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Acero’s WWE RAW Review 11.23.20

November 23, 2020 | Posted by Tony Acero
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Acero’s WWE RAW Review 11.23.20  

Hey all! Just got the news that my spot must close down by 10:00 PM Wednesday night, so I’m full of piss and vinegar and whiskey. Let’s hope some wrestling can turn my mood around.

This report produced by Joseph Park.

We gloss over Drew’s loss and focus more on his win from last week, then head to the ring where Team RAW stands proud with Adam Pearce. Pearce gets some time to congratulate Drew and Taker, then turns to Team RAW. He says results like what they gave deserves to be rewarded. So he’s giving each person some time to explain why they should be next in line. AJ is up first, but Sheamus says no, AJ is not his captain.

Sheamus then congratulates Drew for his title win. He and Drew go way back, best of friends, and since he was MVP of last night —

AJ cuts him off, says we all know that Drew is his buddy, so it seems like using the “good ol boy” system is in play, and he’s not cool with that. As for MVP, that’s AJ.

Lee says he doesn’t hate to interrupt, because not only did he save AJ ,but he pinned the other team’s actual captain, so it’s obvious who is worthy.

Riddle says that he’d love to be “WWE Championship.” So there’s that. He wonders if beating King Corbin makes him King Bro.

Sheamus: “You are a real dope.”

Riddle talks nicknames, wondering what Mongoose thinks.

Braun says he ain’t last. Pearce explains this is a common phrase. Oh, so Braun is now an idiot. Ok. He grabs Pearce and looks to eat his head off. He tells Adam to pick him. Then headbutts Pearce. Riddle stands in between the two, Braun yells at everyone, and stares Pearce down, unbothered.

WE RETURN to commentary explaining that Pearce was about to name the guy who would face Drew, but Braun caved his head in.

Later tonight, we’re getting a tag team title match between New Day and Hurt Business that stems from a backstage segment where Hurt Business calls them embarrassments. Woods reminds them that they lost last week. Cedric, specifically, says they were too busy playin cosplay. Kofi tells him to back up, but Woods squares up as Cedric says they re telling him they want a title shot, and Cedric deserves the spotlight. Woods gives in on the challenge.

Lol, Kofi, why would Monday be your “day off?”

Somewhere, Darren Young is fuming.

Match 1: WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day vs The Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin)
Shelton and Woods to start. Woods escapes the corner on the quickness, and gyrates with Kofi. MVP yells at Shelton that he needs controlled fury. Shelton shoots the legs and mounts with some punches. Front face lock, he spins over the back of Woods, tries to lock up from behind, mounts the back, hooks the arm, Woods gets taken down and Shelton drives a knee into the shoulder. Suplex across the ring. Shelton locks the head. Suplex and a cover for 1…2.NO! Another cover for clout. Kick to the shoulder from Shelton. Kofi with punches from his knees. He stands, hits the ropes, big boot. Shelton with a surprise running knee to Kofi, who is just chillin on the apron.

WE RETURN, and Kofi gets a tag and flies off the top rope with an elbow. Right to Cedric. Dropkick to Shelton. He hits the ropes, clothesline, Kofi hits the ropes again. Boom drop. Kofi waits for Shelton to stand, goes for Trouble in Paradise, Shelton ducks, kicks, sends Kofi into the corner. Kick to the face from Kofi, Kofi to the top. Right hand from Shelton. He locks the head. Kofi fights him off, headbutt and Shelton drops down. Kofi is sent outside. The ref starts a count. Shelton joins him outside. Ref hits the 9. Shelton sends Kofi into the ring. The ref calls for the end of the match. MVP enters the ring, says they want a restart. But not after the ref holds the hands of Hurt Business up. Kofi explains to Woods he’s getting tired of this feud as MVP calls him scared.


