For the past few weeks RAW had made it a tradition to start off with CM Punk, and well I expected the same this time too. Though I would say I was thankful CM Punk didn’t appear first, it wasn’t very cheerful either to see Big Show standing in the ring.
Big Show starts off with his debate from a fortnight back and comments on how Booker T and Sheamus together want to make him look foolish. He needs stress relief he says, and who better than Daniel Bryan (no offense meant to Bryan though, WWE is simply wasting a good talent pitching him as a punching bag). Backstage we see Bryan, Kane, R-Truth, Zack Ryder and others watching the proceedings on a backstage monitor. Bryan is reluctant to get into the ring, but Kane and AJ give him no better options. Kane laughs at Bryan for being a crybaby, and Bryan leaves to the ring with a lot of hesitation.
That brings us to the first match of the night, with Big Show facing Daniel Bryan. The match was disappointing to say the least. With talents like Bryan and Show the match ought to have been longer and better contested. It was a no match for Show, as he choke-slams Bryan for the pin. Kane then interferes to stop Show from landing the WMD punch on Bryan. Looking at this match from the WWE’s point of view, you have to say that this was expected. Show needed to look dominating for Hell In A Cell and Bryan looked the perfect scapegoat that Show could demonstrate his strength and domination on. However, the part where Kane comes in to protect Bryan can lead to an interesting affair in the future.
Next we see ‘The Evil Genius of Wrestling’ Paul Heyman in the ring. Quite a treat after the opening match I would say. The stand is all covered up and Heyman introduces the WWE Champion CM Punk. Punk continues from where he left off last week, and speaks about how he decimated Vince McMahon for disrespecting him. He says any person who shows disrespect to him will face the same fate. He wants to the crowd to thank him for making sure Vince McMahon was unable to get into the ring to fight again. Finally, after all the nonsense (you will have to agree with me, Punk is quite good at making you feel annoyed, a talent worth mentioning), he finally gets back to the main picture, the Hell in a Cell match. He says he is about to reveal his decision over who he is going to face in the pay-per view, when Vince’s music plays.
Now that was exactly as I expected. With Punk speaking a little too much I would have been hurt not to see Vince come in for a few words, as after all he is the chairman of the WWE. So with Vince entering the arena there is a mediocre pop, and Vince gives Punk the biggest nightmare of the evening. He says Punk has blown it and it is Vinnie who is going to make the decision. Vince mentions a contract signing event later on that night, before which he would make the big decision.
Next we have a match between Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay. With his feud with Randy Orton getting more and more certain, this match did prove Del Rio’s credibility as a good potential opponent for the likes of Orton. Brodus Clay again ended up a jobber which I feel is quite right given the amount of wrestling skills that he possesses. Brodus’ gimmick is not very appealing to fans above the age of nine, and hence his role as a jobber is quite rightly justified.
We next see Heyman and Punk having words backstage. Punk sends off Heyman to give the chairman a message that he would love to fight him again this week.
There is a tag team match up next, with The Prime Time Players facing the team of Zack Ryder and the ever-so-hilarious Santino Marella. The match ends with Titus O’Neil landing the Sky High on Zack Ryder for the pin. The three-man band then come out and beat down Ryder and Santino. They do their usual stuff on the mike and name their stable the 3MB.
Anyways this wasn’t much of a tag team match considering the length. But with Ryder and Santino jobbing to make other tag teams look good this match was acceptable. Speaking about the Three Man Band their acts would be much more relevant if they targeted different wrestlers every week rather than beating up the same ones over and over again.
Then comes some real heat, as the ever-so-disgusting Vickie Gurrero and the perfectionist Dolph Ziggler make their way onto the stage. Ziggler openly calls Ryback a disappointment off late and considers himself a better contender for the WWE Title. Ziggler says he deserves to face Punk at HIAC so that he can hold both titles at the same time, when he is interrupted by David Otunga. Otunga agrees with Ziggler but again boasts of how deserving he is compared to Ziggler. He also takes a potshot at Vickie before AJ comes out to stop this garbage and makes a triple threat match between Ryback, Ziggler and Otunga.
The match is nothing different and Ryback hits the Shell-shocked on Otunga and finishes the match, as Ziggler runs away with Vickie. Quite smart that from Ziggler, leaving him clean without a blemish. Otunga you have to agree is the most boring piece of I-don’t-know-what and is at his best when he jobs for the top wrestlers in the company. He needs a makeover surely and hopefully that will come in time. Speaking about Ziggler, it would be worthy trying to put him and Ryback in a feud (one hell of a PPV that would be).
