February 4, 2015 by Joey Keogh
There was no Raw last week because of the snow and, as a result, we’re pretending like the Rumble was only, like, five minutes ago. Last week’s Smackdown was centred around the announcement of an announcement and tonight we’re going to get that announcement so The Authority are here, with Steph waving like the Queen and the entire roster squeezed into a tiny room backstage so they can watch the action on TV, just like the rest of us. There’s some shit about the Super Bowl to start with (Katy Perry had dancing sharks but only one of them knew the dance – stupid sharks, amirite!?) and you know, cheap heat is cheap but whatever, before a little replay of the final moments from the PPV. The cheers are piped in, as you can probably imagine. Sting is being shamed for that time he threw everything off simply by showing up, and Trips is looking to have a gentlemen’s discussion with him at Fast Lane which, for those of you who remain blissfully unaware, is replacing Elimination Chamber this year for some godforsaken reason.
There’s a mixed reaction to Reigns as he enters the arena (although it still probably feels better than being unanimously booed) and the question is posed: should he be allowed to fight Lesnar at Wrestlemania? He’s all “Hell no” because he didn’t understand the question. Trips gets in his face, Steph is trying not too hard to get between them and then she points at the sign and finally Daniel Bryan shows up to regale all of them about his big WM story last year, as if we could ever forget. He has his hair in a little bun because he finally understands why Divas grab that shit and doesn’t want to risk it tonight. He’s worked much too hard to look like hippie Jesus. Bryan wants a title shot too, but before he can really make his case, Rollins shows up, in even tighter pants than usual if that’s possible, to laugh at him. His mic isn’t working at first so Steph is all “We can’t hear you” and once he gets it going he’s like “Live TV eh? Heh heh heh” because he’s a goddamn star. He promises to tear both Reigns and Bryan apart. And then he points at the sign, too.
It’s decided, somewhat rashly (meaning there’s more to it) that Rollins and Bryan will face each other tonight, with the winner of the match getting a shot at Reigns at the PPV and the winner of that match going on to Wrestlemania. Reigns isn’t too into it at first and, while he’s thinking really hard about what his next line is, we get to enjoy signs in the crowd that read things like “Triple H Still Uses Myspace” and “Seth Rollins Likes Blumpkins”. They all vamp a bit more till he says yes.
Roman Reigns -v- Big Show
We had so much faith in this match that we started it during the commercial break! How is Reigns already out of breath? Could it be because he and Show are totally mismatched and have no idea what to do with each other in the ring? There’s a massive Spear by Show early on, but there’s no flow to this at all so it’s kind of hard to care about what’s going on. It’s all meaningless anyway, we know he’s the guy no matter what happens. Eventually, Rollins hits his ex-teammate with the case and Show chokeslams him to win. Quick question though; how the hell does this make Reigns look strong?
Winner: Big Show
Backstage, The Authority are discussing their evil plans out loud, to camera. Isn’t it so weird that what they want – to put Rollins over instead of Reigns – is actually what we want too? Are we…the bad guys? Curtis Axel shows up next, to speak on behalf of the internet because he feels he was short-changed at the Rumble due to, oh I dunno, maybe never having watched one of these type matches before? He points at the sign but Ambrose soon shows up to shut him up and demonstrate how to cut a promo properly. He also demands his own shot at something – the Intercontinental championship – before hitting the Dirty Deeds on Axel, much to the chagrin of every mark on Twitter.
Tag Team Match: The Ascension -v- Goldust & Stardust
Neither of these teams get an entrance tonight, which is kind of sad in a way, and they’re also gifted about three minutes in the ring to show us what they can do. Stardust kicks things off with a pretty wicked clothesline to Konnor/Viktor as Booker gets a tad overexcited by the prospect of someone’s pants coming down a little. Konnor/Viktor wins it for them. Cole reckons it’s Konnor, so it probably isn’t. Also the Dust brothers are fighting, and it spills into a, clearly, pre-recorded backstage segment. It’s not clear why we’re supposed to care, since they haven’t made an appearance on this show in weeks.
Winners: The Ascension
Up next, Cena will be welcoming his “friends” back to Raw but first he’d like to make things all about him as Cole describes him as the “most polarising and popular Superstar” -an extremely difficult line to straddle, for sure. He’s got a US championship match at the PPV against Rusev which, on the positive side of things, may mean an end to the Russian/Bulgarian’s reign of terror while on the other hand provides yet another reason for Cena to dominate airtime more suited to stars like Rollins, Ziggler and Cesaro, to name but a few. Cena says lots of things really fast like a total bro, about how Trips wants a WWE without him (one dude literally jumps out of his seat for joy at this suggestion) but that’s a bad idea because of marketing or some such. There’s a quick replay of that time there was a pic of Sting that made everyone very confused for a bit and somehow this relates to the guys who were fired. Only Ryback gets music as they enter, and only Ziggler seems excited to be back. Cena immediately tries to make it all about him once more but Steph, mercifully, interrupts and gives them all matches except for him.
Ryback -v- Luke Harper
To start with, Ryback beats his chest like a gorilla, which is probably more telling than he realises. This is a pretty classic, strong-style bout with lots of hand to hand combat but there are some decent spots too. Ryback hits a crazy backdrop, but Harper fires back, managing some chops and a boot in the corner. The crowd are totally behind The Big Guy as he throws his opponent in a brutal move that sets up the win for him. He nails it with a meathook clothesline.
