21st Jan2014

WWE RAW Results & Review (20.01.14)

by Chris Cummings

WWE-Raw-logo

Welcome back to the review and results write-up of WWE RAW, apologies for not providing a review for a couple of weeks, but here we are, back as normal.

RAW opens with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon standing in the ring, they talk about the upcoming Royal Rumble PPV and the match that will take place between the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton, and the challenger, John Cena. Triple H begins to announce the return of a superstar but Orton instead comes out to a smattering of booes from the fans. Orton confronts Stephanie and Hunter about their poor treatment of him in recent weeks and how he should have been protected more by them and not put in matches with the likes of Cena. Triple H more or less tells Orton to “man up” and they book a rematch from last week between Orton and Kofi. For those who don’t know, Kofi Kingston scored an upset victory over Orton last week. After this bit we get the “big” return of Batista who comes out onto RAW for the first time in four years to what I feel was a mediocre return pop from the crowd. The fans chant for him and cheer but the pop isn’t anywhere near as loud as Daniel Bryan gets each week. Batista shakes hands with Triple H, hugs Stephanie, kisses the canvas and then tells Orton that he is here to win the Royal Rumble and headline WrestleMania. This ends the opening segment of RAW.

We return from a break for a six man tag match between The Shield and the team of Cody Rhodes, Goldust and Big E Langston. The match is similar to the other matches like it that we’ve seen in recent weeks. It’s a shame, but it seems that the popularity of Cody-dust has died down a little and the fans don’t seem as interested in them as they did back in the autumn. The match is decent, with Rollins providing some good bumps and Goldust getting over with the fans more than his team mates. There’s a fun spot when Cody goes for a disaster-kick but eats a Superman punch to the face from Roman Reigns. The match comes to an end when Rollins hits his curb-stomp finisher on Langston for the victory for The Shield.

We get a recap from last week when Bryan left The Wyatt fold and beat the crap out of Bray in a cage to the loudest reaction I’ve personally seen on WWE television in over a decade. Daniel Bryan comes out to a massive reaction again, the fans chant “yes” and “Daniel Bryan” throughout the segment as Daniel explains that he only joined the Wyatt’s in order to destory them from within. He challenges Bray Wyatt to a match at Royal Rumble, so it seems that’s happening, which I don’t understand, I thought Bryan would be in the Rumble match itself, and maybe he will, but it seems like they’re not mentioning it yet. Maybe Bryan will take on Undertaker or something at Mania so they’re keeping him out of the Rumble. Who knows? The Bryan booking has been insanely weird since SummerSlam of last year. Bray Wyatt does his usual cult-leader promo here to end the segment.

We return to action in the ring for a very quick match with Fandango and Xavier Woods. Woods gets put down with a jackhammer slam and chews on a legdrop from the top from Fandango, allowing the “ballroom beast” to pick up the victory. Summer Rae is happy about it. We also see NXT Diva, Emma, in the crowd here, perhaps hyping an upcoming debut.

Kane is backstage, Stephanie McMahon tells him that he was out of order for attacking CM Punk on SmackDown and that he needs to go to the ring to apologise to the “Straight Edge Messiah”. Not sure why Stephanie is playing a heel one moment and a babyface the next, it makes the whole thing very difficult to follow at times in terms of plausable reasoning and storyline development. Oh well.

Kane comes to the ring in his business suit and calls out CM Punk. He apologises to Punk, and Punk proceds to attack Kane and knock him out of the ring. Brad Maddox comes to the stage area and calls Kane off before announcing that one of the recently returned and heel-turned New Age Outlaws will come out to face Punk, who they turned heel on last week. It’s Billy Gunn versus CM Punk. The match is okay but you can tell that Gunn hasn’t wrestled a long match in a long time as he is blown up fairly quickly. Still, it isn’t a dire match. Punk attacks Road Dogg on the outside of the ring during the match and hits the GTS on Billy for the victory. After the match, Kane grabs the microphone and announces that CM Punk will be the number one entrant in the Royal Rumble match. Punk looks pissed.

We get a nice tribute video for the late and recently departed Mae Young. RIP Mae.

Rey Mysterio is out when we return to the ring for a one-on-one contest against Alberto Del Rio. The match is good, with some hard hitting moments and bursts of energy from Mysterio that remind us of just how good he once was, before he was plaugued with injuries like he is today. Del Rio hits a big stomp from the second rope on Rey which they replay a couple of times. Del Rio tries to unmask Rey at one point, perhaps teasing an eventual Mask versus Hair match, a match Mysterio himself has asked for in the past. Rey is a phenomenal seller, even now, and it shows in this match. Sadly there are a few occasions where spots are called loudly by the two, which always takes me out of a match and annoys me. Still, this is the best match Rey has had in a long while and it’s nice to see that he has some feul left in the tank. Rey hits the 619 on Del Rio and a splash but Del Rio grabs the rope to break the count. Del Rio locks on the cross-armbreaker and Rey immediately taps out, helping to rehabilitate the hold that John Cena made a mockery of a couple of months ago. After the match, Batista’s music hits the PA system and “Big Dave” makes his way to the ring. Batista buries Del Rio is one swoop, hitting the spinebuster and Batista-bomb on ADR, before flexing his muscles and leaving Del Rio lying.

