RAW Thoughts

We are in Newark, New Jersey with a sold-out crowd of over 14,000 as the Road to WrestleMania continues on. What’s in store for us tonight?

Seth RollinsSeth Rollins makes his way out to the ring along with J&J Security. I’ll tell you this…Rollins has been improving by leaps and bounds over the past couple of months. In-ring was awesome anyway, but his promo ability and confidence is showing through. He’s not just billed as the future of the WWE…he IS the future of the WWE. Rollins proceeds to deliver another entertaining promo, while telling the world that Jon Stewart is making his way to the Prudential Center to confront him later in the show. Just as he’s on a roll…

Spear!Roman Reigns made his way to the ring to interrupt Rollins. Rollins continued to go on a roll…saying he could out-talk Jon Stewart, out-rap Wiz Khalifa, out-eat Mark Henry, and out-wrestle Reigns. After a little more banter, Reigns punches Rollins and takes out J&J Security to a mixed reaction.

– Rollins and his stooges are out back. Rollins gave his boys a tongue lashing when Randy Orton showed up to provide a bit of advice. He suggested Rollins demand a match against Reigns, but Rollins said that he could out-wrestle ANYBODY on the WWE roster (eying Orton while he said it) and decided he wanted to take care of things by himself.

Barrett vs AmbroseDean Ambrose took on Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett with R-Truth sitting at ringside. They recapped the whole “stealing of the IC title” situation, which would be entertaining if it weren’t for R-Truth being involved. The match was entertaining, but the commentary was distracting. In fact, it was abysmal. Truth ended up stealing the IC title and acted like a goof while doing it. Then Luke Harper stood behind Truth and took the belt for himself. Barrett got distracted by Harper and then was pinned by Ambrose. The whole thing sets up a multi-person ladder match at WrestleMania, but I don’t know if this is the way to do it.

Mizdow vs MizThe Miz vs Mizdow feud continued in a very bizarre way that, basically, ended up with the both of them in a “Viagara-esque” commercial and Miz looking like a douchebag. Miz didn’t like that and ended up slapping Mizdow across the face. When Mizdow tried to stand up for himself, Miz reminded him that he’d be fired by WWE again if it weren’t for him. That resulted in Mizdow apologizing to Miz and us fading to commercial.

Bray Wyatt came out and delivered a money promo challenging the Undertaker to some kind of burning casket match. I think.

Natalya, Cesaro, & Kidd– The WWE tag team champions, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, made their way to the ring with Natalya set to take on Naomi and the Usos. This was a fairly quick throwaway match where an injured Natalya was tagged in by Kidd and then was school-boy’d by Naomi. I like that it continued the Natalya/Kidd storyline, but meh…it didn’t do much else for me.

McMahon & Cena– Out came John Cena to deliver another boring promo. Thankfully, Newark didn’t disappoint and sang “John Cena suuuuucks!” to his theme music. Anyway…Cena said that if he wasn’t going to get a rematch against Rusev at WrestleMania, he would then instead enter the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal instead. At that point, Stephanie McMahon came out. McMahon told Cena that he wasn’t allowed to enter the battle royal. Then she threatened to leave him off the WrestleMania card. She basically laid out a verbal bitch-slap and the Newark crowd went nuts for her in approval.

AxelMania#AxelMania was running wild as Curtis Axel delivered, without a doubt, the best promo of his entire career. The crowd actually chanted “AxelMania” at one point. McMahon then set up a match between the two men…which basically meant that Axel was about to get destroyed. Before leaving, Cena was told that the only way to get a match with Rusev at WrestleMania was to make him accept the challenge.

– Cena told Axel to walk out of the ring, because if the match actually started then Axel wouldn’t be walking out (quite the heel move, ain’t it?). Anyway…Axel decided to wrestle Cena and proceeded to get destroyed.

– Once the match was over, Rusev and Lana made his way out to tell Cena, once again, that he will not face John Cena at WrestleMania.

I love Rusev. He played off the crowd perfectly here. He was just fantastic. What a GREAT performer.

