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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 12/15: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - TLC fall-out, Jericho GM for the Night, Lesnar returns, Steel Cage main event, more

Dec 15, 2014 - 10:10:27 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
December 15, 2014 - Episode #1,124
Live in Detroit, Mich.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor

- The Card: WWE TLC PPV fall-out, Chris Jericho guest-hosting, Jericho's Highlight Reel with guest U.S. champion Rusev, WWE World Hvt. champion Brock Lesnar advertised on WWE's event roster, Roman Reigns advertised on WWE's website, and Dolph Ziggler & Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper & Big Show. Update: a steel cage is hanging above the ring (thanks to correspondent Mike F.).


Live Raw on USA Network

Raw opened with Chris Jericho being introduced as guest GM for the night. Michael Cole welcomed everyone to WWE Week on USA Network, then flashed back to last week's Slammys when Jericho won an award for jumping off the top of a cage (jn a match he lost). Jericho, dressed in a fashion scarf and reddish leather jacket, marched down to the ring to kick things off.

Jericho said he's glad to be here in Detroit Rock City, then said tonight is all about the audience. He set up the crowd for "Y2J" chants, prompting Jerry Lawler to note that Jericho is enjoying listening to the chant. Jericho then brought up Fandango, who took his Slammy award for him last week. And, as the GM for the night, he has something in store for Fandango, Fan-dumbo, Fan-Dodge Durango, Fan-dunghole. And he wants his Slammy back.

Instead, Paul Heyman's voice interrupted. Heyman walked out on-stage to boos and tried to introduce himself, drawing louder boos. Heyman confessed that he is a Jericholic, so he would like to speak truth to power. And, tonight, the person with the power is Jericho, who he would like to see put him in charge of running Raw tonight. The crowd booed the thought of Heyman running Raw tonight.

But, Heyman has a beef with Jericho. He said that for Jericho to win the Extreme Moment of the Year over him is ridiculous. Obligatory "E-C-W" chant followed, then Heyman mocked Jericho singing at the top of his voice. Heyman shouted about being the originator of extreme, but Jericho interrupted by calling him the walrus. Jericho followed by noting that Heyman gave him his first big break in Extreme Championship Wrestling, but he also owes him $200 from 1995.

Jericho started feeling around Heyman trying to find his wallet, sending Heyman recoiling back to the corner. Heyman said this is funny, because he is an advocate. And he is here to advocate on behalf of his client, WWE World Hvt. champion Brock Lesnar. And, tonight, on Jericho's show, he wants to address the situation with Seth Rollins. Because Seth had a chance to be a true Paul Heyman Guy by knocking Cena out of the WWE Title picture, but he failed last night at TLC.

Seth Rollins's music interrupted Heyman, who backed up as Jericho opened his arms waiting to see how this unfolds. Seth marched down to the ring asking Heyman to say that to his face. Now in the ring, Seth got in Heyman's face. Seth crowded Mr. Heyman, who politely asked him to back down because he's not a fighter, not even a sports entertainer. Heyman slowly backed up a few steps, then Seth blamed everything on "the vigilante himself, Sting."

Seth said last night at TLC, he had John Cena right where he wanted him, but there was Roman Reigns (the females shrieked). Seth said that Cena cannot beat him on his own, which drew boos for the heel lying and boasting. Seth paused, then thought about how much he's sick of Cena. He said Cena is a coward. "He can't beat me without any help!" Seth shouted. And, if Cena is half the man he thinks he is, Cena will accept the challenge he's about to present. He wants Cena in a re-match. But, not tonight (boos). "Hey hey hey, hear me out," he told the crowd. Seth said he went through hell last night in the Tables match, so he wants to face Cena when he's good and ready.

[Q2] Cena's music had enough of this. Out came John Cena with a quick salute to the camera before marching down to ringside to grab a mic. No sign of selling last night. Cena entered the ring and called Seth a kid who needs to go off in the corner and ball-less. Cena said they had a match last night, which Seth lost. He said Seth put up a great fight, but he lost. He said a man picks himself up, dusts himself off, and continues to fight. Cena turned to Heyman to finish his thought that you keep fighting even if the opponent is a beast (Brock Lesnar).

