Last night’s episode of WWE RAW was an above-average show with a below-average conclusion. While it may be best to remember that last night’s conclusion was not really an ending so much as a piece of a continually developing story, having to watch Triple H grasp for crowd sympathy for the second night in a row is a tough pill for virtually any wrestling fan to swallow.
Quick results are as follows:
- Ryback challenged John Cena to an Ambulance Match for the Payback pay-per-view.
- The Miz and Chris Jericho def. Wade Barrett and Fandango when Miz forced Barrett to tap to the Figure Four. Fandango spent most of the match dancing with Summer Rae at ringside.
- Sheamus def. Titus O’Neil with the Brogue Kick. O’Neil looked very impressive in the match.
- Paul Heyman introduced the world to his new client, Curtis Axel, a repackaged Michael McGillicutty named for his father, Curt Hennig, and grandfather, Larry “The Axe” Hennig.
- Big E Langston def. Alberto Del Rio with the Big Ending following an assist from AJ Lee.
- AJ Lee def. Layla via the Black Widow submission.
- Cody Rhodes def. Zack Ryder with the Disaster Kick. Following the match, Ryback assaults Ryder and stuffs him into an ambulance.
- The Shield def. Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston when Roman Reigns pins Kane following the Spear. This match is well worth taking the time to watch on YouTube.
- Randy Orton def. Jack Swagger with an RKO.
- Curtis Axel def. Triple H when Triple H is declared unable to compete mid-match.
Now, on to full results:
WWE RAW opens with an Ambulance pulling into the arena, which draws a weird pop from the crowd. Ryback emerges from the back of the ambulance, and following a quick recap of the Last Man Standing Match from last night, Ryback delivers a halfway decent promo. Ryback notes that he doesn’t care what the people think anymore because he has nothing in common with the people. The people want to be like John Cena, and it’s pathetic as they never can be, because they’re lazy, uneducated, and know nothing about nutrition (yeah, he said that, and yes, it was kinda funny). Ryback challenges John Cena to an Ambulance Match for Payback. For once in a long time, no one interrupts an opening promo, and probably for the first time ever, Ryback does some good heel mic work to kick off RAW.
Tag team action up next as Fandango teams with Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett to challenge The Miz and Chris Jericho. About a quarter of the way through the match, Fandango’s music hits and he spends the rest of the match dancing with Summer Rae on the outside. Miz and Jericho control Barrett and finish him off with a Codebreaker into the Figure Four Leglock. Following the match, Miz and Jericho try to pincer Fandango, but Fandango bolts through the crowd, knocking a fan over as he runs from ringside. Summer Rae and Jericho have another close moment, but Jericho tells her to talk to the hand after he laughs in her face.
Vickie Guerrero’s shrill “Excuse me!” rings through the arena as the Managing Supervisor makes her way to the ring. Guerrero has determined that Swagger will compete later tonight in a match determined by WWE fans, with the votes being cast for The Great Khali, R-Truth, or Randy Orton via the WWE App. You can probably guess who won the voting here.
Backstage now with Daniel Bryan and Kane, and Bryan is fuming. “I’m not the tag team champions, you’re not the tag team champions, we’re not the tag team champions,” Bryan says, and he notes that he feels naked without the title. Kane points out that he isn’t wearing a shirt or pants, and Bryan says now is not the time for jokes. Kane says he’s confident and Bryan ought to be as well, as they get a rematch. Kane and Bryan begin to argue as Bryan suspects he may be the weak link of the team, but the duo is broken up by Kofi Kingston.
More in ring action follows up next as Sheamus is taking on one half of the PTP, Titus O’Neil As you may have guessed, Sheamus wins with the Brogue Kick, but O’Neil looked great in the match and may have gained quite a bit of credibility in defeat.
Paul Heyman now makes his way to the ring. Heyman is here to introduce his latest client, the latest “Paul Heyman Guy.” Paul Heyman receives a tremendous amount of boos, and in response Heyman asks how the people feel in being powerless, as their boos will never change the fact that Lesnar beat Triple H last night. Heyman says tonight will make history, and he introduces “Curtis Axel,” the son of the late great Mr Perfect. Heyman says that in WWE, a legacy is an albatross, not something that gives you opportunities, but in spite of this his client has chosen his name to honor his father, Curt Hennig, and his Grandfather, Larry “The Axe” Hennig. Heyman and Axel’s ability to enjoy the spotlight is short lived, however, as the pair are interrupted by “The Game,” Triple H.
Yes, it seems burying time has come already.
