Raw rolls into Chicago tonight as the Road to Hell in a Cell gets underway. Be sure to catch up with live stream coverage here on Ring-Rap.com starting at 8PM EST and with the live Twitter conversation ongoing on @RingRap throughout the show. Going to the show live? Let us know your thoughts about the event and crowd reaction either through Twitter or on our Facebook page (facebook.com/RingRap) as well.
Show Open, Live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL
The show opens with a recap of last week’s Raw, where John Cena and Dean Ambrose spent their night brawling with the Authority. It nearly ended in disaster for Cena when Rollins and Kane attacked him during the main event with Randy Orton, but Ambrose was waiting and they brawled some more. They recapped then Smackdown, where Ambrose got away with the Money in the Bank Briefcase.
Triple H and Stephanie are welcomed to the ring to Hunter’s “King of Kings” music. They have their own TitanTron now. Cole welcomes us to the show and says rumors have been running rampant about the situation about Cena, Ambrose, Rollins, and Ambrose absconding with the MITB case. He hypes WWE’s partnership with the Komen Foundation in October again.
Stephanie thanks Chicago for the welcome and here come the CM Punk chants already. She asks why Chicago cheers for quitters and says they can relate because they’re quitters too and would rather quit than fail. She says people take the easy way out and either quit or steal. She transitions to Ambrose taking the MITB briefcase from Rollins. She says that the contract still belongs to Rollins.
Triple H says that the briefcase is a symbol of this business, and he will not let anyone…”and I mean anyone…” disrespect the business. From backstage we get a “Ladies and gentlemen…” and out comes Paul Heyman. He apologizes for the interruption and reminds us he is the advocate for the “reigning, defending, WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar.”
He says Lesnar feels disrespected, not only because Cena came within an eyelash of beating him at Night of Champions, and being jumped by Seth Rollins, curb stomped, and nearly cashed in the contract. He says Lesnar directed him to come to Chicago to find out if “he has a problem with Seth Rollins he needs to deal with, or if he has a problem…”
Stephanie cuts him off and tells Heyman to choose his words carefully, “because if you’re threatening us..”. She gets interrupted by Rollins’ entrance music and he comes to the ring in a suit to a fairly quiet reaction (on my TV). JBL and Cole debate how he looks naked without the case. Rollins says no one told him to try and cash in his briefcase, because he acted alone. He also says the curb stomp was of his volition and he acted alone. He says that he thought Heyman would appreciate the situation and that he was trying to build his career by taking advantage of opportunity. “And besides, I think I speak for everyone when I say that no one wanted to see John Cena win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.” That draws a cheer.
Rollins says he wanted to beat the best, by beating Brock Lesnar. CM Punk chants again. Rollins says Lesnar should be flattered that he acted as he did, but if Lesnar is insulted, Rollins is sorry. Heyman admits that it took a lot of hutzpah to do what Rollins did, but if Rollins tries it again, he will be dealing with Lesnar. He goes to exit, but Triple H stops him. Hunter gets in close and says “I enjoyed our conversation, have a nice night.”
Rollins says he appreciates the Authority for chastising Ambrose on his behalf. He says that Ambrose isn’t normal and is probably laughing about this. He says this isn’t funny and there are personal items in the briefcase that need returned to him immediately. He says if Ambrose doesn’t come out now, stomping Ambrose’s head through blocks will look like nothing compared to what will happen.
“SEEETTHHHH!” calls out. Ambrose is on the tron and asks if Rollins is looking for “this,” holding up the briefcase. Ambrose says he has to sew his eyes shut every time he sees the Authority because they make him sick. Ambrose tells Rollins that if he wants the case, he just has to come and get it.
Rollins and the Authority head up the ramp, but Cena’s music hits. John Cena charges and takes Rollins down. He throws him to the ring, but Rollins rolls out and disappears into the crowd. He makes his way to the stage again and he, Hunter and Steph mock Cena’s “you can’t see me” wave. Cena poses in the ring as we go to break.
This wasn’t bad. Some of this should have happened on last week’s show though? It got the right players involved and set up the issues with Cena, Rollins, Lesnar and Ambrose. Then you have Stephanie saying that the case doesn’t matter, and we’ve watched Ambrose pour soda and popcorn in it. Hunter adds that it disrespects the business didn’t help either. They did an okay job of diffusing the Punk chants, but I’m not saying this will end the run.
Out of break, they recap the opening. Backstage, the Authority is talking amongst themselves. Triple H and Stephanie tell Rollins he isn’t going anywhere. Hunter tells agents (Jamie Noble being one of them – not sure who the other is) to go get the briefcase back in one piece. He doesn’t care how many pieces Ambrose comes back in. Noble asks for sledgehammers but Hunter tells him he doesn’t care how it gets done.
