Linus Report: WWE Raw, 01/06/2015

Hey, it’s WWE Raw! In my world, Dean Ambrose is still champion!

The show started with a re-cap of the events from the Elimination Chamber PPV, and then The Authority came down to the ring. Like, the whole group, including HHH & Stephanie, but not The Big Show, thankfully. That wouldn’t last.

Stephanie spoke and said that Dean Ambrose stole the WWE World Heavyweight title and he is not the champion. Standing next to her, Seth Rollins seethed. Stephanie ran down Ambrose’s lost of offenses – hey, remember when he stole the Intercontinental belt? And remember when he stile the Money In The Bank briefcase? And remember when they came up with new ideas? – and then wondered what they were going to do about him. Would they fine him? Suspend him? Fire him?

HHH said they weren’t going to do any of that. He said Ambrose might be crazy but he’s not stupid, so he asked Ambrose to come out and return the belt. When Ambrose didn’t appear, and the crowd started chanting “Justin Bieber” at Rollins, he yelled at them to shut up and told Ambrose to get his “ass” out there.

Instead of Ambrose, Roman Reigns came out. He told HHH that Ambrose wasn’t there. And he might not ever come back unless he gets a re-match with Rollins at Money In The Bank. But not just any re-match – Ambrose wanted a ladder match. On a show that already has a ladder match. I despair. That way, said Reigns, whoever had physical possession of the belt would be the champion.

Stephanie said they didn’t negotiate with low-lifes and Reigns told her she might want to reconsider because Ambrose had beaten Rollins the night before. Rollins exploded and said that Ambrose did not beat him, but the crowd started chanting “you got beat!”. Reigns smiled and said that he didn’t think Rollins was as good as he thinks he is, that he’s lost to Reigns and Ambrose, and that he’s only champion because “mommy & daddy” are protecting him. Reigns said that Rollins used to be cool in The Shield but he might just be the worst WWE champion ever.

Rollins, goaded, said Ambrose could have the match. He said he’d prove that he didn’t need his security team, a seven-foot piece of trash (that’s harsh on Kane), or The Authority. He ignored attempts to calm him down and stomped off up the ramp.

Stephanie told Reigns to wipe the smile off his face and then HHH mentioned that Reigns was in the Money In The Bank match in two weeks. Well, he was for now, but that he’d have to win a match tonight to make sure he stayed in that match. And that match would start RIGHT NOW.

This was a strong, solid segment, and Reigns was really good here. I know I keep saying it, but Sidekick Reigns is a Good Reigns and I’m enjoying it, even though it’s obviously not going to last. Rollins, too, was good, and the shaky ground for a re-match (at least with a heel Authority in charge) was firmed up with his bruised ego.

After a break, Bad News Barrett came out to be Reigns’s opponent. The announcers said that, if Barrett wins, he would replace Reigns in the Money In The Bank match, and the briefcase was hanging above the ring.

So they had a good match. Reigns was on offense for much of it and he’s much better suited to that. One thing Reigns is not is a babyface in peril, so matches like this will do much more for his long-term prospects than the shit they were trying to pull a few weeks back. Reigns got the win – and kept his Money In The Bank spot – with a spear after Barrett had raked his eyes and missed a Bullhammer.

Backstage, after a break, Reigns was walking down a corridor. HHH & Stephanie sarcastically congratulated him on his victory against Barrett and said that he could remain in the Money In The Bank match… if he beat his next opponent, Mark Henry.

Elsewhere backstage, Byron Saxton spoke to Nikki Bella. She said that, after defending her title successful at Elimination Chamber, she was open to any challenge. Paige walked up and brought up the battle royale she won in London, as if that gave her a shot again since she already used it for the shot at Elimination Chamber, surely? Regardless, Nikki gave Paige another title match, but tonight on Raw, not at the next PPV. This was very, very bad.

Hey, it’s The Ryback! I’m not sure he knows that wrestling isn’t real! He came down to the ring with his new WWE Intercontinental title belt and said he didn’t want to get emotional but that he was very proud to be champion.

He made his first defense against The Miz. Or, rather, he didn’t. The Miz came out, returning to Raw after a few weeks away filming a movie, but before the match could start The Big Show’s music hit.

