The Royal Rumble is this Sunday and it usually brings a lot of anticipation wonder to the land of WWE! What will the Raw beforehand bring for us? Read on to find out, plus my picks for the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for January 19th, 2015 – “Restoration and Restitution”
Introduction Segment: Commemoration Video
A video paying tribute to Martin Luther King Day airs, promoting African-American men and women who have made a difference in the world since the 1960s, particularly Martin Luther King, Jr.
Segment #2: Welcoming and Arena Promo
Michael Cole welcomes us to Raw, the last one before the Royal Rumble this Sunday. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar, and his advocate, Paul Heyman, walk out. Heyman goes for his usual introduction, but Lesnar jolts the microphone from him and demands Seth Rollins to face him. He wants to get straight to the fight!
“Mr. Money In The Bank” does not show, but Chief Operating Officer Triple H does instead. He wants everyone to calm down, but Brock is still insisting on battling Rollins. Stephanie, The Big Show, and Kane now march out and surround HHH. They also want everyone to be calm as well; Seth himself now appears, but only via the Titan Tron. He tells Brock he has to wait until the Rumble to get his hands on him. Heyman threatens The Authority that Lesnar can either tear everyone apart, or leave everyone alone depending on their decision.
John Cena makes his presence known, informing The Authority to continue to tear him down verbally, because it only lights him up to keep on giving. He and Rollins rip on each other, then Cena demands that The Authority give Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erik Rowan their jobs back when he wins at the Royal Rumble. Instead of this, Triple H and Stephanie give him another ultimatum: if he wins his match tonight, then the trio will regain their employment; however if Cena loses, then he loses his chance at the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Royal Rumble. Furthermore, The Authority is going to leave it up to us to vote what Cena should do!
Up next, Daniel Bryan will face a long-time rival Bray Wyatt!
Match #1: Single – Bray Wyatt VS. Daniel Bryan
The bell rings and they lock up. Bray shoves Bryan into the corner, but Daniel comes back with a couple kicks. Wyatt fires back with an uppercut and kicks of his own, but Bryan nails a knee-to-the-stomach. He goes for another kick, but Bray rolls to the outside. Bryan follows up with a front-dropkick slide, then soars off the top turnbuckle with a plancha!
Daniel is still in control, until he gets pummeled off the turnbuckle to the floor. Wyatt follows, throwing Bryan to the barricade. He rams him into the side of the ring too and gets a two-count inside. Bray works over Bryan for a while. He wears him down with a rear chinlock, but Bryan jaw-breaks his way out of it. He runs at Bray, who counters with a hard clothesline that sends Bryan upside down and grabbing his neck.
Wyatt continues to dominate, senton-splashing him. Bryan attempts another comeback, clotheslining Bray, then running at him with another front-dropkick, this time in the corner. He kicks away then propels Wyatt from the top turnbuckle onto the canvas with a hurricanrana! 1 – 2 – Bray kicks out! Daniel kicks away, but Bray ducks another one. He is quickly sent tumbling to the floor again, where Bryan follows up with a suicide dive. As Daniel goes to get back in the ring, Kane yanks him off canvas and runs him into the ring post. Wyatt capitalizes with Sister Abigail for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Bray Wyatt
Post-match, Kane assaults Bryan with vicious punches.
Up next, the Legends Panel featuring Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair will take place!
Segment #3: Office Promo
Triple H is on his phone in The Authority’s office when a hand taps him on the shoulder. He turns around sees his good friend Scott Hall. Kevin Nash appears behind them and wonders what’s up with Trips wearing a suit now. They want him to band together for one more time. Shawn Michaels now walks in and takes a couple shots at HHH’s new career. “The Game” retorts with a couple quips, then “Sean Waltman” enters. He is actually Damien Mizdow dressed like X-Pac, until the real X-Pac shows up. Miz also walks in and orders Damien to go change. He wants the Wolfpac/Kliq salute, but no one gives it back.
Once again, up next will be the Legends Panel!
Segment #4: Arena Promo
Byron Saxton welcomes Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels. Noteworthy, Shawn hugs Ric in the ring but not Hogan. Hmmm? At first, Byron wants their opinion on John Cena’s decision/the vote for his Championship VS. the jobs of Ziggler, Rowan, and Ryback. Shawn says “yes,” Ric says “no,” and Hogan also wants Cena to go for it.
Next, Byron moves onto the meaning and their recollections of The Royal Rumble. All three put it over as a career-making/defining match. Lastly, Saxton wants their pick for the winner of this year’s Rumble. “H.B.K.” chooses Bray Wyatt, Hogan says it will be Daniel Bryan, and Ric predicts Dean Ambrose.
