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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 1/6: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live "Old-School" Raw - Flair opens, major Legend return at show-end, Rumble hype, more

Jan 6, 2014 - 10:12:44 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
January 6, 2014 - Episode #1,075
Live in Baltimore, Md.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

"Old School" Raw opened with Ric Flair's signature "Whoo!" in the arena. Raw walked through the 1990s "R-A-W" black letters on-stage dressed in a suit and aviator shades. As Flair walked to the ring, Michael Cole accidentally called him a "six-time World champion" before correcting himself. On commentary, Cole and JBL then flashed through photos of Flair giving the San Francisco 49ers a pep-talk prior to beating the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Playoffs on Sunday. Cole noted the 49ers are off to face the Carolina Panthers next weekend, but Cole stopped short of noting the Panthers are Flair's hometown team.

In the ring, Flair said he knew that when "Old-School" Raw was coming to Baltimore, he knew he had to be here live. Flair said they have Legends, Hall of Famers, and... the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair here tonight. Flair dropped the shades, strutted, bounced the ropes, and strutted some more.

Suddenly, Randy Orton's music played to bring out Flair's old Evolution stablemate. Orton smiled on the way to the ring and hugged Flair in the ring. Flair congratulated the WWE World Hvt. champion before Orton paced the ring with a big smile on his face. Orton hyped up Flair, saying he can't thank him enough for mentoring him.

But ... that being said. Tonight isn't only about the Legends, Hall of Famers, and Flair, but about him. Boos. Orton said he's sure Flair agrees that he is the Greatest of this Generation or any other. Flair stood off in the corner waiting out Orton, who said this is his show, time, and ring. Orton asked for the ring to himself because he has something to say. "No!" chants from the crowd and Flair remained in the ring looking Orton up and down.

Orton ignored Flair standing in his ring, then addressed John Cena getting a title re-match at the Royal Rumble. Orton said he doesn't get why The Authority failed to consult him on the title re-match because Cena doesn't deserve a title re-match. Orton said he won at TLC and now he has nothing left to prove. So, he wants The Authority to reverse their decision and not give Cena the title re-match. Because he's "The Man."

Flair interrupted, laughing at "The Man" line. Flair said when he was World champ, he went out to the ring seven nights a week and defended the title for three decades. He said that's why he has two Hall of Fame rings. Flair congratulated Orton on beating Cena at TLC, but all he hears is a bunch of crying from Orton. He told Orton to go out there and wrestle Cena again.

Orton shot back that Flair is kidding himself because he always had someone watching his back when he was World champ. Orton let Flair in on a little secret - "You're the most over-rated Superstar in history." Orton said Flair was good, even great, but that was in the past. Orton told Flair to get out of his ring or he will not be responsible for what happens to him.

Flair said he's not going anywhere. He said he and Triple H hand-picked Orton because he had all the tools, but he also brought an immature punk attitude that he's never grown out of. Flair said Orton may call himself "The Man," but he's wondering when Orton goes home tonight and closes the door if he's really a man.

Orton told Flair he'll do Flair one better and "go old school on your ass right now." Flair backed up to make it happen, but John Cena's music interrupted. Cena stomped out to the ring with purpose in his steps. Cena stood next to Flair, who hugged him, then Cena began his response promo.

Cena congratulated Orton for sinking to a new level of scumbag tonight. He said he gets it that Orton has a problem with the re-match, but he's taking it out on the wrong person. Cena said Flair is 16-time World champ, two Hall of Fame rings, Ric Flair. But, he heard Orton say he wants to go "old school," which means if he wants to fight, then he'll go "old school," too. Cena said he's ready to dance with Randall.

Cena bounced up and down and got in fighting position, but Orton bailed through the ring. Flair laughed at Orton's move, then nodded along that he gets it that Orton is afraid of Cena. In the ring, Cena hugged Flair, then Cena's music played as Orton held up the WWE Title and World Title belts in the air. Cole plugged the title match at the Royal Rumble in three weeks, then Cena and Flair continued to pose in the ring.

