The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up Week #9 – WWE

So, what has the WWE been up to in the past week? Well, they had a Pay-Per-View, for starters, but of course, what happened during the fallout? Prepare to find out, because you know what time it is.

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The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up is not the typical wrestling news column. It is a combination of a recap of the stories that wrestling companies present during their broadcast, as well as analysis of those stories. Although match results will be mentioned, only aspects of said matches that pertain to the overall story that the company presents are included. With that being said, let’s get to the WWE section of the Wrap-Up!

WWE Payback, the WWE Payback logo, and the WWE logo © 2013 WWE, Inc. Used under fair use rules

WWE Payback, the WWE Payback logo, and the WWE logo © 2013 WWE, Inc. Used under fair use rules

WWE Championship – Three Stages of Hell: John Cena {C} def. Ryback 2-1
Lumberjack Match: Ryback via pin fall after lumber jack beat-down and a Shell Shock
Tables Match: John Cena via table break after countering a Shell Shock in to an Attitude Adjustment
Ambulance Match: John Cena via slamming Ryback through the ambulance roof to retain the WWE Championship
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Shield (Rollins & Reigns) {C} def. Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton via pin fall to retain the WWE Tag Team titles following miscommunication between Orton and Bryan that let Bryan eat a spear and a double stomp to the head
“Best In The World” Match: CM Punk def. Chris Jericho via pin fall after a double GTS
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler {C} via pin fall following repeated kicks to the head to become the NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose def. Kane via count-out following a DDT to the floor to retain the United States title
Divas Championship: AJ Lee def. Kaitlyn via submission with the Black Widow octopus hold following Kaitlyn missing a spear and hitting the corner turnbuckles to become the NEW DIVAS CHAMPION
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Curtis Axel def. Wade Barrett {C} and The Miz by pinning Barrett while Miz had Barrett in the Figure Four to become the NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION
Online Streaming Pre-Show: Sheamus def. Damien Sandow with a Brogue Kick after three Irish Curse back breakers

Cena vs Ryback: Well, they managed to make it so that Cena has the ire of the entire roster, or at least the members of the roster that were the lumberjacks. He dove in to all of them, and they proceeded to beat him down to the point where Ryback took the win when Cena has been booked as super human. It does leave the door open for practically anybody in that fray to be angry with Cena. Regarding the tables match and the Ambulance match, it was the exact same match, just with different objects. Ryback kept attacking Cena, Cena kept coming back from each assault, and eventually, Cena managed to counter an attack from Ryback to slam his opponent directly through a flat surface to gain the victory. The match itself was not exactly the greatest confrontation of all time, and the end of the Ambulance match brought back sour memories of Cena’s “embrace the hate” rivalry with Kane last year. Honestly, the real question is what’s next? Ryback did legitimately win one fall, but being slammed in to an ambulance after being the one that suggested the match is all kinds of humiliating. It also makes any argument you make for yet another title match all kinds of specious. Confusion abounds.

CM Punk vs Chris Jericho: As advertised, the Chicago crowd was on fire for Punk, so Jericho was forced to play up more of a villainous bent, being a little more strike-heavy than usual. Of course, Punk couldn’t just be the good guy, so Heyman played the dastardly manager, also as advertised. The tease that the match would end with a submission was incredibly well-done, with Jericho pulling out all the stops. Punk getting the Anaconda Vice out of nowhere was definitely an interesting transfer, although it seemed like Punk was basically killing time with a vain hope, knowing that only the GTS would truly end the match. Jericho almost escaping the loss via GTS by getting to a corner, only to eat a second one that dropped Jericho clean, was a great finish. Heyman’s bit in this really made it seem like Punk didn’t necessarily want or need Paul there, even though he was supposedly a Heyman guy. With Jericho only losing, fans were left to wonder where they go from here.

