McGinn’s Raw Recap – 11/17/14

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Would Ryback shift the balance of power on the go home episode of Raw? (Courtesy WWE.com)

Monday Night Raw
November 17, 2014
Roanoke, VA

Nation, the time is upon us. We are less than a week from Survivor Series and you better believe it’s about to go down on tonight’s Raw. Now I know you all are too busy to actually sit and watch this program for three full hours. What with all the 90s music you’ve been forced to listen to lately. And those podcasts? Do they ever stop downloading? Where do you even begin? Couldn’t one of them just take a break for a while so I can actually catch up with all my PTBN originals? (Oh, thanks Corino! Just kidding! Can’t wait for Season 2!)

Anyway, we know you have plenty of options when it comes to your Monday Night fix and I thank you from the bottom of my heart you chose to spend it with me! No one likes to suffer alone. Just ask the Manning brothers! So let’s get to it. It’s “go home” Raw time folks! Let’s head down to ringside!

Your announcers tonight are Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Video highlights of last week’s odyssey across the pond which apparently I was the only one on the planet, I was told, who actually enjoyed the show. Sure it was pre-taped and the roster was thin, but all anyone ever talks about is how they never elevate anyone on these shows. Well by my count we saw Rusev, Ziggler, Harper and even the forgotten and left for dead Ryback all involved in a main event storyline on the flagship WWE program. I’d say that debunks that notion. Plus the Divas stuff was short so no complaints there. Compared to the Jerry Springers and the Kathie Lees of the world that I had to written about before, last week’s show was a gem! And this week they are feeding me Angry Cat so I definitely stand by those previous words.

Okay, so we begin like we always do by the entire Authority coming out to the ring. This now also includes Mark Henry, Rusev, Lana, Mercury, Noble and lurking in the background, the menacing Luke Harper. They stand together now, but should they lose, Hunter and the gang loses all of their power. HHH and Steph are as obnoxious as ever talking about how we are all sheep that need to be led. He finds it ironic that we would all cheer Mr. McMahon now but years ago he would rule WWE with an iron fist. They go on to say that the WWE Universe would rather let the inmates run the asylum while the former suits would be relegated to being ordinary 9-to-5ers. Hunter and The Authority will not let that happen and it all comes down to one match at Survivor Series. He calls his boys the most dominant and destructively lethal team ever assembled. He is happy that WWE Network is free this month so that everyone can see The Authority’s greatest victory in history and to witness their reign in power continue. They just had to get that Network plug in there didn’t they. (Just $9.99 suckas!)

Steph redirects us back to the present to discuss tonight’s program. The power couple announce that there will be a huge contract signing tonight with the slight caveat that various members of Team Cena will be decimated tonight. Therefore, it remains to be seen who will still be standing to sign their names alongside John’s this evening. They formally welcome Harper to their ranks as he declares himself a “team player.” Steph then attempts to bury Ryback before “Feed Me More” blares over the loud speakers. Ryback comes out and says he wants to do what’s best for Ryback. Steph tries to increase the peace between them and tries to convince Ryback not to fall for John Cena’s act. In a clever move, she even plays him a tape from last year when Cena cut a promo on Ryback from a long-forgotten program those two had in 2013. It certainly didn’t paint my hero in the most beautiful light I can assure you. McMahon plants seeds of jealousy into Ryback’s head and tells the Big Guy that he’ll earn nothing but respect on Team Authority. He only wants to play for Team Ryback.

Hunter says the decimation begins tonight with Luke Harper taking on Dolph Ziggler, a man who spits in the face of The Authority. It took a long time to get there, but it appears it is open season on Team Cena tonight. If I’m a Dolph fan (and I am), I’m feeling pretty nervous right about now!

DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. LUKE HARPER

I don’t feel any better about my previous statement after Lillian informed us that this match was made into an Intercontinental Championship match. No sooner do the announcements get made when Mercury and Noble hit the ring and jump Dolph from behind. Then Seth Rollins jumps ups from the announce table and clocks Ziggler with the briefcase. Dolph valiantly gets to his feet and tells the ref to ring the bell.

As soon as we caught our breath after the mugging, Harper collected two near-falls in a row after scoring with a big boot and a powerbomb. I swear the match was over and Rollins wholeheartedly agreed. They seemed to be playing up a possible concussion angle with Ziggler looking punchy from all these high impact maneuvers by Harper. The briefcase to the skull probably had a great deal to do with it too. After ramming into the post, Dolph hit the famouser that nearly floored the team player. Still feels weird hearing Rollins cheer on Harper given the Wyatt Family/Shield rivalry from several months ago. They go back and forth with Dolph nearly tasting victory with the help of a Jim Ross favorite superkick. However, Harper proved to be too much man for the Show Off to handle as he connected with a brutal discus clotheline to pick up his first gold since joining the main roster. WINNER AND NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: LUKE HARPER

Ugh. Good match, don’t get me wrong, but did we really have to go there now? Harper makes a monster debut and a tremendous first impression with his new bosses. Who would have thunk he’d get a strap before Bray? Go figure. In yet another attempt to completely castrate Dolph, Rollins Curb Stomps Ziggler into the mat. With that, I’m about to go stick my head in the oven.

