2/17 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus, final hype for the WWE Elimination Chamber, one week countdown to WWE Network launch
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center
[Q1] Michael Cole welcomed viewers to Raw. John Cena's music played and he made his entrance while Jerry Lawler and JBL checked in on commentary. Cena received a mixed reaction from the crowd. He played to the fans by saying they were live from Denver. Cena hyped the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Cena put over the danger of the match and said it can end careers. He said the winner of the match punches his ticket to history and gets a guaranteed WrestleMania main event against Batista. Cena said Randy Orton has no momentum heading into the Elimination Chamber. He pointed out that Orton has been beaten in recent weeks by Daniel Bryan and himself. He said the odds say there will be a new champion on Sunday.
The Real Americans theme played. Zeb Colter led Antonio Cesaro onto the stage and spoke as they headed to the ring. Colter said Cesaro was the next champion. Cesaro pointed out that Cena wasn't the only one who beat Orton last week. Cesaro said he would become the new champion, the new face of WWE, and the new face of America. The fans booed.
Cena called for Cesaro to join him in the ring. They stood face to face. Cena congratulated Cesaro for beating Orton. He said that doesn't mean Cesaro is on a winning streak, it means Orton is on a losing streak. He added that Cesaro has never been in the Elimination Chamber match and said he shouldn't write checks that his body can't cash.
Sheamus's music played and he spoke as he headed to the ring. He said he's been inside the Chamber twice and there's nothing like it. He said both of their faces would look funny when he kicks their teeth in. Christian's music interrupted Sheamus and he headed out with a mic in hand. He said Sheamus should have saved his Brogue Kick for Dean Ambrose. He said he wasn't mad about what happened on Smackdown because he knows it was an accident.
Christian said he was going to hit the Killswitch on Sheamus inside the Chamber and that won't be an accident. Randy Orton's music played and he walked out with both title belts draped over his shoulders. He thanked The Authority for giving him the opportunity to beat them all at the Chamber, and said Sheamus's Brogue Kick wouldn't get anywhere near him during their match.
Daniel Bryan's music played and he came out wearing a new t-shirt (much better than goat face, etc.). There were pockets of fans doing the Yes! chants, while other fans remained seated. Bryan said the people were doing the talking for him. He said the Chamber all leads to WrestleMania 30, and he's worked too hard to let it slip through his fingers. Bryan said there will be an entire arena chanting Yes! on Sunday.
Kane's music hit and he walked out wearing a suit and with a mic in hand. Kane said The Authority gave him a chance to rectify mistakes that he has made. The crowd chanted "You Sold Out" at Kane. Kane stood on the ring steps and said he was left in charge for the night. Kane stood on the ring apron and said Orton would face Sheamus, so it was only right that the others competed as well.
Kane booked John Cena vs. Cesaro, and Christian vs. Daniel Bryan. Kane said he would stay at ringside and enjoy the view of the Christian vs. Bryan match... The announcers hyped Mark Henry vs. Roman Reigns, and The Wyatt Family vs. Sin Cara and Los Matadores.
Bryan stood in the ring and motioned for Kane to fight him. Kane teased entering the ring, but Christian attacked Bryan from behind. Christian threw Bryan into the barricade at ringside. Cole pointed out that the match hadn't even started as Christian put the boots to Bryan...
Powell's POV: A good opening segment that put the spotlight on the Elimination Chamber match, and set up some Raw matches in the process. WWE did a good job of establishing several matches that will appear on tonight's show. I wish they would take that approach more often. The Reigns vs. Henry match feels random and deserved more hype, but we'll see how they handle it. The Christian attack on Bryan was a nice and unexpected touch.
[Q2] [C] 1. Daniel Bryan vs. Christian. Cole pointed out that referee Charles Robinson checked with Bryan before the match to make sure he was ready to go. He also said Bryan was essentially fighting with one arm due to Christian's attack. That was the story of the first five minutes of the match, as Christian controlled the offense and shut down Bryan's offense. Bryan hit a suicide dive heading into the break and came up selling the shoulder as Kane watched on. [C]
Powell's POV: The suicide dive was great, as Bryan bounced off Christian and intentionally slammed the shoulder he was selling into the barricade. A really nice touch and very well executed.