Paul Heyman walks into Vince backstage and lauds Vince for his performance the previous week. He then talks about Punk’s rematch challenge and clause, saying that if Punk wins he gets to choose his own opponent. Witty move that, but Vince is the boss, and he has tricks up his sleeve too. So Vince agrees to the challenge, but instead of him facing Punk, he puts Heyman in the match against Punk. Heyman rubbishes Vince’s idea but Vinnie asks Heyman to get out of his sight. After this we see Vince’s trademark smile.
Matt Striker then meets the GM AJ and demands an apology from Kane and Bryan for their attack on him the previous night. She laughs at Striker and tells him that he should try asking for one after he faces of Kane later on in the show.
The United States champion Cesaro then gets into the ring with Justin Gabriel in a non-title match where Cesaro applied the Neutralizer on Gabriel for the pin. A really good match I should say. The competitiveness of the match was what made it interesting. But still, a legit title contender for the US title is something we have been waiting to see for a long time.
We next get into the match AJ assigned between Kane and Striker. Kane defeats Striker with the Chokeslam. The match was over in the blink of an eye and I wouldn’t have wanted to see it any longer. Kane is actually doing quite well with this gimmick here.
Time for MizTV. Kofi Kingston is his guest and he enters and talks about how he will beat Miz on Wednesday night, and challenges him for a warm-up match. Miz and Kingston brawl. It is good to see some words exchanged between the two but putting these two in a match before the main event does spoil the fun of the main event in itself. Well, I guess it is for the WWE to worry.
Next up, the World Heavyweight champion Sheamus is pitted in a match against Wade Barrett. Big match this, and Sheamus wins it by disqualification. Show interferes and pulls down the rope, which causes Sheamus to hit the floor, after which the referee disqualifies the match.
You can’t keep Cena out of the picture, can you? John Cena is backstage with Vince and he gets a huge expected pop from the crowd. Vince enquires about how Cena feels about the injury and Cena shows his devotion by telling Vince he will do his best in case he is picked for the Hell in a Cell match against Punk.
Next is a divas’ match, where Eve Torres defeats Layla to retain her title. A hard-working match for the two, and they did give us a few good moments. But on the whole the match wasn’t anything special except for the fact that Layla had her foot on the rope which the referee failed to see thanks to Eve’s presence of mind.
We go back to Vince’s office again, and this time we have the other WWE title contender Ryback there. Vince appreciates Ryback’s help last week. Vince mentions a few things about Ryback’s remorseless attitude and the only thing Ryback says is “feed me Punk”. From what we have seen, things do favor Ryback as the best possible contender against Punk.
Next up is a tag team match between The Rhodes Scholars and Primo & Epico. The Scholars defeat Primo and Epico after Sandow hits the neckbreaker finisher on Epico. Sad for Primo and Epico though to end up on the losing side. But still, it’s good to see Rhodes and Sandow getting along well.
Back to the Intercontinental Championship build-up. Kofi Kingston defeats the Miz, hitting his Trouble in Paradise. This was without doubt the best match of the day. These two top draw wannabes did put up a really good match going back and forth at one another. Miz’s face did get a little battered up and hopefully it isn’t broken. But Wednesday’s main event does hold a seriously good match for us.
Finally comes the time we have all been waiting for the past few weeks. McMahon is out with the contract in his hand, which indicates the final segment of the show. The ring is all propped up with tables and chairs and out comes the WWE Champion with Heyman, followed by Ryback and Cena. Vince starts off by mentioning the decision and Punk snaps at him, calling him an ego-maniac. Punk shows some WWE champion-like courage by signing the contract and telling Vince that he will face whoever he chooses.
After this exchange Cena starts off with something, but Vince cuts him off. Vince is on the verge of making the announcement, but gets cut off in return by Cena, who starts off with his usual boring speech. He then starts shouting “Feed me more” as Ryback signs the contract, leaving Vince furious.
With Cena interrupting Vince, I am not sure if things went according to the script, or if Cena took matters into his own hands. Irrespective of that, the most important decision has been made. Ryback is going to face Punk in Hell In A Cell, indicating that there isn’t much of a possibility of Punk losing the title anytime soon.