WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW TV REPORT 1/26: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of replacement show for snowed-out Raw - Lesnar & Reigns confrontation, D-Bryan sit-down interview, more
Jan 26, 2015 - 10:11:57 PM
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WWE "Raw" TV Report
January 26, 2015
Stamford, Conn. at WWE HQ
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
In a most unusual day-after-a-PPV Monday night, WWE Raw was snowed out and unable to emanate from Hartford, Conn. Therefore, the Raw pre-show on WWE Network opened with Michael Cole sitting at the pre-show studio in Stamford.
Cole, in reporter mode, said an "historic storm" is expected for the Northeast U.S. Cole said Monday's Raw was supposed to take place at XL Center in Stamford. But, per the governor's orders, they have canceled the show. Cole noted that only official personnel are allowed on roadways tonight. Cole went from serious to good-natured saying the show must go on, per Vince McMahon.
As for Raw, Cole said they will look at the "already controversial" Royal Rumble event last night, then present the WWE World Title match and the Royal Rumble match on USA Network to "set the stage for WrestleMania 30." Cole also advertised an interview with Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman), plus interviews with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. (WWE omitted Daniel Bryan from the list of interview guests, per WWE's website.)
Cole transitioned to Hall of Fame discussion, teasing who is joining "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the 2015 Hall of Fame (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Cole also plugged "Thursday Night Smackdown" this week live on Syfy.
Cole finished the update by introducing replacement programming for the Raw pre-show, "DX Confidential."
Live WWE TV on USA Network
The usual Raw broadcast opened with a video package on an "historic" Royal Rumble. But, the Road to WrestleMania hit a blizzard today. WWE aired clips of "Winter Storm Juno" news coverage, then noted Raw emanates from WWE HQ in Stamford, Conn. tonight.
After the standard Raw intro video package played, WWE cut to Michael Cole and Booker T standing by at the Raw pre-show studio. Cole noted JBL will be joining them later. Booker said he's never seen anything like this, then Cole noted no one is allowed on roadways. But, the show will go on tonight.
Cole relayed the news to non-PPV viewers of Brock Lesnar retaining the WWE World Title over John Cena and Seth Rollins last night. Cole said Lesnar will be interviewed tonight. Booker wanted to know who has that interview. Cole also said they will air the Royal Rumble match, which he called "controversial." It came across like the "controversy" Cole was referring to was how the Rumble ended - The Rock running off eliminated wrestlers Big Show & Kane before Rusev returned to the ring and Roman Reigns eliminated him to win the Rumble, not necessarily the fan reaction to Reigns winning.
To the roof of WWE HQ, where JBL was standing by to offer his "weather report." JBL bombastically noted how cold it is, then said he's leaving so he doesn't freeze to death on the roof. Cole told him to hurry back, ending the light bit with JBL trying to "have fun making fun."
WWE cut to ring intros for the WWE World Title match at the Royal Rumble last night.
MATCH 1 REPLAY - WWE World Hvt. champion BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. JOHN CENA vs. SETH ROLLINS -- triple threat match for WWE World Hvt. Title from Sunday's Royal Rumble PPV
It took nearly three years, but they found a way to get a Brock Lesnar match on Raw TV. WWE aired the first seven minutes of the match, then cut to break with Cena and Rollins in the ring while Lesnar was on the outside.
[Commercial Break at 8:15]
The broadcast resumed with Lesnar back in the ring battling Rollins and Cena. A graphic noting the PPV broadcast was "courtesy WWE Network" briefly flashed on the screen. The match faded to break after Rollins went flying off the top rope with an elbow to Lesnar through the Spanish announce table.
[Commercial Break at 8:25]
The match returned with Lesnar selling an injury on the floor while Cena and Rollins battled in the ring. Lesnar continued to sell on the floor as WWE showed Cena and Rollins trading close nearfalls in the ring.
[Commercial Break at 8:32]
The match continued with Cena and Rollins continuing to trade finishers and nearfalls while Lesnar sold a "broken rib" on the outside. They wen to the finish of Lesnar taking two MITB briefcase shots to the face (with his hands up to protect his head) before dropping Rollins with an F5 for the win. WWE also aired the full-length replay of the high points from the match.
WINNER: Lesnar to advance to the WM31 main event.
Back to Michael Cole in the studio. Cole said they will show the entire Royal Rumble match later tonight.
