The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/09/15
Live from Columbus, Ohio this is the Raw Deal for episode #1132. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
There was a recap of last week’s key Raw events with the promo that opened that show.
Roman Reigns entered through the crowd. A recap was shown from last week when Reigns lost to Big Show thanks to Rollins interfering and then helping Bryan survive against The Authority.
The Show Opening Promo Extravaganza
Reigns did a promo saying that because he won the Royal Rumble he should be going to WrestleMania where he’ll beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. He said that The Authority made it clear that he’s not the guy they want in that spot, so he’ll beat Bryan at Fast Lane and then Lesnar at WrestleMania. Reigns said if you’ve got a problem with him then he’s got a spear with your name on it. He stuttered briefly during the speech, but otherwise did fine. He wasn’t booed either.
Daniel Bryan’s music started up and he came down to join in the show opening promo party. He said he wasn’t there to fight him. He was there to thank Reigns because he gave Big Show a Spear last year so Bryan thanked him. Bryan understood that Roman is bigger, stronger and when it comes to looks, he’d call it even. Good joke. Bryan said that when it comes to wrestling, “I am the better wrestler than you.” Truth.
They were cut off by Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Big Show and Kane. They stood on the ramp while plugging Fast Lane. Triple H called out Sting saying he wanted to hear from Sting by the end of the night. Hunter didn’t call Sting a vigilante. I was tuning out the boring Authority promo, but Bryan had a funny line.
Stephanie referenced the Casket Match that Bryan won against Kane on Smackdown a couple of weeks ago. Bryan told her that they booked the match. Bryan: “Because of what your husband has done in caskets, I thought you’d appreciate it!” Tremendous Katie Vick reference. Anyway, Stephanie set up the predictable tag match up next.
Analysis: The tag match setup was obvious. This followed the formula of a 15 minute show opening promo. It’s become the standard. Usually it sets up a match for later, but instead we get the match now. Bryan’s Katie Vick line won that segment. No doubt.
Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns vs. Kane and Big Show
Hunter and Stephanie were sitting at ringside. Bryan sent Kane to the floor and then hit a dive on him to knock him down. Reigns was on offense against Kane, then Show tagged in and Reigns hit a DDT on Show. Show hit a headbutt on Reigns, brought in Kane with the headlock of boredom and Reigns hit a suplex to get out. Bryan received the tag as he went after Show. Bryan hit two running dropkicks in the corner, then a dropkick to the knee, several “yes” kicks to the chest and a kick to the head. Show went to the floor, Bryan went up top, jumped off and was caught by Show & Kane, who tossed Bryan back first into the ropes. That led to the floor to commercial break.
Back from break, the heels were working over Bryan with Kane applying a bearhug. Show tagged in to step on Bryan as Daniel continued as the face in peril with JBL calling him a farm animal. Show went to the middle rope for an elbow drop, but of course he missed that. Kane tagged in, then hit Reigns with an uppercut and knocked him off the apron. Bryan put Kane in the Yes Lock, Show yanked Bryan out of the ring and throw him over the guard rail. The referee called for a DQ. The match went about 11 minutes.
Winners by DQ: Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns
Analysis: *3/4 The DQ finish is always lame, but it’s understandable why they did it because of what followed. It was a standard match without a finish.
Post match, Reigns tried to save Bryan. He shoved Kane away, but Show overpowered him with a chair shot to the back. As Show slowly went into the ring, Reigns came back with a Superman Punch. Reigns attacked with the chair with about six chair shots to the body and then one final chair shot sent Show outside the ring. Kane went into the ring for a Chokeslam, Roman slipped out and Bryan ran into the ring with a running dropkick that nailed Roman because Kane moved. That led to Kane slipping to the floor, so Roman yelled at Bryan about what he did. The Roman shoved Bryan.
Hunter announced another tag match for later in the night with Bryan and Reigns facing Big Show, Kane, Joey Mercury, Jamie Noble and Seth Rollins, who walked out to ringside.
