Monday Night Raw – January 20, 2014: Just Get To The Rumble Already

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 20, 2014
Location: Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler

In case you haven’t watched WWE in the last month and a half or so, Batista is making his return tonight after a nearly four year absence. It’s also the go home show for the Royal Rumble which is starting to take shape. Coming out of last week the big story is Daniel Bryan turning face again, but unfortunately he suffered a concussion last week and is likely out of the show this Sunday. Let’s get to it.

We open with a tribute to Martin Luther King and various other African American pioneers such as Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Barack Obama. Vince always does something for this holiday.

The Authority is in the ring to open the show and both hype up the Rumble on Sunday. HHH introduces Batista but Orton comes out instead. He wants to know who the Authority thinks they are but Stephanie asks Orton who he thinks he is. Stephanie turns this into an ad for the WWE Network before showing us footage from last week with Kofi Kingston pinning Orton, causing Randy to attack John Cena’s dad at ringside.

Stephanie rips him apart for the attack and threatens to fire Orton if it happens again. Randy blames it on the Authority for making his life difficult. Orton says there wouldn’t be a WWE Network without him and says he wouldn’t change a thing if he could. HHH cuts him off and gives Orton a big pep talk, saying Orton can take care of Cena, Lesnar and Batista and he doesn’t have to attack old men. Randy needs to be a man and fix whatever is broken inside him. He’ll get the chance to do that tonight by facing Kofi Kingston in a rematch. After that, he gets to face Cena in this ring tonight for an apology, all alone.

Now that HHH is done making the WWE Champion look like a five year old, here’s Batista’s big return. Batista bows to the fans and hugs HHH before slowly looking at Randy. Orton sticks out his hand but Batista says hello instead. He understands Orton has some questions about his return. Batista is back for the World Title and to headline Wrestlemania, so deal with it. Batista looks decent though not as good as he did back when he was full time (understandable) and got a good reaction so thumbs up on the return. He seems to be a face as well.

Shield vs. Big E. Langston/Cody Rhodes/Goldust

Cody and Goldust will be defending the titles against the New Age Outlaws on the Kickoff show this Sunday. Langston runs over Ambrose to start before it’s off to Goldust who cleans house on Rollins. An atomic drop and kick to the side of the head get two on Rollins and it’s off to Cody for a delayed front suplex. We hit the armbar for a bit before Rollins bails to the floor, only to have Cody hit a nice dive. A standoff takes us to a break.

Back with Rollins holding Cody in a chinlock before handing it back to Rollins who pounds away in the corner. Reigns comes back in and knocks Goldust off the apron but walks into a Disaster Kick to give Cody the breather he’s been needing. The hot tag brings in Langston who suplexes Ambrose in half and clotheslines Reigns to the floor.

Big E. runs Dean over but Rollins breaks up the Big Ending. An overhead belly to belly sends Dean flying and there’s the Warrior Splash for two. The Superman Punch knocks the Disaster Kick out of the air and there’s a spear to Goldust. Langston runs Reigns over but

gets caught by the Blackout from Rollins for the pin at 10:40.

Rating: C+. This didn’t have the time that most Shield matches need to work and I’m not wild on Langston getting pinned. That’s the problem with having all champions on a team: if they’re going to lose, a champion is going down and that’s not a good thing. Not a bad match here but nothing we haven’t seen before.

We look at Bryan turning on Wyatt last week.

Here’s Bryan to a jobber’s entrance of all things to a BIG YES chant. “And some people say I shouldn’t be the face of this company!” People have been asking if he had a plan when he joined the Wyatts. He isn’t proud of what he had to do to take down Bray Wyatt, including being indoctrinated, keeping some of the people he cares about in the dark, and standing next to three men he despises. Last week he got exactly what he wanted though: to expose Bray Wyatt. On top of that, it’s Bryan vs. Wyatt at the Rumble.

Cue Bryan to the screen to say that where he comes from, being a traitor is an offense punishable by death. The people cheered for him because they chose to kneel before him. Daniel needs to go home and tell his loved ones that he cares for them….and that’s it. Presumably because of what will happen to him on Sunday?

