The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/05/15

TJR/Melo Man

Live from Corpus Christi, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1127. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

There was a video package showing the events from last week leading to The Authority returning in power. The show opening video aired. That doesn’t happen very often anymore.

The ring was filled with WWE superstars standing in the ring and others outside the ring. Hey look Darren Young is back from his knee injury. John Cena said he apologized to the fans as well as his co-workers. He thought that last week maybe Seth Rollins was bluffing when he threatened to break Edge’s neck, so he did what he thought was right by saving a friend like Edge. Cena said 2015 is going to be a tough year, but then the music of Triple H started up.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon stood on the ramp. She welcomed us to Monday Night Raw while wishing that we had a Happy New Year. She said they were back doing what they were born to do – entertaining us. Hunter said people were happy two months ago when they lost all thank to that “face painting goof” Sting. Hunter said he knew the fan were begging him to come back. Hunter mocked Hogan as GM as well as the computerized Raw GM. He said it was a sinking ship, but now things are back to where they should have been and it’s all because of one man. Hunter brought out Seth Rollins.

Rollins appeared on the ramp and was greeted with “you sold out” chants. Rollins wished Cena a Happy New Year. Hunter said he’s going to try to make things right for Rollins. Hunter reminded us that John Cena will face Brock Lesnar, but he also added the Rollins will be a part of that match so it’s now Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins at the Royal Rumble.

Analysis: I like the change. Another Cena/Lesnar match would have been boring, so adding Rollins to the mix will be a nice addition since he was my Wrestler of the Year last year. Plus, there’s the added twist of having the Money in the Bank briefcase so there are a lot of possibilities.

Stephanie said that they’re not going to punish Cena because he’s the one that brought them back to control the show. She added that it would be John Cena Appreciation Night. Cena looked confused. Stephanie guaranteed that The Authority will deliver. Hunter told the roster that it’s a new era for The Authority and that everyone will get what they deserve.

Hunter told Dolph Ziggler he had to defend the IC Title against Bad News Barrett, who never really lost the title. That match is coming up next.

Analysis: It was the typical promo to open the show. The whole thing took about 15 minutes counting the opening video. Hunter and Stephanie had a lot of energy in their delivery. They were gone for less than two months, but it was still long enough that they are at least a little fresh. The Cena “Appreciation Night” could be good or a total trainwreck. You just never know.

The announce team for tonight is Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Booker T sitting in for Jerry Lawler, who was ill over the past week with a bout of diverticulitis. All the best to him in his recovery. JBL: “This card is more loaded than Johnny Manziel on the weekend.” Great line. Ambrose vs. Wyatt in an Ambulance Match is coming up later.

(Commercial)

There were in-ring intros for the IC Title match. Eden is ring announcing this week.

Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett

I like having title matches on television. As Hunter said, Barrett never lost the title because he got hurt when he was champion. Barrett hit a kick to the gut as Booker said that BNB hasn’t lived up to his potential yet. Barrett went for a slam, Ziggler countered it, rolled him up and got the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler

Post match, Barrett attacked Ziggler from behind. He tossed Ziggler outside the ring and then threw him shoulder first into the barricade at ringside two times. Barrett sent Ziggler into the steel steps. Ziggler was selling by grabbing his arm. Barrett whipped Ziggler face first into the steel ring post and then drove him back first into the side of the ring. Barrett tossed Ziggler shoulder first into the post two times. The announcers wondered why nobody was coming out to help Ziggler.

Kane’s music started up. He was in a suit at the top of the ramp. He announced that this Ziggler/Barrett match is two out of three falls. The ref rang the bell.

Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett (Fall #2)

The second fall saw Barrett hit a running boot to the face and then hit Wasteland for the fall. It’s now 1-1 in this match.

Winner by pinfall for fall #2: Bad News Barrett

Doctors went into the ring to check on Ziggler as the show went to break.

