The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/29/14


It’s the Happy New Year edition of Raw. Before I begin, make sure you set aside some time to read my 2014 WWE Johnny Awards. It my favorite column of the year and most likely the only wrestling awards that remember that David Otunga still works for WWE. Go read it!

Live from Washington, DC this is the Raw Deal for episode #1126. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

Raw began with a video package focusing on Edge’s in-ring retirement on Raw from April 11, 2011. They also showed clips of Edge and Christian from their tag team days in the late 1990s/early 2000s when they were my favorite team in the business and my favorite team ever along with the Hart Foundation.

Edge and Christian were introduced as the guest GMs of the night. Tony Chimel did the intros probably because they wanted to hear him do the “superstar” voice crack during Edge’s intro. Big reaction for them. Edge is wearing a Sami Zayn t-shirt under his jacket, which is awesome.

Christian said that they should do Raw E&C style. Christian wanted to host a Peep Show, but then Edge said that they should do a Cutting Edge instead. Edge said that the perverts of 1920 would pay a nickel to watch the Peep Show. Edge told Christian that they should show the fans why they’re the best tag team ever. They agreed to do a Cutting Edge Peep Show with Seth Rollins as the guest. Edge announced that Rollins will go one on one with Roman Reigns. Christian put Rusev in a champion vs. champion match against Dolph Ziggler. Then Christian said they’ll both be completely naked, but that he went a bit too far with that one. Edge said nobody wants to see that. Christian said “okay just Lana then” and Edge said okay. Just jokes. Sorry dudes. They moved on with Christian asking the fans if they want to see Daniel Bryan. Fans erupted in “yes” chants for him. They were ready to do a five second pose, but then Brock Lesnar’s music hit.

The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar made his entrance along with Paul Heyman. He got a huge reaction from the fans as he walked with the WWE Title on his shoulder. Heyman did a big intro for Lesnar saying that with one more shot to the head and one or both of them (E&C) would be in the hospital. Heyman said Lesnar isn’t there to go after them. He brought up John Cena.

John Cena’s music started up before Heyman could finish, so Cena marched down to the ring. Edge and Christian left the ring while Cena went face to face with Heyman and Lesnar. Cena said the only reason he’s not going to knock out Lesnar now is so that Lesnar doesn’t have an excuse at the Royal Rumble. Cena’s resolution is to win the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble and he had a gift for Heyman. Cena grabbed Heyman, then Lesnar attacked, Cena put Lesnar on his shoulders for the AA and Lesnar slipped out. Lesnar retreated to the floor with Heyman. Lesnar held up the WWE Title to taunt Cena as the heels went up the ramp.

Analysis: It’s the same formula that WWE does every week with the show opening promo. I don’t mind it with different guest GMs especially when they are guys I like such as Edge & Christian. Lawler mentioned Christian retiring in passing, but it was never really officially announced before that. They had some funny lines although it could have went a bit longer. Cena coming out to confront Lesnar was predictable and I like that they didn’t brawl. Having Lesnar escape is fine. Hopefully Lesnar does more than that.

(Commercial)

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev (w/Lana)

This is not for Ziggler’s IC Title or Rusev’s US Title. Rusev dominated early on elbow smashes and then a headlock. Ziggler came back with a nice dropkick and a jumping DDT for two. Rusev escaped to the floor, so they went to break three minutes into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Rusev was in control again as he applied another headlock. Ziggler broke free briefly by draping Rusev’s neck on the top rope and then Ziggler hit a missile dropkick off the middle rope to knock down Rusev. Fameasser by Ziggler for a two count. Rusev missed a corner splash, so Ziggler came back with a superkick for another two count. Rusev kicked Ziggler in the knee and then chucked Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Rusev aggressively attacked in the corner, he wouldn’t stop it so the ref DQ’d him for the loss after 10 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Dolph Ziggler

Post match, Rusev attacked Ziggler again. He gave him the Accolade submission hold against the middle ropes, which Ziggler sold really well. Ryback came out for the save, which caused Rusev to retreat.

