–Welcome to a live-ish review of Monday Night Raw!
WWE Monday Night Raw
Los Angeles, California
-We begin the show with Betty White being introduced to the fans. This feels a bit weird with Mae Young’s recent passing. So, Betty comes out onstage with a happy and smiling Big Show, which doesn’t make all that much sense. Betty claims that she’s going to kick some ass tonight. This brings out HHH, because he does all the ass kicking around here, bub! HHH and Big Show exchange a glare, HHH going with that smug grin of his.
So, Steph and HHH enter the ring. HHH does his best to talk over the “CM Punk!” chants that ring out. HHH clarifies that they’re reconsidering all competitors of The Elimination Chamber because…we don’t find out because Randy Orton interrupts. Stephanie scolds Randy for “doing this again” and treats him like a child again. It turns out that Randy is out here to apologize to Stephanie and HHH. The crowd no sells the segment and starts to chant for Bryan. Randy is just getting nothing from anyone anymore. Randy says that he wants to prove that he’s the man.
Bryan is out now to a mega pop. Bryan questions Randy being the heart and soul of WWE. Stephanie tells them both to not to interrupt them on live TV. Bryan is just out here to go over Kane’s head and ask for a match with him for the evening. Kane is on leave, according to Stephanie. Bryan calls them stupid. Randy sucks up to them. Bryan brings up Orton kissing Stephanie after giving her that DDT and cuffing HHH to the ropes. HHH decides to….give Bryan the night off, pissing off the crowd.
Rey Mysterio and The Rhodes Bros vs. The Wyatt Family
Rowan and Cody begin the match, and Rowan slugs away. Cody flips out of a suplex, hits a dropkick, and brings in Goldy. Goldust is knocked down with a shoulderblock. Goldust is taken into the corner and Harper comes in. Goldust gets the kneeling right hand, gets the boot up in the corner, and hits the ‘rana. Cody springs in with a dropkick. Rey tags in, and slides out onto Harper with assistance from Cody. We hit the break.
We return with Rowan grinding at Goldust. Goldust is battered in the enemy corner and Harper enters for the double team splash and big boot. Cody breaks up the count. Bray enters and slugs away. Goldust battles back with some rights, but takes a back elbow. Rowan returns with a kneedrop for two. Goldust lies on his back after a corner whip. Goldust fights back with a back elbow from the second buckle, but is held up from making the hot tag. Goldust pulls the rope down on a charge and looks for the tag. Harper tags in and cuts it off, but eats a powerslam. Rey gets the hot tag. Harper gets thrown into the post and Rey comes off the top with a press and hits a big DDT for two. Bray breaks it up, but gets tripped into the ropes, along with Harper. Harper takes the 619, but Bray bolts and trips Rey up. Cody comes off onto Bray, and Goldust onto Rowan. Back inside, Rey goes for the 619, but Bray catches him in midstride and murders him with a Sister Abigail for the win. What a finish.
After the match, Bray has word for The Shield, telling them that they are toy soldiers in a war not meant for them.
Final Thoughts: ***. This one had a great hot tag sequence, and a terrific breakdown. Cody and Goldust’s timing and greatness is being wasted right now. Give them the titles back and act like that whole thing never happened.
-Elsewhere, Dean Ambrose is going to put out an open challenge for his U.S belt. Reigns is amused.
-And, The New Age Outlaws offer their protection to Betty White, who they fear is going to be pranked.
Santino w/Emma vs. Fandango w/Summer Rae
Unfortunately, we don’t hear Emma’s sweet theme song. Santino gets a fireman’s carry but gets slugged into the corner. Santino fails on the nip up, and gets chopped down. The Miz walks down to the announcer’s table and complains about not being on the show. Meanwhile, Santino hits a belly to back suplex. Santino gets the hiptoss but gets knee on the headbutt. Santino actually nips up to interrupt the Alabama Jam, but gets slugged down and hit with it anyway.
Final Thoughts: I guess that The Miz was right in this not being worth the time. This is also a terrible way to debut Emma, as she’s just standing around and watching Santino be the jobber that he is. Hopefully, we’ll have a skit or two coming up.
-Byron Saxton debuts to interview Sheamus about teaming with Christian. Sheamus sidesteps a bad joke, making note of that, and looks forward to competing at WrestleMania.
Christian and Sheamus vs. The Real Americans w/Zeb Colter
We get a cute insert promo for Christian and a promo from Zeb and Antonio before the match. Cesaro starts with Christian. They fight over a waistlock as the fans chant for The Real Americans. Cesaro gets the gut wrench and gets some face heat. Swagger enters, but Christian dodges him and rolls him up. Swagger catches him on a sunset flip, but gets a boot in the corner, which is following by a missile dropkick. Sheamus comes in to clobber Swagger. A suplex gets two. Swagger returns fire with a knee lift and Cesaro returns. Antonio slugs him in the corner, but Sheamus catches the hiptoss and hits a clothesline for a two count. The fans boo him over Cesaro. A neckbreaker from Sheamus gets two. Christian reenters and works Cesaro’s arm, to bring back Sheamus with. Cesaro and Sheamus trade European uppercuts, with Cesaro getting the face heat. Sheamus wins the exchange with the battering ram from the top. Sheamus tumbles outside and takes a big boot from the apron that spills him outside. The fans chant for Cesaro as we go to break.
