2/3 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Will the C.M. Punk situation be addressed? The New Age Outlaws vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a cage match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, Elimination Chamber build
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Omaha, Nebraska at CenturyLink Center
[Q1] Randy Orton made his entrance as Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler checked in and hyped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for Elimination Chamber. Orton claimed he is the champion due to dominance. He questioned how many times he has to beat John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, etc.
Orton said he will be victorious at the Elimination Chamber and at WrestleMania "when I beat that jacked up, muscle bound, genetic freak" Batista. Orton said he and Batista were equals when they were in Evolution together, but it's been a long time and now he's simply better than him. Orton labeled himself the main attraction of Raw.
Triple H's music played and both he and Stephanie McMahon walked onto the stage. Stephanie questioned whether he was going to let the people get to him. Hunter said the fans know that Orton says the same thing every week about facing impossible odds and how poorly he has been treated.
Hunter said he doesn't expect those words from the face of WWE and questioned whether they should put their faith in someone else. Stephanie booked Orton vs. Daniel Bryan and said they may have to consider a new face of WWE if Bryan wins "and that superstar is Daniel Bryan." Hunter led "Yes!" chants as Orton seethed in the ring...
Highlights aired of The New Age Outlaws beating Cody Rhodes and Goldust during the Royal Rumble Kickoff show, and then the announcers hyped the rematch in a cage for later in the show. A shot aired of the cage hanging above the ring. JBL said the rules are that there is no escaping the cage wins. Rather, the rules of the match are that it must be decided by pinfall or submission...
The Shield made their entrance and a recap aired from Smackdown of Triple H telling them to drop their challenge for a match against The Wyatt Family, only to have Roman Reigns step up and tell him they weren't asking for his approval... Cole said The Shield would be in action after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Triple H leading Yes! chants was a fun image. Orton seemed more inspired than usual, but he really does say the same thing every week. I like the rules of the cage match since it's always odd when one tag partner leaves and the other is left with two against one odds. I'm curious to see who The Shield face. Are they going to be cast as usual heading into their match with the Wyatt Family or will WWE encourage fans to cheer for The Shield?
[Q2] 1. The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Big E Langston, and Kofi Kingston. Only Mysterio's entrance was shown. Mysterio performed some of his signature offense, but The Shield came back and Reigns delivered a leaping Hart Attack clothesline. He pinned Mysterio, but Kingston broke it up before the break. [C]
Langston took a hot tag at 10:15 and performed some crowd pleasing offense, including a big German suplex on Reigns, who suffered a nasty cut by his eye at one point. Reigns came back with a Superman punch. Reigns set up for a spear, but Ambrose tagged himself in and performed his finisher for the win...
The Shield defeated Rey Mysterio, Big E Langston, and Kofi Kingston in 11:30.
After the match, Reigns was pissed and Seth Rollins had to stand between his partners. The Wyatt Family sounder played and the trio appeared on the big screen. Wyatt said he will build an empire next to the sea and he will smile as his enemies drown. Luke Harper said The Shield need to realize that Wyatt has always been their king. Harper whistled as Erick Rowan, wearing the sheep mask, leaned in and said "run"...
The broadcast team hyped the Orton vs. Bryan match...
Powell's POV: So they are back to teasing dissension amongst The Shield members, which likely gives them the out they need for The Wyatt Family to get the win at Elimination Chamber. I don't understand what WWE is trying to do with Langston. This is the second time in recent memory that he's been pinned in six-man tag matches in recent memory. He gets the big round of offense during his matches, but then he loses for seemingly no reason just like other recent secondary champions before him.
[Q3] [C] The announcers gushed over the Seattle Seahawks tweeting Daniel Bryan... Bad News Barrett appeared at his elevated podium. He said the Super Bowl was the most watched television event in U.S. history. He said the fans spent the entire game eating junk food and clogging their arteries to the point that most of them won't survive until next year's game. Jerry Lawler called out Barrett over a mic. Lawler said he has some bad news for Barrett. "Hopefully next week, you won't be around," Lawler said...
The broadcast team hyped the WWE Network launch for three weeks from tonight. Cole narrated a tutorial on how to download the WWE app. Cole said a full year of WWE pay-per-views cost $675, but the network cost is only $9.99 per month. A video aired for the WWE Countdown show...