Also tonight, Roman Reigns will be interviewed. Cole said that Reigns will address his Rumble win and the crowd's reaction. Plus, Seth Rollins is interviewed next.
[Commercial Break at 8:43]
This Thursday: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a Casket match live on Smackdown.
Seth Rollins Interview
Back at WWE HQ, Cole was joined by Seth Rollins for an interview. Rollins was shown looking dejected while clutching his MITB briefcase. Cole asked Rollins if he believes he deserved the WWE Title shot last night. Rollins paused to contemplate Cole's question. He said not only did he deserve to be in the match, but he did everything he could to win that match.
Cole introduced still-photos of Rollins delivering a Curb Stomp to Brock Lesnar during the title match. Rollins noted he thought that would put down Lesnar for a three count. Cole noted that didn't get the job done, so Seth delivered a top-rope elbow to Lesnar through the Spanish announce table. Rollins said he thought that would have eliminated Lesnar from the match, but he still had to deal with John Cena.
Cole introduced still-photos of Rollins delivering a top-rope corkscrew moonsault to Cena, but Lesnar suddenly returned to the ring. Rollins said he knew that was going to be it for Cena and he would be new WWE champion. But, that wasn't the case. Asked what he would do if he faced Brock Lesnar one-on-one, Rollins said he might have under-estimated Lesnar going into the Rumble, but he thinks Lesnar under-estimated him. Seth said Brock might still be WWE World champion, but he has the MITB contract - Plan B.
Cole said it will be interesting to hear from Brock Lesnar, who will join him next. Seth laughed at the notion of Brock taking his TV time. Seth said that if Brock wants to take his seat on this interview set, Brock is going to have to kick him out. Seth smirked as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:53]
Brock Lesnar Interview
Back to the interview set, where Brock Lesnar walked into the camera shot and stood over Seth Rollins. Seth shifted nervously in his chair, then Lesnar noted he's in his chair. Seth slowly got up, wiped off the chair, and then slapped it down to the ground. Brock smirked as Seth walked off. A production member emerged to replace Brock Lesnar's chair and bring in a second chair for Paul Heyman.
Lesnar noted someone is upset about losing last night. Asked how he's feeling, Lesnar said it's true that he has a broken rib. He said he's suffered a lot of injuries in his career, but when it comes to winning time, that's what he does.
Cole asked Heyman if this is all about being at odds with The Authority? Heyman said they're not at odds with The Authority. He said this is a mutually-exploitative business and he produces Brock Lesnar to solve problems for them, whether it's Sting, Undertaker, or John Cena. And, as long as The Authority continues to pay what Lesnar is worthy, they will continue their business alliance.
Cole went back to WrestleMania 30 when Lesnar ended the greatest Streak of all-time at last year's Mania. Cole introduced video highlights of Lesnar ending Taker's unbeaten streak, stunning the crowd. Back to Lesnar, who said he overcame the odds at WrestleMania just like everything else he's accomplished in his career - "I respect no one. I am The Beast, Brock Lesnar."
Heyman asked why anyone was surprised by last night's result. He said this is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete with unmatched credentials. He said what Lesnar brings into the ring makes him can't-miss and must-see.
Cole asked Lesnar about being on a collision course with the man who won last night's Royal Rumble match, Roman Reigns. Lesnar laughed a bit at the thought of facing Reigns. He said he's happy for him, but he hopes he's ready for the challenge because he's on a roll, baby. Lesnar told everyone to get out of his way. Heyman asked Cole what else he has. Cole asked Heyman if Reigns can stop Reigns. Heyman leaned forward: "No. Anything else?" Heyman asked Cole when he's going to talk to Reigns. Cole said it will be later. "Good, maybe I can meet this guy," Lesnar said with the arrogance of a champion not taking his challenger seriously. Lesnar was back in heel mode here despite playing the heroic babyface last week on Raw and last night at the Rumble.
[Commercial Break at 9:05]
Back at the studio, Michael Cole reset the show with Booker T and JBL joining him. JBL said Reigns has a chance to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania, but Lesnar is close to unbeatable. Cole then fed a full-length replay of the Royal Rumble match.
Of note, PWTorch reader Milan Greco noted on Twitter that a local cable channel in Australia cut off Raw for "The Simpsons," fearing that people who ordered the Rumble PPV will ask for refunds.
