Raw: Cesaro, Cena shine in Mile High showdown
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
We've arrived at the show before the pay-per-view before WrestleMania. What does that mean? Probably not much, but we'll stay positive tonight. Let's head to Denver's Pepsi Center live on USA.
This show, like many others before it, begins with an appearance by John Cena. It sounds like more boos than cheers in Denver. He talks up the Elimination Chamber match before Cesaro and his mouthpiece Zeb Colter come down the ramp. I think this is the part where everyone in the Chamber match says they are going to win. We’ll see. Cena reminds Cesaro that he’s never been in the type of match he’s about to experience on Sunday and that he’ll be facing five other competitors. Right on cue, here’s another one: Sheamus. Then Christian comes out too. And WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, still kissing up to The Authority. To top it all off, Daniel Bryan also thrills the fans by joining the party. I think that’s everyone. Bryan says he’s worked too hard to get where he is to let this opportunity slip away, promising that there will be an entire arena of people on Sunday chanting one word: “Yes!” In response, Kane comes out to put in his two cents. The Director of Operations is in charge tonight, getting a chance to rectify some of his recent mistakes. He says Orton will face Sheamus tonight, and we’ll also see Cesaro versus Cena and Christian versus Bryan. That last match is up next, by the way. But Christian isn’t waiting, attacking Bryan from behind while he’s preoccupied with Kane. He punishes Bryan outside the ring before the match is even underway.
Match 1 - Daniel Bryan vs. Christian
The match is finally official after some commercials, but Christian spent that time hammering away at Bryan’s left shoulder. Kane watches from over near the announce table with a contented look on his face. And why not, as Christian pretty much dominates until there’s another commercial break. Nothing has changed a few minutes later, with Bryan still taking a pounding. A barrage of corner kicks finally gets him going, but Christian gets his boots up to repel a corner charge. Despite all the abuse, Bryan manages to counter the Killswitch into a pinning predicament, and he scraps his way to a win. Kane has a fun announcement for him after the bell, though: he has another match against … Kane. The Director of Operations begins his attack right away, not even waiting for the bell.
Match 2 - Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Kane is wrestling this one in his dress pants and shoes, but he’s lost the collared shirt and is going with just a tank top undershirt. The fact that Christian softened up Bryan’s left shoulder certainly isn’t lost on him, and he concentrates his offense on that area. Referee Charles Robinson finally ends up disqualifying Kane for wrapping Bryan’s arm around the post and refusing to release the hold. Undeterred, he continues to attack Bryan after the bell, not caring that he was DQed.
Dean Ambrose tells Renee Young that he’s surprised Mark Henry even showed up tonight after the beating he gave him last week, something that Roman Reigns scoffs at. Ambrose insists that the Shield is united, and Reigns claims that the Wyatt Family’s mind games won’t work on them because they don’t experience fear.
Match 3 - Fandango vs. Santino Marella
Both of these men have dancing valets. Fandango has Summer Rae, and Santino apparently now has Emma. The latter takes the former for an airplane spin, something that ends up distracting Santino long enough to get pinned by Fandango.
Young stops Henry on his way … somewhere. How do you think he’s going to fare tonight against Reigns? It’s not about titles, it’s about inducting someone into the Hall of Pain. That’s what he does! Also, random quotes from presidents on Presidents’ Day!
Match 4 - Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
Reigns hits the first truly impressive move with a Samoan drop for a near fall. He survives some offense and delivers the Superman punch, followed by a spear. That’s a wrap, though Seth Rollins looks a little bit more excited about it than Ambrose. Dean put the boots to Henry after the bell, but the lights go out and Bray Wyatt has something to say on the big screen. Is the Shield willing to die for this? Because if not, they’ve already lost. Reigns challenges them to come out and talk their trash, and Wyatt responds that they were thinking the exact same thing. Bray leads his charges to the ring so the two stables can stare each other down. Could it be more than that? Nope, as Wyatt tells his boys to back away.
The Rhodes brothers have a philosophical discussion while checking out the latest WWE toys, but Bad News Barrett has some bad news, wrecking the playset.
Match 5 - Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
Kingston gets hit by an early Swagger Bomb but manages to kick out. Swagger stays right on his opponent, hurling him hard into the turnbuckle only to see Kingston spring out for a missile dropkick. A splash of sorts gets Kofi a near fall, and an SOS almost seals the deal until Swagger gets his foot on the bottom rope. Swagger kicks out of a cross body, and he gets the Patriot Lock applied. Kingston makes an effort to reach the ropes but has to tap out.
