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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 7/6: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Brock Smash returns, Cena vs. Cesaro goes 30 minutes, Battleground hype, more

Jul 6, 2015 - 10:15:49 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
July 6, 2015 - Episode #1,153
Live in Chicago, Ill.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

- The Card: Brock Lesnar returns from a brief absence ... fall-out from Kevin Owens dropping the NXT Title on Saturday's Network special, plus Owens-John Cena continues ... (1) Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus ... (2) IC champion Ryback vs. Big Show ... Rusev and Summer Rae make an announcement ... Battleground hype ... Randy Orton advertised after a hiatus ... more.

Live Raw on USA Network

Raw opened with a video review of last week's opening segment when Seth Rollins gave gifts to his henchmen, including a new Cadillac for Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury and a Hawaiian vacation to Kane, for helping take out Brock Lesnar.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole introduced the show and Brock Lesnar's music played. Lesnar brought the pyro as the crowd popped for Lesnar arriving in Chicago. He was joined by Paul Heyman, who waited out crowd noise and "Suplex City" chants before speaking from inside the ring.

Heyman introduced himself and the mayor of Suplex City, Brock Lesnar, whose freeway signage t-shirt was adjusted for Chicago. Heyman said it appears Rollins and his henchmen believe Lesnar is still in Tokyo, Japan. Meanwhile, a Justin Bieber-wannabe Seth Rollins is walking around with the WWE World Hvt. Title that he lucked into. Heyman said Lesnar is Old Testament who has decided to bring vengeance to Seth Rollins at Battleground. He said Lesnar is the sword who will pierce Rollins's shield.

Heyman offered a history lesson. When Lesnar took The Streak away from The Undertaker (boos) ... Heyman paused. He said not to boo the advocate. The crowd booed. Heyman said Lesnar did not have respect for Taker, but he did not disrespect Taker - he just wanted The Streak. And, this one you'll cheer, when he took Cena to Suplex City, he did not respect Cena, but he also did not disrespect Cena - he just wanted the title. He mentioned Roman Reigns to no reaction. He said Lesnar did not respect Reigns, but did not disrespect him - he just wanted to give him a beating.

Heyman said Rollins has broken the Eleventh Commandment - thou shalt not provoke The Beast Brock Lesnar. Heyman said this has happened three times. Yet, the beast is still alive, breathing, and salivating for revenge against Rollins. Heyman said his job is to sell Battleground in St. Louis (boos from Cubs fans), where Lesnar will take the title back. But, the beatings and suplexes begin tonight in the cathedral of Allstate Arena in Chicago.

"Suplex City" chants. Heyman said his client has heard that Rollins will be here tonight. And since Seth will be here tonight, Lesnar will not be going anywhere. So, Seth better gear up for a beating at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Heyman dropped the warning, Brock's music played, and the duo hopped out of the ring.

[ Reax: Just did not feel this material. Heyman is a heel promo guy. Having Heyman try to weave through various face/heel descriptions of Lesnar when the product is struggling right now created another soft opening to Summer Break Raw. The hook at the end to see Lesnar taking people to Suplex City tonight was fine, but the booking has done too much damage to Lesnar in recent weeks for it to feel special. ]

Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton reacted to the opening segment. JBL hyped Raw going to Suplex City, then Cole noted that Rollins's back-up, Kane, is not here tonight because he is taking advantage of the Hawaiian vacation. And, to dump water on the opening segment, WWE flashed through made-up, photo-shopped photos of Kane in Hawaii. A complete change of pace from Kane being booked as a giant monster in Tokyo two days ago. More goofiness for an animated look at J&J Security's travel across the country in their new Cadillac before arriving in Chicago for Raw.

In-ring: Big Show was introduced for the opening match. He faces IC champion Ryback next.

[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:14]

WWE App: Over 20 million App downloads. How many times has it been deleted to make room for an iOS update?

