February 13, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Apparently, though #RAW trends on Twitter each Monday in the US, it also trends in Europe on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, because that’s when us crazy kids over the pond choose to watch it. This is of no interest to anyone, but it’s the kind of thing I expect to see as a “Did You Know” on the show. Maybe one day.
Is it just me or was there a serious sense of déjà vu about Raw this week? Seriously, it feels like I’ve watched the same episode, like, three times at this stage. And it’s not getting any more interesting either! Tonight, we are in Los Angeles, California, which I have noted has a lot of *something* because I am struggling to read my own scribbles. Oh, signs! LA has a lot of signs! It also has some seriously rowdy fans that are going to elevate the proceedings from dull as fuck, to slightly less dull as fuck.
Oh, and Betty White is here, looking as though she can’t stand for longer than ten minutes at a time. Whereas previous “special guests” have got involved in matches, stirred shit up, or just been funny/annoying/weird, White won’t do much this evening aside from some half-assed promotion for her upcoming TV show, the name of which I’m not even bothered to check. She is brought out by a beaming Big Show, resplendent in a suit that actually fits. As she emerges, there is one, noticeably very loud, boo coming from the audience and it is highly amusing to try to guess who it is because honestly, who’s going to boo an elderly lady?
White herself seems bemused. When questioned as to what she’s planning to do tonight, she replies simply; “I’m gonna kick some ASS” Somewhere, Mae Young is shaking her head. The Authority appears and Steph smothers White with her boobs, as Trips looks on adoringly. Cole mentions that they’ve sold out the massive Staples Center tonight, and for once his enthusiasm is justified. Of course, he soon shatters this moment of genuine commentary by shouting that we’re on the road to Wrestlemania! Exactly how long is this road? And how does one go about getting off it and going somewhere more interesting?
As expected, Trips goes back on his promise from last week, because of course Daniel Bryan isn’t going to be the fact of WWE. The actual face of the company is strolling down the ramp wearing a T-shirt so long, it gives the impression he isn’t wearing any trousers (which obviously elicits shrieks of pleasure from the females in the audience). For some reason, Cole then feels the need to recap what happened last week on Raw, which is odd, because surely it’s assumed we’ve all seen it? Are there casual fans, who only dip into Raw every once in a while? How do they follow what’s going on? It’s not like it’s bloody Home and Away. Cole also ominously tells us that “Cena is waiting somewhere in the wings” He sure is, Cole. He sure is.
The chants for “Daniel Bryan” begin around the time that it’s announced Cena and Orton will be the main event tonight, and they soon drown out Orton’s half-assed bullshit, as has become the norm. When the man himself emerges, the response is euphoric, and Bryan beams as he descends the ramp, still clearly in awe of just how fucking over he is. Cole chooses this particular moment to dispense a piece of info regarding the YES Movement taking hold in Indonesia. What is this, a Dan Schneider show? Nobody laughs at “Indonesia” outside of Drake and Josh, Cole. Sheesh.
Apparently, this is the last time this irritating introduction will be trotted out to open the show because, from now on, nobody will be able to interrupt The Authority anymore. Everybody will have to make an appointment with Kane, who Bryan demands a match with tonight, possibly hinting to a feud which could be interesting based off their previous history of working together and the fact that neither of them suck. Unfortunately, Kane is on admin leave for being a bold boy last week, and Steph assures us that he has a strongly-worded letter attached to his performance appraisal report – now, read that last sentence again and try to convince yourself that it was used on Raw. I still can’t. This isn’t the goddamn Apprentice, speak like you’re a part of the WWE and stop pretending to be serious! After alluding to Orton fancying Steph, Bryan is told he won’t be getting a match tonight because he, too, is a bold boy. Or he’s being buried. Or both. The crowd don’t like this and immediately begin a deafening “No” chant, as Bryan fights to suppress a smile.