We return with Sheamus and Cesaro battling it out, with Sheamus hitting The Irish Curse. Christian gets the hot tag and gets a two count from a sunset flip. Christian lays in the hard right hands and gets the back elbow from the second rope. Cesaro fights out of the Killswitch and hits the MDK Uppercut for two. Swagger tags in and gives Christian a guillotine in the ropes for two. Swagger goes to an extended front facelock. Christian fights back, but is pulled away from the hot tag and gets the Swaggerbomb and stomp combo. Cesaro stomps in the corner after a badass pose. Christian leaps, but gets caught and it’s GIANT SWING time. Christian rolls outside to recover. Christian just beats the count, and Cesaro gets two.
Swagger tags in and Christian just kicks out of a heavy slam. Cesaro comes back in, but a failed double team helps Christian get the hot tag. Sheamus beats the crap out of Swagger, getting two from the rolling Samoan drop. Swagger wanders into the ropes and gets clubbered. Sheamus takes him back in with a slam and looks for The Brogue Kick. Cesaro breaks it up to a huge pop, and the distraction leads to the Patriot Lock. Christian hits a crossbody to break that up, and gives Cesaro a tornado DDT on the outside. This allows Sheamus to finish this awesome tag team with the kick to Swagger’s face.
Final Thoughts: ****. I don’t think I’m being too generous. This was awesome!
-Renee is backstage with John Cena. Cena says that his match with Randy Orton is more important than the EC main event? Cena says that his match with Orton is the end of an era.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
Dolph didn’t even get to jump into the ring before Del Rio’s theme hit. I remember when this was a big deal. Del Rio beats up Dolph to start. Dolph answers with a dropkick and drops ten elbows on Alberto. That gets two. Dolph follows with the Fameasser after getting away from Del Rio’s backbreaker. Del Rio hits the knees and then hits the Si Kick for the squash victory. Jeeze. After the match, Del Rio gives Ziggler the cross armbreaker. Batista lumbers out to stop this and hits a spear. Outside, Batista tears the table apart and puts Del Rio through it with a Batista Bomb. The reaction is…well, kind of subdued, and Batista was booed during this segment.
Final Thoughts: Whatevs.
-HHH tells Batista to keep it PG in the back while the crowd starts to chant CM Punk.
-And the next inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame is…Lita!
-Backstage, NAO are enjoying tea with Betty White. They try to drug her tea, but she pulls the old switcheroo. I’m thinking that’s eye drops in the tea. Billy’s GONNA POOP!
Rybaxel vs. The Usos
EAT. SLEEP. TWEET. DELETE. REPEAT. Axel and Jey begin, and Jey hits Road Dogg’s punches to taunt him, as the New Age Outlaws are on commentary. Jimmy takes a dropkick from Axel and is in the corner. The Big Guy comes in and stomps away. Ryback is in control, as Billy becomes ill. The crowd is still not into Ryback, and chants for Randy Savage. Axel comes back and hits a big boot and elbow drop. Ryback returns to stomp and take Goldberg chants. Ryback takes Jimmy up, but gets knocked off and hit with a Whisper in the Wind.
Jey gets the hot tag and takes down Axel. Curtis is rammed into the corner and takes a Samoan drop for two. Ryback awkwardly hits the post and spills outside. Jey hits the dive on Ryback while Jimmy gets the blind tag and hits the splash from the top for the win. After the match, the New Age Outlaws can’t attack as Billy runs off, needing to shit. Billy Gunn has jobbed to his intestines.
Final Thoughts: *1/2. The tag division is falling quite a bit. Now, if The Outlaws are here to transition the belts to The Usos, I get it. However, a multi-tag team match could have worked just fine.
United States Championship Match – Dean Ambrose © vs. Mark Henry
I don’t like seeing Mark smile. I was also hoping for some type of curveball. We actually get the intros in the ring, for a nice touch. Mark tosses Dean around to begin. Dean retreats to the outside before coming back in and getting Mark into the corner. Ambrose works on the braced elbow of Mark. Henry gets the boot up, however, and throws Dean around the ring. Ambrose struggles, but gets the brace off of Mark’s arm. Henry, pissed off, hiptosses Dean from the ring. We go to break.
We’re back with Dean in control. CM Punk chants return. Dean goes to an armbar. They rise, with Dean headbutting Mark’s arm before getting tosses from the top. Dean is bumping so damned hard, taking a running powerslam. Mark fights out of the headlock driver and hits the WSS. Rollins leaps in for the DQ and we have a brawl after the match. The Shield get the upper hand as Reigns spears Henry.