Announcers: Michael Cole and JBL were shown ringside. Cole acknowledged that Jerry Lawler is "under the weather" and not here tonight. Cole said there were rumors of Lawler having heart issues, but that is not the case. Cole said Lawler is recovering tonight and plugged an update on WWE's App.

[Q2] Cole then transitioned to a full-length video package on Daniel Bryan transforming into a Wyatt Family member last week on Raw.

Back to ringside, Cole said the question is "Why?" has Bryan assimilated to the Wyatt Family culture. Cole said Bryan will speak next on his "voluntary surrender" to the Wyatts. Bryan said the debut of the "fourth Wyatt" is next in a six-man tag match against The Usos and Rey Mysterio.

[Commercial Break at 8:18]

Back from break, Cole announced that Roman Reigns will be in the TV main event against C.M. Punk later tonight. Already in the ring for the opening match were Rey Mysterio and The Usos.

The Wyatt video interruption played and Bray appeared on the screen with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. In the arena, Bray led Harper and Rowan down to the ring with no sign of Daniel Bryan yet. Bray then pulled back to reveal Bryan going "old-school" in a Duke the Dumpster Droese outfit. Bryan followed Bray down to the ring, then the lights came up to reveal a stone-faced Bryan. Loud "No!" chants as he walked to the ring with a frown on his face, anger in his heart. The crowd picked up a "Daniel Bryan" chant as Bryan made it to the ring apron.

1 -- THE WYATTS (DANIEL BRYAN & ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER w/Bray Wyatt) vs. REY MYSTERIO & THE USOS -- six-man tag match

Bryan was tagged in early in the match. Rey was in the ring opposite Bryan, who slowly walked toward Rey. Rey told Bryan to listen to the crowd, but Bryan smashed Rey with an elbow strike before smashing him against the ropes. Rey recovered and knocked Bryan to the outside, though, sending Bryan to the floor to recover in front of Bray. Raw faded to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:26]

[Q3] Raw returned with Cole describing a "very weird mood" on Raw tonight. Cole reset Bryan now on the ring apron with the Wyatts. Bryan then tagged in and angrily kicked Uso in the chest and shoulder, which the crowd chanted along with. Cole said the fans are still with Bryan, who continued to punish Uso. Rowan tagged back in, then Rey tagged in for the face trio.

Rey snapped off a huracanrana on Rowan, then tagged in Jimmy Uso to deliver a 619 and Superfly Splash combo, but Rowan avoided the splash. Rowan recovered to the corner and Bryan tagged himself in, but Harper tagged in and told Bryan to get out of the ring. After that exchange, Harper walked into a pin from Uso for a quick three count.

Post-match: The Wyatts and Bryan angrily chased off the heels, cutting off the Usos's theme music. Justin Roberts made a formal announcement of the winner before the Usos's theme played again. Meanwhile, the Wyatts and Bryan continued to sell frustration and anger in the ring. Bray asked Harper what went wrong to conclude the match segment.

WINNERS: Rey & Uso at 8:40. The Bryan program feels like a remnant of the old HBK/JBL "employment" situation, Cena part of Nexus, and Kane trying to get Cena to "embrace the hate." Whether Bryan emerges stronger coming out of his storyline development remains to be seen. Meanwhile, WWE treated Rey like just another guy on the roster, which means WWE should just take out a lighter and start burning dollar bills.

Still to come: Roddy Piper hosting Piper's Pit with special guests The Shield. Also, in the main event, it's Punk vs. Roman Reigns from The Shield.

[Commercial Break at 8:34]

Video Package: Batista is returning. The video presented him as a fan favorite, making it seem like he will return in a babyface role.

