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Old 09-28-2013, 11:20 AM   #161 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

If my memory/priorities serve me correct, I think you were chronologically ahead of Wolfy's Survivor Series. So you have first dibs. Prepare yourself, Knight. EN GARDE~!!

DAT RAW Feedback


I’ll address the overall meanings of this Punk thing a little bit later, but after my ridiculous gushing session not too long ago, the results are coming to fruition and I must say I love it…but not all of it. First the stuff I’m in love with – the molding of this character. It’s legitimate development. When this was executed in real life, Punk’s cult-leader mold was transformed into a more widespread thing because the actual audience became his ‘followers’ as opposed to the SES and the Nexus. But what you’re doing here is a hybrid of that and his ‘Best in the World’ rebel phase and it’s coming across beautifully into a whole new dichotomy of ‘faith’. Vince coming out to address it was necessary, and under any other circumstances, I’d probably hit you for making the Boss a background character for this promo, but given the players involved, it’s justified. All parties were spot on in character, it’s just some things yet I’m not totally on board with. I’ll echo Hulky’s sentiment on the entertainment bit – yes, I too have gotten caught up in Punk’s claims as a ‘wrestler’ and not an ‘entertainer’, but I think everyone can agree that CM Punk is a bona fide ‘performer’ and that entails both of those parts. He was so strong in his delivery here that it seemed to have more black-and-white gravity, almost as if disowning a whole part at what he’s good at. The other thing I got out of this is that Punk mentioned making Rock ‘the first casualty’. I almost would’ve preferred that Rock be the ‘last casualty’, actually; taking out bigger, ‘Vince McMahon Guys’ (a la Orton and Cena) before taking down Rocky, but I’m sure you have your reasons for this and at a C-PPV at that. It’s all very interesting, but the ripple effect this has will be in detail later…

Pretty standard squash stuff for Swagger, a given seeing as how he’s one of the new guys on the red brand. And thank goodness the match was short so the TV crowd doesn’t have to listen to Michael for too long. A short, sweet, and direct promo from the Oklahoma fellow. Not much else to write home about other than I can easily see a Black/Swagger program not too far into the future.

The ‘E has done these ‘personal performance reviews’ to death in recent years, although it didn’t get out of hand until this point in the company, so I shouldn’t shoot it down quite yet. Hope Jerry isn’t too far on the outs considering you always said you had a plan for Lawler as the on-screen front office guy. Unless you’re scrapping that plan and this is a way to cover your ass…

Saxton? I’ll bite. Then I’ll give it time. Plus I know you’ve been wanting a shiny new heel commentator, so props on that.

I’m enjoying the way you’re booking Black in his post-title win. I know it’s how the midcard works, and I’m really excited about that scene from you almost as much as I am this whole Punk business. A great battle here from Hawkins to at least add a notch or so to his name, even if he remains a little bit generic. I love virtually all of Black’s moveset, so I marked for several parts of this. But nice little development here while everyone else is focusing on bigger pictures and Black becomes more grounded. Basic, but bon.

I figured you’d use Edge’s retirement as build for someone. Whether it was Christian, Barrett, Punk, or apparently TARVER, I figured it would be what you would do. I hope Edge turns up again after this for a proper send-off, even if you did a nice job with a pretty hearty going away/retirement speech. Tarver, on the other hand, looks like a fucking beast, even moreso than he did with the Kane thing. If this was a response for people saying Tarver taking out Kane was weak or made Kane look weak, but nonetheless, it may have a masking effect. Tarver interrupting this emotional going-away speech from a top star and takes him out brutally, almost overshadowing the Kane beatdown…only for Kane to come back with a surprise appearance and be Tarver’s first feud. Perhaps I’m wording that the wrong way or just thinking out loud, but there it is.

You can’t take the player out of The Game. But Vince is gonna try. Maybe even screw him out of the title/title shot…?

Ooooh. A little bit of surprise here on the Watson W. Nice development of both men’s movesets, although I’ll again echo the Hulk one and be in the crowd that doesn’t so much like Mason Ryan going over seven minutes. Even so, it isn’t enough to detract from the slow build this one has. The lower card guys need something to do too, I guess. Plus its somewhat relevant given that these two guys are Punk’s right hand men. But how they come back from this is key because of that same fact.

I figured after the hollowing beating by the Convoy would finish breaking DiBiase, and I’m glad he went with it in this way. From what I know, he’s a very religious man at heart, so I don’t think he’d break down and go off the rails like, say, I make everyone do. And this played into his real life stuff as well. And I’m noticing that more with your characters. You’re intergrading what we know of them in life from the real-time stories and the not so distant future from this time period and introducing them in your own way. Punk’s pipe-bomb, Trips’ impending corporate role, and in this episode alone, Edge’s retirement, DiBiase’s humbling…and now Morrison’s reported attempts to study comedy to liven up his character. Not a criticism, just an observation. This was a very nice promo between the two and done quite well; I don’t think I’ve seen a double turn promo in this section in a while (and if I have, well, my apologies for whomever may be shouting ‘I’VE DONE IT’ reading this). Guys building off of each other while they build new characters is always a good idea and I like the idea of a Morrison/Black program much more than a Swagger/Black program, but I can easily see either or both on the horizon.

While it’s far too early for The Convoy to have a full-scale break up, it’s nice to see you putting the cracks in the armor. Sheffield with DEM HEEL DYNAMICS. I know you’re big on The Big Guy, so I can easily see him being the one to be the ‘Batista’ of Evolution in this story in due time, if you will. But until then, the intro of Brodus is interesting, considering that I’m not sure if Clay is meant to oppose Shef…or perhaps a potential new recruit. Don’t know if Clay should stand on his own two feet at this point, but as nervous as I am of getting a Sheffield/Clay program, their interaction will serve some kind of purpose, I’m sure.

On that note - so many midcard heels for you at the moment, by the way. I’m having the same problem, but damn, it seems like your only faces so far are Black and then a big dropoff to the newly face DiBiase. I’m sure Gabriel will make that shift in due time, but just a quick ‘fire trucks are red’ observation over here.

DAT GLAMAZON~!! I know this was a quick re-establishing squash and it set up title implications, but just taking a moment to note the ‘New Act’ feel of this show. While the Draft gave a whole new feel to both shows, this show, and last Smackdown, for that matter, both have a whole new ‘Act I’ feel to them. I know that’s intended, but still, rambling.

Still wondering what submission hold you’ve got up your sleeve for Kingston. If it’s the same one I have in mind for mine, then damn you.

A pretty effin’ brutal contest you’ve got here between these main event rapscallions, with all kinds of huge action early. Wasn’t expecting this one to go that way that fast, but given the drive of Trips lately, it makes a whole lot of sense. I almost marked out out of my chair at the leg drop bulldog through the table; these two clearly tearing each other to pieces. I don’t think the outcome was ever really in much of any kind of doubt, it was just gonna be one hellova ride and you certainly delivered. Zigs showing up gets him a shitton of heat and keeps this thing with Cena going (which is good, considering Cena will be out of any spotlight in that stretch), but I also feel like it gets Trips a bit of heat as well, which will all be pent up and carried over when he finally does go full heel. One of my problems here is with Cena is perhaps I missed something along the line, but has he full-on addressed Rock costing him the title yet…? It would seem he’d be breaking down doors to try and get a shot at him rather than Punk. But enough for now…

Here we go. As bone-chilling and solidifying for Punk as that last entry was, I’m mad at you for this. The promo does done beautifully and wonderfully and helps solidify Punk by at least following up his cult leader speak with actions (the grandchildren line was killer). My problem here is this – yes, I know this Punk angle is a big deal. Yes, I know he needs to be built up enough as a threat to The Rock. Yes, I know Rocky having his first match in the ‘E in years is a big deal. But I look at Punk at the top of the show and to close out the show…and all your actual WWE Champion got was a small spot at the announce desk. I’m no big fan of Miz by any stretch, but I’m hoping he gets a little more build that he is getting. I’m not sure how you’re going to do it with a heel-crazy main event (and midcard, for that matter) scene, but I’m going to echo KING’s sentiments here – Punk needs to be WWE Champion. I’m pretty sure he will be in the not too distant future, hell, MITB is still in Chicago and I fully expect it to happen there in two PPVs. But I just don’t like the symbol of the company taking a backseat especially when an agent of change is looking to make himself known. Perhaps Trips beats Miz and then Punk can beat him in a full-scale symbolism of beating the system…? I don’t know, but I still feel Miz needs a little something. But again, I understand all the things surrounding this and why this is a thing and I even understand that I know this may also be just a one-week thing considering the magnitude of what was going on this week. I’ll be keeping an eye on that.

-----
All in all, you’re still alive and kicking and you know I’m always gonna be a follower. Just some minor criticisms on this one, but nothing too terrible I hope. I now you’re having fun writing Punk and I know you will because writing ‘God’ Jericho for me was an incredible amount of fun every single episode, week after week, and I feel like you’re gonna get that feeling with Punk and his Worthy Legion Convoy. RAW has more at stake on it than Smackdown does, but that doesn’t mean anything is lagging. Keeping a close eye on things (especially that mid-card), but you always know how to write a hellova story to keep anyone invested. Bon, my good Knight. Let our duel continue
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:52 PM   #162 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Hi again. Firstly, a massive thank you to 619IDH and the returning BkB Hulk for their feedback (which I’ll get to in a minute, because you made some good points), it’s really appreciated. Now, some honesty: the plan was to get Capitol Punishment up by the end of the year and kick on from there, but I’m hard at work in the real world once again, so that may not happen.

Even so, I feel I should work a little harder at this. I think that occasionally I get plaudits I don’t deserve, especially given the amount of work I put out, and I’d like to change that. That may mean just shortening my match write-ups in weekly shows, which I’ll give a try, and perhaps I’ll get into a better pace. I think I still have a lot to prove as a booker and as a storyteller, including down the line in 2011, but given the importance of a couple of angles I’m running (the one you’re thinking of, especially), recap isn’t really an option. I’d rather write the whole story in its lyrical entirety than rush through it.

So that’s my minor rambling. Some old faces returning recently has inspired me, so let’s kick on, starting with the feedback I so kindly received…


Quote:
Originally Posted by BkB Hulk
Perhaps the better line would have been them not liking what Punk had to say, as you went to a few lines down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
yes, I too have gotten caught up in Punk’s claims as a ‘wrestler’ and not an ‘entertainer’, but I think everyone can agree that CM Punk is a bona fide ‘performer’ and that entails both of those parts. He was so strong in his delivery here that it seemed to have more black-and-white gravity, almost as if disowning a whole part at what he’s good at.
I agree. This was a poor word choice; I more meant that the audience would not enjoy what he did. Of course, Punk (even in his touched-in-the-head state here) still believes himself inherently entertaining, so I just got the word wrong. I meant he’s not part of Vince’s entertainment regime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
Hope Jerry isn’t too far on the outs considering you always said you had a plan for Lawler as the on-screen front office guy. Unless you’re scrapping that plan and this is a way to cover your ass…
…or this is all part of that plan…

Quote:
Originally Posted by BkB Hulk
Saxton straight onto RAW is a bit of a surprising move. I know you’re looking for a strong heel presence, as shown by the bickering between Saxton and JR, but it’s a big sudden move for a guy who I believe had only been on NXT to this point.
True, though he’s a good heel and he’d been commentating for a while by this point. Kind of fits in with the thread title too. Raw commentary had become stale and it enforces the brand split, as you mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BkB Hulk
While I understand you’re putting on longer matches, I don’t really like Mason Ryan being put in a match over seven minutes. While he looks badass, his main weakness is that he, well, sucks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
Nice development of both men’s movesets, although I’ll again echo the Hulk one and be in the crowd that doesn’t so much like Mason Ryan going over seven minutes.
Totally valid point. I tend to get carried away, so it’s one of those things I’m hoping to just rein in a little. Plus if I end up doing summarised weekly matches then they’ll be naturally shorter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
On that note - so many midcard heels for you at the moment, by the way. I’m having the same problem, but damn, it seems like your only faces so far are Black and then a big dropoff to the newly face DiBiase. I’m sure Gabriel will make that shift in due time, but just a quick ‘fire trucks are red’ observation over here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BkB Hulk
you’re definitely crowding the uppcard in terms of heels, especially when your two major faces seem more interested in feuding with each other.
This is (understandably) the point that everyone’s making at the moment, so I’ll address it here. I suppose with Morrison, he’s only replacing DiBiase as he turns face, so I think they kind of cancel one another out. That said, I do think Raw has slightly become ‘home of the bad guys’ recently, but it’s all part of the plan. There’s a couple of obvious guys who will pad out the babyface side of things in not so long, but in the meantime…

Quote:
Originally Posted by BkB Hulk
It’s a different type of turn too, with Morrison revealing himself to be a jerk, rather than just beating up someone, which I like.
…I think this is quite valid as a thought. What I’m trying to do is establish different heels for different reasons, especially on Raw. For instance, CM Punk’s a psychopathic renegade, The Miz is obsessed with fame, it turns out Morrison’s a bit of a jerk, Swagger wants to change opinions of him, Ziggler feels aggrieved by circumstance. 619, you and I have had various character discussions about ‘black-and-white’ mentality and I think that factors into it; these aren’t necessarily all evil guys, nor are my faces all good guys.

Regardless, it all evens itself out in the end. Just know I’m not turning people for the hell of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
While the Draft gave a whole new feel to both shows, this show, and last Smackdown, for that matter, both have a whole new ‘Act I’ feel to them.
Definitely, and that’s really encouraging. As I say, I’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline that I’m really excited about… and I hope they come off when I finally get there, but this groundwork is just as important, or my Newsletter debate was all for nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
One of my problems here is with Cena is perhaps I missed something along the line, but has he full-on addressed Rock costing him the title yet…? It would seem he’d be breaking down doors to try and get a shot at him rather than Punk. But enough for now…
This show was so huge, I couldn’t fit in everything I wanted to. Wait for next week wait for next week wait for next week oh god wait for next week

Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
But I just don’t like the symbol of the company taking a backseat especially when an agent of change is looking to make himself known.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 619IDH
But again, I understand all the things surrounding this and why this is a thing and I even understand that I know this may also be just a one-week thing considering the magnitude of what was going on this week.
This is my trouble when I write so slowly. This one Raw has been in the public eye for a while now, rather than say, if I was throwing shows out every couple of weeks and we’d be right on to the next show, in which The Miz is featured more prominently. Again, there was only so much stuff I could put into this one episode, and hell, it was longer than usual anyway.

If you don’t include all my attempting-to-be-subtle changing-of-the-psyche stuff with Punk in his feud with Orton, this angle has only been going eight days. People may call it similar to real life, but it will develop, and there’s a lot of different underlying factors. This isn’t a one-on-one angle either, so things will overlap, but I’m not going to spoil things. There’s a wider story I’m trying to tell.

If you read all that, or even if you didn’t, have a SmackDown preview. This has been done for a while.

---

WWE Superstars
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa | 2nd June 2011

Evan Bourne bts. Tyler Reks via pinfall (Shooting Star Press) at 5:10
Michelle McCool bts. Eve Torres via pinfall (Faith Breaker) at 4:27
William Regal bts. David Hart Smith via submission (Regal Stretch) at 11:49


---

Friday Night SmackDown
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa | 3rd June 2011



Des Moines is home to SmackDown tonight as the road to Capitol Punishment continues, and all eyes are on Kofi Kingston following the announcement that his World Title opportunity would be in a Submission Match… that is, if anyone had heard from the Ghanaian since last week. After Alberto Del Rio won the Beat The Clock Challenge and set up the contest that undoubtedly favours the champion, Kingston has somehow vanished off the radar. No-one in the locker room, not the General Manager nor the interviewers from WWE.com who wanted some thoughts, has seen or heard from Kofi since SmackDown went off the air. This week, Alberto Del Rio (who was happy to talk to WWE.com about how good his thinking behind his match choice was) will speak alongside the Alberto Administration ahead of that huge match-up, knowing that he holds the advantage heading into Washington thanks to his wide submission background. Kofi Kingston’s never been one to back down from a challenge, even if he’s supposedly out of his depth… will he re-show his face tonight?

Last week saw a tag team affair between four men with World Title ambitions end in a double count-out draw when Christian and Wade Barrett went brawling into the crowd, and Sheamus drove Randy Orton through a barricade at ringside. This week, those men will have a chance to prove their worth again, as Sheamus and Orton go one-on-one, and Christian looks to beat a man who has caused him plenty of problems of late, Wade Barrett. Whoever wins these matches could put themselves right in the hunt for the World Title down the line, as well as getting the psychological edge they all need after last week’s back-and-forth, making this a huge night for these four men.

Justin Gabriel is technically a Raw superstar after what happened on the Draft show, but being a Tag Team Champion, he can still appear on the show of his Corre comrades. That said, the threat remains of him losing his title from the new tag team of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, who beat DZP and the Usos on separate occasions last week to put themselves in the hunt. Tonight, the main event sees the other half of the champions, Heath Slater, taking on the famous Rey Mysterio, with the Ultimate Underdog looking to keep his team in the picture for a future title shot. Could Slater make Gabriel a little less frosty towards him with a monumental win tonight?

Elsewhere, Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes is in non-title action, while AJ Lee looks to make up for her debut loss last week against Layla, possibly hoping that her new mentor Alex Riley won’t be playing basketball during the contest, as he did last Friday night.


Announced For SmackDown

Alberto Del Rio to speak
Main Event; Heath Slater vs. Rey Mysterio
Singles Contest; Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Singles Contest; Wade Barrett vs. Christian
Cody Rhodes and AJ Lee in action
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:35 AM   #163 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Done for a while? Hurry up then.

A few big matches on SmackDown, none of which are the main event funnily enough. I guess Del Rio speaking will close things out, allowing the tag division the 'main event' slot. Not really a whole lot to comment on, but I'm sure it'll be quality.

Also don't underrate yourself. You're pretty great.
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Old 11-16-2013, 02:17 PM   #164 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Friday Night SmackDown
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa | 3rd June 2011



We start with a brief video package detailing the events of last week’s Beat The Clock Challenge; this begins with Alberto Del Rio forcing a submission out of the spirited Evan Bourne in eight minutes and twenty seconds. It’s punctuated by Del Rio’s labelling of Kofi Kingston as a ‘choke artist’ once again, as Kofi gears up to face a man he’d beaten four days before in William Regal… but fails, in part due to Regal’s time-wasting. This means that Del Rio gets to pick the stipulation for his World Title defence against Kingston at Capitol Punishment – and he chooses a Submission Match in an attempt to take the Ghanaian out of his depth. Del Rio soaks in the boos from the crowd as he backtracks up the ramp, and Kofi looks disheartened about his chances, as the VP fades out…

…and now the usual SmackDown opening video appears, taking us all the way to Del Rio’s kiss of the belt and then to the Wells Fargo Arena. A series of white and blue pyro explodes from the stage, getting the crowd fired up too, and now we sweep across the crowd. Signs abound, as you’d expect, but the focus turns to the announce desk instead, where we’re met by Josh Matthews, Booker T and Matt Striker.


Josh Matthews: In just sixteen days, we’ll be in Washington for Capitol Punishment, folks, but tonight we’re in Iowa, Des Moines specifically, and what a night it could be! I’m Josh Matthews, with your teacher and the Bookerman – and guys, we’re yet to hear from Kofi Kingston following the announcement of a Submission Match for the World Heavyweight Title last week.

Matt Striker: Can’t lie, Josh, I thought for sure that Kofi would bounce straight back from Del Rio’s announcement and tell us that he’s ready for anything this past week… but we’ve heard nothing on WWE.com, and Facebook, Twitter, it’s all silent. It’s unlike Kofi, but maybe for once he’s been rattled!

Booker T: Naw man, I gotta believe in da boi, I know he got it in ‘im to beat Del Rio no matter the stipulation, he just takin’ some time to get to grips, some time to himself to keep his head in the game, dawg.

Josh Matthews: Well while this is going on, ladies and gentlemen, the wolves are at the door, because…

“I HEAR VOICES IN MY HEAD…”

*VOICES*


THIS CROWD GOES WILD! Opening SmackDown with a big pop is Randy Orton, getting the crowd fired up from the very beginning, as the arena turns a glistening gold and red and he stares out at the roaring fans! The Viper looks fairly confident tonight, glad to get his time back on SmackDown in singles competition going again, and the bell rings as he begins to walk down the ramp.


Tony Chimel: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, from St. Louis, Missouri, weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds… the Viper… RAAANDY – ORTON!

Josh Matthews: Well, I was about to say the wolves are at the door because of four very ambitious men, but you’re looking at one right there – Randy Orton was taken through our ringside barricade last week by Sheamus, resulting in a double count-out draw in tag team action. Tonight, he’ll get his chance against the Irishman… one-on-one.

Booker T: Dose four guys all wanted to get closer to da World Title, dawg, but endin’ in a draw like dat meant we at a stalemate. All about da two matches tah-night.

Matt Striker: We’ve got Christian versus Wade Barrett later tonight as well, which should be a heated contest, but where the Viper is concerned, this one’s going to be just as intense. After what Sheamus did last week, Randy has a message to send…

Orton hits ringside, then clambers up into the squared circle to raise the old Legend Killer pose from the turnbuckles. He smirks a little, as always enjoying the big reaction he receives, then stands and paces the ring. Resembling a snake waiting to snap forward and bite, he tries to contain himself as his music dies down, the “RKO!” chants already beginning…

“IT’S A SHAME THAT THEY – LOST THEIR HEAD…”


*WRITTEN IN MY FACE*


And now the boos, building and building into a full-on reaction, are the response as Sheamus marches out with narrowed eyes. He stands and stares at Orton for a moment, then slams his fists into his chest and bellows out in his usual fashion. Tugging on his Celtic chain, the Irishman shakes out his shoulders and heads for the battleground.


Tony Chimel: And his opponent, from Dublin, Ireland, weighing in at two hundred and sixty-seven pounds… the Celtic Warrior… SHEEEAAAMUS!

Josh Matthews: And guys, we know how frustrated Sheamus was after losing his United States Title to Tyler Black at Over The Limit. Last week he tried to take that out on the other three men who laid claim to World Title shots, especially Randy Orton when he drove the Viper through that barricade.

Matt Striker: Sheamus was a terrific United States Champion, and he could yet be a great World Heavyweight Champion, but it was about making a statement last week… and make a statement he did. Tonight’s just another chance.

Sheamus climbs the steps, taking a moment on the apron to stare at Orton; the Viper looks coldly back at him, knowing that they’re both as capable of causing serious damage as the other. Eventually, the Celtic Warrior steps inside the ropes and measures up to him, then turns and roars out at the crowd again. He takes off the chain and throws it to ringside, while referee Chad Patton does his usual checks and calls for the bell.

Match One – Singles Contest
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus


Into this hard-hitting bout we go then, with both men eager to hurt the other to make a point in their first SmackDown singles bout this year; this is evident in Sheamus’ aggression here, driving Orton into the corner again and again with shoulder thrusts. He makes Orton yell out with every pointed shot, really laying it on before he whips him off to the other side. Orton collides with the buckles, then watches Sheamus coming hurtling towards him… but the Viper dives sideways and Sheamus runs right into the corner! A groan goes up as the Irishman cannons off, and walks right into Orton – CLOTHESLINE! There’s cheers now, with Orton shaking off the cobwebs to try and fire up with the usual routine… there’s the second clothesline as Sheamus gets up! Orton’s feeling it now, writhing from side-to-side as Sheamus struggles up again, but Orton throws a third clothesline and gets ducked… Sheamus into the ropes – SCOOP POWERSLAM FROM ORTON!

Orton rolls sideways, gasping as he tries to get his breath back, then hauls himself up again. Sheamus is down, a hand on his back to sell the Powerslam, while Orton watches with a bizarre fascination… THEN DROPS DOWN TO POUND THE MAT! This crowd comes alive as Orton bares his teeth, fists slamming against the canvas… and now Sheamus begins to heave himself up – RIGHT INTO THE RKOOOO… BUT NO! Sheamus shoves the Viper away, and he tumbles over the top rope! Orton clutches on to the rope and lands on the apron, but he’s dizzied by the reversal and this gives Sheamus a chance to grab him by the jaw! The Irishman tugs Orton back against the ropes, and even though Patton admonishes him, Sheamus won’t hear a word of it, bringing back his arm and just LASHING Orton with those vicious forearm shots! Sheamus keeps bludgeoning away until the referee’s count of four, then dumps Orton to the outside floor, where he lands awkwardly and clutches his chest in pain.

It’s not long before Sheamus steps out of the ring to join Orton. The Viper tries to get up, but those monstrous shots took him out of his comfort zone and now he’s too dazed to stop Sheamus grabbing him and throwing in some cross-faced blows. He hauls Orton up, running him over to the barricade and slamming him off the edge of it. Taking a chance with Orton on the defensive, the Irishman throws knees to the ribs, then brings him over to the ring post and shoves him against it… then DRIVES his shoulder into Orton’s lower spine! The crowd groans as Sheamus wears Orton down in the most violent way he can manage, then takes the reeling Viper and shoves him under the bottom rope.

Orton’s face is scrunched in pain when Sheamus climbs to the apron and steps inside. The Celtic Warrior falls on him almost immediately, dropping those signature knees to the head like a man possessed, aiming to beat Orton into absolute submission. Like only the blunt Irishman can do, Sheamus keeps going until Chad Patton almost has to tackle him away with his count of four and a half, and flips Orton on to his back for the cover… one… two… but Randy fights out! Sheamus scowls, having dropped enough knees to knock out a deer, but yanks Orton up regardless and lines up the Irish Curse Backbreaker… no, Orton spins out, grabbing Sheamus by the head and introducing his own – that being the Inverted Headlock Backbreaker! There’s a pop as Sheamus falls, with Orton rolling sideways and looking to rearrange his focus after those hard blows from the Irishman.

The crowd is building in noise again, those “RKO!” chants firing up once more, and Orton gets to his feet, stalking the man who wants the World Title just as much as he does. The Viper’s eyes narrow again, a hand rubbing the bristles on his jaw as he waits for Sheamus to stand… but he rolls on the apron instead! Eventually the groggy Irishman finds his feet, but of course, Orton is right on him, tugging him through the ropes… and SPIKING HIM INTO THE MAT WITH THE ROPE-HUNG DDT!!! A big cheer surrounds Orton as he seethes, relishing every second of hurting another man in the name of World Titles, then drags Sheamus away from the ropes… and flips him over – one… two… thr-NO! Sheamus kicks out!

Turning his eyes momentarily to the ceiling, Orton exhales heavily and stands. The crowd is on his side, but Sheamus is proving resilient as you’d expect, so Orton looks to up the pace by dragging him up by his hair. Sheamus suddenly shoves him to the ropes, but the Viper comes back with a stinging kick as the Irishman bends down. Sheamus reels up, so Orton darts in behind and looks for the OLYMPIC SLAM – but no! He can’t heave Sheamus off his feet, the Celtic Warrior fighting back with some clubbing shots in behind, and now they separate… just so Sheamus can strap an arm across Randy’s chest – AND NAIL THE IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER!

A groan goes up in the crowd as Sheamus near snaps Orton in two, leaving him on the knee for a moment before he shoves him sideways. The Viper writhes in pain, while Sheamus stands, his mouth hanging open from exhaustion as he puts a hand on the top rope. He watches Orton suffer for a second, then brings his spare hand across… and thumps it against his chest. Ignoring the boos he receives, he begins to speed up, setting the pace as Orton tries to find some semblance of an upright position… he’s up – THERE’S THE BROGUE KICK – NOOO!!! Orton ducks the massive shot, so Sheamus gets himself tangled in the ropes – and Orton takes them BOTH to the outside floor! The pair go sprawling again, as if these two can never contain themselves to a ring, and though Sheamus tries to push himself up, he’s taken off-guard by a stinging uppercut from Orton.

