WWE Monday Night Raw
-John Cena is out to begin the show. CM Punk is back on the signature before the show, as well. I wish they would make up their minds. Cena soaks in the mixed reaction to begin. John puts over the severity of the environment at Elimination Chamber. Cena speaks highly of momentum, and mentions that Orton has none. John thinks that there will be a new WWE champion. He is then interrupted by Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter. Zeb puts over Cesaro, and Cesaro himself is quite confident in his abilities. He wants to become the new face of America. Cena gets serious. He congratulates Cesaro, but reminds him of what lies ahead. Before Cesaro can retort, out comes Sheamus. Darn, they gave him a microphone. Sheamus threatens to kick their teeth in at EC, which gets a pop. Christian is out next, of course. Christian says that he’s going to get Sheamus at EC, but is totally not bitter about taking an accidental Brogue on Smackdown. Orton is out next to suck up to HHH and Stephanie. Randy puts down all of his competitors. Out comes Bryan, with new t-shirt. It’s in that “OBEY” style. He’s the most popular guy in the ring. Bryan points at the sign, so take a drink. Bryan puts over the crowd, and says that there will be one word chanted at WrestleMania. Kane comes out to some good heat. He says that he’s in charge for the evening. He makes a couple of matches, with Cesaro getting Cena and Bryan and Christian beginning the show in just a moment.
Christian vs. Daniel Bryan
Christian AMBUSHES Bryan and tosses him out of the ring, putting him into the barricade repeatedly, afterwards. Christian stomps him to the mat and puts him into the steel stairs as we go to break. That was an unexpected heel turn, but welcome at the same time.
We return with Christian and Bryan now finally about to start the rightful match, with Bryan nursing a bad shoulder. Kane stays at ringside for this match. Christian begins working the arm. Bryan gets the knee lift off of the whip, and uses some European uppercuts. Christian gets knocked out of the ring, but stops the dive with a right hand. Christian goes back to the arm and hits a shoulderblock. Christian mocks the chants for Bryan and stomps at the shoulder. Christian gets a hammerlock scoop slam and holds a hammerlock on the mat. Bryan gets out, but takes a back elbow for two. Out of nowhere, Bryan gets a half crab from a ground reversal. Christian kicks away and takes control. To the corner, Christian hits a tornado, single arm DDT. Christian drops headbutts on Bryan’s bad shoulder. Christian misses a charge and spills to the outside. Bryan hits the dive, but also smacks his shoulder against the barricade and we go back to the break.
We return with Bryan fight back in the middle of the ring. Bryan flips out of the corner and hits the clothesline. Bryan chops away and goes the buzzsaw, hitting it and getting two and a half from Christian. Bryan goes to the top and goes for the headbutt, but Christian gets the knees up into the shoulder. Nice. Christian misses a corner charge and takes a dropkick. Christian gets the boots up on the second and hits a back elbow from the second rope. Bryan reverses the Killswitch into the Yes! Lock, but Christian escapes and puts Bryan into the corner, shoulder first. Killswitch, but Bryan squirms free and rolls Christian up from behind for the win. Afterwards, Corporate Kane gets on the microphone and tells Bryan that he has one more match tonight, against…KANE!!!
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Kane runs through Bryan to begin. But we’re back to break again. We’re back with Bryan going into the corner again. Kane stomps away at Bryan’s shoulder as the announcers bicker. Wrestling in an undershirt and slacks is not a good look for Kane. Bryan tries to fight back from the apron and gets suplexed back into the ring for two. Kane stomps away for a bit, and we get boring chants before Bryan fights back and goes to the top. He hits the dropkick from the top and chops at Kane. Kane catches Bryan and tosses him from the ring with a choke hold. Kane continues by putting him shoulder first into the barricade and then wrapped and pulling the shoulder against the post until disqualified.
After this, Bryan gets put into the steel stairs and then has his arm trapped in the stairs and stomped. Kane jokes around about being disqualified.
Final Thoughts: ***1/2 for Christian and Bryan, and the second part here was kind of pointing towards the reason for Bryan to lose at EC, which I felt was a reason for the fans to quiet down toward the end. Also, a small, yet vocal minority of the fans were booing Bryan, which is something to keep an eye on. Finally, the chants of boring might have something to do with Kane working on Bryan’s arm for what felt like five minutes.
