie is dressed and ready to compete, but she's in the wrong place. Steph told Vickie that their match is going to happen over here - Steph pointed to a kiddie pool containing a substance off-stage. Stephanie said she doesn't know what is in that pool, but it stinks. She said the first person who goes in this pool will lose.
7 -- STEPHANIE MCMAHON vs. VICKIE GUERRERO
Stephanie called out "ladies," which produced heels Layla, Rosa Mendes, and Alicia Fox to drag Vickie out of the ring toward the production stage. The heels circled Vickie, who tried to run away. Vickie thought she escaped the heel trio, but she found herself cornered by Stephanie. The heels snuck up on Vickie, then dragged Vickie toward the pool. They didn't do their job, though, as Vickie shoved Rosa into the pool. Layla also took the pool dive. So, did Fox. But, Steph got the last word by shoving Vickie into the pool.
"Yes!" Stephanie shouted. "Vickie, you're fired!" she declared. "Yes!" Steph said she feels like singing a song, then serenaded Vickie with the "Na na na, good-bye" song. Vickie got up and glared at Stephanie, who stopped mid-song when she saw that Vickie was not going to leave so easily. Vickie remembered Roman Reigns's words from last week to go out in a blaze of glory and threw Stephanie into the pool. Eddie's music played again and Vickie did the Eddie Shake on-stage to wrap up her WWE run. "It's been a great ride," JBL said gleefully.
Steph fell into the pool a few more times for comedy effect, following up on getting sick last week on Raw. Eddie's music stopped, leaving Stephanie as the focal point of the skit swimming in the mystery substance while refs tried to help her. Steph shouted toward the crowd that every last one of them will pay the price as the crowd waited for the show to move on.
WINNER: No one at 0:00. About what you would expect for how WWE/VKM would send off Vickie. Humiliate her, but try to dump sugar on it by having Steph humiliated, too. Why is this the way WWE goes? McMahon can't resist humiliating characters on the way out, which is his way of saying thanks to the performers. In his quirky, low-brow way. And there has to be a lot of mud or simulated poop.
Still to come: Smackdown main event replay.
[Commercial Break at 10:10]
[Q10] Locker Room: Byron Saxton brought in a hooded Goldust to discuss the transformation of his brother, Cody. "Cody? No, no, no, I saw Stardust," he said. Cody Rhodes then walked into the shot blowing sparkles into the camera. Cody sang about wishing on a star, then flashed his star gloves to the camera. Goldust sold being at a loss to describe how proud he is. Or ... "Now, I'm the normal one," he said for laughs.
In-ring: Zeb Colter was standing by with Jack Swagger. Zeb quickly asked for the crowd to join him in "We The People" before Kofi Kingston was introduced for singles action.
8 -- KOFI KINGSTON vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter)
Cole hyped both men in the MITB ladder match on Sunday. Then, the discussion went all over the place, signaling this as a comedown match. Kofi clotheslined Swagger over the top rope to the floor, Swagger ran back in, and Kofi met him with a dropkick. Kofi then flip-splashed Swagger on the floor. Back in the ring, Kofi was unable to follow up, then found himself in the Patriot Lock. Kofi fought, but tapped out, giving Swagger a needed win.
WINNER: Swagger via submission at 3:57. Even-Steven with Kofi getting in plenty of offense, but the heel got his music on the way out.
Announcement: Cole confirmed Paige vs. Naomi for the Divas Title at the MITB PPV. Cameron was looming in the background of the graphic.
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL hyped the MITB PPV on Sunday. Cole also hyped Daniel Bryan on the PPV pre-show.
Backstage: Renee Young had an interview lined up, but Alberto Del Rio resurfaced and interrupted the interview. Del Rio hyped himself as the next WWE World Hvt. champion, then lost his smile when Cesaro and Paul Heyman interrupted. Heyman said he is the "one" behind the "1" in 21-1 when Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania. And, he is the "one" behind the man who will become the WWE World champion on Sunday. And that is not Del Rio, but Cesaro. Del Rio asked if this man ever talks, or is he Heyman's little puppet? Cesaro said he would talk to him, but he only speaks five languages, and none of them are loser. Del Rio removed his towel to signal those were fighting words as Raw headed to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:25]
This Friday: Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt on Smackdown. Cole said he thinks Smackdown will be #1 on Friday night again this week because of this match. Okay.
In-ring: Damien Sandow was standing by as Abe Lincoln. Sandow said he was told in the past that they do not find him entertaining, so look at him now. Continuing the death theme tonight, Abe said he would rather sit in Ford's Theater one more time before being told by the audience how to act. Big E.'s music interrupted, prompting Cole to go through Abe's wrestling history in the 1800s. Cole tried to sound cool joking that Lawler wrestled "undercards" back then.
