Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Raw Recap; February 10

The WWE has certainly been on a bumpy ride since the moment they turned onto the Road to WrestleMania XXX.  They followed up a very difficult week within the company with a fairly average episode of Raw last week, so let's see how they respond this time around, just 13 days until the Elimination Chamber.

Annnnd Betty White opens the show.  Actually Betty White is fine, and so is the Big Show, who so kindly escorted her to the stage.  But wait!  Here comes The Authority!  Do we boo or cheer?  Remember how they tried to ruin the Big Show's life? Ah, who the hell cares?

Triple H and Stephanie officially kick the show off in the ring, and they're talking about the face of the WWE.  They're not as pro-Daniel Bryan as they were a week ago.  Here comes Randy Orton.  It seems we're back to a similar storyline that was unfolding from August-October during 2013.  I still don't know if they're trying to play bad or what here.  YES!  Daniel Bryan interrupts.  He reminds everyone that he beat Orton last week, also mentions that Orton once handcuffed Triple H and kissed Stephanie and mocks Triple H and Stephanie too.  YES!  Daniel Bryan turns his attention to his former best friend and the current Director of Operations Kane, and wants him in a match.  However, Kane has been “reprimanded” for his actions and Triple H decides that Daniel Bryan should have the night off.  NO!  

Up next we had a Teddy Long special, a 6-man tag-team match!  The Wyatts faced off with the team of Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Goldust.  Man, Cody Rhodes is great.  It's a shame they don't do more with him.  This whole match was great, all six guys delivered.  It was a fun, exciting match to watch, and the Wyatts once again shined.  Bray scored the pinfall on Rey after maybe the best Sister Abigail we've seen yet.  Oh my lord!

Afterwards, Bray cut a short promo, but it was still strong.  You have to be impressed with his mic work.  He called The Shield “toy soldiers” trying to play in a war they aren’t apart of.  The build up of Bray Wyatt, and really The Wyatt Family in general, has been very good.

The Shield was backstage with Renee Young, or “baby girl” if you ask Roman Reigns.  It was the usual drill for The Shield as of late in their backstage segments… strong build up of Reigns and Amrbose showing his jealousy.  The cracks continue to show, even if they’re only slight cracks.  Ambrose talks himself up as US Champion and explains the amount of paper work that goes into it.  Reigns questions when Ambrose last defended his title, which leads to Ambrose laying down an open challenge for Raw.

Remember Fandago’ing?  That was almost a year ago.  Fandango is once again stuck in a feud with Santino, even though it’s really just to get Summer Rae and Emma in a feud.  Emma shows off her awkward side, and I support it.  The Miz came out to keep his “bitter” thing going by ambushing commentary.  I like the Miz, and hope they actually follow through with him on something, but for now it all feels meaningless.  Fandango defeats Santino in a forgettable match, but at least we got to see Summer Rae.

Sheamus cut a halfway decent promo backstage before his tag-team match with Christian against The Real Americans.  I actually find Sheamus likable, but I may be in the minority on this one.  But like him or not, he was in a great match, maybe the match of the night.  Solid brawling from Sheamus and Cesaro, strong in-ring work from Christian (as usual) and Jack Swagger even looked good!  There are a lot of eyes on Antonio Cesaro right now and it’s not just for his “Big Swing”.  I expect him to have a big showing at Elimination Chamber later this month.  Sheamus and Christian pick up the win here in a great tag-team match, and it should frustrate all fans that they haven’t properly built up enough teams because they have a roster that knows how to work tag matches. 

Backstage Renee Young is with John Cena, and she wasn’t called “baby girl” this time.  Cena delivers a rather serious promo about the change coming to the WWE, and then he says he closes his long-time feud with Randy Orton tonight.  HUGE POP (at least on the internet).

Dolph Ziggler comes out next so that does a good job of keeping the excitement up after a solid 15+ minute match.  But then Alberto Del Rio’s music hits so you realize Ziggler is doomed.  Quick match, Del Rio wins, and JBL made one “Jerry Lawler Heart Attack” joke.

Ziggler then became a pawn to fool all the fans in the building, as Del Rio continued his beat down on The Show Off, only to have BOOTISTA… I mean Batista, come out and make the save.  Doing so gave Batista his best fan reaction yet.  Del Rio gets a serious beating that ended with a Batista bomb through the announcers table.  Damn, where is JBL gonna put his hat?

Batista ends up bumping into Triple H backstage.  Triple H says a bunch of business mumbo jumbo and then ends up giving Batista a match with Del Rio at Elimination Chamber.  Batista doesn’t seem to like this version of Triple H.

We next find out that Lita will get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania XXX.  Maybe CM Punk will induct her?  Or maybe AJ?

After much anticipation, we finally got to check in on the New Age Outlaws having a tea party with Betty White.  The Outlaws tamper with her tea, but Betty White pulls off the ol’ switcheroo, so Billy Gunn may be in for a tough night with some stomach pains.

The Uso’s face off with RybAxel in a fairly decent match.  Short and sweet.  The Outlaws were on commentary and remain total clowns.  Billy needed to run off and rush to the bathroom though.  Oh yeah, the Uso’s won.

Mark Henry returned (again) and was the one answering Ambrose’s open challenge for a US title match.  Good to have Henry back, but his countless returns in the past year have had an impact on him picking up serious momentum.  He looked like he was set to win the title, but Seth Rollins put a stop to that by getting Ambrose DQ’d.  Henry cleans house, but Roman Reigns ends up spearing the life out of him at ringside.

Now this is where business PICKED UP.  The Wyatts made their slow way out and we had a bit of a stare down between them and The Shield.  You could feel the tension and the Staples Center was electric for this face-off.  They played their cards right by having Reigns as the one to take the first step into the ring.  The big man is not messing around at this point.  The Wyatts back down, and we’ve got a lot of buzz around this six-man tag match at Elimination Chamber.

Divas match next….

What happened?  I passed out.  Oh look, it’s that Russian from the Royal Rumble.  Short little vignette for Alexander Rusev and Lana.  They’ll likely be debuting soon.

Wait a minute, Kane is here!  I thought he was being reprimanded?!  He comes out and explains he’s accepting his punishment from The Authority.  That leads to Daniel Bryan making his way back out to a chorus of YES chants.  These two weren’t doing any hugging this time, and Dr. Shelby is crying somewhere.  It was short spot, but got the fans chanting YES again and keeps Bryan’s feud with The Authority going with a few different turns.

We check back in with Betty White after she drugged Billy Gunn.  She teases the main event!  This is it, the end to the John Cena and Randy Orton feud!

The match was very similar to their match at the Royal Rumble, which in no way is a bad thing, and fortunately for them the crowd was much more responsive towards their effort this time around.  The only downside is that their matches do follow a very similar procedure each time, which again, isn’t meant to be a negative point, but the counters coming down the stretch were very by the book for a Cena/Orton showdown.

They still put on a good match to wrap up the show, which ends with Cena getting a clean win over Orton.Cena has momentum now, and Orton has lost clean to Cena and Daniel Bryan back to back weeks.  The fall before the rise?    But if they want Orton to be a big time HEEL champion going into Mania then they have some work to do.

Not a great show, but at points a strong show.  I think overall the viewer should walk away from this episode of Raw being entertained, but knowing there needs to be some more activity as we get closer to Mania.  The build for Elimination Chamber is there, and it seems like all eyes will be on Mania once we get by that.  Still some work to do, WWE, but at least you aren’t crumbling after a rough two weeks.

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