The following report was originally published five years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S VIP RAW REPORT & ANALYSIS
DECEMBER 2, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA.
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-After the “WWE Then, Now, Forever” intro, they went live to the arena with C.M. Punk’s music playing. Michael Cole introduced the show and proudly declared they were in Oklahoma City.
(WK Reax: It’s a “Southern” town, but since it has a major league sports team, they’ll admit to being there. They try to hide when they’re in small Southern markets.)
A quick replay aired of Punk being attacked by The Shield last week. Cole wondered if they went rogue or if they were acting on orders from someone else.
Punk’s music stopped and a “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. Punk said he’s spent all week wondering why The Shield attacked him. He said he is in denial, but his gut tells him it was because he insulted Triple H. “I think I said he lacked creativity or something,” he said. “It wasn’t that big of a deal.” He asked who he is, a lowly peasant, to question the King of Kings. He said he hopes it’s a coincidence, because if it’s not, he might have to deal with more issues with The Authority. He said he likes to live in his own universe. He said Triple H isn’t that dense to kick a hornet’s nest and who prides himself on being one of the biggest anti-authority figures in WWE history. He said if he’s not wrong, Triple H and his Authority are the biggest group of “sorry, ignorant, stupid douche-bags that I have ever come across.” The crowd popped a little for that naught talk.
Stephanie McMahon’s music then played. She had that syrupy shiny smile on her face as she wished Punk and everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. She said there couldn’t be bigger advocate of free speech than her family. She noted that her husband was a founding member of DX. She said to think they’d have The Shield attack him because he called her husband a bad name, “well, what are we, in kindergarden?” She said that would be beneath them. She said they were just as upset as he was when The Shield attacked him last week. Punk asked if she expects him to believe that. She insisted it was true. Steph then said they have bigger things to deal with tonight – the contract signing of the WWE Championship and World Championship match at TLC. She said as a result of that, if Punk has more questions, he can address Kane, their Director of Operations.
Kane walked out and gave a bunch of corporate speak that sounded like a lawyer who hated his job and was emotionally disconnected from words. He asked if Punk had any questions. Punk asked, “Exactly when did you become the Big Red Ass-kisser?” The announcers gave their obligatory chuckles. Kane said, “I would advise you not to take this lightly.” Punk replied: “I would advise you not patronize me.” Kane told him that wasn’t a path he should go down. Punk suggested a path: “Why don’t you walk this path and get in this ring, and since you already sold out, you can get knocked out or I can make you Go To Sleep.” Steph stepped in front of Kane.
The Shield then walked to the ring through the crowd. JBL said Punk was spouting stupid conspiracy theories. Steph ordered The Shield to stop as if she was talking to dogs who were about to cross into the neighbor’s yard. She said she would not have a repeat of what happened last week. She said Punk is to be respected and admired. Kane then calmly said Punk will be in a handicapped match at TLC against all three members of The Shield. Kane’s music played as the segment ended and Cole asked how that is fair.
-Cole hyped the contract signing for John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Cole said The Authority is now guaranteeing that one man will emerge from TLC as one champion.
(WK Reax: Good to see a contract signing moving up so it’s not the last show before the PPV, although in this case it’s likely because the Slammys are next week. I love the wording of the statement by The Authority that Cole read about TLC ending with one single champion. It doesn’t exactly rule out my speculation that Triple H inserts himself into the match at the last second and knocks Orton off the ladder and pulls the belts down himself. It would be fitting the screwy PPV endings we’ve seen every show since SummerSlam.)
-Lawler hyped Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler for the no. 1 contendership for the Intercontinental Title. [c]
-Cole plugged that the Slammy Awards edition of Raw is next week.
