The SmarK RAW Rant – 01.13.14
Live from Providence, RI
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt v. The Usos
The crowd is still cheering for Bryan, clearly unaware of the hard work that creative put into this heel turn. The Wyatts take turns beating on Jey in the corner and Bryan drops a knee on the apron. Bray with a corner splash and Bryan kicks him down, but Jey gets an enzuigiri and makes the hot tag to Jimmy. Running ass attack gets two on Bryan and the Usos clear the ring and follow with stereo dives. Back in, the Wyatt Family runs in for the DQ at 5:40. Bryan, dejected about yet another loss with his new team, allows himself to take another Sister Abagail. Nothing much to this one. *1/2
Damien Sandow v. John Cena
Rather early in the show for Cena. They exchange headlocks and we take a break early, and return with Sandow escaping the FU and getting a neckbreaker for two. Cena tries the STF and Sandow clips the knee and takes him down with Edge’s old Edgecution, which Cena powers out of. Falling neckbreaker gets two as Cena busts out wacky new stuff. A tornado DDT (?!?) gets two. Another FU is reversed to a sunset flip for two by Sandow, and a wacky neckbreaker gets two. Cena takes him down with another STF, but he makes the ropes, and Sandow actually reverses into a crossface. Cena powers out of that, into the FU to finish at 11:08. Cena must really like Sandow given how much offense he’s given him in their matches. *** This rebuilding of Sandow again makes the premature briefcase cashing look all the more ridiculous.
WWE: The Network, coming February 24. The hard sell is really unnecessary here, as I’m ready to give up my money freely, but we still have to wait SIX WEEKS. Just take my money now! I will review the shit out of this and die happy!
Meanwhile, Libertarian Kane is confronted by Brad Maddox, who again speaks up against CHAOS on the show, which is apparently the worst thing that can happen. So they book a cage match tonight with the Usos and Wyatts, and Kane will have the key to the door. Chekhov’s Mask continues to lurk ominously in the background.
CM Punk & The New Age Outlaws v. The Shield
The Outlaws have their entrance omitted here, which sucks because it’s the only thing they have left. It’s probably time for Gunn to shave his head again. Gunn gets worked over in the heel corner, but comes back with a tilt a whirl slam on Rollins for two. Dogg slugs Ambrose down and drops the knee, and it’s over to Punk, who runs Ambrose into multiple turnbuckles in a fun spot. So it’s over to Reigns, who wins a slugfest with ease, but Punk tosses him and follows with a dive as we take a break. Back with Punk putting Rollins down with a neckbreaker for two. Rollins puts him on the apron, and Reigns just MURDERS him with a dropkick from the floor. Yeah, he’s gonna have to keep doing that spot, I’ve decided. So Punk is your face in peril, and Ambrose gets a short clothesline for two. They head to the floor and Punk sends Ambrose into the stairs and crawls for the tag…at which point the Outlaws abandon him and head back to the dressing room. Oh, damn, he got STINGED! Who would have suspected these lifelong scoundrels and good friends of HHH to be working with the Authority? WHO? Punk fights on, but Reigns finishes him with the spear at 16:44. Punk kind of deserved that for trusting them in the first place. ***1/2 I always like this angle if it’s done well and makes sense with the characters, which it totally does here.
Batista returns next week!
Randy Orton v. Kofi Kingston
Orton quickly lays Kofi out on the floor and chokes away in the corner, but Kofi fights back. Orton clotheslines him for two as Kofi’s tights threaten to blow out my TV screen. Orton drops him on the top rope and to the floor, and we take a break. Back with Orton in total control, beating on Kofi on the floor and then back in for his favorite chinlock. Kofi fights up and gets swatted down by Orton as this thing is dragging really badly. Kofi comes back with a backslide, but gets put back in a chinlock. Kofi fights out and makes the comeback, but Orton cuts him off with the draping DDT, which Kofi turns into the SOS for the pin at 14:02. Considering Orton beat him like a jobber for 14 minutes prior to that, it’s not a terribly impressive win. *1/2 Orton, rather upset about this, stops to beat up John Cena Sr, just like old times. And then this happened:
Alberto Del Rio v. Rey Mysterio
Del Rio quickly bails and Rey follows with the senton off the apron, but Del Rio controls in the ring. ADR works the arm and gets a backbreaker for two, but charges and hits the post. Rey comes back with the 619, but goes up and gets caught, allowing Del Rio to tap him at 4:56. *1/2 Del Rio dedicates that beating to Batista, although last time we saw Batista he was using Rey as a lawn dart on a weekly basis so I’m not sure why he’d care.
Meanwhile, Punk complains to Kane about Authority shenanigans, and gets entered in the Royal Rumble.
Cage Match: The Usos v. Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt
Big brawl to start and Bray backdrops Jimmy into the cage and follows with a catapult, while Jey tries to climb out. The Wyatts cut him off as Lawler points out the folly of one team member trying to escape, since you’re basically abandoning your partner to a 2-on-1 beating. We take a break and return with Jimmy hitting a senton on Bray for two. Bryan dropkicks Jey in the Tree of Woe and tries to escape, but the Usos bring him down with a double suplex that gets two. Bray tries Sister Abagail on Jey, but Jimmy cuts it off with a superkick. So now both Usos try to escape, which is the only smart time to try it, and soon everyone is on the top of the cage. Daniel goes down, Bray get crotched, and the Usos escape at 12:13. ** And finally, Bryan has had enough of Bray’s subpar leadership, as he submits to Sister Abagail one last time and then turns on Bray, in a cage locked shut by Kane no less. Bray tells him to bring it, so Bryan kicks the shit out of him and gets rid of the garbageman gear, then kicks Bray’s ass again for good measure before leading the crowd in a chorus of Yes chants. Thank god. And the announcers had the good sense to shut the hell up during the whole thing.
Thank you college basketball crowd! Even WWE seems to be admitting that Cena v. Orton is midcard stuff at this point and Daniel Bryan is the real show, and hopefully that translates into someone pulling the trigger in a big way as we head into Wrestlemania season.
The rest of the show was pretty good on Hulu, cut down to a good Cena-Sandow match and the usual good Shield match, but they nailed the landing in a big way and that’s the important thing.