Cena previewed his fight with Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, then turned back to Seth to say he likes the sound of a fight. Cena said it's true that he can't beat Seth, because he needs help. Someone with the power to make a match happen. Hey, look, there's Chris Jericho. Cena shook Jericho's hand, then Jericho noted he sure does have the power to make matches tonight on Raw. So, the re-match is for tonight. Seth complained, saying he's not healthy and he's beat up.

Jericho said it's true that he has an agenda. So, maybe the match should be ... in a steel cage! The camera turned to the cage hanging above the ring, then Cena bailed from the ring. Seth wasn't done. He called Jericho a terrible GM, even worse than the stupid computer or Daniel Bryan. Seth said Jericho doesn't know what it's like, since he's on tour right now, and he couldn't even beat the popcorn vendor, the janitor, or Paul Heyman because he's so out of shape.

Jericho tried to calm down Rollins, saying the popcorn guy is a ninja. He said he thinks he could beat Paul Heyman. Seth said he doesn't think so. And, he's an advocate, not a fighter. Jericho said he really thinks he could beat Paul Heyman. Paul walked across the ring to note that even he thinks Jericho could beat him. So, change the subject. Jericho shook him off, then said they're going to have a double main event. Cena vs. Rollins in a cage and Jericho vs. Heyman here tonight. On top of that, Jericho told everyone to vote on what kind of match they should have. Jericho's music played as Seth and Heyman argued in the ring.

THE NEWS: Announced for Raw are Cena vs. Rollins in a steel cage and Chris Jericho vs. Paul Heyman in an App vote match.

[ JC's Reax: 23 minutes. Whew. Rollins continues to really shine on the mic, Cena refreshingly talked about winning a match, and the Heyman-Jericho exchange was at least fresh and Jericho didn't over-play the important stuff too much after the obligatory Fandango rhyme game. But, it feels like a continuation of TLC last night just throwing things against the wall to fill a three-hour show. Aside from the actual content, it's fun, fun, fun to find the hidden messages written into the promos. ]

[Commercial Break at 8:23]

Back live, the announcers gave the three options for Jericho vs. Heyman - Extreme Rules match, No Holds Barred match, or Street Fight. No option for "can they go ahead to the part where Brock Lesnar gets involved and Jericho gets sacrificed?"

In-ring: Big Show and Luke Harper were standing by in the ring. On the opposite side was Erick Rowan as his music faded out. Lilian Garcia then introduced new IC champion Dolph Ziggler.



The wrestlers sported a few bandages and athletic tape to serve as "selling the effects" of TLC matches last night. Cole relayed Ziggler's same speech after previous IC Title wins that he is determined to make the title mean something. Ziggler started the match, but Show knocked him out of the ring with a big shoulder tackle. On the floor, Show drove Ziggler into a barricade to continue taking advantage of Jericho being hurt from TLC. Jericho made it back into the ring just before a ten count, then Cole sent the show to commercial.

[Commercial Break at 8:32]

Back from break, Harper was working on Ziggler. Enter Big Show to drop an elbow for a nearfall. As Show slowed the pace, WWE went to a split-screen photo gallery from Ziggler vs. Luke Harper in the IC Title ladder match last night. Ziggler finally broke free on Harper and tagged in Rowan, who ran over his former Wyatt teammate. Rowan hit a Full Nelson Slam on Rowan, then the action broke down.

Ziggler and Harper fought to the floor, then Ziggler clotheslined Harper over the announce table. Back in the ring, Show waited for Rowan to turn around, then he promptly dropped him with the KO Punch. Show pinned Rowan for the win as everyone recovered on the floor.

WINNERS: Show & Harper at 9:59. Well, Big Show is being kept strong for Roman Reigns and Rowan is apparently expendable right now. For a character that has a 143 IQ, he's not very bright with his match strategy against Show. And, oh yeah, there was Dolph Ziggler quickly moved to after-thought status.

Still to come: Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel with Rusev.