Ringside: Cole and JBL said Batista will return to TV in two weeks and he has officially entered the Royal Rumble match. This is the first "official" Rumble entrant. Cole then went back to last week when Damien Sandow put his career on the line and beat Great Khali due to the referee missing a three count. JBL said the ref was just lazy and missed the count.

Backstage: Raw GM Brad Maddox addressed a trio of individuals to referee a Khali vs. Sandow re-match. The camera revealed Bob Backlund, Arn Anderson, or Sgt. Slaughter as the App vote options.

After the trio left, Kane walked in to ask Brad if he would like to say anything to his face that he said behind his back last week. Brad asked Kane what he's going to do about it. Kane said he knows threatening violence against Brad would be grounds for termination, so he sees Brad in a no-win situation. Kane said if he does put hands on Brad, he would be fired, but on his way out, he would make sure Brad is never heard or seen from again. Or, if Brad gets him fired, he goes back to being The Monster, Kane, and he would definitely make sure Brad is never heard or seen from again. Kane told Brad to keep that in mind next time he talks to Triple H or Stephanie McMahon about his job performance. Brad sold wetting himself as Kane left.

Back to the announcers, Cole plugged the App Vote on who should referee Khali vs. Sandow tonight.

Backstage: IC champ Big E. Langston was shown walking down the hallway. He paused to hear Nikolai Volkoff sing the Soviet Union anthem, then he paused at "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase randomly standing next to Aksana doing his Million Dollar laugh, then he paused at I.R.S. with a tax message. Langston smiled and kept walking.

[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]

2 -- IC champion BIG E. LANGSTON vs. CURTIS AXEL -- non-title match

Ryback was on commentary sounding like his gravely voice was about to go out. Right at the start, Ryback claimed to be the strongest man in WWE, ahead of Mark Henry and Langston. In the ring, Langston dominated early on, but Axel knocked him to the outside. On the floor, Langston reversed momentum and bounced Axel's head off the flimsy "old-school table."

Back in the ring, Langston shook off an attempted from Ryback, then finished off Axel with Big Ending. Ryback remained unimpressed by Langston's display, though, chuckling to himself in-between digs. For a parting shot, Cole noted Ryback hasn't won a singles title like Langston, drawing Ryback's ire.

WINNER: Langston at 2:43.

Backstage: Roddy Piper was shown walking down the hallway. Piper has The Shield on Piper's Pit next.

[Commercial Break at 8:52]

Piper's Pit

Raw returned five minutes before the top of the hour with Roddy Piper entering the ring. Already in the ring was the Pit set, which included a handful of stools for his guests. Piper noted it's Old School Raw, but was interrupted by The Shield's theme music. As Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns marched down to the ring, Cole said some cracks have started to appear in the group. JBL deflected, saying they're just Alpha Males trying to work out their desire to be the best on the same team.

Once Shield entered the ring, Ambrose took the lead getting in Piper's face asking who gave "this old man" a live mic. Ambrose said they weren't going to stand around listening to Piper ramble about nothing. Piper responded that he took the mic and this is Piper's Pit, not Ambrose's Alley. Piper said he admits that he's been beat up and fought some guys. He said things don't work quite the same, physically, but his brain never failed. Piper said the only other person who can match him on the mic is C.M. Punk. "Punk," Piper added for emphasis in each Shield member's face.

Ambrose shook and shook, then told Piper to tread lightly. Rollins calmed down Ambrose, then spoke to Piper that it's not 1985 anymore. Rollins said they're too smart for Piper's tactics and Piper is just jealous that Ambrose is a better U.S. champ than Piper ever was. Piper told them to hang on a second.

[Q5 -- second hour] Piper said Rollins can't beat Punk one-on-one. Neither can Ambrose. Piper then turned toward a previously-silent Roman Reigns and said he's fighting Punk tonight. Piper very quietly asked Reigns that if he beats Punk tonight, does that mean he's better than Ambrose and Rollins. Piper asked Reigns if they're holding him back. Rollins and Ambrose told Reigns not to listen to him, then Reigns stood up and got in Piper's face, backing him down.

