Tonight, it's the Slammy Awards. WWE hands out their "best of the year" awards to various superstars for their outstanding, and sometimes dubious, accomplishments. In all of this, it's also the go-home show for the TLC pay per view in six days.
John Cena got the better of Randy Orton last week, putting him through a table after they signed the contract for their match to determine who the "unified champion" is. Who gets the leg up tonight? Or will the Authority keep these two men apart and let it be decided in the ring on Sunday at TLC?
Show Open, Live from Key Arena, Seattle, WA
They open with the hype package for the Slammy Awards, celebrating the wildest moments and superstars of the year. They run through a list of superstars and special appearances by the New Age Outlaws, Eve Torres, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart. Michael Cole welcomes us live in the arena to the show as JBL checks in with him. Cole lets us know King and Booker T will be hosting the Slammys. Cole gives us an app download tutorial.
Daniel Bryan's music hits and he comes out to a thunderous ovation. Cole puts over that he's the hometown kid. He will be facing off against Fandango, as Summer Rae dances out to the stage with him.
Match #1 - Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Daniel Bryan
Cole hypes up the Slammy Awards that were given out earlier in the day and says Summer Rae is excited that her and Fandango were up for several of the awards. Cole talks about how Bryan will have his hands full facing the Wyatt Family in a three on one match at TLC on Sunday. Fandango gets a couple quick two counts in the early going.
Bryan takes charge, sending Fandango to the floor. He hits Fandango with a suicide dive, then a drop kick against the security barrier. Bryan throws Fandango in, then tries a missile drop kick on Fandango, but Fandango counters with a powerbomb into a near fall going into commercial.
Bryan goes on a flurry of kicks and the live crowd goes nuts for him. Fandango slams him though, and tries the top rope leg drop. Bryan rolls out of the way and Fandango crashes. Bryan goes up and hits the top rope headbutt. He follows it up with the running knee to get the win. The Seattle fans go crazy, but the Wyatts cut in with their odd break.
The Wyatts appear on the screen, and Bray addresses Bryan. He tells Bryan that he will hurt him, and not "roll him down a hill in a field of dandelions." He tells Bryan that he will prove Bryan is a monster. He says that in that moment of serenity, he will take his pain away. "Join us." Bray says. Bryan leads "NO!" chants as Wyatt disappears.
Great high energy opening match. Fandango had some good moments in there, and Bryan is super over with the home state fans. They need to build Fandango up some more though and get beyond the dance gimmick.
Cole points out that he and JBL are in tuxes and JBL hypes up that the Slammys are in the hands of the fans tonight. They send it to the hosts, Booker T and Jerry Lawler at the stage. They get a nice reaction. Jerry says a lot of superstars are in the back on pins and needles waiting to see who wins. Booker T says the fans' voice will be heard tonight.
Booker asks King if he has laughed out loud on Raw. Booker introduces the presenters for the LOL Moment of the Year, the New Age Outlaws. They come out to a nice reaction in brightly colored tuxes a.k.a Daniels and Kazarian's "Dumb and Dumber" act.
Road Dogg does his NAO schtick as the fans chant for one more match. He pauses and acknowledges it by saying that's three words. They feed it to the nominees for the LOL Moment of the Year:
Vickie getting fired by Vince and Triple H; The Rock singing a parody of Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" to Vickie; Titus O'Neil throwing up on Smackdown; 3MB charming the Cobra
Match #2 - Santino Marella vs. Damien Sandow
Before the break, Marella comes to the ring. Sandow gets no televised entrance. Just before the two tie up, they introduce the winner of the "LOL Moment of the Year"
Winner - The Rock singing to Vickie in the Rock Concert
Big E. Langston is on commentary as Sandow attacks Marella. Langston says he has been undefeated since he won the title and he will continue to be. Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain as JBL says that there's some gamesmanship going on.
Marella starts a flurry, hitting a hip toss then loading the Cobra. Sandow ducks it, and comes back with the "You're Welcome" slam for the win. Langston gets in the ring afterward with the title and holds it up in front of Sandow. They jaw, but Sandow walks away.
Simple match for Sandow to get some heat, and they got some TLC hype in there as well.
