Monday Night Raw – December 2, 2013: Some New Hopes

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 2, 2013
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler

We’re closing in on TLC now since a title unification match eleven years in the making only needs three weeks of build. Tonight we have a contract signing between Orton and Cena which is bound to wind up in some kind of an altercation. On top of that we might find out what happened when the human goat was kidnapped by the backwoods religious cult. That could only happen in wrestling or a very disturbing movie. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Punk to open the show. He says he’s in denial because last week he made the sin of criticizing HHH on Raw. Now he finds himself here in denial because there has to be something between insulting the Authority and being attacked by Shield last week. If he’s right, that makes the Authority the biggest group of cowardly censored something that starts with a D in history.

This brings out a smiling Stephanie with something to say. She hopes everyone had a good Thanksgiving but thinks Punk is way off base here. Would the Authority be the kind of people to send the Shield after Punk because of a simple insult? They’ve matured further than that and the Authority had nothing to do with the attack last week. They have more important things to do tonight, including overseeing the contract signing. Stephanie is fair though and says Punk can bring up any concerns with Kane.

Kane reiterates that the Authority had nothing to do with the Shield’s attack, so this issue is resolved, unless Punk has any questions. Punk asks when Kane because this corporate suck up and advises Kane not to patronize him. Punk wants Kane in the ring right now but Stephanie holds him back. Instead here’s the Shield so Punk immediately grabs a chair. Stephanie tells Shield to stop because Punk is to be respected and admired. She leaves so Kane makes a handicap match for TLC with Punk vs. all three members of Shield.

Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler

The winner gets an Intercontinental Title shot at TLC so Langston is at ringside. Ziggler hits a quick dropkick for two and a clothesline puts Sandow down. Langston says he’d rather face Dolph instead of saying he’d like to face either guy. They head to the floor with Ziggler being dropped face first onto the steps for a two count. Langston talks about competing in Skip-It with Ziggler back when they were close to confuse JBL.

The Wind-Up Elbow gets two for Sandow but he misses a middle rope moonsault. Ziggler rains down right hands in the corner and drops Sandow with a neckbreaker for two. A sunset flip gets the same and Sandow misses his running flip neckbreaker. The Fameasser gets two on Damien but Ziggler gets crotched on the top and You’re Welcome sends Sandow to TLC at 3:54.

Rating: C. This was something the title has missed for far too long: someone winning a match over an established name to earn a title shot. There’s nothing overly complicated to that idea and it works fine here. Langston doesn’t have to lose a match to set it up, Sandow gets a win and we have a title match down the road. Why is that so much to ask for most of the time?

Summer Rae/Tamina Snuka/AJ Lee vs. Bella Twins/Natalya

The non-Total Divas are now the True Divas. AJ skips around the ring while Nikki gets two off a crucifix on Tamina to start. Brie comes in with a middle rope dropkick and a running knee to Snuka’s chest. AJ is still skipping around the ring. Summer chokes Brie on the ropes and shows off her flexibility before getting a two count.

Brie finally fights out and makes the tag to Natalya who speeds things up a bit. Tamina is knocked off the apron so Summer shouts at AJ to stop skipping and make the tag. AJ finally comes in and nearly gets caught in the Sharpshooter as everything breaks down. The distraction lets Natalya roll up AJ for the pin at 4:18.

Rating: D. Here’s the problem with the Total Divas face push in a nutshell: we haven’t been given a reason to care about them. There was never a moment where they were all turned face, other than AJ’s promo from months ago which was all true stuff. WWE is assuming that fans like the Total Divas because they have a reality show and the Bellas date Cena and Bryan, though I don’t think Cena and Nikki have ever been announced on WWE TV. Other than that, they just started being faces and the announcers started talking about AJ being mean. That’s not enough to build a boring feud on and it’s showing badly.

AJ skips away post match.

Here’s Wade Barrett’s new gimmick: Bad News Barrett, standing at a podium next to the announcers’ desk. He has good news and bad news for us. The good: we’re live on Raw. The bad: we’re stuck in a place full of hillbillies that had to name their city after the state they live in. Barrett thanks the crowd and the words #Bad News Barrett appear on screen. End segment.

Orton demands that Brad Maddox tell the WWE Universe that he’s a bigger star and a more well known name than Cena.

Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan

So after disappearing last week, Bryan appears to be fine. There’s no Bray in sight. Bryan goes after Rowan to start before grabbing a sleeper, only to be flipped down onto his back. A hard slam puts Bryan down as JBL talks about Shakespeare writing psycho babble. The beating continues with Rowan throwing Bryan to the floor, only to be dropkicked in the ribs on the way back in. Bryan’s dive is caught in mid air and Rowan slams him into the barricade as we take a break.

