Daniel Bryan Wins Back WWE Title At Night Of Champions

NOC13_Photo_321Night of Champions is here but it is being completely overshadowed by the news that Jim Ross has “resigned” after 20 years with the WWE. In what might be one of the worst kept secrets in a long time, Ross was forced to resign after losing control of a panel for WWE 2K14 due to a drunk Ric Flair taking over. That would only be considered a bit extreme if it wasn’t for 2K Sports absolutely loving how the panel went down and isn’t that the whole point? The truth seems to be that the WWE was looking for any reason to get rid of JR and this was as good as they were going to get. He’s the best pure play by play man they have ever had and between the Bell’s palsy and his already sporadic schedule, retirement doesn’t seem like the worst idea anyway. It did not need to go down this way though. Ross has said that he is not “going away” so the worst nightmare is him going to TNA. I highly doubt that would happen, but either way, good luck in your future endeavors.

Enough of the drama, lets move on to the show which starts off with Triple H because he just can’t help himself. He believes that this will be one of the best nights in WWE history, and has decided that there will be no outside interference in Daniel Bryan’s match against Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. Isn’t there already supposed to be no interference? That’s like the first rule there is. Anyway, apparently Big Show and the Shield and everyone else are not allowed to interfere. Like always. He starts to wrap things up when Paul Heyman comes out looking like garbage with Curtis Axel, begging to be excused from his match with Axel against CM Punk. He kisses Trips ass before stating his one mistake was allowing a middle aged father to be put in a match against a fighter of Punk’s caliber and pleases that the match be cancelled. Since Triple H is only playing an occasional heel, Triple H tells Heyman that there is nothing to worry about since he doesn’t even have to get in the ring. He can just have Curtis Axel beat CM Punk. He then asks Paul if he thinks Curtis can beat Punk. Heyman blows off the question but Axel steps up and says that he has a vendetta against Heyman and Axel ever since Axel beat Triple H in May (due to Triple H being too injured to finish coming a match with Lesnar). Trips reminds Axel of the saying, “don’t poke the bear” and brings up how at Night of Champions all titles are supposed to be defended (something I’ve been curious about with this Punk match all month). With that in mind, Triple H decides that Curtis will defend his Intercontinental Championship against the first person he sees when he walks backstage. “Best for business” count: 4

So Axel’s solo match is first on the card, and Paul Heyman announces that Axel is competing under protest. So who does Triple H find? Who else but Kofi Kingston, who has had Axel’s number for the last couple of weeks. They trade arm holds and chin locks for a while, then exchanging shots in the corner. Kofi starts working Axel’s leg and Curtis sells it hard. It’s now a part of the match and this could play in to the Punk match. Axel hits a dropkick despite the leg injury and takes Kofi outside to hurl him into the steps. Kingston leaps up to the apron, then hits a springboard moonsault onto Axel on the floor. Back in the ring, Kofi gets pushed down from the top rope, falling into the tree of woe where Axel hits a shoulder tackle and Curtis is in full control. Curtis goes for a clothesline but Kofi grabs his arm and flips over to drop down on Axel’s arm and get some momentum going. He hits the boom drop and goes for Trouble in Paradise, but Axel ducks under it and drives Kofi into the corner. Kingston then hits a swinging kick from the apron and goes to the top for a splash, but Axel meets him with a dropkick for a two count. Kingston then goes for SOS but Curtis pushes him into the ropes. Kofi comes back to try TiP but Axel ducks under it again and goes for his hangman’s facebuster (third finisher since coming back), but Kofi counters again and hits the SOS for two and a half. Great sequence that really got the crowd going. Kofi tried to follow up by leaping over Axel in the corner, but Curtis caught him on his shoulders and dropped Kofi onto the top rope, hit the facebuster and won the match. Pretty entertaining match, I’m just not sure why Axel needed two matches on the card.

Backstage, RVD is having Ricardo Rodriguez teach him spanish words related to beating Del Rio and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. It’s the hokiest thing I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, Aksana, Alicia Fox and Layla are done being in AJ’s corner after AJ said they are nothing without her or something. I don’t know. I guess it happened on Smackdown. There is just too much to keep track of outside of Raw.

