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Rey Mysterio + Sin Cara vs Rhode Scholars (w)

Opening the show was the delayed tag team final match from last week. I feel its been fairly clear from the off that WWE wanted team Rhode Scholars to win the tag tournament. They have been given a lot more focus during air time; attacking the champs and such, so a prediction of team Rhode Scholars winning here was fairly risk free. I was looking forward to this match, hoping it would be a real feast of high-flying, ground moves and frequent tags. The match started well showcasing some great action and good moves. Rhodes dodging Sin Cara’s signature springboard elbow, we see a good tag team move by Rey and Cara followed up with a suicide dive and seated senton onto Rhodes and Sandow on the outside. Sin Cara then does a lovely moonsault, hopping from the top of one rope to the adjacent to hit Sandow stretched out from the second rope. He took a few seconds to steady himself but it sure looked cool and original (I’m sure someone’s done it before somewhere). The match started to lose a bit of impotence just before the break and unfortunately never really recovered.
After the break everything felt a tad rushed, I would have liked to see a bit more back and forth but instead Mysterio carried on his teams mid match momentum. Tilt-a-world head scissors, split leg moonsault and a double 619 only for Sandow to interrupt the pin and distract Mysterio, allowing Rhodes to hit him with the cross-rhodes and win the match. I did enjoy Sandow’s method of stopping the count, the match just could have been so much more.
Backstage: a congratulations by Kane & Bryan, not the best segment but OK.

Kofi Kingston (w) vs Mike Mcgillicutty

Well this match was utter trash only served the purpose of allowing Miz to further big up his match again Kingston at Hell in a Cell. Of course Kofi was going to win it’s not even worth debating that. The match itself, Mcgilllicutty does a nice snap back suplex and a back breaker, spending about 3 minutes beating up Kofi. Kingston then dodges one move and kicks him in the head, pin, win.

Cena’s speech: so Cena comes out just to hype HIAC and say how good the local football team are. It was only a matter of time before cult of personality blared out and for Punk to literally say the exact reverse of what Cena said, “being Ryback’s cheerleader” was a good line from Punk. It then looks like Punk may go down and fight Cena there and then, really we all knew that wasn’t going to happen but Cole at commentary credited it to Heyman for making Punk change his mind. I then thought this would become the main event for the night, while it would be awesome I imagine WWE would like to save that for the next PPV.

Antonio Cesaro vs Justin Gabriel (w)

I initially missed this match as it wasn’t on the catch up show I watched (not realising it was a highlight show) so I already knew the result prior to watching it. Not sure whether I would have guessed Gabriel would win, however the fact we saw this exact match last week and the fact Cesaro desperately needed a challenger for HIAC, I may have been able to guess. The match itself was almost a carbon copy of last week but Cesaro didn’t reverse the 450 splash. An average match with a little bit of fumbling to try to get Cesaro set for the 450.

Vince & AJ: The huge revelation, the shocking news, AJ is no longer GM, gasps! She was hardly going to be GM for very long, these ‘comedy’ GM’s never do, I honestly can’t see Booker lasting very long. Lets hope the GM goes back to a regular person that doesn’t take up all the focus of the story-lines. Unfortunately before that we have to endure the tenure of Vickie Guerrero as ‘Managing Supervisor’. I wrote for notes that ‘if Vickie becomes GM I’ll go totally mental’, luckily she isn’t a full GM so I don’t have to go mental but we will still get loads of crappy Vickie vs AJ story-lines, which is what I wanted to avoid. Hopefully she wont be in charge for long. Heyman would have been a much better choice. Vickie announces her great main event CM Punk vs Sheamus, why? we had this match on Main Event and it’s another lumberjack match so no one will win, there is no point, my Punk vs Cena match I mentioned above would have been better. To finish the segment, possibly less of a shock than AJ’s sacking, surprise surprise,  she assaults Vickie.

Ryback (w) vs Miz

ooo I really really wonder who will win this … “lets just hope its something close to a proper match and not a 3 move decimation”, wrote I when taking notes. So how does it pan out I hear you cry. Miz gets thrown into the ring, caught from top rope into spinebuster, meat hook clotheslines, shellshock, pin, win. oh look, 3 move decimation. Shit match, no flow.

Backstage: More ‘Eve’s a bitch’ story-line momentum. I actually enjoyed this segment though, I thought it was funny, a good old diva brawl. They surely can’t string this out too much longer. It’s only a matter of time before Kaitlyn gets her title shot with Eve, announced on Smackdown maybe?

