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WWE Raw Report
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 11/15: Special three-hour old school Raw with great angle at end, Jim Ross returns, Piper steps up, more

Nov 16, 2010 - 2:05:37 AM

NOVEMBER 15, 2010


-They began with the old WWF gold logo opening with the colored lasers and the deep voice saying "World Wrestling Federation, the recognized leader in sports entertainment." The screen said: "World Wrestling Federation," but then they crossed it out and wrote "Entertainment" underneath. Then, in a great touch, they used the original Raw opening song and graphics, but inserted today's roster members.

-Then they went into the arena for a pyro show that came from the lighting grid above the ring, again old-style. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler stood at ringside as Vince McMahon and his co-hosts used to do for the opening of WWF Raw or WWF Superstars. Cole introduced himself as Vince McMahon and introduced Lawler as Jesse Ventura. They wore throwback outfits - Lawler his King outfit and Cole a tacky sports jacket.

-Justin Roberts, wearing a 1970s suit and wig, introduced Gene Okerlund. Okerlund came out to his WWF Wrestling Album song. He stood on the stage where he used to conduct interviews. He introduced "Cowboy" Bob Orton. Orton came out wearing his cast. Cole talked about some of the key career highlights of "Ace" Orton. As Okerlund was about to introduce his son, "Ace" said his son might not have known Raw was starting an hour early, but he's on his way and would arrive very shortly. Okerlund asked if he thinks his son will leave Survivor Series as the WWE Champion.

Bob said teachers used to call him and tell him that they were worried Randy was going to beat him other students. Bob said he didn't care. He shifted abruptly to saying he doesn't care if John Cena is special referee. He gulped as if he blew his line or was worried about his next line and had to try to recover. He said he doesn't care if John Cena's career ends. "If it does, fantastic," he said. The crowd booed. Bob paused. He said he doesn't care if Randy gives Wade Barrett the RKO and then Cena an RKO and then takes Cena by his limp wrist and counts Barrett's shoulders down.

The Nexus music played and out walked Wade Barrett. They used old 1980s on-screen fonts and graphics. Barrett told the "old man" to "listen very carefully." He said his prediction about his son's chances is as phony as the cast on his arm. Barrett said he got to WWE through his own hard work and initiative, having nothing to do with people like him paving the way for him. He said his reward comes at Survivor Series. Okerlund said his signature line, "Oh, give me a break, would ya?" Barrett said the only reason he didn't bring the rest of Nexus with him and beat him to a bloody pulp is he wants him conscious to see him beat his son on Sunday.

KELLER'S REAX: Barrett's command of mic work is just beyond his time in the industry; absolutely stellar in terms of his authoritativeness and sense that he believes he belongs on top of WWE.

Miz's music then played and he walked out with Alex Riley. Miz asked Barrett if he thinks it's just that easy. He said last week he sent a message to Randy and changed the landscape of the ten-man tag match. He said he can change the landscape of WWE with his Money in the Bank briefcase, and he might do it tonight. He said if he were to cash it in and win the title, Barrett couldn't win the title on Sunday and Cena would be in Nexus forever.

Cena interrupted and appeared on the big screen. He said Miz has a knack for ruining anything he touches. He said he'll make sure he cashes in nothing. He said he's been told over and over he's either free or fired, so he wants to be sure nothing gets in the way. Cena said he will protect Barrett, not out of concern for him, but out of self interest. He challenged Miz to a match. He made goofy faces to make fun of Alex Riley. He goaded Miz into accepting the challenge right there. [c]

-Lawler plugged that featured old school clips from Championship, All-Star Wrestling, Wrestling Superstars, and Challenge. He told Cole to pay attention to maybe he'd learn something.


1 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. MARK HENRY

Roberts introduced this as an "interpromotional match." They continue to arbitrarily water down the whole brand split with these out-of-nowhere appearances by wrestlers from the other brand. They did the old style insert soundbite in the upper corner of the screen with Ziggler saying last time he was on Raw he was ripped off, but tonight is a whole new story with the return of the greatest IC Title couple since Macho Man and Elizabeth. "The sweetest thing in Hershey isn't chocolate," he said as he gazed toward Vickie. Referee Charles Robinson wore the old light blue ref shirt with a bow tie. Mark Henry came out to his old "Sexual Chocolate" theme song. Cole said Henry used to be a ladies' man and was into some strange things at night. Cole complained about the old-school theme going too far because he had to sit in a steel chair instead of his padded leather chair. The fans also sat in front of the old steel bar barriers rather than the hockey board style barrier.