In-ring: Big Show was in the ring, sound feedback filled the arena, and The Miz was ringside in a director's chair getting a closer look at the opening match. IC champion Ryback was then introduced as Show's opponent.

1 -- IC champion RYBACK vs. BIG SHOW -- non-title match

As soon as the bell sounded, Miz was heard yelling on the house mic. "Feed Me More" chants as Ryback and Show locked up. Show landed a chop, the Miz shouted into the mic for Show to deliver one more. "One more time" chants from Miz. Show tried to give Miz a punch, but Miz ducked. Show then slapped Ryback across the chest. Show continued to work on Ryback until Ryback avoided a corner attack. Ryback landed right hands as Miz shouted for Ryback to hit Show harder. The distraction allowed Show to flapjack Ryback for a two count. They cut to break with Show in control.

[Commercial Break at 8:22]

Back from break, Miz was still yelling at Show and Ryback. Ryback got the crowd fired up looking for the Meathook Clothesline, but Miz tried to kill his moment by yelling into the mic. Ryback did land the clothesline, but he missed with a top-rope splash. Show then hit a chokeslam and decided to climb the turnbuckles. Show came off the second rope with a giant elbow to the chest, so Miz decided it was the time to jump into the ring and attack Show and Ryback, causing the bell to sound.

Post-match, Miz stomped away on both Ryback and Show with both giants down on the mat. Suddenly, Show stood up and dropped the straps, scaring Miz. "Feed Me More" from Ryback, who also stood up. Miz tried to beg for forgiveness, then yelled at both men to stop. He said this needs to happen at Battleground. But, they would not let him pass. The crowd got restless as this carried on for too long. Ryback heard the crowd and decided to finish off Miz, then Ryback clotheslined Show, angering the giant. Ryback stood tall in the ring as Show seethed ringside and Miz recovered off-camera.

WINNER: No announced outcome at 9:25.

Still to come: John Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge.

[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:30]

Plugs: Alicia Fox appears on episodes of "Dominion" on Syfy. Plus, Total Divas debuts on E! on Tuesday night.

Announcers: Cole and Co. flashed through more goofy Photo-shopped photos of Kane in Hawaii. Meanwhile, J&J Security have been in Chicago in their Cadillac. Noble and Mercury swung by Wrigley Field, calling it a dump.

In-ring: The Bellas and Alicia Fox were in the ring. Brie Bella was announced for singles action. Apparently she's a ... heel tonight? Paige was introduced by herself to face Brie.

2 -- PAIGE vs. BRIE BELLA (w/Divas champion Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox)

The announcers talked up Paige's one-woman crusade against The Bellas as of late, continuing to plant seeds for some help coming. Early on, they cut to Tamina and Naomi watching the match on a backstage monitor. Paige had the match won, but A. Fox hopped on the ring apron to provide a distraction. Paige popped her, but Brie pinned her after the distraction. After the match, the Bellas and Fox beat down Paige until Nikki finished her with the Rack Attack.

WINNER: Brie at 3:12.

Announcers: Cole, Saxton, and JBL reacted to the state of the Divas division. Cole then transitioned to Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt at Battleground in two weeks. Cole flashed back to last week on Raw when Bray ended the night physically controlling Reigns after mentally controlling him previously.

In-ring: The Shield's music played to bring out Roman Reigns through the crowd. The announcers discussed whether Reigns will be focused on Sheamus when Bray is in his head. The match is next.

[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]

In-ring: Reigns continued to pace the ring before Sheamus's music played to bring out Mr. Money in the Bank.


Very physical lock-up to begin the match and Reigns angrily knocked Sheamus out of the ring. Sheamus regrouped and returned to the ring to continue fighting Reigns. Sheamus eventually bounced Reigns's head off the top turnbuckle, sending Reigns to the floor. You could almost sense what was going to happen next - the crowd decided to take over the match with random chants. And Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:54. Included was a spot for "Trainwreck" with John Cena in the ad.]

