7/28 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena returns to address his SummerSlam match with Brock Lesnar, followup to Stephanie McMahon's arrest
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Houston, Texas at Toyota Center
[Q1] Raw opened with a recap of the Stephanie McMahon arrest angle and Triple H opting to stay at the building rather than follow her to the police station, plus Brock Lesnar being named the challenger to John Cena's WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam was shown...
Michael Cole welcomed viewers to Raw and was joined on commentary by JBL and Jerry Lawler. Cole noted that there were 14,613 fans in the sold out venue. The sellout is legit based on the arena website stating as much...
John Cena made his way to the ring with both title belts with him. Cena soaked up the mixed reaction and noted that it was a lively bunch in Houston. Cena said he would normally share their enthusiasm, but he found out last week that Plan C is what "I hoped would never happen and is Brock Lesnar."
Cena said he is a marked man by The Authority. He said they want the championship off of him so badly that they hired a mercenary. Cena said there were cheers last week after the announcement was made because the WWE Universe wants to see Lesnar beat the hell out of him. Cena paused to let the crowd react.
Cena said he is not deaf and he knows who his opponent is. "Brock Lesnar is the most devastating force in the WWE," Cena said. "His destruction is seismic." He brought up Lesnar ending The Streak. Cena said Paul Heyman was right last week when he said that Cena would get the beating of a lifetime. Cena encouraged the fans to cheer it up and said, "At SummerSlam, I am going to get my ass kicked, I know that."
Cena said he will not quit. Cena said he will stand up and fight and beat Brock Lesnar just like he did in 2012. Cena said fans don't realize what will happen to the title if Lesnar wins it. He said Lesnar is a mercenary and a hired gun. He said no one can control him, including The Authority and Heyman.
Paul Heyman interrupted with a "Ladies and gentlemen" line. Heyman walked onto the stage and introduced himself. "At SummerSlam, my client Brock Lesnar will conquer John Cena and take away from him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship," Heyman said.
Heyman said it's courageous of Cena, but his words are mighty big for a man who is about to become a victim. Heyman said Cena has never in his life been victimized. "Know what it's like to be victimized?" he asked. "Ask the Undertaker. I'm sorry, you can't ask the Undertaker. No one has seen the Undertaker, no one has heard from the Undertaker. Not a phone call. Not a text. Not a sighting. Nothing since WrestleMania."
Heyman said Cena wants to survive Lesnar, whereas Brock is on the offensive and wants to conquer Cena. Heyman said Lesnar isn't going to just F5 or pin Cena, he's going to victimize him ruthlessly and mercilessly. Heyman said Cena won't be WWE World Heavyweight Champion, he's going to be beaten, victimized, and conquered.
[Q2] Cena said he wanted to get real with Heyman for a second. He recalled Heyman bringing up passion. He said every once in a while there is a faint chant of ECW. Cena said that whenever Heyman hears those letters it brings a smile to his face and a beat to his cold, black heart.
Cena said he shows up for work on time and he works his ass off because he has passion for this. Cena said Lesnar has no passion for anything but himself. "What separates him from me, jack , is heart. And when the chips are down he may beat the hell out of me, but he's going to have to beat every last breath out of this body because I'm heaving to SummerSlam as champion and I'm walking out with this son of a bitch."
Cesaro's music played and he walked onto the stage and shoot Heyman's hand and hugged him. Heyman looked surprised as Cesaro took the mic. Cesaro said that even though he and Heyman decided to go separate ways, he won't let Cena talk to his friend that way. Cesaro told Cena that he's not a wrestler, he's "a big muscled up, walking billboard."
Cesaro asked Cena if he got his shoes at KMart. He told him that he can't wrestle in sneakers. "Oh, that's right, you just can't wrestle," Cesaro said. "How about I prove that to you in a match right now?" Cena put the mic and belts aside. Heyman told the fans they get a bonus. Cena told Heyman to shut up, then said it will be his honor for the jacked up guy who can't wrestle to wrestle circles around Cesaro. Cole said the match was coming up after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Why do they always have to start with a long talking segment?!? Yes, I'm kidding. Hot damn, that was awesome. Cena was on top of his game here and did a great job of making Lesnar seem like a beast while also making himself out to be a guy who is going to leave it all on the line. I love the way he's playing to fans who dislike him by telling them that he's going to get his ass kicked. Heyman? How many different ways can I say the guy is the best in the business on the mic? Cesaro was strong here as well and they created tension for an "impromptu match" in a matter of seconds rather than just throwing Cesaro out there against Cena. This was as good of an opening segment as I have seen all year.
