Tonight, we are six nights away from the Royal Rumble; and tonight we are just moments (or hours, depending on when they bring him out!) away from the return of “The Animal,” Batista! What will the former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion have to say upon his comeback after a three and a half year absence? Will he go after Alberto Del Rio, who has been picking on him lately, or is just happy to be back and completely focused on the ‘Rumble?
The New Age Outlaws did not offer an explanation on why they turned their back on C.M. Punk last week, but they did pick up a win on The Brotherhood in a Non-Title Match on Smackdown. Does this mean Billy Gunn and Road Dogg are in line for a Tag-Team Title shot in the near future?
Speaking of C.M. Punk, he managed to provoke Director Of Operations Kane enough to get chokeslammed. How will he react (or retaliate?) tonight? Will he involve himself with The Shield?
Daniel Bryan regained his freedom last week, putting down Bray Wyatt at the end of Raw. What will The Wyatt Family do to their former protege who they spent weeks recruiting?
All this, much more, plus my Royal Rumble picks, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for January 20th, 2014: “Brawl For All – Part 2”
Introduction Segment: Video Promo
A video commemorating Martin Luther King Day airs, with his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and depicts famous African-American men who held prominent status throughout their lives in America.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
After missing for a couple weeks, The Authority is also back. “King Of Kings” is blaring over the speakers and Stephanie & Triple H are standing in the ring. They put over the Royal Rumble this Sunday and the importance of the match as it leads to Wrestle<ania. HHH then wants to bring out the big return, Batista, but instead gets another former Evolution member, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton.
Orton demands to know “who in the hell you think you are,” but Stephanie interjects and gets right back in his face with the same question. She shows the footage of Kofi Kingston defeating him last week, then Randy going ballistic and assaulting John Cena Sr., John Cena’s father.
Stephanie dresses him down for his heinous attack, then threatens that if it continues, he will no longer be “a part of the WWE roster.” Orton turns the tables and blames them for his attitude, saying that the predicaments they put him in, along with rehiring Batista and Brock Lesnar led to him snapping. He implies that he does not regret his actions.
“The Game” says The Authority still believes in him, which is why he is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion; but “The Viper” needs to “rise up and walk through it. You need to be a man and fix what is broken, and you need to do it in short order.” Triple H gives him the opportunity to “make it right.” He books him against Kofi Kingston again, then shows a camera pointed to the backstage garage where the arrival of John Cena will await him. He may do whatever he likes, in the ring or out, to Cena to fix it. “Oh and Randy, you will do all these things alone.”
Just then, “I Walk Alone” hits and Batista makes his grand entrance. He kisses the canvas (literately) and gives HHH and Stephanie a hug. They walk off, leaving him and Orton alone. Loud “Batista” chants from the fans. “The Viper” offers a handshake, but Batista doesn’t make a move. Instead, he lays it out right there and declares that he is back for only one reason: the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He claims that he is going to win the Royal Rumble and headline WrestleMania. Batista slams the microphone down and walks to the back.
Later tonight, Brock Lesnar and The Big Show will have a “face to face” meeting; plus up next The Shield will take on Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston and Tag-Team Champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes!
Match #1: Six-Man Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood (Goldust and Cody Rhodes) & Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston VS. The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) (Non-Title)
(Note: It is announced that the Tag-Team Titles will be on the line, with The New Age Outlaws taking on The Brotherhood, on the pre-show to the Royal Rumble.)
Langston and The Brotherhood all over The Shield early. Goldust tags in Cody, who comes down on Rollins with an elbow from the top. He holds up Seth with a stalling front-suplex for a two-count! The Rhodes Bros continue to control Rollins, but the former independent star regains domination with kicks in the corner. On the opposite side, Cody flips over with a sunset pin combo for a near-fall! Cody follows Seth to the outside with a plancha-splash, and all six square off prior to the break.
