1/13 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt vs. The Uso Brothers, Royal Rumble build continues, WWE Network hype
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Providence, Rhode Island at Dunkin' Donuts Center
[Q1] WWE Raw opened with a video that focussed on The Wyatt Family and Daniel Bryan. Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary. The Uso Brothers were already in the ring...
1. Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan (w/Luke Harper, Erick Rowan) vs. The Uso Brothers. Jey Uso sold for Bryan early on. Jimmy took the tag and got the better of Wyatt, then the Uso Brothers performed suicide dives onto Bryan. They set up for top rope splashes, but Rowan and Harper interfered for the DQ. The Uso Brothers slipped away after the match...
The Uso Brothers beat Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt by DQ in 5:40.
After the match, Wyatt, Rowan, and Harper looked down at Bryan, who was on the mat selling. The fans chanted "yes" for Bryan. Wyatt put his head on Bryan's shoulder, said something to him, and smiled. Bryan struck the crucifix pose and dropped to his knees. Wyatt grabbed him, kissed him, and hit Sister Abigail. Wyatt said it's for the greater good and he does it for "all of us." He said this will "make a change" for Bryan...
Cole hyped John Cena having his first Raw match in 2014 after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: The idea of the Wyatt Family losing matches without any sabotage from Bryan is so bizarre. If the idea is to build up to the moment when Bryan turns on the trio then the fans seem like they are onboard even though the storytelling doesn't seem to be pointing that way. The fans just want to cheer the guy regardless of what WWE does with him. I was openminded after the surprising "turn" on the last Raw of 2013, but the followup has left so much to be desired.
[Q2] A graphic touted that WWE Network will feature every WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view... The announcers recapped John Cena fighting off Damien Sandow's Money in the Bank cash-in attempt. JBL said Sandow said it's a new year and a brand new Sandow...
2. John Cena vs. Damien Sandow. Sandow was on the offensive when they cut to break. [C] Cena used some of his signature offense and performed a tornado DDT from the second rope, but Sandow kicked out. Cena acted surprised. Sandow slipped out of the Attitude Adjustment and got a near fall of his own.
Cena applied the STF, but Sandow reached the ropes. Sandow came right back with the STF on Cena, who stood up with Sandow on his back and performed the Attitude Adjustment and got the win. Cena hugged his father at ringside afterward...
Powell's POV: Cena had the red and yellow underwear sticking out of his jorts again, so let the speculation continue regarding Hulk Hogan and/or whether Cena is down to one pair of underpants. I enjoyed the MITB cash-in match more because I never had a doubt who was going over here, yet it was still encouraging to see Sandow get to look so competitive before doing the honors.
[Q3] The announcers narrated replays of the previous match and put it over in a big way as Cena posed... The announcers hyped C.M. Punk and The New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield for later in the show... Cole hyped more details about WWE Network after the break... [C]
Cole spoke as a graphic showed tweets from Maria Menounos, Michelle Beadle, Chilli from TLC, and ESPN's Bill Simmons about the WWE Network. The broadcast team set up a video package on WWE Network. The video hyped the live pay-per-view showings, the original content, "your favorite episodes of Raw and Smackdown," and hyped classic matches "uncut and uncensored." They emphasized again that all 12 pay-per-views would air live for just $9.99 per month beginning with WrestleMania 30...
Cole said the network will launch six weeks from tonight. Lawler counted down with the countdown clock that was shown. Cole raved about the price tag. JBL brought up the content, Cole hyped WrestleMania 30 airing live as part of the network package...
Backstage, Brad Maddox mocked Kane for the way the show started. Kane told him to enforce the rules since he is general manager. He suggested The Uso Brothers vs. Wyatt and Bryan in a cage match for later in the show. Kane agreed with the idea, but said it wasn't as good as his. He said the match will be inside a cage and the door will be chained and locked. Kane said he will be the only one with a key...
Big Show made his entrance as Cole hyped his match against Brock Lesnar for the Royal Rumble... [C]
Powell's POV: Good hype for the network. I went into the presentation lukewarm about the idea of going over the top, but I came away very impressed and downright excited. Meanwhile, for those who avoided the spoiler on the main page prior to Raw, it was that the cage is hanging above the ring. The announcement of the cage match was fine, but shouldn't Maddox be more intimidated given what Kane has threatened to do to him?
