From Jolly Olde England tonight, WWE gives us some more insight on Kane's new role. Last week, he emerged in a suit and tie and helped The Shield and Randy Orton beat down Big Show by offering up chairs. He's the new "Director of Operations." What does this mean - is he a new authority figure? Will Triple H and Stephanie take a lesser role? And what of the show GM's?
Editorial note: It's Veterans Day here in the US - and to all veterans of military conflict who might be reading, a heartfelt thank you for your service and sacrifice.
Show Open, Taped in Manchester, England at the Phones4u Arena
The show opens with a video package celebrating military heroes and our veterans. John Cena narrates the package about “these men and women willing to make the ultimate sacrifice” calling them the true American heroes.
After the intro, we get a recap of the “lawsuit” angle from last week and the atrocious main event segment between the McMahons and Big Show settling his lawsuit. It closes with the beatdown by Orton and The Shield and the introduction of Kane in a suit. Triple H’s closing words of the announcement of the title match.
Cole welcomes us to the show in Manchester, with breaking news. Triple H and Stephanie are indeed on vacation, and he asks who is in charge tonight.
Randy Orton’s music hits and he comes to the ring to cut a promo. Cole says that Big Show’s injuries may keep him off of this program tonight. Cole also recaps that Big Show will face Orton for the title at Survivor Series. JBL says Show should be happy he got his job back. Orton poses on the ropes while Cole recaps the controversial ending to Hell in a Cell involving Shawn Michaels.
Orton says he’ll get right to it and says that Show got his job back and blackmailed himself into a title match. He says if anyone saw the beating Show took last week, it should be a foregone conclusion that he will retain his title and his status as the face of WWE.
He says Triple H and Stephanie are on a well deserved vacation, so that makes Orton the man in charge tonight. Brad Maddox interrupts. He comes to the ring and says that he respects that Orton wants to help but he is the man in charge tonight. Maddox goes to set a match up, but Kane comes out. Kane gets a “you sold out” chant. He says last week that the Authority appointed him the new Director of Operations, and he is in charge tonight.
Maddox says that he’s the GM in charge and he asks Kane to follow his lead. Maddox books Orton vs. Cody Rhodes. Kane says no, and in turn, he books Orton against Goldust. Maddox disputes and says he just made Rhodes vs Orton. Orton just wants a decision.
Vickie Guerrero comes out to intense heat – she’s getting booed right out of the building. She wishes Triple H and Stephanie a wonderful vacation. Unlike the two of the men in the ring, she has confidence in Orton’s skills. As the former GM of Raw and current GM of Smackdown, and the voice of reason, she says if the Authority wants to see what’s best for business, they would agree with Randy’s idea. The fans are chanting “Go away” I think. She books Orton in a handicap match against Goldust and Cody Rhodes, and that match is going to happen right now.
Heel authorities battling it out to be the one in charge. Yawn. And Kane got overruled by Vickie simply because she spoke last. That doesn't work for his new title and position.
Rhodes and Goldust make their entrance. JBL says the Authority won't like this. The match is after the break!
Match #1 – Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton
Goldust starts off with Orton. He runs through a flurry of offense then tags in Cody. Orton sends Cody into the ropes but he holds on. Goldust rolls up Orton for two. Orton takes over, hitting some shoulder blocks then a clothesline following an Irish whip. The fans chant that Orton is boring, then they chant for JBL then Cole, then Lawler.
Orton continues the slow clubbing offense on Goldust. Goldust starts to fight back, getting a foot up on the corner charge. Orton eyes up Cody going to commercial.
Orton controls through the break according to Cole. Goldust counters a powerslam attempt with a roll-up, and the fans perk up for Goldust to make the hot tag. Cody hits a springboard missile drop kick and rolls Orton up out of the corner for two. He follows with a moonsault for two.
Orton struggles to his feet and tries to get a backbreaker. Rhodes counters out, then tags Goldust. Goldust tries to splash Orton, but it misses. The brothers hit a clothesline that sends Orton tumbling to ringside. Orton decides he’s had enough, and he exits. The Rhodes’ pick up the win by count-out.