(1) DAMIEN SANDOW vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER – No. 1 Contendership to IC Title
Big E. joined the announcers at ringside. Big E. listed Steve Austin and The Rock as former championsl; he said it’s an honor to join their company. JBL said he is a former IC Champion, too. Cole asked who Big E. would prefer to fight, I mean “engage in the ring in a sports entertainment simulation of a physical contest.” Big E. picked Ziggler because of their history. He said the issues between them are water under the bridge. He said he has a lot of respect for him and everything he’s done. When he brought up Ziggler’s World Title reigns, JBL said he only held the belt for a cup of coffee and said it’s not like he had title reigns like Bruno Sammartino. Fast pace to the match early with near falls kicking in at 3:00. Sandow eventually won clean after knocking Ziggler off the top rope and then hitting the You’re Welcome.
WINNER: Sandow in 4:00 to earn an IC Title match against Big E. at TLC.
(WK Reax: Good to see a match on Raw two weeks ahead determine the challenger to the IC Title, giving, them another episode of Raw and two more Smackdowns to build a rivalry and hype the match.)
-A screen presented comparative stats on Cena and Orton, noting that Cena is an 11 time WWE Champ and 3 time World Champ, compared to Orton being an 8 time WWE Champ and 3 time World Champ, along with several big event victories for each including two Royal Rumble wins for Cena and one Rumble win for Orton, and each winning MITB a year apart. It also noted Cena has held the WWE Title more times than anyone, whereas Orton is the youngest WWE Champ in history at age 24. [c]
(2) A.J. LEE & TAMINA & SUMMER RAE vs. THE BELLAS & NATALYA
(Quotebook – Michael Cole: “It takes a lot of athleticism to play hopscotch. I played it as a child.”)
Natalya got a hot-tag in 4:00, but she knocked herself silly hitting the ringpost when Summer Rae moved out of her path. Summer Rae tried to tag A.J., but she was skipping around the ring. Eventually she did tag in, but Natalya had recovered enough to surprise A.J. with a small package for the win.
WINNERS: Natalya & The Bellas in 5:00.
-Cole said Daniel Bryan was abducted last week on Raw and abandoned in a parking lot. He said he’d face Erick Rowan later on Raw. [c]
-Cole told viewers to download the WWE App and vote for the Extreme Moment of the Year.
-Wade Barrett stood at a podium at ringside near the announce table. It’s a segment called “Bad New Barrett.” He said he had good news and bad news. He said the good news is they are at Monday Night Raw, but the bad news is they are stuck at an arena full of hillbillies and overweight miscreants who had to name their city after their state just so they could remember it. That was it.
-Backstage Orton told Raw G.M. Brad Maddox that he’s glad he’s back. He told him to go tell The Authority that he demands that they recognize him as the greatest WWE Superstar of this generation or any other and he is the Face of WWE and his name is more well-known than Cena’s. He claimed to be bigger than the WWE itself. Maddox just stared ahead, avoiding eye contact or any sudden movements.
-Cole asked fans to vote for whether the champion after TLC should be called: “The Unified Champion,” “The Undisputed Champion,” or “The Undisputed World Champion.”
(WK Reax: How about simply the WWE World Heavyweight Champion?)
-Bryan made his ring entrance. Cole plugged the Daniel Bryan interview on the Steve Austin Show available on iTunes. [c]
-Cole plugged the voting for Insult of the Year.
-A clip aired of Bray Wyatt on Smackdown saying that Bryan would be safe with them and will enter the Lion’s den as a man and emerge a monster.
(WK Reax: So he was abandoned in a parking lot after Raw according to Triple H at WWE.com and Cole on Raw, but the Smackdown show that aired on Friday indicated Bray was saying that Bryan was still with them. It seems that what was going on at the Smackdown tapings Tuesday wasn’t synced with what Triple H was telling Cole at WWE.com that afternoon.)
(3) DANIEL BRYAN vs. ERICK ROWAN (w/Luke Harper)
Cole said that Bray tweeted: “Science is the study of disproving hope and force-feeding theories.” JBL called it psycho-babble. They cut to a break at 3:00. [c]
The announcers kept calling Rowan a monster. Apparently with Kane’s transformation, the monster title has moved on to someone else. Bryan made a comeback at 9:00, but Rowan cut him off and gave him a running boot to the face. At 12:00 Bryan dove through the ropes at Rowan at ringside. He then leaped off the top rope with a dropkick and went into his series of roundhouse kicks to Rowan’s chest. Rowan, though, countered with a powerbomb attempt. Bryan escaped and climbed to the top turnbuckle. Rowan kicked him off balance and then pressed him in the air. Bryan slipped to the mat and schoolboyed Rowan for the three count.