Before this can go further, The Big Show interrupts. He walks out all smiles, then turns to anger as the crowd chants “you sold out.” He claims none of the Legends chose him as the Rumble winner because they were all jealous. Show says Hogan is because Big defeated him for the W.C.W. World Heavyweight Championship on his first night. Flair is envious because Show broke out of the figure-4 leglock and snatched his number one spot at the top spot. Michaels didn’t even get much of a chance, because he was out of action or winding down his career, which Show says would be a good thing because Shawn would’ve ended up in pieces. Show declares that no one will be able to throw him over the top rope.
Ric wonders if Show is finished, then begins to chop away. The 7-Foot, 500-pounder knocks Flair out with one punch. Hogan, Michaels, a referee, and ringside technician check on Flair while Roman Reigns comes on down. He gets in Show’s face and the two exchange blows. Show attempts a chokeslam, but Reigns hops out of it and clotheslines Show to the floor. He then
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
John Cena finds out that 85% of us want him to risk his title shot and wrestle tonight to try and get the jobs back.
Match #2: Single – Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett VS. Dean Ambrose (Non-Title)
The two trade shots at first, then Barrett controls for a bit. Ambrose hits back and sends Wade to the outside for a break.
Barrett is back in control, wearing down Dean. His moves are eventually countered by Dean, who plants Bad News face-first with a corner-running-bulldog. Ambrose is fired up, clotheslining Barrett then climbing the turnbuckle. Barrett counters by crotching Ambrose, but misses the Bullhammer Elbow. Ambrose hops down, and drives the I.C. Champ into the canvas with a hard DDT and the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Segment #6: Video Promo
A montage of Royal Rumbles past with stats is aired.
The New Day make their entrance, preaching positivity on the way down the ramp. Kofi and Big E. will be in action next!
Match #3: Tag-Team – The New Day (Big E. and Kofi Kingston) (with New Day partner Xavier Woods) VS. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (with Natalya, Adam Rose, and the Party Posse)
Cesaro and Tyson completely dominate this bout until Kofi dropkicks Tyson off the apron while he was being carried, then rolling up Cesaro and taking this contest!
Winners via Pinfall: The New Day (Big E. and Kofi Kingston) (with New Day partner Xavier Woods)
Up next, revolutionary faction nWo will reunite!
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and X-Pac/Sean Waltman strut down to the ring. Hall starts off with a survey asking whether the fans were there to see the Raw Reunion, or the Raw Reunion with the nWo. Kevin talks about n.W.o. having huge egos and being responsible “for everything great.”
The Ascension interrupt, once again claiming they are better than any of the tag-teams in the past. The n.W.o. square off with Conor and Viktor, but another legendary tag-team wrestler wants to get his two cents in. John “Bradshaw” Layfield exits from the commentary table and takes off his coat, revealing jeans. He yells at the Ascension for being all talk and no gain, then announces he has asked for some back up. Out comes his former tag-team partner, Ron Simmons! They reunite as the APA and get in the ring to surround The Ascension. One more great tag-team stand up to Conor and Viktor, The New Age Outlaws! Billy Gunn and Road Dogg make their return. When they enter the ring, it is on! They soften up The Ascension and allow Bradshaw to wind up and nail Viktor with the Clothesline From Hell! The nWo, New Age Outlaws, and A.P.A. all pose and celebrate.
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
The Authority reveal their choice for John Cena’s opponent … Seth Rollins, The Big Show, and Kane.
Match #4: Tag-Team – Summer Rae and Alicia Fox VS. Paige and Natalya
(Note: The Bella Twins are on commentary.) Natalya and Paige double-team and work over Summer for the most part, until Alicia distracts Natalya and Rae hits back with a spin-kick. Fox is in, almost taking this with a Northern-Light suplex. Paige is tagged back in and puts away Fox with the Paige-Tapout (Sharpshooter/Deathlock combo).
Winners via Submission: Paige and Natalya
Natalya and Paige stare-down The Bellas, who they will take on at The Royal Rumble.
Match #5: Single – United States Champion Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana) VS. R-Truth (Non-Title)
Truth actually starts off well, kicking away at Rusev and sending him to the floor. The U.S. Champ quickly comes back though, harshly kicking Truth and forcing him to give in to The Accolade.
Winner via Submission: United States Champion Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana)
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
Seth Rollins is walking through the halls with Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble when WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar meets them. He threatens Rollins to take out Cena tonight, then it will be just a one-on-one match at Royal Rumble, where Lesnar declares he will defeat Rollins.