Bryan vs Ziggler (w)

This match was a bit unusual, for individual content it was great, at times it felt like a showcase for Daniel Bryan. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to have the best flow, some chain grapples were nice but I was left feeling “hmmm”. As I alluded to, the individual moves were great. Some good suplexs, dropkicks, take downs, even a figure 4. Capped off with some great pin reversal combinations and a beautiful facebuster from the top rope by Ziggler, really nice and smooth, no pauses to set the move up. Ziggler wins via zigzag off the second rope while Bryan is distracted by Kane. I thought Ziggler would win, he finally needs to get some momentum for his MiTB and he will surely lose to Ryback on Main Event, so he had to win this. Bryan also of course has the tag titles match so currently singles matches mean nothing. I can see these two having a great singles rivalry over the heavyweight title, this match was just a glimpse at what these two superstar can produce together in the ring.

So Matt Striker is back again to get killed by Kane and Bryan. The newly tag game. The best line goes to Kane describing what he enjoys “long walks on the beach, rainbows and puppies.” and the best reaction is Bryan’s after they win the show when Rhode Scholars refuse to take part “WINNER, WINNER, WINNER”. Both moments had me actually laughing out loud.

Big Show (w) vs Kane

Another match that started during the darn break. A lot of punches and headbutts in this match with Shows big moves being a spear, scoop slam and a bear hug. Kane getting in a running DDT and a flying clothesline. ‘Giant’ match are often difficult to do well as both men are limited in the moves they can perform. I’m pleasantly surprised to say this match was good. A nice balance of the usual slug fest and real moves. Ending was predictable as soon as Scholars came out but that wasn’t enough to spoil the match. Big Show was destined to win, he had already beaten Bryan in singles competition so it was only fair Kane got the same treatment; Kane & Bryan got their revenge in the tag match they won. Rhode scholars show up which distracts Kane allowing Show to hit the knock out punch, pin, win.
Rhode Scholars then beat up Bryan after the match.

Backstage: Cena is talking to AJ and its revealed that somehow HE is the one AJ has been fraternizing with. laughable. Not sure where the WWE is expecting this little story-line to go. Cena also says he will be the superman and solve all of AJ’s problems. The best part is when Vince says he doesn’t even know what ‘managing supervisor’ means; when confronted by Cena.

Zack Ryder vs Alberto Del Rio (w)

Another HIAC bitch match. Ryder is clearly not going to win and is just jobbing for ADR. The match actually lasts a little longer than I thought it was going to, though it’s mainly one way traffic from Del Rio. I’m really starting to get bored with Ryder now, his in-ring skills are poor and thankfully I didn’t have to sit through anther broski boot. ADR wins with the cross arm breaker.

Backstage: More of Cena being the super good guy confronting Vickie over the AJ situation.
Josh Mathews then interviews Ziggler where he backs Vickie and say Cena is to blame for everything. Is this the beginning of a potential Cena vs Ziggler feud?

CM Punk (w) vs Sheamus

I’m not excited about this match at all. I really can’t see there being a real winner, it’s a lumberjack match. I think there will be a mass brawl just like the one we saw on Smackdown and Punk will slip away somewhere. Big Show may also get involved.

Both men are thrown outside early on, Sheamus gets back in himself whereas the lumberjacks throw punk back in. Sheamus is on top in the middle of the match, utilizing a scoop slam and a backbreaker. Sheamus is thrown out for a second time after Punk reverses his apron attack and hits him with a flying clothesline. Sheamus gets a kicking from the lumberjacks and is then thrown back into the ring. Punk takes control over the 3rd quarter of the match, with two clubbing shots from the top rope and more help from the lumberjacks. Sheamus has his WWE 13′ ‘comeback’ moment with several forearm smashes, the rolling senton and a shoulder charge in the corner. Some great back and forth towards the end, Punk reverse white noise into a type of sunset flip but Sheamus roles through and tries to apply the texas cloverleaf. This is again countered and Punk hit Sheamus with a running high knee, after a pinning attempt Punk goes up top but is caught by Sheamus and we see another superplex. More reversals finally end with Punk missing an elbow from the top rope and Sheamus almost appling the Texas cloverleaf again but ending up outside the ring. A small brawl ensues but Sheamus quickly get back into the ring and delivers white noise to Punk.
Now everyone gets involved. Cesaro gets in when Sheamus is readying the brogue kick, followed by Jinder Mahal. Big show then chokeslams Sheamus while standing on the apron allowing Punk to get the 3 count. As soon as this happens Ryback comes down to the ring and destroys Punk with some great power move, JR’s commentary also makes me smile.
Overall this main event was very good, surpassed my expectation. While I was right in suggesting Big Show would get involved, there was no mass brawl and we actually got a winner.
This RAW was a good prelude to HIAC. Half the matches were good and half were no contests. Luckily most of the real matches were very entertaining to watch and the others were obvious enough to know they were skip-able, should you wish. I’m a happy WWE fan after watch this.