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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 12/22/2014 – Ho Ho Hogan, Christmas Shenanigans, Slow Build to the Royal Rumble and Drinking Games!

It’s Christmas week on WWE Raw, live from Minneapolis, MN.  We’re not going to see our WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar this week (according to reports) but we will get a full dose of Ho-Ho-Hogan! WWE is advertising whether or not Seth Rollins has something in mind for John Cena, and asks whether Ryback will feast on Rusev or not.  But, we should also expect full on holiday insanity with lots of silly skits.

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WWE Raw LIVE Reaction and Results for 12/08/14 – Slammy Edition!

Tonight, starting at 8pm Eastern, Ring-Rap.com will bring you LIVE coverage of WWE Raw.  It’s a very special edition of Raw, too!  It’s time for the Slammys!  

 

I won’t lie, I’m still reeling from seeing Ring of Honor’s Final Battle live in person last night, so my hopes for this show are pretty dim.  That being said, I’ll be here, covering the show in all its glory, starting at 8pm!  Join me then, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @RingRap!

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Interview Highlights – Kurt Angle Comments on CM Punk, Being Blocked by Triple H from Returning to WWE, His Future with TNA, and More

Former WWE star and current TNA star Kurt Angle appeared on The Swerve Podcast, hosted by Vince Russo, to discuss a number of topics.  The full listen can be found on Pyroandballyhoo.com

Before I get to the highlights, it’s worth pointing out that Vince said after the show that he got a direct message from Kurt on Twitter allowing him to announce that Kurt will be returning to TNA.

Angle about the Sting match and Hulk Hogan situation:

“I don’t have much to say about that day. I love Terry. I love Hulk. I think he was trying to help. Sting and I know where we want to go. If Sting and I are going to put out a five star match that everyone expected us to, I don’t think Hogan needed to say anything. I know the company put him in charge. The company put him in charge. I can’t blame Hogan for that. I think Hogan should have said ‘What do you want to do’. He didn’t, but I love Hogan. I don’t have anything bad to say about him.

Russo felt Sting/Angle were disrespected as they sat around and waited all day for Hogan to come in so he can chime in.

Angle on what he is searching for in a wrestling company (whether he would go back to TNA or go to WWE):

“Most importantly: the right interests. At this point in my career, I can’t really do a full-time schedule. I need to look at how they want to take care of me, what they want to do with me, what’s important to them should be important to me and everything I do has meaning. Most important is the invested interest. Secondly, making sure I keep my life straight and that I spend time with my family. Thirdly is basically financial situation. It’s not that I’m in dire need of money. Thank god I made a lot in this business. At the same time, the amount of money speaks volumes with what they want to do with you and how they want to utilize you. is the money important for a financial standpoint? No. Is it important on how important you are to the company? Yes. I want to make sure it’s a best suit for me.”

Angle talks about CM Punk, Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter:

“Dixie has the motherly love. With Vince [McMahon], he treated me like I was kind of a son. Whether he cared about me or not, he took care of me. I was the first one he called every New Year’s Eve. He was always there for me. I never had a problem with him. I listened to the CM Punk interview. I don’t know who’s telling the truth or not. I don’t know if CM Punk went over the top or not. I haven’t had that type of relationship with Vince that Punk did. Dixie is not Vince. Vince knows the business like anyone else. I don’t think anyone can be like Vince. Of course Vince will treat you better if you’re making him money. I always had a great experience with both of them. Dixie has always treated me good. I think she has sometimes put people in charge that hasn’t treated me well. I don’t think it was her fault. She’s the boss. With McMahon, you have to be a work horse to work in the WWE. Vince didn’t put me in that situation. I put myself in the situation. I put the responsibility on me for not speaking up for three years…”

Angle talks about the twilight of his career and possibly being an agent when his in-ring days are over:

“My days are winding down. There’s no doubt about it. I probably won’t be able to go more than a year or two. I’m so good on what I do. Whether it would be in WWE or TNA, I think I have a future as an agent or in coaching/teaching. I’m actually better at coaching than as an actual wrestler. At the same time, I’m good at coaching/teaching amateur wrestling than I was as an Olympic gold medalist. I am torn on whether to go back to my amateur roots or pro wrestling. I have had offers on both sides.”

Angle discusses the rumors of Triple H blocking him from returning to WWE:

“I thought about it. I’ve never had a problem with Triple H. When I was there, he treated me well. We did business the right way. I’ve seen and heard rumors about that. When I talked to WWE, Vince and I buried the hatchet from years ago and we don’t have a problem with each other. I haven’t heard anything about Triple H saying and doing anything that blocked me. So, even though I don’t know for sure, from my experiences talking to WWE, I don’t think it’s a problem. I think a lot of it is rumor. But I don’t know for sure. I wouldn’t know. There’s no way to possibly know unless he went and told me himself. I’ve read things but I can’t believe what I read because most of what we read is bullcrap. Triple H hasn’t been a problem and I don’t have any problem with Triple H, WWE or Vince at all. The good thing about this the past year is Vince and I were able to be on speaking terms again and we haven’t been in eight years.”

