Last Monday, Triple H told us that Randy Orton, the WWE Champion will face John Cena, the World Heavyweight Champion, at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay per view in a couple weeks. Both titles will hang high above the ring and the two men will face off in a TLC match. Randy Orton bashed John Cena in the skull with the title belt at the end of last week's show. How will Cena respond to this? And what else is in store for the TLC pay per view?
Show Open, Live from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK
Cold open with CM Punk's music hitting. He gets a big reaction from the live crowd as Cole welcomes us to the show. Cole says that Punk should still be seething after last week's events and he feeds it into a recap of the Shield attacking Punk after his match teaming with Bryan against the Shield. JBL says the Shield does what they want to who they want.
Punk says he has spent a week trying to figure out why The Shield attacked him. He says as he walked out the ramp that he figured it out. He wanted to be wrong, but he criticized Triple H on last week's show. He says he made a comment about Triple H's creativity, then got attacked later in the same show.
He asks who he is that he would question the mighty King of Kings. He says he wants to be wrong but all the factors seem too coincidental. He talks about how Triple H wouldn't be so stupid and gets interrupted by Stephanie McMahon's music.
Stephanie greets the fans and says she hopes they all had a great Thanksgiving. She goes on to tell Punk that the Authority had nothing to do with The Shield attacking him. "What are we, children?" She says they are advocates of free speech and Punk needs to point the finger at The Shield, and not the Authority. She says that they have bigger things to deal with. Stephanie introduces Kane and says if Punk has further issues he can take it up with Kane.
Kane describes his job position. He says that he conducted an investigation and they found that there was no involvement by the Authority in the Shield's attack. Kane asks Punk if he has questions and Punk asks when he became the Big Red Ass Kisser. Punk challenges Kane to come to the ring and either get knocked out or put to sleep. Kane takes a couple steps, but Stephanie stops him.
The Shield's music hits and they make their way through the crowd. They make it to ringside but Stephanie tells them to stop. She says that there won't be a repeat of last Monday's events. Punk should be respected and admired she says and she walks away. Kane adds that Punk should also be challenged, and books a handicap match between Punk and The Shield for TLC.
While I'm glad to see Punk get in the Authority fray, I'm not happy about a handicap match being booked like this. Although, I'm betting this one should be pretty good.
Cole moves into hyping up the contract signing segment for later on in tonight's show, calling it "historic". He adds a caveat, saying that Authority has said that one man will emerge as the champion. He tells us that there's a vote on the app for the name of the match for three different names.
Looks like we're heading for unification right now anyhow. The titles indicate as such. Still doesn't mean there won't be shenanigans though.
King reminds us that Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler faced off in two hardcore matches, and hypes their match next to become the new #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship.
Back from break, the announcers hype up the Slammy Awards next week. Damien Sandow is in the process of cutting a promo putting himself over for winning the match tonight and the Intercontinental Championship. You're welcome. Ziggler makes his entrance as Cole congratulates Langston (who is at the announce position) for winning and asks how he feels. Langston says he is privileged to hold a title held by Stone Cold, The Rock, and JBL.
Match #1 - Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler; #1 Contender to the Intercontinental Championship
Damien Sandow controls the early offense as the announcers chat about Langston's title run and his opinion on each competitor. Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain then a front slam, but Ziggler rolls away from a moonsault attempt. Ziggler hits a DDT and follows with corner punches.
Langston admits he would rather face Ziggler given their history. Ziggler tries for the Fameasser but gets caught. Ziggler counters into a sunset flip for two. Ziggler goes for the Fameasser a second time and hits it. In the end, Sandow comes back with the "You're Welcome" slam for the win.
Langston came off well on commentary, and I think Sandow vs. Langston will be a good match at the pay per view.
Match #2 - Summer Rae, Tamina, and AJ vs. The Bella Twins and Natalya
AJ is skipping around the ring as Nikki slaps Tamina across the face. Nikki uses a crucifix pin attempt on Tamina then tags out to Brie. AJ continues to skip and gets an "AJ's Crazy" chant. Summer Rae and Tamina take control of Brie.