Xavier Woods vs. Fandango

R-Truth is on commentary and keeps referring to Cole as Mike Stone. They slug it out for a few seconds before Fandango hits a quick suplex and the guillotine legdrop for the pin at 1:08. Was there a point to this?

Emma is in the crowd again.

Brad Maddox and Kane are in the back talking about Batista when Stephanie comes in to yell at Kane for attacking Punk. I’m getting REALLY tired of the Authority getting to look like the paragons of virtue all the time and NEVER looking bad at all. It’s the basic “you can’t do that anymore” speech and Kane has to apologize to Punk.

After a break, here’s Kane for the apology. We look at Kane chokeslamming Punk on Smackdown before both guys come out. Kane angrily apologizes, even though he saved Punk from a 5-1 beatdown. Punk makes him apologize twice before jumping him and knocking Kane out to the floor. Brad Maddox comes out and makes Punk vs. Billy Gunn to let Punk get out some of his aggression.

Billy Gunn vs. CM Punk

Road Dogg is on commentary and says the Outlaws turned on Punk for the publicity which has gotten them a Tag Team Title shot. Punk sends Billy to the floor and into the apron but stops to yell at Roadie. Billy gets in a cheap shot and we take a break. Back with Punk putting on a sleeper but getting suplexed down and put in a chinlock. Billy slams Punk down and finally takes his shirt off, only to be knocked to the floor again.

Punk loads up a suicide dive but instead goes to the floor to beat up Road Dogg. The knee in the corner looks to set up Punk’s bulldog but a Dogg distraction lets Billy hit a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Punk comes right back and loads up the Macho Elbow but Dogg pulls Gunn to the floor. Not that it matters as the GTS connects for the pin on Billy a few seconds later for the pin at 8:57.

Rating: C. I’m not a big Billy Gunn fan but this worked well enough. There was no way you put either Outlaw over Punk and having them double team him was the only way to make the match even the slightest bit competitive. This was more about advancing the Punk vs. Authority story and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Post match Kane makes Punk #1 in the Rumble.

Lesnar and Heyman arrive.

Time for Rumble By The Numbers. I love this.

208,993lbs in the history of the Rumble, or 4 semi trucks or 492 Big Shows

25 countries that have had entrants

39 Hall of Famers

3 wins for Steve Austin, a record

9 who have won their first Rumble

25 years of age when Brock won, a record

30, which has produced the same number of winners as #1

62% of the winners in the past decade have won the world title at Wrestlemania

Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio

Because this needed a rubber match. Feeling out process to start until Del Rio takes him down and gets two off a kick to the head. Rey comes back with a low dropkick for two of his own and a kick to the chest sends Del Rio outside. An Asai Moonsault connects but Rey might have hurt himself. Back in and Rey hits a baseball slide between Del Rio’s legs, only to have Alberto come back with a stomp to the face to take over. A top rope ax handle sets up the chinlock, followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two on Rey. Mysterio is sent to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Del Rio sending Rey into the corner before putting him in the Tree of Woe and going for the mask. Mysterio gets to the floor and walks up the ramp a bit to fix the mask. Rey has his back bent around the post before being sent shoulder first into the buckle. He’s able to avoid a charge, sending Albeto shoulder first into the post. A flying shoulder puts Del Rio down but it hurts Rey’s arm again.

Rey’s seated senton and a kick to the head get two but the 619 is caught. Del Rio gets two off the low superkick as this just keeps going. The cross armbreaker is countered into the 619 followed by the top rope splash but Del Rio grabs the ropes. The armbreaker goes on for the submission from Rey at 14:52.

Rating: C-. The match was fine from a technical standpoint by OH MY GOODNESS I did not care. Above all else, the biggest problem here was there’s no reason for these guys to be fighting. Why are they having this match? Because they had two last week. Why did they have two last week? No reason at all. That’s not interesting television and the fans didn’t care either.

