Welcome to the inaugural edition of the This Week in WWE. This column is for fans who missed an episode or two and need a quick recap. Also, it’s for fans who don’t have time to watch every wrestling show, but want to know what’s going on in an easily digestible format. I’ve listed the card for each show and provided personal commentary for each match. Disclaimer: These personal commentaries are solely my opinion so don’t get bent out of shape if I’m dissing your favorite wrestler. In fact, feel free to leave a comment telling me why I’m wrong. (Note: I’m never wrong). So, without further ado, here’s the rundown for the WWE TV shows that aired during the week of 11/11/13 through 11/15/13.
WWE Monday Night Raw: 11/11/13
1. Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust (W)-Handicap Match
With The Authority on vacation this week, a power struggle ensued between Brad Maddox, Kane, and Randy Orton over who was in control of Raw. All three men were overshadowed by Vickie Guerrero, who booked this impromptu handicap match which delivered a solid opening bout. Personally, it’s beyond awesome to have Goldust back as an A-lister and I’ve been wanting to see him team with his brother since Cody debuted.
Orton gave it a go against the tag team champions, but ultimately chose to exit the ring and get counted out when the odds were not in his favor. But, the Rhodes brothers were the least of his worries because Big Show came out and mopped the floor with Orton finishing up with a chokeslam through the announce table. This was beautiful revenge for Show and perfect setup for Survivor Series. I’m not a fan of Big Show in the title picture, but he’s a veteran and definitely deserves the spot.
2. Los Matadores & Santino Marella (W) vs. 3MB
Now, this is where my commentary gets interesting. See, I don’t subscribe to a cable service to watch TV. Instead, I use a Roku device to view WWE on Hulu Plus but the problem is that WWE Raw is shown in a truncated 90 minute version instead of its full three hours. So, as you can imagine, Hulu Plus cut this match out of the program in the interest of time, which means I didn’t see this. I’m sure I didn’t miss much. Los Matadores and 3MB matches are always edited out of Hulu Plus Raw episodes which tells me that even WWE doesn’t think they’re worth watching.
3. Damien Sandow (W) vs. Kofi Kingston
This was yet another match Hulu Plus cut out of the 90 minute Raw. I’m a big fan of Damien Sandow and am still disappointed he didn’t beat Cena for the World Title. And hey, I like Kofi Kingston well enough. Too bad WWE didn’t care to show me this match.
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. (C) Curtis Axel (W) for IC title
This was a very good fast-paced match for the Intercontinental Championship. As much as I like Ziggler, I’m glad Curtis Axel retained the title because I think he’s got good potential and he needs a solid win after being on a losing streak.
5.Nikki Bella vs. Tamina Snuka (W)
I’ve been watching the 90 minute Raw on Hulu Plus since July of this year, and I think I’ve only seen 2-3 Diva matches in that whole time. WWE always cuts out the Diva matches for whatever reason and this match was no exception. I actually am a huge fan of women’s wrestling and am annoyed that WWE thinks so little of it that they consistently cut it out of their 90 minute episodes. Anyway, I didn’t see this match so no comment.
6. Fandango (W) vs. Tyson Kidd
Although I enjoy a Fandango match, I’m not crying tears over the fact that Hulu Plus cut this match from their program. I’m sure it wasn’t anything life-changing.
7. John Cena (W) vs. The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger)-Handicap match
I’m happy anytime Cesaro & Swagger get a big spotlight match, and there’s no bigger spotlight than a feud with John Cena. This was a tremendous match that played to everyone’s strengths. But, of course, Cena beat the odds and scored the pinfall. This was not taken well by Cesaro who uppercut the hell out of Cena right before Alberto Del Rio hit the ring to try to injure Cena’s elbow. But, Big E Langston cleared house and made the save for Cena which is tops in my book because I think Big E has Big potential.
