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[2013-09-23-WWE-Raw] The Shield vs Daniel Bryan & R-Truth & Dolph Ziggler & Rob Van Dam & Kofi Kingston & Zach Ryder & Justin Gabriel & Jimmy & Jey Uso & Darren Young & Titus O'Neil

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The Shield vs Team GOAT - RAW 09/23/13

 

Given how common the acronym GOAT is, I cant believe WWE does not use it as Daniel Bryan's nickname. The Authority in an effort to prove they are fair and balanced and in reaction to the previous week's locker room clearing brawl between the midcard babyfaces and the Shield, booked an inverse handicap match where the heels were at a disadvantage 11 on 3. When I first saw this live, I was in awe of how well booked and entertaining this was. It seems so opposite of what makes wrestling work, but this was really good. Upon rewatch, I think holds up as one of the best matches of 2013 and one of the most unique of all time.

 

WWE has gotten a lot better in the past year of using the beginning of matches to establish the context and story of the match and build from there. The babyfaces have the numbers game, but if the Shield can keep everything in their corner they have effectively created a 3-on-1 handicap match. That is why this match works so well it is actually a normal wrestling match disguised as a something contrary to wrestling logic. The Shield works this beautifully conscientiously working to always keep their body in between their opponent and the corner. From there, The Shield just picks off the babyfaces one by one. Earlier in the night, RVD was injured by Del Rio and Kingston by a temper tantrum throwing Randy Orton (could be the other way around) and were easy pickins for the Shield. The US Champion Ambrose gets the pin on both with his finish. "Big Deal" Titus O'Neil and his badass bark are in to staredown Reigns. You heard it here first, future Wrestlemania Main Event. This is the match that got Reigns and the Spear over. He was having kickass performances before this, but this is when people took notice. He went on a tear and eliminated Titus, Gabriel and Ryder with the spear. Until young Daniel enters the ring and is a house a fire. With a little help from the Usos, Reigns is eliminated by an Uso splash. The Shield, which was riding high, has been taken down a couple notches. This was perfect timing get rid of some deadweight, get Reigns over and then BOOM you are reminded of the disadvantage the Shield faces. Darren Young gets a nice little sequence before a flying Rollins knee to the head takes him out. The Shield start to get cocky again as Rollins drops Ziggler headfirst into the middle turnbuckle only for Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag on Ambrose (they really should have ran that as a program). Rollins is fucking fantastic here taking time to isolate Ziggler and then count that he is 5 on 1 and give that "O fuck" face. Even Rollins gets some love here, as he curb stomps Truth to eliminate him. At this point, D-Bry directs traffic to have Ziggler and the Usos surround the ring and pounce ala the Shield. Reigns and Ambrose come in to save, but the Usos superkick Reigns off the apron. The Usos take out the rest of the Shield. Daniel Bryan hits the diving headbutt and running knee for the emphatic victory.

 

I dare say the best laid out match of the last year. The Shield got theirs by running through the fodder and looked smart and tough in the match. The babyfaces all got a bit of shine before being eliminated. Each Shield elimination was well done to bring the audience up and down. The final home stretch was such a feel good moment with the Usos flying all over the place and Daniel Bryan standing tall. It was a unique format that was successful because of old school principles. ****

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In addition Marty, each elimination that could played into the current storyline. Kofi and RVD had been hurt earlier that night and made easy targets. The Usos eliminate the heavy out of their two opponents at Battleground for the tag titles with a tag team move. Ambrose had just come off of a Ziggler match at Night of Champions and beaten Ambrose in a non-title match before this. The Usos again getting the better of Reigns with a double superkick and Ziggler taking out Ambrose when he tried to come back again hit the same points. It's really good booking, especially for how all over the place it was around the time.

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Let's not forget the Rhodes Bros. ambush on The Shield before the match. This is such a dumb match in theory that ended up feeling so IMPORTANT, it punched way, way above its weight in execution. Sixteen different guys on the roster came out better than they were going in.

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