January 14, 2015 by Joey Keogh
This week, as has become customary, Raw opens with a recap of last week’s show – in particular, the much-discussed ending, which saw three, high-profile wrestlers being “fired” thanks to John Cena‘s meddling. The man himself shows up first, seemingly mad at first before launching into the usual, mildly offensive pseudo-country talk he does whenever he’s down south. He’s booed relentlessly for taking away the fans’ beloved Dolph Ziggler, but he and his fake accent are lovin’ it, y’all (seriously, dude, you’re from Massachusetts). Cena cuts a promo about how much of a dick Seth Rollins is, asking the fans to tweet using the hashtag #AuthoritySucks because I guess he’s after Michael Cole‘s job? He also threatens to quit, wondering aloud what would happen to the show if the WWE‘s “hottest property” wasn’t there. Well, Ziggler has been gone for less than one Raw and it already sucks.
The Authority interrupt, looking smug as ever as they bask in the glory of the boos. Steph makes fun of Cena’s suggested hashtag because even she is more down with the kids than he is. Trips makes a reference to Punk yet again (did Vince write this Raw too?), before the two of them turn their attention back to Cena, with Steph calling him out for being selfish as Trips points out how turning his back on his own teammates wasn’t exactly heroic. Basically, if Cena wants to get the three lads their jobs back, he’s going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice by…winning a match against Rollins! Wait, what? Why isn’t he being forced to quit or give up his title shot or something? Who cares if he wins some random match!? Naturally, it isn’t any ordinary match, it’s a lumberjack and, because this is the opening segment and the script is being written on the go, it’s happening right fucking NOW.
Lumberjack Match: John Cena -v- Seth Rollins
All of the lumberjacks are heels apart from Justin Gabriel, who doesn’t count because he’s dressed like one of those motorcycle cronies from Batman And Robin – you know, the ones whose lair Poison Ivy stole and filled with flowers. Big Show and Kane clap proudly as Rollins enters, while Fandango works on making sure the camera catches the best side of his butt. Rollins kicks things off by goading Cena a little, as he is wont to do, grabbing his arm in an attempt to lure him into a curbstomp somehow. He lands himself in a headlock as a result, as Booker (who is now a permanent member of the announce team, hooray!) notes Cena hasn’t a chance in hell of winning this match. Cena punches Bad News Barrett and the crowd boos because, come on, that was unnecessary, as the lumberjacks pull Rollins out of harm’s way. Cena eventually manages some offence as he splashes out to tackle a load of lumberjacks, and Rollins, simultaneously. Cole says “make it up to ’em” but it sounds like “making love to him” as Rollins lands a small package, followed by a crazy powerbomb into the corner after Cena attempts, and fails, a Superplex. He then almost wins it but the lumberjacks pull him out just in time and lay into him, with Cesaro swinging him into the barricade for good measure. A KO Punch by Show follows another near fall, as they chuck Cena back in so he can lose. Predictably, Rollins wins, and Kane, Show and the security team pick him up and celebrate in the ring as though he’s their own little trophy.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Backstage, The Usos and Dean Ambrose are with Steph, sort of getting a telling-off and sort of killing time between segments. She gets the brothers confused and then dismissively says “whatever” after one of them (I wanna say Jimmy?) corrects her. It’s unclear what their beef is, because Rollins looks like Jesus on the poster for the Royal Rumble that’s on the wall directly behind them and it’s incredibly distracting. Ambrose has to see a special doctor for a psych evaluation. He’s intrigued. Just to put it into perspective, he still makes more of an impact than The Usos during this entire bit, in spite of the fact he doesn’t utter a single word. Elsewhere, The Miz cuts a promo about the Golden Globes, describing himself as an FOG, i.e. Friend Of George (Clooney). He congratulates his buddy, while simultaneously acknowledging that the prize he’s really after is a Slammy. The camera then cuts to Ambrose, who is watching a ticking clock in the doctor’s makeshift office, and my god this sucks already.
