Matt’s Monday Night RAW Recap – 1/5/2015

Happy New Year! The Authority’s back! 
Thought I’d remind you of the bullshit show we’re in for.

Say
what you’d like about Total Divas: at least it’s fun to review and
write about. Sitting through three hours of this shit a week is like
waiting for my BART train to come during a track delay. It’s
uncomfortable and boring. You have to sit through other people’s
conversations or their streaming music bullshit they thought you’d like
to hear because they don’t know what headphones are.
It’s exhausting. 
(NOTE: I’m writing this up because, as of Tuesday morning, I noticed that the site lacked a RAW recap this week. Comments welcome.)
Let’s get going…
We start with clips from LAST MONDAY when The Authority returned.
And,
holy shit, we have a RAW title sequence?! It’s like flowers from your
abusive boyfriend the night after he beat the crap out of you.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Corpus Christi, Texas!!!
JBL, Michael Cole and Booker T. King is apparently recovering from Diverticulitis and cannot be here tonight.
John
Cena and the ENTIRE WWE LOCKER ROOM are in the ring because The
Authority told them to do that. Sin Cara, R-Truth and even Darren
goddamn Young have prime positioning behind him while Reigns is off to
the side. That’s balanced. Cena apologizes to death for what he did.
Triple
H and Steph appear in seconds. That’s gotta be a record. Steph says
this isn’t the way to kick off the New Year. She welcomes everyone to
Monday Night RAW and everyone pops because The Authority are secret
faces. Steph says it’s time to entertain the masses because this is
what’s best for business. Triple H criticizes all the bullshit that
happened while they were gone. He says the ship has righted its course
because one man: Seth Rollins.
Out
comes Rollins and the crowd shits all over him. Steph hugs him and
Triple H shakes his hand. Rollins says hello to John Cena and wishes him
a Happy New Year. Triple H says they’re gonna pay Rollins handsomely
for his deeds. At the Royal Rumble, John Cena will face Brock Lesnar for
the World Heavyweight Championship…but it’s now a Triple Threat Match
and Seth Rollins is the third competitor. What’s the goddamn point of
the briefcase? Steph says there’s just one more man to thank: John Cena.
Steph says he doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to apologize
for breaking his promise to anyone. Cena showed everyone what’s Best for
Business™. So, tonight is John Cena Appreciation Night.
Triple
H says that this is an all new era in WWE. Everyone will get out what
they put in. Everyone will get what they deserve. As for tonight, Dolph
Ziggler will defend the IC Title against Bad News Barrett.
Cole gives us the rub:
  • Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
  • Ryback vs. Seth Rollins
  • Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in an Ambulance Match

With that, we go to break.

MATCH #1: Bad News Barrett (challenger) vs. Dolph Ziggler (champion) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
This isn’t at all
telegraphed. Barrett has Ziggler in an armbar to start. Ziggler
counters with a headlock. Barrett breaks it and stomps Ziggler in the
corner. Suplex by Barrett and a two-count. Ziggler hits a dropkick off a
suplex counter and gets a one-count. Ziggler hits punches in the corner
then takes a knee to the face in the corner after Barrett reverses an
Irish Whip. Two count. Barrett drops a knee and locks in a side
headlock. Barrett goes for a sidewalk slam and Ziggler rolls him up for
the win at 2:41.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Dolph Ziggler
RATING: DUD. This didn’t even get a chance to cook. 

Post-match,
Barrett just kicks the holy shit out of Ziggler, tossing him into the
announce table and steel steps. He tosses Ziggler into the ring post,
then rams his back into the mat. Barrett pulls him back into the ring
and rams his head into the turnbuckle. Ziggler’s down and Kane’s music
hits. He says the match is two out of three falls. Oh christ.

Second Fall
Barrett
measures Ziggler and knocks him down with a big boot, then hits
Wasteland, which Cole calls “Winds of Change” for the fall at 0:31. Oh,
and we have a break while trainers tend to Ziggler.

