TV Recap: WWE Monday Night RAW

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I’m doing this one a little differently tonight, because tonight’s edition of WWE Monday Night RAW was amazingly…

… AWESOME.

Highlights include Triple H taking a jab at the internet fans again, Bray Wyatt sets us on fire, John Cena continues to cry until some red and yellow goes running wild, CM Punk chants ushering the return of AJ Lee, “Keep Away” continues with the Intercontinental Championship with a new participant and Jon Stewart steals the show, until Rabbi Paul Heyman shows up and owns the mic.

The program starts with Seth Rollins gloating about punking out Jon Stewart and promising he will find a way to make WrestleMania his moment, or maybe wait until the day after. Taunts prompt the appearance of Roman Reigns, who socks Mr. Money in the Bank. Backstage, Randy Orton goads Rollins to challenge Reigns to a match in the main event.

Our opening match features solid action between Dean Ambrose and Wade Barrett. While I initially griped about how Barrett was being embarrassed over and over, this time with R-Truth stealing the IC Title, it would be a new face who sold me on this crazy gimmick. Enter Luke Harper who stalks Truth into handing over the belt. I could not stop laughing. As much as I believe this is making Barrett look more like a whining chump with having his title stolen from him every event, this is just too good. Ambrose gets the pinfall victory after his Mick Foley-style DDT.

Miz and Damien Sandow are heading towards a WrestleMania match, after Sandow shows an embarrassing commercial with Miz having issues with “getting it up” and Miz snapping in front of a bunch of mid-tier talent. Great stuff.

Bray Wyatt sets a casket on fire. Need I say more?

Short six-person tag match with The Usos and Naomi up against The Brass Ring Club. Sloppy finish, intended as an injured Natalya gets tagged in, resulting in Naomi with a quick pin. Post match, Natalya cries. Oy.

John Cena makes his way out, saying he will do something else since Rusev won’t give him a rematch for the United States Championship, and that is to enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Uh… for a moment I had that fear this was for real. But then Stephanie McMahon dashes those dreams to bring me back to reality. Suddenly, Steph puts the verbal hurt on Cena, calling him out-of-touch and his 15 World Championships are irrelevant and even the live crowd would be happy to see Cena “sit this one out.” Crowd popped HUGE for that. Stephanie tears into Cena about how he’s back to being a mid-carder whom no one cares for and couldn’t care about his merchandise anymore. Big ouch.

Suddenly, the segment goes wild. Running wild as Curtis Axel in full red and yellow #AxelMania gimmick comes to the ring, informing us he is the longest running Royal Rumble participant, and volunteers to be the one to face Rusev for the United States Championship. The Newark, New Jersey crowd goes absolutely batshit crazy for The Ax Man. I am not making this up. Axel continues to rant and the crowd loves it. Sadly, the match between Cena and Axel goes two minutes as Cena goes full-on Rage Mode and destroys Axel.

Triple H steps into the ring to talk more about what defeating Sting will mean, not just beating a man, but finally burying the legacy of WCW. He also takes a nice jab at the internet fans again. He calls Booker T in the ring, and questions this “theory” that Triple H had prevented Sting from coming to WWE before. In response, Triple H fires Booker T. While we rejoiced, Triple H then ripped our gift as he informed us all it was a joke, but he did it because it shows what true power really is. Damn it.

Paige nearly reclaims the Diva’s Championship, but Brie prevents Nikki from losing. Suddenly, a Crazy AJ Lee shows up and cleans house. Of course, we get CM Punk chants for it.

In a fantastic segment, Seth Rollins is out to host his own Daily Show, and makes fun of Jon Stewart. Well, this brings out the New Jersey native to a massive ovation. Stewart then goes on an incredible promo, talking about the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon, Steve Austin, and Mick Foley, and of course running down Seth Rollins. He cracks jokes about no one in Jersey fearing curb stomps, since that is the routine breakfast of choice. Big laughs and cheers. Rollins gets pissed, and thanks to Randy Orton popping out, Stewart punts one between the uprights, sending Rollins into the fetal position.

Jon Stewart is a genuine wrestling fans, and he knows exactly how to deliver a promo to any crowd. Fantastic job.

Our next match turns brutal. Luke Harper and Daniel Bryan go one-on-one, and I cringed twice. First watching Harper toss Bryan like a dart face first into a turnbuckle, and then folding him up like a broken accordion with a Half-Nelson Suplex. Good grief! Harper goes for his own crossface, which Bryan reverses into the Yes-Lock and puts away the former Wyatt Family member. Post match, Barrett rushes down to retrieve his championship, but Ambrose is back and takes it away, but only for a moment as Harper big boots him into next week. Truth attempts to steal the title, but Harper intimidates him into putting down. As Harper leaves with it, he is caught off guard by Dolph Ziggler who cracks him with a superkick. As Ziggler climbs the ladder on the stage, he stares off with Daniel Bryan who leads a YES chant… Could Daniel Bryan also be added to the list of contenders?

I admit, I really did not like this game of “Keep Away” but with this turning into a match as exciting as the old WrestleMania Money in the Bank bouts, I am all in for this one. It is a LADDER MATCH. Belt or briefcase, when you put Ziggler, Bryan, Truth, Harper, Ambrose, Barrett, and who knows who else, you are getting a potential show-stealer.

The next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is my former girlfriend, Alundra Blaze. Nah, just kidding. Kidding about her being an ex. This is a well deserved honor, and seems as though WWE is burying the hatchet with numerous stars from the past who enhance the Hall of Fame. She deserves it folks, big time.

Rabbi Paul Heyman went on a tear tonight. His mic stopped working so he cut a promo on the tech people. Then he cut a promo on how modern fans are so wrapped up in trends and fads, they don’t have the brain cells to maintain the attention span of a goldfish. He rips into people on rumors, rips into the internet community, and when he comments about recent great wrestlers who headlined Mania, a fan shouted out Andre the Giant… to whom Heyman directly turned to and said “I didn’t mention him as a current superstar, because he’s dead, you idiot.” Wow. Heyman delivered word after word about Roman Reigns, about Brock Lesnar, about WWE, about reality, and goddamn it, I am REALLY mad I am not there live, just 20 minutes from my town.

Nice closing main event with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Obvious Authority interference, and shockingly, Randy Orton helps Rollins pin Reigns. Post-match Reigns cleans house and nearly kills Rollins with a spear. Reigns has been great at selling his anger and determination, but I do wish he would stay off the mic. Hell, Heyman’s earlier promo did a better job of pushing him.

Tonight was a GREAT episode or Monday Night RAW. I was damn impressed and thoroughly entertained. Good work WWE, and I really hope they keep this momentum up through WrestleMania.