WINNER: Bryan in 13:00.
-Afterward Bray appeared on the big screen and the lights went dark. Bryan, who had made his way toward the stage as Rowan and Harper were still in the ring, watched as Bray told him that Rowan and Harper wouldn’t hurt him “unless I tell them to.” He then laughed. He told Bryan that since he has been on Earth, he has done a lot of horrible things to a lot of good people. He said he’s man enough to admit when he is in the wrong. He said he was wrong about Bryan because he billed him as a minuscule little creature in a war he could never win.
He said he saw him chase his “little girly friend” on TV and buy her a diamond. He asked how long he’s willing to live this life before they discover his “dirty little feet are soiling their red carpets?” He said he understands Bryan and sees him for what he is, but they look at him like he’s a circus clown there for their amusement. “They look at you like you’re a gorilla in a cage, but I see the monster in you,” he said. He said he can love him like they can’t and together they could tear the walls off this place and “bring the machine to its knees. Open your eyes.” They suddenly cut to a break. [c]
-Backstage Kane approached Bryan. He congratulated him on his victory. He said they’re not partners anymore because he’s up to more important things. He told Bryan he, too, will have a handicapped match at TLC, against all three Wyatts. He then said in a whisper tone: “Yes! Yes!”
(WK Reax: Kane was hilarious there saying “Yes!” in whispered tones and holding his fingers up each time like they were Bryan’s arms. The best kinds of “funny” are the kinds that aren’t followed by cackling by the announcers.)
-A clip aired of Brodus Clay on Smackdown last week chewing out Xavier Woods. He said he gave him permission to borrow his music and dance with the Funkadactyls, not steal them. Bray said they don’t need “rookies feeding on main event players like myself.” He told Woods to keep his mouth shut unless spoken to. Then he shoved him into the lockers.
(4) TONS OF FUNK (Brodus Clay & Tensai w/The Funkadactyls) vs. R-TRUTH & XAVIER WOODS
A minute into the match JBL started talking about twerking again. Lawler begged JBL not to talk about twerking this week. At 2:00 Xavier avoided a splash and then pinned Brodus. Afterward Truth pulled Xavier out of the ring as Brodus made a move toward him in frustration. Tensai tried to calm Brodus down.
WINNERS: Woods & Truth in 3:00.
-The announcers pitched fans vote on the WWE App for the Doublecross of the Year.
(WK Reax: How about every finish of every PPV since SummerSlam? Doublecrossing the fans out of their hard-earned money with unsatisfying screwy finishes followed by Bryan being yanked out of title contention.)
(5) SIN CARA vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Del Rio cut a promo against Sin Cara on his way to the ring, comparing him to other peasants trying to cross the border. Del Rio vowed to beat down Sin Cara and call immigration to send him back to the other side of the border. JBL said Del Rio has been hanging around Zeb Colter. Cole announced Natalya would face A.J. for the Divas Title in two weeks at TLC, based on her win against A.J. in the six-woman tag match earlier.
Lawler complimented the Lucha Libre style of wrestling and said it’s amazing to watch as Del Rio dove at Sin Cara at ringside a minute into the match. A crawler hyped a new WWE magazine featuring “The Year in Pictures.” What about TLC? And then it hyped that “Christmas Bounty” starring Miz comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.
Sin Cara landed a flip senton onto Del Rio off the top rope for a big win.
WINNER: Sin Cara in 5:00.
(WK Reax: It was tough to get into the match because the announcers again seemed to be engaging in a radio talk show discussion about random stuff and the match was just backdrop to it which occasionally caught their eye.)
-Cole said The Authority is guaranteeing one man will emerge as the Unified Champion.