Bryan came back with a flip off the ropes and a running clothesline. He followed up with kicks that received Yes! reactions from the crowd and managed to get a two count. The feed cut out momentarily (not sure if it was my system, DirecTV overall, or USA Network in general). Christian cut off a charging Bryan by lifting his boots. Moments later, Christian went for the Killswitch, but Bryan countered by hooking Christian's shoulders with his feet and rolled him up for the win...
Daniel Bryan pinned Christian in 10:50.
[Q3] After the match, Kane congratulated Bryan on the win and said he neglected to inform him that he had one more match. Kane announced that he would be Bryan's opponent. Kane removed his jacket and tie as Bryan confidently nodded in approval. Kane entered the ring and Bryan went after him, but Kane knocked him to ringside. Bryan sold his shoulder again at ringside heading into the break... [C]
Powell's POV: I've really enjoyed the first 30 minutes of the show. Christian vs. Bryan was very good and Bryan did a great job of selling the shoulder throughout. The broadcast team has been engaged and are putting over Bryan's shoulder injury and how it could affect him in the Chamber.
2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane. The match was joined in progress with Kane working over Bryan's bad shoulder. Kane wore his dress pants and shoes and a wife beater t-shirt. JBL put the match over as pay-per-view worthy and must see. Kane suplexed Bryan and covered him for a two. Lawler complained about Kane claiming he forgot to tell Bryan he had another match. The crowd picked up the "You Sold Out" chant at Kane again.
Bryan came back with a missile dropkick, but it didn't take long for Kane to shut him down again. Kane took Bryan to ringside and rammed his shoulder into the barricade again. Kane put Bryan on the ring apron and bent his bad shoulder around the ring post. The referee counted to five and disqualified Kane.
Daniel Bryan beat Kane by DQ in roughly 4:00.
Kane continued to attack Bryan after the bell and ran him into the ring steps. He placed Bryan's arm over the steps and kicked it. Kane grabbed a mic and said, "Yeah, I know I'm disqualified." Kane's music played and he headed to the back while Bryan was left lying...
Powell's POV: Was this was done to take Bryan out of the Chamber match, to explain why he doesn't win the Chamber match, or to set up the big underdog victory in the Chamber? Either way, they ate up 30 minutes of television time with Bryan looking sympathetic and both Christian and Kane looking ruthless.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed The Shield. Dean Ambrose said he's surprised Mark Henry showed up after the beating he gave him last week. Roman Reigns pointed out that Ambrose lost that match. Ambrose asked him if he thinks he can do better. "I know I can," Ambrose said.
Seth Rollins told Young that The Shield is always on the same page. He said they were born and bred for war. Ambrose said The Wyatt Family mind games won't work on them. Reigns said they don't experience fear and they don't back down... The broadcast team hyped The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family for Elimination Chamber... [C]
Powell's POV: The tension between Reigns and Ambrose continues to grow heading into the Chamber, while Rollins seems to be playing the peacekeeper role or at least changes the subject whenever he can. I assume the Reigns vs. Henry match will give viewers a taste before The Wyatt Family cut it off.
[Q4] A graphic noted that when you sign up for WWE Network, you will be able to watch every WrestleMania in history... Cole hyped the launch of WWE Network for 9:00 a.m. (ET) on Monday... Emma made her entrance with Santino Marella and a brief video package of her in NXT was shown...
3. Santino Marella (w/Emma) vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae). Santino pulled out The Cobra early on. Summer stood up on the ring apron, but Emma pulled her down and performed an airplane spin. Santino and Emma nearly kissed, but Fandango kicked Santino before they could. Fandango ended up pinning
Fandango beat Santino Marella in 2:40.
Powell's POV: It was nice to see Fandango use something other than the top rope legdrop as his finisher. I could actually see the fans getting into a buildup for the first kiss between Santino and Emma if that's where it's going. It's not what I want to see, but I could see it catching on. Of course, this is pro wrestling, so the buildup would probably result in Emma turning on Santino.