MATCH 2 REPLAY -- 30-Man Royal Rumble match from Sunday's Rumble PPV
WWE showed the first portion consisting of The Miz and R-Truth opening the Rumble and Bubba Ray Dudley's return. Then, Luke Harper coming out to battle Bubba. Bray Wyatt's introduction was next from the #5 spot, followed by Curtis Axel's introduction, sneak-attack by Erick Rowan, and Axel's non-entry. Raw cut to break with Bray Wyatt alone in the ring after clearing out everyone.
[Commercial Break at 9:21]
Raw returned with The Boogeyman's entrance at #7 to meet Bray Wyatt. After things got weird, they showed Sin Cara coming out to get worked over and tossed out by Wyatt. Same for Zack Ryder. Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a loud ovation to meet up with Wyatt one more time. Bryan and Bray battled heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:32]
Fandango, then Tyson Kidd made their ring entrances to join the match. Stardust joined the match next followed by Diamond Dallas Page. Diamond Cutters for everyone, then Rusev made his entrance. Bryan got in his Yes! kicks on Bray, then Rusev, then Bray, then Rusev. But, Bray bumped D-Bryan off the ring apron to eliminate Bryan and draw heavy boos. Bryan was shown shaking his head "No," selling the elimination as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:45. Coming back from break, WWE plugged Triple H on Stone Cold's WWE Network podcast next Monday.]
Back from break, WWE showed entrances for Kofi Kingston and Adam Rose to boos as the crowd frustratingly chanted Daniel Bryan's name. Frustrated boos turned to loud boos as Roman Reigns made his entrance and got pushed around by fans as he made his way through the crowd to the ring. Next out was Big E. to more frustrated boos.
Damien Mizdow's entrance temporarily ended the booing, but he only lasted a few moments and the crowd went back to booing. Jack Swagger was out next, followed by Ryback. "C-M Punk" chants as the ring filled up with wrestlers trying to hide Reigns in the corner. Of note, Reigns and Rusev were paired up throughout this segment of the match.
Kane was out next at #24 at the top of the third hour. Next out was Dean Ambrose at #25 to give the fans someone to get behind. Ambrose stood tall in the ring after a flurry of offense heading to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:03]
Back from break, Bad News Barrett was in the match and they cut to Cesaro at #28. No Titus O'Neil four-second elimination from the #26 spot. Out at #29 was Big Show. Kane & Show eliminated Ryback, then Swagger. Also of note, Rusev took a chokeslam from Kane, then rolled out of the ring to disappear for the remainder of the match until the actual finish.
Dolph Ziggler was out last at #30. Wrestlers started clearing out, leading to Show and Kane picking up a KO'ed Ziggler and casually dumping him over the top rope for an elimination. More boos. Show and Kane then dumped Bray over the top rope like a sack of potatoes. More boos as the crowd sensed how this was going down with Ambrose left with Reigns, Show, and Kane. Ambrose was casually dumped out, drawing louder boos as it became apparent how this was going to end.
"Bulls---" chant as Cole noted the fans not pleased with the eliminations of Bryan, Ambrose, and Ziggler tonight. Reigns made his comeback to boos, then Show decided to try to eliminate both Reigns and Kane, but Kane cut off Show. Kane and Show had a fight, then Reigns eliminated both of them. The bell sounded, even though the match was not over.
After Kane and Show attacked Reigns, The Rock came out to make the save. Rock knocked around Kane and Show as the announcers tried to sell massive excitement. Rock dropped Show with Rock Bottom after Reigns landed a Superman Punch, then Rock and Show left the ring. Reigns was left alone in the ring to loud boos. Rusev then got his cue to re-enter the ring, but he took a spear and Reigns eliminated him to louder boos.
WWE jacked up Reigns's theme music to try to drown out boos in the crowd. WWE then cut to a shot of Lesnar watching on a monitor. Back in the ring, Rock joined Reigns in the ring to celebrate and point to the WrestleMania sign. WWE showed Triple H and Stephanie McMahon coming out on-stage to show their displeasure toward Rock and Reigns. WWE stayed with Reigns celebrating to boos, which concluded the Rumble match.
WINNER: Reigns to advance to the WM31 main event. The match went an hour and 5 minutes with the commercials mixed in.
Still to come: Daniel Bryan talks about not winning the Royal Rumble.
Up Next: Roman Reigns interview.
[Commercial Break at 10:23]
Back at the studio, Michael Cole, Booker T, and JBL reset the show. Cole said Raw has been "pretty exciting tonight." JBL complained about having the weather report assignment tonight, then Cole asked them for their take-aways from the Rumble. JBL said Roman Reigns had a "coming of age" performance and is The Man going into the Rumble.
Roman Reigns Interview
Interview Set: Byron Saxton brought in Roman Reigns for an interview. A lot of noise feedback, apparently bringing up Reigns's audio so they could capture his mumbling. Reigns said he's not the most experienced wrestler in the locker room, but he's always been in the deep end. Reigns told a story about learning how to swim.
Saxton asked Reigns about the crowd reaction last night. Saxton said some people think the fans treated him unfairly. Reigns said as a little boy dreaming about winning the Rumble, he pictured a warmer response. He said life isn't fair, then tried to pander to the fans in Philly who "paid their hard-earned money" to cheer and boo who they want. Is Cena feeding him lines? "Fair? No one is worried about fair," he said.
Saxton said critics think Reigns has been hand-picked for success by the higher-ups in WWE. (Time for "insider talk" dog-whistling to hardcore fans.) Reigns said if he was hand-picked, then he says thanks for the opportunity. But, you still have to capitalize and deliver. No matter what happens, he has to go in the ring by himself and perform. But, not win the match? Regardless of what happens, Reigns said you have to take advantage. He said only time will tell if capitalizes or not.
Saxton brought up Big Show and Kane trying to get Reigns out of the match after they were eliminated, but he was thankful for help from family, The Rock. Reigns said he's never really put it out there, but his blood is Rock, The Usos, Rikishi, etc. Reigns said he looks forward to returning the favor to his family. He also looks forward to meeting Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania. And, also meeting him face-to-face tonight.
Up Next: John Cena makes a Fastlane PPV Announcement. Saxton started to set up the announcement next, but he stopped talking mid-sentence. Raw then cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:33]
Studio: Cole, JBL, and Booker T reset the show, then flashed back to the post-Rumble show when John Cena was interviewed. Except, Rusev stole the mic and got into it with Cena. Cole then relayed news that The Authority "planned this match for WrestleMania," but apparently suddenly changed their mind to make it for the Fast Lane PPV in February.
Last Monday on Raw: John Cena won back the jobs of Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan, thanks to help from Sting. Cole announced that Hunter will have a face-to-face confrontation with Sting at Fast Lane.
Fast Lane News: Cena vs. U.S. champion Rusev and Sting-Hunter confrontation.
[Commercial Break at 10:40]
Studio: Cole introduced a Hall of Fame update on Randy Savage being joined by Arnold Schwarzenegger in this year's HOF class. A video package followed on Schwarzenegger's career. Included were soundbytes from wrestlers trying to do Arnold's catchphrases.
Still to come: Lesnar and Reigns meet up. Suddenly, Dean Ambrose was shown walking through the blizzard to enter the building.
Up Next: Daniel Bryan interview.
[Commercial Break at 10:48]
Smackdown plug: Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a Casket match.
Somewhere in the building: Dean Ambrose was testing the thermometer, then Byron Saxton found Ambrose and asked him how he got here from Hartford. "It's not that far," Ambrose said. He said he caught a ride from Philly to Hartford, then woke up and found out that Raw was happening at headquarters today. He told a story about hitching a ride and going through crazy events to finally get here. He said it's just like the Road to WrestleMania, which is full of dangerous conditions and twists and turns. He vowed to make it to WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan Interview
Studio Interview: Renee Young brought in Daniel Bryan to talk about the Rumble. Renee noted that around this time last year, Bryan and the fanbase formed the Yes! Movement, riding it all the way to WrestleMania. Bryan said he was never supposed to be in the Mania main event, because The Authority doesn't see him at that level. But, the fans finally got him there. He said winning at Mania was a win for the fans.
Renee noted Bryan won the WWE Title, then was put out of action for months after being brutally attacked by Kane. It led to him being stripped of the WWE Title. Bryan said ever since he was stripped of the title, he changed his mindset and decided he was going to get healthy and win the title again.
Renee brought up Bryan's early elimination from the Rumble last night, and the audience's frustration. Bryan said the fans were disappointed that Reigns won, and so was he. Dig #2. But, not because it was Reigns, but because he did not win. Bryan said he envisioned a match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and it would have been the perfect story of David vs. Goliath. But, "I failed. That's on me," he said. Bryan said he had the chance, but he didn't take it. Granted, he didn't have The Rock helping him out and WWE feeding him as a kid. Dig #2. But, Bryan said he's sure Reigns will still put on a great match at WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar.