WE RETURN to Kofi and Shelton. Kofi sends him to the outside hard, and Kofi lands on his knee. Ref starts the count again, hitting 7, and Shelton drags Kofi back in. Stomps from Shelton. Tag to Cedric. Cedric hits some knees from the running Kofi. Clothesline from Shelton. Cedric with an elbow drop. Cover for 1….NO!!! Another cover but no. Cedric drives elbows to th back of Kofi. He pulls back on the head while sitting on a bent leg. Cedric holds the knee, tags in Shelton. Shelton stomps. He grabs Kofi and drops the knee onto his own knee. Shelton drags Kofi to his corner and drops an elbow to the inside knee. Tag to Cedric. Elbow drop to the knee. He pulls back on the leg as Kofi screams from behind. Cedric ties the leg up with an Indian Death Lock and turns Kofi on his belly. Tag to Shelton. He comes in and kicks Kofi’s head. Shelton drives a knee into the face of Kofi. Shleton works the leg around his own.

Kofi is about to make a tag after some more abuse, but Cedric is there to pull Woods off the apron. Kofi hits SOS on Shelton, Covers for 1..2..NO!!! Tag to Cedric. He clips the leg from behind. Woods is pissed. Cover for 1..2..NO!!! Cedric locks the leg up again. Kofi fights back with right hands. Kofi crawls towards his corner, but Cedric is there to grab the leg. He pulls Kofi into the heel corner. Shelton hops onto the apron. Kofi kicks Cedric. Kofi hobbles to his corner, tags in Woods. Woods with a clothesline! Another. A leg lariat. Shelton in and right back out. Drop toe hold to Cedric. Woods hits the ropes .Flies through them onto Shelton. He is back in and presses Cedric then drops him. Cover for 1..2…NO!!!! Woods grabs the head, Cedric shoves him. Cedric locks the head, tornado DDT off the ropes. Tag to Shelton. He’ in with an Angle Slam! Cover for 1..2….NO!!!! Kofi is there to save the matchup! Cedric flies, Kofi sends him outside.

Kofi dives over the top onto Cedric! Shelton lifts Woods, Woods rolls through. Pin for 1….2….3!!!

Winners: The New Day
Major concern about a title loss. Not that The Hurt Business doesn’t deserve it; it just would have came off like a short-sighted win. Then again, if they weren’t going to lose, what was with the confusing restarting of the match?
Total Rating: ***1/2
Match Time: 7:59

Adam is backstage with the doctor/trainer. He says he needs to take it easy for a week. He says Braun has been escorted out the building, and if it was up to him, he’d fire Braun. Charly asks what his decision was going to be, but Lashley comes up to talk about his successes and how he deserves a title shot. Adam wants to speak to him in private, and tells Charly she can bounce.

WE ARE BACK, and Charly asks Adam how the talk with Lashley went. Before he can answer, Randy Orton comes up to Adam to stare him down.

It kinda looks like Lashley roughed him up during the break?

Backstage, Lana is with Sarah. Sarah says she’s gone from being driven through a table nine times to becoming a sole survivor. Lana says last night was the greatest moment of her career. She is on top of the world. Sarah asks what’s next? Lana says she can’t even think about that right now, she just wants to live in this moment. She is dreaming; don’t wake her up.

WE HEAD BACK to Adam Pearce, and Charly wants to try one more time. He says he has come to a solution. We will settle this in the ring. Three matches, winners will meet in a Triple Threat. First match? Riddle vs Sheamus.

Match 2: Riddle vs Sheamus

Riddle wants to knock some knuckles, but Sheamus ain’t down with it. Riddle asks for some respect for “your bro,” but Sheamus shoves him. Riddle takes the fight to him. Sheamus drops him down and locks the arm, then goes for an underhook. Riddle with a go behind, he hops up on the back of Sheamus and Sheamus spins him off. Lockup and Riddle locks him up against yhe ropes. Ref breaks both of them up. Side headlock from Sheamus into a takedown. Riddle works the arm behind Sheamus. Riddle drives the knee to the face, then turns and locks the arm behind Sheamus. Sheamus is up. He sends Riddle into the corner. Knee to the gut. Right to the back. Riddle and Sheamus fight it out in the corner, with Riddle getting some hard rights in. Sheamus hits a hard clothesline. Kick to Riddle in the back. Knee to the face of Riddle. We get a scissors wrapped around the head. Sheamus grabs the arm, pulling it back while Riddle tries to escape. He is able to pull his legs forward then lock Sheamus into an arm bar! Nice. Sheamus reaches the ropes. Ref breaks the hold, and Sheamus rolls to the outside.

