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WWE RAW Recap: Raw Country

Another Raw is here, and another round of questions to be (hopefully) answered:

-Did HHH and Stephanie enjoy their vacation?

-Will we see more Face vs. Shield/Wyatt action?

-How many times can they mention Divas in one night?

-Who will 3MB lose to?

The answers to all these and more, on another edition of the WWE Raw Recap!

It’s Bloggering Time! (I’m sorry…)

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WWE Raw “Country”  11/18/2013, Live from Nashville 

Show Opening: Randy is Still Mad

I guess the vacation is over, as the heads of the authority HHH and his bride Stephanie make their way to the ring (to my favorite incarnation of HHH’s theme music, incidentally) and their return to WWE television. HHH tells the crowd how important to television Stephanie and himself are (and will become even more so in years to come), and makes veiled threats at the three GM stooges (Maddox, Kane, and Vicky), but is interrupted by the now fully “evil psycho variant edition” Randy Orton. The Viper is upset with how the authority (I almost typed Corporation) has been handling things as of late, namely, the fact that he’s been getting beaten up a lot. Stephanie has some words for Randy, but VoldermOrton gets all up in Steph’s face, which HHH does not like one bit. Just when things are getting heated, Vicky Guerrero and Brad Maddox “excuse” themselves from the stage and blame each other for last week’s mishaps. The Helmsleys let them know it’s both their fault, and as punishment, the GMs will be competing in matches on Raw (Vicky vs. AJ, Brad vs. Randy Orton)… and we’re off.

Brad Maddox vs. Randy Orton (No DQ match)

Maddox heads to the ring (in his suit and tie) to take on the big bad guy of the WWE, which I think marks the first time Maddox has wrestled in over a year. Brad spends the beginning of the match hiding outside the ring, and takes to microphone to plead his case to Orton, who retorts by attacking Brad outside the ring. Brad nails Randy with the microphone, stunning the champ, and follows it up by slamming him into the turnbuckle. Brad enters the ring and manages to DDT Orton, who then wakes up and looks all scary and proceeds to dismantle Brad at ringside. Randy drags the Raw GM into the ring and pounds on him with the microphone until the ref stops the match. A strange ending to a fun little segment.

Winner: No Contest

 

Backstage: Maddox is escorted out of the building on a stretcher as Vicky watches nervously.

Big E. Langston vs. Curtis Axel (for the IC Title)

If Big E. doesn’t pull off the win, I’m gonna be way upset (and if not tonight, PLEASE let it be soon, ’cause… Axel.) Axel, aka the Black Hole of Excitement, makes his way to the ring to zero reaction (as usual), and starts the match off (after strange post-theme introductions) by taking the ground attack to Langston; These are big boys, and those chops looks heavy. The match is fairly even for the most part, with both men dominating sequences, and is a pretty fun one, with lots of actual wrestling moves. Axel plays the heel and wrestles a “sneaky” match, starting to dominate Big E., until after a huge reverse (and his shirt coming off), Big E. hits the Big Ending on Axel and 1-2-3, WE’VE GOT A NEW IC CHAMPION! This is my favorite WWE outcome in a LONG time. YES! YES! YES! (Goodbye, Axel…)

Winner (and new Intercontinental Champion): Big E. Langston!!!

Backstage: Orton and the Shield are all evil and stuff, and don’t love each other. Also… some country music stuff. Sigh.

Lawler and the Divas

For some reason, King is in the ring surrounded by every woman on the WWE roster (save AJ and Tamina) for “Divas Musical Chairs”, which both scares and confuses me. A game of actual music chairs ensues (set to the same country song we’ve been hearing all night) that quickly and thankfully devolves into a Divas brawl in the ring. We get it; These gals don’t like each other. What a wasted segment/waste of actual talent. I hope someone figures out what to do with the Divas division, and soon. Also… side-note, but JBL is the best.

Big Show vs. Ryback

Oh, I hope Big Show wins this. In the ring, Show dwarfs Ryback, which is pretty fun to see. Show starts off taking the hurt to the man with the Robin logo on his chest, landing series after series of massive blows. Ryback actually makes me smile when he tells a fan at ringside to “shut up”, but in the ring it’s all Big Show until Ryback gains the momentum and runs the ring for a while. Ryback manages to get the big man to the ground and does some damage, until Big Show counters with a huge side-suplex and both men are out. The men get up, trade moves for a while, trade unfinished finishers (and one complete one, as Ryback amazingly shell-shocks Big Show!), until, finally, Big Show gets a knock-out punch out of nowhere for the win. Orton runs into the ring to take out Show, but is hit with a giant-sized spear. Big Show FTW. Surprisingly fun match. We’re off to a GREAT show so far.