[Q4] 3. Big Show vs. Jack Swagger (w/Antonio Cesaro, Zeb Colter). Show chokeslammed Swagger and pinned him after dominating the offense. Cesaro ran in afterward, but then took off into the crowd when Show saw him coming. Show then grabbed Zeb, but Cesaro came back to save him and was dumped over the top rope. Show teased punching out Colter and eventually did... [C]
Big Show pinned Jack Swagger in 1:20.
Powell's POV: Why is Big Show punching out a guy who more than qualifies for the senior discount at Denny's? It would be one thing if Colter had been a major thorn in Show's side and was really asking for it, but this made Show look like a bully of old men. He cried when he was forced to punch out Dusty Rhodes, but we learned tonight that it was more about who it was and less about punching out the elderly. Where was Show when that old woman was doing 42 in the freeway fast lane earlier today?
A Batista return video aired and hyped his appearance on next week's Raw television show. He's the man, he's the predator, and he's the top of the food chain, according to the video. He's bigger, better, and he wants to be champion again... Ring entrances for the New Age Outlaws and C.M. Punk vs. The Shield took place...
[Q5] 4. C.M. Punk and The New Age Outlaws vs. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns in a six-man tag. Punk and the Outlaws were in control heading into the break. [C] Punk was in sell mode for The Shield after the break. Reigns mocked the Outlaws with a crotch chop and then ate a kick to the head from Punk.
[Q6] Punk went to his corner and tried to make the hot tag, but Road Dogg and Billy Gunn both dropped off the ring apron and headed backstage. Punk fought off Rollins and Ambrose briefly, but Reigns caught him with the spear and pinned him. The Shield teased leaving the ring, but came back and Triple Powerbombed Punk...
The Shield defeated C.M. Punk and The New Age Outlaws in 15:40.
Powell's POV: One of the countless rumored WrestleMania 30 matches is Punk vs. Triple H. Either way, the DX stablemates walking out on Punk likely plays into Punk's issues with The Authority. I'm okay with it. I didn't think the Outlaws had as much juice as babyfaces this time around as they did the last time we saw them together.
Backstage, Bray Wyatt spoke to Daniel Bryan in a dark room while Rowan and Harper stood behind them. Wyatt said he could sense that the last thing in the world wants is to be locked in a cage with people like them. Wyatt told Bryan that inside the cage they find redemption and absolution. "Inside that cage we find...monsters." Bryan said...
Powell's POV: A cool backstage segment. Wyatt was strong here and Bryan reinforced what he is hoping to get out of teaming with the Wyatt Family. It is a bit odd that Wyatt feels comfortable entering the ring with Bryan and two other babyfaces, but I suppose it's logical for the cult leader to feel confident in his brainwashing.
A graphic touted the WWE Network...
5. A.J. Lee and Tamina vs. Cameron and Naomi. Cole said Lee has been Divas Champion for 211 days. NXT Diva Emma was shown in the crowd holding up a sign that read "Emmataining." JBL pointed it out and Cole noted that JBL is the general manager of NXT. Lee dominated Cameron down the stretch and pinned her. Tamina roughed up Cameron after the match. Naomi ended up clearing the heels from the ring...
A.J. Lee and Tamina defeated Cameron and Naomi in 2:40.
Powell's POV: It's cool to see Emma in the crowd as she is one of the talented developmental Divas. I don't know if they are trying to generate some buzz for the live NXT show they will be doing on February 27 or if this is a sign that she's main roster bound. Either way, I like it.
A shot aired of a raging Randy Orton... The broadcast team teased that the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame would be announced after the break... [C]
[Q7] Backstage, Randy Orton vented to Kane about The Authority putting him in a match against John Cena, Brock Lesnar wanting to speak to him, etc. Kane said all he can control is what happens on this show. He said Orton could vent his frustrations on Kofi Kingston. "The pleasure is all mine," Orton said... The announcers hyped WWE Network...
The first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is the Ultimate Warrior. A slick Warrior video was shown. Cole praised Warrior's contributions to WWE. JBL said it should be a hell of an induction speech...
