WWE Raw Review: Can Hell In A Cell Be Heaven This Sunday?

wwe-raw-logo There's an old saying that says the road to hell is paved with good intentions. With just six days from WWE's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was the final stop in Memphis a pothole? Or did it make the drive to Miami all the more fun? Let's talk about it, shall we? The show begins with WWE's power couple Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who are very loving and all smiles. They run down the events of this Sunday announcing the contract signing for later in the night. They bring up that Shawn Michaels will be on hand in the main event segment. As they continue to do this rundown saying they care about what the fans think The Big Show appears on the video screen standing in front of a non-descriptive brickwall via satellite. Big Show began to verbally lash out on his former oppressors saying what happened to Triple H. The Giant seems to think it may be getting up on the wrong side of the bed which leads to Stephanie getting insulted as well. She proceeds to get in contact with the truck and cut off the video feed. They never really explained how the fired Big Show got on the show. Inferences were made that someone in production did Big Show a favor rebelling against The Authority. Triple H says that Big Show is the past, but they have to focus on the future saying that Dean Ambrose will battle Daniel Bryan. He then introduces Dean Ambrose, but Bryan shows up instead much their chagrin. Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose have an excellent opening contest. Great back-and-forth between the two with some great reversals near the end. Really showcases Daniel Bryan well going into this Sunday as Ambrose gets put in the Yes Lock for the submission. Interesting that there was no sign of Rollins or Reigns. They were on the show later the night, but made no appearance in this match whatsoever. I know they have done this in the past, but it just appeared weird when Ambrose came to the ring with Rollins and Reigns later. Next up, CM Punk comes out on the stage and explained his plans for this Sunday. He says that the match inside Hell in a Cell is definitely going to define his legacy and make his career on what he does to Paul Heyman and his new beast Ryback. Punk he plans to knock Ryback out and put him to sleep in order to get to Heyman. He says once that happens he will enjoy watching Paul Heyman squirm and plead and destroy him on every inch of Satan's structure. Really good promo. Sold the match well. It wouldn't be the last time we see Punk. Stephanie and Hunter are backstage telling Vickie Guerrero, who is in charge of small details due to Brad Maddox being knocked out by the Big Show this past Friday on Smackdown. They tell her not to not to screw it up. Stephanie gets a phone call regarding Big Show hijacking the video screen as The Authority going to their office to see Shawn Michaels waiting for them. The interplay between the former DX members was solid as Michaels questioned if his old friend had lost himself in his new corporate persona. He questioned why Daniel Bryan wasn't best for business and why Big Show commandeering the video feed was a bad thing. He says that he and Hunter did that all the time to Vince back in the day. Stephanie and Hunter say things have changed around the WWE. Shawn says he hasn't and he's going to have a little bit of fun and leaves. We don't see him until the main event segment later on. I would've loved to see more interplay between Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels, but unfortunately we really didn't get that. We get back to the action and see Santino, the Great Khali and Hornswoggle dressed as Elvis. I guess if TNA can borrow WWE storylines I guess WWE can borrow characters. I wonder what Jimmy Yang thought of this. This is pure stupid comedy as they were in Memphis. The announcers use every Elvis reference except for the fact that the match was in the ghetto. Santino beat Heath Slater using a King Cobra (with Elvis hair). After the match, Santino says that Jerry Lawler is the real King and everyone including the Hall of Famer dances to the delight of the Memphis crowd. Randy Orton battles Dolph Ziggler in a great match. Orton pulls out victory, giving the show off quite a bit of offense, before nailing him with an RKO for the win. The Viper looks strong much like Daniel Bryan earlier in the night. I like that both men got to showcase their talents before the pay-per-view. And the fact that we had two great matches on the show in general. I'm interested to see what they do with Dolph going forward, because it doesn't seem like there's much of a game plan thus far. We see the road to recovery video package for John Cena leading into Hell in a Cell. If he doesn't win the world title this Sunday from Alberto del Rio I will be shocked. That said, I can see at the end of the night, Damien Sandow cashing in and winning the title creating a feud leaving del Rio the battle with the returning Rey Mysterio possibly with Ricardo Rodriguez? I may be getting a little ahead of myself. We will see this Sunday. Back to the action, divas are up next in tag match as Tamina and AJ battle the Bella twins. Tamina does the bulk of the work here as WWE has been cautious to put the Divas champion in the ring since her concussion a few weeks ago. AJ comes in but doesn't seem to have great luck as Brie wins with a Face Buster. This is the second victory in a row against AJ which gives the future Mrs. Daniel Bryan real momentum going into this Sunday and her title opportunity. Also, it was nice to see Nikki back in the ring after a long healing process involving her shinbone. Will she come in to play to neutralize AJ's new bodyguard in Miami? René Young is in the back waiting on Paul Heyman and his cohorts. She asked the question if he is prepared for this Sunday's Hell in a Cell. Heyman very animated says it will be in execution Sunday€ Sunday€ Sunday. Heyman says that CM Punk is obsessed with his destruction and like a volcano he is sure to explode. But Heyman says he can control CM Punk he doesn't run on emotions he is cold and calculating and Ryback will make sure that his former protégé is destroyed. Heyman says I should not be worried about being in the cell with CM Punk. CM Punk should worry about being in a cell with Heyman and Ryback. Heyman once