Winner: Big Show

Backstage: Zack Ryder is talking to the country music guys when 3MB (dressed in cowboy gear and called “The Rhinestone Cowboys”) approach and do their 3MB thing for a minute. Sigh.

Backstage: Randy is mad, and wonders where his buddies were when Show speared him. Also, he HATES ice.

The Real Americans vs. Kofi Kingston and The Miz

Say what you want about these wrestlers (I will; I love Kofi and Cesaro, I love Miz and Swagger much, much, much less), but this should be a decent match, if not a fairly predictable one. Cesaro brings the pain to The Miz (who has been fairly absent on TV lately) and pulls off some truly impressive moves. Some tags are made, and The Real Americans manage to retain control during most of the match. Kofi hits some signature high flying moves and turns the tables a bit, but it’s all for naught when Miz suddenly refuses to tag (heel turn?) in and Swagger hits the Patriot Lock for the tap-out.

Winner: The Real Americans

Backstage: Vicky fakes a fainting spell and is checked on by a WWE official. After the commercial, she is being led out of the arena on a stretcher, much to the chagrin of Stephanie, who demands Vicky be wheeled to the ring before the hospital.

Vicky Guerrero vs. AJ Lee

Vicky is wheeled to the ring, and is soon joined by the Divas champ AJ (and her bodyguard Tamina), who is excited about this match, to say the least. Vicky is forcefully rolled into the ring and proceeds to “faint” again, as AJ waits on the ropes. After being revived and the bell being rung, Vicky tries to escape, only to be chased down by AJ and led back to the ring by her hair. Once in the ring, AJ quickly locks onto the Black Widow for the obvious win.

Winner: AJ Lee

Backstage: HHH schedules a “Broadway Brawl” for Ziggler and Sandow. No one knows what a Broadway Brawl is.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow (Broadway Brawl)

The ring is FULL of musical instruments; drums, guitars, a cello. This is going to be awesome. We’re off, and the match starts with Sandow missing a “guitar shot”, and starts again when Sandow goes to work on Ziggy with a guitar stand. Not enough smashing!!! Ziggler hits a HUGE drop-kick but Sandow throws Ziggler through a keyboard and its stand for a real satisfying “crash” noise. During the commercial, they destroyed some instruments, and that’s dumb. Back in the match, and Sandow sets up a chair against the turnbuckle before Dolph grabs the momentum; however, Dolph get knocked down by a “fiddle hit” from Sandow. Dolph responds with his own “fiddle hit” and smashes one over Sandow’s back, and follows up with a fame-asser. Sandow responds by plummeting Dolph into the aforementioned chair and lands a nearfall, and then throws Ziggy into that cello. Dolph stays alive long enough to smash a series of increasingly larger drums over Sandow’s head, before finally taking a page out of Jeff Jarretts/Honky Tonk’s book for a massive guitar smash and the 1-2-3. What a fun match!

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Backstage: Randy is still mad at the authority, and Cena says hi to the country music dudes. Yay country music!

Cena is a Good Guy

The world champ Cena (arm in a sling) heads to the ring to tell the WWE universe about how mean Alberto Del Rio is, and about how nice he is, and how injured he is, and other such Cena-type stuff (to which he gets a decent pop; he’s really been “working” for the crowds/myself since his return). This is basically a commercial for Survivor Series, until ADR appears on stage and tells the crowd that “I’m better than all of you, and Cena, and I’m a bad guy!”. ADR challenges Cena to a match that evening, but Cena is like “Nah, dude. Sunday”. We get it. We’ll see you guys on Sunday. Cena attacks ADR and both men are fired up for the PPV.

Winner: Killing 15 minutes of a 3 hour show.

3MB (Rhinestone Cowboys) vs. R-Truth and Xavier Woods

Xavier Woods is making his debut tonight, and is lucky to be facing 3MB, as that mathematically equals a win. Truth raps about 3MB and the audience responds mildly. Woods is a NXT grad, and I’m excited to see what he can do in the ring; The rookie quickly squares off against Jinder and lands a couple of impressive moves before hitting his finishers on Drew and earning himself and Truth the win.

