November 27, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Following an odd night at Survivor Series, Raw rolled in to Indianapolis, where we were treated, first off, to a nice little recap of the PPV, revolving mostly around Sting, who is sadly not here tonight. Next, The Not Authority stroll out looking rather glum – King notes it’s the last time we’ll hear Triple H‘s music, because he’s confused over what’s happened, while JBL refers to “the Survivor Series screwjob” – and stand around, not basking in the boos for once. Their couple’s Muscle & Fitness cover is Photoshopped to fuck, but they can at least take some solace in the fact they look great on it.
“None of you know the meaning of respect” they explain, “or understand what it means to be a leader” There’s an elderly Bray Wyatt in the crowd who remains in shot throughout this entire promo and kind of ruins the mood, but damn it it’s a good cosplay. There’s a big pop for any mention of Sting but Trips goes on to explain how over the hill he is, possibly going a bit off script judging by how red his face gets. Steph is upset over the thought of spending Thanksgiving with her disappointed father but Trips is more concerned with who’s in charge now – Cena? (boos) Ziggler? (cheers) Sting? (more cheers)
He goes on to cut a crazy good promo about what it takes to make the WWE thrive, about how difficult it is to always do what’s best for business, and how the company won’t survive without them. Steph looks teary-eyed and proud as he does so, but not as turned on as usual so she must be proper upset. Without The Authority, there is no Cena, no Ziggler, “no you” Trips reveals, “What are you gonna do on a Monday night now Raw doesn’t exist?” Er, I’m pretty sure you’re on Raw right now. Don’t get all existential on us. “Cheer!” he demands “Please! We’re leaving now!”
The crowd do as he says, but before they can leave the arena proper, Daniel Bryan‘s music drops and the man himself strides out with a massive grin on his face, clad in his best hemp-blend plaid shirt. He’s the new GM, but he isn’t going to do anything fun like settle old scores, so you can forget about that. He does do a “Yes!” chant in the faces of The Authority as they try to make a swift exit though, which is hilarious. Also, Sting has been located and is disguised as an overweight woman in the stands.
Tonight, DB is in charge so he brings out the losers from last night (“Let’s hear it for Team Authority!”) and goes through each of them slowly, one by one. Rollins grabs a mic before he can say much, and then shows off how confused he is by what the GM actually does, thinking he or she controls all technology in the arena. He suffers for his insolence, as Bryan schedules a 3-on-2 handicap match for later, against Ziggler and Cena, with Rollins’ teammates to be chosen by the fans. Naturally, there is one stupid option that is very obviously going to be chosen, namely Mercury and Noble, who try to hide behind Rollins as their names are called. “They’re not even real security!” he argues in vain.
Up next, Corporate Kane is stripped of his title and turned into Concessions Kane, as he is now director of food and beverages. “Would Dr. Shelby be proud of us?” Bryan wonders aloud as his ex-brother tries and fails to stifle a giggle. Rusev, on the other hand, has two options: either a battle royal for the US title, or he swears allegiance to the flag. Lana is visibly disgusted and the two immediately leave, shouting profanities (I’m guessing) as they go. Bryan then turns his attention to “my bearded brother, Luke Harper” who has his name scrawled on the back of his jacket in case he forgets it.
He’s got a title match too, against Ambrose. And finally, last but definitely not least, Mark Henry is up against “the Ryback” as DB calls him, who is out for revenge following his humiliating defeat last night. “That’s what I do” Bryan mimics Henry, with JBL noting he “didn’t even sound like Mark” And that match, of course, is right fucking now.
Mark Henry -v- Ryback
This is a stupidly short match, with Ryback attacking Henry on the ramp before the bell has even rung and immediately gaining dominance once they’re in the ring. He chucks Henry out, beats him up at the barricade for a bit, drags him back in, delivers a gnarly spinebuster and finally wins with a meathook clothesline. Meanwhile, Cole notices JBL is texting The Authority to say goodbye.
Speaking of whom, in the parking lot, The Authority are making their very sad, slow exit when Papa Vince appears to tell them, in true dad form, that he “isn’t mad, just disappointed”. Steph tries to apologise, but that just makes it even worse because the only thing he’s ever been sorry for in his life is agreeing to spend Thanksgiving with them – there are sitcom boos for this from the crowd, naturally. He ushers them into a waiting limo and, with one final glance at the building from Trips, they’re off.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose -v- Luke Harper
It probably goes without saying, but this is the best match of the night and, much like at the PPV, it comes way too early. Lillian is a bit too into Ambrose’s muscle shirt, even when he’s vamping in the ring, so you just know that Renee is fuming somewhere backstage – maybe they’ll have a mic fight later on? Harper strands Ambrose in the corner at first, but he manages to switch it around almost immediately. JBL very humbly notes that Harper’s clothesline is the best he’s seen…since his own. Ambrose sweeps Harper’s leg and catches him in an arm-lock, out of which he powers for a barrage of uppercuts before getting trapped again and grabbing Ambrose’s nose to get out of it. Harper runs into an elbow, but follows it up with a flying one of his own. Following the break, Ambrose is caught in a sleeper hold, but powers out of it only to be thrown into the turnbuckle. He gains dominance once more with a succession of brutal clotheslines, before a leg drop from the second rope leads to a really close near fall. A load of uppercuts and a vicious clothesline nearly ends it for Harper again, but he gathers himself to try for a Superplex, which Ambrose manages to avoid by clinging to the ropes by his feet. He hits a flying elbow from the top for another near fall. A superkick by Harper follows, with Ambrose fighting back with another clothesline, leading to yet another near fall. Harper decides he’s had enough, grabs the belt and tries to make a run for it but Ambrose splashes out to tackle him just in time. Harper then gets himself DQed by chucking his opponent into the ref before superkicking Ambrose again. Annoyed at losing his chance at the title, Ambrose hits the Dirty Deeds into a chair as the crowd scream for tables. He grabs a ladder, confusing them, but eventually finds a table and goes to get Harper again but his swamp brother Bray Wyatt shows up, throws Ambrose clean over the announce table, piles the commentators’ chairs on top of him (where the hell are they gonna sit now?) and then stands atop the table, basking in the glory of the boos.
