It’s a new year! Happy 2014 and blessings to all who read this for a great year! However, tonight we go back in the past (sort of) with a trip down memory lane, as Raw goes “Old-School!” Bring on the ’90s! Seriously, these shows are fun and really do rack up some great memories from when I started watching consistently in 1997, and from retro footage I still watch today.
In the current era, what will go down as we move along to the Royal Rumble? John Cena VS. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton is booked for that show, so the continuation of that ever-long rivalry will surely happen.
As well, coming off Smackdown, will The Shield keep subtly imploding, and can C.M. Punk help that happen quicker? Who will Brock Lesnar’s next target be? Or will Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston respond and challenge “The Beast Incarnate How will Daniel Bryan look and feel, now being a Wyatt Family partner? And, are there going to be “qualifiers” for Royal Rumble spots this year?
All this and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for January 06th, 2014 – “Old School”
Introduction Segment: Arena Promo
Raw kicks off right away with a shot of the set-up for the arena, followed by the all-too familiar “Woo” of the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s music. The legend struts out to the red, white, and blue ring as only he can. Flair greets us, and recounts some “fun” Old School has had in Baltimore. He touts that other legends will be involved, especially him who will be “ready to style and profile, all night long.”
The son of a legend, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton interjects and walks out. He embraces Flair with a hug and has a genuine smile on his face to see the 16-Time World Champion. Orton takes the microphone and says he has “the utmost respect for you.” He gives him gratitude for all he has learned from Ric, then begins to put himself over. He graciously asks Flair to exit the ring, then goes on to talk about his upcoming Royal Rumble bout VS. Cena.
Randy claims he doesn’t get why The Authority planned the match because of the fans. Orton says that since he “won it all” at T.L.C., “I have beaten John Cena, and I have proven that I am the man.”
Ric takes some umbrage to that statement, recalling what it means to truly “be the man.” He says back in the day, they worked seven days a week and put it all on the line every single time. Orton gets a little testy, telling Ric that was “twenty-five years ago.” He now threatens Ric to leave, otherwise… Flair reminds Orton of what happened when he and Triple H hand-picked him ten years ago. However, Randy was also much more immature then. Again, Orton gets aggressive and warns Flair that he can get “old-school on your ass, right now!”
John Cena then comes to the rescue, and stands up for Ric. He tells Orton that if he’s looking for a fight, he’ll take him on right now. Orton backs out of the ring and holds his championships high in the air. Cena and Ric celebrate.
Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield officially welcome us to Old-School Raw, decked out in, well, old-school commentator’s attire. They announce that Jerry “The King” Lawler is not at Raw, because of some health-issues. Thank God, they say it is not his heart.
Segment #2: Video Promo
A highlight package recaps Daniel Bryan’s submission to joining The Wyatt Family from last week.
Up next, Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family will take on The Usos and Rey Mysterio!
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team – The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) and Rey Mysterio VS. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, and Daniel Bryan) (with Wyatt Family member Bray Wyatt)
Harper and an Uso start out. Luke slugs away in the corner, but The Uso comes back with a kick. He eats a shoulder block thought, but comes back again with a smack across the face. Harper tags out to the new Family Member. Bryan looks completely brain-washed/stunned, and begins the aggressive assault on Mysterio. He is much more fierce with a knee-to-the-gut, but is dumped out by Rey-Rey.
Rowan is now in the ring, pushing his fists on either side of an Uso to wear him down. He tosses The Uso into The Wyatt’s corner with a fall-away slam, then tags in Bryan, who viciously kicks away in the corner. Daniel pulls The Uso against the ropes, then runs at him with a low dropkick. Erik back in and puts the boots to Uso. He goes to toss Jey up, but the twin hops over and hits a resounding smack-of-a-kick to the head of Rowan. He switches with Mysterio, who takes Rowan down enough to give Jimmy the tag. He ascends the turnbuckle and dives off with a Superfly Splash, but Rowan rolls out of the way.
Erik tags Bryan, who starts to rile up normally, but Harper suddenly tags himself in. He knocks Rey off the apron, then picks up The Uso, but Jimmy rolls through and gets the victory with the Victory Roll!
