Well, Daniel Bryan was on fire tonight. He took his usual hot-tag segment and kicked it up to a new level, with the insanity from his Swagger match on Friday carrying over as he was on a serious roll. There was a huge german suplex on Rollins, and a counter I've never seen before when Rollins tried to steal his surfboard hold and Bryan sat up while it was applied and he was being held in the air. Hell No lost the title match, but it really looks like they have something in mind for Bryan in the future.
Curtis Axel continued to pick up victories over top-level talent in non-committal fashion. He beat Triple H last week by forfeit without even being seen on camera for the last few minutes of the show, and tonight he beat John Cena by count-out when Cena was distracted by an ambulance and forgot that Axel existed to go investigate, which might have been forgivable had not the commentary team forgotten about him too, not even remembering that a match was going on until the ring announcer said Axel won. At least Cena didn't go back to the ring to hit a post-match AA like I worried he would. Axel was hanging in in the ring, he looked like he belonged, but so far this is the exact opposite of the Shield in terms of decisive wins. And when you look at the Shield, what was done there worked.
Punk vs. Jericho was booked for Payback. I wouldn't be surprised if Punk doesn't show up, but we'll see. Should be another good match if he does come.
Cena vs. The Ryback has been changed to a Three Stages of Hell match. Though these aren't the Three Stages I remember. It's Lumberjack, Tables and Ambulance. When's the last time there was a Lumberjack match for the WWE Title on PPV? And they're just going to shoo all the Lumberjacks away after that first fall?
Natalya lost in her hometown, as we would expect. The Bellas made her cry after the match too. Meanwhile, the Celtic Vipers beat the Rhodes Scholars to stake a claim at a tag title match, presumably at Payback. Orton will face Ambrose in a non-title match on Smackdown. Alberto Del Rio beat Big E Langston after failed AJference, and there appeared to be dissension among the ranks between the Twitter besties afterwards.
It was Bret Hart Appreciation Night in Calgary! If you had the WWE App, that is, to watch the post-show ceremony. Or, if you're in Canada! The Score stuck with Raw after it went off the air to show the ceremony, which featured talk with Jerry Lawler, Pat Patterson, Chris Jericho (who revealed that he came up with the La Magistral cradle finish for a Bret/Bulldog matchup on PPV), Shawn Michaels (who wasn't booed, to even his surprise) and Vince McMahon. Afterwards the whole roster, plus Lance Storm, gave Bret an ovation from the stage.
I was there live! Was nice to watch Raw and have to only deal with 2 mentions of the WWE ap (playing Nattie's cake thing, Vince during Bret Appreciation). Very refreshing.
That was a pretty good show, last week's was horrid so I wasn't looking too forward to tonight. The lack of WATCH THE BELLAS WATCH THE SHOW YOU'RE WATCHING RIGHT NOW ON THE WWE AP! probably helped too. I had great seats, was right next to the barricade of the entrance ramp (left side of the screen) so I got to touch me some 'rasslers. Randy Orton seemed to go much lighter on the baby oil. Was actually a nice moment with him, he was slapping our hands and this little kid next to me tried to get in on it but Randy missed him. He was sulking away when Randy noticed, called him back & gave him a low five. Respect to the viper. The divas look even hotter up close. Naomi looked a lot better and AJ was fucking insanely gorgeous.
Was hard to hear a lot of the interviews (both in-ring and tron) from my location, WWE is also apparently very protective of their barricades- security cunts would make us stay over a foot away most times ("Foot off the mat!!!).
Daniel Bryan is over as all fuck. Not just the YES chants (which happened before the show started too), but several "Daniel Bryan" chants also. That was a really fun match, MOTN. There was a big fight in the crowd during the main, a lot of us stopped paying attention to the match during it. Ambrose was also pretty over as was the usual suspects (Jericho, Natalya). Last time Raw came it was a very pro-Cena crowd, so I was a bit surprised it was back to the Canadian standard.
Bret Appreciation was fun, there were a few "You screwed Bret" chants towards HBK from the video segment earlier but it was pretty positive. Also on the stage was "Shut Up" Renee Young.
Heyman was awesome during the Highlight Reel. "This is my favourite suit, I wore it again tonight because I respect you so much!"
Originally posted by MossThe lack of WATCH THE BELLAS WATCH THE SHOW YOU'RE WATCHING RIGHT NOW ON THE WWE AP! probably helped too.
That was true on the live broadcast as well. They're finally starting to get a handle on how to actually plug the app during the show (although I can still think of like six ways they could be doing it better), using it to get a very quick talking point in before cutting back to the match in progress, which is much more likely to actually interest people in the app content. I thought the first two hours of the show were actually really good, the best RAW's been in months. For starters, we seem to have cut way, way down on recap packages. The tag match was great, and I don't know who wouldn't be behind Daniel Bryan at this point. I thought the third hour dragged a bit, but that may have just been a result of it being the third hour, as I didn't think anything offensive happened in it. It just kind of sat there to me.
WWE Creative (via the Bellas and Katelyn's mistaken Spear) gave crybaby Natalya a hilarious hometown birthday present. Pinned and serenaded by the Bellas on Bret Hart Appreciation Night! No doubt this will be fodder for Total Divas on E!
I also appreciated the cut to Bret Hart talking to Curtis Axel immediately after Natalya lost, where Bret either wasn't watching or didn't care (both).
Another outstanding match from The Shield. I can't get tired of Bryan and Rollins in the ring together. And if the Shield's next tag defense is against Whitesnake (TM John O.), let Bryan return to singles competition against the 8 zillion heels running around WWE right now, while he's on fire. (and don't turn him heel again vs. Kane!) Kofi/Ambrose was good stuff too.
I haven't actually seen the Bray Wyatt gimmick yet, just read about it and seen some pictures of him and his Hawaiian shirt, but that video was excellent and creepy.
Apparently Axel's gimmick is indeed to win main event matches by countout to some of the biggest names around, as his opponent gets distracted by something else outside the ring and forgets about him.
Heyman's Highlight Reel interview was great too. I figured it was going to set up Jericho-Axel as Chris' latest I Put Over Young Superstars project, but I'm perfectly happy with my two favorite wrestlers feuding again, with a flipped heel/face dynamic. Also, pretty much at the exact moment they were talking about Punk watching RAW at home on his couch in Chicago, he tweeted this:
Originally posted by Amos CochranWait'll you see Wyatt on a live mic and in the ring. Rotunda's got this character down so much that they'll have to actively try if they want to screw it up.
His biggest problem is that the gimick plays fantastic to the NXT crowd, which is the same small group of people every week that know what they're getting into. How it will translate to a few thousand people in a huge arena that are only half paying attention to the show is a bigger question. It bombed on his house show trial run, so we'll see.
I do think it will come across better on TV, and it's fantastically done if they give him the freedom to do it. Plus having Harper and Rowan with him will help him get it over faster.
Line of the night:
"We all forgot about Curtis Axel." - Michael Cole, minutes after Axel's career defining win over John Cena.
I can't get enough of Bray Wyatt's entrance music. It sounds so thoroughly NOT like WWE's generic usual rock music that it completely makes his character.
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
The Quick and Dirty for WWE SmackDown! 12.19.08 from Baltimore, MD. - The show opens with a recap of Jeff Hardy's epic win at Armageddon. Jeff comes out to the super-special champ treatment, with confetti and pyro everywhere.