Tonight on Raw: Hulk Hogan returns! The Undertaker returns! Brock Lesnar returns! Batista continues to return! All your top hits from past decades are here tonight. Oh, and some other guys will have long matches and kind of be over but not really as over as the aforementioned real stars I just mentioned. But still, probably some great wrestling tonight and the Network is here! Let’s get to it.
Real American indeed hits as Hulk Hogan makes his way to the ring, decked out in the red and yellow. Says he’s back in the WWE for good (aren’t they all), and talks about the WWE Network launching while flubbing his line. He says he can watch Bruno (no reaction), Austin (big reaction), HBK (big reaction) and Rock (little reaction) on the network. He says the future will be Wrestlemania XXX on the network. Finishing by asking what we’re gonna do when the Network runs wild on YOU, brother jack dude brother brother.
WWE Network demonstration. If you need help, go to WWE’s website as they’ll probably have detailed instructions. I got on easily and have had little problems aside from some stuttering here and there.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane tonight!
BROCK LESNAR ??? tonight! (The screen graphic seriously had three question marks and appeared exactly like this.)
Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio: First match of Raw is an Elimination Chamber rematch no one on fucking Earth asked for. Batista takes him down as he manhandles him outside of the ring. People are booing him again. Lots and lots of offense until Del Rio cuts off his leg and throws him into the steps. Back from commercial, Batista is lying in the ring as Del Rio hits the ropes but Batista opens the ropes as Del Rio slides to the outside. Batista grabs him and superplexes him off the top rope. Del Rio takes out Batista and motions for the superkick but just stomps on him instead. Batista fights back and hits a spinebuster. Orton’s music then hits. Batista, distracted, gets rolled up for the pinfall. What? Why? How?
Orton makes the astute observation that Batista hasn’t’been getting the best of reactions as of late. Orton says maybe Batista is sorry that he came back. Right. Batista says he loves this business. They might boo him, but he’ll boo them back because it’s all about being real. He says that he can’t wait to kick his ass at Wrestlemania because he’s been a whiny kiss ass. Batista says that he’ll be the next World Heavyweight Champion. Deal with it. If I have to deal with that, then WWE will have to deal with his shitty crowd reactions because this main event has all the indications of being the worst buildup to a WrestleMania main event ever, and think about how much ground that covers. Maybe that’s a knee jerk reaction but think about it — both of these guys are coming off as heels to the crowd and you’re building up to heel vs. heel at WrestleMania. Yuck.
Cesaro vs. Big E: Big E gets the better of Cesaro early as he bails. Cesaro enters and takes him down. Big E works on Cesaro but Cesaro cuts him off and works him over. Cesaro goes for a crossbody but E grabs him and lands some knees to the back. Cesaro counters with a big gutwrench suplex. Back and forth brawling. Big E with a big press slam as he goes for a big slam but Cesaro moves and Big E gets posted.
Cesaro continues with an uppercut and locks in a sleeper. Big E counters and goes for a Big Ending but Cesaro counters it with a powerslam. Cesaro locks in a sleeper, but Big E powers out and starts a comeback with some clotheslines and a belly to belly. Big E takes down the straps and goes for the Big Ending but Cesaro counters with the uppercut. Cesaro goes for the giant swing but Big E responds with a uranage. Swagger tries to interfere, but Big E takes him out.
Big E with a clothesline but Cesaro puts him in the giant swing. He tries to follow with his finish, but Swagger runs in and puts in the ankle lock for the DQ. Cesaro and Coulter exchange words with Swagger as Big E jumps him afterward, but Cesaro takes him out with the neutralizer. Seems like they’re splitting up these two with maybe a build to a Wrestlemania match. I guess we’ll see if they can be fit in. This was a solid match, though. Big E is pretty good and Cesaro is, well, I think you know by now.
The new Need for Speed movie looks terrible. This has nothing to do with Raw, but I noticed this commercial and wow. Mortal Kombat remains the only decent video game movie ever.