Believe in The Shield: The Shield defended their belts against both two long-time rivals, as well as a more recent opponent. Kane was allowed to step out on his own instead of being a foil to Daniel Bryan for the evening, taking on Dean Ambrose. The two had a match that was the low point of a night that actually didn’t have any out-and-out terrible matches. The only real issue was that the match was something that you could have put on TV, and fans would think it was good, so when they didn’t amp it up to something people pay extra to see, it became obvious that this was not a blow-off match. Ambrose winning was the right call here, but, similar to how Curtis Axel’s winning streak is a lot of count-out victories, it isn’t the best way to build a strong victor. As for the Tag Team championship match, all four men went out and really delivered, making it clear that The Shield is far better and far more competitive in tag team situations, while keeping Orton strong and making Daniel Bryan look like a star. This rivalry really did seem like The Shield was done with Bryan, specifically because of how they retained the titles. Orton costing Bryan a match multiple times in tag team situations really builds up what has already been happening between Bryan and Orton, and this just cements that Orton is the screw-up, but Bryan keeps eating the losses that Orton is causing. Personally, I hope that a rivalry with Orton is a way for the WWE to test Bryan’s ability to hold his popularity in a drawn-out rivalry with top talent in the company.

Ziggler vs Del Rio: Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. They booked the match in reverse of what you would normally expect for wrestling logic. Del Rio went after a very recent and devastating injury, exploiting it at every opportunity, while Ziggler kept fighting back and attempting to win. After the match, Del Rio was fairly smug about his victory, even telling the fans that he deserved the title, and Ziggler acted outright devastated. In fact, inconsolable might be the better word, since AJ came out to try and support him, in a little bit of odd parallelism between Ziggler and AJ’s opponent earlier in the night, Kaitlyn. This is basically kowtowing to the fan base which really wants to cheer Ziggler in spite of being the #HEEL, and which really preferred Del Rio as a rich, self-centered villain, who just happened to have an awesome ring announcer. The real issue is, what does this mean when Jack Swagger returns, is Dolph getting the Ryder Reality Check, and will Del Rio actually get a decent title run instead of a lackluster series of events this time around? I really feel like everybody’s going to come out of this the worse for it.

Kaitlyn vs AJ: So, with the “secret admirer” story having an obvious end in AJ setting up the whole thing just to tear down Kaitlyn, this really wound up being a decent match. Usually, a women’s match on the card would be the worst, and apparently, if Kaitlyn had her way, it would have been. But AJ made Kaitlyn’s performance look vicious. Of course, AJ got in plenty of offense, looking like her usual crazy self. When she got the win by submission, it was after repeated attempts to choke Kaitlyn to death (well, sort of), so it was definitely a logical end. Langston at ringside applauding AJ at the end was just enough icing on the cake to make the wound even deeper. Kaitlyn getting sympathy from the Diva’s roster (well, the face Diva’s roster) was one of the more interesting moments, especially since Kaitlyn was rightfully pissed at Natalya for encouraging continuing the secret admirer bit. The real issue is where we go from here.

Intercontinental Championship: For slotting in a competitor at the last minute, this was definitely an interesting way to go. There never really seemed to be a point during the match where it truly was never just a one-on-one situation, but rather each worker fighting the other two. Somehow, they managed to make it look like all three men could win at any point, even though both challengers seemed to want the prestige of beating the actual champion more than taking it away from the champ. There were times where that was possible, but the ending was creative. Having somebody in a submission position where they could get pinned was probably not the best decision on Miz’s part. However, it does mean that Miz can stay in the title picture, even though Barrett has a rematch.

Sheamus vs Damien Sandow: The fact that this was on the pre-show is a travesty, but it isn’t exactly all that surprising. This contest had the least build out of all the matches presented for Payback, and it was the only match besides the Punk/Jericho contest that didn’t involve a title. However, at some point, I really am beginning to view Sheamus as the bully against which he’s campaigning. He’s demeaning a man for trying to prove his intellectual superiority, so he basically bullied a bully, which really isn’t the solution to bullying. One wonders – what could Sheamus possibly do now? On the plus side, Sandow was allowed to look strong against him, and Sheamus hit three Irish Curse back breakers before feeling comfortable with hitting the Brogue Kick for the victory.

