- Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on September 16th, 2012, from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Yay. Normally I don't recap, or even watch, recent PPV's, but I've fell into watching WWE programming lately, and Cena vs. Punk always interests me, so I figured why not give this one a crack?
- Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield, filling in for Lawler on short-notice, are calling all the action tonight. Does this mean making Cole more of a babyface/neutral commentator again, on a regular basis? Hopefully...
Miz clears Miz and Rhodes with baseball slides, then chokes Rey across the middle rope. You'd think he would try something more substantial? Miz kicks the knee from under Rey, and connects with a DDT for two. Whip to the ropes, Rey ends up on the floor, and Sin Cara back in with a missile dropkick. That sends Miz to the floor, and Sin Cara follows out with a suicide dive. On the other side of the ring area, Rey sends Rhodes to the security wall with a head scissors, then comes off the apron with a seated senton. Sin Cara with a corkscrew splash on Miz for two. Mysterio with a dropkick to the back of Miz, followed by a springboard moonsault for two. Rhodes plants Mysterio with a face buster for two. Miz sends Sin Cara to the post, but gets tripped along with Rhodes, and the 6-1-9 connects. Rey to the top, and a splash gets two. Rhodes pulls Rey out of the ring, and covers Miz for two. Sin Cara breaks that cover, and gets stomped on by Rhodes for it. Rhodes with a snapmare, and he goes for the mask, but Rey interrupts with another seated senton. Rhodes recovers, and sends Rey sliding out of the ring. Sin Cara with a kick to the face, whips a mask out of his trunks, and Miz sneaks up with a bacb breaker and neck breaker for two. what was he trying to do, anyway? Miz goes for a powerbomb, but Sin Cara puts a mask on Miz to counter. Rhodes goes for the Cross Rhodes, but Miz blindly grabs him and hits the Skull Crusher for the three count at 12:06 to retain the title. Started off slow, and for the most part, it's hard to get into these 4-Way's, but the near falls made up for the lack of substance. Odd how heatless Sin Cara was, in comparison to everyone else.
- Darren Young and Titus O'Neil act like goobers backstage for Eve, but things are interrupted when we find out that Kaitlyn has been given the Nancy Kerrigan treatment. SHENANIGANS! I've seen better acting in Porno's featuring Cave-people. For those who don't read the news wire, Kaitlyn was penciled in for the title match due to a botched elimination of a Battle Royale.
- We recap Daniel Bryan and Kane being sent to Anger Management. Honestly, this has been one of the highspots of Raw, lately. From the Anger Management classes, to their "hugging it out", and becoming the mismatched partners who don't quite like each other. add goofy music and video effects, and it's comedy gold.
With the little spat between friends over, Bryan offers to hug it out, and Kane accepts. SUCCESS! Holy crap, how is this getting over? R-Truth comes back to life to tag in Kingston, who's already repeating spots. He hits the top rope forearm and a dropkick, followed by a jumping clothesline. The crowd is actually boo'ing him. He drops the boom and sets up for whatever the fuck he does, but Kane pulls him to safety. They argue over it, and Kofi hits Kane with a baseball slide, then a somersault plancha on Bryan, landing on his feet in the process. Back inside, and Bryan traps Kofi in the No-Lock, but R-Truth breaks it. He tries a plancha on Kane, but Kane side-steps and rams him back into the apron. Bryan feeds the "Yes" chant again, and runs into the corner with a dropkick. Kane tags himself in, and goes to the top. Kofi tries a hurricanrana, but Bryan hooks Kane's ankle to prevent the move. Kane doesn't appreciate it, so Bryan throws him off... on top of Kingston, and that gets three at 8:34. Are you serious? Bryan celebrates like he's the World Champion, and then they argue with the classic exchanges of "I am the Tag Team Champions!" Oddball match, but it worked perfectly into the story they were trying to tell, so while not a wrestling clinic, it accomplished what it set out to do... I dunno, it kind of makes sense when I type it. So... Kane's tag team champion partners include Mankind, X-Pac, Undertaker, Big Show, Rob Van Dam, Hurricane, and now Daniel Bryan. Am I missing anyone?
- Backstage, Eve delivers the news to Booker T and Teddy Long. It's Night of Champions, so EVERY TITLE must be defended. It's the by-laws! Booker gives the title shot to Eve, who's incrddibly bad, obviously turning heel, acting, gives away the eventual pay-off to this storyline. I guess it's way better than "she won a battle royal", but if you blow a spot in a Battle freakin' Royal, you kind of don't deserve your spot. It's not like she hasn't been in them before. You're basically throwing yourself out. But I digress...
- We hype the CW Network's Vortex Block, which includes the new WWE program, Saturday Morning Slam. It's rated TV-G, doesn't show the Divas acting too slutty, or allow any of the superstars to do moves targeted for the head and neck.
