Date: January 24, 2014
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, Josh Matthews
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's the go home show for the Rumble and not a lot changed this past week on Raw. Batista is back and apparently people are still interested in him, meaning I can't imagine anyone else taking the Rumble at this point. Since it's Friday, I'm guessing we'll be getting a big tag match to close out the week. Let's get to it.
We open with an in memory of George Scott graphic. Always nice to see.
Opening sequence actually opens us up.
The main event tonight is a ten man tag with the Usos/Rhodes Brothers/Langston vs. Shield/New Age Outlaws.
The Real Americans are in the ring to start with Colter ranting about Big Show attacking him. Unfortunately his voice is better now and not as awesome as it was last week. We get a clip from two weeks ago of Big Show knocking Colter out cold which set up tonight's tag match with Show/Mysterio vs. the Real Americans. Colter doesn't think Mysterio is his real name either. Speaking of names, Colter comes up with various names for Big Show/Mysterio: the Border Jumping Buddies, Tacos Supremos Hold the Salsa and El Gordito and the Jumping Bean.
Real Americans vs. Big Show/Rey Mysterio
Swagger charges at Big Show to start and is easily thrown down. Some forearms to the back send Jack running to the corner for a tag off to Cesaro who is thrown around as well. Show puts his foot on Cesaro's face and lifts him up by the arm for a kind of reverse curb stomp. Cesaro is tossed out to the floor and Mysterio takes him down with a seated senton off the apron. A kick to the face drops Swagger and we take a break. Back with Cesaro holding a chinlock on Mysterio until Rey fights up and gets two off a rollup.
Antonio doesn't like being covered so he Swings Mysterio around for a few seconds. Off to Swagger who counters catches a middle rope hurricanrana in midair, only to be sent face first into the middle buckle. Cesaro comes back in but the Real Americans get caught in a double DDT, allowing for the hot tag to Big Show. The monster hiptosses both Americans with ONE ARM. That's very cool looking, even if both of them helped with the throw. A 619 sets up the WMD and the splash off Big Show's shoulders for the pin on Cesaro at 8:52.
Rating: C-. The match was formula stuff but it made Big Show look good going into the showdown on Sunday. Mysterio was just kind of there but it's good to see him in the ring instead of on the injured list all the time. He's nowhere near what he used to be but at his age and with his knees held together with glue, it's about as good as you can expect.
Heyman comes out post match and tells Big Show to enjoy his health while he can, because there will be nothing to celebrate on Sunday. Big Show did throw Lesnar around on Monday, but it's only made Brock want to hurt Big Show even more. Lesnar will be WWE Champion after dealing with the giant.
The Miz vs. Brodus Clay
Before the match, Wade Barrett's podium rises up and he informs us that while the ten man tag will be awesome tonight, this is going to be one of the worst matches in WWE history. He starts the MIZ IS AWFUL chant and bangs his gavel in place of the five clap sequence. That's really not something you should say on your programming, even for a Miz match. Miz jumps Barrett while the crowd takes up the chant. Barrett keeps taking jabs at the match, calling it one of the worst things he's ever seen and thinking the crowd wants milk and cookies. He asks Clay to dance and the distraction lets Miz hits a DDT for the pin at 1:22.
Miz goes up to the podium but Barrett laughs down at him.
Rumble By The Numbers promo.
AJ Lee vs. Cameron
Non-title. AJ quickly takes her down but charges into a boot in the corner. Cameron stops to dance a bit before dropping a leg for two. A baseball slide puts Naomi down but she walks into a Shining Wizard for the pin at 1:32.
Post match Tamina goes after Cameron but Naomi makes the save and lays AJ out with a Bubba Bomb.
Raw ReBound shows Batista returning and laying out Alberto.
Shield says twenty seven other men are going to enter the Royal Rumble as hungry dogs. Those other people can pretend they're going to have a chance but it's just wishful thinking. All of the other men are casualties and Reigns says he'll win.
Ryback/Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores
JBL thinks El Torito is a descendant of Mr. Ed. Ryback slams Diego down for an early two before Axel comes in to ram Diego into the corner. A nice running dropkick keeps Diego in trouble, causing Josh to say Torito has a look of concern on his face. JBL: “HE'S A BULL!” Back to Ryback who toys with Diego even more before jumping off the middle rope into a pair of boots. Axel can't break up the hot tag attempt and Fernando comes in to clean house. A double arm DDT gets two on Axel but Ryback makes the save and throws Diego to the floor. Fernando throws Ryback out, only to get rolled up by Axel for the pin at 3:20.
Rating: C-. I believe that's Los Matadores' first loss, but thankfully they stayed undefeated for so long because they haven't been on TV all that much. They're just not an interesting team at all and I can't picture them lasting much longer without being relegated to Superstars. It's nice to see Axel get a pin as well.
Post match Torito IMMEDIATELY sends Axel to the floor and dives on him Ryback so the fans won't have their spirits crushed or something.
Here's Punk to address Kane making him #1 in the Rumble. We get a clip of Punk calling Kane a suck up last week, earning himself a chokeslam as well as a clip from Raw of Kane apologizing and getting knocked to the floor. Punk talks about the Authority's lapdog making him the #1 entrant in the Rumble to stack the deck against him. That's what he expected from HHH and Stephanie but it just motivates him to become WWE Champion again.