But no fear, there’s lots of fun coming up on tonight’s show – aside from Betty White, whose appearance still makes zero sense, Mark Henry will be making his triumphant return, and we’ll also be treated to the same Orton versus Cena match we’ve seen a million times before, as the goddamn main event. But for now, the first match of the night is, once again, starring Rey Mysterio. I get it, we’re in California, but please stop featuring this dude in the opener. It makes it harder to enjoy the rest of the show through a cloud of rage. Oh, but before we get to the actual, you know, wrestling, did you know that John Cena has, like, a zillion followers on Facebook? Well, he does. Why don’t you stop being such a loser pants and make yourself one of them, huh? You’ll get much the same content as you would when following anyone else on the roster, but at least his feed has more PHOTOS OF JOHN CENA.
6-Man Tag Team Match: Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes & Goldust -v- The Wyatt Family
I sincerely hope the end is nigh for the Wyatts, because I cannot stand to watch Bray Wyatt anymore. He can’t wrestle or talk and he’s infuriatingly try-hard in everything he does. But the match hasn’t even started yet because we’re being sold the WWE kids magazine (as opposed to the adult one?) which looks totally awesome, apart from the Rey Mysterio poster contained within. Boo you, Mysterio. Boooooo. I hope you’ve downloaded the App, too, because otherwise, you would’ve missed what happened during the ad break of this nothing match – Bray screaming and not attacking anyone! This is all so hard to follow, I just can’t keep up! Mysterio landing on someone is like a Shih Tzu going full force against something – there isn’t much of an impact, even when whatever it’s hitting falls down afterwards. Also Mysterio isn’t as cute. This match is filled with botches and bullshit, while the Rhodes – each of whom is established in his own way – look utterly disinterested throughout. Helpfully, the Wyatts keep ending up hanging off the ropes, in the perfect position for Mysterio to do his signature move, the 619. Obviously, moves are set up all the time, but it’s never as obvious as when someone is hanging off the ropes for several seconds, as a teeny tiny man lines himself up ever so carefully, only to swing across and hit the target. It looks like shit every time, and it happens too many times over the course of one, fairly short match.
Winners: The Wyatts (surprise, surprise)
Now that the Rumble was a while ago, we’re finally being treated to live action footage from it, because everyone has already paid for it by now, right!? Anyway, Reigns didn’t win, as we know, and he really deserves a push. Especially over Boo-tista. Speaking of Reigns, Renee has infiltrated The Shield’s lair to interview all three of them about how evil they are. Rollins looks kind of small in comparison to the other two, but at least he blends into the background quite nicely. I’m sure he’d fit in an air vent, unlike his comrades. That’s got to come in handy. Apparently, Ambrose hasn’t defended his US Champ title in a while – I didn’t even realise he still had it!
Apparently, there’s a lot of “paperwork” involved in defending it, but the other two still reckon he should do it tonight. Against who, though? Betty White? No, she’s hanging out with the stupid Divas – and by that, I mean Divas who aren’t AJ, so nobodies. Things liven up when Vicky shows up. Raw just isn’t the same without her, and where’s the hilarious Brad Maddox this week? Does he also have a strongly-worded letter in his whatever? The New Age Outlaws appear, and they want to take Betty White for some lovely tea. How sweet! I hope this won’t end badly at all, especially not judging by the premise of White’s new show, which focuses on older people pranking youngsters.
To remind us just how many times we’ve seen this same versus Cena match up, we’re shown footage of all the other time it’s happened, while Cole tries to convince everyone, including himself, that tonight’s match will be iconic. The strangest part of this video package is the footage shown of the lengthy “I Quit” match between the two, which was pretty much just torture porn, as it mainly consisted of Orton beating Cena with a Kendo stick for ten straight minutes. On a happier note, tonight Sheamo will be teaming up with Christian against The Real Americans! That should, genuinely, be fun (which means it probably won’t be).