1. John Cena vs. Cesaro in a non-title match. Cena used a couple of headlock takedowns early as JBL said he loves that Cena is trying to put on a show after being told that he can't wrestle. Cesaro took control of the offense heading into the commercial break. [C]
[Q3] Cena performed his signature spots, but Cesaro countered with a great DDT. They traded near falls. Cesaro performed his superplex after pulling up Cena from the ring apron. At 10:40, Cesaro performed the Cesaro Swing on Cena, which got a nice pop and fans counted along. Cesaro put Cena in a leg lock, which Cena reserved.
Cena hit his slam and then hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Cena held onto the top rope. With Cesaro on his shoulders, Cena climbed up to the second rope. Cesaro knocked Cena off the ropes with headbutts, then performed a cross body block, which Cena rolled through and turned into the AA, but Cesaro landed on his feet.
Cesaro caught Cena with a boot to the face and then nailed him with an uppercut for a good near fall at 12:45. Lawler said Cesaro looked like a man who threw his best shot and couldn't get the job done. Cena backdropped out of the Neutralizer, but Cesaro came right back with a big boot. A short time later, Cena caught Cesaro on the ropes and performed a second rope Attitude Adjustment for the win...
John Cena pinned Cesaro in a non-title match in 13:55.
Powell's POV: A red hot start to Raw with the great opening segment followed by the strong Cena vs. Cesaro match. Cesaro got plenty of offense and near falls. It was hard to buy into those near falls simply because of Cena is in the huge SummerSlam main event, but it was still a lot of fun and the live crowd was really hot for the match.
Cole hyped the Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella segment for later in the show... Backstage, Stephanie McMahon told Triple H that she's having second thoughts. She said she can't bear the look of disappointment in the eyes of their daughters. She said she can't go back there (jail).
Randy Orton showed up and complained about not challenging John Cena at SummerSlam despite being the original plan. He told Hunter to change the match back. Hunter said plans change. He said he could change the main event, but he's not going to. Hunter said that as long as Roman Reigns is in the picture, Orton isn't going to get a shot.
Hunter said there are no more title shots for Orton until he finishes off Reigns. Orton said he would get rid of Reigns tonight. Hunter informed him that Reigns would be facing Kane. Orton said he has a problem with Kane, Reigns, and now from the looks of things he has a problem with Hunter. Orton left and Hunter seethed... [C]
A graphic hyped Bash at the Beach 1996 and Hulk Hogan joining the NWO as being available on WWE Network...
Paige was introduced and skipped to the ring. Footage was shown of Paige attacking A.J. Lee last week. Paige stood in the ring and said she wanted to set the record straight. She said sometimes she lets her emotions get the better of her, but she still thinks of A.J. as her best friend in the whole world.
[Q4] Paige said last week she didn't think of her as her friend, but she thought of her as someone who took her title. A.J. Lee skipped to the ring and took a lap around it before entering with the Divas Championship and a mic in hand. A.J. asked if Paige really thought anyone was buying it. Paige tried to talk, but Lee said she wasn't finished talking.
Lee said she gets why Paige is mad because she knows what it's like to have the Divas Championship taken away from her because Paige did that. Lee said she doesn't play little girl games by smiling at someone and whispering behind their back. Lee said that if she doesn't like someone and wants to take crap, she will say it to their face like a real woman.
Paige swore that she was sorry and said that if Lee doesn't believe her then she's crazy. "What did you just call me?" Lee asked. Paige said she didn't mean to call her that and would never make fun over her mental health. Lee flashed a smile and said she gets it. She said everyone overreacts, even "some of us who are just a little bit off their rocker."
A.J. took Paige down and eventually tossed her to ringside. Paige got away and asked why it had to be like that when they are friends. A loud C.M. Punk chant broke out. Lee entered the ring and placed the title belt in front of her while staring intently at Paige, who was backing up the ramp... [C]
Powell's POV: A solid segment. The storyline is easier to understand, but I think it would help the cause if either A.J. did more to connect with the crowd or Paige was overtly heel rather than taking the disingenuous approach.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance. Stephanie acted embarrassed. Triple H took the mic and said that they've had a lot of good times over the years, but he's never been more disappointed in the fans than he was last week. He said it disgusted and angered him that the fans laughed at his wife when she was arrested last week.
"You found it funny that the mother of my children was handcuffed in this arena," Hunter said. "You found it funny that my wife, the woman I love, was handcuffed like a common criminal and dragged out of this arena?" Triple H said he will never forgive the fans for that. Hunter said Stephanie was arrested over a misunderstanding. He said Stephanie was antagonized by Brie Bella.