"I'm going to beat C.M. Punk tonight. And if you ever touch me again, I'm going to break your old ass in half," Reigns said. Ambrose then said they should leave a memorable impression on Mr. Piper right now. Shield stalked Piper, but Cult of Personality interrupted.

Punk and the New Age Outlaws ran down to the ring, setting off a six-man brawl as Piper backed away to the corner. Punk and his back-up cleared Shield from the ring, firing up the crowd. Shield then bailed through the crowd as Piper's music played. Punk held up the U.S. Title belt, which Ambrose left behind, and gave it to Piper to wear for the wrap-up moment. Punk, Piper, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn stood tall in the ring to close the segment.

Still to come: Punk vs. Reigns.

Ringside: Cole and JBL were shown ringside. Cole transitioned to Brock Lesnar coming to Raw tonight to "go old-school." Cole then introduced a video package on Lesnar's Raw return last week and subsequent destruction of Mark Henry. What will Lesnar do tonight for an encore?

[Commercial Break at 9:06]

In-ring: Sin Cara was bouncing around in the ring back from break. Cole plugged the Royal Rumble in three weeks before Alberto Del Rio's music played to bring out Del Rio with a shorter hairstyle for another shot at Sin Cara. Cole narrated footage of Sin Cara upsetting Del Rio twice at the end of 2013, making it seem like Cara has Del Rio's number.


As the match started, Cole noted this is their first live Raw in Japan on J Sports. JBL spoke in Japanese, prompting Cole to wonder if he even knows what he's saying. A brief argument provided the back-drop to Cara delivering a springboard elbow on Del Rio for a two count. Sin Cara wanted a top-rope Swanton, but Del Rio moved and finished him for a three count. JBL said that should end the argument of Cara having Del Rio's number.

WINNER: Del Rio at 2:17. So, is WWE done "investing" in the Sin Cara character? Not much protection taking a clean loss to Del Rio, who hasn't done anything since dropping the World Title to Cena last year.

[Q6] Post-match: Del Rio took the mic and said he should be The Man for the Royal Rumble. But, instead, everyone is talking about Batista. Del Rio vowed to throw Batista - that perro - over the top rope. Then, everyone will be talking about the Royal Rumble match winner, Alberto Del Rio. Cole noted Del Rio has a Rumble victory on his resume, so he knows what he's talking about.

Still to come: Khali vs. Sandow with the referee decided by App vote.

[Commercial Break at 9:16]

Announcers: Cole and JBL were shown ringside again. Cole said Jerry Lawler is not with them tonight because Lawler had a stomach virus, was taken to the hospital, and is now sitting backstage watching Raw with the other Legends.

Earlier Tonight: Daniel Bryan didn't mesh well with his new Wyatt Family, as the Wyatts lost a six-man tag against Rey Mysterio and The Usos.

Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown addressing Harper and Rowan. Bryan told them that he joined the Wyatts to learn how to be transformed into a monster. But, he also joined to teach. Bryan said he's been a Tag Champ, unlike them, then told them that he will team with either Harper or Rowan next week. But, Bray Wyatt walked in and said that won't be necessary because he'll be teaming with him.

In-ring: The Real Americans were in the ring with Zeb Colter, who held up a sign toward the crowd. WWE tag champs Cody Rhodes and Goldust were then introduced as their opposition.