Reigns now in control over Cody with a front-facelock. He switches with Ambrose, who runs at Cody against the ropes with a front dropkick. Rollins follows to and almost takes this one again! He delivers quick blows to the chest and gut of Cody in the corner, but misses a high splash. Reigns is quickly back in and cuts Goldust off, but is smacked with the springboard Disaster Kick by Cody! Roman and Rhodes tag in respectively, and it is Langston and Ambrose going at it. Big E. completely dominates as this bout breaks down. He catches Dean with an overhead belly-to-belly-suplex. Rhodes attempts another Disaster Kick, but Reigns cuts him off with the Superman Punch! He turns around to get bowled over by Langston, but Rollins comes in and nails him with the driving knee, being the surprising one to pick up the hard-fought victory!
Winners via Pinfall: The Shield (United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns)
Recap footage of Bryan’s amazing face-turn on The Wyatts airs. Up next, Daniel himself will talk.
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Daniel Bryan is leading the fans in more raucous “Yes, yes, yes” chants. They break out on their with calls of his name, to a jubilant smile on his face. He first takes a minor cheap-shot, saying “and some people say I shouldn’t be the face of this company.” Bryan reveals that he used the mental game more so than the physical to figure out the mind of Bray Wyatt. “The truth is this – I exposed you.” Bryan says that since Erik Rowan and Luke Harper are going to be in the actual Royal Rumble match, “that leaves Bray Wyatt to go one-on-one with me!”
The lights go out and Bray appears on the Titantron. He tries to counter Bryan’s own mind games, and calls him a “traitor.” Wyatt wants him to “go home and I want you to hug your mother. I want to you tell her you love her. I want you to tell her you’re sorry. Everything that happens to you from now on is your fault.”
Match #2: Single – Xavier Woods (with R-Truth) VS. Fandango (with Summer Rae)
Xavier controls this match early, running at him with a single leg. Fandango moves out of the way, then spins him around with a front suplex. He ascends the top rope and soars off with the leg drop for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Fandango (with Summer Rae)
Segment #4: Office Promo
Director Of Operations Kane is with General Manager Brad Maddox. They debate on the return of Batista until Stephanie McMahon barges in. She asks Brad to leave, then berates Kane for chokeslamming C.M. Punk on Smackdown. He tries to explain, but she tells him that he is not allowed to “put your hands on a WWE Superstar.” Kane apologies, but McMahon orders him to say sorry to Punk instead. Reluctantly, he nods and walks off.
Segment #5: Arena Promo
With the lights dimmed and glowing red, Kane makes his entrance. In the ring, he asks C.M. Punk to come out, which takes a minute or so for a response. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” obliges and enters the squared circle. Kane uneasily admits he was wrong, but Punk eggs him on, claiming he did not hear him. Kane says he was sorry again, which Punk accepts. He then slugs away and pushes Kane out of the ring. Kane wants to go at it, but G.M. Maddox verbally holds him back. Instead, he tells Punk he can fight with one of the New Age Outlaws!
Match #3: Single – C.M. Punk VS. “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn (with “Road Dogg” Jesse James)
Punk beats away quickly, shoulder-ramming Gunn in the corner, then stomping on him in another. On the outside, Punk is distracted by Road Dogg, allowing Gunn to hit him from behind.
Billy is still in control, wearing Punk down with a grounding rear chinlock. He nails a high dropkick, then taunts Punk until he is knocked down with a high kick. Punk slides out of the ring and jumps all over Jesse James at the commentary table. Back in the ring, Punk continues to take Gunn down with a jumping calf-kick, clotheslines, and a swinging neckbreaker. 1 – 2 – Billy kicks out! Road Dogg distracts Punk again, and is taken out. He then drops Gunn with the G.T.S. to take this bout!
Winner via Pinfall: C.M. Punk
Post-match, Maddox congratulates C.M. on his win, and then Kane comes back out to announce that Punk will be the #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble match!
Backstage, it is not John Cena arriving, but Paul Heyman and his client, Brock Lesnar.
Segment #6: Video Promo
A Royal Rumble statistics montage airs.
Segment #7: In Memoriam Video
The very touching tribute to the late, great Johnnie Mae Young (1923 – 2014) replays. God rest your soul.
Rey Mysterio makes his entrance, and his scheduled to take on Alberto Del Rio again, next.