Analysis: They love booking tag matches don’t they? It’s 5 on 2 later in the show. Roman showed good fire in coming back against Show. I liked the Bryan kick on Reigns because they have to tease some tension at some point. It’s a good way to set up the tag match later too. I’m not sure who has a tag match fetish, but somebody in WWE creative does.
Seth Rollins (w/Joey Noble & Joey Mercury) vs. Ryback
Rollins hit a neckbreaker early on as he controlled the action in the ring. Even after the Noble distraction, Ryback came back with a Spinebuster on Rollins. Noble and Mercury attacked Ryback, so the ref disqualified Rollins. The match went three minutes. Cole was complaining about another match ending like that.
Winner by disqualification: Ryback
Post match, they continued the assault. Ryback hit a Curb Stomp on Ryback.
Analysis: * It was predictable. Rollins is working the main event, so makes sense that he wouldn’t work a long match here. You see how I barely did play by play on this match? Because I could smell the DQ coming. I understand it’s just part of the story to make life unfair for all the babyfaces, but they tend to overdo it.
Triple H wants an answer from Sting. That doesn’t mean Sting is there. It’s just Hunter wanting an answer.
There was a video package for the return of Sheamus. It didn’t say when he’s coming back.
Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) vs. Paige
I still hate that Brie Mode song. Brie was in control early with a running knee against the ropes, which is the best move she does. Brie applied a leg lock to slow it down and then Brie hit a dropkick off the middle ropes for two. They did a double slap, then Paige hit three clotheslines and a dropkick for her comeback. Nikki jumped on the apron, Paige hit the Rampaige DDT and that was enough for the win after three minutes. The crowd popped for it. Paige had “RIP Drew McDonald” written on her forearms because he was a British wrestler that passed away on Monday and was close with her family.
Winner by pinfall: Paige
Post match, Nikki tried to attack, Paige ducked and escaped to celebrate the win. She meets Nikki for the Divas Title at Fast Lane.
Analysis: * It was a typical divas match on Raw that got only three minutes and felt rushed like they all do. Paige’s comeback offense was good as well as the way she tossed Brie into Nikki to prevent the interference. Big fan of the Rampaige DDT finishing move too. It was fine for the time given.
Later on Raw we’ll hear from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Up next is Rusev.
Rusev and the ravishing Russian Lana came out for a promo to pay tribute to John Cena, who Rusev is facing at Fast Lane. It’s so weird that it is for Rusev’s US Title. Lana said that Cena’s never give up attitude has led him to be one of the best fighting champions in WWE history. She said she wanted to recognize John Cena’s career.
A John Cena video package aired of some of his highlights, but then it also featured some of the more famous attacks against him. There were things like the Nexus beating him up, Big Show tossing him into a spotlight, Batista powerbomb that hurt his neck, the elbow injury, Brock Lesnar destroying him and more. Clever.
Lana said that 13 years is a long time and she wonders how long Cena can keep going. She said that even though Cena looks strong, he’s really vulnerable. She claimed that he was a man waiting for annihilation. Rusev grabbed the microphone and he said that Cena wasn’t what he used to be, so the crowd shouted “what” at him. Rusev said “you don’t what me, I’m a hero.” He kept on ranting with the crowd chanting “what” at him.
John Cena’s music interrupted and he did a promo from the ramp. His right eye looked bruised up. He told them to shut the hell up and that they’re both full of themselves or full of crap. Cena said that he’s been through a lot in 13 years, but every single time he gets knocked down he gets backed up. Cena said that Rusev needs a lesson in respect. Cena did a fired up promo saying this “old man” is going to adjust his attitude and then Rusev will say: “Lana help Rusev, Rusev have booboo spot.” Cena kept calling himself an old man saying that at Fast Lane “this old man is going to whip your ass.” Fans chanted “USA” for Cena as Rusev was furious in the ring.
Rusev made fun of Cena by saying that Cena can’t see him with his bad eye. Cena: “Rusev’s got the jokes. It’s just a shame that Lana has the balls.” Cena challenged him to fight.
They brawled outside the ring with Rusev doing a takedown, then Cena did a takedown and Rusev came back with an eye poke to the bad right eye. Rusev tossed Cena into the screens by the entrance ramp. Referees broke it up before it gets any further as the show went to break.