Back from break, there was an audible "C-M Punk" chant on the air. Meanwhile, Sheamus was in control of the match. Reigns made a comeback, then knocked Sheamus to the bottom rope to deliver his running two-foot kick on the outside. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a Samoan Drop. He wanted the Superman Punch, but Sheamus blocked and nailed the Irish Curse backbreaker for a two count.

[Q5 -- second hour] At the top of the hour, Sheamus climbed to the top turnbuckle for a flying attack, but Reigns intercepted with a Superman Punch. Reigns wanted the big spear, but Bray Wyatt's theme of course interrupted. The lights went out. And Bray Wyatt's music played to bring out a man appearing to be Wyatt on-stage in the darkness. Reigns charged down to ringside and nailed the man with a Superman Punch. But, Reigns realized he had been conned when he found a wig.

Bray then appeared on the video screen cackling and telling Reigns: "Anyone but you." The lights came back on and Sheamus was still in the ring. The bell sounded, giving Sheamus a count-out win. What great concentration by the ref maintaining his 10-count during the darkness and video interruption. Post-match, Sheamus celebrated with his briefcase while Reigns just kind of disappeared.

WINNER: Sheamus via count-out at 11:16. The overall presentation of Reigns captures how little faith WWE has in Reigns to deliver an important promo. The guy took a huge, never-ending beat down last week on Raw and his opponent is targeting his family, yet no promo time vowing revenge and getting the people behind him? Then, he disappears after losing via count-out? They're presenting him like he's just a background player right now.

Post-match, Sheamus continued to celebrate, but Randy Orton's music played. Orton returned from hiatus to pick a fight with Sheamus. Sheamus rolled Orton into the ring, but Orton nailed him with an RKO on the way back into the ring. Orton posed over Sheamus, then excitedly celebrated for the crowd as the announcers talked up a future match.

Authority Office: Seth Rollins and J&J Security walked in for a chat with Triple H. Hunter sent J&J Security away so he could talk to Seth one-on-one ... in front of a camera broadcasting live for J&J to watch on a backstage monitor. Anyways, Seth wanted advice on how to deal with Lesnar tonight. Hunter had a plan: do the unthinkable, something totally unconventional. Hunter said Heyman gave Seth the template earlier tonight when he said to never intentionally provoke the beast. Seth said he has to call out Brock Lesnar, revealing his plan in front of a camera broadcasting live for Lesnar to watch on a backstage monitor. Seth got fired up vowing to prove why he should be WWE World champ. "Yeah, show him!" Hunter told Seth.

[Commercial Break at 9:08]

Plug: Seth Rollins appears on Tough Enough tomorrow night.


In-ring: Rusev was in the ring with Summer Rae. "U-S-A" chant greeted Rusev, who said Summer was so gracious apologizing last week on Smackdown. So, he would like to apologize. "We Want Lana" chant interrupted. Rusev: "I give you Summer!" Rusev said he will apologize for wasting a year of his life on that witch who calls herself a woman, Lana. He said he wants to apologize for all of you stupid Americans embracing Lana and for lowering himself to Dolph Ziggler. He said Dolph is nowhere near his integrity level, strength, looks, or passion. Amazing list.

[Q6] Rusev and Summer prepared to share a moment, but Ziggler's music interrupted. Out came Ziggler and Lana arm-in-arm to address Rusev. Ziggler asked Rusev if his brain is broken like his ankle. He said everything that Rusev has in WWE is due to one person, Lana. Ziggler said Rusev lost the best thing that ever happened to him. He said it's gone and he found her. Ziggler smooched Lana, causing Rusev to freak out. Summer pointed her finger in Dolph's face, prompting Lana to step up to her look-alike. Heels came off, Rusev tried to intervene pretending to calm everyone down, and then he smashed Ziggler with the crutch.

