WWE RAW Report (June 23, 2014): Vickie Guerrero’s firing overshadows 1100th episode


The 1100th episode of RAW was, overall, a great go-home episode for the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV this Sunday.

In previous weeks, the WWE had been spinning their wheels as a decision needed to be made regarding an injured Daniel Bryan and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Once the decision was finally made to strip Bryan of the belts, the WWE began a new plan to move forward.

In this episode of RAW, many of those plans have culminated to form a solid card for Money in the Bank, including the addition of another ladder match that will serve as an actual Money in the Bank briefcase match for a WWE title shot.

However, while the Money in the Bank card has managed to come together, one of the major storylines for this episode included something that had nothing to do with the upcoming PPV: Vickie Guerrero’s firing. It was a disjointed section to an otherwise fluid RAW and one that definitely deserves much more discussion.

Vickie Guerrero gets some manner of vengeance against Stephanie McMahon after she is fired. Photo credit: WWE.com

The WWE’s favorite punching bag finally gets to punch back…somewhat.

Let’s get all the Vickie Guerrero segments out of the way first. It’s easier to explain all the segments as a whole and this, for me, was an absolutely terrible part of what I felt was an otherwise very good episode of RAW. So let’s get the “angry internet wrestling fan” stuff out of the way early/put it all in one spot if you’d prefer to simply move on.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my cold, dark heart for Vickie. Eddie was one of my favorite wrestlers and his death was just devastating. All of a sudden, here is his wife thrust onto TV. A woman I had never seen before, had been shoved into the spotlight to deal with the greatest tragedy in her life.

As time passed, she became an on-screen character and one hell of a heel. She could draw hot fire from the crowd with just two words which is a lot more than even some of the WWE’s top heels can claim. However, her interaction with babyfaces were just awful, she was simply the butt of WWE’s jokes whether it be gross physical comedy like last week or having babyfaces make fun of her weight or calling her a cheap whore (see: John Cena, The Rock, et al).

She’s been the WWE’s punching bag and it continued in this recent angle with The Authority. Granted, it’s one thing when the heels treat Vickie like trash, but WWE audiences have been so programmed to hate Vickie that the majority of the WWE universe laughs when Vickie gets puked on and no one really feels sorry for her when The Authority assigns her coffee runs just because they can. It hit critical mass in the opening segment when Stephanie McMahon, in her fury for Vickie allowing Roman Reigns into the Money in the Bank title match, threw the ice cold bomb that the WWE only kept her around because they felt sorry for Eddie dying.

It was an pipebomb of epic proportions, making me want Vickie to deck her right then and there. You could even feel the crowd tapping the brakes on their usual Vickie jeering. Stephanie went too far and they all knew it, Vickie was finally in the babyface role and the crowd all of a sudden began a chant of “NO! NO! NO!” when Vickie offered to beg to save her job.

When finally pushed to the breaking point, Vickie found her Guerrero pride and stood her ground. She won’t back down from a match against Stephanie even if she has no in-ring skills to speak of. Her time of being kicked around and treated like garbage is done. She’s a Guerrero, dammit, and that name means something and Stephanie would pay for the years and years of abuse she’s taken from everyone on-screen, babyfaces and heels alike.

Eddie taught her how to “lie, cheat, and steal” to win and she would do so tonight. The crowd popped hard and I was actually excited to see Vickie get a chance to do the earlier decking of Stephanie that I desired. When Vickie entered the arena to Eddie’s old entrance music, I couldn’t help but hope this would be a huge turn for Vickie.

Expecting anything less than the usual Vickie falls victim to WWE toilet-humor was a grievous mistake on my part.

Stephanie announced the match was some odd variation of a pudding match. She basically implied a pool of human waste (the WWE App hilariously referred to it as pudding later in the night and then the announce team went right back to the same fecal matter references). The first person to yet again have bodily fluids on them would be the loser. To make matters worse for Vickie, Stephanie sent in three divas to do her dirty work. At that point, I just knew that one way or the other, this wasn’t going to end well for Vickie.

Despite a tease of Vickie tossing three divas into the pudding/waste pool, she eventually got kicked in by Stephanie herself. She was fired and her time with WWE was done. In most situations like this, a wrestling counterpart would get a legitimate match to send them off. At worst, someone cheats to ensure their departure, but a dip into a pudding/waste pool is not in the cards for them.