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Ring Rap Audio: 11/26/14 – Update on Yoshi Tatsu, Should AJ Styles Stop Using the Styles Clash? NJPW on AXS, TNA’s Updated Taping Schedule, WWE Survivor Series, Sting, Raw, plus more!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Lots to talk about here, so let’s get started.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Afterthoughts for 11/26/2014 – WWE Fails to Capitalize on Survivor Series, Daniel Bryan Runs Raw, No Sting Sightings, Team Cena Members Get Revenge, AJ Drops a Bomb, and More

Welcome to this edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we run down the hits and misses of last night’s show.  Check out the poll on the site and vote, and give us your feedback on the show via Twitter @RingRap or on Facebook (facebook.com/RingRap) so we can add your comments to the discussion on RingRap Audio, which records tomorrow night.

1. The Return of the Bearded One…

“Flight of the Valkyries” hit and I smiled.  I was glad to see Daniel Bryan return last night.  One big problem with his segment was that it really overstayed its welcome.  The other is that Daniel Bryan’s character is generally fun, and it works for the most part.  In the case of handing down punishment to Team Authority, he wasn’t the right choice because he was doing it with a big cheesy smile on his face.  The fans really wanted to see Hunter and Stephanie get theirs, but they weren’t going to be wrestling.  So it ended up being a miss for me.

Of course I’m looking forward to seeing Bryan return to the ring,  but this situation with the whole interim GM role wasn’t effective.  It made me feel like I wanted Bryan to go away.

2. Successful Defense…of Sorts…

Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose created a minor hit last night.  I wish they would have explained why Ambrose got the title shot rather than a return match from Dolph Ziggler or his former tag partner Erick Rowan getting a shot.  The match got off to a slow start, and the fans didn’t react to much, but by late in the match the fans were getting into it.  The finish was bad with the referee bump when Ambrose was begging the official to not throw the match out.  This puts heat on the company, not the heel.

Wyatt’s post match attack was done well, but it didn’t move the needle for me as to the upcoming TLC match.

3. 30 Days are Up…

Well, I guess Brie Bella is done being Nikki’s personal assistant.  In the meantime, she turned heel with no explanation or action.  Maybe they’ll swerve us and she’ll go after Nikki next week, but nothing happened to make me want to see that happen.  The storyline hasn’t worked, and over the past 30 days there hasn’t been anything that has happened that would make me want to see Brie get revenge on Nikki.

Also, it’s worth noting that AJ really dropped the bomb on the Bellas with that “you can’t sexually transmit talent.” comment.  That made me go “oooooo!” when she said that.  A bit of real talk, perhaps?

4. Tag Team Rematch…

Goldust and Stardust were unsuccessful in regaining their gold from The Miz and Mizdow and it was a minor hit.  Miz carrying both tag title belts and Sandow carrying replica belts made me laugh.  And the slow build of tension between Miz and Mizdow over Miz’s egotistical ways is working well.  I still have my doubts of how long Mizdow’s heat will carry him after the split but it’s fun in the moment.

5. Walking Out…

Rusev and Lana were allegedly in a no-win situation:  Either he would defend the US Championship in a battle royale or they have to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  Lana forcing herself to say the words was funny and her expressions sold it well.  The problem is that there were two stipulations, and when Rusev didn’t say the pledge he should have defended the title.  That didn’t happen.  He walked away with no repercussions, when the heels were to get punished.

6. Wrong Focus…

Last night was a great opportunity for WWE to capitalize on a newsworthy Survivor Series, especially for one Dolph Ziggler.  They needed to focus on him after he was the sole survivor and securing the win that got the Authority out of power.  His promo also focused more on Sting.  That’s something that needed follow-up too, but the promo should have put himself over too.  Then to work a comedy match in the main event didn’t do much for him either.

7.  Meathead Games…

I was excited when Ryback came back and think he has something to offer.  Unfortunately, Creative has him working the stuff he was doing as a heel as that dumb meathead who talks in third person.  They need to put him in a place where he is a simple straightforward ass kicker since he’s a face.  He needs to be the coolest guy in the room and not the coolest guy in his mind.  Not a Ryback problem – a WWE Creative problem.

8. Enough Already…

Raw creative brought a Main Event level gimmick over to the flagship show when they had the rematch of the “Interspecies” match between Adam Rose and the Bunny vs. Tyson Kidd and Natalya.  Kidd’s act is fun and I’m glad to see him on the main show, but this whole Bunny business is, well, bad for business.

9. A Range of Emotions:

Big Show came off as post-menopausal.  He went angry, then smiley, then tearful, then back to angry.  I would care if Big Show hasn’t turned a million times.  At least WWE went with a fresh story between Show and Erick Rowan rather than go back to John Cena again.

WWE really had a chance to capitalize on some exciting things from Survivor Series.  Sting debuted.  The Authority lost power.  But rather than come back with a hot follow-up show, they gave us loads of filler and non-sensical booking. 

They followed Sting up with a short video and a few verbal mentions.  I would have held him off until Wrestlemania season, but it was a hot moment that WWE gave us at Survivor Series.  But I don’t understand why, if WWE didn’t have a strong follow-up plan without him present tonight, they even had him debut.

The Authority losing should have signaled a new day in WWE, but instead they’re going back to the random GM gimmick that includes the Anonymous GM which clearly deflated the crowd.  This was a bad show, no two ways about it.  It was a bad time to put a show out that felt pretty soft.

We’ll talk about this, and all things wrestling, tomorrow night in RingRap Audio.  Be sure to chime your thoughts in!