After some back and forth, Natalya gets the tag and gets the better of Summer Rae momentarily. Summer runs her into the ring post, and tags out to AJ, who gets a cheer from the live crowd. Natalya tries the Sharpshooter but gets clubbed by Tamina. Things break down, and Natalya rolls up AJ for the win.
AJ sells the loss for a moment, then gets her belt and skips away, smiling.
Meh. That didn't seem to feel all that special or important.
Cole reminds us that Daniel Bryan got attacked and hauled off by the Wyatts last week. He was left in a parking lot. He gets Erick Rowan of the Family, coming up.
Cole hypes up voting for the Slammy Awards to take place on the App. Extreme Moment of the Year was the particular category he hyped.
Justin Roberts hypes up "Bad News Barrett" and feeds it to Wade Barrett at a podium. He says the good news is we're on Raw, but the bad news is we're in an arena filled with hillbillies and overweight miscreants who had to name their city after their state so they could remember it.
Really a good use of Wade Barrett, right? Not really.
Randy Orton is with Brad Maddox. He says that he is glad to see him and apologizes for not being sympathetic to his injuries. He tells Maddox to go tell the Authority that he demands that he be recognized as the face of WWE, and that he is more well known than John Cena or anyone else for that matter. He says he is even bigger than WWE. Orton demands he go tell them, and Maddox just stares.
To a McMahon, to say "bigger than WWE" is the biggest insult ever. It's just hyperbole otherwise.
Match #3 - Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan (The Wyatt Family, w/ Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper)
Daniel Bryan makes his entrance prior to commercial. He gets a rousing reaction as Cole and JBL talk about Bryan's appearance on the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast.
Odd to see Bryan come out and lead "yes!" chants on the heels of being kidnapped and just handle things in a "business as usual" manner. I'd like to see more fire from him in these situations. Side note - Austin's podcasts are generally worth checking out. Recommended listening.
After the break, we get the odd video break and Harper and Rowan are in the ring with no music. The announcers feed it to a recap of the happenings on Raw and Wyatt's cryptic message of Bryan "entering the lion's den as a man, leaving a monster" on Smackdown.
Rowan controls the early going as JBL says that Bryan would fit right in with the Wyatts with his beard and hair. Bryan comes back with some kicks then locks on a sleeper, but Rowan flips him over his back. Rowan eats feet on a charge then a series of kicks. Bryan works over the left arm.
Bryan hits another series of kicks and tries for the Yes! Lock but Rowan gets in the ropes. Bryan hits some more strikes but Rowan fights back. Rowan throws him from the ring and goes out after him, but Bryan quickly gets back in the ring. Bryan tries a suicide dive, but Rowan catches him and throws him to the barrier as we go to break.
Rowan is still in control coming out of the commercial. He has a bear hug on. Bryan tries a move off the ropes but gets knocked down. The announcers talk about Wyatt's riddles on Twitter as Rowan throws Bryan into the steps. Back in the ring Rowan gets a near fall.
Bryan uses a drop toe hold to get a short run going. He hits a running drop kick in the corner, but takes an elbow then a big boot as he lays against the ropes. Rinse and repeat two more times, and Rowan gets a near fall. Rowan continues to control the pace with slow, methodical offense.
Bryan gets another run, but he takes a fallaway slam and a big splash in the corner. Rowan continues to grind away with a chinlock as we cross 9PM EST. Rowan hits a big backbreaker then tries a splash but Bryan moves. Rowan charges, but Bryan pulls the ropes down and he tumbles. Harper sticks his nose in but Harper takes a shot from Bryan then he hits a dive on Rowan.
Bryan starts to fire up, hitting a missile drop kick then a series of kick strikes. He winds up for the last one and Rowan catches him in a powerbomb situation. Bryan counters, but takes a big boot in the corner. In the end, Bryan gets a roll-up to get the win. He escapes as Harper and Rowan sell frustration.
