We’re live in Pittsburgh and, T-minus 20 nights, the Road to WrestleMania continues. Will storyline continuity finally take center stage? Will they finally move storylines along to set up matches for the big show? Let’s find out…
– The Authority all sucked-up to Orton for some reason, trying to diffuse any potential tension. Orton then decided to take the mic and verbally bitch-slap everybody.
– The Viper then told everybody that he was just joking. Rollins laughed it off and said he couldn’t wait to dismantle Roman Reigns in 2-on-1 handicap main event tonight when he and Orton team up. I realize that they’re setting up the eventual babyface turn by Orton, but this is really dragging on and on. In reality, WWE should have made this happen weeks ago and have Rollins escape Orton’s wrath every single week leading up to WrestleMania; building anticipation for the match-up. Instead…we’re going to have two weeks to build this match. Ugh.
While looking through Twitter, I found that Missy Hyatt had an interesting take on things…
– Daniel Bryan came out to take on Bad News Barrett in a non-title match (of course). I just don’t understand WWE’s thinking. Why must every heel champion be a losing chicken-shit? I mean, with Barrett you’ve got a kick-ass gimmick, a killer entrance song, and a talented guy inside and outside of the ring…yet WWE continues to cut his balls off and make the IC title a joke. It doesn’t matter that everybody and their dog wants to win the IC title at this point because it’s going to take a LOT of work to make the title relevant again. Say what you will about Rusev’s U.S. title reign…he’s brought some prestige to the title by being a dominant champion. As expected, Barrett lost clean.
– Dean Ambrose came out to attack Barrett before his own match. Once Barrett got chased off (during the commercial), Stardust came out (IC title belt around his waist) to be the opponent of Ambrose. The match itself was pretty decent, in spite of the ridiculousness surrounding the title. Stardust is entertaining right now, but he still looks ridiculous and acts even more ridiculous. Goldust was gold and trying to recapture that “lightning in a bottle” effect is stupid. Poor Cody lost clean to Ambrose.
– Next thing you know, six guys were all battling it out inside of the ring (Stardust, Ambrose, Bryan, Harper, Barrett, and Dolph Ziggler) while R-Truth (doing commentary for two matches) stole the IC title…again. Sigh.
– WWE then did a very cool thing. They introduced “The Warrior Award” for the HoF, which will be an award for real life heroes who do good things for the world. They announced that Connor “The Crusher” Michalek would win the award this year. If you are unfamiliar with his story, go here. Very classy, WWE. Well done.
– Paul Heyman was in the ring and introduced a Roman Reigns promo video. Once it was over, there were a lot of scattered boos in the arena. Heyman then introduced Brock Lesnar. Heyman tried to pull out all the stops as the heel spokesperson by insulting Roman’s family and his heritage…but the crowd still cheered him and Lesnar. Heyman, as usual, went on to delivery yet another promo of the year. He is simply unbelievable on the mic…and if it weren’t for him, this match would be dead in the water.
– Bray Wyatt called out Undertaker again…only this time he has an urn. Ummm…giddy up?
– Apparently, Big Show and Kane appear to be yet another collision course. Sigh…will this split happen before or after WrestleMania? They were teaming up to face Ryback (#SteroidGuy) and Erick Rowan. This match has a world of NOPE written all over it. I’d rather watch pretty much any match from ROH or PWG or NJPW or Lucha Underground than watch these four lumbering sloths plod around the ring.
– Stephanie McMahon came down to the ring after her stooges lost and verbally bitch-slapped them. She basically told them to go home and think about what they’ve done and how they’ve acted. Unreal…emasculating these two monsters like that. But let’s be real…BOTH of them need to retire. Soon.
– Wiz Khalifa then came out and performed for awhile. Yawn.
– AJ Lee (with Paige in her corner) took on Summer Rae (with Cameron and Eve in her corner). Summer is very much up and down as an in-ring performer. She has flashes of excellence along with missed spots and mistakes. AJ did her best to make Summer look good. In the end, though, AJ won with the Black Widow finisher.