Rusev bashed the crutch across Ziggler's back, then stalked him for a standing kick. Rusev appeared to be healthy now. He then unstrapped the walking boot, which he angrily tossed out of the ring after it took forever to leave his ankle. Summer tossed Lana out of the ring, then Rusev put the boots to Ziggler. Rusev slowly lifted up Ziggler, who fought back to show life, but Rusev jammed his throat with the crutch. Ziggler writhed in pain, then Rusev hopped into his celebratory pose. Refs checked on Ziggler, who sold a throat injury. But, Rusev scared them away and continued to bash Ziggler. Paramedics spilled out to check on Ziggler as Raw faded to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:23]

Moments Ago: Michael Cole talked in hushed tones about Rusev assaulting Dolph Ziggler with a crutch after revealing that his ankle was healed. During the break, Ziggler was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out of the arena while Lana sold with tears.

In-ring: Bo Dallas was introduced to the ring for the next match. Meanwhile, Cole plugged tickets for Night of Champions going on-sale this Saturday in Houston. In the ring, Dallas said what just happened to Ziggler was horrible. He said it should be a reminder that bad things happen to bad people. But, good things happen to good people. Like Bo. All you have to do is Bo-Lieve. Dean Ambrose's music interrupted, surprising the crowd, which reacted big for Ambrose.



Dallas got in the early advantage, prompting a premature victory lap. That fired up Dean, who came back with a bulldog, answering Dallas's Bo-Dog. Dean with a rebound lariat and finally Dirty Deeds for the pin and the win. Ambrose celebrated and posed for the crowd as the announcers talked up Ambrose.

WINNER: Ambrose at 3:00 flat. Effective squash getting Ambrose back on-track after his WWE World Title feud with Rollins. He just needs a feud now.

Earlier today: J&J Security still had the sticker price on their new Cadillac cruising around Chicago. They got stuck in traffic, then kept on driving. Riveting.

Still to come: Seth Rollins calls out Brock Lesnar.

[Commercial Break at 9:35]

Back from break, King Barrett and fake King Truth were in the ring yelling at each other. Truth claimed to be the real king because he had a paper crown and toilet plunger.


Truth nearly scored a quick pin out of the gate. Then he clotheslined Barrett over the top rope to the floor. On the outside, Barrett sent Truth into the barricade, then he bounced him head-first off the ringpost. Barrett rolled Truth back into the ring for a two count. Barrett continued to work over Truth heading to a mid-match break.

[Commercial Break at 9:43]

[Q8] Back from break, Barrett continued to apply the pressure, then warmed up for the Bullhammer, but Truth ducked and rolled up Barrett for a close two count. Truth tried to follow up, but Barrett nailed him with a mid-air Bullhammer. Barrett covered Truth for the win. The announcers posed the same question as viewers on whether this finally ends the feud.

WINNER: Barrett at 8:45.

Backstage: WWE World Hvt. champion Seth Rollins was shown walking down the hallway. He had a weapon in-hand - a paddle or ore? - and was flanked by J&J Security.

Network plug: Dusty Rhodes special tonight on WWE Network after Raw.

[Commercial Break at 9:50]

Earlier Tonight: Rusev took out Dolph Ziggler with a crutch to the throat. The announcers said Dolph suffered a throat injury, but his breathing was not deterred. WWE showed Ziggler being loaded into an ambulance backstage.

Seth Rollins Promo

In-ring: WWE World Hvt. champion Seth Rollins came out on-stage holding his weapon of choice. Apparently it was a hockey stick. Or a wooden musket. Or the side of a wooden crib. Or a cricket bat. Or a paddle. Anyways, The Cadillac then rolled up on the stage. Noble and Mercury emerged from the vehicle and they also received their musketstickbat.

In the ring, Rollins bragged about taking out Brock Lesnar two weeks ago on Raw. A video package documented the events. Back in the ring, Rollins waited out a "Suplex City" chant and continued to hype himself as the only man on earth who can beat Lesnar. Seth said he is walking in with the WWE Title and he will walk out with it.

[Q9 -- third hour] Rollins moved along to addressing Heyman's promo. He paused for a surprising "Justin Bieber" chant from the Chicago crowd, then he decided to provoke Lesnar by wondering aloud if Brock is his own man or Heyman's b----.