Back with Bryan fighting out of a chinlock but being slammed right back down instead. Rowan takes him to the floor and sends Bryan into the steps but Bryan comes back with a drop toehold into the corner. The running dropkick staggers Rowan but Bryan charges into an elbow to put him down. Some knees to the head get two for Erick and we hit the chinlock with a knee in Bryan’s back.

Daniel tries another comeback but charges into a fallaway slam. Rowan hits a running splash in the corner for two as JBL thinks Bryan should join the Wyatt Family. Bryan finally comes back with a dropkick to send Rowan to the floor, setting up the FLYING GOAT. Back in and the missile dropkick puts Erick down but the big YES Kick is blocked. Bryan is put on the top rope and kicked in the face but he slides down Rowan’s back for the rollup pin at 14:03.

Rating: C+. This was the power vs. speed formula worked very well. On top of that it made Rowan look better than he ever has before as he dominated about twelve minutes out of the fourteen in the match. What more can you ask for from a match to build up the Bryan vs. Bray feud?

Post match Bray pops up on screen and tells the Wyatts to stand down. He talks about doing a lot of horrible things since he’s been on this earth and that he can admit when he’s in the wrong. Bray was wrong about Bryan when he thought Bryan was just chasing the improbable dream. How long is Bryan willing to live this lie and soil their red carpet? They look at Bryan like he’s a gorilla in a cage and will never love him like Bray could. Together they could bring the machine to its knees if Bryan will just open his eyes.

Post break Bryan is walking around in the back when he runs into Kane. The big man congratulates him on his success but makes Bryan vs. the three members of the Wyatt Family at TLC. We even get a mini-finger pointing yes from Kane.

Xavier Woods/R-Truth vs. Tons of Funk

This is over Woods borrowing Brodus’ music a bit too much. Brodus slams Woods down to start and apparently has scales on the back of his singlet now. Off to Tensai for some shoulders but Woods fights back with forearms. Truth comes in and pounds away on Tensai but gets run over with ease. The catapult sends him throat first into the middle rope and it’s back to Clay for some gyrations.

Truth comes back with a forearm to put both guys down and there’s the hot tag off to Woods. Things speed up a bit and the Honor Roll gets two on Clay but he comes back with the release suplex. Woods avoids the middle rope splash and gets the most awkward looking side roll you’ll see in a long time for the pin at 4:10.

Rating: D+. The fans were silent for most of this but the match was decent enough from a technical standpoint. Woods will grow on the fans if he’s allowed to be the comedy character he’s best at, but being Truth’s lackey isn’t going to do much for him. This is as good a way as any to bring him in though.

Clay glares at Tensai post match.

Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio

Sin Cara has a large tattoo on his arm and shoulder, which means it might be Hunico under the mask instead of Mistico. The lighting is back again. Cara scores with a top rope armdrag and some kicks to the legs before a spinning armdrag off the top puts him down again. Del Rio heads to the floor and gets (mostly) caught by an Asai Moonsault.

Back in and Del Rio kicks Cara out to the floor before putting on a chinlock. A double stomp to Cara’s back gets two but Cara comes back with a nice to rope headbutt. Sin gets two off a spinning springboard cross body but gets caught in a German suplex for two. Del Rio misses the corner enziguri and gets caught by a Swanton Bomb for the huge upset at 4:43.

Rating: C. Has the writing staff completely changed tonight? We’ve had a #1 contenders match for a midcard title, a feud over stolen music and now a completely clean upset win. These are actually fresh ideas and they’re really helping things. WWE has been needing some new plot devices and it’s very nice to see some happening tonight.

Cena talks about the argument over which title is better raging for fifty years. We get a Flair and Hogan imitation to perk the false history up a little bit before Cena says the titles mean everything.

Shield says Punk can’t last with any of them at TLC.

Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Big Show vs. Shield

Big Show starts with Ambrose with the giant taking over with a headbutt and elbow drop. There’s the skin ripping chop in the corner and it’s off to Rollins who gets clotheslined inside out. We get the showdown with Reigns who has his vest ripped open for an even louder chop. Reigns goes to the eyes to bring in Ambrose, only to have him get slammed off the top.

Goldust and Cody both get their turns with some shots to Ambrose before Cody hits a seated knee for two. A delayed release front suplex gets two on Rollins and it’s back to Goldie for a few moments. That goes nowhere so it’s back to Cody who cleans house in the Shield corner. The moonsault press gets two on Ambrose but Dean escapes Cross Rhodes. Dean cranks on Cody’s arm to take over and we take a break.

Back with Rollins cranking on Cody’s arm before bringing Dean in again to stomp at the ribs. Roman comes back in and works on the arm even more before Rollins hits a splash in the corner. Cody finally gets in a shot to Dean’s ribs but Reigns breaks up the tag. Roman’s elbow misses though and there’s the hot tag off to Big Show. Ambrose low bridges Big Show to the floor for an eight count before Rollins can hit the top rope knee for no cover. Reigns puts on a front facelock and gets two off a shoulder block before it’s back to Dean for a sleeper.