Orton hunts the Irishman down again, thumping him with right hands even as he tries to stagger away. The Viper stalks him all the way to the announce desk, but Sheamus won’t be slammed into it and catches Orton with a left hand to the gut instead. Few men hit like the Celtic Warrior, and that sends Orton away, before Sheamus ducks down… and drives him into the barricade! Orton gasps out with the impact, but Sheamus reels away, pounding his chest to fire up. The crowd buzzes, as Matt Striker muses “I’m watching re-runs!” and SHEAMUS CHARGES… BUT DRILLS HIMSELF THROUGH THE BARRICADE WHEN ORTON DIVES OUT OF THE WAY!!! The fans cry “OHHH!” in awe as Sheamus ploughs himself into the middle distance, with Orton turning his eyes up… he can’t believe he escaped there!

Sheamus is lying face down in a mess of black plastic debris here, and slowly, Orton begins to edge himself across ringside. We catch some replays of Sheamus’ huge crash and burn, then the image of him clutching at his shoulder – before we cut to the sight of Orton, teeth clenched, pulling himself up against the apron, and slowly rolling himself under the bottom rope! Chad Patton’s count was at six, now seven as Orton flops against the deck, with Sheamus only just crawling out of that wreckage he created… as Patton counts to ten!

Result: Randy Orton bts. Sheamus via count-out at 10:49

*VOICES*


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner as the result of a count-out… RANDY – ORTON!

There’s a few cheers as Orton puts his hands on the ropes and pulls himself lethargically up. He slumps against those same ropes, turning his head to raise his eyebrows at Patton; he knows that this win means very little in this fashion, yet the fatigue takes over and he lets it go. As Sheamus hauls himself up on the outside, wincing heavily in his own pain, Orton resigns himself to the turnbuckles, throwing up a half-hearted pose.

Josh Matthews: Randy Orton narrowly avoided suffering the same fate he did last week, folks, but even that count-out win hasn’t quenched his thirst, I think.

Booker T: Hell, you ain’t gettin’ no World Title shot unless you lay a sucka out, man. Randy did da first thing that came to his mind, dat’s gettin’ back in da ring, but he wanted more tah-night. Dis ain’t over.

Orton keeps his pose going for a moment, but the small ovation he was receiving fades away… and is replaced by boos, screams, as the Viper steps down and turns – RIGHT INTO THE BROGUE KICK FROM SHEAMUS!

Booker T: WOAH!

Boos fill the Wells Fargo Arena as Orton goes down in a heap, with Sheamus staggering into the ropes himself to stay upright this time. He casts a sideways glance at Orton, mouth agape as he shakes his head, then dusts off his hands and exits the ring. With Orton lying face down, the Celtic Warrior storms back up the ramp, throwing an occasional scowl at the ring.

Josh Matthews: I think it’s fair to say these two haven’t settled their issues just yet, especially because again… well, Randy Orton wanted a decisive win to get himself into the title picture, and neither man got that tonight.

Matt Striker: Sheamus once again leaving Orton laying tonight, proving that he’s still as dangerous on Friday nights as he was on Mondays – I’d be afraid of what more else two are capable of, Josh.

As Orton drags his head off the canvas, Sheamus retreats backstage… and despite the lack of closure in who deserves a World Title shot more, we go to a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Back we come to SmackDown, then – we’re backstage with Alex Riley, in his Varsity Villain jacket and looking pretty pleased as he struts down a corridor. He winks and points at various people, mostly the rare female worker or Kaitlyn and Tamina talking – they track him with their eyes as he walks past – and now he rubs his hands together, ready for his second episode of SmackDown.

He stops, however, and his face falls… when AJ Lee walks into the shot, in her ring gear, with her hands on her hips.


AJ Lee: Forget about someone?

Riley stares blankly at her.

AJ Lee: Last week, Teddy Long said you were supposed to help me out. So instead, you… you what? Played basketball? I mean, what’s the matter with you, are you –

She stops when Riley holds up a hand, silencing her mid-rant.

Alex Riley: First of all… shut up.

AJ’s little face scrunches.

Alex Riley: Second, remember who you’re talking to here. I’m a prodigy, I’ll coach you how I want. If you don’t like it… maybe you just run to Teddy and tell him it’s not gonna work out.

Hands on hips again, AJ narrows her eyes.

AJ Lee: You’d like that.

Alex Riley: Yeah, yeah I would. But seeing as I’m stuck with you, here’s a little lesson, alright?

He takes a step closer.

Alex Riley: My job, even though it should be showin’ off my talent to this roster, is to get the best out of you, which is a little difficult for me… because I’m not sure you’re old enough to drive, let alone old enough to wrestle.

Some laughs in the arena. AJ huffs a little.

Alex Riley: Once I’ve done MY job, I can dump you off on someone else. In the meantime, I’ve gotta make you think about turnin’ on the style. You know why no-one cared about you last week?

AJ Lee: Because you were playing b–

Alex Riley: Because you were BORING!

A couple of boos as AJ does her best indignant.

Alex Riley: What do you expect people to look at, huh? You’re busy losin’ in the ring, while everyone else is remembering how cool A-Ry is! Chicks dig the Varsity Villain!

His head turns sideways briefly when the crowd boos loudly from the arena. AJ doesn’t look impressed.

Alex Riley: If you wanna get better, if you think there’s even a chance that you and I might get somewhere… you gotta prove that you’re entertaining. Got it?

Silence for a moment. AJ’s eyes bulge, but she calms down.

AJ Lee: (a whisper) Got it.

She turns on her heel and walks out of shot. Riley is quiet momentarily, but then breaks out into a grin again, shaking his head and making his own exit.

Back to the arena…


*J-POP DROP*


The bell chimes. Standing in the ring is Yoshi Tatsu, who throws some kicks as part of his preparations, and bounces around a little as well.


Tony Chimel: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! In the ring… from Tokyo, Japan, weighing in at two hundred and six pounds… Yoshi – Tatsu!

Tatsu raises an arm to the miniscule cheer he receives, and his music dies out.

“WOOOOOOOAAAAAAAHHHHHH…”


*DISFIGURED*


The cracked mirror jumps on to the electric curtain, and the boos roll in as the hooded figure of the Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes, makes his way out. He keeps his head down, obscuring the mask we know is there, and makes a slow pace towards the ring. Even the normally-peppy Tatsu looks a little disturbed by the menacing figure headed straight for him.


Tony Chimel: And his opponent… from Marietta, Georgia, weighing in at two hundred and fifteen pounds… the Intercontinental Champion – COOODY… RHODES!

Josh Matthews: Every passing week I question Cody Rhodes’ mental capacity, guys, but perhaps no more than last week when he attacked Daniel Bryan for making fun of his mask.

Booker T: Well don’t tell ‘im I said it, dawg, but he don’t need no mask!

Matt Striker: Indeed, he doesn’t take well to hearing it, but Cody Rhodes’ face is unblemished, gentlemen. We saw that a few weeks ago when he showed us, but he’s still as sensitive about it as the day he strapped the mask on.

Josh Matthews: Daniel Bryan saw that aggression, that mental instability, first-hand last week… now Cody has to cope with Yoshi Tatsu tonight to keep his position as champion secure.

Matt Striker: Nothing about Cody Rhodes is secure, Josh.

Rhodes scales the steps and keeps his head down as he traipses along the apron. Keeping his eyes to the floor, he enters the ring, then moves immediately into the corner and puts his back to Tatsu. First off is the title belt, which Cody lays across the top turnbuckle, before he whips off his jacket and passes it out of the ring. The mask is there as always, his eyes burning beneath it as he stares into his own reflection in the belt… then finally turns and allows Rod Zapata to pass the title away. Rhodes finally looks at his opponent, and Tatsu’s smile is long gone… here we go.

Match Two – Singles Contest – Non-Title
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes


Say what you want about Tatsu, but you can’t accuse him of not trying every time he steps between the ropes – he’s giving his all to take the fight to Rhodes, but there’s times where the champion doesn’t even guard himself so he can be more aggressive. For instance, when Yoshi fires a flurry of punches here, each one glancing off the mask, Rhodes takes them on the chin and drives the Japanese superstar back into the corner instead. The champion kicks him repeatedly in the gut, then goes wild with overhead punches, again and again until Yoshi falls to the floor. Rhodes keeps going, kicking like crazy until Zapata shouts “FOUR!” and the Intercontinental Champion retreats with bared teeth. Tatsu struggles back up… but Rhodes charges back in and catches him with a knee to the ribs, and again – then starts bashing him with headbutts, driving the mask right into the back of Yoshi’s head!

Again, Rhodes has to be ushered away by Zapata, but his aggression is clear to see. The Disfigured One shoots the official a filthy look, then waits as Tatsu staggers out of the corner – he falls to a knee briefly, but Rhodes hauls him back up and hoists him over his shoulders… FOR THE ALABAMA SLAM! That leaves Yoshi flat out, so Rhodes falls into a cover… one… two… but no! Yoshi kicks out! To his credit, the Japanese superstar doesn’t stay down, but Rhodes seethes again and drags him up by the hair. Yoshi throws some right hands, however, then throws himself into the ropes and goes for the SPINNING WHEEL KICK – NO! Rhodes ducks, then shoves Tatsu out of the ring… no, Yoshi skins the cat!

A small pop goes up as Yoshi swings himself back into the fray, though Rhodes is oblivious and that gives Tatsu an opening. Rhodes turns in surprise to see Tatsu right on him, catching a kick or two to the side, then another to the stomach, and a BIG Shining Wizard to send him reeling back into the ropes! Rhodes is staggered, so Tatsu feeds off the crowd, who liven up as Yoshi gets back into the contest… Rhodes stumbles forward again – AND TATSU GOES FOR THE ROUNDHOUSE… BUT RHODES DUCKS IT! The Intercontinental Champion sprints into the ropes, shoving himself off the middle one – AND NAILING THE BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! Somehow, someway, Rhodes still finds a way to kill Tatsu’s momentum just as he was firing up… and now the champion hauls him up again. He applies the inverted facelock, knowing that he’s got it locked down, and he stares deep into the barrel of the camera for a moment… BEFORE DROPPING YOSHI WITH CROSS RHODES!!! A groan goes up from the crowd as Tatsu gets spiked, and Rhodes makes the cover… one… two… three!

Result: Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes bts. Yoshi Tatsu via pinfall at 4:35

*DISFIGURED*


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner… the Intercontinental Champion… CODY – RHODES!

Not much of a match in terms of action, but certainly enough to show just how disturbed Cody has become – rising to his feet, he pulls his hand away from Rod Zapata as he tries to lift it, and immediately demands his title. He lofts the belt into the air, his head suddenly snapping downwards so no-one will look at his face again.

Josh Matthews: Cody Rhodes victorious again tonight, but guys, just look at some of these highlights… Cody has seemingly no regard for his own welfare, just looking to hurt his opponent more than he’s hurt himself.

Matt Striker: It’s a war of attrition mentality, Josh, and to be honest, I try not to be too surprised by how unstable Cody Rhodes is these days. He’s a man who cast aside all care and respect for who he is when he put on the mask – he’s a shell of a man, by his words, and that means he no longer cares if he gets hurt… as long as he wins.

Booker T: He’s one twisted mutha, alright.

As Tatsu rolls to the outside to recover, Rhodes continues his disturbed ‘celebrations’ by keeping that title aloft as he takes an ominous walk around the ring. He receives a good amount of heat for his efforts, but when he finally lowers the title to his waist, he’s interrupted…

*RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES*


THE ARENA LOVES IT! Rhodes’ head whips sideways in fury, as the majestic tune strikes up… AND DANIEL BRYAN STORMS OUT! The Intercontinental Champion clutches his precious title, shaking his head as Bryan points down the ramp – then makes an absolute BEELINE for the ring!


Josh Matthews: Here we go! Daniel Bryan’s throwing himself in with the madman!

Booker T: DA SUPA-HERO, BABY!

Rhodes’ eyes bulge in classic fashion, weighing the belt in his hands like last week… and now Bryan slides into the ring – TO TACKLE RHODES TO THE GROUND! The crowd goes wild as Bryan floors the champion, the belt spilling to the side, and Bryan goes MAD with a frenzy of right hands! Rhodes forces them both across the ring, answering those shots back in kind, and they go rolling across the deck. Rhodes suddenly shoves him off, so they separate, and Bryan drives Rhodes into the corner… NOW HERE COME THE KICKS!

Bryan lays in the shots, one after another, again and again and again… and somehow he manages to up the pace, driving that right boot into Rhodes’ gut until the champion falls to his knees! Bryan turns away, ROARING out with adrenaline and hearing the crowd echo right back at him! This is where Bryan excels, feeling the momentum rise with the crowd and watching as Rhodes crawls on all fours towards him… and now up to his knees…


Matt Striker: Oh man!

…so Bryan can KICK – HIS – FUCKING – HEAD – IN!

Rhodes collapses – the mask offered no protection against the lethal kick and the champion is DOWN! Bryan pumps his arms to the crowd, feeling the cheers coming at him from all directions, but then he sobers up, and just stands above Cody’s body. He takes a look at the title, then slowly raises an arm – and makes his exit.


*RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES*


Josh Matthews: Daniel Bryan obviously not taking kindly to how Cody Rhodes welcomed him last week – he struck back tonight!

Matt Striker: Undoubtedly, Josh, and we saw how close Daniel Bryan came to becoming WWE Champion at Over The Limit – he’s not a man you attack from behind and just get away with it, even if you’re as sick as Cody Rhodes.

Bryan goes marching back up the ramp, slapping a few hands with his spare hand while he raises the other arm into the air. In the ring, Rhodes is still re-piecing himself together after that mind-bending kick, a sight that pleases Bryan when he turns. The smallest smile remains on the submission expert’s face, while Rhodes’ fingers claw his own mask…

…and SmackDown goes to a break.


COMMERCIAL BREAK

A black screen. The clinking of metal in our ears. Footsteps.

The image fades into view – the clinking is handcuffs, around a man’s wrists. He is being escorted down a corridor by two guards, the sound distorted as the footsteps echo off the walls. A man is saying something that we can’t hear.


Voice:

You have been found guilty of heinous crimes and for that you will...

It fades. The man in handcuffs is wearing orange prison overalls, his head tilted down.

Voice:

I hereby sentence you…

The man does not struggle against his chains.

Voice:

May God have mercy on your…

Finally, they come to a room at the end of the corridor. The man tilts his head up to face what lies inside; a smirk on his lips. He is not afraid. One of the guards turns to look at him, his grip tightening around the prisoner’s arm.

Guard:

Strap in, boy. It’s gonna be electric.

The man, and the camera, turn back to the room… where the electric chair awaits. The prisoner tilts his head up to the skies as they lead him towards it…

…and when he’s uncuffed and made to sit, it’s CM Punk who closes his eyes and smiles.


Narrator:

WWE – Capitol Punishment.


WWE CAPITOL PUNISHMENT
19TH JUNE 2011 | VERIZON CENTER | WASHINGTON D.C.


---

We’re back, there’s the bell…

*NOT ENOUGH FOR ME*


There’s some light heat as Layla and Michelle McCool, or Team Lay-Cool as you’ll remember, make their entrance with a swivel and a raise of the arms. They turn to one another with a high five, and begin to head for the ring.


Tony Chimel: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Michelle McCool… from Miami, Florida… LAYLA!

Josh Matthews: Layla of Team Lay-Cool set for action, guys, and she’ll be looking to emulate Kelly Kelly from last week, get an important win against SmackDown’s newest Diva.

Booker T: Hell, I say AJ Lee was lookin’ good last week, but da guy supposed to be helpin’ her was too busy shootin’ hoops!

Matt Striker: What’re you looking at me for, Book? I can’t turn down a challenge!

Josh Matthews: (laughing) You got dunked on so hard, Matt…

Lay-Cool enter the ring, waving sarcastically at some of the front-row fans and strutting around for a bit. Michelle tries to get her best friend fired up, both of them bouncing on the balls of their feet… and the music dies down. They turn to the stage, arms folded and scowling in almost perfect synchronisation…

*SAY IT TO MY FACE*


Like last week, the tune merits some heat from the crowd, but when AJ Lee turns up, the NXT bronze medal winner gets a fair few cheers. She doesn’t look quite as peppy as she did last Friday, bouncing out in front of the green and black curtain and raising both arms in her signature fashion; crucially though, there’s no bright grin and she stays focused on her way down the ramp.


Tony Chimel: And her opponent, accompanied by… Alex Riley…

The figure of Alex Riley indeed comes walking out, without the basketball hoop this time… instead he has a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses! The Varsity Villain raises the bottle into the air, ignoring the nearby fans that boo him, and he heads for the ring too, though AJ is up the steps by now.

Tony Chimel: …from Union City, New Jersey… AJ – LEE!

Josh Matthews: Well, we heard the issues between AJ Lee and her forced mentor Alex Riley earlier tonight – that basketball skit last week really got under this young lady’s skin.

Matt Striker: With good reason, I’d argue, Josh. As a former competitor myself –

Booker T: Awww hell Matt, you was part of da problem! Naw A-Ry out here wit his drink, lookin’ to stir it up again, and it’s only ‘cause he wants to ruin da girl’s concentration.

Josh Matthews: Certainly we saw Riley’s resentment at Teddy Long choosing this as his first SmackDown venture last week, but who knows, maybe this baptism by fire might yet mean something. For everyone involved.

Matt Striker: Where do you find champagne around here?

As AJ goes to a couple of turnbuckles to raise those arms to the crowd, Riley tours ringside. The Varsity Villain nods at Matt Striker, then calls something to Michelle McCool that she raises her eyebrows at, before he settles… and starts hitting on female fans in the front row!

In the ring, AJ turns to look at this, as Riley tells some random blonde about his charge and points up at the squared circle… where Miss Lee shoots daggers and turns back to Layla. The referee is – you guessed it – Justin “The Pimp” King, who checks both ladies involved, while Layla makes a couple of scathing remarks across the ring at AJ… and the bell chimes…


Match Three – Singles Contest
Layla w/ Michelle McCool vs. AJ Lee w/ Alex Riley


The bell isn’t even done ringing before AJ sprints across the ring – and takes Layla first to the corner, then to the CLEANERS with a series of right hands! The crowd enjoys that no end, with Miss Lee going all out to make an impression, but Layla drives her forward… so they tumble to the floor and somewhere Joey Styles is screaming CAAAAATFIIIIIIIIIIGHT! The two ladies go scratching and clawing across the ring, as Justin King does his best to pretend he’s not loving it by trying to separate them… but they hit the bottom ropes and do that themselves. Both women are up, so AJ ducks a right hand and knocks Layla down with a Dropkick on the money! AJ crawls into the cover… one… two… but Layla kicks out! At ringside, POP goes the cork out of the champagne bottle as Alex Riley meets a different woman and hands her the glasses – AJ gets up from the cover to see Riley pouring this fan a glass of the bubbly, and he shrugs.

AJ shakes her head and turns around, grabbing Layla in a side headlock as she rises. Riley toasts the fan and nearly necks the entire glass, chatting to her about something that isn’t AJ while this woman’s boyfriend or brother or whoever that is looks awkward beside them. Layla fights out of the headlock and shoves AJ into the ropes. Miss Lee walks into a clothesline, then another, before Layla sends her into the corner and follows up with a big Dropkick – which meets the BUCKLES instead of AJ’s face! The crowd groans as Layla falls backwards, eventually hauling herself up again so AJ can FIRE THE SPINNING HEEL KICK – NO! Layla ducks it, then drags AJ to the deck with the School Girl! One… two… but AJ kicks out of it!

With that, Alex Riley ditches his flame and nicks the glass back. He now hops the barricade, because the few chicks they have at ringside clearly aren’t hot enough, and takes his slowly-draining champagne bottle up the first few rows! In the ring, AJ’s a bit preoccupied to notice, using the ropes to pull herself to her feet. Layla meets her with a couple of sluggish, slap-style blows, marshalling AJ into the corner. She takes a few steps back, then charges in… there’s the Drop Toe Hold, though, and Layla’s face BOUNCES off the middle buckle! Michelle McCool has her hands on her head in horror, with the crowd groaning behind her, but unfortunately Alex Riley’s attention can’t be shifted away from the brunette a few rows into the crowd. The pair of them are doing fairly well to remove a good portion of the champagne, while Layla pulls herself up… right into the path of AJ Lee – WHO MAULS HER WITH THE SPINNING HEEL KICK THIS TIME! Layla gets flattened by that, and Riley turns his head this time to see AJ hooking a leg… one… two… thr-NO! Layla rolls the shoulder!

AJ sits on her haunches and huffs a little. Layla rolls from the ring, needing a breather (and a word in the ear from McCool), as Riley finally returns over the barricade. He’s left the glasses and the bottle with the brunette, as if he’s actually interested by the sight of Layla holding her head in pain. He looks up at AJ, who clearly isn’t pleased by the previous kickout, and leaves the ring to go after her opponent. She shoots a look at A-Ry, then yanks Layla away from her partner by the roots of her hair and hurls her back under the bottom rope. She follows, but Layla dives on her with a bunch of stomps, and turns the tables by yanking AJ up with a chin lock. She adds a few right hands, then whips her to the ropes… BUT AJ LEAPS TO THE MIDDLE ROPE, THEN SPRINGS BACK TO WIPE LAYLA OUT WITH THE CROSSBODY! The crowd pops at the sight of AJ getting airborne, and now she leaps to her feet, screeching “C’MOOOOOOON!” like her life depended on it…

…but Alex Riley has his arms folded – he’s unimpressed! The fire goes right out of AJ’s eyes as she sees that, leaning against the ropes; she exhales heavily, trying to get her breath back, while Riley merely shrugs. Narrowing her eyes, she turns around, stalking Layla as the English-born Diva struggles back up… AND AJ SPINS UP AND SUDDENLY LOCKS HER IN THE OCTOPUS HOLD! The crowd groans and whistles at the excruciating move, with Layla almost immediately falling to a knee and yelling in agony… “HAVE I GOT YOUR ATTENTION?” comes the scream from Miss Lee, the adrenaline surging through her as she wrenches back on Layla’s arm and threatens to snap it – AND LAYLA CAN STAND NO MORE! SHE TAPS!

Result: AJ Lee bts. Layla via submission at 3:51

*SAY IT TO MY FACE*


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner as the result of a submission… AJ – LEE!

There’s some cheers in the crowd, but the last thing on AJ’s mind is the ovation she receives. As McCool tugs Layla from the ring to console her, Miss Lee storms to the turnbuckles to get some extra height… so she can stare a hole through Riley, who looks stunned. The shadows beneath AJ’s eyes give her a real menacing air, not to mention what she just did… “Entertaining enough?” she asks coldly, but A-Ry has no answer.

Josh Matthews: Alex Riley asked young AJ Lee to prove herself entertaining tonight, but she did more than that, as Layla’s arm will tell you… your thoughts, Matt?

Matt Striker: The deadly Octopus Hold that I remember from AJ’s days on NXT, ever the potent submission, Josh, and tonight, I daresay she earned Alex Riley’s attention all right.

Booker T: And how, man! Riley tryna’ forget about her, tryna’ distract her wit all dem women in da crowd… nah dawg, AJ made her own statement tah-night. She got it DONE.

Matt Striker: It begs the question, gentlemen… what else is AJ Lee capable of that we never realised?

AJ finally steps down, so Riley clambers up on to the apron and slowly, tentatively, steps inside the ropes with her. She has her hands on her hips, waiting for his judgement, not that it seems she cares either way – he takes a long moment to observe her, then nods.

“We could work with that.”

She raises her eyebrows, then spins on her heel, a carbon copy of her exit earlier – but this time she stops at the foot of the ramp, waiting for him. The Varsity Villain shrugs, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he joins her. Like last week, he goes into an animated lecture of sorts, leading her back up the ramp, as she folds her arms and pouts. Clearly she’s not got the A-Ry stamp of approval just yet.

We head backstage…

…to see Todd Grisham with a mic. He adjusts his blue tie briefly.


Todd Grisham: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my guest at this time… Daniel Bryan!

The crowd pops HUGE as Daniel Bryan appears in shot as promised, with girlfriend Gail Kim at his elbow with her head politely bowed.

Todd Grisham: Daniel, tonight you repaid Cody Rhodes for his actions on last week’s episode of SmackDown… can we get some thoughts from you on this situation?

That vague question sends the mic Bryan’s way, and his face hardens…

Daniel Bryan: See Todd, it’s very simple. At first, I was just kidding around with Cody Rhodes. I was having a laugh, ‘cause I’d been drafted to SmackDown and knowing I wouldn’t get another WWE Title shot… well, I had to keep myself smiling.

For a moment, he nearly exhibits one of those smiles, but it fades.

Daniel Bryan: I quickly found out that Cody Rhodes? He’s a little too serious for jokes. He’s a little too crazy to reason with.

A shake of the head.

Daniel Bryan: I lost to The Miz at Over The Limit even though I made him tap out. He submitted but I’m not WWE Champion. That hurts more than I can even put into words, Todd, givin’ my all but not being at the top of the industry that I love like a son. Like a brother.

Some boos from the arena.

Daniel Bryan: So when I came to SmackDown lookin’ to stay positive, I didn’t expect the welcome I got from Cody Rhodes. I didn’t take to that too well. That’s not gonna help me stay positive… no, that’s just gonna make me MAD.

A small cheer at that prospect.

Daniel Bryan: Cody – Cody, you’re holding a title that dozens of great men – legends – have held in the past. But you’re too obsessed with your own face to worry about your place in history. Me? I’m always thinking about it. I think about what I do every single day, because for me… for me there’s nothing sweeter.

Another pop there. It’s right there in Bryan’s eyes, the love of what he’s doing.

Daniel Bryan: Yeah, I like to enjoy myself while I’m at it. I can act the joker sometimes and I can be serious as hell, too. But this past year, maybe I’ve been wearing my own mask a little too much… so here’s the lowdown for you, Cody, so you can understand it.

Hard as fucking nails, Bryan turns and glares right into your soul.

Daniel Bryan: Daniel Bryan knows nothing else but wrestling. Do not try to ruin that for him… or he will ruin YOU.

Some groans in the arena. Bryan’s not fucking around here.

Daniel Bryan: Rhodes, you better know – if you come at me again, I will kick your DAMN head in, and I will take your title away from you. Like THAT, in an instant. I will leave you empty, man.

A pause to let that sink in. Bryan takes a couple of heavy breaths.

Daniel Bryan: And there’s not a thousand masks you can wear that will stop me.

He stares into the barrel of the camera for a moment… then leaves. Gail follows him without a word. Todd stands a little stunned, and SmackDown goes to a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

We come back to a quiet arena, but the bell rings…

“…GO!”


*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*


The crowd pops BIG! The ovation builds in an arena now bathing in gold light, until finally Christian walks out to soak in the reaction! The Livewire puts a hand to his brow to search for his peeps, pacing both sides of the stage as he does, then flashes a bright smile to the fans and heads down the ramp.


Tony Chimel: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, weighing in at two hundred and twelve pounds… CHRIIISTIAN!

Josh Matthews: And here’s a man who has every right to smile that big, guys, because tonight, Christian gets his chance at facing Wade Barrett one-on-one, man-to-man.

Booker T: Dere’s some bad blood here, dawg, like we caught last week when dese two guys kicked off into the crowd and da arena – hell, Teddy Long had to separate ‘em before dey went MAD!

