Monday Night RAW
February 3, 2014
Welcome to the first Place to Be Nation RAW recap where our main man Scott Criscuolo is unavailable as he braves the snow to attend the Billy Joel concert in New York City. So with Scott off singing about his Uptown Girl and pondering if he’s an Innocent Man, I will be taking you through all the happenings of the WWE’s flagship show. But before you settle in, make sure you check out Matt Peddycord’s Smackdown recap from last week, since we’ll probably be getting rehashes of those matches tonight. Oh and don’t forget to listen to our Royal Rumble recap and Roger’s in-person report as Batista Fan #1 as the Nation was in attendance and vocal for one of the craziest pay-per-views of all-time.
Randy Orton is out first to talk as fast as possible and not take a breath in order to drown out the CM Punk chants. Well, he got through it at least and the chant is over. You, Omaha, are no Pittsburgh. Orton cuts a promo on Batista and asks how many times he has to beat John Cena to get some respect? The COO and his wife come out to run down Orton for saying the same thing every week and then announce that Daniel Bryan will take on Randy Orton TONIGHT. And if Bryan wins the Authority will entertain making Bryan the face of the WWE. Well that sounds binding. HHH, truly the cerebral assassin, trolls the crowd and does the YES chant along with them and they yuck it up.
MATCH: The Shield vs. Big E. Langston, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio
We flash back to last week where the Wyatts’ interference disqualified the Shield, putting Bryan, Sheamus and Cena into the Chamber match in the lamest finish to qualify for a PPV main event ever. JBL actually brings up the fact that Ambrose never defends the US title. Kofi is your face-in-peril to start before Rey comes in to work a rana sequence with Rollins. Rollins has Mysterio on his shoulders and Reigns hits an impressive jumping clothesline to splatter Rey. They work over Rey before Ambrose misses a charge and Big E gets the hot tag and hits a big overhead suplex on Reigns. Warrior splash follows and Reigns’ eye is all kinds of bloody (he would require stitches). We get a scrum and Reigns powers up the Superman punch and levels Big E. As he sets up the spear, Ambrose tags himself in and hits his Bulldog DDT finish for the pin. WINNER: The Shield
The Wyatts come on-screen and Bray calls the Shield puppets and tells them they’ll eventually have to sacrifice themselves for their “King”. Typical strong stuff from Bray here.
The WWE shows the Seahawks tweet to Daniel Bryan after winning the Super Bowl and Bad News Barrett lets all the Super Bowl viewers know that all that junkfood means most won’t survive till next year’s game. Lawler BURNS Barrett by saying he hopes Barrett won’t be back next week. That somehow prompts Lawler’s music to play.
MATCH: Christian vs. Jack Swagger
Smackdown rematch! Sadly we don’t get a sign or promo from Zeb pre-match. I enjoyed these guys back in 2009 as Christian works well underneath while Swagger can show off some power moves. Decent little back-and-forth here with Swagger working for the ankle lock and Christian eventually blocking the Swagger Bomb by getting his leg up. Christian hits a springboard sunset flip for the three count and Zeb is not happy. Cesaro remained nonplussed on the outside. I’m fine with the break-up as long as we’re not supposed to feel sympathetic for Swagger afterwards. I’ll take a Cesaro + Zeb run please. WINNER: Christian
MATCH: New Age Outlaws vs. The Brotherhood for the Tag Team Titles in a Steel Cage Match
The announcers recall the Outlaws dismantling Terry Funk in a steel cage in your random 1998 callback moment of the evening. That was awesome. There are no escapes here, standard tag team rules apply. The Outlaws stooge a bit before Goldust slaps Billy after a crotch chop. These teams have pretty good chemistry and as get a Goldust face-in-peril sequence Lawler openly questions the Outlaws relationship with the Authority. Shake, Rattle & Roll punches meet a big spinebuster from Goldust and Cody Rhodes gets the hot tag. He ducks out of the Fame-ass-er and goes for Cross Rhodes before Road Dogg breaks it up. Disaster Kick on Billy gets two. Cody decides to climb for a move off the top and hits a monster MOONSAULT off the top of the cage. Road Dogg barely helps break that up on the way down and Billy Gunn slips in for the Fame-ass-er on the reeling Cody for the win. WINNER: New Age Outlaws
MATCH: Zack Ryder vs. Titus O’Neil
Zack Ryder on RAW! We flash back to Smackdown where Titus broke up the Primetime Players and turned heel. The Miz comes down on commentary to bury the fact that Ryder and Titus are on RAW when he isn’t on the show. And that’s it for the Miz, he walks out right after that line. CM Punk chants kick back up during this match as Titus works a bearhug spot. Despite being a heel, Titus still does his barking thing for the crowd prior to hitting Clash of the Titus (sitout spinebuster) for the win. Decent enough squash to get over Titus’ power. WINNER: Titus O’Neil
For Black History Month we get a nice piece on Ernie Ladd. Helluva athlete.
DANCE-OFF: Fandango w/ Summer Rae vs. Santino w/ Emma
Santino brings Emma out of the crowd and notes she trains at NXT. This ends up being Summer vs. Emma and Emma’s shtick in NXT is being a terrible dancer so there you go. Santino polls the crowd and Emma wins. Scott would not enjoy this segment.
