The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #13
What happened to Daniel Bryan this week? Is CM Punk still functional after what Brock Lesnar did to him? How are The Shield and The Wyatt Family playing in to any of this? What are Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero doing as General Managers? Speaking of wrestling GMs, what new headaches did Bully Ray dream up for Hulk Hogan, and did they negatively affect Chris Sabin? With the Bound for Glory Series getting a full head of steam, can anybody catch up to Magnus’ almost insurmountable lead? Finally, with Matt Hardy finally cashing on his ROH World Heavyweight Championship shot, can a weakened Jay Briscoe stand up to the man that is supposedly “stronger than death”? With questions like that to answer, you know what this is.
A quick note to everybody that is unfamiliar with this column – I use the, “It’s still real to me,” system. What that means is that this column only deals with the wrestling that airs on TV. Any other wrestling news can go elsewhere, because sometimes, it’s nicer not to look behind the curtain.
– RAW opened with Brad Maddox in the ring. There was a table set up for a contract signing, and Maddox brought out John Cena. Maddox asked Cena why he chose Daniel Bryan as his opponent. Cena said it was because the fans wanted it. Maddox brought up all of the negative criticisms of Bryan, and that brought out DB. Bryan said that it sounded like Maddox didn’t think he deserved a shot, and Maddox asked Bryan why he thought Cena chose him. Cena eventually said that he chose Bryan for the title shot because Bryan had earned it, and deserved it, because Bryan was the best possible competition. Cena signed the contract, and Bryan signed it as well. Maddox tried to stop Bryan from saying anything, and eventually booked Bryan in a gauntlet series of matches. Later on backstage, Cena and Bryan talked about the gauntlet. As much as Cena tried to talk Bryan out of the matches, Bryan said that he could handle things, because he was going to prove that he deserves the title shot, and if Cena did anything, it proved that Cena didn’t really believe anything he said about Bryan. Elsewhere, HHH came and called out Maddox for being a talking head for Vince McMahon, and said that no matter what obstacles were put in Daniel Bryan’s way, he’d overcome them. Triple H used a train metaphor and left. Stephanie McMahon said she’s got an idea, but it isn’t fully fleshed out, but as long as Maddox was on board, she could help him. At the start of Bryan’s gauntlet match, Zeb Colter criticized what Texas had become, but said that they had Real Americans. Alex Riley was backstage with Brad Maddox after Bryan’s match with Cesaro, and Maddox said he’d wait to see how Bryan fared in his third match. After Ryback sent Bryan through a table, Cena came for the save. Backstage, Vince talked Brad Maddox in to making a match between Daniel Bryan and Kane.
– Mark Henry came out to the ring, dressed to compete, or to perform a beat-down at any rate. He said he was proud of many things, but he was not proud that The Shield managed to overcome him. He then called out The Shield, saying he was ready to give out a whuppin’ (sic) similar to the one he received. The Shield answered the challenge, surrounding the ring before attacking him. This time around, however, The Usos came out to make the save, and it was just enough to allow Henry to recoup. The fact that the numbers game was even forced Rollins and Ambrose to retreat, and just before Reigns took any heavy offense, Dean and Seth pulled Roman out of the ring. The Shield left through the crowd while Henry and The Usos stood tall.
– CM Punk was out wearing jeans and one of his own T-shirts. He talked about how Brock Lesnar beat him down on the previous RAW. He then noted that, no matter how hard Lesnar attacked him, he got up. He mentioned that he’s as injured as if he got in a car accident – but he’s still standing, because Lesnar cannot keep him down. He then said that, no matter what others say, Lesnar’s main power is fear. Punk said that that was not effective against him. He then said that Heyman, the man that started this, would regret his actions for the rest of his life. He then said that if Lesnar is a monster, then Lesnar is on Earth for the reason that every monster was on Earth – to be slaughtered. He finished by saying he wanted The Best versus The Beast. Paul Heyman came on via satellite, insulted Texas, and then said Punk was either a coward or a fool. Punk said that Heyman would find out which one of those he is at SummerSlam. Heyman equivocated a bit, but then accepted the challenge, but said that Punk wasn’t the Best, Brock Lesnar is.
– Zeb Colter was out with Jack Swagger, confused about his location because of all of the Latinos in the crowd. He accused random people in the crowd of being illegal immigrants, and said Sheamus was like them.
– Damien Sandow came out and gave a speech related to his Money in the Bank briefcase. He told the fans that he was going to free them from falsely anointed idols. He then called the crowd losers in an oblique way. He said that he would bear the burden of eliminating said idols not for himself, but for everybody else.
