28th Jan2014

WWE RAW Results & Review (27.01.14)

by Chris Cummings

WWE-Raw-logo

Welcome to the RAW following Royal Rumble 2014, the most controversial WWE PPV in many a moon. There are many open questions heading into tonights RAW, and hopefully some of them will be answered in the three hour episode of WWE’s flagship program.

Will the WWE fans continue to voice their vehement support for Daniel Bryan tonight? Will we see new matches made for the upcoming Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania XXX shows? What will happen when the Royal Rumble winner, Batista, steps in front of a crowd after the negative response he received last night on pay per view? Let’s see, shall we?

The show opens with a video package highlighting some of the happenings from last nights Royal Rumble show.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon walk to the ring, hugging and embracing with smiles on their faces. Stephanie welcomes everyone to Monday Night RAW and seems to be heeling it up. The fans already begin to chant “yes” in support of Daniel Bryan. Stephanie ignores it. Triple H mocks the crowd because they didn’t get what they wanted last night. Okay. Triple H puts over Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and Batista. The fans boo this, obviously. They talk about the Elimination Chamber PPV, and announce that Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the show in an Elimination Chamber match. Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he gets a loud pop from the fans. Triple H and Stephanie smirk. Bryan tells people to stop chanting for him because The Authority doesn’t like it. The fans chant for him. Bryan talks about having a tough night against Wyatt last night and how it stole the show. The fans chant “yes”. Triple H says it was “a good little effort”. Bryan talks about the biggest disappointment at the Rumble was him being left out of the Rumble match. Stephanie says that it was for Bryan’s benefit that they didn’t book him in the Royal Rumble match. The fans chant “you suck” at Steph and Hunter. The Authority makes excuses for why Bryan wasn’t in the Rumble match, and Bryan says that they are holding him down. Bryan tells The Authority to “listen” to the people. They chant “yes” and “Daniel Bryan”. Bryan says he wants to be in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The fans chant for Bryan more. Triple H doesn’t answer Bryan and instead brings out The Shield. Bryan grabs a steel chair before The Shield get to the ring. Reigns manages to attack Bryan and The Shield attack. Sheamus’s music hits and he runs to the ring to save Bryan. Cena’s music then hits and Cena makes the save too. Cena, Bryan and Sheamus fight off The Shield and stand together in the ring as we go to a commercial break.

We return from break and Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio are in the ring. Michael Cole announces that The Shield will take on Cena, Bryan and Sheamus in the main event of RAW and all members of the winning team will be in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The Real Americans come out to face Rey and Cara. Zeb does his usual shtick about illegal immigration, and the match is underway. Cesaro and Rey kick things off and the luchadors are in control to begin. It’s a back and forth match, like these things tend to be now, which is a good thing and allows both teams to do their thing. Cara, now played by Hunico, is much better here. Zeb slaps Swagger at ringside which seems like it might become a split between the Real Americans team perhaps. Maybe the whole tag division will disappear by WrestleMania season then, eh? The Real Americans work on Sin Cara, using power moves and slams to keep him grounded and away from his corner of the ring. The match is a fun one and just strengthens my views even further than Cesaro deserves to be in a more prominent position that this now. Rey makes the tag and hits some signature spots of Cesaro. Rey hits the 619 on Cesaro and Cara tries for his finish but eats an uppercut by Cesaro, followed by The Neutralizer for the victory. The Real Americans win. Decent match. We the People.

Bad News Barrett is on his podium on the stage area when we come back from commercials, banging his gavel. He asks for decorum from the crowd. Barrett is a hoot in this role but it is a character that will never reach further than the mid-card. Wade says there will be a match between Ziggler versus The Miz. Barrett mocks Cleveland, where RAW is being held tonight, and calls them all losers.

We get another peek at the upcoming WWE Network. I wish, as a British fan, I could get excited about the Network, but it isn’t launching in the UK for a while yet. Boo! They show clips of the shows that will air on the schedule.

Fandango and Summer Rae make their way to the ring next for a match against R Truth. They show Emma in the crowd again. Emma is a wrestler from the NXT development system and is a good worker with a fun gimmick, hopefully they bring her onto the roster soon. The match isn’t really interesting. Fandango does some rest holds, Truth hits some kicks. It’s just a typical Superstars level match to kill some time and allow the crowd to go to the bathroom and buy a t-shirt. It’s a shame, I quite like Xavier Woods, he should be with someone like Kofi instead, a high flyer tag team who use tandem offence would work. Truth hits a faceplant on Fandango for the victory. Woods and Truth celebrate in the ring while Summer drags Fandango out of the ring.