Powell's POV: Lawler standing up to Barrett was out of left field. We'll see if that leads to something or if it was just a weird case of Lawler speaking out. Jumping back to the opening segment, it was more of the same from Hunter and Steph too, as they continue to play their mysterious, yet not compelling characters.
Christian made his entrance for a match... [C]
2. Christian vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter, Antonio Cesaro). Cole played up issues between The Real Americans.
[Q4] Swagger jumped off the second rope and into the boot of Christian. Swagger went for a gutwrench suplex, but Christian countered into another move for a two count. Christian went for a cross body block off the top rope, but Swagger caught him and went for the Ankle Lock, but Christian avoided it. Moments later, Christian performed a sunset flip off the second rope and got the pin...
Christian defeated Jack Swagger in 6:00.
Powell's POV: A decent match with no real development as far as Colter slapping Swagger goes.
The announcers recapped Brock Lesnar beating up Cody Rhodes and Goldust to end last week's tag title match... The cage music played as the cage lowered around the ring...
The New Age Outlaws made their entrance and Dogg talked as they walked and then did the usual in-ring schtick. Goldust and Cody Rhodes made their entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: The Outlaws turned on C.M. Punk and seemed to turn heel, yet still do the same crowd pleasing entrance routine. I just don't get it. The fans get into the entrance routine, but it seems to stop there with the Outlaws. I didn't mind the idea of them being aligning with Hunter given their history, but the lack of followup to that turn continues to annoy me.
Betty White will be the guest host of next week's WWE Raw. Lawler said he spent two hours watching The Golden Girls last night...
Powell's POV: Everyone loves Betty White, so this is a rare guest host that I won't crap all over. Brace yourselves for the mega heat of two seemingly babyface teams meeting in a cage match. Yes, that's sarcasm.
3. The New Age Outlaws vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a cage match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Cole reminded viewers that the match must end via pin or submission. Dogg played the chickenshit role by ducking away from Goldust and teaming Billy Gunn into the match.
[Q5] There was a C.M. Punk chant as Gunn worked Cody's arm. The crowd went back to being quiet as the slow pace continued inside the cage. They fired up with "We Want Punk" chants as the show was going to break. [C] Cody took a hot tag and got a good reaction as he worked over Gunn and ran him into the cage.
Road Dogg prevented CrossRhodes, but Goldust powerslammed him. Cody hit CrossRhodes for a two count. The crowd thought it was three and booed loudly. Cody started to climb the cage as Lawler reminded viewers he can't win by leaving over hte top. Rhodes performed a moonsault off the top of the cage, but Road Dogg moved. Gunn hit the Fameasser for the win...
The New Age Outlaws beat Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a cage match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in 16:15.
[Q6] Cole hyped a segment where Batista would say who he hopes will be WWE Champion at WrestleMania 30, and Orton vs. Bryan for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: They're saying Cody hit the move and it did as much damage to Road Dogg as it did to Cody. It was hard to tell because the production team cut to different shots when he was about to land. They showed replays and Cody basically missed because Dogg didn't exactly brace his fall. Ouch! By the way, as if watching two babyface teams compete in a cage match wasn't awkward enough, we also got an Alberto Del Rio "Be A Star" commercial somewhere in there.
Cole hyped The Wyatt Family vs. Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, and Xavier Woods for later in the show. Highlights aired of Titus O'Neil turning on Darren Young on Smackdown...
4. Titus O'Neil vs. Zack Ryder. The Miz came out and complained about Titus having a Raw match while he doesn't. "You know as well as I do, Michael, that there's something wrong with that picture," Miz said before storming to the back. Titus used a one-armed slam for the win...
Titus O'Neil beat Zack Ryder in 2:45.
Lawler hyped the Orton vs. Bryan match...
Powell's POV: Shouldn't Darren Young be venting during O'Neil's match rather than The Miz? Does anyone other than Miz's Dad care that Miz isn't on Raw? I'm not even trying to be an ass. The character lost so much momentum that listening to him complain about not being on Raw isn't something most fans will rally behind because it doesn't feel like he's being snubbed, especially when he was on last week and lost to Dolph Ziggler.