Analysis: That was a solid 10 minute segment to add some heat to this rivalry. Last week they didn’t do anything for it, so they needed something like this. Rusev targeting the eye was a good way to do the attack. As far as I know the eye injury is legit enough that Cena was given house shows off this weekend. They may have added some makeup to make it look worse, but he did have some kind of eye injury from last week. It was weird to hear Cena saying he was an old man repeatedly. He’s 37. It’s not that old especially in wresting when Lesnar is the same age as him. The crowd was into the segment and very supportive of Cena. I’m looking forward to their match.
There was a replay of Rusev winning that battle with Cena.
Bray Wyatt vs. Dolph Ziggler
There was a slow pace to the start of it, but Ziggler hit a dropkick while Wyatt was on the apron. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Wyatt was in control with a headlock and he had a bloody nose from the Ziggler dropkick from earlier. They ran the ropes, then Wyatt hit a running body attack to the stomach of Ziggler. There was a brief comeback by Ziggler with a jawbreaker, then a back elbow and an impressive leaping DDT for two. Wyatt ducked the Fameasser, then Ziggler was able to hit one and then a Superkick, but Wyatt kicked out at two. Booker told Ziggler to hook the leg a little tighter. Wyatt escaped to the floor again. Ziggler ran at Wyatt full speed, then Wyatt turned around and nailed a massive clothesline. Ziggler sold it like he was knocked out. Wyatt brought Ziggler into the ring, did his upside down pose, the crab walk and then he hit Sister Abigail for the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: *** There were some high impact moves in that match including the running body attack in the ring and that massive clothesline when they were outside the ring. At no point did I think Ziggler would win because Wyatt has been booked strong in preparation for the WrestleMania match against Undertaker. The announcers even said that Wyatt looked as good as he ever has. They have great chemistry. A feud between them down the road would be awesome although Ziggler has fallen a great deal from where he was a few months ago.
Post match, Wyatt pulled off a mat cover outside the ring, but the referees told him to stop. Then they showed replays of what happened. Back to the live shot, Wyatt just looked at Ziggler, who looked like he was out.
Analysis: That was a weird tease with the exposed mat attack. I was thinking Ryback would come out since they teased the idea that he was going to team with Ziggler, but no sign of him.
The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Booker T set up a video package for Black History Month. It focused on the Junkyard Dog by showing clips of his pre-WWE career, his run in WWE and Hall of Fame induction in 2004. Booker called him an American hero that was one of his all-time favorites.
Still to come is the 5 on 2 match. It’s Heyman and Lesnar time up next.
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman entered for a promo. Heyman said that he’s been authorized to share some information on behalf of The Best, Brock Lesnar. He said that society doesn’t care about credible information and then brought up NBC news man Brian Williams with his recent lies. Heyman called Reigns and Bryan the biggest liars in our society by saying that if they think they have a chance against Lesnar then they are just lying to all of us as well as themselves.
Heyman talked about how Reigns looked afraid when he looked at Lesnar and said that the yellow stuff running down his leg was not pineapple juice. Heyman shifted the focus to Bryan with the “yes” chant. He called him an overachieving underdog. “Look at Daniel Bryan and look at Brock Lesnar – do you really think Bryan has a chance?” Most said “yes” and some were saying no. Heyman put over Bryan’s ability to pull off big wins, but wonders if we believe if Bryan can be the one to beat the one in 21-1.
Heyman said that it didn’t matter who won at Fast Lane because the winner of that match should go in a helicopter with Brian Williams and face enemy fire. He compared that to facing Lesnar in a championship match. Heyman re-iterated his usual lines about all of Lesnar’s accomplishments.
Analysis: It was a standard promo from Heyman, which is very good as usual. It would be nice if Lesnar did more than just stand there for five minutes while Heyman talked because WWE doesn’t get to use Lesnar every week, but I get why they did it. It was just Heyman driving home the point that Lesnar will be tough to beat for the WWE Title. As much as I like Heyman and Lesnar, it wasn’t a must-see segment. It was just a regular promo.