Post match Batista comes out and destroys Del Rio with the spinebuster and Batista Bomb.

Here’s Big Show who does a pretty funny imitation of Heyman hyping up Brock. Lesnar may be a very dangerous man, but Big Show still doesn’t like him. Show calls out Brock for a showdown and gets his wish. Brock comes to the ring but walks to the back instead of getting inside. Show calls Brock out again and gets Lesnar a second time.

Brock actually gets in the ring this time but is thrown to the floor. Lesnar goes on a rampage and destroys the announce table before blasting it with a chair. Heyman tries to distract show so Brock can bring in a chair but Big Show steps on it and takes it away. Lesnar and Heyman slowly leave. Not a bad segment but it’s still Big Show getitng the match with Lesnar on Sunday.

AJ had a party earlier tonight to celebrate being the longest reigning Divas Champion ever. Bad News Barrett showed up and told her no one liked her, sending AJ into a fit. Tamina took some cake to the face.

Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee/Tamina Snuka

Tamina runs over Cameron to start before it’s off to AJ for a chinlock. Cameron gets a boot up in the corner and makes a tag to Naomi for some athletic but sloppy offense. Tamina comes right back with a bot to the face and brings in AJ, only to have her walk into a rollup from Naomi for the pin at 2:21.

We recap the opening segment.

Rumble by the Numbers Part 2!

753 entrants who haven’t won

39 eliminations by Shawn Michaels, a record

37 eliminations by Kane, second place

11 eliminations by Kane in 2001, a record

455,107 fans that have seen the Royal Rumble over the years

62:12 that Rey Mysterio spent in the 2006 Rumble to set the record

:01 that Santino spent in the Rumble in 2009

We run down the Rumble card.

Video on Martin Luther King.

Usos vs. Wyatt Family

Harper runs over Jimmy to start before being sent to the floor for a clothesline off the apron from Jey. Rowan comes in to choke away a lot as the Wyatts take over. Back to Harper for more brawling offense before Rowan comes in to keep up the fast tags. Jimmy is shoved off the top rope and into the barricade as we take a break.

Back with Harper holding Jimmy in a headlock as Bray grabs a mic and talks about the punishment that Daniel Bryan will be experiencing. This is nothing compared to the torment that awaits him at the Rumble. Jimmy finally gets away and makes the hot tag to Jey who cleans house on the monsters. The running Umaga attack has Harper in trouble and Jimmy hits the big plancha to Rowan. Harper comes back with a Michinoku Driver for two on Jimmy as Bray is ticked off. Cue Bryan to jump Bray and kick Rowan in the head. The distraction lets Jimmy roll up Harper for the pin at 12:35.

Rating: C-. The match was decent enough but good freaking night I am sick of these meaningless tag matches. The Usos, the Wyatts and the Real Americans have been trading wins back and forth for months now and none of them have gotten the slightest bit of advancement out of it at all. We’ve seen these same matches time after time and no one gets anywhere off of it. That’s why these tag team renaissances never get off the ground. Well that and the tag champions always wind up being stuck in the main event story where the titles aren’t used.

Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston

Orton starts fast but keeps looking back at the ramp for Cena. Kofi gets in some shots of his own but Randy throws him to the floor and into the barricade to stop the comeback cold. Kingston is knocked down again and Orton does the You Can’t See Me. A backslide and the SOS both get two on Orton and Cena is shown arriving at the arena at 10:59 PM. Kofi grabs Orton’s leg but here’s Cena in the arena, sending Orton running. Randy gets caught between both guys and Cena goes off on him for the DQ at 5:05.

Rating: D+. This was just about waiting for the Cena run-in so I won’t even bother commenting on it.

Cena beats Orton into the crowd but Randy escapes an AA attempt. They fight up the steps and into a suite where Orton escapes to the street outside. Orton gets into a waiting car to escape. Cena comes back inside and goes into the arena for posing, replays and high fives to end the show. It was kind of awkward as he just walked down the steps for about three minutes with nothing significant happening.