(WK Reax: One man. Not Cena or Orton. “One man.” So that doesn’t rule out Triple H or Batista or someone else being added to the match after Orton and Cena knock each other out during the match. Just a thought.) [c…]
-The announcers acknowledged “Never Never” by Korn as the official theme song of TLC.
-Renee Young interviewed Cena backstage. She asked what it means to him if he becomes the Undisputed Unified Champion. He said the debate has been going on for over half a century, and years ago if you lived in the South, the World Title was everything. He let out a Ric Flair wooo. He said in the North, the WWE Championship meant the most, and he imitated Hulk Hogan. Cena said it’s time for change. He said he’s been both WWE Champion and World Champion, but there is only one WWE and one WWE Universe that goes north, south, east, west, and around the world, so it’s time for one champion. He said it would mean everything to him.
-Backstage The Shield reacted to getting Punk in a three-on-one match.
-Cody Rhodes & Goldust made their ring entrance. Then Big Show. Cole said they’d face The Shield next.
-A commercial aired hyping “The Raw 20th Anniversary Collection” DVD which features “uncut and unedited” the “top 20 episodes of Raw ever.”
(WK Reax: That’s a good idea for a DVD. A lot of people crave uncut and unedited episodes. That’s a lot of content, too, to watch.) [c]
-The announcers hyped voting for the “This is Awesome Moment of the Year.”
(6) THE BIG SHOW & CODY RHODES & GOLDUST vs. THE SHIELD
Show lifted Ambrose’s shirt and chopped his exposed chest a minute in. He moved him to another corner and did it again. Ambrose tagged in Rollins who kicked Show’s legs. Show no-sold the kicks and shoulder blocked him to the mat. When things didn’t get any better for Rollins, Show shoved him over to his corner and he tagged in Reigns.
There was a buzz in the crowd as Rollins approached Show mid-ring. He shoved Show. Show kicked Rollins in the gut and threw him head-first into the turnbuckle. He unzipped his vest and chopped his chest hard. Reigns chopped back. Show no-sold it and chopped Reigns again. Reigns poked Show in the eyes and then tagged Ambrose back in.
Goldust tagged in and got in some offense. When Cody tagged in, Ambrose soon took control against him. They cut to a break at 7:00. [c]
Back from the break the Shield tagged in and out while isolating Cody. At 13:00 Cody hot-tagged in Show. Show went to work against Reigns. Eventually, though, Ambrose yanked the top rope down as Show leaned on it, so Show tumbled to the floor. The Shield took over on Show. They showed Punk watching on a monitor backstage. He was standing in front o the monitor, not to the side, which is nice.
Show back duplexed out of an Ambrose headlock at 17:00 and then tagged in Reigns. Show chokeslammed Reigns almost immediately and then tagged in Goldust, who went to work Rollins.
Goldust landed a snap powerslam mid-ring at 19:00. Reigns speared Big Show at ringside, but the director missed it until the very end. Cody then dove off the top rope onto Reigns at ringside. Goldust then gave Ambrose a superplex. Rollins, though, surprised Goldust with a roll-up for a leverage pin out of nowhere.
WINNERS: The Shield in 20:00.
-Lawler hyped that up next Punk would give his thoughts on facing The Shield at TLC.
-A clip aired of Breaking Point’s main event in September 2009 – the I-Quit match where Cena got Orton to quit. Then Cole plugged the contract signing coming up later on the show. [c]
-Cole hyped voting on the app for the “Total Diva of the Year.”
-Renee Young interviewed Punk backstage. She asked for his reaction to facing The Shield at TLC. He said excitedly that he is the kid in a candy store. He said he emollient and overjoyed and feels pretty. He sang, “I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and gay.” Young tried to keep straight face. Punk then got serious and said, “That’s not my reaction. I’m going down. I know I’m going down.” He said the question is how many of the Shield will he taken down with him.
-Justin Roberts introduced another Bad News Barrett segment. He then announced that he has some bad news. He then talked about Thanksgiving. “As a result, your arteries are now clogged, you sweat when you eat, and you are all constipated,” he said. “Thank you.”
(WK Reax: I don’t know about this recasting of Barrett. It’s something at least.)
