Sorry bros, I'm here. I had an unfortunate incident involving tea being spilled on my laptop and the keys malfunctioning before ceasing to work all together so yeah sorta had to get that fixed. Due to work commitments I won't be able to catch up on the missed recaps but I'll make up for it with tonight's Raw!!
PS. I watched 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded and I really wasn't expecting much, particularly in the way of Randal's acting, but it was surprisingly good. Definitely one I'd watch again. Go see it!
In the ring to start the show is GM Brad Maddox (dear Punk it's frightening to type that out). Brad remains in my good books this week solely because of his outfit.
My Great White buddy is coming to the ring for a match now, sporting a ginormous leg bruise if you haven't seen it. It is intense.
We're backstage now with my favorite cutie patootie Renee Young, who has with her Booker T and Teddy Long. Booker is shocked that Vickie was made GM, but Teddy's just butthurt that he took over for a few months and didn't get any praise.
Christian's ready for action now against... Titus O'Neil. Well, that's underwhelming. The match itself is pretty much just Titus tossing Christian around "like a frisbee" until Christian picks the right moment to hit the Killswitch. Aaaaand scene.
Ryback's backstage being a butthole to poor little J.Mathews. He talks about how he's the superior/bigger/stronger/I dunno I wasn't listening guy in the pack so he naturally picks on the weaker ones. Like Josh. Josh runs away. I hate Ryback.
Mark Henry (heel or face, who knows) is out now. First thing he says is about how proud he is to be from Texas. Crowd goes nuts. Guess that answers my question. He proclaims that his heart don't beat Kool Aid (no, really). Regardless, he calls out the Shield, and as always, they respond. They beat him up for a bit, but then here comes the calvary in the form of The Usos. Also Dean Ambrose has a new haircut. But I'm sure you already heard. Team Usos and Henry clear the ring quick, so quick in fact that The Shield bail without their titles. Do I smell a Henry/Ambrose feud for the US Title?
Cena confronts Bryan backstage, and Bryan asks while holding back giggles if he came to wish him luck. Cena suggests Maddox isn't making his own decisions, and I'm not kidding it sounds like dialogue from the good ol' Smackdown vs Raw storylines. Bryan emphasises his desire to do this alone, and make sure Cena is clear that he does not want him to come help him tonight. Oh, I think I can guess what's gonna happen later.
Now it's time for Dolph Ziggler vs Darren Young. It's pretty back and forward, and Michael Cole makes not one but two references to Darren Young's "young career". It's not good. But Darren Young almost advances his young career when he lands an impressive facebuster, very nearly getting the three count on Ziggy. Fortunately, Ziggy lands the Zig Zag soon after for the victory. Big E and AJ are at ringside almost immediately, with Big E attacking Ziggler in the ring. How is that outfit comfortable?! Ziggler manages to escape almost straight away, leaving AJ frustrated and screaming.
Now in the ring, Miz TV featuring all the stars of Total Divas. Can I please skip this? The Miz mispronounces Eva Marie's name, and Natalya is the only one that gets a pop. Miz brings Jerry Lawler in to MC... Fuck this. Jerry also mispronounces Eva Marie's name (Ava Maria is how they're saying it). He introduces himself to the new ladies, but Eva says she doens't like the way Jerry is looking at her. She says her name is Eva Marie, and rather unconvincingly slaps Jerry Lawler. I think she's trying to look like she doesn't care what people think or whatever but it just looks like she's lazy and bored. Jerry leaves (what purpose did he have?). And... that's it? What was Miz planning on doing in this segment exactly? He literally achieved nothing. I'm 98% sure that the point of this segment was to remind people that Total Divas premieres soon and The Miz still exists. Also here, have a Brie Bella nip slip.
Backstage with GM Brad now, who is approached by Triple H. Trips is mad because Brad doesn't like DB, and knows that Vince put words in Maddox's mouth. Triple H says that Bryan is the future of the WWE, and is so driven he will overcome everything thrown at him. Before leaving, Triple H pretty much says in so many words that he is the future and Vince's direction is a dead end. Now Stephanie approaches, who says she has an idea she still needs to refine but Brad should get on board. "Train, on board, got it" he says nervously, and she grins and says "train" like it's an old inside joke between them.
Now time for Faaaandaaaangoooo, birthday boy! And on commentary for this match will be Damien Sandow, because Fandango's opponent tonight is Mr. Cody Rhodes. Fandango fucks around in the early going and gets a dropkick for his troubles. Thank you sir! Damien Sandow comments that he taught Cody that. Nope. Knee to the gut, Damien claims he taught him that too. Nope. You're three years older than him and he was mentored by Randy Orton four years ago as well has having a HOF father. Fandango slowly builds momentum while Damien Sandow completely degrades Michael Cole in every way on commentary. Cody goes for a moonsault and lands very awkwardly while Fandango rolls out of the ring into the loving arms of Summer Rae. While Cody waits patiently in the ring, Sandow gets up from the commentary desk, distracting Cody from the apron. Fandango tries to attack Coddles from behind, but he dodges it, almost sending Fandango crashing into Sandow. Codes nails the Disaster Kick on both Sandow and Fandango, knocking Sandow from the apron, hitting the Cross Rhodes on Fandango for the win. Awww, on his birthday too.