– On SmackDown, Damien Sandow gave a little speech before his Mr. Money in the Bank Showdown. During Sandow’s match against Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes came out and grabbed the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank case, costing Sandow the match. Cody then left with the briefcase. Later on, Sandow was walking backstage, holding a hurt shoulder, asking about Cody Rhodes – and more importantly, the whereabouts of his briefcase. He ran in to Sin Cara, who, of course, said nothing. Damien Sandow asked Booker T and Mark Henry if they’d seen him, but neither man knew anything, and Sandow made the faux pas of mentioning Booker’s former GM status. He then stormed in to Vickie’s office, demanding Cody Rhodes’ whereabouts, but Vickie said the most she could do was contact the authorities. Damien Sandow came out after the Christian/Swagger match to demand a microphone. He said he was issuing a warrant for Cody Rhodes for theft, but Cody came on to the screen and said he was on the shore of the gulf of Mexico. Sandow rushed out to where Cody was located. Sandow tried to placate Cody by being obsequious, but Cody just tossed the briefcase in to the harbor, which made Sandow call for help until he decided to risk drowning to get his briefcase, then realized that was a very bad idea. A shot showed the briefcase sinking beneath the brackish water, and then Sandow began to cry while coughing up water.
– CM Punk addressed the fans, talking about his relationship with Paul Heyman. He noted that Heyman told him to repeatedly exploit a weakness until the person was broken, and Brock Lesnar’s weakness was Paul Heyman. Heyman’s weakness was, in fact, Heyman’s ego. He said that Heyman may have supported Punk, but only because he knew Punk was going to succeed. As CM Punk detailed what he was going to do to Lesnar and Heyman, Fandango came out. Punk immediately attacked him, landed a GTS, and walked off.
– Vickie Guerrero was backstage, and Alberto Del Rio came in to the office to choose his own opponent, similar to how John Cena chose his opponent. Rob Van Dam interrupted them, and said that the answer was obvious. Del Rio said that RVD was crazy. Del Rio said that Van Dam had to prove his worth as a challenger. Van Dam said that that was a great idea, and promised to beat Del Rio.
– AJ Lee delivered a “State of Mind” address. She wanted to clarify that in spite of Kaitlyn and Dolph Ziggler’s actions, she was not a “gentle nudge” away from going off the deep end. She said that the Diva’s belt was keeping her sane, because it was never going to leave her. She had Dolph Ziggler’s house keys, and said that while she contemplated arson, she was ready to let go of them. Dolph came out and told AJ that the locks have been changed. AJ pointed out that she had Dolph’s suitcase, but Dolph said that everything was replaceable. She began to cut up all of his identification, destroy his money, and rip apart the suitcase, all while Dolph shrugged it off. AJ kept going more and more nuts, right until Kaitlyn speared her outside of the ring. As Langston went to help AJ, Langston ate a Rocker Dropper outside of the ring.
Minor – RAW & SmackDown
– On RAW, an interviewer was with Booker T and Teddy Long, and asked Booker about Vickie taking his spot. Booker said that he was taken aback by the situation, but Teddy aired his grievances. The two had a disagreement, and Teddy Long left.
– On RAW, Josh Matthews interviewed Ryback, saying he enjoyed intimidating others. Ryback proceeded to bully Matthews because he hates average and weak people. Matthews left, but not before saying, “Thank you.”
– RAW had a video featuring the Wyatt family, specifically their recent actions.
– On RAW, Miz TV featured the women slated to appear on Total Divas. One of the new women slapped Jerry Lawler.
– Bray Wyatt gave another nonsensical speech after giving Tensai his patented finisher, focused on Kane.
– Zeb Colter made another nationalistic speech on SmackDown, since Jack Swagger was facing Christian.
Alberto Del Rio def. Sheamus via pin fall after a roll-up on Sheamus’ hurt left leg
Christian def. Titus O’Neil (w/ Darren Young) via pin fall with a Kill Switch
Dolph Ziggler def. Darren Young via pin fall with a Zig Zag. After the match, Big E Langston attacked Dolph, but Ziggler managed to escape the assault.
Cody Rhodes def. Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) via pin fall after Cross Rhodes. Just before the end, Cody fought off an interference attempt from Damien Sandow with a Disaster Kick.
Rob Van Dam def. Wade Barrett with a Five Star Frog Splash
Daniel Bryan def. Jack Swagger via submission with a Yes! Lock
Daniel Bryan def. Antonio Cesaro via pin fall with a roll-up counter to the uppercut
Daniel Bryan def. Ryback via disqualification after Ryback put Bryan through a table
Sheamus def. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) via pin fall with a Brogue Kick
Sin Cara def. Drew McIntyre (w/ 3MB) via pin fall after the Rana DDT
Damien Sandow def. Justin Gabriel via pin fall after a Full Nelson Slam
Randy Orton def. Damien Sandow via pin fall with an RKO following distraction from Cody Rhodes
Mark Henry & The Usos def. The Prime Time Players & Wade Barrett via pin fall after a World’s Strongest Slam from Henry to Titus O’Neil
Alberto Del Rio def. Rob Van Dam via pin fall after a thrust kick to the face following a fake forfeit (in Spanish)
The Wyatt Family (Eric Rowan & Lou Harper) def. Tons of Funk via a running splash
Christian def. Jack Swagger via pin fall with the Kill Switch
– The way they built up Daniel Bryan’s title shot was great. Usually, the contract signing closes out the show, so for them to flip it around in order to let Bryan’s matches be the main event was great. Sure, he went up against two men that are basically jobbers, and then got demolished by getting slammed through a table, but it was still an effective way to prove that Bryan can cut it against a superhuman like John Cena. I also liked that we got to see Cesaro face off against Bryan, since both men made big impacts on independent wrestling before going to the WWE. They put on the match of the night, and the ending was great.