Analysis: **1/2 That was an entertaining match for the time given. These two have some nice chemistry, which isn’t that surprising since Rusev is a mobile big guy while Ziggler sells Rusev’s power moves perfectly. Hopefully they can have a long term feud at some point in 2015. Right now the focus is on Rusev and Ryback. They had to do that finish since Rusev can’t get pinned or submitted because of that undefeated thing going on. I know people hate the finish and I do too, but at least the match before the finish was good for the time given.

Coming up on WWE Network after Raw, it’s WWE Rivalries featuring Edge & Christian against the Hardy Boys. They’re also showing WrestleMania 30 and the Hall of Fame ceremony on New Year’s Eve. Both are available on demand any time you want too, but they like plugging the live feed only.

The Miz and Damien Mizdow defend the tag titles against The Usos later on Raw.

(Commercial)

Ryback was in the ring for a promo saying he wanted to explain himself to the WWE Universe. He mentioned going to a WWE event when he was 12 years old and that was when he knew he wanted to get into wrestling. They showed a clip from ten years ago when he was on Tough Enough. He spoke about how he was depressed after he went on the show and was stuck in a dead-end job. He read a book called The Secret, so then he returned to wrestling because it changed his life and he got signed by WWE. He mentioned that he made his debut with a group called The Nexus, which led to the video of their attack on John Cena in the summer of 2010. Cole acknowledged his name was Skip Sheffield at that point.

He continued to talk about how he broke his ankle in 2010, then he showed a major scar on his left leg. He told us that doctors said he would never wrestle again, but then he returned as Ryback. A video showed his destruction as Ryback from a few years ago during his initial babyface push. Ryback said that this brings him to Rusev. He said it’s not about USA vs. Russia, it’s about one big guy kicking the ass of a big guy. Ryback said that he takes negatives and turns them into positives. He said he takes the negative things people say about him and he says “feed me more.” He led the crowd in “Feed Me More” chants and left the ring.

Analysis: That was solid. He’s not one of the best talkers on the roster, but it was good enough. That’s the kind of character development that more people need. It gives us some background to him as a performer without making up some ridiculous story from his past. They showed his Tough Enough start, he mentioned depression caused him to get knocked down, then he came back with his Nexus run, then the injury and then the return of Ryback. I’m glad that he was given five minutes to tell that story. If this happened two years ago it really would have helped him.

Later on Raw, Seth Rollins takes on Roman Reigns and is also going to talk to Edge & Christian.

(Commercial)

The Bellas were in the ring. A replay was shown of Natalya’s win over Brie last week. This week Natalya faces Nikki.

Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd) v. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)

This is not for Nikki’s Divas Title. Nikki was on the apron, Natalya shoved her and Tyson caught Nikki. Natalya tossed Nikki back into the ring. Brie went over to yell at Tyson at ringside. Natalya was distracted by that, so Nikki attacked with a forearm shot and then Nikki hit the Rack Attack for the win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nikki Bella

Post match, the Bellas celebrated while Tyson checked on his wife.

Analysis: Too short to rate. Why do they insist on giving divas matches such little time? It would be a refreshing change to see them get 7-10 minutes on a match on Raw. Instead, they barely get any time to do anything. I feel bad for the talent.

The Miz and Damien Mizdow were backstage. Naomi hugged Miz. She asked Mizdow to leave, so Miz got him out of there. She said that she’s going to meet with his agent after mentioning that the guy acted like he didn’t even know her. She wished him luck. Miz looked confused.

Analysis: The line about how the guy on the phone acted like he had no idea who she was is a hint that the guy Miz told her to call isn’t really connected in Hollywood, so she’s fallen for his trap or she’s fooling him.

Miz & Sandow vs. Usos is up after the break at the top of hour two.