My sweet darling CM Punk is on his way to the ring now, limping. Understandably, if you've seen the photos. Punkers describes his injuries and says that while Lesnar can beat him down, he can't keep him down. He goes on to talk about the guys Lesnar has taken down and that his biggest weapon has and always will be fear. "I am not afraid of Brock Lesnar", he proclaims. And it's not a word of a lie. Obligatory Punker screencap time!
Now he wants to talk about Paul Heyman. Booo. He says Paul Heyman had to make a decision - he just made the wrong one, and Punk is going to make sure he regrets it for the rest of his miserable life. Punk will not stop until Lesnar "disappears back into the hype from which he came from" (heheh). He's getting fired up now, claiming this is his ring, and he has proven it every time he has been put to the test. Anyone who wants to question Punk's passion now? Anyone? "Monsters were put on this Earth for one reason and they were put directly in my path for that reason and that reason is to be slaughtered!". I FUCKING LOVE CM PUNK. Sorry. Had to. Punk says he knows Lesnar isn't here tonight so at Summerslam he wants The Best vs The Beast. His music doesn't play after he throws the microphone down so I'm not surprised when Paul E himself appears on the 'tron. Punk says if Heyman is backstage rather than via satellite he's going to go grab him by the fat of his neck and bring him to the ring. Paul isn't fussed. He's just looking down his nose at Punk. And Texas. He asks Punk if he's a coward or a fool. Punk responds that he'll give the answer at Summerslam. Heyman says they accept, calling Bawwrarrkk Lesnaaarrrr the best and his best friend. Ouch.
Next match up is Rob... Van... Dam vs Wade Barrett. Wade Barrett keeps RVD grounded for almost the entire match, but Van Dam capitalises when he reverses an Irish whip and lands a roundhouse kick. Van Dam is feeling froggy and manages to hit the Five Star Frog Splash for the pinfall win.
Main event(s) time! DB's hair is perfectly combed and parted. His first opponent is... The Real Americans. One or both, I dunno, should become clear after Zeb Colter stopped talking. Looks like it's Jack Swagger, but Antonio Cesaro is geared up so I'm assuming he'll be next. Swagger seems more interested in screaming "we the people" rather than fighting Deebz, but lands a few good hits. The distraction of Oklahoma-born Swagger's constant taunting to the angry Texas crowd leads to Bryan capitalising and locking in the Yes Lock for the submission victory.
Enter Cesaro. Cesaro is a lot more focused than Swagger, then again in all fairness he's kind of better than Swagger. It's a great match, with Cesaro managing to keep Bryan grounded for the most part until Bryan begins to build some momentum. Cesaro manages to get the near fall however after Colter distracts the referee while Swagger helps attack Bryan. Bryan tries his best to hang in there but he just can't seem to mount a great offense against Cesaro. Either way, the offense from both men is relentless. It's amazing. If you are reading this without having watched Raw I suggest you do, just for this match. Bryan counters an attempt at the Neutralizer into a backdrop. Cesaro gets knocked to the outside, and Bryan sends himself flying at both the Real Americans, taking them both out. Bryan manages to pick up the pinfall victory with a spectacularly unexpected roll up. Whoever his opponent is next he is fuuuuucked. That match was exhausting just to watch, and in the best way.
Backstage, all official like, Brad is talking to Alex Riley (??), and says "let's see how he does against this next one".
Next is Ryback. I am disappoint. Ryback dominates Bryan, but after the match they just witnessed the crowd is pissed to have to sit through this, as am I, so chants of "you can't wrestle" break out. Bryan locks in a half Boston crab, but Ryback reaches the ropes, resuming his assault. Booooring. Boooooring. Boooooring. Ryback seems to take these chants personally, and sets up a table outside the ring to liven shit up. Bryan flies at him through the ring ropes and knocks him into the announce table. Back in the ring, Bryan gets himself back in it, but can't lock in the Yes Lock. He gets a near fall after coming from the top rope, and manages to finally lock in the Yes Lock. Ryback reaches the ropes. Ryback sort-of powerbombs DBry on the outside floor, and it's worth noting how absolutely exhausted Deebz looks right now. Ryback powerbombs Bryan through the table, leading to a DQ victory for Bryan. Cena then comes out and sends Ryback away. Thank you, Mr. Tough Guy. You've proved yourself now please never do this again. Cena says Ryback should try doing the same thing with him, and really lays the pity on DBry. Like oh you poor child let me help you. Cena challenges Ryback to a tables match. Pretty sure I've seen that before... Cena's music plays because of course after three incredibly gruelling and impressive matches on the part of DBry, Cena is the one who won here.
Backstage now, Vince approaches Brad. Purple pinstripe shirt, purple paisley tie with a pink knot and black blazer. Vince tells Brad that next week he shouldn't deny Bryan another opportunity to prove himself against someone bigger and stronger than he is, aka he wants to see Bryan get squashed. Brad suggests DBry vs Kane. Vince likes it. I do not :(
Back in the ring, Bryan celebrates now and his music plays.
Quote of the night, welcome back JBL: "If JR's still awake somewhere he's throwing a brick at the TV."