February 11, 2015 by Joey Keogh
This week’s edition of Monday Night Raw (since we have to say WWE Fast Lane, I assume all titles must now be reported in full) opens with a replay of last week’s ridiculous backtracking over the whole Roman Reigns controversy. The new titles end with him doing his little fisting punch thing, which I’ve never noticed before, but is quite fitting given the ridiculous push he’s currently enjoying. He can at least take the booing better than his cousin, smirking as he regards a hostile-ish Ohio crowd. Reigns is getting slightly better on the mic with each week that passes (or maybe it’s just because he’s no longer making ill-advised references to fairy-tales) and he hits his marks, using the word “ass”, telling his mystery opponent there’s a Spear “with your name on it” and ending with a succinct “believe that”.
Well, we don’t believe it, which is why you’re out here trying to sell it to us. Luckily, Daniel Bryan is still ridiculously over, even with his weird half-up ‘do, and he’s gonna make it all better with thinly-veiled jokes about how, when it comes to looks, they’re about even, but he’s clearly the better wrestler. The Authority, Big Show and Kane enter the arena, to a chorus of boos, to tell the two of them to pipe down because they both suck. Steph wants to know who’s excited for the PPV (eh, no one?) that, in case you’ve forgotten, is FREE on the Network – meaning it’s most certainly going to suck ass. There’s a pop for the mention of Sting, who’s scheduled to make a fleeting appearance later as Triple H is tired of waiting for an answer from him, after having waited a whole bloody fortnight, y’all. Steph chastises Bryan for putting Kane in a casket during their casket match on Smackdown last week, before revealing that, as punishment, he has to team up with his new-found nemesis Reigns in a tag match right fucking now.
Tag Team Match: Kane & Big Show -v- Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns
Aw man, are these two going to be able to put their differences aside in order to beat the big, bad Authority? The best tag team matches totally feature tag teams that aren’t really tag teams, but tonight we have the Big Slow and totally-over-it Kane to contend with, too, meaning the younger guys are pretty much carrying the entire match. Cole is seriously the only one excited for this shit. Show goes for a chokeslam early on, but Reigns counters with a decent enough DDT. They keep showing the Spear from last week as though it was actually memorable for some reason, even though it does not get better with each repeat viewing. Bryan aims from the top, only to be caught by Show and Kane on the outside as they double-team him, bouncing him off the ropes. He crawls for a hot tag to Reigns, but Kane intervenes, landing himself in the Yes Lock as a result. He then gets DQed for cheating by chucking Bryan into the barricade, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Show then takes a chair to Reigns, who Superman punches him for the trouble. Bryan kicks Reigns by accident, leading him to roughly shove his team-mate as someone in the crowd yells “He did it on purpose!” Trips calls another match with everyone later because whoever is booking tonight’s show is lazy as fuck and thinks that there are only seven wrestlers to choose from.
Seth Rollins -v- Ryback
Hey, do you think Ryback has seen those pics of Rollins? Do you think they’ll encourage him to stop hitting the ‘roids so hard? Rollins’ security team distract The Big Guy so he can take the first hit, and later get him disqualified as they intervene right when Ryback is gaining dominance. Rollins pummels the hell out of him after, as the security team watch on and Noble claps loyally. A promo for Sheamo follows. Apparently, he’s been busy fighting in the War Of Independence (Irish, not American), but he’ll be back soon so don’t you fret.
Divas Match: Paige -v- Brie Bella
Brie Mode is back! It’s almost as good as Steph’s entrance music, except not quite as gangsta. Paige dominates from the get-go (hopefully this is foreshadowing for their title match at the PPV), powering out of a scissor-lock to clothesline Brie and run the ropes into a superkick, knocking her out clean. She then chucks Brie into Nikki, knocking her off her perch on the apron, before hitting the Rampaige to win.
