WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 1/5: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Ambrose vs. Wyatt ambulance match, The Authority returns, Cena Appreciation Night, more
Jan 5, 2015 - 10:12:24 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
January 5, 2015 - Episode #1,127
Episode #1 of 2015
Live in Corpus Christi, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
- The Card: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in an Ambulance match, The Authority returns, build to the Royal Rumble, Booker T filling in for Jerry Lawler on commentary, and more.
Live Raw on USA Network
Raw opened with a new intro video package focusing on top stars on the roster. Inside the arena, fireworks and pyro shot off to signal the start of a new year. Michael Cole introduced the show from Corpus Christi before noting the ring is filled with Superstars and Divas.
John Cena was standing by in the middle of the ring flanked by heels and faces. Over his shoulders were a returning Darren Young and Sin Cara. Cena said The Authority has assembled the entire roster here, and he would like to apologize for going back on his word by bringing back The Authority.
Cena said he had no choice but to protect Edge's health last week by saving him from Seth Rollins. Cena wanted to make a promise to his co-workers, but Triple H's music interrupted. Out came Hunter and Stephanie McMahon on-stage. Steph said this isn't the way to start of 2015 being all sad and sorry. She gave the big Vince McMahon intro before saying they hope everyone had a great New Year because they came back to "entertain all of you" and do what's best for business.
Hunter said they stood in the ring less than two months ago with people laughing and smiling in their faces. All because of that "face-painted goof, Sting." He said they would be begging for them to return. Hunter mocked Ho-Ho-Hogan and the computer GM, saying this show turned into a sinking ship. And now they are here to right the ship. He said their future is secure because of one man, the Future of WWE, Seth Rollins.
Rollins emerged on-stage holding up his MITB briefcase before giving Steph a big hug and Hunter a big handshake. Seth posed on the stage, drawing some boos. Seth said he just wants to say hello to his good friend in the ring, John Cena. Seth sarcastically wished him Happy New Year, drawing a frown from Cena.
Hunter thanked Seth for his efforts, then said they will give Seth a chance to cash in his debt of gratitude. Hunter said the Royal Rumble main event will now be a triple threat with Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Rollins. Rollins jumped up and down excited about the title shot. The crowd was indifferent.
Steph then addressed Cena, saying he broke his promise to the audience and showed them something - he knows what's best for business. Therefore, they want to honor Cena by making it John Cena Appreciation Night. Steph said Cena is putting on a brave face acting conflicted, but she promises to make Cena smile by the end of the night.
Hunter said this is a new era for The Authority - no agendas, no ulterior motives. He said everyone will get what they deserve. And as for tonight, he said they have quite the show. Hunter booked Dolph Ziggler in the first match, defending the IC Title against the man who never really lost it, Bad News Barrett. WWE cut to Barrett standing off in the corner of the ring on the other side of New Day. Ziggler tried shouting over New Day toward Ziggler.
THE NEWS: The Royal Rumble main event is now a three-way with Lesnar, Cena, and Rollins.
[ JC's Reax: The crowd sounded really depressed by The Authority's return, making the show seem really depressing right off the bat. It's one thing to have over-bearing, power-abusing heels sucking the life out of everyone, but you need strong protagonists to give the audience hope for the heels to eventually be conquered. But, when the show opens with John Cena giving a sad apology, Roman Reigns standing around in the ring with the rest of a sad bunch of babyfaces not wiling to stand up for anything and taking their medicine, and no Daniel Bryan or Dean Ambrose, it's just not very inspiring. ]
Announcers: Michael Cole introduced the show along with JBL and Booker T, who was filling in for Jerry Lawler. Cole announced Roman Reigns vs. Big Show tonight. Plus, Seth Rollins vs. Ryback. And, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in an Ambulance match.
[Q2] [Commercial Break at 8:15]
1 -- IC champion DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BAD NEWS BARRETT -- Intercontinental Title match
Eden Stiles was the ring announcer tonight and she handled formal ring intros. Ziggler surprised Barrett with a crucifix pin for the win.
WINNER: Ziggler at 2:35 to retain the IC Title.
Afterward, Barrett blasted Ziggler in the head and threw him out of the ring. Barrett bashed Dolph into the barricade, then again. Barrett whipped Ziggler into the ring steps as Cole unconvincingly requested aid for Ziggler. Barrett continued to assault Ziggler with no one coming out to pull Barrett off Ziggler. They acted like a match was still going on, prompting Cole to wonder where the refs or officials are. The ref reprimanded Barrett, then Kane's music played. Corporate Kane walked out on-stage to issue an apology. He said they failed to mention that this match is now 2/3 Falls. That was a messy transition.
