Raw: The Yes Movement keeps rolling in Cleveland
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
Like many other people, I wasn't sure what to make of the Royal Rumble. Is the WWE stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the current popularity of Daniel Bryan, or is there a larger plan in place leading up to WrestleMania? We'll see if tonight's show in Cleveland sheds any light on the answer as we go live to Quicken Loans Arena on USA.
Still shots from Sunday night show how the Wyatt Family attacked John Cena, costing him in his rematch with Randy Orton and leaving him dazed. To officially start the show, The Authority makes its way out to Triple H's entrance music. Stephanie McMahon seems happy, saying we just witnessed one of the most satisfying Royal Rumbles in history. The Game mocks the fans for not getting what they wanted, calling it an incredible night thanks to Orton's title defense, Brock Lesnar's victory over Big Show and the triumphant return of his good friend Batista. There's one more stop on the road to WrestleMania though, and Steph is proud to announce that Orton will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber. The fans erupt not for that news, but because Daniel Bryan heads for the ring. He sarcastically asks the fans to stop chanting for him because The Authority doesn't like it. Despite the fact that he lost to Bray Wyatt, Bryan points out that lots of people are talking about his match. On top of that, he thinks fans are disappointed about him not being in the Rumble match, and the fans on hand agree. Bryan accuses The Authority of saying no when he asked to be in the Rumble, something Steph said was to avoid putting him in too much jeopardy in one night. Oh, but it was okay for him to wrestle multiple times on Raw on numerous occasions! Stephanie accuses Daniel of being self-centered and asks if he thinks the people came to the arena just to see him. Bryan puts it to the fans, asking if they came to see Orton or Triple H. That discussion ends with Bryan and The Game in a tense stare down, at which point the COO mentions he's about to have company -- in the form of the Shield. Bryan grabs a steel chair, but the numbers are too much for him. Seamus arrives to lend a hand, but even he can't handle the 3-on-1 odds. Maybe Cena can help... Yep, that does the trick, as the three faces are able to clear the ring. The Shield retreats back through the crowd, but this probably isn't over.
Match 1 - Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. The Real Americans
Zeb Colter's signs are starting to be pretty funny. Sin Cara shows off some lucha moves he may or may not have learned from the original guy to wear that mask, and a Colter slaps Jack Swagger in disgust. That lights a fire under Swagger until the commercials come. Sin Cara tries taggin out after the break, but Antonio Cesaro drags Rey off the apron. The faceless one has to roll away from a Swagger Bomb, straining to get Mysterio into the action. Rey has Cesaro in trouble, but when he tags in his partner, Cesaro nails him with a big uppercut coming off the ropes. The Neutralizer finishes off Sin Cara, so Colter's hands on approach to management seems to have paid off.
I failed to mention this, but that opening segment has turned into our main event. Bryan Sheamus and Cena will take on the Shield, and the winning team will get all three of its members into the title match at Elimination Chamber.
Bad News Barrett asks for some decorum, and he announces the Battle of Cleveland between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler later tonight. Fortunately it's not the Battle FOR Cleveland, because that, like the city itself, would have nothing but losers. Those are his words, not mine.
A video promotes the Monday Night War series coming to the WWE Network. It looks pretty good.
Match 2 - Fandango vs. R-Truth
Xavier Woods joins the announcers in what's becoming a weekly occurrence. JBL asks him about getting his PhD and makes a non-funny joke about East Carolina as the Harvard of the South. Woods' mentor is able to hit the Truth Hurts and pin Fandango, much to Summer Rae's dismay.
Orton takes the mic, mocking Cena's "the champ is here" line. He doesn't think his victory was hollow despite the interference from the Wyatts, but he's not happy about having to defend his title in the Elimination Chamber. As he starts laying into Brad Maddox, Batista decides to join them in the ring. The Animal makes it clear that it's not personal, because he doesn't care who he faces for the WWE Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Good thing too, because Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman have something to add to this conversation. Actually it's just Heyman who does the talking, and he tells Maddox to inform The Authority that they can give Lesnar a title match tonight or have Lesnar face Batista to determine the true number one contender. They want Maddox to get an answer... or else.