The Divas Championship match is next as AJ defends against Natalya, Brie Bella and Naomi in a Fatal Four Way. This is the first time Natalya has been featured in a PPV in ages and I expect her to lead the match. Meanwhile, Brie is dressed like slutty Rainbow Brite (as voted on by the fans!). The Total Divas quickly gang up on AJ and take turns tossing her into the outside wall. Back inside, Brie knees AJ out of the ring and bounces off the ropes to take out Nattie and Naomi. She then kicks out Natalya to go one on one with Naomi, who hits a dropkick and a hurricarrana. Natalya gets back in and is rolled up by AJ for two, and they then start slapping each other until Naomi hits them both with the rear view. Brie then tries to hit Naomi on the top rope but gets booted in the face instead. Naomi then tries a top rope cross body splash on Natalya, but it looked like Natty missed her spot as Naomi falls flat on the mat while Natty just drops down on her own. AJ goes after Naomi on the apron, who drops a shoulder into AJ, then hops over Brie to drop down on her head, only for AJ to pull her down to the floor after trying to slingshot back into the ring at Brie. Naomi really does have some skills. So now it’s Natalya taking over. She power slams Brie, hits a tornado clothesline on Naomi, then power slams Brie on Naomi. Cole and JBL quickly point out that the ref should be counting a pin since Naomi’s shoulders were down, but he doesn’t and Natalya managers to apply the Sharpshooter to both ladies at the same time. I’m sure most people skipped this match but it has some pretty good spots. AJ kicks Natalya to break it up and applies the Black Widow on her with Brie and Naomi still down to retain the Divas Championship. It wasn’t the cleanest match, but it was still pretty good. Natalya looked way to proud of herself for pulling off that Sharpshooter.

Spot of the night? Spot of the night

Spot of the night? Spot of the night

World Heavyweight Championship on the line next as Alberto Del Rio defends against Rob Van Dam who, with NoC in Detroit, is performing just a couple of hours from his home town in Battle Creek Michigan. Ricardo announces RVD in english while Lillian Garcia announces ADR in spanish. This just isn’t right. Van Dam starts off fast with a series of kicks followed by a monkey flip and a standing moonsault for a two count, then hitting another standing moonsault off the apron to the outside. With both men on the apron there was a cool spot with each man nearly suplexing the other either into or out of the ring. Each man was planted on each side of the ropes at one point or another before ADR dropped RVD onto the ropes to take control. He hits an enziguri to knock Rob off the apron, Van Dam moves away when Alberto drives to dive at him through the ropes, and the momentum turns again. RVD hits a slingshot leg drop onto the apron, followed by a side kick off the top rope. Del Rio dodges Rolling Thunder however, hitting the back stabber for a two count. Alberto goes for a reverse superplex, but Rob knocks him down and hits a front flip off the top rope for a two count of his own. The two trade blows until Del Rio hits a tilt-a-whirl back breaker to regain the momentum. He goes for the cross arm breaker but RVD counters with the scissor rollup for two. Alberto comes back with a kick to head. He goes to the top rope for an axe handle smash but RVD counters with a spinning kick to the face. He goes for the five star frog splash but ADR gets his knees up to block it and applies to cross arm-breaker. Van Dam inches his way to the ropes but ADR does not let go of the hold and Del Rio loses via disqualification, meaning Del Rio retains his title. Alberto continues the beat down in the ring, then grabs a chair. Ricardo grabs the chair before he can use it, and Rob hits him with a DDT. Rodriguez then urges Van Dam to hit the Van Terminator and he does! Well, technically Del Rio held the chair out like a shield to help close the distance and protect himself but he still went coast to coast. Del Rio gets medical attention as Van Dam celebrates with the World Heavyweight Championship belt that he didn’t win. Yet another high quality match from Rob Van Dam. Del Rio was pretty good too. This would have been a great time for Sandow to cash in. Oh well.

Backstage, Axel is feeling good after beating Kofi Kingston as Paul Heyman is explaining how critical it is for Axel to allow CM Punk to face Heyman alone in the ring. Axel asks Heyman if he believes in him, but Heyman says that he needs to believe in himself. Not exactly a vote of confidence. Meanwhile, Randy Orton is asking Triple H why he banned outside interference for his match against Daniel Bryan. Trips says it was because he wanted to make sure he picked the right guy to be the face of the WWE.