Fandango and Summer Rae made their entrance...
[Q7] A "WWE Honors" segment aired for Black History Month. Cole said they would be airing all month long. The segment focussed on Ernie Ladd...
The ring announcer introduced Fandango vs. Santino Marella in a dance-off. Santino told Fandango that he shouldn't want to have a contest with him because he is a dancing freak who just learned new moves that will blow him away. Santino suggested Summer face a member of the audience in a dance-off.
Emma just happened to be at ringside during this segment. Santino called Emma into the ring. Santino said he knows Emma because she trains at NXT. Summer danced first. Santino laughed at her dance. Emma performed her usual NXT dance minus the bubbles. The fans just sat there. Santino polled the crowd and Emma got the applause. Cole did the dance at ringside...
Powell's POV: For those of you who don't watch NXT, the dance is actually over. There seemed to be a few people in the crowd who recognized her and the dance, but most people had no idea what was happening. Cole just can't wait to play the fool by doing the dance, which does neither him nor Emma any favors.
A video played for WWE Legends House on the WWE Network... Sheamus made his entrance. Cole said Sheamus loves to fight... [C]
Powell's POV: No, that's Finlay, a-hole. I guess all Irishmen look the same to Cole (or whoever is producing the broadcast team).
5. Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel (w/Ryback). Sheamus dominaed the opening 90 seconds while Cole put over how much fun Sheamus has when he fights.
[Q8] Lawler explained that Axel's father is Mr. Perfect and that's why his shirt reads Better Than Perfect. Yes, really. Axel got some offense in. A fan held up a sign that read, "My Other C.M. Punk Sign Got Confiscated." Funny. There were more Punk chants. In the end, Sheamus finished off Axel with the Brogue Kick...
Sheamus beat Curtis Axel in 7:05.
Powell's POV: The live crowd amused themselves and liked Sheamus, which breathed some life back into the building.
Cole thanked viewers for watching Raw live on FOX-8 in Australia for the first time... A shot aired of Batista walking backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: Batista clothing update: Jean jacket and a v-neck t-shirt. Douche Factor: 2 out of a possible 10 (with his return show attire being a 38).
Batista came out and pointed to fans and the WrestleMania 30 sign and was quickly interrupted by Alberto Del Rio. Batista said he doesn't know what Del Rio's problem is, but he doesn't have a problem with him. Del Rio said that while Batista was home waiting for his movie agent to call, he was "here" every day for four years.
Del Rio said he is going to "hurt you until I see hear you say please." Batista started to say that he doesn't have an issue with Del Rio, who cut him off with a punch to the face. Del Rio attacked Del Rio, who quickly came back, causing Del Rio to flee. "If you want it, you got it," Batista yelled...
Powell's POV: And now we all know what it looks like when two guys from a Gap ad fight. Seriously, though, I did like the Del Rio punch out of nowhere. Batista still hasn't shown any sign of finding his groove on the mic, not that he had much of a chance to do that here. Oh, and bump the Douche Factor up to a 3 out of 10 for the pixie nose piercing.
[Q9] Dolph Ziggler made his entrance for the six-man tag match, then his partners R-Truth and Xavier Woods made their entrance to Truth's theme song... [C] The announcers hyped the return of Mark Henry for next week's Raw...
Powell's POV: Dot Net reader Troy S. is at the show in Omaha and sent the following note: "It's horrible. Before Batista came out (during the commercial), he came on the Titan Tron and talked about how he loves Omaha and baseball (the College World Series is held here) then said it's cold outside and let's heat it up, Omaha! So bad. CM Punk chants are the highlight so far.
6. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan vs. Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, and Xavier Woods. A small chant for Ziggler broke out. JBL said Ziggler would probably like them to stop because he would be the one facing the Wyatt Family. Ziggler got an offensive run, but Wyatt put him away with Sister Abigail...
The Wyatt Family defeated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, and Xavier Woods in 5:10.
[Q10] After the match, Dean Ambrose appeared on the big screen and mocked their spookiness. He told them to take that crap somewhere else. Seth Rollins said Bray Wyatt is so delusional that he's a figment of his own imagination. Roman Reigns told them to look around because they are in The Shield's yard now and they don't play games. Wyatt laughed maniacally in response and yelled, "I welcome this war"... [C]
Powell's POV: The post match exchange was more entertaining than the actual match. Ziggler put his usual strong effort in only to lose because WWE needs to do everything in their power to protect the mighty R-Truth and Xavier Woods or something like that.