Match #4: Single – Rey Mysterio VS. Alberto Del Rio
Even to start out, then Del Rio takes control with a couple of shoulder blocks. Mysterio fires back with a low front dropkick, but is dropped on the ropes. Del Rio stomps away harshly, but misses him and slides through the ropes. Rey-Rey follows up with a springboard Asai moonsault! He kicks away in the corner, then runs with a low dropkick. He delivers 10-punch in the corner, but is cut off with a stomp in another corner. Del Rio dominates for a while, viciously sliding him out of the ring front-first.
Del Rio is still in control, then attempts to tear off Rey’s mask. He tries a run in the corner, but ends up eating steel post with his shoulder! Rey follows up with a launching shoulder ram off the top, then flies off with a seated senton! He goes for the 619, but is caught and launched into the corner! Del Rio kicks him hard in the head, but only gets a two count! Alberto signals for the Cross Armbreaker, but Rey-Rey counters into a headscissors and the 619. He launches off the top rope again and splashes Del Rio with the Drop Of The Dime. 1 – 2 – Alberto grabs the ropes! He manages to lock on the Cross Armbreaker and Mysterio taps out!
Winner via Submission: Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Batista is back and answers Del Rio’s comments from the past few weeks with a spinebuster and Batista Bomb!
Up next, The Big Show will face off with Brock Lesnar!
Segment #8: Arena Promo
The Big Show is out, and after a replay of him tossing Brock Lesnar across the ring from Old School Raw two weeks ago, the 7-footer mocks Paul Heyman’s voice. He gets to business, calling Lesnar out. Heyman walks out, and at first looks like he wants to talk, but Brock follows instead. He slowly approaches the ring, then laughs off Show and walks to the back. Show gets the mike and yells, “hey maybe you didn’t hear me Brock Lesnar. Drag your ass out hear and get in my face!” He walks back out and does enter the ring, standing right up in Show’s face! Suddenly, he tries to trip up Big, but Show just dumps him to the outside with ease. Lesnar rips apart the announce table in frustration. He tries a sneak attack with a chair, but Show sees it coming and wards off. Show stands in the ring confident, as an irate Lesnar backs away.
Match #5: Tag-Team – Tamina Snuka and Divas Champion A.J. Lee VS. The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi) (Non-Title)
Tamina begins with Cameron and shoves her down. Big scoop slam from Tamina, then she tags in A.J. who brings Cameron down with a neckbreaker. She switches with Snuka who slugs away. Naomi is tagged in and is all over Tamina until she eats a big-boot. A.J. is tagged in and skips around, but then is caught in an inside cradle for the 1 – 2 – 3 by Naomi!
Winners via Pinfall: The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi)
Up next, The Usos will take on The Wyatt Family’s Luke Harper and Erik Rowan!
Both a Royal Rumble video promo and Martin Luther King Jr. video promo air, then The Usos make their traditional entrance.
Match #6: Tag-Team – The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) VS. The Wyatt Family (Erik Rowan and Luke Harper) (with Wyatt Family leader Bray Wyatt)
Luke starts out against Jimmy, beating down the twin. Rowan is tagged in and does the same with hammers and stomps. Rowan chucks him out of the ring, but Jimmy comes back against Harper with chops. Jey then dives off the apron and punches away. In the ring, the two slap each other hard, then Jimmy soars off the top with a crossbody! Rowan breaks up the pin attempt, then pushes hard against Jey. Harper gives Jimmy a boot-to-the-face, then switches with Rowan. He scoop slams Jimmy, then presses his fists against the sides of Jimmy’s head. Jimmy boots Harper and climbs the turnbuckle, but is shoved off into the barricade from Luke!
Luke has Jimmy clamped with a grounding side headlock, when Bray gets on the microphone. He says that the bout is the “type of punishment” that our hero Daniel Bryan will face. “He walks into the meat grinder and we are the punishers.” Jimmy begins to fight back and drops Harper with a corkscrew sault! He gets the hot-tag to his bro, who is all over Harper. Jey is fired up after a Samoan Drop, then runs at Luke in the corner with his rear! Jimmy soars over the top with a splash, but Jey is slugged by Harper. Out of the back comes Daniel Bryan charging, and he hammers away on Bray. In the ring, Jey rolls up Harper for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Post-match, Bray laughs off the surprise from Bryan, as Daniel and The Usos chant “yes, yes, yes,” at the top of the stage.
