Tonight we have a favorite of mine, WWE puts on its annual Old School RAW! Once again, WWE knows how to put on a fun show with what I will call a healthy mix of storyline and just some good in-ring action. The main event features CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns. No Orton or Cena wrestling tonight. Confused? I am not at all, this is the show wrestling fans want to see, and WWE is 100% listening.
We begin with Ric Flair. Because, it is Ric Flair. Why not? He is The Man after all. He gets the crowd hyped up, but the Bastion of Buzzkill, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton interrupts. Orton flaps his mouth, continuing the whiny spoiled brat gimmick, and Flair entertainingly calls him out on it. Before they brawl, John Cena rushes out for the save. Decent segment, but something felt off once Cena arrived, and while Orton plays the brat angle very well, it’s getting old and even his lines are the same every week.
The Usos and Rey Mysterio earn the surprise victory in a six-man tag, their opponents being Rowan, Harper, and Bryan of the Wyatt Family. Despite Bryan being on the other side, the crowd firmly cheers for him. Good match, nice spots. Rey however, I think it is time for him to hang the boots up. He did not contribute much, it just looks like he cannot do it anymore. He is there as just another name. Interesting end to the match, Bryan tags himself in, but before he could lay claim to victory, Harper blind tags, but winds up being rolled up by an Uso for the win.
Backstage, Brad Maalox announces the WWE App users can vote for the guest ref between the Great Khali and Damien Sandow. Choose from Bob Backlund, Arn Anderson, or Sgt. Slaughter. Kane then shows up an scares hell into Maddox.
Big E. Langston is walking through the building, heading towards the ring for his match with Curtis Axel. He takes a detour through the Old School Circus, Nikolai Volkoff singing the Russian Anthem, “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase cackling, and I.R.S. reminding Langston to pay his taxes. Langston winds up making short work of Axel, while we painfully have to hear Ryback explain the origin of “Rybaxel” to Michael Cole and JBL.
We get some good stuff, with Piper’s Pit! Always love seeing the Hot Rod himself, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper! The Shield make their way out quickly, and Ambrose immediate takes lead by putting down the legend. However, Piper pays ultimate tribute, saying the only man today who can match him on the mic, and he is CM Punk. Using recent history, Piper taunts both Ambrose and Rollins about their recent losses, however then puts over Roman Reigns as someone who could beat Punk and be better than the other Shield members. Before The Shield can beat down the crazy man, CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws rush out for the save. Funny moment, Piper reminds the United States Champion the segment is called Piper’s Pit and not Ambrose Alley. I think someone in WWE Creative just wrote that on his or her napkin for future reference.
Alberto del Rio makes short work of Sin CarHunico. He gets on the mic and says he is going to win the Royal Rumble. Backstage, Bryan tries to rally Rowan and Harper, but Bray interrupts and informs the new family member he will team with him next week.
Once again, the Real Americans and The Rhodes put on a clinic. I feel like a broken record since the last quarter of 2013 all I did was praise these four whenever they put on a match with each other. Funny moment, my wife thought the crowd was chanting “William Regal” until I pointed out the crowd was chanting “We the People” quite loudly. I really would like to see The Real Americans with the Tag Championships. I know I saw the same thing about every team, but deep down, Swagger and Cesaro are the tandem who I believe deserve it the most in 2014.
Backstage: DDP and Booker T attempt yoga. Ron Simmons gives a DAMN!
Damien Sandow tragically loses to the Great Khali, which Sgt. Slaughter tragically won the vote to be special ref. How did Arn Anderson not win?
Brock Lesnar is out with Paul Heyman who delivers a great promo about the true meaning of Old School. Best part? Brock not saying a damn word. Mark Henry however has other opinions, but does not get to express them as Brock mauls the World’s Strongest Man and “breaks” his arm. Lesnar and Heyman celebrate, until the Big Show lumbers out, sending Lesnar into a retreat.
Alicia Fox and Aksana defeat the Bellas.
Scotty 2 Hotty, Brian Christopher (Too Cool) and Rikishi defeat 3MB. Truly, 3MB have become worse jobbers than Duane Gill. The chants of “You Still Got It” are 100% deserved. I love it when my wrestlers of a previous era show they can still carry a match with today’s talent.
The WWE Legends are brought out and re-introduced by ring announcer Justin Roberts, but the festivities are interrupted by my favorite guy, Bad News Barrett. He cuts the greatest segment promo ever. He says half the fans today don’t even know who they are, they’ll be forgotten about once they leave the arena and Flea Markets everywhere are suffering. I love it. Sad thing is, a lot of what Barrett has to say is pretty damn true, a lot of these guys wind up at local shows charging money for old photos to the seven people who actually recognize them.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund plugs the old school hotline and then brings back out the New Age Outlaws who cut their usual promo, and then bring out CM Punk, remaining in his corner for his match against Roman Reigns. We got a great match, with the not-all-that shocking finish with Reigns hitting Punk with the Spear and winning the match. Just when we thought the show was over, Jake “The Snake” Roberts arrives, the New Age Outlaws beat up on the Shield, as Ambrose falls victim to a Go To Sleep, as Roberts drops a snake on top of the comatose United States Champion, who, thanks to a bad camera angle (or a good one), we can see Dean Ambrose fighting with all his power not to break out into a smile or laugh as the snake slithers on his head. Maybe he enjoyed it.
This was a fun RAW. Wrapping up, it seems Daniel Bryan is enjoying being part of a family, Reigns is now getting the push of being the better man, and it appears Brock and Big Show will be on a collision course. As expected, some of the legends were more for their comedy, but I suppose that is OK, considering some of these guys became famous during a time where colorful and over-the-top cartoon antics made them famous. One thing is for sure, WWE is relying a lot on the “Old School” or simply the past of the company to get higher ratings a buy-rates. Brock is back, Batista is on his way, we know Triple H and the Undertaker will somehow get involved in WrestleMania 30, and who knows how many other stars from the past will show up. As much as I get excited to see these guys, one has to realize it takes away from stars on the current roster, making it more difficult for them to get a chance to shine at the Grandest Stage of Them All. Tonight, no Dolph Ziggler. No Kofi Kingston. I do wonder what WWE has in mind for the future, do they rely on their current talent or not?