Promo for Legends’ House on the WWE Network featuring JIM DUGGAN, Hillbilly Jim and others. We’ll be having a lot of Network coverage here at Place to Be Nation once it launches. Stay tuned!
MATCH: Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel w/ Ryback
I missed Sheamus in the ring so it’s good to have him back. It’s been stated literally one million times but his previous face character was the worst. Just be an ass-kicker or a heel please. Sheamus runs through his offense, hitting the clubbing forearms to Axel’s chest on the outside. Sheamus is very good at selling for his opponent so we get more offense than usual from Axel. More Punk chants which Ryback may or may not be goading on. Axel works Sheamus’ shoulder before he makes the comeback and hits White Noise. Crowd is a little tepid for the Brogue Kick warm-up but they eventually get there and Sheamus plasters him for the win. WINNER: Sheamus
Batista is out in an insulated jean jacket but Alberto Del Rio interrupts him as they have unfinished business allegedly. Del Rio cuts a borderline face promo as he talks about winning titles while Batista sat at home waiting for movie offers. Batista reiterates he has no beef with Del Rio but Del Rio gets in a cheap shot and takes him down. Batista goes for the POWERBOMB IN JEANS but Alberto escapes. It would behoove Batista to have a ten minute match at Elimination Chamber with Del Rio to get some timing back. He looked awful in the Rumble.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. The Wyatt Family
This does not look good on paper for our plucky babyfaces. Harmless wrestling here as the crowd chants for Dolph to get tagged in. Harper beats down R-Truth before Dolph gets tagged in. Things break down in the ring and Bray hits a wicked one-armed chokeslam (ala Bruiser Brody) on Woods. Harper clotheslines Dolph before Bray comes back in for Sister Abigail and the pin. WINNER: Wyatt Family
The Shield come on-screen and Ambrose tells the Wyatts they don’t live in their fantasy world with lamb masks and haunted rocking chairs. I am totally digging a big heel on heel match like this. Bray screams “I WELCOME THIS WAR, BRING IT TO ME” in the ring.
Alexander Rusev cuts a quick taped promo before we head to our Divas match of the evening.
MATCH: Naomi vs. Aksana
AJ comes out on commentary and asks how she can download the WWE app. Brilliant. No CM Punk chants though during this. Aksana controls the match for a couple minutes in one of the biggest surprises in RAW history before Naomi finally makes her comeback and hits a decent dropkick. AJ carries things on commentary, running down Cameron and Naomi. Split-legged moonsault by Naomi gets the win. WINNER: Naomi
Betty White is the guest star next week on RAW. Michael Cole notes how great it’ll be. Yeah?
MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Oh boy, 30 minutes to go in the show and we’re to the main event. This only means good things. Lawler notes that Randy Orton has never won an Elimination Chamber match while John Cena has won three out of four. Orton goes back to his posing when the crowd starts chanting for Bryan. That actually worked at the Rumble and was a good way to generate heat. Bryan decides to work the leg around the steel post and that culminates with Bryan hitting a running dropkick to the leg from the outside. That was awesome. Orton sells the leg work pretty well, biting Daniel Bryan to break a hold. Bryan dragon whips Orton to the outside and continues the assault on the leg. Really concise, focused limb work by Bryan which is very different from their other matches. Bryan eventually turns this into a half crab but Orton gets the ropes and escapes to the outside. Orton hits a back suplex onto the barricade and hits a flurry of punches back inside on Bryan before he hits his power slam. Back from commercial, Orton counters Bryan’s kicks by hitting a fallaway overhead suplex and now attacks Bryan’s shoulder. Double limb work! Orton works the arm AND the fingers before hitting a Garvin stomp. The subtle touches by Orton with his arm work are great here. Orton posts Bryan and they fight over a superplex before Bryan hits his flying dropkick. Back to kicks to the leg for Bryan before Orton grabs the arm and whips Bryan down again. Bryan catches Orton and fights to lock in the Yes lock and gets it but Orton is right by the ropes. Now see, if Bryan worked the arm all match, locking in the Yes lock would conceivably be more painful. Running dropkicks in the corner by Bryan before Orton counters with his own. This leads to the draping DDT but Bryan kicks away from a RKO attempt and hits the big diving headbutt. Kicks to the head by Bryan and here comes Kane (CM Punk feud-less now) who eats a dropkick on the apron. Orton charges and gets dumped outside and Bryan hits a dive onto both. Bryan gets rid of Kane by tripping him into the steps and heads back in where he pushes out of a RKO and hits his running knee for the clean (!) three count. WINNER: Daniel Bryan
Orton and Kane gang up on Bryan after he celebrates with Yes chants. Kane hits a chokeslam, eliminating any story that he’s secretly working on the inside of the Authority for Bryan. Orton and Kane pose as the show ends.
Brad’s Take: With the #YES Movement being pushed pretty hard, and on a night without John Cena and CM Punk, we got a good tag team title match and great main event. They did the corporate makeover thing briefly with Bryan prior to SummerSlam so it will be interesting to see where they go with this. Main event makes the show absolutely worth seeking out while the rest wasn’t that offensive and moved pretty fast. Thanks for checking out Place to Be Nation and don’t miss out on Kevin Kelly interviewing AJ Styles THIS WEEK on The Kevin Kelly Show.