-They showed Miz and Kofi Kingston shaking hands backstage. Lawler said they’re going to give another shot to being a team. [c]
(7) KOFI KINGSTON & MIZ vs. RYBACK & CURTIS AXEL
The announcers were still marveling at Goldust’s execution of a huracanrana in the previous match. A couple minutes in there was a noise. Lawler said he was adjusting his mic and “it’s not what Bad News Barrett said.” The announcers chuckled and Cole said they have a mute switch.
(WK Reax: If not previously, this is the point on Raw where you just resent the three-hour format. Everything just dragged.)
Ryback eventually pinned Kingston after a clothesline and Shell Shock. No fan heat for this one. The announcers said Ryback and Axel may have found their place in WWE. Cole called it an incredible performance.
WINNERS: Ryback & Axel in 5:00.
-Miz entered the ring to check on Kingston, but then he slapped him for losing. Cole wrote it off as two competitive guys with huge attitudes who want to win. Miz retreated with a heelish demeanor as Kofi asked if he was serious.
-Los Matadores and El Torito did the merchandise pitch this week.
-A clip aired of Orton standing over Cena with both title belts on Raw last week. [c]
(8) FANDANGO (w/Summer Rae) vs. MARK HENRY
Lots of Slammy banter among the announcers as Henry made his way to the ring. They then got excited to announce that #BadNewsBarrett was trending on Twitter. A distraction by Summer didn’t help much as Henry easily fended off Fandango’s sneak attack from behind. Henry eventually won with the World’s Strongest Slam. When Henry danced afterward to taunt Summer, JBL got a little excited as he said Henry was twerking.
WINNER: Henry in 4:00.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. Cole threw to a clip pf the Thanksgiving episode of Smackdown last Friday. They showed that Titus won the food eating contest, then had to wrestle Antonio Cesaro. After he got spun around, Titus threw up into JBL’s hat. Then he threw up on Zeb’s head. And then he put the hat back on JBL.
(WK Reax: Under what circumstances is that considered prime time broadcast television family entertainment?) [c]
-Cole plugged that Punk will face one member of The Shield on Friday’s Smackdown. [c]
-Zeb walked out with The Real Americans. He asked what kind of a man likes to puke on another man. He called it deviant behavior that will “not be tolerated in our America.” He called the Prime Time Players the “Prime Time Pukers.” He asked those in the audience “who don’t like to get puked on” to stand up and recite “We the People!”
(9) PRIME TIME PLAYERS vs. THE REAL AMERICANS (w/Zeb Coulter)
Cole said Titus promised he was eating saltines and ginger ale all day, so he should be fine. The announcers continued to talk about Titus’s barfing and whether he’s a candidate to puke again tonight.
(WK Reax: This is Vince McMahon’s favorite show ever.)
Cesaro then asked the crowd if he should spin Titus. Some fans cheered. He gave him the Cesaro Swing. Zeb stood on the ring apron and pleaded with him to stop. Titus began teasing that he was going to puke. Zeb backed down. Titus then tagged in Darren Young who went to work on Cesaro. He gave him a Northern Lights Suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Cesaro, though, caught Young mid-air with the European uppercut for the pin. After the match Titus continued to act like he was holding back puke.
WINNERS: The Real Americans in 6:00.
(WK Reax: This is just embarrassing.)
-They showed Triple H and Steph backstage heading toward the entrance stage for the contract signing. Lawler said that historic signing up was next. [c]
-A commercial aired for the next Total Divas.
-Cole plugged voting for the WWE “Match of the Year.”
-Lawler revealed that fans voted for the unified titles to be referred to as The Unified Champion (38%). The other two options got 31 percent of the vote each. Cole said The Authority would “take this vote under consideration.” JBL said voting was very close.
-Triple H’s ring entrance played as Hunter and Steph walked to the ring where a table was set up for the contract signing. A ladder was set up behind them with a table and chair leaning on it. Hunter said the winner wouldn’t just be “a champion” but “the champion.” Steph guaranteed there’d be one unified undisputed champion.
