SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published five years ago this week on PWTorch.com.
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 12, 2014
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-They opened with clips of last week’s show including Dean Ambrose losing the U.S. Title in a 20 man battle royal and then The Shield taking a beating from Evolution at the end of the show.
-The Shield stood mid-ring. Ambrose said they get beat down, but they get up every time. Seth Rollins said Evolution are former World Champions and WrestleMania main eventers. He said, “We get it you’re really good… You *were* really good.” The crowd ohhhed that one. He said they aren’t the Evolution they once were because they can’t evolve into what it takes to beat The Shield. Seth noticed Roman Reigns was pacing. He asked if he has something to say. Reigns looked right into the camera (which at one time was totally frowned on by WWE to the point that they made fun of WCW wrestlers for doing it all the time). He said after last week’s beating, he wants to know, “Is that all you got? Because if so, you’ve got a serious problem.” He said they’ll teach them the concept of Payback and to believe in The Shield. He gave the camera a death stare. Seth and Dean said he’s the man and he said it well. They noticed on the big screen a limo arrive backstage. They charged toward the backstage area.
-Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista walked out of the limo and were signing some paperwork on a clipboard with the limo driver. Hunter strutted ahead of Batista and Orton away from the limo when The Shield attacked them. They brawled around and onto the hood of the (nice) limo. Because it was a nice limo, the fight was broken up before any damage was done. Referees and some suits pulled The Shield away from the fallen Evolution members.
-They went to Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler at ringside who reacted to what just happened. Cole hyped a rematch from Smackdown of John Cena & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family.
-Rob Van Dam’s ring entrance began. [c]
(2nd Screen: Zeb brought a sign to the ring with his Deportation List. Adam Rose was on it, among others he usually lists, which means a Swagger-Rose feud may be up first.)
(1) ROB VAN DAM vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Coulter)
Zeb was mid-promo back from the break. He said he wanted to talk without a lot of crowd noise. He said a real American would sit quietly and listen to what he has to say. He told Adam Rose to keep his distance because he hangs around a “full grown bunny” and offers nothing substantial to society. As the match was about to begin, Rose’s music played. JBL said they just need Kurrgan and The Oddities to add to the party. The ref signaled for the bell, and RVD surprised a distracted Swagger with a kick to the face and scored the quick pin.
WINNER: RVD in seconds.
-Michael Cole jumped up and down at ringside and encouraged JBL to join him in the fun.
(WK Reax: Michael Cole jumping up and down and encouraging JBL to “party” like him is killing this gimmick. How does not everyone in WWE see this? For this gimmick to get over, and for WWE’s lead announcer to keep the dignity that is actually valuable for the role the lead announcer plays in a wrestling company, Cole should act like this isn’t his scene but the fans seem to love it or something like that – and leave it at that.)
-A short vignette on Paige aired where she confidently said she didn’t expect to be Divas Champion at age 21. [c]
(2nd Screen: Clips from an old Rob Van Dam match aired.)
-A Bo Dallas vignette aired. “A bird sitting on the tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because the trust is not with the branch, but with its own wings. Believe you can fly. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
(2) PAIGE vs. ALICIA FOX
Before the match, Fox said, “Speaking of behalf of all the women in the locker room…” and went on to say Paige has alienated everyone because of her success so quickly. “You don’t fit in, so get out.” She took a cheap shot at Paige and got early advantage in the match. Paige won out of nowhere. Fox threw a fit afterward tossing around the announcer notes and even shaking and opening canned beverage near JBL and sprayed it everywhere. She yelled, “I am championship material!” She took JBL’s hat and walked away wearing it.
-A clip aired of what happened last week with Kane/Brie and Kane/Stephanie. Lawler then said Bryan will address the WWE Universe next. [c]
(2nd Screen: Byron Saxton interviewed The Usos backstage who talked about their main event match later.)