Double Cross of the Year
The Shield comes to the stage in suits. Different look for these guys. Ambrose says they will never appear on this list and Rollins says that 2013 was the year of the Shield and they handled their business man to man, straight up. Reigns says that if one wants to cross, or double cross, the Shield, they better wake up. The nominees:
Mark Henry "fake" retirement; Triple H hitting the pedigree on Bryan, setting up Orton's cash-in; Shawn Michaels hitting Sweet Chin Music on Bryan at Hell in a Cell; Paul Heyman turning on CM Punk at Money in the Bank
After commercial, The Shield announces the double cross of the year going to Shawn Michaels. Michaels gets a decent reaction. He says he has been fortunate to win a lot of Slammys but never the double cross award. He says he has double crossed a lot of people to win this one after he retires. He calls it an injustice and thanks the fans, saying he has enjoyed it.
Match #3- Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
Kofi goes right to work and fires off some kicks and a corner clothesline. Kofi catches one of Miz's kicks and hits him with a spinning kick then another big boot to get a near fall. Kofi is on fire. Miz has had enough and goes to leave, but Kofi goes out and tracks him down.
Kofi throws Miz in the ring. Miz rolls Kofi up to get the win, but afterward, he takes Trouble in Paradise from Kofi and is left laying. JBL says that he likes this Kofi.
Diva of the Year:
Eve Torres comes out, wearing a different hairstyle and getting almost no reaction. She runs through the "Diva of the Year" contenders.
Rey Mysterio gets his entrance for an eight man tag match. Someone handed him a Seahawks jersey with his name on it and he holds it up in the ring. After break, the Real Americans' music is playing as they have made their entrance.
Cole hypes a "Championship Ascension Ceremony" for later in the show. He says it will be the last time we see both titles in the same ring.
This is something worth hyping a whole lot harder than this felt. Is this a hint that there will only be one belt after Sunday?
After break, Eve announces the winner of the Diva of the Year and it's The Bella Twins. They get a mild chorus of boos as they give a short and clumsy acceptance speech.
Match #4 - Ryback, Curtis Axel, and The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Show and Ryback square off in the ring and the show goes to break. After commercial, Rey sells, then gets a tag to Goldust who works with Swagger. He hits his trademark uppercut then some corner punches. Cesaro gets involved and sends him crashing to the floor. Goldust ends up selling for the heel team.
The fans start to rally Goldust a little, and he hits a backslide then a power slam. Swagger tags in, and he and Cesaro stop Goldust from getting to the corner but he hits double DDT on the pair. Rhodes gets the hot tag and goes on offense with Axel. He hits a nice missile drop kick for a near fall.
Rhodes hits a moonsault for a near fall. Show hits a spear on Ryback, then takes out the Real Americans at ringside. Rhodes hits Axel with the Disaster Kick, then Rey Mysterio sets him up in the 619. Phone call accepted. Mysterio drops the dime and gets the win. The faces celebrate.
I would have figured they would give the win to Ryback and Axel somehow to build a tag match at the pay per view. I suppose they could still go there, but a win would have made it feel more meaningful.
Cole gives us another tutorial to download the app, then feeds it to King and Booker for the next award. They talk about the Superstar of the Year award and introduce Shawn Michaels as the presenter.
He asks if he said he won a Slammy earlier. He talks about the Superstar of the Year Slammy. He says it goes to the man who dazzles and entertains, giving nothing short of an "A plus" performance. That draws a "Yes!" chant. He says that maybe it should be renamed the HB-Shizzle going forward. He runs down the nominees:
Brock Lesnar ; CM Punk; Big Show; Daniel Bryan; Randy Orton, and John Cena
Sin Cara makes his entrance. The announcers talk about his win over Alberto Del Rio last week and mention he will face Del Rio again in this match.
After commercial, they announce the Superstar of the Year. It's Daniel Bryan, and he gets a huge reaction from his home state fans again. JBL calls it an upset. Michaels hands it over reluctantly and exits while Bryan stares him down. Bryan thanks Michaels for the HB-Shizzle and says he wouldn't be in WWE without Shawn, but admits he would be WWE Champion had it NOT been for Michaels. He isn't angry about it because the people have voted him he Superstar of the Year. He promises 2014 will be better and says "Go Seahawks."
Match #5 - Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio
As Del Rio comes out they do a picture in picture interview where Del Rio talks in Spanish. Sin Cara starts off aggressively on Del Rio and hits a cross body followed by some right hands. Del Rio can't get out of the blocks as he gets greeted by a drop kick through the ropes. Del Rio finally gets an ensugiri but Sin Cara gets some offense back and goes up top. Del Rio rolls out for a break as the show goes to commercial.