Mark Henry was walking backstage when Renee Young caught him for an interview. She said Henry nearly became U.S. Champion last week. He said he should have won the title last week, but it's not about titles, winning, or losing this time. Henry said it's about inducting someone into the WWE Hall of Pain... The Shield made their entrance... [C] A graphic was shown for Teddy Roosevelt because it's President's Day in the United States...
4. Mark Henry vs. Roman Reigns (w/Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose). Cole noted that Henry was still wearing a wrap on his arm (selling the Brock Lesnar attack). The first big move of the match was Ambrose performing a Samoan drop on Henry for a two count. Henry came right back with a JYD headbutt and a corner splash. Reigns knocked Henry down and then tagged him with the Superman punch. Reigns went to his corner and speared Henry for the win...
Roman Reigns pinned Mark Henry in 2:50.
After the match, Rollins rushed in to congratulate Reigns, while Ambrose was more deliberate and looked jealous. Ambrose put the boots to Henry. "What are you doing?" Reigns asked him. Reigns and Rollins both smiled and shook their heads. The Wyatt Family sounder played and Bray Wyatt was singing "I've got the joy down in my heart" on the big screen while Luke Harper and Erick Rowan stood by.
[Q5] Wyatt said he felt childlike excitement building up in him as their day of reckoning drew closer. He said their shattered bones will pave the streets of his kingdom. Harper asked if they are willing to die for this. Wyatt said if they are not, they've already lost. Reigns took the mic and said, "How about you come out here and talk that noise?" Wyatt said it's funny he said that because he was thinking the same thing.
The Wyatt Family music played and the fans cheered as the lights were out. The broadcast team spoke of having goosebumps and how incredible the match was going to be as The Wyatt Family made their way to ringside. Wyatt climbed onto the ring apron and his minions joined him.
Wyatt entered the ring while his men remained on the outside. Reigns stepped forward. Rowan and Harper entered the ring, then Ambrose and Rollins stepped forward. The Wyatt Family left the ring and the fans booed. Wyatt said it belongs to him... The broadcast team hyped Cena vs. Cesaro, and Orton vs. Sheamus for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: I was surprised to see Henry lose clean so easily. Granted, I expected Reigns to come out on top of an eventual match, but I didn't think it would be given away on Raw like this. Nevertheless, The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family feels like the hottest thing on the Elimination Chamber card, including the actual Elimination Chamber match.
Cole announced Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback as the Elimination Chamber Kickoff match... Cody Rhodes and Goldust were backstage playing with a WWE Stack Down toy. Bad News Barrett entered the room and kicked the toys over...
Powell's POV: Forget about all of the Daniel Bryan conspiracy theories, how about the way the momentum of Goldust and Cody has been killed. They lose the tag titles to the New Age Outlaws, get their asses kicked by Brock Lesnar, can't win a rematch against the Outlaws despite a moonsault off the top of the cage from Cody, and now they're shown playing with toys backstage. What a shame.
[Q6] 5. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Kofi Kingston. The live crowd humored themselves with what sounded like a JBL chant as Swagger dominated Kingston. Kofi came back with a nice dropkick off the ropes and a fulcrum kick in the corner. Kingston ended up hitting SOS, but Swagger got his foot on the bottom rope. Swagger ended up applying the Patriot Lock for the win...
Jack Swagger beat Kofi Kingston in 4:40.
After the match, Big E made his entrance. Cole said E had a match coming up. E entered the ring, and Swagger ducked out to ringside. Cole questioned whether Swagger and Colter would hang around for E's match... [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned whether The Viper would strike back after the grueling gauntlet...
Powell's POV: I was surprised to see Kingston get a near fall when Swagger needed a credibility boost heading into his Intercontinental Title match. Here's hoping there's some type of an angle coming up after the break.
6. Intercontinental Champion Big E vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal in a handicap match. Swagger and Colter remained at ringside. Zeb had a mic in hand and mocked E. He questioned whether his name stands for Big Embarrassment, then scored cheap heat by saying Swagger would beat him like the Seahawks beat the Broncos.
E performed back breakers on Mahal, but McIntyre blasted him with a big kick to the face. Langston came up bleeding from the mouth (presumably from the kick). Langston pushed McIntyre to the floor, and ended up hitting both men in the ring with belly-to-belly suplexes. E splashed both opponents.
