I spent the past weekend in Richmond VA visiting with my older brother and his family. I will fill in the particulars later in the week but let’s just say I definitely went to a pair of breweries thanks to his hospitality. I did manage to squeeze in Smackdown then Impact Wrestling after we got home from the trip. There were only two memorable things between the shows. One was my boy Dolph Ziggler continuing his “big mouth” persona and having a great match against the newly turned heel Seth Rollins. I also enjoyed that Rollins, HHH and Orton didn’t spill the bag on the reasoning for the turn. Another small positive from the show was that neither Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns showed up. TNA yet again showed how inept they are by cruising into a rating under 1 million people. The only positive in yet another train wreck of a show was James Storm making a re-appearance after a year plus hiatus. Ken Anderson has been doing some terrible work and Storm got to call him out on it. Like many TNA story lines though, Storm looks awesome and likeable as the heel and Anderson looks like a douche as a baby face. On to Raw now. Let’s roll.
Sometime after I wrote this introduction, news started to trickle out that Daniel Bryan is too hurt to compete at MITB. HHH & Steph are here are brag about being right. They give us footage of Dr. Joseph Maroon of telling us that Daniel Bryan can not compete. I had to look up images of Maroon and they actually got him to do that video. How much did they pay him for his time? Steph strips him of the title. They are really hamming up this angle up. The crowd is really flat. Alberto Del Rio is the first entrant into the match for the title. HHH informs us that Randy Orton gets a spot because of his status. I’m starting to think the crowd is bummed. Anyone who loves wrestling should be. No matter how much they make logical points, Bryan being out of wrestling sucks. HHH turns to Seth Rollins talk. They are in a match against the Wyatt Family with a partner of their choosing. That doesn’t get much heat either.
Sheamus vs Wade Barrett is a MITB qualifying match. These guys have fought a lot recently and I can’t really argue about it. His Bad News is that he’s coming down with the title. That’s not bad news! JBL sounds like he’s drunk already. It could be an interesting night. He figured the opening segment bombed with the crowd so he’d join in. I do feel like Barrett is getting some of the swagger back in his promos recently. Sheamus clubs away on Barrett. He then brings Barrett in the hard way. Sheamus cross body blocks them over the top rope to get the break. Barrett suplexes Sheamus. I guess I don’t understand Jerry Lawler & Michael Cole’s view point on the title stripping. Sure, it’s disrespectful to strip the title without informing him but at the end of the day, it’s the right move with the injury. Barrett hits Winds of Change for a two count. The crowds awakens with dueling chants. Sheamus misses a dive from the top rope to the barricade. Sheamus gets in at nine. Wasteland but Sheamus kicks out. White Noise from an attempted Bull Hammer Elbow. They exchange punches. Head butt by Barrett allows him to toss Sheamus into the post twice. Brogue Kick from the corner for the win. Sheamus sold the damage in the corner before pinning him. Another good match and I understand putting Sheamus into the spot. Let Barrett keep racking up wins on lesser opponents. Barrett should be in that picture soon if he keeps up. Luke Harper sometimes get urges from a deep, dark place. Bray Wyatt admits to his urges. Wyatt reminds us that the Wyatts beat them. Wyatt is reborn. I love that angle which started on Smackdown. (Next Day Note: With all of the religious words thrown around Wyatt’s promos, being reborn after a crushing defeat is perfect. Now he just has to win an extended feud.)
Lana comes out and runs down Obama as a girly man. He is no Vladmir Putin, who has wrestled bears. Crush! is so stupid. Crush was only cool in Finding Nemo, dude. Lana, we don’t need to worry about Mother Russia. We should continue to be worried about China. It’s going to help to name him simply Rusev. Yep, going to make all of the difference. Zack Ryder gets to lose to him again. His record is unblemished because he’s wrestled 3 guys a bunch of times. The Accolade. The whole “control” by Lana is very antiquated too.
Goldust is teaming with R Truth against Rybaxel. Truth starts against Ryback. Curtis Axel takes over on the early beat down. Goldust gets a luke warm tag. A crossbody by Goldust takes out Axel & Ryback. Ryback makes a save on a pin. Truth gets tossed out of the ring. Axel rolls up Goldust for the win. A heel wins in his home town. Layla El is acting really catty to the make up lady when Summer Rae comes in and dumps milk on her then beats her up. Layla’s character has taken a big step back in the toughness department. I don’t like that.
3MB is in the ring and Heath Slater kicks things off. He’s taking up the Shield’s time. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns come through the crowd. They jump right into a fight with 3MB. Ambrose & Reigns get the upper hand quickly. Slater retreats. Reigns spears Slater as the director fucks up the shot. We get a better replay. Ambrose brags about their legacy. They didn’t know they had a cancer in them. He gets ultra-violent with what he’ll do to Rollins. Best promo by Ambrose by far. Reigns is angry. They show Rollins back stage in a suit. He tells Orton that he’ll be the ass of the company. Reigns is going to have his own Game of Thrones with HHH. (Next Day Note: At least Roman Reigns can make a modern reference unlike anyone in the announce booth.)
The New York Rangers are getting smoked 3-0 by the LA Kings. Anyone who watches hockey knew this beating was coming. The Usos come out Layla El comes out dosed in the milk. Fandango comes out and gives the appropriate bad looks. Damien Sandow comes out in a unitard. Fandango gets the beating first. Sandow looks ridiculous. My lady is far funnier than this match is good. A Snuka Splash for the win. We discuss how Fandango used to be over and the value of Summer Rae being a heel on Total Divas which makes this feud all the weirder. Who am I supposed to root for?
