So, I have to say, before we begin: I really like the new RAW Pre-Show hosts. Mainly, I love the way they play off one another and I love David Otunga. Which is something I never thought I'd say.
He had some really goofy lines tonight that were quick-witted and pretty funny:
- "Right now, Sting is trolling Triple H like a 14-year-old on the Internet."
- "[The Cena/Rusev feud] is much like The Lion King. If you remember, Simba had to conquer [Scar] in order to take over the kingdom."
- "My bold prediction is that John Cena's doctor is gonna tell us...that John Cena has learned to exercise his eyeballs and is gonna strengthen his eyes to overcome his scratched cornea."
Of course, you may feel free expound and tell me I'm full of shit in the comments. As you all know, I look forward to that and I hope we have some good conversation.
We start with the titles.
And we are LIVE(!!!) from Orlando, Florida!!!
Michael Cole, JBL and Booker T are the guys manning that one desk with the mics.
We start with John Cena who, I swear, has the booing built into the his music at this point. He says that we're only a week away from Fastlane. He says the crowd will be rockin', but he likes what he sees tonight as ORLANDO IS RAW. But he has something to show us from last week. We get clips of the Rusev beatdown from last week.
Cena says NO MORE. He's been told that Rusev is unstoppable. He doesn't agree. This Sunday, he's gonna beat Rusev. He says that he'll save everyone the trouble of thinking about it and he'll tell everyone how to do it. He says he's been doing this for years and he loves it when the fans boo (they boo) and cheer (they cheer) and that's what RAW is all about. (DANIELLE: Because I get paid either way, assholes!) He says that there won't be any high fives, just five fingers balled in a fist. He will be the first WWE Superstar to beat Rusev. This Sunday, he will win the United States Championship. The more he pounds the Championship angle, the more he's convincing everyone he's gonna lose.
That brings out Rusev and Lana. Lana says Cena just delivers the same tired rhetoric. She says that Cena's cup is half-full. Her and Rusev live in reality. He's the greatest United States Champion. Rusev is even better than Cena: the man who never gives up. This time, however, there isn't any coming back from what Rusev is going to do. Rusev grabs the mic and he's gonna destroy Cena's body, spirit and his "little will to live will be crushed".
Cena tells Rusev that Rusev has never had his ass kicked. So, stay there. He's coming down to kick Rusev's ass. Cena runs down the ramp and tackles Rusev, punching away, then clotheslines him. Referees come out to stop Cena, but there's only two of them as the rest are in the middle of a good round of Texas Hold 'Em. Cena tells them to back off and they do. Cena just belts Rusev in the face. Rusev is laid out and Cena yells, "EVERY MAN CAN BE BEAT" into his face.
MOMENTS AGO: Cena beat up Rusev.
Cole praises SNL's 40th Anniversary...and, apparently, Dean Ambrose tried out for Weekend Update. Ha. Cole shows us a clip of Ambrose in a suit, announcing that he's taking on Bad News Barrett at Fastlane in a sketch that aims to be "funny" and fails.
MATCH #1: Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
Initial back-and-forth sees a Harper shoulderblock and Ambrose headlock followed by a wristlock. Harper breaks it and puts Ambrose in the corner, slapping at him. A whip sees Ambrose hitting a cross body and flurry of punches. Ambrose follows up, beating Harper in three of the first four corners, then hits a nice Reverse Flying Elbow off the second buckle, followed by a Flying Ambrose through the ropes to the outside. Harper somehow no-sells that and boots Ambrose in the head. When we come back from break, Harper has Ambrose in a headlock. During the break, Cole tells us that were saps for not having the WWE App. If we had it, we would have seen Harper slapping Ambrose in the mouth. Ambrose finally breaks the hold and dumps Harper outside. Harper leaps back into the ring but ends up in a Tornado DDT from the turnbuckle. Harper gets to his feet but Ambrose bolts to his feet as well and punches away at Harper, hitting a nice running sitting dropkick. Ambrose hits a nice Flying Clothesline which JBL calls the "Air Psycho". He gets two, then goes top rope again. He leaps and flies over Harper, who hits a Superkick for a close fall. Harper tries a powerbomb but Ambrose breaks it only to fly right into a Twirling Side Slam by Harper for another close fall. Harper tries the Clothesline from Smell but misses. Harper ducks a move and boots Ambrose into the ropes for the Rebound Clothesline from Ambrose, then Dirty Deeds for the win at 11:04.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via Dirty Deeds
RATING: **3/4. Really decent match to start off.