Lawler said Henry's first WWE match was against him, and he didn't do well. Cole said Ziggler reminds him of "Ravishing" Rick Rude. Lawler said Henry reminds him of Bruno Sammartino. That's not the worst comparison, actually, in that both wrestled with their power as a dominant trait. Henry dominated at first, but Ziggler dropkicked his legs and took over. Cole said he could see Lawler and Vickie dating, but she's probably a little old for him. Lawler chuckled and agreed. Yeah, she's well over half his age. Henry came back with a powerslam for a pin attempt which Ziggler broke up with his feet in the ropes. Ziggler avoided a subsequent splash and hit the Zig Zag. Henry powered out at two with authority, tossing Ziggler in the air. Henry kicked out of another pin attempt after another Zig Zag seconds later. Ziggler then applied a sleeper hold and got the win.

WINNER: Ziggler in 4:00.

-Backstage David Hart Smith told Tyson Kidd that his dad and Dynamite Kid didn't always see eye to eye, but they were one of the greatest tag teams ever. Tony Atlas saw them and began talking about his relationship with Rocky Johnson. "Sometimes I wanted to walk ahead of him, sometimes he wanted to walk alongside me... Sometimes I wanted to pulldowns, sometimes he wanted to do squats." He talked a mile a minute and went on and on including how they ate chicken differently, sometimes with skin or without. Kidd and Smith eventually just shook their heads and walked away. [c]

-Back from the break, Atlas was still talking. Yoshi Tatsu listened and made funny faces and flexed in seeming frustration. Lawler said Atlas's speeches are longer than Bernie Madoff's prison sentence.

2 -- HEALTH SLATER & JUSTIN GABRIEL vs. THE HART DYNASTY (Tyson Kidd & David Hart Smith)

No Natalya. Cole said DHS and Kidd are like family; they fight, but they still find a way to work through it. DHS avoided a Slater dive into the corner reached to hot-tag Kidd at 3:00. Kidd, though, kicked DHS and then dropped off the ring while laughing. Gabriel hit the 450 splash for the immediate win.

WINNERS: Slater & Gabriel in 3:00.

KELLER'S REAX: I'm not sure about a Kidd vs. Smith feud, but Kidd did show more personality in reacting to his turn on DHS than all of his previous TV appearances combined. I'm not sure it fits the Nexus storyline, but he wouldn't be a bad addition to the group. Otherwise it seems he could lost in the mix and end up like J.T.G.


-Okerlund interviewed Randy Orton backstage. He asked if he thinks he'll end up WWE Champion at Survivor Series. R-Truth interrupted immediately and said Cena knew what he was doing last week when he counted his shoulders down. Truth said Cena doesn't really have a choice on Sunday. Between "Free" and "Fired," he's going to choose to be free. He said the one with the choice is Orton, who has a choice to stop it from happening. Orton said there's one way he can stop Cena from screwing him over on Sunday, which is if he punts him in the head tonight.

KELLER'S REAX: Okerlund looks right at home. Growing up watching him conduct interview in the AWA in the late 1970s and early 1980s he was a big plus with his interactions and reactions to wrestlers - knowing when to just hold the mic and not steal the scene also when to accentuate a point with a gesture or flinch. He became too cartoonish and camp when he jumped to the WWF in the mid-1980s, but it's a pleasure to see him back in that interview role. I miss the days when the mic-holders weren't male or female models and were older than the average wrestler. [c]

-Okerlund pushed a new line of WWE old-school merchandise, including the old gold WWE logo and a WrestleMania trucker's hat. He sent people to the website. If they really went old school, they'd talk about "no COD's accepted" and given out an 800 number.

-Howard Finkle stood mid-ring and introduced "a true icon who is revered by many and feared by all." Out came Brooklyn Brawler with Harvey Wippleman. Brawler hadn't aged as much as most. This suddenly began to feel like TNA for some reason. He said he expected the fans to give him a standing ovation when his match is over. Wippleman called Brawler "the King of Old School" and said Brawler wanted to challenge any New Schooler to a match. Cole shouted, "Hey Brawler, someone's got a pretape they want you to do," a reference to Brawler working behind the scenes in WWE production for years and years.

