May 15, 2014 by Joey Keogh
Did you miss John Cena last week? Well, the good news is, he’s back tonight, so all is well with the world. Unfortunately, his match is also the most fun of the night and it isn’t the Main Event, which should go some way towards explaining why this week’s Raw was an utter disappointment, on a variety of different levels, starting as it means to go on (literally) with a recap of last week’s showdown between Dean Ambrose and Sheamus, which resulted in the Celtic Warrior walking away with the US Championship for no apparent reason. This is swiftly followed by another, quite lengthy, recap of The Shield‘s tussle with Evolution, which this crowd seem to care even less about than those who were in attendance last week.
Thankfully, the hounds of justice open the show tonight, with Ambrose and Rollins fighting over the mic at first (of course), to inform everyone that they may go down, but they don’t stay down and that tonight, they’re not running from Evolution, they’re running to them – this may signal a rematch, but there’s a PPV coming up soon, so cool your jets for the moment. Reigns paces the ring, because he doesn’t want to talk, but when he eventually takes the mic, the girlish screams that erupt from the arena are deafening, and they’ll continue for much of the show, eclipsed only by one, lone man’s refusal to do anything but boo everyone and everything that’s happening. “Is that all you got!?” Reigns demands, signalling another chorus of horny females, “Believe in ME”. Hopefully this isn’t alluding to a much-discussed split in The Shield, because seeing Reigns turn into just another big guy would absolutely suck.
The Titantron springs into life to reveal a big ol’ stretch limo is approaching backstage, out of which step Triple H, who immediately has to sign forms of some description, Batista, who looks as though he’s dressed for a Mafia christening, and Randy Orton, who is apparently en route to a Goth prom (the best kind, obviously). The Shield run to intercept (once Trips has finished with his paperwork, of course) and a scuffle ensues, which a referee has to break up even though technically it’s not a match. Afterwards, Trips appears to have injured his beautiful face, and Cole over-enthuses that “the hunt is on!” even though Evolution have already been found. Reigns has to face up to Batista later on, though, because he just does.
Rob Van Dam -v- Jack Swagger
Later on tonight, we’re going to be treated to a six-man tag pitching The Usos and Cena against The Wyatt Family, but for now, RVD is still being paid to appear on TV, so he’s here to show off his black eye and look silly in a singlet for another week. When we return from commercials, the wonderful Zeb Colter is mid-speech, as his client Jack Swagger waves around the deportation list which debuted last year with more heat than Adam Rose. Colter reckons it’s one of the most important documents in US history, and as such, he has added Rose’s name to it because he’s a poncy git who parades around with “Rocky Horror Picture Show rejects” (weirdest reference on Raw ever?) Hilariously, RVD can be seen warming up in the background as this whole bit is going on, which is really a waste of time because before they can even really get started, Rose shows up with the Rocky Horror cast-offs to admit that he isn’t English, in spite of his spot-on accent, and also that that’s a really bad wig he’s tied into a half-ponytail/half-mullet on his head. Nothing of interest really happens during Rose’s too-long moment on the show this week, but the cameraman catches someone in the worst hamburger costume ever (basically a T-shirt emblazoned with a pic of a burger, with a pillow stuffed underneath it), so at least we know Vince’s money is being well spent, to launch this loser. RVD takes advantage of the distraction and delivers a swift kick to Swagger’s jaw, followed by a Frog Splash, to win.
Winner: Rob Van Dam (who has to exit through Rose’s groupies, which is embarrassing for all concerned)
Adam Rose‘s music plays instead of RVD’s, which is very odd. JBL is not amused. Up next, we get a nice Paige promo, where she tells us, in her weird hybrid accent, that nobody is going to steal the title from her and that, at 21, she’s the youngest champ ever (apart from Orton, but he’s a man, so it doesn’t count). A Bolieve vignette follows, the first of two tonight, which is lengthy but really it could’ve been stretched even longer to rid the show of some of the meaningless recaps.
Divas Match: Paige -v- Alicia Fox
Alicia is not dead, you guys, she’s just been hiding out and working on her triceps, which are now impressively big for a woman of her stature. She’s speaking on behalf of all the women in the locker room, which leads the aforementioned booing-for-nothing dude to boo quite loudly, to say that Paige isn’t liked and doesn’t fit in because she’s pale (so what, she can just be mates with Sheamo). This leads to the bell being rung quite hastily, and the two getting immediately locked in a corner, before Alicia drags Paige out to deliver a back-breaker, and then chucks her out of the ring. When she’s re-entered, Alicia administers a Suplex, leading into a pretty impressive bridge which somehow her opponent manages to withstand. She pins Paige, who kicks out, there are some scattered cheers (really?) as Total Divas ads run along the bottom of the screen, and then Alicia delivers another back-breaker. She actually gets booed pretty badly throughout, which means Paige already has a significant following, in spite of being a relative newbie. It’s cool to see a Diva get such a good reception, even if she has to take bumps like this. Alicia pins her opponent again, she kicks out, and finally Paige turns it around to deliver a sort-of power-bomb to win.