After a pause, Lesnar's music played. Out came Lesnar with Heyman standing next to the Cadillac. Lesnar marched down to the ring as JBL provided an official identification that Rollins, Mercury, and Noble were holding axehandles. Lesnar walked toward the ring, then slowly backed up the entrance ramp toward the vehicle. Heyman produced a traveling trunk, then he opened it up to reveal various fire-related weapons.

Lesnar pulled out two pick axes, slowly approached the vehicle, and began destroying the vehicle. Cole said he's his own Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Lesnar pounded away on the vehicle with a smile on his face as J&J paced the ring in anger. Lesnar then bashed the trunk of the car and left one of the axes in the trunk. Lesnar returned to the front-side of the vehicle and promptly ripped the back left door off its hinges. LEsnar chucked the car door across the production area, then called for The Authority.

Mercury charged Lesnar, who pushed him aside. Then, he "broke Noble's arm" with the kimura lock against the car. Noble sold intense pain to match the rib injury from two weeks ago. "Suplex, suplex" chant from the crowd. Lesnar then whipped Noble onto the hood of the car with a belly-to-belly suplex, causing Seth to freak out in the ring. Seth pounded the ring ropes with his axehandle, then Lesnar contemplated entering the ring. Lesnar straight ran onto the ring apron and hopped into the ring with crazy agility, then Seth high-tailed it out of the building into the crowd. Lesnar gave chase, but Seth was gone.

Lesnar then walked back across the guardrail into the ring to grab the WWE Title belt. Lesnar held the belt high in the air to a big reaction as the announcers hyped Lesnar getting his title shot in two weeks at Battleground. Lesnar tossed the belt down, then left the ring with the axe over his shoulder looking like a lumbejack who just Paul Bunyan'ed the entire forest. After a replay of the events, Lesnar was shown standing on the hood of the vehicle as Heyman bowed down before Lesnar.

Still to come: John Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge.

[Commercial Break at 10:10]

Back from break, Cole introduced WWE's "Reality Check" marketing for Tough Enough Week 3 and Total Divas Week 1 tomorrow night on USA Network and E!, respectively.

Moments Ago: Brock Lesnar took out J&J Security, then Seth Rollins got the heck out of the arena to avoid Lesnar.

Back live, the destroyed vehicle was still on the stage. Lucha Dragons were introduced to the ring, but paused to admire Brock's work before flying into the ring. WWE tag champs Prime Time Players were introduced on commentary, then New Day was introduced as the Dragons's opponents. Cole noted Lesnar took out New Day on the Japan Network special on Saturday, so they're familiar with what happened to J&J.



Lucha Dragons flew at Kofi early on while the Players talked up the Dragons on commentary. Big E. then tagged in and isolated Cara until Kalisto tagged in and nailed a springboard twisting splash onto Big E. Big eventually just rolled to the outside to avoid this masked man flying at him. Kofi was also cleared to the outside. Luchas tried to fly out of the ring to splash the heels, but Xavier got on the ring apron to stop them. So, Cara launched Kalisto into Xavier, then the Dragons hit a double splash on all three members at ringside.

[Commercial Break at 10:19]

Back from break, New Day was in control. New Day wore down Kalisto while Titus O'Neil and JBL got into it. Two old football players having a locker room verbal battle. JBL went after Titus's education background at Florida, which Cole segued to a note about Xavier going for his PhD. Titus called a hot tag to Sin Cara, taking over for JBL. Cara nailed a back-flip splash on Kofi as Titus yelled at JBL for not doing his job. Cara then caught Kofi with a Northern Lights suplex, but Big E. broke up a bridge pin.

