WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Jan. 5, 2015) from Corpus Christi featuring the first episode of the new year. The Authority returned to run the show and did they ever do just that, exerting their influence in nearly every segment across all three hours, including an epic troll job on John Cena.
Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Remember that episode of SmackDown last year that WWE devoted almost entirely to The Shield showing up and terrorizing everyone Triple H had booked against them in a ridiculous 11-on-3 handicap match on Raw earlier in the week? And how it was glorious because WWE actually booked a show like that?
That's a bit like what we got here except WWE actually booked an entire show to troll John Cena.
The Authority is back in power used it as such:
- Inserted Seth Rollins into Cena's WWE world heavyweight championship match with Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble, making it a triple threat and seriously decreasing Cena's chances of winning the title.
- Ensured Dolph Ziggler lost his Intercontinental championship to Bad News Barrett.
- Had Erick Rowan beaten up by Luke Harper and two corrupt referees.
- Put Ryback in a no-win situation and watched him eat multiple Curb Stomps before getting beat by Kane and Rollins.
- Spent the entire night trolling Cena with various highlight packages while telling him how great he was for reinstating them. This was expert level shitheading.
- Brought Ziggler, Rowan, and Ryback out and fired them right in front of Cena before dropping balloons and confetti on all of them in celebration.
I know the natural reaction is to be cynical and think "well, they aren't going to stay fired so it doesn't matter" but that's the future we don't know yet. There's no point in looking to that. Assessing this show and what actually happened, this was perfect.
We've been hammering Cena for his treatment of all those who came rushing to assist him when he needed it. He never stuck his neck out for any of them and he more or less took credit when all was said and done, just like The Authority said would happen. Then, he screwed everyone over anyway by letting them back, and that led to their public firing, right in front of him.
Through it all, Cena was actually a real human being for once and he seemed genuinely remorseful for his actions. He even opened the show by apologizing, admitting he made a mistake, and that 2015 would be tough now because of him. He took responsibility for his (in)action.
And then he paid the price, subjected to hours of trolling by the very people he let back who are here to ruin everything once again. Hell, even if all three wrestlers who were fired are back next week, it's still a strong angle to have The Authority doting all over Cena and using him to justify their actions.
No matter which way you slice it, this is all John Cena's fault.
That's a win.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett: Dolph Ziggler is an outstanding fighting champion, a perfect babyface in peril. Perhaps it has something to do with John Cena failing to occupy this role for as long as WWE has attempted to convince us he has, but Dolph is perfect because it constantly feels like he's actually in peril. He's not dominating anyone, ever. He's always up against it, and he accentuates that so well by bumping his ass off the way he does. That's why I'm baffled they keep taking the title off him. I was all ready for him to overcome what once again appeared to be insurmountable odds, and it was going to be feel good. Instead, they beat him and after that happening to him enough times whatever appeal existed in his eventually overcoming disappears. It's a tough line to toe, and Ziggler has been killed dead far too often. All that said, I liked the way they booked this to get the heat on Barrett.
FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET: I'm not entirely sure what that promo was, but Roman Reigns shouldn't speak again. I'm talking Sting in 1997, folks. Complete silence. Just be a badass who beats people up. Nothing more.
The Ascension vs. Demolition and the Road Warriors: Oh, that's right, it was actually The Ascension vs. Local Athletes, but you wouldn't know it to listen to the ridiculous promo they cut before the bell rang. I'm not sure what they hope to gain by having these two idiots taking shots at two legendary teams, both of whom were better than these cheap knock offs could ever hope to be. Hawk, Animal, Ax, and Smash actually had cool face paint, too, the kind of look you wanted to rock on Halloween as a kid. Do you think a single child anywhere is ever going to want to get painted up like The Ascension? This call up is already a massive failure.
Babyface Rusev: This week, Rusev was back to acting like a babyface, essentially calling for America to respect other countries customs and traditions without trying to play world police. Sorry, WWE, that's not a reason to hate this man.
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show: This was, as expected, a bad match that no one wanted to see at any point. The disqualification finish sucked and WWE proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it's creatively bankrupt regarding just what the hell to do with Reigns before the Royal Rumble. I would have at least been moderately entertained had the announcers claimed Show is a MASTER OF THE STEEL STEPS when he used them to end the match, like they're his secret lethal weapon because he won that dumb match with Erick Rowan at TLC. Alas, he was just a dope who held them up so he could get speared and have them drop on his head.
Natalya vs. Nikki Bella: Oh look, a roll up finish in a non-title Divas match done to push Total Divas, a show most of the Raw audience doesn't watch and therefore has no clue what any of this has to do with anything. Except I actually watched Total Divas this week and I still don't know how this had anything to do with anything.
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan: Based on JBL's commentary for this match, which featured uneven officiating based on a lack of communication between Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble, appointed by The Authority, I'm convinced this was a rib on the NFL. Which, yeah, I'll let you do with that what you choose considering who was involved. By the way, they appear to have dropped the whole "Rowan is actually a genius" gimmick because he's been booked like the biggest dumbass on the roster.
AMBULANCE MATCH: Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt had an appropriately brutal match with just enough big spots to get by. This was fine for those who are cool with watching endless gimmick matches with no point or purpose. Ambrose did a lot of jobs in this program, and he's cooled off considerably on the heels of his feud with Seth Rollins.
The Miz, Damien Mizdow & Alicia Fox vs. The Usos & Naomi: Legitimately feel as though The Miz is arguably the best heel on the roster because he actively tries to get the crowd to hate his guts. None of the "cool heel" nonsense here. He's a cheater, and a douche, his partner is awesome, and he knows that enough to use it to make you hate him even more. It's glorious.
Seth Rollins & Kane vs. Ryback: The overriding theme in this show was The Authority getting payback against all the babyfaces who opposed them and helped push them out of power. That meant a handicap match for THE BIG GUY and, in keeping with the theme, he did the job. It was what it was.
Adam Rose vs. Big E: I don't know what the hell to say to this. For some reason, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd dressed up as Rosebuds in body suits to attack The New Day, immediately revealing themselves to be the guys under the suits. Why the hell did they dress up then? Did they really need to launch the sneak attack? Are they Rosebuds now? What was the point of any of this?
Well, this was a show that happened. Outside of the Cena troll job, there wasn't much substance.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?