John Cena says the Hulkster was right, the WWE Network is here and the future is now. He says he’s been saying for weeks if they think they’re the future, they’ll have to get through him first. He says Bray Wyatt has caused quite the stir as of late. He says he made a bold move when costing him the WWE championship match at Wrestlemania, and dares him to make another move. The Wyatts follow suit and make their way to the ring.
Wyatt says it makes sense that he places himself right in the middle of the ring. He’s the knight in shining armor. He’s full of empty promises. He says he promises the fans everything will be alright but he’s a liar — the world isn’t a pretty place. He says that the future will have to go through John Cena, and he couldn’t agree more. He introduces himself to Cena. Cena introduces himself back and says he dares any of the three to come to the ring now. Cena seems to have tweaked his knee.
Wyatts stop for a minute, then attack again. Concerned fans chanted for CM Punk as the Wyatts just stop and make their exit, but then come back and lay out Cena again as Wyatt poses. Weird beatdown, I wonder if the injury is legit or not. Right now I’ll believe it isn’t, but we’ll see.
Sheamus vs. Christian: They had a confrontation earlier in the night on the Raw preshow which leads to their match right now. Some interesting back and forth early. I don’t know why but this match just seems impossibly uninteresting. Maybe it’s because the commentators keep talking about Sheamus’s skin color or what Big E stands for.
Sheamus gives Christian a big shoulder tackle off the apron. Christian turns things around back from commercial. Christian with a bearhug. The commentators are just damn awful during the first part of this match. Abdominal stretch. Sheamus starts to counter back and tries the cloverleaf but Christian counters back but gets stopped with another cloverleaf. Christian breaks free but gets caught in a white noise attempt but rolls up Sheamus for a nearfall.
Sheamus plants him again but takes a while getting to his feet. Motions for the brogue kick but Christian blocks it, goes to the middle rope and jumps off but gets caught with the brogue kick for the pinfall. Solid enough.
A segment from earlier today with Triple H and Stephanie talking about the network airs. Daniel Bryan comes bursting in saying Triple H has screwed with him constantly since SummerSlam and wants to fight him at WrestleMania. Triple H looks amused with this demand and reminds him he’s a B player. Stephanie tells Bryan tonight he can take out his aggression on Kane. They walk off looking bemused as Daniel Bryan is held by security. I shouldn’t find anything wrong with this as it makes sense, but something’s telling me this was just awful.
Black History Month feature on the Soul Patrol, Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas.
Rollins and Reigns are backstage with Ambrose. They ask what was up with him bailing last night. Ambrose says he keeps telling them over and over and if they don’t believe him, then fine. He leaves in a huff. The Wyatts then walk in. Reigns wants to face Wyatt one on one, no one at ringside. Wyatt calls him an interesting creature and accepts.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: Bryan jumps Kane immediately and takes him out with kicks. Bryan keeps working on him until Kane cuts him off by attacking the shoulder. The commentary, again, awful. Why does there need to be three people on commentary? And why does it have to be these three blithering idiots who do nothing but talk over each other and just bury everything on television with their insipid arguments? Kane takes it to the outside where Bryan goes shoulder first into the steel steps as we go to commercial.
Kane remains in control as we return. Bryan tries to get back at it but Kane takes him out with a sidewalk slam. Kane works him over some more, but Bryan cuts him off and hits a top rope hurricanrana. He builds up some momentum again, but Kane takes him out with a shot to the throat. Doesn’t last long though as Bryan is back and kips up, back on the attack. Bryan goes for a missile dropkick but Kane grabs Bryan and chokeslams him for a nearfall.
Kane goes for another one, but Bryan grabs him and attempts a yes lock but Kane remains in the chokeslam position…Kane powers out, but Bryan counters with the flying knee for the pinfall. Good match, but would have been miles better without the grating commentary.
Bryan says he wants to make one thing clear: Triple H is a coward. He challenged him to a match at Wrestlemania but he hid behind his wife’s skirt. He said listen to the people as the arena chanted yes. He says the match everyone wants to see is Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan.