And that’s what makes this whole angle so incredibly frustrating to watch, even though Vickie got some manner of payback in the end. Her Eddie shoulder-shimmy and farewell kiss goodbye lost a lot of weight with her covered in pudding and a turncoat crowd half-assed cheering her exit right after they helped Stephanie sing “Hey, Hey Goodbye” when Vickie was face down in the pool.

Vickie deserved so much better than this. There are other ways to work a crowd than to dig back into the “treat Vickie like dirt with toilet humor” bag of tricks.

A huge load of thanks to all the entertainment that you provided, Vickie. I hope the off-screen life treats you much better than the on-screen did. I know I will not miss watching you subjected to this crap on a regular basis.

Harper and Rowan give the WWE Universe at glimpse at a possible future. Photo credit: WWE.com

Now, back to the regularly scheduled wrestling. Here’s an awesome build for the tag titles.

The WWE has a habit of making any other title besides the top title look worthless and forgotten. The tag team titles tend to be the first sent to parts unknown.

The Usos haven’t defended their belts on a PPV since they won them at Wrestlemania. The entire division for that matter hasn’t even really produced anyone that has been considered a top threat to the Samoan duo until Harper and Rowan started feuding with them recently.

So when this segement unfolded, I was absolutely giddy with the results.

The first thing that made me incredibly happy was that The Usos weren’t facing Harper and Rowan in some non-title match. The WWE goes to that well far too often and it makes even less sense in the tag team division when you can easily send half the team into singles competition against each other which they did here.


After Luke Harper made short work of Jimmy Uso, Jey grabbed the mic and demanded a match against Erick Rowan. The Wyatt Family duo was happy to oblige and Jey kicked off the affair with a top rope dive to keep the crowd hot.

Jey, predictably, won his match keep the results even and allow a back-and-forth build to develop for the eventual payoff. The post-match beating that Harper and Rowan delivered continued that same theme with an added bonus of putting the babyfaces in immediate peril before the bell rings on Sunday.

Harper and Rowan also dipped into one of my favorite pro wrestling tropes of grabbing their opponents’ titles and posing as if they had won them. It’s a great image to put into a crowd’s mind, selling a very possible reality. This was only furthered by Bray appearing on the Titantron to preach about the power the entire family was after this Sunday.

This is how you build a tag team title match.

Bonus: Harper and Rowan have their own entrance music–a creepy reprise of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, which the crowd immediately started singing along to when they recognized it.

Double Bonus: Luke Harper slapping the ever-living crap out of Erick Rowan before he threw him at a prone Uso to fire him up and drew an audible reaction from the crowd. They are selling the cult insanity to perfection.

Now here’s a good way to get me to pay attention to the pre-show talking-heads.

Daniel Bryan will be on the pre-show “expert” panel, marking his first on screen appearance since he lost the belts. Usually, I tune out that noise until the pre-show match, but now I’m definitely all in.

I know this is a unique situation, but I hope the WWE can find ways to keep that panel fresh. Trying to throw low to mid-card talent just isn’t working for me.

Naomi defeats Alicia Fox with a move that isn’t forcing someone to run into her butt. Photo credit: WWE.com

Don’t look now, but even the Divas Championship match is getting a build.

Well, at least there was an attempt to do so; however, Cameron was doing such a terrible job trying to push her heel turn forward on guest commentary that it was hard to pay attention to the match in the ring. Further adding to the commentary disaster was Michael Cole who was desperately trying to bury the already struggling angle.

And of course, the rest of the announce team behaved as their usual, awful selves during the match to add fuel to that fire.

All of that aside (and honestly, I do give some credit for the WWE pushing multiple diva storylines), Naomi had a decent match against Alicia Fox and earned herself a title match against Paige, proving the divas division doesn’t have to be Paige v. Alicia Fox over and over again.

Bonus: Naomi debuted a finishing move that doesn’t involve an opponent running into her rear and I couldn’t be happier.

File under “what the hell are you thinking?!”: After a complete disaster of mic work by Cameron, we allow Sheamus to talk to make sure everyone plugs their ears.

Who cares if Bo is a face or a heel? This is working so well right now.