1b -- IC champion DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BAD NEWS BARRETT -- 2/3 Falls match for IC Title
Barrett dropped Ziggler with Wasteland to win the second fall. Barrett's music played as if the match were over, then ringside medics entered the ring to check on Ziggler as Raw cut to break.
FALL: Barrett at 0:30 to make it 1-1.
[Commercial Break at 8:27]
[Q3] Back from break, the ref and trainers were tending to Ziggler. Ziggler said he could continue and the bell sounded to begin the third fall. Barrett hit Wasteland again, but Ziggler kicked out this time. Ziggler teased a comeback following a neckbreaker, but Barrett cut him off and delivered Winds of Change for another nearfall.
Barrett wanted the Bullhammer Elbow, but Ziggler ducked and superkicked Barrett for a two count. Ziggler then superkicked Kane off the ring apron, but he ran into the Bullhammer from Barrett. Barrett pinned him to win the title.
WINNER: Barrett at 5:45 to capture the IC Title. And another short IC Title reign for Ziggler after re-re-vowing to restore the title's prestige. It's like they set it up to undercut Ziggler when he holds the title, but perhaps now he can breathe as a top singles star without the IC Title albatross. Assuming he doesn't re-re-re-win the title from Barrett.
Cena Appreciation Video: Kurt Angle made an Open Challenge on Smackdown in 2002, bringing out John Cena for his first night on the main roster. Taz's voice was heard on commentary for the Angle vs. Cena match. They showed The Undertaker shaking hands with Cena after the match.
Still to come: Cena Appreciation Night.
[Commercial Break at 8:38]
Still to come: Reigns vs. Show.
Backstage: Renee Young brought in Roman Reigns for an interview. Reigns said Big Show can expect Superman tonight. He cocked his fist, drawing shrieks from the female fans.
Video: Bray Wyatt interrupted the show to ask Dean Ambrose what his New Year's Resolution is. Bray brought up Dean's "criminal father." He said he's going to make Dean go away and do his time. He vowed to end their "great journey" tonight when he slams the door on the ambulance. Bray said the devil is real, and he is suffering and pain. Bray told everyone to run.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:46]
In-ring: A knock-off version of the mid-1990s WWF Raw theme played to bring out The Ascension in their Road Warriors gear. Once in the ring, Viktor talked about dominant tag teams in WWE history, referencing Demolition. Or, the Road Warriors. Konnor called them a joke. JBL said these guys couldn't carry the Road Warrior's bags, while Booker said he doesn't know if these guys are dumb or stupid.
2 -- THE ASCENSION (KONNOR & VIKTOR) vs. UNIDENTIFIED JOBBERS
Konnor scored the pin following the Fall of Man. JBL wondered where the real competition is for this team. JBL called their opponents two guys they found on a raft in the Gulf of Mexico.
WINNERS: The Ascension at 0:39.
Pre-Taped Message: Rusev and Lana spoke to the camera about their Russian Christmas. Rusev told Americans to keep their nose out of foreign affairs, acting like the universe's police. He said only one man can lead this world to peace, Vladimir Putin. Lana added that one man rises above the rest, Rusev.
In-ring: Roman Reigns's music played back in the arena. Out came Reigns slowly walking down the arena steps to ringside. JBL told the crowd to pick up the phone and call someone. No one talks on the phone anymore. Cole said Reigns collides with Big Show next.
[Commercial Break at 8:55]
Cena Video: John Cena beat JBL at WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles to capture the WWE Title for the first time. Back live, JBL said The Authority could have found a different highlight.
[Q5 -- second hour] Big Show was introduced next to face Reigns.
3 -- BIG SHOW vs. ROMAN REIGNS
Big Show smashed Reigns with a big blow to the gut early on. Fortunately, Reigns's giant vest helped absorb some of the blow, allowing Reigns to kick out at two. Show bodyslammed Reigns, then stepped on his stomach, continuing to target the region where Reigns underwent emergency surgery last year. Show taunted Reigns, telling him he's not so super now. Mid-ring bear hug continued to wear down Reigns.
Reigns broke free and landed a knock-down clothesline before delivering a Samoan Drop. Reigns cocked his fist and went for the Superman Punch, but Show blocked and pushed Reigns over the top rope to the floor. On the outside, Show kicked Reigns in the gut, then he chucked ring steps into Reigns's face. That was good for a DQ.
