SummerSlam is less than a week away. The final pieces of the puzzle were ready to be placed. C.M. Punk was set to battle Paul Heyman, but was it a big time trap? Rumors are running wild about a possible Giant return tonight.
Welcome to Sacramento, California. Just a hop, skip and jump from my little corner of the world. I know at least a few of my friends are in attendance.
Daniel Bryan came out to open the show. Daniel was carrying the new “ Yes” towel. The announcers looked back at the “Corporate Makeover” of Daniel that went wrong. Wade Barrett was supposed to be the barber but he became the barbee. Due to that and the loss of Smackdown, Wade Barrett demanded this opening contest…
Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett
(Special Guest Ref: Brad Maddox)
JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were confused that Maddox was out there. Collar and Elbow into a Barrett Side Headlock. Push Off into a Universal and Dropkick. Wade clubbed and kicked Daniel. Wade sent Daniel to the floor. Daniel snapped Wade’s leg over the ring apron. Daniel got back in the ring and kicked away at the leg. Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Daniel. Daniel dropped his weight on Wade’s bad leg. Daniel ran across the ring and then dropped his weight on Wade’s leg. Daniel with the Slider Dropkick. Daniel missed the Flying Knee Tremble. Big Boot by Wade. Wade sent Daniel into the barricade. Wade punched and kicked when they got back in the ring. Wade pounded on Daniel, who was on the top rope. Kneelift sent Daniel crashing to the arena floor.
Wade limped out to where Daniel was. Wade slammed Daniel into the announce table and Whipped Daniel into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Daniel punched away. Snap Mare into a Rear Chin Lock by Wade. Daniel ran the ropes and the two collided. La Bandera Clothesline by Daniel into the Flying Goat. Daniel pitched Wade back into the ring. Daniel with the Missile Dropkick into the Kip Up. Daniel with a flyrry of wild kicks. Roll Up by Wade. Warp Speed count by Maddox.
Your Winner: Wade Barrett
Raw Ranking: 3.25 out of a possible 5
Daniel confronted Brad Maddox but backed off. Maddox bailed out as Daniel changed his mind and started after Maddox. “No!” echoed off the walls as the fans showed their anger at the ridiculous count.
Damien Sandow came out with his upgraded Money in the Bank briefcase. He showed it off to his former friend, Cody Rhodes. Sandow handcuffed the briefcase to the turnbuckle to keep Rhodes was snatching it.
Damien Sandow vs Randy Orton
After a flashback to last week’s Raw, it was time to get down to business. Collar and Elbow into a Damien Side Headlock. Push Off into a Shoulder Tackle. Randy dropped down for he Universal but Damien dropped and grabbed a Side Headlock. European Uppercut by Randy. Corner Mount Punches by Randy. Damien stomped and punched away. Shoulder Tackles by Damien. Randy blocked a Suplex and hit one of his own. Randy with measured punches. Damien gave as good as he got. Randy went for a whip but Sandow reversed it. Randy exploded out of the corner with a Clothesline. Side Drop Suplex by Damien. Randy pitched Damien onto the apron and nailed a nice Dropkick. It was time for a break.
The two men fought on the ropes. Damien sent Randy to the canvas and got a two count. Damien stomped Randy’s chest. Shoulder Thrusts by Sandow. Hammer Throw by Damien but Randy punched away. Damien shoved Randy off the top rope. Randy hit the floor, hard. 2 count when Randy got back in the ring but Orton was able to kick out. Rear Chin Lock by Sandow. Randy punched Damien’s ribs but took a Kitchen Sink knee to flip him over. Knee Strikes by Sandow into the Side Russian Leg Sweep. Elbow of Distain but only a two count for Damien. Rear Chin Lock by Damien. Damien took Randy down with the Side Headlock. Damien said he would not let go of the Rear Chin Lock.
Randy with a Back Drop Suplex to get free. Clothesliens by The Viper into an attempt at the Snap Powerslam. Flying Swing Neckbreaker by Damien. Orton came back and did connect with the Snap Powerslam. Rope Assisted DDT by Orton. Randy went to his Special Place. Sandow countered the RKO and went to the floor. Sandow drove Randy into the apron and ring post. Sandow threw Randy back in the ring. Cody Rhodes tried to steal the briefcase. The distraction allowed Randy to recover…RKO!
