Monday Night Raw – January 12, 2015: I Saw The Future

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 12, 2015
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Booker T., John Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole

We’re back in the same building as the excellent post Wrestlemania Raw and the big story is what happens to the three guys (Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan) who were fired last week. The Authority is running roughshod on the company all over again and the question is will Cena be able to focus on his war against the team and get the title back from Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the Authority’s return to Raw last week (after being on the show the previous week) and firing Erick Rowan, Dolph Ziggler and Ryback to end the show, followed by a major celebration for John Cena.

Here’s Cena to open the show. He doesn’t seem all that upset after costing three people their jobs last week. Cena talks about how New Orleans is about having a good time, even though the Authority is back in power. He can’t believe he works for two people who got their jobs back because their whipping boy held a Hall of Famer hostage and made Cena gamble with his health. That’s the same decision he would make every time though because it’s the right thing.

HHH is a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best of all time but he’s only going to be remembered as a slimy villain who wants to make us all miserable. Last week the Authority fired three men so Cena has to appeal to the audience. Did any of them deserve to be fired? Do the fans want to see them back tonight? Cena asks us to to go on social media and use the hashtag Authoritysucks to voice their opinions.

However, Cena has a backup plan: win the WWE World Heavyweight Title at the Royal Rumble. As soon as he can say THE CHAMP IS HERE, is the very moment that he can say you can’t see me. He’ll win the championship and go home until those three guys are rehired, or else this show’s most coveted prize is going away and won’t be at Wrestlemania.

This brings out the Authority with smirks on their faces. Stephanie laughs off the Authoritysucks bit and says the three guys will be thrilled to see Cena win the title and walk away. HHH expected more than seeing Cena take his ball and go home. He recaps Survivor Series again and talks about how the Authority was gone, but now they’ve found a way back in. A hero wouldn’t turn his back on WWE, but the Authority is going to give Cena another chance.

HHH polls the audience about bringing the three guys back and, upon hearing an affirmative reply, asks Cena how much he wants those three back. All Cena has to do to get their jobs back is win his match tonight. Cena asks how many guys he’s up against tonight but HHH says it’s nothing that complicated. It’s a one on one match with Seth Rollins but they’re going to make it a lumberjack match to keep things fair. Here come the lumberjacks because the match starts right now.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

We have Big Show, Kane, Cesaro and pretty much every other heel on the roster as lumberjacks. Rollins stomps him down to start and throws Cena to the floor for the traditional beating. A clothesline puts Rollins on the floor and he isn’t touched as we go to a break. Exactly as you would expect so far, meaning it’s time to crank it up in a few minutes when the NCAA National Championship game starts.

Back with Cena in trouble after Barrett tripped him during the break. Booker is calling this whole situation unfair as he’s the good guy commentator. The ProtoBomb sets up the Shuffle and the AA but the Stooges get on the apron, allowing Rollins to get outside. Cena dives onto the pile of lumberjacks and Fandango is holding his knee. I’ll let you make your own dancing jokes. Back in and Cena covers for two, only to eat the low superkick for the same. Seth goes up top and counters a superplex attempt into an across the ring buckle bomb for two. That kind of power out of Rollins always surprises me.

Cena tries a pop up powerbomb but doesn’t get under Rollins enough, making it look more like a spinebuster. Seth flips out of the AA and hits a standing Sliced Bread #2 for another near fall. There’s another AA but the lumberjacks (including Fandango who seems to be fine) pull Cena to the floor for a beating, including the Cesaro Swing into the barricade. Back in and the Curb Stomp is countered into the STF but Kane pulls Rollins’ arm towards the ropes. It turns into a tug of war over Rollins but Big Show pulls Cena to the floor for the KO Punch, giving Rollins the pin at 13:50.

Rating: B. This worked well but I’m really tired of seeing these two fight. In the span of less than a month, they’ve now had a regular match, a tables match, a cage match and a lumberjack match. That should be at least four months worth of matches but we’re getting it in four weeks. They’ve done the same thing with Ambrose vs. Wyatt and it’s having the same result: it’s really hard to care about what we’re seeing because they just had another big match a week or so ago.

The Usos are in Stephanie’s office when Dean Ambrose comes in. All three of them had some negative things to say on Smackdown about the firings. That’s fine and there are no firings. The Usos go to leave, but Stephanie stops them and asks Jimmy to tell Naomi that she’s competing with one arm behind her back tonight. As for Dean, he checked himself out of the hospital last week so he might be a danger to himself. Therefore, tonight he has to pass a psychiatric evaluation or he’s out of the Rumble. This has some potential if they do it right.

