The big news out of Raw is the first inductee into the 2014 Hall of Fame, the Ultimate Warrior, and a big surprise from a member of the Wyatt Family.
We kick off RAW getting right into the match with Bray & Daniel Wyatt going up against Jimmy & Jey Uso. See, now we get Bryan going up against faces again, and this is a great match. Amazing how the crowd still cheers for Bryan, even though he appears firmly aligned with the Wyatts. Short match which saw Luke Harper and Erick Rowan cause the DQ, and yet because of this, Bryan is subject to yet another Sister Abigail face-plant. A bit confusing.
The confusion continues as Damien Sandow is headed to the ring, and we get a recap of his failed attempt to cash in the Money in the Bank contract on his opponent tonight, John Cena. Decent match, with Sandow countering the STF into his own submission hold, the Royal Arch, looking like a cross between the Sharpshooter and the Texas Cloverleaf. Surprising move, where Cena spikes Sandow with a second rope DDT, back and forth with Sandow countering and getting a number of near-falls. Cena’s facial expressions just aren’t believable when Sandow kicks out at two. Sandow powers out of yet another STF, and turns it into the Crippler Crossface! Wow, they let him do that move?! Cena counters, lifting Sandow over the shoulders into the Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall win. I have to give credit, Cena and Sandow put on a hell of a match. Post-match, John Cena hugs his daddy at ringside. Huh… why do I have the feeling something bad is going to happen tonight?
Backstage, Brad Maddox and Kane have a very awkward backstage conversation where someone likely forgot his lines. Maddox makes a rematch between the Wyatts and the Usos in a Steel Cage. Kane one-ups, saying the Cage door will be locked, and Kane will be the holder of the key.
Last week the Big Show throws Brock Lesnar clear across the ring. This week he makes mincemeat out of Jack Swagger, chases Antonio Cesaro into the crowd, and clobbers Zeb Colter via WMD-Punch. Unfortunately JBL has a terrible line, saying Colter is going to die of a heart attack, with Jerry Lawler sitting right next to him on commentary. Show has fun with Colter before delivering the decking hit.
Anyone know where Alex Riley went off to?
Hey! The New Age Outlaws are out again?! This makes me very happy. For the second week in a row, the DX mainstays team up with the Best in the World, CM Punk. This is not a complaint, but a very welcome surprise. Their opponents, the Shield are not amused by the trio’s antics. This is probably the longest tease ever, teasing the split between Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Crowd chanted, what sounded like a derogatory chant towards Seth Rollins, and if it was “you can’t wrestle” then I am very disappointed in the Providence, Rhode Island crowd for being very clueless. Cool moment when Reigns threw a crotch-chop at the Outlaws, allowing Punk to clock Reigns in the head. If that wasn’t shocking enough, as Punk went to make the hot-tag, Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg dropped off the apron and left Punk high and dry. Punk is easily overwhelmed and defeated by the Hounds of Justice, thanks to a spear from Reigns. One triple-powerbomb later, it seems like the Shield is not breaking up this week.
I always wondered, why does Michael Cole say “we’ll be back, when Raw continues, live.” Has there ever been a time where Raw came back from commercial, and it wasn’t live anymore? It suddenly became taped? If so, please let me know so I can apologize to Michael Cole.
AJ and Tamina defeat the Funkadactyls, but yet wind up beaten down by the Funky Dancers. Huh.
Backstage Randy Orton runs around blabbering his lines. He finds Kane, and wants a guarantee he will be protected because so many people are gunning for his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Kane says he can go take his frustrations out on Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately, after beating up Kingston over and over, he clearly thinks he can toy around, except Kofi seizes an opening, hits the SOS and pins Orton. Crowd is shocked, as am I, and Orton throws a temper tantrum. He then runs around ringside and sucker-punches Cena’s father. I had a feeling. Cena makes the save, and the old man is wheeled out on a stretcher.
Is it just me, or is it every time Cena’s dad comes to a show, something bad happens to him?
Cody Rhodes and Goldust go up against Ryback and Curtis Axel, and people care as much about this as the Divas match from earlier. Ryback is terrible, even Michael Cole says he should be banned from Twitter. Axel and Ryback should be called Team Terrible, or Two Guys in a Doghouse, or maybe Worse than Techno Team 2000. It could be worse, and it got worse as Rey Mysterio and Alberto del Rio had an incredibly boring match, but thankfully Del Rio cracked Rey in the head with a spinal-compounding superkick to the head and forced him to tap out. Del Rio then calls out Batista for a confrontation next week. Could be interesting.
Backstage, CM Punk confronts Kane about how the New Age Outlaws bailed on him. Kane informs Punk he has been granted entry into the Royal Rumble match. Speaking of the turncoats, they get a match against the Tag Champions this Friday night on SmackDown.
Main Event, we got as promised, a Steel Cage match which was nothing short of incredible. Unfreakinbelievable. The Usos were the MVPs of this one, and of course, Bryan put on the match of his life, as always. Bray was the behemoth who mauled the brothers. At one point Bray has one Uso set up for Sister Abigail, but before he could strike, the other Uso cracked Bray’s face in half with a superkick. A battle on the cage walls resulted in Bryan and Wyatt being knocked off, and the Usos, using Harper and Rowan as landing cushions, jumped off the top of the cage, landing on the floor and winning the match.
Bray was not happy with Bryan after the match, and the crowd chants roared in support of the former WWE Champion. Once again, Bryan readied for sacrifice via Sister Abigail, but Bryan shoved the patriarch off, this time unwilling to follow through. Suddenly, Bray got in the face of our American Dragon, who then unleashed his fiery rage, as the Steel Cage was still locked shut. Bryan then beat the almighty hell out of Bray Wyatt, while his disciples Harper and Rowan were helpless on the outside. The roar of the crowd, and yours truly only increased as Bryan stripped off the jumpsuit, revealing the traditional wrestling attire we have become accustomed to. Bryan unleashed his fury on Bray, culminating with the running high-knee, and scaling the cage, leading everyone in the galaxy in YES chants. What a way to end Raw.
I kick myself for not seeing it coming. Kane adding the Steel Cage stipulation where it would be locked with no escape. Was this Kane giving a nod to his former tag team partner?
Randy Orton is doing a good job of making us hate him. Initially I planned on complaining about the redundancy of his gimmick, where he avoids defending his title, he whines about wrestling, he wants to be protected, and then throws a temper tantrum like an infant when he loses. I get that it makes us hate the fact he is champion. It is interesting to note, the first Undisputed WWE Champion Chris Jericho was also heel in standing, as is Orton. Makes you wonder how WWE chooses a hated individual to get the honor of a major title event.
Hype for the Royal Rumble is high, Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar, John Cena vs. Randy Orton, and next week we will see Alberto del Rio have some sort of confrontation with the return of Batista next week on Raw. We are left with the question as to why the New Age Outlaws ditched Punk, and it is left in the air as part of Triple H being behind it all.
I love this time of year. The Royal Rumble is the best pay-per-view event next to WrestleMania, and can be the most unpredictable and fun. I can’t wait for next week!