Your Winner: Randy Orton
Raw Ranking: 3.5
RVD was stretching and meditating backstage. He will be part of a 20-man Battle Royal The winner gets a shot at Dean Ambrose’s US title. The Shield did a video saying it was time to purge the “Old Guard”. Roman issued an open challenge to any two men to come after them. I suggest my buddies, Samoan Sapp and “Iceman” Chaz Masters. They are locals from Northern Nevada/California and those two would dwarf The Shield. I’m just saying…
The announcers brought up “The Best vs The Beast”. They sent it to a video interview that Brock Lesnar did. Brock said he was not just Paul Heyman’s “muscle”. Brock felt this was personal. Lesanr said he let Punk survive out of respect for Heyman. Lesnar was certain that he was both The Best and The Beast. Brock wasn’t jealous of Punk. Brock did show respect to Punk’s 430+ day run as champion. Brock knew Punk had never faced anyone like him. Brock ws going to teach Punk what it felt like to be victimized, on Sunday.
Josh Mathews interviewed Punk. Josh wondered why Punk would take this fight, so close to SummerSlam. Punk knew Heyman was cold and calculating and this was a chess game for Paul. Punk felt Brock might show up, tonight. Punk’s final words “The Best is the Best”.
Great Khali and Natalya (with Hornswoggle) vs Big E Langston and A.J. Lee
Mixed Tag Team Match
Big E did an insert video saying he never needed Dolph Ziggler. Big E said it was “Show Over” for Ziggler at SummerSlam.
The men opened up this contest. Well, actually they never locked up before A.. took the tag. She slapped Khali but Nattie came in and ran the Divas champ into the corner. Scoop Slam avoided by Lee. She hit a semi-Big Boot. Dolph and Kaitlyn watched the match. A.J. stomped away on Nattie. Snap Mare into a modified Rear Chin Lock by Lee. Lee threw Nattie down by the hair. Cravat by A.J. but Natalya broke free. Spin Kick into a Shining Wizard by Lee. Natalya put a distracted (by Hornswoggle) Lee into the Sharpshooter. The ref screwed up and didn’t see it. Nattie took care of it by putting A.J. back into the hold. Lee tapped out, a second time, but this time it counted.
Your Winners: Natalya and Great Khali
Raw Ranking: 1.0 (major deduction for blind ref)
Big E manhandled Hornswoggle, after the match. Khali laid out Big E with the Khali Khop.
Vince was power-walking backstage. Dang, I liked the maroon jacket. Takes me back to my days in the junior high choir at Stephen F. Austin Junior High. Smile.
Dean Ambrose will be defending his US title in the Pre-Show.
Vince came out to a great pop from the Cali crowd. The announcers didn’t know why Vince was there. Vince discussed the controversy in the opening match when Maddox made his super-speed count. Vince wanted an explanation, so he ordered Brad Maddox to come to the ring. Vince was in a foul mood. Vince wanted to know why Maddox appointed himself as the ref. Brad said Bryan’s matches tended to get out of hand and he needed someone in there to keep control. Vince questioned Brad about the fast count. Brad said it was due to nerves. Grab some cheese to go along with that baloney. Vince accepted Brad’s explanation. Brad wanted a second chance. He wanted to be the ref in the match between John Cena and Daniel Bryan. That brought a wave of “No!” chants cascading down onto the ring. Vince wanted to know if Brad would be impartial and call it down the line? Brad said he would. Vince poked fun at Daniel’s physique and appearance. Brad was certain he would be impartial. Vince was about o make Brad Maddox the ref when…
Time to play the Game! Triple H strolled out to a deafening roar. Vince grumbled as his son-in-law strolled to the ring. He even joked about HHH cutting his hair. “Tri0Ple H” was solidly chanted by the thousands in house. HHH acknowledged it. HHH felt the WWE title match was incredibly important. He did think there should be a special guest ref that had the guts to get the job done. HHH said the special ref should be him. He then shocked everyone by taking out Brad Maddox with a Pedigree!
Kane vs Titus O’Neil
Prior to the battle, Raw looked at the feud between Bray Wyatt and Kane. They will square off in a Ring of Fire Match at SummerSlam. It’s similar to an Inferno Match but you don’t have to set your opponent on fire. The fire is just there to keep the other “Wyatts” out and the two combatants in.
Kane kicked Titus to open the battle. Kane with hard shots and a Back Elbow. Suplex by Kane into a Slider Dropkick. 2 count. Kane took Titus to the corner and slugged away. Titus with a kick and several punches. European Uppercut by Titus. Kane reversed a Whip and took out the Prime Time Players with a big Kick. Corner Clotheslines into the Sidewalk Slam. Chokeslam by Kane. 1-2-3.