3 -- EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. BROOKLYN BRAWLER (w/Harvey Wippleman)

Jackson's trapezius muscles are just crazy big. Jackson won in a minute with his one-armed slam.

WINNER: Jackson in 1:00.

-Cole plugged the Cena vs. Miz match coming up later. [c]

-A commercial plugged NXT tomorrow night on

-Backstage Otunga said he came close last week to being excommunicated from Nexus, but he stepped up. He said it's time for someone to step up. He said as a leader, he wants to hear their thoughts. Barrett walked in and asked who made him the leader. Otunga clarified he said "a leader." Otunga said he beat a former World Champion last week. Barrett said someone needs to deal with Truth, and that person is him. Otunga said he's okay with that. Otunga said he's had a beef with him since NXT anyway. The Raw G.M. chime sounded. Cole asked for everyone's attention.

Cole stepped up to the podium and read a statement. This week they didn't show the piece of paper taped to the keyboard and Cole actually appeared to be reading off of the screen. It's a miracle! The G.M. said, via Cole, that Truth will wrestle, but his opponent will be Barrett. "What a better way to prove to everyone that despite who the referee is this Sunday, you are truly WWE Championship material." Husky Harris stepped up and said he has his back. Barrett said he likes that kind of show of loyalty, but he won't need it. He will prove tonight he can beat anyone on the Raw roster on his own. In walked Cena. Barrett asked, "What do you want?" Cena said he wanted to be sure he had a grasp on his meltdown and perhaps he could thank him for watching his back. Barrett said he'll get no thanks from him. Barrett told Husky and Michael McGillicutty to follow Cena to the ring just in case Orton tries anything. Cena screwed up Husky and McGillicutty's names on purpose as he told them to step back. Cena said if Orton wants some, he can come get some.

-A commercial aired hyping Kane vs. Edge at Survivor Series. This feud has no tangible hook so the vignette was pretty generic, asking how far Edge will go to end Kane's reign. [c]

-WWE Fact: "Eighty Superstars have made it into the prestigious World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame including Andre the Giant, 'Classy' Freddie Blassie, and Gorgeous George." There's three rather random names.

-Cena's ring intro took place. Cole touted Raw as the longest running weekly episodic TV show in history. Cole wondered if this is the last time they'd see Cena on Raw. Cena put his hat on a very young boy at ringside who seemed a little overwhelmed and unsure what just happened. Then Miz's ring intro took place. A clip aired of Raw last Monday where Miz gave the Skull Crushing Finale to Orton leading to Barrett getting the pin. Miz told Cena he always thinks he's one step ahead of him, and if he takes him out now he won't be able to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase tonight, thus his chance to escape Nexus at Survivor Series won't happen. Miz said the G.M. never officially sanctioned the match, only Cena did. So he wanted to make a substitution, if it's okay with the G.M. Cole said he hadn't heard. Miz said that must mean the G.M. doesn't mind. He said Alex Riley will wrestle in his place. Miz said if Cena wants to face him, he'll have to wait until WrestleMania when he's WWE Champion "because I'm the Miz and I'm awesome!"



Cole apologized for saying it was 2011 during the Ezekiel match. He said he received texts pointing it out. Lawler said he's so excited about the future he can't wait to get there. Cole said he hopes in the future he can host Raw alone. Riley distracted the ref and Miz took a cheapshot at Cena. Riley went on offense. At 3:00 Cena made a comeback and went into his finishing routine. Lawler said Cena's not acting as someone who expects to be fired on Sunday Cena gave Riley the Attitude Adjustment and then applied the STF for the tapout. Miz snuck in and helped Riley out of the ring as the referee raised Cena's arm. Lawler said he has a feeling he hasn't seen the last of Cena on Raw.

WINNER: Cena in 4:00.

-Orton charged to the ring and went after Miz. McGillicutty and Harris charged at Orton, but he cleared the ring of them, too. Cena and Orton then had a staredown. The crowd loudly chanted for Cena. They exchanged punches. Four referees separated them. Several agents entered the fray including Tony Garea and John Laurenaitis. Cole stepped up to the podium and spoke for the G.M., who said it's clear Orton and Cena have issues to work out prior to Survivor Series, so they will both be guests on Piper's Pit.

