A Raw Awakening

Linus Report: WWE Raw 02/02/2015

Hey, it’s WWE Raw! I got up in the middle of the night to watch this live! I make poor life decisions!

The show started with HHH & Stephanie coming down to the ring to deliver the announcement that HHH promised last week on Smackdown. He said it would, remember, shake the WWE to its core. We’ll see about that.

Backstage, the whole locker room was shown standing around a TV set, just like when your granddad had people round for the Coronation. Heels and faces stood together, united in peace by something that was bound to underwhelm them all.

HHH & Stephanie began talking about the SuperBowl. It was not good. Their talky, not the SuperBowl – I didn’t watch it. They said that the Patriots’ win was £best for business” but wasn’t without controversy, and they hoped the NFL could survive the #CancelNFLNetwork campaign on social media. I don’t know about you, but I love being trolled by my TV shows.

They moved on to the Royal Rumble, and said that it, too, had its share of controversy. Stephanie said that they listened to the outrage of the fanbase and they understand why people are so angry. O rlly?

They showed the end of the Rumble again, only with the boos for Reigns winning faded down to nothing. HHH said that when the Big Show and Kane were eliminated by Roman Reigns they got back in the ring, which was wrong. He said it was unsportsmanlike. Then he said he doesn’t have a problem with unsportsmanlike behaviour. Make your mind up.

The Rock, he said, had no business being in the match, though, because he’s not a WWE superstar any longer. He said it was his fault for letting people run around backstage, like Sting. He vowed to sort out Sting at Fastlane, which Stephanie noted that new subscribers can see for free. Cheers, by the way.

HHH went back to the Rumble. He said that Reigns will go down in history as the winner, but questioned whether he should have the right to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

Reigns’s music hit, and the searchlights tried to find him. Except he came from where he always, does, opposite the hard camera, so why do they even bother? Is he too good to use the ramp? What’s he doing up there in that part of the building, anyway? Enquiring minds want to know…

Reigns got right in HHH’s face and said some words. He has a weird pout. His gist was that HHH was not taking away his Wrestlemania main event. He and HHH continued to go big nose to big nose until Stephanie stepped in between them and tried to calm things down. She talked about Reigns’s family and said he had to listen to them or he might not headline Wrestlemania.

Daniel Bryan’s music hit and he came down to the ring. He was wearing a new t-shirt. It’s not grey so I like it. The crowd went wild with “Yes!” chants and maybe if everyone who liked to say “Yes!” bought a t-shirt we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Bryan told Reigns that he had to deal with all this last year, and not to worry about it. He told HHH & Stephanie that he had been stripped of the title and never got a re-match. HHH told him he probably would have gotten one if he hadn’t entered himself in the Rumble, which he didn’t belong in. However, he said that he understood that he never lost the title and probably deserves a shot at Brock Lesnar.

Seth Rollins’s music hit – seriously, were they all queued up back there? – and he came down to the ring with J&J Security. He tried talking into a mic’ on his way down to the ring but it didn’t work and they cut to a break.

When they came back, he had a working mic’ and joked about his misfortune. He told Bryan that Brock would eat him alive and told Reigns that he wouldn’t have won the Rumble were it not for The Rock. He said if anyone deserved to main event Wrestlemania it was him, because he stole the show in the Triple Threat at the Rumble. Hmm, it’s a shame that Rollins doesn’t have anything that could guarantee him a title match at any time, like a tiny gold suitcase with MONEY IN THE BANK written on it, isn’t it? Reigns told him if he got any closer to him he’d knock him out. Just stop saying stuff like that!

HHH said he’d listened to everything, and to the audience, trolling us again because we’re idiots, and said that Bryan and Rollins would have a match tonight, and the winner of that match would face Reigns at Fastlane. The winner of that match would go on to Wrestlemania to face Lesnar.

Reigns was not happy. HHH told him that all he had to do to stop all the controversy was to agree to this. Instead of immediately taking on the challenge, like a strong babyface, he pouted and seethed. Stephanie told him this was his chance to prove to his family that he belonged at Wrestlemania.

Bryan told him not to worry about Rollins because he would beat Rollins and then they could tear the house down at Fastlane. Rollins ran down Bryan again, and then told Reigns he didn’t have the guts to accept the challenge. Reigns eventually said, “screw it, I’ll fight both of you, let’s do it.”

HHH then told Reigns not to go anywhere and brought out his opponent for tonight, the Big fucking Show again. The Big Show made his way down to the ring and we went to a break…

The match was then JOINED IN PROGRESS because why would we want to see men fighting when we can see them talking? Actually, it’s Big Show versus Reigns, they did us a favour. We got another two and a half minutes of awful, awful wrestling, which ended when Reigns, having Superman Punched the Big Show, was clobbered over the back of the head by Seth Rollins and his apparently pointless briefcase. Big Show made the cover and got the pin because THIS SHOW IS STUPID!