– They finally delivered a Sting promo where he gave his side of why he wanted to battle Triple H at WrestleMania. The problem, though, was that they lowered Sting’s voice to almost sound Black Scorpion-esque…and it took away from the seriousness of the whole promo. It just sounded silly to me.What a waste.
– Rusev was making his way to the ring when he was interrupted by John Cena. Cena basically said that if Rusev said one derogatory thing about the United States in the ring, he won’t need a match at WrestleMania to show him some American “fight”.
– Curtis “#AxelMania” Axel challenged Rusev last week to a match tonight. What’s funny is that during his ring entrance, the TitanTron now shows the clock of how long he’s been in the Royal Rumble.
Funny stuff…but as soon as Axel got into the ring, Rusev went on the attack. It took less than a minute for him to destroy Axel. Sigh.
– Against Lana‘s wishes, Rusev got on the mic and ran down America just to get under Cena’s skin. John Cena came out and immediately slapped on the STFU (or whatever the hell he’s calling it now). Rusev “passed out”, Cena threw water on him to “wake him up”, then he slapped on the STFU again until Lana agreed to give him a U.S. title match at WrestleMania. Cena, of course, ended up looking SUPER strong in this segment. Rusev looked beatable. I just pray this helps set up another Rusev victory. Who needs the win more?
– Backstage, Rusev and Lana got into an argument. I’m really hoping that they don’t break up this team before WrestleMania. I realize that Lana has a movie to shoot…but to lose her shot at Mania would be a MASSIVE disservice to both her and Rusev as the fantastic duo that they are.
– Tyson Kidd & Cesaro took on the team of Big E and Kofi Kingston. Oh…I’m sorry…that’s Xavier Woods. In a massive shocker, New Day took the clean pinfall victory over the champs. I don’t understand the whole “heels must lose” mentality. Goddammit…this pisses me off. Especially when it’s a team like New Day that is NOT over with anybody.
– Naomi came out to face Natalya next. Dumb storylines progressed. Naomi inexplicably won.
– Los Matadores came down to take on the Usos and actually fucking WON the match! It looks like we’re looking at a multi-team match at WrestleMania with Kidd & Cesaro taking on New Day, the Usos, and Los Matadores. Jesus Christ…fucking kill me now.
– Backstage vignette with Seth Rollins and J&J Security.
– Bray Wyatt promo next. Calls out Undertaker and attempts to use an urn as a way to prove Taker’s gone for good. The urn starts to smoke and the gong hits. Undertaker “mysteriously” accepts Wyatt’s challenge and spookiness abounds with the urn changing over into Wyatt’s chair, then lightning hitting the chair and setting it on fire. All the while Wyatt was scared yet excited about the whole thing. Interesting and different…but kinda goofy and lame, too.
– Roman Reigns made his way down to the ring for his 2-on-1 handicap match. I understand that they’re really trying old-school booking to put Reigns over, but I really think it’s too late at this point to turn the crowds before WrestleMania. If it weren’t for the WWE Network being only $9.99/month, I believe the buys for Mania this year would be astoundingly low. There just isn’t any interest in the main event and the undercard looks like a mishmash.
– Anyway…Seth Rollins makes his way down to the ring with J&J Security. Randy Orton came out next and they made their way down to the ring as “close partners within The Family”. J&J were having issues with Randy Orton so Rollins sent them to the back.
Rollins went to make a tag but Orton stood back before flipping him the double-bird (edited off TV because…y’know…it’s PG and all). Reigns took advantage of an obvious distraction and speared Rollins for the win.
I don’t care how the show ended, this was one of the worst episodes of RAW I’ve suffered through in a LONG time. At this point, WWE is not doing a good job of building ANY momentum into their biggest show of the year. I don’t know what they’re thinking right now…it’s just a downward spiral that they can’t seem to get out of. It ain’t 1995 anymore…the gimmicks and storylines and bookings that worked then just won’t work anymore.