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Raw: Daniel Bryan's journey with the Wyatt Family takes another turn
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


{Set to the tune of "Maria"}

How do you solve a problem like the Wyatts?

For Daniel Bryan, the answer apparently is to join them. Fans at the Dunkin Donut Center in Providence probably won't like it any more than the rest of the WWE Universe, but we'll see what tonight holds as Raw goes live on USA.

The show starts in the creepiest possible fashion thanks to a video celebrating Bryan’s indoctrination into the Wyatt Family.

Match 1 - The Usos vs. Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan

The fans give Bryan the “Yes!” chant even with his new affiliation. Are they cheering him or trying to get him to come to his senses? He and the Wyatt Family leader already appear to be functioning well as a team. No doubt it’s the management of Sister Abigail. Jey Uso is the one in trouble, though he fights his way to a tag to Jimmy, who nails Bryan with a Samoan drop and the corner butt charge a la Rikishi. Bryan and Wyatt both get sent to the floor to take the Usos stereo dives, but Erick Rowan and Luke Harper intervene before the brothers can do something similar off the turnbuckles. The ref calls for the bell, and the Usos somehow manage to escape a bad situation. Bryan bears the wrath of his clan, taking the Sister Abigail before the Wyatts depart.

Footage is shown of Damien Sandow’s failure to cash in on his Money in the Bank title shot last October, beginning what Michael Cole calls a “downward spiral.” It’s unlikely to get any better for him in the next few minutes, for reasons you’re about to see.

Match 2 - Damien Sandow vs. John Cena

This is Cena’s first match of 2014, coming less than two weeks before he meets Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble. Just to make sure he feels comfortable coming back, there’s an early commercial break. Sandow takes advantage of the time spent wrestling on the app by taking control, though Cena escapes the Royal Arch with a neckbreaker for a near fall. Cena hits a spinning DDT off the turnbuckle for another two count, looking surprised that it wasn’t enough to win. Sandow plants Cena face first for a near fall of his own and looks for You’re Welcome, but he ends up in the STF instead. He crawls to the ropes to break the hold and even administers one of his own. But you know Cena; he stands up and delivers the Attitude Adjustment to finish things off. Oh, and his dad is in the front row.

I’m not sure how you could have missed it, but in case you were in an alternate dimension or off-world when the announcement was first made, a video package explains the WWE Network. If you’re reading this, you’re probably ordering.

Brad Maddox and Kane have a difference of opinion about whose fault it is that the show is already a little out of control. Maddox suggests a rematch of the opening match inside a steel cage. Kane sees that bout and raises him the door being locked and him holding the only key. That wins, I think.

Match 3 - Big Show vs. Jack Swagger

Well, this is depressing. For Swagger, I mean. Show sends him packing quickly with a choke slam, and while Jack’s Real American teammate Antonio Cesaro thinks about a post-match assault, he has a change of heart. He does need to come to the aid of Zeb Colter, but that only delays the inevitable. And by that I mean Show messing with Zeb’s head before dropping him with the KO punch.

Match 4 - CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield

The Outlaws must be thrilled that they get to keep going even though Old School Raw is behind us. They might not be as excited after being in the ring with the Shield though. Events head toward Punk and Roman Reigns facing off against each other right before we step out for commercials. Punk is absorbing a beating after the break -- come on, you know it wasn’t going to be one of the Outlaws at their age -- during which time I saw my college almost blow another game at home to Virginia (that’s Duke, and in basketball FWIW). Reigns mocks the NAO as they implore Punk to make a tag. When he finally gets a chance, he’s surprised to see Road Dogg and Billy walk away from the match. Left alone, Punk takes a spear from Reigns and is promptly pinned. That’s not all, as he also takes a triple power bomb.

We go to a rare backstage promo with Bray Wyatt. Not surprisingly, he’s okay with a steel cage match.

Match 5 - AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka vs. The Funkadactyls

Nice to see they still let the Funkadactyls wrestle, because they were in danger of being reduced to window dressing for Xavier Woods and R-Truth. They don’t get to wrestle long before Cameron is pinned by AJ, though Naomi gets a measure of revenge after the bell.

Randy Orton is stalking backstage, looking for Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. He finds Kane instead, who gives him a chance to vent his frustration on Kofi Kingston. The champ is alright with that.

The first WWE Hall of Fame inductee for 2014 is… the Ultimate Warrior. That should make for one interesting acceptance speech.

Renee Young asks Paul Heyman about Brock Lesnar and his upcoming clash with Big Show. His answer is somewhat unnecessarily wordy.

Match 6 - Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston

Kofi’s tights are giving me a mild case of vertigo. That’s the least of his worries as Orton methodically wears him down. Kingston fights back beside the announce table, but that only buys him a moment before he’s dazed by a superplex, barely kicking out at two. Kofi battles back again, smacking Orton’s head off the steps on the outside to take the show out to commercials. The Viper is eventually able to return that pain in kind before rolling Kofi back into the ring. He toys with his foe for a while, perhaps too long as Kingston mounts one more valiant push. And surprisingly, it works -- Kofi counters the rope-aided DDT with an SOS and manages to get the three count. An enraged Orton throws a bit of a temper tantrum in the ringside area as the boos rain down from the fans. Then Randy attacks Cena’s father, because of course he does. Cena arrives with the quickness, chasing the champ away and checking on his dad, who eventually is taken away in an ambulance.

Match 7 - Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback

Apparently it’s Goldust’s turn to take the beating today. Axel and Ryback tag in and out, making life difficult for big brother, though he’s able to get Cody into the action. Not long after, Rhodes nails Axel with Cross Rhodes to get the duke.

Match 8 - Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio

It’s fun to see a guy the size of Del Rio in lucha-style spots with Rey, but I guess he’s got tons of experience doing just that. Mysterio manages to hit the 619, but ADR rises and ensures he isn’t coming off the top rope. The cross arm breaker follows, forcing Mysterio to tap out. After the match, Del Rio calls out Batista, vowing to throw him out of the Royal Rumble.

We revisit the WWE Network announcement again. Meanwhile, Punk wants some answers from Triple H, but of course, The Authority isn’t here. Kane tells the Second City Saint that he’s in the Royal Rumble Match, which he likes, but he’s still got a problem with the Director of Operations. And the Usos are ready for the steel cage match.

Main Event - Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan vs. The Usos - Steel Cage Match

Since Kane is manning the door, the announcers figure the only ways to win are by climbing out or by getting a pinfall or submission. Yet it should keep Rowan and Harper from interfering too, at least in theory. It doesn’t take long before the “This is awesome” chants get going. Bray is about to administer Sister Abigail’s Kiss to one Uso, but the other comes flying in with a superkick. The Usos start to climb but are met near the top of the cage. Bryan gets headbutted off the steel, crotching Wyatt as he falls. The Usos make it to the floor to get the win, but they’ve still got to deal with Rowan and Harper -- which they do, surprisingly easily. Back in the cage, Bryan thrills the fans by fighting off Wyatt’s attempts at punishment. Is Bray already losing control? Bryan responds to Wyatt’s charges of cowardice by delivering three jumping kicks and a series of regular ones. Off comes the jumpsuit as Harper and Rowan desperately try to enter the ring, to no avail. Bryan finishes his assault on Wyatt and leads the “Yes!” chant while sitting atop the cage as Raw comes to an exciting conclusion. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk is excited about the increased opportunities to cover WWE programming that will arise once the WWE Network is live. Well, everything except Legends House. To find out why, follow his Twitter feed or his Google+ page or do it old school and send him an email at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.