Backstage, HHH & Stephanie congratulated themselves on manipulating the babyfaces into doing exactly what they wanted, noting that Reigns did not have to give up his title shot at Wrestlemania and they’d tricked him into it. It’s not exactly difficult with these stupid, no balls babyfaces, is it? HHH then said he’d manipulate Austin on the podcast they were recording after the show, too. No point watching that, then?

Hey, it’s Curtis Axel! He came down to the ring and was not happy about not getting into the Royal Rumble – and therefore not being eliminated – because Erick Rowan jumped him. He said he wanted justice and stood on the top turnbuckle pointing at the Wrestlemania sign.

Dean Ambrose’s music hit and he threw Axel out of the ring, and said, “now you’re eliminated.” Ambrose said he had some demands of his own. After his long walk in the snow last week – and that’s a spin-off show the network needs to make – he’d noticed a wall of WWE & Intercontinental Champions at Titan Towers. He said that he took a pretty good mugshot and wanted to be on that wall. He noted that he’d beaten Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett a couple of weeks ago and wanted a title shot. Curtis Axel snuck back in the ring and got Dirty Deeds’d for his trouble. Ambrose is aces.

So, it’s Black History Month and the WWE is celebrating it. They showed a great video package on Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd, which really put him over as a legitimate two-sport athlete. They didn’t mention one of the best stories, which is that Ladd led a boycott of the 1965 AFL All-Star game because it was held in a New Orleans that was still very into segregation. Bit of a hero, old Ernie.

After a break, The Ascension were already in the ring to face the Dust Brothers. Neither team got an entrance – what is it with tonight?

Last week, The Ascension beat the Dust Brothers when Stardust got cocky and ate the Fall of Man. This week, The Ascension beat the Dust Brothers when Goldust got overwhelmed and ate the Fall of Man. Stardust yelled at his brother and stormed off backstage.

After another break, Stardust and Goldust had a row. Goldust called Stardust “Cody” and Stardust said never to call him that again, and hissed at him. He walked off and Goldust looked as sad as a man in yellow facepaint can.

Hey, it’s John Cena! He said some stuff about The Authority wanting him gone but they couldn’t do it, even when they fired his friends to hurt him. He thanked Sting for helping him bring his friends back, and then brought them all out.

The Ryback, Erick Rowan, and Dolph Ziggler all came down to the ring, and Cena said that this was proof that The Authority could be beaten.

Stephanie appeared on the screen and interrupted the fun. She PUNISHED these professional wrestlers by arranging professional wrestling matches for them, against other professional wrestlers. Such a dick move. They were starting now, with The Ryback versus Luke Harper.

So they had a match, and it was okay, except that I’m tiring of Luke Harper using a smaller man’s moves. Less Bruiser Brody, more Cruiser Brody. Booker T got himself in massive trouble here by referring to The Ryback as a “wrestler” before correcting it to “superstar”.

The Ryback won with the Shell Shock kinda out of nowhere, after the two had gone back and forth. It was like Luke Harper only had a tiny bit of energy left in his power bar. Weird. Harper is stuck in a holding pattern right now, which sucks.

Hey, it’s the Usos! This week’s non-tag-team match featuring tag-teams who are feuding is Jimmy Uso versus Cesaro. Jimmy is accompanied by Jey, and by his missus, and Cesaro has Tyson Kidd, and Tyson’s missus, in his corner.

The announcers told us that Natalya had arranged a double-date with her & Tyson and Jimmy & Naomi. Women!

They had a decent match. Both men looked good, and I have no complaints at all. Cesaro won with an amazing-looking uppercut as Jimmy came off the top for the splash. It looked ouchy. Afterwards, Tyson sucker kicked Jey in the head. I don’t think that date is happening, Nattie…

Backstage, Mizdow was picking fruit from a buffet. Miz joined him and some backstage geek asked for an autograph because his friend was a big fan. Miz went to sign but it was Mizdow’s autograph that was wanted. Mizdow happily signed but Miz ripped the autograph in half.

He then fired Mizdow as his stunt double. And then re-hired him as his PA. Why would Mizdow accept? Is he simple in the head? Anyway, he told him to prepare his shake and walked off. Mizdow shrugged and went back to the fruit.

John Cena was in his locker room and Erick Rowan walked in. Rowan said he’d been treated like an animal his whole life and thanked Cena for sticking up for him. He said he’d do Cena a favour tonight by taking out Rusev.

Hey, it’s Dolph Ziggler! He came down to the ring for his match with Bray Wyatt and we went to commercial before Wyatt came out. What does Dolph do during the break? Does anyone know?

Anyway, after the break, Wyatt came out and they had a match. It was a good match, because these two men can both go. The announcers, though, were more concerned with Ziggler’s boots, which were black instead of white. OH MY GOD? HEEL TURN?

So they did a ton of stuff and Ziggler finally hit the Fameasser, but Wyatt popped right back up and hit the Sister Abigail for the win. Wyatt made the lights go off for a second when he won. I wonder who else used to do that?

At this point I went to bed. It had already felt like this show had been going on for the length of a test match. I watched the rest when I woke up – after precious, precious sleep – in the morning.