The Big Show came down and squared up to The Ryback, his fist cocked for the knockout punch, but then turned and KOd The Miz. He then grabbed a mic’ and told The Ryback that if anyone was going to beat him for the belt, it would be him. And then he left. *disappointed shrug*

After a break, Kevin Owens came down to the ring. He had yet another new t-shirt, which – considering last week on Smackdown he criticised John Cena for having 57 different designs – is hilarious.

He said that he always delivered on what he promised. He said he’d win the NXT title and he did. He said he’d finish Sami Zayn and he did. And he said he’d beat John Cena and he did. And that beating Cena should have been the biggest night of his life.

But, he said, when he’d called home, his son only wanted to know if Cena was okay. Because his son was a huge Cena fan. All the while Owens had been travelling the world, working on his craft, his son was being influenced by John Cena through WWE television. Owens said it wasn’t his son’s fault, he was blinded by bright colours and the catchphrases, and that Cena was portrayed like a superhero.

But, he said, he’d beaten “Super Cena” and at Money In The Bank he’d beat him again, and expose him for the marketing tool he really is.

That brought out Cena, who held up his tiny towel with “Never Give Up” on it and mouthed “it’s not a catchphrase” at the camera. Cena needs a dictionary.

Cena came down to the ring and called Owens a jackass. He said the whole world was talking about Owens and the crowd started chanting “you got beat!”. Cena acknowledged them and said that, yes, he got beat. He said that, ever since he’d held the US title, he’d accepted that someone would beat him for it. And, five minutes ago, he was ready to hand over the title to Owens.

But, he said, Owens didn’t deserve it, and he didn’t deserve the NXT title. He said Owens’s son didn’t like him because of the WWE marketing machine – if that were the case he’d want an Adam Rose t-shirt, want to be a Funkasaurus, and want to grow up to be an XFL player. Cena then pointed out his young fans in the crowd, ending with one who had a sign saying “I beat cancer”.

He said his catchphrases weren’t dreamed up by marketing, they were who he was. He told the cancer patient to never give up, and Owens could really have kept his heat here by telling her to die. Hey, David Schultz would have done it! He said that, ironically, the three words that defined Owens’s career – ten years fighting to get where he was now – were not “fight Owens fight” but “never give up”.

Cena told Owens, man to almost man, that Owens would have to explain how, in two weeks, a “really good wrestler” got his ass kicked by a real man. He threw down the mic’ and took off his t-shirt, ready to fight. Owens stepped up but then took a slow powder, and walked to the back.

This was a phenomenal segment. Owens lost his heat a little at the end, and Cena kinda came off as a little whiny, but this is the strongest feud of the year so far and ticking all the boxes.

Hey, it’s The New Day! They came down to the ring and cut a talky on San Antonio. Usual cheap heat stuff. Kofi Kingston said that he would win the Money In The Bank match in two weeks and Big E said that, when he did, they’d all become Mr Money In The Bank, because New Day Rocks. Okay.

Dolph Ziggler came out with Lana, and she stayed at the top of the ramp. Their pairing makes zero sense. He’s the heart-throb to some teenage girls and she’s popular as the ravishing Russian heel, so why not throw them together, eh? Idiots.

Anyway, Ziggler and Kingston had a match, because apparently two men being in the same match at a PPV is enough for a feud these days. Ziggler won quickly with a huge DDT and got attacked by Big E & Xavier Woods after the match. This brought out The Prime Time Players to make the save and, weirdly, it suddenly became a six-man tag-team match.

Remember how good The New Day and Tyson Kidd & Cesaro were? Yeah, The Prime Time Players are not Tyson Kidd & Cesaro. Titus O’Neil did some quality hossing but this was mostly really boring. O’Neil got the win with a pin on Xavier Woods and I guess that’s the tag-team title feud now. Ugh.

After a break, Roman Reigns was on his way to the ring for his second match of the night, against Mark Henry. Henry came out and played heel, despite the fact that he was a babyface last night and the last time we saw him on TV he turned respectful babyface, ironically after fighting Roman Reigns. Memory, all alone in the moonlight…

So they had a match and it spilled outside and Mark Henry ran Reigns into the ring post, which last week was a DQ offense in WWE. This week? Nada. Reigns came back and hit the Superman Punch and finally made it back into the ring just as the referee was counting to ten for the countout win. Because protecting Henry is important, right?