Match #1 – Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) vs. Cesaro; WWE Intercontinental Championship
As the three men come out we get a recap as to how this match got set up. Early on, Miz and Cesaro team up on Ziggler but that alliance breaks down quickly. Miz throws Cesaro into Ziggler but takes a gutwrench. Cesaro teases a swing on Ziggler but Miz gets involved and Ziggler gets slingshot into the corner. A bit later, Cesaro hits a backbreaker then presses Miz over his head. Ziggler hits a drop kick on him going to break.
Back live, Miz tries to roll up Cesaro but Dolph does instead. Miz rolls Dolph up, then Cesaro rolls Ziggler up. Dolph hits a double DDT on his opponents then goes on a run. He splashes both opponents, then hits double neckbreakers for a two count. Cesaro rolls outside.
In a unique spot. Cesaro tries a sunset flip over the ropes, but gets caught by Ziggler. He slingshots Cesaro’s head into Miz’s nether regions. He hooks on the Figure Four on Miz mid ring, but Cesaro breaks it up with a double stomp. Cesaro gets a near fall out of it. Miz hits Cesaro with a running corner clothesline then tries a top rope move but Cesaro hits him with an uppercut.
Ziggler re-enters after Cesaro takes out Sandow to hit Cesaro with a superkick. Ziggler covers for the win as his opponents sell. Ziggler celebrates with the fans.
This match was under ten minutes, so why the break? Hurt the flow. Otherwise, it was a good match.
Backstage, the agents are looking for Ambrose and asking talents about him. They eye up Khali and ask if he’s seen Ambrose. Khali says he can’t hear Noble because he’s short. They head off to look for him.
I see Patterson and Brisco all over again here with Noble and Mercury. The Stooges (Brisco and Patterson) were good in their time, but come on, WWE, let’s be innovative instead.
Back live, Cole talks about the partnering with the Susan G. Komen foundation to help raise funds for research for breast cancer.
Both my trucks wear pink bandanas from their mirrors, bought from a small charity in Indianapolis, in support of the cause. While I have my corporate misgivings about the Komen group, I certainly applaud WWE for the charitable effort for a cause that takes lives every year – including my mother’s life some 30 years ago.
We get a Wyatt cut in. Wyatt cuts a surreal promo about taking a man who had nothing and giving him something. Luke Harper says “you’re doomed.”
I missed part of this, but it does have me wondering what is next for Wyatt and Harper.
Backstage, the agents say they have been all over the arena and can’t find him. Stephanie asks Noble if he has mustard on his face, and says that they need to go look for Ambrose again or they’ll be fired. In walks The Miz and Damien Sandow. Miz says “tell him” and Sandow complains as if he’s Miz, saying he should not have been stuck in a triple threat and he wants a one on one match.
Triple H laughs and says that is what they’re there for – to make him laugh. He books Sandow in a match with Sheamus, then turns to Miz and tells him that if he threatens Hunter again, he will send Miz’s “straight to DVD Career” right to the unemployment line.
Wow – here we go with the “talk down” stuff again. That just sucked eggs.
We get a recap of the issues between Tyson Kidd and Natalya on Total Divas last night. In the ring, it’s Rosa Mendes vs. Layla, who has Summer Rae at ringside. Kidd is with Natalya, who is with Rosa. Kidd’s on his phone and not paying attention.
Match #2 – Rosa Mendes (w/Tyson Kidd and Natalya) vs. Layla (w/Summer Rae)
Layla controls the early going, and Kidd has headphones on as the fans chant “Nattie’s husband” at him. The story going on is between the disgruntled husband and wife. Layla pulls out Rosa’s hair extensions and dumps her to ringside. Kidd is oblivious as Natty attacks Summer Rae.
Rosa goes after Layla but gets tossed into the ropes. Layla hits the Lay-Out and wins. Natalya takes Tyson’s phone and leaves.
All about the Total Divas story, Chicago didn’t care one iota about any of it.
Backstage, Ambrose is walking with his bag and the briefcase. King asks if we’ll see him next.
In Ring Segment:
Here comes Dean Ambrose – or at least his music. He makes his way to the ring via the floor as Cole talks about Amrbose pirating the MITB case. Ambrose throws his bag and a table into the ring.
He tells those looking for him that he was at the concession stand and he waved at them. He says maybe they were eating hotdogs or something. He says he doesn’t like how the Authority runs their concessions so it’s time for a clearance sale. He says everything must go, except the MITB briefcase. He says that he and the briefcase got close. He talks about the personal items and says he never knew that side of Seth.