Miz talks about his close friend George Clooney winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award last night at the Golden Globes. Keep it up and he’ll win a Slammy.

It’s already time for the evaluation. Dean thinks he’s here because he’s been a “bad widdle boy.” Ambrose is freaked out by the doctor’s ticking clock and we go to a break. I love watching Dean be one step off and being all twitchy. It makes him seem like a more well rounded character instead of someone who was created in a board room to make sure he’s the best corporate character they can put together.

New Day vs. Cesaro/Tyson Kidd

It’s Kofi and Woods in action here with Big E. and Adam Rose on the floor. Cesaro and Kidd attacked Big E. last week because New Day is just too positive all the time. So they’re just curmudgeons? I approve of this gimmick. Kofi starts with Cesaro but Kidd gets a blind tag and kicks Kofi in the chest.

Cesaro stomps away and swings Kofi into the dropkick for two. Back up and Kofi kicks everyone down to the floor before diving over to Woods for the hot tag. The Honor Roll (flipping clothesline) drops Kidd and Cesaro gets low bridged to the floor. Rose gets on the apron but his distraction doesn’t work, allowing Woods to plant him with a backbreaker, followed by a top rope double stomp from Kofi for the pin at 3:48.

Rating: D+. Not much to see here and I’m liking the fact that New Day keeps winning, as long as their first loss isn’t something totally meaningless that ends with “oh, they lost.” Speaking of losing, it’s very frustrating to see Cesaro and Kidd put together for a team, just to see them job every time. Have they actually won a match yet?

We get a barrage of wrestlers doing their best OH YEAH in honor of Randy Savage being “expected” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight. Above all else, I want Xavier Woods’ NES controller hat.

The Indianapolis Colts celebrates their win yesterday like Ric Flair.

Here’s Big Show for a chat. Whoever said that all men are created equal was obviously not a giant. Most of you were probably scared on your first day of work. On his first day, he beat Hulk Hogan for the World Title. The fans chant boring but Big Show laughs them off and calls everyone losers. Competition is supposed to be good for America, but no one wants competition at work. Everyone here would stab someone in the back for job security, just like he did to Cena.

That brings him to Roman Reigns, who he doesn’t see as competition. He sees Reigns like the New York Knicks, currently on a 15 game losing streak. Show is going to knock him into the front row next to Spike Lee (longtime Knicks fan) and make him a loser. Therefore, if you like Roman Reigns, you’re a loser as well.

Cue Reigns for the big brawl but Show walks out. Reigns thought he wasn’t a threat so why is Show leaving? Roman says he doesn’t want Show’s spot, but he does remember that first title win over Hogan. He was twelve years old or so and that makes him think of a story. A long time ago in a land far away, there was a little boy named Roman Reigns. It’s the story of Jack and the Beanstalk but Roman hit the giant in the mouth. The giant ran away, and that’s why Big Show is the loser.

Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper

This has potential. Harper hammers away in the corner to start but Reigns knocks him to the floor as we take a break less than a minute in. Back with Reigns hitting a knee lift and raking Harper’s face across the rope. Three straight suplex attempts are blocked and Roman counters into a kind of Jackhammer. Someone really should use that as their finisher again. Harper dropkicks him out to the floor and sends Reigns hard into the steps. Back in and Harper busts out a freaking slingshot hilo for two. That’s not something a guy his size should be able to do.

Reigns comes back with a neckbreaker but Harper rips the face to break up the Samoan drop. Luke’s powerbomb is countered into something like the ProtoBomb. The Superman Punch is loaded up but Big Show throws a chair at Reigns. Naturally, that isn’t a DQ because wrestling rules as made up depending on the situation. A Boss Man Slam gets two for Harper but he turns into the Superman Punch. Show interferes again and Harper nails a superkick for two. The discus lariat misses though and a spear puts Harper away at 10:46.

Rating: B-. Luke Harper is a freaking STAR. He wrestles like someone Shawn Michaels’ size but has the look and size of a monster. Why aren’t we gearing up for a showdown between Harper and Reigns with Big Show being the cannon fodder? For reasons I will never understand, it looks like we’re not getting Show vs. Reigns (well, the blowoff at least as we’ve seen them fight twice already) until Fast Lane. That’s our reward for sticking with this show.