-The old school Raw opening re-aired. The siren sounded again. Cole and Lawler reintroduced the show from ringside. They recapped the show so far and hyped the just-announced Piper's Pit.

-They threw to ring where Finkle introduced Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Finkle asked the fans to rise and respect Volkoff's singing of the Soviet National Anthem. Lawler quipped that Volkoff has held up as well as Keith Richards. They always looked 70 to me, so they don't look like they changed at all. As Volkoff began to sing, Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov interrupted. Cole said he never thought he'd be so happy to hear Santino's music.

Santino apologized for interrupting. He said his tag team partner, Kozlov, would love the honor of singing the Russian National Anthem with Volkoff. Volkoff agreed. They shook hands. They butchered it. Santino made faces and interrupted quickly. He said it was terrible. He said there is one song he'd like everyone to hear, and it will blow off the place. He introduced a special guest, Slick, to help him sing it. Slick danced his way to the ring and sang his "Jive Soul Bro" song off the WWF music album.


Sheik rambled about USA and Russia and told the fans to shut up. Santino tired to restore order and nervously said Sheik is a legend. At that point The Usos and Tamina began their ring entrance. They were joined by "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Cole called him the original high flyer. Snuka's music played as they cut to a break. [c]

5 -- SANTINO & VLADIMIR KOZLOV vs. THE USOS (w/Tamina, Jimm Snuka) -- No. 1 Contendership Match

WWE is digging deep into the roster by featuring this as a match on Raw. Santino powered Uso down with a judo throw. Kozlov. At 3:00 the Usos used a blind tag to take control of Kozlov. They settled into a long mat hold. Kozlov broke free at 7:00 and hot-tagged Santino. Santino went on a flurry of offense and hit his diving headbutt. Kozlov stopped the other Uso from interfering, then Santino ducked the other Uso as he charged at him. Then he struck with the Cobra for the win.

WINNERS: Santino & Kozlov in 8:00 to become no. 1 tag team title contenders.

-Afterward, as Santino and Kozlov celebrated, Sheamus charged at Kozlov with a big boot. He gave an Uso a kick. It was down to Sheamus and Santino. Santino begged off, but Santino shoved him to the mat. John Morrison ran out and made the save. When Sheamus charged at him, Morrison ducked and then gave him a kick to the head. Morrison stood in the ring and said he keeps running out because Sheamus is a bully. He said from his experience, when bullies feel threatened they turn and walk away. He said he keeps looking for a fight in all the wrong places. He said if he wants a fight, "let's go." Sheamus yelled out, but then backed up. The crowd booed. Lawler said Morrison was right about Sheamus since he backed down. Cole said Morrison is confronting the wrong person; he predicted Sheamus would make him pay soon.

-Cole plugged Piper's Pit.

[Q7] [c]


They went to an inset interview with Kingston explaining how he decided to visit Raw and he'll fly around the ring like Koko B. Ware and make Otunga wish it was yesterday. Lawler gave a shout-out to his pal Koko down in Memphis. Cole recapped that thanks to Kane, Otunga beat Edge and earned his keep in Nexus. Lawler said Otunga deserves more of the spotlight. Cole noted that Otunga is married to Jennifer Hudson, a Grammy and Oscar winner. He said some say Otunga hasn't had to work a day in his life as a result and is living off of her money. Cole said Otunga's problems with Nexus began when Cena was forced to join Nexus because he feels Cena should bow down to him. At 3:00 Kofi picked up the pace with a very high dropkick. Both collided with clotheslines at the same time and were slow to get up. George "The Animal" Steele then roamed out. He looks the same age I thought he was when I saw him team with Mr. Fuji against Gene Okerlund & Hulk Hogan at the old Met Center in Bloomington, Minn. back in the mid-1980s. Steele wanted to devour a corner turnbuckle. The referee warned him not to. Steele just walked over to another turnbuckle and ripped it open and threw the stuffing. Otunga looked on bewildered. Kofi threw Otunga face-first into the exposed turnbuckle and then finished him with Trouble in Paradise.

WINNER: Kingston in 5:00.