-The Shield is backstage with Renee. Dean is talking about how he “softened up” Mark Henry for Roman Reigns. Seth interrupts Renee’s question about them being on the same page as they put over their solidarity in their future fight against The Shield.
Fandango w/Summer Rae vs. Santino w/Emma
They lockup to begin the match. Santino then takes a moment to goof before taking a knee. Fandango hits a back elbow. Fandango misses a knee from the top and takes a Santino Stunner. Santino gets a hiptoss and headbutt. Out comes the sock. Summer distracts, but gets caught in an airplane spin from Emma. Santino helps Emma regain her balance. They flirt and almost kiss. Fandango interrupts and hits a suplex for the win.
Final Thoughts: I’m not sure if this romance is a good thing, but it’s something for them to do.
-Mark Henry is mad and is cut off by Renee. He’s bitter about not getting the U.S. Title last week. He’s over this and just looks forward to inducting Roman Reigns into The Hall of Pain. THAT’S WHAT HE DOES.
Roman Reigns w/Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Mark Henry
Henry has control to begin, hitting a big boot and a corner splash. Reigns comes back with clubbing blows and puts on a headlock. Roman gets Henry on his back and hits a Samoan drop for two. Mark comes back and hits a JYD headbutt and a corner splash. Reigns shoves Henry out of the corner on another attempt and comes out of the corner with the Superman punch. Reigns loads up and comes forward with a spear for the win.
Dean is bemused. Seth is admiring Reigns, which causes Ambrose to randomly assault Henry to get his credibility back. Reigns just laughs at him. After this, The Wyatt Family show up on the screen, with Bray singing “Joy in My Heart”. The crowd wonders just where. Bray asks The Shield if this is worth their trouble. Harper asks them if they’re willing to die. Bray says that they’ve already lost if they aren’t. Reigns asks them to come out to a nice pop. Bray says…sure.
Final Thoughts: There wasn’t much here but to put over Reigns and have Ambrose freak out a little bit.
-So, The Wyatt Family comes out, with the announcers shutting up a bit more than usual during the entrance, but certainly not enough. We have The Shield waiting in the ring and The Wyatt Family on the apron. Bray enters, and Roman steps towards the middle of the ring. Soon, they all stand there, before The Wyatt Family leaves to jeers from the crowd.
Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter vs. Kofi Kingston
Swagger stomps away to begin. Kofi fights back with kicks. Swagger counters and hits a wheelbarrow slam for two. Jack hits a few shoulder thrusts in the corner and gets two off of a slam as the crowd starts to check out and chant for random things. Kofi comes back with right hands, but gets caught and tossed into the corner. Swaggerbomb gets two for…Swagger. Kofi gets tossed off the ropes and hit with a forearm to the back. Kofi returns fire, springing from the second buckle and hitting a dropkick. Kofi gets the foot up in the corner and springs in with a forearm. There’s the babyface flurry. Kofi hits the splash off of the second buckle onto Swagger’s back for two.
Jack gets caught with an SOS, but escapes the pinfall by getting his foot on the bottom rope. Swagger tosses Kofi out, but Kingston gets a crossbody for two. Swagger rolls out of it and gets The Patriot Lock for the simple win. After the match, Big E comes out for…his match, apparently. I guess he wanted to come out early to give Jack the evil eye.
Final Thoughts: *. This was more of an extended squash for the two of them, with Swagger building up momentum before battling for the albatross of all singles titles.
Big E vs. Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre
Big E knocks Drew from the ring and hits a slam on Mahal. Zeb gets on the mic and does running commentary on the match. Zeb gets some heat as Big E gets stomped. Big E tosses Drew from the ring and runs through Mahal. Big E takes a boot to the face from Drew as he gives Mahal some backbreakers. Pretty rough there. Mahal and Drew hit a double suplex for two. McIntyre pulls Big E into a high knee from Mahal. Big E fights back, dumping Drew again and clotheslining Mahal before hitting a belly to belly. Drew tastes one, as well. Big E hits a double big splash, and then destroys them in both corners and hits a pair of Big Endings…such a bad finisher. This is apparent when Drew lands with his face about a foot from the mat. After the match, Big E tells Zeb to invest in some adult diapers.
Final Thoughts: Zeb was entering and brought some heat to this match. Still the segment was quite awkward and a bit too demanding for Big E. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about some legitimate injuries coming from this match, as it got sloppy in certain parts.