Chaos in the ring, then Cara dumped Kofi to the outside. Cara and Kalisto stood tall in the ring, then went for suicide dives, but Xavier pushed Kofi out of the way and Big E. caught Kalisto for a big smash on the floor. New Day rolled Cara back into the ring and combined for their double-team top-rope finisher. It was good for the pin and the win. On commentary, the Players talked up New Day getting the win, but said they'll be ready for them in two weeks at Battleground.

WINNERS: New Day at 10:16. Basic booking setting up the Tag Title match in two weeks. Titus was the star of the overloaded segment on commentary.

Network plug: The Legendary Stories of Dusty Rhodes after Raw. "WWE Network, just like Netflix," Cole closed the sales pitch.

Up Next: John Cena's U.S. Title Open Challenge.

Total Divas plug: Watch the Divas tear each other down. Now on Tuesday nights.

[Q11] [Commercial Break at 10:28]

Back from break, WWE formally announced that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin will be on the cover for the new video game. The announcers hyped the largest roster in WWE video game history, due to the NXT addition.

In-ring: U.S. champion John Cena was introduced to the ring for a U.S. Title Open Challenge. As Cena came to the ring, Cole talked about Kevin Owens losing the NXT Title to Finn Balor on the Network special on Saturday. No background on Finn Balor for the Raw audience unaware of someone who hasn't been on main TV yet. WWE cued up footage showing Balor beating Owens for the title. WWE continues to walk in a strange gray area sometimes acting like NXT is a third main roster brand while other times acting like NXT is a developmental system. NXT is rooted in being developmental, so it sends mixed signals to the audience.

In the ring, Cena somewhat gloated that if you're upset about Owens losing the title, then don't worry because ... The Champ is Here. Cena said there will be a title match tonight on Raw. Because he wants to add another great memory to his list of memories in this building. He said that whoever steps through the curtain better bring his A-Game.

Kevin Owens interrupted the Open Challenge. Owens emerged without the NXT Title saying he's sick of listening to Cena say the same things every week. He said he's going to take the U.S. Title from Cena so he can shut up Cena. Cena smirked. Owens said he was willing to wait for Battleground, but now that he doesn't have the NXT Title, he wants the U.S. Title right here, right now. A referee slipped into the ring and Lilian Garcia entered the ring for an official ring intro, but Cesaro's music interrupted.

Cesaro said no one wants to listen to Owens whine about losing the NXT Title. And what he needs to do is step aside so that he can challenge for the U.S. Title. Cesaro said he had Cena ready to give up and tap out last week on Raw until Owens interrupted. So, he wants his title re-match. Cesaro told Owens to leave the ringside area, too. Owens all too willingly obliged and headed to the back, pointing to Owens coming back at some point.

7 -- U.S. champion JOHN CENA vs. CESARO -- United States Title match

Cesaro cleared Cena to the outside in the opening 30 seconds, then Cena paced ringside heading to an early break.

[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:44]

Back from break, Cena cockily set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, playing into the Chicago Crowd booing him. Cesaro blocked, then clotheslined Cena to the mat. Cena tried to respond with a corner attack, but Cesaro moved and followed with a big boot to the chest. Cesaro followed with a delayed vertical suplex complete with a mid-air squat before the suplex. Very innovative.

Cesaro nailed a DDT for a nearfall, then Cena rolled out of the ring to the floor to recover. Back in the ring, Cesaro continued to put the pressure on Cena. Raw abruptly faded to break with Cesaro trying to squeeze the fight out of Cena.

[Commercial Break at 10:52]

Before they returned to the match, WWE showed Tough Enough footage for tomorrow's show. Included was a two-second look at Seth Rollins showing up to talk to the contestants.

Back on Raw, Cesaro caught Cena with a backbreaker for a two count. Cena responded with a sit-out slam to set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Cesaro grabbed his leg and slapped on a Cross-face submission. But, Cena powered to his feet with Cesaro on his back. Counter, block, and drop toe hold for Cena into the STF. But, Cesaro grabbed the bottom rope for a break.