Santino Marella (with Emma) -v- Fandango (with Summer Rae)
I wasn’t too impressed with Emma last week, so I’m glad she’s not wrestling tonight. On another note, she’s upstaged by Summer Rae even as the two hang outside the ring, because Summer just kicks ass at selling how much she loves Fandango (and life in general). Apparently, she even threatened Betty White earlier, saying she’d better not steal her man. I love Summer, I hope she gets to wrestle again soon, even if it’s against Emma. Oh, sorry, there’s an actual match to focus on. Well, kind of. Honestly, Summer’s over-the-top reactions are more interesting than anything that’s happening in the ring – aside from when Fandango winks at the camera from the top rope, which is genius. The Miz shows up, once again, to throw his weight around (the announcing table, that is) and brags about how he’s been in successful Hollywood movies, which he has not. Thankfully, he leaves soon after, and then the match ends because I guess these jobbers only get ten seconds each episode to make an impression.
Winner: Fandango (is the song stuck in your head yet?)
Next up…Sheamo! With an interviewer who isn’t Renee (or even Josh) and whose name sounds a lot like Violent Standstill. He’s new, and he seems to not quite be following what Sheamo is saying in his glorious, north Dublin accent. The gist of it is that he wants to headline Wrestlemania, which we all know is never going to happen. He also wants to take Christian for a pint because they’re both foreigners and that sounds like the start of a bad joke. Oh, Sheamo. What will you do next (whatever the fuck he wants – couldn’t resist)!?
Tag Team Match: Christian & Sheamus -v- The Real Americans
Now that we’re back in sort of civilised society after last week, Zeb Coulter can bring out his racist gimmick once more, without fear of too many people agreeing with him. He immediately picks on the two non-Americans in the ring, both of whom, he wagers had to sneak across the border to get here tonight and after which Cesaro (who learned English through watching WWE) finally gets a chance to speak, and a great job he does of it too. Give him a proper push! Apparently, there are two things that Sheamo really loves – being Irish and kicking people in the face. JBL reckons he loves fighting so much because there’s so little sun in Ireland. He also later makes a reference to Dublin’s notorious Temple Bar, and how the match is so violent that it’s like that area of town on a Friday night. Touché, JBL. This is the first decent match of the night, with Sheamo, in particular, clearly delighted to be in the ring again. Likewise, Cesaro gives as good as he gets, possibly to cement his place in the upcoming Elimination Chamber PPV, for which he was rather shockingly booked. Aside from some fun spinning on Cesaro’s part, it’s a pretty standard match, with the obvious face victory no less exciting to get to.
Winners: Sheamus & Christian (to the pub, lads)
Renee is interviewing Cena (booooooooo goes the crowd) while he simultaneously sells the Network and Daniel Bryan. One of my favourite moments of last year was when Cena picked Bryan out of a line-up and his little head emerged, amidst all of the shocked meatheads, all of whom felt they were way more deserving. It was magical.
Cena may be a lot of things, but he is still a damn good speaker, and when he speaks of his rivalry with Orton and his belief that he will beat him once and for all, we almost believe him. By the end of the segment, the crowd are on his side, mostly because of a cheap pop for the area. He is a pro, after all. Next up, a load of YOUTUBE clips of Batista doing his signature move, which is simply a Power Bomb, re-titled as a Batista Bomb. Er, right, well that’s very exciting but I could watch YouTube videos any time. When are we gonna see some fookin’ foightin’ (as Sheamo would say)!?
Dolph Ziggler -v- Alberto Del Rio
Hooray! Ziggles! And ADR! But first, a reminder of ADR’s utterly over the top performance last week with Boo-tista, during which he evoked every cliché used to ridicule Latin folk, and utilised them for his own gain. Ziggles spends a stupid amount of time elbow dropping ADR repeatedly, which isn’t exactly thrilling to watch. Thankfully, the match ends almost as soon as it started – so quickly, in fact, that the crowd don’t even get a chance to count the pin.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio (er, okay)
Following the match, and in spite of his victory, ADR then attacks a helpless Ziggles, putting him in a cross arm-breaker while laughing maniacally like he does. Batista then shows up, waddling down to the ring like he’s afraid he might miss his mark. He wrecks the announce table and puts ADR through it. And that’s it. Scene. A really terrible Network follows, which utilises the Bella Twins as air hostesses who can’t read a TelePrompTer. They’re totally unnatural and address the audience – most of whom, it has to be said, are nerdy nerds – as though they’ve never heard of an XBOX before.