Winners via Pinfall: The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) and Rey Mysterio
Post-match, The Wyatt Family fend off The Usos and Mysterio, then Bray consoles Luke about the loss as all four are lined up against the ropes facing the Titantron and a celebratory Usos/Mysterio.
Later tonight, the most famous talk show in WWF/E is back, as Rowdy Roddy Piper brings back Piper’s Pit, with his guests The Shield. Also, C.M. Punk will face Shield member Roman Reigns in the main-event.
Segment #3: Video Promo
A new highlight montage of Batista’s career, set to his them music, airs, plugging his return, two weeks from tonight on January 20th.
Cole announces that the returning superstar (Batista) has officially entered in the Royal Rumble match on January 26th.
Segment #4: Office Promo
Raw General Manager Brad Maddox is with three WWE Hall-Of-Famers, one of whom will act as a Special Referee in The Great Khali VS. Damien Sandow match. The votes will be cast for either Bob Backlund, Arn Anderson (mine and my Dad’s vote!) or Sergeant Slaughter.
Director Of Operations Kane walks in and threatens Brad Maddox to not talk behind his back.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston walks by three more legends – Nikolai Volkoff, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, and “I.R.S.” Irwin r. Schyster. Langston smiles as each bellow out their familiar phrases.
Match #2: Single – Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston VS. Curtis Axel (Non-Title)
(Note: Curtis Axel’s tag-team partner Ryback is on commentary.) Langston takes control early by catching Axel into a backbreaker. He runs for Axel, but Curtis moves and Big E. eats ring post. Axel gets Langston down with a snapmare and stump puller, then wears him down with a grounding rear chinlock. Big E. comes back with the running shoulder block in the corner, but Axel hits a nice dropkick, then a knee to send Langston to the floor. Ryback tries to distract Big E but the I.C. Champ finishes off Curtis quickly with the Big Ending flapjack-faceplant.
Winner via Pinfall: Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston
Up next, Rowdy Roddy Piper will be out for his interview with The Shield!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
“Hot Rod” adores the crowd chants and want to recap his career, but The Shield quickly cut him off. United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns proceed through the fans. Ambrose takes the microphone and a verbal shot at Piper’s comments and his age. Piper fires right back, then puts over C.M. Punk as being the “only one guy who can match me on the microphone.” Loud “C.M. Punk” call ring out, and Ambrose get right in his face before Seth backs him off. Rollins reminds Piper that “it’s not 1985 anymore.” He thinks that Rowdy is jealous because Ambrose is a “better U.S. Champion than he ever was. Roddy says he does know that both Rollins and Ambrose can’t beat C.M. Punk, then glares in on Roman, saying that if he was to defeat Punk, would that make him better than both Dean and Seth?
Reigns also gets in Piper’s face, saying “I’m going to beat C.M. Punk tonight, and if you ever touch me again, I’m going to break your ass in half!” Just like a 1960′s-style gang, The Shield corner Piper against the ropes, until C.M. Punk, with New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James and Bad Ass Billy Gunn) following help take out The Shield. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns quickly retreat to the back.
Segment #7: Video Promo
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman’s return, and subsequent mauling of Mark Henry, from last week’s Raw is shown.
Match #3: Single – Sin Cara VS. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio aggressive early, with punches , but Cara counter with a crucifix and maj-histral cradle pin for two! Cara rolls through again with another armdrag pin combo, but is caught in the ropes. Alberto takes control with a grounding rear chinlock, but Cara come back with a flying headscissors and back elbow off the ropes. He kicks Del Rio town and soars off with the senton, but Alberto moves and nails him with a kick-to-the-head for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Del Rio takes the microphone and puts himself over. He takes a few shots at the returning Batista, and proclaims himself the “Royal Rumble match winner.”
Cole reassures us that Jerry “The King” Lawler is fine, he just had a stomach virus. Again, thank God it wasn’t his heart. Lawler is in the back with all the other legends.
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Daniel Bryan is talking with his Wyatt Family members, Luke Harper and Erik Rowan. He says that he “wanted to join The Wyatt Family,” not only to learn but also to teach. He says that since he was a Tag-Team Champion with Kane, a man the size of either, he knows how to help them. He wants to team with either next week, but the leader Bray Wyatt interjects and informs Bryan that they will be teaming together in seven nights.