Winner: Paige (she leaves screaming, and without her jacket, which Alicia throws around in fury)
What happens next is kind of hard to describe, but basically Alicia, furious over her loss, decides to stick around while her opponent’s music plays out and, among other things, start fights with lardy dudes in the front row, attempts to destroy the announce table, yells at the commentators for being idiots, prances around the ring telling everyone how deserving she is of the championship title, and eventually makes off with JBL’s hat, leaving him shocked and dismayed. It’s a bizarre way to follow a decent Divas match, but at least it’s not a recap. Speaking of which, Cole is introducing the next one, for some reason, which details the Daniel Bryan/Kane/Brie Bella horror story that was, rather sadly, the highlight of last week’s episode.
Bryan then shows up to address the WWE Universe, looking sad and sullen in jeans. He gets a huge reaction, as always, but the mood quickly turns as he explains that he needs neck surgery and will be out for the foreseeable future. Thanking everyone for their support, and assuring them that he will return because this is his dream, Bryan cuts a smaller figure than he has done in a long time, a man broken by personal and professional troubles. Of course, that one dude boos him throughout, even as the crowd starts a rousing “Yes” chant, followed by “No” as Bryan looks to be close to tears. “Will I come back!?” he answers rhetorically, to which the crowd deafeningly reply “Yes!” The 6-man tag is up next, but first, here’s another recap to get us all up to speed, as though it were needed.
6-Man Tag Team Match: The Wyatt Family -v- John Cena & The Usos
Considering this is the best match of the night by a long shot, it’s bizarre that it’s mid-card, but anyway. Cena emerges to the usual mixture of cheers/boos but the ladies go nuts when he removes his shirt, and again when The Usos come out and do that little speech thing they do that’s never in time with each other for some reason. The Wyatts don’t do their usual pop for the city, and in fact where the show is filmed this week isn’t revealed at all, which is very odd (Greensville, SC if you’re concerned about it), but their beards are thick (especially Harper’s) and they’re full of anger as per usual. Harper takes the lead by laying into an Uso, who counters with a dropkick, pins him, he kicks out, and he goes for the dropkick again (“Was that a dropkick!?” Cole squeals) before Rowan tags in for a bit, power-bombing the Uso in question. Harper tags back in and strands the Uso (Jey, maybe?) on the ropes, as the “Let’s go, Cena!” chants finally overcome their negative counterparts, because the voices are mostly female. Bray yells things from the apron as Harper corners the Uso yet again, before he tags his brother in and the Samoan Drop is administered as the first real act of defense from the two, who have been proving their strength as a team more and more lately, even when stranded in shitty bouts that are ultimately meaningless (weren’t they up against Rybaxel not too long ago?). Harper gets Jimmy in a headlock, as Cena desperately reaches for the tag and Bray cackles ringside. Finally, the looniest of the swamp thugs (“Every time you see these guys, you expect to hear a banjo playing” JBL notes) is tagged in and suffers a dropkick from Jimmy as a result. The crowd are going absolutely nuts, for the first and last time tonight, as both men crawl for the tag, eventually leading to Cena v Rowan in the ring, with the so-called superman dominating from the outset. He throws Rowan clean out of the ring, as ladies scream in arousal, before Bray power-bombs an Uso while Harper tackles the other. Cena goes for the STF, but Bray interrupts and tries for the Sister Abigail, which leads an Uso to knock him out of the way and he rolls out of the ring to supposed safety. Then, just as he’s recovering, the brothers team up in their already-classic tag move of leaping out of the ring to tackle Bray and Harper. Cena takes the opportunity to deliver the Attitude Adjustment and win the match.
Winners: John Cena & The Usos (we look forward to the day when these lads are reunited with their cousin instead)
Bray has something to say following the match, even though he hasn’t quite caught his breath just yet. Basically, he wants to thank Cena for being such a good dude and forcing him to try harder, or something. He’s hard for him and thinks they should go away to Hawaii and get married, basically. “Follow the buzzards” he says, laughing maniacally. Up next, we have a fantastic recap of what happened earlier tonight. That’s right, just in case you weren’t paying attention to the show you are watching, here it all is again. Then, Evolution appear, with Trips rocking a suit and the other two in their new, shitty T-shirts that only suit the boss and teeny, tiny little pants (more cheers from the ladies). Orton has had ENOUGH, and the clothes are off!
