-Live from Providence, RI.
Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt vs. The Usos
The crowd still chants for Bryan because they like him…what a concept.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen fans openly rebel against a heel turn like this Bryan storyline. They just absolutely refuse to boo the guy while WWE continues to make him into something he’s not.
Jey Uso gets caught in the heel (?) corner and Bryan beats him down, guillotining Jey on the bottom rope while the crowd chants for him some more.
Bray hits a running splash in the corner and Daniel tags in for the Yes Kicks. Jey catches Bryan in the head with a kick, drawing some heel heat, and makes the hot tag to Jimmy. Samoan drop draws a mixed reaction and a running butt splash in the corner gets two. Jimmy gets rid of Bray and Bryan and the Usos follow with double dives to the outside. Back in, the Usos look to finish with double splashes but Harper and Rowan attack, drawing the lame DQ.
Winners by DQ: The Usos
-The Usos escape the Wyatts and make sure to nail Bryan with a superkick before heading for the hills.
So far, that’s two matches for Daniel Bryan and two losses as a member of the Wyatt family.
Yeah, they definitely have big plans for Bryan. Bray Wyatt hits Bryan with Sister Abigail again because the way to get a guy over is to have him get beaten in every single match and take all the finishing moves in the company. I fail to see how this storyline is going to do anything but make Daniel Bryan look like a total loser *1/2.
-The Royal Rumble is in Pittsburgh this year. Did I mention I was sitting in a luxury box this year? They really know how to treat their VIP writers here.
Damien Sandow vs. John Cena
Sandow is another guy who they have on a losing streak gimmick and expect that to get him heel heat.
They recap Sandow blowing his Money in the Bank match and act like that loss to John Cena was the big turning point. How about it was just a stupid booking decision where no one gave Sandow a snowball’s chance in hell of winning?
The crowd entertains itself with dueling chants, while the boys do some basic stuff to let the people get it out of their system. Cena actually gets a one count off of a hiptoss and that pisses off Damien so much that he stomps a mudhole in the corner. We take a commercial break because who cares about the heel’s offense, right?
We return with Sandow working Cena’s shoulder, but he misses a kneedrop so John can launch into his usual comeback.
Attitude Adjustment is countered to an Edge-o-matic for two and Sandow goes low with a kick to the knee. Sandow applies the Royal Arch submission move (basically a standing Sharpshooter), but of course, Cena powers out and hits a neckbreaker for two. Cena heads up top and actually busts out a tornado DDT. Whoa, John…what’s with the moveset tonight? I like it.
Cena goes for the AA again but Sandow rolls him up for two.
Damien hits an ugly swinging neckbreaker for a near fall and he looks to finish. You’re Welcome is countered to the STF, but Sandow fights to the ropes while the announcers put Damien over. Sandow comes back with a Crippler Crossface (really?) but Cena impressively powers Sandow onto his shoulders and stands up, delivering the Attitude Adjustment for the win.
Winner: John Cena
-Well, obviously Cena was going over tonight, but he gave Sandow a good bit of offense and busted out a couple moves you don’t see from him everyday. Definitely better than most of Cena’s usual TV offerings **3/4.
-The WWE Network gets a promo. Seriously, 10 bucks a month for the entire tape library and every pay-per-view? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
-Meanwhile, Brad Maddox smugly meets Kane and books a rematch from the opening match in a steel cage. Kane one-ups him by ordering the door chained shut and only he will have the key. Why does Vince insist on ending every one of those backstage skits with an uncomfortable close-up of someone that lasts about three seconds too long? That’s always bothered me.
Big Show vs. Jack Swagger
Show dominates to start, chopping away in the corner and tossing Swagger across the ring. He takes Swagger down with a tackle and hits a spear out of the corner. Show hits the chokeslam and completes the total squash.
Winner: Big Show
-Cesaro runs away rather than face the wrath of the Big Show.