E eventually performed a suplex on Mahal, who caught McIntyre with his boots on the way down. E hit The Big Ending on both men and pinned McIntyre. Afterward, E said he hopes they make diapers in Zeb's size because after Sunday his mouth won't be the only thing full of crap...
Big E defeated Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal in a handicap match in 4:15.
Powell's POV: A bad segment. Zeb had to ask the crowd if they thought E could beat Swagger a few times. His lines before that were falling flat. Meanwhile, E was cut, and he nearly dropped the 3MB members on top of one another with the belly-to-belly spot. The match was a mess and failed to generate any more interest in the IC Title match for this viewer.
An Alexander Rusev and Lana backstage promo vignette was shown... Lawler hyped the six-man tag...
[Q7] [C] The Black History Month video package focussed on Ron Simmons... An Elimination Chamber video aired... Backstage, Renee Young interviewed John Cena, who once again said the young stars who think they have what it takes must go through him to prove it, starting with Cesaro... John Cena made his entrance for his match against Cesaro... [C]
Highlights aired from Smackdown of Cesaro pinning Randy Orton... Cole hyped Steve Austin's interview with John Cena for Tuesday's podcast...
Powell's POV: Austin interviewing Cena will definitely be a must listen interview. The timing of this match couldn't be worse after the Swagger vs. Kingston segment. The Real Americans theme is tired and I didn't need to see Colter or Swagger again tonight let alone this soon.
[Q8] 7. John Cena vs. Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter, Jack Swagger). Cena got off to the fast start, leading to Cesaro huddling with his men at ringside. Later, Cesaro performed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two count. Cesaro controlled the offense and got multiple two counts, though none were particularly dramatic. Cena came back with a cool neckbreaker for a two count. Cesaro regained control heading into the break. [C]
Cesaro was back on the offensive after the break and put Cena in a sleeper hold. Cena performed two shoulder blocks, but Cesaro set him up for the Swing. However, Cena countered into the STF, but Cesaro countered that and delivered a gut-wrench suplex for a two count. Cena returned fire and received plenty of boos from the adult males as he set up for and then performed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cesaro caught Cena with the big uppercut at 14:15.
[Q9] Some fans were chanting "This is awesome" as Cole reset the show at the top of the hour. Cesaro went for the Swing again, but Cena sat up in a really cool move and delivered a DDT. Later, Cesaro stood on the ropes and pulled Cena off the ring apron and into a second rope superplex for a two count. Another cool spot that the announcers put over huge.
Cena came back with the STF. Cesaro reached for the ropes, but Cena released the hold to drag him back. Cesaro performed the Cesaro Swing and the crowd chanted along with each rotation at 17:55. Cesaro covered Cena for a good near fall. A much louder "This is awesome" chant started. Cesaro went for The Neutralizer, but Cena avoided it and went for the AA, but Cesaro dodged that and caught Cena with a big boot. Cena came right back with a big clothesline. Cena then powered Cesaro up for the AA and scored the pin... [C]
John Cena defeated Cesaro in 19:00.
Powell's POV: A damn good match with some great and even unexpected counter moves. They worked really hard and the crowd was appreciative. Cole told the story that Cena is not ready to pass the torch, then said there's no way to predict who will win the Elimination Chamber match. The announcers have been much more engaged tonight and are helping sell the Chamber match that needed all the help it could get coming into this show.
An Abe Lincoln graphic and quote were shown... Backstage, Randy Orton told Triple H that he appreciates everything he and Stephanie have done. Hunter said that's great. He was beginning to think that the pressure was getting to him, but now he sees Orton is making an effort now. Orton said his head wasn't right, but he's going to make up for it at the Chamber.
Orton spoke about how he and Hunter go back to Evolution, then started taking jabs about Batista being a bad face of WWE. Batista stood behind Orton. When Orton turned around, Batista told him that he's not the face of WWE, he's the ass. Orton walked off, then Alberto Del Rio showed up wearing a neck brace. He said he's not an animal, he's a man, and he will make Batista pay for it on Sunday. Del Rio said he's going to rip Batista's arms off before his WrestleMania match. Batista shoved Del Rio into some equipment...
