TV Recap: WWE Monday Night RAW (is Outta Nowhere)

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Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, it is brought to our attention R-Truth defeated Wade Barrett on SmackDown prior to WWE Fast Lane. Tonight, the Bare-Knuckle Brawler is handed more “Bad News” as Dolph Ziggler defeats him in a great match. Post-match, Dean Ambrose bumps shoulders with Ziggles and stares down both Barrett and Truth, while still holding the Intercontinental Championship title belt hostage.

Looks like a Fatal-Four-Way is in the works for WrestleMania 31.

This wasn’t even the top of the show, but I just had to get that off my chest before I could continue. We begin with Randy Orton issuing demands, challenges, whiny whiny, wah wah, until the Authority interrupt, and make an offer for him to rejoin the family so to speak. Seth Rollins is not on stage with Triple H, Stephanie, Big Show, and Kane, but they invite Orton to confront Rollins at an impromptu business meeting later in the hour. Huh?

In case you were unaware, the next tag team to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, will be the Bushwhackers. I loved these guys when I was a kid.

Following the Barrett/Ziggler bout, we have this so-called business meeting where Steph pleads with Randy Orton to rejoin them, even with the protests of Seth Rollins. The Viper agrees and tonight’s main event will be Rollins and Orton against Reigns and Bryan.

In the ring, the reunited Prime Time Players, being Titus O’Neal and Darren Young take on the Ascension. I try, I really do. I thought there was a chance I could grow to tolerate these guys, but they come across as really bad knock-offs of 80’s tag teams. There might have been a way to do this well, but it’s terrible. The saving grace is watching Darren Young score a small package for the win. Post match, Konnor and Viktor beat them up. Call the waaaaaambulance.

This next segment was fantastic. Roman Reigns already in the ring talking about overcoming the “doubters” and is now headlining WrestleMania 31. He is cut off by Daniel Bryan who says he was the biggest doubter of them all, and prey upon the fact the crowd would constantly boo Reigns over and over. However, after last night, Bryan admits respecting Reigns and just asks Reigns to beat the hell out of Brock Lesnar. They shake hands… except this happy moment is interrupted by…

Rabbi Paul Heyman. He too, pays respect to Roman Reigns. Heyman says he would bet on Reigns to have beaten Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, at respective WrestleManias, and gets a laugh from the crowd when he says Reigns could have beaten John Cena any day in the past 13 years of his career. However, Heyman feels now is the wrong place and wrong time, and the one man he cannot defeat, is the “1” in 21-1, Brock Lesnar. Heyman praises Reigns’ accomplishments and puts him over huge, but still carries on that Lesnar will not go down at Mania. Fantastic because thanks to both Daniel Bryan and Paul Heyman, Reigns looked solid. The former Shield member ought to thank everyone who knows how to work a mic for him.

Nice rematch for the Tag Team Championships, however Tyson Kidd and Cesaro retain the championships when Natalya interferes, earning the Usos the DQ victory, but the titles stay with the Brass Ring Club.

Backstage, The Miz says he will win this year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Huh, thought that was a one-time thing? Well, Damien San(Miz)dow brings some great news, he has been contacted for some TV and commercial roles, and he has The Miz to thank for it, since “stepping out of the shadow” as his stunt double. Miz, angrily orders Mizdow to clean his jacket. Funny stuff. But seriously, another Andre the Giant battle royal? I guess since Cesaro became a jobber after that, they need to try again?

Bray Wyatt tells The Undertaker, if he won’t come out, he will come find him. Creepy stuff. I really wonder how this will play out. Wyatt is claiming to be the new master of fear, the ruler of the “dark domains.” Playing and preying on the fact the Undertaker lost last year, which thus makes him mortal. I wonder if this will bring out the American Badass Gimmick again. Primus I hope not.

Jack Swagger earns a surprising win over Stardust, thanks to the presence of Goldust which ultimately distracted the deranged Rhodes brother.

Lana and Rusev interrupt John Cena’s promo and taunt him over losing last night. They quickly turn it political and Cena jumps on the ol’ “let’s make this patriotic as possible” and demands a rematch at WrestleMania. So, Cena is going to dress up as Mr. America?

Seth Rollins and Randy Orton talk strategy in the locker room, which means they taunt each other without outright being mean about it.

A very interesting promo at the man with more monikers every time he shows up. The Franchise. The Vigilante. The Crow. Sting. They cover his early years with the colorful face paint, and through his transformation with the introduction of the nWo into the black and white crow-style gimmick. Various commentary talks about how Sting would never abandon WCW while others would jump back and forth. Until Survivor Series 2014.

In a laugh, Paige and Emma were in the ring waiting for The Bella Twins while that promo ran. Bellas trounce Emma and end the match quickly. Paige then steamrolls over everyone until the Bellas floor her. The good news, is that segment was as long as it should be.

#Axelmania is running wild, as the delusional Curtis Axel is still running with the gag that he won the Royal Rumble and should be the one to face Brock Lesnar. Okay. He instead enters his name into the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial. His tirade is interrupted by Ryback who reminds Axel they were a great team once. However, Ryback opts for a fight, and destroys poor Axel in minutes.

We’ve got our main event introductions at 10:45. So, who else thinks this will go ten minutes? Seth Rollins does the intro for “the Undisputed Face of WWE” Randy Orton. Yeah something is going south here. The entire Authority is out at ringside, which means J&J Security along with Big Show and Kane. Just add Mark Henry and you have the stable of all the guys who have been with WWE since 1996. Seriously. Show and Kane were out of their suits and in their ring gear, match was pretty solid and even paced, but we’re all wondering when the turn would come. Orton has the match in hand, but Rollins tags himself in, but eats Superman Punch for it. As Reigns backs up into his corner, Bryan makes the same “blind tag” however Reigns and Bryan seem to have a laugh at the expense of Seth Rollins, who is then clobbered by Bryan’s running knee and pinned.

Bryan and Reigns leave the ring, but in the ring, Orton considers “the punt” on Rollins, but instead RKOs both Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury, but pats Rollins on the shoulder before leaving.

Well, that was a weird ending. We have a few obvious setups for Mania, but some unanswered questions posed during the show. What will Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Big Show, and Kane all do at WM31? The Andre the Giant Memorial? A tag match? One-on-one matches with stipulations? A lot needs to be addressed, and soon. A month is not a long time, and for something like WrestleMania, the build needs to be big. What happened to the six week break they used to take?