Show suplexes him down and chokeslams an invading Reigns, giving us the final hot tag to Goldust. The Golden one hits his uppercut and a freaking hurricanrana of all things as everything breaks down. Dean dropkicks Cody to the floor but Big Show low bridges Ambrose out as well. Goldust’s powerslam puts Rollins down but Reigns spears Big Show. Cody takes out Reigns off to the apron but might have injured his elbow. Goldust loads up a superplex on Dean but Seth gets a quick rollup on Goldust for the pin at 20:40.

Rating: B-. The match picked up a lot at the end but felt like it was filling in time until the end of the match. The problem for me is the Rhodes brothers and Shield have fought in some combination six times on TV since the beginning of November alone. They need to keep these teams apart for awhile to make the matches feel special again before the magic goes away.

Punk is asked about how he feels for the handicap match. Apparently he feels pretty and witty and gay but changes his mind. He knows he’s going down but wants to know how many members of the Shield he’s taking with him.

More Bad News Barrett. The bad news is Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, meaning their arteries are now clogged and they sweat when they eat. End segment.

Ryback/Curtis Axel vs. Kofi Kingston/The Miz

Axel and Miz get things going with Miz taking over with a clothesline. Off to Kofi to crank on the arm and bring Miz back in with an ax handle to the shoulder. Axel’s clothesline to the back of the head puts Miz down and it’s back to Ryback. The monster shoves Miz around and clotheslines his head off to follow up. A delayed vertical suplex sets up a bearhug on the mat to work on the ribs.

Back to Axel for a dropkick before Ryback comes in again with a kick to the head. The second bearhug doesn’t last long either as Miz fights out, eventually making the hot tag to Kofi. Things speed up a bit and Kofi pounds away in the corner, only to be distracted by Axel, allowing Ryback to take over. A Shell Shock out of nowhere ends Kingston at 5:57.

Rating: D. Ryback and Axel are fine as a team but the match was there as a way to advance Kofi vs. Miz even more. Miz’s heel turn has worked decently so far as he’s getting to be the jerk that he naturally is, but he needs to do more than just roll up Kofi all the time. Dull match for the most part.

Post match Miz slaps Kofi.

Los Matadores sell us stuff.

Fandango vs. Mark Henry

Henry throws Fandango around to start and gyrates to Summer a bit. Well he was Sexual Chocolate after all. Fandango avoids a charge in the corner and hits a few shots, including a top rope cross body. It looked like Henry was supposed to catch him in midair but fell backwards instead. The World’s Strongest Slam ends Fandango at 3:20.

Rating: D+. Henry dancing was funny but that’s about it. This was even more fime filling tonight on a show that didn’t need any more of that at all. I can’t complain about seeing Summer Rae twice in a single night and she looked great out there but there wasn’t much else to talk about here.

We look at Titus in the food eating contest and then getting sick in JBL’s hat.

Real Americans vs. Prime Time Players

Titus runs over Swagger to start as the announcers talk about stomach ailments. A Cesaro distraction doesn’t do much as Titus sends Jack flying in a release fallaway slam. Swagger gets a boot up in the corner to send O’Neal to the floor followed by a hard clothesline. The Vader Bomb sets up the jumping double stomp for two as the announcers think Titus might get sick again.

A double back elbow gets two for the Americans and we hit the armbar. Now it’s off to a chinlock from Cesaro before he loads up the Swing. Swagger and Colter tell him not to for fear of Titus getting sick but Cesaro does a short version. O’Neal looks to be getting sick but falls into the corner for a tag off to Young. Darren cleans house with some nice suplexes but dives into the uppercut for the pin by Cesaro at 6:48.

Rating: D+. I guess this is another of those matches where they’re appealing to a certain demographic, but it’s certainly not mine. This wasn’t funny but I’ve never been one for the gross out style of comedy. If nothing else, Titus deserves better than this. I can’t believe I’m saying that but it’s true.

The new champion will be called the Unified Champion. I can’t imagine they’ll go with that.

Here are HHH and Stephanie for the contract signing. They make it clear that there will be ONE champion after the title match which is a good thing to make definitive. Both guys come out and HHH runs down the history of both titles, of course playing up the made up history of the World Title. Both guys sign and Orton talks about all the greats that have held the title, but he’s better than all of them.

Orton says he and the people here have something in common: they don’t like Cena very much. He’s the only person capable of taking Cena down and he’ll do that in two weeks. Cena says they’ve met before and Orton reminds Cena of kicking his dad in the head. The only reason Cena is on this earth is to lose every big match he’s ever in. The only dream Orton has ever turned into a nightmare was HHH’s because Orton never lived up to his potential.