4 -- WWE tag champs CODY RHODES & GOLDUST vs. REAL AMERICANS (JACK SWAGGER & ANTONIO CESARO w/Zeb Colter) -- non-title match

As the bell sounded, Cole noted Batista and Del Rio are officially entered in the Rumble. The two teams exchanged control early on before Goldust busted out a top-rope rana on Cesaro to tag in Cody. Cody score a two count on Cesaro, kicked Swagger off the ring apron, and walked into an uppercut from Cesaro. Real Americans in control heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:28]

[Q7] Back from break, Swagger was working on Rhodes mid-ring. Swagger went for the Patriot Lock, Cody fought toward the bottom rope, but Swagger pulled him back. Goldust made the save moments later by smashing Swagger in the face. Cody then reached Goldust for a tag. Chaos broke out, then Cesaro went flying over the top rope. Swagger tried to roll up Goldust, but he escaped. Goldust then nailed the Final Cut for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Rhodes Bros. at 11:44. Fine tag match. Real Americans seemed to be in the Tag Title hunt, but now it seems like the Wyatts are next in-line after Bryan's hint in the previous backstage segment.

Backstage: Diamond Dallas Page was shown in the locker room area stretching and representing DDP Yoga. Booker T then walked in to talk about old times. DDP plugged his Yoga program, then told Booker to give it a try. Page did a crazy stretch to display his core strength, but Booker wasn't impressed. Booker said he can do Booker T Yoga, then started moving his leg, but sold injuring his knee. Page and Booker suddenly stopped when Ron Simmons walked in. "Damn!" Simmons shouted.

Up Next: Sandow vs. Khali with special ref voted on the App.

[Commercial Break at 9:38]

In-ring: Back from break, Damien Sandow was in the ring. Cole recapped the ref blowing a call in Sandow's victory over Khali last week, then Great Khali was introduced with his former manager Ranjin Singh. Ringside, JBL stood up at the announce table to do Jerry Lawler's job announcing the App winner. The winner was ... Slaughter with 55 percent, then Arn Anderson with 30 percent, and 15 percent for Backlund. Out came Slaughter dressed in an old-school referee shirt and bowtie. On commentary, JBL revealed that he voted for Double A.


5 -- DAMIEN SANDOW vs. GREAT KHALI (w/Ranjin Singh) -- Sgt. Slaughter special referee

Khali lit up Sandow with chops early on. Sandow fought back with corner stomps and kicks that drove Khali to a seated position, then he argued with Slaughter. Khali found an opening to deliver a knock-down clothesline before measuring Sandow for The Chop. Khali made a cover, Sandow's foot was on the bottom rope, Slaughter kept counting, and counted three anyways.

Post-match, Cole sighed and said Sandow had his foot on the bottom rope at a count of one, then said Slaughter must not have worn his glasses tonight. Sandow argued with Slaughter, who waved him off, but Sandow shoved him, so Slaughter slapped on the Cobra Clutch. Sandow tapped, then Slaughter kicked Sandow out of the ring. Slaughter, Khali, and Singh celebrated in the ring to close the segment.

WINNER: Khali at 1:58.

Backstage: The mood changed with Brock Lesnar shown walking backstage with Paul Heyman. Lesnar's t-shirt read: "Eat Sleep Conquer Repeat."

[Commercial Break at 9:49]

Announcers: Back from break, WWE "reset" with Cole and JBL ringside. Cole said Lawler is out with a "stomach virus," then noted JBL looks like a cross between Ron Burgundy and someone who used to sit out here (Vince McMahon).

Brock Lesnar Segment

Brock Lesnar's music played to bring out Lesnar and Paul Heyman to discuss matters. In the ring, Heyman hyped Lesnar as the #1 contender for the WWE World Title as the camera zoomed in tight on Lesnar's sinister eyes and red nose. Heyman said Lesnar wants to express his dismay over the public misconception of the term "old school." According to Lesnar, "old school" does not mean trudging out these "legends" and giving them a last hurray. According to his client, "old school" is when one man reigns supreme and every single person in the locker room comes out and challenges that one man, that one champion.

Heyman name-dropped Bruno Sammartino as reigning supreme and everyone wanting a piece of Bruno. Hulk Hogan was name-dropped to light noise from a crowd taken out by the show. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin drew louder noise, prompting Heyman to pause that he is not seeking approval of the names he is dropping. Heyman said at this time, one man reigns supreme and after the Royal Rumble, whether that one man is John Cena or is Randy Orton, you might as well put an expiration stamp on the title reign because after the Rumble, the champion will have a target on his back with Brock Lesnar coming after him.

