Scott’s Raw Recap 1/20/14

THE ANIMAL...has been unleashed again. (Courtesy WWE)
THE ANIMAL…has been unleashed again. (Courtesy WWE)

Monday Night Raw

January 20, 2014

Dayton, Ohio

We open with our annual pre-Raw tribute to the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We then head into the arena for the go-home Raw before the Royal Rumble. The Authority is in the ring to get the show started. Triple H says the Road to WrestleMania begins Sunday at the Royal Rumble. He goes over what is in store for the winner of the Royal Rumble match. Triple H welcomes back Batista, or does he? Hunter is interrupted by WWE World Champion Randy Orton. Orton as usual is grumpy and whining. Orton wonders who the hell they think they are. Stephanie bloviates about WWE’s successes this past week, and harps on Orton’s failures. We go back to last week when Orton lost to Kofi Kingston, threw a temper tantrum and attacked John Cena’s father. Stephanie is loving dressing down other wrestlers. Steph says that stuff may have flown in the past but no longer. Steph pretty much threatens to fire him. Orton says this pent-up frustration is all Triple H’s fault for bringing back guys like Brock Lesnar and Batista. So, are the Authority heels? Triple H says they made Orton the face of the WWE because he has all the goods, even though there are plenty of faults. He rubs in losing to Kofi Kingston, and says he punched and old man in the face to hide his inadequacies. Triple H says Orton needs to rise up and walk through it. Triple H says tonight Orton will face Kofi Kingston again. Triple H put a camera in the back near the entrance to the arena and he tells Orton that when John Cena arrives he, like everyone else, will know. Then finally after weeks of pumping up, guess what I can finally type again for the first time since 2010? It’s time to unleash….THE ANIMAL. Batista comes back to a raucous ovation. Batista’s dressed like Rock tonight with the sweat jacket. Orton looks like he’s seen a ghost. Batista gets on his knees and kisses the canvas. He hugs Triple H and Stephanie. Orton is left in the ring alone with him. The former Evolution mates lock stares. It was awesome to see ¾ of the 2000’s greatest faction in the ring together. Batista asks Orton if he’s happy to see him. Batista pretty much says he wants to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. That’s that. Wow what a guy to put in the mix between now and April 6.

That opening promo went too long and the pop for Batista wasn’t as hot as it could have been.

SIX-MAN TAG MATCH: Big E. Langston & Rhodes Brothers vs. The Shield

It’s announced that the Tag champs will face the New Age Outlaws for the titles at the Rumble pre-show. So the pre and post game roundtable will have three former Rumble winners. 1992 winner Ric Flair, 1995-96 winner Shawn Michaels, and 1988 winner Jim Duggan. So Flair won the World Title, HBK won a pair of WrestleMania title shots, and Duggan won…NOTHING! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Drooling freak. I’m thinking all three Shield guys will be in the Rumble and more friction will come of it. JBL starts planting seeds of dissension in the brothers when he says Cody is stealing all of Goldust’s moves. The match is rolling along and the Hounds get the win when Rollins drops a boot on Big E.’s head. When was the last time Langston got pinned? I can’t remember. WINNERS: The Shield

We go back to last week when Daniel Bryan dumped the Wyatts and beat down Bray Wyatt.

35 days until the launch of the WWE Network. The streaming part anyway.

Daniel Bryan is in the ring and the crowd is in a trance. YES YES YES YES YES. He says some people don’t think he should be the face of the company. He says people have been asking if he had a plan when he joined the Wyatts. Bryan says it was all about exposing the family. Bryan says he just heard Rowan and Harper will be in the Rumble, so Bray Wyatt will face Bryan alone. He starts a YES YES chant, when the screen cuts to the dark. Bray Wyatt comes up in the dark, and he says being a traitor is a sin of the highest order. He tells Bryan to tell his mother that it’s all his fault.

MATCH: Fandango vs. Xavier Woods

I guess a feud has burgeoned between these two on the other shows. Fandango won relatively easily. WINNER: Fandango

Backstage Kane and Brad Maddox are yapping when Stephanie comes in and throws Brad out. Stephanie chews Kane out for choke-slamming CM Punk on Smackdown. Kane apologizes. Stephanie says Kane has to apologize to CM Punk. Kane goes off to do it. Incidentally Brad Maddox’s usefulness is up. Fire him. He’s a putz.

Back from break and we see what happened when Kane chokeslammed Punk on Smackdown Friday. Kane goes into the ring and calls out CM Punk. Punk comes out to a raucous pop. Kane admits he overstepped his bounds and apologizes for his actions. Punk says he didn’t hear him. Kane apologizes again. Punk says he’s sorry too and attacks Kane, throwing him out of the ring. Out comes Maddox who says he will give Punk what he wants, a fight. It’s against one of two guys, and out comes the New Age Outlaws. Wow Billy Gunn’s hairline is pretty brutal. He wins the Rock/Paper/Scissors (or loses) and gets in the ring.