-Rusev is still coming.
John Cena vs. Cesaro w/Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger
I have to keep remembering to keep that name shortened. They lockup to begin the match. Cesaro gets a rollup for one and grabs a side headlock. Cena reverses to one of his own. Cena gets the hiptoss after a reversal and Cesaro goes outside for a pep talk. Back inside, Cesaro gets the arm and goes back to the headlock. Cesaro hits a shoulderblock and catches Cena with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Cesaro hits an uppercut and a double stomp for two. Cena powers back with a hiptoss but misses a charge. Cesaro pulls down the top rope, and Cena tumbles outside. Cena goes into the barricade. On the apron, Cena drapes Cesaro on the top rope. Cena charges in but takes a dropkick for two. Cesaro squirms out of an AA attempt and puts Cena’s throat into the ropes. Cesaro hits an elbow from the second rope for two. Cena counters a big right hand with his half nelson neckbreaker. Cesaro takes a hard whip into the corner and gets dropkicked from the ring and we go to break.
We’re back with Cesaro hitting a boot, but Cena hitting the CENARANA! Cesaro hits a fallway slam, AND BRIDGES ONTOP for two. Cesaro waves Cena in to punish him, and grabs a sleeper. Cena picks him up and drives him into the corner. Cesaro bursts out and hits a clothesline for two. Cesaro gets a chinlock. Cena fights back and goes back into the corner. Cena hits a couple of shoulderblocks, but Cesaro takes him down for the GIANT SWING. Cena counters into the STF, but Cesaro has none of that gives him the gutwrench for two. Cesaro hits the running uppercut into the corner but misses a second one. Cena plants Cesaro and hits the 5KS. Cesaro reverses out of the AA and hits the MDK and gets two.
Cesaro signals for it, and goes for the GIANT SWING. Cena CLIMBS UP Cesaro and hits a DDT for two. Sweet, sweet counter. Cena goes to the top, but Cesaro rushes forward and UPPERCUTS HIM TO THE FLOOR. Cena gets to the apron and Cesaro goes up and just lifts Cena back into the ring for the super-plex. OH YEAH! Cesaro takes a moment too long to taunt Cena and gets the STF. Cesaro fights out and finally gives Cena the GIANT SWING! That gets a near fall. Cesaro goes for The Neutralizer, but Cena reverses to the AA. Cesaro flips out and kicks Cena’s head clear off. But Cena hops back up as Cesaro bounces off the ropes and….LARIATOOOO for Cena. Cena then rolls through with an Oklahoma Roll to a squat and picks up Cesaro for the AA to end this amazing shit.
Final Thoughts: ****1/4. With a few more minutes and more false finishes, who knows? Just wow. This was terrific!
-Randy is backstage and sucks up to HHH. HHH begrudgingly accepts this and says that at least Randy is making an effort now. That’s a shoot, brotha. Randy talks bad about Batista, who is right behind him. Batista says that Orton is the ass of the WWE, not the face. Randy slinks off, humorously. Del Rio pops up to call Batista an animal, and sell a neck injury. He tells Batista that he’s going to rip his arms off. Batista shoves him. Del Rio cowers. HHH halfheartedly breaks up the fight and Batista walks off.
-Renee is apparently booking matches, announcing that Darren and Titus will face off at Elimination Chamber. Titus pops up to talks about how Darren has blocked him from becoming a champion. Titus screams at a suddenly high pitch about how everyone will witness his rise.
Sin Cara and Los Matadores w/El Torito vs. The Wyatt Family
This should be quick. Rowan begins with a matador, and clubs him down. The smaller man flips over Rowan, but gets leveled on the run. Harper comes and elbows them down. Harper follows with a scoop slam and gets two. Bray is tagged in and slams the head into the mat. Bray taunts the face corner and tosses his opponent across the ring. Rowan returns and drops a knee before hitting a scoop slam. Rowan hits an elbow for a two count. Harper returns, shoves Rowan out of the way, and hits a couple of rights before using The Gator Roll. A jawbreaker breaks it up, and an enzuigiri helps bring in Sin Cara.