Wyatt appears on the screen and tells the two to stand down. He tells Bryan that his men won't hurt him, unless he tells them to. He says he was wrong about Bryan. He admits to having done a lot of dirty things to a lot of people. He says he is man enough to admit when he's wrong and he was wrong about Bryan.
He says he watches him run around chasing his "little girlyfriend, buying her diamonds" He asks how long Bryan can live this life. He asks how long "they" will watch his dirty feet soiling their red carpet. Wyatt tells him that together they can tear the place down. Wyatt tells Bryan to open his eyes.
A decent match, but it seemed to feel a bit predictable with how Lawler kept laying it on about how hopeless things were for Bryan. The follow-up promo was intriguing as to whether Bryan would feud with the Wyatts or join them. Not sure where it will go from here.
Bryan runs into Kane. He congratulates Bryan on his win. He says that they are no longer tag partners, but obviously Bryan and Punk are friends. Therefore, he should face the same challenge that Punk is. Kane books Bryan against all three Wyatts at TLC and mocks the "yes" chant as he walks off.
Again, this could be a good match. But why waste The Shield and The Wyatts, as well as Punk and Bryan, in these handicap matches?
Match #4 - R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. Tons of Funk (w/Cameron and Naomi)
As Truth and Woods come out the announcers feed it to a recap of Brodus getting upset with Xavier for using his entrance and the dancers last week. Clay has spikes on the back of his ring gear. I'm not making this up. Clay asks Truth if he wants to dance.
A bit later, Xavier gets his feet up on a corner charge. He comes out with the Honor Roll, then knocks Tensai off the apron. Clay comes back with a fallaway slam. He tries a splash off the ropes, but Xavier moves. Xavier uses a crucifix roll-up to get the win. Clay and Tensai momentarily stare at each other in a heated exchange as the faces smile.
The live crowd sat on their hands because they had no real reason to cheer for one team or another. I am hoping that this leads to a Clay turn and he ditches all the baggage of the "Tons of Funk" gimmick.
Cole shills the vote for the name of the title match for TLC, and King hypes up a six-man tag match featuring The Shield vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust and Big Show.
Coming out of commercial, Cole shills Slammy Award voting for the Double Cross of the Year.
Match #5 - Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio
Sin Cara comes out as Cole and King shill the sponsors for the TLC pay per view. Del Rio cuts a promo saying that Sin Cara represents the peasants of Mexico and he will beat him down and send him back to the other side of the border. Mood lighting falls as Cole says that AJ vs. Natalya for the Divas Championship has been made official for TLC.
The announcers talk about the food eating contest on Smackdown, complete with JBL's hat being used as a barf bag and Cole losing his suit to having the hat put on his head. They chatter on as Del Rio works his pace early on.
Sin Cara goes on a flurry, hitting a huracanrana and a springboard cross body. Late, Del Rio tries for his step-up enzugiri, but misses. Sin Cara follows it up with a swanton bomb to get the win. The announcers call it an upset.
Odd and unexpected move there. Maybe WWE saw preliminary buy rates for Survivor Series, and blamed Del Rio.
They recap some history between John Cena and Randy Orton to hype the contract signing. They show a video clip of Orton punt-kicking Cena's dad back in 2007. Cole says the feud got personal at that point as he shills the contract signing for later.
The announcers thank Korn for the title song for TLC.
Renee Young interviews John Cena. He says that back in the day, the World Heavyweight Championship meant walking the aisle (a Ric Flair reference) and it meant everything. He says up north the WWF title meant everything "brother" (a Hulk Hogan reference). He says that fans deserve to have one champion, and it would mean everything to him to be that champion.
It didn't overstay its welcome and Cena didn't get cute. Fans ate up his historical references to Hogan and Flair.
The Shield is in a darkened room. Ambrose says that Punk has no chance against him one on one. Rollins says Punk won't last five minutes with him, and Reigns says he will beat Punk's little ass if he gets near him. Ambrose asks "all three of us? Believe in the Shield."