He says the briefcase isn’t going anywhere. He starts offering items for a dollar. Here comes Noble and Mercury and Ambrose says “uh oh, they sent the crusierweight division out for me.” They want the case, but Ambrose won’t give it to him. He tells them if they want it, that’s fine, “come in here and get it.”
Noble and Mercury back away. Ambrose says he forgot what he was charging for the shirts so he starts giving them away. JBL rants about this as Ambrose hands them out. Here comes Seth Rollins, along with Mercury and Noble and a fleet of security. They all go to the ring first, with Rollins slowly walking behind. Ambrose admits he’s busted, then says “are you real security, because I could have sworn you were Rosebuds last week.”
Ambrose says “I don’t want any problems – you want your case, take it.” He rolls out, leaving the case on the table. Rollins gets in the ring while Ambrose makes his way through the crowd. Rollins slowly opens the case, only to take a green mist to the face. “Who is in there, Kabuki?” Rollins is pissed while Ambrose says “I had nothing to do with that, I’m sorry.” Rollins rants in the ring about looking like a jerk while Ambrose looks on. As Rollins exits we get a recap.
I guess this is the modern-day Austin routine now. This all feels like “Austin vs. McMahon” again and very retread. This show isn’t horrible, and Ambrose has a cool factor that works pretty well, but we can see this angle on WWE Network.
After some ranting from JBL, Cole hypes Big Show addressing knocking out Rusev and Hulk Hogan making an appearance.
Backstage, Rollins rants about being blinded while Orton and Kane laugh. Hunter tells him to go get his eyes washed out in the trainer’s room. Hunter turns to Orton and Kane, who are still chuckling, and asks where Ambrose is. Kane says he’s heading for Cena’s locker room. Hunter books a match with Orton and Kane vs. Cena and Ambrose. Orton objects to doing Rollins’ work again. Hunter says “don’t you two want revenge for last week?”
There’s a buzzing sound. They all look at their phones, but none of their phones are going off. Steph turns to the briefcase, where the noise is coming from, and says “it’s not mine.”. Rollins re-enters, grabs the case, and says “it’s an electric razor!” and leaves.
Unstated vibrator joke drew some laughs from the live crowd.
Mark Henry’s music hits. He comes out to the ring as they recap the recent matches between Henry and Rusev, with him losing twice in a row. Henry says he wants to apologize to the fans. Before he can continue, Bo Dallas’ music hits. He tells Henry that he should apologize to himself instead. He says it’s time to close the Hall of Pain and Henry should join the Hall of the Bo-Lievers.
Match #3 – Bo Dallas vs. Mark Henry:
Henry controls the early going and throws Dallas all over the place. He sets Dallas up for a corner splash, but Dallas moves. Dallas hits the Bo-Dog to get the win.
I just can’t see this leading to something bigger for Dallas. Henry will probably get this win back sooner than later. The story here is that Henry is in a funk after losing to Rusev, but how this translates to Dallas is not clear.
Theory of a Deadman provides “Panic Room” for the Hell in a Cell theme.
Backstage, Renee Young catches up with Dallas and asks how he feels about the biggest win of his career to date. He says that he’s been saying it for months that all you have to do is Bo-Lieve. Henry approaches and roughs him up around the area. Henry gets in his face and says “that’s what I do.”
At the announce position, they shill the WWE Network and all the content available. They move in to talking about Goldust and Stardust taking the WWE Tag Team Championshp at Night of Champions.
Stardust cuts a promo and says it was written in the stars and their destiny was written before them. Goldust says they have obtained the cosmic key and it determines their fate. All this, is just science fiction. They break the globes and Stardust says “this, is science fact.”
Match #4 – Brie Bella vs. Cameron and Eva Marie
Brie’s music is awful. She gets a polite ovation though as we go to break. Back live, Nikki comes out and says “well, well, well, it’s the quitter getting ready for a match in the place she quit.” She says that Brie quit for the attention of the people “that are uglier trolls than your husband.” She talks about being put in handicap matches by the Authority to punish her. “Per the Authority who was nice enough to let me make this announcement, you will have a handicap match of your own.”
Poke my eyes out with a spork. Please.
Brie takes Eva down with an armdrag and uses an armbar as to control her early. Brie kicks Cameron off the apron but Eva tosses her down by her hair. Chicago goes into business for themselves at this point because they just don’t care. In the end, Cameron gets tossed into Eva, and Brie rolls up Cameron for the win. Nikki steams as Brie leads “yes” chants.