Announced Returns: Rob Van Dam’s return obviously over-shadows Mark Henry’s return, but that’s really only because Henry has only been gone for a few months, whereas Van Dam has been gone for seven years, and has wrestled in other companies in that time. While fans are probably excited because they may have not seen his recent just-average TNA X-Division work, it actually may work to Van Dam’s advantage to come back to the WWE. One just wonders whether he’s really going to make much of a difference in the company or not.

Night of Champions Comes Early: The WWE is using the title belts as the focus for most of the rivalries in the company, and although some may consider this sort of booking to be a crutch, it’s better than the alternative. At least all of the titles seem like worthwhile prizes, and it does mean that the WWE can promote Night of Champions by just saying, “Just look at Payback!” More to the point, with all of the titles on the line, the company seems like they’re trying to make all of them matter more. It’s definitely a plus. As a side note for Pay-Per-View names, why didn’t they just call this Vengeance? Seriously, it means the same thing as “payback”, and it sounds a lot cooler than the name of a Mel Gibson film where anti-heroes became celebrated characters.

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SIDE NOTE: Due to a potential change in my living conditions, I’m going to begin reporting in full only what the WWE presents with their Hulu Plus broadcasts of RAW, Main Event, and SmackDown, just to see if this column’s format still works with those conditions. I will attempt to convey second-hand accounts of anything that the WWE does not put online in the upcoming weeks. For this week, if there’s any minutiae I miss, feel free to mention it.

WWE Championship: John Cena was came out on RAW to a far more positive reaction than he has usually had, saying that Monday night is one day away from Tuesday, still The Champ. The announcers recapped the match at Payback, noting that Ryback is not cleared to be on RAW. He did a cookie cutter speech about how he loves the WWE and all of its aspects, including the WWE Universe and the fans’ honesty, how he was going to speak to his supporters, with all of his history for the past sixteen months, because THE CHAMP IS HERE. He said he felt as good as he’s ever been, and that he can take any challenge thrown his way, because at Money in the Bank, he knows who his next challenge will be. He declared that there will be no opportune time to cash in against him, because he will always be ready. The next person to be the champion will earn it. However, that brought out Mark Henry, dressed in regular attire. He set his wrestling boots on the stage before going to the ring. He said Cena could drop his guard, but that he wanted Cena to stay, because he had something he wanted to say to everybody. He gave a heartfelt speech, saying he respected everybody that worked for the WWE because he knows how difficult it is. He mentioned that he was a seasoned veteran 11 years ago, when Cena debuted. Henry said that at the rate that Cena is going, he’s going to be the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Henry said his only regret was that he never won the title that Cena has, but he’s happy with his success. He then said that he was out to formally retire from the active roster in the WWE. He held the title up to the fans’ cheers and then said a small town Texas boy done proud. He gave the belt back to Cena because it’s something that is earned. He said he was glad for the chance he had to be in the WWE, and is proud of everything he’s done. He told his wife she’ll be seeing more of him than she might want, and tolds his son and his daughter (but not Mae Young) that he’s coming home. Cena raised his arm. And then Henry pulled the swerve by planting Cena with the World’s Strongest Slam. He pulled off the jacket and tie, ripped open the shirt, and yelled, “You think it’s that easy? I’ve got a lot more left in the tank!” As he got to the top of the tank, he yelled, “That’s what I do!” Henry gave an interview where he called everybody puppets, and then challenged John Cena to a match for the WWE Championship, and one of his new boots was going in to Cena’s rear end.
My Thoughts: Just to start off, I was not cleaning up the language. Henry did actually say “rear end”. As for the rest of this situation, it seems that they decided to actually have Ryback in the hospital to push the reset button. All the rumors were that, had they not decided to use Ryback as Cena’s post-Mania opponent, we were going to get Mark Henry challenging for the belt. Whatever reason they had for putting Henry against Sheamus instead, it obviously no longer exists, so it’s on. Honestly, this is quite possibly one of the best reasons for going after the WWE Championship that the writers could have had. Henry pulling the fake retirement and consistently reiterating that the title that Cena holds is the only one in the WWE that he has never held (well, for which he’s eligible, at any rate) was kind of hinting that Henry would like to challenge Cena. The fake retirement was quite possibly the scene of the night.