Analysis: That first match was quick because it was just part of the angle with Barrett destroying Ziggler. Nobody came out to help Ziggler since he was against The Authority at Survivor Series when he got the decisive pinfall, so they didn’t want anybody to help him. Good storyline continuity. Barrett’s attack looked great and no surprise that Ziggler sold it well. It’s also a good cliffhanger going into a commercial.

(Commercial)

Following the break, doctors were still checking on Ziggler. Ziggler told them to leave and that he was ready to go.

Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett (Fall #3)

It’s tied 1-1 right now with Kane sitting at ringside. Barrett got another boot to the face and Wasteland for a two count. Nice nearfall. Another boot to the face by Barrett for two. Ziggler tried to fight back by hitting a nice dropkick. He missed a corner splash, so Barrett got a two count out of that. A hard boot to the gut got a two count for Barrett. Ziggler got some space after Barrett missed a corner charge, which led to a Ziggler splash as well as a neckbreaker. Winds of Change (Bossman Slam) by Barrett for two as Kane looked frustrated. Ziggler ducked out of the way of the Bull Hammer elbow and hit a superkick for a two count. Kane jumped on the apron, Ziggler took him down with a superkick and then when he turned around, he was met by a Bull Hammer elbow from Barrett. That led to Barrett covering for the win after six minutes.

Winner and New Intercontinental Champion 2 falls to 1: Bad News Barrett

Post match, Kane raised the hand of Barrett while Ziggler was in pain in the ring. Barrett held up five fingers to signify his 5th IC Title reign.

Analysis: **1/2 That was an entertaining short match for that final fall. It was a cheap win by Barrett, which was how it should be. What’s frustrating is there have been three IC Title changes in less than two months now, so the title is becoming something of a hot potato. I’m happy that Barrett got the title back since he never lost it and it didn’t hurt Ziggler much since it was cheap. It will help Ziggler to be in a feud with The Authority because it will make him look like a bigger star. Holding the IC Title isn’t something he needs to do anymore. Let Ziggler move on up.

For John Cena Appreciation Night, they showed a clip of Cena’s debut against Kurt Angle on Smackdown in 2002. More Cena stuff all night long.

(Commercial)

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show is coming up later. The announcers talked about it while discussing their incident from last week when Big Show tossed Reigns onto the announcer chairs at ringside and tossed a table onto him. At Smackdown, Reigns got the advantage by dumping the announce table onto Show.

Roman Reigns was interviewed by Renee Young backstage. He said he didn’t know what to expect from Show, but that Show can expect a beating. He also threw in some Superman references for good measure.

Analysis: Decent promo from Reigns. Not too long. Some people hate him because of his promos. I don’t mind him at all.

Bray Wyatt did a backstage promo talking about how this is the end of the journey with Dean Ambrose. He told us that the devil is real and he’s not just somebody with a tail. Wyatt said tonight he walks beside him. Run! That led to a break.

Analysis: Based on that promo and other things they’ve said, this is probably the last Wyatt/Ambrose match on TV for a while. I’m okay with that although I like both guys, so if they feud again later in their careers that would be fine with me.

(Commercial)

The Ascension’s intro is cool, but they really need pyro. Blame budget cuts for the lack of pyro in WWE these days.

Viktor talked about how throughout the history of WWE, there have been great tag teams like Demolition and the Road Warriors. They said they could take them. Viktor said “What a Rush” and Viktor said “What a joke.” JBL said it was ridiculous that they compared themselves to the Road Warriors.

The Ascension vs. Two Local Wrestlers

There were no names announced for the opponent. It was a one minute squash match that ended with the Fall of Man.

Winners by pinfall: The Ascension

Post match, JBL complained about how they beat two guys they found off a raft.

Analysis: A very short match beating jobbers to make The Ascension look strong. It was weird hearing JBL ripping on a heel team like them since he’s usually the heel announcer. Perhaps it’ll be something where it takes a while for The Ascension to impress JBL and others.

