A Raw Awakening

Linus Report: RAW 19/01/15

Hey, it’s WWE Raw! And it’s Raw Reunion, whatever one of those is!

The show started with an odd Martin Luther King video package, and I thought for moment that Mark Henry had maybe been repackaged, but it turned out it was MLK Day in the US on Monday.

The show proper started with WWE Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar coming down to the ring with his advocate, Paul Heyman.

Heyman started to do his usual introduction but Lesnar grabbed the mic and called out Seth Rollins. He used the word “baby” several times. I think it’s American for “girlfriend”. The crowd were very into him.

Rollins did not come out but HHH did and he tried to talk Lesnar down and suggested that he and Heyman talk it over while Brock ate a steak. When this showed no signs of working, Stephanie McMahon came out, accompanied by the Big Show and Kane, and calmer heads began to prevail.

But then! Rollins appeared on the TitanTron and began taunting Lesnar, which didn’t seem the smartest course of action. Heyman told Rollins that the adults were trying to have a conversation.

Then John Cena came out and said he would win the title at the Royal Rumble. Rollins tried to suggest otherwise but blew his lines – telling Cena to tuck his legs between his legs – and Cena mocked him for it. Cena then told HHH & Stephanie that they had no fire left, just ash – in fact, they were ash-holes.

As he was leaving, Stephanie said he should know all about fire, as it was his actions that got Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, and The Ryback fired two weeks ago. He asked The Authority for a chance to bring them back, and they agreed that if he won his match tonight on Raw they would. However, if he lost, he would forfeit his title shot at the Rumble.

Cena looked like he couldn’t decide – some babyface! – so HHH said he’d leave it up to the WWE Universe to vote through the app. A Good opening segment.

Hey, it’s Bray Wyatt! He’s fighting Daniel Bryan because sometimes you just have to accept these things. Bryan was on top when Kane came to ringside to watch, and his arrival coincided with Wyatt getting the heat. And then getting it some more. And then really putting the ouch on Bryan.

BUT! Bryan has that fire John Cena was talking about and he made his comeback only for Kane to blindside him behind the ref’s back. One Sister Abigail later and Wyatt was your pinfall winner.

Backstage, HHH was on the ‘phone, presumably to whichever nerdlinger was left in charge of the WWE App tonight. He was interrupted by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, wearing nWo shirts, who mocked his suit. Then Shawn Michaels walked in and mocked HHH’s suit, too.

They all wondered where X-Pac was, and Miz-Pac appeared, shortly before the real X-Pac. They bonded. Then Miz came and took his stunt double away, after trying to “Too Sweet” the Wolfpac, who blanked him. After he left, the old fellas mocked HHH for the current product, which always worked really well where they worked before.

Next up was the Legends Panel, where Byron Saxton asked a bunch of dumb questions to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels. They put over Wyatt, Ambrose, and Bryan for the Rumble – interestingly not Reigns.

This brought out the Big Show, who was upset that no-one on the panel picked him, despite his terrible record in Royal Rumbles. He ran down the legends until Flair had had enough. He ran wild on the Big Show until the giant delivered a knockout punch. Flair sold it big and Hogan & Michaels acted all scared. Babyfaces, eh?

BUT! Roman Reigns came out of the crowd, briefly checked on Flair, and faced down the Big Show. Show warned him not to get involved or he’d get knocked out, but Reigns attacked him anyway, and rushed him out of the ring. As he fell, the Big Show landed on his arm – his punching arm – and sold it all the way up the ramp.

Backstage Renee revealed to Cena that 85% of the WWE Universe voted for him to fight, and he said he was happy with that.

Hey, it’s Bad News Barrett! He’s in the ring because he’s one step up from enhancement talent, and he’s fighting Dean Ambrose. The Intercontinental Title is not on the line.

They had a professional wrestling match. Halfway through, Ambrose re-injured his knee by, erm, running, and sold it for the rest of the match, but still won clean with the Dirty Deeds. How odd.

After the break, A New Day came to the ring, talking about this and that and nothing much at all. Xavier Woods has ankle knack so it’s Big E and Kofi Kingston versus Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. Natalya and Adam Rose are at ringside, and the Rosebuds are watching from the ramp.

This was very short but not unenjoyable. A New Day won. After the match, the Rosebuds danced with the victors and Rose did not look happy.

Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac came to the ring to reunite the nWo. That’s a sentence no-one hoped to read in 2015. The Ascension interrupted their fun and sucked all the heat out of the room. They spoke and crickets could be heard. Ten miles away.

JBL had heard enough and left the announcer’s table. He said he had a feeling this might happen and so he’d called a friend. He tore off his shirt and revealed an APA shirt underneath, and out came Ron Simmons. They got in the ring and surrounded the Ascension.

Suddenly, the New Age Outlaws music hit and Road Dogg & Billy Gunn came down to the ring and attacked the Ascension. All the old guys beat up Konnor & Viktor – with JBL delivering the Clothesline From Hell – and ran them out of the ring, to the joy of the fans.

Now, about that…

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by booking a segment like this. It destroys anything the Ascension had – I know, I know – to get over guys who are not going to be back on TV for another year, and who won’t sell one ticket to a house show. It’s everything bad about the days when these guys booked themselves on top.

However, it’s the Ascension, and they’re awful, so screw it. Do it again on Smackdown for all I care.

Oh, it’s the women! They’re almost universally awful! Tonight’s variety of poop is Natalya & Paige versus Summer Rae & Alicia Fox. Brie & Nikki Bella are on commentary. I can hear you salivating.

Yeah, they did their stuff. Paige & Natalya were in control for the vast majority of the match, and they have some idea of what they’re doing, so it wasn’t terrible. Paige won with a whacky submission that they sold as being learned from Natalya. Those two will fight the Bellas at the PPV. Deep joy!

And talking of that, it’s also going to A New Day versus Tyson Kidd, Cesaro & Adam Rose at the PPV. Anything short of a heel murder spree and I’ll be disappointed.

R-Truth rapped his way to the ring to fight Rusev. Rusev was already in the ring which means that we, the fans at home, missed out on seeing Lana walk to the ring and say something incendiary. Boooooo, Raw!

Truth said that, at the Royal Rumble, every patriotic American would be gunning for Rusev, who then killed him and applied the Accolade for the submission win. That’s the truth.

Backstage, Seth Rollins was bragging how he’d beat John Cena again tonight and take him out of the title picture. Brock Lesnar scared him a bit. The crowd liked that.

Oh, FFS, it’s Jey Uso versus The Miz. This is, and I am counting, the 14th time a Miz has met an Uso in the ring on TV in the last 52 days. Probes have been to Uranus and back in less time. Jey won. That’s all I need to tell you, you can imagine the rest.

Remember those Ascension guys? They’re fighting the New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble. BUY BUY BUY!

Backstage, HHH & Stephanie announced John Cena’s opponent for tonight’s main event. They brought in a drummer to do a drum roll and did some comedy with him. Anyway, Cena’s fighting Seth Rollins. And The Big Show. And Kane. And then a comedy trumpeter blew his horn in HHH’s ear. *Shrug*

Hey, it’s main event time! Can Cena overcome the odds and defeat three men to bring back three other men? I guess we’ll find out!

The heels were all over Cena early on, and at the 5 minute mark it looked bleak for our conquering hero. I noted that not one of his fellow babyfaces thought to help or support him in this endeavour. Raw ought to be subtitled John Cena Has No Friends.

The announcers allowed for some interference by the Authority by selling that the referee, Charles Robinson, would be lax while his boss, HHH, was at ringside watching. And some interference there was.

Cena almost had it won at times, but it looked like Rollins was about to kerb stomp him when Sting’s music played and his face appeared on the TitanTron. This shocked and surprised the Authority. Sting then walked out to the top of the ramp and the Authority were beside themselves. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Cena schoolboyed a distracted Rollins for the pinfall victory. Ziggler, Rowan & The Ryback are re-hired! Yay!

Cena escaped through the crowd while HHH threw a tantrum. Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he came down to the ring after Rollins. The Big Show and Kane both tried to stop him, but he F5’d both men. Rollins made his escape while this was going on and Lesnar stood in all his tweener glory in the ring to end the go-home Raw…

This was a Good Show. It achieved most of what it should have done – persuade people that watching Lesnar versus Rollins versus Cena on Sunday night is a Good Idea. It’s quite simple, really. NOW DO IT AGAIN NEXT WEEK.