-Backstage Morrison received pats on the back from Jerry Brisco and Arn Anderson. He said Sheamus is a bully, picking on flight attendants and others backstage who don't deserve it. Sheamus surprised him with a boot to the face. Sheamus accepted his challenge for a match at Survivor Series. [c]

-WWE Fact: "WWE was originally called the World Wide Wresting Federation and was founded in 1963 by Vincent J. McMahon, Vincent Kennedy McMahon's father." Someone doesn't like to be referred to as Junior!


-Backsaw "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan walked up to Aksana. After a big "hoo!" he told her that her mother is visiting over there. She walked over to a man in a wig. She said, "Mom, you've lost weight!" Dusty Rhodes turned around revealing who he was. Goldust walked up to her, snatched the belt away, said she's been a naughty girl, and insisted they return it to its rightful owner. Goldust handed it to "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBIase. I.R.S. told Ted not to worry, he'll find a good tax shelter for it. DiBiase cackled. Ted Sr. then presented it to his son. Ted DiBiase Jr. said he should keep it because he sick of hand-me-downs. Cody Rhodes walked up to his older brother. Goldust asked him to teach him some of his grooming tips. Cody put his hand up against Goldust's mouth and told him not to breath on him. Dusty said, "I raised some weird kids!" He then danced to his "Common Man" theme song. Tatanka danced into the picture. Duggan also joined in. Ron Simmons's walked in, soaked up the minute, and let out a "Damn!"

-They went to Lawler and Cole at ringside. Lawler said he wasn't sure if that was Dusty Rhodes or Dee Snyder from "Twisted Sister." Cole asked Lawler if they used to dance backstage like that. Lawler said, "On occasion." Cole narrated clips of the rift earlier between Cena and Orton.

KELLER'S REAX: They've done a nice job bringing in more than the usual "Old School" suspects and interjected them into the mix in creative, often fun ways.

-They showed Truth heading toward the entrance tunnel, chatting to Eve backstage. [c]

-They used Lord Alfred Hayes's voice to say: "Promotional consideration paid for by..." They then eased into a living person with a British accent to hype two sponsors.

7 -- R-TRUTH (w/Eve) vs. WADE BARRETT

Truth sang his song to the ring with Eve dancing at his side. He then asked the fans, "What's up!?" Truth got early advantage clotheslining Barrett over the top rope to the floor. He followed up at ringside with a flip dive over the top rope onto Barrett. Barrett caught Truth in mid-air with a tackle to take control at 2:00. Cole said it's a great night other than having to wear that ugly mustard colored suit that Vince McMahon used to wear. Cole asked Lawler if he's been visiting Vince McMahon in the hospital. Lawler didn't answer. Barrett scored a two count after a suplex. Cole said if he's Vince, Lawler is Jesse Ventura, so he should be wearing a feather boa. Lawler said he used to do commentary with Vince. Cole said, "Can you imagine me working with him?" Barrett hit a top rope elbowdrop for a near fall. That could be his finisher, especially with Cole selling that it lands right on the heart. Barrett continued to score near falls as they cut to a split screen of Orton and Cena watching the match. Barrett settled into a chinlock mid-ring at 4:00. Truth surprised Barrett for a leverage pin. He followed with a face plant for another near fall. Truth went for a scissors kick, but Barrett avoided it. Truth escaped Barrett's Wasteland attempt. Barrett then gave Truth a kick to the face and successfully executed his Wasteland finisher.

WINNER: Barrett in 6:00.

STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Not saying much, but the best match of the show so far.


-The old-school Raw theme opening aired again. They're proud of that. It is a good mood-setter for the themed show. The siren blared again. Cole reintroduced the show again from ringside alongside Lawler. Cole got really into imitating McMahon this time. Lawler said it's the worst imitation of Vince ever. Lawler pretended to choke Cole a la Ventura-McMahon.

-Ricardo Rodrigues was presumably about to introduce Alberto Del Rio. Tito Santana walked out, looking somehow exactly the same as he did in the mid-1980s when I used to watch him regularly at WWF house shows defend the IC Title against Don Muraco, Randy Savage, and Greg Valentine, among others. Tito said he'll take it from there. He introduced Del Rio in Spanish. A car drove out. The driver was "Chavo Classic." He opened the door for Del Rio, who stepped out of the back. Cole noted that Chavo Classic is the oldest Cruiserweight Champion in WWE history and now he's a chauffeur. Cole said Del Rio is going to be captain of a team at Survivor Series and they'll offer more details later. Cole said Del Rio is rewriting Sports Entertainment. He said SyFy wanted Smackdown because of him. He said he especially likes when he winks. Del Rio did some mic work, ripping on "fat Americans" in the capital of chocolate. "I'm in the heart of America, a heart that will soon stop due to rising cholesterol and obesity."