Matt Striker: And this has been going on since Wade Barrett and the Corre denied Edge and Christian their chance at a World Title shot, something that carried to Over The Limit and even to last Monday night when Edge got drafted thanks to the bare-knuckle fighter. This is personal.

Josh Matthews: Absolutely, Matt. Christian has a lot of reasons to want a measure of revenge on Barrett… tonight, we might finally see the mastermind get what he deserves.

Christian takes the steps up the apron, pointing out at a couple of fans in the front row before he swings inside the ropes. He scales the buckles to search one more time, then finally settles into a different corner to wait for his chance at one-on-one revenge. Shaking out his shoulders, Captain Charisma looks eager to go…

“I’VE HAD ENOUGH! I MAKE ‘EM SEE…”


*END OF DAYS*


Heat SWARMS Wade Barrett as the Englishman paces out into his field of Corre-coloured blood red, but it’s clear that he doesn’t give half a damn. On the contrary, he almost smirks, though those are often hard to come by of late, given the kinks in his various plans. He’s twirling a MIC in his right hand, pulling an elaborate thoughtful expression as Ezekiel Jackson turns up alongside him. Big Zeke’s in his ring gear too, as the Corre always are, both men in matching tees, and Jackson shakes out his arms with a devilish grin. Ominous.


Josh Matthews: And looking at Wade Barrett tonight, you see the face of a competitor who truly believes he’s above Christian after he beat Edge on the Draft show.

Matt Striker: He sure had some harsh words for him last –

Wade Barrett: Now, hold on a moment.

The music cuts sharply and the boos roll in within seconds. Barrett paces the stage, while Christian invites him down to the ring with a raised hand.

Wade Barrett: Christian, I know that after what happened last week, you want your one-on-one chance against me… but life isn’t fair.

His eyes flicker briefly at the lighting fixtures of the arena.

Wade Barrett: If it wasn’t for Teddy Long and his men, I would have shown you exactly what these fists can do. Count yourself lucky there.

Boos as again, Christian steps forward, past the protesting Scott Armstrong. The Livewire pushes up against the ropes, still trying to tell Barrett to get in the ring, but the Englishman’s in no hurry.

Wade Barrett: In fact, it would be easy for me to fight you tonight and show you now, instead. But as I told you, if I can beat Edge as easily as I did… then you wouldn’t last long at all. You would be my personal… punching bag.

A frown from Christian as the boos continue.

Wade Barrett: But, rather than do that… no, you’re not worth the effort. A man of my stature should be looking at the bigger picture. So because I don’t consider you a threat – at all – I’m going to save my energy ahead of the World Title Match that I’m owed.

Heavy heat now as Barrett takes a step back; Christian looks pissed as hell.

Wade Barrett: Seeing as Kofi Kingston has vanished off the face of the Earth this week, too, clearly he doesn’t want his shot. In the meantime, I am happy to step up and face Alberto Del Rio in Washington instead. I can make him tap… just… fine.

A mixed reaction. The Englishman’s starting to look very smug.

Wade Barrett: As for you, Christian, allow me to delegate to another impressive member of The Corre for your match… Ezekiel Jackson.

Again, the crowd boos and jeers as Jackson starts to walk down the ramp, shaking out his arms.

Wade Barrett: While he deals with you, I’m going to discuss the specifics of my World Title shot with Teddy Long – and once you’ve lost… maybe you’ll realise how futile it is, to shoot at The Corre.

A smirk.

Wade Barrett: God knows we’ve hurt you enough already.

With that, Barrett heads backstage, and Scott Armstrong has to restrain a furious Christian from going straight for Jackson when he climbs to the apron. The crowd is booing, almost as frustrated as Captain Charisma is that he’s not going to get his hands on Barrett.

Josh Matthews: This is low, even for Wade Barrett, guys.

Matt Striker: Barrett spends every second of every day plotting his next move, Josh, and once again tonight he’s plotted his way out of this confrontation. If I didn’t know any better, I might say he was avoiding Christian…

Booker T: Sure as hell, man. He ain’t got what it takes to beat mah boi Christian, no matter what he says, and naw he just runnin’ SCARED.

Matt Striker: Say that to his face, Booker.

Booker T: Bet yo ass I would.

As someone probably says in Booker’s earpiece not to say ‘ass’ unless it’s a really serious promo, grr, Jackson enters the ring. Removing his shirt and tossing it from the squared circle, Big Zeke looks eager to fight, but now Christian looks just as set to go, scowling and raising his fists. The Livewire was expecting this to be a great night, maybe do his best friend a service, but now things are going downhill… and he doesn’t like that one bit. Scott Armstrong shrugs at the competitor change and calls for the bell.

Match Four – Singles Contest
Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson


As we jump into this bout between the last two ECW Champions ever, it’s the big man in control. He has Christian down, working the old Bow and Arrow Hold, with a knee into the Canadian’s back for good measure. Christian winces to sell Zeke’s power, but the crowd is on his side, clapping and building the noise as Christian begins to find his feet. Jackson still has the arms, trying to force Christian back down, but the Livewire weaves left and right, spinning out and taking Jackson towards the ropes with repeated right hands… he presses the big man into those ropes and sends him off to the other side – no, Jackson sends Christian instead, then drops him with a thumping Shoulder Block. Big Zeke chuckles for a moment, then grabs Christian by the scalp and yanks him right back up. Christian tries to answer back with a sluggish right hand or two, but the Corre’s attack dog clubs him down to a knee, then hoists him up into the Military Press! Jackson parades him around the ring… THEN DROPS HIM DOWN TO EARTH! Christian crashes down, the crowd groaning in the background, as Jackson flips him over and hooks a leg… one… two… no, kickout!

A cheer resounds in Des Moines upon Christian keeping himself alive, but the one man who isn’t as pleased is Big Zeke, who stands with a scowl. He paces the ring for a moment, giving Christian a chance to begin getting up, but the big man immediately grabs him… and begins with the Scoop Slams, a trademark of his. There’s one, two… and a third, taking all the air out of Christian’s lungs with every time he lands. Jackson, the freak, can’t get enough, and pulls Christian back up again – for a fourth Scoop Slam! Zeke falls beside him now, observing his handiwork for just a second, before he makes the cover… one… two… but again, Christian fights out! Jackson looks pissed again, kicking Christian in the side a couple of times before heading to the corner. He mutters something under his breath, flexing those huge muscles as Christian rises, and now he’ll go for the TORTURE RACK…

…NO! Zeke hoists Christian up for the Backbreaker Rack, but the Livewire squirms out and hooks the arms suddenly, thinking Killswitch – only for Jackson to spin out, there’s the clothesline… no, again Christian ducks it… AND GETS IN BEHIND FOR THE REVERSE DDT!!! A huge pop goes up for that, with both men hitting the deck and Jackson coming off badly… but Christian’s up, punching the air! He’s feeling it now, stumbling into the corner with hair matted down his face by sweat, and his arms go up against the turnbuckles. Gritting his teeth, he shakes the buckle momentarily, then hauls himself up to the second rope. Ezekiel’s slowly pulling himself to his feet, grunting through the pain and putting a hand against his wounded stomach… he tilts his eyes up – TO SEE CHRISTIAN FLYING THROUGH THE AIR, FLOORING THE BIG MAN WITH THE FLASHPOINT! The Diving European Uppercut knocks Jackson sideways, and though Christian takes a difficult landing, he heaves himself back over his opponent… one… two… but Zeke shoves him off!

Here we go again then, with Jackson doing Wade Barrett’s dirty work emphatically on the big kickout there… but both men are up, and though Christian looks worse for wear, it’s the Canadian who fires away with the pre-emptive right hands! He drives Jackson back, then hits the ropes and nails the Forearm Smash! That doesn’t take Jackson down, so Christian slams into the ropes again and hits another… and as Zeke staggers back, Christian gets the momentum one more time. He charges at Jackson, ducking under the big man’s clothesline, then leaps off the second rope – RIGHT INTO JACKSON’S RAISED BOOT! There are some groans in the crowd as Christian reels away, luckily wobbling into the ropes rather than collapsing in his fatigue, but when he’s shaken out the cobwebs he turns right into Jackson’s grip – FOR THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL – NOOOO!!! Christian elbows his way out, then darts behind Jackson… GRABBING THE ARMS AND SPINNING HIM… TO NAIL THE KILLSWITCH!!! The crowd comes alive with cheers, with Christian immediately turning the big man on to his back for the cover… one… two… three!

Result: Christian bts. Ezekiel Jackson via pinfall at 7:28

*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner… CHRISTIAN!

Christian rolls off the cover, immediately punching the air – he’s even happier than the crowd is! A solid ovation surrounds the Livewire as he heads for the corner, hoisting himself up top and looking for his peeps. He takes his hand away now, instead just pumping his right arm to let the adrenaline rush through him after the hard-fought win. Wincing heavily, Big Zeke Jackson rolls to the outside.

Josh Matthews: Christian may not have got his hands on Wade Barrett, guys, but the message was sent nonetheless – Ezekiel Jackson hasn’t been pinned in a long time, and that means Barrett’s plan just backfired.

Booker T: Awww, ya better believe it! Christian got it done tah-night! He beat da man put in front of ‘im, and that’s aaaaaall ya can ask.

Matt Striker: But the question remains, guys – how long before Christian and Wade Barrett finally go one-on-one?

Josh Matthews: If Christian has his way, Matt, not long, not long at all.

Christian continues his celebrations, though they become a little muted as he sees Jackson backtracking up the ramp… as if the thought of The Corre kills his celebratory mood.

We fade away…


Quote:

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE HAS BEEN APPROVED
BY THE ULTIMATE BROSKIS
DOWN WITH ZACK AND PRIMO


We’re in sunny California, on the boardwalk next to a bronze beach that rolls into the far distance. Waves are hitting the beach, there are surfers and sunbathers in their droves, and it’s just generally pretty picturesque.

The camera pans sideways to see two men walking, and of course these two men are Zack Ryder and Primo Colon, both wearing shirts and board shorts. They’re both rocking the shades and Ryder can’t stop grinning, the Internet Championship over his shoulder.


Zack Ryder:
Broskis and… er, broskettes of the Zack Pack, this is your main man, the Internet Champion – Zack Ryder.

Primo: And I’m de Pride of Puerto Rico, Primo.

A fist bump between the two. Ryder shines up his title, Primo takes off the shades.

Zack Ryder: Now, my top bro and I have a few words for ya, and we were gonna do it from the arena, but when we heard we weren’t even gonna be on the show this week… well, forgive us for not leapin’ to fly out to Iowa. Nice one, Teddy Long.

Primo: Leaving us off the show? Dat’s not cool, Teddy. Dat’s not cool.

The pair keep walking – a couple of female joggers run past, and Ryder takes a moment to lower his shades and watch them leave.

Zack Ryder: Nah, but I’m not too upset, man, not at all. ‘Cause we get to extend our vacation in Cali for another week, and we’ll just hit the public up from beach side.

Primo: Gotta love it, Zack. See, when I’m not surfin’ de bars, you know what I’m thinking about?

Zack Ryder: Tell me, broski.

Primo: Oh I will. I’m thinkin’ about how we’re now SmackDown superstars.

Zack Ryder: Food for thought alright.

Primo: Got dat right. And since we’re on Friday nights now, we gotta set our eyes on de big money, y’know?

Zack Ryder: You must mean those sexy Tag Team Titles, dude.

Primo: Read my mind, Zack. But dere’s two guys… two guys who think dey’re pretty hot. But dey’re just posers.

Ryder nods dramatically. The pair turn the corner and head down some stairs to the beach front, Primo sliding down the handrail as Ryder half-faces the camera.

Zack Ryder: Y’know bro, I think you’re talkin’ about Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. And you’re right, ‘cause The Usos are a pair of nerds who let them win last week, and on the Draft Show? Talk about luck.

On to the beach now – in the background, some kind of party is going on, with lanterns hanging above an evening barbeque. DZP turn to face the camera, however, talking like a pair of infomercial hosts. BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!

Primo: Dey got real lucky alright, Zack. But amigo, it ain’t gonna happen again.

Zack Ryder: Not if we can help it, buddy. See, Down With Zack and Primo is the hottest new duo on SmackDown, NOT them. Good people, we’re here to ask you not to be… er, brainwashed by flashy moves and the fact they’ve obscured their ugly faces.

Ryder stops for a moment; a woman walks past a few yards away.

Zack Ryder: Hey baby! I’m the Internet Champion!

She turns and looks at him like he’s crazy, then leaves the beach as fast as she can.

Zack Ryder: Whatever. But folks, we’re here for a serious cause – support a team with REAL staying power, a pair of real cool broskis.

Primo: DZP, baby. We’re out to top dat tag team division, because de titles? Well, dey’re de ultimate babe magnets.

Zack Ryder: And it’s time for Zack Ryder to become a double champion.

Ryder nods with a huge grin, lofting his Internet Title into the air.

Primo: Yeah – dat too. Dat’s cool, man. Real cool.

“Hey guys! Come get a drink already!” shouts someone in the background. DZP turn their heads briefly, both grinning, then turn back to the camera.

Zack Ryder: Well, we’ve got a party we gotta own, but SmackDown, we’ll see you next week. From the Internet Champion, Zack Ryder…

Primo: And de coolest broski in de Caribbean, Primo –

Zack Ryder: We’re on our way back, people. Woo woo woo – you know it.

The pair of them freeze with cheesy grins on their face, as a DZP logo slams into the corner… and we fade out.
COMMERCIAL BREAK

We’re back, and we’re in the office of SmackDown General Manager, Theodore Long, who’s deep into an argument with Wade Barrett. As we join the broadcast, we can’t quite catch what they’re saying, but it seems animated as Randy Orton suddenly bursts in to a big pop from the arena.

Randy Orton: You wanted to see – oh c’mon.

Barrett turns to face him, scowling.

Wade Barrett: What’s he doing here, Teddy? This was supposed to be –

The crowd builds when the door slams open again and here’s Sheamus, looking none too pleased to have company either.

Sheamus: The hell is this, fella? You said you wanted to see me by meself.

Theodore Long: Now hold on a minute, playa –

The door opens once more, and inevitably it’s Christian who joins the fray. He looks furious, as does Barrett, who steps backwards instinctively.

Christian: Teddy, I’m listening for about two seconds, then I’m getting what I came for tonight.

The arena cheers at that prospect. Barrett puts his guard up, ready for him if necessary. Long steps between the four.

Theodore Long: Nah, nah, stop. Stop it right there, people. Now I called y’all in here to talk to you about this… well, this situation you got going on, and I figured out the only way to settle it.

The four men wait impatiently, with Orton and Sheamus looking just as ready to go off as the other two.

Theodore Long: I know all four of you ain’t had the best of it recently. You all wanna shot at the World Championship to change that.

Teddy sighs.

Theodore Long: Well, at Capitol Punishment, the four of you are gonna go at it in a Fatal Four-Way Match… and whoever wins – is gonna be next in line to the title. That good enough for ya?

A pop from the arena, but silence in the room. The four men exchange looks, and Orton shrugs…

Randy Orton: Suits me fine.

…BEFORE HE LURCHES FORWARD AND SPEARS SHEAMUS OVER TEDDY’S COUCH!!! The sofa topples to the ground, the crowd going wild as Teddy darts backwards in surprise – AND CHRISTIAN TAKES DOWN BARRETT!!!

The arena crowd is loving every second of this, with Christian and Orton going after their enemies, but the Englishman and the Irishman are no pushovers and they brawl right back at them! Long has lost all control, no longer even in the shot as these four go medieval on each other… but Barrett CRACKS Christian with an elbow shot to the face, and scrambles out the door!

Christian goes to follow, once he’s got his mind back, but Teddy’s returned, with security guards to break apart Sheamus and Orton! The guards spread into the room and separate the three superstars that remain at Long’s command. The crowd is chanting for a mixture of Orton and Christian, but apparently we’ll see no more action as Long tells the guards to get them out of his office…

…and we’re back to the arena, where the bell rings. It’s MAIN EVENT TIME…

“BOOYAKA, BOOYAKA…”


*619*


A grand cheer goes up in the Wells Fargo Arena, the stage lighting up in a rainbow as Rey Mysterio bounces out with Sin Cara in tow!


Tony Chimel: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Sin Cara… from San Diego, California, weighing in at one hundred and seventy-five pounds… RRRRREEEEEEY – MYSTERIO!

Josh Matthews: Guys, it’s kicking off all over again between those four superstars, and what an announcement from Teddy Long – we’ve got a Fatal Four-Way to look forward to come Capitol Punishment, with the winner becoming next in line to the World Title!

Matt Striker: Teddy knew he had to try to defuse this situation, Josh, but evidently they’re not satisfied by his solution alone. We’ve still got sixteen days ‘til we’re in Washington, who knows what could happen between them before then?

Josh Matthews: A very good question, Matt, but looking forward here, we’ve got Rey Mysterio set for action against one half of the Tag Team Champions, and after what we saw last week, Rey and Sin Cara could well be on their way to challenging for the titles.

Booker T: If dey keep up dat form, why not, dawg? My bois are clickin’ as a team, gettin’ the crowd outta da seats, and most important – dey WINNIN’, man.

Rey goes blessing the fans wearing replica masks, then slides into the ring to tour the turnbuckles. He does the rounds, giving each side of the arena a blessing, and steps down. His music dies away, with the crowd chanting “619!” sporadically as Rey leans through the ropes, having some last minute words with Sin Cara. They slap hands – they’re dancing to the same tune.

“I’VE HAD ENOUGH! I MAKE ‘EM SEE…”


*END OF DAYS*


Boos, and fairly heavy ones, swarm the WWE Tag Team Champions, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel as they arrive… well, certainly Slater, who leads the pair down the ramp with his usual obnoxious flair, while Gabriel just looks out at the arena from under his dark fringe. Both men have their titles, Slater slapping his as he talks trash at Mysterio upon reaching ringside.


Tony Chimel: And his opponent, accompanied by Justin Gabriel… from Pineville, West Virginia, weighing in at two hundred and sixteen pounds… he is one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions… HEATH – SLATER!

Josh Matthews: We sat with these two gentlemen, or should I say one gentleman and Heath Slater, last week on SmackDown to watch Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeat The Usos, guys, and it’s fair to say they saw an impressive performance first-hand.

Matt Striker: Without a doubt, Josh, but if you thought that meant Heath Slater would show any sign of restraint or caution ahead of this main event, you’d be wrong.

Booker T: Hell, Slater and Gabriel ain’t had it easy since Justin became a Raw superstar, but dese guys have still been champs fo’ months, dey won’t lose da titles easy, and all Heath gotta do tah-night is beat Rey and da momentum is like – BAM – done.

Gabriel quietly walks to a place at ringside, while Slater enters the ring… but not as quietly. Rey hears no end of Slater’s bold taunts, gesturing again and again to the title on his shoulder. Eventually, referee Charles Robinson takes that from him to hand to ringside, as Slater bounces on the balls of his feet, and the bell chimes so the One Man Band can back up all his big talk…

Main Event – Singles Contest
Rey Mysterio w/ Sin Cara vs. WWE Tag Team Champion Heath Slater w/ Justin Gabriel


These two have a lot to fight for in regard to the Tag Team Championship situation; Mysterio knows that a win could earn his team a title shot, while Slater is fighting to keep the impressive luchador duo from mounting a future genuine challenge to the straps. With that in mind, it’s Slater who takes control after about seven minutes of back-and-forth action, wearing the slightly-smaller Mysterio down with a series of elbows to the lower spine. Rey winces, but fights back with elbow shots of his own, freeing himself so he can bounce into the ropes – Slater bends down, so Rey dives over the top with the Sunset Flip… NO! Slater rolls back to his feet on his momentum, then sets his feet and throws himself forward… DROPKICK, RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES!!! Rey’s head whips backwards, and Slater dives over him without a second thought… one… two… but no, Mysterio rolls a shoulder!

The crowd cheers as Rey fights out, but as yet he hasn’t taken back control, with Slater immediately slapping on a headlock after the kickout. He cinches it in tight, then forces Mysterio into the corner of the ring and throws some knees to the gut. After he’s sure he has Rey worn down, Slater takes a lap of the ring, stopping momentarily for a bit of air guitar – Justin Gabriel looks unsure at ringside – before Heath charges forward… and THROWS himself into the top buckle when Rey darts out the way! Another pop fills the arena, with Mysterio now heading to the ropes for some added speed, then meeting Slater in the middle of the ring… Rey spins up, going all around the world… THEN SENDING SLATER ACROSS THE RING WITH THE HEADSCISSORS TAKEDOWN!

Slater goes tumbling, but staggers back to his feet, throwing a clothesline and missing as Rey heads for the ropes again – this time to spring back for the CROSSBOOODDDY – GOT HIM! The crowd pops as Mysterio takes down the champion, and Sin Cara slams the apron in excitement as Mysterio hooks a leg… one… two – but no! Slater kicks out, and both men scramble back to their feet to collide in the centre of the ring… Mysterio slides through Heath’s legs, then Dropkicks him in the back – meaning he falls on to the second rope! The crowd bursts to life again now, with Mysterio seeing what he’s done and grinning as he dials it up… but no, Slater hits the deck desperately and rolls from the ring! Boos are the inevitable response as the One Man Band takes a breather, heading round ringside to consult with Gabriel. The South African gives him some advice under his breath, but as he does so, Mysterio’s suddenly on the top rope – AND HE LEAPS OFF WITH THE PLANCHA… WIPING OUT ONLY GABRIEL AS SLATER DIVES SIDEWAYS!!!

The crowd groans in awe as Mysterio and Gabriel come together on the outside, both tumbling to the floor in pain… but Slater runs a hand through his hair and counts his lucky stars! We catch a replay, showing quite clearly how Slater sees Mysterio coming… and rather than warn or help his tag partner, he saves his own skin first! Gabriel tilts his head up, wincing, and then frowns as he sees Slater still standing – but his fellow champion doesn’t seem too guilty, only spying a vulnerable Mysterio on the ground as SmackDown goes to a break…

COMMERCIAL BREAK

After commercial, Slater is in charge of a weakened Rey Mysterio, with Justin Gabriel looking fairly sullen on the outside. Certainly Rey and the South African are both still feeling the effects of what happened before the break, and now Sin Cara’s responsibilities are, as usual, to liven up the crowd. Slater’s working the Abdominal Stretch on Rey, so on the outside, the Mexican Idol starts clapping his hands, getting the fans invested. The support builds in the arena, so Mysterio begins to fight his way out with some left hands, his only free limb… then spins out of the hold and hits the ropes – he ducks the clothesline, then comes back – NO, SLATER SUDDENLY DROPS HIM WITH A FLAPJACK! The air is taken from the lungs of Mysterio, the momentum taken from the comeback in equal measure, so the One Man Band makes a cover… one… two… kickout!

Slater runs a hand through that bright hair of his, then forces himself up. Mysterio’s crawling for the ropes, but the Tag Team Champion catches him with a sharp kick to the ribs. Rey rolls sideways with a gasp, so Slater takes a moment to lay in some trash talk – “Ya ain’t goin’ near MAH title, bah-bay!” – before he adds some stomps to keep Rey on the defensive. He grabs the luchador by the mask and hauls him up, throwing a few knee shots to the gut as the onslaught continues, then hooking him up… to nail an Inverted Suplex, dropping Rey right on his stomach! Slater immediately turns, taking Rey and throwing him on his back for another cover… one… two… but Rey kicks out again!

Slapping the deck in frustration, Slater gets up. He looks to ringside, where Gabriel is in no disposition to hand out advice this time, so the One Man Band turns away from his frosty partner to go by his own judgement. His thought process leads him to yank Rey back up again, but this time he drives him into the corner and fires away with some right hands. Again and again he catches the smaller man, until Charles Robinson counts him off, so now Slater adopts a different tactic and heaves Rey to the top turnbuckle. Mysterio’s really feeling Slater’s offence by now and doesn’t resist, so Slater goes to join him after another couple of stinging shots. The crowd buzzes as Slater stands on the second rope, time standing still for a moment as he goes to end this big… no, Rey suddenly comes alive and fights back! A pop goes up at the sight of the Ultimate Underdog’s right hands, firing into Slater’s gut to kill his momentum… but Slater elbows him in the jaw and hooks up the SUPERPLEX… NO! Mysterio jams the move, then lashes a couple of right hands to the jaw… Slater goes limp for a moment, allowing Rey to stand on the top rope – AND DIVE OFF, TAKING SLATER DOWN WITH HIM FOR THE SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB!!!

The crowd goes wild! Slater’s body bounces off the canvas in typical well-sold style, with Rey lying beneath the bottom rope now to recover. Sin Cara is firing up the crowd, inciting a series of “619!” chants as he claps his hands again and again… and slowly, slowly, Rey heaves himself up on the outside apron! After being under so much offensive pressure for so long, Mysterio may just see an opening, exhaustedly putting a hand on the top rope. Slater struggles up too, definitely feeling that last landing… so Rey springboards – and gets the Seated Senton! Rey keeps running as his feet touch the ground, heading right for the corner, scaling up – AND SOARING BACK ON THE MOONSAAAAAUUUULLLTTT – HE GOT IT!!! The crowd pops HUGE, Rey turning this match entirely on its head, and now he crawls back to Slater to hook a leg… one… two… THR-NOOO!!! It’s not enough, it’s not enough!

Rey looks to the ceiling in disbelief – he thought he had it! This match is suddenly wide open, only a short while after Slater was in complete control, and now the focus returns to Mysterio, trying to heave Slater off the mat. The One Man Band shoves the littler man away, but Rey comes back with some kicks to the side, forcing him to the ropes. Mysterio tries to whip Slater across the ring, but the champion turns on his heel and sends him instead… THEN DROPS MYSTERIO WITH A SPINNING SPINEBUSTER! Slater makes that look incredible every time he hits it, no less so here, but both men are down… that is, until Slater whips his head up, sees Rey down, and begins the slow crawl into the cover… one… two… thr-NO! Mysterio still has it in him to kick out! We’re still going!

On the outside, Justin Gabriel has his hands on the apron. The South African has his Tag Team Title still over his shoulder, and just for a moment he looks at it, then to Slater, as both competitors struggle up in the ring. This is indeed what it’s all about, just the possibility of a chance to maybe even get a taste of the gold for Mysterio and Sin Cara… and you can see that in Mysterio’s desire here, as he lands the first blow. The right hand staggers Slater, but he slogs back in equal measure, before the blows come thick and fast, traded between the two men… the crowd has no time to pick sides, just cheering as the action heats up again! Slater forces Mysterio back to the ropes, then sends him off to the other side… Slater charges at him for good measure, but Rey sparks into life with a Dropkick to the knee – and Slater tumbles over the second rope!

Cheers fill the arena here, with Justin Gabriel looking stunned – but Mysterio’s feeling it, pumping up the crowd before he hits the ropes… no! Slater pushes off the ropes and suddenly charges with the clothesline – ducked by Rey… AND THE PAIR COLLIDE WITH A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, TAKING THEM BOTH DOWN! Slater wanted that clothesline, and Rey wanted to stay on offence, and that meant that the pair collided heavily, leaving them both collapsed on the deck! The crowd is on its feet, every last one of these fans behind Mysterio, but just for the moment, this match has found the tiniest of lulls. Slater is the first man to move, crawling towards the ropes inch by inch… and – he’s saying something? Gabriel is the target, the South African frowning… Slater’s gasping “Gimme…” – the slimy fucker’s asking for the title belt! The One Man Band crawls to the edge of the ring, holding out a hand and trying to formulate a plan with Gabriel…

…but Gabriel shakes his head! Slater’s eyes are wide, but Gabriel won’t do it, keeping his title clutched on his shoulder! Slater’s partner won’t let him cheat his way to a win here, and he’ll be no part in any scheme to distract the referee either! Gabriel steps away from the apron, meaning that Slater has to haul himself up without his weapon of choice – the One Man Band tries one more time to ask his partner again, leaning over the top rope and almost pleading with his fellow champion… but Gabriel won’t be swayed! Stunned, Slater turns around… and inevitably, Rey Mysterio’s recovered, leaping into the HURRICANRANA… SENDING SLATER ON TO THE SECOND ROPE AGAIN! The crowd rises as one, all cheering as Mysterio dials it up for a third time – AND NAILS THE 619 THIS TIME AROUND!!! A big pop fills the arena as Mysterio stays on the outside, scaling up the turnbuckle as Slater topples to the floor – AND REY THROWS HIMSELF OFF WITH THE NO-HANDED SPLASH, RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!! Gabriel shakes his head at ringside, more in disgust than disappointment, and now Rey forces himself back over Slater for the cover… one… two… three!!!

