The show opened with Vickie Guerrero revealing she'd been placed in charge tonight, and (re?)booking an 11 on 3 handicap tag team match for the main event with the Shield vs. Triple H's midcard heel posse. Of note, while he was part of the original 11 on 3 group, Александър Русев was nowhere to be found tonight, replaced by Heath Slater.
Vickie then hosted the Great Debate between Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman. Colter's heartfelt plea of how he had guided Cesaro to greatness couldn't sway Heyman, who countered by saying that at Wrestlemania, Brock Lesnar conquered the streak. Repeatedly. Cesaro, for what it's worth, looked quite pleased to have Heyman talking happily about anything but him. Colter took umbrage with that, so Heyman switched it up and actually sang Cesaro's praises for once, though it was revealed that Colter was the one who snuck Cesaro into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. At least, according to Colter.
Colter and Heyman needed to be separated by officials, leading to the Cesaro/Swagger match. Cesaro pulled off a nice springboard uppercut in the match. After a Tiger Bomb and a giant swing, Cesaro won with the Neutralizer. After the match, though, the Shield made their presence felt, further decimating Swagger with a triple powerbomb.
A promo package for Paige set up her title defense at Extreme Rules. Afterwards, Tamina defeated Natalya with a superkick.
Backstage, 3MB was confronted and assaulted by the Shield. After Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre were thrown into a wall and missed the conveniently set up clangy poles, Dean Ambrose helpfully reached back to grab them and pull them over so they could fill their purpose. After this attack, Vickie Guerrero was called by Triple H and told to take the night off as she was losing control, with Brad Maddox appointed in her stead. Maddox fared no better, with the Shield attacking him in his office. When Rollins went to stomp on the downed Maddox, Ambrose held him back, so that he could instead leap over the sofa himself to attack the Raw GM.
Curtis Axel w/The Ryback defeated Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso, via his finisher. There was no attack by the Shield on Rybaxel after the match, though later in the show the commentators talked about Curtis Axel being found in the back beaten up off-camera.
Bray Wyatt cut a promo inside a steel cage in the ring, first talking about the power of love, before bragging about how the fans were turning on John Cena and wanted him to suffer. He told Cena to stop underestimating him, to stop viewing him as a man when he was so much more. Afterwards, Harper and Rowan defeated the Rhodes Brothers via Harper discus clothesline on Goldust. Harper set it up by shoving Goldust into Cody while Cody was perched on the top rope preparing to take out Rowan. The dissension will continue!
Santino Marella and Emma were set to face Fandango and Layla, but during Fandango's entrance the Shield met him on the stage, then triple powerbombed him off of it.
Thus, by the time the Shield was done, it was left as only a 5 on 3 handicap match, against The Ryback, Bad News Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, Titus O'Neil, and Damien Sandow. This was not that much of a handicap in the end, with the Shield dominating most of the match. Towards the end as the Shield was taking out Sandow, O'Neill and The Ryback, Del Rio and Barrett decided to take a powder, heading back up the ramp. Reigns caught up to them to lay out Del Rio with the Superman Punch, leaving Barrett as the only one to escape. Sandow took the spear to finish the match, and everyone left at ringside were further beaten down by the Shield, leaving them standing tall at the end of the show.
I'm willing to wager that Александър Русев wasn't there last night specifically because The Shield was being booked to win the match and stand tall at the end, which would interfere with the Bulgarian Brute's push. Makes sense.
"Has it never occured to anyone that maybe Kane attacked him, because no one likes The Miz?" --John Bradshaw Layfield, RAW 10/28/13
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As Cubs pointed out last week, Русев should not have been part of the Shield situation. Glad to see they retconned him out for Sandow, but there was no good reason at all for him to have been part of it in the first place.
Also noted that Bad News Barrett appropriately absconded to the backstage without getting a Shield beatdown.
Seems like almost the entire show was about Shield beatdowns, which gave it an oddly unified quality. Enjoyed the Bray Wyatt promo very much; I thought it had some interesting callbacks to classic Ultimate Warrior rants. Grandiose, mystical and obscure, but somewhere in there setting up a PPV match.
Your ideas intrigue me. I actually would like to see the WWE competing on Gladiators, particularly if they confine it to NBC. And as long as we don't get poorly-cut, long winded promos on Raw that put hot crowds to sleep. So maybe not.