[Q5] "It was perfectly acceptable and understandable that my wife struck Brie Bella," Triple H said. "She was asking for it." Hunter said all charges but one were dropped - the assault and battery charge. Hunter said Brie refuses to let go of that charge. Hunter said Stephanie asked Brie to come to the building so they could put the "whole ugly incident" behind them. Stephanie took the mic. "Brie, if you could just please come out here and we can get this over with," she said.
Chris Jericho's music played and he walked onto the stage instead of Brie Bella. Jericho sang the "COPS" theme song and the fans picked it up after he stopped. Hunter asked if Jericho thinks it's funny. The crowd chanted Yes! Jericho said he does, but it's 2014 and orange is the new black. Jericho said these are the moments that WWE Network is created, as now fans can watch her be pulled out of the building in handcuffs over and over.
Hunter told Jericho that he's not in the mood. Jericho said that in all seriousness, he has to give Triple H credit for standing by his little flower's side. He said he just has one question, which is why he didn't leave the arena with Stephanie when she was first arrested. Jericho said Hunter waited until 15 minutes after the show ended. He said it's because Triple H realizes that Stephanie is nothing more than a dirty, brutal, bottom feeding..."
Triple H told Jericho to shut up and focus on Bray Wyatt. Jericho said that's the real reason that he was there. Jericho said he wants Wyatt in the ring on Raw. "You want Bray Wyatt tonight?" Triple H asked. "Well, you're going to have to wait until SummerSlam. As for tonight, Chris, tonight..." Seth Rollins attacked Jericho from behind and knocked him down with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Hunter told Jericho that he would face Rollins on Raw...
Powell's POV: A fun segment, but I didn't like the end as it made it tough to suspend disbelief. Are we supposed to believe that Triple H knew that Chris Jericho was going to interrupt him and plotted to have Seth Rollins attack him from behind? Still, it was a fun throwback to hear Jericho picking on Stephanie again.
Footage from the opening segment with Cena and Heyman was shown... The broadcast team hyped John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar for SummerSlam... Cole hyped Reigns vs. Kane for later in the show... [C]
[Q6] 2. The Uso Brothers and Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, Ryback, and Curtis Axel in a six-man tag match. Everyone other than Rybaxel received a televised entrance. Miz wore his shades at ringside as the match got underway. He ducked away from a Ziggler swing toward his face heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods were standing at ringside wearing dress clothes. Ziggler had Ryback pinned at one point, but Miz ran in to break it up. A short time later, Miz avoided a swing from Ziggler, who hit the Zig Zag on Ryback and pinned him...
The Uso Brothers and Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz, Ryback, and Curtis Axel in 10:00.
Cole hyped Brie Bella meeting with Stephanie McMahon later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: I can't be the only person who assumed the heel trio was going over as soon as Woods and company showed up. I like that they just stood there and scouted the match rather than interfere. The match had the usual good six-man tag action. The fans were hot for the Uso Brothers and Ziggler, and they definitely needed some in-ring action to keep the fans engaged after a talk-heavy first half of the show.
R-Truth performed his entrance routine. Bo Dallas made his entrance and said everyone knows Truth can never be undefeated like he is. "Actually, you lost a lot of matches in your career, a lot," Dallas said. "I know one day that you will be victorious. All you have to do is Bolieve.
[Q7] 3. Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth. Dallas performed a move successfully and then did a victory lap. Dallas was rolled up and pinned by Truth moments later. After the match, Bo shook Truth's hand and then grabbed a mic. Bo said he can't Bolieve that Truth was first to beat him. "But it's okay..." he said before hitting Truth with the mic. Bo showed a mean streak as he worked over Truth by placing the ring apron over his head and punching him repeatedly. Bo went back to smiling and took a victory lap around the ring...
R-Truth pinned Bo Dallas in 0:30.
Powell's POV: I was hoping the Dallas winning streak routine was building to something, but at least his loss led to him showing a new dimension.
A recap aired of Seth Rollins attacking Chris Jericho from behind. Cole hyped Jericho vs. Rollins for later in the show... [C]
Rusev and Lana made their entrance. Lana said the American flag was a statement used as a statement that flew over battlefields and even on the moon. She asked where is old glory now. She said it's a faded banner for a ruined nation ruled by cowards that get fat off "your apathy."
Lane said Russia is ruled by might and commanded by fearless leader Vladimir Putin. Lana said President Obama waves his finger like a school teacher and warns of the steep repercussions of Russia's peacemaking efforts. She set up a video of the "fool that you elected." Jack Swagger's music played before the video could be shown.
