ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 11/18/13

WWE 2K14 sponsors WWE on Sky. I feel smarter knowing that ;)

The typical WWE then, now and forever graphic kicks off the show and then we see what happened last week with the authority on vacation(in case you didn’t catch NXT, Main Event, Superstars or Smackdown where they replayed all of this during the course of the week, no to mention the show itself last week). All in all, we learn that the authority will return tonight on this “Raw Country” from the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee.

It’s announced that the country band Florida Georgia Line will be performing tonight.

It’s then announced that Curtis Axel will defend the IC Title against Big E. Langston tonight, and we will also see a massive twelve man tag between the Usos, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan taking on the Shield and the Wyatts. It doesn’t say that it’s an elimination match however, and that disappoints me greatly. On with the show!

The King of Kings music hits and out come the happy Levesque couple arm in arm. Anyone else remember the McMahon/Helmseley regime from 2000? I do, and somehow it feels EXACTLY the same with the spotlight on Hunter despite him not wrestling(ego much?). Just an observation. On with the promo!

Hunter says its good to be back. Then he rambles as usual. He says they are disappointed with the chaos of how Raw turned out last week. Randy Orton interrupts them and he storms to the ring looking rather pissed off. I could see Big Show going heel and Orton going face at Survivor Series(it wouldn’t shock me whatsoever). Orton rants at the Authority. Hunter gets angry and Orton answers a question wrong with who “does he think he’s talking to” instead of “who does he think he is.” I blame Hunter for botching his line. Vickie and Brad come out to apologize for messing things up last week and says it was all Vickie’s fault. Hunter says everyone has to pay tonight. Stephanie says tonight Brad and Vickie will be competing in individual matches. Vickie will go one on one with AJ, and Brad will go one on one RIGHT NOW in his suit against Randy Orton. Hunter says he will make it no DQ so that it’s fair for Maddox. Kane comes out as director of operations to make sure Maddox goes to the ring.

^Typical Authority scene, but solid opener for the show. At least they kept it short and sweet. I like Kane’s new look; the guy can pull off anything and still be relevant in this long career. My buddy Sean Forrest and I were chatting about that last weekend(hey Sean!).

Maddox tries to get away from Orton to start the match and then hits Orton with a microphone before pushing him off the ring post. He gets Orton in the ring and hits a DDT for a two count only. Orton gets up angry and destroys Maddox on the outside. Orton puts the mic in the ring and throw Maddox back in as well. He punches Maddox in the head repeatedly with the microphone. The ref stops the match as Maddox is out cold. Orton celebrates.

^That was brutal. A message was certainly sent here as intended.

It’s then announced that Big Show will take on Ryback tonight, but the IC Title match is next as both men are walking to the ring.

Big E. Langston defeats Curtis Axel with the big ending to become the new Intercontinental Champion. He celebrates after the match.

^Solid match from these two, and nice to see a push begin for Big E. I hope it doesn’t mean the end of Axel getting any sort of push, but rather maybe we can get a series of matches from these two that stands out and makes the IC Title something worth caring about.

Randy Orton is shown backstage talking to the Shield. Orton tells them that they will have his back at the Survivor Series, but he needs to have their back as well.

It’s time for Divas musical chairs hosted by Jerry Lawler. Shoot me now. A brawl breaks out during the game. Nice plug for Total Divas.

Big Show takes on Ryback. Ryback goes for a second shell shocked after Show kicks out of the first and Big Show shoves him away before nailing the big KO punch for the three count.

^Not much of a big man match, but this is what Big Show does with people that have almost no talent. Orton jumps in the ring after the match and gets speared by Show. That’s probably the most exciting thing Show will be able to do in a match with Orton this Sunday. Doesn’t look like much will be done with Ryback for the time being besides showing off his strength, and I’m okay with that.

Zack Ryder is backstage with Florida Georgia Line. The 3MB interrupt them and call themselves the Rhinestone Cowboys. Lame stuff. Nice to see Ryder get an appearance, but I blame the WWE universe as much as I blame Ryder for his own demise. You have to cheer for who you want to see.

Orton is backstage with a trainer and wants to know where the Shield was as he ices his ribs. Interesting stuff here. I can see Orton also getting screwed over by the Authority.