Del Rio is in control out of break. They show how Del Rio took control with a stomp during the break. Sin Cara comes back with a drop kick off the second rope for a near fall. The back and forth action rolls on.
Late, Sin Cara goes up top but Del Rio meets him on the ropes. Sin Cara hits a huracanrana then follows it up with a swanton bomb to get another win. The announcers put it over as a big deal as Sin Cara poses on the ropes.
Doesn't matter who is under the mask, it's hard for Sin Cara to feel like a big deal after having lost so much. And without a title, Del Rio has zero steam.
The Prime Time Players are up next for the Fan Participation Award. They talk about their fashion statement first. Titus runs down the various fan participation chants, like "what's up", Fandangoing, and the "Yes!" chant. They briefly do their own "millions of dollars" chant before running down the nominees. They didn't get much reaction.
Coming out of break, the announce team tells us that Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango will be the TLC pre-show match. They also put over the panel of Mick Foley, Booker T and The Miz.
Back to the PTP, they announce the fan participation of the year. It's the "Yes!" chant. Bryan says he's at a loss so there's only one thing to say. He leads a "yes!" chant.
Cole highlights a tweet from The Rock and thanks him for watching along. He puts over the Ascension Ceremony for later. Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls make their entrance and they'll be in action next.
Match #6 - Xavier Woods (w/R-Truth) vs. Brodus Clay (w/Tensai and the Funkadactyls)
Woods starts off fast as the announcers talk about Woods using Clay's music and the dancers a couple weeks ago. This is over quickly as Brodus hits a second rope splash for the win. Afterward, Clay continues the assault until Tensai and Truth break it up. As Clay walks away he says he is the main event player.
The Miz comes out to the stage to give the 'Insult of the Year' award. He asks what a skipping psychopath, a billion dollar princess, a walrus, and all have in common. When they come to insults, they're all awesome. He feeds it to the insult nominees:
Stephanie McMahon, Zeb Colter, Paul Heyman, and AJ.
Match #7 - CM Punk vs. Dean Ambrose (The Shield, w/Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins)
Punk gets his entrance before the break, to a rousing ovation from the Seattle fans. Before the match starts, we get the "Insult of the Year" winner. It's Stephanie McMahon, which gets a small chorus of boos as she comes out. She says what some consider an insult she considers a compliment and says the fans have all realized what is best for business. JBL gushes over the speech.
Ambrose is giving orders to the other members of the Shield, saying he has it. Punk works the arm to start, snapping it and running him shoulder first to the corner. After a shoulder tackle by Ambrose, Punk goes back to working the arm. As the announcers discuss the circumstances around the Authority setting this match up, Punk continues to work Ambrose's arm.
Punk tries a cross body but Ambrose counters into a gutbuster. He focuses his offense on Punk's midsection for the next several minutes. He whips Punk to the corner then tries a charge, but Punk moves and Ambrose takes the ring post. Punk tries the GTS but Ambrose escapes to ringside. Punk hits a suicide dive. Rollins and Reigns close ranks but don't intervene.
After break, Ambrose uses a sleeper with a leg scissor. Punk counters with a side suplex, then the two men exchange strikes. Punk tries a leg lariat but Ambrose hangs on to the ropes and Punk gets nothing but air. Ambrose taunts and hits some shots to the midsection but takes a neckbreaker.
Another strike exchange, and this time Punk hits the leg lariat followed by some sledges. He follows with a running knee and a clothesline. Punk goes up top for the Macho Elbow and hits it, but Punk sells the ribs while getting a near fall. Ambrose hits a double underhook suplex for a near fall of his own.
Ambrose sets up a superplex, but Punk counters. He hits a cross body that Ambrose rolls through for a near fall. Punk hits a roundhouse kick for a near fall of his own. Punk tries to load the GTS again but Ambrose counters and ends up outside the ring where Rollins and Reigns are. Ambrose slides out of the ring and talks to both of them and tells them he has it.
Rollins and Reigns leave. Ambrose gets rolled up for a near fall. Punk tries to load the GTS but Ambrose counters. He tries for his finish, but Punk counters out and hits the GTS. Afterward, Rollins and Reigns come back to the ring. Punk kicks at Rollins, but turns around into a spear from Reigns. They help Ambrose from the ring and exit through the crowd. Punk sells the ribs.