Match #6 - Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Big Show vs. The Shield
The faces all get their entrances prior to the break. The announcers are sure to point out that Big Show has no concussion symptoms after last week's attack by Randy Orton and the match at Survivor Series. The Shield gets their entrance after commercial.
Big Show controls the early going of this one. He works his slow methodical offense on Ambrose, slapping him in the chest. He hits Rollins with an elbow drop then tosses him to the Shield's corner to get the tag to Reigns. There's a small buzz in the crowd as the two power men square off. Show controls him, and slaps him in the chest to a rousing cheer.
Reigns tries to fight back and rakes the eyes, then tags in Ambrose. Ambrose works a bit of quick offense and goes up top but Show greets him there and tosses him down. Show tags out to Goldust who continues the offense with a snap mare takedown.
They show CM Punk watching a backstage monitor. Cody gets a delayed front suplex then tags in Goldust. He works as the announcers talk about Rhodes and Goldust winning the title with the help of the Big Show. Cody ends up selling momentarily as he's in the wrong part of town.
Rhodes fights out, hitting a drop kick on Reigns and a moonsault on Ambrose. Rhodes teases Cross Rhodes, but Ambrose escapes to ringside. Cody goes after him, and ends up getting run into the ring post. He sells for the heels going into commercial.
Rhodes continues to sell as the Shield works tags quickly in and out. Reigns focuses his offense on the arm of Rhodes. The fans start to rally behind Cody and he begins to fight back. He tries the Disaster Kick but takes a shot from Reigns. He continues to sell for The Shield.
A bit later, Rhodes hits a springboard drop kick to create some space. He gets the hot tag to Big Show and he goes on a run. Ambrose pulls the top rope down though and Show tumbles out. Show ends up selling for the Shield for a bit, with Rollins hitting a knee off the top rope and Ambrose lands a series of strikes. Reigns gets the tag and keeps things moving.
Show hits a side suplex in order to catch a break. Ambrose tags out first to Reigns, but Show catches him off the ropes and hits a chokeslam then gets the hot tag to Goldust. Goldust goes on a flurry against Rollins, hitting an atomic drop and a series of punches in the corner. He snaps off a huracanrana and hits a spinebuster for a two.
Outside the ring a bit later, Show tries a chokeslam but Reigns spears him. Cody goes up top and hits a dive on Reigns and Ambrose on the floor. Goldust cues up a superplex on Ambrose onto Rollins, who is laid out on the mat. JBL says this is going to look like turn two in Daytona.
Goldust hits the superplex, but Rollins had rolled away. Rollins stacks Goldust up to get the win and the Shield escapes to the crowd.
It doesn't seem to matter who "#6" is in the six man equation - Rhodes and Goldust and The Shield have good chemistry and they have great matches. A good question next - who will Rhodes and Goldust defend the tag straps against, if anyone, at TLC?
The announcers tell us that Punk will address The Shield next.
Renee Young introduces CM Punk. She asks for his reaction to the handicap tag match. He says he loves it, he's happy, and he wonders what creative genius came up with this idea. He sings that he feels pretty, witty, and gay. He gets serious and then says that he doesn't feel that way. He says he knows he will be going down, but the question is how many of The Shield will he take down with him.
Fun singing from Punk, then the tone got serious as it should and had an impact.
Bad News Barrett:
Wade Barrett is at his podium again. He talks about Thanksgiving, describing what people ate for dinner that day. He says as a result, arteries are clogged, people sweat when they eat, and we're all constipated.
This gimmick is horrible. And I had brisket, just Mr. Barrett knows.
We get a backstage shot of Kofi and The Miz. Cole says they put aside their differences to face Ryback and Curtis Axel next. We also get another shill for the title match naming poll on the App.
Cole hypes Goldust and Ryback to face off on Main Event in a singles match.
Match #7 - Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Kofi Kingston and The Miz
Miz sells for the two former "Heyman Guys" in the early going. The announcers talk about the title unification match, then the story between Kofi and The Miz. Kofi gets the hot tag and goes on a bit of a run. Ryback charges for a clothesline but gets Miz instead and knocks him off the apron.