The Real Americans with Zeb Colter are in the ring. Kofi Kingston is out next and his partner to face the Real Americans is the Miz. Miz goes heel during the match and refuses to tag into the match. Kofi taps out to Swagger’s patriot lock.

^More of an angle than an overall match. Nice to see Miz back to his heel roots. I like him as heel or face, but I’d be much happier if we saw him wrestle more in real rivalries. The Real Americans continue on a roll as a solid tag team.

Vickie Guerrero tries to fool a trainer backstage into thinking something is wrong with her by passing out. We go to commercial. Lame stuff here. I doubt she’ll get out of it.

We come back from commercial and Vickie is tied to a gurney. Stephanie tells them to take her to the hospital AFTER they take her to the ring for her match. Vickie plays games before the match and pretends to be dehydrated. She tries to get away past Tamina but AJ grabs her and brings her back to the ring. AJ puts her in the black widow and forces her to tap out.

^Another angle more than a match. Two in a row. Can we get some wrestling now that “justice” has been served? Will Kane be punished at all?

A seven on seven divas elimination match is announced for Survivor Series. I almost care.

Triple H is backstage with Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler. He tells Sandow and Ziggler they are going to have a broadway brawl, and he doesn’t even know what it is. Sounds like something Vince McMahon would say.

Sandow and Ziggler destroy each other with music instruments in the brawl. Ziggler gets the pinfall on Sandow after smashing him over the head with a guitar.

^Another angle more than a match. Nice to see both of these guys get a chance to show their stuff on Raw though. I just wish both of these guys had a World Title rivalry going right now.

Orton approaches Hunter and Stephanie backstage and wants to know if he has Hunter and Stephanie’s confidence as face of WWE. They tell him they need to think about it. Makes me think that heel turn AGAIN for Big Show may be possible.

John Cena welcomes the Florida Georgia Line band to Raw. I still don’t care.

Cena comes to the ring with his arm in a sling. He’s talking about his status for Sunday at Survivor Series. He’s getting mostly cheers in Nashville. He says he will be ready for Survivor Series despite being banged up. Del Rio interrupts him and taunts him. Cena throws the sling off and goes after ADR. ADR gets away before Cena can hit an AA.

^I don’t care about these two having ANOTHER match on Sunday, but it won’t be bad wrestling at least. I just didn’t care much for their rivalry in 2011, and I don’t care much for it right now.

Xavier Woods from NXT(formerly Consequences Creed from TNA) comes to the ring with R-Truth to take on the Rhinestone Cowboys(3MB). They are facing Mahal and McIntyre. Woods hits his best in the woods finisher on McIntyre for the win.

^Nice of WWE to build a new tag team around a talented performer like Woods with a veteran like Truth. I like it! The tag team division continues to blossom, and we can apparently credit Hunter for that.

Stephanie and Hunter tell Orton they absolutely have confidence in him as the face of WWE. They tell him there will be no Shield, interference or help at Survivor Series since he should have the confidence to defeat Big Show on his own at Survivor Series. Orton says he’ll show Hunter confidence. Intriguing.

Florida Georgia Line perform Round Here on Raw. I STILL don’t care. Give me wrestling please.

It’s time for the twelve man tag main event!

CM Punk pins Dean Ambrose in the main event after a GTS to get the win for himself, Dbry, the Usos and the Rhodes brothers! The Real Americans come down and help the Shield and the Wyatts attack everyone. Rey Mysterio returns and help make the save for the faces. Punk hits a GTS on Harper and Dbry nails the flying knee. Dbry, Punk and Mysterio stand tall with the other faces.

^Looks like Mysterio is back and is the mystery guy for the face team on Sunday. It’s nice to see all that talent(old and young) together in the ring as the best WWE has to offer. Great wrestling ending to the show!

It’s announced that Michael Strahan(former Defensive End for the New York Giants) will be on Raw next week.

Overall, the show was pretty darn good. The wrestling matches were mostly short, but the IC Title match delivered as did the main event. I’m not overly excited for the Survivor Series, but the show was on par for quality. Thanks for reading! – add me