-Bryan came out and said it’s been a long road to stand in that ring with the Unified World Title. He said for that 30 seconds after beating John Cena for the WWE Title at Summerslam before Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, he knew he’d face a lot of challenges, but the uphill battles he has fought have been a little steeper than he anticipated. The crowd chanted “Yes! No! Yes! No!” He laughed and said, “So that’s how it feels to be John Cena!” He said together with the fans, they beat the odds and he walked out of WrestleMania as the WWE World Champion. He said unfortunately that comes with a huge target on his back. He said as soon as he got back from his honeymoon, he took the worst beating of his life.
He said he was tombstoned on the floor and the steps and the announce table, and because of that he was in a neck brace, but he was determined to beat Kane. He said he was determined to beat him, and at Extreme Rules he did. He said his entire style comes with a price, and the reason he thinks fans cheer for him is he pays that price with his body, but unfortunately he has to pay the price this week with neck surgery. He said he’s not exactly really happy about it. He welled up with emotion. He said what’s frustrating is some people are happy about it, such as Stephanie and Kane. He said they are predicting that his career is pretty much done. “There’s a chance it could be, but it won’t be,” he said. He said he has no idea when he’ll come back, but he led the crowd in chanting “Yes!” when he asked if he will eventually come back.
-The announcers reacted. JBL said hopefully his career is coming to a halt, but not an end. JBL said he had to retire due to an injury. Lawler said it’s not just his wrestling style, but also the beatings he’s taken, playing back into storyline mode a bit. Cole recapped that Bryan has no timetable on his return. Lawler called it devastating news. They didn’t even touch on the fate of the WWE World Title.
-Cole pivoted to the Wyatt Family message spreading like wildfire. A video package aired on the feud. Then Cole plugged the six-man match up next.
-A commercial encouraged WWE Network subscribers to refer friends to sign up. If they do, both they and their friends get $25 in a voucher for online merchandise at WWE’s website up to ten friends. This was announced last week on Raw. [c]
(2nd Screen: Saxton interviewed Xavier Woods who talked about the mental anguish Bryan will be going through knowing he has a neck injury and his neck will never be as good as it once was after neck surgery. He said if anyone can come back from it, he will.)
-The Wyatt Family ring entrance began. They cut to another break. [c]
(3) THE USOS & JOHN CENA vs. THE WYATT FAMILY
JBL compared Harper and Rowan to Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen. A very loud “Let’s Go Cena! / Cena sucks!” battle chant broke out early. The announcers talked again about the Bryan neck surgery news, which was the right thing to do, but again didn’t even begin to speculate about the ramifications on the championship. Lawler said Harper might be the result of a conjugal visit. JBL said the disenfranchised believe they have a leader in Bray Wyatt. The action really picked up at 8:00 with an Usos rally, although Rowan cut it short. Cena surprised Rowan with an STF which once again showed a ton of light.
(WK Reax: Seriously, Steve Austin even chided Cena for this on his podcast. Cena applies is so loosely, it’s hard to even imagine what goes through his head when doing it in a way that’s so bad visually.)
Bray broke up the STF, then set up a Sister Abigail on Cena. The Usos each kicked Bryan in the face, then double-kicked Harper. They danced in the ring, then dove onto Wyatt and Harper at ringside. Back in the ring Cena gave Rowan an Attitude Adjustment for the win.
WINNER: Cena & The Usos in 9:00.
-Bray gathered himself and said on the mic afterward that he thanked Cena for making him realize what he finally must do. He didn’t elaborate. Cena shook his head like he wasn’t buying what Bray was doing or wouldn’t let it get to him. [c]
(2nd Screen: Natalya talked to Byron Saxton about all of the issues going on with her on Total Divas.)
-Evolution came out to their full entrance. Orton said he knows with all of his heart and soul that it’s time to put the Hounds of Justice to sleep. Batista threw a bit of a fit off-mic saying he’s had enough, too. Triple H said maybe it is time to finish this thing with The Shield. Triple H said after taking out Rollins and Ambrose, they’d make a real example out of Reigns because he’ll be the Shield member “who does not come back from Payback.” Nice attempt to work in the title of the PPV to the backstory. The Shield managed to surprise attack Evolution from behind. They cleared the ring of all three Evolution members. Batista yelled from the aisle that he wanted Reigns one-on-one.