Orton was supposed to be the best but he let a guy in a t-shirt and a ball cap take him down. Cena never asked to be the face of anything and he earned his title instead of having it handed to him. He may not be the Apex Predator but he’s John Cena. John challenges Randall to make a move but if he does he’ll show him what tables, ladders and chairs are all about. Orton flips the table and the fight is on.

Cena hits him with a ladder but Orton sends him into the post to take over. Orton loads up the announce table but Cena blasts him with another ladder and some chair shots to back it up. Randy is sent into the steps and back inside but he gets in a ladder shot of his own. Some chair shots put Cena down and Orton loads up a table. Cena sends him through a table in the corner though and it’s an AA through the table to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. This is another show where it needed to be two hours. There were some actually fresh ideas out there with Sin Cara beating Del Rio intriguing me. Hunico is a better fit for the character and could take it to some far better places than Mistico. The bulk of the second half felt like a lot of time filler though which doesn’t make for an entertaining show. The good was stronger than the bad but also less frequent which drags the show down slightly. Still decent enough though.

Results

Damien Sandow b. Dolph Ziggler – You’re Welcome

Bella Twins/Natalya b. AJ Lee/Summer Rae/Tamina Snuka – Rollup

Daniel Bryan b. Erick Rowan – Rollup

Xavier Woods/R-Truth b. Tons of Funk – Oklahoma roll to Clay

Sin Cara b. Alberto Del Rio – Swanton Bomb

Shield b. Cody Rhodes/Goldust/Big Show – Rollup to Goldust

Real Americans b. Prime Time Players – Uppercut to Young

 

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16 comments

  1. The 12 Jays of Christmas says:

    RAW is on a roll right now! If anyone can say anything negative about the WWE right now I’d like to hear it…..oh right YOU CAN’T! Another solid show tonight in a string of them! WWE really needs to stop the print of the History of RAW DVD and pull them from the shelves and add this show to that.

  2. Stump the Schwab says:

    I’m pretty sure the censored word in Punk’s promo was “douchebags,” not that that really makes much sense to censor, but whatever.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yeah I know. I try to omit any swearing or things close to it in the newer reviews.

  3. Dylan says:

    I’ll never be able to care the way the IWC does about WWE’s claimed history of the WHC. They bought WCW including its title, than after awhile made an imitation of its title. I really don’t see why it’s such a big deal that they claim it’s linage. Honestly they have the image and almost all of the video history of the NWA World Title so it seems like a reasonable claim to me.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It’s not a reasonable claim but I freely admit I blow it out of proportion. Just annoying to me.

  4. M.R. says:

    How many authority figures do we need?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    1 at most but I’m good with 0.

    M.R. Reply:

    It was rhetorical haha. Point is we don’t need Trips, Steph AND Kane.

  5. Jay H. (the real one) says:

    Much better RAW this week. TLC is shaping up to be a pretty good PPV.

  6. chad says:

    i know everybody shit on the world title as not being a successor to the original world title but I’ve always thought of it as being that, i mean it spun off of the undisputed title which was made up of the WWF and WCW titles; the WCW title was spun off of the NWA title, i mean zoo much history there why wouldn’t they want to play that up? WWE are idiots for even saying that the World title isn’t a direct continuation of the original World title.

  7. Phalluster says:

    Punk’s “douchebag” comment was very heteronormative and misogynistic. Then, his backstage promo was extremely preening: he confessed his gayness. I think Levesque should put a leash on this puppy before he starts having sex with men on camera or molests a series of young boys a la Pat Patterson or Jerry Sandusky.

  8. Steve says:

    I have a very bad feeling after last nights contract signing that HHH will get involved in the match, and end up holding the belts when its all said and done claiming that he is the real face of WWE.

    Notice how Punk and Bryan, the two hottest talents in the last two years, are being phased out of the main event scene and being used to elevate new talents.

    I can really see the main event of WM30 being HHH defending the belts vs Cena and Orton. I really hope on wrong on that but knowing how HHH is I wouldn’t be shocked to see it turn out like this.

    Rocko Reply:

    Bryan got phased out for not drawing. Plain and simple

    Ted Reply:

    Proof?

    Rocko Reply:

    Go look at the numbers (easy to find). Remember his huge night where he finally beat Orton (awhile ago, not from the title feud)? Ratings during that match fell, a lot. Each time he was presented in a huge fashion, ratings fell or stayed around the level they were at. WWE obviously was behind Bryan and wanted him to become one of the main guys, it just did not work out. WWE is a business. They have to do what will draw.

    Also Battleground buy should be enough proof. Although that PPV was hurt by other factors, the number of buys is just shockingly bad.

  9. Conor says:

    How can Cena say that Orton hasn’t lived up to his potential when he’s won 11 world title? That would mean that anyone other than Cena has been a failure in the last ten years.