Sheamus calls Riddle a “dopey muppet” from outside, then enters to drive a knee into the gut and a supelx in the middle of the ring. Sheamus covers for 1..2…NO!!! Sheamus locks up the arm, Riddle gets him in a fireman’s, Riddle fights with some rights, kicks off the ropes, hits them again, but Sheamus follows and clotheslines him to the outside. Sheamus to the apron. He hops off the apron, Riddle kicks him, hits an exploder suplex, then grabs Sheamus and sends him back into the middle of the ring. Riddle runs with a broton and a cover for 1..2..NO!!! Riddle with a kick to the chest. A stomp to the back. Kick to the chest. Sheamus is up and chops the chest of Riddle. Right hand to the face. Sheamus sends him to the apron. He pulls Riddle up and beats down on the chest of Riddle. Sheamus shoves Riddle to the outside. Riddle hops onto the apron at the count of 6. Sheamus grabs his head and pulls him up, then hits an uppercut. Kick out of the corner from Riddle. He flies, and Sheamus catches him. Irish Curse! 1…2…NO!!! Sheamus whips, looks to kick the gut. Sheamus goes for a shoulder in the corner, but Riddle moves and Sheamus hits the post. Kicks to the chest of Sheamus. Sheamus is up! He Alabama slams Riddle down!

WE ARE BACK, and Sheamus stomps the hand of Riddle. He lifts Riddle, Riddle floats down and swings up with an overhead kick! Sheamus to the outside. Riddle to the apron. He swings and punt kicks Sheamus in the chest. Riddle with a springboard floating bro! Riddle sends Sheamus to the inside of t he ring. Riddle to the top. He flies with a crossbody, Sheamus catches him. Swings and a hard slam by Sheamus. Cover for 1..2…NO!!! CLOVERLEAF FROM SHEAMUS! Riddle is close to the rope. He reaches it and the ref breaks it. Sheamus tries for the beatdown against the ropes again, but Riddle stops it and works the arm around the rope!!! Hangman to Sheamus. Riddle iwith. Go behind, Sheamus reverses, heel hook! Riddle with a chop. Righht hand, Sheamus looks to break the foot! Riddle goes down and we get a pin for 1..2..NO!!!! Riddle with a kick to the chest, another, another, he stomps the shit out of Sheamus. Kick to the face! Cover from Riddle! 1..2…NO!!! Goes for another kick, Sheamus rolls up, Riddle rolls through, huge fucking knee!!!! Riddle to the top rope! Sheamus attacks form behind, trips Riddle up, clubs the back, Riddle turns, right hand. Sheamus with a right hand. Another. They’re on the top rope, Sheamus sets up for White Noise! WHITE NOISE OFF THE SECOND ROPE!!! Pin for 1..2…NO!!! Sheamus is up first. He calls for Brogue. Goes for it. Riddle collapses! Ref checks on Riddle. Sheamus lifts Riddle, tells him he’ll never be tough like him. HEADBUTT!

High kick to the side of the face! He goes for another, Sheamus gets him on the shoulders, Riddle rolls through, Sheamus reverses. Cloverleaf! Riddle escapes, hooks the leg. Pin for 1…2…3!!!

Winner: Matt Riddle
This match was twenty minutes. This match did not feel like twenty minutes. Solid shit from both. At one point, you got the impression that they stopped wrestling and started fighting. Not saying that’s what really happened, but they gave me the feeling that they did, and I love that. Give two wrestlers time and no funny business and look what happens. Go figure.
Total Rating: ****
Match Time: 20:46

Backstage, Asuka runs up to Lana, hearing she wants a title shot. Lana says no, no, no, she wasn’t even thinking about that. Asuka is the best in the world. Asuka says it’s ok, she likes challenges. She accepts. Who knows? Tonight, Lana may go home champion.

Awww, we love a supportive Asuka.


Bray is wearing his Thanksgiving best. Alexa says tonight’s episode is about something truly evil: Friendship. Friends will always let you down. Friends are no good, just like Nikki Cross.

We get a new character in a puppet frog that is most certainly not Kermit. He is The Friendship Frog, and true friendship lasts forever. Bray tells Alexa to show the frog exactly what she will be doing to Nikki later tonight. The Fiend’s hand comes in to frame and covers Alexa’s face. He whispers in her ear and Alexa opens her eyes to expose contacts, then beats the frog to a green-gooed death.