I think this New Day thing might do more for Kofi than Xavier but that’s just one man’s opinion.

Now Miz is talking and Mizdow is mimicking of course. He sounds like he is trying to recruit a new member to his entourage and it turns out to be Grumpy Cat. This gets some boos. Then Miz introduces a stunt grumpy cat and the feline thinks this is the stupidest idea since, well, inviting a cat onto Raw in the first place. The A-listers storm off but then Miz attempts to play nice with our special guest and gives him a kiss on the head ending a truly pointless segment. Sorry, I’m still bummed over the whole Dolph murdering.

ADAM ROSE VS. TYSON KIDD (W/ NATALYA)

Oh for crying out loud! More Bunny drama before the match even gets started. Apparently only Rose can do the trust fall onto the Rosebuds because he was irate when the Bunny did it before him. At least they are getting this out of the way in hour one. Sidebar… Did anyone see Smackdown last week? Kidd was in an amazing triple-threat match for the IC belt against Cesaro and the Artist Formerly Known as Dolph Ziggler. Outstanding match, unlike this one. Rose submits to the sharpshooter, the Bunny escapes another attack by his mentor and we all move on. WINNER: TYSON KIDD

To borrow a trending story from Kevin Kelly, Charles Manson received a license to marry his 26-year-old frequent visitor. I guess their truly is someone out there for everyone.

Speaking of nutcases, here comes Bray Wyatt, who we last saw slamming Dean Ambrose’s head into a cement wall. Apparently we’ve all been lied to from the beginning. Love is the most precious gift we could ever receive says Bray. But everything we love can be ripped away at the drop of a hat. Wyatt says that a man who has no love and has nothing to lose in the most dangerous man on the face of the earth. Wyatt tells Ambrose that despite their problems before, he comes in peace and that Ambrose’s momentary suffering is merely a gift. He is trying to offer Dean salvation. He is saving him from a depressed mother and an imprisoned father. All he wants to do is save Ambrose, doesn’t he understand? The Lunatic Fringe appears on the TitanTron and even admits that he has actually learned something from the deranged one. He plays a mind game of his own by telling us that what we’re watching is really a recording and encourages his foe to run. Lights come up and there’s Dean Ambrose storming the ring and gets a few licks in on Bray before he scampers up the aisle. Ambrose says at Survivor Series, Bray should only worry about saving himself. These two are naturals and this should steal the show on Sunday!

Oh great! Dolph was helped out of the arena after his assassination earlier tonight. Is there no end to this pain!?

RYBACK VS. CESARO

Remember when Ryback was just the lumbering jackass on the tepid tag team known as Rybaxel? Now, remember when Cesaro won that Andre The Giant Battle Royal at the biggest WrestleMania of all-time? Did you ever suspect that by the end of 2014, Ryback would be the “hottest free agent” in WWE and Cesaro would be getting the “no entrance” treatment in the middle hour of Raw? The times, they are a-changin’ says Bob Dylan. These guys give each other a pretty good beating on each other. I’m sure someone will complain that a guy like Cesaro should never use a sleeper hold, but the Swiss Superman showed off some of his well-documented power as well. Cena watches on a monitor in the back and it is speculated that perhaps he is scouting both of these guys to fill out his roster. I suppose once Dolph is lowered into the ground, his spot will be available for the King of Swing. I highly doubt it since they probably need Cesaro for the preshow. It was pretty amazing to see him deliver three straight German suplexes on Ryback, however. Even more impressive might be how Ryback turned a press slam into a powerslam on a man as big as Cesaro. There were several incredible counters by both guys down the stretch, but Ryback landed the Shellshock to pick up a rather hard-fought victory. WINNER: RYBACK

I never would have guessed Ryback would be in the match of the night, but here we are. Cena promises that his team will take The Authority out of power but it’s unclear to the captain right now if Ryback will be in the picture.