- Backstage, Alberto Del Rio and David Otunga are having a chat when Ricardo Rodriguez shows up without the neck brace on... FAKE! FAKE! FAKE! They just want to ban the Brogue Kick to give Del Rio an unfair advantage. Who didn't see that coming?
Orton fights back to his feet, and breaks the hold with a back suplex. Ziggler catches Orton coming with an elbow, followed by a diving clothesline for a two count. Ziggler goes back to the chinlock, but Orton is quicker to his feet, this time. He escapes with a headbutt, and lays Ziggler out with a dropkick. As usual, we get instant replay, and something big happens. Looks like Ziggler connects with a DDT, but it only gets two. Oh, and the Viper nickname for Orton sucks. Just wanted to throw that out there. Dolph heads to the top rope, but Orton ends up crotching him across the turnbuckle. Orton lays into him with roundhouse rights, climbs up, and successfully takes Ziggler over with a super-plex. It's only good enough for a two count. They slug it out, with the crowd apparently in Ziggler's favor at this point. Orton nails Ziggler coming off the ropes with elbows, but Ziggler catches him with his head down with the Rocker Dropper for a two count. "Let's Go Ziggler" chant breaks out, to my surprise. He jumps on Orton for a sleeper, but Orton shrugs it off. They spill to the floor, with Orton throwing Ziggler into the security wall, with authority. Orton throws him over the barricade, and plants Ziggler with a DDT on the arena floor! I'm surprised the camera didn't cut-away from such a violent move. Orton throws Ziggler back in the ring, and covers for two. Ziggler just barely got his foot on the rope. Orton does some goofy motion to "strike", but the RKO is countered with a roll up for two. Ziggler jumps on Orton's back with a sleeper hold, but Orton throws him off, tosses Ziggler in the air, and finishes with the RKO at 18:24. Not exactly the finish I wanted, but I can't complain. A highly satisfying, high-impact offense filled match. I was going into it with kind of a lukewarm feeling for what was in store, but I was pleasantly surprised.
- Daniel Bryan and Kane are both running around proclaiming that they each are the Tag Team Champions. A.J. Lee nearly has a fit over their "progress." I'm sorry, like Ryder, why were so many people so hard up for A.J.? She's cute, I guess, but I stand by my mantra of the past decade: I watch wrestling for WRESTLING. Kane gives Bryan, A.J., and Dr. Shelby a Gatorade bath, and screams about going to DisneyLand. Classic. So... does Kane no longer embrace the hate? He's reverted to his Fall of 2002 goofy Kane phase. Will Triple H show up in two weeks to accuse him of raping another corpse?
Del Rio slaps on a modified version of the Crossface (they unbanned that move?). Sheamus fights to his feet, but runs into a kick, and ADR covers for another two count. He sends Sheamus' shoulder into the ring post, then wraps the arm around the post for more damage. ADR to the top, and a double axehandle gets two. Cole explains to us the lineage of the belt, dating back to Triple H as the original champion, so yes, it's the Big Gold Belt from Raw "invented" in September 2002. Del Rio continues working the arm, locking on a cross-armbar from the apron. Del Rio to the top, and this time Sheamus nails him coming off. Sheamus with a pair of axehandles, followed by a shoulder to the midsection. He comes off the ropes with a knee lift and connects with a powerslam for two. ADR gets sent to the apron, but fights back with headbutts. Sheamus blocks being sent to the post again, and instead rams ADR. Sheamus with ten clubbing blows to the chest (thanks to the crowd for counting for me). He sets up for the White Noise, but ADR counters with the Back Stabber for two. Sheamus counters the Arm-Breaker with White Noise, but wastes time playing to the crowd. The Brogue Kick misses, and ADR with a jumping kick to the face for a two count. ADR with extended trash talking, but the Arm-Breaker is countered again. Third time isn't a charm, but Sheamus can't lock on the Cloverleaf, either. Is the crowd chanting Dean Malenko? Sheamus charges, and gets his arm hung up on the ropes for his troubles. ADR takes advantage of the situation with some vicious kicks to the forearm. ADR goes to the arm, and finally locks the Arm-Breaker, but Sheamus won't tap. That's reserved for a WrestleMania main event. He manages to escape by lifting ADR off the canvas and slamming back down. Brogue Kick misses again, and back to the Arm-Breaker, but this time Sheamus hooks the rope with his feet. ADR pitches a fit, and eats the Brogue Kick moments later, and it's enough for the three count at 14:25. They were wrestling like they were going for 25-30. Good match, but a bit on the boring side during the first half. I didn't expect much out of this, but didn't expect to dislike it either, and I guess my feelings were accurate in the end result. It was just "there" for me.
