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   December 22, 2014



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Raw: The Authority hits the jackpot again in Las Vegas
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


I'm a little sad that Raw is in Las Vegas and there's no Raw Roulette. There's probably no time for it, as tonight's episode will deal with the fallout from an eventful SummerSlam. Let's get to it, live on USA and with the shiny new WWE logo.

The Vegas fans get all excited when Daniel Bryan’s music hits, but it’s only a gloating Stephanie McMahon who comes down the ramp. Really Jerry Lawler, you’ve never seen anything like Nikki Bella turning on Brie? In all the years you’ve been with the WWE? Steph calls SummerSlam one of the most epic events in WWE history, claiming that the reactions on social media told them that it was even better than WrestleMania. She gloats about getting a chance to hand the new WWE Heavyweight Championship belt to Brock Lesnar and takes some delight in the fates of John Cena, Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose. But by far the biggest loser of the night was Brie, who forgot that the Authority always wins. You can relive all of it for $9.99 a month, of course. McMahon thanks her husband Triple H for always being faithful and standing by her side, unlike Bryan. She calls out the one person who supposedly knows who Brie really is, her sister Nikki. The bustier Bella complains about how Brie is selfish, manipulative and competitive. Nikki says she can give so many examples of how she was wronged by Brie, but I hope she doesn’t. A tearful Brie comes to the ring and says she can forgive Nikki for last night, but that just gets her smacked in the face. She leaves crying.

Match 1 - Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. Big Show and Mark Henry

Hey, Big Show is still around! And double hey, so is the German announce team! The returning Show and recently returned Henry dominate until we step out for commercials. Harper is able to get things going for Team Wyatt by sending Show out to the floor, where Rowan does some damage to the giant. The Wyatts take turns keeping their very large opponent trapped in the wrong corner, earning a near fall or two along the way. After what seems like eons, Big Show makes the hot tag to Henry, who looks for a World’s Strongest Slam on Rowan but eats a big boot from Harper instead. Show returns to the fray with a pair of KO punches, and Henry gets the pinfall with a World’s Strongest Slam on Rowan.

The Nature Boy, Ric Flair, is congratulating Dolph Ziggler when their conversation is interrupted by the A-lister himself, the Miz. After Miz makes a threat to win the IC belt back in a “sequel” tonight, Ziggler says the former champ isn’t an A-lister -- he’s just an a-hole. Whoo!

After a brief look back at the wild Lumberjack Match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Renee Young congratulates Seth on his victory. He’s right in the middle of telling all of us how he’s the future of the promotion when he inadvertently ends up taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He turns around to find Ambrose was the man dumping the ice water, saying “What? It’s for charity!” A brawl then ensues.

A furious and wet Rollins goes off in front of Triple H and Kane, complaining that Ambrose needs to be taken out of the equation entirely. The Game says the two men will have a rematch tonight, with the WWE Universe deciding the stipulation so that Dean’s blood will be on the fans’ hands. Kane wishes him the creepiest good luck ever.

Match 2 - Natalya vs. Paige

Paige says that despite everything, she still loves and respects AJ, and she’s dedicating this match to her friend. The new Divas champ has the upper hand when AJ skips down to and around the ring, giving Natalya the opening she needs to roll up and pin Paige. AJ tries giving the champ a taste of her own medicine, but Paige retreats instead of accepting the offer of a handshake.

Here are the stipulation choices for the Rollins-Ambrose rematch: No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere or No Disqualification. You can vote on the WWE app, or you could have if you were reading this report when the show was still going on.

The Authority is in the ring to unveil the new title belt, which the Vegas crowd seems to find a bit underwhelming, and officially award it to Lesnar. As you might expect, Paul Heyman has a little something to say as well. He’s also got a secret: Cena is not here tonight. Paul spends quite a bit of time pumping up Cena’s accomplishments, even saying he’d love to make John a Heyman guy, but he’s also quick to point out that Lesnar doesn’t share those opinions. The problem now is that the same fate that Cena suffered awaits any other challenger for the title. Challengers are only men, after all, while Heyman’s client is a beast. Eat, sleep, suplex, repeat!

Match 3 - Dolph Ziggler (champion) vs. The Miz (challenger) - Intercontinental Title Match

JBL compares Miz to James Dean, possibly pushing his already questionable gimmick to its limit. Dolph sells the damage done to his left knee, and Miz wastes no time attacking it. Ziggler ends up in the Figure Four after a commercial break, and he strains and strains to finally reach the bottom rope to break the hold. Dolph fights back from the floor, but he gets himself counted out in the process. Miz wins the match, but Dolph keeps the belt, much to JBL’s chagrin. An angry Miz tries to press the issue after the bell, but all that gets him is a Zig Zag in the middle of the ring.

Now Young welcomes Jack Swagger so they can look at still images from his Flag Match defeat at the hands of Rusev at SummerSlam. We do get video of Rusev kicking Zeb Colter after the bell. Swagger says he’s not going to give up, he’s going to pick himself up because that’s “We the People.”