Result: Rey Mysterio bts. WWE Tag Team Champion Heath Slater via pinfall at 15:10

*619*


Tony Chimel: Here is your winner… RRREEEEEY – MYSTERIO!!!

It’s a great cheer that echoes here in Des Moines as Mysterio bursts out of the cover – the Ultimate Underdog punches the air with a grin the size of China! The crowd is hailing a momentous win for Rey and Sin Cara, the latter of whom slides into the ring to congratulate his partner! Sin Cara and the referee each raise one of Rey’s arms, while Slater slumps out under the bottom rope.

Josh Matthews: We knew a win for Rey Mysterio tonight could change the outlook of the tag team division – guys, the champions may be entering crisis mode!

Matt Striker: Heath Slater wanted to use his partner’s title belt to gain an advantage in the dying embers of the match, Josh, but no dice from Gabriel! These two used to be on the same page, but now… now their tactics are worlds apart.

Booker T: And ya look at my bois Rey and Sin Cara, dey KNOW what dis means!

On the outside, Slater tilts his head up from the floor… to see Justin Gabriel, arms folded around his title, watching him from the bottom of the ramp. The South African is in no hurry to help his partner to his feet, observing him with a cold stare, while Slater spreads his arms wide to ask “What the hell just happened, man?” Gabriel narrows his eyes.

Behind the champions’ discord, Mysterio and Sin Cara continue their celebrations… and we cut backstage to the sight of the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio, walking with Rosa Mendes, Chavo Guerrero and Hunico (with trumpet). The arena crowd boos him a little, though mostly they’re still focusing on the ring…


Josh Matthews: Speaking of interesting title situations, we’re about to hear from Alberto Del Rio… but is Kofi Kingston in the building?

…and SmackDown goes to a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Raw Rebound this week shows the scathing back-and-forth between CM Punk and The Rock after the latter promises to return to the ring at Capitol Punishment. Coming out to defend Vince McMahon, the Great One lays into Punk for his arrogance in thinking he can truly ‘change the system’ if he beats him. Punk, on the other hand, vows to hurt Rocky for being the focal point of Vince McMahon’s entertainment empire. The stage is set for an upstart-versus-legend showdown in Washington, but later in the show, we see Punk and the Convoy ambush McMahon, making this about a lot more than just one match. Punk says that no-one is safe anymore, leaving McMahon lying in disgrace as Raw goes off the air.

---

We’re back in Des Moines…

*REALEZA*


Boos FLOOD the arena as the stage turns gold, and here comes the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio, still flanked by the men we saw just moments ago, Chavo Guerrero and Hunico as well as the secretary Rosa Mendes. In the ring, Ricardo Rodriguez is in his tux and smirks out at the crowd before he raises his mic.


Ricardo Rodriguez: Damas y caballeros, por favor póngase en tus pies y respetar el mayor… ALBERTOOOOO – DEL RIIIIIIOOOOOO!!!

Josh Matthews: Last week, ladies and gentlemen, this man won the Beat The Clock Challenge, and he chose to play at home field come Capitol Punishment, as was his right… Kofi Kingston is looking at a Submission Match if he wants the World Title.

Matt Striker: Alberto says it’s past Kofi ‘choking’ now, Josh; now it’s about a showcase. Del Rio wants to hurt the number one contender, to prove that he’s a dominant champion, but even if Kofi’s not a submission specialist, he still won’t go down without a fight.

Booker T: Well befo’ we can find out, Kofi gotta get down here, dawg. He gotta speak his mind, but since Del Rio opened his mouth last week, we ain’t heard a thing.

In his ring gear and with the usual scarf around his neck, Del Rio leads his unit down the ramp and enters the ring. Chavo and Hunico open the ropes for Rosa, while Alberto greets Ricardo as friends do, with the announcer handing the mic over after. Once the five of them are arranged, the music fades away, leaving us with the crowd’s hatred as the new soundtrack. Del Rio doesn’t seem to care, however.

Alberto Del Rio: I’m gonna tell you all… about courage.

Boos for so much as ADR opening his mouth.

Alberto Del Rio: And you know why I want to tell you about courage? It’s because it’s not long, not long at all… until my Submission Match at Capitol Punishment. And when de only way to win is by making your opponent give up… you have to have de courage to survive.

A shake of the head.

Alberto Del Rio: I don’t believe Kofi Kingston has dat courage… and neither should any of you.

Heat for that.

Alberto Del Rio: Any belief you people had for Kofi Kingston should have expired… when you saw his failure last week. Or at Over De Limit, when he failed dere. Every time he chokes, you people look past it.

He pauses, narrowing his eyes a little.

Alberto Del Rio: So I took de next step. De only way to make you see how he cannot cut it… is to break him. A Submission Match is how I do it.

Some boos.

Alberto Del Rio: I’ve made so many people tap… I lose count. To break a man physically, to break a man mentally – dat is de sweetest way to win. Kofi Kingston cannot break a man.

In the background, the Administration are all smiles and nods.

Alberto Del Rio: You all saw how Evan Bourne fought bravely last week… but he still lost. De same way Kofi Kingston fought well but still choked. And now, he’s so afraid of me and my choice of match dat he can’t even show his face. De actions of a cowardly man.

Boos from the pro-Kofi crowd.

Alberto Del Rio: In his absence, it falls to me… it falls to me to give you all a taste of what’s coming at Capitol Punishment. I am going to show you all – dat in de world of submissions, no-one can overthrow me.

Some more heat, Del Rio firmly at the top of his pyramid now.

Alberto Del Rio: An example. A few years ago, dere was a man famous for his submission skill, of one specific hold… and he remains on de SmackDown roster to dis day. Dis man – dis man used to be able to break someone, just like I can, but I am going to show you all how much more dangerous I am than the man you used to fear. A man who used to impress you all so.

He turns to the ramp with a smirk.

Alberto Del Rio: Earlier tonight… I invited you to meet me in dis ring. Now we will see how you measure up… Chris Masters.

A pause, allowing the crowd to build a buzz for just a few moments.

*MASTERPIECE*


That pop could not be milder – the camera swings up to face the stage, where Chris Masters lives up to Del Rio’s word by pacing out into view. He forgoes his usual dramatics, no flexing of the muscles or confident smiles, instead just walking towards the ring. His eyes flicker between the Administration members, and evidently he’s unsure of what he’s doing.


Josh Matthews: Well that’s Chris Masters alright, folks, but that’s another four men in the ring, I’d be careful…

Matt Striker: Chris Masters hasn’t had a successful 2011, Josh, but that could still change, and I tell you something; when the World Champion invites you to his ring, you gotta consider the exposure.

Booker T: What kinda exposure is it when a boi gets jumped by fo’ guys, Matt?

Matt Striker: Why would Del Rio go out of his way to hurt a random member of the roster?

That’s the question that hangs in the air, and in Masters’ mind, as he approaches ringside. He hops up to the apron, hesitating there, then steps inside when Del Rio motions the Administration back. Standing alone, Masters’ eyes flicker amongst the champion’s men (and Rosa), as his music dies out and Del Rio raises the mic again.

Alberto Del Rio: Now Chris, you used to run something called… de Master Lock Challenge, no?

Masters acknowledges that.

Alberto Del Rio: Dis was how you made a name for yourself, by showing off, however possible… dat you could make a man give in. In itself, dat is impressive.

Some slight, almost-mocking applause from the World Champion.

Alberto Del Rio: But those days where you were championed for your prowess… dey are gone, amigo.

Masters shakes out his shoulders and mouths “Why don’t you get to your point, buddy?”

Alberto Del Rio: I want to test… how good you are. I want to take the Master Lock Challenge, and prove dat not only am I a champion… but dat even the best submissions cannot stop me. Do you understand?

Again, Masters limbers up, nodding his head with raised eyebrows. He stops and looks at the other men in the ring.

Alberto Del Rio: But of course…

He motions for the Administration to step back. They do so, though Chavo looks a little suspicious of a man he’s faced every so often on Superstars. Del Rio hands the title off to Ricardo, and his scarf as well, then steps forward to square up to Masters.

Alberto Del Rio: Chris, dis is your chance to impress dese people… and taste, even for a second, de glory dat I experience every day. And because I am so sure of the outcome – peso, if you make me tap… I will put dis title on de line tonight.

A pop, and THAT definitely gets Masters’ attention. For the first time, he steps forward, looking genuinely interested to be here now. Del Rio cracks a smirk.

Alberto Del Rio: So… try to break Mexico's pride.

Masters takes another glance at the Administration, as Del Rio hands his mic to Rosa. The champion turns back, meeting Masters in the middle of the ring again. The Masterpiece asks him something under his breath, perhaps growing in confidence here, but Del Rio ignores him and raises his arms to have the hold applied. As Masters positions himself behind Alberto, he takes one last glance at the Administration, and Del Rio winks into the hard camera… moments before Masters applies the Master Lock!

Matt Striker: Whoa, Del Rio wasn’t bluffing!

The crowd immediately pops, with Del Rio’s head SNAPPING downwards sharply, and Chavo almost intervenes. Del Rio wasn’t expecting quite the aggression he received from Masters there, with the Masterpiece going all out to break the champion… but there will be quick no submission from Del Rio! We have no referee here, so it’s all down to Del Rio to let Masters know if he’s had enough… but as yet there’s nothing, with the champion wincing but refusing to give in!

Josh Matthews: Guys, could – could Masters make Del Rio tap here? Does the champion know what he just let himself in for, all to send a message?

Masters begins to throw Del Rio from side to side, rattling his brains, and the crowd is fully behind him now! The Masterpiece is no slouch, still in fine physical condition, and he’s putting the World Champion through the ringer… but STILL no submission! Del Rio gasps for air, but grits his teeth and survives. He makes his first attempt to fight back, worming left and right a little and trying to break Masters’ grip, but as yet it’s ironclad, watertight.

Matt Striker: Can you imagine if Del Rio taps? With his own men right there?

Josh Matthews: And has he underestimated Chris Masters?

Just yards away, Chavo Guerrero exchanges a glance with Hunico. Ricardo’s hands are all over the World Title, clutched to his chest as Del Rio is put under more pressure by Masters. The big man really wants to seize his opportunity, throwing Alberto around a little more… and momentarily, the champion loses his footing, with Masters looking to take control! Del Rio saves it, scrabbling to stay upright, but the crowd is on its feet, roaring for the submission!

Josh Matthews: G-guys, I think – I think Del Rio’s on the ropes!

Booker T: Da boi goin’ tap!

Alberto is flailing now, the crowd noise surging in here… but the champion scrambles with some left footed shots to Masters’ knee, distracting him! Masters growls to shake off the pain, but suddenly Del Rio is fighting back in full, knowing he can’t overpower Masters to break the grip… but he can transition just fine, tilting sideways to get some more of those boots to the knees!

Matt Striker: Alberto – he’s… he’s fighting!

Masters keeps the grip, but you can see he’s struggling now – Del Rio keeps firing at the knee, then swivels sideways… BREAKING FREE – AND CRACKING MASTERS IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH A HUGE ENZUIGIRI!!!

Booker T: Awwww hell!

The crowd gasps as one, with Masters collapsing to the floor in a heap, and Del Rio’s face lights up! That trademark grin appears again, seconds after transitioning out of Masters’ best efforts, and now he turns to take the mic from Rosa. The men of the Administration are applauding.

Josh Matthews: I thought – guys, I really thought Masters had Del Rio there, but the World Champion has proved us wrong… and gone a step further, too. That was uncalled for.

As the mic comes up, you can hear the heavy breaths of Del Rio, who takes a long pause. His breathing slows a little, as Masters clutches at his head, and finally the champion speaks again.

Alberto Del Rio: A good effort, amigo… but now it’s my turn.

Suddenly, Del Rio dumps the mic… AND LOCKS IN THE CROSS-ARM BREAKER ON MASTERS!!!

Matt Striker: Speaking of uncalled for, Josh!

Booker T: Da hell is da boi doin’? Enough, he already had enough!

The crowd is booing furiously and Masters writhes in pain. Del Rio wrenches away on the arm, with the Administration (especially Chavo) watching in admiration – Masters is in hell, yelling out and trying to escape, but to no avail! Del Rio is merciless, making sure he applies as much pressure as Masters did to him, and more… until finally, Masters taps repeatedly! Boos resound in Des Moines as Del Rio finally lets him go, rising to his feet and taking the title from Ricardo. Standing above Masters, he mouths something we don’t catch, raising the belt high.

Josh Matthews: Guys, Chris Masters was tempted by Alberto Del Rio tonight, but he ended up paying for it, like so many others.

Matt Striker: Never trust a snake, Josh…

Chavo and Hunico are patting Del Rio on the shoulder. Ricardo and Rosa are applauding, with Masters continuing to clutch at his arm in agony, and now Del Rio turns to wink once more into the hard camera…

“SOS… I HEAR DEM SHOUTIN’! SOS… I HEAR DEM CRYIN’!”


*SOS*


BUT THE CROWD GOES MENTAL! Del Rio turns with narrowed eyes, shaking his head… because for the first time since this segment last week, Kofi Kingston walks out! The Ghanaian has no explosive entrance this week, just pacing out in a brand new merch t-shirt (“HERE COMES THE BOOM” on a bright green sunset) over his ring gear. His hair is tied back, his face almost blank, and in his hands, he of course holds a microphone. He paces out slowly, then stands still to stare down at the ring, where Del Rio motions to the injured Masters.


Josh Matthews: We haven’t heard from him all week, folks – he wasn’t available for interviews, he didn’t give us anything on social media, but Kofi Kingston is here on SmackDown!

Matt Striker: I knew Kofi would say his piece eventually, Josh, but perhaps he just needed a little time to focus on the task he’s got ahead of him. Del Rio wasn’t expecting him, but Kofi Kingston has never backed down from a challenge…

Kofi waits for his music to die out. Once it has, the “KOFI! KOFI!” chants strike up in their hundreds, looking to spite Del Rio as much as encourage his future challenger. Del Rio, no longer focused on Masters, lets the big man roll from the ring, and slaps his title as Kofi raises the mic.

Kofi Kingston: That sure was impressive, man.

Boos of disagreement from the crowd.

Kofi Kingston: Yeah, you sure showed me. You sure showed everyone here.

He shakes his head.

Kofi Kingston: Is that what you wanna hear, Alberto? You want us to be impressed? Or scared?

Some heat as Del Rio just smirks.

Kofi Kingston: Well bad news, man. You didn’t scare me away. You can call me a choke artist if you want, ‘cause that bounces right off… but don’t go callin’ me a coward.

Pop.

Kofi Kingston: Fact is, ever since I stepped into the WWE, people have been tryna label me. People think they know Kofi Kingston. But sooner or later, Alberto, you’re gonna realise that people have the capacity… to change.

A few cheers for that.

Kofi Kingston: So just because you think your plan was fool-proof, doesn’t mean it is. Because sure, you caught me off-guard with that stipulation, and sure, I’ve never been a submission kinda guy. But man, that doesn’t mean I can’t still beat you.

Del Rio’s smirk fades, and the crowd cheers again.

Kofi Kingston: This past week, I’ve been tryna collect my thoughts, because this challenge is gonna be the biggest yet. I went home, took it easy, and while I was there… well, I found some stuff. I found boxes and boxes of stuff from my childhood. We’re talking programmes and action figures and signs here. I had it all because I loved the WWE, and I wanted to be a part of it someday. I lived it.

Kofi smiles a little, thinking fondly back on those days. The crowd is fully behind him.

Kofi Kingston: But I haven’t just been reminiscin’ all week, Alberto, no… I’ve been training.

Some whistles and “ooh”s from the crowd. Del Rio says something in Spanish to Ricardo, frowning.

Kofi Kingston: See, whilst I was looking through all my old stuff, I remembered the guys who made me love this business so much. I remembered jumpin’ off the couch and cheerin’ for all these guys. There was nothing else for me. And while I was thinking… I realised there was one man who could change things.

A buzz builds now, with Del Rio frowning in the ring. His henchmen look none too pleased either.

Kofi Kingston: The potential was always there for me to do the impossible, Alberto. I always knew that someday I’d be a World Champion, but this time, I’m not afraid to say I needed a little help. So I went and asked for it, from a guy who’s gonna train me… until I become the best.

The crowd is on edge here, waiting, but Kofi just smiles. He folds his arms, apparently not speaking again, while Del Rio is muttering something to his troops, not fully understanding…







SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCHHHHH…

*RETURN THE HITMAN*


THIS ARENA LOSES ITS SHIT! The stage turns pink and black, and Kingston just continues to smile… AS BRET HART WALKS OUT ALONGSIDE HIM!!! Del Rio looks like he’s seen a ghost, his eyes bulging in disbelief, and the Administration are in a state of PANIC!

Booker T: OH MAH GOODNESS!!!

Josh Matthews: The HITMAN! Kofi went to the Hitman!

Hart takes a few moments to soak in the reaction from behind those shades, clad in his usual leather jacket and Batman shirt… before he turns to Kofi, and raises his hand to the delight of the crowd! It’s all a message to Del Rio, saying that these two really are working together – and the champion is furious!

Matt Striker: Ohhhh, the game has changed, gentlemen!

Josh Matthews: Kofi Kingston grew up watching this man! Bret Hart was his idol… and now Kofi’s going into a Submission Match, alongside the greatest submissions expert of all time!

Booker T: Dis is INSANE!

In the ring, Del Rio is holding an inquisition, asking his Administration why no-one knew about this ahead of time, but all this does is give confidence to Kingston. At the top of the ramp, the Ghanaian is talking to Hart under his breath, with the Hitman cracking a little grin in response. Del Rio pings into the ramp-side ropes, pointing to Kofi and Bret and screaming “DIS CHANGES NOTHING!”, but he’s riled…

Josh Matthews: Alberto Del Rio tried to stack the deck against his challenger… but Kofi Kingston went out and got himself the best possible coach! In just sixteen days, Kofi’s gonna have to make Del Rio tap – but if there’s one man who can make it happen… it’s Bret “The Hitman” Hart!

As Del Rio tries to calm down, slapping his title belt to make a statement, Bret turns to point at Kofi, while the Ghanaian just nods his head. He knows he may have levelled the playing field tonight, and Hart looks very happy to be alongside him… which only bodes ominously for Del Rio’s title reign…

…as SmackDown fades out.


END OF SHOW



The Return; Grudge Match
CM Punk versus The Rock

World Heavyweight Championship; Submission Match
Alberto Del Rio (c) defends against Kofi Kingston

WWE Championship
The Miz (c) defends against Triple H

Fatal Four-Way; The Shot At Redemption
Christian versus Wade Barrett versus Randy Orton versus Sheamus


---

Back to business then. Cheers BkB for the kind words here, and Wolfy too in the Discussion Thread, it’s very humbling. I’ve recapped all matches but the first one from Raw, which means it got done a lot faster, hopefully without losing any of the impact either, so I’ll probably keep doing it for a while. I also hope to throw out some feedback to the good people who are inspiring me to write faster, but don’t hold me to that, I have a reputation to keep up
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In New Talent We Trust | Raw NOW POSTED

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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

It’s a big way to kick off the show here with two of your SmackDown main eventers who look to be starting a rivalry. Solid match, as expected. It got given reasonable time without being too long when it’s really just a taste of what’s to come. The finish was clever, following up on last week’s, and the boot from Sheamus afterwards not only gives this rivalry momentum, but also Sheamus.

This AJ/Riley thing is obviously in development, as this promo illustrated. Riley was pretty good in his obnoxious role, but you’re also doing well to show that he’s at least a little bit interested in AJ, despite what he may say. I’m not entirely sold on AJ and Riley as a pairing yet, especially considering Riley isn’t very good, so having him tutor someone seems odd, but I’m willing to see where it goes.

Cody’s match did the job of showing just how damn aggressive he is now, but the important part of the segment is clearly the action after the match. Bryan’s probably better off taking action rather than talking, so it seems the right move. After last week, Bryan getting one over Cody makes sense too.

I didn’t really like the whole champagne thing. It just didn’t quite seem necessary. Riley also seemed to be flying through it, so I’m not sure he should be getting smashed at a wrestling show when he’s a part of the roster. Layla was a bit uncompetitive too considering she was seen as quite good along with Michelle around this time, but I gues you’ve got more important things on SmackDown than this.

Intense from Bryan. Good, too. You’ve set up his whole gimmick of just loving to wrestle, so the promo and the story behind it worked. I thought it was maybe a bit of a shame the IC Title was treated as a bit of an afterthought by Bryan in that he said he would take the title if Cody messed with him again but showed no real want for it, although apart from that, I thought it was a good promo.

This is a nice little side story to the Kofi thing you’re running for this week. I like the idea of Barrett thinking he can just talk his way into the match with Del Rio instead, and having him sidestep Christian saves that match for down the line. His reasoning for it was all solid enough, and it gives a logical reason for Jackson/Christian to happen.

A solid win for Christian, which he was always going to get. It keeps the build going towards the Christian/Barrett match for whenever it actually happens.

I’ve got mixed feelings on Ryder and Primo. While the writing is quite enjoyable, they’re very cartoonish, and it seems like you’re about to put them into a series feud. I’m not sure I would be able to buy them in that role, especially against a guy like Rey. Still, as I said, the writing was quite good here.

Teddy figured out the only way to settle the problems between these guys is to put them in a match? That’s the type of genius that it takes to be a GM. Good segment in all. The arrivals were all amusing in their own way, and the match makes sense considering you’ve got these dual brand pay-per-views coming very quickly, meaning you’ve got a lot of guys to get on the card at once without always the most build. I’m glad to see the brawl there too, because Orton and Chri9stian would have obviously taken any chance they could to get at Sheamus and Barrett after what happened previously on this show.

Despite him being a champion, Heath Slater doesn’t really feel like he belongs in the main event of a show, even if there is still the Del Rio promo to come after it. I guess it comes as a consequence of the Orton and Christian matches building to the segment we just saw, meaning they had to be placed earlier. It also features the tag titles, which is good. To your credit, you gave the match time and made it competitive as well. You achieved a few things, highlighting the Gabriel/Slater issues that remain throughout the match, and while Mysterio should beat Slater being the much bigger star, you did make Slater look like more than just an overly exuberant fool, as he should when he’s a tag team champion. Gabriel suddenly being a bit moralistic after the draft doesn’t entirely make sense to me after what he’s done as a member of Nexus and The Corre, but it’s something that looks to be developing.

As I’ve said before, I really like The Administration, especially little things like Hunico on the trumpet. It’s certainly a different way to introduce a wrestler, but it fits Del Rio so, so perfectly. The promo from Del Rio made sense in that he built up the submission match as something that he didn’t just pick as a match that would give him a clear advantage, but one that continues to push his narrative that Kofi can’t actually crack it as a big star because he’s a choke artist who isn’t tough enough. Poor Masters’ Masterlock copped an absolute burial here, even if he kept it locked in on Del Rio for a while. That probably makes it worse, considering a guy like Del Rio could still break it after that time. I guess it’s okay if you plan on letting Masters go soon or barely featuring him, because his credibility is pretty much shot at this point. Del Rio, however, looks good coming off the back of it, which is clearly the point of this whole thing. It also does the job of going further to make Del Rio look damn near unbeatable in a submission match. The attack after the challenge sums up Del Rio’s character well, and also illustrates how dangerous he is in a submission situation. Kofi not making the save but coming out right after Del Rio was done with Masters wasn’t the most face-like move. You maybe would have been better off having Kofi’s music interrupting the hold, even if Kofi wasn’t going to come charging in to make the save. Kofi’s speech set up the arrival of Bret Hart well, and it certainly creates an interesting pairing. It really does put over Kofi in a way that not only can he win this match, but also be a true main eventer. It’ll be interesting to see if you pull the trigger on him now, because you’ve set him up well to take the gold with this segment.

As a whole, I thought this was a pretty good show. It doesn’t have the sheer star power and excitement that RAW does, but you’re building it on wrestling more than anything. All of your feuds seem to be going in the right direction, and you’ve adapted your booking well to the PPV model you’re working with. Another show this year now would be lovely.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:02 PM   #166 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Monday Night Raw
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia | 6th June 2011



Last week on Raw was chaos personified; following the return of Vince McMahon to call CM Punk’s bluff by bringing The Rock back into the fray, Punk went about tipping the scales right back in his favour. Though the fans (and the WWE locker room) were sure that Rocky’s in-ring return would spell the end of Punk’s crusade before it could start, the Second City Saint shocked viewers by attacking the Chairman at the end of the show alongside the Convoy, promising that his troubles were only just beginning. Punk challenged McMahon to meet him in tonight’s main event, and though we know all too well of the Boss’s hot temper, especially after his embarrassment last week, it remains to be seen whether he will allow himself to be lured into Punk’s next ploy.

Elsewhere on Raw, Triple H won the right to face The Miz in dubious circumstances over John Cena last week, meaning that he will be next in line to the WWE Title at Capitol Punishment. While Dolph Ziggler is set to explain why he cost Cena that vital match, Jerry Lawler has given The Miz and Triple H a forum to exchange their inevitable heated words, when the two future opponents meet for a face-to-face. With Vince McMahon breathing down the Game’s neck about a possible corporate job, Capitol Punishment takes on new meaning for the Boss’s son-in-law, still eager to prove his in-ring ability, especially with the anarchy on Raw at the moment.

Also tonight: Skip Sheffield looks to redeem The Convoy after Mason Ryan’s loss to Percy Watson last week, when he faces Darren Young, and after Superkicking the luckless Ted DiBiase, John Morrison looks to prove himself as the ‘winner’ he claims he is when he faces Trent Barreta. We’ll hear from United States Champion Tyler Black… and what havoc is next for Michael Tarver?


Announced For Raw

Will Vince McMahon compete against CM Punk?

WWE Champion The Miz and Triple H go face-to-face
Words from Dolph Ziggler

Singles Contest; John Morrison vs. Trent Barreta
Singles Contest; Darren Young vs. Skip Sheffield
Beth Phoenix competes


---

Cheers to BkB for your feedback, mang; I agree with just about everything you said, though the Gabriel thing will hopefully become clearer as he sort of ‘sobers up’ to how he’s spent the last few months acting like Slater… which isn’t a good thing. The Riley-AJ angle will also work itself out. Expect thoughts on your various angles soon, lest we get back into our old pattern where you give me feedback, then I read your thread and say nothing.

I’ve never had so much fun writing a show as I did this one. I was helped by recapping the matches, which meant I wrote faster, but regardless, I hope it comes out in the writing. The preview is light on the ground because… well you know, it’s effort and I don’t think anyone minds. Show coming soon
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:08 PM   #167 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Monday Night Raw
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia | 6th June 2011



Without any highlights from last week, we go right into footage tagged as “EARLIER TONIGHT”, in which we see Triple H, with a kit bag slung over his shoulder, entering the arena. He looks to be in a foul mood, scowling as he walks down the arena corridors… but he’s stopped suddenly by someone running up to him. It’s just some random worker, but the Game looks pissed anyway.