Backstage, HHH & Stephanie were talking about Stephanie’s workout video when Seth Rollins walked in to congratulate them on how well their plan had worked. He said he liked the video. Seth said he was nervous about the Daniel Bryan situation but HHH reassured him that it would be like it was with Randy Orton, and then they all said RANDY ORTON a billion times, to foreshadow something I guess.

Hey, it’s the Bellas! They’re doing commentary for the next match, which is Paige versus Alicia Fox. They did a match but something wonderful happened after about a minute (during which they STOLE a spot from Charlotte & Sasha Banks) – the feed failed and when it came back the announcers were talking about what had just happened without actually telling us. Best women’s match ever.

They showed a “making of” video for an episode of Sirens (no, me either) that Miz is guest-starring on. And by guest-starring, they mean playing a hurt person. Like on Casualty or something. THE BIG TIME!

The Miz and Mizdow came down to the ring for Miz’s match with Sin Cara. Mizdow was not allowed to do any of the stunt double tomfoolery, which made the crowd sad. He took like a man, though.

As the crowd kept chanting for him, it seemed Mizdow was tempted, but Miz kept reminding him – in the middle of a match, mind – to block out the crowd. Eventually, Mizdow couldn’t resist any more and jumped up on the apron to remove his sunglasses. While Miz was remonstrating with him, Sin Cara rolled Miz up for the win. Miz flipped out as Mizdow looked like he didn’t understand what he’d done…

A Bray Wyatt talky cut in and he said some stuff. He told whoever he was addressing to “find me”, like he was Carmen Sandiego or something.

Hey, it’s Rusev! He’s in the ring with Lana and waiting for his opponent tonight, Erick Rowan. Rowan came down the ramp and Rusev jumped him. He then DESTROYED Rowan. Over and over and over again. Where is John Cena? This is why Cena doesn’t have any friends.

After the “match” (which never got started), Lana invited everyone to watch a movie on the screen, which was of Rusev destroying all Americans (and an Oirishman) while some guy said stuff in a fake Russian accent.

Rusev then posed under his flag, which did not drop properly, and he went berserk at the disrespect. I don’t know if it was supposed to fail, but if not he did a hell of a job.

Backstage, Roman Reigns was in his locker room when Daniel Bryan walked in. Bryan said he hoped Reigns doesn’t plan on getting his revenge at Fastlane because Bryan’s going to beat Rollins and make sure it’s him versus Reigns at the PPV. Reigns asked if that was a threat, and Bryan said it wasn’t. It wasn’t, was it? Reigns then said he would be at Wrestlemania whether the world liked it or not, and told Bryan to get the hell out of his locker room. Ooh, handbag!

Hey, it’s our main event! And it’s Daniel Bryan versus Seth Rollins, with the winner taking on Roman Reigns at Fastlane!

They went at it and Bryan almost got an early submission win but Rollins made the ropes. Rollins knocked Bryan out of the ring and J&J Security attacked him on the floor, before Rollins did a tope suicida onto the fallen beardo.

After a break, Rollins was in control in the ring and the Big Show was magically at ringside. Bryan made a comeback, with “Yes!” punches and strikes but Rollins sent him into the turnbuckle to get back on top.

Rollins trash-talked Bryan and put him in the corner, but Bryan made another comeback with “Yes!” kicks and taking Rollins to the corner himself. Rollins then reversed a huracanrana into a near fall.

They went back and forth again, and then Bryan kicked the goons off the apron to the floor and dumped Rollins on top of them. He then hit a tope suicida of his own, sending the goons over the announce table and leaving Rollins sprawled on it.

Back in the ring, Bryan belly-to-back suplexed Rollins off the top rope, and both men looked hurt. Bryan locked on the Yes! Lock and Rollins fought to get his feet near the ropes. The Big Show teased helping Rollins escape but the referee was on top of things.

Suddenly Roman Reigns appeared and speared the Big Show out of his boots. He also speared Joey Mercury and Rollins came over to trash talk him. Meanwhile, Jamie Noble got in the ring on the other side with the tiny gold suitcase but Bryan cut him off. While the ref was occupied with this. Reigns hit Rollins with the Superman Punch and Bryan hit the Running Knee for the pinfall victory.

Backstage, Backstage Renee asked HHH what his thoughts were and he said he’d say what he had to say to Steve Austin on the podcast following the show…

Back in the ring, Michael ole barely interviewed Daniel Bryan. Bryan said he’ll beat Roman Reigns at Fastlane and go on to main event Wrestlemania. The crowd were very happy.

This was a Long Show, and an Average Show. There were some very good professional wrestling matches on this show. There were also some terrible ones. And there was TOO MUCH TALKING. Weirdly, HHH – on the podcast – said that if it were his call he’d take the show back to two hours, and it could only benefit from that.

Where do we go from here? Well, we have an unstoppable, proactive babyface in Daniel Bryan and “a sit back and let it happen to you”, whiny one in Roman Reigns. Such confusing booking. I know one thing, though: I’m never getting up in the middle of the night to watch Raw again.