Jimmy Uso -v- Cesaro
Naomi appears to have got lost en route to the beach, judging by her new ring gear, while Tyson Kidd watches intently from ringside throughout and his wife Nattie looks her usual bummed self. The other Uso distracts Cesaro early on so his bro can line him up for a Splash to the outside. He powers out of a hold, Cesaro eats a boot, but he manages to grab him in a Swing, followed by a half Boston Crab. A succession of brutal clotheslines follows before Uso is chucked clean out. Cesaro hops out to join him, bouncing his head off the announce table in the process. He aims from the top but eats a boot for his trouble. However, when Uso tries for another Splash, the Swiss Superman counters with a swift uppercut to win.
Backstage, Mizdow is busy preparing his boss’s smoothie when an eager fan approaches, looking for an autograph. Miz shoos him away, only for it to transpire he was actually after the stunt double’s autograph, which he happily provides. “Beat it nerd” Miz tells the poor kid as he rips the paper up, before going on a tirade (that Mizdow, naturally, mimics) about how Mizdow is the worst stunt double ever and is now being fired and rehired as his PA. How is that different exactly!? Elsewhere, Cena is contemplating his hat when Rowan, who is contemplating his mask, joins him to say thanks for the whole re-hiring business and whatnot. He promises to take care of Rusev later but Cena is all “only man that can beat him is ME” In fairness, he is talking at a normal, human volume now, instead of LOUD LIKE A BRO Y’ALL! But still he’s annoying and self-centred.
Dolph Ziggler -v- Bray Wyatt
This is weird booking, but I kind of like it. The two men lock up immediately in the centre of the ring, before Ziggler unloads on Wyatt, who responds in kind. There’s some totally brutal back and forth as they work hard on decimating each other, and at the end of which Ziggler looks a bit dead. Wyatt hits a gnarly backdrop off the apron to Ziggler, but he nails a clothesline in response, taking Wyatt out, and follows it up with a neckbreaker for good measure, and finally an elbow drop. Wyatt responds with a clothesline of his own that nearly takes off Ziggler’s head but he hits a DDT as Wyatt goes in for the kill once more, destabilising him yet again. A superkick and the Fame Asser look to have it won for Ziggler, but Wyatt hits the Sister Abigail out of nowhere and it’s all over.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Steph is selling her DVD to her husband, of all people, when Rollins shows up to tell them both how much he likes not just it, but the taste of their butts. He mentions Orton, for the first time in what feels like forever, but the pantsless champ sadly does not appear. Rollins is really big now, it’s weird. Maybe when Orton returns he’ll look small again.
Divas Match: Paige -v- Alicia Fox
The Bellas are on commentary and Nikki has covered her massive boobs for once, but somehow her top makes them look even bigger. They pull their usual Mean Girl shtick and it’s really distracting, especially since Paige (who Nikki is up against for the belt at Fast Lane) and Foxy do a good job in the ring tonight. The Brit rolls her real-life best buddy up to win, leading the evil twins to enter the ring and spray her with black paint that Cole mistakenly thinks is tanner.
The Miz -v- Sin Cara
Mizdow gets a massive pop as he enters, as always, much to his boss’s disgust. He spends much of the match trying really hard not to get involved, no matter how loudly the fans chant for him, but it doesn’t really matter as this is a pretty dull bout otherwise. There’s the usual high-flying antics from Cara, Miz no-sells a clothesline and then rolls out of the way later as he Splashes (because he doesn’t catch people, don’tcha know) from the top. Mizdow vamps on the apron for a bit, pissing Miz off hugely, and leading him to be distracted long enough for the Lucha to nab the win. Mizdow remains nonchalant, even as a creepy Bray Wyatt promo plays on the Titantron, presumably calling out one or both of them to join him.
Winner: Sin Cara
Rusev -v- Erick Rowan
This match never actually gets started as Rusev attacks Rowan on the apron, stopping him from gaining entrance to the ring, before chucking him into the post. When Rowan makes it in, he gets a massive knee to the jaw, before a succession of elbows nearly knock him out for good. The Accolade pushes him over, though, with the ref’s fruitless attempts to stop the madness ringing on deaf ears. However, there’s a fuck up with the Russian flag that Rusev and Lana cover really well by just getting very angry and that’s quite amusing.
Reigns is backstage with Bryan and he has a bun now too! The two are friendly for about ten seconds before Bryan’s self assurance gets the better of him as he tells Reigns he’s positive it’ll be him he faces at Fast Lane and Reigns is all “no”. But he doesn’t say “Believe that” because, for some reason, those two words only work in certain contexts as far as the writers (Vince) are concerned.
Main Event: Daniel Bryan -v- Seth Rollins
Bryan is still kinda rusty in the ring, so he takes it slow at first, focusing on getting Rollins’ arm ready for the inevitable Yes Lock a bit later in the match. Rollins, in turn, tries his best to hurt Bryan’s fragile neck even more, chucking him into the barricade, the turnbuckle, and everything in between. Noble hits Bryan while he’s down as Show turns up to ruin the fun yet again. Bryan manages a few kicks to Rollins’ chest as he kneels in pain, in the centre of the ring, before leaping out to tackle him on the announce table. He also manages a gnarly backdrop from the top once they’re back in, but Rollins kicks out, before finally landing himself in the Yes Lock. Naturally, Rollins makes it to the ropes, and rolls out like the cowardly heel he is. Suddenly, Reigns appears out of nowhere, delivers a dodgy Spear to Show and then sets his sights on his ex-BFF, who cowers in terror. They yell at each for a bit before Rollins eats a Superman Punch and Bryan takes advantage to land a running knee to win the match, and a shot at Reigns at the PPV. Following the match, Trips won’t talk to Renee because he’s saving himself for Austin. No, really.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
There are only three weeks to go until (shudder) Fast Lane but it already seems like the powers that be are just trying to soften the blow from the last PPV. Maybe they’ll make it all right at non-Elimination Chamber? We’re just going to have to wait and see.
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