One night after the 2014 “Royal Rumble” and it looks like this will be an interesting episode of “WWE RAW.” Not for the reasons WWE had hoped, though. When the show went off the air with Batista winning the 30-man match, destined for the “Wrestlemania XXX” main event, the audience booed loudly.
Something special and unique to professional wrestling happened during the show, and has been building to this point for months. The crowd wanted to see Daniel Bryan enter the match and win. After losing early in the show, they had convinced themselves he would end the night on top of the world.
That didn’t happen though, which angered the fans. Even WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley registered his unhappiness with the outcome.
Now WWE have an interesting conundrum on their hands. Batista’s return to the company has been their biggest announcement of the year and something they need to see through. However, the audience has let the powers that be know who they want positioned as the top superstar. Will WWE ignore the wishes of the fans or are things going to change?
Those are the questions that are going to be answered on “WWE RAW,” along with the building blocks that will lead WWE to their next pay per view, “Elimination Chamber.”
The show kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on USA and you can follow along with Zap2it’s live blog.
8 p.m. – This should be good. The Authority is kicking off the show. The crowd wastes no time and the “Yes” chants begin, cutting off Stephanie McMahon as she talks about how satisfying the show was, which leads to boos. “Oh, did someone not get what they wanted?” Triple H asks in a baby voice. “That’s too bad.” The crowd continues to cheer for Bryan.
They announce that Randy Orton will defend his title at “Elimination Chamber.” And here comes Daniel Bryan! He asks everyone to stop chanting for him because they don’t want to upset The Authority. Of course, that only makes them louder. Win or lose, Bryan says people are talking about his match after the “Rumble.” Triple H calls is a “good little effort.”
“And when people talk about the biggest disappointments in the ‘Rumble’, I have to believe they’re talking about my not being in the ‘Royal Rumble’ match,” he says. When Stephanie asks if he really believes the people are only there to see him, the crowd answers, “Yes.”
Bryan’s goal is simple, he wants into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at “Elimination Chamber.” He tells Triple H neither of them will leave the ring until he gets what he wants. Rather than putting him in the match, Triple H calls out The Shield to take care of him. Sheamus runs out for the save but gets taken out as well. Then John Cena arrives to save the day. The three run The Shield out of the ring.
A strong opening segment that overlooked the end of the “Royal Rumble” altogether. If this is WWE’s way of fixing the problem, there’s still a long way to go.
8:20 – Set for the main event is The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and John Cena. The winning team will have all three members enter the “Elimination Chamber” match.
The Real Americans vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
There’s tension in the Real Americans. Zeb Coulter isn’t happy with Jack Swagger and slaps him mid-match. The motivation evidently helps, as the Real Americans get the win after a Neutralizer from Antonio Cesaro.
Winners: The Real Americans
8:38 – Whoever gave Bad News Barett a gavel should be beaten with it. He’s out to announce The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for late in the show and to make fun of the town they’re in. When did he become General Manager? How many GMs does “RAW” need?
The WWE Network debuts in exactly four weeks.
Fandango vs. R Truth
If this is how “RAW” is going to go, we’re in for a long show. During the match, Xavier Woods is at ringside talking to JBL about getting his doctorate, because that’s how truly important this match is.
Winner: R Truth
The real winner is Woods, though. He’s getting a doctorate and plans to teach autistic children.
8:54 – Brad Maddox is out just to introduce Randy Orton. He’s dressed to fight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will. Of course, he’s met with “Daniel Bryan” chants.
Since he’s a complainer, he’s out to whine about having to fight in the “Elimination Chamber.” That brings out Batista, who gets to face the champion at “Wrestlemania.” He stops and poses with a fan holding a “Bootista” sign. That was pretty good.
He’s met with the same “Daniel Bryan” chants Orton got. There’s also quite a few boos. Batista doesn’t care who he’s fighting at “Wrestlemania,” even if it’s Bryan. He plans to leave as champion. Out comes Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar wants the title too. He doesn’t have a match for it, though.
Heyman says Lesnar needs a title match on “RAW.” The second option is to put Batista and Lesnar in a match to determine the real number one contender.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
They’re calling it the “Battle of Cleveland,” as both men are from the area. Of course, Ziggler is billed as being from Hollywood, Fla., so that’s a bit strange. A good, but quick, match from the two former world champions.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
This is the part where someone should remind you that The Miz main evented “Wrestlemania” only a couple yeas ago.