Worker: Hunter, I need you to come with me.

Tripper looks at him for a moment, snorts, and keeps walking. The worker follows him, though.

Worker: Er – Hunter, this is important…

Silence.

Worker: Listen, I just could really use you – I really think you have to –

Triple H turns, grabs this young man by the scruff of his polo shirt, and SLAMS him up against the corridor wall. A couple of other people in the background look at him in astonishment.

Triple H: (growling) No, you can listen. Did you know that I’m the new number one contender? Did you know that? How about my father-in-law wanting to have a match with CM Punk, ya hear about that?

The worker’s mouth opens and closes without a word, blinking.

Triple H: And then there’s how I’m feeling right now. I still haven’t recovered from Cena from last week. Somehow, I gotta put all of this behind me… ‘cause if I don’t, The Miz will capitalise. If that wasn’t bad enough, people are callin’ it my last shot, too – I gotta win at Capitol Punishment or Vince wants me back at HQ to be a businessman instead.

He pauses, the worker just shaking his head, trying to pry Triple H’s iron grip off him, but failing.

Triple H: So don’t you think… with all this on my mind… maybe I don’t want people like you followin’ me around? What could you possibly say that could top all the problems I already have? Huh? Why don’t you tell me that?

The worker finally finds his voice, making sure to gulp dramatically beforehand…

Worker: H-Hunter… your wife is here.

Triple H’s animated face freezes. For a moment, he keeps his grip around the worker’s scruff… then drops him and walks away. The worker is left clutching at his neck, trying to recover from that rough approach by the Game…

…and now we’re into the Raw opening video, culminating in The Miz, before the feed takes us to the arena floor of the Richmond Coliseum. Fireworks explode from the stage, then the camera sweeps across this cheering crowd, and finally we turn to ringside to see Jim Ross and Byron Saxton starting the show together for the first time as a team.


Jim Ross: We’re live, folks, and welcome to Monday Night Raw – Triple H’s already got a lot on his plate tonight, that much we know for sure, but we’ve got some other questions to be answered before the night is done! I’m Jim Ross, alongside Byron Saxton in the best seats in the house for tonight’s action.

Byron Saxton: Oh it’s gonna be explosive alright, JR, it’s gonna be huge! Hell, we’re lookin’ at Mister McMahon versus CM Punk in the main event tonight!

Jim Ross: Well, nothing’s confirmed, Byron, and I’d hate to start tonight’s show by spreadin’ rumours, but certainly there will be repercussions for what CM Punk did last week. Laying your hands on the boss is a sure-fire way to havin’ a bad time on Raw.

Byron Saxton: Hey now, JR, Mister McMahon got me this gig, so I won’t say a bad word against the man, but if he goes up against Punk tonight? Well, I know who I’d put my money on, is all.

Jim Ross: That aside, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll also see some of the fallout from last week’s chaotic main event, with Triple H the new number one contender to the WWE Title and set to go face-to-face with The Miz tonight –

“I AM PERFECTIIIIIIIOOOOOON!!!”

*PERFECTION*


It’s mostly loud heat, with a couple of cheers from the smarks mixed in, as Dolph Ziggler struts on to the stage, with Vickie Guerrero applauding as loudly as she can muster beside him. The Perfection Artiste runs his hands through his slicked-back hair, then heads down the ramp, flicking water at the front rows. He looks very, very pleased with himself, but doesn’t he always?


Jim Ross: Well talk of the devil, ‘cause last week’s main event was interrupted by this man, Dolph Ziggler, apparently furtherin’ his own agenda by playin’ God and costing John Cena the match.

Byron Saxton: Maybe you should listen to what Dolph has to say before you go judging him, JR. I’m sure the man has his reasons!

Jim Ross: That’s what I’m afraid of, Byron. Ziggler has a scary sense of entitlement that won’t go away, a huge ego –

Byron Saxton: Ya realise you don’t have to tell me about Dolph Ziggler, right JR? The guy was my Pro on NXT, a guy who once yelled at me after I was eliminated – and you know what? It made me stronger! It made me more determined! And since when was John Cena the ideal guy to take on The Miz anyway? He’s already lost more times than I can count!

Ziggler climbs up to the apron, stepping inside only to swing back out and stare into your soul through the hard camera. He cracks another grin, then finally enters the ring, pacing it leisurely as Vickie collects a mic from ringside. After a few moments of Dolph showing off, as you’d expect, his music dies out – and immediately you can hear the boos from this Richmond crowd. They don’t approve of what he did last week, but he’s not explaining himself just yet, not since the mic hasn’t quite passed into his hands…

Vickie Guerrero: Excuse me!

The nuclear heat begins.

Vickie Guerrero: EXCUSE ME!

And continues.

Vickie Guerrero: Allow me to… I said EXCUSE ME!!!

The boos roll in again, with a sign saying ‘You’re excused’ being the brief focus in the crowd. Vickie turns to Ziggler, looking exasperated, but it seems nothing could spoil Dolph’s mood at this point and he just motions her on.

Vickie Guerrero: Allow me to introduce my boyfriend – perfection itself… Dolph Ziggler!

Some more fierce heat as the mic is handed over, and Ziggler waits for a moment to soak in the reaction, which includes more of that annoying applause from Vickie.

Dolph Ziggler: Everyone’s kinda mad, but you gotta admit… that’s how you show off.

Boos.

Dolph Ziggler: You ain’t gotta like it, but last Monday night, Dolph Ziggler turned all heads back his way, and that meant there isn’t a damn soul on the roster who could FOLLOW – THAT.

A shot at Punk? It’s unclear, but regardless the crowd boos again.

Dolph Ziggler: In fact, I have been totally untouchable for a while now. I have been – PERFECTION – for a while now.

Ziggler runs a hand through that bleach-blond hair and smirks.

Dolph Ziggler: Not so long ago, I became World Heavyweight Champion. And as soon as that happened, I should have been elevated to the status I deserve. I should have been the WWE’s golden boy, but there’s always one more guy. There’s always… one… more… guy.

A singular finger he raises, shaking his head in disgust.

Dolph Ziggler: Why is that, huh? Why am I always waiting for my chance? Why is it that Teddy Long takes away my title? Why is it that John Cena –

He pauses for even a half-second and the crowd cheers (mostly). Ziggler stops talking and scowls momentarily, then brushes it off and goes again.

Dolph Ziggler: Why is it that John Cena and Triple H get to play cards for the title shot while I’m sat around in the locker room? I wasn’t pinned at Over The Limit! It was Cena who messed up, and suddenly I’m forgotten about?

Dolph spits on the deck.

Dolph Ziggler: I’m supposed to be the focus on Raw. Not Triple H, not Miz, not Punk, not even McMahon, not any name you can think up, and definitely NOT John… Cena.

Looking a little flushed, Ziggler flattens a few stray hairs back against his head.

Dolph Ziggler: Any of you know how frustratin’ it is to see Cena get my opportunities? My athleticism makes him look like an elephant on ice skates. Every interview he’s ever done makes me gag, every movie he’s in BOMBS at the box office…

Groans from the crowd, and now Ziggler cracks a grin.

Dolph Ziggler: Fact is, people, I should be the WWE Champion, because I – AM – PERFECT.

Heat, but as usual lately, Ziggler is too pissed off to stay his bright cocky self.

Dolph Ziggler: I am stuck behind jokes like John Cena, and I’m sick of that. So I stopped him doin’ the same song and dance last week. And I’d do it again. In fact, I would –

*MY TIME IS NOW*


A big pop RIFLES through Richmond, but Ziggler’s face scrunches in annoyance. Vickie is scowling as usual, folding her arms as she and Dolph turn towards the stage… and here comes JOHN CENA, in his red gear and looking none too impressed. He paces both sides of the stage, taking it all in, then turns to the camera for the salute. That out of the way, he sprints down the ramp and slides into the ring.


Jim Ross: We knew it wouldn’t be long until John Cena said his piece, and thank God for that too. Monday Night Raw has enough big egos without Ziggler’s inflatin’.

Byron Saxton: Let’s not be too judgemental here, JR, the man’s reasoning is on the money! Do you wanna see Cena with more WWE Title shots? My man Dolph’s been waitin’ for his shot at The Miz and he ain’t getting a damn thing!

Jim Ross: No Byron, Cena earned his shots, every last one. Cena worked every second to get to where he is, and if Ziggler were in Cena’s place –

Byron Saxton: Oh spare me the propaganda, JR! I’ll get enough of that from Cena himself…

Ziggler and Guerrero step back as Cena slides in. The ex-“Champ” immediately collects a mic from ringside, then tilts his cap at the hard camera. The disgust is there in Ziggler’s eyes, but regardless he holds back as Cena points at him with the mic. When the music subsides, the noise in the Coliseum builds, mostly in support of Cena, but the obvious usual haters still do their part. Cena and Ziggler engage in an unhealthy staredown, until finally the former speaks.

John Cena: You got balls, Dolph. You ain’t got much else goin’ for you, but you got balls.

Vickie’s protests fall on deaf ears as Ziggler steps forward.

John Cena: By the sounds of it, you know what you cost me last week. But what you might not know… is just what the WWE Title means to me. You act like I never deserved to be at the top, but son, I earned that. Which is more than I can say for you.

Some cheers and whistles. Ziggler narrows his eyes.

John Cena: You’re sure quick to sweep it under the rug, Dolph, but the only reason you were World Champion in the first place was because you and the GM there had… some sort of arrangement, somethin’ I’m not gonna touch ‘cause – well, no-one should touch THAT.

A couple of laughs, and Cena shrugs. If looks could kill from Guerrero, but Ziggler holds her back this time.

John Cena: So don’t get superior on me, man. I’ve never seen you do a damn thing, so don’t come out here and tell me that I don’t know what I had… BECAUSE I HAD IT.

A smattering of cheers, but mostly the crowd is shocked silent by Cena’s outburst.

John Cena: You don’t think I miss that? Every second of the day? Dolph, it meant everythin’ to me. Everything.

Totally serious now, Cena shakes his head.

John Cena: A few weeks back, when I had that title in my sights, The Miz said he didn’t understand how a guy like me could enjoy bein’ here. He’s bitter because the WWE locker room never greeted him with open arms – the reality is, the locker room doesn’t greet anyone with open arms. But he said he never got a rush from this… hell, all I ever get is a rush.

He thumps his chest once, and the crowd cheers.

John Cena: I lived for titles, for Wrestlemania main events, for the big moments. This year, I have watched that spiral away from me. You call me the ‘top guy’, like I should be a target? I’m no top guy, Dolph. I wanna be, I wanna be SO bad, but I’m not. That kills me.

Ziggler’s shaking his head. He doesn’t accept a word of it, but there’s pain in Cena’s face.

John Cena: And I’ve had a rough couple of months tryin’ to get back to it. The Rock ruined my shot at Wrestlemania, then The Miz took the back door outta Extreme Rules. Triple H edged me a couple weeks back… and then you took your shot last week. You gotta know you’re nothin’ special, Dolph. You gotta know that this is just another setback.

Eyes burning, he takes a step forward and measures up to Ziggler a little.

John Cena: If I keep this up… I might just snap.

The crowd groans here and there – Cena means that as a threat, and Ziggler spies it.

Dolph Ziggler: Real touching, John. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of crying kids and charity appearances outta that sob story, but you don’t intimidate me.

Heat for that, but Cena shakes his head. “You’re not on the same page as me, man.”

Dolph Ziggler: No, whether you like it or not, your name still means something. I don’t think it SHOULD, but it does. And as long as that’s true… you’re in my crosshairs.

Cena removes his cap and throws it into the front row. That catches Ziggler off-guard, with the crowd getting excited instantly, but the Show-Off raises a hand.

Dolph Ziggler: I told you, you don’t freak me out, John. You can’t get inside this head. I’ve been out here every single week bustin’ my ass to get noticed, and now I’m gonna claim your scalp as well. I am gonna prove that I am a STAR, and once I have… John, I’m on a ticket all the way to the WWE Title I so richly deserve.

Back to the boos for Ziggler’s words.

Dolph Ziggler: Once I’m done with you, Cena, all those memories of when you were champion… they’ll slip further and further away. I’m gonna leave you so far at the back of the line, you’ll never sniff a title shot again for years. That’d be poetic justice, right?

Chuckling a little, he looks to Vickie, who nods with a sickly sweet air.

Dolph Ziggler: Forget Rock, forget Miz, forget Triple H. Soon all these people will. John, I wanna fight you, not because I need to prove that I’m star potential, but purely because I AM star potential. Because I should be top of the mountain.

Cena shakes his head and raises the mic.

John Cena: (sarcastically) Star potential? Star potential. You have to be a big star, or else why are you here? If you’re not famous, why even be in the WWE? It’s all about bein’ on talk shows and magazine covers, it’s all about cars and money. Yeah Dolph, you’ve got it all figured out.

Cena pauses to let that sink in. His look is of pure disapproval.

John Cena: You know why no-one ever kicked me off that pedestal? It’s ‘cause everyone who stepped up was some wannabe ‘star’ like you. People so obsessed with fame that they forget the competition. They forget why they loved it in the first place. Dolph, ya head’s so far up your own ass ya can’t see the light, man.

A resounding cheer from the crowd.

John Cena: It ain’t about bein’ a star. It’s just about bein’ good at what you do. And the reason I won titles, and became that star you think it’s so great to be… it’s because I was GOOD at it. Not because I was picked, not because I talked about doin’ it, but because I DID IT! I WENT OUT AND I DID IT!

The crowd cheers its loudest yet, but Ziggler smirks. Cena’s breathing heavy.

Dolph Ziggler: Then why, Cena, if you’re so damn special… aren’t you the WWE Ch–

John Cena: – BECAUSE OF THE ROCK.

Ohhhhh. The crowd whistles and groans in their thousands. Ziggler tilts his head up, and Cena’s breathing eventually slows. He looks at the floor, then up at Ziggler again. He changes the subject.

John Cena: Son, if you want your shot at me… take it. Capitol Punishment, where the lights are bright enough even for a ‘star’ like you. If you want some… come… get some.

A pop goes up, but everyone’s still focused on Cena’s previous outburst. The ex-“Champ”, looking fairly harrowed now, turns and walks out. There’s some boos as Cena heads to the outside, shaking his head, but apparently he can’t even look at Ziggler anymore. Ziggler, however, waltzes over to the edge of the ring, leaning against the ropes.

Dolph Ziggler: Yeah, take a walk. You might not be able to let go of the past, Cena, but it doesn’t matter, ‘cause in Washington, I’m gonna write you some history. For you, John, and not a moment too soon… it’s SHOW…

As Cena turns on the ramp, scowling up at Ziggler, the Perfection Artiste flips him a thumbs down.

Dolph Ziggler: …OFF.

Cena turns and walks away. His mind is elsewhere.

*PERFECTION*


Boos fill the arena as Ziggler’s music plays, but Vickie Guerrero is applauding. We get a camera angle from the ramp, showing Cena’s sourest face as Ziggler taunts him in the background.

Jim Ross: John Cena as passionate as he’s ever been tonight, but there ya have it confirmed – Ziggler messed with the bull last Monday and now he’ll get the horns next Sunday!

Byron Saxton: Cena’s not focused, JR! He’s too busy thinking about his messed-up year to care about Dolph Ziggler, and that’s a recipe for disaster against the Show-Off!

When Cena hits the top of the ramp, he slowly swivels. In the ring, Ziggler’s running both hands through his hair, flicking water on the ground, so Cena just shakes his head… and walks backstage.

Jim Ross: It’s gonna be another heated contest at Capitol Punishment, folks, but we’ve still got plenty to come here tonight, so don’t go away!

Raw fades away from Ziggler’s taunting of the crowd.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

We’re back, and the bell rings…

*ONE TWO THREE*


A fair pop goes up from this Richmond crowd, with the Florida coastline lighting up the Tron and the stage, as the South Beach Party Boys arrive, made up of Darren Young and last week’s hero, Percy Watson. This time around, Watson’s in street clothes, with Young being the man in his ring gear to perform tonight. The bell chimes, so the pair exchange an elaborate high five and head for the ring, slapping hands.


Justin Roberts: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by “Showtime” Percy Watson… from South Beach, Florida, weighing in at two hundred and thirty-nine pounds… DAAAAARREN – YOUNG!

Jim Ross: Hot off the heels of one of the upsets of the year, the South Beach Party Boys are here in Richmond, folks, so welcome back to Raw, and let’s see who’ll win the rubber match.

Byron Saxton: I’m still rubbing my eyes to wake up from the dream where Percy Watson beat Mason Ryan last week, JR, but I’ll give the man his credit, he really pulled one out. Now tonight, his tag partner gotta do the business too, and I’d say it’s an even bigger task.

Jim Ross: Even so, Byron, I won’t count out Darren Young. Hell, I wouldn’t count out you after what we saw last week.

Byron Saxton: Don’t make jokes, JR, I’m lethal in that ring. Semi-retired for the health and well-being of champions everywhere.

Young and Watson finish greeting the fans, then head into the squared circle. Young does some last-minute stretches, while Watson, complete with his shades whilst not competing this week, fires up the crowd with his usual flamboyant antics. The pair meet in the corner and discuss some tactics as their music dies away…

*MEAT*


And now boos, plenty of them, ring out for the arrival of The Convoy, Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan. As usual, both men are dressed for action, but it’s Sheffield who marches almost immediately down the ramp, while Ryan storms for the ring in his wake. The pair seem to be having a contest to see who can pull the angriest face; Sheffield looks like he could kill a man.


Justin Roberts: And his opponent, accompanied by Mason Ryan… from Las Vegas, Nevada, weighing in at two hundred and eighty-three pounds… SKIP – SHEFFIELD!

Jim Ross: Last week, we saw The Convoy at one another’s throats following that loss, and this man Skip Sheffield promised to make the Party Boys ‘pay’ for what happened… he’s looking scarily like living up to his word, Byron.

Byron Saxton: Skip Sheffield’s a huge presence, JR. It’s no wonder CM Punk called on him to help him in his crusade – who exactly is supposed to stop this guy when he’s in form?

Jim Ross: I asked the same of Mason Ryan last week though, Byron.

Byron Saxton: As CM Punk would say, setbacks happen, JR, but they make ya stronger. Skip Sheffield won’t underestimate Darren Young, but he’s also out to make his mark tonight. He has to prove to Punk that they’re still valuable soldiers.

Sheffield makes quick time to the ring; unlike the Party Boys, only one member of the Convoy enters the ring, with Ryan pacing around on the outside. Purely because of last week’s mishap, there is tension between the Welshman and his equally-huge partner, while the Party Boys look totally in sync. Young receives a last minute pep talk from Showtime, who then high fives him and leaves the ring. Our referee is Jack Doan, who checks both men for discrepancies and gets us underway…

Match One – Singles Contest
Darren Young w/ Percy Watson vs. Skip Sheffield w/ Mason Ryan


Like last week, it’s the bigger man who takes control before too long, despite Young having the better of it in the early going. The Party Boy is buoyed by Watson’s victory last week, but that knowledge just makes Sheffield more aggressive, as we can see as we jump into the action. Skip has Young down, throwing in a couple stomps before he hauls him up by the hair and chucks him into the corner. He follows up with a THUMPING clothesline in the corner, mashing Young against the buckles! The crowd groans, but Sheffield isn’t done, sending Darren into the ropes and flattening him with a Shoulder Block. Sheffield follows up with a series of stomps to the back of Young’s head, continuing to wear him down. Watson’s looking worried on the outside, while Ryan just looks blank – this is exactly how well he was doing last week.

Bringing Young up to his knees, Sheffield bludgeons him with a couple of cross-the-face forearms. He then slaps him back roughly to the floor, and heads to the ropes… for a Running Splash, squashing Young into the deck! Sheffield makes a rough cover, snorting… one… two… but Young kicks out! A cheer goes up, but Skip is unfazed, grabbing Young by the hair and lumping him into the corner. His massive strength is plain to see here, as he drives some huge shoulder thrusts right into Young’s gut, again and again, grunting with every shot he delivers! Young’s looking in particularly bad shape here, so Sheffield leaves him to suffer as he turns and paces the ring. He smacks his palm against that bald head, firing himself up… then goes for the BIG BOOT – NO! Young dives out the way, so Sheffield hangs himself up on the top rope!

At ringside, Percy Watson is trying to liven up the crowd – Young’s collapsed to the floor, but he’s looking for the ropes, and he has the fans on his side! Sheffield’s wincing as he detaches himself from that rope, and now Young’s heaving himself up to meet him… Young peppers him with right hands, trying to build some momentum, then hits the ropes. Sheffield throws a big clothesline, but Young ducks it and hits the other side… then takes out Sheffield’s knee with a Low-Angle Dropkick! That floors Sheffield, giving Young some time to clear his head as he gets up… he shakes out the cobwebs and turns to meet a rising Skip – so he turns him and NAILS a Neckbreaker to take them both down again! The crowd cheers and Watson claps his hands with typical delight… but Young’s down, still selling Sheffield’s earlier stretch of dominance, until finally he can force the big man’s shoulders to the canvas… one… two… kickout by Sheffield!

Sheffield shoves Young off from the cover, so now both men struggle to their feet. Skip throws the first shot but Young ducks it, booting Sheffield in the knee and then the gut. The big man brushes them aside, however, and shoves Young to the ropes – he comes back with a clothesline, but Sheffield’s a towering figure and won’t fall. Young tries again, hitting the ropes – MEAT HOOK CLOTHESLINE FROM SHEFFIELD – NO! Young darts in behind, getting the Full Nelson to attempt THE HEAT WAAAAVE… BUT SHEFFIELD TOSSES HIM OVERHEAD! A groan goes up from the crowd as Young goes tumbling, but he scrambles back to his feet… right into Sheffield’s clutches, then he’s thrown into the corner! Skip takes aim, then charges – INTO THE BUCKLES AS YOUNG DARTS AWAY… AND NOW HE ROLLS SHEFFIELD UP, EXACTLY LIKE WATSON LAST WEEK… one… two… THR-NO!

The crowd thought that was it! Sheffield is on his knees, eyes wide as he came so close to doing exactly what he chewed Mason Ryan out for… and on the outside, the Welshman watches with an unmistakable look of disapproval. Young can’t believe it either, but he’s now getting up behind Sheffield – so he moves in, leaping instinctively and applying the Sleeper Hold to try to bring down the big man! The crowd believes a second huge result in as many weeks could be on the cards, cheering as Sheffield falls to a knee, while Watson drives up the fan support on the outside! Showtime’s dancing about, while Skip Sheffield conversely seems to be losing energy! Jack Doan’s asking the question of Sheffield, who’s in no condition to answer… “Are we witnessin’ the collapse of The Convoy right here, right now?” cries JR as dramatically as he can! Sheffield reaches up lethargically, grabbing Young by the hair – to press his head into his shoulder? Young’s still got the hold cinched in, but now his face is being forced into Sheffield’s collarbone, and the big man is rising – TO DELIVER THE BACKPACK STUNNER OUT OF NOWHERE!!! WHAT A COUNTER!!!

“Where’s your faith, JR?” asks Byron Saxton at ringside, as both men fall, but the man coming worse – WAY worse – is Darren Young! Sheffield shakes out the effects of the Sleeper and stands, wobbling momentarily, before heading into the corner. Ryan no longer looks bored or disapproving, while Watson’s joy has evaporated, as Sheffield now prepares for the Meat Hook. He stretches out his right arm, rotating it to hype up the big hit… as Young (somehow) struggles to his feet – AND EATS THE MEAT HOOK CLOTHESLINE, FLATTENING HIM!

Well this is over. Sheffield stands again, roaring out to a deflated arena, and receives some heat for his efforts. He’s got adrenaline and a whole lot of rage running through him, so he takes a moment to pace the ring, knowing this is done, but still wanting to send a message. Skip glances briefly at Ryan, then grabs Young by the hair to haul him up again. For anyone else, Young’s dead weight might have been a problem, but not so for Sheffield, who yanks him up and lifts him on to his shoulders as you’d expect. Ignoring the boos, Sheffield marches around the ring, adding the unnecessary after-touch to this display… BEFORE NAILING YOUNG WITH SHELL SHOCK! That flattens Young and the crowd yet again, with the Convoy man staying undefeated by hooking a leg… one… two… three.

Result: Skip Sheffield bts. Darren Young via pinfall at 5:59

*MEAT*


Justin Roberts: Here is your winner… Skip – Sheffield!

Boos are Skip Sheffield’s prize as he has his arm raised… and he, inevitably, pulls it away immediately. He tells Jack Doan to take a walk, and though the referee would quite like to check on Darren Young, he doesn’t protest when Sheffield presses the issue. Doan makes his exit, so Sheffield heads for the turnbuckles to roar out at the crowd.

Jim Ross: Skip Sheffield said he’d get The Convoy back on track tonight, and that he did. Darren Young fought bravely –

Byron Saxton: Said it once, I’ll say it again, JR; the Party Boys are good, but they’re just not good enough against The Convoy. Power of faith right there.

Jim Ross: I think Sheffield’s power comes from generations of selective breeding, Byron, but even so, tonight he was impressive. Mason Ryan take note.

Speak of the man, Ryan is now in the ring to congratulate his partner – he does this merely with a pat on the arm, but Sheffield understands and nods. Across the ring, Percy Watson checks on the eventually-massacred Darren Young… but when Ryan takes a step towards him, Showtime’s quickly to his feet to protest. Hands in the air, he shakes his head – “We ain’t gotta do this, man.”

Jim Ross: Oh, what now?

With Sheffield at his elbow, Ryan looks more dangerous than ever, but Watson steps over Young, showing no signs of backing down and abandoning his partner. He still has his hands in the air, but when The Convoy don’t leave, he ditches his lens-less shades. Those are chucked from the ring, as Watson warns the pair to stay away… but when Ryan moves in, WATSON LAUNCHES FORWARD AND FIRES AT HIM WITH RIGHT HANDS!

Byron Saxton: Here we go again, baby!

The crowd cheers loudly as Watson takes on Ryan, but the bigger Welshman pounds him with harder blows in response, and then Sheffield joins in! The cheers turn to boos as Watson’s situation turns sour, with both members of The Convoy beating Showtime into the dust. Once he’s subdued, Ryan drags him to the centre of the ring, strapping an arm across his chest. Boos surround Ryan as he lines it up… but he won’t be dissuaded – FROM ADDING THE POINTS AFTER BY HITTING THE HOUSE OF PAIN ON WATSON!!!

Jim Ross: Talk about your sore losers! Ryan couldn’t let last week go?

Byron Saxton: You kidding me, JR? Mason’s showing that The Convoy are no pushovers! Last week was a fluke! And did ya see Watson tryna jump Ryan there? He could have seriously hurt somebody!

Jim Ross: There’s no talkin’ to you sometimes.

*MEAT*


The Convoy stand above their victims to a chorus of boos; Sheffield slaps Ryan on the chest to tell him that their problems are behind them, and now they both raise their arms. Ryan cracks the smallest of grins, while Sheffield just nods to the beat of their music.

We cut away from them, and now we’re in the office of Raw General Manager, Jerry Lawler. King stands to the side, away from Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, who are involved in some kind of argument as we tune in. A pop goes up for the sight of them.


Vince McMahon: -and it’s not your decision, gawd DAMMIT!

Vince FLINGS a nearby water bottle against the wall. The crowd groans; everyone’s trying to talk at once here –

Triple H: Vince, we–

Stephanie McMahon: Daddy, just listen–

Vince McMahon: I’ll fight who I want! I’m the Chairman of the Board, I’ll fight who I want!