Bray would like to have us join them a brief moment of silence as we get a slideshow of the life of Friendship Frog. He was 40 years old.

BEFORE THE MATCH between Lana and Asuka, Nia Jax’s music hits, and she comes out with Shayna. If this leads to a Lana/Asuka team, my eyes will roll. Hard.

Match 3: WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Lana vs Asuka

Lockup and Lana takes Asuka down with an arm drag. Asuka is impressed. Anotherlockup. Side headlock from Lana. Asuka sends her to the ropes, Lana flies over, hits the ropes, rollup on Asuka fo 1..2…NOO!!!! Lana misses a roundhouse, Asuka hits a knee, Lana rolls to the outside. Asuka slides through the ropes and Nia and Shayna talk some shit, saying Asuka can’t just put Lana out. Asuka grabs a water bottle and pours it over Nia and Shayna.

Nia and Shayna attack Asuka, and we get a DQ.

Winner: No one

Total Rating: NR
Match Time: NR

Nia and Shayna double team Asuka until she can’t stand. Nia locks to send Asuka through the table. Lana heads to the outside and saves asuka.


Nia tells both girls that they started something, they should get back in to finish it. They challenge Asuka and Lana to a match.

Yup, there go the eyes….

Match 4: Lana and Asuka vs Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

WE come back to the match already going down. Nia tags herself in after dropping Lana then tosses her across the ring. Nia tosses Lana across the ring again. Clothesline. Tag to Shayna as Lana is sent outside. Shayna rolls her back in then steps on the leg. Tag to Nia. Nia smashes Lana in the corner. Nia sends Lana down to the mat. Nia berates Lana, calling her pathetic. Lana cries. Nia shoves her. Lana slaps Nia back a few times then kicks nd reaches or a tag. Nia sends her into the corner hard. Tag to Shayna. Shayna attcks the mid, snapmare, kick to the back. Shayna steps on the head of Lana then pulls her boot back towards her head. Hard stomp from Shayna. Shayna slides out of the ring, grabs Lana. Lana kicks Shayna away, tags Asuka. Kick to shyna, hip attack to Nia. Elbow to Shayna, kick, another kick. Running knees to the face. Asuka rushes the corner with a hip attck. Waist lock, Back fist from Asuak, lockup and a German! Shining Wizard. Cover for 1..2..NO!!! Asuka kicks Shayna. Shayna cathes, drops Asuka, knee to the face. Cover for 1..2..NO!!!

Nia pulls Lana off the apron while Asuka and Shayna are in the middle of the ring. Nia takes Lana over to the announce table. She gets it ready. Fireman’s to Lana, ana fights back.

Lana attacks Nia, Nia shoves, Nia goes to crush Lana, but Lana moves and Nia flies over the announce table. Shayna grabs Lana by the head. Locks in The Clutch. Asuka rolls her up. Pin for 1..2…3!!!

Winners: Asuka and Lana
Part of the success of stories where there is a plucky underdog that, after weeks/years/ages of torment isn’t simply the eventual rise above the torment or person who is doing so. It’s more the journey to get there, and if this journey is riddled with constant “lucky” overcoming of the odds based on happenstance, then the story will never resonate. Lana continues to “get lucky,” and it does nothing. This is only compounded by the fact that Lana, the character has never, ever been likeable, and no amount of smudged lipstick or crying documentaries will make us feel any different.
Total Rating: *
Match Time: 6:38

Backstage, Riddle tells MVP what’s up, he wants to wish Lashley good luck. Riddle gives Lee some props, saying it’ll be a fight for the ages. Riddle says he has a million ideas for business investments, such as Pizza Flavored Yogurt. He can keep going. For days. MVP tells him no, please don’t. Lashley hasn’t the time for this. MVP says he’s not Riddle’s bro.



MVP tells Riddle to get all his best ideas and in a few weeks, he can pitch it. Like shark tank. If they like the ideas, they can do some business, and if they don’t like the ideas, they’ll do some business.