Afterward, Big Show’s music hits. Cole sells shock in that he hadn’t made the trip. He comes out and rag-dolls Orton around the ringside area. Show runs Orton to the steps then hits a clothesline before dismantling the announce position. Fans chant “Yes!” as Show sets up this move. He chokeslams Orton through the announce position.
Show glares down at Orton as the fans react, then he leaves. Trainers come out and they bring a stretcher out to tend to Orton.
The live crowd was into the match and especially Big Show's rag-tagging of Orton at the end. But the decision to book this match just baffles me, because why would Vickie do this to the "chosen one" of WWE? I guess they could reveal that Triple H and Stephanie wanted to test him...?
We get a replay of Big Show rag-tagging Orton around the ringside area, complete with the chokeslam through the announce position from multiple angles. Backstage, they show Big Show walking and smiling, then exiting to get a pint.
Cole says that Orton deserved what he got after what happened on last week’s show. JBL asks Cole if he’s judge and jury now.
Match #2 – Santino Marella and Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. 3MB
Los Matadores makes their entrance with El Torito, to not a whole lot of reaction from the live crowd that I can tell. Torito does some of his acrobatics before Santino Marella makes his entrance, complete with bull horns. Oh brother. 3MB thinks it is Halloween still, and they’re calling themselves the Union Jacks tonight.
I just heard a 3MB chant. Slater starts with Diego and he starts with chops. Don’t hinder Jinder as he gets the blind tag and hits Diego from behind to get two. Rapid kicks from 3MB and Diego sells for the heels for a bit. Diego gets the hot tag to Santino and he hits an armdrag on Mahal before getting kneed in the gut.
Comedy with the bull as he taunts Slater. Slater gives chase, only to get gored by Marella. McIntryre catches El Torito, but Los Matadores hit a double dive on him. In the ring, Santino pulls out the Cobra and it’s got horns on it. Oh brother. He hits the Cobra to get the win. The zoo…err…faces celebrate.
I get the humor value, but most fans sat on their hands for this one. And I can't get why the heels wore the home colors - the Union Jack - for this one.
Randy Orton is with the trainer. Brad Maddox comes in and apologizes, then Vickie does likewise. He tells Vickie to save it for when Triple H and Stephanie come back. Kane asks for Orton to listen but Orton tells him he doesn’t want to hear from any of them. Kane tells Orton he better listen to him, as he is the director of Operations and Orton need not mouth off, or Big Show might not be his only problem. The authority figures leave and the trainer goes back to working on Orton’s arm.
Just in case you don't know, Triple H and Stephanie are on vacation. I guess this means Kane's new role isn't going to result in them appearing less or being positioned less strongly to allow wrestlers - i.e., Randy Orton as WWE Champion - to be positioned more strongly.
Match #3 – Damien Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston
Sandow is already in the ring and pacing. Cole tells us that he and Kofi had a fight backstage during commercial. Sandow goes on the offense aggressively to open as the announcers talk about Sandow turning over a new leaf in his character and how he failed to cash in MITB against John Cena. Sandow delivers shoulders in the corner and rubs Kofi’s face on the mat.
Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain, the Kingston goes on a run. He hits a nice kick for two. Sandow comes back with some strikes then whips Kofi to the corner. Kingston hits a kick and sets up a springboard move, but Sandow hits the ropes to trip him up. In the end, Sandow hits “You’re Welcome” to get the win.
The live crowd didn’t seem to care too much, but these guys worked hard. Sandow’s edge is good to see.
They show Ziggler and Axel in split screen, and they’ll be facing off for the Intercontinental Championship next. We're also getting Raw Country next week from Nashville.
We get a recap of Dolph Ziggler beating Curtis Axel last week on Raw, and that sets this match up.
Match #4 – Curtis Axel (c ) vs. Dolph Ziggler; WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ziggler is way over with the Brits. Cole says that Ziggler was an Intercontinental Champion before and would love to win the title again. Axel’s getting no reaction. Cole says that Axel cut an interview on the app that says Ziggler has a chance but you don’t win by chance, you win by being better than perfect.