U.S. CHAMP RUSEV (W/ LANA) VS. HEATH SLATER

Quick funny moment before the match starts. Lana (besides telling us to shut up) found it disgusting that America made such a big deal over a KK not named Kevin Kelly breaking the internet. So she asks the Universe if they would like to see a topless photo of her own. Have you seen Lana lately? Of course we want to see that! Don’t have to ask me twice. So after a brief tease, she reveals the topless photo and it’s of Putin on a horse. This brings out Heath Slater, dressed like Apollo Creed, and much like the former heavyweight champion of the world, he’s about to be put to death by a Russian in the middle of the ring. Before his painful death, he likely will face a suspension for uttering the phrase “Ding, Ding you son of a bitch!” A kick to the face and an Accolade later and another American hero bites the dust! WINNER: RUSEV

More Miz/Grumpy Cat crap. The segment was saved when Erick Rowan comes out saying he wants the cat. Then he rips away the stunt Grumpy Cat from Mizdow and walks away. I still say this is better than Nene Leakes!

AHHHHH Survivor Series 2013 flashback! Big Show is in the ring ready to speak when out comes Stephanie McMahon. Is she going to fire Show and slap him around? Is she going to say that Show is rubbish in the sack again? Nope. This time she tells Show that he is always in someone’s shadow. She brings up all his flip-flopping over the years and how he can never settle on being a man of the people or someone who resents the Universe. McMahon then offers him a place in the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame if he joins The Authority. Before he can answer, out comes Sheamus to stand by his teammate. He looks forward to seeing Hunter and Steph out of power while commenting on how the only way they should be allowed back on Raw is if they buy a ticket. Not taking too kindly to those words, Steph announces that Show will face Sheamus right now for a future shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

BIG SHOW VS. SHEAMUS

If ever there was a time to do a “Finger Poke of Doom,” wouldn’t this be the time? Like either of these guys will get to face Lesnar anytime soon! This started friendly but then the boys got a big hot under the collar. Why wouldn’t Cena try to cool these guys down? Show back body dropped Sheamus over the top ropes and he landed awkwardly onto the floor. He then threw him over the barricade, because that makes sense if they are supposed to be teammates in less than a week. After the break, Show teases a chokeslam only to take those ten clubbing punches to his chest for his troubles. The giant regains control and puts a hurting on the Irishman with a series of elbow drops. The Celtic Warrior would mount a comeback and actually hit White Noise in an impressive showing of strength. Even more incredible was when Sheamus scored with an Electric Chair on Show when the big guy inexplicably went to the second turnbuckle. With both men down, out came Mark Henry and Rusev to completely decimate our two heroes. Sheamus went through the announce table courtesy of a Worlds Strongest Slam and Show succumbed to the Accolade by Rusev. Cena sits in the back like a tool and The Authority wins another battle. WINNER: NO CONTEST

Survivor Series Kickoff will now include the new and improved Fandango along with Rosa Mendes in addition to the returning Bad News Barrett. It might be the only time someone named Bad News will actually be good news!

NIKKI BELLA VS. AJ LEE?

What in the name of Jordan Duncan is this? So Brie is dressed like AJ and Nikki is well, dressed like Nikki. We’re told this is an exhibition match and before we’re explained what that means, the real AJ Lee heads down to the ring. It’s at this point that I should remind you that if you want to write the next Raw Recap, drop us a note at info@placetobenation.com. Send us a writing sample and you could call this spot your very own. Do it today! Do it RIGHT NOW!

Nikki looks in complete control until she gets distracted by AJ outside. Brie… er… AJ then rolls up her sister for the quick pin. After the match, Nikki attacks Brie, AJ knees her in the face and then DDT’s Brie who attempted to start a “Yes” chant. WINNER: CERTAINLY NOT ME!

Big E is the newest member of the New Day Movement. This will either be a tremendous refreshing of three stale characters or they will be an African-American version of 3MB. I’ll be rooting for them just the same.

Tensions continue to run high between John Cena and Ryback. Cena states his case for The Big Guy to join Team Cean though Ryback says he is having trouble being able to see John Cena’s team since they’ve been wiped out. He also doesn’t take too kindly to John’s insults from a year ago. Cena tells him that he said all those things to his face and after a few wars in the ring, he earned respect for Ryback. He also points out that Ryback could very well be cast aside by Hunter down the road if The Authority doesn’t deem him an A+ player. Ryback repeats his line about being on his own team and Cena retorts by calling him selfish. I think John had the line of the night when he tells Ryback that “it’s amazing the guy that always wants to be fed more, finally gets a chance to eat at the big table, and suddenly he’s not hungry.” When he’s not making poopy jokes, Cena can truly hit the nail on the head with his promos. Terrific stuff!