Poke my eyes out with a spork, please. I guess it works in terms of Brie getting the better of circumstances that Nikki whined about. There are rumors – emphasis on rumor – that they want Brie vs. Nikki to be the first women’s Hell in a Cell match. That will be the worst decision in WWE history. I realize the Cell means little nowadays, but still…
Match #5 – Slator Gator (w/Mini Gator) vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito)
Adam Rose and his Rosebuds are on commentary. Titus hugs Jesse Jackson before the match. The finish on this one sees Slater tripping one of the Matadores to get the win.
After the match, the mini gator does a gator roll on El Torito. Those two end up out of the ring, and Rose has had enough. He and the bunny jump on the apron. O’Neil charges Rose but Rose ducks and Titus rolls to the floor. The Matadores get back in and hit their finish on Slater, then the bunny splashes him. The Rosebuds celebrate, with the bunny high-fiving Jesse Jackson at ringside.
WWE is in their mid-show slump right about now. Nothing on this show has been all that hot, and then you get this kind of mid-show filler. It leaves the viewer wanting to change the channel. And it’s halftime of Monday Night Football, so this is what anyone who flipped over from the game saw. We’ll slug on for you though!
King hypes Cena and Ambrose vs. Orton and Kane. Cole shills Rusev responding to being knocked out by Big Show, next.
Rusev and Lana come to the ring as the announcers talk about Big Show defeating him by disqualification, then knocking Rusev out. Rusev poses in the ring as Lana gets a mic and we see footage from Smackdown of Show knocking him down. They unfurl the flag, so half of Allstate can’t even watch this segment. The fans chant “USA” though and Lana tells them to shut up.
Lana says a bunch of stuff in Russian. She says what we’re about to see speaks to the pathetic decline of American society. She calls Big Show a sore loser for attacking Rusev from behind. She says Big Show tried to intimidate an innocent man, but Big Show’s music hits. He says it’s really good how Lana twisted the facts. He says she talks about how great Russia and Putin are but it’s a bunch of crap.
He tells Lana she can’t handle the truth. “The truth is, this is what really happened.” He feeds it to a video package highlighting the past week, with Show knocking out Rusev. This would be a whole lot more effective if Show wasn’t a smiling idiot. Rusev grabs a mic and says he wants to jam his fist down Show’s throat and rip out his guts. He says he will break every bone in his body. Rusev talks in native tongue but Show tells him we don’t speak Russian.
Show says “why don’t we do a Big Lebowski and knock down a white Russian.” Show approaches the ring, but Rusev ducks the fight and leaves with Lana. Show eyes up the Russian flag and teases touching it, which upsets the Russians. Show yanks the flag down, which really gets them going. Rusev tries to charge the ring but gets tossed right back out by Big Show. They stare each other down as the announcers talk about what we just saw.
Well, I guess they’re trying to set something up where the American has hope to beat Rusev, but I just don’t see Rusev losing until he faces someone like Cena.
Cole feeds it to a recap of the situation with the Money in the Bank briefcase, starting with what happened at the top of the show then the later segment where Rollins got slimed.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews John Cena. He says he loves Chicago and says it’s his kind of town. Tonight, they seem unstable as they chanted for Ambrose. As far as tonight is concerned he’s glad to fight with him rather than against him. Ambrose walks in and Cena asks if he has something to add. Ambrose says that once they deal with Orton and Kane, Rollins is his. Cena says that if Rollins shows his face before, during, or after the match, he has a beatdown coming at Cena’s hand. Ambrose says “no one takes food off my table, not even you.”
Match #6 – AJ vs. Alicia Fox
As AJ makes her entrance, the announcers shill the main event. Paige comes out with a mic. She says that when she first started she never realized that certain individuals were taking her kindness for weakness. She says that was a mistake, and she would love to introduce AJ’s opponent and new best friend. It’s Alicia Fox, and Paige joins commentary.
Fox starts off aggressively but AJ comes back with a corner splash and a heel kick. Fox rolls out to regroup and Paige consoles her. AJ hits a dive off the ropes on both ladies and skips around while they chant for her husband (CM Punk). Paige distracts AJ, which lets Fox hit a scissor kick and grab the win.
Alicia goes under the ring for sodas or something. AJ tries to fight off both ladies but takes a big boot from Alicia then the RamPaige from Paige. Paige holds up the Divas title and lays it on her.
Wyatt cut in. He says he gave him reason to exist and fixed him. Harper talks about piecing himself back together. “Peek-a-boo, you’re doomed.”
Match #7 – Sheamus vs. Damien Mizdow
Sheamus comes to the ring before commercial, and Mizdow after. Miz is on commentary and he vents about being the true Intercontinental Champion. He also whines about Hunter taking a shot at his “straight to DVD career” and tells him that he’s making millions. Take that, Chaperone.