(Commercial)

John Cena won some award for Celebs Gone Good so the announcers mentioned that. This is what WWE’s really saying: “Hey losers at home, stop booing Cena because he’s a better person than you.” Yes WWE, we know.

The tag teams made their entrances for the tag title match while Cole mentioned that The Usos get a title shot since they won by DQ at TLC. Miz and Mizdow are still carrying Slammy Awards.

Tag Team Titles: The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos

Miz started for his team against Jimmy as Naomi was shown watching the match backstage as Jey made the forearm smash for two. While Miz was getting pinned, Mizdow was mimicking the pinfall attempt on the apron because he’s awesome. Huge uppercut by Jey on Miz. There were some comedic bumps by Mizdow to draw some laughs from the crowd. Jey went for a dive over the top, but Miz blocked it and hit boot to the face. Fans chanted for Mizdow as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Miz continued on offense on Jey and then Jimmy received the hot tag. Jimmy hit a nice Samoan Drop on Miz. Jimmy sent Mizdow over the top to the floor. Enziguiri kick by Jimmy and then Jimmy hit a dive over the top rope took out Miz. Back in the ring, Miz hit a kick to the knee followed by a snap DDT for two. Jimmy nailed Miz with an uppercut followed by a corkscrew plancha that barely connected for two. Jimmy’s momentum was stopped as Miz applied the Figure Four Leglock on Jimmy in the middle of the ring, but Jimmy got to the ropes. Jimmy came back with a single leg crap where he also hooked Miz’ arm. Mizdow tossed Jey out of the ring. Miz tossed Mizdow in front of him to take a superkick. Jimmy knocked down Miz and tagged in Jey, who went for a Superfly Splash. Miz got his knees up, then Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale for just two. Good nearfall right there. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for that. Jimmy was the legal man as they each hit superkicks on Miz at the same time two times in a row. Jimmy hit a Superfly Splash for the pinfall win after 14 minutes. No Mizdow there for the save.

Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Usos

Post match, Naomi went into the ring to celebrated with the brothers with a big hug for her husband Jimmy.

Analysis: *** That was a very good tag team title match. Any time the Usos get 12 or more minute for a tag match it’s going to be above average. They’re awesome. It’s so unique watching Miz and Mizdow together because they don’t follow the tag team formula rule. Miz works most of the match, so it’s a different dynamic than what we’re used to. It was smart to do a tag title change because The Usos are the best team in WWE and they can feud with the Ascension in the near future.

The Usos were interviewed by Lawler. Jey said they’re going to celebrate with a barbecue and some champagne. Lawler wondered if he can bring Johnny Manziel and Jey said sure. Jimmy said that Miz thought they were playing them, but they ended up playing The Miz.

Analysis: Nice to see babyfaces outsmarted a heel for once since faces are usually booked to be idiots.

The announcers talked about Daniel Bryan’s announcement with Lawler saying he was concerned that Bryan might have to join the ranks of Edge & Christian, which is a hint at retirement.

Analysis: He’s not retiring. No way.

There was a video of The Shield with Seth Rollins turning on Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose, which was one of the biggest stories of the year. There were also highlights of their issues from later in the year. It’s Rollins vs. Reigns later on Raw.

(Commercial)

Cesaro sat in the corner of the ring and said that 2014 should have been his year. He walked to the center of the ring. He said that he won the Andre the Giant battle royal at WrestleMania, yet WWE decision makers are saying he doesn’t connect. Cesaro said that he didn’t care about connecting with the fans and he didn’t care about fancy elaborate entrance. All he cares about is what he does every time he steps into this ring. He actually goofed a bit when he said four ropes when he meant to say four sides of the ring, which he corrected. Cesaro said there’s nobody in WWE that can compete with him inside the ring.

The music of Bad News Barrett started up with him saying that he’s got some bad news. He told Cesaro that he may not connect with the people, but he’ll connect with Cesaro’s head. This is Barrett’s return after being out of action for six months after shoulder surgery.