Powell's POV: This may be the most controversial induction amongst WWE alumni. I remember Ted DiBiase stating in a PWTorch Livecast interview that he did not feel that Warrior deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, and some of their colleagues feel the same. Either way, get your Ultimate Warrior decoder rings ready for his speech.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Paul Heyman, who said he and Brock Lesnar are not impressed by Show chokeslamming Jack Swagger or by the way he "knock(ed) out his elderly illegitimate grandpa"... Orton made his entrance... [C] Kingston made his entrance...
[Q8] 6. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. Orton got most of the offense, but Kingston came back just before the break and had Orton lying on the floor at ringside following a clothesline off the apron. [C]
Orton was back in control after the break and worked over Kingston at ringside. Orton rolled Kingston back inside the ring and smirked at him. Orton told the crowd to shut up as Kingston started to a brief comeback.
[Q9] Later, Kingston hit some of his signature spots, but missed the Boom Drop. Orton went for the hanging DDT, but Kingston countered with SOS and pinned Orton clean...
Kofi Kingston pinned Randy Orton in a non-title match in 16:10.
Orton threw a tantrum afterward and eventually attacked John Cena's father at ringside with a flurry of punches. Security tried to pull Orton off of Cena's father. Cena ran out to help his father. The physician could be heard calling for an EMT immediately. Cena directed fans to take a step back so they could tend to his father. The announcers laid out to pick up Cena and the physician... [C]
Powell's POV: A nice surprise win for Kingston that plays into the way they've made Orton out to be a pampered and vulnerable heel champion. Michael Cole did a really nice job of putting over how big of an upset it was. The post match angle was well done. I just hope they don't tell us to visit the app for updates on Johnny Fabulous. As much as I would like to think that this will lead to something for Kingston, it was all about the post match angle, and I assume Kofi will be taking a beating from Orton in a match very soon.
Backstage, Cena's father was loaded into an ambulance as John Cena followed along and spoke with the medical staff. Cena hopped into the ambulance with his father before it drove away. JBL said Orton is a ticking time bomb who is not worthy of being the champion with actions like that...
7. WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel in a non-title match. Cole said Goldust told Cody on the WWE app that he plans to throw him out of the Royal Rumble just as Cody threw him out last year. Cole acknowledged Ryback's "strange Twitter rant."
[Q10] Cody finished off Axel with CrossRhodes and got the win for the tag champions...
Goldust and Cody Rhodes beat Curtis Axel and Ryback in 6:40.
Powell's POV: They played up Ryback's online tweets in a way that left viewers wondering whether they are setting up something with him and Ultimate Warrior. Ugh.
Rey Mysterio was shown walking backstage... [C] A Batista video was shown that featured some of his early footage along with later footage and noted that "in 2010 he was gone." The graphics added that he is back next Monday...
8. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio. Mysterio spoke in a pop-box video about winning the Royal Rumble in 2006 and said he's going to do it again.
[Q11] Mysterio hit the 619 and went up to the top rope, where Del Rio cut him off. With Mysterio hanging off the top rope, Del Rio caught him with a superkick. Del Rio applied the Cross Arm Breaker for the win...
Alberto Del Rio beat Rey Mysterio in 5:00.
After the match, Del Rio cut a promo on Batista. Del Rio asked Batista if he liked what he did to his little friend. He said the same thing will happen to Batista if he shows up next week. Del Rio also vowed to throw Batista out of the Royal Rumble match... Lawler hyped the cage match main event...
Powell's POV: Good action down the stretch. The live crowd seemed to buy into Mysterio's 619 and they gasped when Del Rio caught him with the superkick. I wish there was some backstory between Batista and Del Rio or at least some reason to think that Del Rio might not be a fall guy for Batista, but it is what it is. By the way, do we have to watch the app to find out if C.M. Punk is pissed about what the New Age Outlaws did to him?
A graphic showed Twitter comments from Chris Jericho, Jake Roberts, Cody Rhodes, and Rey Mysterio about WWE Network. A video recapped the presentation in Las Vegas...
Backstage, C.M. Punk asked Kane where The Authority were. Kane said they were not in the building. Punk said he had to deal with Hunter's hired assassins The Shield, but now he has to deal with the Outlaws. He said that if Hunter has a problem with him then he doesn't need to hide behind five guys.