Up next the, er, stars of Jingle All The Way 2, Santino Marella and Larry The Cable Guy, are here to prove once and for all that talent is not a prerequisite for being filthy fucking rich. Larry is in a Lucha mask and little else. Marella, to his credit, does the best he can under the circumstances but it’s difficult to escape the fact that this is all just horribly, painfully unfunny. The best moment happens when Stardust and his brother stroll out in time for their title match and Larry confesses to having “pooped” his pants at the sight of them and legs it.
Tag Team Championship Match: Goldust & Stardust -v- The Miz & Damien Mizdow
Mizdow has acquired some awesome replica belts since last night, so he can match his boss entirely, and the two do their boos/cheers poses on the top rope, for a bit, to start. Miz also cuts a nice little promo in the confessional box about how he read all of the headlines from the PPV, but he didn’t need to read any further because he knew they were all about him – it’s one of the most genuinely hilarious, and perfectly-judged bits he’s done yet and it marks him out as a far more interesting prospect than ever before. Stardust and Miz duke it out first, with Goldy joining in for some double teaming before taking over proper. Mizdow gets chucked out for copycatting but continues selling like a lunatic ringside anyway. He’s dying for the tag as Miz crawls towards him, but Stardust intervenes at the crucial moment and chucks Miz out for good measure. Following the break, Miz has managed to get some offence in but isn’t quite in control just yet. However, the red face-paint on his shoulder kind of looks like blood so it’s good Vince has already left the building. Finally, Mizdow is tagged in with a massive pop, only to be attacked by Stardust. He then strands him in the corner, before catching him in an arm lock. He powers out for a quick leg sweep, before attempting the figure-4 but Goldust intervenes before the tap. Mizdow goes for the skull-crushing finale, but Stardust counters, leaving Miz to tag in and finish the job.
Winners: The Miz & Damien Mizdow
Kane is getting a lecture from his manager, which is weird considering he’s director of the division and therefore should be in charge. He isn’t allowed to burn anything, because of his reputation, and he can’t steal chips either. Suffice to say, he isn’t impressed and this Slam City-esque arrangement probably isn’t going to turn out too well. Up next, Rusev and Lana are here to cut a promo about how unfair the US is. After not deliberating at all over their options, Rusev uses one line of English to tell her “Lana, we go” But suddenly, Bryan appears on the Titantron to introduce Sergeant Slaughter, who is apparently here to supervise, or something. He looks near death, and considering Rusev is much bigger than him, it makes little sense that he’d just stand there taking this shit from some old dude he doesn’t even know. Before Lana can be forced to pledge allegiance to the massive flag behind her, The Real Americans turn up and Swagger catches Rusev in the Patriot Lock, thereby kick-starting a feud that had run its course about six hundred years ago. Before we get another match, there’s more Larry as he visits Kane, and Santino ends up with mustard all over him in the process.
Justin Gabriel -v- Fandango
This ain’t just any old Fandango, this is “the new and improved Fandango”. Let’s be clear, here, there was nothing wrong with the guy before, he just wasn’t being pushed hard enough. He’s some sort of flamenco dancer now, anyway, but his partner Rosa still can’t dance and there’s no reason why he doesn’t have a rose in his mouth at all times (unless she is supposed to be his rose?). This is a squash match, it goes absolutely nowhere, and, in spite of Fandango‘s impressive cleavage, the only decent spot is a goddamn clothesline, followed by a leg drop from the top rope that wins it for him a bit too easily.
Big Show strides out next, in a suit, to tell us all about how he’s not a “bad guy” (geddit?) and he made a mistake, etc, etc. He starts off being really sorry but soon gets mad and starts laying into the crowd for being losers once they begin the typical “you sold out” chants. He’s been hearing whispers backstage, and therefore wants to offer anyone the chance to come out and say this shit to his face. However, when Erick Rowan strides out – to the weirdest music ever, mind – he laughs in his face, calling him “upside down Sheamus” The crowd are behind Rowan, however, especially after he grabs the mic, tells Show simply “I don’t like bullies” and lays into him, causing him to flee as Rowan tells his mask it’s all gonna be okay. This could be the start of something really great, or something really fucking weird. Backstage, Rollins is texting Craig Owens when the security team turn up, looking adorably excited and talking about how later they’ll be “The Shield 2.0″ Rollins is having none of it, basically telling them “yeah, thanks, but you suck so no” Ziggler then turns up, tells them he believes in them and that he asked his zillions of Twitter bitches to vote for them too, and they look proper chuffed because they don’t understand that they’re the stupid option. Bless.