After getting himself DQ'ed, Show stood over Reigns to a light reaction before chucking Reigns into the ring. As Cole chuckled about a comment from JBL, missing the tone of the attempted angle, Show lifted the stairs in the air, leaving himself exposed, allowing Reigns to spear Show. The steps fell Show's face, knocking out Show and requiring medical attention.
WINNER: Reigns via DQ at 5:30. Light crowd reaction to this feud matching the Even-Steven booking that is watering down both wrestlers.
Announcers: Cole and Co. shouted out to Raw being live in India right now. Cole said it's such an enjoyable show thus far, then transitioned to the evil heels The Authority now back in control of the show. Again, missing the tone with WWE wanting to remind everyone that it's a "fun show," undercutting the booking. They showed Hunter changing the Rumble main event to Cena vs. Rollins vs. Lesnar. Also, Stephanie declaring it John Cena Appreciation Night.
[Commercial Break at 9:11]
In-ring: The Bella Twins were in the ring. Out came Natalya without Tyson Kidd to face Divas champion Nikki Bella in non-title action. Cole said Kidd is not accompanying Natalya to the ring after what happened last week when Kidd got too close to Nikki and Brie, causing a distraction.
4 -- Divas champion NIKKI BELLA (w/Brie Bella) vs. NATALYA -- non-title match
Before the bell sounded, Paige's music played to bring out the former Divas champion wanting a closer look at the action. Cole referenced Paige and Natalya having issues, as seen on the season premiere of "Total Divas" last night on E!. Paige hugged Natalya to show everything is cool, then the bell sounded. After Paige provided a brief distraction to the champ, Natalya rolled up Nikki for the win.
Post-match, Nikki blindsided Natalya to take out her frustration. Paige hit the ring and ducked a clothesline, then knocked down Nikki, sending her out of the ring. Paige stood next to Natalya to support her friend? as the Bellas recovered on the floor.
WINNER: Natalya at 1:16. Can't keep these Divas storylines straight, especially when they're going on two months without properly explaining why Brie is back with her sister. Bottom line is Paige just wants the Divas Title back.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose talked up his Ambulance match against Bray Wyatt tonight. Dean vowed to end Bray's life tonight.
[Commercial Break at 9:20]
Announcers: Cole got serious offering condolences to ESPN's Stuart Scott. JBL and Booker T chimed in.
In-ring: Erick Rowan's music played to bring out Rowan to a light reception considering all he does is lose. Cole asked Booker for his thoughts on this "young man." Booker said he'll come up with something in just a minute. For the latest give-away burning through match-ups like there's no tomorrow, Rowan's former runningmate, Luke Harper, was introduced for the latest match between them. No advanced notice to build anticipation for this match. To add something to the soup, Eden Stiles introduced Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble as dual referees for the match to continue punishing babyfaces opposite Team Authority at Survivor Series. Out came J&J sporting ref shirts to little reaction.
5 -- ERICK ROWAN vs. LUKE HARPER -- J&J Security as referees
Rowan, the genius, did the math that there's two refs here. Rowan shook off the numbers disadvantage early on, then knocked down Harper. He went for a pin, but the refs pretended to argue about who should count. Rowan played dumb over why the heel refs weren't counting, then Harper clotheslined Rowan and the refs fast-counted a pin.
Post-match, Harper celebrated on the way out, then Rowan tried to attack J&J, but Harper returned to the ring and took out Rowan. Harper posed in the ring as J&J warned Rowan about putting his hands on them.
WINNER: Harper at 1:09. Hardly any reaction here tells the story of WWE's hot-shot booking and burning through matches. So far, this show has captured WWE's short-term, shortcut booking approach over the past few years, and now the bill is coming due. At some point there has to be accountability for WWE allowing the show to unravel to the point of the middle of the show being a collection of thrown-together segments and matches to fill three hours of TV on Monday nights.
Cena Video: The night John Cena was "drafted" from Smackdown to Raw in St. Louis. Newer viewers are wondering why this was such a big deal and what the brand split was all about.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:30]
Announcers: Cole and Co. plugged WWE Network launching in the U.K. and Ireland later this month.
Still to come: Usos & Naomi vs. Miz & Sandow & Alicia Fox in a six-person mixed tag match.