9 -- BIG E. vs. DAMIEN "ABE LINCOLN" SANDOW
The announcers treated this as another joke match, which ended in less than a minute with Big E. delivering the Big Ending to Sandow. No reaction for Big E. as he celebrated and the announcers laughed at their own jokes. Cole slipped in a crack about Obama's approval rating to finish off the presidential theme to this segment.
Post-match: Tom Phillips entered the ring to try to interview Big E., but he ripped the mic away and did an intense preacher-voice promo about Rusev and Lana trying to insult their country earlier tonight. Rusev's music played and Lana came out on-stage to tell Big E. that pride comes before the fall. Rusev then sneak-attacked Big E. and blasted him down to the mat. Rusev's music played and Lana smiled at her man's work. "Who stops that man?" Cole asked aloud.
WINNER: Big E. at 0:54. Who is Big E.? Does he have an identity other than powerhouse wrestler, a finisher, and voice impersonations?
Up Next: Four-on-three Smackdown repeat main event.
[Commercial Break at 10:36]
This Sunday: Daniel Bryan is back on the MITB PPV pre-show.
And backstage again for Renee Young. Young brought in John Cena for a discussion of the handicap main event and MITB PPV ladder match on Sunday. Cena said his friends become his enemies on Sunday, then entered preacher promo mode about danger at every corner and one of the Magnificent Seven walking into Boston a Superstar and walking out WWE champion. Cena said Boston is green, he's money, and you can bank on that.
In-ring: John Cena's music played to bring out the first participant in the Smackdown main event replay. Cena was then joined by Sheamus and Roman Reigns, who has retained The Shield theme music with some babyface tweaks. Reigns walked through the crowd and hit the ringside area, then surveyed the crowd.
[Q12] Reigns's intro was interrupted by the Wyatt theme, which brought out Bray Wyatt. Cesaro's siren played next to keep the train of mish-mashed ring intros rolling. Next was Alberto Del Rio, then Randy Orton's theme. Orton slowly walked out as Cole hyped the match coming up next.
[Commercial Break at 10:47]
10 -- JOHN CENA & SHEAMUS & ROMAN REIGNS vs. RANDY ORTON & BRAY WYATT & ALBERTO DEL RIO & CESARO (w/Paul Heyman) -- four-on-three handicap match
The bell sounded back from break and Cena and Orton locked up one more time. On commentary, JBL introduced the talking point of Cena approaching Ric Flair's title reigns. Cole followed up with hyperbole about Sunday's PPV main event, with WWE never having a match of this magnitude at a MITB PPV before. Yep, WWE attempting to strike Cena vs. C.M. Punk at MITB 2011 from the public conscience. Bray Wyatt took control of Cena heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:55]
Back from break, the heels were still working on Cena. Cena fought "terrible pain" to reach for the face corner, but Cesaro cut him off. Cesaro, wearing black wrist tape tonight, took a back-body drop from Cena.
[Q13 -- over-run] Cena flew across the ring to tag in Reigns, who came in hot on Del Rio. More heels took punishment from Reigns, but he ran into Del Rio on the way back through the line-up. The heels regained control, isolating Reigns as Sheamus waited for his turn through the batting order. The tags from the heels started to get a little testy, allowing Reigns to KO Bray with a running forearm smash.
Reigns reached the face corner and tagged in Sheamus as Cesaro tagged in. Sheamus ran over Cesaro with power offense, then started knocking down heels like bowling pins. Sheamus wanted Ten Forearm Strikes on Cesaro, and he connected with all ten. Plus a few extras. Sheamus followed with a sidewinder slam before calling for the end. Orton cut him off, though, setting off a chorus line of finishers. AAs around the horn, then Cesaro smashed Cena with a pop-up European Uppercut. Back to Sheamus, who smashed Cesaro with a Brogue Kick for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Team Sheamus at 15:28. Basic, house show-level main event getting over the talking points for MITB. Fine, borderline good at times, but not overly-inspiring heading into Sunday, especially at the tail-end of a three-hour Raw that felt like it went four hours.
Post-match: Kane's pyro immediately shot off. Kane marched down to ringside and knocked around faces and heels alike. The crowd sat quietly processing what this meant before Triple H's music played. Hunter marched out on-stage to add something to the soup for Sunday. Standing next to Orton, Hunter announced Kane as the eighth participant in the WWE Title ladder match. Kane shot off his pyro, but didn't see a spear coming from Roman Reigns. Shield's music played as Hunter sold frustration on the stage. WWE went to back and forth shots of Hunter and Reigns as Raw signed off with a final plug for MITB on WWE Network eight minutes past the top of the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, this show dragged. Even more so than in recent months, WWE simply does not have the roster for a three-hour Raw. It's not a knock on the stars on the roster, as they're capable, but they're handcuffed by how they're positioned and underdeveloped and over-exposed. Overall, it's difficult to gauge the success/failure of TV hype for PPVs going forward with buys coming from a mix of traditional PPV and Network subscriptions in this era, but this felt like a Thumbs in the Middle.
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