We recap the lumberjack match.

Miz talks about Boyhood winning Best Picture at the Golden Globes. It was filmed over several years with the same actors. Mizdow has been doing the same thing at Miz’s house, allowing him to film a movie called Manhood. Both guys shudder a bit.

Naomi vs. Alicia Fox

Naomi has one arm behind her back. Fox makes fun of her by trying a test of strength before getting two off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. She cranks on the good arm until Naomi takes her to the floor for some rams into the apron. Back in and the ax kick gives Fox the pin at 2:37. This would be the match where you’re hit over the head with how mean the Authority is because you’re not smart enough to understand a concept without it being shown to you over and over.

Back to the evaluation, where Dean is going to look at pictures and saying the first word that comes to his mind. “THURSDAY!”

HHH – Irritable bowel syndrome

Rollins – Scumbag

Reigns – Brotha

Kane – Toothpaste

Duggan – HO!

Stephanie – HO!

Minor note here: Ambrose was bouncing up and down during the interview. It’s the little stuff like that which takes people to a new level. Instead of just sitting there waiting for his line, he’s actually doing something and staying in character. It feels so much more natural than the stiff and scripted stuff we usually get.

Here are Lesnar and Heyman for the first time in a few weeks. Heyman talks about being in New Orleans several months back, where we witnessed the Streak dying. Lesnar isn’t one to live in the past, but if he was, he would list off all of his accomplishments. No man has ever been NCAA, UFC and WWE Champion, but one beast has. Heyman however loves to live in the past and runs down the fans for being crushed when the Streak ended.

On the other hand, you have this fantasy in WWE of “then, now and forever.” The fantasy was the Streak running forever or that the Ce-Nation will rise above Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Now the idea is that Rollins is the future of the WWE, but tonight Lesnar will see both challengers face to face.

More people give us their OH YEAHS with Miz knocking it out of the park and Nikki trying to make it sexy.

Jey Uso vs. Miz

Miz hits his running clothesline in the corner to start but jumps into a shot to the ribs. Jey loads up a slam and Mizdow comes in to slam himself off the top. The partners get involved in a tug of war, allowing Miz to grab a quick Skull Crushing Finale for the pin at 2:09. This feud needs to end like a month ago.

Here’s Daniel Bryan in the city where he won the World Title at Wrestlemania XXX. Bryan thinks something big happened here the last time he was in New Orleans. It slowly starts coming back to him that he won the main event of Wrestlemania XXX, which isn’t bad for a lumberjack looking B+ player. Since this is the city of his greatest accomplishment, he should declare his intention to do it all over again and win the main event of Wrestlemania XXXI.

This brings out Stephanie with a copy of her fitness DVD for Bryan, complete with a mini commercial. Bryan isn’t interested so Stephanie talks about making history at Wrestlemania XXX a couple of miles from here (the buildings are actually adjacent), but this is what she remembers. We see a clip of Kane tombstoning Bryan on the floor, steps and table. Stephanie says an A+ player not only wins the big one but stays on top.

She isn’t sure if he’s ready to do this again, but YES of course he is. Bryan: “Go ahead and raise your arms. I bet it’s a better workout than you get on that DVD. HO!” He’s an average Joe who will never stop fighting. They will never stop fighting. We will never stop fighting and go through Wrestlemania XXXI until they prove the Authority wrong again. Stephanie says Bryan’s first match back will be on Smackdown (this was already announced) against Kane. The monster comes out and the fight is on, but Bryan fights out of a tombstone on the steps and hammers away on Kane. He even busts out the Flying Goat.

Rollins is in the back when Lesnar comes up to mock the idea of Rollins winning the title. Seth stares him down and says he’s the future, but Lesnar says the future starts when he says it does. Heyman thinks maybe they can get rid of Cena together and then the best man wins. He looks very nervous about Rollins, who has stared Lesnar down the entire time. For the first time, I saw that real star power in Rollins from this one exchange. Simple but perfect.

Brie Bella vs. Paige

Natalya, Kidd and Nikki are at ringside. Paige goes right at her to start but gets sent into the buckle, allowing Brie to hit the middle rope dropkick. Paige fights out of a chinock but Kidd gets on the apron for a distraction, allowing Brie to roll her up for the pin at 2:10.