Overall Rating: C-. I care about the Rumble a bit more so they did their job on that front, but the show was still dull with no matches standing out and a lot of them feeling like time was being killed until we got to the big stuff at the end. Just nothing to see here though there are some seeds planted for post Rumble time which gives me hope for the future.

Results

Shield b. Cody Rhodes/Goldust/Big E. Langston – Blackout to Langston

Fandango b. Xavier Woods – Guillotine legdrop

CM Punk b. Billy Gunn – GTS

Alberto Del Rio b. Rey Mysteiro – Cross armbreaker

Funkadactyls b. AJ Lee/Tamina Snuka – Small package to AJ

Usos b. Wyatt Family – Rollup to Harper

Randy Orton b. Kofi Kingston via DQ when John Cena interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of Summerslam at Amazon for just $4 at:

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15 comments

  1. SamualDude says:

    Do you reckon that Bryan will be in the Rumble? It seems like a bit of a waste to not put him in there especially when he is a good candidate to win.

  2. Steve says:

    3 things about tonight’s show

    1.) How have they screwed up Brock Lesnar this bad. IMO this is almost at Invasion level screw ups.
    2.) Batista needs to stop skipping leg day, or stop wearing skinny jeans.
    3.) Was anyone else hoping that Del Rio would shoot on Batista and beat the shit out of him?

    Jay H. (the real one) Reply:

    What would Del Rio shooting on Batista accomplish?

    Steve Reply:

    Not much storyline wise but I’m not the biggest fan of Batista and I kinda liked ADR’s attitude in those tweets. I would just like to see Batista legit get his ass beat. Maybe that would change his holier than thou attitude.

    Steve Reply:

    I was thinking something kind of like when that Tough Enough guy shot on Kurt Angle.

    Someone Reply:

    #2 right in Steve, he looks to be in good shape but those skinny jeans just looked weird as hell on him.

  3. Ted says:

    Glad to hear that Bryan is good to go again in time for the rumble.

  4. Conor says:

    Is the fact that someone was waiting to drive Orton going to be a thing or will it just not be mentioned? The commentators kinda suggested that it might be significant for a second.

  5. M.R. says:

    Cole is absolutely dreadful at showing any signs of excitement.

    I’ve always liked arrival shots for some reason.

    Pretty sure going outside was just an excuse to show off Cena’s new gear glows in the dark.

    Brock scares me.

    When do the Authority get theirs? Are they even heel anymore?

    Jay H. (the real one) Reply:

    Still better than Mike Tenay. Cole at least tries and doesn’t mail it in.

    Decent Show tonight,Batista looked good and I was glad Daniel Bryan was cleared to compete again. I have to think he is winning the Rumble on Sunday.

    M.R. Reply:

    Cole doesn’t mail it in? That gave me a good chuckle.

    Civil Defence Reply:

    The problem The Authority have with being heel is HHH – he seems to think that he should be getting booed and cheered all the time.

    Really though, what is the point of all this ‘we chose you, randy – now prove your worth’ garbage? Didn’t he do that already by beating Big Show and John Cena? Why do they keep making him prove it? And why should he have to if they chose him? If I was boss and made someone champion I’d just have him walk around with the belt looking cool and telling the other wrestlers they aren’t good enough to get a title shot

  6. M.R. says:

    Who can afford a loss in the Wyatt/Bryan matchup? I’m hoping for a DQ finish, neither should be losing clean at the moment.

  7. Rocko says:

    Billy Gunn is 50. Just thought I would pass that along.

  8. Harry F. says:

    Seeing as both Bryan and Wyatt shouldn’t be losing clean at the Rumble how about this:

    Non-finish in their match due to interference from Harper and Rowan. The Wyatt Family beat down Bryan so bad he needs to be helped from the back.

    The Wyatt Family can then enter the rumble, team up work together, until Bryan makes his heroic recovery from injury to enter the rumble and eliminate them. Then Bryan can either go on to win or have the injury as a reason for being eliminated, and The Wyatt Family can look dominant in the rumble for a while.