Up next, it’s WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton taking on Kofi Kingston!
Match #7: Single – Kofi Kingston VS. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton (Non-Title)
Orton slugs it out with Kofi right away, giving him an elbow off an short Irish whip! Kofi comes back with a sweep-up and mount punches, then they roll around until Orton hits the floor. Kingston slams Orton’s head against the barricade, then Randy goes to the other side for a break. Kofi runs after him, but is kneed in the gut and rammed against the table. Referee Mike Chioda gets up to 6 before Orton puts both himself and Kingston back in the ring. Orton continues to dominate and even uses John Cena’s “you can’t see me” hand signal.
Randy suplexes Kingston over, and tries a backslide but Kofi reverses into one of his own! “The Viper” regains control, but is caught in the S.O.S. pin combination for a near two! The camera pans to the backstage lot where John Cena now here and making a beeline for the ring. Kingston clutches Orton’s leg, and Cena charges to the ring. He starts the brawl, which also causes Kofi to be DQ’d.
Winner via Disqualification: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton
Post-match, Orton and Cena fight around the ring and through the crowd. Cena picks up Orton and goes for an Attitude Adjustment in the aisle way, but Orton elbows out of it. They continue to punch their away to the top of the arena. They make their way through a suite box, but Orton uses a person to cut off Cena. John follows and Orton is shown getting into a car and making a getaway.
Cena proceeds back into the arena and greets the fans to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was a great Raw with lots of final build up to the Royal Rumble. Most of it made sense and hyped up the big pay-per-view really well. Onto the critiques and then my picks!
Excellence: Opening segment, especially Batista’s return. While I didn’t miss The Authority being away, tonight was a good night for them, by only appearing in a couple of segments and keeping them short, sweet, and neutral! Same with “The Animal’s” comeback. Just went in there, stated his intentions, kicked some butt, and left. Plus, got superb crowd reaction. Beautiful! Both he and Triple H/Stephanie need to be limited like this – get to the point and take care of business.
Wrestling – particularly the Six-Man opener, Punk/Gunn, Del Rio/Mysterio, and Wyatts/Usos.
Absolutely loved the Big Show/Lesnar/Heyman confrontation. Even though these two fought before over 10 years ago, it feels really fresh this time with how they’re building it. Lesnar’s reactions to Show’s immense/impressive strength are perfect, and both of these guys need to continue with these characteristics to be even more believable.
Bryan/Bray’s war of words. Both are awesome on the mike right now, and I am really hoping this feud continues past the Royal Rumble – should be a heck of match too! Same w/ Punk and Kane; you know that match will eventually happen too! Interesting place for Punk at #1. I think he will make it to the final four, and then be eliminated.
Great ending again to Raw, and really pumped up the fans and the Royal Rumble!
Bogus: The Tag-Team Championship being on the PRE-SHOW!!! No title match should EVER be on the pre-show to the Pay-Per-View. Also, Billy Gunn should not have lost and Road Dogg not gotten beaten down so badly as it makes them look week going into their sudden championship bout.
Fandango/Woods was just a filler. Could’ve cut it out and ended Raw a little shorter, since these two had no bearings on big storylines for the PPV. As much as I hate to say, same w/ A.J./Tamina and The Funkadactyls. We saw that match last week, and so far has not led into anything else I should/would care about normally.
Shouldn’t John Cena be just a little more ticked off and not wait until the end of Raw to get his hands on the man who attacked his father? Also, when Cena showed up on screen and Orton was distracted, that was the perfect time for Kofi to roll him up and get another big W. That wasted a great chance for re-push on Kingston!
Royal Rumble Picks: Daniel Bryan to continue hot momentum again and pull out the win over Bray. The Brotherhood will retain their Tag-Team Titles, only because this is on the pre-show. Otherwise, I would’ve given serious consideration to The Outlaws. Show/Lesnar will end up without a conclusion and a big brawl instead. Orton/Cena – Randy to retain. All signs are pointing to Batista winning The Royal Rumble for a second time, so I have to go with my head on him and agree.
All in all, a great show and I look forward to next week when WrestleMania build begins! Enjoy The Royal Rumble if you watch, and as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!