Bo Dallas was nothing less than absolute magic in this segment.

He starts by trolling Titus O’Neil so incredibly hard for losing two matches to Adam Rose on Smackdown! stating that he fell off his horse, got back up, and then fell down again. The crowd immediately burst out in laughter.

Bo then wins the match, continuing his undefeated streak (as long as you ignore that time the WWE pushed him too soon and he fueded with Wade Barrett), and proceeds to try to inspire Titus once again after falling off his horse yet again. The gesture is immediately welcomed with a slap that sends the microphone to the floor. What does Bo do? He goes and picks it up and blames it on his “butterfingers” and the crowd is rolling in laughter once again.

Bo’s gimmick worked so well in NXT because the smaller crowd was always reacting to him in some fashion. He had a scattering of BOlivers in the chorus of boos that he’d regularly received. This has thankfully transitioned to the larger crowds and it’s absolutely amazing.

I have no idea whether he will be pushed face or heel. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. When you have something going this well, you should just run with it and let the crowd have fun.

HHH announces that there will be a Money in the Bank briefcase match. Photo credit: WWE.com

A happy surprise: we get a proper Money in the Bank match.

The Daniel Bryan injury definitely threw a wrench into the works. I was worried that the usual Money in the Bank Match was going to be a causality. Someone carrying that briefcase around always adds another intrigue into just about every RAW and PPV. The WWE is not afraid to play the cash-in card and that knowledge alone is a great story device.

The players involved are perfect too. You have guys like Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Bad News Barrett that are receiving renewed pushes. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (although he comes into play later) are the hot new stars seeing a big push. RVD will bring in the casual viewers and Kofi Kingston will be good for some crazy spots to help drive the match.

All in all, the match is put together quite well considering they threw seven (and later on, eight) of their biggest stars in the title match.

Rob Van Dam has no clue on how to respond to insults.

Seth Rollins pulls out the burn of all burns against RVD by saying he’d be worried about his presence in the match if it was 2005. I die laughing on my couch, the crowd has one of the louder reactions of the night, and RVD just starts bumbling like an idiot afterwards.

Rob’s entire response to Seth was, “Oh yeah, you were a baby when I was doing awesome things” followed by “you think I’m old news, well here’s all the things I did a decade ago including legitimately nearly killing the guy standing next to you!”

Thanks for proving Seth’s point, Rob. Also, trying to use a guy nearly dying in the ring thanks to you as ammo is just absurd.

In short, stop talking forever.

Dean Ambrose ambushes his watch into Seth Rollins’ match and the Money in the Bank match. Photo credit: WWE.com

You have just part of one show to fit a month-long build for a major match–this is how you do it.

I was incredibly impressed by how well the WWE booked matches throughout RAW to build hype for the namesake Money in the Bank match. Considering they just had one show to do it, this was no small task.

They start with Seth Rollins against Rob Van Dam. RVD is going to bring in your more casual fans, but he still needs to look good in a match. Matching him up with one of the best bumpers in the company is a sure-fire way to do this. Thankfully, Seth’s push doesn’t hit the brakes because he’s facing off against a big name. He’s in position to win, hits his finisher (and I’ll give RVD credit for the way he sold that), but Dean Ambrose comes flying in.

Ambrose takes the mic and immediately answers the question of “why was Dean left out?” He immediately puts HHH and Seth on notice that they might as well just add him to the match because he has no problem with screwing the whole thing up for everyone. Is there any doubt that he’s the kind of guy that will fight his way through everything just to go steal the briefcase?

Plus, what are they going to do? Take it away from him if he gets it? Someone will have to try by force and if they try, Dean will be more than happy to introduce their skull to the briefcase.

With this knowledge, Seth practically begs for Dean’s inclusion in the match and let’s his own hubris get the better of him. He’s still absolutely convinced that he is solely responsible for The Shield’s success so he’ll be able to “handle” Dean as long as he’s able to keep an eye on him. That overconfidence could be his undoing and would lead to a fantastic payoff if it does.

In a couple of quick segments, RVD gets to look decent and a payoff for the Rollins/Ambrose feud is firmly in place. This is how story-telling in the WWE should always work.

For their next trick, the WWE will make a mid-card title look important while pushing Money in the Bank.