Backstage: The camera zoomed in on Rosa Mendes feeling Fandango. Chris Jericho then walked into the shot and said he wants his Slammy. Jericho vowed to beat Paul Heyman, then come back here and dance all over Fandango's face after he takes back his award. After Jericho left, Fandango sold anger heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 8:41]

[Q4] Announcers: Cole and Co. recapped events thus far, then fed to a video package on the "shocking ending" to Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt. In the audio soundtrack, WWE included Cole saying it's not about who wins, but who survives. They showed a TV monitor short-circuiting in Dean's face, then Bray pinning Dean with Sister Abigail.

Tomorrow Night: Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose under the same roof on Super Smackdown Live on USA Network.

Backstage: Renee Young brought in "the" New Day. Big E., Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods were asked about a re-match against the Rhodes Bros. tonight. Xavier excitedly told "Sister Renee" that there is no more negativity because they have exposed everything and brought it to light. Kofi calmed down Xavier, then rhymed about New Day not being afraid of the dark. Big E. then entered preacher promo mode talking about soon feeling the power of the New Day. Kofi then told Big E. to pull out his handkerchief because they're feeling the power of his sweat right now. Big E. toweled off to wrap up the segment.

In-ring: The Bellas were introduced for tag action.

[Commercial Break at 8:48]

2 -- BELLA TWINS (Divas champion NIKKI BELLA & BRIE BELLA) vs. ALICIA FOX & NATALYA (w/Tyson Kidd)

Back from break, Natalya and Alicia Fox were in the ring and the bell sounded. Nikki quickly smashed Natalya off the ring apron right in front of Kidd, then Fox tried to fight back on behalf of Natalya. Brie and Natalya tagged in, so Natalya shoved Brie into Nikki on the ring apron. Nattie followed with the Sharpshooter on Brie for a tap out.

Post-match, Kidd was ringside checking on Nikki, then Natalya spotted Kidd tending to Nikki ringside. Kidd got caught, so he quickly scampered back into the ring to over-hype Natalya as the winner.

WINNERS: Natalya & Fox at 2:06.

Up Next: Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel with Rusev.

[Commercial Break at 8:55]

Tomorrow night: Roman Reigns returns to action on Super Smackdown.

[Q5 -- second hour]

Highlight Reel Segment

Jericho was already in the ring for his talk segment. Jericho said he can predict the future, because the last time he hosted this segment, he predicted that The Authority would be out of power. He predicted Lana's wardrobe selection, then Rusev's music played to bring out U.S. champ Rusev waving his Russian flag and Lana sporting a predicted red business suit.

Once everyone was assembled in the ring, Rusev stared down Jericho, then held up his U.S. Title belt. Lana smiled, then talked up Rusev staying undefeated when he crushed that "stupid American" once again last night at TLC. Lana said they will allow Jericho to ask them questions. Jericho asked Lana why she always wears the same outfit and has her hair in a bun like a pineapple. He then asked Rusev why he's so angry - does he need to release his frustration?

Jericho figured it out - there's something going on more than a business relationship. He said maybe Rusev wants to be with the ring rat, the communist tramp. "ShuTup!" Lana shouted in reply. Jericho mocked her, then Rusev cut off this childish exchange. Rusev told Jericho that he talks too much. "Maybe I just crush you now," he said. Jericho said maybe there's something about him, but he always seems to draw people's anger. He said he found someone who wants to fight him, though.

Pause, then Ryback's music played to bring out Ryback to square off against Rusev as Lana sold concern. Ryback and Rusev jawed off-mic, then Rusev smiled and backed out of the ring with Lana. Rusev safely held up his title belt from the ring apron, then paraded around ringside with the belt. JBL said Ryback hasn't earned a title shot, then complained about Ryback ruining the talk segment. Cole noted Ryback beat Kane last night, then said he wants to see Ryback and Rusev get it on in a match.

