WWE Raw Review – September 17, 2012

-Good to hear that Jerry Lawler is being sent home. Well wishes to the King and his family…a true legend.

-So we are coming off a Night of Champions pay-per-view that had a great main event (minus the finish, which I didn’t particularly care for) and a pretty good undercard, so hopefully WWE can follow that up with an entertaining episode of Raw.

-We are LIVE Bridgeport, CT (home of…bridges?)

-CM Punk’s music hits but Paul Heyman is the one making his entrance to start the show and says how everyone is talking about the finish of the main event last night. I wonder if they are discussing it around those airport water coolers that the WCW announcers used to always talk about? Anyways, Heyman brings out the referee from Chad Patton (I thought refs didn’t have names anymore?) to explain the decision from last night.

Using a cell phone video from last night, they show the finish with both guys getting pinned and Heyman explains that ties go to the champion (which has been the case for the last 50 years). Of course, this brings out John Cena who is RISING ABOVE CANCER and rallying against ties in wrestling as well. Cena demands a rematch tonight but Punk isn’t here yet.

This brings out Alberto Del Rio for whatever reason and he whines about wanting a rematch as well. GMAJ skips out and books CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus & John Cena, which is WWE’s token booking decision when they need a main event…just pair up wacky tag team partners from two different feuds.

-Michael Cole gives an update on Jerry Lawler while wearing a Lawler t-shirt in a nice moment. You know, this is the perfect time to let go of the “obnoxious heel” Cole character and let him be the babyface announcer again because he did a terrific job last week after the Lawler incident.

-Speaking of which, JBL and JIM ROSS are announced to fill in for Lawler tonight. Now this is an interesting trio of commentators.

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Primo & Epico
Primo and Epico don’t even get an entrance, which should illustrate their chances here tonight. Cara hits a springboard armdrag and the faces switch off on Primo and hit stereo kicks for two. Cara goes to the arm and we take a break…during THIS match?!?

We return with Cara trapped in the heel corner but he hits a tornado DDT and gets the hot tag to Mysterio, who is indeed a house of fire. Rey dominates Epico and flying headscissors by both babyfaces set up a double 619 and Mysterio takes out Primo on the floor. Cara comes off the top with a Swanton and the pin is academic.
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara

-Obviously, this is a total squash but at least they are trying to get a new team over even if it is just to have a match at WrestleMania **. The Prime Time Players attack after the match and lay out both guys, which is fine by me but please don’t let Darren Young talk ever again.

Eve vs. Beth Phoenix
Layla is on commentary because Vince McMahon hates me. Beth hammers away with really bad punches and goes for the Glam Slam but Even kicks out and takes an splash in the corner. Beth hits the corner on a snake eyes attempt and Eve rolls her up for the quick pin. Yippie.
Winner: Eve

-Not good at all but at least it was short 1/2*.

Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater
Naomi is back from her suspension for the 12 people who care. Antonio Cesaro is on commentary because why not? Slater goes low with a dropkick and slugs away before working a headlock. Clay slams out and makes his comeback but gets distracted by Cesaro and Slater hits sloppy Diamond Cutter for two. Heath makes the mistake of going up top and Clay headbutts him on the way down then follows with the splash for three.
Winner: Brodus Clay

-Hey, that legends jobber gimmick really worked out for Slater, didn’t it? I like Cesaro but he’s not going to have much to work with in Clay 3/4*.

That’s right, Miz has his own talk show now complete with an upside-down WWE logo and leather couches. After some token bragging, Miz brings out Booker T to demand an explanation for booking him in a four way last night. The crowd starts with the “boring” chant (which JBL endorses) so Booker grabs the mic and introduces Ryback. Ryback destroys the Miz-TV set (on the first show?) and tosses couches at Miz. Does that chant mean Ryback wants to be fed more couches?

-Meanwhile, CM Punk complains backstage about still not getting respect.

Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler
This should be very quick. Vickie’s shirt is bordering on downright obscene, which the announcers thankfully ignore. Dolph hits a dropkick and sends him to the ropes, causing Santino to go into that stupid powerwalk that I hate so much. Ziggler quickly recovers with a neckbreaker as the crowd chants for him and an elbow gets two. Dolph slowly works over Marella until Santino makes his comeback with the usual stuff but Vickie steals his Cobra sock puppet…THE HORROR! Ziggler quickly hits the Zig Zag then delivers another just because he’s a jerk and gets the pin.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler

-Just an extended squash which is pretty much all Santino is good for right now *1/2.

Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
THE NEXUS EXPLODES!! Barrett’s promo about someone being able to “sample the product” sounds a little…dirty. Gabriel dodges and hooks an ugly hurricanrana for a one count but Barrett goes to the gut with a kick as a “bring back Nexus” chant breaks out. Barrett hammers away outside the ring and wraps Gabriel around the ring post before hitting a backbreaker back inside for two. Barrett works over Gabriel’s ribs while the announcers put over Barrett and the crowd chants for Nexus some more. Barrett tries for a pump handle slam but Gabriel turns it into a reverse DDT and hits a springboard moonsault for two. He whiffs on a kick though and Barrett hits a short-arm forearm to the face for the win.
Winner: Wade Barrett

-A boring match and I don’t really like Barrett’s new finisher. I know they are going for the “bare knuckle brawl” gimmick but Wasteland worked just fine. The short-arm forearm looks like a transition move and the crowd didn’t pop for it at all *.

-Meanwhile, R-Truth and Kofi celebrate Subway’s birthday with Jared. “Leaping” Damien Sandow and Zack Ryder give their own sandwich ideas and hilarity does not ensue. I’ll admit it though, I laughed at Ryback’s “feed me more” line.

-Still backstage, Sheamus and John Cena do the male bonding thing.

-Daniel Bryan runs around backstage proclaiming “I’m the tag team champions!” and Kane does the same in another part of the building…pretty funny.

WWE Tag Team titles
Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
See, this is one reason why people stop buying pay-per-views: They pay money to see a match on Sunday and then get the same match for free on Monday. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, Daniel Bryan is an absolute genius to have turned this Yes-No thing into a major crowd heat weapon.

Bryan works a basic sequence with Kofi, with Kingston getting the advantage and bringing in Truth. Bryan refuses to tag Kane so Kofi comes in with a cross body for two. Now Bryan decides to harshly tag Kane and he works over Kofi in the corner. Kofi low-bridges Kane, sending him to the outside and then dumps Bryan as well, triggering an argument between the champs and a commercial break.

We return with Truth fighting out of a Kane bearhug and hitting a dropkick from the second rope to trigger the hot tag to Kofi. Kingston hits a high cross body for two then adds a kick to the face to set up the Boom Drop. Kofi signals for Trouble in Paradise but Kane catches him by the throat to break it up. Kingston head up top again but Kane smacks him with an uppercut on the way down. Bryan tags himself in, triggering yet another argument and allowing Kingston to make another hot tag to Truth.

Corkscrew elbow hits and Truth adds a forward suplex for two. The babyfaces(?) double team Bryan and Truth works a chinlock as JBL makes fun of Michael Cole like the good old days. Truth misfires on a blind charge and Bryan tags in Kane to no reaction and he hits his top rope clothesline for two. Sidewalk slam hits and Kane looks to finish but he catches Bryan trying to tag himself in again. Bryan necksnaps Kane, allowing Truth to get two before Daniel breaks it up. Kofi and Bryan tumble to the outside and Kane recovers to hit a chokeslam. Now, Bryan tags himself in and applies the No Lock for the submission win.
Winners and STILL Champions: Kane & Daniel Bryan

-This was a long, well-worked tag match that the crowd wasn’t into for whatever reason. I, on the other hand, was digging the story of the match and really like Kane and Bryan as a team ***1/4. The champs get into another argument but they HUG IT OUT like men. That was fantastic. They immediately start arguing again though. Oh well, baby steps.