THE USOS & LOS MATADORES VS. THE MIZ, DAMIEN MIZDOW, GOLD & STARDUST

It was revealed in a text message earlier on Monday that a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship match has been added to the PPV card on Sunday. The Rhodes Brotherhood, A.K.A. Gold and Stardust will defend the straps against The Usos, Los Matadores, and Miz & Damien Mizdow. I guess they need to fill up the card somehow. I still wish this was 1989 and we had more than one traditional Survivor Series elimination match, but at least we get another title match out of the deal with this grouping. Fans still loving their Mizdow. His antics on the apron make Miz matches seem watchable. We even get serious booing when Miz tagged himself back in after initially tagging in his stunt double. We get our usual breakdown in the midst of our multi-man match as everyone gets a variation of their finisher in quick succession. One of the Usos though accidentally kicked a matador off the apron. Stardust then executed his Dark Matter finisher and this one is history. Meanwhile, Grumpy Cat is not impressed. WINNERS: MIZ, MIZDOW, GOLD & STARDUST

Breaking news: Sheamus was taken to the hospital and has now been declared OUT for Survivor Series. Not since Jim Neidhart was assaulted by Ric Flair and subsequently removed from his Survivor Series team in 1991 have I been so outraged! What will Team Cena do? Why is John Cena calling me at this hour? The big contract signing is next!

Team Authority arrives proud as peacocks as they made good on their promise to decimate Team Cena. Dolph is carried out and loses his IC belt. Sheamus is hospitalized, Show passes out and Ryback is being Switzerland. The odds do not appear to be in the Cenation’s favor. With that said, Hunter is struggling to get out this promo. At first I thought he was just groggy from a very long show but it seems as though he is getting emotional. He tells his wife that they cannot lose because this company is the air they breathe. Hunter tells his troops that they cannot and will not lose. He gives Team Cena one last chance to back out.

They announce the remaining members of Team Cena and lo and behold, only John Cena takes the stage. He looks back and is about to walk away when he decides to take the ring on his own. Cena still spews confidence that his team will win on Sunday and send The Authority out of power. Steph believes John will stand alone in his hopeless crusade. Cena says he will find his team by Sunday and says he’ll even pick four people out of the crowd. He starts marching around the ring and starts high-fiving little kids in the front row. He calls Team Authority a team of suck ups and sell outs. He begins to pimp the PPV more and more while grabbing himself a chair next to the announce table. He confidently proclaims that one-by-one, Hunter’s Dream Team will fall. He starts cutting insults on everyone in the ring leaving Rollins for last. He says that the Golden Child’s life will flash before his eyes and he will see all the people he stepped on and walked over on his way to the top. Then he makes an unfortunate toilet cleaning joke.

Cena was about to take on Stephanie before she smacked the taste out of his potty mouth. It was at this point that John shoved the table out of the way and proclaimed “it’s go time!” Cena was about to do his One Man Gang impersonation when Dolph came out to his music followed by The Big Show, both selling their injuries from earlier in the evening. Odds looked better but not great for our heroes when all of a sudden a new face was added to the mix. That face is a sheep’s mask! Erick Rowan joins Team Cena to a huge pop basically shocking everyone in the building. Steph points out that Cena is still one man short. She gives the good guys one more chance to reconsider when out from the back comes… you guessed it… CESARO!

Oh wait… We’re all fooled! Cesaro quickly jumps sides and heads over to The Authority side of the ring. Everyone starts laughing until the actual fifth man heads to the ring. The man they call Ryback. A brawl ensues with everyone clearing the ring except Cena who gets Rollins up for an Attitude Adjustment. Triple H kicks him and is about to hook Cena into a Pedigree when he sees Ryback and stops. The COO and Ryback stare each other down long enough for Cena to get his bearings and deliver and AA to Hunter through the previously pushed over table. The place goes bonkers for the newly formed Team Cena. Will we see a changing of the guard come Sunday?

Despite my ridiculous word count, this show had way too many valleys and not enough peaks. We did get some solid matches though especially that Ryback/Cesaro bout. Pretty cool surprise at the end with Rowan looking like a beast as opposed to a comedic goofball he’d been portraying as of late. We also got a Cesaro tease and a Ryback face turn. There was even more cool interactions between Ambrose and Wyatt. I obviously was not a fan of the Ziggler stuff early but at least he came out like a man during the finale. Harper as IC Champ still looks weird but an irresistible force vs. the immovable object feud with Rowan might be just what the doctor ordered. I do think the main event of Survivor Series will be an entertaining spectacle with the possibility for an OMG ending, but the rest of the card seems fairly shallow. Add a low card or NXT Survivor match and I’ll be happy.

When we meet again, the balance of power will have shifted. Will it be the dawning of a new day in WWE?

I doubt very much will make a difference for Grumpy Cat!

Author: Dan McGinn

Dan McGinn is a former Minor League Baseball announcer, a five-star General in the #sweatervestarmy and an all around babyface who you should be happy to take home to dinner. He also happens to write about wrestling.