When we cut back to the commentators, the three of them are sitting around, sans table, but still managing to sell this shit. JBL hilariously comments that “You get all my old matches!” with the Network package, which proves once again that he is the only commentator worth listening to, also because he doesn’t sell, and he doesn’t flub his lines literally every show. The WWE apparentlyholds SOCIAL MEDIA DOMINANCE too, which sounds terribly frightening, but really means nothing. Elsewhere, Boo-tista is hanging out backstage when Trips rocks up to admonish him for attacking people outside of the ring. “Davey” he soothingly tells him, “we’re a publically traded company now” Er, it was when he left too, Trips! As usual, Booty gets rewarded with a match, at EC, against ADR. Woo and indeed hoo.
Back to selling Wrestlemania, only this time, it’s the Hall Of Fame we’re bored with, and the latest inductee is…Lita! We’re shown lots of footage of her tackling chicks and whatnot, while uninteresting Divas (and Summer!) gab on about how much of an impact she’s had on them. AJ does not feature, even though she’s really the only one who could make such a claim. Michael Hayes appears, though, with a very insightful comment about Lita, “she’s hot” Meanwhile, the New Age Outlaws and Betty White are having their little tea party, which isn’t nearly as cute as the one Cena had with that Make A Wish kid. They try to trick White, but she knows what’s up and swaps the teacups so Billy Gunn will drink laxatives instead. No really, that’s the setup. Comedic genius, indeed.
Ryback & Curtis Axel -v- The Usos
You know a match is bad when you find yourself cheering for the bloody Usos. Fucking hell, this shit is boring. In fact, the commentary from the NAO, who are sitting on the sidelines of the newly-reconstructed announce table (oh, thank god!), is more interesting, even though it features a great many poo and fart jokes. “There are a million good tag teams in WWE” claims Road Dogg, “I was never good at math”
Winners: The Usos (hurrah!)
The big question now is who will face Ambrose as he defends his belt!? Will it be this question mark silhouette fellow, who remarkably resembles The Miz?
US Championship Title Match: Dean Ambrose -v- Mark Henry
Uh oh…it’s Mark Henry, making his triumphant return after being injured. The build up to his reveal his pretty solid, but not more so than the amazing reactions by the other members of The Shield, each of whom do a variation on the standard “oh shit, dude” face. Ambrose himself looks terrified, which is new for him. Henry seems delighted to be back, perhaps because he reckons Ambrose can’t quite see where he’s going through his floppy, nineties boyband fringe. In fairness to him, Ambrose does give his best – mainly thanks to pep talks from Rollins, who screams “You got this!” from the sidelines like an over enthusiastic girlfriend watching her untalented paramour for the millionth time, safe in the knowledge he will most definitely lose. Henry is slow on his feet, but the match really should be his. Unfortunately, Rollins can’t stand to see his baby get hurt any longer and intervenes, leading to a disqualification.
Winner: Mark Henry (by DQ, so no belt for you)
The Wyatt Family take so goddamn long to arrive that The Shield have grown long-ass beards in the time it took for them to reach the ring, and now resemble a Goth ZZ Top. Sexy. There’s an interesting standoff, which would not work on any other crowd but this one, during which the two factions pose on opposite sides of the ring and glare at each other. It’s an easy sell, because the crowd are rowdy as fuck, but it still lasts far too long and advances absolutely nothing. Speaking of advancing absolutely nothing, we are then reminded of the match between Cena and Orton tonight, just in case we’d forgotten how important and life-changing and historic it is.
We are also reminded of how Orton beat up Cena’s dad not too long ago, because that is relevant in the context of this non-event. They’ve dubbed it The Final Chapter, like the Saw film which was also the same thing we’d seen before a million times, only worse, and starring John Cena (not really, but that would’ve improved it hugely). On another note, the WWE segment on Black History Month has not improved since last week. This time, it features Bobo Brazil, the most interesting fact about whom is that his finisher was called the Coco Butt, and he’s somehow connected to The Rock. I guess all of these guys are going to be connected to The Rock. That’s fun, and it truly emphasises the point of this celebratory month.