The 5 on 2 is still to come.
The New Day tried to hype of the crowd and the crowd still doesn’t care that much.
Kofi Kingston & Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Goldust & Stardust
Stardust walked up the ramp about a minute into the match. Goldust yelled at him. Kofi rolled up Goldust and that was the end of the match. There was barely any reaction to this. It went about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Kofi Kingston & Big E
Analysis: 1/2* It was so rushed with Stardust walking away. The split of the Rhodes brothers continues, which could lead to the end of Stardust and Cody challenging Goldust at WrestleMania. This was fine. Just a standard tag team split.
Daniel Bryan was interviewed by the lovely Renee Young backstage. He couldn’t really say anything before Reigns showed up to say that they can get along. Reigns said they had a common enemy in The Authority and then at Fast Lane they will have their match.
Up next, Triple H wants an answer from Sting.
Backstage, Goldust went up to Stardust and said this is Dustin talking. He called him “Cody” and Stardust shoved him against a wall, so Goldust went down. Stardust said that Cody is dead while Stardust lives.
Analysis: The return of Cody is coming, but I’m glad they aren’t rushing it.
Triple H was in the ring for a promo talking about how nearly everything was taken away because of one man: Sting. Hunter talked about how Sting was the face of WCW and now 14 years later, Sting has the guts to come to WWE. He claims that Sting knew that if he came to WWE that Hunter would expose him. Hunter rips on Sting for attacking like a coward at Survivor Series. Hunter said he’s a man that is calling Sting out for Fast Lane to stand in the ring face to face with Hunter. Hunter claimed he was a patient man, but he hasn’t heard from Sting for two weeks so he wants an answer now.
The lights went dark in the arena as crow sounds filled up the arena. There were spotlights on different parts of the arena. The video of Hunter’s sitdown interview aired. It said “Triple H” on the screen. Then a dude in a Sting outfit was in the ring, but it didn’t look like Sting. Back to the screen, it said “I Accept” and then the show went to break with Hunter looking freaked out.
Analysis: It was a promo that was done to set up a promo. That was a necessary step in the story because it was their way of telling the fans that Sting is showing up at Fast Lane, so if you want to see him you better see the show. That Fast Lane segment will be WWE’s way of setting up their WrestleMania match. I didn’t mind this segment because it only took about six minutes. Hunter didn’t ramble as much as he does sometimes. It was a decent way to promote Sting without even putting him on the show. Good mind games style of segment.
The announcers talked about John Cena suffering an eye injury from earlier. Poor “old man” Cena.
They showed a clip from the double date on Smackdown where Cesaro punched Jimmy Uso in the restaurant.
The Usos (w/Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (w/Natalya)
This is non-title. The heels made some quick tags, but Jimmy whipped Kidd with a hard corner whip and Jey tagged in with a body slam. Tag team moves by The Usos as Cole talked about Total Divas issues while I wanted to hit mute. Jimmy hit a punch that sent Kidd to the floor, but Kidd came back with a jumping attack using his feet to send Jimmy to the floor with him. Natalya told Naomi to get out of her face as the show went to break.
There was a back drop by Jimmy on Kidd, but Cesaro tagged in with a suplex. The heels did some quick tags to isolate Jimmy as the face in peril. Cesaro nailed him with some huge uppercuts. Jimmy hit an enziguiri kick on Cesaro to knock him out of the ring. Hot tag to Jey as Kidd also tagged in. Jey hit a running headbutt in the corner, but Kidd avoided a corner attack. Jey was knocked down by Kidd, so Jimmy hit a dive over the top to take out Cesaro. Springboard attack by Kidd and Jey nailed a superkick for two. Great nearfall. Jey was able to get control again and went to the top for a splash, but Cesaro knocked him off and Jey went crashing to the mat. Kidd covered for the win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
Analysis: **3/4 A good tag team match by two awesome teams. It’s no surprise that the heels won the non-title match because it sets up a tag team title match at Fast Lane, which should be great. The finish fell a little flat and there weren’t as man nearfalls as I would have liked, but it was still cool with me. I’m looking forward to more matches as well as longer matches for them. It would have been stronger if Cesaro hit an uppercut shot for the finish just because it could have been more devastating than just shoving him off the top rope.