Axel ducks a clothesline and hits a drop kick coming off the ropes. He taunts and yells at Ziggler, then they tie up. Ziggler comes back with a clothesline of his own, then yells at Axel. Ziggler hits an arm drag then a suplex for near falls. He follows up with the heart stopper elbows for two.
Axel whips Ziggler to the corner and he crashes over the ropes to the outside. Axel goes out after him and throws Ziggler into the apron. The announcers tell the story that Axel has something to prove without Heyman along.
Ziggler hits a DDT after a string of Axel offense. Both men are down and get to their feet at nine. Axel charges but Ziggler side steps and Axel eats the post. Ziggler hits a clothesline off the ropes then a splash and a series of punches, followed with a neckbreaker for two.
Axel uses a slingshot then rolls up Ziggler. Ziggler comes back with the Fameasser for two. Axel hits a throw for two then goes up top. Ziggler meets him on the ropes and hits a face plant off the ropes for a near fall. Late, Axel hits his trademark neckbreaker to get the win and retain his title.
The announcers put over the effort, especially by Axel, in the title match.
A good match that the fans enjoyed but it never got rocking. Ziggler sold that slingshot like Hennig did back in the day.
Kane and Brad Maddox argue about who is in charge. It puts me in the mind of how Kane would argue with Daniel Bryan. The two think each other will be in charge when the Authority returns. Maddox says Vickie might have been on to something with the Handicap match concept. Maddox ends up booking Cena vs. The Real Americans. Kane likes it and then books CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield in a 3 on 2 handicap. Maddox offers a handshake but Kane says “let’s not.”
The crowd liked the announcement of Punk and Bryan in the main event, but Kane is just off to some sort of awkward start here. I would think Kane would have really asserted his authority from go, but he hasn't. Maybe that's coming. Right now, Kane just seems like another empty suit that answers to Triple H and Stephanie.
Match #5 – Tamina Snuka (w/AJ) vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)
Tamina controls the early going of this one. The fans are kind of quiet, so Brie tries to get them fired up. Tamina hits a big powerslam for a two count. Tamina gets Nikki up in a backbreaker then charges, but Nikki flips her over then hits spinning head scissor. The fans are chanting for tables, I think.
Nikki keeps the offense up as the fans chant ECW. Tamina gets Nikki in the ropes and this is where AJ sticks her nose in things to cause a distraction. She takes a cheap shot at Nikki, and then Tamina hits a big boot. Tamina goes up top and hits the Superfly Splash to get the win.
Afterward, AJ gets in the ring to skip around. Brie has had enough and cleans house of both the heels. The heels nurse their wounds and back up the ramp.
Tamina got a bloody nose during that one. The live crowd didn't much care, as evidenced by the various unrelated chants during the match.
We're 80-some odd minutes in, and the only thing that even remotely has anything to do with Survivor Series is the Big Show/Orton exchange. They're more interested in the Authority and Triple H and Stephanie being on vacation - which has absolutely nothing to do with Survivor Series. WWE needed something hot tonight, and this isn't it.
They hype Cena vs. The Real Americans for later.
Cole talks about WWE 2K14, showing a poll that says Shawn Michaels was Undertaker’s greatest opponent. They show some gameplay highlights and hype up fan-submitted characters.
They replay some of the opening segment again.
Randy Orton is still in the trainer’s room. The Shield enters and dismisses the trainer. Orton rants about where they were “about an hour ago” and talks about how they kicked Show’s ass last week. He complains that they didn’t help him earlier. Ambrose tells him that it’s not Randy’s concern as to where they were. Rollins tells Orton that they don’t work for Kane, Brad Maddox, or Vickie Guerrero. Rollins says "and we damn sure don't work for you." to Orton and they walk off.
Fine to keep the Shield established at least to some degree as their own entity, but next week it'll be right back to the Shield working with Triple H and Stephanie.