[ JC's Reax: And, we resume the Chris Jericho "Trash Bag Ho" portion of the broadcast. I would say it looks like Rusev vs. Ryback at the Rumble, but they have too much time to fill between now and then, so the match probably winds up on TV before the Rumble. Rusev will get the win, but WWE will try to find a way to protect Ryback on the yo-yo booking plan. ]

Announcers: Cole and Co. shifted gears to other topics. Discussing the App vote on Jericho vs. Heyman Lawler said perhaps they should explain the differences in these matches. No wait, there's no time. They had to move on to a video package on the Cena vs. Rollins TLC PPV match, where Roman Reigns took out Big Show and Seth before Cena put Seth through a table to win and advance to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Title at the Royal Rumble.

Still to come: Cena vs. Rollins inside a steel cage.

[Commercial Break at 9:09]

Vignette: The Ascension is coming. The music, low-angle camera shot, and lots of screaming and yelling from Konnor and Victor sounded like a really bad 1990s video game spot. The graphic said The Ascension will soon rise. The Road Warriors comparison is inevitable.

In-ring: New Day's music played to bring out Kofi Kingston first, Xavier Woods second, and Big E. third, complete with individual camera shots. More facepaint individuals, Cody Rhodes and Goldust, were introduced next as the opposition.



Xavier had the assignment tonight, sending Kofi to the announce table to address JBL's cynical questions about them hiding something being too happy. Kofi said they are all about positivity and having a good time in the ring. Kofi flipped it on JBL, asking why he's so mad when he lives in Bermuda. In the ring, Cody flew into Big E.'s arms for a power move. Xavier tagged in to continue working on Cody as the focus was on Big E. sweating a lot. Cole acted serious asking Kofi if he's talked to Big E. about the problem. New Day cleared the Rhodes Bros. to the floor, which sent Raw to break.

[Commercial Break at 9:19]

Back from break, Cole said they're "having a blast" at ringside with Kofi. In the ring, Big E. was selling and taking a beating from the Rhodes Brothers. Kofi kept the focus on the match, where Big E. prepared to make a comeback, but he walked into a spinebuster from Goldust for a two count. Back to the Rhodes Bros. working over Big. Kofi tried to make the TV audience care about Big E. making a comeback, but the live crowd was disinvested, chanting for C.M. Punk. Then, "NXT." JBL embraced the chant by noting Big E. is a former NXT champion.

Big E. finally broke free and smashed Cody with a clothesline. "Yes!" Kofi exclaimed. "C'mon, baby!" Big E. crawled across the ring and tagged in Xavier after Goldust tagged in for Cody. Xavier delivered offense to boos, then scored with a rolling clothesline. But, Cody provided a distraction that allowed Goldust to powerslam Xavier to a crowd pop and a nearfall. The vocal portion of the audience has turned on the face team after turning on the match.

After the Rhodes Bros. found themselves on the floor, Xavier flew over the top rope with a splash to both brothers. Back in the ring, Big E. tagged in to combine with Xavier for their combination Midnight Hour. Kofi excitedly said they got this as Big E. scored the win. JBL said that made him sick. He said they're hiding something.

Post-match, some of the casual audience audibly jumped in with singing New Day's tune. But, when WWE cut to a wide crowd shot looking for arena reaction, everyone in the frame was sitting on their hands. WWE quickly cut back to New Day celebrating in the ring.

WINNERS: New Day at 13:31. I took this more as the crowd rejecting WWE's mid-card than the New Day act, itself. Although, an argument could be made that the vocal males turned on New Day because it's a one-dimensional act on the road to being nauseating.

Still to come: Cena vs. Rollins in a cage and Heyman vs. Jericho.

[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:30]

Backstage: Renee Young brought in WWE tag champs The Miz and Damien Sandow. Miz was asked about facing Jimmy Uso tonight. Miz set the scene of Jimmy being jealous of him, then said the only way he will find himself on the red carpet is accompanying his wife, Naomi, at a movie premiere or album release. Miz accused Jimmy of cutting off his wife's career, so he will give him what's coming tonight.

Backstage: Adam Rose was dancing around with the Rosebuds. He stopped them to note they are going to have a huge after-party tonight. One of the Rosebuds was Jimmy Jacobs. Also, Scarlett Bordeaux. Rose's party was stopped when Kane walked into the shot. Kane said they have a match tonight, so he won't be partying. The Bunny sold concern (through the mascot head) along with Rose and the party-goers.