Backstage: Alicia Fox approached Naomi to discuss being opposite sides of the ring tonight. Fox also noted Naomi is no longer on Total Divas. Naomi said she's fine with it. Alicia then bashed Naomi into a table, drawing over Summer Rae and Emma, who were apparently standing nearby as the conversation unfolded. Cameron acted unmoved by Naomi's plight.
Still to come: Ambrose vs. Wyatt in an Ambulance match. Cole introduced a video package on the feud.
Production Area: An ambulance was driven into the arena. The latest stunt match in the Ambrose vs. Wyatt series is next.
[Commercial Break at 9:40]
In-ring: Eden Stiles announced the rules of the Ambulance match - load the opponent in the back and have the vehicle driven out of the arena. Dean Ambrose was introduced first to a strong reaction. Ambrose stared at the ambulance, then walked into the ring ready for a fight. Bray Wyatt's theme interrupted, then Bray emerged on the stage holding his lantern. Bray made his way down to ringside as
6 -- DEAN AMBROSE vs. BRAY WYATT -- Ambulance match
As soon as the bell sounded, the fight spilled to the floor, where they battled onto the announce table. Dean then ran Bray through the floor area to the ambulance, bashing Bray head-first into the back door. Dean opened the door, but Bray reversed and chucked Dean inside the ambulance. But, Dean kicked Bray in the face before Bray could close the doors. Early nearfall. Dean then grabbed two Red Cross tables out of the ambulance. Dean took too long to set up anything, allowing Bray to slam the door on his leg.
Bray legswept Dean on the entrance ramp, then the fight moved down the ramp to the ringside area. Bray sat down next to Dean, who sold a leg injury as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:50. A commercial aired for Stone Cold's "Broken Skull Challenge" Sundays on CMT. ]
Back live, Bray was working on Dean inside the ring. Bray wanted Sister Abigail, but Dean responded with the rebound lariat. Dean and Bray then fought out of the ring to the production area. Bray knocked Dean onto the stage, then set up a Red Cross table below the stage. But, he took too long, allowing Dean to run off the stage with a forearm smash to Bray's face. More ambulance nearfalls ensued.
[Q9 -- third hour] Ambrose jabbed a backboard into Bray's gut as Cole described the weapons as "toys," with emphasis on the word "toys." Bray then set up one of the Red Cross tables at Bray's feet. Dean put Bray on the table, then he slowly climbed on top of the ambulance. Dean stood on the roof of the bus, then came crashing down on Bray with an elbow drop that sent both men through the collapsable table.
Dean collected himself after delivering the elbow and tried to get Bray inside the bus, but Bray smashed him into the doors with a standing Sister Abigail. Bray opened the doors to the bus as Booker encouraged him to do it now. He put Dean inside the ambulance and closed one door, but Dean kicked him in the face. Bray, angered, delivered Sister Abigail onto the floor. Bray then scooped up Dean and tossed him inside the bus. Bray closed the second door and the bell sounded. The siren played and the ambulance was driven away as Bray sat down on the floor.
WINNER: Bray at 19:36. And Dean loses another big televised match. He's officially "teflon" Jeff Hardy where WWE believes they have established him as enough of a star to get the audience behind him win or lose, while also being able to give away losses to top heels. The problem is Dean is playing Jeff Hardy at a time when WWE has a collection of soft babyfaces and Dean is a guy who broke out from the pack in a position to make a difference.
Post-match, the announcers evaluated the match instead of capturing the tone of what was supposed to be the end of a grudge feud talking about what this means for both competitors - the cultish heel Bray growing in dangerousness after winning and the fan favorite Dean having to regroup after apparently losing the feud. None of that was discussed. It's partially due to WWE putting these guys in all kinds of stunt matches the past few weeks that when they have yet another one - this time with the marketing of being the end of the feud - it looks like any other match and the announcers are numb to what they're calling.
Announcers: With a grudge match reduced to a basic run-of-the-mill match, Cole and Co. transitioned to telling PPV buyers that they need to re-consider spending $55 on a PPV when they can watch the Royal Rumble on WWE Network.
Earlier Tonight: Hunter changed the Rumble main event to Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins.
[Commercial Break at 10:09]
This Friday on Smackdown: Miz TV with guest Seth Rollins. Cole noted it's the final Smackdown on Friday nights.
In-ring: New WWE tag champs The Usos and Naomi were introduced for a six-person tag match. The Miz and Damien Sandow were out next with Alicia Fox.