We return from commercial break to see Big Show making his way to the ring to a vague cheer from the WWE Universe. Show smiles and high-fives the fans at a time where he should, in my view, appear intense and angry, before a face-off with Brock Lesnar. Show does a comedy routine on the stick, another lame addition to a feud that needed to be serious. Show mocks Paul Heyman and talks about how dangerous Brock is. Big Show jokes some more, makes some silly noises and voices and then calls out Lesnar. I think the day has dawned for Show to be a once a year attraction like Andre, because this is getting boring. Heyman comes out onto the stage and sells anger like a pro. Lesnar then comes out, intesity on his face, and he heads to the ring with Heyman behind him. Lesnar laughs at Show and walks away from the ring, leaving like it isn’t worth bothering with. Big Show calls Lesnar back out. Brock obliges and walks back to the ring. I’m starting to feel my finger hovering over the fast-forward button, but I digress. Brock and Show brawl and Big Show gets the upper hand again, throwing “the beast incarnate” over the top rope and to the floor. Silly. Lesnar throws chairs around and smashes up tables at ringside. Brock and Heyman then leave to a chorus of booes. This makes Brock look weak in my view, and is silly booking from a creative team that seemingly don’t know what to do with the talent at their disposal  Big Show has looked strong for two weeks in a row while Brock has looked defeatable and weaker, which surely isn’t a good thing.

AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka are out next for a Divas tag match against Naomi and Cameron. Tamina and Cameron begin the match and Tamina displays her power with some slams and kicks to the smaller Funkadactyl. AJ tags in and wears Cameron down with holds. Naomi tags in and hits some nice moves, showing her agility. Tamina hits a big boot in Naomi and just as AJ goes for the pinfall she gets rolled up and pinned by the Funkadactyl. Naomi pins the Divas champion.

Jimmy and Jay, The Uso’s, are out next for tag action against Wyatt Family members, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. The Uso’s won the RAW main event last week, defeating Harper and Rowan in a steel cage match, so they are on a nice little streak. The match is typical of the two teams with The Wyatts keeping things slow and mat based with rest holds and brawling, and The Uso’s taking to the air and speeding things up when they get the chance. The Uso’s are a great team and deserve a good run as tag champions this year. The Wyatts seem to be in control for much of the match with plenty of chin locks, head vices and such. Bray Wyatt interrupts the match on the microphone at one point, and says that he will punish Bryan at the Rumble. The Uso’s have a nice series of moves towards the end of the match, showing how talented they are. Bryan hits the ring and takes out Wyatt and hits him with a flurry of punches. The Uso’s take advantage of the distraction and roll up Harper for the three count, winning the match. Bryan and The Uso’s stand on the stage and do the “yes” chant along with the fans as The Wyatt Family look on from the ring. Fun stuff.

Kofi Kingston, the man who pinned the WWE World Champ clean, last week, is out next for a rematch against the champ in question, Randy Orton. The announcers put over Kofi’s victory from last week as “the biggest upset in RAW history”. It was a big deal, but won’t mean anything if they don’t capitalise on it immediately and use it to elevate Kingston. Orton comes out, looking paranoid and watching his back, perhaps in case Batista or Cena attack him. The match becomes a brawl fairly quickly and the two fight around ringside before taking it back to the ring. The two of them have had feuds in the past and their in-ring chemistry is undeniable. During the match we see Cena arriving at the arena and running into the backstage area and down to the ring. Cena attacks Orton and throws Orton into the ring posts, badly. The brawl looks as cartoonish as expected, with Cena fighting for revenge after Orton punches his father out last week at ringside. Did I mention that happened? Oh well, it happened years ago, and it happened again last week. Meh. Orton runs away through the crowd and Cena follows. Orton runs out of the arena and jumps into a car before speeding off. Cena looks on as Orton disappears. Cena then heads to the ring and poses as we go off the air. Terrible ending to a very poor show.

Considering this episode of RAW was being hyped so much because of the return of Batista and the fact that it is the final RAW before the Royal Rumble PPV, the show was slow and didn’t do much to progress the stories and angles going into the big show. Batista’s return was disappointing and he didn’t get as big of a reaction as WWE surely wanted. The matches were mostly flat and the lack of Bryan in the Rumble match is a big downer for many fans at this point. I’m not sure where they’re going, but I hope we don’t see WrestleMania turn into another nostalgia show filled with guys who were main eventing the event back in 2005. Still, Mysterio and Del Rio delivered in the ring, Punk should have an interesting showing at the Rumble, and we got to see Bryan getting the biggest pop of the night again, so that’s nice. Until next week.

RAW: Best Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio

RAW: Best Talker: Triple H/Daniel Bryan

RAW: Biggest Pop: Daniel Bryan

RAW: Dud of the Night: Big Show promo

RAW: Honourable Mentions: Mae Young Tribute, Harper, The Uso’s

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