(3) NATALYA vs. NIKKI BELLA
Not a lot to it, but Nikki won with a roll-through leverage pin. Brie entered and gave Nikki a 10.0 score for her performance as did other Divas at ringside. Natalya was not happy with that and yanked their “10” score signs away in frustration.
WINNER: Nikki Bella.
(WK Reax: Natalya managed some passable acting there. Acting is not her strength, but she was toned down and more natural and less over-the-top than usual with her facial expressions.) [c]
(4) SHEAMUS vs. CURTIS AXEL
With Curtis’s glow-orange spray on tan and Sheamus’s lack of pigment, this is as strong a contrast in skin tone as you’ll see from two “white guys.” Sheamus won quickly and relatively easily with his finisher. Afterward Ryback jumped Sheamus from behind. Ryback then challenged Sheamus to another match right away against him.
WINNER: Sheamus. [c]
(5) SHEAMUS vs. RYBACK
After the break the match was in progress and Cole explained Sheamus accepted the Ryback challenge. Ryback kicked out of White Noise a few minutes in. Ryback took advantage of a slight distraction caused by Axel and nailed Sheamus with the Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback then set up the Shellshock, but Sheamus escaped and hit the Brogue Kick instead for the win.
(WK Reax: Seems that Sheamus is not turning heel.) [c]
-Cole plugged that Sheamus would defend against Cesaro on WWE Main Event on Tuesday night on WWE Network.
-Stephanie McMahon walked to the ring. Cole said she had a lot to talk about. Stephanie faked sadness at Bryan’s neck injury, then said he just wasn’t able to carry the weight of being the champion. She said since they don’t know what the outcome of the surgery will be, she asked him to come to the ring so she could deliver a message face to face.
-Instead, Kane came out to his entrance music and he dragged Bryan onto the stage. Bryan was obviously helping Kane move him by pushing with one of his legs, but then feigned being totally knocked out once Kane dropped his arm. Bryan’s face looked beaten and bruised, and his clothes were torn. Medics came out to check on Bryan. Brie walked out to ask if he was okay. Steph walked onto the stage to see how he was. The crowd chanted “Let’s Go Bryan!” [c]
Afterward, as Bryan was loaded into an ambulance, Stephanie acted like she was so sorry. Brie yelled at her to stay away. The camera then stayed on a close-up of Stephanie doing a cheesy soap opera frozen sinister look as the wind from the open garage exit blew through her hair.
-A clip aired of Fandango making out with Summer Rae on Total Divas last month.
(5) FANDANGO (w/Layla) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
JBL called Fandango “Gene Kelly crossed with Ken Shamrock.” Ziggler got no ring entrance. A few minutes in Fandango kicked out of the Fameasser. Ziggler was distracted by Layla on the ring apron, giving Fandango an opening to hit a running kick for a near fall. Ziggler then gave Fandango the Zig Zag for the win. As Ziggler left the ring, he flung some sweat at Layla which seemed kinda low-class for a babyface who just won.
(WK Reax: If Bryan’s out a while, WWE might have wished they kept Ziggler stronger and protected him more in the last year. He’s really damaged goods, and beating Fandango doesn’t solve that.)
-Afterward Fandango approached Layla and said he might have lost, but he knows he’s a winner because no woman has made him feel the way he feels. He said when she is in his arms, it feels like the world disappears and reappears. He said Ziggler may have won, but she has won something much more valuable – his heart. He told her he loves her. He then made out with her. JBL called it revolting and called for a commercial break. [c]
-The announcers commented on the top ten shows on WWE Network last week: WWE Extreme Rules, Legends House, Raw Pre-Show, WrestleMania Rewind, WWE Countdown: Greatest Villains, WWE Extreme Rules Fallout, WWE Main Event, ECW Hardcore TV, WWE NXT, and WrestleMania 30. Cole called it a great value at just $9.99 a month. No Netflix comparison this week.