The next WWE Hall of Fame inductee was announced: Rikishi. The video basically ignored his run as a Headshrinker, Fatu making a difference and The Sultan while only focusing on his singles run as Rikishi. The video showed the stinkface. It also focused on his twin sons The Usos. They focused on his dancing as well. After the video aired, The Usos were in the ring celebrating and leading the crowd in cheers for their father.
Analysis: It was announced earlier in the day. It’s not like he’s one of the best wrestlers ever, but he was a long time WWE employee that found success as the dancing fat man. In terms of major wins and feuds, he really wasn’t a difference maker. However, in the WWE Hall of Fame it doesn’t always matter what guys did. As long as you stay on their good side and you were a long time employee you have a shot to get in.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow were shown walking backstage.
There was a commercial for NXT Takeover: Rival on Wednesday on WWE Network and the announcers talked about it differently. It’s a shame that WWE doesn’t promote NXT more. It’s awesome. I wrote some predictions for the show.
Sin Cara vs. Damien Mizdow (w/The Miz)
Last week Sin Cara had a surprising win over The Miz, so this week he faces Mizdow. Miz told Mizdow he’s not his stunt double and to stop imitating Miz. Suplex by Mizdow for two. Fans were chanting “Let’s Go Mizdow” for him. Dropkick by Mizdow sent Sin Cara outside the ring. Miz was on the microphone and he told Mizdow to get him a bottle of water. When Mizdow gave him the water, then Miz told him to open it. Sin Cara hit a dive over the top rope to take out Mizdow. Fans were chanting “you’re from Cleveland” at Miz and he said “better than Columbus” to them, so they booed. Clever. Back to the match, Mizdow hit a Miz-like backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Mizdow went for the Figure Four Leglock and Miz told him that he made that move famous and to get his own moves. Sin Cara got an inside cradle for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sin Cara
Analysis: 1/2* It was one of those matches where I have to bust out my “it was an angle more than a match” phrase. Sin Cara beat both guys in back to back weeks and neither win really mattered that much. It was all about Miz trying to mess with Mizdow. He was effective in terms of distracting him. The split with Mizdow going against Miz is coming any week now.
The announcers plugged WWE Network. The one year anniversary is coming up.
Bray Wyatt did a promo from a mystery location. He talked about where we go when we die by saying some think we are one with the earth and others think we go to a special place. He said that to some, this world is our hell. Wyatt talked about how he doesn’t fear “you” anymore. He yelled “find me” to end it.
Analysis: It’s for The Undertaker. He’s probably going to show up on the February 23 Raw after Fast Lane.
Dean Ambrose was shown walking backstage. Remember when he had a featured role? Not anymore.
There was another video package for the return of Sheamus. No date was announced.
Curtis Axel was in the ring pointing at the WrestleMania sign again. He said that he never lost the Royal Rumble match. He told the people to use #AxelMania to keep the movement alive. Ambrose’s music cut him off.
Dean Ambrose vs. Curtis Axel
Axel was in control for about a minute, then Ambrose made the comeback with the Dirty Deeds DDT for the easy win. It went about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Analysis: Just an easy win for Ambrose. I really do miss when Ambrose was in a more featured role.
Ambrose yelled for Bad News Barrett saying that he wanted his IC Title match and for his face to be on the all of champions. Barrett showed up on the screen from the Bad News Zone. He said that just like Kim Kardashian wearing a robe doesn’t make her prestigious like Ric Flair, Ambrose doesn’t deserve a shot at him just because he thinks it.
Analysis: They’re obviously going to get that match. The BNZ thing was nothing special. Why get rid of the “bad news” bit for that? I guess WWE just loves TMZ too much.
The 5 on 2 tag is next.