Heyman said this is where the facts are more interesting than the hype. Heyman said no one in WWE, MMA, or pro sports can compare to Lesnar's ability to reign supreme. Last week, "World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry took up Lesnar on his challenge, so Lesnar laid out Henry. But, they know that it doesn't matter who comes down the aisle because anyone who challenges Lesnar will end up a loser. Because his client, Brock Lesnar's, life is just like a t-shirt. Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. Heyman repeated the four words rhythmically, but was interrupted by Mark Henry's music.

[Q9 -- third hour] Henry, clutching his ribs and shoulder, limped down to the ring with a determined look on his face. Henry tried to fight Lesnar, but Lesnar put Henry in the kimura lock. Heyman told Lesnar to break his arm, so Lesnar got crazy eyes and "snapped back" a la Brock on Triple H. Henry cried out in pain as Heyman went from encouraging to imploring Lesnar to calm down, the damage being done. Trainers hit the ring to check on Henry, who sold intense pain as Lesnar left the ring with Heyman following close behind.

Suddenly, Big Show's music played. As Lesnar stood in the aisle, Show emerged on-stage doing a Bully Ray impression with a straight-ahead look, head covered by a beanie, hands in his sweatshirt pockets, and straight walk toward to the ring. Lesnar backed up into the ring as Show approached the ring apron. Show then entered the ring, so Lesnar bailed out the back of the ring. Lesnar waved off Show as Heyman held him back.

Show followed Lesnar with his eyes, then Heyman tried to distract Show, allowing Lesnar to enter the ring, but Show cut him off and chucked him across the ring, sending Lesnar falling out of the ring. Lesnar recovered with Heyman, imploring him to leave with him. Lesnar then slowly backed away from ringside with Heyman. WWE replayed Show chucking Lesnar across the ring before going to a final camera shot of Show staring straight ahead with a determined look on his face.

[ JC's Reax: Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show feud? The guy who was dancing in a diaper two weeks ago? Major reset needed for Show's character if this is going to work. Apparently turning into Bully Ray Big Show was the start. ]

Announcers: Cole and JBL recapped the Show-Lesnar exchange before Cole went back to the opening segment when Ric Flair and WWE World champ Randy Orton had an interesting exchange.

Earlier Tonight: Flair questioned Orton on whether he is really a man. Orton responded by vowing to go "old school" on Flair right now. But, John Cena made the save and continued hyping his title match against Orton at the Royal Rumble.

[Commercial Break at 10:08]

Moments Ago: Brock Lesnar "injured" Mark Henry, then Big Show knocked Lesnar out of the ring after chucking him across the ring.


After the Brock-Show replay, the Bellas were introduced to the ring. Already in the ring were Aksana and Alicia Fox. Cole said the story here is whether Brie can focus on the match while Daniel Bryan is off with the Wyatts. Cole added that Brie plans to continue with her marriage to Bryan despite his involvement with the Wyatts. In the ring, the heels worked on Nikki early on, then Brie got a hot tag. Brie showed fire, but missed with a corner dropkick, allowing Aksana to pin her for the win.

WINNERS: Aksana & A. Fox at 3:48.

[Q10] Back to Cole, who plugged an "Important Announcement that will change the course of WWE forever" Wednesday night at 9:30 EST. Austin, Michaels, Cena, McMahon, and Triple H were shown in the graphic.

Backstage: Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, and "Grand Master Sexay" Brian Christopher Lawler were shown backstage. Cole said 2 Cool is set for action next.

[Commercial Break at 10:18]

Back from break, 3MB was in the ring. Cole cut to an inset promo from earlier tonight when Heath Slater noted they are re-united. Jinder Mahal said they're even better, then Drew McIntyre made a goofy facial expression talking about their reunion. Back live, Rikishi's music played to bring out Rikishi, then Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay.