As I said earlier in this post, the lesser belts can get lost in the shuffle. With both Barrett and Sheamus in their respective ladder matches, that means neither the Intercontinental or US Title will be defended on the PPV.

The solution? Have an IC Title match on RAW, but have it between two Money in the Bank competitors. The bonus to this idea: one of the competitors is Dolph Ziggler who is going to make Barrett look like a stud.

This match was just fantastic and was easily PPV quality. The ending was also fantastic as Ziggler looked like he died once Barrett’s Bullhammer Elbow connected (spitting out gum on impact was another nice touch, intentional or not).

While the immediate payoff here was the IC title defense, we now have another layer to the Money in the Bank match. Ziggler was incredibly close to winning the belt multiple times, so you know that he’s going to have some frustration and anger held against Barrett come Sunday.

Isn’t this much better than some throwaway non-title match (that you had on Smackdown!)?

Bonus: Barrett getting the cheap heat by taking a shot at Washington’s favorite controversially named football team.

Double Bonus: Later in the night, the same crowd screams “We the People” along with a kayfabe racist and doesn’t understand how hilarious that is.

Stardust steals the show again.

This is the best version of Cody Rhodes ever and was the perfect palate cleanser after the whole Vickie Guerrero thing.

First you have Goldust completely overselling that this isn’t Cody but Stardust. Stardust comes on screen with mood lighting, sings “When You Wish Upon a Star”, and blows gold glitter everywhere as the grand finale.

Right as I think I can’t laugh and have my heart swell any more, Goldust takes his brother’s alley-oop and just slams it home with “Now, I’m the normal one!” But oh, that’s not all, he returns from off screen to do his Goldust chomp to show that “normal” is completely relative in this situation.

Put these guys in the tag team title picture immediately and give them all the TV time they desire.

Jack Swagger puts Kofi Kingston in the Patriot Lock. Photo credit: WWE.com

Kofi/Swagger is the final perfect piece to the Money in the Bank puzzle.

For Swagger to be taken seriously in Sunday’s match, he needed to look good tonight. For him, he needs to be positioned as the big hoss that just takes people apart. Sure, Seth and Dolph could make him look like a brute, but they are each getting their own pushes so they can’t be sacrificed like that.

Enter Kofi Kingston.

Let’s make no mistake, Kofi will not be walking away with a title shot and we all know his inclusion in the Money in the Bank match is simply for some high flying spots to keep the crowd hot during the match. This makes Kofi the perfect sacrificial lamb for Swagger.

That’s three matches all executed to perfection to build a marquee match. Well done, WWE, well done.

Rusev accepts Big E’s challenge by placing him in the Accolade. Photo credit: WWE.com

Forget a big build, let’s just have Big E and Rusev beat the hell out of each other.

Sandow (dressed as Abe Lincoln because Washington D.C.) got quickly dispatched in this match, which was basically just an excuse for Big E to take the mic and challenge Rusev.

Big E’s promo was…strange. I’m not sure who he was challenging as I think he went somewhere in between Apollo Creed and Martin Luther King and parts unknown. Who cares though? I want to see these two go at it and I don’t care what excuse the WWE needs to give to get there.

Bonus: Sandow breaking the forth wall of his cosplay gimmick and blaming the fans for the ridiculousness that he is now bound to. I have no idea if that promo will go any further than it did this week, but I’ll take it.

Super awkward: A black wrestler beat the hell out of someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln, the president that ended slavery in the US, and somehow I feel this doesn’t even come close to setting back race relations compared to some of the other things the WWE has done in recent memory.

Kane’s addition to the main event was certainly a surprise, even if a small one. Photo credit: WWE.com

The WWE even found a way to repeat a Smackdown! main event and make it somewhat interesting.

And I don’t really mean the match itself, which, appearing on Smackdown! aside, is standard fare for a go-home RAW. Everyone in the main event gets in the match, a big finisher-fest ensues, and someone finally wins.

I basically had the most of the match about half tuned-out because I’ve seen it so much–up until Kane appeared. I’m not sure if it was needed at all, but at least it broke up the boredom of RAW ending with the expected and gives Sunday’s main event a bit of a wildcard element. I’m definitely not going to complain about either development.