[ JC: So, the babyface authority figure, Jericho, puts a heel in a match against the undefined party guy, giving the heel the advantage by knowing in-advance who he's facing? Apparently the thinking was Jericho put Kane at a disadvantage because Kane wrestled a chairs match last night and Rose did not have a match, so Rose is fresh. It's all a wash. ]

[Commercial Break at 9:38]

In-ring: The Rosebuds jumped out on-stage to pave the way for Adam Rose. Rose stopped at Jimmy Jacobs to tease a lock-up twice. Everyone eventually danced down to ringside. Rose's music stopped and the crowd half-booed and half sat quietly. Kane then limped down to the ring somewhat selling the effects of the chairs match against Ryback last night.

4 -- KANE vs. ADAM ROSE (w/The Rosebuds)

Rose held control early on, but Kane cut him off and the crowd somewhat cheered. Kane wanted a chokeslam on Rose, but The Bunny hopped into the ring, so Kane delivered a double chokeslam. The vile heel, Kane, pinned Rose as Lawler chuckled on commentary. That about captured the tone of this. Kane wasn't done, though, as he grabbed The Bunny and gave the mascot a Tombstone to "Yes!" chants. Kane took off, then Rose rolled back into the ring to check on The Bunny. Ringside, the announcers laughed it up.

WINNER: Kane at 1:27. Seriously, what tone does WWE want for this? Just happy fun time where it doesn't matter if the audience is supposed to like Rose and dislike Kane, or vice versa? Hard for Kane to benefit anyone as a monster to be conquered if he's positioned as the likable figure in a joke match.

[Q8] Earlier Tonight: Seth Rollins talked too much, leading to Chris Jericho booking himself against Paul Heyman tonight.

Locker Room: Paul Heyman prepared to fight Chris Jericho. It's next.

[Commercial Break at 9:47]

Main Event: Kane vs. Erick Rowan has been booked for Main Event at 7:00 p.m. EST leading into the Super Smackdown show at 8:00 on USA Network. So, Rowan gets to beat the guy who got a pop Tombstoning a Bunny mascot.

In-ring: Chris Jericho was introduced first for the "match" against Paul Heyman. After a pause, Paul Heyman walked out on-stage sans entrance music. Heyman, sporting a black track suit and taped fists, quietly tried to get out of the match against Jericho, saying he doesn't have any tricks up his sleeve. He said he doesn't find anything funny about this, nor entertaining. He said he understands how much of a crowd-pleaser Jericho is, but the beating he is about to give him is rated anything but PG.

Heyman said he's not going to rub it in Jericho's face that he gave him his first break in ECW, and now he's a star with an album, a podcast, and GM for the night. He said he just doesn't get why Jericho wants to fight him over $200 from 20 years ago. But, he gets it that it's the principle of the matter. Heyman said he'll give Jericho his $200 and Jericho gives him a pass.

Heyman pulled out his checkbook and started scribbling a check, but Jericho kicked it away. He said he doesn't want $200, but to see the App vote. Drumroll revealed 43 percent for a Street Fight, followed by 39 percent for Extreme Rules and 18 percent for No Holds Barred.

5 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. PAUL HEYMAN -- Street Fight

Heyman accepted his fate, then said he'll prove he's not the guy they portray him as on TV. After all, he doesn't understand why Jericho wants to get in a fight with ... Brock Lesnar. After a pause, Lesnar's music played to bring out the WWE World Hvt. champion returning to Raw with eyes on Jericho. Heyman confidently looked toward the ring entrance as Lesnar made his way down to the ring before circling the ring. No sign of the title belt, by the way, which was kind of fitting.

Lesnar circled all the way around the ring, then bounced up and down ringside. Lesnar, dressed in track pants and a new sleeveless t-shirt, hopped into the ring before going face-to-face with Jericho. No sign of Cena. Jericho tried to strike first, but Lesnar shook him off, shook off a Codebreaker attempt, and dropped Jericho with an F5. Lesnar proudly stood over Jericho with Heyman by his side, then the pro-Cena fans picked up a "Cena, Cena" chant. Instead, Lesnar's music played and he bailed with Heyman following close behind.