Cena got cocky again, allowing Cesaro to nail repeated gutwrench suplexes. Three in total led to a cover for a two count. Cesaro then nailed repeated corner clotheslines into the Cesaro Swing, but Cena did a mid-air sit-up onto Cesaro's shoulders to nail a DDT for a two count. That was impressive.

Reset at 16:00 with both men on the mat. Cesaro got up and dropkicked Cena clear out of the ring to the floor. Cesaro followed up on the outside with a running European uppercut as Cena sold being hurt. Cesaro dragged Cena back into the ring and JBL said they could be looking at a new U.S. champion, which meant they were not. Cesaro returned to the ring with a cross-body splash to Cena, but Cena rolled through. Block, counter, and Cena with a slam for a two count.

[Q13 -- over-run] Both men recovered on the mat, then Cesaro caught Cena with a mid-air uppercut for a two count. Cesaro took Cena to the top rope looking for a superplex, but Cena blocked with headbutts to the shoulder. Cena then hit a guillotine leg drop, but Cesaro kicked out of a pin. Both men sold exhaustion passing the 22:00 mark. Cesaro then caught Cena off the ropes with a pop-up European Uppercut, but Cena kicked out of a pin.

Another reset, then Cesaro walked into an AA from Cena, but Cesaro kicked out again. The announcers offered the same talking points from last week about the match quality, setting up Owens's inevitable involvement. Cesaro then grabbed Cena to put him in the Big Swing, delivering about 15 revolutions. Cesaro then slapped on the Sharpshooter mid-ring. Cesaro sat down on the hold, then flowed into a cross-face. Cena refused to give up, though. He then pulled Cesaro's hands free and slid around Cesaro to slap on the STF. But, Cesaro powered to his feet into an overhead fisherman suplex, showing tremendous strength. But, Cena kicked out again. Another match that feels like a draw where neither man can secure a fall.

WWE randomly cut to a shot of the busted-up Cadillac on the stage and missed Cena going for a springboard stunner. Cesaro apparently blocked, then hit the Neutralizer, but Cena kicked out. The crowd was worn out by this point with the wrestlers throwing out everything possible to get a pinfall. More counters, then Cesaro put Cena in the cross-face again. But, Cena grabbed the bottom rope for a break.

Reset at 27:00. Cesaro took Cena to the corner for his super-power suplex clear over the top rope for a two count. They came back to their feet and Cena came back with a sit-out powerbomb, but he could not secure a clean cover. Both men sold exhaustion. They came to their feet trading bombs. Cena then took Cesaro to the top turnbuckle. But, Cesaro blocked. He wanted a top-rope Neutralizer, but Cena blocked at the last second. Cena survived with right hand body shots. Then, he spun Cesaro around for a Super AA, and he connected. Cena slowly covered a slumped-over Cesaro and it was good for the pin and the win.

Post-match, Kevin Owens immediately hit the ring and went for the pop-up powerbomb on Cena, but Super Cena avoided and nailed an AA, clearing Owens from the ring. Owens angrily recovered on the entrance ramp as Cena caught his breath in the ring. Cena saluted the crowd, took the U.S. Title belt, and posed for the crowd as WWE went to a shot of the destroyed Cadillac. Cole signe d off 15 minutes past the top of the hour.

WINNER: Cena at 30:05 to retain the U.S. Title. That was like a marathon with crazy endurance from both men. Cena and Cesaro are mirror images of themselves with the power offense, counters, signature moves, deadlifts, squats, all kinds of feats of strength. The issue with the Cena-Owens and now Cena-Cesaro series has been the dependence on finisher kick-outs. It's a tough line to walk. And, it might be time to introduce some sort of time limit or draw element for these types of big matches where it feels like both wrestlers have arrived at a stalemate and they've hit each other with everything possible after kicking out of each other's finishers - a match that ends with the crowd applauding both men's efforts, then the heel does something dastardly post-match to get his heat and set up a re-match where the audience wants to see the babyface finally beat the heel. Just a thought. (****)


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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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He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.

Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.

The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...

-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars.


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