[Q8] Zeb Colter walked out with Swagger, and called Lana a "twit head" and called Rusev a Russian bear. He said the American flag is a real flag and wherever it flies it represents the United States of America. He ran through a few things it represents like fathers and sons fishing, mothers and daughters learning to cool together, pickup trucks, pretty girls, and beer. Colter said Lana makes it easy for real Americans to say "We The People" (the crowd chanted along).
Colter gave Swagger the sign, and Swagger ran to the ring and knocked Rusev down at ringside. Rusev came back quickly and ran Swagger into the barricade a few times and then threw him into the other side. Rusev rolled Swagger inside the ring. The fans chanted USA loudly. Lana told Rusev to crush. Rusev went for his finisher, but Swagger slipped away and went for the Patriot Lock. Rusev avoided the hold, but Swagger cleared Rusev from the ring as the fans chanted USA again...
Cole hyped Kane vs. Reigns... [C]
Powell's POV: I can think of a few states where Colter would be elected governor if he delivered that same speech on the campaign trail. The feud seemed to be cooling down a bit before this segment. The crowd was hot for it and the brawl was well done. Both men had flags, so you have to assume that a flag match will be held sooner or later.
Damien Sandow walked out wearing an astronaut's suit as a space scene was shown on the big screen. One of the broadcast team members said, "Houston, we have a problem." Sandow then delivered the same line. He cut a brief promo about looking for intelligent life and took a jab at Adam Rose, who then made his entrance with the Rosebuds. Rose called Sandow a sour little spaceman and said it was time he come back down to earth...
4. Adam Rose (w/The Rosebuds) vs. Damien Sandow. Sandow attacked Rose before the match. Once the referee called for the bell, Rose simply hit the Party Foul for the win and then danced his way backstage with the Rosebuds...
Adam Rose pinned Damien Sandow in 0:12.
Cole hyped Reigns vs. Kane for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Another week and still not a single sign that there's more to the Adam Rose character than the entrance routine.
[Q9] Cole said Dean Ambrose was on a promotional tour for WWE, but he would face Alberto Del Rio on WWE Main Event...
Kane made his entrance. Roman Reigns made his entrance through the crowd. Once he got to the arena floor, Randy Orton attacked him. Reigns eventually made his way into the ring and immediately roughed up Kane, but then Orton entered the ring and helped Kane. Reigns hit Orton with the Superman punch, but Kane came right back with a chokeslam on Reigns.
Kane left the ring to boos. Orton put the boots to Reigns and then yelled at him about stealing from him before throwing repeated punches and kicks at Reigns. Orton draped Reigns over the middle rope, went outside the ropes, and kicked him several times. Orton ran Reigns into the ring steps. Orton performed the hanging DDT off the barricade.
Orton took the ring steps apart and slammed Reigns head into the bottom piece. Orton took the broadcast team's table apart. Orton yelled at Reigns that he cost him his title shot, then rammed his head into the steps again. Orton picked up Reigns and set him on the broadcast table. Orton climbed onto the table and performed the RKO. The table didn't break, so Orton picked up Reigns and did the same move again and the table broke... [C]
Powell's POV: It was odd to see Reigns beat down so thoroughly after taking a chokeslam, but this really had to happen to put some much needed heat on Orton heading into Summerslam. Orton's post beating jawing at Reigns was kind of corny as he spoke about how this is what happens when people steal precious title shots from him. By the way, Ambrose worked the weekend live events, so I assume the line about him being on a promotional tour was simply so fans would not wonder why he didn't run out to save Reigns.
After the break, Reigns was still being helped to his feet by the trainer and referees. Footage of the attack was shown... The broadcast team sat at their chairs (no desk) and spoke about the angle...
[Q10] 5. Fandango vs. Diego (w/El Torito, Summer Rae, and Layla. Fandango went up top for his finisher, but he was distracted by Torito, who stood on the other corner. Diego rolled up Fandango and pinned him...
Diego pinned Fandango in 1:20.
Powell's POV: If you thought Zack Ryder's win last week was a sign that he was on the verge of getting a push, please note that the guy he beat was just pinned by Diego. Need I say more?
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon knocked on the locker room door of Nikki Bella, who came out. Stephanie said she was actually looking for Brie. Stephanie said she wanted to express herself. Nikki said Brie will definitely express herself. Steph said she hopes Nikki can be reasonable. Nikki said there's not many times that people like Stephanie eat a plate of crap and she hopes she likes the taste of it... [C]
Backstage, Cody Rhodes was working through an equation in an attempt to find the "cosmic key." Goldust distracted him and wrote, "They Have It" on Cody's chalkboard...