(WK Reax: They continue to avoid saying it will be either Orton or Cena, though, who wins. It’s probably implied, but still, it’s interesting to parse and study the wording.)
Orton made his ring entrance. Then Cena.
Hunter thanked them for coming out. He said they could sit or stand. Steph made it clear she wasn’t thrilled that Orton was claiming to be bigger than WWE. “Got the message,” she said, full of passive-aggressive politeness. Triple H listed former WWE Champions including Buddy Rogers, Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Rock. Steph added, “Triple H.” Bret Hart probably the most glaring champion left off the list.
Hunter talked about the World Title having a longer lineage, going back to “Gotch, Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels.” Steph added Triple H once again. Most glaring omissions? Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Edge.
(WK Reax: More foreshadowing that Triple H will end up the Unified Champion somehow at TLC.)
Hunter said this isn’t a match they did at the spur of the moment at Cena’s suggestion. He said they’ve been contemplating it a long time. He said they needed to know that the winner could carry on as the Face of the WWE. He said they have reached that time with two great champions. He said both have earned their place in history. He said with the whole world watching, they have a moment in time to cement their legacy forever. He had Orton sign the contract first. A small “Cena sucks!” chant started and faded. Cena then signed the contract.
Steph told Orton the floor was his to speak. He said some of the biggest names have held those titles. He said he’s better than all of them including Hunter. He said he shares something in common with the people in the crowd. “We don’t like John Cena very much, do we?” Cena, of course, smirked. Orton said he specializes in ruining dreams of others and he’d do it to Cena, too, at TLC. Cena told Orton to shut up and said he sounds ridiculous. He mocked Orton saying he turns dreams into nightmares. He asked if he got that from a fortune cookie.
Cena said Orton is the most gifted WWE Superstar ever and makes everything in the ring look easy. He said he got cocky and got bad attitude “and then you got lazy.” He said he was the youngest WWE Champion in history and Hunter gave him Hall of Fame mentors to guide him, but he “kicked back, relaxed, and let a scrappy kid in a t-shirt and a ball cap ruin his dream.” Orton snarled at Cena.
He said he is not Orton and never asked to be called the Face of Anything. “I’m just the first to show up and the last to leave,” he said. He said Orton thinks he should be given opportunities because of his family legacy or thinking he should be given an opportunity because of his talent. He told him to think in one hand and crap in the other and see what fills up first. He said Orton was given his title belt, whereas he earned his. He said he isn’t an Apex Predator, he’s just John Cena. He said right now he’s pushing his buttons. He told him he can leave or he can make a move. He told him to listen to him really close because if he makes one single move to him now, the audience will find out what a TLC match really is.
After more taunting, Orton flipped the table over and they began to brawl. Cole said TLC is coming early. Cena shoved the ladder into Orton’s chest at ringside. Orton took the monitors off the announce table. When he turned back to Cena, Cena shoved a ladder at him. Orton fell onto the table. Cena picked up a chair and jabbed Orton in the gut. Then he bashed him across his back. JBL said everything is legal in a TLC match. Cena handed his head towel to a kid in the front row, then went back into the ring. Orton, though, took over and bashed Cena across his back with a chair. Then he jabbed his chest several times. Cena revered Orton into a table that Orton had propped into the corner. The table broke in half. Cena stood with his arms raised, one belt in each hand, as the show ended.
(WK Reax: It’s a shame because there was a lot of good content in that segment, but I just kept thinking when will this show end. Three hours is just exhaustingly too long, but three hours and a full 15 minutes is just insultingly long and fatiguing to the point that you can’t even fully appreciate the top angle at the end. It is what it is, and it’s not going to change, but WWE continues to worry about serving Wall Street and racing for the most profit at the expense of just putting on a tight two hour show they can be proud of that leaves fans wanting more and still draws plenty of revenue. It sucks. A lot of people can tune out after a couple hours or skip the first hour and they don’t get exhausted, but people shouldn’t have to pick which 90-120 minutes they watch and end up missing the best stuff while getting totally disenchanted with the filler throughout with meaningless light announcer banter and matches that get lost in the marathon length of the program.)