Your Winner: Kane
Raw Ranking: 1.25
After the match, the Wyatts showed up. The arena went dark but when the lights came back up, Kane had vanished. He showed up at the top of the ramp. Kane set off his corner pyros. The Wyatts freaked out, a little.
Josh talked with the Bellas about Total Divas and issues with Natalya. Nattie ended up slapping Brie in the face. As the Bellas seethed at seeing the slap again, Natalya strolled up and challenged Brie to a match at SummerSlam. Nattie told Brie to bring Eva Marie (the wanna be Jessica Rabbit) and Nikki. She said she would be bringing the Funkadactyls. Brie slapped Nattie in the face. Curious where JoJo was…maybe she did quit, after all. Hard to say. (yep, I did actually watch Total Divas. It’s growing on me).
Raw looked at how Alberto Del Rio assaulted his former ring announcer and lackey, Ricardo Rodriguez, last week. ADR put Ricardo’s head between the ring steps and ring post and then Dropkicked the steps into Ricardo’s skull.
Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston
ADR tore into Kofi with punches and kicks. Kofi fought back, viciously. The ref had to break them apart. Universal into a Flying Back Elbow by Kofi. Kofi Korner Lock. 2 count after a Kofi European Uppercut. ADR reversed a Whip and tripped Kofi, on the ropes. Kofi fell into the Sullivan Tree of Woe and ADR kicked away and hit the Inverted Superplex! 2 count. That was just nasty.
Del Rio drove the knee into Kofi’s head and pulled on Kingston’s hair. Rear Chin Lock by the World Champ. Kofi started punching away. Del Rio swatted away a Dropkick and stepped onto Kofi’s back. Back Elbow by Kofi. Kofi then moved so Del Rio slid through the ropes. Del Rio rushed back in and got wey-leighed by Controlled Frenzy. Boom Drop. Kofi missed Trouble in Paradise and fell to a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Del Rio rushed Kofi and got nailed with the S-O-S. 2 count. Del Rio’s head bounced like crazy. JBL questioned if Del Rio actually did kick out. Kofi reversed a Whip but Del Rio put on the brakes to avoid Trouble in Paradise. Back in the ring, Kofi nearly got the pin on a Roll Up after dodging the Superkick. Kofi went for a Springboard Crossbody but Del Rio with a Flying Code Breaker. That was impressive. Del Rio cinched in the Cross Armbreaker but had no choice but to tap out.
Your Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Raw Ranking: 3.75
Mark Henry waited backstage. He will be part of the 20-man Battle Royal to determine who gets a shot at Dean Ambrose’s US title.
Raw looked at Old Sacramento. The announcers looked at the career of Christian. I really hope to see Christian take the World title. I’m not sure, yet, if he will, tho. Still contemplating my next Crystal Ball column. I’ll share all my thoughts by the end of the week. Renee interviewed Christian. She asked about his mindset. Christian said he has put so much into his career, over the years. Christian was confident he would three-peat as World Champion. Alberto Del Rio strolled up and blathered away in Spanish. Roughly translated, Del Rio said that after Sunday, there would be no more matches for Christian.
Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro (The Real Americans) w/ Zeb Colter vs The Usos
Colter, of course, trash talked the Golden State. I am so sick of his rants. Colter hoped a big earthquake would hit and break California off from the US. (Has he been watching Escape from L.A.?)
Raw looked back at the Usos beating the Real Americans, last week. Antonio charged Jey and got blasted. Jey missed a Corner Splash. Big Boot by Cesaro. Finally, I can tell the Usos apart. Took me forever to figure out which was which. Swagger with the tag and the Double Team. Jack with repeated Knee Strikes. Swagger Bomb. Antonio jumped over Jack for a modified Warrior’s Way. Jey starte fighting back with Haymakers. Jey tried for a tag but Antonio stopped him. Jey got a Sunset Flip but Jack had tagged in and he blasted Jey’s ribs.
Butterfly Lock by Swagger. Jack kept Jey grounded. Zeb kept irritating the Sac crowd. Jey tried to fight out but took a knee and Double Team. 2 count. Antonio with a Rear Chin Lock. They moved to the corner and Jey with an Enziguri. Tag to Jack and Jimmy. Jimmy with Clothesliens and a pair of kicks. Samoan Drop! Rikishi Run to the corner. Antonio pulled Jack out. Dual Tope Cont Hilos by the twins. Jimmy went up. Antonio tried to stop Jimmy but Jey hit a Superkick and tagged in. Roll Up on Swagger for the three.