All of the Fast Lane graphics look as though they were hastily made to promote some shitty new video-game. The sound effects don’t help, either. Rusev is here to pay tribute to Cena, but there seems to be a problem with the accompanying video package. It starts off fine, but then quickly devolves into a retelling of all of Cena’s past injuries and losses. Shit gets real as Lana reveals that Cena is not immortal and, even worse, he’s OLD. Rusev manages to contribute some broken English with a few sentences involving the words “John Cena” a lot. Hang on, did someone say John Cena? Well here he is, and he’s brought his goofy schtick tonight, so prepare yourselves. In keeping with the tone, he says “Fast Lane” too much. And then says “boo boo” as though he and the Russian are toddlers, arguing over Duplo blocks. Unsurprisingly, Rusev doesn’t think Cena is going to beat him at the PPV. He and Lana laugh maniacally before the two dudes tussle on the ramp for a bit. Rusev wins, as he probably should do at Fast Lane.
Dolph Ziggler -v- Bray Wyatt
These two are hungry for it, which makes this odd match-up that much more palatable. Ziggler hits a cool dropkick early on, but Wyatt is absolutely vicious tonight. Cole says we’re all attracted to Ziggler, but I suspect he’s mainly referring to himself. Wyatt bounces Ziggler’s head off the apron, but it’s during the break so we only get to see the replay. And somehow, Wyatt’s nose is already bleeding even though he wasn’t the one who hit his head (sympathy blood?). Ziggles is so over in his home state, and he almost wins with a crazy DDT, much to the delight of the crowd. Unfortunately, Wyatt hits back with the Sister Abigail, rolling him up for a near fall. Ziggler hits the Fame Asser and a rad superkick, for another near fall, as a little girl right at the edge of the barricade hides from all the carnage. Wyatt clotheslines Ziggler on the outside before dragging him back in, doing the spider-walk (just for show, of course) and then pinning him easily to win. Following the match, he strips back the floor to reveal the cold, hard concrete below but is stopped from doing anything other than teasing us with it.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Another PPV promo follows, arguably the best imaginable, as the great Paul Heyman and his unstoppable client Brock Lesnar stroll out to deliver another amazing “sermon”. The crowd are totally dead throughout. Sad, considering this is about as hyped as we’re going to get for Fast Lane. When Heyman compares Lesnar to Bryan, it’s kind of hard not to roll your eyes inwardly because they really do seem unfairly matched, but the little guy won last year, so who knows. In the end, the basic message is that nothing matters because Lesnar is going to win at the PPV either way.
Tag Team Match: Stardust & Goldust -v- Big E & Kofi Kingston of The New Day
The New Day are all like “we’re the real brothers” as they do their stupid entrance, but the Dusts are actual brothers, not like how they are, and this whole bit is still kind of racist. They’re really teasing the brewing tension between Stardust and Goldust, with the former retreating just as his bro is getting into it with Kofi. He subsequently loses it for them after Kingston rolls a distracted Goldy up to win.
Winners: The New Day
Renee is backstage with Bryan, when Reigns interrupts to advise him that they have to put their differences aside for the greater good tonight, but that they can settle their bidness at Fast Lane. Ominous. Elsewhere, Goldust locates his brother, appeals to his softer side, calls him Cody and gets shoved for it. Also ominous. Trips reappears, to call Sting out for being a pussy. He also cuts a nice little promo about how the WWE has been his life for the past twenty years, which seems more true to life than perhaps intended. Trips has had enough, he’s going to personally expose Stinger (like Rollins!) and he’s all “come out here like a man” when suddenly the arena goes dark, someone steps on a few crows in the back somewhere and then the man himself is glimpsed lurking in the rafters, here, there, and finally right next to Triple H, who jumps back in fright. Of course, the real reason he’s so startled is because it isn’t fucking Sting standing next to him, rather it’s a kid from a local metal band cosplaying as him, in a really bad wig. Anyway, he accepts his proposal, so yay.