I understand that Show has to look strong heading into the Rumble, but what’s the point of squashing a team you want challenging for the tag titles? Do you just have to prove that tag teams are so far down the ranks that they can’t compete with an upper midcard guy like Big Show? This is the kind of booking that causes your audience to not care about the underneath guys at all.
Anyways, Show already beat up both members of the tag team, so of course he knocks out Zeb Coulter as well because no one new is allowed to get over…ever. Match was a total squash, DUD.
CM Punk & The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield
Have we really reached the point where we have to censor the words “ass” and “damn”? Nothing like a couple of 40-some-year-old guys talking like they are 2nd graders. I understand you’re TV-PG, but can’t you have your wrestlers speak like normal human beings?
Billy Gunn starts with Dean Ambrose.
They have a slugfest in the corner, but Ambrose gets the advantage and drags Gunn to the heel corner. Seth Rollins tries his luck but gets caught coming off the ropes with a tilt-a-whirl slam, and Gunn brings in Road Dogg. Dogg doesn’t fare much better as Ambrose beats him down, but Road Dogg quickly comes back with his punches and shaky legs kneedrop for two.
CM Punk comes in, without a hot tag surprisingly, but he runs into a boot.
Rollins almost walks into a GTS, so he brings in Roman Reigns, drawing a nice crowd reaction. Slugfest is won by Punk, but he’s floored by a clothesline. Punk low-bridges Reigns to put him to the floor and follows with a dive between the ropes as we head to commercial.
We return with Punk hitting Rollins with a neckbreaker for two, but Seth counters by weakly tossing him into the ropes. Reigns tags back in and hits Punk with an impressive running dropkick from the floor for two, then he tags out. See, that’s smart booking right there: Make the people want to see Reigns and deliver in small doses so they want more.
Punk continues to play the Ricky Morton role as a Rollins clothesline gets two.
Ambrose continues the beatdown as we head outside, but Dean ends up tasting the ring steps and they damn sure don’t taste like BBQ.
Reigns tosses Ambrose back in so he can make the tag but Punk catches Rollins with a leg lariat. Reigns, because he’s a bad ass, stops Punk from making the tag but makes the mistake of doing the DX chop, allowing Punk to recover and hit Reigns with a head kick. Punk slowly crawls to the corner, reaches out and…the Outlaws drop down and leave.
Uh oh. Punk is left alone with the Shield, but he decides to go out fighting. Punk holds his own for a few seconds but Reigns nails him with a spear and gets the win.
Winners: The Shield
-A heel turn by a retired tag team? Alright then. Reigns convinces the Shield to deliver a triple powerbomb to CM Punk before leaving because he’s a jerk. This was yet another good match this week even if the heel turn came out of nowhere **1/2.
Cameron & Naomi vs. AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka
Apparently, I’m supposed to be impressed by AJ Lee holding the Divas title longer than anyone except Maryse. I usually compare Maryse’s title reign to Bruno Sammartino, so I guess I should be excited for her.
Emma from NXT makes her debut in the crowd, while Cameron hits a terrible dropkick but gets stopped by Tamina dropping her on the top rope.
Hey, did you know Tamina is the daughter of Jimmy Snuka? I don’t think they’ve ever mentioned that before! That should get her over! AJ comes in with a neckbreaker and applies a chinlock while the crowd chants “we want wrestling”. AJ knocks Naomi off the apron and hits a shining wizard on Cameron for the easy win.
Winner: AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka
-Naomi takes out both heels because Lord knows we have to let the Funkadactyls get their heat back so that people pay to see them at the next house show. Call the mess 1/4* and that’s being very generous.
-Meanwhile, Randy Orton complains to Kane about not being protected by the Authority. Kane responds by booking Orton against Kofi Kingston. What a weird character Kane is now.
-Our first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame this year…the Ultimate Warrior. Well, you had to see this coming after the video game deal. Seriously though, giving the Ultimate Warrior the chance to give a speech? I’m so there.
-Just a thought: Are they going to air the Hall of Fame ceremony live on the WWE Network? That would be just fantastic.
