Scott Stanford, Corey Graves and Alex Riley are now the RAW Pre-show hosts. Jerry Lawler is leaving RAW to do Thursday Night Smackdown and Booker T is his replacement for the foreseeable future.
And something I didn't expect (and claimed would never happen in my Daily DDT days on Fansided): the "Macho Man" Randy Savage is the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame for 2015. I've never been so happy to be wrong.
Let's get going.
We start with clips of last week's RAW when Survivor Series was ret-conned and Triple H fired the entire upper half of the WWE roster.
We are LIVE(!!!) from New Orleans, Louisiana!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker T are the guys manning the talking desk of doom.
Cena comes out to the ring and welcomes the crowd to RAW, then shifts to The Authority and recaps us on what happened. He asks the crowd if they liked Ziggler and the crowd pops. He asks if the three guys that got fired deserved it because nobody's gonna pop for "Do you like Erick Rowan???" He asks the crowd if they wanna see the fired guys tonight. Crowd likes that. He says he wants to talk to the Authority about this since they "listen to the fans". He has a Plan B: he's gonna win at the Royal Rumble and, when it's over, he's gonna leave WWE with the title and not come back. As if that's a new idea.
That brings out The Authority. Cole takes time to give us the Sad Exposition: the Fired Three didn't get a severance package because nothing gets a fan fired up like a millionaire not getting his final paycheck. Steph says John has gone off the deep end and Triple H agrees. Triple H says Cena supported a "mutiny" all of the sudden. Also, Steph calls Cena selfish for "saving Edge" which doesn't even make sense on Shrooms. Triple H says he hated firing the three guys. He says that he still wants to make Cena a hero again: he asks Cena what he's going to do to bring them back. All he has to do to get their jobs back is to win his match tonight.
Cena is already expecting a screwjob and asks how many men Triple H will make him face. Triple H says it's gonna be one on one -- against Seth Rollins. Also, it's a lumberjack match, with an all-heel cast, so the Overbooking Paella has officially been served. Enjoy!
We go to break.
MATCH #1: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security - Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury)
Rollins tries to toss Cena from the ring but that doesn't work. JBL: "I can't imagine anyone saying The Authority sucks! Who would do that?" That's followed by a giant moment of awkward silence as Booker T and Cole pretend that Daniel Bryan never existed for some reason. After some back and forth, Cena gets ejected and the lumberjacks beat up on him. Cena comes back and clotheslines Rollins from the ring but J&J Security make sure to "keep the lumberjacks away" and, of course, they obey. We go to break as Cena winces as though he just saw the script for 12 Rounds 3.
After break, Cena's at the mercy of Rollins because Bad News Barrett tripped Cena. He immediately comes back with Moves 1 through 3. Rollins counters the 5KS and Cena hits #3 again plus the 5KS and AA. Security comes into the ring and the lumberjacks pull Rollins from the ring. So Cena dives at Rollins and the entire crowd of heels. Back in the ring, it's a close fall. Rollins comes back with a Small Package for two, then hits an Alberto Del Superkick and gets another two count. Rollins goes top rope but Cena interrupts, culminating in a Turnbuckle Powerbomb by Rollins. Two count.
Rollins gets pissed at the ref, then rushes Cena who gets up and hits a quick Spinebuster for two. It's an Exchange of Punches by the two guys and Cena ducks a shot. He tries the AA but Rollins lands on his feet. Rollins hits a Reverse Suplex DDT for two. Rollins misses a Stinger Splash and Cena hits an AA. But the lumberjacks immediately pull Cena out of the ring and beat him. Cole: THIS IS A MUGGING!!! A MUGGING!!! Booker: What would you call this, JBL? JBL: A MUGGING!!! Back in the ring, Rollins attacks Cena only to fall victim to the STF. Kane drags Rollins to the ropes. Cena gets pulled out of the ring and Show hits a TKO on Cena. Rollins gets the win at 13:51.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
RATING: **. Creative will never learn. Ever.
TONIGHT: A Contract Signing which totally go smooth with no incident.
ALSO: Daniel Bryan is here!
The Usos and Ambrose are backstage. So is Steph. She tells them not to harbor a grudge against The Authority because of what happened last week. The Usos can't believe they're not being punished for anything -- so Steph books Naomi in a match where she ties her hand behind her back. Ambrose is now subject to a psych evaluation because he left the hospital when he wasn't supposed to.
The Miz and Miz-dow are backstage. The Miz congratulates George Clooney for his accomplishments at the Golden Globes. Forgive me. I'm struggling to come up with a Stacy Keibler joke.
Oh, and that psych dude is evaluating Dean Ambrose because this is what Ambrose's character has come to.