Kane said he's sure that The Authority doesn't know what he's talking about. Kane said The Authority is giving him a chance to headline WrestleMania by winning the Royal Rumble. Punk said he had no problem with that, but he does have a problem with Kane...
A video showed The Uso Brothers. Half of their faces were shown and they each said the same thing simultaneously... The Wyatt Family made their entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: Punk? Ask and ye shall receive, I guess. I like the Uso gimmick. I would rather see them get some character development, but it was a unique production gimmick. As for the main event, it will be interesting to see if Kane's history with the Wyatt Family and/or Daniel Bryan comes into play. He holds the key to the cage. He teamed with Bryan. He was hauled off by the Wyatts and came back an corporate guy.
[Q12] [C] Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws in a non-title match was announced for Smackdown... Members of the New England Patriots were shown in the crowd...
Powell's POV: The Outlaws getting a match against the tag champs is a logical move, as it plays nicely into the storyline that they are working for Triple H. However, why would Hunter not give them a title match? If the idea is that he's trying to make it seem like he's impartial they overthinking it.
The announcers addressed the "Mr. Cena" angle. Cole, while looking at Lawler, said Cena's heart is okay, but he may have a fractured orbital socket...
Powell's POV: Yes, Cole really looked at Lawler while saying John Cena Sr.'s heart is okay.
9. Bryan Wyatt and Daniel Bryan (w/ Erick Rowan, Luke Harper) vs. The Uso Brothers. Kane walked out and tied a chain around the door to lock it shut. The match was fought tornado style with all four men fighting. Bryan suffered a small cut. All four men were lying on their backs when the show went to break. [C] A Smackdown ad focussed on Roman Reigns.
[Overrun] The Uso's performed a double back drop onto Bryan off the top rope. The adult males responded with "This is awesome" chants even though it was debatable at this point in the match. The Uso's tried to exit over the top. One of the Uso's head-butted Bryan off the ropes, and Bryan ended up knocking Bray Wyatt off the ropes as he was coming down. One of the Uso's jumped onto Rowan and hit the floor, and the other landed on the other side to give them the win.
The Uso Brothers defeated Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan in 11:00.
After the Uso Brothers headed backstage, Daniel Bryan got to his feet and Bray Wyatt was laughing and yelling maniacally. The fans chanted "yes" loudly. Wyatt whispered something into Bryan's ear. Bryan backed away and nodded. He struck the crucifix pose at Wyatt's command.
Wyatt kissed Bryan's forehead and went for his finisher, but Bryan avoided it. Bryan looked to the crowd that was going completely nuts and a huge "Daniel Bryan" chant started. Wyatt old Bryan not to listen to them. Wyatt dropped on his knees and told Bryan "bring it to me."
Wyatt stood up and told Bryan that he is a coward. Wyatt charged Bryan, who moved and threw punches at him. Bryan hit Wyatt with repeated running dropkicks in the corner. The crowd popped huge with Yes! chants. Bryan threw repeated kicks at Wyatt's head. Wyatt removed his coveralls and revealed his usual gear.
Bryan threw the coveralls at Wyatt and went back to kicking him while Rowan and Harper tried to climb the cage. Bryan rammed Wyatt into both of them and knocked them off the cage. Bryan blasted Wyatt with the running knee and then went to the top of the cage and led more Yes! chants. Bryan's usual music played...
Powell's POV: It looks like WWE abandoned ship on whatever they had planned. It was a hell of visual as Bryan pumped his hands and the crowd followed along. None of this actually made sense since Bryan is the one who wanted to join the Wyatt Family, and they didn't put nearly enough heat on the Wyatt Family to build up to Bryan breaking away, yet it still worked because the crowd loves Bryan so much. I am curious to hear how Bryan's character explains this and whether he's a little less happy go lucky going forward.
Overall, tonight was one of those all over the place shows where WWE threw a million things at us. The one thing that suffered was the thing they needed to hype the most - the Royal Rumble match. It's great that C.M. Punk is in the match, but that wasn't presented as a major announcement. The Rumble match feels like an afterthought with only one more Raw to go before the pay-per-view and that's a damn shame. We'll have much more to say about Raw tonight on the Prowrestling.net Live free online radio show (more details at the top of the page).
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