Fandango out next to take on the Miz. They are wrestling because the Miz beat Fandango, R-Truth and Khali in a dance contest. The crowd doesn’t care about this and neither do I. The go back and forth, doing a few moves and then dancing to mock each other. Nothing of note. It looks like Miz injured his arm or his side pretty badly at some point. He was holding his right side throughout the second half of the match. Miz dodges a top rope leg drop and hit a figure four leglock to win the match via submission. Miz was still holding his ribs after the match and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was legit. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I just got got.

and we never saw Heyman again

and we never saw him again

Time for CM Punk to take on Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in a No DQ elimination tag team handicap match. That seems like a lot of stipulations. Heyman has the appearance of a man walking on death row. Punk adds to that sense by coming down the ramp with a kendo stick yelling “TIME TO DIE!” I’m just trying to get over why Axel needed to have two matches tonight even though the first one was pretty damn good. The match starts with Axel and Punk facing off while both wielding kendo sticks almost like light sabers while Heyman watching from the floor. Punk gets a few shots in on Curtis, then leaps through the ropes at Heyman, puts on JBL’s cowboy hat to tip it to the announcers, then drags Paul into the ring. He asks the crowd what he should do with a thumbs up and thumbs down gesture (of course the fans go with thumbs down) but Axel drops CM with a low blow before any damage can be done. Axel controls the match for about 30 seconds until Punk goes on the offensive again. Punk goes to attack Axel with a chair but Curtis meets him with a dropkick and wedges the chair into the corner. Axel then answers the fans wishes by propping up a table in the ring against the corner. They both take shots at suplexing each other through the table but Axel finally hits a snap suplex away from the table and applies a chin lock. Punk rolled away from a flying elbow, then shoved Axel into the chair in the corer to start his momentum turn. After a swinging neck breaker and a running high knee, Punk went for the flying elbow but Axel rolled out of the ring. CM tried to chase him by diving through the ropes but Curtis clocked him with a chair to stop him cold. Axel hits a running neck breaker and is in full control. Axel goes for the hangman’s facebuster but Punk escapes and tries to hit a GTS, only Curtis escapes that and grabs a kendo stick. Punk blocks it though, hits the GTS and makes Axel tap out with the Anaconda Vice to eliminate him, forcing Heyman into the match. Punk has to chase Heyman around the arena and through the crowd before finally catching him in the ring. Punk grabs a kendo stick as Heyman begs for mercy. Punk has none of it as he beats Paul with the kendo stick and calls for the GTS. He then thinks better of it and pulls handcuffs out of his boot, handcuffing Heyman’s arms behind his back. Punk hits every part of Heyman at least once with the kendo stick before telling Paul he is going to break his face and points the stick at it. Right before Punk can land the final blow, Ryback comes out of nowhere to spear Punk through the table in the corner. He then drags Heyman on top of Punk to give Paul the win via pinfall. This is the only way the match could have really ended, as it is too soon for Heyman/Punk to be over and there is no way anyone will believe Axel can beat Punk. I did not expect Ryback to step in and start a feud with Punk, but he’ll do the job. Punk was obviously furious after losing. Good match. Not great, but acceptable.

United States Championship now on the line as Dean Ambrose defends against DOLPH ZIGGLER. Ziggler earned the title shot on Smackdown after beating Ambrose via DQ. I love Ziggler way too much to want him to win the United States Championship. It will be a huge step back for him and completely take him out of the main event picture (if he isn’t already). If I ever see Jack Swagger I’m going to choke him out with Zeb Colter’s mustache. Ambrose tries to taunt Ziggler by doing his hair taunt so Dolph clocks him with a dropkick and hits him with 10 elbow drops. Ambrose comes back by catches Dolph going for a Lou Thesz press and slamming him down, slowing the pace with a chin lock. Dean keeps Dolph out of it with a superplex, but when he goes to the top rope again, Ziggler runs up to hit a big face buster. Dolph keeps the momentum going with a leaping splash and ten punches in the corner, followed by a jumping clothesline. Ziggler then spins out of a back breaker into a sleeper hold, that Dean breaks up with a back body drop. Ambrose dodges a fame-asser to roll up Dolph and hold the tights for two (show plenty of Dolph ass), but Ziggler quickly follows up by landing the fame-asser for two of his own. Ambrose ducks away from a Ziggler splash to hit his front facing DDT to beat Ziggler completely clean. Decent match.

We go right into the tag team title match, putting Rollins and Reigns against the Prime Time Players, who won the turmoil match to determine the number one contenders during the pre-show, taking out the Real Americans who had taken out the two previous teams. This match starts with Rollins dancing around Titus like Muhammad Ali before getting caught in the air and being tossed around like a rag doll. Seth turns the tide when Darren Young comes in but Young fights off both Rollins and Reigns to reclaim the momentum for the PTPs. Young chases Rollins around the ring toward Reigns, but Darren ducks under Roman, only to be dropped onto the top rope by Rollins, giving the Shield momentum. Young is unable to get to his corner until he pushes Reigns away. Rollins tags himself in and tries to take out Titus, but O’Neil dodges Seth, allowing Young to pancake him and get the hot tag on Titus, who lays out Rollins with a huge shoulder. He goes post to post attacking both members of the Shield, heaving Seth over his head. Rollins answers with a spinning enziguri but O’Neil answers with a big spine buster. O’Neil looked poised to finish the match when Reigns came out of nowhere with a spear (that’s what he does) to win the match for the Shield. Really good tag match. Prime Time Players are stepping up since their push.