Winner: R-Truth and Xavier Woods

Backstage: The authority reassures Randy that they are confident in him, and show it by telling him he’s on his own against Big Show on Sunday. Randy isn’t a huge fan of this information.

Country Guys play Country Music

Yup.

Winner: Country Music?

CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, The Usos and the Rhodes Bros. vs. The Shield and The Wyatts

Holy Dream Match, Batman!

I hate to be a tease, but this match is about 45 minutes long, and rather than go through it beat by beat, I have a suggestion; If you are or ever have been a fan of professional wrestling, WATCH THIS MATCH. Sure, read my thoughts on it, but do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself, because this is the best that this business ever gets.

Joining the Wyatts and The Shield was a genius move, because I actually take the Wyatts seriously and as a threat now. Punk and Bryan are at the top of their respective games, The Rhodes Bros. are my favorite thing in wrestling, and the Usos are quickly cementing themselves as the tag team of the future. All the stars are aligned for a truly remarkable match and event in wrestling history.

The match itself: Wow. Here are some rambling thoughts.

I hate to hyperbolize, but this definitely may be one of my favorite matches in the current “WWE Era.” This is the classic good guy/bad guy setup, and ALL the actors are nailing their respective roles. Golddust is better now then he’s ever been, and it makes me so happy that the crowd and universe at large seem to be loving his return as much as I do. The Usos are insanely fun to watch, and I hope their tenure in the company is a long one. The Shield has been wearing thin on me, but I think Reigns and Ambrose (Rolling is just okay) are two fantastic in ring workers. The Wyatts, while intriguing, have had a dead angle so far (in my opinion), but for some reason adding them to this mix has really made them much more fun to watch, for me at least.

I love that we basically get to see every wrestler trade off, for at least a little bit, with every other wrestler in the match. Plenty of awesome in-ring work, a great pace and clever “team moves” made this unusually long RAW match fly by in a breeze. Long story short, after 45 or so minutes of top-notch wrestling from everyone involved, Punk hits a GTS on Rollins for the well deserved win.

Winners: The Good Guys

Immediately after the win, the Real Americans rush the ring to join the bad guys, and then out of nowhere… 619!!! Rey Mysterio is back and helps destroy the heels (with a double 619 on Harper and Swagger). This is awesome. I’m going to stop critiquing and start reacting. This is so very awesome.

Final Thoughts

THAT WAS SO AWESOME!!! Seriously, though, strong contender for Raw of the year, and one of the better programs the company has put together in a long time. I am BEYOND psyched for Survivor Series on Sunday. Sometimes, it’s pretty great to be a wrasslin’ fan; am I right, gang?

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11 comments

  • Thanks for another great update, Matt. We saw Xavier Woods here in Charlotte two weeks ago in a dark match just prior tothe Smackdown taping. Lots of potential there. The final tag match of RAW was in fact a dream match where everyone got their “stuff” in. I still say Mick Foley should manage the Beard and the Best team.
    Any chance you’ll be doing any interviews with the Superstars and Divas?

  • author

    @George- THanks for the kind words! And yeah- as we progress with the coverage, I hope to start covering a lot more aspects of wrestling, including interviews/show visits/ etc.

    If you’re liking the WWE content on Nerdist, let em’ (WWE and Nerdist) know!

  • Agree. I was in the crowd in Nashville, overall a great show, though the bad parts were VERY bad.

    Also, that wasn’t a cello. It was a double bass. Come, on NERDist guy! :P

  • The Divas segment was so terrible it had me reminiscing about the time Ric Flair was in a musical chair segment many years ago.

    On another note, JBL was off the charts awesome on this show. My favorite line might have been when he mentioned that Drew McIntyre is the nephew of Reba.

  • My brother and I took a break from watching Raw for the past couple months because things had gotten kind of stale and predictable…We tuned in Monday because it was in our home city and agreed it was the best Raw we’d watched all year. We were kicking ourselves for not going in person.

  • It’s good seeing Xavier Woods finally get called up after so many years down in Developmental. With that ‘stache, he looked much less like the Consequences Creed I knew from TNA and more like a blaxploitation star from the 70’s.
    But I never felt more like an old man when his catch phrase turned out to be “It’s morphin’ time!”

  • That main event was the best thing on TV in ages, and I surprised myself by marking out hard for the return of Rey! Also good to see Woods finally called up, and good call putting him with Truth, as they had good chemistry in TNA back in the day. And the numerous Jeff Jarrett references during the Sandow/Ziggles match? WRESTLING NERD HEAVEN.