A lot happened there. They gave Punk the out with his ribs (as if he needed it facing three men) and they also teased the dissention in the Shield again. I think it's far too soon to break the group up, but they could also be using it to set up Bryan winning his match instead of Punk winning here. Or it could be the set up to Punk winning. It's decent storytelling.
The announcers talk about the Ascension Ceremony and feed it to a video package highlighting various past champions through history, featuring various clips of title changes and promos. The clip ends asking "who will end up the champion of champions."
Cole sends it back to King and Lawler for the Extreme Moment of the Year. King makes a funny of his own heart attack story. Booker T introduces Mick Foley to present the Extreme Moment of the Year. He gets a rousing ovation and a "Foley" chant. He says the match between Punk and Ambrose shows that one must give their all to the fans, especially all those in Seattle.
Foley says that these moments are like careers for superstars, and he lists a variety of moments, including his own fall from Hell in a Cell. He says the bar has been raised higher this year and feeds it into the nominee video package.
The Usos make their entrance for the next match against the Wyatts. We get that, and the Extreme Moment of the Year award next.
Bray Wyatt is seated in his chair and watching the ring. Cole feeds it back to Mick Foley to announce the winner and it's Punk getting revenge on Paul Heyman. He comes out selling the ribs still. He says he feels strange accepting an award not wearing pants, and appreciates the votes. He thanks the fans for the Slammy, thanks Paul Heyman, and tells the fans if they thought that was extreme, they need to tune in to the pay per view to see what he does to the Shield.
Match #7 - Erick Rowan and Luke Harper (The Wyatt Family, w/Bray Wyatt) vs. The Usos
The Usos start off fast, throwing shots at Rowan. They hit a simultaneous dive on both members of the Wyatts as the show goes to commercial. The Usos go on a run, but Harper cuts that off by dropping him across the top rope.
Later, Harper ties up one of the Usos in the ropes and slaps him and taunts. Uso hits a big superkick and goes up for a splash and hits it. He gets a near fall when Rowan breaks things up. The other Uso is on the apron and Rowan charges, but he avoids. Rowan lands on the floor and throws the Uso to the announce table. In the ring, Harper hits a wicked clothesline to get the win.
King and Booker talk about the Match of the Year Slammy. Booker introduces Bret Hart to the podium to present the award. He gets a good ovation from the live crowd. Hart says there are thousands of matches every year, and the hardest achievement is to have the best match of the night every night. He says a great match can change WWE history. He says he has held many honors but match of the year was the one he cherished most. He feeds it to the four nominees in a video package.
Rock vs. Cena at Wrestlemania; Taker vs. Punk at Wrestlemania; Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules; Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield
Natalya makes her entrance. She hugs Bret then heads to the ring for the next match.
Out of break they hype the Divas championship match between AJ and Natalya. Natalya will face Tamina next, but it's time for Match of the Year announcement. The award goes to Rock vs. Cena. Cena comes out to accept. He says he knows why it's the home of the 12th man because he can't hear himself think. He puts over the match and says Rock is one of the greatest opponents. He acknowledges those that disagree but thanks the fans for voting for it and says it's a match and a memory he won't forget.
Match #8 - Natalya vs. Tamina (w/AJ)
Tamina starts off fast with some power shots while JBL talks about the Ascension Ceremony and says it might blow up. Tamina controls the offense. AJ smiles as Tamina tries a charge, but Natalya moves.
AJ gets up on the apron and tries to get involved, but when Tamina picks up Natalya for a slam, AJ gets knocked off the apron. Natalya uses the opportunity to lock Tamina in the Sharpshooter for the win.
A few moments filled. Nothing much here.
JBL and Cole talk about how we're about to see the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship for the last time as separate titles. Triple H's "King of Kings" theme hits and he and Stephanie walk to the ring. The Ascension Ceremony is next.
Twenty of the former champions who have held the belts have assembled in the ring. Stephanie puts them over, then says among them "the 13-time champion, the King of Kings, my husband Triple H."
The Seattle faithful get a really strong Daniel Bryan chant going, then Mark Henry raises his hand and motions for them to quiet. They respond by starting a "YES!" chant and a thunderous ovation. This makes Triple H stop dead in his tracks, but when it dies down he says "that's a lot of family for one building, Daniel...I should have known, as many of them look like you."
Triple H turns his attention to the match. He says that two great champions will enter on Sunday in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. He says that two champions will enter, but only one champion will walk out. He will be the champion of champions and cement himself as a legend.
