WWE RAW Report (November 3, 2014): HHH, Randy Orton, and the evolution of friendship


HHH couldn’t even bear to look one his best friends, his Evolution running-mate, in the eye. He stared at the Titantron, back turned to Randy Orton, as Kane, Jamie Noble, Joey Mercury, and Seth Rollins carried out HHH’s order to finish the job.

The entire episode of Monday Night RAW built to that moment, the point in time in which HHH and Randy Orton’s friendship finally severed to the point of betrayal. The journey there was some of the best story-telling that the WWE has done on an episode of RAW in quite some time.

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Because the fact of the matter is that HHH didn’t want to give the order to take Randy out. He wanted Orton on the side of The Authority for Survivor Series. He begrudgingly caved in to the screaming request from his wife, Stephanie McMahon, only after everything went to hell.

Stephanie wasn’t the first McMahon to force HHH’s hand. His own father-in-law, Vince McMahon, decided to up the ante of the Survivor Series main event, a PPV that he now decided would be the first free PPV event in WWE history. The COO of the WWE stood and watched his father-in-law not only give away a signature WWE event, but then put his own control of WWE programming, along with the rest of The Authority, on the line to generate buzz.

With his father-in-law pulling a power play and his wife offering no help, HHH turned to the person that he trusted the most, Randy Orton. He didn’t care that Stephanie didn’t trust Orton based on his previous actions against fellow Authority member, Seth Rollins. That didn’t matter to HHH, Orton has been his friend for over a decade. He needed Orton in his corner.

It wasn’t as if HHH didn’t try other avenues. Last week, he allowed his wife to try and turn John Cena to their side. This week, the pair made a similar gambit and offered the world to Dolph Ziggler, a man that many fans believe is behind held back, not used correct, hit the glass ceiling that is his new buddy John Cena, or any other such argument put forth on the internet for Ziggler’s stagnation in the WWE. So HHH went out and played the best character he knows how to play: the voice of the internet.

But Ziggler refused. In retaliation, HHH tried to take away the lone symbol of Ziggler’s current success, the Intercontinental Title, away from him. The message and warning HHH attempted to deliver to anyone considering joining John Cena, however, wasn’t received. Randy Orton’s grudge with Seth Rollins got in the way once again and ended the match in a DQ finish (even if the referee and time keeper completely forgot to call it as such).

With his latest plan failed, HHH attempted to quell his friend’s anger towards Seth the only way he knew how: give Orton a match against Rollins. Let the anger and frustration play out in the ring. Maybe then, everyone would get back on the same page for Survivor Series afterewards.

That too failed miserably. Seth bested Orton with a backslide pin and Orton simply couldn’t handle the defeat and attacked Seth once again. Before HHH knew it, he had ordered that his long-time friend be taken out of commission and wheeled off on a stretcher as RAW went off the air and on to the WWE Network.

It isn’t often that the WWE is able to put a story like this together so well. Friendships, relationships, and even family matters were all thrown into one combustible pot. Even though no one is cheering for HHH or The Authority, you could feel the tension and internal struggle that HHH was going through the entire evening. His wife was pulling him one way, his father-in-law another, and now his best friend was flying out of control and had to be stopped.

Eventually, HHH’s fear of losing power in the WWE trumped his long standing friendship with Randy Orton. He didn’t give into his wife’s order to finish Randy simply to avoid a tense moment in his marriage, but for his selfish desire to keep both him and his wife as the top power couple in sports entertainment.

That’s how you create a villain, even one that decides to espouse your favorite internet arguments for why a wrestler you like is behind held back. HHH may have made all the sense in the world earlier in the night, but when Randy was being wheeled out of the arena and written off TV for the foreseeable future to go film a movie, I wanted The Authority to get the righteous vengeance that they are owed for the betrayal of a friendship.

Five Moments from the Night

As usual, these aren’t the five “best” things that happened during the show, but the five things that stuck with me beyond what I wrote about already.

1) Rusev becomes a champion.

Finally, someone with a mid-card belt that won’t lose all the time! Photo credit: WWE.com

Yes, this happened after RAW went off the air and on the WWE Network. However, this match was an incredible, PPV quality match. Rusev and Sheamus beat the stuffing out of each other and, with Sheamus pulling the pass out gimmick, you know a rematch angle is readily available for Survivor Series.

I’m more than happy to watch this match again.

Also, Rusev needs to go all nWo on the U.S. Title belt and slap a Russian flag on that sucker.


GIF Credit: Wrestling with Text

Oh dear…

3) Still not sure what we are doing with A.J. Lee, but I have an idea…

Call the belt “CM Punk” A.J. Do it! Photo credit: WWE.com

So A.J. and Paige still seem to be sharing the same gimmick of “can’t be friends with anyone because women are crazy” for one reason or another. While Paige is slapping every BFF in the face, A.J. has now taken to talking about the Divas Title as if it’s a person and her best friend.

So with that in mind, I want her to start calling the belt “CM Punk” so every time a crowd starts that idiotic chant when she hits the ring, she just raises the belt above her head and trolls everyone.

That’ll kill the chant (probably not).

4) Mark Henry vs. Big Show should be so much better than this.

I expect a lot more from the World’s Strongest Man and the World’s Largest Athlete. Photo credit: WWE.com

I can only assume that the WWE is holding back a blowoff for Survivor Series, which, by the way, is totally fine. The match that we got as a preview for that though was uninspiring to say the least.

Personally, I feel like this is a can’t-miss hoss fight. I just want to see these two throw caution to the wind and just start wailing on each other. I hope it’s still a possibility, but if their big blowoff is going to be more of the same as this…pass.

5) Dean Ambrose shakes the hand of the Devil.

The Unstable One shakes the hand of the devil himself. Photo credit: WWE.com

A lot of people made a big deal about Dean Ambrose shaking the hand of Vince McMahon as a moment of pure continuity destruction. While I certainly understand why, I’m not too concerned about it. Here’s why:

  • Vince just subverted The Authority and threw everything into chaos. Dean’s a fan of chaos, shake his hand!
  • Vince isn’t playing the same character these days that he has in the past. Today, he’s more of Vince the man rather than the Mr. McMahon character. So yeah, shake his hand!
  • It’s Dean Ambrose and he does whatever the hell he wants. Don’t ask questions or you’ll find your balls in a hot dog tong vise.

Granted, I’m probably incredibly biased in my assessment because Dean is pretty much in “can do no wrong” territory with me right now.