Hey, it’s WWE Raw! We’re on the Road To Wrestlemania, but not everyone’s on board!
The show started with Seth Rollins coming down to the ring, accompanied by J&J Security. They showed his appearance on The Daily Show last week, where he interrupted Jon Stewart’s Moment of Zen.
Rollins said he’d received word that New Jersey’s own – they were in Newark – Jon Stewart was on his way to Raw. Rollins said that unless Stewart was coming to beg forgiveness, he should turn around. He said he wasn’t a comic foil for Stewart’s amusement, like Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler.
Rollins told the crowd he was going to show the world that he could do Stewart’s job far better than the man himself. He said that, unlike The Daily Show where tickets are given away free, every single person had paid to see him tonight.
Roman Reigns’s music interrupted, and Rollins wearily look towards the surprise point in the crowd that Reigns always enters from. Reigns had that stupid smirk on his face.
To hearty boos, Reigns told Rollins not to stop, and that he’d only come out here to hear the crowd tell Rollins he sucks live.
Rollins said that he was worth more than Michael Jordan, could out-rap Wiz Khalifa (yeah, me either), and out-eat Mark Henry. He said he could out-wrestle Roman Reigns, and that he, not Reigns, was going to be the next WWE champion.
Reigns noted that Rollins didn’t get the job done at Royal Rumble, and that if he was so confident he should cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase and make it a three-way at Wrestlemania.
Rollins said he could do that, or he could wait. Reigns said that he could just punch Rollins in the face, and did. He then hit Noble with the Superman Punch, and Mercury with a spear, and the heels took a powder. Reigns stood in the ring as Michael Cole told us that Reigns was tired of people telling him he couldn’t beat Lesnar.
Rollins was great here. Reigns was acceptable. I’ll take that. Even with the stupid smirk.
Backstage, Dean Ambrose was shown walking down a corridor, holding the Intercontinental title. He’s fighting the actual Intercontinental champion, Bad New Barrett, next in a non-title match.
After a break, Rollins and J&J Security were backstage, selling their injuries. Orton walked up to them and asked Rollins where his crack security team was, and said they shouldn’t have let Reigns get within ten feet of him. He told Rollins that he should demand a match with Reigns tonight, to prove he can out-wrestle him. Manipulate, manipulate…
Hey, it’s Dean Ambrose! He walked to the ring past a ladder, which Cole said would be explained later. It turned out that Barrett would defend the Intercontinental title against multiple opponents in a Ladder Match at Wrestlemania.
Barrett was already in the ring, and the two had a decent match. R-Truth was on commentary again, and there were comedy hi-jinx surrounding the difference between acrophobia (the fear of heights) and arachnophobia (the fear of spiders). Then Truth stole Barrett’s belt again. Gold.
Luke Harper showed up behind Truth, and demanded the belt. Truth gave it over and said, “title change!”, and Harper walked slowly away with the belt.
In the ring, Barrett was about to finish Ambrose with the Bullhammer when he noticed Harper walking off with his belt, and shouted after him. Ambrose blindsided him, hit the Dirty Deeds and picked up the win.
Ambrose didn’t realise Harper had the belt and so confronted R-Truth, who told him the big guy had it. Cole said that there was some strange stuff going on in WWE…
Backstage, a group of wrestlers stood talking amongst themselves until The Miz called for their attention and thanked them for coming to the premiere of his new commercial. Mizdow asked him if he was sure he wanted to show it, and Miz told him he was. Mizdow asked if he wanted to watch it first, and Miz blew him off.
So Miz showed his commercial, and it was – of course – for Viagra, or “Niagara” as it was called here. After it had finished, Titus O’Neil led the audience in some hearty laughs and Miz demanded an apology from a trying-not-to-laugh Mizdow.
Hey, it’s Bray Wyatt! He came out to the top of the ramp with a coffin, which he said he’d made himself. So that’s what he’s been doing! He asked The Undertaker if he liked it, but The Undertaker did not answer. Because he wasn’t there.
Anyway, he then set it on fire for about five seconds, and said The Undertaker would burn at Wrestlemania.
After a break, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro & Natalya came down to the ring for a six-person tag-match with The Usos & Naomi. Yeah, this thing again.
This was short and not great. The finish came when The Usos were about to double superkick Kidd, and he tagged out to Natalya. In the rules of these matches, women can only fight women, so The Usos had to stop.
Natalya had re-injured her ankle earlier in the match, and easily fell prey to a roll-up from Naomi.
After the match, Natalya was mad at Kidd for tagging her in and he was disappointed in her for losing. As she got more upset, though, he comforted her, and they left, with Kidd & Cesaro looking more fondly at their title belts than they were at Natalya…
John Cena came down to the ring to talk about what’s been going on with him. He acknowledged that some people in the crowd don’t like him and that they were having a good time right now, because he lost at Fast Lane and had been denied a re-match at Wrestlemania by Rusev.