Match 6 - Big E vs. Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal
Colter and Swagger stick around to watch the match -- also so Colter can berate Langston and antagonize the crowd. The 3MB crew actually has Big E in trouble for a bit, but that ends when Mahal and McIntyre both run into belly-to-belly suplexes and get splashed together. Mahal is suplexed into McIntyre, and they both suffer through the Big Ending before Langston pins McIntyre.
A Black History Month video package pays tribute to the first black world champion, Ron Simmons. We also get a promo for Elimination Chamber, sort of like we’ve never seen it before. Um, they have these matches every year now.
Young asks Cena about his match with Cesaro. He still says the next generation of WWE superstars needs to come through him, and Cesaro is no different in that respect.
Match 7 - John Cena vs. Cesaro
Cesaro is able to ground Cena in the early going, and he impressively catches Cena in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that leads to several near falls. He cranks away on Cena’s shoulder and neck until a hip toss ends the pain, but Cena is quickly tossed out to the floor to get beaten up some more. A dropkick gets Cesaro more two counts, and he’s dominated the proceedings to this point. Cena shows some signs of life by dropping Cesaro on the back of his head, but the Swiss Superman has things going his way again as we break for some more ads. Is Cena ever going to get himself into this match? Well yes, of course he is. Here come the shoulder tackles, and Cena and Cesaro exchange counters. A gutwrench suplex gets another two for Cesaro, but Cena responds with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cesaro fires back with the elevated uppercut, but that’s still insufficient to put Cena away. How about Cena off the top rope? How about not, as an uppercut knocks him all the way to the floor. Cesaro suplexes Cena back off the apron and over the turnbuckle, looking incredulous when that still isn’t enough for a three count. Cena tries for the STF but ends up going for the Cesaro Swing instead. A gigantic clothesline takes Cesaro down, and Cena rolls over him before picking him up for an Attitude Adjustment. That’s enough to get Cena the pinfall after a grueling and entertaining contest.
Triple H seems happy with the way Orton is handling the pressure. Or is he being sarcastic, because he brings up Orton’s recent losses in the ring? Randy says they carried Batista back in the Evolution days, but he falls for the whole “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?” deal. Batista calls Orton the ass of the WWE instead of the face. Despite his injured neck, Alberto Del Rio thinks it would be a good idea to talk some trash to Batista. It isn’t.
Young takes us back to the recent falling out between Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. O’Neil gets a little over-excited talking about how we’re about to see him rise without Young as dead weight.
Match 8 - Sin Cara and Los Matadores vs. The Wyatt Family
Luke Harper takes apart one of the matadors before giving way to Bray Wyatt. El Torito looks concerned, or at least I think he does under that mask. Sin Cara rallies his team against Harper, even managing to force a save by Erick Rowan. Hey, leave El Torito alone! Sin Cara comes off the top rope, but Harper evades him and crushes him with a clothesline. Wyatt nails the Sister Abigail and that’s all she wrote for the masked men.
Match 9 - Billy Gunn vs. Jey Uso
Both Road Dogg and Jimmy Uso are sitting in with the commentators. Lots of old age jokes from Jimmy. Meanwhile there is a match going on, and it ends with Jey rolling up Billy for the win. The Usos also get the last laugh after the bell. Youth wins!
Sheamus gets his backstage interview segment, where he reveals his antidote to the Viper: blunt force trauma, Irish style.
Main Event - Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
You’ve got to have the obligatory “point at the WrestleMania XXX sign” moment, and Orton obliges. Let’s get the commercial break out of the way early on, too … thanks. Sheamus powers his way out of a headlock, lifting the Viper up for a suplex. Orton gets dumped out to the floor with a clothesline, and he’s driven hard into the barricade multiple times. Those stairs also hurt. Back in the ring, Orton looks for a superplex, but Sheamus shoves his way out and launches into a flying shoulder tackle. The fight goes back outside, where Orton clears off the announce table and backdrops Sheamus through it. The Celtic Warrior barely beats the count to continue the fight. Orton stomps away on various body parts. A power slam halts Sheamus’ attempt to rally, though he kicks out at two on the ensuing pin. Stuck on the apron, Orton absorbs 10 clubbing shots to the chest. The champ responds with his signature backbreaker and the elevated DDT. The Viper coils for the RKO only to fall victim to not one, not two, but three Irish Curses. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick, but the Shield runs in, and the match is thrown out. Cena, Bryan, Cesaro and Christian all hit the ring, and all of a sudden the Wyatts are there too. Now it really is chaos in there. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk wants to know when the WWE's war on names will end. First it was Cesaro's first name, then Big E's last name. Why are names so bad, WWE? Send answers to Nick on Twitter @Nick_Tylwalk, on Google+ +NickTylwalk, or via email to email@example.com.