Divas Match: AJ, Alicia Fox & Aksana -v- The Bella Twins & Cameron
Seriously, who cares? This match is so stupid, it involves someone actually doing the fucking worm. Also AJ is barely involved, in spite of the fact she’s the only one who can wrestle, and Summer is, naturally, nowhere to be seen. Brie is doing a bit better though, and she’s shrieking less, so good for her. She messes up a lot though, they all do. Maybe they care less than us? Is that even possible?
Winners: The Bella Twins & Cameron (victory dance, ladies, yeah!)
Since they care so damn much about the little children, the WWE have launched yet another anti-bullying campaign, this one entitled B.A. Star, which I presume refers to B.A. Billy Gunn, who is indeed a star. It’s fronted by the Bellas, which is odd, because who the hell wants those two to come to their school? Enough of that anyway, back to Orton and Cena! A handy table has been drawn up, to illustrate each man’s Debut and Accolades. Fascinating stuff. All it really proves is how boring and samey Raw has become.
But don’t fret, Cena is the #1 wish granter in Make A Wish, after granting his 400th wish. He’s also the most requested male celebrity, while Miley Cyrus is the most requested female, which makes me yearn for them to be a couple. Another promo for that Alexander Rusev dude and his “lady” friend, who can clearly speak better English, hence why she’s being given more lines, follows and again nobody cares. Remember the Fandango promo? It’s the exact opposite of that, and also somehow looks even cheaper. Cole reckons Raw has been action-filled this week – perhaps he’s instead been watching Big Tips Texas on his phone on the sly?
Just when we thought nothing was ever going to happen, it’s Kane, playa! (That’s the only way I know how to introduce him, I’m sorry) He’s here to fight Bryan or something, defying his probation which didn’t sound like a real thing in the first place. This is genuinely the most exciting part of the night, and it isn’t even a match. Watching Kane run away, into a sea of “Yes” chants is truly awe-inspiring. Hopefully their mooted feud will live up to this build-up. Enough of that – Yo! Watch Smackdown, dude! There’s an 8-man tag team match on it, featuring everyone we’ve already seen tonight! Awesome! Even the theme isn’t as good as the Raw theme, seriously. Betty White shows up once more to divulge some details on her rather active sex life, and to introduce the main event! That’s her bit for the night, so yay?
Main Event: Randy Orton -v- John Cena
In spite of several “LA Hates Cena” signs, it’s mostly cheers that greet him as he enters the ring tonight – possibly because, by all accounts, he is the lesser of two evils. The commentators, to their credit (and our annoyance), try to keep it interesting by going on and on about how great these two are, but let’s face it, we’ve seen this all before and it’s only really Cena’s heart that’s in it. Orton is too distracted by the adverse reaction from the crowd, even calling them out at one stage, like the big brat he is. Thankfully, though, in spite of the fact Cena carries Orton throughout, the match ends with an Attitude Adjustment, instead of an RKO. And everything is right with the world once more.
Winner: John Cena (yet again)
This wasn’t exactly the most thrilling instalment of Monday Night Raw, to give it its full, official title, with more filler than anything else, and a whole lot of emphasis placed on people, and “feuds” about which we could not care less.
Every week, I hope that Bryan is going to be given a proper shot, or that talented upstarts like Cesaro and Ziggler will get even a little bit of attention, but time and time again we’re forced to watch The Miz, Rey Mysterio and fucking Boo-tista parade around in half-assed matches that go absolutely nowhere (or, in the case of The Miz, interrupting matches he isn’t a part of, because he has, quite literally, nothing else to do.
Raw is still enjoyable in its own bizarre, carnie kind of way, but the focus needs to switch soon or the audience are going to go elsewhere. Probably not me, though, because I’m still hoping Punk is going to come back. You know, eventually. Maybe one day. If I cry hard enough.