But, he said, they shouldn’t stay happy for long, because he wasn’t going to whine or complain but adapt and overcome. He said that he’d get his hands on Rusev down the line but for now he was entering himself in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania.
This brought out Stephanie McMahon, who was angry with Cena for thinking he could just enter himself into a match. Cena rightfully pointed out that a bunch of other dudes had done exactly that, but she shot him down, and claimed that he was disparaging Andre’s memory.
She showed a picture of herself at eight years-old, sitting on Andre’s knee, and that he was a friend to her. Cena said he liked the picture because at that age she wasn’t a bitch like she is now. Stephanie said women in power are often called names.
Cena listed his credentials to be in the Battle Royal, but Stephanie said that he’s been a problem for The Authority, so why should they let him in? She then ran down a list of wrestlers who thought that, when they left, that the WWE would struggle without them, but said the WWE had done just fine. And, she said, Wrestlemania would do just fine without Cena.
Stephanie told him to think about where he’d be without WWE, not the other way around. This gave us a classic Sad John Cena moment.
Curtis Axel’s music hit and he came out , claiming he’d been in the Royal Rumble match for 35 days now. He said he wanted Rusev at Wrestlemania, and sucked up to Stephanie, who said he was a man who understood respect. The crowd, finally, are chanting “AxelMania”, by the way.
Stephanie told Cena he could prove himself right now against Axel, but that he’d have to change Rusev’s mind if he wanted to go to Wrestlemania. She demanded a referee and Axel asked Cena what he was going to do when AxelMania ran wild on him. He then ripped his shirt, Hulk-style. This was great.
Cena told Axel he had one chance to leave the ring in one piece. Axel declined and they had a very short match. Cena won, with an STF after an AA, and returned to being Sad John Cena.
This brought out Rusev, who told Cena his answer was still no. The Russian flag dropped and Sad John Cena’s face took us to the announcers, who speculated that Cena may not be a part of Wrestlemania this year…
Hey, it’s HHH! He came down to the ring to talk about his upcoming match at Wrestlemania against Sting. He said he’d offered to make Sting a legend but Sting rejected it. He then moved on to why Sting took so long to show up in the WWE.
He said that he’d heard Booker T, who knew Sting well, say that Sting might have come but that with HHH around there was a lid on his chances. He called Booker into the ring.
Booker said that he knew both men. He said that he knew HHH would have used his power to block Sting, and he probably would have done the same in HHH’s position.
HHH said he thought Booker was better than all the conspiracy theories that the kids on the internet who like to sound like they know what’s going on talk about.
Booker said that no-one could control Sting. Not Bischoff, not Flair, and not the nWo. And now Sting was in the WWE, HHH couldn’t control him either.
HHH said control was a funny thing, and then illustrated his control by firing Booker T. We got to see Booker T’s sad face – at least the equal of Sad John Cena – as he collected his things and began walking up the ramp, before HHH called him back and said he wasn’t fired, that he was only making a point.
Paige came out for a Divas Title match against Nikki Bella. And they had a match. A longer match than the women usually get on Raw, and it was okay. Nothing great, but nothing too bad.
It ended when Paige had Nikki in the PTO and Brie ran in for the DQ. After the match, the Bellas double-teamed Paige until AJ Lee’s music played, and she ran down to the ring to make the save. Together, Paige & AJ kicked the Bellas out of the ring.
After a break, Backstage Renee spoke with AJ Lee, who was – Christ! – skipping down a corridor. Before she could say much, Paige interrupted and asked AJ what she was doing getting in her business.
AJ said she couldn’t sit back watching as the Bellas bullied the whole division, and then she and Paige had the most awkward, scripted conversation ever. Poor Backstage Renee didn’t know where to look. For a moment I imagined she might disappear slowly into the background, like Flair & Fifi on the Shockmaster’s arrival…
Hey, it’s The Daily Show, with Seth Rollins! They had the full desk set up in the ring, and even had the screen over Rollins’s shoulder. Nice attention to detail.
Rollins ran down Jon Stewart and was interrupted by The Daily Show‘s theme music, and Jon Stewart came out. He sat down opposite Rollins, a guest on his own show.
Stewart mocked Rollins’s hair, and said he wasn’t worried about the kerb stomp because that’s how they greeted each other in the morning in New Jersey.
He said he was old school, and remembered wrestlers who earned their spot, namechecking Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold. He said Rollins never fought through injury to become a legend, like The Undertaker.
He said that Rollins thought he could take a short-cut by becoming the poster boy for The Authority. “But let me tell you about posters, boy. They get taken down when people get tired of them.” Awesome line.