Sarge walked out and told Del Rio to shut his hole. He called him a puke and told him to listen up. He said there are two things you don't mess with, Legends and America. He challenged him to a match and called him "a puke, scum, and a maggot." The crowd loudly chanted, "USA! USA!" Del Rio called for a referee and accepted the challenge.


Sarge is totally bald now. He finally ran out of techniques to hide the growing bald spot. Del Rio beat him down with forearms at first. Sarge surprised Del Rio with a cobra clutch. Cole got excited, but Del Rio grabbed the ropes and then elbowed Sarge. I thought Cole was Del Rio's no. 1 fan? Del Rio took Sarge down with a clothesline. Sarge flat-back bumped like it was 1980. Del Rio applied a chinlock as fans chanted "Slaughter! Slaughter!" Del Rio kicked Sarge's leg as the crowd shifted to a chant of "USA! USA!" Good energy from the crowd this far into the night. Del Rio finished Sarge with a kick to the side of his head.

WINNER: Del Rio in 3:00. That was way better than it had any right to be considering Del Rio isn't exactly Mr. Electricity these days in the ring, and Sarge has been notorious for years for being about as bad as it gets in the ring.


-Afterward Del Rio applied his cross armbreaker. Sarge tapped out frantially. MVP ran to the ring for the save, so Del Rio bailed out. Del Rio broadly smiled at MVP. The crowd loudly chanted "MVP! MVP!" MVP helped Sarge to his feet and raised his arm. [c]

-They went to Cole and Lawler at ringside. Lawler said spam back in the day was canned meat, not a problem on your computer's email. Cole threw to a video package on the ticket launch for WrestleMania 27 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The mayor listed the big events Atlanta has hosted and said this is "the next big event for this city." That's like telling your girlfriend she's "the next great lay" in your life. You're not better than the rest, but you are next.

-On the stage Okerlund introduced Mae Young who walked out with the Bella Twins. Cole said she's 87. She's always got a smile. Okerlund said some say she was the first Diva. They showed an old black and white picture of her. Okerlund got excited. Young said she started at age 17. Lawler and Cole chuckled at how excited Okerlund seemed. Okerlund threw to a video package on Young's involvement in recent years including Okerlund saying she has a vociferous sexual appetite. LayCool interrupted. Michelle McCool told Okerlund they were confused. "Is this Old School Raw or Jurassic Park. Dust her off." Layla asked how it felt to know that the two of them have something that she never had in her 100 year career - title belts. McCool said Mae is old enough to be Betty White's grandmother. McCool said she needs her adult diaper changed. Mae shot back, "I want a match with these sluts!" Okerlund prompted her to say she wanted it to be no-DQ. LayCool backed up and laughed, saying it should be falls count anywhere. Mae had to be led to the ring by the Bella Twins, but also held back by them as she was aggressively trying to get at them.


Other Divas came out to help Mae. Eve, Natalya, Gail Kim, and Melina beat up Layla and McCool. Mae stood on Melina and got the three count. They were rightfully really careful with Mae, as they should be since it wasn't that long ago she took a nasty bump in the ring that looked like it could have badly injured her. They kept it fun and even built up the Survivor Series match between LayCool and Natalya.

WINNER: Young in 1:00.

[Q11] [c]

-WWE Fact: "WWE was just named one of America's Hottest Brands of 2010 along with Droid, IPad, Silly Bandz, Buick, and Gillette" according to Advertising Age's Nov. 15 issue. I can't believe anything with a "z" in place of an "s" at the end in 2010 was hottest anything. This isn't 1998.

-Howard Finkle introduced a guest commentator for the next match - good ol' J.R. Jim Ross. Out walked Ross. Cole said this is ridiculous. Lawler said he set it up. Cole said that's ridiculous and it's his show now. "I can't believe you did this to me," he said. Ross looked good. Cole asked Ross who invited him there. Ross totally ignored him at first, then quickly shook his hand and turned to Lawler. Ross sat down and clapped. Finkle resumed his ring intro.