Bad News Barrett vs. Cesaro

A huge boot to the face by BNB as the crowd chanted “BNB” for him although it wasn’t that loud. Cesaro took control by dropping Barrett across the security wall and then hitting a double axe in the ring. Cesaro applied a shoulder submission and then hit a German suplex. Cesaro hit a clothesline. Barrett came back with a kick to the head for two. Cesaro countered a slam with the Cesaro Swing for about five rotations followed by a single leg crab. While the ref was tending to the ring apron, BNB did an eye poke and then hit the Bull Hammer elbow for the victory after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bad News Barrett

Analysis: ** They had a physical match for the time given, but it wasn’t long enough to be really good. It’s nice to see Barrett back in action. I missed him. I’m not sure about booking him as a babyface, so maybe this is just a one time thing because they figured he would get cheered. The roster is loaded with top babyfaces right now. He’d be better off staying as a heel. Cesaro continues to be booked poorly. Just because he got to do a three minute promo before the match doesn’t mean he’s on the right track again. I’d rather see him teaming with Tyson Kidd regularly instead of losing singles matches all the time.

The Cutting Edge Peep Show with Edge & Christian talking to Seth Rollins is coming up later.

Luke Harper was backstage talking about how people like him get tossed aside like trash, but that he’s the product of our environment and he’ a nightmare come to life. He stared into the camera: “Sweet dreams.”

Analysis: A short promo for Harper. The camera focused in on his eyes.

(Commercial)

There was a promo for The Ascension that has played for weeks and it noted that they are debuting tonight.

Luke Harper vs. Jack Swagger

Harper was the aggressor early, Swagger nailed a clothesline and then Harper hit a dropkick for two. Swagger knocked Harper down outside the ring, so the show went to break there after two minutes of action.

(Commercial)

Harper took control during the break by sending Swagger into the steps. Back in the ring, Harper nailed Swagger with a boot to the face for two. Swagger made a comeback with a big clothesline. The crowd was pretty dead for this except when Swagger did the “We the People” chant. Power slam by Swagger for two. Harper with a superkick for two. Swagger with the Patriot Lock, but Harper got to the ropes. Harper countered the Swagger Bomb by getting his feet up and then hit the spinning Clothesline for the win after 10 minutes. JBL said it was the “Clothesline from Smell.” That was funny.

Winner by pinfall: Luke Harper

Analysis: ** It was the wrong match to give ten minutes with a commercial break because the crowd barely reacted to anything they did. Harper getting the win gives him some momentum after recently losing the IC Title to Ziggler a few weeks ago. Swagger rarely wins matches anymore. He’s really not much of a babyface.

Highlights were shown of John Cena and Brock Lesnar earlier in the night.

Cena was in the locker room with Edge and Christian. Cena was reminiscing about stuff with Edge. Christian awkwardly brought up that Edge once slapped Cena’s dad in the face. Then Christian left. Cena thanked Edge for everything he did for him and told Edge that he had a lot of respect for him. They shook hands and hugged.

Analysis: That was a cool moment. They had a lot of great matches together in the mid-2000s. Edge’s feud with Cena solidified both of them as top guys while providing us with some entertaining matches along the way. It’s fair to say they brought the best in each other.

Roman Reigns made his entrance for his match as the show neared the top of hour three.

(Commercial)

Big Show joined the commentary team for this match. Rollins had J&J Security with him.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (w/Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble)

Reigns was working on the arm of Rollins in the early going. Show was saying that Rollins is the future, not Reigns. I agree. They went outside the ring for a bit, but Rollins was able to get the momentum by slamming Roman’s head to the mat. Reigns came back with a power move, Rollins tried to escape to the floor and then Reigns nailed Rollins with the running dropkick outside the ring. After a distraction by J&J, Reigns was sent into the barricade at ringside and the show went to break there.