Randy Orton vs. Tensai
Can Orton ever not get in trouble? I hope no one at ringside says anything to make him angry, Raw will jump to a TV-14 rating immediately.

Orton slugs away but gets shoulder tackled to the mat and Tensai works the back as the crowd immediately starts getting antsy. Powerslam gets two for Tensai and an elbow does the same. Tensai goes to the bearhug like it’s 1985 and headbutts Orton down before delivering knees to the lower back. Tensai goes to a neck vise as Randy Orton sells it by looking mildly annoyed and he powerslams out of it. Orton delivers some kicks and hits the draping DDT, looking to finish. Tensai dodges the first RKO attempt but falls victim after hitting the corner and Randy picks up the win.
Winner: Randy Orton

-Tensai is just so damn boring, it’s like watching an old person drive *.

-Meanwhile, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio have an argument through Paul Heyman and David Otunga.

Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
Sandow helpfully gives everyone a vocabulary lesson for the start of the school year but Ryder’s music rudely interrupts. We take a commercial break and return with Ryder hitting a flapjack and clotheslining Sandow to the floor before following with a plancha. Ryder gets two back inside but Sandown sends Ryder throat-first into the top rope and gets two off a knee drop. We hit the chinlock while the announcers completely ignore the match and Sandow hits a Russian legsweep. The Cubito Aequet gets two but Sandow gets small packaged on a suplex attempt for two.

Ryder squirms out of a slam and makes a comeback, hitting a facebuster and a 360 clothesline. Sandow takes a powder before the Broski Boot can connect. Ryder follows him outside with a clothesline and brings Sandow back inside for the Boot. Sandow goes to Ryder’s knee with a kick and hits a straight jacket neckbreaker out of nowhere for the pin.
Winner: Damien Sandow

-It was a pretty decent match but the announcers completely ignored it and the finish came out of nowhere to zero heat **.

John Cena & Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio & CM Punk
Punk cowers away from Cena to start so Del Rio stomps a mudhole in the corner but gets hit with a monkey flip and dumped to the mat for two. Sheamus tags in and delivers some stomps before following with a rolling fireman’s carry. Punk tags in but so does Cena so Punk heads for hills after escaping the Attitude Adjustment, drawing the ire of Alberto.

Punk returns and stomps away, trapping Cena in the heel corner and allowing Del Rio to get his shots in as well. Cena tries to fight out but Punk stops him with a drop toe hold. He gets too cocky however and Cena breaks free for the hot tag to Sheamus. The world’s champion cleans house on the WWE champion but Punk catches him with an elbow and Del Rio runs in with a superkick. Del Rio gets trapped on the apron though and Sheamus delivers his ten stiff forearms and follows with White Noise. Sheamus looks to finish with the Brogue Kick but Punk cuts him off. Del Rio takes advantage with a Back Stabber but it only gets two.

The heels go to work on Sheamus with Punk going low on a dropkick and locking on a surfboard with some trash talk. Sheamus breaks but Punk grapevines the leg to prevent a tag and Del Rio goes to a chinlock. Del Rio delivers a knee to the gut for two but Sheamus catches him with the Irish Curse backbreaker for the double KO and eventual hot tag to JEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOHHHN CEEEEEEEEEENA, who beats the hell out of Punk and applies the STF. Del Rio breaks up the submission hold but Sheamus takes him out with the Brogue Kick. That allows Cena to to deliver the Attitude Adjustment and get the pin…but Punk’s foot was on the ropes.
Winners: John Cena & Sheamus

-Pretty good tag match but nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before. Still, it was well worked and the crowd was into it ***.

-Post-match, Punk gives the referee an earful as we fade to black.

Final Word
A pretty good show tonight, as WWE managed to progress a couple storylines and have some decent wrestling at the same time. Whenever a show is three hours long, there’s always going to be some boring, time-filling segments (*cough*TENSAI MATCH*cough) but it was fairly decent tonight. Next week, hopefully they can continue the Bryan-Kane stuff and figure out a way to get me to care about John Cena winning the title.