After the match, Henry attacked Reigns and splashed his ribs. He marched to the back as Reigns recovered.

Backstage, after a break, Reigns was confronted by HHH & Stephanie, who sarcastically congratulated him again. Reigns asked if he should keep the vest on, and HHH said that everybody wanted to be in the Money In The Bank match and so he had one more match – against Bray Wyatt.

They showed a comedy skit, where WWE superstars recorded adverts for Sonic Shakes, the sponsors of tonight’s Raw. AxelMania & Macho Mandow, The New Day, and The Big Show tried to do funny, and only The New Day came anywhere near. STOP DOING THIS STUFF.

Hey, it’s Paige! She came down to the ring for her WWE Divas title match with Nikki Bella, the champion. And what a match! It was bad. And had a worse ending, as Nikki – who I think is a babyface – swapped places with her twin, Brie, and Brie rolled up Paige for the win. Although they’re identical twins, these girls look so very different, but I guess WWE officials are too stupid/lazy to notice. The Bella Twins smirked on the ramp as they celebrated.

But enough of that! Randy Orton’s back! He came down to the ring for a match with Sheamus, and they went to a commercial! After the break, Sheamus came out and, Christ, is this a long show again tonight.

Orton and Sheamus had a match for no other reason than they’re both in the Money In The Bank match. And it was a long, boring match, which ended in a DQ. Why bother? Oh, Orton won, if you care, when Sheamus used a chair to jab him in the tummy. After the match, Sheamus continued to beat on Orton. The End.

Backstage, Byron Saxton spoke to Rusev, who hobbled in on crutches. Rusev said he’d lost everything – his title, his career, and his woman. He said he was a broken man with a broken ankle and a broken spirit. Still on Team Rusev, here. But, he said, he will get it all back. And then hobbled off.

The announcers told us that Kevin Owens would be on Smackdown and would issue an open challenge for his NXT title, even though he said on NXT he would never do that. *shrug*

Hey, it’s Bo Dallas! He came down to the ring to fight Neville, saying that he had wanted to help him but now just wanted to hurt him. Neville came out and they had a short match, which Neville won with the Red Arrow. Given Neville is now moving on to the Money In The Bank match, I guess that’s it for Dallas.

After a break, it was time for our main event! It’s Roman Reigns versus Bray Wyatt, and the winner gets to be in the Money In The Bank match!

Reigns was already in the ring, holding his ribs, as Wyatt made his entrance. With Owens in, Samoa Joe signing a full-time contract, and Rusev, Dallas, and Wyatt around, it’s quite the time for the “thicker” man in WWE right now. A certain sector of the gay audience is delighted, I’m sure.

So they had a decent match, although Reigns played babyface in peril a little too much for my liking. Halfway through, Seth Rollins, Kane, and J&J Security came out to the top of the ramp. When Reigns hit a Superman Punch after a nearfall, they all ran down and surrounded the ring.

Kane got up on the apron and Wyatt used the distraction to set Reigns up for Sister Abigail. Reigns pushed Wyatt off into Kane, knocking him to the floor, and then hit Wyatt with a spear for the win to keep his berth in the Money In The Bank match.

After the match, The Authority surrounded the ring, ready to attack Reigns, but Dean Ambrose’s music played. They all turned to the entrance ramp but he appeared on top of the announcers’ table, holding his stolen belt aloft. He ran into the ring and stood tall with Reigns as they cleared the ring, leaving Rollins alone.

Ambrose threw the title belt to Rollins, then kicked him as he caught it, and hit Dirty Deeds. Ambrose and Reigns shook hands, and HHH & Stephanie came out to the top of the ramp, pointing accusingly at the former Shield pair. They escaped into the crowd and stood celebrating with fans as the show went off the air.

This was a Decent Show. It seemed very long when recent weeks have skipped by at a faster pace but they’re setting things up for the next quick PPV in smart fashion. Although, who in the blue hell wants to see The Ryback versus The Big Show???

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