Match #6 – Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Tyson Kidd (w/Natalya)
The Brits like it that Fandango’s music has hit and they sing along. He and Summer dance at the stage as they go to break. Fandango's tights have the Union Jack on them. Second time tonight a heel has played to the home crowd.
They set up the match with a video clip from “Total Divas” where Kidd got jealous of Natalya training with Fandango. Kidd gets his entrance after the break and after this video package.
Kidd starts with a go behind and a snapmare to start things off. Kidd tries to set up a head scissor but Fandango throws him over the ropes to the floor. After some rest holds, Kidd face plants Fandango to the corner then hits a springboard drop kick.
Late, Kidd tries a springboard move, but Fandango rolls him up and gets the pinfall to win. JBL goes crazy about Fandangoing.
A good match, but it could have been longer.
They show John Cena walking toward the ring to take on the Real Americans, next.
Match #7 – The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. John Cena
Cena comes out first to his mixed reaction, a bit boo-heavy. Colter tries to heel up on the Brits. He cuts a promo talking about being on foreign ground tonight. He says it’s Veterans Day in the US. He insults soccer, bad food, and the people finding Mr. Bean funny. The crowd is only marginally reacting to this. He asks for people to put their hands over their hearts and say “We the People” in recognition of a superior nation.
Early on, Swagger and Cena feel each other out. Alberto Del Rio’s music hits, and he comes out to the stage, waving the Mexican flag. He walks to ringside as the Real Americans get control of Cena off the distraction going into commercial.
Cesaro is working with Cena as we come back. The fans are giving an “Ole!”chant as Cole welcomes Del Rio to the commentary position. He says he’s there because JBL invited him. Cesaro hits a belly to back suplex. Cena hits a neckbreaker on Cesaro for two. Cole resets the show on commentary.
Swagger hits a Swagger bomb then tries a second but Cena moves. Cena starts his comeback sequence, but Cesaro hits a massive uppercut that gets the crowd to pop. Cesaro tries for the swing but Cena counters to the STF. Cesaro gets out. Swagger tags in and tries the Patriot Lock but Cena kicks him off.
Cena tries the AA on Cesaro, but Swagger clips Cena. Cesaro sets up the Neutralizer but Cena counters. Cesaro tags in Swagger, but Cena hits his side slam and the Five Knuckle. Cena goes for the AA but Swagger rolls through and gets the Patriot Lock.
Cena counters out and hits the AA. Cesaro saves the matchup. Both men are down with Cesaro begging for the tag. He gets it and takes a powerbomb for a near fall.
Cesaro hits a move in the corner and perches Cena on the ropes. He sets up a move but Cena counters and punches him down. Cesaro tags out to Swagger, but when Swagger meets him up top Cena knocks him down too. After clotheslining Cesaro to the floor, Cena is able to lock Swagger into the STF. Swagger struggles, but eventually taps out.
Afterward, Cesaro and Swagger attack Cena. Cena disposes of Cesaro and Swagger, but Alberto Del Rio charges the ring and goes after Cena’s arm with a chair. He hits Cena with the chair and locks his arm in it, locking in the Cross Arm breaker. Big E. Langston runs out to make the save and disposes of Del Rio. Officials tend to Cena.
The match was fine, but why would you build up the Real Americans, positioning them to be tag title contenders, then feed them to Cena in a handicap loss like that? Cena's opponents should be realistic, and beating possible contenders in a handicap match like that just kills the future there. Del Rio's attack was meaningless - we know Del Rio isn't winning at Survivor Series. Cena needs to put Langston over hard for the save for that to mean something too.
They hype up AJ vs. Natalya for the Diva’s Title this week on Main Event. They show Smackdown highlights that set this match up between AJ and Natty.
All the authority folks are together watching the recap of Cena’s match ending. Kane says Cena had it coming. Del Rio confronts them, and he asks if they saw what happened. They say they did and Maddox says that there might be a new champion at Survivor Series. Del Rio asks Vickie in particular to keep Big E. Langston out of his way. Vickie tells him to put his nose in Big E.’s business and sets a match up. Kane tells Del Rio to show Big E how Cena feels.