Tag Team Match: The New Day -v- Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
Following their storming debut last week, in what JBL refers to as “prophylactic costumes”, Cesaro and Kidd are here to kick some New Day butt with a combination of high-flying athleticism and gnarly hand to hand combat. Adam Rose, Nattie and the Rosebuds are ringside for no apparent reason, and they add absolutely nothing to the proceedings. Kofi takes quite a beating for most of the match, but he and Woods manage to turn it around with a double team move that sees them lining up Kidd’s arm so Woods can Splash from the top onto him, nearly ripping it off in the process, to win.
Winners: The New Day
Up next, a variety of Superstars attempt to emulate Randy Savage‘s inimitable “oh yeah”, with varying degrees of success. Paige, for example, is quite good, while Reigns uses the opportunity to show off how well his acting lessons are going (hint: not very). Speaking of whom, he turns up to interrupt Show’s “sad giant” promo and to call him a loser after being called one himself. He also uses the story of Jack and the Beanstalk for some reason. With all due respect to Reigns, he’s getting better, but he needs to stop letting Vince write his shit because seriously, this hasn’t been relevant for, like, a hundred years.
Roman Reigns -v- Luke Harper
The prominent sweat stain on Harper’s already dodgy-looking shirt is a nice touch. Sadly the crowd are asleep for this bout, even with Show reacting and screaming support for Harper from ringside. Reigns manages a couple elbows, before clotheslining Harper into the corner and then delivering a brutal neckbreaker, but otherwise Harper is dominating for the most part. Of course, Reigns wins it with a Superman punch, followed by a Spear because he’s the new John Cena. Show isn’t best pleased, however, and KO punches him.
Winner: Roman Reigns
The Miz cuts a promo about Boyhood next (holy shit, did I really just write that?) after which Mizdow gets to talk for once, as he discusses a top secret project he’s been working on for the past six months entitled Manhood which, much like Richard Linklater’s masterpiece, attempts to capture certain moments in a person’s life. In this case, it’s his beloved Miz, who he’s been filming for quite some time. Miz seems concerned by this news (did he not cop the cameras at all?) and Mizdow, hilariously, mirrors his confusion.
Divas: Naomi -v- Alicia Fox
Naomi has to perform with one arm tied behind her back, so Foxy starts off by making fun of her and dancing around with her arm held behind her. There’s a spinning backbreaker early on that’s pretty cool, and Naomi fights quite well considering she only has one arm to use, but as per usual the Total Divas get about two minutes to shill their show and that’s about it. The Usos watch from backstage and one of them is so disturbed by what’s unfolding on the screen before him that he’s managed to put his belt around his neck instead of his waist, where it belongs. Naomi manages an elbow here and there, along with a kick and a couple clotheslines but this is Fox’s match (how could it not be?) and she wins it with a scissor kick, the impact of which Naomi ruins.
Winner: Alicia Fox
Ambrose doesn’t understand word association, responding to a photo of Trips with “irritable bowel syndrome” and of Kane with “toothpaste”. The doctor is confused, but carries on because it’s in the script. Next up, Brock Lesnar is finally here, to mark 282 days since he beat the streak right here in Louisiana, and 281 days since he’s been on Raw. Paul Heyman cuts a great promo about that very event, following a rather good replay of it that still sends shiver down the spine, and the difference between fantasy and reality (fantasy: someone else wins, reality: Lesnar wins). There’s going to be a contract singing later on, so keep your enthusiasm up for that because at least it’ll mean more Heyman. Other Superstars do Savage impressions next, with Nikki’s veering a bit too on the sexy side and Kane flat out refusing after that on-the-nose reference to a previous, totally uncool, character of his.
The Miz -v- Jey Uso
Cole assures us it’s Jey taking part in this match, but who are we to know? He and Jimmy could be pulling the ol’ Bella switcheroonie on us. Anyway, Mizdow is the highlight of this match yet again, choosing to position himself on the top rope in order to emulate his boss at one point before being chastised by Jimmy on the outside for interfering. Miz wins with the skull-crushing finale.