Cole talks about the Rhodes brothers having issues. Dusty is here, tonight, to help settle things.
TONIGHT: Triple H will respond to the time he called Sting out and got punked.
ALSO OMG WE'RE SWITCHING WRESTLERS IN THE FEUDS THAT WON'T DIE:
- Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan
- Roman Reigns takes on Kane
Bray Wyatt time. He has a nail for a coffin. He says that he's not afraid of who he used to fear...in fact, it's coming...
Star and Golddust are backstage. Dusty interrupts and he's not impressed with Cody's Stardust thing. He says that the three of them share common blood. No matter what goes down, he loves them both. He says that they are gonna take care of business tonight. Gold asks Star if he's ready to go tonight. The two shake hands and hug.
MATCH #2: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) vs. Gold & Stardust
Big E drums the mat which doesn't work. At all. Woods knees Star in the stomach but Star manages to get a tag to Gold who gets hip tossed to the mat. Gold manages to put Woods in the corner and the Rhodes brothers tag in and out. Woods hits an Enzuguri to Gold and gets a tag to Kofi who attacks Star and kicks Gold. He hits a clothesline and legdrop. He sets up for a move and ends up hitting a crossbody. Some miscommunication, however, leads to Gold getting kicked in the face by Kofi, who pins Gold for the win at 3:00.
WINNERS: New Day
Post-match, Star helps Gold up -- then hits Cross Rhodes and leaves. Hooray. Good job, Dusty, you fixed it.
Byron interviews Roman Reigns backstage. He's focused on WrestleMania. He says that Seth Rollins tried to find a way to worm his way into their match. He says that he's going to WrestleMania. Believe. Dat.
Meanwhile, at ringside, Daniel Bryan comes out to do commentary as Reigns is due to take on Kane.
After a break, Dusty confronts Cody backstage. Cody says a bunch of bullshit, then denounces his father, telling him that, like Cody, Dusty his also dead to him.
And, like 9 minutes later, people are still yelling YES at Daniel Bryan.
MATCH #3: Roman Reigns vs. Kane
Daniel Bryan: "I have one less title defense than Brock Lesnar." Nice. Reigns suplexes Kane as Reigns looks on. Kane puts Reigns into the turnbuckle on the distraction and it's a headlock as Daniel Bryan suddenly starts sounding like a fucking heel. Reigns fights out but runs into a Kane elbow. Reigns tries a top rope attack but Kane uppercuts him. Kane hits a Sitting Dropkick. Two count. Reigns comes back with clotheslines and a Samoan Drop. Bryan starts another YES chant and Reigns is distracted -- then runs into a Kane big boot. Kane goes outside and tears the announce table apart. Kane grabs Reigns and tries a Chokeslam but Reigns hits a Spear. Kane is counted out at 6:20.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
RATING: 1/4*. PLEASE. STOP. THIS. FEUD.
Post-match, Bryan taunts Reigns with the YES chant.
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan faces the Big Show.
ALSO: Triple H calls out Sting because he didn't like the way Sting reacted to being called out the first time he was called out.
Backstage, Renee Young wants to know what Bryan's thinking about Sunday. Bryan says that Reigns is gonna need to get used to the YES chant.
Bray Wyatt. Again. He has a hammer this time. He says that his opponent is in limbo...and he's waiting.