MATCH #2: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya & Adam Rose)
Kofi and Cesaro start. Cesaro won't get in the ring, so Kofi kicks him out of the ring, then hits a Baseball Slider. Back in the ring, Cesaro sends Kofi into Tyson's boot. Tyson tags in and he puts Kofi in a headlock. Kofi escapes but Cesaro and Tyson stomp him in the corner. Cesaro attacks Woods, then hits the Spin on Kofi. Tyson pins for two as Woods breaks it. The heels continue to tag in and out, stomping at Kofi. Kofi manages to dump Cesaro from the ring and it's a hot tag to Xavier "Zack Ryder" Woods who kicks at Tyson and hits an Enzuguri on Cesaro. Adam Rose gets up on the mat. Woods swings at him and misses. Tyson tries a roll-up but Woods kicks out, tags Kofi, and they hit the
WINNERS: The New Day
RATING: *1/2. Picture a world where the better tag team jobs to three never-will-bes. Seriously.
Smackdown is gonna move to Thursday. So here's a commercial starring that epic tag team, New Day.
DANIELLE: Who's the guy on the left?
MATT: Xavier Woods.
DANIELLE: Oh. Ok.
The Indianapolis Colts apparently do a homage to Ric Flair after their games. Somewhere Flair's like, "Yeah, no..."
Big Show is out to talk. He says that things come easy to him. He says he beat Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship on his first day with WCW. Because it was easy. He yacks about how awesome he is. And Roman Reigns sucks. Like the Knicks. Who don't play in Louisiana. But, whatever. He will beat Roman Reigns. Because he's a loser. And so is everyone who likes him.
That brings out Roman Reigns. Big Show bails from the ring. Reigns asks where Show is going. He says he thought he wasn't "a threat". Reigns says he was all of 12 years old when that happened. He says he heard a story when he was a kid: Roman says he was little and had magic beans. He planted those beans and it grew a giant beanstalk. Reigns climbed up and found a goose that laid golden eggs. And then he found a Giant. He beat up the Giant. He says that the Giant run away, probing that he was a coward and a loser. Show's not happy with this at all.
Out comes Luke Harper. Show heads down to the ring with him.
MATCH #3: Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper (w/ Big Show)
Harper and Reigns battle in the corner and Reigns hits the Samoan Drop. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch but, fuck that, this match is worth at least seven minutes or so, so let's do a commercial break. When we come back, Harper's using mild gouges and stomps to torment Reigns. Reigns, however, counters a suplex with a Powerslam. Two count. He rushes Harper but Harper knocks him down, sends him outside and tosses him into the stairs. Back in the ring, Harper hits a Reverse Senton for two. Harper puts in a side headlock which Reigns breaks. Harper nails him in the throat, but Reigns comes roaring back with lariats and clothesline. He hits two corner clothelines and a neckbreaker and gets a two-count. Reigns tries a Samoan Drop but Harper escapes and counters with a Big Boot for two. Reigns comes back with a side slam for two. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch but Show distracts im. Harper hits a Spinning Sidewalk Slam for two. We continue on as Reigns manages to get up and hits a Superman Punch and a Sitting Dropkick from outside. Reigns gets back inside but gets distracted again by Show. Superkick by Harper. He sets up for a big move but Reigns hits a Spear for the win at 10:42.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
RATING: **. Roman Reigns isn't doing a thing for me. Not one damn thing.
Post-match -- SURPRISE! Big Show comes in and destroys Reigns, nailing him with a KO Punch.
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan is here.
We see Jimmy talking to Naomi backstage as we go to break.
The Miz and Miz-dow are backstage. Miz talks Richard Linklater's "Boyhood". Miz mentions that Miz-dow has been making a movie just like it. Miz-dow confirms it's the same kinda film and it's called "Manhood". It's debuting soon. Miz is incredulous as Miz-dow Spock Eyebrows the fuck out of him. I wonder if Vince lives on the souls of exhausted writers.
MATCH #4: Alicia Fox vs. Naomi in a Handicap Match (Naomi has her arm tied behind her back)
Fox taunts Naomi until Naomi kicks the shit out of her with one arm. The Usos watch from backstage because this that important. Apparently, they're not allowed at ringside. Fox comes back with a spinning backbreaker for two. Fox puts her in the corner and tries to rush her but Naomi boots her and hits clotheslines. Fox ends up outside the ropes and Naomi hits a beautiful high kick, then runs Fox's head into the mat. Back in the ring, Naomi tries to follow up but Fox kicks her in the face and hits a Scissor Kick for the win at 3:33.
WINNER: Alicia Fox
RATING: 1/4 of a *.
Post-match, Miz saves Naomi from a beat-down. Just kidding. None of that happened because WWE totally forgot that storyline even happened.