7 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) & NAOMI vs. THE MIZ & DAMIEN SANDOW & ALICIA FOX -- mixed six-person tag match
The lack of real follow-up to Dean vs. Bray and switching gears to a comedy match with Damien Sandow doing his pseudo-babyface shtick captures the light crowd reactions throughout the show when WWE just moves from match to match. Late in the match, Jimmy Uso took a hot tag and ran over Miz. Alicia then hit the ring to approach Uso, drawing Naomi into the ring to clear Alicia. But, in the confusion, Miz rolled up Uso from behind and hooked the tights for the pin and the win. Uso sat down in the ring stunned by being one-upped by Miz again.
WINNERS: Miz & Sandow & Fox at 4:10. Win a title, lose the next week on TV.
[Commercial Break at 10:20]
In-ring: Ryback was introduced for the next match. Cole mentioned Ryback's very emotional "promo" last Monday on Raw. Seth Rollins was then introduced to the ring flanked by J&J Security, now back in their suits after playing rudo referees earlier in the show.
8 -- RYBACK vs. MR. MITB SETH ROLLINS (w/Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury)
Before the bell sounded, Kane's music played. Kane, dressed to wrestle, well, kind of dressed to wrestle in slacks and no shirt, came out on-stage. Kane said this match is now a handicap match.
8b -- RYBACK vs. KANE & Mr. MITB SETH ROLLINS (w/Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury) -- handicap match
Kane started things off against Ryback, then Rollins tagged in and Ryback clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Rollins regrouped on the outside heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:32]
Back from break, Kane and Rollins exchanged tags working over Ryback. Ryback finally broke free on Kane, who tagged in Rollins. Ryback wanted the Meathook Clothesline on Rollins, but J&J hopped on the ring apron to provide a distraction. Ryback landed the Meathook on Rollins anyways, but Kane saved Rollins from Shell-Shock. Ryback shook off Kane and delivered Shell-Shock, but Rollins blindsided Ryback with the Curb Stomp. A second Curb Stomp ended Ryback. Afterward, the announcers tried to cover for Ryback losing the match, putting forth more effort to protect Ryback than Ambrose two matches earlier.
WINNERS: Rollins & Kane at 11:52. In an effort to reinforce The Authority back in control, it's all heels winning tonight (except for Roman Reigns via DQ). Problem is WWE rushed Authority back to TV before rebuilding the face roster and the opening segment made the face roster look like chumps so now the top babyfaces look pretty weak coming out of this show.
[Commercial Break at 10:42]
[Q12] Main Event plug: Paige vs. Nikki Bella tomorrow night on WWE Network.
In-ring: Adam Rose was in the ring conducting the Rosebuds at ringside. New Day's music played to bring out Kofi Kingston, then Xavier Woods, then Big E. for the match leading into the final segment. Eden Stiles announced Big E. as the opposition for Rose. New Day bounced down to the ring in-between the Rosebuds, who clapped to their theme.
Announcement: The post-WM31 PPV, Extreme Rules, is coming to Chicago.
9 -- BIG E. (w/Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. ADAM ROSE (w/the Rosebuds)
Rose went for an early sleeperhold on Big E., who dropped down to the mat before powering back to his feet. Big E. then went for his big running splash, but a man in a bodysuit and faceless mask hit the ring to attack Big E. for a DQ. Another man in a bodysuit and mask entered the ring to combine with Cesaro ... er, the masked man, on a double powerbomb to Big E.
The shorter individual unmasked as Tyson Kidd while Cesaro struggled to remove his hood before revealing his identity. Kidd and Cesaro stood in the ring in their Giant Gonzalez bodysuits before dancing with Rose and the Rosebuds. No music, creating awkward silence in the arena as the announcers sat quietly unsure what to say. Rose's music eventually played for the dancing to continue.
WINNER: Big E. via DQ at 1:51.
Backstage: Triple H, Stephanie, Joey, Jamie, and Kane talked in the hallway. On commentary, JBL shouted that The Authority is calling out John Cena tonight.
Announcers: Cole said the "fun doesn't end" when Raw is over, as WWE Network picks up with the biggest crybabies on a new episode of WWE Countdown. A clip of the countdown led Raw to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:53]
Cena Appreciation Night
Back in the arena, Triple H's music played. WWE was on a wide-shot from the top of the arena and the fans in the camera shot were unmoved. Out came Hunter and Stephanie McMahon to the ring. Hunter looked around the arena before taking a mic. Steph also took a mic. She said it is with great honor standing in front of this office - she paused after the goof - in front of this audience to host John Cena Appreciation Night.