Tag Team Match: The Usos -v- Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
Naomi and Nattie are here too because what the hell else are they gonna do? Have a match? What are you, crazy? There’s no entrance for the cat-lovers, but we do get a funny little replay of an incident that happened on last week’s Smackdown. It was basically a fake double date, during which all hell broke loose and Cesaro wore a scarf and a blazer but no shirt underneath. The match kicks off with Kidd slamming an Uso’s head into the turnbuckle, before Cesaro swiftly takes over, the two trading jabs for a bit as he slowly gains dominance. A hot tag to Kidd and the, eh, other Uso leads to Kidd eating a succession of clotheslines before chucking him out and leaping out to tackle him on the outside. He and Cesaro win the match by distracting the ref long enough to get the pin.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Damien Mizdow -v- Sin Cara
Mizdow is slowly readjusting to life as a PA, but he has to get a special seat for his boss ringside before the match can even start. There’s a big pop for him as he enters the ring, and the two lock up to start before both going for the pin. Mizdow then has to get Miz some water as the action moves outside, much to the crowd’s annoyance. Sin Cara takes advantage of the distraction to Splash out to tackle him. Once back in the ring, Mizdow goes for the Figure-4 but is stopped in his tracks by a jealous Miz, who refuses to let him use the move. He wipes his face (Mizdow is bleeding too, there’s lots of blood tonight for some reason) as he stares in disbelief and Cara takes advantage again to roll him up to win. A Wyatt promo follows, with lots of dry ice and the same emphasis on death as last week because he’s being lined up to face Taker at WM31 and soon they’re going to hit us over the head with it so enjoy the subtlety while you still can.
Winner: Sin Cara
Dean Ambrose -v- Curtis Axel
Axel is still pointing at the sign and screeching about his title shot – is this joke funny yet? He makes a reference to the Grammys because WWE is nothing if not topical. Ambrose soon turns up to smack some sense into him, ending things quickly in spite of a dead crowd before referring to his “mug” (no, not the kind that holds tea) and calling out Bad News Barrett, who takes the opportunity to pop up on the Titantron and tell us all about his new gimmick, BNZ. Why isn’t Ambrose after Rollins again? Is this all a work, to try and make us forget that they were ever feuding? And does BNZ have the nude photos or what?
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Main Event: 5-on-2 Handicap Match: Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns -v- Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show, Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury
This is such a mish-mash and it goes exactly where you imagine it will. They all attack each other before the bell even rings (of course) but, once the match kicks off for real, it’s the usual, polite, tag-in, tag-out, time-killing nonsense we’ve come to expect. Rollins hits some cool German Suplexes on Bryan, before Show rips his shirt off and then whips him with it. Rollins laughs maniacally from ringside whenever he’s not involved, meaning he’s probably the only person invested in the outcome of this match (apart from Michael Cole). Noble over-sells hilariously after some fancy footwork gets him in trouble, and, when Reigns finally makes it into the fray, he tackles everyone at once to show off how STRONG he is because he’s STRONG (did we mention Roman Reigns is STRONG?). Suddenly, Ryback, Erick Rowan and Ziggler show up to lend their support, taking on The Authority at the ramp, while Bryan takes care of the security team in the ring. Reigns is too proud to let him have the win though, and tags himself in to steal his thunder with a Spear. They yell at each other for a bit once the match is over, and poor lil’ Bryan gets himself Speared too.
Winners: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan
Not a bad Raw overall, although it was disjointed in places and the producers are clearly still struggling with the Rumble fallout. If the rumours are to be believed, we’re setting up for a Reigns/Bryan/Lesnar triple-threat at WM31, which could go either way depending on how it’s built. The tag division is still in tatters, although Kidd/Cesaro provide some much-needed fun. Rollins is still killing it, in spite of his unfortunate personal situation, but it’s irritating that nobody seems to know what to do with Ambrose – why isn’t he going after his ex-BFF? Why does he care about the IC title? When will Axel give up on that goddamn title shot he was never gonna get? The Divas championship match should be decent enough, but Nikki and Paige should probably take on some other ladies in the interim, maybe even Naomi and Nattie as they seem unable to do anything lately besides hang around their husbands. As for Rusev/Cena, well, it could go either way but only time will tell.
It’ll be interesting to see how the road to Wrestlemania continues with Fast Lane just a couple of weeks away. Tonight’s NXT Special Event won’t help matters either, if it’s anywhere near as good as the last one. WWE are going to have to pull something incredibly cool out of the bag to keep us tuning in week after week at this rate. More than a child dressed as Stinger, anyway.
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