World Heavyweight Championship/CM Punk: Ricardo Rodriguez came out to announce the NEW World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio. He got a mixed reaction, and they showed pictures of Del Rio exacerbating Dolph Ziggler’s head injury. Del Rio made allusions to the new Man of Steel movie, and Ricardo announced him a second time. Del Rio then began to justify his actions at Payback, noting that Ziggler did the same thing to him, and eventually stating that fighting for the American dream still left his heritage disrespected. He went so far as to call the fans cowards and pigs. He gave the fans a second chance, which brought out CM Punk with Wolverine muttonchops, with Paul Heyman following him out. Punk noted that the last time he and Del Rio were in the ring was when Punk won the WWE Championship to start the 435 day reign. Punk eventually made a challenge for Del Rio, and though Heyman and Del Rio tried to stop the match from happening, newly fair and balanced RAW Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero came out and made the match the main event. CM Punk eventually told Paul Heyman that he wasn’t Heyman’s client, even though he would always be a Paul Heyman guy. Later, Heyman told Punk that he understood Punk’s feelings, but that he loved Punk, and that Punk was the best in the world. In the match, Punk was showing that he clearly felt the after-effects of what amounted to a war against Chris Jericho at Payback, but Punk was far more skilled than Del Rio was expecting. Del Rio took the count out loss, which left the window open for Dolph Ziggler to attack Del Rio from out of nowhere, chasing him out of the arena. Punk gladly took the win, right up until Brock Lesnar came out to the ring, teased that he was going to say something, and then hit an F5. On SmackDown, Chris Jericho came out to compete against Del Rio. Eventually, Del Rio got put in the new Walls of Jericho, and when Ricardo tried to interfere, he got put in the old Walls of Jericho. Dolph Ziggler, seeing an opening, attacked Del Rio, causing the DQ. Dolph at a Codebreaker for his trouble, and then Alberto and Ricardo teamed up so that Del Rio could boot Dolph in the face. Paul Heyman was asked to explain what happened between Brock Lesnar and CM Punk, but Heyman was a total douche before saying that things between him and CM Punk were now of a personal nature.
My Thoughts: That was completely unexpected, as far as who would show up to shove Del Rio’s tongue back down his throat. The fact that they brought up that CM Punk’s historic title reign started with a victory over Alberto Del Rio was a nice nod to history. Making a match because of it was quite possibly the least expected result. On the other hand, when somebody says that they’re the best in a WWE ring, CM Punk is not far behind. The Lesnar attack was fairly obvious, but that it happened that night meant that Heyman had already planned for every contingency. The fact that Heyman refused to talk about the actions of one of his clients because it involved on of his friends was definitely a curiosity. This is probably the most intriguing rivalry we’ve had for Lesnar since Lesnar came back a little over a year ago. As for the World Heavyweight title scene, having Ziggler kept out of the ring because he’s hurt is one of the strangest things that they could have Del Rio handle. For whatever reason, he seems fine sitting on his laurels until the rematch can happen. With what Del Rio did on SmackDown, that rematch seems to be a long ways off yet. The story has the potential to get fairly old fairly fast if Ziggler truly is not cleared to work. One hopes, both because of the man, but also because of the man’s health, that Ziggler actually is over his concussion, and everything from Payback on is a work.

Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett was out to get his rematch for the belt. However, Vickie Guerrero instead brought out Christian, who got a big reaction. Wade was highly displeased, and really laid in to Captain Charisma when he got the chance. However, Christian’s time off didn’t mean he’d lost a step, and even seemed better than before. He eventually hit a Kill Switch to get the victory. Later on in the show, Curtis Axel was in yet another match against Sin Cara, with The Miz on commentary. Axel won in quick fashion, with The Miz looking on and continuing to build his chase for the title belt. Barrett wound up getting his actual rematch on SmackDown. Miz was once again on commentary. Axel won the match after Barrett missed a high-angle elbow drop, leading Wade to bail to the back to get a trainer to check his arm. That allowed Miz to step in to the ring to face off with Axel. Miz even began to ready himself to fight, but Paul Heyman backed Axel out of the ring. Heyman even yelled, “My clients do not fight for free.” As he was the man left standing in the ring, The Miz’s music played as Axel and Heyman retreated to the back.
My Thoughts: Well, that’s one way to make the former champion look completely and utterly ineffective. First, they take away his rematch. Then, when they give it to him, the champion wins in a fashion that is practically clean. Part of me thinks that Barrett is looking at his career, then looking at Daniel Bryan’s career, and wondering what the hell happened between NXT and now that led to their fates being so reversed. Miz may be good at the booth, but I really don’t know if I care for him anywhere beyond that. As for Curtis Axel, he started out as a joke, but if this continues, I definitely will appreciate the possibility that the title will have legitimacy added to it.