Match #4: Tag-Team – The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro) (with Real Americans member Zeb Colter) VS. Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) (Non-Title)
Goldust and Swagger begin with an elbow/collar tie-up. Swagger leapfrogs to no avail and Goldust breathes into his face. The Brotherhood double-front-suplex Cesaro and Cody gets a one-count. He is chucked over the ropes, but comes back a la Shawn Michaels “skinning the cat,” and then clotheslines Antonio for two. He tags in his brother, who slugs at Cesaro’s gut then drops an elbow for another one. Cesaro switches with Swagger, who punches away at Goldust in the corner. Cesaro back in and grounds “The Bizarre One” with a rear chinlock.
Goldust elbows his way out, but is double-teamed with back elbows by Swagger and Cesaro. Both Real Americans continue to trade places and work over the Tag-Team Champion. Goldust comes back with a “Goldi-rana,” as J.B.L. called it, then Cody comes in with missile dropkick and sunset flip pin combo for two on Cesaro! He nails the Disaster Kick to knock Swagger off the apron, but then turns around into an uppercut from Cesaro!
Swagger is now in control, scoop-slamming Rhodes and Swaggerbomb-splashing him. Cesaro follows up with the double-stomp and the Real Americans continue to wear down Cody and isolate him from Goldust. Rhodes counters both Swagger and Cesaro, kicking Swagger down then hurling Antonio to the floor. He goes for the hot-tag, but Cesaro comes in before him and boots Goldust to the floor! Cesaro hammers Cody with an uppercut to the back in the corner, then almost takes this with a roll-up!
Cesaro tries a run in the corner, but Rhodes barely moves out of the way. Swagger is tagged in, and catches Cody off a second Disaster kick. He clamps on the Patriot Ankle Lock and Cody struggles not to give in. Goldust breaks it up with a big boot to Swagger, and Cody manages the much-needed exchange. Goldust all over Swagger, hitting a spinebuster and top-rope crossbody! He just about gets this with a powerslam, but Cesaro breaks up the pin. Cody pulls down the ropes, sending Cesaro tumbling to the floor, then Goldust finishes off Swagger with his finisher!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood (Goldust and Cody Rhodes)
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
Former W.C.W. Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page and Hall-Of-Famer Booker T. shamelessly put over D.D.P.’s Yoga program. To end this bad/pointless segment, another former W.C.W. Champion and Hall-Of-Famer Ron Simmons walk in and cap it off with hi trademark phrase, “DAMN!”
Match #5: Single – “The Intellectual Saviour Of The WWE” Damien Sandow VS. The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh)
Special Referee: Sergeant Slaughter
Khali completely dominates this match early on, then elbows and boots Sandow out of the corner. He clotheslines Damien twice, then nails the big chop to Damien. Khali cover and Slaughter counts 1 – 2 – 3, but Sandow`s foot was on the ropes.
Winner via Pinfall: The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh)
Post-match, Sandow argues the outcome, but is put in the inevitable Cobra Clutch. Slaughter, Singh, and Khali all dance around after.
Segment #10: Arena Promo
Paul Heyman and “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar enter the arena. Paul take the microphone and tells us Brock’s issue with the term “old-school.” While the general public thinks “old school” means bringing back all the stars of yester-year, Lesnar believes “old-school” really means when one man completely rules over all his competition. Heyman lists Hall-Of-Famers Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as examples of wrestlers who “reigned supreme.” Heyman says that attitude is back, because only one man is now the WWE World Heavyweight Champion; but after the Royal Rumble, Lesnar will be that new “one man.”
Heyman claims that no one in WWE or MMA can “compare” to Lesnar today. He cites the complete dismantling of “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry from last week as an example, because Lesnar completely decimated him without any preparation. Paul E. refers to Brock’s t-shirt and new attitude, “eat, sleep, conquer, repeat.” Of course, this bring out the challenger and it is actually Mark Henry himself.
He runs to and slugs away with Lesnar, but Brock quickly takes him down and puts him in the armbar submission. Lesnar rip the shirt off Henry, but Heyman beg him “no more, you broke his arm.” Ringside technicians and referee Charles Robinson come to the aide and check on Mark.