WINNER: No match. It's going to be odd to see Cena later in the show when he had a chance to run out during this segment to get his hands on Lesnar and save a fellow babyface. Same with Roman Reigns last week disappearing after winning his Slammy when top heels and faces fought one segment later to end the show. Either WWE recognizes they cannot explain the Disappearing Top Star Phenomenon as the heels get the upperhand or they believe it's not worth drawing attention to it in favor of focusing on who's in the ring.

[Q9 -- third hour] And now for something different, Rosa Mendes was in the ring to dance for Fandango after Jericho was cleared from the ring.

[Commercial Break at 10:04]

In-ring: Fandango was standing by holding Jericho's Slammy award. Cole said Jericho won't be able to collect his award after being taken out by Lesnar. On the mic, Fandango said it looks like Raw Was Jericho. Suddenly, The Shield's music played. WWE cut to the top of the arena where Roman Reigns was supposed to be, but there was no sign of Reigns. WWE cut back again, but still no sign. Reigns eventually emerged at the top of the arena, then he walked through the crowd.

Reigns entered the ring, cut off Fandango trying to speak, and punched him across the ring. The females shrieked, then Reigns paused to let the crowd pick up a "Roman Reigns" chant. Not a top star-level chant, though. Before Reigns could speak, Big Show's music interrupted.

Show walked out on-stage, but Reigns told him that if he comes to the ring, he'll knock him out. Show told "pretty boy" that he's going to put him back on injured reserve after he put his hands on him last night at TLC. Show hopped onto the ring apron, so Reigns gave him a Superman Punch. Show fell down to the floor, but did not leave his feet, and he spit down at the ground. Show then grabbed a ring step and chucked it into the side of the ring out of frustration. He called Reigns's punch weak, then he turned and walked to the back as Reigns posed in the ring. Reigns brushed off his fist after pulling it out of his imaginary holster.

[Commercial Break at 10:12]

[Q10] Moments Ago: Roman Reigns hit Big Show in the mouth with a Superman Punch. WWE focused on Reigns holding his pose after delivering the punch and did not show Show landing on his feet and shaking off the move.

In-ring: The Miz's music brought out WWE tag champs The Miz and Damien Sandow. The Usos then came out to set up Jimmy Uso in singles action against Miz.

5 -- JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso) vs. WWE tag champion THE MIZ (w/WWE tag champ Damien Sandow)

Once the bell sounded, Miz bailed from the ring and the crowd chanted for Sandow. Miz bailed again and the crowd continued to chant for Sandow. Miz then re-entered the ring and acted tough, but he bailed for a third time. Jimmy finally got his hands on Miz with a scoopslam, but the crowd was still more into Sandow. Backstage, Naomi was watching the match on a monitor.

Miz bailed to the outside again, and this time he caught Jimmy on the floor. Sandow kind of moved around the ringside area and bumped into Miz, who lightly shoved him and shot him a look. Sandow calmed down and went back to mimicking Miz, including bridging himself on the floor as Miz went for a bridge submission in the ring.

Miz took a moment to pose, so Jimmy clotheslined him to the floor. Sandow tumbled to the ground, too, then Jimmy rolled Miz back into the ring to pin him for a two count. Jimmy followed with a Samoan Drop, then Sandow entered the ring, looked at the situation, and threw himself down to the mat. The referee tried to restore order, so Jey kicked Miz in the gut from the outside. The crowd didn't like that, then Jimmy took advantage by coming off the top with a Superfly Splash to Miz for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Jimmy at 6:14. WWE tried to set up justification for a babyface, Jey, cheating from the outside with Miz going after Jimmy's wife and Miz & Sandow getting themselves DQ'ed in the Tag Title match last night. But, the booking is so inconsistent and the crowd cares more about Sandow than the Usos that WWE can't pull it off effectively where the audience says, "Yeah, stick it to Miz!" Instead, they were more amused by Sandow and more disappointed that he didn't wrestle tonight.