Divas Match: Brie Bella -v- AJ Lee
Apparently none other than Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner congratulated Nikki on her win last night. This must mean she’s getting really famous, or maybe just that chicks with big, fake boobies tend to stick together. AJ isn’t happy about the fact Nikki turned her life’s work into an accessory. She also uses the word “lesbionest” which is amazing. She dominates the match easily, but considering she lost last night, in less than a minute, we know that she probably won’t win again tonight. She kicks Brie out to tackle Nikki before Brie fights back with a shitty-looking armlock. Nikki cheers from the sidelines, as AJ powers out of the lock with her elbows before hitting a shining wizard. Nikki then distracts AJ so her sister can win…somehow. And that’s really it. Following her defeat, AJ gets another good line in as she tells them both that, unfortunately, “talent is not sexually transmitted”
Winner: Brie Bella
Interspecies Tag Team Match: The Bunny & Adam Rose -v- Tyson Kidd & Natalya
Nattie is a different species now, apparently, and since that different species is “female” we know she won’t get a look in during this match. In fact, when she is tagged in, for about ten seconds, all she does is comfort The Bunny. Women, right? Rose rolls up Kidd early on for a near fall, but then The Bunny “accidentally” grabs his teammate’s foot and ends up losing the match for them in the process, as Kidd seizes his opportunity to roll Rose up to win. Bunny is very sad. But hey, well done to Justin Gabriel for changing so fast. At least he can be proud of that achievement.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Natalya
Backstage, Renee congratulates Ryback for his win earlier and he’s all “Thanks, Renee, but right now I’m more interested in food” Naturally, he turns up at Kane‘s concession stand and orders protein with extra protein, beef jerky and and tuna, none of which are sold at these events. When he learns this, Ryback attacks Kane with his own table as he flies into a rage. He then throws nuts at him as he walks away, yelling “you forgot your nuts!” Elsewhere, Cena is in DILLIGAF mode, cutting a promo with Ziggler that certain commentators think hits at a feud brewing between the two as he cuts across his teammate at one point. For the most part, though, Ziggler is nodding sagely, even when Cena yells “Consider da show STOLE!” at the end.
Main Event: 3-on-2 Handicap Match: Seth Rollins, Joey Mercury & Jamie Noble -v- John Cena & Seth Rollins
There’s a pop for Cena, and a bigger one for Ziggler, as they enter the arena. Bryan takes great pleasure in announcing the results of the poll, but he isn’t nearly as happy as good ol’ Mercury and Noble, who look as though all of their Christmases have come at once. Rollins says “fuck it” and is noticeably muted, but he insists on the two of them removing their ties before entering the ring. What follows is a funny, silly little match that kicks off with Noble getting confused by hopping over his opponents and subsequently clotheslining Mercury as a result. Can either of these guys even take bumps anymore? Is this safe? Ziggler clotheslines Noble over and over, before hitting a spinning neckbreaker, an elbow drop and a DDT in quick succession. Rollins takes over, as Ziggler is thrown out and tackled by Noble on the outside as a result. Rollins grabs him in an armlock and pulls his hair, before Noble catches him in a headlock, which he powers out of, leaving Cena to take the reins. He powerbombs Mercury, before joining forces with Ziggler to throw Mercury and Noble into each other. A simultaneous Zig Zag and AA win it for them, much to Rollins’ chagrin. Bryan takes the opportunity to show up again and chuck him back into the ring to eat a superkick and an AA. Following the conclusion of the match, an email alert sounds, throughout the arena, signalling that the anonymous GM has returned. JBL is not happy. Cole reads the mail aloud from a podium, letting us know that next week order and discipline will be restored to Raw. Several more emails come in, but none of them are read because Cole sucks.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & John Cena
Not a bad week on Raw, but not amazing either. The matches were all pretty rubbish and nonsensical, with only really Ambrose/Harper standing out as worthy of much further thought. The next PPV is ridiculously close, so the WWE are going to have to work really hard to build momentum for it, especially considering Survivor Series’ only real noteworthy moment was its ending.
We’re at a very strange juncture right now, because nothing too exciting is really on the horizon. Of course, the year is coming to an end, so it stands to reason that things are beginning to wind down, but what’s the pull right now? What’s keeping us watching?
Sting‘s appearance was (sort of) a shock, as was Bryan’s, but neither of them have contributed anything substantial to the narrative as of yet. Sting didn’t show up on Raw, and Bryan was there to mess around which, while good fun, doesn’t progress anything. Two matches have been announced for TLC thus far, neither of which is particularly exciting or inventive.
All things considered, is this year set to end with a whimper or a bang?
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