Heyman and Lesnar walk towards the back, but soon back off as The Big Show’ music hits. The 7-Footer slowly walks toward Brock and the two square off in the ring. Lesnar backtracks to the outside, as Show stares him down intensely. Heyman hops on the apron, and Lesnar tries a sneak attack, but Show just corner him and chucks him across the ring with ease! He wants to go back in, but Heyman is begging Brock not to engage again.
Match #6: Tag-Team – Alicia Fox and Aksana VS. The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie)
Alicia and Nikki begin, with Nikki showing off via a monkey-flip out of the corner. Fox rolls her to the outside, but Nikki comes back with a slap. Fox kicks back at her leg, then twists it down. 1 – 2 – Bella kicks out! Her and Aksana work over Nikki’s left knee. Nikki manages the hot-tag to Brie, who dominate Aksana with a running knee. Aksana stomps Nikki off the apron, and Brie misses a second-rope missile dropkick, allowing Aksana to cover and take this one!
Winners via Pinfall: Alicia Fox and Aksana
Backstage, a trio of three hands are shown, and are revealed to be Too Cool – Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Grandmaster Sexay. They will actually be in action next!
Match #7: 6-Man Tag-Team – 3.M.B. (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) VS. Too Cool (Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Grandmaster Sexy)
Too Cool start out nicely. Scotty gets the “look” in his eyes and nails The Worm on Drew, but is harshly booted after. McIntyre stiffly suplexes Hotty and wrenches him with an armbar and facelock. Scotty manages to counter with a neckbreaker, then jumps for the hot-tag to Rikishi. He bowls over both Mahal and McIntyre, and Slater wants no part. Too Cool finish this one after a Hip Hop Legdrop from Grandmaster Sexay then the Butt-Drop splash on Mahal.
Winners via Pinfall: Too Cool (Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Grandmaster Sexay)
Post-match, they dance to celebrate just like the year 2000!
It is announced that Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan will take on The Usos.
Segment #11: Arena Promo
Justin Roberts brings out all the legends/Hall-Of-Famers who participated in Old School Raw. They follow another legend, The Godfather!
Bad News Barrett appears on the podium high above the stage. He rips on the legends, in another bad “Bad News” promo. (As usual, pointless!)
Up next, it’s Roman Reigns facing C.M. Punk!
It is announced that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will take on Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston, this week on Smackdown.
Segment #12: Arena Promo
Justin Roberts brings out Hall-Of-Fame Announcer/Commentator “Mean” Gene Okerlund. He goes Old School, plugging his $5.99 a minute hotline. Okerlund also brings out The New Ages Outlines, who cut their usual promo like they only do. They even use the words “Bad Ass,” eliminating the P.G. rules. They also introduce “the best in the world,” C.M. Punk! He makes his entrance for the main event.
Match #8: Single – C.M. Punk (with The New Age Outlaws ["Road Dogg" Jesse James and "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn]) VS. Roman Reigns (with Shield partners United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins)
The bell rings and the two face off. Loud “C.M. Punk” chants as Reigns pushes Punk down after a lockup. Punk grabs back in a standing side headlock, and takes him down in that position too. Reigns knocks C.M. down with a shoulder block off the ropes then glares at Punk again.
Punk and Reigns are fighting on the apron, with Roman chucking Punk to the floor. In the ring, Reigns pounds away with punches, then clamps on a waistlock. C.M. tries to battle out, but is taken down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Reigns takes his time and works over Punk slowly, as the other Shield members jaw with The Outlaws on the outside. Reigns misses a jumping elbow as Punk moves, and gives him a jawbreaker too. He springboards with a crossbody and pounds away at the mat to fire himself up. He runs at Reigns, but is caught in a bearhug!
Reigns whips Punk into the ropes and follows up with a Samoan drop for two! Punk ducks a Superman Punch, and “The Straight-Edge Superstar” fires back with a high kick-to-the-head. Punk continues with more swift kicks, including a jumping calf-kick. He turns Roman around with a swinging neckbreaker and hits the running knee in the corner for a near fall! He gets another one after an elbow. On the turnbuckle, Reigns positions Punk for a superplex, but Punk punches him off. He looks around to the cheers of fans, then dives off with an elbow!
As Punk signals for the Go To Sleep, The Outlaws and The Shield engage in a brawl. Punk gets involved with a suicide dive onto Rollins. Back in the ring, Reigns catches Punk with the Superman Punch and covers. 1 – 2 – Punk kicks out! Roman attempts the spear, but Punk leapfrogs and rolls up Reigns for two!