Kofi gets caught by Axel. Ryback sets up a fisherman's suplex, but turns it instead into Shellshocked to get the win. Afterward, Miz gets in the ring and helps Kofi up, then slaps him. Kofi asks if he's serious as Miz walks away.
No one cares that Miz and Kofi still don't get along.
Los Matadores and El Torito sell stuff for WWE Shop.com. It's as bad as you might expect. Use the "OLE" code for 25% off.
If they really want to convince us of a singular champion, maybe they need to introduce a solitary belt and hang it above the ring - circa 2004 that Rock carried and Cena retired for the spinner.
They recap the end of last week's show when Orton clocked Cena with the title belt, then Cole hypes up the contract signing yet to come.
Match #8 - Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Mark Henry
Summer Rae had a quick wardrobe change, and she and Fandango are dancing in the ring. Henry gets a decent reaction as he comes out. Cole says that Henry recently said he wants to change the landscape of WWE.
Henry powers Fandango down out of a collar and elbow tie up, then barks at Fandango and he falls backward to the corner. Henry hits him with a powerslam then a clothesline. Henry does some dancing and Summer Rae gets up on the apron in protest.
Fandango ducks a corner charge, then a bit later hits a drop kick at the leg to get Henry down. Fandango starts to take control, and gets a cross body off the ropes. Henry tries to catch him but loses his balance and it ends up in a near fall.
Fandango eats a couple clotheslines and the World's Strongest Slam though, and Henry wins. He taunts Summer Rae with some dance moves then bows to the crowd with a big grin on his face afterward.
The live crowd was kind of quiet for this, but they did react to Henry hitting the WSS and his playful dance antics with Summer Rae. The finish looked like an improv, because I think Henry was supposed to hit the WSS out of the cross body off the ropes.
The announcers recap the food eating contest between Titus and Great Khali. "JBL needed a new hat, I needed a new suit, and it was one of the most disgusting thing ever." They send it to a video of the Smackdown match with Titus and Cesaro, complete with Titus throwing up. Lovely.
There was a day when wrestling on Thanksgiving had nothing to do with barfing, turkey suits, or food fights. I miss those days.
We get some hype for CM Punk facing a member of The Shield for Smackdown.
If you're going to the Tulsa taping, send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Match #9 - Titus O'Neil and Darren Young (The PrimeTime Players) vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
The Players are doing their "millions of dollars" dance in the ring out of break. Colter cuts a promo asking what kind of man throws up on another man. He says O'Neil gives new meaning to PTP - the Prime Time Pukers. He invites those who don't like to be puked on to say "We the People" with them.
Titus sells for the heels for a bit. Cesaro does the leapfrog over Swagger onto O'Neil's guts.
Cesaro sets up for the big swing, but Zeb and Jack yell for him to not do it in light of the Smackdown episode. Cesaro looks to the fans, who want to see it anyhow. So, he gives the people what they want. Colter yells at him to stop it and he does. Titus looks ill, but stumbles over for the hot tag to Darren Young.
Young goes on an offensive flurry. He hits a clothesline on Cesaro. In the end, Young goes up top, but eats an uppercut. Cesaro picks up the win. Afterward, O'Neil sells still being a bit queasy.
For the love of all things holy, don't make this a part of O'Neil's gimmick.
They show Triple H and Stephanie walking toward the ring. The contract signing segment is up next.
We get a commercial for Total Divas, then a sell for voting for Match of the Year for next week's Slammys on the App. King reveals the results of the match title poll, and "the unified champion" wins by a narrow margin.
King of Kings rings out, and here comes Triple H and Stephanie. There are tables, ladders, and chairs set up all over the place. Cole points out that Cena and Orton will be able to use all these items in their match. He also notes that the Authority has guaranteed there will be one champion after TLC.
Triple H says that in two weeks they have scheduled one of the most monumental matches ever. Both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships will hang above the ring. Orton and Cena will battle it out in a TLC match, and there will be one champion. Stephanie reiterates that, then introduces the principals, Orton first, then Cena. Cena parades to the ring with his belt held up high to his standard mixed reaction.