Your Winners: The Usos
Raw Ranking: 3.0
Miz brought out John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Daniel came out first, wearing the “The Beard is Here!” shirt. Then Cena came out in the “The Champ is Here!” tee. Cena noticed the mixed reaction that he got. Typical pre-Pay Per View hype. Both guys rambled on about why they were going to win. Daniel definitely cut the better promo. Cena came across as extremely scripted and somewhat stale. Daniel had fire in his promo. The two men came very close to beating each other and Miz. Cena took a shot at MizTV. Ok, I agree that it’s not Piper’s Pit but that was something beyond special. Miz tried to stir the pot but it just didn’t work. They should have scrapped this whole segment and gave us some wrestling. This train wreck went on for over 12 minutes before Triple H strolled from the back. The crowd finally woke up from their boredom-induced coma when HHH arrived. Suddenly, Randy Orton walked from the back and held aloft his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Fandango vs R-Truth
Dance Off (unofficial match)
Truth did some shimmies and shakes. That ticked off Fandango. Fandango called for his music and began to do his thing, along with Summer Rae. Truth then asked for his own music to restart. Truth just got silly with his dancing until he was attacked by Fandango. Truth came back with a Spear and Whip. Clotheslines by Truth into the Flying Leg Lariat. Fandango bailed out and grabbed the microphone. He reminded everyone who he is…Fahn-Dahn-Go.
Your Winner: R-Truth (I Guess)
Raw Ranking: N/A (not officially a match, but 1000x better than MizTV).
Paul Heyman talked with Curtis Axel as he taped up. Axel was curious if Heyman was nervous. Paul said he was having second thoughts about this (the match against C.M. Punk).
20- Man Battle Royal
Winner to face Dean Ambrose for the US Title in the SummerSlam Kick-Off
Mark Henry blocked a Double Suplex and ended up disposing of both of the Real Americans with Double Pushes. That left Wade Barrett, Mark Henry, Ryback and RVD. Mark Henry tossed out Barrett. RVd ended up on the apron, but not eliminated. Mark lifted Ryback and put him on the apron. RVD and Mark worked together to eliminate Ryback. That left RVD vs Mark Henry. RVD tried for a Sleeper but Mark fell back into the corner. Spin Kick by RVD into a leap to the top rope. Mar hit the ropes and RVD almost fell to the floor. Mark Henry rushed at RVD but Rob with the Low Bridge. Mark tumbled to the floor.
Your Winner: Rob Van Dam
Raw Ranking: 3.0
Mark got back in the ring and did the Fist Bump to show respect to RVD. Suddenly, The Shield decided to attack RVD. Mark got back in the ring to help RVD. It still looked like a 2-on-3 mismatch…until Big Show came out. While not made official, it appears that Rollins and Reigns will have to defend against Mark Henry and Big Show, on Sunday. Call them Big and Strong!
Paul Heyman vs C.M. Punk
Why didn’t Paul come out to the old ECW theme? Paul was basically in a vest and dress shirt and slacks. Paul, of course, had to run off at the mouth. Paul blamed the WWE Universe for the failures of C.M. Punk. Paul said the WWE Universe took Punk away from him. Paul said everyone thought this match was a trap…and it was. Paul then brought out “The Beast”. Paul ran a video package of Brock beating up Punk. Punk continued to go on about the trap and plan for Punk. Paul said this was so sinister and purely evil, yet so simplistic. Paul said Punk wouldn’t fight just him. It would be a Handicap Match: C.M. Punk vs Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. Paul wanted Punk to be stupid and play the hero. Paul said all heroes were stupid and so he knew Punk would take the bait. Paul said he could disappoint the fans and not be the hero. Paul called out C.M. Punk.
Punk’s music went off but Punk didn’t come down the ramp. Instead, he came up from behind Brock and Paul. Punk snatched a video camera from one of the cameramen and smacked Brock in the face with it. Punk then cracked Brock between the shoulders, twice. Brock rolled to the outside. Punk disposed of the camera and then hit a Suicide Dive on Brock. Punk went and got a chair. Punk blasted Brock, over and over. “Come on, B*tch” was Punk’s yell at The Beast. Reality then struck Heyman as Punk stared at him. Heyman bailed out of the ring and rushed up the ramp. Punk chased him as Heyman screamed for Brock. Curtis Axel came out but Punk hit him with the chair and threw him into the set. Go To Sleep on Axel. Punk then stood firm and sent a message that the Best was more than ready for The Beast!