Rusev and Lana did a promo backstage talking in front of a red screen. Rusev told America to stop interfering. He said only one man can lead this world to peace and prosperity: Vladimir Putin. Lana said only one man rises above the rest and she said it was Rusev.

Roman Reigns entered for his match with Big Show. That’s the end of the first hour.

(Commercial)

The next Cena Appreciation night video showed when John Cena beat JBL to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21 in 2005. That was his first WWE/World Title reign.

Big Show vs. Roman Reigns

Show was aggressive early on. He worked on the ribs of Reigns as the announcers noted Reigns had hernia surgery a couple of months ago. There was a “Boo Big Show” sign in the crowd. Not that creative, but it’s a kid holding so we’ll give him a pass. The pace was really slow as Show hit some kicks on Reigns. After a comeback attempt by Reigns, Show applied a bearhug. Reigns started a comeback with a clothesline followed by a Samoan Drop. Show caught Reigns when he tried to go for a Superman Punch. Show sent Reigns outside the ring and knocked down Reigns with a kick to the chest. Show picked up the steel steps and hit Reigns with the steel stairs. The ref rang the bell for the DQ finish after five minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Roman Reigns

Post match, Show tossed Reigns into the ring. Show brought the stairs into the ring, took forever to set up an attack and was met by a Spear by Reigns. Show was out with the stairs landing on top of him.

Analysis: *1/2 The match was too short to really get going, but that’s okay. Reigns got his ass kicked for much of it, but in the end he was able to get the upper hand thanks to that Spear at the end. That’s typical of the way WWE books Reigns since he’s always made to look strong although they are trying to tell the story that Show is going to be tough for him to beat. They always pick a heel to try to feud with a top face going into a Rumble match. It was Alberto Del Rio with Batista last year. It’s typical booking this time of year.

The announce team welcomed India fans watching Raw live for the first time. It’s about 8am there. That’s pretty cool for their fans.

There was a replay of The Authority’s promo from earlier in the show. More Cena Appreciation later.

(Commercial)

There haven’t been any mentions of trending topics on Twitter because Twitter has been down for almost all of Raw so far.

Nikki Bella was in the ring with Brie Bella. Natalya was all alone as they showed replays of Natalya’s husband Tyson Kidd catching Nikki when she fell off the apron. They almost replayed the whole match from last week, which was so short. Before the match could start, Paige walked down to the ringside area. Paige hugged Natalya and was in her corner for this match.

Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. Natalya

This is not for the Divas Title. There was a hard slap and neckbreaker from Natalya. Nikki came back with a forearm shot while the two women outside the ring were arguing. Paige tossed Brie into the barricade. Nikki was distracted by that, so Natalya did the ROLLUP OF DEATH and of course that was enough for a pin because divas always lose to that. The match went two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Natalya

Post match, Nikki tried to attack Natalya. Paige made the save with a kick that sent Nikki out of the ring. The Bellas retreated up the ramp.

Analysis: 1/2* It was a rushed divas match, which is common for Raw. It would be nice to see them get more time, but we’ve gotten used to them being this short. Natalya getting the win probably means she’ll get a tag title match. As for Paige, apparently this was her face turn since she was getting cheered recently and they already have the Bellas as the main heel divas. I’m tired of the ROLLUP OF DEATH finisher especially in divas matches.

Dean Ambrose did a promo in a hallway backstage. He said he wants to put Bray Wyatt in an ambulance. It was brief. Both guys got a chance to do a promo before their big match.

(Commercial)

The announce team appeared on camera. They sent their condolences to the family and friends of ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott, who passed away this weekend. That was very nice of them to do that. He died of cancer at 49 years of age.

Erick Rowan entered first followed by Luke Harper for a singles match. It was announced that Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury were the referees of this match.

Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper

Both referees were in the ring for this match. They pulled off Rowan from an attack. It’s a continuation of the story where The Authority gets the revenge on guys from the Cena team in the Survivor Series match, so that meant making things unfair for Rowan. When Rowan hit a spin kick, he covered and the two refs couldn’t decide who should count. Rowan yelled at the refs. Harper nailed Rowan with a spinning clothesline for the win after two minutes thank to a fast count by Noble.