6. Cameron and Alicia Fox vs. Natalya and Naomi. Cameron checked in after Alicia had roughed up Naomi. However, Naomi came back and applied a submission hold, causing Cameron to tap out...
Natalya and Naomi beat Cameron and Alicia Fox in 2:45.
Powell's POV: Even Steven booking between Naomi and Cameron. Meanwhile, Natalya has never meant less than she has since she carried Charlotte Flair to the best match of her life at NXT Takeover. What a shame.
[Q11] The broadcast team hyped the SummerSlam lineup, which officially is Cena vs. Lesnar, and Jericho vs. Wyatt... Chris Jericho made his entrance and footage of the beatdown he took from the Wyatt Family last week was shown. Footage was also shown of Rollins attacking Jericho earlier in the show... [C]
7. Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins. Jericho performed a springboard shoulderblock that knocked Rollins to the floor heading into the break at 3:00. [C]
[Q12] Late in the match, Rollins avoided a Lionsault and performed a buckle bomb on Jericho. Rollins went for a Curb Stomp. Jericho dodged that move and rolled up Rollins for a two count. Rollins avoided the Walls of Jericho and came right back with a kick that knocked Jericho to the mat. Jericho hit the Codebreaker and then the Wyatt Family sounder played. The Wyatt Family stood in the ring. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan attacked Jericho while Bray Wyatt watched. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail, then posed over the fallen Jericho...
Chris Jericho fought Seth Rollins to an apparent no-contest in 13:10.
Powell's POV: It was cool to see Rollins face Jericho and I'd like to see the match again. I figured Rollins was going over with help or there would be some sort of non-finish like we saw. I'm not a fan of "forgotten finishes" but I can't blame them for not booking a clean finish here.
A backstage shot of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon was shown. The broadcast team said Stephanie was going to the ring to confront Brie Bella... [C] Cole announced Jericho vs. Erick Rowan for Friday's Smackdown television show...
Stephanie McMahon came to the ring for a promo. She spoke about how her children are scarred for life because she was arrested. She said parents are not letting her kids take part in play dates. Brie Bella walked to the ring and said she's heard enough of what Stephanie McMahon was saying. She told her to get to the point. "Or are you just going to stand there like a whining, sniveling rich bitch?" Bella asked.
[Overrun] Stephanie asked Brie to drop the remaining charge. She said no one deserved it. Brie said Steph deserves to go to hell. Stephanie promised to treat Nikki Bella fairly and professionally. Brie said Stephanie was being insulting. Stephanie asked what if she were to give Nikki a raise. Brie was open to that as long as Stephanie met her demands.
"I want my job back," Brie said. Stephanie said she thinks one Bella is enough in WWE. Brie said she would see Steph in court. Steph stopped and asked if she would drop the charges if she was given her job back. Brie agreed. Stephanie said done deal and started to walk away. Brie said there was one more thing.
Brie said she wants a match at SummerSlam. The crowd cheered. Stephanie questioned whether she wanted a Divas Title match or a Total Divas themed match. "No, that's not the match I want," Brie said. "The match I want is against you." Stephanie said she hasn't competed in the ring in over ten years. She said she dedicated her life to her career, being a wife, and being a mom.
Brie said she would not drop the charges unless Stephanie agreed to the match. "See you in court," Brie said. Stephanie called her back. She said it was so unfair. "I can't wrestle, I can't compete against you," Stephanie said while acting as though she was going to cry. Stephanie said she would not lower herself to get in the ring with her. Brie once again said she would see her in court.
Stephanie called her back again. Brie agreed to drop all the charges if Stephanie agreed to face her at SummerSlam. The fans chanted Yes! (in part due to Steph's suggestion earlier). A whiny Steph agreed to the match. "But Brie, you have to consider that at SummerSlam," crying Stephanie said before slapping Brie. "I'm going to make you my bitch." Stephanie led Yes! chants. Brie returend and they had a cat fight until several agents/producers ran out and pulled them apart. The fans chanted "Jamie Noble" (producer) to close the show...
Powell's POV: If someone had told you a year ago that Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella would close Raw in a segment that set up their SummerSlam match you would have assumed that person was crazy or that Stephanie was really abusing her power. Instead, the angle worked in the final segment, and their match actually feels like a big match even on what should be a loaded SummerSlam show. Well done.
Overall, Raw started really strong and closed on a high note (unless you're someone who thinks every non-wrestling angle in the main event slot sucks). Things slowed down in the middle a bit, but they kept things moving nicely and provided good hype to the SummerSlam feuds. I will have more to say tonight in Prowrestling.net Live and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me.
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