The Shield: Dean Ambrose once again defended his title belt against Kane on RAW. Kane went in to a heavy offensive against Ambrose early in the match, really smashing Ambrose about. Kane pulled out his trademark moves fairly quickly, hitting the sidewalk slam and the top rope clothesline early on. That obvious advantage led to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns intervening. That caused the disqualification, giving Kane the victory, but letting Ambrose keep the belt. Kane took the three-man power bomb. Vickie confronted them, but The Shield brushed them off. Before Vickie could do anything, Vince McMahon paid the group compliments, saying that he liked them, unlike Kane. The team was in the opening bout of Main Event, taking on The Usos and Justin Gabriel in a victorious contest, albeit one that resulted specifically because the Usos and Gabriel did not regularly team together. The match itself had the Usos and Gabriel seemingly on top of most of the contest, and only ended because Gabriel stayed on the top rope for too long, letting Ambrose hang him up on the top rope and hitting the STO DDT. On SmackDown, the Shield surrounded Christian after his match, hitting the three-man power bomb.
My Thoughts: The fact that they basically destroyed two veterans of the Attitude Era really speaks to just how much the WWE is putting behind them. The fact that varying members of the McMahon family either are targeting them or supporting them is a strange situation. The Shield never seems to be at the center of any story that has them involved. I may be misremembering, but the only time they were the true central point of a story was when they were gunning for the titles, and right after they won them. They are now once again just sort of everywhere, causing the havoc that they call justice. Don’t get me wrong, it works because of what The Shield is, but it’s still a little crazy.

Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton: Due to fallout from Orton leaving Bryan high and dry at Payback, Vickie Guerrero booked a match between the two. Kane came to talk to Daniel Bryan, but Bryan didn’t want to hear anything, saying he was going to prove he wasn’t the weak link. Kane said that maybe both of them losing was a sign that Team Hell No needed another shot. Bryan said he needed to prove himself, and to do so, he needed to win the WWE Championship. Kane said he needed to win the title, too. Kane asked if this was it, and Bryan said he didn’t know. Kane wished Bryan good luck, and Bryan took offense. People with the WWE App chose the stipulation – No Disqualification. Orton quickly tried to best Bryan at his own game, going technical, which quickly backfired. Bryan used the stipulation by being able to go for submissions without worrying about rope or corner breaks. Meanwhile, Orton fought dirty because he was allowed to do so. Eventually, Randy Orton got so brutal that he hit a punt directly to Daniel Bryan’s nether regions, dropping Bryan to the floor. That brought out the doctor, who ended the match even though Bryan wanted to keep going. Orton helped Bryan to his feet after the match, apparently just as surprised that the match ended via decision. Bryan opened the show on SmackDown, stating that he did not want to give up, but the doctor, the officials, and Randy Orton were to blame for ending the match. Bryan eventually said that he was going to beat Randy Orton. That brought out Orton, who wanted to clarify that the match ended because people were concerned for his well-being. Randy clarified that he respected Bryan. Bryan stated that he didn’t want to be patronized. Orton said that if Bryan wanted it so badly, he’d get it – and he’d be leaving their match on a stretcher. Their match was highly physical, with Orton seeming like he was trying to injure Bryan, while Bryan was just pulling out all the stops. The match ended when Bryan managed to get out of the RKO, then repeatedly knocked Orton to the ground on the outside. Bryan managed to barely score a count-out victory, but closed the show refusing to win that way, demanding to re-start the match while Orton looked on.
My Thoughts: Well, if you didn’t think Daniel Bryan was crazy before, you probably didn’t start now, because this was pretty much par for the course for the former American Dragon. However, the plot continues to thicken, because they clearly want Orton and Bryan to have a match at Money in the Bank. Whether they’re going to have Bryan go completely crazy and try to get the fans to boo him, or of Orton is going to truly be the Viper and become as venomous as his moniker implies, somebody is going to become a heel here. I’m hoping that it’s going to be Orton, because Bryan seems like he can do no wrong, so if Bryan really does become the villain, the fans are probably going to cheer the man anyway.