Match #8 – R-Truth vs. Ryback:
Truth raps his way to the ring, adding insults of Ryback to his rap. They tie up while JBL tells us that he and Truth are the new 2 Live Crew. Ryback takes over and begins to control the offense as the fans chant Goldberg. The announcers talk about rugby that they went to yesterday.
Ryback hits a powerslam and chops Truth in the corner. Ryback uses a splash for a near fall then wears Truth down with a bear hug. Truth tries to come back but takes a big spinebuster. Ryback loads up the Meathook. Truth ducks it and rolls up Ryback to get the win.
Eh, it was what it was.
We get yet another recap of the beginning of the show, with Big Show rag-tagging Orton. They hype up the Show vs. Orton title match at Survivor Series in two weeks.
The overarching theme tonight is "who is in charge while Triple H and Stephanie are on vacation?" and it's just not working for me. With no Survivor Series hype either. You'd think the event is six weeks out, not in two weeks. And the go-home show is a "country" themed show.
Match #9 - Big E. Langston vs. Alberto Del Rio
Big E. Langston comes out to the ring before commercial. They talk about him facing Orton and taking him to the limit last week, and now he gets a shot at a former world champion. After break, they recap the end of the Cena/Real Americans match that set this match up. JBL puts over that we don't know whether Cena's arm is injured or not after the attack.
Some back and forth action in the early going. Langston gets in some offense, then Del Rio hits a DDT and locks on a headlock. The announcers are still debating Cena’s condition and King says that he might have to defend his title with one arm.
Hey, um, King, he won the title with one arm.
Langston goes on a run, hitting a belly to belly suplex and a big splash. JBL says it’s a splash to go with the wave that the fans are doing. Langston tries a charge but Del Rio moves and follows with a step-up enzugiri. The fans think they’re awesome. Del Rio tries to hook the Cross Arm Breaker, but Langston counters and hits a big block.
Langston tries for the Big Ending but he gets locked in the Cross Arm Breaker. He tries to get out, but ends up tapping out. Del Rio poses on the ropes with the Mexican flag while JBL puts him over hard.
The fans didn’t care but the match was fine. I still think Langston needs to be piling up solid wins over other guys on the roster rather than these "look good in defeat" losses to the upper card guys. The fans were more interested in doing the wave in this one. And Del Rio could chop Cena's arm off and no one's going to believe Cena will lose at Survivor Series.
The announcers hype up the main event, and send thanks to all veterans watching the show tonight. They run the honor video that they aired at the beginning of the program again.
We get hype for Smackdown on Friday, with Del Rio challenging Cena to an arm wrestling contest.
Paul Heyman is in a wheelchair with an assist from Curtis Axel. He introduces himself and says his injuries were caused “by your hero, CM Punk.” He says it tickles the fancies of their obviously limited imaginations. He says Punk had help like that big dumb ugly Ryback. He talks about nurturing Ryback and he’s thankful Ryback never became a Heyman guy. He says Ryback’s mantra is “feed me more” but he bit off more than he can chew with CM Punk.
He turns to blame the fans, saying that the fans encouraged Punk to climb the cage and beat a father of two up. He says it’s all their fault. He says it’s why he has left his first class arrangements to find alternative treatment for his injuries to slum with the commoners of Manchester. He says he did it for witnesses for his intentions, which are these. He vows that he will return with a vengeance and hover over CM Punk like the sword of Damacles and strike.
Punk’s music hits and he comes out to a big reaction. He attacks Axel who tries to cut him off on the ramp. Punk rag-tags Axel and disposes of him with the GTS. Punk leans on the apron and Heyman screams at him that he’s done enough. Punk goes under the ring for a Kendo stick, then toys with the wheelchair by spinning it around and dumping Heyman. Punk then goes after Heyman with a kendo stick as the fans chant “yes!”
Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he comes out to rousing “Yes!” chants. We’re getting set for our main event. Cole puts it over as Punk and Bryan teaming up for the first time ever.