Roman Reigns made his entrance first followed by Daniel Bryan. Seth Rollins entered along with Kane, Big Show and J&J Security. Rollins had a bad night as some very personal photos were posted online during this show. I’ve been watching and writing about this show, but it’s pretty bad from what I’ve read.
Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show, Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble
The heels did a vicious attack to start things off with Kane and Show hitting a double chokeslam on Reigns. They tossed Reigns out of the ring as they focused on Bryan. Rollins hit some German suplexes on Bryan. Show crushed Bryan with some chops and a body slam. Noble, in a dress shirt as well as slacks, worked over Bryan with some punches. Mercury tagged in with an elbow drop. Bryan gave him the Yes Lock, but Rollins broke it up and Kane tagged in to nail Bryan with a clothesline. The crowd was pretty dead as Kane hit a Chokeslam for two as Reigns made the save. The Authority attacked Reigns as a group and Show nailed Reigns with a KO Punch. Rollins gave Bryan the Powerbomb into the turnbuckle for two.
The match broke down from there as it looked like The Authority was about to put Bryan through a table. Ryback’s music started up, so he walked down with Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan. Ziggler took out Rollins and Kane with a dive while Show was off with Ryback.
Bryan was alone in the ring with J&J Security. He fought back with a missile dropkick on both guys. Bryan hit kicks to the chest on both guys followed by hard kicks to the head for each man. Bryan wanted to hit the running knee, but Reigns tagged in and hit a Spear on Mercury. Reigns covered for the win. The match went about 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan
Analysis: ** The faces outsmarted the heels for a change. I liked seeing the three faces come out to help Bryan and Reigns, which led to the win for Bryan and Reigns. It was nice to see Bryan had some help this week after last week’s Smackdown ended with nobody helping him when he was attacked. The bit where Reigns tagged in for the win was very predictable because we’ve seen that kind of booking many times before in WWE history.
Post match, Bryan looked at Reigns with a puzzled look on his face. The Authority was shown watching backstage. Bryan was yelling at Reigns about how he was on the floor for the entire match. Bryan shoved Reigns, so Reigns bounced off the ropes and nailed Bryan with a Spear. The crowd was pretty quiet, but there was a good reaction to that.
Hunter and Stephanie, who were shown backstage watching a monitor, seemed to enjoy the two faces having issues. Apparently they don’t care that their guys lost a 5 on 2 match because they are terrible. Following replays of what happened, Reigns walked away while Bryan was selling the Spear in the ring and that was the end of Raw.
Analysis: It’s not a heel turn by Reigns. It’s just typical WWE booking. Once again this is standard booking when two faces are in a big match. They always do this kind of thing where they can’t get along. Bryan accidentally hit Reigns at the start of the show so Reigns hit that Spear on purpose here. Bryan will hit Reigns with a running knee on Smackdown or Raw next week. It’s very basic stuff. I was hoping Lesnar would come out to go after both guys. Instead, the show just ended with a whimper.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan – For the Katie Vick reference more than anything.
2. Roman Reigns
3. Bray Wyatt
4 out of 10
Last week: 6
Last 5 Weeks: 6, NR, 4.5, 4.5, 7.5
2015 Average: 5.3
2015 High: 7.5 (Jan 5)
2015 Low: 4 (Feb 9)
I’m giving it a 4 out of 10.
That’s my lowest score of the year. It was just a very average and uneventful three hour show. I kept waiting for something big to happen like Randy Orton to show up as a surprise or Lesnar beating people up, but nothing really happened.
The closest thing that felt exciting was the fake Sting showing up to scare Hunter, but really that was just a promo to set up another promo. It’s not that big of a deal.
I thought they did a poor job of using Lesnar. He should do more than just stand there for five minutes while Heyman does the same promo he always does.
It seems like they’re going to do Rollins, Kane and Show against Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan at Fast Lane since they’ve announced nothing for those guys. That makes sense as a match.
In terms of in-ring action, Wyatt’s win over Ziggler and the Kidd/Cesaro win over Usos were pretty good. Other than that it was standard stuff all night.
There was no Randy Orton sighting as has been rumored for about a month.
If you missed this show, you really missed nothing.
That’s all for this week.
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John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org