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WWE “Survivor Series” Afterthoughts for 11/24/2014 – Sting Debuts, New Champions Crowned, No More Authority, Dolph Ziggler Survives, and More

Survivor Series is in the rear view mirror.  Today, I give you the hits and misses of last night’s show.  Be sure to check out the polls we have going regarding the event, and give us your feedback as well on Twitter and on Facebook.  We’ll be discussing this show and all things wrestling later this week on RingRap Audio.

1. A Long Awaited Debut…

So, Sting showed up last night.  That was probably the moment of the evening.

His timing was good in that it seemed to make the nonsense moments of the main event become meaningful.  Spoilers were out there, so this probably meant more to people who didn’t see them but this was just an overall big deal in wrestling.

I thought having him get in the middle of the main event was fine, and it seems they’re pointing to Sting v. Triple H down the road at Wrestlemania 31.  I might have sat on this appearance just because they run the risk of over-exposing him prior to that match (if they do it) and he’ll feel like “just another guy” on the roster.  That said, if they limit his TV time, they should be okay even with this debut’s timing.

And NO, Sting should not be the new authority figure.

2. Lots of Hype, No Substance:

They hyped up a “new and improved” Fandango.  What we got was a salsa dancer in Dockers slacks and a long sleeved shirt.  Why don’t they just drop this character and give the talented Johnny Curtis a chance to run with something better than this?

3. One Match Show…

This show was all about one match, and while I didn’t care that much for the story overall WWE did a nice job of making it feel like a big deal.  I thought Dolph being the lone survivor was great as if it had been Cena people would have assumed Cena would overcome the odds and win like he always does. This left some suspense to the finish.

Big Show’s turn (more in a moment) was just bad, but his knocking Henry out early made sense because they had issues going in.  They should not have eliminated Ryback first after all the fuss they made over him getting on Team Cena.

One thing I really took issue with was how Cole pointed out that disqualifications mattered, and could cause eliminations.  I guess that’s how they set up the Rusev count-out, but then Triple H bombed two different referees and the match rolled on.  That was something that made it feel really overbooked.

4. An Unwanted Turn:

Big Show has turned face and heel more frequently than Kim Kardashian pictures have been viewed on the internet.  This one makes probably the least sense too.  Show had issues with the Authority after being harassed and harangued constantly on air.  He said he hated them with every fiber of his being last week on Raw.  Now he’s with them, assumedly to protect his job.

I just can’t say I care about or want to see Big Show right now.

5. Double Gold…

WWE is certainly getting mileage out of Miz and Mizdow, and I think the right call was made to give them the tag straps.  I loved the teases of getting Mizdow into the match only to yank the rug out from under the fans who chanted for it.  Mizdow tagging in and getting the win was a great move, and Miz’s selling of it was spot on.

I doubt they can keep Mizdow hot when the face turn comes, since the act will have to change, but WWE is definitely getting what they can from it.

6. New Champion in Close-to-Record Time:

So they dug into the Wrestlemania 28 booking file and pulled out the script for Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus, then handed it to Nikki Bella and AJ and said “go duplicate this.”  I don’t understand it and quite frankly I’m disappointed by it as it continues the long string of clumsy booking of the Divas.

I figure they did this to get the title on a less-than-capable Nikki Bella who wouldn’t have been actually able to work a match with AJ in full.  There are still a lot of odd holes to fill with regard to the Bella storyline, so there will be more of that as Brie’s “servitude” days come to an end tonight (I believe) on Raw.

I suppose anything’s better than the odd dynamic between Paige and AJ, but this match was a letdown.

7. Just Who IS the Heel Here?

Speaking of odd dynamics – Bray Wyatt got it handed to him last night by Dean Ambrose.  Chairs, ladders, and a table were all involved.  Wyatt won by DQ, but the face Ambrose beat him down with (as JBL likes to say) all the toys.

They played in to advertising the TLC pay per view pretty well with this, but what else can happen with these two guys?  Because it feels like we got the payoff last night, this is a minor miss.  Also notable is that the match was fine up until Wyatt cut his promo.  The promo took the wind out of the sails for me.

8. Make it Reign(s):

Roman Reigns made a “via satellite” appearance (word is he was backstage in St. Louis though) to conduct a short interview.  This was a bit of a miss.  He ended up rendering the main event result a bit inconsequential when he said it didn’t matter who was in power, because they might be out a short time later.  I guess the goal was to not have him fully endorse Team Cena to keep the Cena-haters off of him.

They’ve got a long way to go with Roman Reigns.  He has potential, good athleticism, and is growing in his promos, but the more I listen the more I think they need to hold off on pushing him to be the one to beat Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31.

9. He’s Too Hurt…Oh, Wait…

I didn’t understand why Jack Swagger was too hurt to work on Team Cena in the main event, yet they trotted him out there in the pre-show with no selling of an injury at all.  He also took Cesaro out in half the time it took Ryback.  This was a logic fail for me.

10.  I Want to Care…I Do…But I Can’t…

I think Adam Rose could be a good heel and I think it can salvage his gimmick a little bit.  But let’s get real – his first feud is with a man in a bunny costume!  This is stupid.  I hope Rose unmasks the guy so we can see who it is, and a real story can develop.  And let’s pray that it’s not Darren Young given some of the Bunny’s antics.

What do you think?  Agree? Disagree?  Let us know on Twitter @RingRap or on Facebook (facebook.com/RingRap)!