Triple H says the two can sit, stand, or whatever. Stephanie notes "the man who thinks he's bigger than the WWE - got your message, thanks.." Triple H addresses Orton, running down the names who have held his title like Hogan, Backlund, Austin, and Rock. Triple H talks about Cena, with the various names that have held his title like Harley Race, Shawn Michaels, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair. Stephanie interjects after both that Triple H has held both titles.
Triple H says this match has been under consideration for a long time and was not done at any suggestion or on a whim. He says both have earned their place in history, but with the whole world watching they have a chance to cement their legacy forever.
Orton stands up, and Triple H slides the contract to Orton first. He looks up at Cena, then signs. Cena does likewise. Stephanie tells them they each have a chance to speak about the matchup, deferring to Orton first.
Orton says that greats have indeed held the title, but he is better than all of them including Triple H. But that's why Triple H chose him to be the face of WWE. He says they have something in common, along with the majority of the people and that's they don't like John Cena. Orton says he is the only one capable to beat Cena and shut him up. Orton says he will win at TLC and walk out with both titles.
Cena laughs. He addresses Orton, saying Orton acts as if Cena is new here and introduces himself as World Heavyweight Champion. Orton tells him to shut up and reminds Cena of kicking his dad in the head. Cena mocks Orton's statement about "turning dreams into nightmares" and says the only dream he has done that to is Triple H's. Cena asks if Orton got his "turn dreams to nightmares" line from a fortune cookie.
He recalls the Evolution days, saying that Triple H saw what everyone else saw in him. He says Orton never lived up to his potential, but that's not Triple H's fault. He tells Orton he is the most talented ever, but he got cocky and he got lazy.
Cena says that Triple H gave Orton Hall of Fame mentors to learn from but he let a kid wearing shots and a ball cap beat him. Cena says he is the first to show up and the last to leave. He says that if Orton thinks he deserves opportunities because of his lineage or talent he should crap in one hand and wish in the other and see which fills first. Cena says he has earned everything and he is not an apex predator. "I'm just John Cena."
Cena points out that Orton has two choices - leave the ring, or make a move. Cena warns him that if he chooses to make a move, the fans would be reminded of what a TLC match is, and he threatens to use tables, ladders, and chairs against Orton. "Are you gonna step up, or are you gonna step aside?" Cena asks.
Orton flips the table up, and the fight is on. Cena rams Orton with a ladder, but Orton comes back and throws Cena to the ring post. Orton rips the announce position table but gets greeted with a laddder from Cena again. Cena gets the chair and abuses Orton with it, then bops him with the mic and rams him face first to the steps.
As it goes back in the ring Orton runs a ladder into Cena then hits him with the chair a few times. Orton cleans out the ring a little as a "we want tables" chant goes up. Orton sets up a table as Cena struggles to his feet. Cena throws hands then throws Orton to a table in the corner.
Cena cues up the AA and delivers it through the table that Orton set up in the ring. Cena gets both belts and stands over the fallen Orton. JBL says they will be fighting over the generations. Cole asks who will emerge as Cena holds the belts and waves his hand in front of his face. That's your show.
This was a good segment to give the TLC main event some hype. They went out of their way to say there will be one winner, which was important for me as a viewer. With all of the swervy finishes we've had of late, I lost a lot of faith in how title matches are decided. They could still pull a fast one, but that'd be pretty ballsy.
The good news is that the TLC main event, and this Raw, feel more important than they have in weeks. We got a lot of newsworthy moments with all the match bookings for TLC in two weeks. Definitely a better effort than has been the norm of late.
TLC already feels much more important than Survivor Series ever did. Yes, the throwaway December event feels more important than one of the big four events. But that's how WWE seems to have booked it on the run. Still not a huge fan of the Wyatts facing Bryan and The Shield facing Punk, but those matches should be good from a workrate standpoint.
I'll have more to say on this show sometime tomorrow evening in Raw Afterthoughts. Thanks for watching along tonight, and as always, join in the conversation on Twitter also!