Winner by pinfall: Luke Harper

Post match, J&J attacked Rowan. Harper nailed Rowan with another stiff clothesline. J&J hit a double dropkick to the head of Rowan while he was held Harper.

Analysis: 1/2* It was an angle more than a match. As I mentioned, it was about making things unfair for Rowan. I don’t mind matches that are angles like that because it continues a story from the past.

The next Cena Appreciation Night clip was from June 2005 when he was the first pick in the draft lottery, which meant that he was a member of Raw. He never left. It’s been nearly 10 years since he’s been in that spot as the true face of WWE.

(Commercial)

There was a reminder of the new WWE Title match at Royal Rumble with Brock Lesnar defending against John Cena and Seth Rollins. They also mentioned WWE Network finally coming to the UK and Ireland on January 19. Those fans have waited a long time. Good for them.

There’s a six person mixed tag later with The Usos and Naomi taking on The Miz, Damien Mizdow and Alicia Fox.

Backstage from earlier today, Naomi was checking herself out in a mirror. Alicia Fox walked up to her to say that even though they’re on opposite sides they’re still friends. Alicia mentioned next week she gets to make her Total Divas debut while also mentioning Naomi isn’t on the show anymore. Naomi said it’s okay because she can focus on her career now. Alicia punched her, then tossed her into a table by the mirror. Other divas Summer Rae, Emma and Cameron walked over, so Alicia left. Why would Cameron try to help Naomi? I shouldn’t ask sensible questions especially when I don’t care.

Analysis: Alicia Fox is a heel again? She turns more than Big Show. It’s hard to keep track.

There was a video package to set up the Ambrose vs. Wyatt match. Great video.

The ambulance was driven into the arena and was parked by the stage, so that match is up next.

(Commercial)

Dean Ambrose made his entrance. Bray Wyatt arrived second. The announcers mentioned it’s the first Ambulance Match in the history of Raw.

Ambulance Mach: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt

Ambrose was the aggressor early as he sent Wyatt into the announce table. They brawled into the crowd and made their way over to the ambulance, which was by the side of the ramp. Ambrose hit a neckbreaker on the concrete floor by the ambulance. After Ambrose pulled two tables out of ambulance, Wyatt shoved Ambrose into the back of the ambulance and then slammed the door on Ambrose’s knee. Wyatt rolled the stretcher into the knee of Ambrose. They went back to the ringside area with Wyatt slamming Ambrose knee first into the steel post. Wyatt was smiling as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Wyatt hit a corner splash on Ambrose. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, Ambrose fought out of it and hit his clothesline that he does after bouncing off the ropes. Ambrose did a good job of selling the left leg injury. Wyatt nailed a hard clothesline to knock down Ambrose again. Wyatt tossed Ambrose outside the ring. They went up the ramp to brawl some more with Wyatt having the advantage again. He gave another clothesline. Wyatt set up a table by the ambulance. It was a white table with a red + on it. Ambrose came back with a clothesline off the ramp onto Wyatt, which was a good visual. Wyatt tossed Ambrose into the ambulance. Ambrose tossed a chair at Wyatt and then jumped on Wyatt. It was Wyatt’s turn to come back as he sent Ambrose into the door of the ambulance multiple times. After a Wyatt uppercut, Ambrose bounced off the stretcher with a clothesline. Ambrose used the backboard from the stretcher to drive it into the throat of Wyatt.

Ambrose set up the table by the ambulance. He punched Wyatt and then went to climb to the top of the ambulance. The fans cheered as they realized what was happening. Ambrose went on top of the ambulance while Wyatt was still on the table. Ambrose jumped off the ambulance and delivered an elbow drop through Wyatt through the table. It took a while for that to happen, yet Wyatt couldn’t move. Ambrose was selling the pain of his left leg injury, so he couldn’t capitalize. Wyatt gave Ambrose the Sister Abigail into the back door of the ambulance, so Ambrose was in a lot of pain again. Wyatt opened the ambulance door. He tossed Ambrose inside of it. One door closed. He couldn’t shut the second door because Ambrose kicked it. Wyatt grabbed Ambrose and hit another Sister Abigail, this time on the floor. Wyatt put Ambrose in the ambulance, shut the door and was declared the winner. The match went 20 minutes.

