3 hours is a long time…
This week, Raw was televised live from New Orleans which is where the Beast Brock Lesnar shocked the world by defeating possibly the greatest streak in Sports (Entertainment) when he pinned the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30. Also, the news Randy Savage will finally become part of the WWE Hall of Fame was confirmed via video promo. So, with that fantastic news, the pace picking up towards the Royal Rumble and the Beast Incarnate enjoying a rare live Raw appearance, lets have a look at how this weeks Raw transpired.John Cena kicked off the show with a promo centring around his anger towards the authority and promised to win the WWE title then proceed to refuse to defend the title until Ziggler and the others got their jobs back. However, this threat didn’t seem to enthuse the crowd, as for the entirety of Lesnar’s reign, thats pretty much what has happened. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is a rarer sight than a Heath Slater victory, oh and Cena started a #AuthoritySucks hashtag – because thats what it will take to get Ziggler his job back, won’t it John! However, HHH and Stephanie McMahon (The Authority) interrupted with their usual spiel, mocking Cena etc etc. They then offered Cena a chance to get Ziggler and co. their jobs back, if he could defeat Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack match. The segment wasn’t the best ever, however Cena delivered his usual periodic moments of vigour, but the crowd seemed to be hoping that the match would pick the pace up a little. That match, was up next.
The lumberjacks that surrounded around the ring were comprised of heels, mainly J&J Security, BNB and the Big Slow, which made John Cena’s task a huge one to climb. The match itself was fun, with numerous close pitfalls and back-and-fourths. Although Cena has had the same move set with no development for the best part of a decade now, there is no denying that he can wrestle, and that combined with the talent that Rollins has allows the to constantly put on decent matches. With that being said, during a Lumberjack match, his positioning was ‘conveniently’ poor which allowed the Lumberjacks to pull either Rollins or SuperCena out of the ring to interrupt proceedings. Everyone had a little cheap shot at Cena, Cesaro impressively, delivered a Big Swing into the barricade and J&J Security constantly beat Cena down. However, as always, Cena fought back and delivered the spot of the match as he hit a big splash on all the Lumberjacks from the top rope to the outside, he even managed to connect with Bad News Barrett who realised he was in the wrong position for the spot and sprinted around half of the ring to ensure he was part of the Heel pile-up. Funny. Anyway, the Big Slow ‘punched’ Cena in the face and rolled him back into the ring to allow Rollins to pickup the pin-fall victory.
Next up was a short match between The New Day and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd. Kofi Kingston took it to Cesaro & Kidd initially, however they managed to bring the high-flyer to his knees. Xavier Woods hit a couple of springboard manoeuvres and then teamed up with a diving stomp & backbreaker combo which gave them the win. Oh, I didn’t mention that Adam Rose was ringside supporting Cesaro & Kidd, and no one, including me, doesn’t know why. Unless I missed something which doesn’t seem important at all.
Big Slow popped to the ring next to brag about his time in the WCW and beating Hulk Hogan and that one time many many years ago he could actually move and maybe attempt a wrestling move once a match. Anyway, he was talking down about Reigns to which the crowd responded with a ‘Boring!’ chant. To make this promo worse, out came Reigns. Now, as a powerhouse I like Reigns, but when he gets the script of a knock-off Disney film, it is awful. He comes across so childish which isn’t his fault – but if WWE Creative continues like this it could go sour for Reigns.
Luckily, he had the chance of redemption a few moments later as his match against Luke Harper was up next. Unsurprisingly this wasn’t a ‘Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero’ technical classic – but they made up for that by coming out and properly hitting each other. The oddball Harper threw Reigns hard into the steel steps which was accompanied with ‘Lets go Harper’ chants and JBL stating that he is ‘decimating’ Reigns. Big Show was doing his cheerleading best but did manage to distract Reigns. Harpers super-kicks are magnificent for a big man. However he lost the match as Reigns countered the discus clothesline with a stiff spear. After the match Big Show KO’ed Reigns with a huge punch – this was supported by the sign of the night from the crowd which read, ‘Captain Insano shows no Mercy’ – Well done that fan. Hilarious.
Stephanie McMahon told Dean Ambrose that he had to undergo psychological evaluation- this played out in multiple segments throughout the night. Stephanie has improved so much to become one of the most comfortable and believable heels in recent memory, however these scenes were all about Ambrose. His reactions and facial expressions are brilliant. He comes across as an absolute oddball, but importantly, a likeable funny oddball.
In the first scene, Ambrose was encapsulated by a ticking clock. (I always wonder if they have a chuckle about these weird things that WWE creative make them act out when the camera cuts away)
The second part was a word association game, with Ambrose delivering odd responses such as ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ when shown a picture of the COO Triple H, and calling Stephanie McMahon a ‘HOOOOOOOOOOO, taking a line from legendary Hacksaw’s repertoire.
The final scene showed the roles reversed, seemingly Ambrose had ‘broken’ the therapist as he was crying on the sofa whilst Ambrose took notes. Anyway, Ambrose got the signature and pass he needed to allow him to participate in the Royal Rumble.
All toilet jokes aside, it was an interesting idea, which was better (in some ways) that Ambrose simply announcing that he will be in the Rumble.
There was an Naomi vs Alicia Fox match where Naomi had to fight with her left hand tied behind her back because something about the Authority and the Uso’s? Naomi also wears the Uso’s merchandise because she probably won’t sell any judging by the volume of the uninterested crowd during this match. Alicia Fox won with a Scissors Kick to Naomi’s back. I also have a reminiscence of the arm tied behind the back stipulation involving Stephanie McMahon and one of the Bellas. It’s been done before but at least Naomi will get some airtime and she can wrestler better than a large percentage of the Diva’s locker-room.