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WWE Monday Night Raw Live Coverage for 11/24/2014 – The Authority is Fired, Will Sting Appear?, New Champions Debut, All the Fallout of Survivor Series and More

It’s the night after Survivor Series.  The Authority has been overthrown, losing in the elimination main event match last night.  Dolph Ziggler was the lone survivor – will he go  back after his Intercontinental Championship now?  How will John Cena handle the Authority being deposed?  And what to make of Sting – will he appear tonight, or was last night a set-up for something bigger where he needs to stay in the shadows for now?  And we have a new Divas Champion and tag champions – will they make their grand entrances tonight?

Show Open, Live from the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis brings back good feelings.  Let’s see if this show lives up.

The show opens with the Sting video package and his appearance last night at Survivor Series.  Cole welcomes us to a new era and a new start here on Raw.  JBL isn’t as happy as King is.  The Authority’s music hits and here comes Hunter and Stephanie, and they look kinda irritated.  You would think they lost last night.  Cole reminds us that they can no longer affect the lives of WWE superstars because Sting threw the company in disarray.

Both of them have microphones as boos rain down.  Stephanie says they expected this kind of a reaction because none of them know the meaning of the word respect.  They don’t understand the courage it takes to come out there tonight.  She says they don’t understand what it means to take responsibility and they will tonight.  Stephanie says Team Authority would have won had it not been for one man who had never set foot in WWE before, that man being Sting.  Because of him, they are out of power and because of her father the only person who can reinstate them is John Cena.

She says they stand before the fans as leaders, not losers, because they will still have their corporate responsibilities.  Stephanie starts to cry, saying she hopes the fans enjoy the holiday.  Hunter pulls the mic down and hugs her and turns to the fans and says “you like this don’t you?”  The fans chant “yes” and Hunter asks if they want to see Stephanie cry…that draws a cheer too.  Hunter says the fans are bullies.  He tells them to be careful what they wish for, because there isn’t anyone who can handle the power.  Triple H says it’s a supply and demand world, and asks who would be able to make decisions based on what’s best for business.  Hunter asks if it will be John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, or even Sting.

Hunter says he wants to address the elephant in the room.  He says he doesn’t know why Sting had to stick his painted face in the business of the Authority.  He asks if whether it was for Sting to be in the ring for 30 seconds just “to make your career relevant somehow.”  He says Sting guaranteed his first night in WWE would be his last.  He says that by running the Authority out of power, and he gives WWE two to three weeks at best without them.

“We have a greater responsibility than you could ever possibly fathom.”  There’s a boring chant going on.  Hunter rants about fans can’t understand how difficult the job is.  He says without them there is no John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and “there is no you.”  Hunter asks the fans what they’ll do without Raw on television.  Hunter tells the fans to cheer because they’re leaving now.  “But mark my words, you will beg for us to come back.”  He drops the mic.

Daniel Bryan’s music hits.  That draws a big ovation from Indianapolis.  He hops to the ring with the “yes!” chants.  He gets in Hunter’s face and does the “yes” chant as well and Indianapolis responds.  No words from Bryan other than the chants.  He gets right in their faces and chants.  Hunter and Stephanie exit with their heads down as JBL rants that Raw will never be the same now.

Bryan appearing was fun for the live crowd.  They did pop for him.  Triple H selling things as if WWE wouldn’t be around in a couple weeks because they are out of power was a big stretch.  The dialogue overall was well delivered  though,  but they needed to show more ass on the way out. Bryan leading the “yes” chants did help but I think I was hoping for a bit more embarrassment for the departed Authority.

Back live, Bryan is still leading a “yes!” chant.  He says it feels good to be in the ring tonight.  He says it felt good to kick the Authority out of the ring but he asks about Team Authority.  He says we might not know this, but he’s been put in charge of running Raw.  He says with the small amount of power he has, he will make Team Authority come out before the fans.  “It doesn’t mean they’re  bad people, right?”  He calls out the rest of Team Authority.

Cole introduces each of them as losers as they stand on the stage.   Bryan says he’s a fair man and he’s not going to strip anyone of their titles or book unfair matches.  He says he wants to talk first to Seth Rollins.  He says Rollins is used to handicap matches so he will pair Rollins with two other men to face Cena and Ziggler.  Rollins tries to talk but his mic is busted.  He asks Bryan if he’s in control of the mics too.

Rollins says that “big picture wise” he is still the future of the company and Bryan can’t change that.  He is curious and wonders who Bryan is teaming him up with.  Bryan says he isn’t doing it, the fans are.  Bryan says fans can choose via the app, and he will give them good choices.  Choice A is Henry and Harper.  Choice B is Kane and Henry.  Choice C is Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury.  Bryan says voting starts now, though Rollins protests and he says they’re only security.  Bryan tells him life isn’t fair all the time.

“That brings me to my long time buddy Corporate Kane!”  He says Dr. Shelby would think he’s gone off the path and if he had the job he wouldn’t be the Director of Operations.  He pauses and says he does have the power and asks the fans if Kane should continue in his job.  Bryan tells Kane he won’t kick him to the curb, but he won’t be Director of Operations.  He names him Director of Food and Beverage and he’ll now be Concessions Kane.  Someone comes out with a tray and a hairnet and he gets shooed off to sell.  Funny.

He turns his attention to Rusev and says he needs to be more patriotic since he’s the US Champion.  Bryan gives him two options – he can compete in a company wide battle royale for the US Championship, or he can come to the ring with a big US flag behind him and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  Lana flips out and the fans chant USA.  They storm off, so I assume that’s happening a bit later.