(Commercial)

Rollins was in control with a headlock while Show said that Rollins really is the future of the business. Rollins nailed his move in the corner where he whipped Reigns’ head into the middle turnbuckle. Forearm smash from Rollins, but Reigns came back with a tilt a whirl slam, which put both guys down in the ring. Reigns hit a leaping clothesline, then another clothesline and a spinning slam for two. Rollins did a very athletic counter and then a jumping sidekick for two followed by a standing side kick for two. Rollins wanted the Curb Stomp, but Reigns moved out of the way. Rollins hit a huge kick, then he missed a running attack and Reigns hit a Superman Punch. Reigns set up for the Spear, but Show grabbed his leg for the disqualification. Show tossed Reigns over the announce table, then he tossed the table on top of Reigns. The match went 15 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **3/4 That’s typical of a big match on Raw where they don’t deliver a clean finish because they want to keep both guys strong. Reigns isn’t going to lose clean for several months while Rollins is also protected as the top heel in the company. It’s like that Rusev/Ziggler match from earlier where they need to do something else instead of a normal finish. Rollins was phenomenal in the match. His athleticism showed as he hit kicks from a number of different positions and used his quickness very well. That’s partly why he’s my Wrestler of the Year in WWE. The crowd wasn’t that interested in the match. Maybe because it was later in the show. They were louder earlier in the night.

Post match, officials and doctors were checking on Reigns at ringside while Cole said that Reigns could be seriously hurt. Reigns was out on the floor.

Analysis: A good angle to put over the attack from Show. Tossing a guy onto chairs at ringside and then dumping over the world’s softest table really isn’t that bad, but Reigns sold it like it was major. Attacks like that help to put over Show as a monster heel.

(Commercial)

Back from the break, Reigns was helped to his feet.

Backstage, Rollins talked to Big Show and thanked him for what he did to Reigns. He told J&J Security to tell the world that during the Cutting Edge Peep Show he’s going to invite John Cena for a New Year’s toast.

There was a video package for the Dean Ambrose/Bray Wyatt feud. It led to the announcement that Bray Wyatt will face Ambrose in an Ambulance Match next week on Raw.

Wyatt did a promo backstage saying that they have reached the point of no return. Wyatt was sitting inside of the back of an ambulance. He said this is where their journey ends. Wyatt talked about how they will not be able to resuscitate him because he’s already dead. Wyatt closed the doors, then the ambulance drove off with the sirens blaring.

Analysis: WWE had a live event in Richmond with Wyatt and Ambrose working the main event. That’s why they weren’t at Raw. That Wyatt promo was likely shot last week or at some point during this weekend. Reigns worked the opener for that show, which he won in two minutes over Kane and then was brought to Raw for his match.

Daniel Bryan was shown backstage greeting R-Truth and The Usos as he headed to the ring for the next segment.

(Commercial)

This Tuesday on Main Event on WWE Network it’s Santino Marella’s New Year’s Party.

Daniel Bryan Announcement

Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a huge ovation filled with “yes” chants. His hair was tied in the back and he was wearing a dress shirt as opposed to one of his shirts.

Bryan said he was honored to be there on the last Raw of the year, but that it was always great to be in a ring. He wondered who would have thought that a small town kid from Aberdeen, Washington could headline a WrestleMania and then he said that “you” the fans believed in him. He mentioned beating Triple H, then Batista & Randy Orton to win the WWE Title in front of 75,000 people. I’m glad I was able to witness that. He added that five days after WrestleMania, he married the woman of his dreams and it was the greatest week of his life. Two days after he got back from his honeymoon, his dad died. Then a month after that he had a career threatening injury. All he could do was sit at home on his couch and watch. Bryan said that being in front of the fans is the only thing that could take the pain away. This is all that he’s ever loved in his life. He doesn’t think anybody cheered louder than he did when Dolph Ziggler pinned Seth Rollins and sent The Authority out of power. He spoke about doctors didn’t have anything for him. He even called Edge to ask for advice about his neck injury.