After the match, Paige slaps Kidd and Natalya doesn’t seem to mind. I love Paige, but I fully support anyone wearing a cat shirt.

We look back at last week’s ambulance match.

Bray Wyatt says thirty souls enter the Royal Rumble and 29 will have to realize that they’re not in Wonerland any longer. Some will laugh, some will cry but some will sit in silence at how Bray changes the world. No one on earth will be immune to his wrath. Run.

We finally have it confirmed: Randy Savage is the first entrant of the Hall of Fame Class of 2015. He will be inducted by Hulk Hogan.

Ascension vs. ???/???

Konor takes #1 into the corner to start as JBL is ripping on the jobbers again. Booker and Cole are a bit nicer and say they have to fight whoever they’re put up against and that they’ve won every match they’ve had so far. Fall of Man ends #2 at 1:20.

Ambrose is now counciling the doctor and gets his approval on the papers to stay in the Rumble. As soon as the papers are signed and the doctor is still crying, Ambrose calls him a spineless, gutless pile of cow waste. This really could have been a better comedy idea but it wasn’t bad.

Here are Lana and Rusev to thank the Authority for firing Ryback before the showdown tonight. They also thank Cena for failing to save his friends like any American would. Maybe Ryback can get a job in a deli like he had in that stupid story a few weeks back. Rusev calls Ryback lucky for being fired and because the super American John Cena couldn’t get his job back. He was going to throw Ryback and twenty eight other men out of the Rumble, so here’s Ambrose to easily knock him to the floor.

Rusev vs. Dean Ambrose

Joined in progress after a break with Ambrose bulldogging Rusev. The Russian kicks at the knee (injured in the ambulance match) to take over and wraps it around the ropes. Dean counters the jumping superkick into a rollup for two and the Macho Elbow gets the same. The referee tries to stop the match due to the knee and has no choice after Dean is tied in the Tree of Woe at 4:38.

Rating: C. This was more of an angle than anything else and Ambrose loses again, like he almost always does. At least in this case it wasn’t through another pin or submission and the loss can be blamed on the referee more than Ambrose. I did like them planting the seeds of Cena vs. Rusev though because that’s the big match at Wrestlemania, especially if Rusev wins.

Here’s the Authority to moderate the contract signing. After everyone comes out, Heyman says he can’t take credit for bringing back the Authority because it was all Rollins’ plan. The plan was endorsed by Heyman and desperately needed by John Cena. What’s bad for Cena is good for Lesnar and best for business. Heyman doesn’t like the idea of a triple threat match because it could mean a double cross where Lesnar doesn’t have to lose to drop the title.

Rollins thanks Heyman for reciting the rules of ever triple threat match ever and asks if Lesnar is scared of a triple threat. Paul gets cut off because Rollins isn’t done. Seth doesn’t have the list of accomplishments that Lesnar have, but Lesnar doesn’t have the list that Seth has. He built and destroyed the Shield, won Money in the Bank, and pinned John Cena’s shoulders to the mat. Either by plan A (the match) or plan B (the briefcase), Rollins is is leaving with the title. Lesnar says he conquered Undertaker, HHH and Cena, so he’ll conquer Rollins at the Rumble.

Cena says it’s time for a beating and he’s walking out champion before signing. Rollins lists off all the plans that Cena has had but failed before the fight is on. Seth is knocked to the floor and Lesnar takes the AA through the table, only to have Rollins Curb Stomp Cena. There’s a Curb Stomp to Brock to end the show.  More importantly than all else: Rollins looked like an equal.  That cannot be understated.

Overall Rating: B. Yes that’s probably high but man was this show easier to sit through. They actually had some good matches and set up some stuff for the future, but most importantly of all they had a chance to breathe. Instead of just packing every thing they possibly could into the show, there were a few breaks in there and it makes things so much easier.

On top of that though, the best moments were from Harper and Rollins. Those two looked AWESOME tonight and they gave me new hopes for both of them. Harper can move like almost no one else in the company and Rollins looked like a star standing there in front of Lesnar. I had a really good time with this show (save for a bit too much Stephanie) and didn’t once feel like it was dragging on forever. That’s the most important step in the right direction they could have.