Bo Dallas comes out for another match with Xavier Woods. Pretty sure it was on Smackdown. Daniel Bryan needs to Bo-lieve. Bo back elbows Woods. Running Bo-dog. That’s why I don’t remember it from Smackdown. It was unmemorable. She is so angry that I came down for Bo Dallas. She hates him. It makes me laugh. (Next Day Note: I imagine her reaction is what the WWE wants. I’m not sure they’re getting it on the scale they want though.)
Paul Heyman says that Brock Lesnar wants to have a Wrestlemania victory party tonight. Heyman then presents Cesaro. Damn, I was hoping Lesnar would get in the MITB match. I’d love his as champ. RVD is his opponent. Monkey Flip by RVD. He then nails a flip dive over the top rope to the floor on Cesaro. Break. Cesaro tosses RVD against the barricade. Cesaro misses a charge in the corner. Split legged moonsault gets a two count. RVD gets caught in a roll into a supper upper cut. Butterfly suplex slam by Cesaro looks sharp. RVD with the super kick. Rolling Thunder. Leg whip kick to the face. Cesaro takes out RVD’s legs on the ropes. Cesaro crotches RVD. Neutralizer for the MITB qualification. (Next Day Note: Can Cesaro please stop wrestling RVD? Thanks.)
Seth Rollins comes out for a sit down interview with Mitchell Cool. Rollins was doing what was best for his business. He takes credit for creating the Shield. Ambrose is a crazy person. Reigns can’t harness his anger. They owe him for keeping them in check. Rollins reminds us of the main event. He says he needed to evolve. He bought into the evolution. Ambrose & Reigns were just business partners. Everyone should believe in Seth Rollins. He then asks where Ambrose & Reigns are. They show up. The Wyatts entrance happens. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan attack. They get to Rollins for a moment until Bray Wyatt shows up. John Cena comes out for the save with the Shield. It makes sense since he hates Wyatt. (Kevin’s Edit: Virtual building is far more fun these days than actual building. In fact my older brother is a software architect.)
Paige comes out for another match with Alicia Fox. The match will take a new tone since Aksana is with her. Fox is really rubbing in a reverse chin lock. And still has it cinched in. Back breaker by Fox gets a two count. Alicia goes for a running side slam and gets head scissored out of the ring. Paige knees Fox as she comes in the ring. Paige screams as she clothes lines. A missed drop kick goes for a pin. PTO for another tap out win. I’m not completely sure what they see in Paige. Or Fox in this persona. Or how Aksana can help this thing. Fox beats up Aksana. Fox grabs some popcorn and waters and dumps them on Aksana who acts assaulted. Fox then tries to make up with Aksana. (Kevin’s Edit: I understand that the WWE has to fill a lot of TV time but I really don’t understand this gimmick. It gets Alicia screen time but she isn’t even a Heath Slater style jobber.)
Santino Marella is on Zeb Colter’s exportation list. Jack Swagger is his opponent though. An early hip toss leads to a Swagger tirade. Zeb slaps Swagger again. Swagger goes on an offensive tear. Gut wrench power bomb for the win. Nice win for Swagger if they want to rebuild him, again.
Goldust is holding his head when Cody Rhodes shows up again. He has a new brilliant idea. Rhodes has someone who can magnify Goldust’s magnificence. Is Cody going to dress up like Goldust? Steph doesn’t understand why John Cena is teaming with the Shield. Vickie Guerrero wants to celebrate with them. Steph spares her job. Too bad they didn’t spare us either of those segments. (Next Day Note: The second segment would have been fine if they had not had Vickie on there. We know Steph and HHH are evil already. This does nothing for them or Vickie.)
John Cena is indeed standing toe to toe with Dean Ambrose & Romain Reigns against the Wyatt Family. They pair off. Erick Rowan & Ambrose are in the ring first. Ambrose stomps away at Rowan. Ambrose takes out Harper with a plancha. Drop kick on Rowan leads to a tag to Reigns. Luke Harper comes in and tries to suplex Reigns. Harper gets out muscled. Ambrose tags in. Ambrose starts working over Harper’s knee. Harper nails a big boot on Ambrose to turn things into the Family’s favor. Bray Wyatt makes a brief appearance. Rowan tosses Ambrose against the barricade. Ambrose reverses Rowan into the stairs. Wyatt comes back in. Break as Ambrose is getting the beat down. It’s continuing after it. Reigns saves a match after a urinogi by Wyatt. Harper tosses Reigns out of the ring. Ambrose fires out a sling shot clothes line. Cena gets tagged in finally. Cena cleans house like he always does. Cena gets blasted by Rowan after taking Harper & Wyatt. Bray nails the senton splash. Cena drop kicks Wyatt. He can;t get the tag though. Harper gets in on the beat down. Neck breaker gets a two count. Michinoku Driver gets the same. Rowan takes over. Wyatt dances with Cena. Then tosses him. That was weird. Even for me. Cena dodges the senton splash. Reigns gets the hot tag. Harper gets to sell. Ambrose gets his head bounced off the apron. He saves the match up. Cena awkwardly cross bodies Rowan. Sister Abigail to Cena. Superman Punch on Wyatt. Ambrose nails the suicide dive. Reigns gets super kicked by Harper. Reigns spears Harper for the win. Cena nods to Ambrose & Reigns then raises their hands. (Next Day Note: Can we crown a new main event baby face player, Ambrose will get kicked down the totem pole soon enough, without Cena approving? The WWE knows he gets a split reaction so it helps give them a rub both ways.) – Kevin