Alexander Rusev and Lana were featured in a backstage vignette. Rusev hit, Rusev crush, and the Rusev Legacy Begins Now...
5. Naomi (w/Cameron) vs. Aksana (w/Alicia Fox). A.J. Lee joined the broadcast team while Lady Diesel stood guard. Lee gloated about being Divas Champion for 232 days. JBL asked if she will break Fabulous Moolah's record of 27 years. Funny. Lee dubbed Fox and Aksana by "Foxana".
Naomi went for a sunset flip, but Aksana dropped a knee on her eye. Aksana looked confused as to what to do next because Naomi appeared to be legitimately injured. They went to the finish with Naomi going over following a split-legged moonsault. Naomi held her eye after the match and then pointed to Lee...
Naomi pinned Aksana.
Cole hyped Orton vs. Bryan for after the break... A WrestleMania 30 video noted that there are 62 days until the big show...
Powell's POV: Naomi was wiping her eye by the end of the segment, but she appeared to be okay. It was a pretty wicked accidental shot to the eye. This has been one of the flatter episodes of Raw in recent memory. Hopefully they can do something to salvage the night in the last 30-40 minutes.
[Q11] [C] The broadcast team hyped Betty White as the guest host for next week... Orton vs. Christian in a non-title match was advertised as the Smackdown main event...
6. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. Cole explained that Orton will be facing each of his Elimination Chamber opponents in the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view starting with Bryan tonight and continuing with Christian on Smackdown.
[Q12] They fought to ringside at 7:30 and Bryan threw Orton over the top of the announcers' table. Lawler said Cole was out and asked if he was okay. "Hopefully he's not," JBL said. Cole checked back in and resumed calling the match. Back inside the ring, Bryan performed a huracanrana off the top rope.
Bryan applied a half-crab. Orton reached the ropes and rolled to ringside. Bryan followed to the floor, where Orton performed a backdrop onto the barricade. Orton rolled Bryan back inside the ring where he hit a powerslam and sold a knee injury heading into the break. [C] Orton controlled the offense after the break.
[Overrun] Cole reset the show at the top of the hour and noted that Orton had been working on the shoulder of Bryan. Orton set up for a superplex, but Bryan knocked him down and caught him with a missile dropkick. Bryan came up holding the right shoulder that Orton had been working. The live crowd chanted Bryan's name.
Bryan came back with the Yes! Lock and sold the arm briefly before locking it in. Orton quickly reached the bottom rope to break the hold. Orton regained control and performed the hanging DDT. Orton stood up and played to the crowd and then struck the Viper's Pose.
Orton went for the RKO, but Bryan blasted him with a kick and followed up with a top rope headbutt for a two count. Bryan threw a series of kicks at Orton. Kane walked out and climbed onto the ring apron. Bryan knocked him off, then threw Orton to ringside, and hit them both with a suicide dive.
Kane charged at Bryan on the floor only to have Bryan perform a drop toe hold that sent Kane crashing into the ring steps. Bryan headed back to the ring and Orton went for the RKO, but Bryan shoved him off and hit the running knee for the win. Cole hyped that Daniel Bryan pinned the World Champion...
Daniel Byran defeated Randy Orton in a non-title match in 27:00.
After the match, Orton and Kane put the boots to Bryan. Kane ended up chokeslamming Bryan.
Powell's POV: A good main event that built nicely as it went on. It would have felt like a bigger deal for Bryan to win if viewers hadn't already been shown that he could beat Orton in a fair fight. Still, it was a decent way for Bryan to keep the momentum going. The live crowd may have been hotter if they hadn't been given such a flat show leading up to this match. No mention of C.M. Punk tonight unless you count the live crowd's occasional chants. Overall, a forgettable night of Raw.
I will have more to say in tonight's Prowrestling.net Live along with Jake Barnett, and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hit List. Your phone calls are welcome tonight during the 90-minute Prowrestling.net Live free audio show beginning at 11:30 ET at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
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