Before Randy Orton defends the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan, I should note that so far, no title has changed hands.

Very little frills before the WWE Championship match starts. Good. They don’t need it. Bryan wrestles Orton to the mat (can you imagine such a thing?) before Orton drops Daniel with a shoulder. Bryan responds with a running knee and starts working the arm. Bryan goes to the second rope but Orton comes back by dropping him down with a back breaker. Randy controls the pace from here, stomping out Bryan and dropping his mid section onto the top rope. Bryan tries to come back with some take downs by Orton keeps Daniel down with the Garvin stomp. Bryan finally starts a comeback with a back flip over Orton into a leaping clothesline, followed up by a missile dropkick and a hurricarrana. Bryan keeps the momentum with a dive through the ropes, then a missile dropkick off the top rope and another dive through the ropes. Bryan tries to go through the ropes one more time by Orton saw it coming and met him with a forearm. Randy then laid him out with a DDT off the apron, and Daniel only made it back in the ring on 9. Orton starts a YES chant and goes for the RKO, but Bryan escapes and pushes Orton into the referee (uh oh). With the ref down, Bryan tries to lock in the YES lock when a second ref gets in the ring. Randy escapes and hits a power slam for a two count. Orton goes for the second rope DDT but Bryan slides out and applies the YES Lock. Orton crawls to the rope and breaks the hold, but starts pummeling him with kicks in the corner. Orton dodges the missile dropkick this time however, and gets a two count on a lazy pin. Orton puts Bryan up for a superplex but Daniel slides away, putting Orton in the tree of woe and hitting the missile dropkick. Bryan then attempts a super german suplex but Orton fights him off. Before Randy can capitalize, Daniel gets right back on him in the corner and goes for a traditional superplex (if there is such a thing). Bryan locks his legs on the turnbuckle and pulls himself up after the move, hitting a flying headbutt for a two count. Orton managed to counter a follow up round house kick with a t-bone suplex. Orton then slid out of a mudslide pin only for Bryan to run back at him with a knee to the face. The referee then had a quick count to give Daniel Bryan the WWE Championship! I completely expected someone to come out and refute the count, but no, the show ends with Daniel Bryan holding the WWE Championship. I’m very surprised that they did this so soon (I thought they had at least another month left to drag this out). A very good match, although not quite as good as their match on Raw when they were both faces.

Bryan even defeated opposite momentum

Bryan even defeated opposite momentum

I feel like that sums up the entire show. Good, but not great. Nobody didn’t deliver, but nobody really killed it. I guess it fits this PPV and Bryan’s whole storyline to call this show a solid B+.

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Triple H Says Goodbye, Punk/Cena Set on Raw

It may be a couple of days late but that doesn’t mean that I’ll skip out on watching another three hours of Raw. It really is turning into a chore. If you take out the recaps and montages the show is probably about 2 hours anyway. Thank goodness for DVR. I’ll try to keep things a little shorter since this is already old news, but it’s new to me dammit!

Anyway Lawler is still pissed at being kicked in the head last week (because no one ever pushes him around) and recaps what happened last week after we just watched a whole big montage showing how and why he got kicked in the head. Now he’s asking for CM Punk to apologize for kicking him. Sure enough, Punk (NOW WITH A BUZZ CUT!) comes out and guess what, he recaps the last couple of weeks as well. So now we’re being told what happened for the third time in a row. Punk has a fun thing where the less hair he has the meaner he is. He doesn’t apologize and instead steps all over Lawler’s career. Punk tries to sucker Lawler into a fight. Very funny that the main plot point of Punk’s heel turn is abusing Jerry Lawler. Do we care that much about him? He’s been talking trash to everyone else but it’s only when Lawler gets involved that he really gets heat. That was the whole open too. There wasn’t even any other interference. No Cena, no Show, no JR. How are we supposed to care if Lawler gets beat if no one in the back does? Why am I wasting so much time on such a simple storyline?

Jack Swagger made his first Raw appearance in a while to job for Ryback, but not before Ryback had three ugly botches by my count (not that Swagger looked much better). At least his pinkeye is healing.