Match 4 - Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro

It’s a battle of former partners here. No Colter tonight, selling that kick from Rusev. Cesaro focuses his attack on Swagger’s injured ribs, but Jack is able to fight through the pain for a bit. Cesaro delivers an impressive gutwrench suplex and locks Swagger in an abdominal stretch. There’s a jumping stomp on Swagger’s guts too. A Swagger Bomb offers a decent response, but Jack ends up getting dropped on his ribs on the post. Somehow, Swagger catches a big boot coming at him and administers the Patriot Lock from the apron. That doesn’t prevent a Neutralizer, which is enough for Cesaro to pick up the win. To rub salt in the wound, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bo Dallas!

It’s a busy night for Young, who is backstage with Chris Jericho. Though he says he’s never faced anyone like Bray Wyatt, Chris says he’s not dead inside like the man who beat him. He’s got the fire inside him, the spirit that drives him forward and the best fans in the WWE. JBL says he’s sick of the Y2J excuses.

Match 5 - Randy Orton, Curtis Axel and Ryback vs. Sheamus, Rob Van Dam and Roman Reigns

Orton eats Rolling Thunder early, forcing him to take a powder outside the ring that is the perfect time for more commercials. It’s Axel who’s in trouble after the break, and both he and Ryback take shots to the chest from Sheamus. The heels finally get their act together long enough for Orton to dump Sheamus over the wall near the timekeeper’s area. That momentum only lasts until Reigns is tagged in, smacking everyone with superman punches. Orton sneaks in and hits him with a backbreaker, but RVD tags himself in and gets several near falls for the good guys. The ever popular string of finishers follows, ending with a spear for Orton. Axel takes out Roman, but Van Dam is able to drop the Five Star Frog Splash on Axel to get the victory.

Orton gets a visit from Flair, but he doesn’t want any advice from the Nature Boy. In a different, darker part of the arena, Wyatt cuts a creepy promo in response to Jericho. Behold the new face of salvation,or something like that.

Match 6 - The Usos vs. Goldust and Stardust

The Usos get to show off some mat wrestling, something we don’t often see from them, against Goldust. A double elbow drop by the Usos gets a near fall, and Stardust really wants a tag. He gets that and the bad end of a series of offensive moves by the tag champs, who ground Stardust and leave him looking for a tag to big brother. He ends up not needing it, getting a roll-up pin to steal a victory from the surprised-looking Usos.

Rusev and Lana come to the ring to boast, probably, but Henry comes out shortly thereafter. The World’s Strongest Man has represented the U.S. on multiple occasions, and he’s never had trouble with someone and their country until last night. Mark offers to give Rusev a personal guided tour of the Hall of Pain, and the staredown is on. Rusev throws the first punch, but Henry ends this confrontation by blocking a kick and hitting the World’s Strongest Slam. There’s a splash from Henry too. Don’t forget to hit the Hall of Pain gift shop on your way out.

Cena is going to come back from vacation … um, I mean, recover from his beating by Lesnar to address the WWE Universe next week. So there’s that to look forward to. Jerry Lawler hits the ring to announce the results for the main event voting, and it’s going to be Falls Count Anywhere.

Main Event - Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins - Falls Count Anywhere

With no love lost, these guys go right at each other, and it doesn’t take long for them to fight into the crowd. They end up on the ramp, where Ambrose wins a battle of reversals and suplexes his arch-enemy for a two count. They head back to the ring, where Ambrose looks over a variety of weapons under the ring before deciding on a steel chair. Both men end up using the chair to their advantage, and Ambrose barely kicks out before we head out for the final ad break. Ambrose’s face is getting up close and personal with a kendo stick when we return, and Rollins is begging him to get up so he can suffer some more. Dean recovers and hits a tornado DDT for two. Both men avoid each other’s finishers, and the time-honored double clothesline leaves both flat on their backs. There’s a cool spot where Rollins tries using the kendo stick while being catapulted toward the turnbuckle, but it doesn’t save him from hitting the top pad and eating a few more stick shots before a near fall. Ambrose throws about six more chairs in the ring, They go up top, and while Ambrose is thinking superplex into the nest of chairs, Rollins reverses into a sitout power bomb. He covers atop the chairs, but Ambrose still kicks out. Kane comes down to ringside and watches as Rollins gets out a table. Seth is thinking Curb Stomp through the table, but it ends up as an Ambrose superplex through the table instead. Dean crawls through the wreckage, but Kane appears on the apron. Ambrose sends them both to the floor and dives to take them both out, and his bouncing clothesline is next. Rollins gets tagged with Dirty Deeds, but Kane drags Ambrose out of the ring and starts brawling with him. Chaos reigns as Ambrose flings Kane over the announce table and gets a running start to jump into the crowd to take out Rollins again. Unfortunately, it’s soon two-on-one, and Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on top of the announce table -- it doesn’t break. Kane holds Dean’s head over a pile of cinder blocks, and Seth hits the Curb Stomp to break some of the blocks. Charles Robinson decides that’s enough, stopping the match and giving the victory to Rollins. I can almost hear J.R.’s voice in my head: “By God! Somebody get some help out here!” The announcers wonder if we’ll ever see Ambrose in the ring again as Raw goes off the air. See you in seven!