Match 5: Bobby Lashley vs Keith Lee

Lee tries to start slow, but Bobby shoves him then corner Lee. Lee misses a clothesline, locks the head and goes for a suplex, but Lee wit a side headlock. Lee with a wrist lock, Bobby with a side headlock. Lee lifts Lashley single-handedly. Lashley tightens the hold. Lee tries to send him to the ropes. Lashley won’t let go. Lee shoves him, Lashley tries fo ra tackle, Lee no sells it, blocks a right hand. He sends Lashley into the corner. Ight hands. Uppercut. Back elbow to the face. Again. Lee chops Lashley with two hands. Lashley with a chop out of the corner. Flatliner to Lee. Cover for 1….NO!!!! Lashley bangs his chest. He is pissed. Full Nelson attempt! Lee won’t let it happen, rope work. Shoulder tackle to Lashley! Clothesline sends Lashley over the top rope. Lee hits the ropes. MVP is there to distract, stopping Lee. Lee leaves the ring. Lashley with a clothesline off the distraction. Right elbows to the face. He shoves Lee into the barricade. Lashley lifts Lee and tries to toss him into the post, but really just falls into it.

We are back, and both behemoths are in the middle of the ring. Lashley tries to weaken the arm. Lee turns into the hold, linking his fingers to prevent the lockup. He tries to pry the fingers of Lashley off of his wrist, but Bobby hits some knees to the chest. Neckbreaker from Lashley. Cover for 1…NO!!! Lashley stops the pin and drops a knee. He pulls back on the chin, Lee reaches for the ropes, so Lashley stands between them. He hits a right, another, the ropes, Lee with a hard right to Lashley! Lee rushes with a spear, Lashley drops him! Suplex to Lee! Made it look easy. Half Nelson. Lee pushes Lashley away. Lashley hits the corner. Elbow to Lashley. He hops over a running Bobby. HE HITS THE BUCKLE!! Lee with punches. Right, left, right! Splash in the corner. Lee hits the ropes. POUUUUUNNNCCCEEEE!!! Lashley to the outside! Lee leaves the ring. He runs. CROSSBODY TO LASHLEY!!! Lee sends Lashley into the ring. Ref checks on Lashley. MVP SHOVES LEE INTO THE RINGPOST!!!! Ref hits 8!!! Lee rolls into the ring. Lashley up. HE CANT LOCK IN THE HURT LOCKER!!! LEE WAKES UP!!!! HE POWERS OUT OF THE HOLD!!!!


Winner: Keith Lee
Jesus, it’s like Lee and Lashley watched Riddle and Sheamus, looked to each other, and gave a singular nod. A few missteps took this out of four star range, but you can’t take too much away from either dude as they played to the literal strengths and the idea that they were strong to create a good match with an odd ending. Lashley showing some color was a nice added touch, and Lashley looking like a motivated son of a bitch was even nicer.
Total Rating: ***3/4
Match Time: 11:59

Lee drops MVP. Lee is announced as winner by DQ.

Nikki gets some mic time with Sarah. She says she didn’t give up, Alexa gave up. On her, her friendship. The last few months, she’s done nothing but try and talk to Alexa. She’s tried and she’s done trying. Last week, she made it perfectly clear that she doesn’t want Nikki’s help. Message received. She is sick and tired about worrying about her and their friendship. There’s only one thing she cares about; she’s going to beat The Fiend out of Alexa Bliss.

Whose music is this?

Match 6: Nikki Cross vs Alexa Bliss

Sorry guys, I got some feed issues, but a bulk of the match is Nikki Cross beatin that ass, only for Alexa to laugh every move she does off, even as it comes off as painful. Feed comes back to Cross hitting a low crossbody. She attacks in the corner, then snapmares Alexa into the center of the ring. Alexa shows tears, then shock at what she is wearing. She asks what’s going on, stares at her gloved hands, and pulls at her face. She reaches for Nikki, crying, asking what’s going on. She asks for help. She doesn’t know whats going on.

She continues to break down in the middle of the ring, grabs the hand of Nikki, says she is sorry as she stands, hugs Nikki. SISTER ABIGAIL. PIN 1…2…3!!!

Winner: Alexa Bliss
Sure, it doesn’t make much sense, but Alexa is killin it with the role.
Total Rating: *
Match Time: Timer Issues

We get The Undertaker video package from last night.

Our final farewell farewell fares well so well, let’s fare from it again!