Triple H introduces Randy Orton first. Cole and JBL talk about Orton's accomplishments as he walks to the ring. Cole reminds us that Orton was the youngest world champion in history as a part of Evolution.
Stephanie introduces John Cena, who comes out holding the belt high. He gets his standard mixed reaction from the live crowd. He holds up the title in the ring. Triple H asks them to hand over their belts, and this will be the last time one will be a champion. Cena respectfully hands over his title belt, then Orton does likewise. Triple H hooks them to the suspended hook among them.
Orton cuts a promo. He says that when Cena made a name for himself he had ruthless aggression, but he doesn't have it anymore. He goes on to talk about Cena having gotten lazy, which gets greeted with "boring" chants. Orton speaks up and says that when you're better than your peers, you get complacent. Orton says Cena claims he doesn't care about being the face of WWE, but he's lying. He says that image is everything to Cena.
Orton brags about having taken years off of Mick Foley's life, embarrassing Shawn Michaels, and even claims there would never have been a Montreal Screwjob if Orton competed against Bret Hart back then. He claims he would have left Bret unconscious. Orton tells Cena that everything he fought for will come crashing down around him on Sunday.
Cena starts to respond but he gets booed. He says he mentioned the word "work" in Orton's promo. He walks over to Daniel Bryan and leads him to mid ring. The fans roar and Cena asks Bryan a battery of questions. Asks his name, where he's from, and whether or not his parents were in WWE at all. The crowd roars at every answer.
Cena asks Bryan if his parents were in WWE or were a hall of famer. He answers that his dad is actually a log scaler. Cena asks Bryan if he has had to work for everything he has and Bryan answers yes, which draws more "yes!" chants. Cena says the reason the fans cheer Bryan is that he works hard and earns it, while Orton has been handed everything in WWE.
Cena calls Orton "untouchable" since he arrived in WWE because "they" liked him. He says Orton hides behind Triple H and Stephanie and claims he's better than everyone. Cena says that Orton likes to point fingers and blame others for his own failures. Cena even mentions Orton's behavioral issues in and out of the ring.
Cena says that if Orton wins on Sunday, he can finally say he is what he was supposed to be ten years ago. That draws an "ooh" from the live crowd. He says whether the people in the ring like him or not they respect him. He takes credit for giving Dolph Ziggler a fight, and says that when people thought CM Punk would leave with the title Cena simply saw the best in the world. He says the only legitimate title shot Daniel Bryan got was against him and Bryan won.
Cena walks over to Bryan and addresses him, saying that if he wins on Sunday, he looks forward to a fair rematch with Bryan and shakes his hand. He turns to Orton and says that Sunday will be physical and brutal, and he will be at his best. "I just hope you will be too, because after this Sunday, the last thing anyone is going to want to deal with is more Randy Orton excuses."
Cena wishes Orton luck on Sunday and tells him he will need it. Cena extends his hand for a handshake, and after a tense moment they do. The title belts are raised, then Orton takes a cheap shot at Cena. They are quickly separated. Punk ends up getting shoved and he takes a few shots at Orton. Triple H pulls him away and throws him to the mat.
Punk stands up and glares, and grabs Triple H and throws a couple shots at him. HBK hits Punk with Sweet Chin Music. Daniel Bryan cues up and hits the running knee on Michaels.
Orton teases the RKO on Bryan, but he shoves Orton away into Stephanie. She sells it like she got shot. Triple H runs over to check on Stephanie. He then stands up and hits Orton with the Pedigree.
Cena helps Triple H and Kane get Stephanie to her feet. The fans chant for Daniel Bryan. Orton backs over toward a corner as Triple H, Stephanie, and Kane look down at him. Cena is standing next to them as well. The announcers give us one final sell for TLC to sign off.
That was strong. I think they ended up selling a few pay per views on this one. They really did a good job of putting focus on Cena vs. Orton, then they made it look like Orton isn't in the Authority's good graces anymore. It also begs the question as to where Cena's character is going from here. Is he in the good graces of the Authority, thereby making him...a...heel?
The Slammys were what they were. The segments weren't painful, and they kept my interest for the most part. It did drag out quite a bit though and made the show feel pretty long. Most of the results were fairly predictable and could set up some long term stories if they wanted to go there.
I'll have more to say on this show tomorrow night in Raw Afterthoughts. Thanks for following along tonight, and as always, join in the conversation on Twitter also.