Triple H: Vince, think for just a sec–

Vince McMahon: And nobody embarrasses VINCENT – KENNEDY – MCMAHON!

Silence after that outburst. Red in the face, Vince eyeballs his heirs.

Vince McMahon: I didn’t inherit this company to let some PUNK run it into the ground. I didn’t come all this way to let it go to hell.

He shakes his head.

Vince McMahon: I’m stepping up… I’m facing Punk – TONIGHT.

A HUGE cheer greets that in the arena, but Triple H puts a hand on Vince’s chest.

Triple H: No Vince, you’re not. I’m not letting that maniac near you.

Vince McMahon: Hunter, you’ve made it very clear you don’t wanna run things around here, so don’t… (shoving the hand away) tell me what to do.

Triple H: No.

Silence again. Vince and the Game go into staredown mode.

Stephanie steps in between them.


Stephanie McMahon: We can’t let this happen. We can’t let him get into our heads.

The staredown continues.

Triple H: Don’t be an idiot, Vince. Don’t give him what he wants.

Another pause.

Jerry Lawler: I’ll do it.

Heads turn.

Vince McMahon: You’ll what?

Lawler, standing awkwardly to their right, is stony faced.

Jerry Lawler: I’ll face CM Punk tonight. He… he wants a match, that’s fine. But Hunter, you’ve got enough on your plate, you’re going face-to-face with the WWE Champion later. You need to focus. Punk… Punk’s always had a problem with me and he wants to send a message… he won’t turn down this chance.

Vince stares at the GM with cold detachment. King shrugs.

Jerry Lawler: Honestly? If anyone doubted my commitment to this company, now they’ll think twice.

Again, the room is quiet. Steph and Triple H exchange a look. Vince stares at Lawler, but just as he goes to speak again –

Vince McMahon: There’s no way –

???: (dramatically) Just let… the man… fight!

The camera pans sideways – and standing there all this time has been THE ROCK, who gets a MASSIVE cheer from the arena! The Great One whips off his shades.

The Rock: Vince, listen to your daughter. Listen to your son-in-law. Listen to the MILLIONS –

“AND MILLIONS!” cries the arena.

The Rock: - of The Rock’s fans, and listen to The Rock. You think you brought The Rock in just so you could hog the best part? You think The Rock’s gonna let you lay the smackdown on CM Punk two weeks before he gets to do it himself?

Clearly attempting to save Vince’s bruised ego, Rocky points at the Chairman. Vince looks displeased, but he looks away.

The Rock: Nah, nah. You do what you do best, that’s steady the ship. Triple H, later tonight you’re gonna do what you do best, that’s teach The Miz that he’s a dumb-luck, too-slow jabroni. And King? You wanna prove a point, The Rock says you do that.

Vince looks at Rocky, then his daughter, then Triple H, then finally… to Lawler. He looks defeated.

Vince McMahon: Fine… fine.

He walks out the door – a series of security guards are his escort as soon as he’s out into the corridor. Back in the GM’s office, looks are exchanged all around. Clearly Vince isn’t in the best place after last week, and the silence continues… into a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

A black screen. The clinking of metal in our ears. Footsteps.

The image fades into view – the clinking is handcuffs, around a man’s wrists. He is being escorted down a corridor by two guards, the sound distorted as the footsteps echo off the walls. A man is saying something that we can’t hear.


Voice:

You have been found guilty of heinous crimes and for that you will...

It fades. The man in handcuffs is wearing orange prison overalls, his head tilted down.

Voice:

I hereby sentence you…

The man does not struggle against his chains.

Voice:

May God have mercy on your…

Finally, they come to a room at the end of the corridor. The man tilts his head up to face what lies inside; a smirk on his lips. He is not afraid. One of the guards turns to look at him, his grip tightening around the prisoner’s arm.
Guard:

Strap in, boy. It’s gonna be electric.

The man, and the camera, turn back to the room… where the electric chair awaits. The prisoner tilts his head up to the skies as they lead him towards it…

…and when he’s uncuffed and made to sit, it’s CM Punk who closes his eyes and smiles.


Narrator:

WWE – Capitol Punishment.


WWE CAPITOL PUNISHMENT
19TH JUNE 2011 | VERIZON CENTER | WASHINGTON D.C.


---

We’re backstage on our return, but only briefly… as we see Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan walking down the corridors like last week. This time, however, they both seem pleased with their work, walking without arguing and with an undeniable confidence in their walk. They’re muttering under their breaths to one another…

…but they stop as CM PUNK appears in the shot. The Second City Saint gets hugely abused by the arena crowd, but it doesn’t affect him; he just smirks, and touches each man across the forehead, almost like a blessing. Both members of The Convoy nod.


CM Punk: Faith, gentlemen. You answered the call.

Smirks all round.

CM Punk: Come.

Punk leaves the shot, and just like last week, Ryan follows him. Sheffield pauses a moment, though, looking around this fairly empty backstage corridor. Finding nothing, he walks away, leaving us with just an empty shot… until a large, dark silhouette appears in the distance.

Fading away…


*LET’S ROCK*


…it’s back to the arena, with Trent Barreta bouncing around in the ring. The bell chimes.


Justin Roberts: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, from Mount Sinai, New York, weighing in at two hundred and fifteen pounds… TRENT – BARRETA!

Jim Ross: Welcome back to a heated episode of Monday Night Raw, folks; it’s been confirmed that in our main event, it’ll be our General Manager, Jerry “The King” Lawler, putting the tights back on to take on the upstart CM Punk.

Byron Saxton: It’s all happening tonight, JR! Lawler’s stepping up to face Punk instead of Mister McMahon – he’s just tryna get in the Chairman’s good books so he doesn’t get fired next weekend!

Jim Ross: Well, regardless of King’s motivations, he’s got a big task ahead of him, especially because the Chairman wanted a fight tonight, and now both King and Punk have something to prove. In the meantime, it’ll be Trent Barreta set for action here, and he’s a promising talent…

Barreta’s music dies down, but it doesn’t stop him trying to fire up the crowd with a raised arm.

*AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*


The stage turns into a psychedelic rainbow, and for once in a long while, this music is greeted by fairly decent boos from the crowd. John Morrison swaggers out in his fur coat and his big shades, keeping a straight face as he pulls off the slow-mo pose.


Justin Roberts: And his opponent… from Los Angeles, California, weighing in at two hundred and twenty pounds… JOOOOHN – MORRISON!

Jim Ross: Now last week, Byron, this man John Morrison showed his true colours when he came out and berated young Ted DiBiase –

Byron Saxton: Kicked his teeth right down his throat, JR.

Jim Ross: Well, I was getting to that. DiBiase’s goin’ through a transition period since his father cut off his trust fund, but last week we saw him turn a corner, a change in attitude if you will –

Byron Saxton: Oh it’s all PR, man. You’re not telling me you actually think Ted DiBiase wants to please the paying fans? He’s probably just waiting for a chance to steal a win over a respectable guy like John Morrison here.

As JR sighs, Morrison heads down the ramp; he peers over his shades momentarily at Barreta, then chuckles and trots up the steps. Referee John Cone waits for Morrison to tour a couple of turnbuckles, both times soaking in the heat from the crowd with his typical one-armed pose, then takes the shades and coat to hand outside. Morrison and Barreta are bouncing on the balls of their feet, both ready to showcase their high-octane offence… we’re underway.

Match Two – Singles Contest
Trent Barreta vs. John Morrison


Barreta opens this match like a house on fire, getting the crowd excited with some big kicks and using his agility to keep away from Morrison’s. He lays in a few Dropkicks, showing off his own talent and maybe suggesting that Morrison underestimated him, but soon afterwards the Shaman of Sexy catches him with a hard elbow and turns it around. Morrison then takes his opportunity to work some offence, but the key difference from recent performances is how he takes his time, making sure that the audience knows he can dominate Barreta. He unleashes a series of sharp kicks to wear Barreta down, as well as a couple of nearfalls after moves like the Russian Legsweep.

However, Trent being the promising talent he is, he won’t stay down, kicking out from a Morrison Crossbody and fighting back into the contest. From here it’s more back-and-forth, with both men showcasing some impressive aerial moves as they try to best the other, but even in the dying throes of the match, the most fast-paced moments, Morrison always finds a way to gloat. At one point, he stands above a floored Barreta and throws up his usual pose, but suddenly gets rolled up by Barreta for a narrow two count. After that, Barreta goes up top, looking to end it spectacularly, but as he flies off – he gets CRACKED in the face by a Superkick! Morrison gets up and stands above Barreta’s unmoving body yet again after that, this time more confident in the grin he throws to the hard camera… then falls into the cover and takes the three.

Result: John Morrison bts. Trent Barreta via pinfall at 7:38

*AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*


Justin Roberts: Here is your winner… JOHN – MORRISON!

Morrison rises to the sound of heat, but it’s clear he doesn’t care. He immediately throws up his pose, grinning his face off as he stands above Barreta… then toes the youngster from the ring and demands something from ringside. One of those things is his jacket, which he throws on, and the same can be said of his shades.

Jim Ross: Clinical performance from John Morrison there, Byron, but you’ll notice he’s far less concerned with his opponent’s welfare than I remember…

Byron Saxton: Ted DiBiase changed his attitude, JR! The Monday Night Delight realised last week that other people just hold ya back, and John Morrison’s best friend is John Morrison!

Jim Ross: To tell you the truth, Byron, it’s not Ted DiBiase’s fault if Morrison’s a questionable human being.

The other thing Morrison receives is a mic from ringside…

John Morrison: Cut that music…

The tune fades out, giving way to more boos. Morrison points out of the ring, to Barreta’s attempts at recovery on the outside floor.

John Morrison: Now THAT… is a loser.

Heat for that. Barreta’s too busy holding his jaw to respond.

John Morrison: I’d like to thank Ted DiBiase for opening my eyes last week. Ted, you made me see life under a different perspective. You made me realise that there’s no point going through life… sucking, like you do.

More boos. Morrison shrugs it off, his old 2008 smarmy voice returning here.

John Morrison: I was treading water, but all I was really doing was – and I’m gonna coin this as a phrase right here – pulling a DiBiase.

A chuckle from the Shaman of Sexy as the crowd boos even louder for that.

John Morrison: Now, my career’s headed in a different direction. While you crash and burn, Ted, tonight the Guru of Greatness, the Shaman of Sexy, the Monday – Night – Delight… is on the up and up. And I gotta thank you for that.

Morrison paces the ring, flashing an irritating smile at the crowd.

John Morrison: Maybe someday, you’ll get a little closer to where I am. That means mentally, but also… physically. And in every other department.

Boos as Morrison gestures to his abs.

John Morrison: You might learn at some point that it doesn’t matter what these people think of you, and it doesn’t matter what you think of yourself… a loser is still a loser.

More heat, Morrison now leisurely running a hand through his hair.

John Morrison: And like John Morrison, it’s so much better – to be a winner.

Spreading an arm out wide, Morrison welcomes the heat, grinning once again…

*I COME FROM MONEY*


But now a good pop goes up… and Ted DiBiase walks out purposefully on to the stage! Morrison’s wide smile fades away as DiBiase paces into view, holding a mic in his hands. He’s wearing the same faded shirt he wore last week, and the same grim expression. He hasn’t shaved.


Jim Ross: Well thank God for that. Ted DiBiase may be winless but at least he knows when the audience has heard enough.

Byron Saxton: Are you kidding, JR? Look at this guy, he looks like he just rolled outta bed! Or whatever cardboard box he’s living in now…

Jim Ross: Say what you like about his finances, Byron, but there’s no shaking DiBiase’s mindset now. He’s in it to look himself in the mirror again, and I think that’s somewhere we’ve all been in the past. More power to him.

Saxton snorts at that, but DiBiase’s music fades away, and, remaining on the stage, he raises the mic.

Ted DiBiase: ‘Pulling a DiBiase’… a few decades ago that meant something else.

A weary smile from the Unfortunate Son.

Ted DiBiase: Back when my dad was around, ‘pulling a DiBiase’ meant being the best. And I don’t care if he’s left me out in the cold now… it doesn’t change the fact he’s still a great man.

In the ring, Morrison’s right hand feigns a mouth flapping. He’s already bored.

DiBiase turns to the nearest camera and stares down the barrel.


Ted DiBiase: So Dad, ‘cause I know you’re watching to see if I do something stupid, or I lose again… I just want you to know – thank you.

Some whistles in the crowd. DiBiase holds his stare for a moment, then turns to face the ring again.

Ted DiBiase: But John, you really are something else. ‘Cause when I was at my lowest, when I was just ready to turn my career around, you came and ruined it. You’re exactly why I’m the Unfortunate Son – I can’t catch a break. So it’s time to start makin’ my own luck.

A few cheers, as Morrison casually leans against the ramp-side ropes.

Ted DiBiase: A few weeks ago, I found out what it’s like to be beaten so badly you think you’ll never come back from it, but I’m standing here. Last week, after that Superkick, I didn’t think I’d have the heart to come back from that… but I’m standing here.

He stops as the crowd cheers, applauds, chants. The fans are really beginning to get behind him.

Ted DiBiase: John, you’re not half as special as you think you are. And I want to prove that… because as little as you might think of me, and as little as I think of myself right now… it’d still kill you if I beat you.

Another decent pop there. Morrison holds up a hand.

John Morrison: Hold up there, Ted. Chill that thought.

Boos from the crowd.

John Morrison: Taking me on… again… and losing – again – would be the worst decision you could make. That’s career suicide.

Again, heat. DiBiase shakes his head.

John Morrison: You gotta move on, man. Because if you don’t… I’ll Superkick you so hard, all the money in Daddy’s account won’t be able to put your chin back together.

Ooooooh. DiBiase seems unfazed, but the crowd still groans. Morrison smirks at his own threat.

Ted DiBiase: You don’t get it yet, John, but this isn’t about winning. This is about pride. One of us has too much… one of us doesn’t have enough. But that’s gonna change soon.

Morrison adjusts his shades nonchalantly.

Ted DiBiase: While you were having your match, I was in the General Manager’s office. It’s all a little crazy in there, ‘cause it’s packed, and the GM’s preparing for his big match tonight… but I still got five minutes to talk to him.

And just like that, Morrison whips off his shades and frowns.

Ted DiBiase: At Capitol Punishment, man, it’s John Morrison – versus Ted DiBiase.

A good cheer goes up, but Morrison looks understandably pissed. “Which clown thinks WE’RE still on the same level?” we just hear off-mic.

Ted DiBiase: And like I told you, this is about pride. So John, if I can’t beat you at Capitol Punishment… I don’t wanna be around for the fallout. If I lose… THEN I QUIT.

“OHHH!” cries the crowd, and suddenly Morrison’s eyes light up. He shakes his head – DiBiase must be insane. DiBiase drops the mic and spreads his arms out wide, though, clearly confident… but Morrison just keeps grinning, letting his shades fall back on to his face.

*I COME FROM MONEY*


Jim Ross: W-what is Ted DiBiase thinking? If he loses in Washington, he quits the WWE – the man hasn’t won a match in five months!

Byron Saxton: What happened to it not being about winning, huh? I told you, JR, this DiBiase guy’s a total hypocrite!

Jim Ross: Folks, Capitol Punishment continues to get bigger and bigger – Ted DiBiase’s future will apparently be on the line, because if he can’t prove John Morrison wrong, he’s outta here… what has that man just done?

DiBiase and Morrison continue their staredown; the crowd is definitely on the side of the former, chanting his name just audible above the music… but Morrison looks like he’s anticipating the easiest pay-check of his life, and just grins all the way.

Jim Ross: I… this is unbelievable, ladies and gentlemen, but still to come – the WWE Champion, The Miz, has some words for his new number contender, a man we’ve already seen in the Game, Triple H… they’ll come face-to-face later tonight, and it’s gonna be heated as hell! You don’t wanna miss out!

The DiBiase-Morrison staring continues… into a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

We’re back, but not on the arena floor –

Jim Ross: Welcome back to Raw, folks, we’re in Richmond, and… oh god.

No, we’re in the arena corridors, the lobby if you will… we’ve been here a couple of times in the thread, but never this loud… because some idiot gave Michael Cole a clipboard and time to speak. Alongside him is Jack Swagger, arms folded and evidently bored, as Cole bounces around the place…

Michael Cole: -and frankly, ladies and gentlemen, you deserve better than Jerry Lawler!

Cole is surrounded by fans, many of whom are waving into the camera. Swagger is the only stoic face among dozens. Someone takes the clipboard away from Cole and signs it…

Michael Cole: Yeah, yeah! Let’s see some signatures, people! Today is your chance to take back Monday Night Raw for YOU, the fans!

The clipboard continues to be passed around, some people simply passing it to the next person.

Michael Cole: I want as many of you as possible to tell the brass what YOU think! This will be sent to the Board of Directors, and they will KNOW that Jerry Lawler is not good enough as a General Manager! Next weekend, when it comes to his Performance Review – enter that petition as evidence that we deserve better!

In the arena, there’s a few boos for Cole’s antics. As Cole bounds around the lobby, it should be noted that only a few random people are actually signing the petition…

Michael Cole: Thank you, thank you! Now, my associate and I, the Phenomenal Athlete Jack Swagger, have only been back on Raw for a couple of weeks, and already we’ve been forgotten about! Well, we won’t be shoved to the back of the line, and neither should you!

Swagger looks like he doesn’t really agree, but instead he just ‘harrumph’s and keeps his arms folded.

Michael Cole: Sure, we’ve heard plenty about Lawler taking on CM Punk tonight – hey look, I’m not gonna say somebody doesn’t have to stop that psycho, but if the Chairman wants to fight, you let the Chairman fight! Let’s not forget about Lawler’s crimes just ‘cause he’s putting himself in the firing line instead! Am I right? Huh?

No-one seems to be on the same page, apart from a couple of random people. Cole straightens his tie.

Michael Cole: Folks, this is about justice for Jerry Lawler’s poor management, and I urge you to help me, thus helping the Board of Directors, in pursuit of that justice. It’s dark days for this show and this company’s management, but you CAN make a difference, ladies and gentlemen! Down with Lawler! Down with Lawler! C’mon!

Again, the clipboard gets passed around the various people trying to get on camera, and as Cole’s campaigning goes on, we cut back to ringside…

Jim Ross: A load of Hollywood hogwash for you there, folks… Michael Cole may think he’s doin’ things for the good of Monday Night Raw, but somehow I doubt he knows what’s best for business.

Byron Saxton: Let’s not be too harsh on the guy, JR! Maybe he’s on to something! Who doesn’t want what’s best for the WWE, anyway?

Jim Ross: Anyone who’s willing to face CM Punk so the Chairman of the Board doesn’t throw himself headfirst into danger is a man I’d like to see in charge, Byron.

Byron Saxton: I’d like to see him manage this show after what Punk’s gonna do to him!

Saxton cackles.

Jim Ross: You’re a sick man.

The bell rings.

*GLAMAZON*


A decent cheer rings in Richmond as Beth Phoenix makes her way out, raising the usual pose. She smiles at the reaction, then begins to head for the ring.


Justin Roberts: The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, from Buffalo, New York… the Glamazon, BETH – PHOENIX!

Jim Ross: Well, to take discussion away from the complicated state of affairs at the head of WWE politics… Byron, last week Beth Phoenix returned to Raw with a bang.

Byron Saxton: No doubt about it, JR, the Glamazon was dominant last Monday night. She’s always capable of big performances, but last week she kinda beat both Bella Twins, and then dealt with the Diva’s Champion right after! I told you, she’s MEAN.

Jim Ross: As you say, Byron, no-one can seem to stop Beth right now, and should she win tonight, her march towards a title match would surely continue…

Phoenix poses on the turnbuckles as usual, then backflips into the ring and paces it. She nods at Justin “The Pimp” King, our referee, then turns to wait for her opponent.

*SHAKE YO TAIL*


There’s very little in the way of a reaction as Alicia Fox swaggers into view. She seems blindly confident, arms wide as she walks down the ramp, while Phoenix watches her and waits patiently.


Justin Roberts: And her opponent… from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida… ALICIA – FOX!

Jim Ross: The woman looking to stop Phoenix’s roll in 2011 is Alicia Fox, who we all know wants her own shot at the Diva’s Title… Byron, things are really heating up across all fronts here on Raw, but Melina remains the champion despite that.

Byron Saxton: And with good reason, JR. Ever since she won the title, the Hollywood Diva’s been running the show in the Diva’s division, and until Beth Phoenix came to Raw, no-one could match her. Personally, I think Melina’s got what it takes if they went head-to-head, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pay big money to watch it.

Jim Ross: A sparkling recommendation from you there, Byron.

Byron Saxton: Gals like Phoenix and Melina don’t need me to say their pieces for ‘em, JR.

Alicia steps into the ring and dances briefly to her music. She still seems confident, while Phoenix just paces her corner… and once the music has died out, Justin King checks everything’s legal and calls for the bell.

Match Three – Singles Contest
Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox


This one is hardly competitive, although possibly more so than Phoenix’s destruction of both Bella Twins last week. Fox tries various tactics, including scrappily grabbing at Beth’s hair in the early moments and even trying to bust out some of her ‘bigger’ moves, but when she tries a Neckbreaker, Phoenix easily reverses out of it and floors her with a big clothesline. With Fox’s hopes becoming slimmer and slimmer, the Glamazon takes her chance to do what she did last week, and use this to make her case for a Diva’s Title Match. This begins with her showing off her strength with a Military Press Hold (and subsequent Drop), then a Fisherman Suplex, but only for a two count. Beth tries to lift Fox back up, but she comes back with a big slap, then tries to launch a comeback, bouncing into the ropes and attempting a Scissors Kick – but Phoenix dodges it, then puts Alicia on her back again with another HUGE CLOTHESLINE! That rattles Fox to the point that she’s unable to fight back, meaning Phoenix can peel her from the canvas… AND NAIL THE GLAM SLAM! The crowd cheers as you’d expect, firmly behind her as the next contender, and now Phoenix puts the lifeless Fox on her back… for the three count.

Result: Beth Phoenix bts. Alicia Fox via pinfall at 3:35

*GLAMAZON*


Justin Roberts: Here is your winner… the Glamazon… BETH – PHOENIX!

Phoenix rises and has her hand raised by the referee; that was relatively simple for her, as her confident smile will tell you. As King leaves, Phoenix goes to thank the fans, doing a routine tour of the turnbuckles and raising her pose at each one.

Jim Ross: This purple patch – well, the entire year has been purple for this woman – continues for Beth Phoenix, and if she has to defeat all the women on Raw to get a title shot, don’t think she won’t, folks.

Byron Saxton: May not take that much, JR. The question is: if she gets that chance, can she overthrow the queen on Raw? I’m just not sure yet!

As Phoenix continues her celebrations, we cut backstage…

…to see the Diva’s Champion, Melina, watching this all unfold on a TV screen. With her title over her shoulder, the Hollywood Diva ignores the semblance of heat she gets from the arena, and keeps her focus firmly on the Glamazon. Her expression is one of pure annoyance, face scrunched up, and all because tonight she’s taking the smart decision.


Jim Ross: And there you see, as Byron would put it, ‘the queen’ indeed, but notice tonight she’s staying put. Melina won’t be trying any sneak tactics this evening, not after what happened last week – has the Glamazon got inside her head?

Melina, after a few seconds more of watching Phoenix, huffs and puffs and storms out of the shot. We cut elsewhere…

…to see Scott Stanford with a mic.


Scott Stanford: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I’m Scott Stanford, and with me tonight is my guest… the United States Champion, Tyler Black.

A pretty good cheer can be heard as indeed, the United States Champion, Tyler Black arrives into the shot with his title on his shoulder. He’s wearing a nondescript black tee.

Scott Stanford: Now Tyler, you’ve had a good couple of weeks, of course winning your title at Over The Limit and winning several times since then… how are you finding life as a champion?

Black tilts his head a little as the mic goes his way.

Tyler Black: Pretty good, Scott, but I haven’t really had a chance to talk since Over The Limit, so if it’s okay with you I’m just gonna let loose.

A shrug from Stanford is all Black needs.

Tyler Black: Well first, lemme talk about what got me here. And that’s my code.

Black sweeps that long hair out of his eyes.

Tyler Black: When I signed my contract, I made a promise to myself that I’d fight with honour. I came here for competition and once I’d got over my opening charade, I got to realise that. Every match I’ve had so far – it’s been a thrill. It’s been a helluva ride and it’s not gonna end for a long time, not if I can do anything about it.

A small pop from the arena.

Tyler Black: ‘Cause I worked so hard to get here. Every thought I ever had was about coming to the WWE – I mean, Jesus, you’ve all heard this before.

He chuckles and looks sideways.

Tyler Black: No, I won’t force my life story on you. But what I will say… is that I’m here to be a fighting champion. I can’t be Sheamus, ‘cause he’s the man I threw down. I don’t attack people from behind, I don’t fight past the bell, and if you want a match and you deserve it… then I’m right here, I’m Tyler Black, let’s DO it.

Cheers for the pumped-up champion.

Tyler Black: Honestly, if I can’t be a good champ, then there was no point winning it at all. So I’ll take on all comers, yeah. Hell, I’ll take on the janitor if he can pull off a decent Armbar.

A couple of laughs from the crowd. Black’s hair has already fallen back across his face a little.

Tyler Black: Over The Limit’s in my rear view, Scott. In the future… well, I don’t have a clue yet. But my code got me this far. So… Curt Hawkins.

Some boos for the Rule-Breaker. Black turns to the camera and sweeps his hair away again.

Tyler Black: Curt, I beat you last week by the skin of my teeth, and man, I actually enjoyed myself. You pushed me to the wire. But you didn’t want my respect… and that’s not okay with me. When you lose, you should lose with grace.

Black shakes his head.

Tyler Black: So here’s my deal for you, if you wanna try it. Next week, I’ll put this title on the line against you, and we’ll do it all again, stakes raised.

Whistles and groans in the crowd. Even Stanford seems taken aback.

Tyler Black: Yeah, you heard right, you try me again. I’ll give you a chance to back up all the talking you did last week… but you lose, you have to shake my hand like a man.

Again, a small pop for Black adhering to his code.

Tyler Black: I may not have proved myself as a champ just yet, but I won’t stop ‘til I do. And next week, Hawkins, if you’ve got the stomach for it – you’ll see just what happens when guys like you, and guys like Sheamus – enter the world of BLACK.

Ending with his semi-signature line, Black slaps his title and walks out. Stanford thanks him for his time, and we head into a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

We’re back, now at the announce desk a few minutes into the second hour.

Jim Ross: Welcome back, one and all, this is Monday Night Raw, and what a show it’s been so far… we heard just before commercial that Tyler Black will put his title on the line next week against young Curt Hawkins, if the so-called ‘Rule-Breaker’ will shake his hand should he lose.

Byron Saxton: Tyler Black’s tryna prove that he’s a fighting champion alright, JR, but it’s also a pretty dangerous move – I’ve seen championships lost for less. A lot less.

Jim Ross: We could have a new United States Champion as soon as next Monday night, that’s for sure, but given what I’ve seen from Black so far, I wouldn’t count him out. And speaking of champions…

A graphic hyping Triple H versus The Miz at Capitol Punishment swings into view.

Jim Ross: Folks, this one’s huge. After Triple H beat John Cena in questionable circumstances last week, he’ll head into Washington to face the biggest ego in the company – that’s the WWE Champion, The Miz.

Byron Saxton: ‘Biggest ego’ is subjective, JR, let’s not get judgemental here. Nah, The Miz is top of the pile because he deserves it, plain and simple – he says he’s the most must-see champ of all time, I’m inclined to agree.