He's done a lot in the WWE but the one glaring omission is winning the Rumble. Now that he's #1 it might be the toughest match he's ever competed in, but that's what you have to expect if you call yourself the best in the world. On Sunday he's going to punch the lion in the face and do everything he can to be the last man standing.
This brings out Kane who says that Punk has a .000000186 chance of winning, or one in five hundred million. Maybe his odds are a little better because he's best in the world though. Punk says never tell him the odds and that it's sad to see what has happened to the Devil's Favorite Demon. Is he the Authority's Favorite Statistician now? Punk isn't worried because the #1 entrant has won before and he's been the best since day one.
We recap Bryan vs. Wyatt who have a match on Sunday. I'm actually looking forward to that showdown.
Wyatt Family vs. Prime Time Players
Harper pounds on Young in the corner to start before kicking his head off with a big boot. Off to Rowan who takes off the mask to reveal that hideous face of his. Harper loads up a whip to send Rowan into the corner but instead Rowan whips Harper into the other corner to take out Titus. The discus lariat ends Young at 1:05 in a total squash.
Darren gets Sister Abigail post match and Bray says he'll change the world. You can hear some Bo Dallas in his voice as he speaks, only to have Daniel Bryan cut him off. Bryan says listen to these people because they don't fear fate, the reapers or burning with the saints. On Sunday, Daniel will no longer be trapped in Bray's madness, but Bray will be trapped in Daniel's prison. He'll find out who the real monster is as the fans chant YES.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
During the entrances we get an inset interview from Kofi who says that he's done some amazing things to stay in the Rumble, but this Sunday he's going to perform his greatest feat of all: win the Royal Rumble and go on to headline Wrestlemania. Simple, to the point, ties into his character's history. I'd love these sort of promos to be more common.
A shoulder block puts Kofi down and Fandango gyrates a bit. Back up and Kofi throws him over the top and out to the corner (nice touch) and we get an Emma sighting. Fandango rams him into the apron to take over and something resembling a Pele gets two on Kofi back inside. Kingston pops back up and sends Fandango into the ropes for Trouble in Paradise and the pin at 2:57. Just a match.
Rumble By The Numbers Part II.
Long recap of Cena vs. Orton.
New Age Outlaws/Shield vs. Usos/Cody Rhodes/Goldust/Big E. Langston
Jimmy and Rollins get things going with Seth stomping him down in the corner. They run the ropes a few times until Jimmy stops to dance and grab an arm. Ambrose comes in and has his arm worked on for a few minutes before a right hand gets two. Langston gets the tag and charges into Ambrose's ribs in the corner before hitting a series of backbreakers to keep Dean in trouble. Dean gets a boot up in the corner and tags in Reigns for a big running clothesline.
Big E. gets triple teamed for a bit but just powers Shield off and makes the tag to Cody. Things speed up a bit with a springboard missile dropkick and the Disaster Kick but Gunn comes in for a shot from behind to take over. We take a break and come back with Cody sunset flipping Rollins for two before Seth takes him back down. Gunn gets the tag and drops a knee for two. The heels continue their tagging with Reigns hammering on his back and holding him in place with a cravate.
Dean comes back in with a spinning belly to back suplex for two but Cody fights out of a belly to back superplex and hits the moonsault press on the now legal Reigns. Goldust gets the hot tag to clean house and even hits a top rope hurricanrana to blow everyone's minds. A powerslam gets two on Road Dogg and here's Langston for the Big Ending on Rollins but Roman makes the save with a spear.
Jey superkicks Reigns down and Jimmy adds the Superfly Splash but throws Dean to the floor instead of covering. The Usos load up the stereo dives but Billy cuts off Jimmy and takes him down with the Fameasser. Cody comes back in for the Disaster Kick but Roadie takes him down with the pumphandle slam, only to have Goldust grab a rollup but Shield makes a save as the match is thrown out at 13:20.
Rating: B-. This was an old formula tag match but the very hot finish helped it out a lot. I'm a sucker for the parade of finishers to set up the ending and when you have ten guys it's quite a long parade. The DQ ending is a smart move here as you don't want anyone doing a job going into the Rumble or a title match.
Everybody gets in and we get the traditional huge brawl with everyone else announced for the Rumble (other than Batista of course) coming to join in the fight. CM Punk comes out to a BIG pop to get in on the brawl as the show goes off the air.
Overall Rating: B. This is the show they've been needing to have since the beginning of the year. Tonight was about the Rumble match itself with people wanting to go to Wrestlemania, which is the whole point of the show this Sunday. The other matches got some nice build as well and for once I'm excited for the entire show. Tonight wasn't supposed to be about good matches or the in ring action and it wasn't the focus. Good episode tonight which did its job.
Big Show/Rey Mysterio b. Real Americans – Splash to Cesaro
The Miz b. Wade Barrett – DDT
AJ Lee b. Cameron – Shining Wizard
Curtis Axel/Ryback b. Los Matadores – Rollup to Fernando
Wyatt Family b. Prime Time Players – Discus lariat to Young
Kofi Kingston b. Fandango – Trouble in Paradise
Usos/Big E. Langston/Cody Rhodes/Goldust b. Shield/New Age Outlaws via DQ when all three members of Shield came into the ring
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