Bryan talked about his casket match against Kane on Smackdown. Bryan vowed to end this with Kane on Smackdown, then move back to going after the WWE World Title.
Up Next: Reigns and Lesnar meet up. So, there will be an over-run.
[Commercial Break at 10:59]
Raw returned three minutes past the top of the hour with live shots of the blizzard in Connecticut.
In the studio, Cole introduced Lesnar and Reigns for a sit-down, face-to-face. Before any questions could be asked, Paul Heyman walked into the shot to politely shake Reigns's hand and talk up his accomplishment winning the Rumble. Heyman asked for permission to ask the questions. Heyman booted Cole from the interviewer chair, then sat down to talk to Reigns.
Heyman said he's known Reigns's family longer than he's known his family. He said he's known Reigns's father since he was a little kid taking pictures of him and Afa as the WWE tag champs. He said he took Yokozuna's first publicity pictures and managed Fatu before he was Rikishi. He also knew Jimmy and Jey more than 20 years ago when they were giving each other frog splashes as kids. Heyman said everything about Reigns's family is in the Samoan's blood to go into the ring. He said he knew Reigns back in Pensacola. He said he's proud of Reigns for what he accomplished last night.
Heyman said he also knows The Rock. More importantly, Rock knows Brock Lesnar. And, here's the part about Reigns's history that is not told. He said back in 2002, Rock was the reigning champion. The top guy. And that was going to last forever. Until that fantasy ran into the reality of a new guy, like Reigns is the new guy, in a rookie named Brock Lesnar. Reigns remained stone-faced locking eyes with Heyman as he spoke.
Heyman said Lesnar took, at will, the WWE World Title away from The Rock. He noted Rock never asked for a re-match with Lesnar because one match with Lesnar was all that Rock could handle. He said Rock apparently has not told Reigns what he's up against at WrestleMania. He gets it, though, Reigns is supposed to be The One who beats The One in 21-1. Heat transfer.
Heyman asked Reigns how he's going to handle disappointing his family when he loses to Brock Lesnar. Because he cannot beat Brock Lesnar. Not today, and certainly not at WrestleMania. That was a long question. Reigns sat quietly, then said he'll answer that to Brock Lesnar. Reigns kind of cut the moment scraping his chair across the floor to turn to face Lesnar. Reigns said he knows what he signed up for at WrestleMania, but he doesn't think Lesnar does. Lesnar leaned in his chair casually listening to Reigns, who vowed to win the title. "I know it, you know it," he said. "And if I can't, I'm going to take a piece of you with me."
Lesnar suddenly stood up to go face-to-face with Reigns, who also popped to his feet. Lesnar got in Reigns's air-space, then told Reigns that he's like Heyman. "I don't respect you," he said. "But you will," Reigns replied. Lesnar and Reigns remained face-to-face selling tension.
Back to the studio, where Cole, JBL, and Booker reacted to the interview exchange and hyped the WrestleMania main event. Cole signed off 11 minutes past the top of the hour with a final shot of the blizzard in Connecticut. Notably on SportsCenter right after Big 12 basketball, ESPN noted that Raw was "pinned" by the blizzard, forcing Raw in Hartford, Conn. to be canceled.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The difference in promos between Bryan and Reigns was night-and-day. Bryan sounded like an authentic character offering real thoughts (even a few passive-aggressive digs), while Reigns sounded like a machine being fed his next thought. He's just not ready for the spot, but apparently WWE is convinced that he can grow into the shoes over time.
Meanwhile, Heyman was great talking for Reigns, and Lesnar looked very comfortable in this environment, but it seems like WWE is going back to Lesnar as a cocky heel champion after a cup of coffee as heroic babyface. It does open the door ever so slightly for D-Bryan to slip into the match, especially after digging at Reigns and still talking up his WWE Title quest after never actually losing the title, but it feels like a teaser to give fans hope of a repeat from last year's Mania Season; this was all about promoting Lesnar vs. Reigns and Reigns's arrival as the next top star, especially when looking at the commentary from the announcers.
Overall, the blizzard worked out in terms of WrestleMania promotion, as the sit-down interviews were a nice way to follow up on the Rumble, while also cooling off the anti-Reigns sentiment until next week's Raw in Denver.
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