Okay, he says gloves, but it really sounds like clothes and it would be better if it were clothes because maybe then we’d care about whatever it is he’s going on about. Grampatista has a beard now, which he seems stupidly proud of, much like his shitty back-piece, and Trips is at pains to explain why they’re getting a rematch against The Shield at Payback. Could it be because they don’t know what the fuck else to do with these old fogies who insist on being Main Event every goddamn week? The Shield interrupt and chuck them all out of the ring, causing the crowd to momentarily wake from their coma. Evolution then wander off looking a bit scared. For a moment, it seems as though Batista might speak, but thankfully his mic is just for show.
Divas Match: Nikki Bella -v- Natalya
That’s right, we’re getting two Divas matches tonight, folks. That is how little the writers are trying this week (maybe Steph fired them all again?) The rest of the female roster are watching ringside, with score cards, because they have nothing else to do. Apparently, this match-up was borne of the fact that Nati gifted Nikki with a creepy painting of her and her paramour John Cena embraced in a kiss, on Total Divas. Brie catches Nikki’s hat and then gives her a 9. Eva Marie gives everything 10 because the scoring process is too complex for her to understand. There are lots of sex noises, but less screeching, and no real moves. Good job, ladies.
Winner: Nikki Bella (and her amazing tits that do not move)
Rybaxel -v- Sheamus
This is actually two matches in one, because it starts off with Sheamo v Axel, and then once that’s done, the Irishman takes on Ryback too, but first the tag team have to emerge wearing matching beanie hats because they are bestest buddies, y’all. They then play a quick game of rock paper scissors to see who’ll face Sheamo, but after getting confused, elect to use coins that are hidden under their hats to flip for it instead. Axel wins, so he takes on Sheamo first, with the Celtic Warrior dominating from the get-go because, well, why wouldn’t he? He perches on the top rope, gathering his many, brawl-centric thoughts, and then delivers a back-breaker, pinning Axel, who kicks out easily. Sheamo follows up with the Clover Leaf, which leads Axel to tap out. But, before he can celebrate, Ryback steps in to defend his buddy’s honour, and Sheamo takes him on too, because Irish people don’t back down from a fight. Ryback goes for the Splash almost immediately, but Sheamo counters with a classic Irish headbutt – made popular by the Copper’s Saturday night crowd – before dragging him up and delivering ten beats of the Bodhran (it’s Boo-ran for Cole this week – progress?) Ryback counters with a Shellshock, pins Sheamo, and he kicks out. He goes for the Meathook but Sheamo counters with White Noise. He pins him, but Ryback kicks out (King refers to both this match, and the scheduled one with Reigns and Grampatista later as “impromptu” because he totally gets words) and delivers a spine-buster on Sheamo, followed by a power-slam and eventually a Meathook. Unfortunately, Ryback pauses to yell-whisper “Finish him” which gives Sheamo the opportunity to deliver the Brogue Kick and win it.
Winner: Sheamus (Cabra was full of roaming gangs, this is a cake walk in comparison)
Steph’s awesome music again! It’s the best entrance theme in the history of the WWE! Anyway, she’s here to remind us all that Daniel Bryan is not an A+ player no matter how hard he tries and that this fact should be totally obvious by now. She’s booed out of it, of course, especially as, after demanding he come out and speak to her face to face, none other than Kane emerges, dragging Bryan’s lifeless body behind him before wandering off like nothing’s happened. His shirt is ripped, Brie turns up to be concerned, Bryan is stretchered off again and they all gather by the ambulance to fight, but really, this is another segment that way outstays its welcome while adding absolutely nothing to the proceedings. Kane should’ve been driving the ambulance, that would’ve been totally rad.
Dolph Ziggler -v- Fandango
Ziggler actually was pushing to take Bryan’s place as the champ, on Twitter, once his injury was revealed, but tonight he’s simply in a jokey match against this rather amusing jobber. Fandango used to make out with the gorgeous Summer Rae – who’s currently off shooting DA MARINE FO’ with DA MIZ – on Total Divas, but now he kisses Layla on Smackdown. Go figure. Anyway, Ziggler takes charge from the outset and wiggles his butt in celebration after a spot, which Fandango copies once he’s landed a move of his own (he lands moves now, it’s bizarre). Then, they wiggle their butts at each other for a bit, which is super fun. Somehow, Fandango manages to perform a Suplex on his opponent, and pins him, which Ziggler kicks out of (JBL reckons Fandango meant to DM Summer on Twitter by the way, not publicly humiliate her, which he informs us Cole knows all about). The two struggle as Ziggler is put in a headlock, but he powers out to power-bomb his opponent, leap onto the ropes and deliver an impressive knockout punch. Ziggler then corners Fandango and administers a back-breaker, which his opponent counters with a power-bomb before Ziggler utilises an impressive Fame Asser. He then argues with Layla for no real reason, so Fandango takes advantage and pins him, leading Ziggler to kick out once more. Layla‘s heel gets stuck in the apron, again for no real reason, and Ziggler delivers the Zig Zag to win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (next, a proper match!)