Cara gets a crossbody and a headscissors. He knocks Bray from the apron, and hits a handspring elbow. Rowan makes the save, but gets dumped. He tosses Torito around, drawing the ire of Los Matadores. Sin Cara rolls up Harper for two, and goes up top after getting the boot up in the corner. The senton misses and Sin Cara eats the clothesline. Bray reenters to clean up with Sister Abigail for the win.
Final Thoughts: *1/2. This was a bit dull during the squash section, but picked up for the finish. Part of me thinks that they gave Los Matadores and Sin Cara a bit too much.
Billy Gunn w/Road Dogg vs. Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso
The tag partners are both on commentary. There’s a lockup to begin, with Jey shrugging Billy off. Gunn gets him in the corner and goes the whip. Jey suirms away and gets a hiptoss and an armdrag that sends Billy outside. Back inside, Jey comes off the top, but Billy dodges and hits a clothesline. Gunn punches at the grounded Uso for two. Dogg and Jimmy build up the match for the PPV while not much happens in the ring. Yeah, the tag titles are being defended. The Usos better win. Billy goes for the Fameasser but gets rolled up for the win. Afterwards, Dogg takes a superkick and both Outlaws get dived upon.
Final Thoughts: The Usos need to go over on Sunday. The CM Punk chants at the very end of the match began to pick up steam, which tells you that not much was happening in the ring. Very dull.
-Byron is in the locker room with Sheamus. Sheamus says that his aggressive side is his best side, as compared to his humorous side. Orton is in for blunt force trauma…Irish style! I’m not sure what that means.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
I don’t have very high hopes for this match. The crowd already had Cena/Cesaro, and this combination suffered through the bored crowd the night after WrestleMania. Orton points to the sign to start, and does it for a long time. Heh. They lockup and CM Punk chants start to rain down. Uh-oh. “Raw is JTG” sign in the crowd. Orton bails to the outside after a shoulderblock. Sheamus points to the sign. Orton comes back and slugs in the corner, but Sheamus comes back with some stiff shots. Sheamus gets a suplex and Orton takes a powder. Sheamus chases, but gets posted. They brawl in front of the announce table for a moment and reenter. Sheamus drops some knees and gets two. Sheamus goes for a Brogue, but gets caught in the ropes and then sent against the post before we go to break.
We’re back with a CHINLOCK. Sheamus fights out with a back suplex and clotheslines Orton out. Randy goes into the barricade, and is then run into another. Sheamus goes for the whip, but is reversed into the steps. Back in, Orton slugs away in the corner and puts Sheamus to the top. Sheamus fights out and comes off the top with a Battering Ram. Orton runs outside and goes to reach for monitors to hit Sheamus with. It’s quite funny. Sheamus charges, but Orton hits him with a back suplex through the table. Ouch! That table was not clear at all. Sheamus is just about to get back into the ring before the count of ten, and gets stomped. Sheamus fights back, but misses the running knee lift and gets snap powerslammed for two.
Orton goes for the draping DDT, but gets dumped onto the apron. Sheamus goes clubberin’. Back inside, Orton counters the rolling Samoan with his backbreaker. Orton then hits the draping DDT. Sheamus fights out of the RKO and hits three Irish Curse backbreakers, chained together. The Shield run down and attack Sheamus before he can hit the Brogue. Cena comes out to help Sheamus, as does Bryan. The giant brawl breaks out, as Cesaro enters. The Wyatt Family enters the fray as well. The Shield and Wyatt’s unload on each other, with everyone beating up each other. And they leave us with that hot ending.
Final Thoughts: ***. I don’t really mind the ending in the slightest, as it gave us the giant brawl to end the show and lead us into a nicely built PPV. Orton and Sheamus did well in fighting off CM Punk chants and busted their asses before the finish. Sheamus’ chaining backbreakers was quite cool, and I hope he keeps the spot in his arsenal.
–This time next week we’ll be watching the post Raw studio show, I hope. I do wonder if they’re ready for the amount of traffic that is going to full upon them. Still, this was a terrific show tonight, with the combatants of The Elimination Chamber getting together for two good to very good matches, and one match that we’re always going to remember. It’s amazing what can happen when Cena can get in the ring with plenty of time and a terrific wrestler opposite of him. He and Cesaro wowed everyone, and with a bit more added to it, it could have been an easy MOTYC. This is that match that reminds us of Punk and Cena from Dallas last year. So, a damned good show that might actually be better than the PPV this Sunday.