This is great. Ross gets to call a Daniel Bryan match on Raw. It would have been so wrong if that didn't happen at least once. Can this be the start of something more. Ross touted Bryan. Cole said he's got no personality, just like Ross. Cole told Ross to talk about his great Oklahoma sports accomplishments. Lawler said Bryan is like a modern-day Bob Backlund. "Oh my lord," said Cole. Cole asked Ross and Lawler if they understand he is now the voice of WWE. Ross no-sold Cole and called the match. When Cole took a dig at Ross & Lawler, Lawler said he's heard Cole and Matt Striker which is "the bland leading the bland." Cole said, "Thank god we're going to a commercial break." Cole asked Vince to bring out his private jet and fly Ross back to Oklahoma. The banter between Cole and Ross is fun after all of these months, but it is taking away from the focus on a potentially great match. [c]

Ross said Bryan took the long route to WWE, wrestling around the world and earning his stripes to get the opportunity. Did Ross just say "wrestling"? Cole pointed out his voice is in the signature opening of the show. Cole brought up Ross's catch phrases. Lawler asked him to exercise his right to remain silent. Bryan took control at 9:00 at ringside with a running flying knee off the ring apron.


Back in the ring Bryan hit a top rope missile dropkick for a two count. Cole cheered for the pin. Lawler asked why he was cheering for Bryan. Cole said he was cheering for anyone to end this thing. "Someone left the water running; I keep hearing a drip," Lawler quipped. Swagger made a comeback and landed the corner swing splash. Cole begged for someone to end the match. Lawler asked Cole to talk less and shut the hell up. Cole asked how the BBQ sauce business is. J.R. said it's going good and plugged his website. Bryan finished Swagger with a high round kick to Swagger's head.

WINNER: Bryan in 11:00.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- The announcing stole the show, but it was still a teaser of what could be a good series between these two. Ross sounded great and looked good, too.

-Ted DiBiase attacked Bryan afterward. DiBiase grabbed the U.S. Title belt at ringside and stared longingly at it. That autotune theme song for DiBiase is a bad fit. Maryse joined DiBiase at ringside. She's a bad fit for him, too. Zero chemistry.

-Cole told Ross farewell, it was nice having him around for a few minutes. Ross shook Lawler's hand and said it was great to be back, he watches him every week. Cole and Lawler hyped the Survivor Series line-up. Justin Roberts then asked for another ovation for Ross. Ross stood up, took off his hat, hit Cole with it a few times, and walked away. Cole said, "That's real professional. Why don't you grow up?" Ross saluted the fans and walked to the back. Cole said, "I run this place; he can't do that to me." They showed Cena and Orton on the split sceen heading to the entrance tunnel for Piper's Pit. [c]

-The spotlights roamed the lower deck, but not the upperdeck, in a wideshot. The Legends then stepped onto the stage for a final salute. Roberts introduced them one at a time. Everyone who was on the show so far and no one else, ending with Ross, Sheik, and Volkoff. Then Orton came out and gave each of them, including his dad, RKOs one after another. Not really. Roberts then introduced "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.

[Q13: Overrun]

-Piper walked out to bagpipe music and ran up the steps and entered the ring. He smiled as widely as Del Rio and asked the crowd, not showing signs of fatigue, "How cool are you?" That led to a "Roddy! Roddy!" chant. Piper said, "Let's make some history." He said Old School isn't about nostalgia or a happy feeling, it's about a time when you had to "man up" and "stand up to the plate." He said it's like when Captain Lou was honored with an award and he didn't like it, he smashed him in the face with a gold record. He brought up hitting Snuka with the coconut when he became a hotshot. Piper said there was a time where if you had a problem, you did something about it. He said that's what he hopes to accomplish tonight.