We see Randy Orton with the titles around his shoulders backstage as we go to a break. When we return we see Brad Maddox in the ring. Maddox introduces Randy Orton. Orton gets booed. There are Daniel Bryan chants the moment that Orton begins to speak. Orton talks about how he defeated Cena last night. The fans almost seem bored and not really interested in reacting to this segment, the boo’s are there but it’s still very quiet. Orton complains about the Elimination Chamber match he has been placed in. Batista makes his way out to the ring and there is pretty much nothing but boo’s and apathy from the WWE Universe. “Big Dave” does his machine-gun crap and smiles, ignoring the boo’s like John Cena Mark 2.  The boo’s increase as Batista gets to the ring, he is being booed more than Orton here. More Daniel Bryan chants here, which Batista immediately looks pissed about. At least Orton is professional enough to play off these chants. Batista’s promo is terrible, he sounds like he stopped speaking when he stopped wrestling four years ago and has only just started again. The fans boo loudly with everything Batista says. Brock Lesnar’s music hits, and he gets cheered by the fans. Lesnar makes his way out with Paul Heyman, and Heyman is grinning. Heyman gets on the microphone and gets a bit of a pop from the fans too. Heyman says that Maddox needs to go to The Authority and tell them that they have two choices. Either they put Batista against Orton in a title match tonight or they put Brock against Batista. Heyman says that whatever happens, the WWE Universe wins. Lesnar wants their answer tonight, “or else”. Heyman and Lesnar leave as Orton looks angry and Batista looks, erm, like a guy in sunglasses who took a wrong turn into a wrestling ring.

Dolph Ziggler is in the ring for a match with The Miz next, the two men, both from Cleveland, get a nice pop from the fans here. I wish Ziggler was in a better spot, he is such a great hand. I thought Dolph was from Hollywood, Florida, but oh well. The action is back and forth with the fans seemingly siding with Ziggler mostly. Dolph sells well for Miz while the Cleveland fans chant, erm, “Cleveland Sucks”. I think the tourists are in. Miz gets Ziggler in the figure four leg lock but “The Show-off” gets to the rope to break the hold. Ziggler hits the Zig-zag out of the blue and picks up a victory. I hope this is the beginning of a rehabilitation of Dolph Ziggler, he needs it, and deserves it.

Ryback and Curtis Axel are out next for a tag team match with The Uso’s. I’m a big fan of Jimmy and Jay and think they are two of the most improved and talented workers in WWE today. The match begins with Ryback showing his strength with throws and slams. The Uso’s fight back and hit some of their signature offence. The match ends when The Uso’s hit super-kicks and a splash on Ryback and score the win. Another nice victory for the brothers Uso.

We return from commercial and Kofi Kingston is in the ring for a one-on-one match with Alberto Del Rio. The match doesn’t get much of a reaction in the early stages but it builds into a pretty good match. Del   Rio is one of those guys who is fairly bland and uninteresting to me yet he does tend to have some top notch matches. Perhaps they just need to repackage him or bring Ricardo back to add more to his presentation. Kofi hits a nice dive during the match. The fans chant for JBL during the match and JBL stands up and acknowledges them to a loud pop. I don’t like this chanting for the announcer’s thing, it’s insulting to the guys in the ring who are trying to put on a good match. Kofi and Del   Rio wrestle more while the fans seem to be responding negatively to what is an ok match. Del Rio hits a nice German suplex which is a nice change, haven’t seen one of those in a while. The match is a little messy in places towards the end, but they still put on a match that is better than the crowd seem to allow it to be. Del   Rio hits a backstabber on Kofi for a near-fall, another nice looking move from ADR. The fans seem to get more into the match near the end, chanting for Kofi Kingston. Del Rio hits a side kick on Kofi after a crazy spot in the corner turnbuckle to pick up a victory. Del Rio wins, and I think perhaps he will be in a match with Batista at Elimination Chamber, allowing Batista to pick up an easy victory between now and WrestleMania.

The WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Age Outlaws, who won the titles last night on the Royal Rumble pre-show are defending their belts in a rematch against the former champions, Cody Rhodes and Goldust. The Outlaws get booed here, and I don’t think it has anything to do with heel this or heel that, I think the fans see more old timers taking spots from younger guys. Oh, and I know Goldie isn’t young but he is in the best shape of his entire career. The Outlaws do their stick work which hasn’t changed since the end of 1997. The reaction from the crowd is muted, though they do shout “suck it”. Goldust outwrestles Billy Gunn early on, out-classing him totally and showing what a true return is like when the guy doing it is truly making the effort to be better than ever. Cody and Dogg wrestle for a while, with Cody obviously looking like the better of the two. I didn’t mind seeing The Outlaws return for a one-night nostalgia kick in January but I don’t want to see them as Tag Champions on the Road to WrestleMania. The match is slow, for the sake of The Outlaws I would imagine, but it isn’t fun to watch and it really makes me want to flick channels. But I won’t, for the sake of this review. Cody tells The Outlaws to “suck it” and hits the springboard dropkicks on Billy Gunn and Road Dogg. Brock Lesnar comes out and hits the F5 on Cody Rhodes and Goldust. The match is called off as Paul Heyman demands an answer to their earlier demand. The fans boo when Heyman says they The Authority have ignored their request. Lesnar attacks Goldust and Cody with a chair. The whole idea of them ignoring Lesnar is weird, but maybe it’s a slow burn into more of the same next week.