Punk nails another high kick, but Reigns kicks out just in the nick of time again! C.M. picks up Reigns in the G.T.S. position, but Roman elbows his way out. Punk hits the running knee, but is shoved into Ambrose on the apron. He turns around and is speared out of his boots (figuratively) to give Reigns the hard-earned victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Roman Reigns (with Shield partners United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins)
Post-match, The Shield stand over a prone Punk. Reigns wants to polish him off with the Triple-Powerbomb, but some unfamiliar music hits the speakers and green lights circle the arena. Out walks ….
Jake “The Snake” Roberts! (That was a true surprise, and very cool!)
He helps ward off The Shield with The N.A.O. and Punk, then pulls out his infamous Damien snake, placing it over a downed Ambrose after “The Second City Saint” had dropped him with a Go To Sleep. Roberts soaks in the reaction from fans and genuinely looks pleased to be out there to close the Old School show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
The first Raw of 2014 was a fun one. Most of it, mainly the arena set-up itself, brought back some cool memories and I feel they intertwined the Legends and new roster very well. Onto the critiquing:
Excellence: The concept/arena set up. This Old School theme always seems to work greatly and brings back the nostalgia beautifully. This is one they usually don’t screw up and is one of the cleaner/smoother-run shows you can count on annually now. The interaction between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and Ric Flair. Loved Ric standing up for what a true champion is/was back in the day, all the hard work they put in when wearing those heavyweight championships. Orton also great again at being his arrogant self. Glad they kept Cena’s promo short tonight and just had him want to challenge Randy right off the bat. Also, didn’t miss them for the rest of the night. I think they accomplished what they wanted to in this segment and then let the rest of Raw flow smoothly, putting great emphasis on Reigns VS. Punk.
WRESTLING matches that were Wyatts & Bryan/Usos & Rey, Del Rio/Cara, Brotherhood & Real American, & Roman/C.M.
“Hot Rod” was awesome as usual, and I would love to see him/The Shield interact again. He really built them up even more, just by being in the ring and jawing with the trio. Ambrose/Reigns/Rollins also did great at matching Roddy in the verbal jousting, especially Dean.
Speaking of verbage, Kane’s new role has really expanded his vocab and it is really funny!
Lesnar/Heyman/Henry/Show – great segment that flowed smooth and actually makes me interested in a potential Show/Lesnar bout again. Very, very good that Show was kept off last week’s Raw, to return tonight as “the monster” to challenge “The Beast Incarnate.”
Really believing in Roman Reigns, and even though it was very predictable that he would get the win, still helps big-time in his continued heavy push to the top.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was an awesome shock-return. He looks really good, and if he’s one the correct path thanks to D.D.P., good on him and blessings he keeps it going!
Bogus: Thought The Wyatts losing didn’t make sense. Having Daniel should have made them more powerful and go on a rampage, “brainswashing” Bryan into doing all their dirty work. Matches that I did not care for: Langston/Curtis AGAIN, Divas (fell kinda flat, plus where has Champion A.J. Lee been the last two weeks?), Too Cool/3.M.B. – too long and just didn’t jive, and Khali/Sandow. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like the end of Damien/Khali after tonight’s result.
Bad News Barrett – as always, a waste of talent right now!
D.D.P./Booker promo – just bad and also wasteful, of time and talent.
Champion VS. Champion on Smackdown – these matches should be built up, and not thrown away. Plus, if either lose cleanly (which hopefully won’t happen), it really hurts them in their respective feud and makes them look a little weaker.
Nitpicky – the ring ropes. I really loved tonight’s red/white/blue combination, and think WWE should go back to this for the current colours, at least for pay-per-views. I believe it makes sense since the entire roster is combined, as red rope would represent Raw, white rope be neutral, and blue rope for Smackdown. (If you want to put a logistical reason). Plus, it just looks better than the all white, all the time!
All in all, a wonderful Raw that incorporated a mix of past and present, educating newer fans while keeping in touch with the older ones (like my Dad and myself.) Way to go, and the build to Royal Rumble is great so far, so hopefully they keep it up for next week!
Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling Online-Readers and Wrestling Fans!