You're FiredTriple H made his way to the ring next. He, obviously, was talking about Sting before asking Booker T to get into the ring. Apparently, Booker had mumbled something on commentary about how he thought Triple H had something to do with Sting being “blocked” from the WWE. Booker got into the ring and mumbled on for a few minutes about Sting and Triple H and power and some other nonsense. Triple H casually said that he understood what Booker was saying, walked by him and told him that he was fired. Booker collected his things and walked away. But then…

I’m just pissed that Booker T wasn’t really fired. Fuck.

Paige vs Nikki– In a WWE Divas title match, Paige tried to win her title back against Nikki Bella. As soon as the match was announced tonight, the internet went nuts with hoping for a solid #GiveDivasAChance match-up that went more than a couple of minutes. It was a decent match thanks to Paige carrying Nikki. In the end, Paige was about to win the match when Brie interfered. AJ Lee then made her RAW return and attacked both Bellas to save Paige.

AJ & PaigeI think that I just went from six to midnight. Wait…WHAT??

The WWE Daily ShowSeth Rollins then came out to host his own version of The Daily Show. After a few minutes, Jon Stewart came out and proceeded to deliver a GREAT promo with Rollins. I mean…they’ve had celebrity after celebrity and, without question, Stewart delivered one of the best non-wrestling promos I’ve ever seen. The entire segment was fantastic and, quite literally, a thousand times better than it had any right to be. As Rollins began to attack Stewart, Randy Orton‘s music hit to distract the heels. Stewart kicked Rollins in the balls and ran away.

KICK HIM IN THE BALLSOrton didn’t know why the heels were so upset and simply walked to the back. The segment delivered tremendously from start to finish. I was legitimately shocked at how good it was.

Bryan vs HarperLuke Harper came out with “his” Intercontinental title. Then Daniel Bryan came out. I’m really looking forward to this match-up. Unfortunately, we got a Harper beat-down of Bryan for a few minutes before Bryan clamped on the Yes Lock for the immediate tap-out.

Bad News Barrett made his way down to the ring to get his IC title back. Dean Ambrose came out and attacked Barrett. Ambrose was attacked by Harper. R-Truth tried to sneak away with the belt before Harper took the belt back once again. Dolph Ziggler then came out and superkicked Harper before taking the belt for himself.

– I am absolutely SHOCKED that Madusa Miceli is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Is it deserved? Absolutely. She was the first REAL wrestling diva that combined sex appeal with legitimate wrestling ability. But after the whole “drop the title in the garbage” segment in WCW, I thought she would be persona non grata with the company forever. She’ll be inducted as her WWE name: Alundra Blaze.

Paul Heyman came out and was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I mean…just wow. My words just won’t do the promo justice.

Reigns vs RollinsRoman Reigns didn’t take to this promo very well, so he made his way down to the ring. Heyman left so that led to our main event for the evening with Reigns taking on Seth Rollins. To me, this was an incredibly smart booking decision. They weren’t doing Reigns any favours by having him taking on the lumbering Big Show and Kane every other week. Battling against Rollins will show the world that he can have an incredibly entertaining match and isn’t one-dimensional. Midway into the match, Randy Orton’s music hit and he made his way to ringside.

Reigns vs JandJThis was a really well-booked match. There was a lot of great wrestling, a lot of interference that was overcome by Reigns, and then some last-minute interference by Orton that caused Reigns to lose. It was unexpected and I love when that happens.

Reigns then went absolutely bat-shit. He did an “Undertaker leap over the top rope” onto the Authority and proceeded to dish out spears to everybody, including a sick spear to Rollins as he was leaping from the top rope. It was an impressive display that resulted in a lot less boos than he had earlier in the show.

Reigns leapsWas it a great show? No, but it was a solid outing by WWE. Storylines progressed and that’s all you really want to do with wrestling. You want to put on some good matches (we had a couple) and then move forward in your storylines that build to a resolution (i.e. WrestleMania). All-in-all, this was a very well-choreographed episode that delivered what it intended to deliver.

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