-Hacksaw Duggan walked out to his entrance music as the announcers made wise cracks about Legends House. He said it’s great to be back in the WWE Universe especially after living at Legends House. He was quickly interrupted by Lana, who called the United States the laughing stock of the world. She said China has passed the U.S. as the largest economy of the world. A “USA!” chant broke out, on cue. Duggan then restarted the chant a few seconds later. Rusev then walked out and joined Lana on the way to the ring. Rusev yanked Duggan’s two-by-four away from him and broke it over his knee. Lana then told Rusev to crush him. As Rusev moved in toward Duggan, Big E. charged out to the make the save. He actually got a bit of a babyface pop. Rusev, though, managed to take control quickly and crush Big E. in the corner and then superkick him. Big E. rolled to ringside where Duggan checked on him and then started another ill-timed “USA” chant. You don’t start a “USA” chant after Russia wins the Gold and the U.S. doesn’t win a medal. [c]
-An ad aired for WWEShop.com pushing fans to buy merchandise, including free shipping for orders of $25 or more with a code.
(6) DAMIEN SANDOW vs. CODY RHODES (w/Goldust)
Before the match Sandow said everyone should go back and watch the Raw pre-show if they missed it. Cody’s entrance music interrupted Sandow. JBL wished Doug Basham a happy birthday, a former member of his cabinet. JBL said Cody’s going through a slump. Cody hit a Disaster Kick out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Rhodes. [c]
-Cole threw to a clip of Bryan’s announcement about neck surgery and then Kane “attack” fallout.
-A Wyatt Family backstage promo aired with Wyatt saying when everything around Cena burns, he will stand.
(WK Reax: I wonder if Rowan makes funny facial reactions under that sheep mask just to entertain himself while Bray cuts those promos.)
-Reigns’s ring entrance took place.
(7) ROMAN REIGNS (w/Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins) vs. BATISTA (w/Triple H, Randy Orton)
As Batista took control at 2:00, a “Boo-ti-sta” chant broke out, which Cole and Lawler acknowledged. Lawler said the chants ignite Batista. Not sure Vince McMahon liked that analysis, as Cole quickly interjected that it “gets under his skin.” Cole’s comment is right on. You want to sell the idea to fans that their chants get under the skins of heels, not mitigate them. It seems Lawler would know better than to say something that undercuts the satisfaction fans get from needling Batista that way. At 3:00 the two pairs of wrestlers at ringside got into it. Reigns set up his Superman punch, but Triple H yanked him out of the ring by his leg. Rollins made the save with a dive off the table and then whipped him into the ringside steps. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Reigns won via DQ.
(WK Reax: That wasn’t much of a match. The crowd seemed deflated by the lack of an actual full-fledged main event match. The focus continues to be on building Reigns. If you watch the shows lately with the idea being they’re all about building up Reigns to be the next top star, there’s a lot that comes into focus regarding what they’re doing. It seems very possible at some point Ambrose and Rollins will notice Reigns emerging and get jealous, perhaps even turning on him in a big angle, as that’s how Triple H would view the next big step in Reigns’s emergence – having him have to fight the odds of not just Evolution as it now stands, but his former partners who have gone to the “dark side” out of jealousy. Batista continues to look like he’s there to put in a decent effort but is counting down the days to get back to Hollywood and try to make that new phase of his career take off to the next level. At his age, it’s exactly the right attitude to have. You can’t blame him. It’s still awkward having Triple H as a lead heel wrestler and the co-owner of the company, though.)
-The heel locker room emptied with a big run-in to join Evolution in beating down The Shield. Triple H set up a chairshot, but Reigns broke free and speared him. Ambrose and Rollins began bashing the heels across their backs with chairs. Evolution fled the scene as the Shield beat up the mid-card heels in the ring.
RECOMMENDED: 5 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT (5-5-14): Kane terrorizes Brie in bad horror movie skit, Zeb Colter’s deportation list, Cody vs. Ryback, Shield vs. Wyatt Family, plus Kofi, Bryan, Brie, Rusev, Big E, Cesaro, Battle Royal