Byron is waiting outside the Diva's locker room and actually gives us a reason why he's there. The Bellas come out and they have Paige's gear. They say that Paige will have to wrestle naked tonight. You know, because wrestlers don't have more than one costume. Paige flies out of the dressing room and says her gear's been stolen. She asks Cameron if she can borrow her gear. Cameron says she can but it won't look good. Girl, bye. Then Adam Rose's Special Bus People shows up. Paige yanks the candy plum fairy one into the dressing room and we go to break. Way too much thought is going into this...
MATCH #4: Summer Rae vs. Paige
Paige looks hotter than hell in a skirt and stockings and boots. Summer mocks her and Paige just clotheslines her with the top rope. She knees Summer in the face and screams. Summer comes back with a Leg Scissors Surfboard. Nice move. Paige counters with a pin that gets two. Summer breaks and hits a legdrop but Paige moves out of the way of the follow-up. Clotheslines to Summer and the PTO for the win at 2:45.
WINNER: Paige via PTO
Post-match, Nikki has the mic and insults Paige's outfit. Paige says she doesn't care. All she needs to do is win. And she will at Fastlane. Nikki storms off.
NEXT: Seth Rollins faces Dolph Ziggler
Sheamus is returning...
Seth Rollins and J&J Security hit the ring. Rollins says that today is President's Day where they honor the great leaders of the past. But that's a waste of time since the future is standing in front of everyone. He says he can do what he wants when ever he wants. He can even be the new host of The Daily Show. The crowd, who isn't smart enough to watch the show, doesn't know whether to boo or cheer. H=Rollins says that he has to deal with with people who are far beneath him like Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler comes out to interrupt. He asks Rollins if he had a bad Valentine's Day. Maybe his Security team got him the wrong chocolates? Maybe Triple H failed to explain the birds and bees. Rollins interrupts and calls him and his career pathetic. Ziggler agrees and says that Rollins is right. He's nothing compared to Rollins. He's not a whiny douche like Rollins. He tells "the Hobbits" to leave the ring so he can kick Rollins' ass. Cole: "Yeah, Frodo and Bilbo! Leave!" Sigh...
MATCH #5: Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler is tossed from the ring. Rollins distracts the ref so Security can attack Ziggler but the ref is hip to this and tosses Security out of the matc. Rollins is furious and goes after Ziggler, pushing him back into the ring. Ziggler quickly rolls him up for two. Rollins kicks at Ziggler and puts him in the corner but misses an attack. Ziggler hits a corner splash. Big Elbow Drop gets two. Ziggler tries a Buckle Bomb but Ziggler rolls him up for two. DDT by Ziggler gets two as well. Ziggler tries a Zigg Zagg but Rollins breaks and hits a dropkick for two. Rollins kicks at Ziggler, then goes top rope but Ziggler leaps up to grab Rollins. Rollins shoves him and it's a series of counters. Ziggler hits the Superkick and Zigg Zagg but Security's here to fuck up another match at around 6:30.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via DQ
RATING: **1/4. Why bar Security from the ring if you're gonna have them do the run-in DQ spot anyway?!
Post-match, it's Yet Another Mudhole Stomp until Rowan and Ryback come in to even the odds. They miss Mercury and Rollins but they do get a piece of Noble as Ryback hits a Spinebuster.
FASTLANE KICKOFF: MizTV will have special guest Paul Heyman
Out comes Triple H to "react" to Sting as we get clips of Sting trolling him last week. The crowd chants "WE WANT STING". Triple H has heard a rumor saying that he's afraid of Sting. He says that it takes more than mind games to get under his skin. At Fastlane, WCW will stand there and face WWE--.
Then Ric Flair just shows up because why the hell not? Triple H holds the ring ropes for him as he gets in the ring. Flair says he's out here because he loves and respects Triple H, so he doesn't wanna be cussed out "like you guys do to all the other guys each week". Triple H interrupts him and says that if Flair's here to sing the praises of Sting, he says Flair should save his breath. Flair says not to take Sting lightly. He tells Triple H not to put himself in a position to fail. Triple H says he knows how good Sting is. He says that he watched Sting get in the ring for 60 minutes at Clash of the Champions. He's seen him win titles and stand tall. He was an icon and one of the greatest. He was WCW.
Triple H says he admires all of that -- but then Sting disappeared. That was the right thing to do. He says that if Sting showed up after all that, Triple H would have run him out of WWE. He says that Sting built his reputation on Flair's reputation. Flair tries to interject but Triple H stops him and says that he is WWE. Flair says that he's right: Sting is already getting to him. He says people have stopped him and asked "Ric, who is the greatest?" Flair says Triple H is always the greatest. Flair says that he doesn't want Sting to sneak up on Triple H.
Triple H says that he's not Ric Flair...but...when it comes to kicking Sting's ass, Flair's no Triple H. Flair looks hurt and says, "Do me a favor: when I tune in Fastlane, don't let me catch you sittin' on your ass like you did last time. Fair enough?" Triple H isn't please and shoves Flair to the mat. He says that if Flair thinks he's gonna let Sting take WWE from him, he's mistaken. He will make sure that Sting never shows his face here again. He leaves the ring. Flair's music hits even though he was humiliated. But, it's cool.
EARLIER TONIGHT: Cena attacked Rusev.
AT FASTLANE: Cena will face Rusev for the U.S. Championship
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan faces Big Show
MATCH #6: Darren Young & Some Guy vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
The announcers can't even be bothered to name Young's partner but it doesn't matter. It's a mudhole stomp -- until Titus O'Neil interrupts. The two men clean house...and we're not having a match, I guess.
NO CONTEST. Why not just have The Ascension take on Young and O'Neil?!
Post-match, Titus celebrates with Darren Young
Backstage, Miz tells BNB to knock Miz-dow down a few pegs in the ring. If BNB does that, he'll take care of Ambrose. BNB says that he wants Miz's people to call HIS people.
MATCH #7: Damien Miz-dow (w/ The Miz) vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett (non-title)
Miz-dow puts Barrett in a side headlock but Barrett puts Miz-dow in the corner, clubbing away at him. Miz-dow gets the upper hand again but Miz rings a bell and tells Miz-dow it's time to stop. He wants Miz-dow to clean his shoes, then tells Miz-dow to watch himself after Barrett knees him in the gut when he's distracted. Barrett rolls Miz-dow into the ring and gets two. Headlock by Barrett but Miz-dow breaks and hits the Miz-breaker Combo. He goes for the SCF but Miz tells Miz-dow to stop again so Miz-dow can clean his sunglasses. Barrett hits the Bullhammer on Miz-dow on the distraction for the win at 2:31.
WINNER: Bad News Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: DUD. PLEASE. TURN. MIZ-DOW.
Post-match, Ambrose attacks Barrett, then zip-ties him to the ringpost. Ambrose holds the contract in Barrett's face and tells him that the contract will be signed. Ambrose gets a pen, grabs Barrett's hand and makes him sign. He taunts Barrett, yelling in his face, telling him he'll see him at Fastlane.
Bray again. He's putting a nail in a coffin. You know, just in case you haven't guessed that Bray's opponent is gonna be The Undertaker. He says that his opponent has nowhere left to go. He wants this guy to find him...or Bray will find him.
We get a mixed tag match with Jimmy and Naomi taking on Nattie and Tyson because of ruined date 2 weeks ago during Smackdown. It's darkly ironic that Jimmy calls Tyson "ignorant" while pronouncing the word as "ig-nint".
MATCH #8: Jimmy Uso & Naomi (w/ Jey Uso) vs. Tyson Kidd & Natalya (w/ Cesaro) in a Mixed Tag Team Match
Jimmy and Tyson start. Tyson's so scared, he tags in Nattie. Naomi gets in and she arm drags Nattie and applies a side headlock. Nattie counters into head scissor. There's a series of counters and a tag to Jimmy. Tyson's not happy about this but gets into the ring, applying a headlock to Jimmy. Tyson kicks Jimmy, then turns tail and runs, tagging Nattie. JBL: "That's a great strategy! You slap your opponent, then tag your wife! I've done that for years!" Nattie tosses Naomi to the mat and wants to tag Tyson who's too scared to get back in the ring. Naomi rolls Nattie up after a series of roll-ups and gets the arbitrary win at 2:56.
WINNERS: Uso and Naomi
Post-match, Tyson berates Nattie for losing the match. Cesaro tells Tyson to calm down and separates the two.
Cole reminds us that February is FREE on WWE Network.
EARLIER TONIGHT: Reigns beat Kane.
Bryan walks to the ring from the backstage area. At ringside, Reigns comes down to the ring to hang out.
THIS THURSDAY ON SMACKDOWN: Ziggler faces Rollins with J&J banned from ringside. That worked wonders the last time.
MATCH #9: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show
Show tries to corner Bryan but Bryan doesn't fall for it and kicks at Show's legs. JBL: "This is like Jack and the Beanstalk...except the beanstalk fights back." Show finally manages to grab Bryan and slaps his chest. Headbutt and chest slap to Bryan. Bryan comes back with kicks and works on Show's left knee. Show shoves him to the mat again, grabs him and headbutts him. Show slams Bryan, then kicks at him, taunting him. He misses a huge clubbing blow and Bryan slaps and kicks Show. Show moves and chest slaps Bryan. Show picks Bryan up and goes for a press slam but Bryan counters and puts a Sleepr on Big Show. Reigns gets up out of his seat, then goes to a fan. He asks the fan for his sign, gets a Sharpie and starts signing autographs. Show breaks the hold but Bryan kicks Show. He misses the big Yes Kick. We go to commercial.
Reigns is sitting back down after signing a bunch of autographs. Show has complete control of Bryan in the ring and stomps at Bryan. Show slaps Bryan's chest, then headbutts him. Show stands there, I swear, for a full minute, not doing anything, while the fans give him shit and the match unnecessarily passes the ten minute mark. Finally, Bryan gets up and kicks him. He leaps at Show but Show catches him in a Bear Hug. Bryan counters and manages to toss Show from the ring. Reigns, though, is up and tossing t-shirts into the crowd. This means something to Bryan for some reason. Bryan tries a Flying Goat. Show catches him and tosses Bryan into Roman Reigns. The two men shove one another. Show hits a Spear on Reigns by accident, then kicks Bryan and rolls him back into the ring.
Bryan hits the trio of dropkicks but Show grabs him on the third one and goes for the Chokeslam. Bryan counters into the YES Lock but Show gets to the ropes, breaking the hold. Bryan hits YES Kicks, hitting the roundhouse this time. He gets a close fall and then goes top rope but Reigns runs in and hits the Superman Punch to end this at 14:39.
WINNER: Big Show via DQ
RATING: *. The match picked up at the end but this feud is so beyond stale.
Post-match, Bryan hits a sitting dropkick on Reigns from the top rope. Reigns comes back, punching and it's a brawl culminating in Reigns tossing Bryan from the ring. Bryan's not happy and flies back into the ring. It's a brawl that goes back and forth. Both men roll out of the ring and it continues. Reigns tosses Bryan into the ring barrier. They get back into the ring but referees show up and break them up as the crowd chants LET THEM FIGHT. The two calm down, shake hands, turn their backs on one another...then charge each other and it's another brawl that spills out of the ring. It goes into the crowd and Bryan gets a hold of a chair. He whacks Reigns with it but Reigns comes back with a HUGE forearm shot. The brawl continues and spills behind the announce desk with Reigns hammering away on Bryan. Everyone and their mother comes out to hold the two men back and we finally go off the air.
OVERALL: **1/2. That final bit pushed the show back up -- though I really hope that WWE is not turning Bryan heel. If they are, I don't think the crowd realizes it.
Er, that's it.