The Psych Dude is with Ambrose and says that they're gonna do a visual game where he shows Ambrose pics and he tells the psych what he thinks. AMBROSE: THURSDAY!!! For some reason, Hacksaw Jim Duggan is in the pile of pics. Ambrose does the "hooooooo" catchphrase, then repeats it when he sees Steph's pic.
We get a nice shot of Bourbon Street as we continue.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar head to the ring to speak. Heyman says that it's nice to return to the scene of the crime when, 282 days ago, Lesnar ended the Undertaker's streak. Heyman says Lesnar doesn't brag because he's achieved so much that no other man has achieved. Heyman reminds everyone that Lesnar was the man who ended the Undertaker's streak. He loves that it still bothers the fans. It just makes him want to brag about it more. He says the idea that the Undertaker's streak is "immortal" is just a fantasy, just like Cena's motto and the idea that Seth Rollins is "the future of WWE". Heyman says that tonight is the contract signing for the Triple Threat match at the Royal Rumble and Lesnar will remind everyone what reality is.
TONIGHT: Randy Savage is to be anounced as the next WWE HOF Inductee.
In another bit, The Usos and Miz's imitate the "OH YEEEEAH" bit. Nikki does a sexy version of it and then argues with her sister because that's what I wanna see. Cena does his version and Kane won't even try. MORAL: SAYING, "OH YEEEEAH!" like the Macho Man is really really really hard to do!
MATCH #5: The Miz (w/ Damien Miz-dow) vs. Jey (w/ Jimmy)
Jey slams Miz and hits a cross body and Samoan Drop. Rikishi Splash gets two. Miz fights back and tries the Figure Four. Jey counters with a roll-up for two. Miz-dow gets into the ring to pull on Miz for some reason. Jimmy stops him. Jey gets the SCF from Miz for the win at 2:10.
WINNER: The Miz
RATING: DUD. The match was shorter and worse than the Divas match that preceded it. That should tell you something.
Cole tells us that the UK is getting the WWE Network.
NEXT: Daniel Bryan is here.
Daniel Bryan is out for his spot. He says that there's something familiar about this. Something happened last time he was in New Orleans. He became the World Heavyweight Champion. He says that history will repeat itself.
But enough of that: here's Steph. She somehow fits in a plug for her FIT Series. It's only $9.9--oh, no. That's that other thing. Steph says that Daniel Bryan is right: he beat Triple H and then he went on to win the big title...but, then, reality came crashing down. We see clips of Kane kicking the snot out of Bryan for a whole month.
Steph says that winners and champions get to the top and stay there. Bryan didn't do that. Steph says that Bryan's fans still believe in him. Brie believes in him and so does his "unborn Boxtroll children" believe in him. Steph asks if he truly believes he can do this again. Guess what the answer is. He tells Steph that doing the "YES" chant is better than her workout DVD, then does the Hacksaw "Hoooooo" chant. He says he will never stop fighting and neither will the fans. He says that Steph and The Authority will be proven wrong. Again.
Steph says that he's not listening to reason and, so, his first match will be on Smackdown and it will be against Kane as Cole pretends that Kane is still dangerous as hell. Kane walks to the ring and Bryan attacks him. He gets his licks in before Kane deposits him into the stairs and stomps at him. Kane sets up the bottom half of the stairs and removes his jacket and tie. He tries a Tombstone but Bryan fights back and punches away at Kane. Refs show up and stop Bryan but Bryan hits a Flying Knee and keeps attacking. Bryan gets back into the ring. Kane tries to get in but Bryan hits the Flying Goat as the refs, once again, peel him off of Kane. Bryan celebrates as we go backstage...
Rollins is bragging about his win earlier -- then bumps into Brock Lesnar. Lesnar says he's just a weasel. Lesnar says Rollins' "future" starts when he says it starts. Heyman shows up separate them. Heyman says that what Rollins did tonight was impressive. But he's talking to Brock Lesnar. Perhaps Rollins can work with them in the future. The two just stare each other down.
TONIGHT: The contract signing.
MATCH #6: Paige (w/ Natalya & Tyson Kidd) vs. Brie Bella (w/ Nikki)
Paige hits Brie with a forearm but Brie fights back and his a dropkick. Two count. Chinlock by Brie. Toss. Chinlock #2 by Brie. Paige comes back with headbutts and a Superkick. Two count. Tyson gets into the ring to distract...somebody. I guess. Brie rolls Paige up for the win at 2:09.
WINNER: Brie Bella
RATINGS: DUD. So, Nattie and Paige are friends because of Total Divas and are heels going against Nikki who is also a heel. Tyson, a heel, distracts nobody at all during a match Paige was winning and Paige loses even though Tyson was on Paige's side. You know what? I'm apparently the only one that cares here.