Natalya is apparently still going with the farting gimmick, but lost to Layla anyway. Vickie Guerrero represented the WWE Universe by standing in the corner looking bored during the match. Afterwards she made her case for the Board of Directors to get rid of AJ as GM. AJ then slapped Vickie and got turned on while getting into a cat fight. Again, I’d love to see the resume she submitted when applying for the job.

Daniel Bryan and Kane are in a group therapy session for their “Anger Management” issues. This will carry the rest of the show. During the session, Kane (after removing his second mask) summed up his entire career in a way that only Wikipedia could match. From burying his brother alive (twice) to Katie Vick, this completely stole the show.

Lawler accepts Punk’s challenge and agrees to fight him. Got a feeling this won’t end clean. This also means Michael Cole is now joined by Josh Matthews. Is there anything good about this storyline? AJ again lets the twitter-verse decide the stipulation for the match, with the choices being tables, steel cage and no disqualification (which goes without saying given what the other two choices are).

No, this is not Telemundo

John Cena has a match against the Miz. Two years ago this was the main event at WrestleMania. Now it is a midcard on a Raw show which is currently headlining CM Punk versus Jerry Lawler. Your WWE folks! Cena has always been fairly bad at calling his spots without being heard or seen doing it, and here he clearly calls a spot on camera while getting covered. I’ll rarely mention stuff like that, but this was really obvious. Regardless, Cena wins a good overall match.

Heath Slater fought Santino. Santino prevailed through the “boring” chants from the crowd. The cobra has a crush on Aksana. Santino doesn’t. Just the cobra. Moving on.

Brodus Clay and Sin Cara team up to face Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, the only man Sandow can have an intelligent conversation with. Cody is still talking about taking Sin Cara’s mask off. We all remember when Rhodes hid behind a mask right? Just checking. Anyway that doesn’t impact the match for a change, but Rhodes gets smacked up anyway by Clay, and Sin Cara looks creepy trying to dance with children.

Daniel Bryan, fresh off of his therapy, had a match against R-Truth. For the first time in ages, he didn’t shout anything at the top of his lungs while coming down the ramp, instead getting into zen mode. He even gave Lil’ Jimmy a fist bump. R-Truth then gets a YES! chant started outside the ring, driving Bryan crazy to cause a count out. Bryan then loses his mind further and I have no idea where they are going with this.

This is Daniel Bryan’s life now

All night they have been showing different montages for Triple H. From DX to coming back from injury, to winning championships. All with the premise that he would announce his retirement. Well it took him two hours but he finally made it out to the ring. Let me now mention the up to date sign in the crowd that says “WWE Champion should main event PPV’s.” Crowd gives Triple H a little too much love as he goes into a little career recap that is mixed in with his personal oscar audition. Says he didn’t want to be the guy that hung around for the nostalgia pop (too late) and hung on too long. Basically since he isn’t sure he can beat Brock Lesnar he thinks he might be done. He thanks the fans in what was somewhat of a fourth wall moment, saying each wrestler worries about whether the fans will care when they come out. He thanks the fans for letting him play the game (see what he did there?) and hopes they never forget him. He’s either a damn good actor or he cries actual tears as he exits the ring. I’d buy the whole thing if he didn’t sell Brock Lesnar in the middle of it all. It should be noted that he never actually said he was retiring.

Dolph Ziggler comes out to Jericho’s music (one of my favorite bits) to talk trash about forcing Jericho out and to team up with Del Rio against Randy Orton and Sheamus. Del Rio is again the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton better get his drug using ass in this match or it’s going to get pretty ugly. Del Rio was late to get back in the ring and tag in Ziggler meaning Orton had to lay their like an idiot waiting to tag in Sheamus. I’m really down on him right now. Ricardo tossed Ziggler the briefcase but Orton got in the way and Sheamus hit Dolph with a Brogue Kick to win.

Kane out to do commentary for Zach Ryder’s match against David Otunga (two guys that are kind of getting a push again). Kane doesn’t say a word while Cole gets more time to speak uninterrupted. Fantastic. After Ryder wins a short but decent match, Kane grabs Ryder’s throat (because he still hates him?) but instead chokeslams Otunga instead. Again, can someone tell me what the WWE is trying to do with Kane and Bryan?