Jim Ross: Certainly the man has been the headline act on Raw for a while now, since November in fact, but many of his title defences have been suspect, and in Triple H next weekend he faces one of his biggest challenges yet.

Eyes to the stage…

“AAAAWWWWWESSSOOOOMMMMEEE…”


*I CAME TO PLAY*


As the second hour kicks off properly, it’s the WWE Champion, The Miz, who steps out in his ring gear. The Awesome One takes the classic belt from his shoulder and raises it high, enjoying the large negative reaction he receives from the crowd. Once he’s taunted them enough, he throws it back into place and starts to walk down the ramp.


Justin Roberts: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… the WWE Champion – THE MIIIIIIIIZ!

Jim Ross: And y’know, The Miz sat at ringside last week and told us that it didn’t matter who won the right to face him – Byron, this is a man whose confidence is sky high.

Byron Saxton: When is The Miz’s confidence NOT sky high, JR? And rightly so, he’s the longest reigning champ in the company, he’s THE champ, and honestly, I don’t even think the Game can stop him! Do you see any distractions for this man right here?

Jim Ross: Certainly less than Triple H has, granted, but I feel it factors into it; surely The Miz must have one eye on the CM Punk situation, because it goes to the root of this entire company, the company that, rest my soul, Miz is on top of.

Byron Saxton: You’re not wrong, JR, but The Miz has dealt with pressure before, let’s not forget. He’s a professional. And honestly, so what if Punk wants to change the system? It doesn’t change that The Miz has consistently been the best competitor around this year. At the end of the day, this is still HIS show.

Though JR would dispute that, by now The Miz has done his preparations. He raises his title from the turnbuckle by the steps, then steps inside the ring and collects his mic (complete with upside-down ‘W’). His music fades away, giving way to chants of “YOU SUCK!” from the crowd, but he just pouts at them and waits.

“TIME TO PLAY THE GAME…”


*THE GAME*


It’s one of the pops of the evening, a HUGE one as you’d expect, as the arena plunges into red and green… and here comes TRIPLE H to another big ovation! Dressed in his ring gear and a merch tee as he was earlier, the Game smoulders with his hair tied back and storms down the ramp. The Miz’s smirk has gone, just watching the Cerebral Assassin now as he marches towards him.


Justin Roberts: And please welcome… THE GAAAAAME – TRIIIPLE ‘AAAAAIIIIITCH!!!

Jim Ross: And now, we know Jerry “The King” Lawler put this face-to-face session together to let these two men say their piece… but we were under the impression that King himself would be out here to play intermediary, and he’s a bit busy preparing for Punk.

Byron Saxton: Y’know, I could do it, JR!

Jim Ross: Keep your seat, I don’t think the paying fans deserve that. No, I’m sayin’ that we know The Miz likes to antagonise, and we know that Hunter’s got a lotta business to deal with at the moment…

Byron Saxton: Hey, if we get a preview of Capitol Punishment, JR, I’m not complaining! Ten dollars on Miz!

Triple H makes quick time, heading up the steps without the usual water routine, but taking a moment to look out at the crowd before he swings inside. He does the usual pose from the turnbuckles, while The Miz watches him with no hint of intimidation, and once he’s stepped down he receives a mic of his own.

The Game paces the ring under the flashing lights, already visibly angry because of how distracting his night has been, but nevertheless, the crowd support is incredible when the music dies out. The “TRIPLE H!” chants BOOM through the Coliseum, not that the King of Kings will take his eyes off The Miz for a second to acknowledge them. Finally, it’s the champion who raises the mic first, his morose tone cutting through the chants…


The Miz: Well, well, well.

That tone, as expected, attracts heat like flies on manure.

The Miz: Hunter, I may think very little of Jerry Lawler… but I’m glad he put this together. I think you and I needed to talk face-to-face, if only so I could try and pick that brain of yours.

Triple H just stares and stares, icy cold.

The Miz: We all know that last week… when McMahon came back and did what he always does, try to flaunt authority…

He pauses, trying to see if he got a rise out of the Game, but failing, he continues.

The Miz: …when he came back, he offered you a choice. It’s public knowledge. In fact, this has been going on for a while. You could either keep trying to get at me, and my title, and scratch and claw and shout… until people forgot about your loss to the Undertaker…

Immediate groans and boos there. This time, there’s a twitch of Triple H’s eyebrow, but still not what Miz was looking for.

The Miz: You could do that, or… you could run on back to Titan Towers and be the Chairman’s new protégé. You chose to keep fighting.

Miz turns his head momentarily as the crowd cheers.

The Miz: I’m here to tell you… what a grave error you made.

And now the boos roll in. The Miz waits for a moment, but Triple H continues to stare him down.

The Miz: Hunter, you were offered what many of my opponents in the past weren’t. You were offered a way out – and you turned it down. That was a mistake.

Heat again.

The Miz: Now? Now you’re in a corner. You could have gone back to Stamford and been a family man, you could have tied on an apron and helped your wife cook on Sundays, you could have cut your hair and sat at a desk… but you didn’t. Why?

The Miz tilts his head, inviting a response. Again though, no dice from Hunter.

The Miz: That’s right, you can’t let go of the past. You don’t want to forget the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, you can’t imagine a world without Royal Rumbles and Wrestlemanias. You can’t imagine a life without competing for this, this right here.

With that, Miz lifts the WWE Title up – Triple H’s eyes follow it.

The Miz: But like I said… you made a mistake. Because if you’d gone home and sat in an office, you would have been safe. That Hall of Fame ring would have been locked down. Now… now you’ve signed a match contract and you’re pencilled in for a humiliation in under two weeks’ time.

Some heavy boos as The Miz returns the belt to his shoulder.

The Miz: And what if, after you can’t get it done… what if then, once you walk back to Stamford with your tail between your legs and your father-in-law leads you inside… what if no-one takes you seriously anymore? What if you’re no longer… ‘The Game’, huh?

Triple H blinks and exhales heavily, but still no response. The mic remains by his side.

The Miz: Your entire career will mean nothing, Hunter. That’s why you have to beat me, or all it goes wrong for you. Problem is, I beat you plus one… at Extreme Rules. I know what I’m getting in Washington, and it doesn’t scare me. Know why?

Since Triple H’s music first hit, The Miz hasn’t smiled, and that continues here.

The Miz: Because while I rose the top against the odds – while I was the skinny kid who was never supposed to make it BUT DID… you’re nothing but a moniker. If it wasn’t for Vince McMahon hand-picking you, hell, if it wasn’t for you screwing his DAUGHTER –

“OHHHHH!”

And that does it. Hunter SURGES forward, stopping just before he collides with the champion…

…and The Miz’s grin is HUGE. The champion doesn’t flinch; knowing he got inside the Game’s head was all the confidence he needed to stay put.

The two men stay face-to-face, almost touching… but in Triple H’s eyes, there’s doubt. He can see The Miz’s huge smile, he knows he’s been played, and he knows he’s not in the right mental state.


The Miz: (slowly) If it wasn’t for that… you wouldn’t even be here.

The boos rain in, and eventually, Triple H shakes his head. He steps back and forces a smile.

Triple H: Not bad. Not bad, but on any other day… no dice.

The Miz pouts, mocking him.

Triple H: Think I haven’t heard it a thousand times? Think you’re the first guy to say I don’t deserve it? That I married my way up the ladder? Nice try.

This is the Game finding his footing again. For the first time, he begins to pace left and right.

Triple H: Nah, the reason I won that title so many times… is because I am – that… damn… GOOD.

A pop for that.

Triple H: Miz, you’ve done a lot this past year. But for all you’ve done, there’s one thing you’ve never had to deal with… that’s losin’ a WWE Title.

Again, a cheer, though Miz raises his eyebrows – surely that’s a good thing.

Triple H: And in about… (he checks an imaginary watch) thirteen days, you’re gonna know what that feels like. Lemme tell you in advance, it hurts worse than anything. And I’ve had more injuries than I can count.

Another pop, louder this time.

Triple H: It’ll consume you, like it consumes me to this very second. It’ll get into your bones until you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t stop shaking. Ya heard Cena earlier… it’s all we know. That – that right there… that’s when you know you’d do anything to get that title back. Even if it means going toe-to-toe with Cena when anything goes. Even if it means turnin’ down the Chairman.

The Game narrows his eyes.

Triple H: Even if it means dealin’ with scumbags like you.

A few whistles and groans, but again The Miz, king of the mind games recently, can’t be riled. He raises a sceptical eyebrow, however.

Triple H: And I mean, sure, I’ve dealt with liars and cheaters before. Hell, some of my best friends are liars and cheaters!

Some chuckles in the back rows.

Triple H: You know what? I was in Evolution, I was a brother… of the dirtiest player in the game, Ric Flair.

Triple H pauses as half the arena screams “WOOOOO!”, and even in his poor mood, Hunter cracks a smile at that. Off-mic, he mouths exactly the same sentiment to The Miz.

Triple H: What I’m tryin’ to say is that your racket, your style… I’ve seen it done before, and I’ve seen it done better. You try to take advantage of where my mind’s at, you go right ahead. But don’t… don’t – think that you’re invincible.

A good pop for that, as The Miz tilts his head sideways. He’s unimpressed.

Triple H: In fact… you don’t realise it, but the only reason you wish I’d left… is ‘cause you don’t think you can beat me, kid.

That touches a nerve. The Miz steps forward now, but when he sees Triple H smirking a little, he restrains himself. There’s a pause in which the crowd starts chanting “TRIPLE H!” again, but The Miz shakes his head. Clearly Triple H can play mind games, too.

The Miz: That’s rich, that’s really rich. See, this title reign… one Miz title reign is worth more than anything you’ve ever done, Hunter. Combined. And while you fret about your father-in-law and the company you secretly wanna inherit so bad, but you won’t admit it… I don’t give a damn either way. If I don’t make you part of MIZ-STORY… then someone else would be there instead.

Some heat there.

The Miz: The good thing about being champion is that I don’t have to care, either. I don’t have to care about your empty threats about me losing this title, I don’t have to care about what you think of me… all that matters is that I’m WWE Champion.

The crowd boos again, but The Miz ignores it.

The Miz: I don’t care about this show, either. Frankly, if Jerry Lawler gets beaten within an inch of his life tonight – I won’t lose sleep. And if he’s fired – good riddance, I move on. If he stays – who cares… I… move… on. I have the mindset of a champion that you just don’t anymore, Hunter. Because you’ve become attached.

Triple H frowns.

The Miz: You’re so invested with your wife, your children, the shadow of Titan Towers… even CM Punk. Politics, returning “stars”, maybe, but the only thing you don’t pay attention to… is the guy calling the shots. You can’t focus on me, and even if you could… I’d still beat you.

Heat.

The Miz: If you were half as cerebral as you say you are… you’d have made the smart call and hidden in Connecticut. But because you didn’t – you’ll be embarrassed by the most must-see WWE Champion of all time. Even though you don’t like to think about it, Hunter, the show will go on without you… and that show…

A smirk from the champion.

The Miz: …is called Monday… Night… MIZ.

Some BIG heat is the response to that, as The Miz flashes his trademark ‘Be jealous’ smile. Triple H stares at him with contempt, evidently disgusted by the champion’s arrogance.

The Miz: And seeing as your wife is attracted by power –

– TRIPLE H GOES FOR HIM – BUT NO!!! The Miz hits the deck and rolls out of the ring, quick as a cat! He saw that coming a million miles away! In the ring, Triple H careers into the ropes, trying to contain himself, while The Miz’s eyes are lit up; he knows he got under the Game’s skin, far more than he was riled himself… and now he backtracks up the ramp.

*I CAME TO PLAY*


Jim Ross: Both men said their piece tonight, but lookin’ at Triple H… this is a guy known for keeping his cool when all around were losin’ their heads, Byron, but – what has happened to the Game?

Byron Saxton: He’s yet another victim of The Miz’s skills on a microphone, JR, and hey, The Miz is right – Triple H is distracted! You can’t go into a WWE Title Match like that!

Jim Ross: All I know is this… this isn’t the Triple H I know. What we heard from him was confident, assured – but folks, the Game seemed more interested in fighting The Miz tonight than putting up with his trash talk.

Byron Saxton: This was a face-to-face, JR! If Hunter didn’t wanna talk and listen, he shouldn’t have come out here! Can I start betting on The Miz for next Sunday? Do we have an office pool going?

As Byron tries to pitch this to the ringside staff, The Miz raises his title on the ramp. He puts a hand to his cheek and makes the classic ‘boo-hoo’ face to the scowling Triple H… taking us to commercial.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

*LAND OF FIVE RIVERS*


Raw returns to the arena to the sight of The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh, the latter of whom has a mic in his hands. To the side stands Rod Zapata. Both Singh and Khali are bopping to the music, and the camera briefly cuts to a couple of people in the audience doing the same. Once that’s done with, the music fades away, and Singh raises the mic.


Ranjin Singh: Hello Richmond!

The world’s cheapest pop.

Ranjin Singh: The Great Khali says… are you all ready to party?

Someone pops. I don’t know who it was, probably Renegade, what a jobber.

Ranjin Singh: Well you’re in luck, because tonight, one lucky guy in the Raw locker room is gonna get a chance to party… with The Great Khali, one-on-one in this ring!

Half a pop. Saxton groans at ringside.

Ranjin Singh: The Great Khali wants to know if anyone can beat him… because if there’s no-one who can, The Great Khali says – he will party all the way to a WWE Title!

Even this relatively non-smarky crowd doesn’t have too many cheers for that.

Ranjin Singh: So… who can stand up to the might of the Punjabi Playboy? Who will –

*CHOPPING SPREE*


There’s noise – it’s mostly boos, but there’s a fair amount of awed groans and whistles… BECAUSE IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN, HERE COMES MICHAEL TARVER!!!


Jim Ross: Not this again! I refuse to believe it, that’s Khali we’re talking about!

Byron Saxton: Ohhhh baby, when that music hits I get chills!

The Tron reads ‘1.9’, the barbed wire is shaking on the curtain… and with his neckerchief over his mouth and nose, the merciless eyes of TARVER are unblinking as he marches down the ramp. Singh and Khali have (obviously) stopped dancing, standing stock-still as Raw’s newest beast storms up the steps and enters the ring.

Byron Saxton: I don’t think he’s here to dance, JR!

Jim Ross: Folks, the past two weeks we have seen Michael Tarver destroy two of the WWE’s longest-standing competitors in violent fashion… his pace, his power, his hitting ability, the use of those steel steps… Tarver is out to send a message but we’re yet to know why.

Byron Saxton: He’s doing all his talking with those big Kill Shot right hands!

TARVER removes his towel from around his shoulders and drapes it on the bottom rope. For some reason, though, he doesn’t march up to Khali and take him on… no, he’s waiting on Rod Zapata – he wants the bell to be rung! Zapata looks confused, but he shrugs and ushers Ranjin Singh out of the ring…

Jim Ross: Wait… is Tarver gonna compete? He’s answerin’ the challenge?

Byron Saxton: I just thought he was out here to go nuts on people, like the last two weeks! Nah, the bad, bad man’s at it again, JR! He’s totally unpredictable, it’s great!

Once Singh’s made his tentative exit, eyes turn back to Tarver. The man is waiting patiently, bouncing on the balls of his feet like a hound readying for the kill… and as Khali frowns, Zapata reluctantly calls for the bell.

Match Four – Singles Contest
The Great Khali w/ Ranjin Singh vs. Michael Tarver


The bell chimes, so Tarver steps forward. Khali doesn’t really understand Tarver’s deal, walking slowly to meet him. They have a face-off briefly, in which Tarver’s bulging eyes stare out from behind the neckerchief at the Punjabi Playboy… BUT THEN KHALI SWINGS WITH THE CHOP… MISSES! Tarver’s off to the ropes, getting some power – AS HE GORES KHALI INTO THE GROUND!!! It’s awkward as fuck, with the towering Khali taking ages to fall as Tarver takes out his legs and drives him down, but nevertheless – what a hit! Khali gingerly rolls on to his side, wincing where he can, but Tarver is right back to his feet, storming around this ring! The crowd is booing for the most part, as Tarver fires up again, this time pulling his neckerchief away from his face… Khali struggles to all fours, then his knees – SO TARVER PUTS HIS LIGHTS OUT WITH THE KILL SHOT!!! Down goes Khali again! Groans of awe echo around the Coliseum, but Tarver toes him on to his back and makes a cover, pulling up his neckerchief but not bothering to hook a leg… one… two… three.

Result: Michael Tarver bts. The Great Khali via pinfall at 0:40

*CHOPPING SPREE*


Justin Roberts: Here is your winner… MICHAEL – TARVER!

Dominant. Even by Khali’s greatly lowered standards, that was impressive. One look from Tarver tells Rod Zapata to beat it, so he makes a hasty exit.

Jim Ross: This man is unstoppable.

Byron Saxton: (a little too pleased) Damn right, JR! That’s three statements in three weeks – oh but wait a sec!

Ranjin Singh’s up on the apron, wanting to check on Khali as soon as Tarver leaves… but now Tarver goes over to HIM too! Singh puts his arms up innocently, because he wants no part of it – but it doesn’t stop Tarver choking him by the collar – AND THROWING HIM BACK INTO THE RING TO JOIN HIM!

Jim Ross: Oh c’mon! How far does this guy have to go?

The crowd groans as Singh collapses to the mat, but he scrambles back up… RIGHT INTO A KILL SHOT OF HIS OWN FROM TARVER!!! Singh goes down and he may not move for several years, while Tarver, no wasted movement, hits the deck and rolls from the ring. We know exactly where he’s headed.

Jim Ross: The hell did Ranjin Singh do wrong, Byron? Tell me why this is necessary!

Byron Saxton: (enjoying himself) He shouldn’t have got in the way of ‘Mr. 1.9’, JR! Stop giving him excuses and he won’t knock you out!

Of course, Tarver puts his hands on the ring steps now. He tugs them away from the ring post, and as he hauls the bottom half up, the Great Khali finally recovers from taking the Kill Shot moments ago. The clumsy big man finds his way to all fours again, just as the ‘thud’ of the steel steps being shoved into the ring can be heard. Khali turns his head to see Tarver joining him in the ring again, with Ranjin Singh’s corpse lying face-down elsewhere.

Jim Ross: This can’t continue, Byron. This company isn’t just about power, or speed, or the ability to hurt a man.

Byron Saxton: Maybe not, but it sure helps!

Khali tries to wobble to his feet. He doesn’t sell it all that well, but eventually he gets up, turning as Tarver lifts the steps into the air in unison with him… THEN CANNONS THE STEEL SURFACE RIGHT INTO KHALI’S FACE!!!

Jim Ross: NOW THE STEPS! Dammit, enough! When… when does this man stop?

Tarver lets the steps clatter to the floor, the sound coupled with the horrified groans of the crowd, just the same as the last two weeks. Neither Edge nor Kane will arrive to stop this, as if they were in any condition to do so, so now Tarver hauls the steps back to the centre of the ring and prepares the final part. Reaching over, he grabs Khali by the hair and drags his dead weight back up, with considerable effort.

Byron Saxton: Look, JR… you might not like it, but are you impressed?

Jim Ross: Dammit, yes, but this isn’t about –

Byron Saxton: Then Tarver’s doing something right!

Khali doesn’t make it easy for Tarver, but eventually ‘Mr. 1.9’ hauls him up, horizontal. The Punjabi Playboy is even heavier than Kane, so Tarver wobbles briefly, then secures the dead weight as he stands above the steps. As he’s done previously, he takes this moment to stare deep into the hard camera, those cruel eyes showing no remorse…

…BEFORE HE DROPS KHALI ON TO THE STEPS WITH TARVER’S LIGHTNING!!!

Once again, the scene: Michael Tarver stands on the steel steps, his victim lying in a broken heap beneath him. He stands to observe his kill momentarily, ignoring the boos that roll in, then finally he heads out of the ring. Like last week, he pulls the neckerchief down, but staring into the nearest camera, he still doesn’t say a word since that pit bull comment two weeks ago. Once he’s sure he’s unnerved everyone at home, he walks up the ramp, past a series of EMTs who make sure to steer well clear of him.

Tarver makes an eerie exit once again, leaving wreckage in his wake… and Raw takes another much-needed break.


COMMERCIAL BREAK

When Raw returns, the camera faces the floor of the interview area… but slowly pans up past an ‘I BRING IT’ shirt… to the face of THE ROCK! Not for the first time, the arena crowd goes wild at the sight of the Great One, who has a mic in his hand.

The Rock: FINALLY – The Rock… has come back… TO RIIIICH-MOND!

The classic, unabashed cheap pop. Rock gets serious.

The Rock: C… M… Punk.

Heavy boos from the crowd.

The Rock: You lay hands on the Chairman? That’s brave, but it’s also real stupid, jabroni.

Rocky shakes his head.

The Rock: What The Rock saw last week weren’t the words and actions of a revolutionary… no, what The Rock saw was a psychopath with an ego the size of his two meat-jockey, grease-peddling attack dogs.

Some cheers from the arena.

The Rock: You wanna know why The Rock wants to get back in the ring to face you? ‘Cause y’know, The Rock’s been outta the game for a long time, Punk, a long time. It takes somethin’ special to bring The Rock outta retirement… and it ain’t ‘cause you’re so good The Rock had to test you out, nah. That’s not why.

The shades come off.

The Rock: It’s ‘cause you wanna change somethin’ that don’t need changin’. You think the WWE’s screwed you over, but facin’ facts, it ain’t Vince, it ain’t King, it ain’t even the poor woman who birthed your monkey ass…

Pop.

The Rock: …it’s all on you, Punk. And sooner or later, you’re gonna have to face up to that.

The crowd groans a little.

The Rock: But you got The Rock’s attention. You wanted The Rock, you get him in Washington. And don’t think The Rock hasn’t been training, because The Rock takes you real seriously. Don’t worry, The Rock wants to see if you can back up all that talk. You said you’d been working towards a moment like this all your career?

A flash of that Hollywood smile, but it fades.

The Rock: Well, you’re in luck, pal, The Rock’s gonna make you famous.

More cheers as Rocky turns on the charisma.

The Rock: The Rock didn’t get where he is ‘cause of Vince McMahon. Once or twice, The Rock got where he is in spite of him!

A few laughs.

The Rock: But that doesn’t change who the man is, and what he stands for, and the billion-dollar company he built on his shoulders. You may not like it… you don’t have to, Punk. But when you go one… ON ONE… WITH THE GREAT ONE…

The crowd chants along, then cheers.

The Rock: …The Rock will put you flat on your back and kill you off with the most electrifying move in AAAAAALLL of sports entertainment! And after that, when you have a little inquisition to figure out where it all went down the toilet… just know it wasn’t just wrestling, it wasn’t just entertainment – but a little of both. It was THE ROCK.

Another raucous cheer. Rocky’s breathing slows.

The Rock: Have a good one against Lawler tonight, jabroni. If you survive, The Rock’ll be waiting to whip your candy ass right around the corner. Not just for Vince, or his family, or even the WWE… but for the MILLIONS…

“AND MILLIONS!”

The Rock: …of people who wanna see your faith crash and burn. IF YA SMELL –

The crowd chants along again, but halfway through, Rocky lowers the mic and frowns.

The camera pans out… to reveal JOHN CENA now standing across from him. Another huge mixed reaction goes up, though again leaning towards pre-pubescent cheers, as the two men briefly stand in silence.


John Cena: I hear you’re getting back in the game.

Rocky chuckles.

The Rock: Nothing gets past you, huh?

Silence.

John Cena: All this time, I thought you were just holding off for somethin’ big. Turns out you were just the big red phone sat by Vince McMahon’s bed.

There’s a few groans of “Ohhh” from the crowd. The Rock’s face doesn’t shift from his amused smile, however.

The Rock: Guess The Rock should have known… round here, it’s still all about you.

Another set of groans. Cena tilts his head up.

The Rock: Did The Rock hurt your feelings? ‘Cause you weren’t his first call? Some things are bigger… than John Cena.

Rocky takes a step forward.

The Rock: But maybe no-one told you yet.

The two men stare at one another for a moment… before The Rock steps back, and turns to walk out of shot. We’re left with Cena’s humourless expression until we fade away.

SmackDown Rebound this week is all about Alberto Del Rio’s bragging following his decision to make a Submission Match for Capitol Punishment against Kofi Kingston. Alongside his Administration, he says that he has the ability to “break a man” that Kofi simply doesn’t, as he proves by inviting Chris Masters to the ring and promising him a World Title Match if Del Rio fails the Master Lock Challenge. The World Champion breaks out of the hold after a brief scare, however, and then makes Masters suffer with the Cross-Arm Breaker for good measure. This brings out the previously-absent Kofi Kingston, who says that at first, Del Rio’s stipulation threw him… but in the past week, he found the answer. He brings out the man who will supposedly ‘train him until he’s the best’… and that man is none other than Bret “The Hitman” Hart, sending the crowd wild and the Administration reeling.


---

Raw returns to a briefly quiet arena, but the bell rings, it’s MAIN EVENT TIME…

Justin Roberts: The following contest is set for one fall!

A small cheer as we wait…

*THE GREAT GATE OF KIEV*


And so cue the chants, cue the cheers, cue the noise, as the Raw General Manager, Jerry “The King” Lawler, makes his way out in his ring gear… and holding the classic crown! This crowd evidently appreciates what he’s doing tonight, in his usual black singlet and red tights, and he raises an arm to acknowledge them in kind. The GM looks apprehensive, but nevertheless he puts one foot in front of the other and makes tracks to the ring.


Justin Roberts: Introducing first, from Memphis, Tennessee, weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds… the General Manager of Raw – JERRY “THE KIIING” LAAAAWLER!!!

Jim Ross: Earlier tonight, folks, Jerry “The King” Lawler accepted CM Punk’s challenge that he’d aimed at Mister McMahon, looking to silence any critics regarding where his heart is when it comes to this company. He’s stepping into lion’s den for a good cause.

Byron Saxton: You might be friends, JR, but let’s have some unbiased journalism! Lawler knows that Punk wanted McMahon – we all know that! Punk’ll fight anyone to further his crusade, sure, but don’t start calling Lawler a hero; he’s doing this so he doesn’t get fired in thirteen days’ time!

Jim Ross: The man might be on probation, but there’s nothing wrong with his management, Byron. These things take time to get right, and I can only hope that the correct decision is made when the results of his Performance Review are revealed next weekend. A sad state of affairs.

Lawler walks up the steps, waving to the crowd from the apron, then stepping inside. He hands his crown to ringside, and completes a few warm-ups… his music subsides…

*THIS FIRE BURNS*


For the first time tonight, we are greeted with the music of a madman, and he gets the reaction of one from the crowd – it’s NUCLEAR heat from Richmond as CM PUNK arrives. The Second City Saint twirls a mic in his hand, as you’d expect, but the Convoy are nowhere to be seen after their exploits earlier tonight.


Justin Roberts: And his opponent… from Chicago, Illinois, weighing in at two hundred and fifteen pounds… C – M – PUNK!

Jim Ross: If you were in any doubt about this sick man, folks, you need only listen to this crowd’s reaction tonight. CM Punk threatened Mister McMahon’s family, he promised change we don’t need… and now in just thirteen days, he will face the man he drew out of retirement, perhaps the greatest of all time… in The Rock.

Byron Saxton: Look, JR, CM Punk might be a little bit warped in his thinking. He might have some crazy things bangin’ around in that head, but if nothing else, he’s got ambition!

Jim Ross: Ambition? The man’s got the ambition to hurt people! He’s got ambition to bring this company to its knees! He wants to be the so-called ‘best in the world’ because he thinks somebody’s had it out for him since the start? He’s a psychopath!