Still to come: Cena vs. Rollins in the cage.

[Commercial Break at 10:27]

[Q11] Backstage, Naomi was shown walking aimlessly down the hallway. She just kept walking with the camera focused on her. Miz eventually walked up to Naomi and said he still stands by his offer. As Sandow mimicked Miz's hand gestures, Naomi listened to Miz pitching her an appearance on Miz TV tomorrow night on Main Event. Why? So she can express herself on a global platform and go after the Divas Title. Miz told Naomi that it's more than anyone has ever done for her. Miz and Sandow walked off, then Miz came back to tell Naomi not to tell her husband. Isn't he watching the show after his match? Or, does he have friends who would tell him or his brother what Miz just told Naomi in front of a camera? Ringside, the announcers played up the charade, saying Naomi has to decide whether to tell her husband about Miz's offer. Will someone just show Jimmy the segment that aired in front of four million viewers?

Backstage: Renee Young brought in Seth Rollins, who said this is getting ridiculous. That was a loaded opening statement. Seth said it's ridiculous that he's in a steel cage match tonight. He said this place is unsafe. And lawless. And everyone is running around with no control after The Authority was kicked out of power. Rollins brought it back to the main event, vowing to teach Cena a lesson he will never forget.

In-ring: The steel cage was lowered to the ring as the dramatic music played and lights flashed back and forth. Cole said the main event is next.

[Commercial Break at 10:37]

Next Monday: A Christmas edition of Raw featuring the return of the icon, the immortal, Ho-Ho Hogan. On commentary, Lawler told them they should wear ugly Christmas sweaters next week as the top heel in the promotion, Seth Rollins, walked out to the ring for a steel cage match. Cole followed up by wondering what present Hogan will bring him. The announcers re-visited John Cena being the only one with power to bring back The Authority, which Rollins is begging for, before Cena's music played. As Cena stormed the ringside area, Cole hyped Cena being up for an award on celebrities doing charity work. Cena tried to fire up the ringside crowd before entering the cage.


6 -- JOHN CENA vs. SETH ROLLINS (w/Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble) -- Steel Cage match

As the bell sounded, Cole emphasized the "through the door" method of escaping the cage. As soon as the bell sounded, Rollins tried to run up the cage wall and escape, but Cena pulled him down to begin the match. A dueling "Let's Go Cena / Cena Sucks" chant rang out in the arena as Rollins took control. Credit JBL for putting a reason why this match is in a cage - to keep J&J Security out of the match after they interfered throughout the Tables match last night. But, because that's too 'rasslin, WWE has not emphasized that aspect of why they're having a cage match in favor of just adding something to a match-up that was on PPV last night.

Rollins tried to escape through the cage door two minutes in, but Cena tried to pull him back inside the cage. Rollins got his hand on the steel steps, but Cena pulled him back inside and the cage door was shut closed. Rollins maintained control of the match heading to break.

[Commercial Break at 10:50]

Back live, Cena and Rollins were selling the effects of the match thus far. Rollins stood up first to stand over Cena as Cole drew attention to their physical tables match last night. On cue, Cena did his customary comeback, but took a kick to the face when he leaned over for You Can't See Me. Cena finished it moments later with a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena followed with an AA in the middle of the ring after bumping Mercury off the side of the cage, but Rollins kicked out. A graphic flashed on the screen reminding viewers of Smackdown live tomorrow night on USA Network.

Cena then tried to crawl out of the cage door, but Noble stood on the ring steps to block the cage door from being opened. Cena smiled, then walked over to the door and bumped Noble down to the ground. But, Rollins grabbed Cena from behind and set him up for a superplex. Cena blocked, then nailed a guillotine leg drop, but Rollins kicked out again. Lawler offered logic that Cena could have just turned around and walked out the door, but Cole said the ref had already re-locked the cage door. Is there a limit on the number of times the door can be opened?

