I think I've said all I can say about RAW. So far, the new angle is beyond terrible. As I know that Creative's playing the long game, we'll probably get some redemption -- but last night was an abomination through and through and an example of WWE at their absolute worst.
We start the show with a remind of just how awful RAW was. Four. Whole. Minutes of it.
But enough of that! Paige and Nattie are all
fake smiles heading to the ring and...
We are LIVE(!) from Laredo, Texas!!!
JBL, Michael Cole and Booker T are at the announce table because WWE has obviously given up on Saxton and Phillips as commentators.
Paige's music rages for a full minute and a half, taken up by Michael Cole, Booker T, and JBL droning on and on about last night.
MATCH #1: Paige (w/ Natalya) vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) (non-title)
Paige and Nikki lock up as Cole assures us that we can talk about last night's shitty Divas match using #PaigevsNikki. Nikki puts Paige to the mat but Paige gets to her feet and hits some headbutts. She rushes Nikki who hits a forearm and dropkick, knocking Paige down. Paige hits a Superkick and tells us that this space is her legal dwelling. Nikki rolls out of the ring and Brie tells her to get back in and fight because she's strong...and we actually go to a fucking break. When we come back, Paige is kneeing Nikki in the face. Nikki flees again but Paige grabs her hair. Nikki counters, pulling her out of the ring to the mat outside. Nikki gets in the rings and taunts Paige and Nattie with push-ups. Paige manages to get back into the ring at seven.
Nikki extends Paige's left arm by jumping off the mat with it, then puts Paige into an armbar. Paige escapes but Nikki works on her arm again. Nikki tries the Cocky Pin and gets a one count. Nikki beats on Paige in the corner, then covers her for two. Nikki puts Paige into a chinlock, then covers her for two. Nikki drops knees to Paige's arm, then hits a clothesline. Another cover gets two. It's more left arm peril for three more minutes before Nikki slams Paige's face into the mat. Two count. Paige finally comes back but Nikki hits a clothesline to end her rally. Another two count. Another arm extension. Two count.
Nikki hits a SUPER ARMBAR OF DOOM but Paige won't tap. Paige breaks it but ends up right back in it again. Paige gets to her feet and hits an arm drag and short-arm clotheslines. Paige hits a dropkick and goes top rope but Brie distracts Paige. Nikki nails Paige with a forearm and pulls Paige to the mat by her arm. Nattie's had enough and clotheslines Brie. Nikki's furious and kicks Nattie in the head. Paige rolls up Nikki but she kicks out of the pin. Nikki tries a roll-up of her own but Paige kicks out. Nikki clotheslines Paige into the ropes but Paige hits a Rebound Superkick a'la Ambrose. She finished Nikki off with the Ram-Paige for the win at 12 minutes.
WINNER: Paige via Ram-Paige
RATING: **1/4. This got better as it went along and I dare say that this was the match the Divas Division needs to be taken seriously. There are those who may scoff at 12 minutes of this sorta match...but, c'mon. Sheamus, Orton, Daniel Bryan, Batista, Ziggler, Rowan and Ryback are all out of the picture for the time being. The WWE's roster isn't swimming with top performers -- which, again, makes zero sense to me.
Backstage, Lana and Rusev are on their way to the ring.
When we come back, they come to the ring. Shu-tup. She talks shit about Ryback. We see Ryback's emotional speech backstage at RAW last night. Lana says that Ryback has really worked hard for ten years and that he's overcome obstacles that "no mere mortal would have never done", whatever the hell that even means. Lana says his firing isn't as shameful as if he would have lost to Rusev. Hooray! Angles involving Superstars who can't compete! This is so awesome and well thought-out. Rusev yells into the mic and says he's in the Rumble match and that Ryback was humiliated. Flag drop. Ugh.
Cole reminds us that Ryback, Ziggler and Rowan were all fired. Rowan is disappointed. Ziggler says he just lives to compete. At Survivor Series, he did something great and then tells Renee that it's been nice working with her.
TOMORROW: Michael Cole interviews Triple H in the Important Room With the Lamp.
STILL TO COME: Jack Swagger vs. Titus O'Neil.
AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match.
When we come back, Rosa's imitating somebody who can dance.
MATCH #2: Fandango (w/ Rosa Mendes) vs. R-Truth
Crowd isn't impressed. Who can blame them? (DANIELLE: Fuck this, I'm going to bed.) R-Truth gets shoulderblocked hard but comes back with a hip toss and corner splash. He tries again but Fandango decks him and hits a Flying Bulldog. The two guys start exchanging shots but Fandango gets the best of it, then chokes Truth on the center rope. Headlock by Fandango but Truth breaks and tries a Sunset Flip. Fandango hits Truth in the face and then ends up in the Flip anyhow. Truth hits clotheslines and kick to Fandango's face and gets a near fall. Fandango hits a Sitting Suplex and the Flying Legdrop for the win at 3:08.
WINNER: Fandango via Flying Legdrop
NEXT: Jack Swagger vs. Titus O'Neil
WWE thanks the fans. But, also, fuck 'em.
Titus says that 2015 is off and running. The Authority is back in power and we have a new Congress. Everyone boos The Authority. JBL: "They should have booed Congress." He says 2015 will be the rise of Titus.
MATCH #3: Jack Swagger vs. Titus O'Neil
Swagger tries an immediate Patriot Lock but Titus gets to the ropes. Another attempt fails as well but Swagger does manage to clothesline Titus from the ring. This match is so compelling, we go to commercial. When we come back from a break, Titus is in control. Swagger gets to his feet and punches Titus. An Irish Whip is reversed and Titus boots Swagger in the face, getting two. Titus applies a chinlock but Swagger breaks it. Titus just clubs him down and tosses him to the mat. Titus clubs Swagger in the chest, then hits a Fallaway Suplex for two. Titus chest slaps Swagger and hits a short-arm clothesline. Two count. Swagger comes back with a Samoan Drop of sorts and starts hitting punches. Titus misses a clothesline in the corner. Swagger hits a huge one, then a big boot. Swagger hits a short-arm clothesline and goes for the Swagger Bomb, actually hitting it on the first try. The ref botches the two-count and Swagger just tosses Titus from the ring. He chases and Titus puts him into the ringpost, rolls him into the ring, hits Clash of the Titus and WINS at 8:39.
WINNER: Titus O'Neil via Clash of the Titus
RATING: **. Impressive showing for Titus.
We go off the air as Titus celebrates.
OVERALL: A nice, easy watch. Kinda like coming into work and realizing your boss is out for the day. **1/4.
I'll be back next week, same time, same website. We've got Bayless and Keith and Chris Fothergill-Brown covering the retro stuff. Danielle's got the Total Divas report and Tommy will cover NXT and Smackdown to take you into your weekend. Andy PG might be out Monday so it's RAW Report By Committee.
Thank you to all the BoD'ers and, hey, if you wanna read more of our stuff, visit WE HATE YOUR GIMMICK at http://wehateyourgimmick.blogspot.com and, of course, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wehateyourgimmick/.