Bryan turns his attention to Luke Harper.  He says he needs a good challenge and books him in an Intercontinental title match against Dean Ambrose.  He then stops Henry from leaving and says that a big guy came to him and asked for a favor.  He says the guy wanted to avenge a loss two years ago from Wrestlemania.  Bryan books Henry vs. Ryback for “right now.”

Wow.  I thought that was never going to end.  Bryan did well here, but that segment went on far, far too long.  On a side thought – looks like we’ll be doing the guest GM thing for a while.

Match #1 – Ryback vs. Mark Henry

Ryback charges to the ring and attacks Henry from behind.  Ryback has the advantage by tossing Henry into the steps going to break.   Back live, the match gets underway as Henry struggles to his feet.  Ring the bell, and Ryback attacks.  Strikes exchanged, then Ryback hits a spinebuster.  Feed him more, as it’s time for the Meathook.  That puts Henry away.

Between last night and this one-sided squash, it feels like Ryback has lost something.  They spent a lot of time on him last week.

Backstage, Hunter and Steph solemnly walk to a waiting car.  Vince is there, and he says he isn’t mad but he’s disappointed.  He set them up with insurmountable odds because they’ll face them in business.  They let him down.  He says he doesn’t like the feeling and they’ll have to fix it somehow.  Stephanie apologizes and Vince isn’t having it.  He says he hasn’t been sorry for a thing in his life – “except spending Thanksgiving with you two.”  They get in the limo and exit.

The fun Vince is much better than the “crazy family lesson teaching” version we got here.

Match #2 – Luke Harper (c) vs. Dean Ambrose; WWE Intercontinental Championship

Ambrose comes to the ring straight out of the break.  Harper looks a bit crazy as he comes out.  Lilian Garcia handles the old school intros.

Ambrose starts with strikes, but Harper comes back with strikes of his own.  Ambrose comes back with a drop toe hold and forearms to the nose, then works an arm submission.  Harper breaks it by grabbing the nose, and Ambrose comes back with an elbow and a dive out of the ring as we go to break.

Back live, Harper controls Ambrose.  King puts over how the Authority is out of power and gone and Daniel Bryan is running the show.  Cole talks about the exchange between Vince and Stephanie.  JBL calls this the saddest day in sports entertainment and it’s the St Louis Screw Job courtesy of Sting.  Harper continues to control the offense with an uppercut.

Ambrose fires back with chops but Harper drops Ambrose with a unique counter. He then goes with the Gator Roll and locks in a headlock.  Ambrose fires in a hand but gets sent over the top rope.  He goes out after Ambrose and throws him into the barrier, but Ambrose hits a big clothesline out on the floor.  Action moves back inside with the two men exchanging strikes.

Ambrose gets in a couple thrust shots and a corner splash.  He rolls Harper up out of the corner for two, then gets another near fall.  Harper headbutts Ambrose in the chest then tries to suplex Ambrose to the floor.  Ambrose ties Harper up in the ropes and drop kicks him then drops the leg across the neck.  Ambrose covers for a near fall.

Ambrose lands more shots and tries a rope move but takes a spinning side slam for a near fall.   Harper tries for a powerbomb but Ambrose counters with a backslide for two.  Ambrose goes up top but Harper meets him there to set up a superplex.  Ambrose blocks it and delivers some headbutts to knock down Harper.  He hits that elbow off the ropes where the man is standing for two.  Harper comes back with a superkick for two.

Ambrose hits a clothesline for a near fall and Harper rolls out.  He grabs his belt and tries to exit but Ambrose hits a dive.  Ambrose sets up Dirty Deeds, but Harper shoves Ambrose into the official.  That throws the match out.  Harper hits a big boot and sends Ambrose to the floor.   Harper teases a dive but gets a forearm to the face.  Ambrose gets a chair and hits Dirty Deeds on the chair.

Ambrose poses in the corner, and the fans chant for tables.  Ambrose is not one to disappoint, so he retrieves a ladder and a table.  From behind, Bray Wyatt ambushes Ambrose, hitting Sister Abigail on the floor and sending Ambrose over the announce position.  Wyatt throws chairs at him and continues the piling up of chairs.  Wyatt stands on the announce table and drops one last one before posing.

A bit of a downer ending to an otherwise good match.  The live crowd seemed kind of flat for what they were doing though until Ambrose went for the toys under the table.  The Wyatt attack made sense to continue to build to their match at TLC.  The cheap finish puts heat on the company rather than Harper for sure.

In-Ring Segment:

Lillian Garcia welcomes Larry the Cable Guy and Santino Marella to hype Jingle All the Way 2.  Larry has a mask and trunks on.  He gets booed and he says he’s ready to wrestle.  Marella tells him they’re not there to wrestle. He says he gave up a colonoscopy to come to the show.  He says there’s a lot of eye candy up there and he tells the women to not look too long or they’ll get diabetes.  Funny.

Marella tells him he should have training.  Larry says he beat up Savage once. Marella asks if it was Randy Savage, and he says instead it was Fred Savage for butting in on the buffet line one night.  The talk continues for a few moments and Goldust and Stardust’s music interrupts.  Thank God.  Goldust and Stardust surround Larry and he says he just pooped himself.  Goldust and Stardust head to the ring for the next match.

