By Trevor Robb
It’s amazing how quickly the WWE will use an angry crowd to their advantage. As the episode begins, HHH comes out and jokingly mocks the booing crowd. Daniel Bryan then comes out and openly calls out the Authority for not listening to the crowd and makes notice of the fact that Sunday’s crowd was upset he wasn’t in the Royal Rumble match – it’s as if they planned the whole thing. I’m not ready to give the WWE that much credit, I believe they’re just capitalizing on an unpredictable, and overtly negative crowd reaction from the Pittsburgh faithful. But how great was it to watch Daniel Bryan and HHH stare each other down?? Clever bastards. The remaining bit with the Shield coming out to attack Bryan, and the subsequent involvement by Cena and Sheamus was fine and dandy – nothing to write home about but it’s nice to see Sheamus again.
Michael Cole swiftly announces after the break that the main event will be a 6-man tag team match between the two factions but with the stipulation that the winning team wins a spot in the elimination chamber main event match with Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The Real Americans vs. Mysterio & Sin Cara
Let it be known that I love Zeb Colter’s placards, the ones at the Rumble were too funny. On paper, this isn’t the most exciting match but things get interesting when Colter reams out Swagger and slaps him in the face! Everyone loves drama. This seems to reinvigorate the Real Americans who survive a round of parlour tricks from Rey and Sin Cara to put away the pair off the strength of a Cessaro Neutralizer. Decent match. WINNER: The Real Americans
Bad News Barrett makes an appearance. I loved his bit last week when we did commentary on the Miz’s match – partly because Barrett is hilarious and partly because I hate the Miz. And much to my happiness, Barrett continues to trash talk the Miz, as well as his opponent Dolph Ziggler and the entire town of Cleveland. Still waiting for him to wrestle though…
Fandango vs. R-Truth
The highlight of this match was listening to Xavier Woods on commentary and having NXT’s Emma make another appearance. Woods went on about how he was in the middle of getting his PhD at Walden University but in his spare time he’s gunning for the U.S Championship, FINALLY! Somebody shows interest in what might as well be a vacant title. The match itself was a snoozer and I fail to see how putting Truth over Fandango helps anyone. WINNER: R-Truth
Brad Maddox makes an appearance! He says he’s the RAW General Manager but what exactly does he do? He literally announces Randy Orton’s entrance, and that’s it. Randy Orton comes out and trash talks Cena, “The champ is here”, he says. He then stumbles and bumbles and mumble and bitches and moans about having to defend his title at EC. Batista comes out, middle fingers holstered, and congratulates Orton on his win at the Rumble. The crowd then continues to chant for Daniel Bryan, but Batista works through the distraction and goes on to say that he’s walking out of Wrestlemania as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Cue Brock Lesnar’s music. This was actually pretty badass – all three men in the ring staring each other down. Good move WWE. Paul Heyman feels the need to remind the mute Brad Maddox that he is indeed Paul Heyman – too funny. Heyman gives Cleveland a cheap pop, and demands The Authority to grant a match between Orton vs Lesnar OR have him face Batista. Maddox is given time to pitch the idea to his bosses….not a bad segment at all!
BATTLE OF CLEVELAND: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
You guessed it, both men are from Cleveland – Miz comes out wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey, and Ziggler dawns a Cavaliers jersey. To be honest, I was really hoping NXT upstart Alexander Rusev would find his way into this match and ruin everything for Cleveland but nope. Instead we get an OK match. In then end, Ziggler plants the Miz with the Zig Zag and gets the 1-2-3. WINNER Dolph Ziggler
Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston
To start, they showed a slow motion clip of Kofi making his Royal Rumble 11-foot leap from the barricade to the ring. WOW! It looks so much more impressive from that angle! Well done Kofi. The match however didn’t get off to a hot start as the fans began chanting for JBL and then JBL himself acknowledges the crowd, which pisses off Del Rio! The two actually end up putting on a good match in the end, ADR`s backstabber looked brutal! And in the end a vicious kick to Kofi`s face puts him away. WINNER: Alberto Del Rio
New Age Outlaws vs Rhodes Brothers
The belts look great on the new champs, I must say. Before the match starts, Road Dogg lays some smack talk on the Rhodes Bros. and a melee ensues. Things eventually settle down and the match is underway. The match is just getting good when Brock Lesnar comes out and completely decimates the Rhodes bros. with a pair of F5’s. Heyman goes on to say the Authority will not grant Brock’s request for a match with either Batista or Orton, so Lesnar beats the hell out of Cody and Goldust with a chair. Clearly Brock doesn’t wrestle two nights in a row.
8-woman Divas match
Here we go again. Haven’t seen this before: Bellas & Funkadactyles vs. AJ, Tamina, Alicia Fox and Aksana. I don’t know if there are too many Divas or if the WWE just has zero interest in actually growing female wrestling , and only care about getting as many faces from their reality TV show on air. There was, however, an impressive looking 6-woman suplex, so that’s something. But in the end Naomi lands her flying ass move, dubbed the ‘rear view’ (sigh), and pins AJ Lee. WINNERS: Bellas & Funkadactyles
Jerry the King Lawlor announces that JAKE THE SNAKE ROBERTS is the next inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
Cena and Seth Rollins start the match and exchange pleasantries. Rollins tags Reigns and the crowd bursts into a “Roman Regins” chant! They obviously have an eye for talent because this guy is going to be huge. Reigns over powers Cena to the point where he tags Sheamus – a nice little statement made there. Again, I’m not a huge Sheamus fan but he does look good out there, the guy can work. Sheamus eventually tags in Bryan and the crowd blows up. Bryan puts Rollins in a surfboard stretch, which always looks awesome! Reigns finds his way back into the match and destroys Cena with a devastating superman punch. But the crowd pops the loudest when Bryan makes his second appearance in the match and systematically takes out all members of the Shield, setting up a series of YES kicks to the chest of Rollins. Bryan goes for the pin but Reigns breaks up the count and spears both Sheamus and Cena, before receiving a double knee from Bryan.
This leaves Rollins and Bryan in the ring together and the two light it up! Great moves on the part of both guys. Ultimately this was a fantastic match completely ruined by the Wyatt family who show up out of nowhere and ultimately get thrown from the ring. WINNER: Cena/Bryan/Sheamus by DQ.
- No knee jerk reaction from the WWE to immediately appease disgruntled fans. Cleveland turned out to be far more accommodating and forgiving. As the build for Elimination Chamber unfolds, one can only hope for a few things:
- Establish an honest rivalry involving the U.S Championship and Intercontinental Championship (No RAW appearance by IC champ Big E Langston by the way). Woods vs. Ambrose was teased by Xavier and it would be fun to see but we need to see Woods wrestle more, so that may not happen until Mania but there is potential. As for Langston, I would love to see a feud with Sheamus and him build, for two reasons. Being a former World Champion, Sheamus would help to restore the credibility to the IC title hunt and in turn a win for Langston would help secure his status as a future main eventer. Win/Win
- I like the idea of the Wyatt Family vs. The Shield in an Elimination Chamber match. That would be a lot of fun. Make it happen WWE.
- With the obvious omission of CM Punk at RAW I have to hope his rivalry with Kane will resurface and come to a head at EC. This is the groundwork needed to grow a meaningful Punk/HHH rivalry heading into Mania. Damn the man.
- Can the Miz go away? Can Bad News Barrett Bullhammer him into oblivion? That would be swell. Thanks.
- I would love to see more of Rusev too. He and Kofi have been putting on great matches in NXT, wouldn’t mind seeing those revisited on the big stage.
That’s all for now guys, thanks for checking in. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts.