We're two weeks from WrestleMania iPod Touch Play Button...and nobody's listening.
Most of us wanted Daniel Bryan to win the Royal Rumble. Roman Reigns won it instead.
A lot of people said, "All right, fuck us," and expected Bryan to find his way into the main event at WrestleMania -- just like last year. Nope. Roman Reigns vs. Lesnar.
The remaining people who cared held out some sort of hope that Bryan would kinda, sorta limp into the main event with what fan support he had left. Nope. Next week, it's Snoop Lion/Dogg/Lemur/whatever and Bill Simmons from ESPN for some reason.
Meanwhile, Sting and The Undertaker barely show up and speak to their respective opponents via Jumbotron text message.
Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar don't even cut promos together.
The fans throw their hands up and yell, "WE GIVE UP!"
"But, wait!" WWE said. "Come back...we've got one more surprise..."
The fans turned around and, with the last faint hope welling up and showing itself in the form of misty eyes -- and with the Anti-Smarks folding their arms and saying, "See, we told you they'd fix it," WWE said, "LL Cool J is gonna open WrestleMania. You can go. It's cool."
Let's get moving.
We start with Michael Cole interviewing Randy Orton in the Barbara Walters Interview Room of Doom. He talks, seriously, about seriously attacking Seth Rollins in a serious manner.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Des Moines, Iowa! As "LIVE" as Des Moines allows one to be, that is.
Big Show, Rollins, Kane and the two security mooks are neatly and geometrically positioned in the center of the ring like they're about to take a bow after the final performance of Les Miserables. Rollins says he was betrayed last week. Orton turned his back on him. The crowd chants "RKO" as Rollins seethes. He says that Orton stalked him like an animal and he got beaten up bad. He suffered. He says that what Orton did was UNLIKE what Rollins did with The Shield. That was called for. Orton's behavior was borderline sociopathic.
Show takes the mic and says he owes Rollins an apology. He says Rollins is the biggest talent in the business right now. It's more "Orton is evil/a snake/an animal/horrible/etc." Kane gets in on the sob-fest. Orton will pay. He betrayed Rollins. Noble says that Orton's a rat. Noble declares himself "the secret weapon of The Authority". (DANIELLE: "Does Rollins realize his bodyguards couldn't stop El Torito yet? Why does he keep these guys around when they don't do anything right?") And, finally Joey Mercury has his turn. He cries into Big Show's big, sagging boobs, the way you'd think of god's as big.
Rollins has the mic again. Orton did what he did with no consequences -- but it's a new week and Orton's never faced a guy like Rollins. He accepts Orton's challenge at WrestleMania which is cool because I had no idea Orton ever challenged him. Rollins says there's one condition for Orton: he faces Rollins tonight on RAW. More Orton is scheming/evil/snake-like/pretty awful -- and, mercifully, Orton's music hits.
Orton says he isn't the face of WWE. He's the guy who made Rollins look like a bitch. He says he "accepts Rollins' challenge". Wait...what? Who challenged who here?!
Even still, that's a more appealing match than the main event.
- John Cena and Rusev go nose to nose when they sign a contract -- for the United States Championship match at WrestleMania.
- Brock Lesnar gave a really stern interview about Roman Reigns.
13 days until Danielle and I head to Levi's for WrestleMania...
MATCH #1: AJ Lee (w/ Paige) vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) (non-title)
The ladies lock up and AJ runs into a Bella shoulderblock. Nikki picks AJ up and tosses her into the corner, then hits some shoulders. Nikki backs off and does push-ups. AJ doesn't like that and hits a nice flipping pin combo. Nikki kicks out and runs into an AJ armbar. Nikki breaks it and puts AJ into an armbar. AJ breaks and it's Nikki in an armbar. Nikki hits the weakest "clothesline" ever and gets a two count when AJ hits the mat. AJ comes back with a clothesline of her own and it's a side headlock by AJ. Nikki breaks but AJ hits a Frankensteiner. Nikki flies outside the ropes. AJ attacks but Nikki drops AJ's arm on the top rope. We go to break. When we come back, AJ breaks a headlock only to end up on the mat for two. More hot armbar action as Nikki has AJ on the mat. Crowd kinda cheers to move things along as they realize that Jay Leno knew more moves than Nikki. AJ suddenly locks in an Octopus Hold but Nikki backs her into the buckle. Nikki rushes at her but AJ kicks her and hits a crossbody, nearly getting a fall. Nikki goes for a belly to belly suplex but AJ counters into a Sunset Flip. One count. AJ rushes Nikki and Nikki slings her out of the ring. Brie swarms like a vulture and Paige is right there to defend AJ. Nikki backs both women off but AJ tosses Nikki into the mat. Paige and Brie call each other names. Brie tosses Paige into the ringpost. AJ is distracted, so she eats a Nikki forearm and a Rack Attack for the win at 11:02.
WINNER: Nikki Bella via Rack Attack
RATING: A cautious **1/4. Decent action -- and a brave move by WWE to start the night with a Divas match.
- Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler take on Stardust, Bad News Barrett and Luke Harper in 6-Man Tag Team action.
- Something regarding Roman Reigns. Remember him? He's in the main event with Brock Lesnar.
LL Cool J is going to WrestleMania.
LAST THURSDAY ON SMACKDOWN: Mark Henry got his ass kicked by Roman Reigns.
TONIGHT: Brock Lesnar spoke to somebody about Roman Reigns.
Renee Young has Kane and Big Show backstage. Kane announces that Big Show will be in Seth's corner for tonight's match. Show yells at Kane. Kane yells at show. Does this count as a turn, or...? Seth shows up and says that the two of them need to see the "big picture". Kane suddenly admits that they kinda enjoyed seeing him get beat up last week. So, Kane, for one will not be at ringside. He tells Big Show to ditch Rollins as well.
Ryback is out for a match as we are reminded how Ryback crushed Miz on Smackdown while Miz-dow (who is not really on tour with Wiz Khalifa, sucker) watched backstage, smiling.
MATCH #2: Ryback vs. The Miz (w/ Damien Miz-dow)
Miz stomps at Ryback but Ryback tosses Miz outside. Ryback grabs Miz by the hair and instructs Miz-dow to hit Miz. Miz-dow balls his fist but can't do it. Miz elbows Ryback and tells Miz-dow to un-ball his fist. Ryback attacks Miz, rolls him into the ring, hits the Meathook and Shell Shock for the win at 1:55. And, so this Miz/Miz-dow thing continues endlessly on into the good night...
WINNER: Ryback via Shell Shock
Post-match, Miz-dow gets into the ring and fans him with his cost. He helps Miz up and Miz repays him with the Skull Crushing Finale. It just. Keeps. Going.
Cole builds the United States Championship with more fervor than the actual main event at WrestleMania.
We get clips of the Cena/Rusev feud where Cena says that "Rusev doesn't have the right to disparage America". Well, that's not exactly true, Cena...
NEXT: The contract signing for THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAMPIONSHIP EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THIS BUSINESS.
Cole is in the ring when we come back from break. He welcomes John Cena to the ring. Cena goes to sign the contract, then puts it down and hits the 'MURICA button for about three minutes. Cena signs it after his rant. Rusev is called out.
Rusev comes out, dressed in Pronto Uomo like he's guest-starring on Miami Vice. Lana's conspicuously absent and, instead, Rusev is lead to the ring by a guy who looks like Ron Howard cos-playing Tyler Durden who sounds like a Yakof Smirnoff imitating a Frenchman, imitating Yakof Smirnoff. I cannot even begin to make this up. It doesn't help that JBL is audibly annoyed by the dude and calls out his horrible accent or that the dude loses his composure and nearly laughs at his own horrible acting on live television.
He says Rusev isn't signing the contract because Rusev never agreed to the match, himself. Anyhow, Rusev reaches into his coat to retrieve some creative writing which is peppered with phrases like "stupid Americans" and "stupid little country". Rusev says American will die. Rusev signs the thing. Shit happens. The table gets tossed and Rusev rolls out of the ring. Cena waves the contract at him. Russian flag falls again because nobody ever bothers to piss Rusev off by loading up the American flag.
TONIGHT: 6-Man Tag with 6 of the IC title peeps.
ALSO: Randy Orton faces Seth Rollins.
New Day is in the ring as Big E shudders and shakes like he's having a crack fit.
MATCH #3: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (w/ Natalya) (non-title)
Suddenly, Los Matadores show up as they're getting the Roman Reigns Violent Push treatement. Cesaro enters after Big E tosses Kofi into Tyson. He hits some uppercutes. Kofi tries to come back with a dropkick but Cesaro shrugs him off. He hits the Spin but something happens and Cesaro needs to drop him. All hell breaks loose and Kofi catches a goofy-looking uppercut to the back of his head. Cesaro covers for the win at 1:52.
WINNERS: Cesaro & Kidd
RATING: DUD. The build-up for the RAW pre-show, everyone!
Post-match, Matadores and The New Day jaw at one another. Cesaro hits a neutralizer on Kofi. Torito hits a physically-impossible Hurricarana on Cesaro and so it goes.
LAST MONDAY: Bray taunted The Undertaker who didn't show up, yet managed to light a chair on fire with worse VFX than what was seen in Sharknado.
TONIGHT: Bray does more freaky shit in order to draw out The Undertaker.
NEXT: Lesnar speaks.
We get a nice shot of the outside of Wells Fargo Arena. I guess it's as good a time as any to point out that we've had 3 matches in 90 minutes, totaling 15 minutes -- and 11 minutes of that was a Divas match.
Rollins is backstage as the Lollipop Guild argues with him about his fame. Noble gets so pissed that he quits the Security team. Mercury quits, too. So, naturally, Rollins will be booked to job to them next week in a handicap match.
Cole sets up the Brock Lesnar thing where Lesnar's curse words get bleeped...except for "ass" which will get bleeped next week when the censors suddenly decide it's a curse word.
Erick Rowan is wrestling Big Show when we come back from that. Months after his face turn and, still, no fucks have been given. Show kicks the shit out of him, then hits the KO Punch. He goes to the second rope and hits a elbow/body splash. There's no match here. But, nobody wanted one anyhow, so...
THE NEWEST INDUCTEE INTO THE WWE HALL OF FAME IS...Larry Zbyszko!
STILL TO COME: That 6-Man Tag Match
When we come back from break, Kane is in the ring with the WWE's also-rans: Zack Ryder, Fandago, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Titus O'Neil, Goldust, Jack Swagger, Adam Rose and Darren Young. He declares that he will win the Andre Battle Royal. He will demonstrate that right now. So Mark Henry shows up and he gets mic time because we haven't had enough promo spots. He says HE will win. Axel vacates. Dust, Swagger and a slew of others eat the outside mat. Kane and Henry are the only ones left after Kane dumps Titus. Kane hits an uppercut. Henry shrugs off his blows and tries to dump him. He succeeds. In runs Axel, who tries to dump Henry. Henry reverses that attempts. And that's about as well as one could do to pump that match up.
STILL TO COME: Orton and Seth.
After, yet, ANOTHER BREAK.
THIS THURSDAY: 6-Being Interspecies Tag Match on Smackdown...which is the reason I quit watching it.
Out comes Paul Heyman to remind us that we've now had over 2 hours of RAW with 15 minutes of actual wrestling. At this point, this has become so tiresome, I can't even enjoy whatever the hell this is supposed to be. Everyone hates Reigns. Everyone loves Lesnar. Heyman gives a good promo. None of this is working.
Roman Reigns appears. He wants to beat up Paul Heyman but he has "respect" for him. He's here, instead, to speak to Brock Lesnar. Who isn't here. So, he'll speak to the camera. He says he'll kick Lesnar's ass. Seriously. There's nothing here. I was in the kitchen, washing dishes during that entire segment and I rewound the thing to write this, thinking I'd need to recap something a lot more in-depth and sophisticated. Right now, it's two guys speaking to each other through lawyers. That's it.
Anyhow, when we come back, Renee Young catches Paul Heyman in the hallway. Heyman states that Lesnar will be here to confront Reigns.
HOLY SHIT A MATCH.
MATCH #4: WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper & Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose in a Six-Man Tag Team Match
Just FYI: all three of the faces got a bigger pop tonight than Reigns has had in weeks. Oh, by the way, here comes R-Truth because he's still in this shit but not white enough to compete. Stardust does cartwheel but Dean grabs him and slams him. Stardust comes back with punches in the corner. Ambrose whips him into the opposite corner, then hits a suplex. Tag to Bryan and Bryan puts him into a Surfboard, despite the fact that Stardust is completely mobile and not at all tired. Bryan kicks at Dust in the corner. Bryan hits an armbar and Ziggler tags himself in. Bryan argues with Ziggler. Stardust gets in the middle of that, so he gets dumped from the ring. It turns into a near-Pier 6 and we go to break.
We're back and Harper is roughing up Dean Ambrose in the corner. Ambrose hits a nice Tornado DDT on a counter as "R-Trizzle" (because it's 1995, see) sits in on commentary. Tags on both sides. Ziggler hits a DDT on Stardust but Dust comes back with a dropkick. Ziggler flies from the ring and Barrett attacks after a tag. He runs Ziggler into the crowd wall, then rolls him in-ring for a two-count. He puts Ziggler into the corner and kicks him in the ribs. Two count. Tags to Star and Harper. They rough up Ziggler. Barrett gets back in and kicks Ziggler, then hits a nice swinging neckbreaker for two. He tosses Ziggler into the corner and tags Harper. Harper tosses Barrett into Ziggler who evades. Harper charge and he flies out of the ring. Dust attacks and he gets sent to the mat.
Ziggler goes for a hot tag and completely misses as the heels take out Ambrose and Bryan. Ziggler counters a powerbomb and hits the Fame-Asser. Barrett saves the pin. All hell breaks loose as everyone gets into a huge brawl in the ring. It ends when the ring clears. Harper hits a Big Boot and a Sitting Powerbomb -- but Ziggler kicks out! Wow. After another break, Barrett has Ziggler in a headlock. Ziggler starts to break it and hits a nice DDT. Ziggler gets the hot tag to Brayn. He's all over Barrett after taking out Dust and Harper. Flying Goat to Harper as he tags Ambrose. Ambrose hits a splash on Barrett. Two count. Stardust sends Ambrose into the ropes. Comeback Clothesline. Everyone goes for a spot. Ziggler hits a Superkick on Bryan by accident, then nails Harper. Barrett goes for Wasteland but Ziggler counters and dives at both Harper and Stardust. In the ring, Barrett sets up for the Bullhammer but Ambrose ducks and counters with Dirty Deeds to get the pin at 17:00.
WINNERS: Ambrose, Bryan and Ziggler
RATING: ***1/4. A VERY welcome quality match.
Post-match, Stardust tries to steal the IC title and run into the crowd but leaves the belt behind. Truth grabs it but Harper gets in his way. Truth throws it back into the ring. Bryan gets up and grabs it. So does Ziggler. The two fight over it. Barrett comes into the ring and it's like an episode of Oprah: everyone gets a Bullhammer. He grabs his title, takes out Ambrose with a Bullhammer, then takes out Truth, who also gets in his way.
Steph and Triple H are having a moment backstage. Seth interrupts. He wants to know what Steph and Triple H are gonna do about things tonight. Steph says that it's time for Rollins to lay down in the bed he made. Seth blames Steph for what's going on. Triple H asks who Seth thinks he's talking to. Seth goes nose to nose and dares him to mess up the company's future. Steph gets between them. Triple H says that Seth should go before things go from bad to worse.
NEXT: Bray Wyatt talks.
LAST WEEK: Bray Wyatt talked. His chair was set on fire.
Bray Wyatt time. It's another promo. It's not in a ring. Doesn't involve The Undertaker. So, who honestly cares?
NEXT: Orton and Rollins.
NEXT WEEK: Lesnar and Reigns go face to face.
ALSO NEXT WEEK: Snoop Dogg & Bill Simmons are here.
Orton's out for the final match. Rollins is out for a promo. Rollins says that Orton has made the Authority look like fools. Then he laughs because, surprise, it's a set-up that nobody, but the entire fucking WWE Universe saw coming. He's made a fool out of Orton. He brings out the entire Authority in Triple H, Steph, Big Show, Kane, and J&J Security. Orton goes outside to grab a chair. He stands his ground. Triple H mocks him. They surround the ring.
Crowd chants for Sting. Everyone gets in the ring. Lights go out. The sound of a crow and Cole ruins the fucking moment by saying, "What in the world...?" Lights come back up. Sting's in the ring with the baseball bat. The faces clear the ring out. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on J&J. Sting hits a Scorpion Deathdrop on Noble. Orton hits an RKO on Mercury. Crowd is INSANE right now, chanting Sting's name.
We go off the air because OMGFANSWEREOUTTATIMEENJOYTHEFIFTHELEMENTONTHETBSNETWOR--..
OVERALL: A LOT of build-up. I'd go ** for the decent Divas match, the IC tag battle, and the Sting/Orton team-up at the end. There was a LOT of filler here, however. 4 matches on a RAW card totaling in 35 minutes of actual, recorded action? Not good.
Before we go...the best of Monday Night Open Mic: