WWE has a tendency of tearing down people in front of their hometown crowds.
It's almost as if what started as a bad joke has now become canon and must be incorporated. Need to take someone down a notch? Wait until they're in front of a hometown crowd.
Tonight, on Raw, it was General Manager AJ Lee's turn, as she was forced to resign from her position amidst "allegations" she fraternized with a member of the roster.
There has been very little build to the removal of Lee from the post. Yes, as she pointed out herself, there have been many times she "could have" - and probably "should have" - been fired, but there was no real hints it was coming. And, no, an early morning tweet doesn't count.
Backstage, Lee revealed that the wrestler in question was John Cena, who claimed the two simply shared a business dinner. Allegedly, though, there is "incriminating evidence" supporting something inappropriate happening between the two.
The timing of the matter just seems as if it came out of nowhere. Whether or not it was done because of the proximity to Lee's childhood home or as an attempt to draw attention away from the National League Championship Series, the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football or the final presidential debate remains to be seen.
However you look at it, the decision just seems odd. Especially when the new plan is for Vince McMahon to introduce yet another power position into the corporate structure, as he appointed Vickie Guerrero as the "managing supervisor" of Raw.
The last thing WWE needs is another authority figure role. Fans who pay close enough attention already need a flow chart to determine who ranks where in the corporate structure, and it only gets more confusing when one attempts to track who has been fired and mysteriously rehired.
Even McMahon noted he's not sure what that job title - yes, the one he gave to Guerrero - means. Talk about making a mockery of your own decisions.
WWE seems to be taking some risky moves as of late, and it's either going to fly exceedingly well in the long run or come back to bite them in the backside. For the sake of everyone, including the viewer, I'm hoping it's the former.
- Rhodes Scholars are officially the number-one contenders to the Tag Team Championship after defeating Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara in the finals of the tournament that played out through the past several weeks. The match was good and featured some spots I hadn't seen before, such as Cara hitting a springboard on Damien Sandow while Mysterio held him propped on the ropes and Sandow using his body to literally break up a referee's pin. As much as I love Team Hell No, Sandow and Cody Rhodes winning the titles at Hell in a Cell would make the tournament mean something even more. Maybe after losing the belts, Daniel Bryan and Kane come together to regain the titles rather than splitting as everyone would expect. Either way, the right team won this tournament.
- Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan breathed some life into what had been a rather lackluster show up until that point. These two put on a great wrestling match and proved that actual wrestling can liven up a crowd, as a pretty dead crowd came to life for this contest. Bryan got distracted by Kane's cheerleading at the end, which allowed Ziggler to hit a middle-rope Zig Zag for the win. The tag champs argued in the ring after the match. The main thing here was that Ziggler finally picked up a big win. Yes, some will complain about a tag champ losing, but Ziggler needs big wins before he cashes in Money in the Bank, which I don't believe will be happening this weekend.
- WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus met once again in a lumberjack match. Apparently WWE realized it's been three days since they've had a lumberjack match, so it was time for another. This one, though, was promoted as the biggest in Raw history. The match itself was good, as is to be expected with these two. The ending saw Sheamus hit White Noise on Punk, clear out a few heels and miss a Brogue Kick on Punk as Big Show grabbed him for a chokeslam, allowing Punk the victory. Ryback came out and manhandled Punk, standing tall on the go-home show of Hell in a Cell.
- Michael McGillicutty has been working house shows as a babyface lately, so it was odd to see him to working as a heel against Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. McGullicutty dominated the offense, but Kingston came out the winner in a decent match that wasn't anything spectacular. Kingston and The Miz will meet in a rematch Sunday at Hell in a Cell, so this gives Kingston a win heading into the pay-per-view. Can't really say much else about it.
- Is John Cena really medically cleared to wrestle or is that just the story WWE concocted to cause doubt in the people (read: dirt sheets) who said Ryback is getting Sunday's match because Cena couldn't? That's part of the mystery, I guess, But the better question is: When did Cena become Ryback's mouthpiece? Watching he and Punk jaw jack certainly didn't build my interest in the match.
- Why did The Miz have to be Ryback's sacrificial lamb less than a week before getting his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship? How am I supposed to take The Miz seriously now? In the past week, he's been legit knocked out by Kingston, dropped his belt to Kingston and been destroyed by Ryback. What happened to keeping both champion and challenger looking strong?
- Justin Gabriel pinned United States Champion Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match. The contest was short, but what they did was really good. Hopefully they are given significantly more time in the inevitable rematch with the title on the line. I could see Gabriel making a really good foil for Cesaro, but I don't see the title changing hands.
- How many times does WWE think fans want to watch Alberto Del Rio make Zack Ryder tap out? This match has happened so much, and there's never any doubt about the result. Their match was actually quite good for the time it was given, but it's a case of being tired of seeing the same thing repeatedly in WWE.
- Big Show defeated Kane in a decent match when Rhodes Scholars distracted both Kane and Bryan, who was at ringside. This match didn't do much, but I am excited to see the tag title match, as alluded to above.
- I'm normally a fan of the wacky Kane and Bryan humor, but tonight, it just didn't click with me. The entire game show segment with Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars just seemed contrived and pointless.
- So the proof was in the iPad for who attacked Kaitlyn. It was apparently Aksana, wearing a wig at the orders of Eve. That's it?
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes d. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Kofi Kingston d. Michael McGullicutty
Justin Gabriel d. Antonio Cesaro
Ryback d. The Miz
Dolph Ziggler d. Daniel Bryan
Alberto Del Rio d. Zack Ryder
CM Punk d. Sheamus in a lumberjack match
It may have been me, but I wasn't buying most of what WWE was offering tonight. The Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk vs, Sheamus matches delivered, but nothing else really stood out. I may be burnt out from a big All American Pro Wrestling show this weekend, but I found myself disinterested in most of the show. Hell in a Cell is shaping up to be an interesting pay-per-view, as nothing on the card (bar the Tag Team Championship match) screams "must see." Ryback vs. Punk will be interesting to see what route WWE goes, and Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel may be a late addition, but little else grabs me. Hopefully I'm surprised.
Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing from 8-10 EST every Thursday on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.