The commentators can say no more, as Punk’s music dies away and the boos flood in. He wastes little time.

CM Punk: At heart… I am a violent man.

The inevitable choruses of heat from all sides.

CM Punk: I see clearly, I have vision and I am smarter than anyone in that locker room… but at the end of the day, I am always angry on the inside.

Punk narrows his eyes at the booing crowd, then strokes his beard and continues.

CM Punk: Fortunately, that anger drives me. It allows me to be capable of violence, and violence is how you get things done around here. And though Vince McMahon would like you to believe he’s running Connecticut’s personal Disneyland, this company has a dark side that would scare you all. That’s why I’m trying to change it.

He pauses and receives another huge negative reaction. Lawler paces the ring, looking disgusted by Punk’s very presence.

CM Punk: A few weeks ago, I put my body through a trial to prove what I’m capable of. I beat Randy Orton, one of the most twisted men I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet… and in doing that, I proved that I am the architect of change. I proved that I can do whatever I have to.

More heavy heat. Punk starts to meander down the ramp.

CM Punk: Even Orton, a man that Triple H hand-raised from a pup to be his own personal project… fell to me. I made him bleed. I punished Randy Orton not only because he crossed me… but because you all idolise him. Like The Rock, or like Triple H, Orton was one of the chosen few. The men chosen to be top of Vince McMahon’s empire. Well… so fall the dominoes.

A smirk at the memory of Orton’s defeat. The crowd abuses Punk as he heads for ringside.

CM Punk: But turning to you… Lawler.

“JERRY! JERRY!” instinctively chant the crowd. Lawler beckons him inside, no nonsense.

CM Punk: Jerry, I could stand here and list your mistakes, but I’m hoping that I’d only take the words out of the mouth of whoever fires you next weekend.

Boos for that, but Lawler grits his teeth and ignores it. Punk walks up the steel steps and leans against the top rope.

CM Punk: When I was told that you were willing to fight me instead of McMahon… first, I was disappointed. I thought what I had done to him last week – well, I thought maybe I’d scared him into having some balls, but I was wrong. No, instead I wrestle a man who desperately wants to kiss his ass… but don’t worry, Jerry, you’re not the first.

Relishing the heat he receives, Punk steps inside. Lawler’s bouncing on the balls of his feet, trying to block out Punk’s words.

CM Punk: The question is, Lawler… you think you’re doing Vince a favour, and hey, I’m not gonna say no to hurting you, I’ve been waiting far too long… but what happens when you fail, huh?

Lawler steps forward, but Mike Chioda has to tell him to back down. Punk smirks and folds his free arm against his chest.

CM Punk: Somewhere back there, Vince is watching this. And when you lose, he’s gonna realise you’ve let him down. And then it’s one more strike against your name for judgement day.

Again, heat from the crowd; Lawler is shaking his head.

CM Punk: You might be the General Manager for now, Jerry… but like Vince last week, that old man coughing and gasping on the ground… you’re about to learn what power really is.

Punk throws the mic from the ring and runs his hands over one another. The crowd is alive, a mixture of boos and “Jerry!” chants, as Punk and Lawler begin to circle. Lawler’s totally in the zone, knowing this match could be crucial to Vince’s opinion of him… while Punk just smirks, enjoying every last second of tormenting him.

We cut backstage… and it seems most of the ROSTER is watching this, grouped together in one of these random backstage areas. There are some notable absentees, namely Cena, the Convoy, Michael Tarver, etc. but otherwise it seems that this match, and Punk’s crusade in general, really has caught the attention of the entire WWE. Even Michael Cole and Jack Swagger have stopped appealing for signatures to come backstage and watch this.

Chioda calls for the bell.


Main Event – Singles Contest
Raw General Manager Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. CM Punk


Especially in the early going, the atmosphere is pretty good in the Coliseum, with everyone behind Lawler to put a huge dent in the Punk crusade – although Punk really takes it to the GM with his trademark kicks, it’s not long until Lawler finds some space and starts to wrestle Punk to the ground. Scowling, the Second City Saint won’t be proven a hypocrite after he called himself the best wrestler in the world last week, and immediately transitions to answer Lawler in kind. This goes on for a bit, with the pair seemingly on the same level… until CM Punk gets creative, twisting and turning his way out of a side headlock and getting a big takedown on the Hall of Famer. Pleased to be showing off his credentials, Punk puts Lawler through his paces with a few submission holds and some forceful pinfalls.

Lawler is resilient, however, and he fights back. Wrangling out of a neck-scissors hold, he and Punk get to their feet, and the pace quickens. Here sees Lawler begin to fire up, knocking Punk down with a couple of clotheslines, then taking him into the corner… and rising up high to get the crowd involved again by nailing the punches as the crowd counts along! The arena starts to have a bit of fun at Punk’s expense, but the Second City Saint shoves Lawler off and swings with one of those big kicks – no, only to have Lawler duck and shove Punk towards the ropes. Punk grabs the ropes and doesn’t rebound, so the General Manager charges in – only for Punk to lower the ropes and send him over! Punk sees him clatter to the outside, but rather than revel in his misfortune, the crusader stays right on track, hitting the ropes and leaping out of the ring to hit Lawler with a Suicide Dive! That takes both men down, though naturally Punk is first to scramble to his feet, spitting “Faith!” at the nearest camera; Jim Ross asks whether Lawler can weather the storm, and that takes us into a break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Back from commercial, it’s Punk in clear control. He’s not content with just keeping Lawler down – it’s almost vital that he live up to his own ‘best in the world’ moniker. With that in mind, he takes every opportunity to make sure Lawler knows he’s being hurt, delving into as many holds he can remember from the independent days he told The Rock were so important to his development. He gets a nearfall with a Double Underhook Backbreaker, but after Lawler’s kickout he attempts the high knee in the corner – and misses.

Not for the first time, Lawler tries to fire up the crowd and makes a comeback. Weary from Punk’s prolonged offence, but not ready to give up, King comes alive with some of those classic rights and lefts of his, and starts to pepper his opponent with blows. He takes Punk back to the corner, then charges in – to nail a Corner Elbow! That gets the crowd cheering as Punk staggers into the centre of the ring, and Lawler lines it up… before decking him with a big right hand to the delight of the fans! This breathes new life into Lawler’s chances, and when Punk rises, he whips him to the ropes. There’s a brief sequence in which the pair trade leapfrogs and hitting the floor, but Lawler shows his ring awareness by gripping the ropes as Punk attempts a Dropkick. Punk gets up… so Lawler busts out a Dropkick of his OWN, getting a big pop as he falls into a cover… but it’s only two!

At this point, it becomes all about Lawler; we cut backstage once again to see those Raw employees watching in a crowd, then to the GM. JR asks if Lawler can put the madman away, maybe stem the tide of the ‘revolution’ no-one wants… but as Lawler tries to line up the famous Piledriver, Punk suddenly drives forward and slams King back-first into the corner. This leads to Punk getting the Shining Wizard he was looking for earlier, then the obligatory Bulldog that follows, but that’ll only get him two. Punk’s hair is straggled across his face, showing that he’s not had it exactly easy against Lawler in this one, but then he heads up top, and prepares for that big Diving Elbow Drop. He used this for the first time at Over The Limit against Orton, but now apparently it’s coming too – ONLY FOR LAWLER TO ROLL OUT THE WAY, AND PUNK CRASHES AND BURNS!

The back-and-forth continues in the latter stages of the match; Lawler tries to take control, getting moves like a clumsy Belly-to-Back Suplex that only finds a two count, but then he brings the wrath of Punk upon himself when the two meet again after the kickout. Punk fires up in his own regard, getting some clotheslines and then ducking a right hand to deliver a BIG kick to the back of the head. That gets him his window to LAND the Diving Elbow on this occasion… but it’s only TWO.

This keeps the crowd alive – they believe Lawler can still upset Raw’s sickest man. Punk, however, wipes sweat from his brow and calls for the end. He gets Lawler up for the GTS, but the GM escapes and shoves Punk face-first into a turnbuckle. There’s a gap of about twenty seconds as Lawler sells his exhaustion, then clambers to the second rope for the FIST DROP – BUT IT’S NO GOOD. Punk rolls sideways, meaning Lawler slams into the canvas, and now the Second City Saint uses the ring ropes to pull himself up on the apron. He waits with a crazed expression, stalking Lawler with his eyes, then springboards… TO TAKE KING DOWN WITH A SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE!

The crowd groans and boos as Punk lands that, the only saving grace being that he can’t make a quick cover. Instead, he hauls himself up, legs splayed apart as he tries to stay upright. He scowls, knowing the GM has shown glimpses of brilliance here and there, but now he checks his imaginary watch. He puts two hands against the side of his head, calling for Lawler to sleep, then brings him up by the hair. Lawler is too exhausted to fight back, so Punk lays in some rough, stiff right hands. Baring his teeth, he hisses “This show… is MINE…” then brings Lawler up – TO DELIVER THE GO TO SLEEP!!! That deflates the crowd like nothing else, so Punk savours the moment, closing his eyes and nodding… before he kneels beside Lawler, making a cover and exhaling with barely-concealed enjoyment as the three count is made.

Result: CM Punk bts. Jerry “The King” Lawler via pinfall at 10:29

*THIS FIRE BURNS*


Justin Roberts: Here is your winner… C – M – PUNK.

Even Roberts sounds a little deflated in his announcement. More to put on a decent match on a wrestling-light show than to put Lawler over as a huge challenge, Punk has won the main event with a sickening final sequence, and he smirks as his arm is raised. Mike Chioda checks on Lawler afterwards, while Punk heads to the turnbuckles to raise his arms – “BEST IN THE WORLD!”

Backstage, the crowd has thinned as superstars walk away. Others simply stand and stare. Only Michael Cole really seems at all pleased rather than stoic.


Jim Ross: “This show is mine,” he says. Well folks, he might be victorious here, but I assure you, CM Punk owns nothing of Monday Night Raw, owns nothing of the WWE. He’s an outcast, a degenerate, and nothing he can do to anyone in this administration will change that.

Byron Saxton: He’d disagree with you there, JR, and so would I. CM Punk knows what he has to do to make a statement around here – he knows that he can hurt anyone, at any time. Now, I don’t mean to scare anyone or be overdramatic… but Punk is making Raw crack at the seams.

Punk steps down… but the crowd is awake, alive, cheering suddenly…

Jim Ross: I don’t know about – OH HERE WE GO!

…BECAUSE HERE COMES VINCENT KENNEDY MCMAHON LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN!!!

Punk’s eyes bulge wide, beckoning the Chairman to join him – and he makes quick time, sprinting down to the ring… TO TACKLE PUNK TO THE GROUND, AND NOW THEY’RE GOING AT IT!!!


Jim Ross: THE CHAIRMAN! He wanted a piece of Punk AND HE’S GETTIN’ IT!

Byron Saxton: It’s all gone to pieces, JR!

The crowd is ON FIRE! Punk and McMahon go scrambling and rolling about the ring, bludgeoning one another with right hands! These two have the baddest of blood between them – Punk wants to topple McMahon, but VKM isn’t going down without a fight! The pair get to their feet, still trading bombs… UNTIL MCMAHON DRIVES PUNK INTO THE CORNER, HE’S THE FRESHER MAN, AND STARTS UNLOADING!!!

Jim Ross: The BOSS is here, Byron! HE’S NOT TAKIN’ THIS CRAP LYIN’ DOWN!

This noise is incredible, with every last soul in the building egging McMahon on… BUT THE BOOS BEGIN, AS THE CONVOY COME BELTING DOWN THE RAMP TOO!!!

Byron Saxton: I don’t think it’s that simple! Here comes the cavalry!

Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan slide into the ring, and they just DIVE on McMahon, pulling him away from Punk and beating on him, two-on-one! The crowd, overjoyed moments before, begin to rain heat on these two monsters as they pound the Chairman…

Jim Ross: NO, DAMMIT, NO! Sheffield and Ryan, the numbers game! That’s the Chairman in there, somebody’s gotta stop this!

As CM Punk detaches himself from the corner, hair straggled in every which direction, he begins to smirk his evil, demented smile again. He directs traffic, enjoying every last second of the old man being beaten… before he drags him to the outside, and heads – FOR THE ANNOUNCE DESK.

Jim Ross: This isn’t the way it’s supposed to happen! Get – get away from us, you sick son-of-a-bitch! Where do you draw the line? Where do you draw the damn line?

Punk, smiling as devilishly as he can, slams Vince’s weak frame against the desk cover… then pulls it off. Sheffield and Ryan step to the apron to join him, as the crowd chants for one man, dying for someone to stop what Punk has in mind for the bruised and beaten Chairman…

Jim Ross: This is sick. Ya can’t just sit here and watch, that’s my boss, that’s the man who – OH FOR GOD’S SAKE, STOP! SOMEBODY’S GOTTA MAKE A STAND, SOMEBODY’S GOTTA –

“IF YA SMEEEEEEELLLLL…”

*ELECTRIFYING*


THE CROWD GOES INSANE!!! The arena just loses its mind, the biggest pop in weeks, as Punk turns round in horror, and the Convoy speedily return to the ring…

…JUST IN TIME TO WITNESS THE ROCK AND TRIPLE FUCKING ‘AITCH RUNNING DOWN TO THE RING!!! THE ARENA POPS HUGE!!!


Jim Ross: ROCKY! AND THE GAME! THE DREAM TEAM IN ACTION! NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON!

Byron Saxton: OH BABY! It’s SO on!

Rocky and Triple H sprint to the ring like men possessed – BUT THE CONVOY ARE OUT OF THE RING TO MEET THEM, IT’S A HUGE COLLISION… AND HERE COME THE RIGHT HANDS!!! Rocky’s music cuts, the entire arena chanting “ROCKY! ROCKY!” as he and the Game take the fight to the Convoy –

Jim Ross: This crowd has come UNGLUED! The fight is on!

– but Punk’s making tracks! At first he was frozen to the spot, with Vince McMahon collapsed gingerly in pain against the announce desk beside him, but now, as Rock and Triple H bludgeon the Convoy with everything they have, he’s OUTTA HERE! Punk hops over the nearest crowd barricade and starts backtracking, eventually running, up the arena steps!

Byron Saxton: Punk doesn’t want a part of it, JR! He’s gotta keep fresh for next Sunday!

Jim Ross: He doesn’t want his comeuppance, Byron! He lit the SPARK, now he’s scared to deal with the FLAMES!

Despite JR roaring down the mic, it’s still hard to hear him over this monster crowd reaction – AS THE GAME AND THE GREAT ONE FORCE THE CONVOY BACK! The two legends take a look at one another, then grab their man simultaneously… DRIVING THEM EACH FACE-FIRST INTO THE NEAREST RING POST!!! The crowd goes nuts yet again, as now Rocky measures Ryan, and Hunter’s got eyes for Sheffield…

…SO THE ROCK DRILLS RYAN WITH THE ROCK BOTTOM – AND SHEFFIELD EATS A PEDIGREE ON THE OUTSIDE FLOOR!!!


Jim Ross: ROCK BOTTOM! PEDIGREE! Even the Convoy couldn’t stem the tide! These two are out for BLOOD tonight, by gawd! And would ya – LOOK IN THE ROCK’S EYES!!!

Indeed, the eyes of The Rock are BURNING, he wants more – he sprints over to the barricade, seeing Punk staring at him from high up in the ranks of the crowd… AND HE’S GOING HUNTING!

Byron Saxton: The hell is The Rock doin’? Doesn’t he know to quit when you’re ahead?

On the arena floor, Triple H stands from the carcass he left of Skip Sheffield, and looks with a frown at the sight of The Rock going after Punk. He rolls into the ring, no longer really the focus, but we get a shot of him as he asks Vince if he’s okay. The Chairman gives him a groggy nod, so the Game heads to the second rope to stare down Punk… who immediately turns on his heel as he sees Rocky climbing the steps! The Second City Saint wants no part of him after what he’s just seen!

Jim Ross: HE’S RUNNIN’! The Rock said he’d come for Punk, and now he’s comin’! The Great One laid out his enforcers! He and the Game put the dogs down! Now he wants a piece of ‘im, he wants a piece of Punk!

As Rocky gets to the top of the steps, soaked in sweat but still desperate to lay the hurt on Punk, we cut to another camera – we’re in those arena corridors where a few fans look at the Great One with confusion and surprise. He looks around, frowning as he tries to find Punk, then walks down the corridor in search.

Back in the ring, Triple H shakes his head. He, too, looks like shit, but he fights off the pain and steps down. The arena crowd nearby has started booing – like CRAZY, in fact – as the Game pushes himself away from the corner…


Jim Ross: B-but NO! WAIT A MINUTE!

…AND HE GETS NAILED BETWEEN THE EYES WITH THE WWE TITLE BELT – BY THE MIZ!!!

Triple H goes down in a heap. The crowd absolutely shits on The Miz, who stands above him with one hand on his title belt… and breathes heavily, loudly. His face is turned down, staring at his own handiwork with a perverted delight – because he’s back in the spotlight, raising the title two-handed into the air to welcome the crowd’s furious heat.


Jim Ross: Miz! The… the champion’s so obsessed with fame he couldn’t let it go!

Byron Saxton: It’s the mark of a true champion, JR! He’s directed attention right back to himself, where it should be! Forget about Triple H, he’s not got his head in the game, it’s all about MONDAY – NIGHT – MIZ, baby!

As The Miz raises the ‘M’ on his WWE Title belt, he broadens his unbearable grin. “Because I’m The Miz, Hunter… and I’m… AWESOME.”

But we cut.

Back up in the arena corridors, The Rock’s hunt goes on. One of those fancy empty skyboxes has got its light turned off… but the door is ajar. Looking around briefly, the furious Great One wrenches the door fully open and steps inside – “Ya better get your ass out here, jabroni –“

CRAAAAAAAAAACK!


…BUT HE’S BLINDSIDED OUT OF THE SHADOWS, AND AS THE LIGHTS FLICK ON – THE SICK BASTARD CM PUNK IS STANDING ABOVE HIM WITH A FOLDING CHAIR FROM THE SKYBOX! Out the window of the skybox, you can see fans turning round to boo Punk, but he’s in his own little world and he doesn’t notice. We get a shot from the arena, where The Miz’s eyes turn away from taunting Triple H, and he frowns at the sight of Punk’s silhouette in the box.


Jim Ross: I can’t… he has no soul.

JR refers to Punk, who tosses the chair aside. He turns to a glass panel that lines these sort of skyboxes, the kind that separate one half from the other… and runs his hand along it, staring at his own reflection. Blinking, he turns back to the Rock, and hauls him sluggishly up.

Jim Ross: God dammit – what’s this maniac got in mind now?

Byron Saxton: I don’t know, but even I’m a little freaked.

Rocky, reeling from that chairshot to the spine, can’t fight back as Punk grabs him by the neck. Down at ringside, we get a shot of Jerry Lawler lying with his back to the crowd barricade, then Vince kneeling weakly beside the ring steps. Sheffield and Ryan are face-down outside. Without looking at The Miz or Triple H, we cut back to the skybox, where Punk stares into Rocky’s eyes.

“I hear music. Do you… do you hear music?”

Punk turns, his hand on Rocky’s neck…


Jim Ross: Don’t – NO! DAMMIT, NO, YOU’D HAVE TO BE CR-

…THEN HE CHUCKS THE GREAT ONE THROUGH THE PLATE GLASS WINDOW!!!


There are screams in the crowd. The window in the skybox shatters with ease, possibly weakened deliberately before the show, and The Rock collapses in a pile of glass. The groans of horror echo around Richmond, but the focus returns to CM Punk, who sits cross-legged and gazes… transfixed… at what he’s done. The Rock hasn’t moved an inch, and he won’t for a while, so Punk slowly nods. He stays there, with his hands in his lap, and stares and stares.

In the arena, The Miz stands above Triple H with his title in hand… but even he hasn’t the power to smirk anymore. He stares at the WWE Title, then back up at the skybox, where he could just about see what happened. Turning, he finally looks down at Triple H.

Stephanie McMahon rushes down to ringside. The Miz’s presence prevents her from seeing her husband, so she goes to check on her father. She looks like she’s been crying.


Jim Ross: The… the monsters have got their way. Punk wants to change the system, Miz wants to rule it… th-the GM’s down, the Chairman’s down, the Game’s down… god, the Great One’s down…

And in the skybox, Punk sits, legs crossed, as the EMTs begin to rush in. No-one will go near him, hair in clumps across his face, all alone as he stares at his own violent masterpiece…

Jim Ross: What… wh-what is this company coming to…?

…and Raw fades to black.

END OF SHOW



The Return; Grudge Match
CM Punk versus The Rock

World Heavyweight Championship; Submission Match
Alberto Del Rio (c) defends against Kofi Kingston

WWE Championship
The Miz (c) defends against Triple H

Fatal Four-Way; The Shot At Redemption
Christian versus Wade Barrett versus Randy Orton versus Sheamus

Grudge Match
John Cena versus Dolph Ziggler

All Or Nothing; If Ted DiBiase loses, he quits
Ted DiBiase versus John Morrison

Plus:
Jerry “The King” Lawler’s Performance Review
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:44 PM   #168 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE 2011: In New Talent We Trust

Interesting approach to introduce Stephanie to RAW. It certainly brings focus to the mess of storylines surrounding Triple H, and all of the pressure he’s under. I’m not sure I liked him admitting to still being hurt after the match with Cena, as I just don’t think that’s a very Triple H thing to do. The rest of the promo however was very good. Trips is in a tough spot at the moment, and the segment did a good job of bringing all of his storylines together and show all of the pressure he’s under.

Ziggler getting major promo time is necessary after the conclusion to last week’s show. He was okay in terms of what he had to say and continuing his current storyline of being sick of being stuck behind the likes of Cena. I would have liked to have seen Ziggler actually talk himself up properly a bit though, instead of just repeating that he’s perfection. Dolph would have no problem elaborating on that while also trashing Cena and co for holding him down (at least in his mind). Cena’s speech was interesting, seemingly setting up a bit of a shift of focus for him. Cena saying he’s not a top guy may be your way of taking him away from that for a while to stop him being the guy who always wins. It also makes him seem more on Dolph’s level, so I think it works in the context of this feud. As Ziggler said, Cena is still a name, so facing him is big enough for Dolph. Cena’s impassioned speech about him being the ultimate good guy who loves competition fits him, although the end of the promo left it feeling less about Ziggler/Cena than it maybe should have. I guess the match will happen anyway, and you’re setting up for Cena/Rock in the future. I’m not sure this promo did a whole lot for Ziggler in the end, but Cena’s shift is interesting. You seem to have repositioned him here.

Good enough match between Young and Sheffield. It’s all you can expect from them realistically. The spot from last week was used well for a nearfall, and it’s a win that’s really needed for The Convoy. The post-match beatdown reinforces that Ryan is dangerous too, so I’m happy to see that.

The first half of this segment worked for me. It pulled together the Vince/Punk and Vince/Triple H stuff. I’m not sure why Steph being there was such a concern though, as there was no discernible tension or anything. They seemed to be on the same side. I didn’t like The Rock’s involvement here. He just seemed like a total suckup. Why would Vince leave Punk in no state to face The Rock, but Jerry Lawler, a guy who was actually very good in his time, not? That didn’t make sense to me. The Rock sucking up to Triple H was very strange too. The characterisation was right in words, but not in actions. Rocky just really seemed like a stooge, when he’s supposed to be the good guy in this instance.

Interesting promo. I like that Punk is seeming more and more like a Jesus like cult figure. It actually works perfectly when you consider how Mason Ryan initially came to be part of Punk’s Nexus. Obviously the dark figure adds intrigue. A new member, or someone stalking Punk?

Morrison’s mannerisms here really help show his new character. He’s cocky, he’s arrogant, and he’s trying to show off. I like that you used it to give Baretta a decent showing too. He had some momentum on SmackDown.

Solid enough stuff on the microphone from Morrison too. The loser line was a nice one to follow up on the stuff with DiBiase last week, and that you’ve had Morrison attribute the change in his personality that we’ve seen tonight makes it feel like a natural progression. The “pulling a DiBiase” line also works with the jokes from last week too. DiBiase actually getting to chat in the GM’s office doesn’t seem right, despite you brushing it off and kind of explaining it, but that’s a minor detail. The match is made, and that’s what’s important. It seems like one DiBiase has to win, and hopefully that kickstarts him. Right now he’s a bit of a blank canvas as a face. He’s determined, but I feel like he needs more than that. It’s up to you to build him. The match is a good start.

Cole was brilliant here. Hilarious. The Lawler thing keeps him and Swagger busy, and he was at his annoying best. I much prefer him in this manager role where it’s in moderation, rather than as a commentator as well.

Simple but effective. Beth is dominant and she has Melina’s attention. Match to follow. Easy.

Black’s always been a bit weak on the microphone (although he’s improved in his time in the ‘E), so having him being all about action is a pretty good way to cover it. While it’s not the most exciting promo, the contrast between Hawkins and Black is set well after the handshake refusal, and Black putting the title on the line without being prompted certainly sets him up very much as a face champion that will take on anyone.

My problem with The Miz thus far in this thread (and in general, really) is that he doesn’t seem threatening. That was the case again here, but I think you built a good case for him to win. The way he got into Triple H’s head about the rest of the crap that’s happening on the show seems to give him a psychological edge. Triple H’s usual spiel was good – standard stuff from him, as you’d expect, but good nonetheless. The way Triple H got under Miz’s skin worked well in the promo too, but Miz taking advantage of Steph being there and using that to get to Triple H more was good. It’s a bit disappointing that Miz again feels like a bit of a peripheral figure as champion, with Triple H’s attention elsewhere, along with the attention of the rest of the show, but it was a solid segment to build towards the title match.

Khali is a good option to have Tarver maul next, and an actual win gives him some extra credibility. He certainly looks like a beast right now, so it’ll be interesting to see his long-term positioning. Right now he’s adding to a very dominant heel side of the show. You’ve done a very good job of making him seem extremely dangerous.

This appearance from The Rock, much like the one before, makes very little sense to me. From what we can tell, he showed up to cut a backstage promo. The rest of the stuff we assume isn’t supposed to be seen on his behalf by the crowd, so he’s here just for this at this stage. It seems like a very strange use of The Rock – a waste almost. I understand Punk is your current star, but it doesn’t feel like we’re building to a big Rocky/Cena match in a way. It just feels like another step in the Punk crusade. Is that what it will ultimately be? Probably, but it feels like a waste of The Rock right now. It was a decent Rocky promo. I’m not sure if he’s your strongest character, because you generally like more depth. I’ve already commented on the Punk maybe not surviving Lawler thing in an earlier segment, so I won’t touch on that again. The Cena/Rocky confrontation was written better. The tension there is great. I’m not sure how long it’ll be until you pull the trigger, but it’s there.

This is a guy you write better. Punk may be the best character currently in BTB. The way you have him explain himself so methodically and yet in such a delusional manner at the same time is brilliant. His transformation in this thread has been outstanding, and this is another example of just that.

The match was pretty good. I’ll get that out of the way first. The aftermath was great. Triple H being laid out by The Miz due to the distractions Triple H has is a great way to further what’s going on in Triple H’s head. Miz gets a bit of the limelight, which is great too. Steph’s involvement at the end was good too, highlighting what is happening to her clan. The Punk/Rocky stuff was great. Punk continues to look like a madman, and we got some actual interaction between them. Big, BIG way to finish the show. By far the highpoint of it, and really just a great way to end things.

Concerns with Rock’s use aside, I thought it was a good show. You’re not cramming too much in, but at the same time you’re getting everyone you need involved. Punk has definitely taken over the show, and how great he was here just highlights that. He’s the breakout star of this thread, and probably of the entire section. Good stuff.
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