Tell me you love me

Backstage Jerry Lawler tells John Cena not to interfere in his match with CM Punk. All about respect or something. The twitter polls deems that it will be a steel cage match, and before they have the match, AJ announces that Punk will face John Cena at Night of Champions (DUUUUUUUH). Punk said he would give Lawler the first shot and holds up his end of the bargain, and Punk sells it like he got hit with a kendo stick. Things then get back to normal with Punk beating down the King. Unfortunately it is boring as all hell to watch and the crowd is just dead. What they can’t hear is Punk singing “I’m the King of Memphis Tennessee.” It’s like what would have happened if Andy Kaufman knew how to fight. Kinda cool. The action picks up but it can only pick up so much with the talent involved. Things then get better when Punk blades on a throw into the cage and is bleeding from the forehead. On cable TV! It’s like the good old days. After a running knee Punk applies the anaconda vice and gets the submission win (making the steel cage stipulation pointless). Afterwards Punk pulls out a tool box from under the ring (while a man in the crowd yells “I knew it!”) and locks the cage door from the inside (making the stipulation relevent!). He again tells Lawler to say he is the best in the world, but Lawler refuses, so Punk beats him up more. Cena runs out to help but the door is locked and no one raises the cage. Why Cena doesn’t realize he can just climb over the cage is beyond me. The cage finally raises, Punk leaves and Cena tends to an injured Lawler. I still think Punk will win, but the case for Cena winning instead, to lose to the Rock at Royal Rumble and have a Rock versus Punk match at WrestleMania is looking a lot better. Cena doesn’t lose in Boston and Punk is way over the top. The stage is set.

Punk Challenges Cena, Jericho and Lesnar Say Goodbye on Raw

Summerslam is over and of course there are just as many questions as there are answers. Is Triple H done? Does CM Punk have enough respect? Why is Alberto Del Rio still getting title shots? Night of Champions is just four weeks away so the WWE will have a lot to do in not a lot of time, starting with Monday Night Raw.

As promised, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman kick things off. Night of Champions will be interesting for no other reason than there will be so many people on last night’s card that won’t be anywhere near the next one. No Lesnar, no Triple H, no Jericho. Those are three pretty big names to lose all at once, and the only one coming back is Randy Orton.

Heyman does his usual amazing job on the mic, talking up last night’s match and specifically Triple H’s ability to deal with pain, with Lesnar getting him to tap out (which isn’t anything that new if you’ve seen him face the Undertaker). Heyman turned it into Triple H being forced to quit on all of his fans and his family and being left a shell of his former self. Heyman then calls for the referee of last night’s match, whom Triple H told to let the rules go, down to the ring. After about three days the ref finally gets to the ring, and after making it look like Lesnar was going to tear him a new one for listening to Triple H and allowing the rules to be broken even if it meant Brock was hurt, instead Lesnar just told the ref, “good job.” Heyman then declares Lesnar the new King of Kings, and the supreme ruler of the WWE. Lesnar walks off smiling and waving, and that’s the open.

So that’s how Lesnar leaves. With a wave and a wink, going out as the self-proclaimed top dog. Pretty good way to take a break if you’re trying to maintain superstar status. He’ll be gone until Survivor Series or Royal Rumble, and when he comes back he’ll be able to claim he’s the ruler of the WWE (or however he wants to say it) and challenge whoever he wants. It may not be dramatic or exciting, but it does it’s job as holding his place until he eventually comes back. He did TOUT that he has no competition left, and that he is never coming back. Unless he does comeback at one of the earlier events, it makes sense that he ends up facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania, with the undefeated streak being the only thing left for him to take down in the WWE.

MAKE OUT!

Meanwhile coming off his Summerslam win, CM Punk has suggested to AJ (via TOUT of course) that he pick the next challenger for his WWE Championship, and naturally AJ is considering it. Hard to imagine he won’t face Cena at Night of Champions, so we’ll see what happens there. First match of the night is a six man tag putting R-Truth, Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara against Cody Rhodes and the Prime Time Players. Rhodes versus Sin Cara was one of the matches that got left off the Summerslam card, so I imagine it will play heavily here. Either way we’re not exactly starting things with a bang. Even worse than this match is the fact that Khloé Kardashian is the social media ambassador for Raw tonight. Is this really something that’s going to happen every week? I suppose it’s better than having a guest host each week, but just the idea that each week a person that 98% of the fan base hates will be making comments via twitter, and we have to be alerted to them. What a waste of time. By the end of the match Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes ended up being the legal men, and after a really sloppy sequence by all six men, we got the same finish that we had on Smackdown last week. Rhodes couldn’t stop trying to remove Sin Cara’s mask, and Sin Cara took advantage by applying a roll up pin for the victory. Complete waste of time.