again has great delivery. I love the over-the-top nature of this. It should be an interesting match. Big E Langston, who helped CM Punk this past Friday after being insulted by Paul Heyman, appears asking if Heyman still thinks he's a marginal talent. Axel says the rookie needs to learn some respect. Paul then challenges Langston to a match with Curtis Axel later on in the night. We see video footage of Shawn Michaels talking about Daniel Bryan and his early days in the Texas Wrestling Academy. I know this may be asking too much, but I would've loved to have seen some Memphis Championship Wrestling footage as well. Daniel Bryan learned under William Regal and others in the process of honing his craft. Memphis was the part of the prototype of the developmental system as it is now. I understand they were telling the narrative using Shawn Michaels, but it would've been nice since they were in the city if was mentioned by Jerry Lawler at least. Bray Wyatt comes out to the ring along with Eric Rowan and Luke Harper to battle the Miz and Kofi Kingston. The match is not very long. The family wins after Harper hits a discus clothesline turning Kingston inside out as the Miz battles with Rowan on the outside. After the match Harper looks to Wyatt who is sitting on the stage for approval. Wyatt nods and it looks to be feeding time for the buzzards. The Miz attempts to calm to Kofi's rescue. However, the gets trapped in the ropes by Rowan and Harper , who holds his eyes open to look at their leader. Bray says that he has fought many wars without raising a finger. Wyatt continues to say that the Miz thanks he doesn't know him. But he does and he will lead him to the gates of hell. They are definitely teasing a match of some sort at Hell in a Cell. I can see Kane returning considering these listed on the November house shows and it would be fitting considering it would be sixteen years since the character's debut at the first Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood in 1997. We move on to the match between Langston and Axel which never really officially began as the Heyman guys try to teach Langston a lesson as the two on one assault begins. Big E holds his own for a while battling to the outside until the numbers game catches up to him. Punk comes to Langston's rescue bringing out Vickie Guerrero to make it a tag team match. The match itself was pretty solid as it showcased Langston bringing him up another few levels as he got the victory and looked impressive in the process. After the match, CM Punk chases Paul Heyman into the crowd Langston and Axel have been announced in a title match on the preshow Sunday. I can see Big E holding the strap at the end of the night. I don't think the Intercontinental title has done for Axel what they wanted exactly I think Heyman did more for that than the actual belt did. R Truth is backstage selling merchandise for some reason. Definitely an interesting surprising segment. The Real Americans defeats Tons of Funk. They continue building to the Los Matadores with Colter on commentary following comments from El Torito. After Brodus Clay submits to the ankle lock, colter gets in the ring and says he's got a new friend in a bullwhip. Jerry Lawler plays with a John Cena Brawling Buddy before Michael Cole throws to a video package. Great look back at Cena's career. Cody Rhodes and Goldust joined the commentary team during a number one contender tag match between Rollins and Reigns and Usos. After a really great match, we get a no contest as you Ambrose gets in the face of Cody Rhodes causing the tag team champion to give physical. This causes a no contest. I imagine this will happen again Friday and lead to a triple threat this Sunday for the tag titles. The announcers tried to get over that the Samoan brothers got punished by the authority. So there may be more to that storyline going forward. And then we get to the main event of the night which is the contract signing between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Everyone comes out, Shawn Michaels the most jovial. Randy Orton gives Bryan credit saying that no matter what he's done to him. He's gotten back up. But he promises this Sunday he will not. Daniel Bryan counters saying that he will make sure to destroy the so-called face of WWE. He said he wants to say two words thank you. Thank you for motivating him. Thank you for showing Stephanie and Triple H for spoiled brats they are. Both men sign the contract, then the COO gets his comments in. Triple H says that Daniel will understand that he is a B+ player after Sunday. Daniel says if he's such a B + player why does it prove it himself in a match. Triple H says he doesn't understand that the game only battles stars and that Shawn wasted his time training him. Michaels speaks up and says Hunter is wrong and asked once again what happened to his friend the rebel. Shawn says is it because of his look or size or that he walks to the beat of his own drum. Shawn says it doesn't matter about what you think or what he thinks of Daniel, he just wants to make sure a WWE champion is crowned. Randy Orton chimes in saying that Michaels is against him. Triple H assures Randy that Shawn would do the right thing. Things get heated and Daniel Bryan is getting ready to attack Orton. Then a semi-appears on the video screen and drives into the arena. Big show is seen at the wheel and distracts Orton company long enough for Daniel Bryan in a running me in the ring. Outside of the truck, Big Show is celebrating. They show a replay of the knee the face and then come back to Daniel Bryan on the truck celebrating as well. Overall, it was a much stronger go home show than Battleground. We saw some great action, but it wasn't without its problems. There are times the commentary got severely off-track but the focus was selling the pay-per-view and they did a much more competent job this around. As with any show it could have the potential of being something fun. The problem is most fans are probably feeling fatigue from the last few WWE shows. So we will wait and see on that one.
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Paul Jordan is a handycapable source for all things entertainment. Whether he is watching the guys who go bump in the night with the world of professional wrestling or the latest small or big screen feature you will receive the blunt and honest truth on everything