They kept it short but Indianapolis still didn’t like it.  I give him credit for playing in though.  The only pop the segment got was when Larry brought up Steve Austin.  Word has to spread that wrestling fans just don’t care for celebrity types.

They recap the fatal four way tag championship match from last night before the tag team championship match.

Match #3 – The Miz and Damien Mizdow (c) vs. Goldust and Stardust; WWE Tag Team Championship

Miz cuts a promo talking about how the big story of Survivor Series was that a legend made a big splash last night, and he says he didn’t have to read further because he knew it was him.  Mizdow has replica tag title belts.  Funny.  The early exchange of offense is shadowed by “we want Mizdow” chants.  Stardust sends Mizdow to the floor, then Miz, as we go to break.

Back live they tell us that Hunter and Steph are out of power, as if we didn’t know.  Mizdow gets the tag and gets a rousing cheer.  He hits Stardust with  a move and kips up. He perches at the corner and sets up a move but Goldust runs interference. Stardust hangs Mizdow over the ropes and the Dust Brothers take charge.  Trainers tend to Miz outside on the floor.  Goldust hits a spinebuster as JBL rants about the Authority being out of power.

Stardust hits a front suplex and continues to control Mizdow with an arm submission.  Miz is still getting tended to at ringside.   Mizdow holds his own though, and locks on the Figure Four on Stardust.   Goldust breaks it up and Mizdow dumps him to ringside.  Mizdow tries the Skull Crushing Finale but gets countered.  Miz tags himself in suddenly and Sandow tries a move.  Miz comes in and hits the Skull Crushing Finale to get the win.  They pose on the ropes, with Mizdow getting cheered with his prop belts and Miz getting booed.

The match was fine.  They continue to tease tension and friction between Miz and Mizdow and the fans are definitely into the Mizdow character.  As I said in the Afterthoughts piece for Survivor Series, I am not sure how well Mizdow will keep when they break up, but surely there’s mileage there to be had.

The crowd seems flat, and there has been zero conversation about Big Show’s turn and Sting and we’re an hour and a half in.  Odd.

Cole feeds it into a package for WWE 2K15 with gameplay footage.  They then go into hype for Cena and Ziggler vs. Rollins and two partners.  King shills the voting for who those partners should be.

Back live, Kane is at the ‘concession table’ and he’s approached by a woman who poses as his manager.  She says she’s heard he likes to burn things, but he won’t be near the deep fryer tonight.  She puts him in charge of chips and tells him he will lose money from his pay if he loses any.

In-RingSegment:

Rusev and Lana are in the ring for a promo.  He is in a bind, where he either has to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or defend the US Championship in a battle royale.  Lana is distraught, and says America is not fair. Rusev takes the mic and says he won’t be brainwashed like the rest of the dumb Americans.  He demands that he and Lana leave.

Daniel Bryan appears on the Tron and says he knew this would happen.  He reminds them that Rusev can defend the title in a battle royale against the entire locker room.  He says he has a supervisor in mind and sends out Sgt. Slaughter.  He gets to the ring and commands the flag fall from the rafters.  He calls them to attention and tries to get them to recite the Pledge.  Lana gives in and does so reluctantly.

Partway through, Rusev pulls the mic away from her.  He backs her out of the ring and he and Sarge stare down.  Rusev yells at him in Russian.  Here comes Jack Swagger for the save.  Rusev beats on him a bit, but Swagger comes back with a belly to belly suplex and the Patriot Lock.  Rusev escapes as Swagger, Sarge and Colter pose in the ring.

No repercussions?  Maybe we”ll find out later but as of now, it looks bad that Bryan didn’t follow up on a stipulation.  Lana was truly pained to say the Pledge – she played it well.  Just in case you haven’t heard/figured it out, Lana is played by an American, CJ Perry.

The announcers hype up the main event.  JBL still doesn’t want to see J&J Security work the match but you know they will.

They show Kane serving concessions to fans.  Santino and Larry the Cable Guy approach, and Larry asks that Santino order for him.  Santino asks for a hotdog with extra mustard and gets squirted for his troubles.  Kane hands Larry a hotdog and says he’s a big fan.  Larry gets mustard from Santino’s shirt and walks off.

Match #4 – Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. Justin Gabriel

Gabriel is in the ring waiting for this.  Fandango is billed as new and improved, but it just looks like he went to the local men’s store and got fresh Dockers and a fresh shirt.  He does the same entrance as he did last night with Rosa.  Fans are singing his old theme in the crowd.

Fandango goes after Gabriel hard early with clubbing shots and throws into the corner.  Gabriel hits a move off the top, then another.  Gabriel gets turned inside out on a clothesline.  Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker is followed with the top rope leg drop for Fandango to pick up another win.  The announcers recap it.

This isn’t working for me.

They talk about Big Show turning on Team Cena last night by knocking Cena out.  He is backstage in a suit, and Cole says we’ll hear from him next.

They show the Indianapolis Colts at ringside, then shill that Dean Ambrose will face Kane tomorrow night on Main Event.

In-Ring Segment:

Here comes Big Show, smiling and waving but getting booed.  He says he wants to make sure they’re all cool.  Indy says no.  He says he saw some of the reactions online and backstage and says people think he committed a horrible atrocity and he’s a bad guy.  He says he’s not a bad guy, but he’s a human that made a mistake.  He says people make mistakes all the time and there’s no one watching that can’t say they haven’t made a mistake.