8. Ryback vs. R-Truth (W)
It’s nice to see the veteran R-Truth get a victory over Ryback, but I don’t think it’s great booking to have a monster heel like Ryback lose consistently like he has. He might be booed as a Goldberg clone, but he does bring great intensity to his matches and I’ll happily defend anybody that can get themselves over after having to endure a gimmick like Skip Sheffield.
9. Big E Langston vs. Alberto Del Rio (W)
Del Rio scored a clean victory over Big E after a short but entertaining match. Del Rio needed a solid win over a powerhouse like Big E to keep him strong for the buildup to his match with Cena at Survivor Series. This loss won’t hurt Big E’s momentum at all so everybody wins.
10. Paul Heyman delivered an in-ring promo where he denounced Ryback as a Paul Heyman guy and promised vengeance upon CM Punk. This promptly brought out CM Punk (with Kendo stick in hand) who opened a can of whoop-ass upon Heyman and beat him out of the ring. I think this was the encore for the Heyman/Punk feud and a bit of a treat for the UK crowd.
10. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (No finish/DQ Interferance)
For the first time ever, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk teamed together and they did it against The Shield which made this easily the best match of the week, if not the month. You’ve got three former Ring of Honor world champions in Punk, Bryan, and Rollins so how could it not be great? The match had great back and forth mat wrestling and built into a frenzy of highspots but was stopped dead by the arrival of the Wyatt Family. This was an awesome moment because the Shield weren’t happy to see the Wyatts, and this led to a brawl between the two stables. This lasted for a minute until the two stables teamed up and surrounded Punk and Bryan around the ring. Luckily, the Usos and Rhodes brothers ran into the ring to make the save. I thought this was gonna be the perfect setup for a classic 6-on-6 Survivor Series elimination match. But, as I would find out later in the week, this was not to be the case as only Punk & Bryan will take on The Wyatts in a tag match. Dumb move, WWE.
WWE NXT: 11/13/13
I’ve never watched an episode of NXT in my life so this was a surprise. I like the fact that they make the show look indy and lower-budget. I’m less thrilled with the bizarre announce team of William Regal, Byron Saxton, and Tensai. Regal was a lot of fun, though.
1. Bayley & Charlotte Flair vs. Summer Rae & Sasha Banks (W)
This exciting women’s tag match was a good show-opener. I was unaware that Ric Flair had a wrestling daughter so that was interesting. I like that Charlotte turned heel against Bayley by knocking her out with her finisher because a heel Flair is a great Flair. This gave Banks & Rae the pinfall and a new team-mate in Charlotte.
2. Camacho vs. Aiden English (W)
I had to check my calendar and make sure it was still 2013 when I first laid eyes on The Artiste, Aiden English because he seems to have stepped out of a WWE time machine circa 1993. I don’t remember a thing about his wrestling ability but he does have an amusing gimmick. I don’t see it taking him places, though.
3. Danny Burch vs. Mason Ryan (W)
This was a Mason Ryan squash match and nothing more. I saw no value in the match or in Mason who’s just another big guy with no talent. Of course, that’s just my opinion, folks.
4. Adrian Neville (W) vs. Corey Graves – 2 out of 3 falls match
The first round went to Neville with a pinfall, the second round went to Graves with a submission, and third round went to Neville with a rollup for the pinfall.
These former tag champions put on an impressive 2 out of 3 falls match for two guys I’ve never heard of before. Adrian Neville is an impressive young talent and more than lives up to his nickname of the “man that gravity forgot.” Corey Graves was solid in the matchup, as well, just less spectacularly so. But, the two of them put on a darn good bout and elevated their match and their names.
WWE Main Event: 11/13/13
1. (C) AJ vs. Natalya (W) for the Divas Championship
I thought this was an excellent Divas match and a great showcase for both women. My only problem with it was its spot in the show. A championship match shouldn’t be conducted on Main Event to begin with, and it sure shouldn’t be the opening match. But, regardless, it was solid and almost resulted in a new champion when Natalya had AJ locked down tight in the Sharpshooter. However, Tamina Snuka interfered causing Natalya to win by DQ, thereby retaining the championship for AJ. After the match, AJ got her crazy on and applied the Black Widow to Natalya because that’s just how she rolls.