– Whether or not it was playacting or not, Sheamus’ real bruising allowed for a great in-match story wherein Del Rio did what he always does – targeting an injury, and using it for the victory.
– Titus O’Neil was allowed to have an actual match with a seasoned veteran. This works solely because Christian winning in a squash would have been completely ridiculous, and it allowed an up-and-comer to get showcased.
– Similarly, Darren Young got the chance to display his skills against a fairly popular worker. My thoughts about Christian and O’Neil’s match apply here.
– While I don’t quite like that Fandango went from a huge deal to being a prop for the Rhodes/Sandow rivalry, they really built the rivalry itself well, so I can forgive them. I really want to see how they develop the enmity between Cody and Damien.
– Punk’s fire during his speech was great. I absolutely loved how he built things, and I really began to think that he might have a chance against Brock Lesnar.
– If you’re going to give a returning veteran star an easy victory, you might as well make it against somebody who hasn’t meant anything in quite some time.
– Sheamus continued to play up his hurt leg in his match with Jack Swagger, with the announcers noting that he has yet to make a game plan that incorporates that injury. Of course, the bruise was still there, so acting like it didn’t bother him would have been ridiculous.
– The Sandow/Gabriel match was actually fairly competitive, but of course, the right man won here. With Main Event being the only WWE show on free TV, you have to make the people you’re pushing look good.
– The entire plot line of Sandow throughout the evening was straight up incredible. He went from being completely arrogant to completely broken. It allowed Sandow to save face, because he lost while focusing on the fact that a man was stealing his title shot contract. It also was the main showcase plot, opening and closing the night. It makes you want to watch all of next week, because you know the fallout is going to be throughout every show. Even the Booker T appearance and the Vickie Guerrero interaction made sense. Sure, at the end, Sandow was left broken and humiliated, because after all, what is a bad guy without comeuppance, but it was entertaining getting there.
– CM Punk’s appearance on SmackDown was effective. It let him have his say without Heyman interrupting him, and it also let him display that in spite of Lesnar’s attack, only a week and a half later, he was good to go again. Normally, I would have found the superfluous Fandango appearance as thoughtless, but here, it was good.
– Okay, is it just me, or is the new Dolph Ziggler still the old Dolph Ziggler, but this time with added #HEEL mannerisms to AJ Lee? Personally, I like it, if only because people shouldn’t change just because the fans suddenly like them or something. It’s kind of weird that he admitted that he could break US Customs & Border Patrol standards and laws if he wanted to, though.
– We got just enough of the Henry/Usos alliance without belaboring the point. Plus, once again, the Prime Time Players got showcased for whatever reason.
– I don’t care about Teddy Long. I understand Booker T’ feeling indignant about being replaced. Teddy Long should also be indignant about being forcibly removed from the building. However, there is absolutely no reason for any animosity between the two of them.
– Similarly, the Total Divas promo spot left me thinking that I’d rather watch Iron Chef America re-runs from before the Food Network was in HD.
– Of course, the McMahons and Triple H on the show always make me wish they’d done something better. If Triple H, Vince, and Stephanie can override him at a moment’s notice, Brad Maddox’s position as a General Manager means nothing.
– While I loved CM Punk’s part, Paul Heyman is slowly becoming a tired act. He doesn’t seem to have anything new to say any time that he comes out. While some might argue that that means that it’s because Heyman is consistent, I think it’s a waste of screen time if Heyman isn’t going to say anything new.
– Daniel Bryan specifically told Cena not to help him, and instead, he came out and challenged Ryback to a tables match because Ryback put Bryan through a table. Why Ryback accepted, given what happened the last time Cena took on Ryback in a tables match, is a total mystery. It’s like Ryback is trying to lose matches or something.
– Considering how easily Bryan handled Jack Swagger on RAW, the extended match Swagger had with Sheamus on Main Event did nothing for either man.
– The ring lighting during Sin Cara matches is something I will never like.
– With the way that they build up Justin Gabriel on Main Event, you have to wonder whether it’s going anywhere. The longer we only see him on the mid-week replacement for ECW/NXT, the longer it becomes clear that he’s just there for the high spot factor.
– What was the point of RVD’s appearance on the show? Honestly, if anybody else has ideas, I’d love to read them. It seemed to serve no purpose except to build up that Alberto Del Rio uses injuries – even ones that he fakes – in order to win matches. What’s the point of stalling a man’s comeback to prove something everybody already knows?
– The more that they build to some sort of mysterious attempt at capturing Kane’s attention, the more the Wyatts have me convinced that they aren’t going to matter in any major way beyond being present.
TNA & ROH Covered On Page 2