Winner: The Miz
Daniel Bryan is here to celebrate his Wrestlemania victory and to assure us all he’s going to win at the PPV and go on to headline this year’s show, too. Steph enters to her own music and it’s been so long I’d forgotten how good it is. She gives him a copy of her workout DVD (JBL admits he has it and it’s great) before reminding him of the whole Kane piledriver incident and calling him an average Joe. It takes a certain kind of man to pull off a bun though, so she should at least give him credit for that. A “Yes” chant ensues as Bryan makes fun of her DVD and one dude in the front row is really moved by this whole ordeal. Kane shows up, Bryan unloads on him, there’s a piledriver attempt that he wisely squirms out of, before being dragged off kicking and screaming by security. Speaking of which, Rollins is backstage telling his personal security team all about how much he enjoys having Cena on top of him (no, really) when Lesnar interrupts to whisper a terrifying little promo about how Rollins weaseled his way into the title match. Rollins takes huge offence to this, and tells him, in no uncertain terms, that he is the future of the WWE. Lesnar advises him that he decides when the future starts, because he can control time and that’s why he only has to show up once a year. Heyman interrupts but they ignore him and stare each other out of it.
Divas: Paige -v- Brie Bella
Brie eats an elbow really early on, before rolling Paige up to win after the usual amount of dropkicks and shrieking. The Brit deserves much better than this, but at least we get to watch her slap Kidd (who is clad in a cat T-shirt yet again) afterwards, much to the delight of his wife, whose make-up artist should be fired immediately for making her look like a drag queen.
Winner: Brie Bella
Emo Cena is backstage being emo in the locker room for some reason, even though his job is not in jeopardy at all. Oh hey, remember that ambulance match last week? No? Did you remember Ambrose lost? Well it doesn’t matter, because we’re getting a replay of it anyway. Wyatt follows it up by cutting a promo about the Rumble. He appears to be hot-boxing throughout. An actual Macho Man clip package is shown next, as opposed to the current roster mugging, after which it’s confirmed Hogan will be inducting him into the Hall Of Fame because the man will do pretty much anything for some exposure and a paycheque.
Tag Team Match: The Ascension -v- Some Jobbers
How sad that The Ascension are being so badly sold to us, following their brilliant tenure on NXT. There isn’t much to say about this match except that it’s a squash, it lasts about ten seconds and it accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Winners: The Ascension
When we return to the psychiatrist’s “office” Ambrose is now in the chair, wearing the glasses, holding the notepad and dispensing advice to his inconsolable doctor. He coerces him into signing off on his evaluation so he can go off and have a match against, of all people, Rusev, who is waiting in the ring with Lana, shouting all of the words he’s learned at his English classes at once.
Dean Ambrose -v- Rusev
At one point during this bout, three people chant “USA!” a bit too enthusiastically and the camera zooms in on them, in an awkward moment that overshadows the weirdness of this booking. Ambrose starts off strong, clotheslining his opponent and then later suffering for it as he is hung upside down off the top rope as the “Russian” lays into his injured knee. Soon, the ref calls time on the match and suffice to say Ambrose is not pleased, especially when Rusev superkicks him for no good reason after the bell has rung.
The Main Event tonight is a contract signing, and you know what that means: someone is going to forget how to use a pen. Tonight, it’s Rollins, who’s introduced with lots of heat by The Authority, followed by Cena (the man who brought them back, “but not his friends”) and also Lesnar. Rollins is super proud to be honoured by Heyman, even if he does get scolded for interrupting him mid-sell. Heyman is worried the triple threat may be a double cross, and rightly so because really, Rollins has no right to be in it (but he makes it more interesting, so who cares). Rollins refers to the briefcase as “Plan B” before struggling to open the pen and signing the contract without even looking at it (could the camera please zoom in on it just once? Is it all scribbles?). Lesnar grabs the mic off Heyman and brags about conquering everyone, but Cena interjects, and then signs himself, rendering his interruption moot. Finally, and somewhat predictably, it all descends into chaos as Rollins attacks the other two and suffers a German Suplex from Lesnar for his insolence, after which Cena AAs him, leading Rollins to curbstomp the two of them.
And, with a swift drop of his big ol’ cybergoth boot, Raw is over for another week. With just one more episode to go until the PPV, who knows what could happen.
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