He talks about having a family, feelings, and fears.  In the heat of the moment he panicked last night.  He says Cena and Ziggler were down, and he saw three fresh hungry men across the ring.  He says he thought the team would lose and did what he thought he needed to.  He says he did what he thought was right and hopes the fans would forgive.  They don’t.  He says he gets it that fans want to boo and cheer at the show, but now isn’t the right time for this.  He says he is a good person.  He says he wouldn’t have done what he did if he knew how it would turn out.

For the past 20 years, he has been putting himself on the line for the fans and thinks they owe him a mulligan.  He asks that fans pretend what happened last night didn’t, and let’s start over.  They’re not buying it and they chant “you sold out.”  Show’s demeanor changes and he says how the fans are so high and mighty to judge him when they have nothing on the line.  It’s his life, not theirs.  He says he hears the whispers that he’s a traitor.  He says he’s not a traitor, he’s the Big Show and deserves respect.

He says he hears the whispers in the locker room and demands that any of the cowards in the back should come say it to his face rather than whisper it behind his back.  Here comes Erick Rowan.  Show mocks him and calls him “the upside down Sheamus” that has something to say.  Show says Cena at least has a legitimate gripe and would understand Cena coming out.  Show mocks Rowan for grabbing the stuffed Grumpy Cat last week.

Show tells Rowan that the ring is made for men.  Fans are chanting for Rowan…I’m incredulous.   Rowan takes the sheep mask off and Show tells him he has no place out there so he needs to leave before he gets hurt.  Rowan gets the mic and tells Show he doesn’t like bullies and attacks Show.  He throws some hands and kicks him.  Show exits and he and Rowan jaw at each other, with Show saying Rowan sealed his fate.

Show turning a million times just doesn’t do much for me in this case.  At least the matchup feels fresh with Rowan vs. Show.  Show running through all of the emotions makes it look like he’s menstruating.

Backstage, Rollins is texting someone when Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury enter.  They say it’ll be like Shield 2.0.  Rollins laughs and says they don’t quite measure up to the other partners he could have.  Dolph Ziggler enters and tells J&J that Rollins might not believe but he does.  He asked his 1.4 million Twitter followers to vote for them.  Rollins sighs.

Match #5 – Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. AJ

The Bellas are in the ring as we get a recap of what happened last night in the Divas Championship match.  Brie gets AJ here.  AJ cuts a promo, saying that Nikki turned her life’s work into a shiny new accessory.  She also says that “lez be honest” to Brie, saying she turned into a bigger skank than her sister.   Brie gets the better of the early going in this one.  The action spills outside, where Nikki takes a shot from AJ, but Brie returns the favor.

Back in the ring, AJ comes back with a Thesz Press and a Shining Wizard for two.  AJ tries to follow up but Brie kicks her away.  In the end, Nikki runs a distraction and Brie uses a crucifix pin to get the win.  Brie and Nikki escape and celebrate.  AJ gets a mic and cuts a promo.  She says it takes two of them to be half the woman she is.  She asks if they want to kiss their way to a title.  She tells them talent is not sexually transmitted.

No signs of the payoff of the “servitude” angle.  Brie is acting heelish tonight.  Will this change once that stipulation officially ends?

This show is a MAJOR disappointment.  They had a big angle to work off of from last night, and they’ve done nothing to follow it up.

Match #6 – Adam Rose and the Bunny vs. Tyson Kidd and Natalya

Interspecies.  How am I supposed to care here?  I just don’t.  Bunny shenaningans to start it off with Kidd.  The commentators are way too busy cracking jokes.  At one point Natalya tags in, but Kidd talks to her and tags himself back in.  In the end, Kidd rolls up Rose to get the win.

If Sting were to show up on Raw tonight, it won’t save this show.  This is awful tonight.

Backstage, Renee Young catches Ryback and congratulates him on his win earlier.  He thanks her but he’s not worried about that right now.  He says it’s Thanksgiving week and the big guy is hungry.

We get another “New Day” promo with the choir, Big E, Kofi, and Xavier Woods. A new day is coming soon.

Kane is at the concession stand and Ryback approaches to state he’s hungry.  He asks for tuna, a protein shake, and beef jerky.  Kane says they’re out of that, so how about a hot dog?  Ryback shoves the table into Kane and squirts mustard all over him.  He grabs a bag of peanuts and yells after Kane “hey Kane, you forgot your nuts.”

Backstage, Renee Young is with John Cena and Dolph Ziggler.  Cena says he was knocked out by a 500lb traitor but when he came to he discovered that Ziggler was left alone to face Team Authority.  Ziggler says the odds weren’t in his favor and they needed a miracle, and that was a man named Sting.  Cena chimes back in and says that because of Sting and Ziggler, the Authority is done.  He says that Rollins and whoever will go face to face with the man who runs the place and the Showoff, and you can consider the show stolen.

I was really hoping that this would be a big night for Ziggler also, and maybe they give him shine in the main event, but so far, nothing.

Match #7 – Dolph Ziggler and John Cena vs. Seth Rollins and two partners picked by the WWE App

Dolph and Cena come out first, and they get good reactions.  Daniel Bryan comes back out to the ring as well doing his “yes!” chants.  He shakes hands with both Cena and Ziggler then gets a mic.  He says before he announces Seth Rollins’ partners, he welcomes Rollins to the ring.  Rollins stops at the bottom of the ramp and waits for the announcement.  It’s J&J Security.  The Stooges!  They’re excited about this, but Rollins isn’t.