Bryan added that you get to the point where you have to make a decision of whether all of this is worth it or not. He said that he made a special request to make this announcement in front of us. “Is my career over?” Fans chanted “no” to that. Bryan said no. That is not the announcement. He’s ready to fight and he’s ready to compete. “Will I be in the 2015 Royal Rumble? Yes! Yes! Yes!” The crowd joined in on the “yes” chants as Bryan marched around the ring.

Analysis: That was an awesome moment. He did a really good job of milking it and getting all emotional. I had a feeling he was cleared to compete although I admit that I even had a little bit of doubt since he had some tears in his eyes. He’s definitely a favorite to win the Royal Rumble because it would make for an amazing story, but WWE is probably concerned with his healt, so they might be hesitant to put him in a WrestleMania main event again. For right now I’m sticking with the Roman Reigns pick.

Edge and Christian were backstage playing with the kazoos. Miz and Mizdow were there asking for a rematch for the tag titles. Edge said he’ll put them in a match, but it won’t be for the tag titles.

Analysis: The Ascension is set to debut, so they’re going to crush Miz and Mizdow.

(Commercial)

The Miz and Mizdow were in the ring.

The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) made their entrance. They didn’t get any pyro or anything special for the entrance. I figured that it would be more of a visually appealing entrance, but it was pretty basic. They had red paint on their foreheads.

The Ascension vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow

Konnor went after Mizdow right away. Viktor hit the STO on Mizdow. Konnor tagged in, knocked Miz off the apron and hit the Fall of Man for the win after two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Ascension

Post match, Miz was sulking on the floor against the security wall. He didn’t get to be in the match.

Analysis: The crowd was dead after the excitement of Bryan’s return news. Good debut for The Ascension although it felt rushed too.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Seth with J&J Security. He confirmed that he’s inviting John Cena for the main event and also Brock Lesnar. He left.

Analysis: That’s good. Glad we’ll see more of Lesnar.

(Commercial)

The Cutting Edge Peep Show

Edge and Christian were in the ring with the set that had their logos in the ring. There were stools in the ring along with the black carpet to make up the set. They brought out Seth Rollins, who had J&J Security with him.

Edge said that he was chipper and Christian wondered if Seth and the “geek squad” were getting their computers fixed. Rollins said those two were like heroes of him. Edge doesn’t really believe it. Christian said it was lame. Rollins wondered who had a better year than him and he ran down all of his accomplishments in 2014. Edge said Cena, Christian said Ziggler, then they ran down other names even saying Slick, but it wasn’t as funny as they hoped. Rollins reflected on the past month because of how difficult it’s been since Survivor Series. He said in 2015 that “party pooper” Seth Rollins is gone. Rollins brought out his buddy Big Show to the party.

Big Show entered the ring. He shook Seth’s hand. “New year, new us” said Rollins. That led to Rollins calling out John Cena to join the festivities. No Cena. He tried again calling for Cena, but no sign of him. Rollins said he was better than Edge, so Edge said that Rollins wouldn’t be better than him even if he had a live sex celebration with Big Show. Rollins said he wanted Cena to come out there because he wanted something from him. He called Cena out multiple times. Rollins hit Christian in the ribs with the briefcase. Edge shoved Rollins. Edge was surrounded in the ring, so Big Show grabbed him. Rollins set up Edge for the Curb Stomp and he urged Cena to come out, so of course Super Cena ran down to ringside.

Rollins told Cena that he knows what he wants from him and if he doesn’t give it to him then he will break Edge’s neck. Cena looked ready to fight, but Rollins had his foot above Edge’s head, which was on the briefcase and Big Show had his hand on Edge’s neck. Rollins mentioned that Edge was a husband and a father. Rollins said Cena’s going to give him what he wants, which is the return of The Authority in power. Rollins told Cena to bring The Authority back or else Rollins will paralyze Edge. Rollins kept on ranting, so Cena nodded his head and was saying “okay” while he stood outside the ring. Cena said “I’ll bring back The Authority.” Rollins checked to make sure. Cena said again that he would bring back The Authority. Rollins celebrated the news.