Brock Lesnar returns to the place where he proved himself to be one of the most dominate superstars ever when he pinned The Undertaker in the centre of the ring at Wrestlemania. With that, Paul Heyman gave a history lesson ensuring that no one forgets what his client achieved that night. Paul Heyman is the best on the mic in the WWE hands down, his passion and conviction whilst encapsulating the live crowd and the audience watching on their TV sets is outstanding. This promo was all about Lesnar’s dominance and served as an appetiser for the nights later Contact Signing.
Miz faced Jey Uso next. The feud between Miz and the Uso’s regarding Jimmy Uso’s wife Naomi seems to have fizzled out and is now going nowhere. Miz pinned Jey after the Skull Crushing Finale. However again, Miz’s match was entreating due to his ‘method-actor-stunt-double’ Mizdow, who continues to be hilarious mimicking Miz’s movements and taunts.
Daniel Bryan came down to the ring with the biggest pop of the night from a very quiet crowd. His reason for coming into the ring was to declare he would not only enter the Royal Rumble, but win it too. However, he didn’t get very far into his speech when Stephanie McMahon interrupted. She is the best Heel in term of mic-work at the minute. She is so scheming and condescending to Bryan, which only makes the crowd chant YES! louder for the former Indie star. She continued to brilliantly belittle him by reminding everyone of Kane’s attack on him last year reminding him he is still only that ‘B+ player’ and by using lines such as, ‘You’re an average Joe, just like them’ and ‘Your unborn Box Troll children believe in you’. Stephanie then stated that Bryan’s first match back will be against his former partner Corporate Kane (or whatever we are calling in now-a-days) this week on Smackdown on its new night, Thursday. What a main event for Smackdown! Kane and Bryan being scrapping outside the ring, Bryan delivered his patented suicide dive to Kane as the WWE Ref’s tried to keep them apart. This makes Thursday’s Smackdown an unmissable episode, just to see how DBryan will hold up against Kane.
The Brit Paige took on one of the Bellas, with the other Bella ringside. Paige had her friend Natalya and Tyson Kidd ringside. Kidd pulling triple duty of sorts and getting some airtime. However, as Paige looked as though jambalaya was picking up the victory, Kidd climbed up on the apron and distracted Paige, which allowed the Bella execute a roll-up for the pin-fall victory. It was a very short match but could potentially set up a rivalry with Paige and Natalya, or even Paige and Tyson Kidd. Literally anything to get the Bella’s off of TV. They are absolutely awful. Id rather watch Paige take on Yoshihiko in an Ironman Match – If you haven’t had the experience of watching a Yoshihiko match, please watch the video below – you will not be disappointed. Obscure wrestling at its glorious best.
Cole made the Official announcement everyone one had been waiting for, that Macho Man will be inducted into the HOF.
The Ascension dominated local ‘athletes’ again whilst telling everyone that they are better than the Road Warriors. JBL continues to verbally bury them with comments such as, ‘Yeah, and they are out here right now fighting two guys who were cooking jambalaya this morning in a swamp noodling for catfish that have no business being in a WWE ring’. This, followed by some mild racism by Booker T will not help The Ascension become the dominate force that they claim to be.
The Ascensions finisher is cool though.
Up next, Lana and Rusev mocked Ryback, stating that he was lucky that he was fired, if not Rusev would have thrown him over the top rope in the Rumble Match. This is something to look forward to in the Rumble, two hard hitting monsters colliding. That is, if Ryback gets his job back (SPOILERS: Which he will) Dean Ambrose interrupted and began a match. Michael Cole thought that he would insult the intelligence of the viewers at home by explaining that because there is an official in the ring, then it is a match. Thank you Cole, I have been wondering who the stripy shirted fellas were.
During the match, The Lunatic Fringe played up his injured knee that he suffered at the hands of Wyatt which cumulated in the stripy shirt guy (the ref) stopping the match. This is actually smart from WWE Creative, as it allows Rusev to remain undefeated but doesn’t’ harm Ambrose’s credibility and he gets to look plucky and courageous.
The moment everyone has been waiting for, which was the Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract signing between Seth Rollins, John Cena and Brock Lesnar. There are so many interesting angles here, but one of the most impressive aspects about this is that Rollins looked so comfortable in the midst of two huge ultra-mega-stars. The tension was high throughout this segment, Rollins cut Heyman off and stood up to both Lesnar and Cena. Cena delivered, again, a highly passionate speech about how he’s beat Rollins then Lesnar. The Lesnar interrupted his own manager to deliver a chilling paragraph reminding everyone of how dominant he is. He stated that he ‘conquered him, and then I conquered him,’ pointing in turn to two of the biggest burial artists ever to lace up a pair of wrestling boots. This, combined with Stephanie, HHH and the giggling security team’s reactions to Rollins speech stating that, just early in the night he pinned Cena in the centre of the ring. The fight erupted when Rollins wildly swung at Cena with his briefcase, Brock then hit Cena with a german duplex (which SuperCena didn’t sell at all). Cena got one up on Lesnar as he AA’d him through the table, however it was Rollins that was the last man standing as he delivered a curb stomp on Cena, and then had the audacity to hit Lesnar with one too. Rollins was the one standing with two future HOF’ers laying on their backs around him, and he looked like he belonged. As Cole stated, ‘What a night for Rollins’. The main event of the Rumble is, going to be an intriguing and uncompromising all out war!