Winner of the Ambulance Match: Bray Wyatt

The sirens went off as Ambrose was driven off in the ambulance. Wyatt was laughing.

Analysis: ***1/4 That was an entertaining match that was a good end to the feud because Wyatt got the decisive win by putting Ambrose in an ambulance. I liked how well Ambrose was selling the leg injury. He sold it the entire match whether he was on offense or getting his ass kicked. Some guys are supposed to sell an injury during a match and then they forget about it as the match gets going. Ambrose kept selling the entire time. That’s what I like to see. Wyatt’s possibly wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31 if Undertaker is in a match, so WWE is going to do everything they can to build up Wyatt as a credible heel. He had to win this feud or he would have looked like too much of a loser. Ambrose will be fine despite losing the feud. I’m sure I’ll get people complaining about it, but some heels need wins too. Ambrose is too talented to not make it far. Both guys will have major roles in the Royal Rumble match.

The announcers talked about the Royal Rumble leading to more WWE Network plugs.

There was a replay of The Authority’s promo from earlier. The replay of that promo twice is longer than a divas match. Cena appreciation night yadda yadda.

(Commercial)

This Friday on Smackdown it’s Miz TV with Seth Rollins as the guest. The announcers mentioned it’s the last Friday for Smackdown. It moves to Thursday in the US. For me in Canada it’s on Wednesdays (Sportsnet 360 has a contract to show NHL games on Thursdays), which will be cool.

The Usos & Naomi vs. The Miz, Damien Mizdow & Alicia Fox

I think Alicia turned face and heel six times while walking down to the ring. Naomi started with Alicia with a hard forearm shot. Miz tagged in, so Jey went after him and fans chanted for Mizdow. Jey shoulder tackle sent Miz down, which led to Mizdow doing a bump too. After Miz did a flip bump, Mizdow did one too and Miz did his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo to get control. Miz finally tagged in Miz, then tagged himself back in before Mizdow could do anything. Miz hit a double axehandle on Jey. Fans chanted “Miz you suck” at him. There was a double clothesline spot by Miz and Jey, so Jimmy got the hot tag for his team. Jimmy was on fire with a Samoan Drop. Naomi hit a headscissors on Alicia. Jimmy was slightly distracted by that, so Miz got a ROLLUP OF DEATH on Jimmy for the win, but he also had the tights to help him. The match went four minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Miz, Damien Mizdow & Alicia Fox

The replay showed that Jimmy was distracted by his wife on the apron.

Analysis: * Last week Miz & Mizdow lost the tag titles, so this week they got a win. That’s some typical WWE booking. It’s very likely that they’ll get a tag title shot at the Royal Rumble since champions usually get rematches. Good craftiness by Miz. I wish Mizdow did more. He was barely involved in this one.

Ryback vs. Rollins up next.

(Commercial)

This has been a weird Raw for me with no Twitter to look at and message people on there. It also meant WWE barely promoted social media during the show.

Ryback made his entrance first followed by Seth Rollins with Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble. Kane showed up to say that this was a handicap match with Kane teaming up with Rollins.