He said that The Authority didn’t care about Rollins, because if they did it would be him in the main event at Wrestlemania, not Roman Reigns. All Rollins had, he said, was a briefcase which he didn’t earn.
Rollins had heard enough and grabbed Stewart by the throat. Suddenly, Randy Orton’s music hit and Orton started walking to the ring. Stewart used this distraction to punt Rollins square in the nuts, and then run away.
This was hokey but fun. Stewart is brilliant, and Rollins played his part well. It could have fallen flat but worked really well. Good stuff.
After a break, Backstage Renee spoke with Jon Stewart, and asked him if he’d stay around in the WWE after leaving The Daily Show. Stewart said he got winded just walking and was worried about being in an open space around these wrestlers and left.
Hey, it’s Luke Harper! He was in the ring, holding the Intercontinental title belt, waiting for his opponent, Daniel Bryan.
So they had a match, and Harper nearly killed Bryan a couple of times. One time, he suplexed Bryan right onto his bad shoulder, and Bryan couldn’t use that arm for a few minutes after the match. Bad Harper.
Anyway, Bryan won with the Yes! Lock, and Harper tapped very quickly. As everyone should.
After the match, Bryan got up on the announcers’ table to do a one-armed Yes! chant, and point at the Wrestlemania sign.
Bad News Barrett marched down to the ring to retrieve his belt but was cut off by Ambrose, and they brawled in the ring. R-Truth appeared and grabbed the belt, but Harper demanded it back. He gave it over and Harper walked up the ramp, to be met by a superkick from Dolph Ziggler, who stood posing with the belt…
They announced Alundra Blayze was going into the Hall of Fame. Yes, they used that name.
Backstage, Seth Rollins complained to J&J Security about Jon Stewart ruining his moment. Randy Orton appeared and told Rollins he’d save him from getting fired or sued for hitting Stewart. He told him he’d have his back against Reigns in the main event, but Kane and The Big Show appeared and assured him they had it under control.
Hey, it’s Paul Heyman! He came down to the ring to do a talky. And what a talky it was!
He said he was there to address the rumours (about his client, Brock Lesnar, no-showing Raw last week). He said his client would be at Wrestlemania and that we should “believe that”.
He said his client would be anywhere he liked before Wrestlemania, and anywhere he liked after Wrestlemania, and wherever he will be it will be as WWE champion, because he’s the champion for as long as he likes.
His mic’ cut out and when he got it working again he talked about Daniel Bryan, and then about Roman Reigns. There were some boos.
His mic’ cut out again, and he asked for another. Lillian Garcia gave him hers and he told her, “it’s about time you did something right.” This made the crowd go, “ooooooh!”, and he told them that he’d give them something to “oooooooh!” about.
He said that not one person disputed him last week when he said that no-one could beat Lesnar. Not Bruno, not, Austin, Rock, Cena, or even Reigns. A fan in the crowd shouted, “Andre!” and Heyman yelled, “he’s dead, stupid!” Gold.
He said that, at Wrestlemania, it would go down two ways. Either Lesnar would beat Reigns down like he did to Cena at Summerslam, or Lesnar simply “Ronda Rouseys Reigns’s ass. He told us we could believe that.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Roman Reigns versus Seth Rollins! With nothing at stake other than who’s got the biggest balls!
The crowd chanted, “you can’t wrestle!” at Reigns as the match started. And it was a match. It was okay. Reigns was on top early on, but Rollins came back. With Reigns down, Randy Orton’s music played, and he came down to ringside as the show went to commercial.
After the break, Randy was stood on the opposite side of the ring to Kane, The Big Show and J&J Security.
Reigns made a comeback, and almost got himself DQ’d for being over-aggressive in the corner. Glad they’ve learned that that’s a finish everyone loves.
Reigns set up the Superman Punch but J&J Security grabbed his feet. He shook them off but Rollins grabbed a nearfall. Rollins went up to the top rope but Reigns caught him in a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall of his own.
Reigns then went after the Big Show on the outside, and got caught by Kane, who smashed him with a chair behind the ref’s back. He threw him back into the ring and Rollins prepared the kerb stomp.
Reigns was ready for it, and hit the Superman Punch, and then hit another one to J&J Security. He got ready for a spear to finish Rollins but Orton grabbed his foot, and Rollins used the distraction to roll Reigns up for the win.
After the match, Orton left and an angry Reigns got up and plancha‘d onto a pile of Authority bodies. He then took them all out with spears and stood tall in the ring as The Authority lay scattered like nine-pins on the floor.
That was a Decent Show. It had some Good Stuff, and very little Bad Stuff, but it just doesn’t feel like much of a build to Wrestlemania right now when Lesnar’s not there, The Undertaker’s not there, and Cena – for now, at least – is off the big show. There’s still three more episodes of Raw before the big one, so you never know…