10,000,000 people have installed the WWE app. Without Michael Cole to explain how apps work, that number might easily be 2 or 3 less.
The Usos vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
With the New Age Outlaws as tag team champions, whether it’s the right or wrong decision, the WWE’s tag team division is sort of incredible at the moment. A hard-hitting match that continued the Usos streak of being one of the most entertaining acts on the roster. When these two finally get the tag titles, it’s going to be something special.
Winners: The Usos
Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio’s still upset that Batista made him look like a fool in the “Rumble.” The crowd is very excited about the match, which they show by chanting the commentator names. Eventually, Kofi is able to get some momentum and rally the crowd, but it doesn’t last long when Del Rio whips out a tiltawhirl backbreaker.
One of the most fun little details when it comes to characters is how there are always tiny Mexican flags on the ring posts during Del Rio’s matches. In the end, he’s able to get the win with a vicious kick to the jaw.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. New Age Outlaws for the WWE Tag Team Championships
After losing their titles on the “Royal Rumble” kickoff show, the Rhodes brothers get their rematch. If the Outlaws aren’t somehow tied to The Authority, this is a weird title change. Especially since the Outlaws are playing babyface a couple weeks after turning on CM Punk. How are they not bad guys?
Billy Gunn tells Goldust to suck it, which he doesn’t appreciate. The Outlaws bail out of the ring to catch their breath after 10 seconds. Billy and Road Dogg keep trying to slow the Rhodes brothers done, with no luck.
The Outlaws are on the defense most of the match, with the Rhodes looking as great as ever. That is, until Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman reappear. Lesnar lays out Cody and Goldust with F5’s while the Outlaws scurry away.
It turns out The Authority denied both of Heyman’s options. In retaliation, Lesnar is just beating people up. He takes a chair to both Goldust and Cody. He hits so hard the chair actually breaks. This is a bummer of a turn for the Rhodes brothers, who have been doing some of their best work yet since teaming up.
Winners: No contest
Hopefully this isn’t the end of the Rhodes as a tag team because they’re just too good. They’re more or less the cornerstones of a great tag division and a set of athletic matches between them and The Usos could be fantastic.
The Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls vs. A.J. Lee, Aksana, Tamina and Alicia Fox
This is, essentially, the same exact match that’s been happening on “RAW” for months. Team “Total Divas” v. Team “Not on an E! Show.” There’s an impressive triple-suplex at one point, before Naomi pins A.J following some sort of butt-bump move.
Winners: The Bella Twins and The Funkadactyls
Up next, time to announce the second inductee in the Hall of Fame for 2014. Place your bets now. Fingers crossed it’s Jake “The Snake” Roberts of “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
10:28 – It is indeed Jake “The Snake” Roberts being inducted. Well deserved and the right time to do it.
John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus vs. The Shield
If this match ends in any way that doesn’t have Bryan in the “Elimination Chamber” match, the crowd might throw garbage at the ring, which would be immensely entertaining. That would be some old school “Nitro” hate.
The Shield is letting Roman Reigns do all the heavy lifting. The crowd isn’t overly excited about the match until Bryan tags, but then the “Yes” chants kick in. Once Cena tags in, the crowd is split between loving and hating him, per usual.
10:53 – Back from commercial and The Shield is putting the screws to Cena, keeping him in their corner and tearing him down. Reigns lays out Cena with a Superman punch but takes a bit too much time showboating, almost allowing John to tag out.
Finally, Cena nails Ambrose with an Attitude Adjustment and tags in Bryan, who takes all three Shield members out. He almost pins Seth Rollins, but Reigns shows up for a spear. He also spears Cena, but Bryan recovers and hits a running knee.
Bryan hits a wicked German suplex on Rollins, but gets taken out by Ambrose. Sheamus hits Ambrose with a Boroque kick, but then gets tossed from the ring by Rollins. Cena tags in and locks the STF on Reigns, but he breaks the hold. Then the Wyatt’s appear to attack Cena again, causing a disqualification.
Winners: Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Sheamus by disqualification
The babyfaces work together to send them running. Winning by DQ is still a win, so they’re headed for “Elimination Chamber.” The Shield is livid at ringside, tearing apart the announce table. Bryan leads yet another “Yes” chant to end the show.
WWE did some serious damage control after the audience reaction at “Royal Rumble” tonight, but it’s important that this isn’t just another quick fix until they think people will forget about it. After all, this isn’t the first time they’ve put Bryan on top only to drop him back down immediately.