After the match, AJ decided that because Kane and Bryan have “anger management” issues, they will both team up with people they feuded with to face each other. So it will be Kane and Zach Ryder (remember him?) against Bryan and the Miz (whose feud was so long ago I forgot about it). Let’s keep the mentions of FX’s Anger Management going as long as possible just in case Charlie Sheen decides to grace us with his presence! Speaking of people I almost forgot about, coffee drinking David Otunga is back (because he said so) with a clean shave and a movie to promote call “The Hive” starring Halle Berry (true!). He tries to get in good with AJ but uses the C-word (not THAT C-word, he said crazy), pissing off AJ who told him he now has a match against an opponent of her choosing. Afterwords she said that she’ll let Punk pick his next opponent (YAY!), pending her approval (AWWW).

Ryback had a match against two “local athletes.” Did you know he stays mentally sharp by reading one to two books a month? Did you know that that really isn’t that impressive? It’s your typical Ryback match until Jinder Mahal interferes and spends about 15 seconds beating him down until Ryback took over again. Rivalries are kind of hard to build when one guy just destroys everyone around him and the other doesn’t win. After Mahal gets thrown out of the ring he finishes off the local scrubs. Moving on.

Looks like Chris Jericho has one more match after Summerslam before he goes on tour with Fozzy again. AJ booked him and Dolph Ziggler in a rematch for tonight, with the stipulation that if Jericho loses his WWE contract is terminated, and if Ziggler loses his Money in the Bank contract goes to Jericho. I guess we just figured out how Jericho will get written out of the picture for a while.

Back in the title picture

Before we get to any more matches though, Alberto Del Rio has to remind us that he got robbed by the ref at Summerslam. He demands that he get another rematch against Sheamus on Raw. AJ comes out, but since she can’t make a Smackdown title match, she puts him against Randy Orton instead. They can’t have Sheamus/Del Rio at a third straight PPV. They can however have Orton and maybe Daniel Bryan join them in a fatal four way match. All I know for sure is that Del Rio is just not getting over with the crowd anymore. Sheamus ringside for the match, and the idea is brought up that they are both possible contenders for the title. In case you were wondering the match is a decent one. Everything is deliberate but it’s back and forth. After hitting the 2nd rope DDT, Orton gets ready for the RKO but Ricardo Rodriguez tries to interfere. Sheamus then takes Ricardo out of the equation but Orton tells Sheamus he doesn’t need his help (there’s your first sign of an Orton title shot). Del Rio takes advantage of a distracted Orton and attempts a pin. Orton puts his foot on the ropes but the ref doesn’t see it until Sheamus points it out. Del Rio then starts yelling at Sheamus, giving Orton the opening to hit an RKO for the win. At the very least we’ll have a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Another match that didn’t make the cut at Summerslam was Brodus Clay versus Damien Sandow. They get pushed to Raw now instead. Sandow has been drawing a lot of heat as a heel lately, while Clay is hanging on to his unstoppable act by a thread. So this could say a lot about where they want to go with each. Sandow works the knee that he had been injuring the last couple weeks, but Clay is acting a lot more like the angry man that we saw all the sizzle reels for. It doesn’t last long though because after a missed dive into the corner, Sandow grabs Clay’s tights to get the roll up pin. A bitter Brodus knocks out Sandow after the bell anyway (showing great sportsmanship) and then dances with the kids to his music as if he won. Funny, Tensai does the same thing when he loses aside from the dancing, yet he’s a heel. I guess dancing makes you an automatic face? Hmm, Cena, Truth, Clay, Kofi. I think I’m on to something here.

The Triple H storyline continues with Shawn Michaels via satellite. He says he knows what Triple H is going through and talks about how you know when you’re done right away because it happens in front of everyone. He thinks it could be the end for Triple H. Also thinks his showing up the last few weeks proved to be more of a distraction, and he secretly didn’t think he could beat Brock Lesnar. I suddenly get the feeling Triple H is going to end his career against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania. Probably one of the only guys left that could handle ending his career. Michaels thanks Triple H for a job well done and basically sends him off like he’s retired. Whenever Triple H does come back though, I expect it all to be about Michaels lying to him about thinking he can beat Brock and not being there for him. It’s pretty strange how much time I’ve spent trying to predict WrestleMania before the summer even ends.

Otunga back in the ring for the first time since Johnny Ace got fired, and AJ picked the Big Show to be his opponent, who I guess is a face for this one. Big Show takes him out faster than you can say squash match.