We come back from a break for some Divas action. The Bellas and The Funkadactyls versus AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Aksana and Alicia Fox. Aksana and Cameron kick things off. Cameron is pretty bad, but luckily she doesn’t stay in there for long. Alicia Fox is really good here, she’s probably my favourite main roster female in WWE today and they don’t use her very often. Aksana shows more improvement than any other Diva in WWE in the last couple of years, and her power moves are fun to see. Naomi shows some skills against AJ here, and there are rumours that the two of them will be feuding soon. The match comes to an end when Naomi hits her finisher on AJ for the victory, beating the longest reigning Divas Champion in WWE history.

A new inductee is announced for the upcoming 2014 Hall of Fame. The Ultimate Warrior has previously been announced, and now Jake “The Snake” Roberts is added to the 2014 class, which is a really great thing to see, given Jake’s lifestyle turnaround, sobriety and changes he has made for the better. This is the right time to induct “The Snake”, and it makes me happy to see them doing it.

We see another hype video for the WWE Network.

The main event is here, and we are on the final stretch of RAW. John Cena is out first to a poor reaction, although there are some childish squeals audible when he gets to the ring. Sheamus is out next to another mediocre response from the Cleveland faithful. Sheamus really needs to be a heel now, and I imagine he will turn soon enough, possibly for the rumoured match with Bryan at Mania. Daniel Bryan comes out to a nice pop, though not as big as the last couple of weeks, it is still the pop of the night. The Shield make their way to the ring and the main event to determine three entrants into the Elimination Chamber is underway. Cena starts things off with Dean Ambrose. The fans do the “Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. Reigns tags in and gets a bit of a cheer from the crowd. There is then a “Roman Reigns” chant. Not a very good crowd in my view here. Sheamus and Reigns work for a while, and the match continues with each guy getting their moment in the ring. Daniel Bryan chants happen and he gets a good pop when he tags into the match for the first time. Bryan and Ambrose wrestle, with Bryan hitting dropkicks and a top rope hurricanrana on Dean. The fans seem tired and lethargic but keep waking up for Bryan. Rollins tags in and Bryan puts him in the surfboard submission hold which gets a good pop. Sheamus tags back in and gets booed. The fans want to see Bryan, and the other guys are just obstacles at this point because of that. This is a fun match for the most-part, though they seem to be keeping Bryan out of the ring more than usual, perhaps playing on the hunger of the WWE fans for seeing Daniel in action. The Shield keep Cena in their corner and keep him from tagging his partners for a while. Reigns and Ambrose work on wearing down Cena for a while, using holds and locks. Bryan eventually tags in to a big reaction and nails Rollins with a variety of signature spots. Bryan hits a missile dropkick on Seth and follows it up with his “yes kicks” spot. Reigns hits the spear on Sheamus and Cena, but Cena didn’t sell well and makes it look messy. Bryan then nails Reigns with the knee to the face. The match heats up towards the end and the fans are back into it. Daniel Bryan chants fill the air again as Rollins scored a near-fall on the former “American Dragon”. Bryan hits a great release German suplex on Rollins which was lovely, and locks Rollins in the “Yes Lock” which gets broken up by Ambrose. Cena tags in and locks the ridiculous looking STFU on Reigns, but Reigns breaks out of it. The Wyatt’s suddenly interrupt and attack Cena. The bell rings as The Wyatt Family and the babyfaces brawl in the ring. The Wyatt’s are sent packing. Bryan, Cena and Sheamus are announced as the winners via disqualification, which is more weird booking really. The Shield are pissed off at ringside. Bryan and company celebrate in the ring as the show goes off the air.

So, that was RAW, a strange show with some weird moments. Where on Earth was CM Punk? Why didn’t WWE acknowledge that Reigns eliminated his Shield team-mates from the Rumble? Why didn’t they acknowledge that Goldust accidentally eliminated his brother Cody? Why did Brock make a demand and The Authority didn’t even react, on air or otherwise? I know some of this is to slowly build to a big event, but some of it is just bizarre. We have however had a main event chamber match confirmed for the next PPV, and Jake Roberts is being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which is great. A lot of questions went unanswered here, so we’ll have to wait another week to see if we get those answers and find out what all of this strange booking is about. Until then.

RAW: Best Match: The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Sheamus

RAW: Best Talker: Paul Heyman

RAW: Dud of the Night: Batista

RAW: Best Crowd Sign: “Boo-tista”

RAW: Honourable Mentions: The Uso’s, Antonio Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio.

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