Lockup into the ropes, they fight over a headlock. Punk with a head scissors, but Cena easily escapes. Punk grabs a side headlock, but chooses to hang onto the ropes, rather than come off and risk anything. Feeling out process, with Cena grabbing a front facelock, then taking Punk over with a snap suplex. Punk rolls to his stomach to avoid a pin, and Cena grabs a waistlock. Punk escapes with a well-placed elbow to the side of the head then brings Cena over with another headlock. Cena sends him to the ropes, and takes him down with a back drop. Charge to the corner misses, and Punk connects with a basement dropkick to the face for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Cena with a bit of an over-sell. Punk escapes an electric chair drop and plants Cena with a DDT for two. Punk with elbows across the chest for another two count, then settles into a chinlock. Cena escapes, but walks into a drop toe hold. Punk slaps on a bridging STF, as Heyman looks on from ringside. Cena powers out, then rolls to the floor to gather himself. Punk follows with a suicide dive, then makes Cena's daddy poop himself... I think. His facial expression screamed bowel movement. Punk plays to the crowd too much, allowing Cena to baseball slide him back to the floor, then throw him into the front row. Cena brings him back over the barricade with a fisherman suplex onto the floor.
Into the ring, Cena goes for the AA, but Punk slips out and connects with a roundhouse kick to the back of the head. Punk with a Camel Clutch, but Cena is too strong. Punk hammers Cena back down with elbows to the neck. Punk comes off the ropes with a forearm for a two count. He heads to the top rope, and comes down with a double axehandle. Punk goes for the GTS, but Cena fights free. He comes off the ropes with shoulder tackles, but a side slam is countered with a body press. Punk with a pair of clotheslines. They fight through a neck breaker sequence, and Cena with a clothesline of his own for two. Cena goes for the dumb Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk kicks him in the face on the way down. Punk with a twisting kick to the midsection, followed by a neck breaker for two. Punk springs off the top, but Cena rolls through for the AA, but Punk hooks the rope, and gets dumped over the ropes instead. Cena follows him out with a suicide dive of his own. Back inside, Cena with the side slam, and another attempt at the Five-Knuckle Shuffle is countered, this time with the Anaconda Vice. Punk powers out and hooks on the STF (it still looks terrible). Punk fights through, and turns it into the Crippler Crossface. Holy crap, has that move come back all of a sudden. Cena to his feet, and he slams down on Punk to break the hold.
Slugfest, with neither man gaining control. Cena hits the ropes, and Punk connects with a jumping heel kick. He runs in with a knee, and lays Cena out with a short-clothesline. Punk to the top, and the Macho Man elbow gets two. Punk signals for the GTS, but Cena grabs the leg and locks on the STF once again. Punk has enough in him to hook the rope to force a break. Cena charges, Punk catches him with the GTS, but it's only good enough for two. Punk lays into Cena with kicks all over the body. He comes off the ropes with a lunging clothesline for another two count. They counter each others big move until Cena hits a super-excellerated combination of side slam, five-knuckle-shuffle and the AA, but it's only good enough for a two count! Punk rolls to the floor, a smart move to avoid another pin or submission attempt. Cena throws Punk back into the ring, heads to the top, and misses the big leg drop. Punk with another roundhouse kick for a two count. Punk bitch slaps Cena around, and comes off the ropes with a high knee for two. Punk heads to the top rope for a moonsault, a move you don't normally see him do... and he misses by a mile. Gotta try whatever you can, I guess. Both men are slow to their feet. Cena goes for the AA, but Punk counters with the GTS... for two. Punk with the Rock Bottom for two! Punk pouts, allowing Cena to recover and hit another AA... for two! Cena pulls Punk off the canvas, and sets him up on the top turnbuckle. Punk tries fighting free, but Cena says "fuck you" and quickly slams him down with a bridging back suplex, and it's FINALLY good enough for the three count at 26:59.
Cena celebrates with the belt, but... it was good enough for the three count on BOTH men, making it a draw, and thus the Champion retains. Cena wants it to continue, but the referee's decision is final. WWE hasn't over-killed the double pin finishes, so I'm cool with it, but would've much prefered Punk rolling his shoulder, so Cena loses, but only because he pinned himself. Other than that minor complaint and over-killing each others big moves, an outstanding main event. It's not AS good as the 2011 Money in the Bank match, but it's still worth a look. Considering where this program has gone, they need to do an I Quit match. You can't do much more with pinfalls, thanks to each man killing the others signature spots over and over, and you can't do Last Man Standing, because it sucks. Do I Quit, but no using weapons. So basically a submission match without tapping out.
Final Thoughts: Despite half of the card not known until the week of the show, this turned out to be a pretty entertaining show, from top to bottom. Punk/Cena and Orton/Ziggler are both must-see matches, already making it a recommended viewing considering it took up a good hour of the PPV, but even undercard stuff like Sheamus/ADR, the Tag Titles and Intercontinental 4-Way were all solid efforts, as well, for different reasons. Other than the women's, sorry, DIVA'S Title Match, there's very little in terms of stuff worth skipping over. I would never, ever, ever, recommend paying $40-45 for the Pay-Per-View, but this is easily a good choice to pick up when the DVD comes out.