Match #6: Single – The Miz (with Damien Mizdow) VS. Tag-Team Champion Jey Uso (with Tag-Team Champion Brother/Partner Jimmy Uso) (Non-Title)
The crowd pops big for Mizdow, which distracts Miz and almost costs him after rolls him up. He does kick out and dominates for a bit. Miz eventually misses a running shoulder and hits the ring post. Jey follows up with a superkick and the Superfly Splash for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champion Jey Uso (with Tag-Team Champion Brother/Partner Jimmy Uso)
Up next is the 3-on-1 and big stipulations!
It is announced that The Ascension will face The New Age Outlaws at Royal Rumble!
Match #7: Three-On-One – “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins, The Big Show, and Kane (with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) VS. John Cena
Rollins and Cena begin, but Seth quickly switches with Show. This is your standard three-on-one, with the heels dominating for the majority.
Rollins continues to control John until Cena mounts his usual comeback. Mercury and Noble get involved, then Kane pulls Cena off Rollins from a cover. On the outside, Show spears Cena as Kane removed one set of the steel steps. Stephanie and Triple H look over Cena as Charles Robinson, the referee, counts to nine before Cena slides back in.
Kane measures for a chokeslam but Cena still kicks out of the subsequent cover! Rollins back in, but all of a sudden, Sting appears on the Titan Tron! Everyone but Cena is focused on the Tron, when he walks out to the stage! He points to everyone, then Cena sneaks up and rolls Rollins up from behind for the huge victory!
Winner via Pinfall: John Cena
Post-match, Cena celebrates greatly with the fans while Triple H is irate. He tears off the cover to the commentator’s table then stands on it with the mike. He is ticked at Sting, but instead it is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion who walks back out.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman charge out, where Lesnar goes right after Rollins! Kane and Show pull him off, but “The Beast” is too much, giving both an F-5. unfortunately for the Champ, Noble and Mercury have hurried Rollins to the back. Brock is pacing in the ring while Cole puts over the potential explosiveness at the Rumble this Sunday to close the show!
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was a fantastic Raw and awesome “go-home” before what is arguably WWE’s second-biggest Pay-Per-View behind WrestleMaina! Right from the get-go, Raw had a big-time feel and it had a big-time/surprise closer! Onto the analysis, which will be tons of positive points! Then, of course, I will predict The Royal Rumble
Excellence: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar – he was on tonight, from the opening promo to the closing brawl. His verbal exchanges were superb to, as they depicted him as he should be – a no-nonsense butt-kicker who is only there to do that and be the champion.
The entire opening segment was well done and everyone was on their “game” (slight pun-intended) with the mike skills. Once again, this is the Cena I like to hear from; not the goofy personality, but the serious and passionate/”fire-in-belly” John.
Except for Truth/Rusev (more on them in Bogus), all of the matches were well-wrestled and decently enjoyable.
The Reunion with n.W.o, New Age Outlaws, and The A.P.A. was very entertaining and another surprise with JBL and Farooq/Simmons. Also liked the Legends Panel; it put over the extreme importance of the Royal Rumble Match itself by having three Hall Of Famers, WWE Champions, and former winners talking about how it makes careers. The Big Show was great again with his oratory style, and I truly believe he is a mean bully this time. He actually talks the talk and walks the walk, unlike in many times past.
At first, I was thinking that Cena’s unnamed opponent would be a Legend or Randy Orton as a surprise; but when the three-on-one odds were made known, I was less excited. On the flip side, I got the intrigue back after wondering what will really happen with Cena; I figured he’d win, but I certainly would not have “bet the house” on Sting appearing to assist. That was very cool and another true surprise!
Bogus: Bad News Barrett – he seems to be stalled and almost stale again. He’s average in wins/losses since coming back and has really done nothing other than win the I.C. Title in a match that really shouldn’t have happened anyway. It’s too bad, because when he returned, we loved him and he seemed poised for a strong face-push. I hope he has a good showing in the Rumble and it is the beginning of a restart and dominance for him.
Rusev/R-Truth was really unnecessary; we all know Rusev is dominant and Truth is irrelevant right now, so this bout could’ve been left off the line up.
The Ascension – after their decimation by the legendary teams, they should be no more. It wouldn’t make sense for them to be on TV, much less win another match. It’s really too bad, as they were great in NXT, but have failed to connect since changing their attire and entrance/promo-style for the main roster.
Overall, this was a thoroughly grand Raw and setup the Rumble nicely. Now for my picks:
The Usos to retain, Paige/Natalya over The Bellas, Outlaws better beat The Ascension (see above for why), Lesnar should retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Randy Orton to win Royal Rumble if he returns, setting up him VS. Lesnar in a revenge match at WrestleMania.
Until next week, when “The Road To WrestleMania Begins,” Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!