The Divas: AJ came out on RAW and had a promo, mentioning that Dolph Ziggler was once again not medically cleared to appear with the greatest Diva’s Champion of all time. She said she’s always been the champion – she just has proof now. She recounted how she defeated Kaitlyn, and says that because she knows how to get what she wants, which makes her a hero. She asked any woman in the back to come out if they thought that she was a fraction of the woman she was. That brought out Stephanie McMahon. She congratulated AJ on her victory, but called what AJ did to Kaitlyn degrading to women everywhere. Stephanie then told AJ to act like a champion. AJ agreed, and said that instead of dating superstars, she should marry one – not to mention the daddy issues. Stephanie called AJ unoriginal, but AJ defended her originality. Stephanie came back by saying that nobody does crazy like a McMahon. AJ said that the only reason Stephanie was out was because AJ was her, but younger. Stephanie threatened to fire AJ. Before AJ could reply, that brought out pretty much every diva but the Bellas. Kaitlyn congratulated AJ, and but Stephanie said that while she got a bye this time, none of the Divas should interrupt her again. Kaitlyn basically said that AJ broke her – far more verbosely – and now it was her turn. She attacked Kaitlyn, and Big E grabbed AJ when Lee bailed. AJ screamed as he took her away. On Main Event, Kaitlyn took on Aksana in a rematch from SmackDown, with Kaitlyn once again trying hard to keep her cool. Aksana began to wrestle dirty, but started to run any time that Kaitlyn seemed to have the advantage. The moment Kaitlyn got on offense she got a little wild, and blasted Aksana with a spear to get the win. On SmackDown, AJ took on Natalya, with Natalya being far more technically sound against the champion, even getting an early submission attempt. However, even after dominating most of the match, AJ managed to get out of an airplane spin and hit the octopus hold for the win. Following the match, Aksana confronted Kaitlyn backstage and called her trash, leading to Kaitlyn freaking out and the Divas separating them.
My Thoughts: AJ is arrogant, flippant, and all kinds of crazy. Stephanie McMahon pointing out all of that, and letting the fans know that, yeah, the whole “mystery romance” angle was degrading to women (but did it anyway) was curious. The fact that Stephanie was telling AJ to act like a champion was a bit odd. One – wait, no, THREE of the men holding titles (The Shield) used underhanded tactics in the run-up to their title victories, and two other champions (Curtis Axel and Alberto Del Rio) won their belts via questionable means. So after which champions does Stephanie want AJ to model herself? Other divas have won the title by similarly underhanded means. Can we ever forget Mickie James as a fangirl turned romantically obsessed stalker? Well, since she’s in TNA, yeah, we really can’t mention her, but there are plenty of Diva’s and Women’s champions who won and kept the belt via questionable means. Threatening to fire AJ for behaving in a manner that is actually in accordance with the behavior of many past (and a few current) champions was a bit over the top. As for Kaitlyn’s slow degeneration in to a mass of anger and rage, methinks that we’re going to get Kane and Doctor Shelby intervening at some point in the future.