Seth Rollins & Kane (w/J&J Security) vs. Ryback

Ryback hit a Thesz Press and splash on Kane early on. Ryback was able to fight back against Kane’s offense. Rollins tagged in, but Ryback was able to dominate him too. Ryback knocked Kane to the floor and then sent Rollins out of the ring with a clothesline over the top rope. It’s time for a commercial.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels took control of the action as Rollins worked over Ryback. Kane got his turn in there. He managed to get a couple of nearfalls and he brought Rollins back in. More quick tags by the heels. There wasn’t a lot happening other than Ryback getting destroyed. Ryback countered a Kane suplex into a suplex of his own. Rollins tagged in, so Ryback dropped him with a powerslam. Spinebuster by Ryback on Rollins. A punch by Ryback knocked Kane off the apron. J&J distracted Ryback, but Ryback still hit the Meat Hook Clothesline on Rollins. Kane saved Rollins from Shellshock, so Ryback gave Shellshock to Kane. Rollins took advantage with a Curb Stomp on Ryback. Rollins hit a second Curb Stomp on Ryback for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins & Kane

Analysis: ** It was a standard handicap match that was done to build sympathy for Ryback. He came close to getting the win, but the numbers game caught up to him. I like that Rollins didn’t get the win after one Curb Stomp. He had to hit two of them to get the win. That makes Ryback look like more of a tough guy. Rollins winning for his team was the right call since he’s in the WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble. It also added to the theme of the night with the heels dominating all night long.

More John Cena Appreciation to come. They really didn’t do a lot of Cena videos, which is fine with me.

(Commercial)

Plug time: This Tuesday at 10pmET we have the first edition of TJR Radio in 2015. Join Justin Seagull, The Ace and myself as we go over some of the biggest happenings in WWE in 2014 while also offering some predictions for 2015. In addition to that, we’ll talk about current storylines as well as the return of Daniel Bryan. If you can’t listen live you can still listen to TJR Radio at any time and also iTunes by searching for “Macho Men Radio” and it’ll pop up there on Wednesday. We’ll also have another radio show on the Tuesday after the Royal Rumble.

This week on WWE Main Event it’s Paige taking on Nikki Bella.

Big E (w/Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Adam Rose

The New Day is trying to fire up this crowd, but they have been quiet for most of the night. Rose applied a sleeper hold early on. Big E made the comeback with clotheslines and a belly to belly suplex. Big E went for a splash, but a Rosebud in a black outfit attacked Big E. Another masked man also attacked. They also went after the rest of The New Day and took care of them. The black outfit man held up Big E in a Powerbomb position and then there was a flipping neckbreaker. It was obvious right away, but they unmasked to reveal that it was Cesaro and Tyson Kidd. The match went two minutes.

Winner by DQ: Big E

Post match, Kidd and Cesaro danced with the Rosebuds.

Analysis: It was a brief match that really wasn’t going anywhere, so I was fine with the ending. Plus, Kidd & Cesaro are my favorite team. They need a significant push. Seeing them go after The New Day is fine with me because they can have some good matches with them. Building the tag division is a good thing. I know people want Cesaro to get a singles push, but if it’s not going to happen then aligning with Kidd is a positive thing for his career.

The Authority was backstage ready for the main event segment coming up next.

The announcers plugged WWE Network with a show about the Top 10 Crybabies of all time. There were clips of Stephanie McMahon, Christian and Chris Jericho.

(Commercial)

There was a reminder of Smackdown’s move to Thursday night in the US starting on January 15. I hope they make Smackdown a bigger show because of the move, but I have my doubts.

John Cena Appreciation Night

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their entrance. The black carpet was in the ring. Stephanie said “office” instead of audience at one point, but he corrected herself. She said that it’s a decade in the making: John Cena Appreciation Night. She was happy because Cena re-instated The Authority. She brought out Cena.

John Cena entered for the main event segment. He had a serious and sad look on his face. Hunter kept saying “it’s John Cena” to try to get the fans to cheer. Hunter showed a replay from a week earlier when Cena brought back The Authority. We’re three hours into this show. Do we need more replays of things we’ve seen? Move on.

Stephanie told Cena that he was her hero. Hunter said that a lot of their problems were mostly caused by Hunter and at first he told Shawn Michaels that Cena sucked, but then Cena changed faster than anybody he’s ever seen. Hunter remarked that he could see Cena’s greatness and he’s reached incredible heights. Hunter talked about how maybe Cena’s looked past the hustle, loyalty & respect crap. That led to Hunter saying that he appreciated Cena. Even though Cena didn’t have a microphone, he asked if Hunter is done. Hunter said they’re just getting started.