Sexay looks more and more like his father, Jerry Lawler, facially as he ages. Sexay started with offense on Mahal before tagging in a slimmed-down Hotty, who double-teamed Mahal with Sexay. The crowd didn't seem to react much to the signature offense, reflecting a younger audience.

Some of the older audience tried to pick up a "You Still Got It" chant, then Hotty set up for his signature Worm move on McIntyre, which drew a reaction from the older audience who still remembered it. Mac had enough and attacked Scotty before driving him to the heel corner.

Scotty eventually broke free and tagged in Rikishi, who gingerly landed signature offense before Mac broke up a pin attempt. Rikishi then sat down on Mahal with a butt drop for the pin and the win. Post-match: WWE dropped the lights for Too Cool and Rikishi to dance in the ring.

WINNERS: Too Cool & Rikishi at 5:23.

[Q11] Still to come: Punk vs. Roman Reigns in the main event.

[Commercial Break at 10:31]

Next Week on Raw: Usos vs. Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt.

In-ring: Justin Roberts asked the crowd to give it up for the Old-School Legends. Silence from a worn-out crowd. The Godfather's music then played to bring out Godfather and Ric Flair, then DDP, Volkoff, Arn Anderson, I.R.S., Booker T, Ron Simmons, Sgt. Slaughter, Too Cool and Rikishi, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Bob Backlund, and Roddy Piper. No sign of "Mean" Gene Okerlund. Roberts then went through a person-by-person introduction of each Legend to keep stretching out the show.

Suddenly, Wade Barrett's theme music interrupted. Barrett emerged from off-stage on his rising podium to address the Legends from high above the stage. Barrett pounded his gavel and demanded decorum before calling this a momentous occasion. He said he has some bad news, though. Barrett said flea markets across the U.S. were driven to a frenzy because all of these Legends were not available to sign autographs. Barrett said their futures are doomed to anonymity. In fact, he will personally take pleasure in forgetting each of their names when they walk out of the arena this evening. And, the rest of the audience will forget their names, too. "So, welcome back, Legends!" he proclaimed.

On commentary, Cole called that awful. JBL said he actually agrees with Cole, who told JBL that it could be him up there soon. JBL's eyes comically bugged out of his head contemplating that future.

Up Next: Punk vs. Reigns in the main event.

Video Package: Batista is coming back to destroy everyone. Batista wants to be champion again.

[Commercial Break at 10:42]

[Q12] Smackdown plug: Hey, the Friday night show. WWE plugged WWE World champ Orton vs. IC champ Big E. Langston this week.

In-ring: "Mean" Gene Okerlund was introduced on-stage, one segment late for Bad News Barrett. Okerlund said it is great to be back in Baltimore. He said he has a lot of stories about Baltimore, but said he doesn't have time. So, call the hotline. Okerlund said it's only $5.99 per minute and kids don't need parents's permission. Okerlund paused for some crowd noise, noting that someone remembers it.

Okerlund then brought out New Age Outlaws on-stage. Road Dogg Jesse James told Okerlund not to tell the story about farm animals and a clown, then Dogg and Billy Gunn went to the ring for their usual ring introduction, getting a verbal segment to go with their earlier physicality. Dogg then handed the mic off to Gunn, who led the crowd in the "Suck It" routine. Dogg then gave a formal ring introduction for C.M. Punk.

Cult of Personality brought out C.M. Punk dressed in a Ribera Steakhouse jacket. Cole plugged Raw being live in Japan tonight, then Shield's music played to bring out Punk's opposition. Roman Reigns came through the crowd first, followed by Ambrose with the U.S. Title belt hanging down his crotch a la John Morrison. Seth Rollins brought up the rear shouting encouragement to a silent Reigns.