Fandango doesn’t care that he lost, because Layla has won his heart! He should talk more, he’s really funny, and when he slicks back his hair and poses, it’s brilliant, but the kissing is disgusting and, much like most of tonight’s meaningless antics, it goes on way too long, with JBL screaming “Go to commercials! My mom watches this show!” the only highlight. After all this madness, Cole takes a moment to remind us that tonight’s Main Event is Reigns v Grampatista, as if we could possibly forget. Oh, the excitement! JBL continues to scream in the background “They’re still kissing!” as he does so. Also, Extreme Rules is still #1 on the Network, and the Did You Know thing has a flashy new graphic. Money well spent.
Up next, Hall Of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan is here to start a massive “USA!” chant and spar with Lana, who is still really into Vladimir Putin (how sad that the Russian president is generating more heat than her goddamn client). Both she and Rusev are now sporting red clothing, too, which is a nice little touch, while his Titantron video package includes Putin and the Kremlin. He’s Bulgarian, of course, so it makes no sense, but it’s fun nonetheless. Anyway, Rusev breaks Duggan’s beloved plank across his knee, and then Big E comes out to defend his honour – finally, someone who matches Rusev in size – but the Bulgarian chucks him out of the ring in one swift moveement. Duggan starts another chant, while simultaneously giving E a pep talk. This was not a match, and it’s followed by another recap of something that happened earlier this evening.
Damien Sandow -v- Cody Rhodes
It’s been so long since WWE have actually done something with poor Sandow (aside from that Magento thing) that I’d almost forgotten he used to be tag team partners with Cody, but I guess that’s why they’ve been paired up for a match tonight. The crowd are ridiculously quiet when Sandow delivers his Punk-esque opening monologue, but they wake up for the Rhodes brothers, who interrupt him with their entrance. It’s sad to see two great talents reduced to jobber status, and the match doesn’t allow for a whole lot of great spots (it’s about two minutes long), but both men are at least awake enough to participate and bounce off each other a little. The action, or lack thereof, culminates with a Russian leg sweep by Sandow, after which he pins Cody, who kicks out to deliver a dropkick from the top rope. Cody goes for the Cross Rhodes, but Sandow counters, leading Cody to aim with a Disaster Kick instead, and win.
Winner: Cody Rhodes (maybe an actual match next time?)
A Bolieve vignette follows, which is at least a distraction from all the nothing that’s been going on thus far. Seemingly guessing that the show hasn’t being particularly well-received, Cole remarks that it’s been an “awful night”, quickly covering his ass by following up with “for Daniel Bryan” A Bray Wyatt promo follows, which is decent, but is mostly just the same ol’, same ol’, killing time because there’s nothing else of interest going on. He reckons Cena’s narcissism will be his downfall. He’s probably right, because it led him to the gym when he still had a grapefruit on his elbow.
Main Event: Roman Reigns -v- Batista
Main Event time, and we could not be more excited, or at least, the girlish screams that greet Reigns as he enters (along with that one guy booing, still) suggest as such anyway. Evolution receive a lukewarm reception, as the action kicks off immediately with the two participants confined to a corner at first as they lay into each other. Batista is flung into the barricade, and then the steps, as a “Boo-tista” chant echoes around the arena. Poor Reigns has to overact to compensate, meaning he comes across far more Hulk-esque than usual, delivering a spectacular clothesline as though his arms are made of steel. The Shield launch at the other two old dudes as the fighting spills over to ringside and the announce table is torn apart for the second time tonight (the millionth time in a match involving this lot). Reigns goes for the Superman Punch, but Trips pulls him out, before trying for the Pedigree himself. Rollins interrupts, the bell rings, but they keep going regardless until Steph orders all the jobbers to get involved, leading to a flood of bodies into the ring. They attack Reigns and hold him still as Trips grabs a chair, but before he can use it, Reigns delivers the Spear. Ambrose then takes the chair, and uses it to get rid of everyone as they scatter in fear. Rollins grabs one too, and follows suit. Poor Fandango gets the brunt of it, as Evolution watch from a safe distance, trying to catch their collective breath. Ambrose delivers the Dirty Deeds (I forgot he even had a finisher, bless him) as Reigns spears Ryback and then the three deliver the triple power-bomb, as Batista stands there, offering the only expression he can do – boredom.
Winners: DQ (behave yourselves, lads)
This week’s Raw ends just how one would expect, with a replay of something that’s just fucking happened. Next week, we’re in the UK, so let’s hope they’ve got something good up their sleeves because otherwise there really will be anarchy.