Match 3 - Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Well, it's the Battle of Cleveland between two hometown boys. They also happen to be two guys who used to be higher up the card and are now floundering. Miz gets the Figure Four applied, but Ziggler is able to make it to the bottom rope. They trade near falls before the Zig Zag wraps this one up for Dolph. He's the King of Cleveland now, I guess.
Match 4 - Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. The Usos
Last night, we learned how much Axel looks like Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Also Ryback wore a cool Iron Man singlet, and he's got another one on tonight. Jey Uso bears the brunt of their attack until he can get his brother into the action. Two blond tags later, Ryback eats a pair of superkicks, and Jimmy comes off the top rope with a splash to seal up the win.
Match 5 - Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio has a prerecorded message about Batista, as if there's still a feud going there. I think that ship sailed quickly Alberto. Kingston dives through the ropes to hit Del Rio on the floor, but he gets caught with a kick trying to re-enter the ring. For some reason, the fans start a "JBL" chant, angering Del Rio, and then one for Jerry Lawler as well. Meanwhile, both men are down on the outside, and we step out for commercials. Neither man can really seem to seize the upper hand, though Kofi manages to hit the Boom Drop and call for the Trouble in Paradise. Del Rio ducks that but is hit by the ?, which would nearly pins ADR except that he grabs the bottom rope. Del Rio rallies with several near falls, but he looks frustrated. He tries going up top only to he crotched on the turnbuckles. Del Rio uses a jumping stomp and a kick to the face to drop Kingston, and that's enough to finally get him the three count.
Match 6 - Cody Rhodes and Goldust (challengers) vs. The New Age Outlaws (champions) - WWE Tag Team Champions
Road Dogg quotes Selina Gomez when he tells the Rhodes brothers to come and get it. Yet the Outlaws do plenty of stalling during a slow start, and even the Shake, Rattle and Roll is interrupted by a dropkick. A Billy Gunn boot to Goldust's face finally gets the champs some momentum, but we won't see it right away as there's a commercial break. Road Dogg looks like he's bleeding as Rhodes gets tagged in and launches into a springboard dropkick on both Outlaws. Gunn clotheslines his way out of a Disaster Kick, but the match comes to an abrupt end when Lesnar enters the ring and delivers an F-5 to each of the challengers. Heyman says this is what happens when Brock doesn't get the answer he likes, and Lesnar punctuates that thought with chair shots to both Rhodes boys.
Match 7 - AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Aksana and Alicia Fox vs. The Bellas and The Funkadactyls
No way am I recapping this match. The face team wins following a triple suplex and the Rear View from Naomi.
The next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is… Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Michael Cole uses that announcement as a segue into a promo for WrestleMania Rewind, another original show coming on the WWE Network.
Main Event - John Cena, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield
There’s a “Roman Reigns” chant as the muscle of the Shield and Royal Rumble record holder works against Cena. All four other men get a chance to work in short order, and the fans explode as expected when Bryan gets in and puts Seth Rollins in the inverted surfboard. There is, of course, a commercial break to get through before the action really heats up. It looks like Cena is going to take the beating for his team, which includes the Superman punch from Reigns. A spear could be next, but Cena sidesteps it and Reigns flies out to the floor. Dean Ambrose tags in and continues the pressure, as does Rollins. Cena finally manages an Attitude Adjustment on Ambrose, and Bryan gets the hottest of hot tags. He pinballs around the ring dishing out abuse to all three Shield members, kicking Rollins silly and forcing a save from Reigns. Roman spears Sheamus and Cena, but Bryan sends him to the outside and ends up facing the legal man Rollins. Bryan hits a release German suplex but misses his leap into the corner, and all heck breaks loose again. Bryan and Rollins collide on a simultaneous cross body, and they’re both down. Cena gets the tag to face Reigns, locking in the STF. As the hold is slowly nullified, the Wyatt Family arrives to attack Cena again. His partners revived, Cena and company manage to fight off the Wyatts, and they also qualify for the Elimination Chamber as they’ve won the match by disqualification. The Shield isn’t happy about this turn of events, but that’s what happens when angles collide like this. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk thinks the YES Network is missing out on a big opportunity by not using Daniel Bryan as its spokesperson, or at least using him to lead some chants in its commercials. Think about it people!