Match 7: Randy Orton vs AJ Styles

Styles tries for a rollup. 1…2…NO!!! AJ is all smiles. Orton, not so much. He skips around, they lockup, and Orton drops a forearm on the back. Whip to the ropes, AJ ducks, slides under, but eats an uppercut! Stomp to the foto. Orton scrapes the face with a boot. AJ with a throat thrust. Shoulders in the corner. Whip by AJ. Dropkick to Orton! Cover for 1..2..NO!!! Thumb to the eye from Orton. Orton sends AJ outside of the ring. Orton grabs AJ and hits an uppercut near the barricade. Orton whips AJ, but his big friend catches him. The big guy stands Aj onto the apron. Running kick to Orton. Ref starts counting. AJ slides under the ropes. He locks up the waist and hits a back suplex to Orton onto the table!

WE ARE BACK and Orton is punching Aj on the ropes. He gets AJ to the top rope. Aj slides underneath and pulls Orton down, then clips the leg. AJ with wild stomps. He works the left leg like a pitbull. Orton reaches for the ropes, AJ drags him to the center and drops his hips onto the leg. AJ pulls the leg. Orton clubs the chest, and AJ releases the hold. AJ on one leg, AJ shoots for the bad leg, Orton wih a right hand. AJ rolls through for a calf crusher, but Orton escapes and hits a swinging kick to AJ’s chest. AJ suplex and hangs AJ up on the top rope. Cover for 1..2.NO!!! Orton goes for a suplex, but AJ lands on his feet and takes out the leg again! AJ with a fireman’s, Orton elbows out, neckbreaker to AJ. Cover for 1..2..NO!!! Orton grabs the head of AJ. He sends AJ onto the apron. DDT off the ropes attempt, but Aj escapes, takes the leg down, tries for the Calf Crusher! Orton won’t let it happen! AJ GETS IT!!!! CALF CRUSHER!!!! Orton reaches the bottom rope! Submission is broken! Powerslam from Orton! RKO ATTEMPT! No! Aj escapes! Orton to the outside, he trips Aj up on th apron.

The Fiend’s music hits. He pops his head up from behind the barricade! The camera man, a horrible hide and seek player, looks over and doesn’t see him.

Orton back in the ring. Aj goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton clips the legs and he hits the DDT off the ropes!

The lights go off in sections this time. They come back on, and The Fiend is behind Orton on the apron. He screams in Orton’s ear. Lights go out. They come back on, and The Fiend is gone. AJ is on the apron. PHENOMENAL FOREARM! Cover for 1..2….3!!!!

Winner: AJ Styles
Well, not nearly as good as the other two matches that mattered, and The Fiend finally gets a feud that could garner some semblance of interest, at least from me.
Total Rating: ***
Match Time: 12:48

End Show

The final score: review Good
The 411
Typically, a tournament style episode for a title shot, or a number one contendership has a formula that, in my opinion, is hard to mess up. More often than not, the WWE does, in fact, mess it up. Tonight, however, we saw some amazing matchups. First, Sheamus and Riddle should have felt old hat, and kind of did for a second, especially considering we just saw the match, and it's like the two of them knew this. They kicked all kinds of ass tonight, with Sheamus becoming - once again - a star player and an integral part of someone's growth. Riddle, love him or hate his character (and I'm still on the fence), did his part, assuring he was just as hard hitting as Sheamus. Then you got Lee and Lashley, who, seemingly, watched Sheamus and Riddle and gave each other a big "bet" before heading out. They beat the crap out of each other even moreso, and were given time to do so. Lastly, Orton and AJ was mostly story driven, but this was the first time I've been interested in a Fiend storyline in possible ever. AJ v Riddle v Lee seems fresh and has potential for greatness. Of course, there was still some rough patches. I get wanting the New Day to continue to look strong as champs, but that restart of the match was awkward and not done well. The Lana storyline does nothing for me. She isn't getting a comeuppance, she's getting lucky. She's not becoming a better performer, or breaking out and proving herself, she's hitting and ducking. This doesn't speak underdog, it doesn't spell out overcoming the odds, and it doesn't erase what we've known this character to be for YEARS. Sorry, it's just not working.

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411's WWE RAW Report, Tony Acero