Hunter called out some guys that were there to appreciate Cena: Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler. They were on Team Cena at Survivor Series. Big Show was too, but he already turned heel to join Triple H’s side. Those three guys stood beside Cena in the ring.

Hunter talked about how all of these men would have to face consequences for being a part of Team Cena at Survivor Series. Hunter mentioned that maybe they should suspend Rowan for 30 days and Stephanie talked about what they might do for Ryback as they suggested 60 days. Then they discussed that Ziggler put the final nail in the coffin then he asked Ziggler if he had a thought: “90 days.” None of this was official. Hunter left the ring with Stephanie as they walked up the ramp.

Stephanie and Hunter were on the ramp. She said Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan were all fired. All three of them looked sad. They told them all to thank and appreciate John Cena. Hunter said that Cena has cost these three men their jobs while also re-instating The Authority. Hunter said: “Let’s hear it for John Cena!” That part was mildly funny.

There was confetti and balloons that played along with celebration music. Cena was stunned in the ring. Hunter kissed Stephanie and then they were smiling on the ramp. Cena had his head down looking all sad. That’s how Raw ended.

Analysis: Weak ending. Very weak. It took about 15 minutes to get to that point where they fired those three guys that teamed with Cena. The problem with firing angles is that nobody ever really believes those angles because we just saw Hunter and Stephanie get fired, then they came back in under two months. Do people really believe Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan will be gone for long? No. Of course not.

It was a predictable ending that was part of this ongoing story of The Authority making life unfair for the babyfaces on the roster. Just when we thought the angle was over a few months ago, they are right back where they were. I don’t blame anybody that is frustrated or bored by it. It feels repetitive for me to write about it.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Bray Wyatt

2. Dean Ambrose

3. Bad News Barrett

 

The Scoreboard

4.5 out of 10

Last week: 7..5

Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6, 5.5, 4.5, 5

2014 Average: 5.86

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 4.5 out of 10.

That was a letdown after last week’s good show. The first Raw of the year should be a big deal, but this one didn’t feel that big at all. There are probably people that think my score was too nice. I liked the Ambrose/Wyatt match, the Barrett/Ziggler match with the angle and the ongoing theme of the heels being in control was okay for most of it. The ending was really bad, though.

The highlight of the show was the Ambulance Match between Ambrose and Wyatt. They got 20 minutes, they worked really hard and had an entertaining match. Maybe people won’t like Ambrose losing, but Wyatt’s a great heel that deserves to win a meaningful feud. I don’t mind it at all.

Adding Seth Rollins to the WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble was a significant news item that will get people talking. Maybe WWE will put the title on him or have Cena pin him to win it. I still think Lesnar will retain, but at least this will lead to some other possibilities for us to consider.

For the rest of the show, it was really just a show long storyline to push the idea that The Authority was back in power and that was bad news for the babyfaces.

There’s still three weeks until the Royal Rumble. More names will need to be announced for the Rumble match soon.

—–

That’s all for this week.

This Tuesday at 10pmET we have the first edition of TJR Radio in 2015. Join Justin Seagull, The Ace and myself as we go over some of the biggest happenings in WWE in 2014 while also offering some predictions for 2015. In addition to that, we’ll talk about current storylines as well as the return of Daniel Bryan. If you can’t listen live you can still listen to TJR Radio at any time and also iTunes by searching for “Macho Men Radio” and it’ll pop up there on Wednesday. We’ll also have another radio show on the Tuesday after the Royal Rumble.

Check out my feature column archive that’s exclusive to WhatCulture. I’ve started to post reviews of every single Royal Rumble event since the first one in 1988. By the time we get to this year’s Royal Rumble, all of them will be posted. There are other posts on there too, but those are really cool to write about and go through those shows again.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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