2. Tyson Kidd vs. Justin Gabriel (W)
Kidd and Gabriel had a fast paced match against each other that did nothing but keep them firmly in the lower mid-card because they have NO personalities. It’s a shame because they are good workers and have huge potential.
3. 3MB (W) vs. The Prime Time Players
I finally got to see 3MB live in action on TV since they ALWAYS get cut from Hulu Plus’s 90 minute edited Raw episodes. I thought they were quite good and I’m always a fan of the Prime Time Players so this was a good main event tag match and a nice end to the show.
WWE Superstars: 11/14/13
1. Naomi & Cameron (W) vs. Aksana & Alicia Fox
There’s not much to say here except that it was a fun and lively women’s tag match that opened the show.
2. The Usos & The Great Khali (W) vs. The Miz and the Prime Time Players
This was a weird match. It was babyface against babyface and it involved the Great Khali which automatically makes parts of the match unbearable to watch. I like both the Usos and the Prime Time Players so I wanted both teams to win. In any case, it was a good 6-man tag and served its purpose as a low-rent main event.
WWE SmackDown: 11/15/13
1. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper (W) vs. The Usos
SmackDown opened on fire with this amazing tag match that saw the Wyatt family score a pinfall victory over the Usos. Rowan is OK as a big man, but Harper truly shines as a great performer and I only see bigger and better pursuits in his future, which is obvious based on his past indy career as a multi-heavyweight champion. This match also put over the Wyatts strong for their match against Punk and Bryan at Survivor Series.
2. THE GREAT KHALI AS WWE SHOP SALESMAN. BEST PROMO EVER.
3. Natalya (W) vs. Tamina Snuka
This was a very quick match and served as a payback match for Natalya as she gained a measure of revenge against Tamina for her actions on WWE Main Event when she cost Natalya the Divas championship due to disqualification interference.
4. R-Truth & The Prime Time Players (W) vs. 3MB
This was just another basic three man tag match between these two teams and it served its purpose as TV time filler. I did enjoy the backstage segment between R-Truth and the Prime Time Players especially when Darren Young sang his rendition of “We Are the World”. So, there’s that going for it, at least.
5. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio – Arm Wrestling Contest
This was a fun segment that furthered their feud going into Survivor Series. I enjoyed the interaction between Cena and the fan in the crowd dressed as Superman. Cena pinned down Del Rio’s arm to the time of exactly one second. Del Rio claimed he wasn’t ready, and asked for a second go. But, he ended up attacking Cena instead. It was very satisfying seeing Cena get put through the arm wrestling table by Del Rio because it’s not often Cena ends up on the losing side of, well, anything. Good PPV buildup.
6. Naomi & Cameron (W) vs. The Bella Twins
It was a typical Divas match in that it was fast, fun, and forgettable.
7. Hunico & Camacho vs. The Great Khali (W)- Handicap match
A complete squash match that did nothing for Hunico & Camacho and forced me to watch a Great Khali match. He’s apprently one heck of a salesman, but the man can’t wrestle if his life depended on it.
8. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel (No winners/DQ interference)
The Beard and The Best took on the former Paul Heyman guys in a solid tag match that ended with no finish due to interference from the Wyatt family. The Wyatts destroyed Ryback and Curtis Axel but were sneak-attacked by Bryan and Punk who hid under the ring when the Wyatts arrived. The show ended with both teams staring each other down leaving us with more great setup for their PPV match.
So, there you have it: The week in wrestling for WWE TV 11/11/13-11/15/13.
Best Match of the Week: CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (Raw 11/11)
Worst Match of the Week: Mason Ryan vs. Danny Burch (NXT 11/13)
Most Amazing Moment of the Week: The Great Khali’s WWE Shop Sales Pitch (SmackDown 11/15)
And that’s the bottom line until next week because I said so.