Out came Cena with a serious look not appreciating the gloating from Stephanie. Hunter mockingly did the big John Cena intro, then twice more. Cena was also unmoved. Before they got down to business, Hunter went back to last week when Cena caved and agreed to bring back The Authority.
[Q13 -- over-run] Back live, Hunter talked to Steph about Cena bringing back The Authority with authority. Steph then approached Cena to tell him that he's her hero. Hunter said he knows they have had their problems in the past, including thinking Cena sucked the first time he faced him in the ring, and even sharing that with Shawn Michaels (who is scheduled to appear on Raw in two weeks). Then, Cena changed. And all of a sudden he became something else, something bigger. Hunter took credit for seeing Cena's greatness before anyone else, apparently after thinking he sucked, and perhaps that's why he's been so hard on him all these years.
Hunter said he saw another change last week. Maybe he started to see past all this hustle, loyalty, respect crap to see what's real: that all that matters is this ring and this (fist). And what's best for business. He said maybe he's starting to see a different John Cena. But, if not, he just appreciates Cena.
Hunter said he would like to bring out some other people now. He said if they don't appreciate Cena yet, they will appreciate him by the end of the night. Hunter brought out limping Ryback and Erick Rowan to no reaction after their earlier losses. And, last but not least, Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler slowly walked out holding his neck after his title loss.
Once everyone was in the ring, Hunter said all three of them must have great admiration for Cena. He said he warned them if they joined Team Cena, but Cena's team won at Survivor Series anyways, only to have Cena throw it all away last week.
Time for consequences. First, Erick Rowan, who came in very late. He said Rowan should get punished for maybe 30 days with no pay. Steph jumped in with consequences for Ryback, who teased joining Team Authority in November. So, 60 days for turning on them. What about Ziggler? Hunter led Ziggler to say 90 days without pay.
Hunter and Steph then talked off in the corner as the crowd sat quietly waiting for something to happen. They decided to leave the ring, leaving Cena, Ziggler, Rowan, and Ryback in the ring to stand around. Hunter and Steph eventually reached the top of the ramp and said they have come to a decision. Instead of suspending them, they're all fired! (Coincidence that NBC Universal sister show "Celebrity Apprentice" is back on the air?) Steph said all three of them can thank and appreciate John Cena for losing their livelihoods.
"Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for John Cena," Hunter said before parade music played. Confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling. Hunter and Steph smooched on the stage as if the ball dropped at Times Square. The trademarks flashed on the screen and Raw just kind of faded out 12 minutes past the top of the hour with the announcers shuffling papers in the background and staying quiet. Raw ended with the same depressing scene from the top of the show with Cena sporting a sad face while the other babyfaces stood in the ring processing events.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The painfully-long closing segment aside, WWE certainly seems to be taking the approach that the Royal Rumble sells itself, so they don't need to put forth special effort to build anticipation for the Rumble. Nothing from Roman Reigns, no follow-up on Daniel Bryan, and no new entrants emphasized. If you missed last week's show, you wouldn't even know that D-Bryan is back in the mix. Or, that he's advertised on WWE's events page for next week's Raw.
Now, they'll probably get around to tying the end of Raw into Rumble build-up, as Hunter & Steph will try to convince Ryback, Ziggler, and Rowan to take out Cena in order to weaken Cena going into the WWE Title match at the Rumble. The deal being they get their jobs back if they sufficiently dismantle Cena. It's part of the two-year story arc of The Authority trying to take down Cena and hand-select their Face of WWE, but they trip over their feet trying to tell the story and damage their stars by making them seem spineless.
- Match Results: (1a) IC champion Dolph Ziggler beat Bad News Barrett to retain the Intercontinental Title. ... (1b) Bad News Barrett beat IC champion Dolph Ziggler to capture the IC Title in a 2/3 Falls match. ... (2) The Ascension squashed two jobbers... (3) Roman Reigns beat Big Show via DQ. ... (4) Natalya beat Divas champion Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) in a non-title match. ... (5) Luke Harper beat Erick Rowan with J&J Security as referees. ... (6) Bray Wyatt beat Dean Ambrose in an Ambulance match. ... (7) The Miz & Damien Sandow & Alicia Fox beat WWE tag champs The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) & Naomi in a six-man tag match. ... (8) Kane & Seth Rollins (w/J&J Security) beat Ryback in a handicap match. ... (9) Big E. (w/Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston) beat Adam Rose via DQ.
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