Match #10 - CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
Before the Shield makes their entrance, they recap the battle between Punk, Bryan and the Wyatt Family on Raw last week. The Shield comes through the crowd to the ring.
Ambrose and Punk start off as the announcers again talk about the authority figures setting up the matches tonight and Triple H and Stephanie are on vacation. Bryan and Punk team up for a double suplex on Ambrose. Ambrose knocks down Bryan then tags in Rollins. Bryan unloads on him with kicks then locks on a surfboard.
Punk gets the tag, trash talks a moment then kicks Rollins a couple times, covering for two counts. Rollins takes a slingshot then Punk loads the GTS. Rollins escapes, backing to his friendly corner and tagging Roman Reigns in. He and Punk stalk each other and tie up, then Reigns unloads with strikes. Punk slides under him and tags Bryan, then the two of them team up with kicks. Reigns hits them with a double clothesline to take control.
Rollins with the tag, and Bryan opens up with a running drop kick and a huracanrana off the top. He unloads a series of kicks on Rollins, then winds up and hits Ambrose who was sneaking into the ring. Rollins hits a kick of his own to get the heels control.
Bryan is selling for Rollins as we come out of break. The Shield continues to work Bryan over with frequent tags. Bryan fights back with strikes on Reigns but gets knocked back down for a two count. They keep working quick tags on Bryan and he continues to sell. The announcers continue to talk about The Authority being on vacation as Bryan begins to fight back. Bryan launches Rollins over the ropes and pulls the top rope down for Reigns to crash and burn also. He gets the hot tag to Punk.
Punk goes on a run, hitting a tilt-o-whirl neckbreaker, the running knee and a clothesline on Ambrose. Punk hits the Macho Elbow for two, but Rollins breaks things up. Bryan takes him out with a missile drop kick, then takes a dive on him.
Punk cues the GTS on Ambrose, but he slips out. Punk loads it instead on Reigns and hits it. Punk gets Ambrose in the Anaconda Vise. Ambrose is just about to tap when the lights go funky. When they come back up, the Wyatts are in the ring.
Rollins and Ambrose are jaw jacking with the Wyatts. It seems like calmer heads will prevail and Ambrose pulls Rollins away. A brawl ensues between The Wyatts and The Shield. Reigns and Wyatt are exchanging words at ringside and they start fighting. They all end up regrouping in the ring and jaw jacking at each other again. The fans start a “this is awesome” chant.
They notice Bryan and Punk. Bryan and Punk end up in the ring now, and the other teams surround the ring. It turns into a six on two beatdown. The Usos and The Rhodes’ run out and even the odds. All the teams fight in the ring, with the faces standing tall and clearing the ring. The heels regroup out on the aisle.
Cole asks what the Authority is going to think about all of this when we go to Raw Country next Monday night. JBL says he can’t wait as the show ends. We get one final ad for Raw Country from Nashville.
I enjoyed that ending. This is an easy set up into the traditional elimination match at Survivor Series with all twelve of these men involved - Punk, Bryan, The Usos and Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. The Shield and The Wyatts. And for the most part, this is all fresh talent in this match, so there's a chance for people to shine and step up.
I think even the little bit of interaction we got with The Shield and the Wyatts squaring off was a bit premature, but hopefully it's simple foreshadowing of something that is further down the road. I think there's money to be made with both teams staying heel for now, though I think the Shield could be a money group as a babyface also. Hopefully, WWE has patience to leave them heel for a while longer.
This show was mostly forgettable though and did nothing for me in terms of Survivor Series hype. Survivor Series used to be one of the big four pay per views, but this one just feels like "another event" like the other monthly pay per views. The top two matches feel like total retreads with predictable endings.
There is so much work that WWE has to do to sell Survivor Series, and next week's "Raw Country" show is the go-home show. Hopefully they launch into solid hype starting with Smackdown this week, or it's just not going to end well at all. Thanks for watching along tonight, and always feel free to join in the conversation on Twitter also!