-What about Randy Savage?
-Backstage, Paul Heyman calls Big Show stupid for picking a fight with his client, Brock Lesnar.
Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston
Orton dumps Kofi and tosses him into the ring barrier before flooring Kingston with a clothesline.
Back in, Orton hammers away in the corner but runs into a boot, and Kofi throws some strikes. Orton puts him down once again and drops Kingston on the top rope, sending him to the outside once again. Orton takes too long posing though and Kofi smacks Randy’s head off of the announcers' table a few times.
Orton crotches Kofi on top of the corner and brings him off with a top rope superplex for a near fall.
A kneedrop gets two, and Orton takes time to mock Kofi’s pose, giving Kingston time to recover and launch into a comeback. A clothesline sends Randy to the floor, but Kofi misses a baseball slide. He still manages to slam Orton’s head into the ring steps and hit a clothesline off the apron as we head to another mid-match commercial break.
We return with Orton dropping Kofi on top of the ring barrier and getting two back inside.
Kofi fights back with a back suplex for a double KO spot, but Trouble in Paradise misses and Orton backdrops him to the outside. Randy gets pissed and tosses Kofi all around the outside of the ring before dragging him back inside for more punishment.
Kofi catches Orton with an elbow but his comeback gets cut off again. Orton looks to finish, but Kingston surprises him with a backslide for two. Orton stops Kofi again with an uppercut, and we hit the chinlock. Orton misses a running knee drop, allowing Kofi to mount a comeback, but he whiffs on the Boom Drop.
Randy tries for the draping DDT, but Kofi turns it into the SOS and…gets the pin?!? Wow, didn’t see that one coming.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
-Randy Orton throws a big hissy fit and randomly attacks John Cena’s father, who is sitting at ringside.
Cena chases him off and tends to his father, while very politely asking fans to move back. See, even during a family tragedy, Cena is a nice guy. The finish was surprising, but the match was a little slow for me. Randy Orton on offense is a cure for insomnia. Call the whole thing **1/4 for a good effort. I guarantee that Randy Orton gets the win back next week, though.
-We come back from a commercial with Cena’s dad being taken out on a stretcher. Michael Cole calls Randy Orton “embarrassed and humiliated” like he just lost to Barry Horowitz or Mike Sharpe. Come on, Cole…Kofi Kingston should be put over a little bit, right?
Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback
Ryback’s Twitter has been a constant source of entertainment for me this past weekend.
Curtis Axel and his awful haircut start with Goldust, but Dustin hits an uppercut and Ryback checks in. Goldust gets run over while Cole actually acknowledges Ryback’s Twitter craziness, and Cody tags in for a moonsault.
The babyfaces double team Ryback, but Axel makes a blind tag and beats down Goldust. A dropkick gets two, and Goldust gets trapped in the heel corner as the announcers get bored and talk about Lawler booking himself to win world titles.
Ryback puts Goldust down with a press slam for two, and the heels switch off to zero heat.
Goldust catches Ryback with a facebuster (remember when he sold nothing?) and makes the hot tag to Cody. He beats Axel around the ring and a springboard dropkick lands. Cody takes out Ryback with a Disaster kick, but that distraction allows Axel to roll him up from behind for two. Axel tries for a neckbreaker, but Cody turns it into Cross Rhodes for the win.
Winners: Goldust & Cody Rhodes
-Axel and Ryback never had a chance, so the match had zero heat but hey, they can’t all be winners *.
Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
It’s seriously been eight years since Mysterio won the Royal Rumble? My God, I am old.
Rey tries for the 619 immediately, forcing Del Rio to take a powder, so Rey settles for a seated senton on the floor. Back inside, Mysterio hits another seated senton and adds a kick to the face for two.
Off the ropes, Del Rio counters a bulldog attempt into Divorce Court, and Alberto goes to work on the arm. He stops a Mysterio comeback with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but misses a charge to the corner and hits the ring post with his shoulder.