Renee Young announced Darren Young vs. Titus O'Neil for the pay-per-view. Footage was shown of their latest angle from Smackdown.
[Q10] On the interview set, Titus showed up and said you spell champion T-I-T-U-S. He said Young was dead weight and he's going to get mowed over. He got fired up as he said Young would have to sit back and watch the rise of Titus O'Neil... Los Matadores and El Torito made their entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: Batista beat up Del Rio again and now ADR has a neck brace. Gee, I'm really sold on their pay-per-view match. Ugh. Meanwhile, has the Raw audience even seen Darren Young in person on Raw since the Prime Time Players broke up.
8. The Wyatt Family vs. Sin Cara and Los Matadores (w/El Torito). Sin Cara got a bit of offense on Luke Harper, but the bulk of the match was dominated by the Wyatt Family. Bray Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Sin Cara for the win...
The Wyatt Family defeated Sin Cara and Los Matadores in 5:45.
A WWE Network ad hyped the launch for next Monday. It hyped that every pay-per-view event is included, including WrestleMania, and the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. It also mentioned every WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view, as well as the original programming... [C]
Powell's POV: This was actually a Main Event television show match last week. The live crowd was understandably flat considering they had no reason to take the babyface trio seriously.
[Q11] A graphic hyped that every WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view will be available when the WWE Network launches... The New Age Outlaws did their entrance routine...
9. Bill Gunn (w/Road Dogg) vs. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso). Dogg and Jimmy actually sat in on commentary instead of staying in their respective corners. Gunn controlled the bulk of the match, but Jey avoided the Fameasser and rolled him up for the win. Jimmy caught Dogg with a superkick afterward...
Jey Uso defeated Billy Gunn in 3:20.
Powell's POV: A flat match with decent heel work from Road Dogg on commentary. It sounded like a C.M. Punk chant was starting up late in the match. I wonder if that's what the fans were chanting earlier when I thought I heard a JBL chant.
Backstage, Byron Saxton interviewed Sheamus about his match against Randy Orton. Sheamus said the reward is worth the sacrifice in Elimination Chamber. He said he can taste the main event of WrestleMania 30... [C]
[Q12] An FDR graphic and quote were shown... Footage aired of Sheamus catching tag partner Christian with a Brogue Kick on Smackdown... Sheamus vs. Christian was announced for Smackdown... Randy Orton made his entrance, and Sheamus's followed. Cole stressed that Orton is 0-5 in Elimination Chamber matches...
10. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Sheamus in a non-title match. An adult male led Punk chant started and quickly faded as the match started. Orton sold and dodged Sheamus early, then ran Sheamus's shoulder into the ring post heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Orton put Sheamus through the announce table with a back drop. It was pretty routine, but that didn't stop the "holy shit" chant from starting. Back inside the ring, Orton hit a power slam for a two count. Orton followed up with a hanging DDT attempt, but Sheamus dodged it and slammed ten forearm shots into Orton's chest.
At 14:00, Orton performed the hanging DDT and set up for his finisher, but Sheamus hit him with a pair of Irish Curse backbreakers. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick, but The Shield hit the ring and attacked Sheamus. Cole questioned why. Cena ran out to help, then Daniel Bryan ran out with his shoulder wrapped to help.
Sheamus defeated Randy Orton by an apparent DQ in 15:10.
The lights went out after the Wyatt Family sounder. When the lights came on, The Shield and The Wyatts were facing one another and they ended up trading punches to a big pop. The brawl continued with those trios and the Elimination Chamber entrants as the show went off the air...
Powell's POV: The show started off strong with good Elimination Chamber match hype and the Daniel Bryan matches. Things really faded from there with a couple of exceptions, most notably the excellent John Cena vs. Cesaro match. WWE did a much better job of selling the Elimination Chamber match, but it may have been too little, too late.
I was surprised to see them go with Orton vs. Sheamus in the main event simply because they haven't done a good enough job of reestablishing Sheamus since he returned. I guess this was their attempt to do just that and the match was pretty good, but the crowd was quiet for most of it. The big brawl at the end of the show was well done and succeeded in terms of leaving me wanting to see more. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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