MATCH: Billy Gunn vs. CM Punk

Road Dogg says they walked out on Punk last week because they wanted to make a statement again. He’s at the table with the guys. Punk beats Billy down, then goes to the announce table and attacks Road Dogg. I like how Lawler called this a handicap match when Dogg really hasn’t done much of anything. Punk wins with the GTS. WINNER: CM Punk

Brad’s on the top of the ramp. Kane comes back out, takes the mike from him and says every number in the Royal Rumble is random except his. Punk has been made the #1 entrant. Will he win? We’ll see.

Brock Lesnar arrives in Dayton through the outside entrance.

Back from break and we have a history lesson of the Royal Rumble match.

We get a video piece on the late, great Mae Young.

MATCH: Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio

Remember when this was supposed to be the big feud like three years ago? Cole just said two men have won the Royal Rumble from the #1 spot. He won’t make it “uncomfortable” and mention just Shawn Michaels in 1995 and not Benoit in 2004. So he doesn’t mention either of them. Del Rio is roughing Rey up for most of this match. I feel like Rey has become such an afterthought, like he’s just another guy and not a probable future Hall of Famer. I love when people catch Rey in mid-619. Del Rio did that and slingshot him into the turnbuckle. Rey hits his double finisher but Del Rio grabs the bottom rope during the count. Del Rio cranks the armbreaker and gets the win. WINNER: Alberto Del Rio

As expected, as Del Rio is celebrating, out comes Batista. Del Rio attacks but Batista hits the Spinebuster and drops the Batista Bomb. I still like calling it the Demon Bomb. Batista hugged somebody in the front row. It was boxer Nonito Donaire.

A second tribute to Dr. King out of break.

We are joined by the Big Show, who’s facing Brock Lesnar Sunday in Pittsburgh. Big Show cuts a promo ripping Paul Heyman’s voice. He says Lesnar is dangerous but he still doesn’t like him. He calls Brock out. Instead out comes Heyman. The WALRUS chants are deafening. He says nothing and Brock’s music hits. Brocks gets halfway down the ramp. He stops, then keeps walking, laughs and turns around. Show calls Lesnar out again. Lesnar comes back out again. Lesnar gets in the ring and they go nose-to-nose. Then they throw down. Twice Brock gets chucked around, the second time out of the ring. Lesnar rips the announce table apart then grabs a steel chair. Brock tries to sneak in but Show grabs the chair. Lesnar throws a monitor into the ring too. Brock is steaming and goes back up the ramp.

MATCH: AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka vs. Funkadactyls

Apparently AJ had a party for her 218 day reign as Divas Champion. No one showed up and Bad News Barrett says it’s because no one likes her. Don’t worry AJ, no one wants those selfish Total Divas wenches as friends anyway. The match is what it is. Tamina boots Naomi in the face and tags off to the champ. She skips around Naomi but Naomi catches her off guard and pins her with a small package. WINNERS: Funkadactyls

We get a different Royal Rumble numbers vignette. It’s still astonishing that in 2001 Kane eliminated over 1/3 of the participants.

We get a third vignette about the great Dr. King.

MATCH: Usos vs. Rowan & Harper

A standard TV tag team match. I predict the Usos will win the tag team titles in 2014. They’ve earned it. Midway through the match Bray Wyatt starts talking about the match Sunday with Daniel Bryan. He sits back down. That was weird. Funny, and I wish he’d cut promos during his guys’ matches more often. Usos get beat down throughout but attempt to make a late comeback, in fact kicking out of a power bomb. Out of nowhere Daniel Bryan runs down the ramp and attacks Bray Wyatt. The distraction allows an Uso to roll up Rowan for the win. WINNERS: The Usos

MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston

Orton’s preoccupied with the camera and when John Cena’s arriving. Kofi’s bringing the goods and Orton is still looking up the ramp. Then John Cena runs up the ramp behind the building complete in his new gross neon outfit. Cena runs all the way to the ring and attacks Orton, drawing the DQ. WINNER: Randy Orton by disqualification

Cena and Orton brawl throughout the crowd and Cena’s doing most of the brawling. Why do we have to know Cena’s wearing Calvin Klein underwear? Going back to the Raws of 1998-2002, we have a full brawl in the audience. They head into a suite and Cena moves a fan. Orton gets ahead of him and finds a car outside. Cena runs out but Orton drives off. That was a bland, flat ending. With that we’re out.

SCOTT’S TAKE: Nice to see Batista back. I bet Bryan is still in the Royal Rumble match, even with the match against Bray Wyatt. The show overall was solid enough for a go home show, even though it was bookended by a flat promo to open and a flat brawl to end it. One guy who’s never flat is the purveyor of thehistoryofwwe.com, Graham Cawthon! Follow him on Twitter @thehistoryofwwe. Here’s Graham’s Raw Tweet of the Night!

@thehistoryofwwe Cena is inspirational. I think I’m going into work tomorrow around 4:55pm.

Wow, what a great idea Graham! You’re an inspiration!

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email