Triple H enters the ring and tells Heyman off a bt. Axel tries to interrupt, but is humiliated as Triple H tells him to shut up, as the adults are talking. Curtis Axel won’t back down, however, as he tells Triple H that the game has changed, and that if he wants to talk to Heyman, he has to talk to Axel first. Triple H slaps Axel across his face and Axel collapses in a heap, looking up at Triple H with a mix of shock and rage. Triple H wants a match with Curtis Axel tonight, and when he’s done with that he wants Heyman.
Alberto Del Rio competes next in a match against Big E Langston. ADR goes for the Cross Armbreaker the early goings but Big E Langston uses pure power to pull him out of the ring and smash him into the ring post. Following a decent match, Langston shocks the crowd by going over ADR with the Big Ending after an assist from AJ Lee.
Divas action up next as former champ Layla takes on the number one contender to Kaitlyn’s belt, AJ Lee. Lee and Layla manage to pull out a fairly entertaining match which concludes when AJ Lee locks Layla in the Black Widow submission.
Zack Ryder and Cody Rhodes go head to head next, with neither one of them getting an entrance. Rhodes wins with the Disaster Kick in short order, then bolts when Ryback’s music hits and the beast heads to the ring. Ryback circles the fallen Zack Ryder for a bit, launches an assault which ultimately leads to a Shellshock and Ryback carrying Ryder over his shoulder to the ambulance that Ryback arrived in.
The Shield are in action next, as the trio head to the ring bearing their newly-won titles from the night before. The trio get a bit of mic time before their match against Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston, and they use it to great effect, cutting a great promo. Dean Ambrose says that The Shield brought power back to the titles and notes that the “Hounds of Justice” have destroyed the likes of The Rock, The Undertaker, and Ryback. Seth Rollins tells the crowd that they are unbreakable, and that the scary thing is, this is only the beginning.
Following the promo, the six-man tag gets underway, and it is an absolutely amazing match. Great storytelling in the ring as Bryan is taunted by The Shield, who continue to pressure Bryan into believing he is the weak link of his team. The match concludes when Kane is pinned by Roman Reigns following a Spear which was set up by a flying knee from Seth Rollins.
Backstage now with Triple H, who is prepping for his match with Curtis Axel. A member of the staff comes in and tells Triple H that the doctor has not cleared him for action tonight. Triple H asks if the doc likes working for WWE, and notes that he will wrestle tonight and “if the doc doesn’t like it, he can seek employment elsewhere.”
One last backstage segment, this time with Kaitlyn and more of the secret admirer stuff. Kaitlyn has a phone number now, but the admirer is too shy to do anything but text. Natalya asks Kaitlyn to give her the phone number so that Khali can put his “detective skills” to work. As Natalya and Kaitlyn chat, Cody Rhodes wanders by, phone in hand, and the pair snatch his phone away to see if he’s the admirer, but alas, neither Rhodes nor his mustache have been sending Kaitlyn any sweet, romantic texts.
Back to in ring action as Jack Swagger heads out to face off against the man the WWE Universe voted as his opponent, Randy Orton. Orton received 72% of the vote, surprising no one. The duo have a solid match, nothing terribly special, Orton wins with the RKO.
Finally, Triple H heads to the ring to end the night against Curtis Axel. Axel actually gets the second intro, which is sort of nice. The pair have a short bit of back and forth which is interrupted when Triple H begins to feel woozy. Triple H struggles to stand and flops around outside for a bit until doctors declare he is unable to compete. Triple H’s struggles are the last things scene as the show goes off the air.
RAW was made significant last night through its focus on youth (or at least fresh faces). From Big E Langston’s win to Titus O’Neil’s amazing showing against Sheamus to Paul Heyman’s newest “guy” not being an established star but the son of Curt Hennig, the show put an incredible amount of emphasis on the future. The show was solid even without appearances from established stars like CM Punk and John Cena, and overall it gave an incredibly promising glimpse of the future of WWE.
While the show’s conclusion may have been over the top, or possibly even inappropriate (after all, having Triple H play up concussion symptoms while your actual World Heavyweight Champion is sidelined with a concussion may not be the best thing to do), one must remember that this is just part of a budding storyline and not the whole story. Expect this to play into the character development of Curtis Axel over the coming weeks.
But, well… also don’t be surprised to see Triple H continue to play for sympathy in the coming weeks as well…
Overall, RAW was a great post-pay-per-view show that felt incredibly fresh and promising. Unlike your average episode of RAW, it left a lot of viewers feeling good about the direction of the company and the product as a whole, and that’s a big win for WWE.