The crowd didn’t react much to this one until Sheamus hit his Ten Beats of the Battern. Miz checks on Mizdow, who tumbled to the floor. Sheamus goes out after him. Miz backs off, but Sheamus throws Mizdow into him. He throws Mizdow back and hits him with the Brogue Kick to win.
Wow is WWE in a bad place. The comedy is appealing to management, not the viewers, and the storylines are simply retreads. I get it that there isn’t much new in wrestling, but there’s gotta be a better way to get there. And Triple H buried Miz’s gimmick and the movie division in one fell swoop. Big deal.
Justin Roberts introduces Hulk Hogan, who comes out in a pink version of his famous “Hulkamania” gear. Hogan talks about how this is the third year that WWE has promoted the Susan G. Komen foundation and breast cancer research awareness. He points out a group of cancer survivors, puts them over and asks for fans to give a round of applause, calling them real heroes. He shills the pink WWE shirts and gear and says that proceeds will be given to Komen “and other research groups.”
He closes by saying “Whatcha gonna do, when Komen-Mania and the WWE run wild on you.” Hogan poses for the fans to a good reaction.
Again, my misgivings about Komen aside, I think it’s a worthwhile charitable effort.
Backstage, Orton and Kane talk. Orton says he’s tired of taking care of Rollins’ battles for him. Kane says he’s supposed to be Director of Operations and the only thing he’s doing is putting out the fires that Rollins starts. He starts to say “this is what I plan to do…” but Stephanie interjects and says they’ll do their jobs. When Ambrose and Cena attacked Rollins, they attacked the Authority. They are family, and they need to squash what people are saying about them.
Orton says “hold up, what are the people saying.” Stephanie says that the people are saying they have gone soft and lack their killer instinct. Kane asks if they’re saying it, or if Stephanie is saying to get what she wants. Stephanie asks if it really matters.
Is anything mattering on this show? Nothing is clicking as we’ve gotten further into this show.
Match #8 – Kane and Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose and John Cena
Ambrose comes out first, then Cena. The announcers talk about the tension between Cena and Ambrose from earlier in the show. As Orton and Kane come out, they recap the end of last Monday’s show. Cena and Orton tie it up as the fans are split with “Cena sucks!” and “Let’s go Cena” chants. Orton and Kane control Cena early on with quick tags. Cena fights back with a shoulder block, but Cena can’t get him up for the AA. The heels are in control going into break.
Back live, Cena tries to fight back but can’t get going. Orton tries for the RKO but Cena counters, only to take a sidewinder backbreaker. The fans chant that they want Ambrose in the match. Kane controls Cena with a nerve grip as we get a split screen where we yet again see Rollins take a mouthful of green slime earlier. Kane hits a side slam for a near fall. Cena continues to sell for the heels as Ambrose wants to get into this match.
Cena counters the elevated DDT and sends Orton to ringside. Cena crawls into the hot tag to Ambrose and he goes off. Ambrose hits a cross body and a series of hands on Orton. He hits dives on both Orton and Kane on opposite sides of the ring. Ambrose takes a shot from Orton but bounces off the ropes and hits a clothesline. He hits Dirty Deeds on Orton and crawls into the cover.
Rollins hits the ring and breaks up the cover, throwing the match out. Kane jumps Cena, and Rollins works Ambrose. He gets the better of Rollins, and Kane tries to attack him. Ambrose pulls the rope down and Kane crashes. Ambrose hits a weak looking dive (got his foot caught) then gives chase to Rollins. Ambrose hits him with a clothesline and tosses him in the ring.
Ambrose and Cena take turns, brawling on Rollins. They actually end up fighting over who gets a turn on him. Ambrose dumps Cena to ringside and attacks Rollins, but Orton hits him with the RKO. Kane hits a chokeslam, and Rollins follows with a curb stomp onto the briefcase. Cena jumps in and fights them, and he ends up getting the same treatment. The vocal males chant “thank you Rollins!” after he does it to Cena. Rollins, Kane and Orton pose with the case as the show ends. Cole says tonight Rollins got the last laugh.
Not only thank you Rollins, but thank you for making a 3 hour, ten minute marathon of a show end. The match was fine, and they put heat on the heels by having the three Authority members get the better of Cena and Ambrose tonight by hitting their finishers in succession as they did.
This show was only marginally better than what Drew has had to cover the last three weeks. WWE is in a bad creative place right now, there’s just no other way to say it. There is no real easy fix to any of this, I don’t believe.
I will have a lot more to say on this show tomorrow in Raw Afterthoughts, and we’ll discuss this and more in Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday night. Thanks for following along.