Results

Seth Rollins b. John Cena – Pin after a KO Punch from Big Show

New Day b. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro – Backbreaker/top rope double stomp combo

Roman Reigns b. Luke Harper – Spear

Alicia Fox b. Naomi – Ax kick

Miz b. Jey Uso – Skull Crushing Finale

Brie Bella b. Paige – Rollup

Ascension b. ???/??? – Fall of Man to #2

Rusev b. Dean Ambrose via referee stoppage

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of the Royal Rumble at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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18 comments

  1. John says:

    Oh wow I think we watched a different show tonight. This was a D at best.

  2. Maw says:

    Sign me into the Rollings hype…. He really knocked it ou of the park!

  3. james gracie says:

    wow for once a raw i actually enjoyed

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I….uh……yeah.

    larisano Reply:

    loooooool!
    pigs can fly!

    Hubcap Dave Reply:

    Somebody check the weather in Hell……I think it just froze over…

  4. larisano says:

    Seth Rollins continues to look like a real star as time goes on. I figured they’d make him stand tall tonight, and that segment should put to shame those who go on about him being ‘weakling’ because of the help he regularly gets.

    Reigns’ promo delivery was good tonight, but the material sounds like donkey dung. Really wish they weren’t going through with making him into Cena 2.0. Reigns as part of the Shield seems almost a distant memory save for the ring attire and entrance stuff.

    Hilarious segments with Ambrose.
    Him continuing to sell the knee injury made his umpteenth loss understandable, but I’d say he needs a credible and clean win before the Rumble, to ensure his momentum doesn’t dry up, as too many losses can indeed hurt regardless of how much other segments he appears in.

    Nevertheless, Bryan has a shitload of momentum and I can’t see past him winning the Rumble, regardless of the rumours. That said, I won’t be surprised if the Authority screws him out much like Punk was last year, and if such happens, it will be a pity, as a Reigns Rumble still won’t be well-received regardless, given his continued boring feud with the Big Slow…

  5. Bossman says:

    Alright show tonight. A step-up from last week’s show but my god was that Roman Reigns promo was horrific. His delivery was a bit better tonight but jesus, who scripted that promo? Not surprised to see the crowd booing Reigns after that terrible promo but I sure expect WWE to act surprised that it didn’t receive a positive reaction. The main event segment was awesome and showed Rollins as a star with him not looking out of place at all being in the same ring as John Cena and Brock Lesnar. Easily my favorite wrestler on the roster right now.

  6. Aeon Mathix says:

    If you had told me a year ago rollins would be the breakout star of shield and be facing lesnar and cena in a world title match i would have asked for your dealer’s number..

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’m the same. I had him as the white Kofi Kingston.

    larisano Reply:

    I’m shocked at that, KB.
    I had him as the new Jeff Hardy given his high-flying style. But, when I initially saw the Shield, I didn’t get the Ambrose hype, and I just hated Rollins by looking at his face, for some reason(then I saw his work in the ring…)

  7. Jay H (the real one) says:

    No way lol.

    A much better Show this week than last. Seth Rollins I could see walking out of Philly as WWE Champion. I do wonder does he win the Match or Cash in afterwords.

  8. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that? Pretty sad that the best part of RAW was a video package for Randy Savage. I’ve had enough of the Authority and Cena’s opening segments. So Cena’s plan is to win the title then take the title home so RAW doesn’t have it’s number 1 prize?….aka what’s basically happened with the title since Lesnar won it at Summerslam?

    Reigns is now 0-I’ve lost count in stinking up the joint since he returned. And after Bryan’s hot segment and Reigns’ God awful promo, are they really going to have Reigns win the Rumble over Bryan? Well Vince is personally writing Reigns’ promos for him, so that should tell you all you need to know about this stupid company.

    Could Ambrose be anymore of a loser? WWE got their wish. Ambrose has been pushed aside so we don’t see him over shadow Reigns. Good job morons.

    Awful show tonight and you gave it a fucking B??? Looks like KB will have to attend my seminar so I can teach him about wrestling too. I thought RAWs were supposed to get better during the Road to Wrestlemania. Why was I lied to? #VinceIsSoft #FireStephanie #WhenWillYouSaveUsDanielBryan

  9. james gracie says:

    that was awesome. Great show tonight. Love Reigns character development. He should turn every feud into spin on a fairy tale. The possibilities are endless. The Road is ramping up nicely.

  10. james gracie says:

    Oh man how great was that?

    james gracie Reply:

    Pretty damn great – thanks for asking!

  11. Dan says:

    …I think he’s sick.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I think it’s fun owning this place and seeing what’s really going on.