On to the anger management tag match. How long does Kane have to keep wearing the wig? The whole embrace the hate thing fell flat and he’s basically a face now. What’s the point? Kane and Bryan start things but Bryan immediately tags in Miz and the crowd chants for Ryder and Kane complies by tagging him in with a slap to the side. Somehow Ryder is the palest person in the ring. You’d think he’d  spend more time at the beach. Regardless he’s pretty much there to make everyone else look good here. Does a pretty good job of it too, specifically taking kicks from Bryan. Eventually Ryder ducks out of the way of Bryan diving into the corner, hitting his partner Miz instead. Ryder tags in Kane but when Bryan goes to tag Miz, Miz drops down from the apron. So Bryan slaps Kane just like he did last night, and runs out of the arena again before Kane can do anything about it. In a fit of rage, Kane choke slams Ryder (woo woo woo!) and tears apart the ring area (including the time keeper) before giving Ryder a tombstone and leaving. Boy, he sure does have “anger management” issues huh? AJ tweeted that Bryan is going to start going to anger management classes next week. Sheen can you just figure out what you want to do already?

CM Punk announces that he has chosen John Cena to be his next opponent for the WWE Championship. However Cena has to meet Punk in the ring and accept the one condition Punk requests. I’m a little surprised Punk chose Cena right off the bat but again, it’s no surprise that they will be meeting at Night of Champions in Cena’s home state of Massachusetts. There was also a Diva’s battle royal, with the highlight being Michael Cole calling Lawler out for using the same comments about Divas matches that he did 20 years ago when Vince McMahon and Jim Ross calling the matches with him.

Oooops! See ya later

Main event time with Ziggler versus Jericho. Ziggler called it the biggest match of his career (convenient) before the break. Considering how obvious the result will be I’m curious how they handle it. I’m just happy to see Ziggler main event a show. Ziggler isn’t going with the usual show off moves, instead being more intense in the ring. Jericho tosses Ziggler over the top rope but Dolph no sells for a change and lands on his feet. Jericho answers with a spring board dropkick and we’re back in familiar territory. Since I know you are all curious, I’ll let you know that Khloe Kardashian is pulling for Jericho on twitter. While last night had them both hitting all their moves, this one is filled with reversals and counters early on. After avoiding the Walls of Jericho and getting his knees up on a lionsault, Ziggler hits the zigzag and gets a completely clean victory over Jericho. Great match despite the short time, and a huge push for Ziggler, who can now cash in his MITB contract as soon as Night of Champions. It should be noted that he has no clear opponent yet for the PPV.

Following the trend of the night, Jericho plays the role of sore loser, hitting Ziggler with the briefcase and knocking him out with a codebreaker before exiting to a standing ovation. Whenever Jericho returns he might have a feud with Ziggler (perhaps as World Heavyweight Champion?) waiting for him.

The Anaconda Plot Device

Punk (in his Brett Hart tights again) out to close the show and call out Cena. Before any of that though Punk went to Jerry Lawler to seek an apology for saying Punk turned his back on the fans. Before things could get ugly Cena makes his appearance. Punk of course calls him out for stealing his spotlight. Punk is sick of taking a backseat to Cena, Triple H and the Rock despite holding the WWE Championship. He is never the main event (true) and says that he lets Cena be the main event out of respect. Punk says he chose Cena because he has to beat him again to earn respect, but it won’t count because the fans still follow Cena. That leads into Punk’s condition that Cena call him the best in the world in order to get the title shot. Cena turns all preacher and says he has all the fans because he has the respect Punk wants so badly. He says he won’t say Punk is the best because Cena still thinks he’s the best, and throws a little Rock promo in the middle of it. Cena puts the choice back in Punk’s hands, saying if he beat Cena in his home town it will be the ultimate moment for him (not really).

Cena leaves the ring and Punk immediately goes back at Jerry Lawler, getting him in the ring to get him to say he is the best in the world. Lawler refuses because he doesn’t think it’s true (doesn’t say who he thinks the best is by the way) and Punk kicks him in the head. This certainly looks like it’s a full on heel turn, but I’ve thought that before. Punk could come out next week and apologize for doing that and whatever, but I think this time it’s going to stick. Of course Cena will face Punk at Night of Champions, and my gut tells me Big Show (who also doesn’t have a clear opponent yet) will interfere to keep the title in Punk’s hands and lead to a one on one match between Cena and Big Show. For now I just hope that now that the seeds have been planted we see a lot more wrestling next week and a lot less montages and interviews. I’ll be away on Monday but I’ll sum things up when I get back. Please try to get by without me.