8 -- C.M. PUNK (w/Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) vs. ROMAN REIGNS (w/Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins)

Punk and Reigns locked up center-ring to begin the match. Reigns shoved down Punk, who recovered in the corner and looked up at a menacing Reigns before Raw went to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:54]

Raw returned with Reigns trying to work on Punk against the top rope before simply chucking him into the ringpost. Punk fell to the floor, drawing over the outside participants for a face-off. Punk continued to sell on the floor as Reigns waited for Punk to return to the ring, where Reigns scored a one count on a pin attempt. Reigns then targeted Punk's injured ribs to continue wearing down Punk.

[Q13 -- over-run] Punk made a comeback, then pounded the mat trying to find strength. But, Reigns grabbed him in mid-air for a bearhug. Reigns eventually dropped the hold, then measured Punk for a running punch, but Punk avoided and nailed a kick to the head. Reigns sold the effects of a head shot as Shield and the Outlaws bickered ringside.

Back in the ring, Punk kicked Reigns in the legs, then ducked a clothesline and hit a leaping leg whip. The match slowed to a crawl with the two men battling up top. Cole and JBL tried to stay engaged as Punk stood on the top turnbuckle before delivering a Macho Man elbow drop.

Punk called for the GTS, but Ambrose hopped on the ring apron. So, Road Dogg yanked him down. Chaos on the outside, then Punk dropped Shield with a suicide dive. Punk tried to jump back into the ring, but Reigns smashed him with a Superman Punch. Reigns covered, but Punk kicked out before three, waking up Cole calling a close nearfall. Reigns then set up for the Spear, but Punk leapfrogged and Reigns ate the corner turnbuckle. Punk tried a roll-up, but Reigns kicked out in-time.

Reigns then stalked Punk, but Punk snapped off a kick to the head for a nearfall. Punk got himself fired up for a GTS, but Reigns elbowed out. Punk nailed a corner knee, then bounced off to the ropes, where Ambrose smashed Punk out of the ref's and Reigns's view. Reigns then smashed Punk with a Spear for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Reigns at 16:23. Very slow middle of the match before the action picked up at the end. It looked like Reigns isn't ready to go 15+ minutes by himself, but he needs more opportunities to test himself in long-form singles matches. Meanwhile, is the story going to be Reigns thinking he beat Punk by himself, only to have Ambrose remind Reigns who helped him win, further causing conflict in The Shield?

Post-match: Reigns smiled at his work while Ambrose and Rollins celebrated standing over Punk. Shield wanted a Triple Powerbomb, but some old, old, music played to bring out ... Jake "the Snake" Roberts. A slimmed-down, in-shape Roberts came down to the ring holding a yellow bag presumably holding his snake as Cole freaked out on commentary. The older audience recognized Jake, but the younger crowd wasn't sure who he is.

After Jake scared off The Shield, Punk smashed Ambrose with the GTS. The crowd chanted for a DDT as Roberts stood in the ring surveying the situation. Jake then pointed down to his bag and dropped the snake onto Ambrose, who no-sold while trying not to laugh. Jake moved the snake around on Ambrose, then posed with the snake. Jake dropped the snake down on Ambrose one more time to close out Raw 12 minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Good surprise at the end of the show with a refreshingly healthy Jake Roberts returning to WWE TV. But, overall, a bland show. It came across like WWE was depending on the "Old School" theme to carry the show, exposing an underdeveloped roster that is exposed every Monday night three hours at a time. Some individual segments worked, but they were washed out by the sheer burden of three hours of TV. Yes, it's a broken record pointing out the length of the show, but until WWE does something about the way they use the three hours instead of booking week-to-week just trying to fill 185+ minutes of TV, the problem is going to persist week after week. Not having Daniel Bryan in a position to deliver a high-energy main event, opening match, or middle-of-the-show match is going to hurt, too, going into WrestleMania Season when part-timers are featured, but won't be doing much wrestling.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


Wade Keller, editor

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