Piper then introduced Cena, telling the fans to give an old school welcome to a new school kid. The ring was covered in plaid. Piper shook Cena's hand and said "he's a big boy." He said he's a big fan of his and has been for a long time. He said he has been competing over 30 years and he's never been the WWE Champion. He said it does eat at him a little bit. He said many other Superstar Hall of Famers such as Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, and Mr. Perfect didn't wear the WWE Title, either. He spoke very seriously at Cena as he said if he does what he thinks he's doing to do and give "that S.O.B. Wade Barrett" the WWE Championship "without him deserving it," then he's "spitting in the face of all those legends you say you respect." He said: "I'm asking you, don't spit in my face, John Cena." He said he's been a man ever since he arrived in WWE. "Consequences be damned, do the right thing," he demanded.

Cena said for weeks he's had to hear "free or fired," and he said sometimes he doesn't know what the right thing is. He said it's not that easy. He said from the moment he got to WWE, he's worked as hard as he could to get where he is so people like him look at him and say, "That kid, he could have hung with us." He said he has no idea the amount of respect he has for Piper, King, and the rest of the Legends. He said he looked up to guys like him as a kid. "You were my heroes," he said. He said he's been thinking about this a lot and after all of the work he's done, if he hands over a championship he's free, "but free from what?" He said he'll be seen as the guy who gave Barrett a championship, so all of that work will be out the door. He said if Orton wins at Survivor Series, he earns it. If Wade Barrett wins, he's earned it. He said at Survivor Series, he's aware of the consequences and he's going to call the match down the middle. Piper said, "Bingo! Now you're talking!"

KELLER'S REAX: Piper is really, really good here.

Barrett walked out onto the stage and said he agrees 100 percent, just call it down the middle. He said he thinks he's proven tonight he can beat anyone on the Raw roster without his help. He said those were magnificent words, but the problem is they're just words. He said the reality in place is that if he doesn't get his hand raised and win the WWE Title, Cena is history. He said no more WrestleMania moments, no more C-Nation, none of that.

Piper told Barrett to shut up. He said if he lets Cena hand him that WWE Title - "look at me when I'm talking to you" - at the end of the day he might have the WWE Championship, but he won't be a true champion, he'll just be a joke. Cena smiled. "Who the hell are you to cast judgment on me?" he asked. He said he realized earlier today that one way or another, this is Cena's final night on Raw as part of the Nexus and it might be Cena's final Raw ever. He said he's disappointed it's taken him this long, but he realized earlier that Cena should be wearing the Nexus colors. He handed him a t-shirt and told him to put it on. He told him if he doesn't put it on now, he will fire him on the spot.

Cena took off his purple shirt and put on the "N" shirt. Cena asked if he is happy. He said he's his boss until Sunday, but when the match is over, "win or lose, I'm going to turn your face into mush." Barrett said he's heard his threats already, but once his hand is raised and he becomes WWE Champion, the rest of Nexus will hit the ring and protect him from him. He said he can make him history "like that."

Orton's music then kicked in and Orton walked to the ring. Orton told Cena that ever since he counted three against him last week, all he's thought about is how he could end this all by kicking him in the skull and taking him out. Cena asked him what is stopping him. Orton said nothing is stopping him, but he's thought of a better option. He said he could take him out or... and then he turned and pounded on Barrett. Barrett fought back, but dove right into an Orton scoop powerslam. Orton pounded the mat and waited for Barrett to stand. Cena stepped between them and held up his hand for Orton to stop. Orton then gave Cena an RKO. Orton stood around looking at the damage he created. Barrett moved at him. Orton tossed him to the floor. Cena then got up and gave Orton an Attitude Adjustment. He sold the RKO with some wincing.

Barrett re-entered the ring with a smile on his face. He looked at Cena and ordered him to raise his arm. Cena instead gave Barrett an Attitude Adjustment. He then yanked the "N" shirt off and threw it onto Barrett. Cena's music played as he walked away. Lawler said he has no idea what Cena will do on Sunday. Piper raised Cena's arm on the ramp enthusiastically. Cole asked whether this is the last time they ever see Cena on Raw.

KELLER'S REAX: A hell of a final segment. That's a WrestleMania-caliber finish to hype for a PPV. Having Piper there, and all of the legends on stage before that, added some gravitas to the happenings. Cena, Barrett, Orton, and Piper were all excellent, with a particular nod to Piper who really made Cena's choice on Sunday seem like a no-win and a real character-test. They've built up the intrigue for the finish of this match in a way that will sell Sunday's PPV as people are going to want to see how Cena gets out of this situation and what the ramifications are for his actions.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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