Dueling chants get going as the three opponents make their way to the ring.  Noble gets loosened up and Cena smiles.  Noble locks on a headlock then throws Cena off the ropes.  There’s a funny rope run sequence where Mercury and Noble knock each other down.  Cena loads Mercury for the AA but Rollins drags him off and the heels regroup going to break.

Back live, Cena is selling.  Rollins put them in this position, apparently.  Noble charges, but Cena ducks out of the way.  Cena gets the hot tag to Ziggler and he goes off.  He splashes Noble then hits a spinning neckbreaker.  He follows with a DDT for two but Mercury breaks the cover up.   Rollins takes a cheap shot while the referee tends to Mercury.  Rollins tags in and goes on offense, dumping Ziggler to ringside.  Mercury throws him to the barrier for good measure.

The heels take control, and Ziggler sells for them.  JBL makes some crack about Noble and Mercury being trained by Seal Team Six.  Okay, whatever.  Ziggler uses a jawbreaker to break free of Noble, but misses a corner splash.  Ziggler creates separation and tries to get a tag to Cena and does.

Cena fires up with the shoulder blocks and the side slam.  You can’t see him.  He goes after Rollins but turns around and lands the Five Knuckle on Mercury.  Rollins runs in and Cena grabs him for the AA but Rollins escapes.  He finds himself between Ziggler and Cena.  Mercury and Noble attack and try to set up whips but Cena and Ziggler reverse them.  Cena hits the AA, Ziggler hits the Zig Zag.  Double covers, and that’s the match.

Rollins is on the ramp selling when Bryan throws Rollins back in the ring.  Ziggler hits the superkick, and Cena hits him with the AA.  The faces celebrate the win.  Out of nowhere…

*iPhone email tone…*

Cole is incredulous.  He says he can’t believe it – even though there’s a podium next to him that says it.  He gets up and says “may I have your attention please, I’ve just received an email from the anonymous Raw general manager…”  The email reads that the celebration is over and order and discipline will be restored next week for Cyber Monday.  The email tone goes off incessantly to end the show.

I guess this was fun to see Mercury and Noble bump around for Cena and Ziggler, but really it was all about the babyfaces getting a bit over after deposing the Authority.  Nothing really else to say about it to be honest. 

Hands down, this was the worst episode of Raw of 2014. They had such a great opportunity to capitalize on a fresh start without a heavy-handed heel authority figure and they just blew it.  They came back with a show that was extremely talk heavy, that did nothing to turn the page and move forward.  And now, with TLC only three weeks out, they’ve got to slam that December pay per view together as fast as possible so you know that’s going to end poorly.

Not to mention – they ended by bringing back the groan-inducing Anonymous Raw General manager gimmick.  Maybe this is just for Cyber Monday and it’ll go back away but none the less it feels like they took steps forward, then immediately gave them back.

Needless to say we’ll have a LOT to discuss on RingRap Audio this week.  Be sure to tell us what you think – in the poll on the main page, by Twitter @RingRap, or on Facebook (facebook.com/RingRap).  Thanks for following along.

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WWE Survivor Series 2014 Rumor Roundup

WWE’s Survivor Series airs tonight, LIVE in St. Louis, MO, and it’s one of the biggest WWE pay-per-views of the year.  With the WWE Network free this month, WWE is feeling the pressure to deliver something that will give people a reason to subscribe to the network and keep their subscription after the free month ends.  There are a ton of rumors circulating about the show tonight.  I’ve collected a number of the biggest rumors here.

Warning – if you do not want any spoilers for the event, please do not read past this point.

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WWE “Survivor Series” Live Coverage for 11/23/2014 – Team Cena vs. Team Authority, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt, Nikki Bella Challenges AJ for the Divas Championship, and More

Tonight, live from St. Louis, MO and FREE on WWE Network, it’s the WWE’s fall classic, Survivor Series.  It’s a battle for power as Team Cena takes on Team Authority, and if they lose, The Authority is no longer in power.  If you read the spoilers about certain appearances, there’s a lot that could happen in this match so watch for shenanigans.  AJ defends her Divas Championship tonight against Nikki Bella, Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt square off, and much more.  Here’s the full card:

Pre-Show:

Fandango (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. TBA

Main Card:

Goldust and Stardust (c) vs. The Usos vs. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Miz and Mizdow; WWE Tag Team Championship in a Fatal Four Way Match

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

AJ (c) vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella); WWE Divas Championship

Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi, and Natalya vs. Paige, Cameron, Layla, and Summer Rae; Divas Survivor Series Elimination Match

Team Authority – Seth Rollins, Kane, Rusev (w/Lana), Mark Henry and Luke Harper vs. Team Cena – John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Ryback, and Erick Rowan; Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match.  If Team Authority loses, they are out of power.  If Team Cena loses, all except John Cena are fired.

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Sting Makes His WWE Debut at Survivor Series

Well, it’s official – Sting has finally stepped into a WWE ring.  He made his long expected appearance this evening, after Triple H interfered in the Team Authority vs. Team Cena match at the end of the show.

After acting on behalf of Team Cena, Sting has placed himself in a position leading into a match with Triple H at some point down the road, possibly even Wrestlemania.

We’ll have plenty of coverage, including live WWE Raw coverage tomorrow night, and will update you as more information comes out.