Cena tried to climb a cage wall, but Rollins pulled him down to the mat. Cena wanted another AA, but Rollins blocked. Rollins then came off the cage wall with a knee to the face for a two count. Rollins shouted down at Cena that this is what he asked for, then he threw Cena face-first into a cage wall. Rollins continued to talk down to Cena, telling him he's going to pay. Rollins chucked Cena into the cage wall again, then the crowd picked up a dueling chant of "Let's Go Rollins / Let's Go Cena."

Rollins tried to end Cena with a third cage toss, but Cena reversed and Seth ate the cage wall. Both men on the mat selling the effects. Cena tried to crawl across the ring to escape through the door, but Mercury showed up to slam the cage door near Cena's face. Cena fell backwards and Seth covered him for a two count, only. Ringside, Mercury sold frustration while also bleeding from the eyebrow.

[Q13 -- over-run] Reset at 15:00 with Cena surprising Seth with the STF, but Seth crawled toward the cage door. J&J tried to yank Seth out of the ring, but Cena pulled him back into the ring on the tug-of-war spot. Before the door was closed, J&J tossed Rollins's MITB briefcase inside the cage. Seth picked it up and measured Cena for a case shot, but Cena ducked and clotheslined Seth hard to the mat. Both men sold on the mat.

Reset at 17:00 with the two men trading bombs. Cena wanted an AA, but Rollins flipped onto his feet and smashed Cena in the mouth with the briefcase, but Cena kicked out of a pin. Rollins freaked out after being unable to finish Cena, then he decided to use his energy reserve to climb over the cage wall. Seth got halfway over, but Cena got up and grabbed him. Noble and Mercury were helpless at ringside as Cena dragged Seth back inside the cage, put him on his shoulders standing on the top turnbuckle, and delivered a super AA. Cena could not make a cover, though, after the move took everything out of him.

After a few replays of the super AA, Brock Lesnar's music played. J&J decided to take off, then Lesnar showed up with Heyman and ... the WWE World Title belt. Cole said both Cena and Seth are dead meat inside the cage. Lesnar promptly entered the cage and took out Cena with German Suplexes. Then, an F5. Heyman returned the title belt to Lesnar, then extended his hand to Rollins, who forced a smile and received the shake. Cole stammered a question about whether they're all in cahoots, while Lawler wondered if Seth has just sold out to form another alliance.

Once Lesnar and Heyman took off, the match continued with Seth measuring Cena for a Curb Stomp. Seth delivered it, then kind of hobbled toward the MITB briefcase. (Cena protected from taking a pinfall.) Seth picked up the case, then walked toward the cage door. "You can do it, Seth!" Noble shouted. Seth put one foot in front of the other, walked slowly down the ring steps, and hit the floor to win the match. Lawler declared that Seth Rollins has defeated John Cena in a steel cage match.

Post-match, JBL wondered if it's a master plan. Cole wondered if Heyman came up with the plan on the fly, or if Seth figured this all out. Lawler said whether it was pre-meditated or happened on the fly, it happened. Back inside the cage, Cena woke up and sold the effects of the match. On the stage, Seth was hoisted in the air by J&J as Raw signed off 10 minutes past the top of the hour.

WINNER: Rollins at 23:30. Pretty good cage match until they compromised the purpose of a cage match, which seems to be the case in most WWE cage matches. It's difficult for anyone to get excited about a cage match when the expectation is something screwy instead of settling/resolving an issue. But, they did reinforce Seth as a top heel to make up for not being in the Rumble main event. And he's really good as a heel right now. Trying to trace back through the creative of Heyman/Shield/Rollins over the last two years will make your head explode trying to determine if they're going for long-term collusion here, so it's best to just assume the association was on the fly and formed out of convenience until further notice.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: It is what it is. Raw fell apart creatively long ago from the perspective of following basic booking principles, and now it's just seeing how the pieces come together on a weekly basis. Having The Champ back on Raw should have been helpful, but they treated him like an afterthought for so long while he was away that his return was less impactful than it should have been. They have five more weeks until the Rumble to get people excited about Lesnar vs. Cena, so that should be their main focus going forward.

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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.

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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)


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