Vickie Guerrero’s Desperation: Vickie tried to make some big impacts with her announcements. She made the main event, and brought back Christian. She tried to gain Triple H’s approval, but he sort of shot those things down. He then asked that Vickie handle The Shield, before sarcastically complimenting the inclusion of 3MB in the show. The announcers highlighted Vickie’s lack of action during the match between Kane and Dean Ambrose. She was completely ineffective when she tried to take action, due to Vince McMahon’s intervention. Vince McMahon asked Vickie what she was going to do about the Cena/Henry situation, and Vickie said that she was going to book the match between Henry and Cena for Money in the Bank. Before Vickie could respond, Stephanie came in and told Stephanie the show was a disaster. Triple H intervened and chastised her for not dealing with The Shield. Triple H told her to listen to him, Vince told her to listen to him, and Stephanie acted chummy, telling Vickie to listen to her. Vickie looked incredibly uncomfortable.
My Thoughts: Dear Lord, how have they managed to make the most over heel in the WWE (for a time, she really was) the most sympathetic character on the show? Sure, she’s a little sycophantic, but come on, her bosses are domineering egomaniacs. If she wasn’t being obsequious, she would probably be out of a job. I almost feel sorry for Vickie, especially since Brad Maddox is trying to rise in the ranks by stepping on her toes. I felt like I was watching a real-life version of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens – “Don’t listen to him, you listen to me.” “Don’t listen to him, you listen to me.” Stephanie as the true villain of the evening was a little odd, but it worked well enough. I do wonder to whom Victoria ultimately decides to listen.

Antonio Cesaro’s New Manager: On RAW, Zeb Colter introduced himself as Antonio Cesaro’s manager, because Cesaro has the same values as he and Jack Swagger do. On Main Event, Zeb Colter called out Sin Cara for wearing a mask. He said Cesaro had sworn off his foreign values for American values, and had something Sin Cara never had – pride. Cesaro said, “We the people,” before starting the match. During the match on Main Event, the announcers pointed out the strangeness of Colter allying with Cesaro. The match itself allowed Sin Cara to showcase himself, while Cesaro began to rely heavily on Colter’s advice. Eventually, Cesaro put him away with the gorilla press European uppercut and the Neutralizer.
My Thoughts: When the announcers pointed out that this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever at least got that out of the way early on. Now that they have established that Zeb Colter is crazier than the Planet of the Apes, this should be interesting. It is true that Antonio Cesaro went ultra-American the moment that he won the United States championship. It is also true that he claimed to represent America better than American-born Americans. It may be crazy, but it’s a crazy that makes sense.

Other Stuff: Rob Van Dam is returning at Money in the Bank, and his theme music is apparently going to be “One of a Kind”. It definitely suited him better than anything else he used, even Pantera’s “Walk”. The Wyatt family had yet another promo video. As far as stuff I haven’t mentioned, the Hulu version of RAW excluded matches between Sheamus and Team Rhodes Scholars (in a continuation of the Sandow/Sheamus rivalry), Antonio Cesaro and William Regal (with Zeb Colter accompanying Cesaro), and Chris Jericho and Heath Slater (the promised 3MB appearance, which makes sense given that Jericho is actually a rock star whereas Slater and 3MB are just rock stars in their heads). They were, according to reports, all basically squashes. On Main Event, the announcers’ table had The Miz, Josh Matthews, Cody Rhodes, and Cody Rhodes’ Moustache (yes, Rhodes insisted that the ‘stache be introduced separately). Sheamus took on Cody Rhodes on SmackDown, winning with the Cloverleaf before Damien Sandow blindsided him. Christian had a match on SmackDown against Drew McIntyre in a winning match, handling the distractions of both Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. Christian also told the SmackDown crowd that he was glad to be back before the Shield attacked him.
My Thoughts: Well, good to know that even Hulu thinks three hours is too long. It’s also interesting to see what the WWE production team believes is the most important part of the show. When they omit people like Sheamus, what they do include must be a big deal. I definitely like the fact that they excluded throwaway matches in favor of a real story with the divas. As for RVD – the constant reminder that he’s going to come back at Money in the Bank is okay, but if it’s just video packages instead of RVD himself talking for the entire time before the pay-per-view, it could get old really fast.

 And so concludes the WWE section of the Wrap-Up. Have anything with which you disagree? Think my format could do with a change? Do you have any other comments? Post them below! Also, feel free to check out the other half of this week’s report HERE →.

Nicholas Villarreal

Game Review/News Editor at iGame Responsibly
Nicholas Villarreal is a seasoned writer on the staff of iGame Responsibly, covering breaking news, as well as game reviews.

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