Rey hits flying head scissors and gets the 619, but Del Rio crotches him on the top rope and hits a superkick while Mysterio hangs from the corner. The cross armbreaker is applied and Rey quickly taps out for the clean win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
-Didn’t expect Rey to put Del Rio over clean, so that was kind of a surprise. They are obviously building Del Rio up to be squashed by Batista, so I have no real problem with it. It’s not like Rey Mysterio is a huge draw at this point in his career anyways. The match was decent but nothing special **.
-Is that the WWE Network countdown clock or is Y2J planning something big?
-Meanwhile, CM Punk complains to Kane and believes Triple H to be behind the Outlaws turning on him. Kane responds by placing Punk in the Royal Rumble. Wouldn’t it be better to have the Outlaws actually tell someone why they turned on Punk?
Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt vs. The Usos
Is there any reason the Usos should win this match?
Kane comes out and chains the door shut himself, thus guaranteeing it won’t stay shut.
All four guys brawl in the cage with no real direction until Bray Wyatt backdrops Jimmy into the cage wall. Bryan hits Jey with a dropkick as the Usos taste the cage in various fashions. Jimmy first attempts to climb, but Bray drags Jimmy back in by the hair.
Jey and Bryan fight on the top rope, allowing Uso to bring Bryan down with a Russian leg sweep from the top to zero reaction. We take a commercial break after that one.
We return with more general brawling as this match continues to have no story being told at all.
Apparently, WWE’s plan to get people to stop chanting for Bryan is to put him in terrible matches until the crowd does care. Jimmy wakes the crowd up with a corkscrew senton from the top rope on Bray Wyatt for two.
Bryan hangs Jey in the Tree of Woe and hits his Yes Kicks followed by a dropkick. Bryan tries an escape, but Jimmy delivers a back superplex for the double KO. The crowd chants “this is awesome” as I’m left to wonder what I missed during break.
Wyatt recovers and dominates the Usos, trying for Sister Abigail, but Jey superkicks him to break it up.
The Usos recover and try to organize an escape attempt, but the Wyatts intercept them and all four guys fight on top of the cage. Jimmy headbutts Daniel down, and he accidentally crotches Bray Wyatt when he falls. The Usos escape over the top of the cage and beat up Harper and Rowan to really rub it in.
Winners: The Usos
-After the match, Bray tries to deliver Sister Abigail to Bryan once again, but Daniel has had enough.
After some insults by Wyatt, Bryan gives him a beatdown, while the crowd goes nuts. Harper and Rowan apparently can’t climb cages because they’ve been watching their boss get destroyed for about two minutes. Bryan removes the high school janitor outfit, revealing his normal trunks underneath, and runs Bray into the cage. He leads a massive “Yes!” chant and hits Bray with the running knee. Raw goes off the air with Bryan climbing the cage and leading the crowd in a huge chant.
I’ll probably get slammed for not liking the match, but thank God they got Bryan out of the Wyatt Family **.
So they spent like five segments of the show trying to get Bryan and Wyatt over as a team, and then break them up in the last match?
I know that Bryan and the Wyatt Family were a bad idea because absolutely no one wanted to see it, but doesn’t this make the last three weeks a total waste? It’s not like Bryan needed to be put over by Bray Wyatt, so I don’t understand the point.
As always, I think WWE was flying by the seat of their pants.
They had no idea what to do with Bryan because they didn’t want him in the world title picture, and so they stuck him with the Wyatts. I’m sure some people will love that final segment because of the “Yes” stuff, but there was no reason for his “heel” turn in the first place.
As for the show, it actually wasn’t that bad this week. The matches were generally good, and I was able to fast forward through all the recap videos and WWE Network stuff. If you can watch it on DVR, it’s a bad waste of a few hours.
-There are some exciting things coming in your favorite author’s future, but you’re going to have to head to my Twitter page to find out what they are. That’s @MikeShannon22 if you’re too lazy to click on those blue letters up above.