Rollins said he was still going to attack Edge, so Cena ran into the ring to take out Rollins. That saved Edge from the attack, but then Show nailed Cena with the KO Punch. Rollins hit a Curb Stomp to Cena. Rollins celebrated along with Big Show and J&J Security.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar stood on the ramp. Heyman shook Rollins’ hand. Lesnar just stood there with the WWE Title on his shoulder.

Triple H’s music started up with Hunter walking out on the stage with his wife Stephanie McMahon by his side. They were drinking champagne on the ramp while the other heels were beside them. JBL was all excited on commentary. Hunter gave Stephanie a celebratory kiss as the show went off the air.

Analysis: That was an eventful ending. I thought Rollins did a good job on the microphone in that segment. He’s not an elite talker right now, but it was good enough. Maybe it ran a bit long. Cut off a few minutes and it would have been better. Cena stood there outside the ring as if he couldn’t go in the ring or he’d get his ass kicked, then he got in there to attack Rollins after Cena brought back The Authority. Are there no other babyfaces that are willing to help Cena in that situation? I guess not.

The Authority’s return really isn’t that surprising to me although seeing it this week is a bit earlier than I figured. I just knew that when they lost at Survivor Series that they’d have to be back somehow before the Royal Rumble. During this show I was wondering why WWE didn’t announce anybody as the guest host for next week’s Raw and that’s when it really hit me that they were going to do something to bring them back or somebody else back to be in power.

As I was writing these final thoughts, I got all kinds of tweets from people complaining about Hunter & Stephanie being back. I get that. People are sick of them. The thing is, they legitimately run the company with Vince McMahon and it’s unrealistic to think that they’re going to be off TV for that long. I get why people are mad. It’s just that the guest GM concept wasn’t going to last that long. I guess I’ve just watched too much WWE in my life to know that these stipulations rarely mean anything.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Daniel Bryan – The news of his return makes me very happy.

2. Seth Rollins

3. Bad News Barrett

 

The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 6

2014 Average: 5.86

2014 High: 9 (April 7 & June 30)

2014 Low: 3 (September 1)

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5.5, 4.5, 5, 3.5

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10.

The last 7.5 was July 21. There were a few 7’s since then. It wasn’t best of the year good, but it was the best Raw in five months.

My favorite part of the show was Daniel Bryan’s return and announcement that he’ll be back in action for the Royal Rumble. There was a lot of genuine concern about if he could ever wrestling again. I’m glad that he’s in better health now. WWE really needs him to be the spark that he is.

The good thing about this show is that we got some fresh matchups for most of the show. It was nice seeing Rusev/Ziggler, Barrett/Cesaro and Harper/Swagger even though the crowd didn’t get into that last match too much.

There were some dead spots during the show, but the good far outweighed the bad. It seems as though WWE has figured it out on this final Raw of the year and perhaps they have a good plan in place for the Royal Rumble as well as WrestleMania.

What’s next with The Authority in charge? They’ll go back to making like difficult for the babyfaces. It ends Raw on a cliffhanger although like I said earlier, some fans hate it just because they’re so sick of Hunter and Stephanie.

I’m looking forward to 2015. These last four months were pretty poor. Thanks to this show and the upcoming Royal Rumble, perhaps WWE can turn a corner. I sure hope so.

—–

That’s all for this week.

A reminder that the 2014 WWE Johnny Awards are up, so check those out if you haven’t done so already.

Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture. One of my recent posts on there was a look at ten feuds I’d like to see in WWE in 2015. There are also rankings of the top divas of the year and the top PPVs of 2014 as well.

Happy New Year. Be safe.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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