As The Shield leave, Bray has more words for them on the big screen. Actually, they’re coming out for them. The two teams stare down each other. The Shield hops the barrier and come back out for them. The Wyatt Family step forward. This is so cool. The Shield steps up onto the apron. Bray and his boys follow suit. Roman enters the ring. Bray enters, but it’s just a tease. The Wyatt Family droops back to the outside to great heel heat!
Final Thoughts: *1/2. The match was absolutely fine before the ending and was pretty good for what it was. The angle after the match was so, so good. The tension and camera work was spot on. I can’t say enough about how powerful and simple that segment was. I would sell Elimination Chamber and just have it be The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family in the chamber itself.
The Bella Twins and Cameron w/Eva Marie vs. AJ Lee, Alicia Foxx and Aksana w/Tamina Snuka
Nikki and AJ battle to start, with AJ taking a break on the outside when the match isn’t going her way. She tags in Aksana, who quickly gets knocked down and takes a running dropkick. Brie is tagged in and leaps off of Nikki’s back into the corner, but kinda trips in Aksana. Aksana retakes control and drops the knee on Brie. Alicia Foxx tags in and slams Brie for two. Brie gets a roll up for two, but takes a back elbow. Foxx goes to a straitjacket. Alicia knocks Nikki from the apron, but gets a dropkick. Cameron gets the hot tag and goes to the Thesz press on Foxx. She awkwardly runs her over a few times, but gets some head scissors. Alicia Foxx cuts off the momentum, rising a boot. Aksana comes in but takes a dangerous DDT for the finish.
Final Thoughts: *. This was actually just fine, and I admit that Cameron is pretty unsatisfactory but is showing some improvement. She’s no Aksana, when it comes to improvement. Aksana makes her offense look real…which might also be because she has a habit of dropping knees into eye sockets.
-RUSEV IS COMING.
-It turns out that Kane isn’t on leave, as he comes down to the ring. Kane says that he has been placed on administrative leave. Daniel Bryan interrupts this and comes down to ring, charging even. They trade blows in the ring, with Kane getting the best of it and going for the chokeslam, but Bryan gets out of it and hits the dive to the outside, and dropkicks Kane over the barrier and into the crowd. Bryan stands tall and leads the fans in some chants.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Alright! The battle for our mortal souls! Orton gets a headlock to start, but Cena grabs a hiptoss. Orton bails. It was smart of WWE to have Bryan come out before this so that it didn’t hijack the show. Cena grabs a headlock now. Orton goes for the hiptoss, but Cena reverses with another. Orton, once again, bails. Orton comes back in and gets a boot and slugs away. Cena gets a corner whip on Orton and hits a bulldog for two. Another whip and Orton gets a back elbow. Randy kicks and stomps for two. Cena blocks a suplex and hits one, himself. John misses a corner charge and goes down. Orton stomps at the knee and Cena spills outside. Orton bounces him off of the announce table and then drops him on the barricade. Back inside, Orton gets a two count. He slugs and we go to commercial. This is very paint by numbers.
We’re back with boring chants. This isn’t good. Orton stomps at Cena again. John hits a scoop slam and they slowly battle to their feet. Cena and Orton trade rights to boos. Cena hits a shoulderblock, but misses the second and falls out of the ring. Orton kind of misses his spot before suplexing Cena back in. CHINLOCK. And…the fans chant for Daniel Bryan. Cena teases the AA, but Orton gets out and hits a DDT for two. I love Cena’s sell. Orton goes back to stomping limbs. Cena gets a roll up for two as Orton gets cocky. Cena hits the normal series of moves, but Orton slips out of the AA and hits the backbreaker. Cena dumps Orton out when Randy goes for the draping DDT. Orton gets out of the AA again and hits the powerslam for two. Cena rolls towards the apron. Orton brings Cena up to the top, goes for the super-plex, but gets tossed off. Orton crotches Cena and hits the draping DDT from the top rope, which is cool. Orton argues with the crowd. He might really be losing his mind, but Cena gets the STF.
Orton gets to the ropes. They might in the middle where Orton hits a dropkick to start up the count. Orton is up first. Randy points to the WrestleMania sign. Take a drink. Orton misses the punt, gets out of the AA and hits the RKO for two and a half. He almost covers a second time, but just kinda freaks out. Cena hits a AA out of nowhere at this point for two and a half. Up top, Cena looks for a super AA. Orton fights out, but gets knocked off. Cena hits the legdrop from the top and hits the AA for the win. I would’ve liked him hitting the ‘rana like he did against Punk last year.
Final Thoughts: This was supposed to be Punk/Cena from Dallas last year, but just wasn’t. ***. It’s everything we’ve ever seen. It had a nice, prototypical finisher sharing sequence and convenient no-selling of previous move. The beginning was very plodding brawling with a trade of big moves. This match was fine.
–These three hour shows make you forget simply great things like the awesome tag team match from earlier on. It was smart of the company to toss Bryan out there before the main event to get it out of everyone’s systems. The Betty White appearance wasn’t offensive and done just right. The Los Angeles crowd was terrific and brought the quality up quite a bit, seeming to push the wrestlers a bit further. I can’t wait to see that Shield/Wyatt Family six-man. The build has been done so well for it.