Post-match, Paige slaps Tyson. Nattie just smirks.
Holy shit, we're recapping the Ambulance Match from last week.
Bray spot: he says whatever he does next will shock everybody. Some goofy talk. Run.
Cole finally announces that the Macho Man is the first inductee into the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame. This is the best part of the show. It's almost undone by the fact that Hulk Hogan will be inducting him. This is against the law...right? RIGHT???
MATCH #7: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Two random dudes
A bunch of bullshit and then The Fall of Man. Done.
WINNERS: The Ascension
RATING: DUD. You know you've failed as a tag team when the most intimidating line in your promo is, "We're better than the Road Warriors!"
Backstage, Ambrose is the shrink and the shrink is Ambrose. The shrink is crying as Ambrose tricks him into signing his release to WWE.
Cena lost tonight. Ambrose is wrapped up in Santino-ville. Roman Reigns is stuck with Big Show. This is really, really ugly.
NEXT WEEK: An arbitrary "RAW Reunion" with Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and Scott Hall.
Lana says Ryback should have faced Rusev tonight. Then insults Ryback. And Cena. Because nothing gets a crowd going like reminding them that Creative's booking sucks. Rusev has the mic and he goes on and on.
That brings out Ambrose. He enters the ring and clubs at Rusev, then dropkicks him from the ring. We go to break because nobody wants to see THAT! AMIRITE?
MATCH #8: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE United States Champion Rusev (w/ Lana) (non-title)
It's a match now. Rusev in control. He hits a Bulldog. He tries to leap at Rusev but Rusev rushes him in the corner and Ambrose ends up landing badly and clutching his knee. Rusev beats on the knee, then puts Ambrose in the corner, working on the knee there. He tries to run at Ambrose's knee but Ambrose moves and tries a Tornado DDT. Rusev just tosses him aside and goes after him but Ambrose rolls him up and NEARLY gets a three-count. Rusev tries a Fallaway Slam but Ambrose lands on his feet, then does a Rebound Clothesline. Clothesline off the top rope and it's a near pinfall by Ambrose. Booker calls that "Shades of Randy Savage" even though Savage never really did that ever, but who cares? Savage is in the Hall of Fame. Rusev works on Ambrose's leg and the ref calls the fucking match?! Are we fucking serious???
RATING: DUD. Why? WHY??? Somebody explain why we just jobbed Ambrose to Rusev. Seriously. Ambrose has looked weak for nearly three months. IT'S OK FOR RUSEV TO TAKE A LOSS.
NEXT: The contract signing.
ON SMACKDOWN: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Triple H and Steph are in the ring with the contract. Steph brings out Seth Rollins who comes out with J&J Security. Triple H welcomes John Cena. Last, but not least, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Heyman has a mic and he says that Rollins is an architect. He brought back The Authority. He had a plan. That plan was endorsed by Paul Heyman. It was needed by The Authority because it was bad for John Cena. That's good for Brock Lesnar. And that's Best for Business.
Rollins thanks Heyman -- but Heyman says he wasn't done. He says that Lesnar has run over everyone in his path. Rollins laughs and asks Heyman if he's upset that this is a Triple Threat Match. Heyman says he IS upset. Lesnar doesn't have to lose the match. Rollins asks the question again and Heyman tries to answer. Rollins: "I am not FINISHED YET." He says he built The Shield and killed it. He brought The Authority back and, because of him, three men are fired. It doesn't matter if it's Plan A or Plan B, he's watlking out as WWE Champion.
Rollins signs the contract. Lesnar has the mic and says he conquered the Undertaker and Cena and Triple H. He will conquer Rollins. Cena interrupts and says Lesnar doesn't have to lose the match. Cena says he also owes Rollins a beatdown. Him and Lesnar will kick Rollins' ass, then he will kick Lesnar's ass. Cena signs the contract. Rollins scoffs at this and mocks Cena's "plan". He says that Cena's plans suck. He couldn't even save his friends. Tonight was Strike 2. The Royal Rumble will be Strike 3.
Cena rushes him. Lesnar hits a German on Cena. Rollins attacks Lesnar. Cena hits an AA on Lesnar through the table. Rollins comes into the ring and attacks Cena, then hits a Curb Stomp. He does the same to Lesnar and stands tall.
But enough of that. Let's see a trailer for the Macho Man documentary on WWE Network.
When we come back, Lesnar looks at Rollins who is standing on the entrance ramp.
With that, we're done.
OVERALL: **. Another so-so show. A slight improvement over last week but, after last week's abortion of a show, I was expecting a lot more than this.
I am the new RAW guy, it seems. I will be back next week. Andy PG is doing Main Event tomorrow. We've got retro stuff from Bayless and Scott. NXT and Smackdown will be brought to you by Tommy Hall.
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/.