Another Alexander Rusev promo. He’s been saying the same exact crap for the last month. Either do something with these or just debut already.
Summer Rae vs. Emma. Emma does her dance with the bubbles and everything. Summer Rae waffles her with a kick to the face and chokes her against the ropes. Rae locks in a arm hold as Emma powers out and avoids another kick, throws her to the floor and locks in the Emmalock (muta lock) for the submission. She seems to be getting kind of over, or at least was over tonight a wee bit.
New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos: Of course because we have to have a ton of rematches the night after a PPV. The bell rings, but Road Dogg insists on doing his intro. The Usos attack, takes out Billy on the outside and one of the Usos hits a splash on Dogg to cover him in like 20 seconds. This even steven booking WWE loves to do is terrible. No one gets over in the end. Who on earth wants to see these two trade wins back and forth again?
Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns: This came off to me like they just aren’t ready to be in this position yet. They can be in due time, but not now. The crowd wasn’t interested at all. Back and forth brawling. Reigns cuts off Wyatt with a clothesline as they go to commercial. Back from it they continue to not really do much at all. The crowd amused themselves. They did pick it up towards the end and got the crowd into it, though. Roman looks to hit the spear but then The Wyatts hit the ring. Rollins comes out and takes them out, then after a while Ambrose follows suit. It turns into a brawl and I believe Reigns gets DQ’d. They all end up standing off.
Brock Lesnar is with Paul Heyman. They’re next.
PG family-friendly celebrity Aaron Paul is the special guest next week.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman comes out. The new wwespeak word to describe Paul Heyman’s relationship with Brock Lesnar is “advocate”. Just fucking call him a manager. I don’t care if it’s an outdated term. That’s the term everyone uses. Just use it, please, instead of insulting my intelligence by using every word in the world but manager. He introduces himself, because we don’t know who Paul Heyman is since he wasn’t been a WWE character for 13 years. Says that Lesnar isn’t in a good mood (he’s not the only one)- he wants Batista and Lesnar to stand aside so he can challenge for the title.
Stephanie and Triple H have let Brock Lesnar have any match he wants but the title match, Paul Heyman explains. But that’s what Triple H and Stephanie do- they let people have everything they want except for the one thing they want the most. Heyman lists everything Brock Lesnar has done, saying he’s conquered it all and he wants something to conquer at Wrestlemania. Heyman says that since Brock isn’t getting a WWE title shot, they’re bailing.
Suddenly, the gong sounds and The Undertaker arrives with his ministry goatee. He makes his long entrance as he and Brock stare down. Undertaker looks at the Wrestlemania sign and Lesnar nods. Heyman instructs Undertaker to sign, but Undertaker opts to stab Lesnar with the pen, grab him by the throat and chokeslam him through the table. Brock is left motionless as the Undertaker poses, and Raw goes off the air.
Save for the ending, this Raw did nothing for me. The world title match buildup is between two guys who don’t care what the fans think of them. That’s compelling. The Daniel Bryan/Triple H stuff…I’ll hold off on it, but man that backstage segment with Daniel Bryan and the Authority sucked. Daniel Bryan came off as completely whiny tonight and the last thing you need for him to be is the whiny babyface who whines his way into a match with Triple H.
Matches were solid enough tonight but something needs to be done with the commentary. Talking over yourselves while someone has a match does nobody any favors in the long run. The guys having a match in a ring come across as unimportant and you’re just coming off as incredibly grating. Nothing will change because Vince McMahon enjoys this, but…Vince McMahon is a straight up weirdo. This commentating team needs to go.
The rematches and parity booking come off as just so lazy. Why did I need to see Alberto del Rio pin Batista? Why did I need to see The Usos beat the Outlaws in 20 seconds? Can’t people just win and get over? I guess not because WWE sure as hell knows how to do it, but 9.5 times out of 10 they just don’t.
Yeah, so I didn’t like this show. Sorry.