Third Fall
Kane
is at ringside. Barret hits Wasteland and Ziggler kicks out. Barrett
beats up Ziggler and chokes him on the second rope. Barrett tries a
Surfboard but Ziggler gets to his feet and mounts a comeback. He misses a
dropkick, however, and Barrett kicks him to the mat for two. Headlock
by Barrett and Ziggler breaks and hits a dropkick. He misses a splash in
the corner and Barrett drops a knee, getting a two count. Barrett props
Ziggler on the turnbuckle, then kicks him in the ribs as Kane glares
and mumbles. Ziggler breaks another headlock and hits a splash and
neckbreaker. He misses the Fame-Asser and Barrett hits Winds of Change,
getting two. Barrett sets up the Bullhammer but whiffs and Ziggler hits a
Superkick for a near fall. Kane is shocked as both men are down.
Ziggler picks Barrett up. Kane gets on the mat. Ziggler hits a
Superkick. Kane goes down. Barrett hits the Bullhammer and wins the
title at 5:47.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Bad News Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **1/4. Awkwardly booked. The “first fall” kinda killed any momentum and didn’t get any better with the distraction finish. And it’s real nice that the IC Title can’t stay around someone’s waist for more than five minutes. This isn’t the United States strap. Are they gonna put it on The Bunny next week?

Miraculously,
Kane is alive and helps Barrett celebrate as Ziggler is buried for the
fourth time…? Fifth? Pick a lane. Barrett kisses the belt like it
still means something and we move on.

Cole hosts a WWE Network retrospective on the career of John Cena.

TONIGHT: John Cena Appreciation Night hosted by The Authority.

ALSO TONIGHT: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show

LAST MONDAY: Roman Reigns took on Seth Rollins in a shitty match.

LAST FRIDAY: Roman Reigns got revenge.

Renee The Lisp has Roman Reigns. Reigns says Big
Show should expect a man who is faster than a speeding bullet, can leap
a tall building in a single bound and is more powerful than a
locomotive. Expect REIGNS, baby girl.

Meanwhile, Bray’s
either in a steam room or he’s toking the stuff from Nattie’s pot
brownies. He’s gonna slam the Ambulance door shut and Ambrose will be
lifeless. Tonight, the darkness walks next to Bray.

The
Ascension comes out and name drops Demolition and the Road Warriors.
Then they vow to defeat them even though they don’t wrestle anymore. If
that’s not enough, JBL bashes them. Booker bashes them, too.

MATCH #2: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. two random dudes
The Ascension does
the Table Top of Doom to win at 0:41 as the commentary team continues
to shit all over them. This was so, so awful, there are no words.
WINNERS: The Ascension
RATING: DUD.

Rusev. Lana. Putin. You’ve seen it.

MATCH #3: Roman Reigns vs. Big Show
Reigns
punches away but Show spears him for a two count. Reigns tries to come
back but Show just clubs him with his giant arms. Show steps on Reigns’
chest, then tosses Reigns into the corner and stomps at him. Show yells
at Reigns, then stands there and does nothing as the crowd boos him.
Reigns fights back but Show catches him in a Bear Hug which JBL somehow
dubs “the most devastating bear hug since Bruno Sammartino.”. Reigns
elbows out of it and starts hitting clotheslines, knocking Show down on
the third one. Reigns hits a nice Samoan Drop and calls for the Superman
Punch. Show catches him in the Chokeslam, which Reigns barely escapes,
getting to the outside of the ring. Show goes after him, clubbing away
and hitting a nice Superkick. Show picks up stairs and hits Reigns for
the DQ at 5:39.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via DQ
RATING: DUD. Stale, boring, clunky with the same predictable DQ-for-no-good-reason finish we’ve all come to know and love. 

Post-match,
it’s Yet Another Beatdown Spot. Show tries to hit Reigns with the spear
and Reigns spears him, then howls in victory.

Cole thanks everyone for joining them, even India. JBL and Booker try to relate by mentioning Indian breakfast food.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Seth Rollins is in the big title match at the Royal Rumble and Steph is soooo proud of John Cena.

MATCH #4: WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (w/ Brie Bella) vs. Natalya (w/ Paige) (non-title)
Apparently, Tyson isn’t at ringside because of Nikki even though he likes Nikki.
Why Tyson would even be with Natalya anymore anyhow makes no sense to
me, considering they’re in the middle of a “divorce” on Total Divas. Oh,
also, Paige is here because they’ve “made up” after Paige pulled a
prank on Nattie on Total Divas. Cole doesn’t explain what happened and
whitewashes it: on Total Divas, Paige took Nattie to a party and told
her the brownies she ate had Marijuana in them. Of course, you can’t say
that here. Which is the same reason you can’t say what “Brie Mode”
really means. Nattie slaps Nikki and hits a Russian Legsweep, then goes
for a Sharpshooter. Nikki kicks out of it and hits a clothesline. Brie
and Paige jaw outside the ring and Paige decks her and then tosses her
into the barricade. Nattie rolls Nikki up for the win at 1:17.
WINNER: Natalya
RATING: Do you even have to ask?

Ambrose
is backstage. He’s not making a New Year’s Resolution or anything else.
He doesn’t need anything because he’s happy the way he is. It’s his
life and he’s gonna end Bray’s.

Cole, JBL, and Booker T honor the late, great Stuart Scott of ESPN SportsCenter.

There are “special guest referees” assigned to the next match…and it’s Rollins Security.

MATCH #5: Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury as the Special Guest Referees
Rowan
puts Harper in the corner and the refs pull him off Harper. Harper
kicks Rowan then slaps him. Rowan puts Harper in the corner again. The
refs get in the way of Rowan’s run. Rowan absolutely levels Harper with a
spin kick and Noble and Mercury argue over who should count the pin.
Harper hits a Clothesline from Hell to win at 1:10…this is, easily,
the worst show of the year.
WINNER: Luke Harper via Clothesline from Hell
RATING: DUD. I don’t know what’s worse: a comedy spot during a match with two decent mid-carders or the fact that Rowan and Harper come out to absolute silence every single time they wrestle.

Post-match,
Mercury, Noble and Harper gang up on Rowan. Harper hits another
clothesline and it’s a double sitting dropkick to Rowan by Security.

Another look back at the history of John Cena: he was the first entry in the 2005 RAW draft.

TONIGHT: John Cena will be appreciated.

AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE: Cena, Lesnar, and Rollins fight in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Vince is bringing all the bullshit you’ve been watching to the UK and Ireland, starting January 19th.

LAST MONDAY: The Usos beat The Miz’s for the WWE Tag Team Championship.

Naomi
is backstge, doing her hair. Alicia Fox approaches her and says that
they’re fighting one another tonight in the mixed tag match but she
still considers Naomi a friend. She pseudo-mocks Naomi for being kicked
off Total Divas which is weird since Total Divas sucks. Then she attacks
Naomi until Cameron and Summer come running to her rescue.

AT HELL IN A CELL: Bray Wyatt’s hologram beats Dean Ambrose and pisses him off in the process.

NEXT: The Ambulance Match

MATCH #6: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in an Ambulance Match
Ambrose
does his usual brand of early crazy, diving at Bray and punching away.
The fight spills outside and Ambrose just tosses Bray into the steel
steps and announce table. They brawl their way into the crowd and make
their way to the ambulance. Ambrose tosses Bray’s head into the
ambulance and tries to toss him in but Bray reverses it and Ambrose goes
in instead. Bray tries to close the doors but Ambrose kicks his way out
and grabs two long fold-out tables (with, I shit you not, GIANT RED
CROSSES ON THEM) from inside the goddamn ambulance. Bray fights
off Ambrose, then grabs him and sends him into the entrance ramp.
Ambrose looks like he hurt his knee as Bray kicks at Ambrose and tosses
him back into the ring. Ambrose kicks Bray and the fight spills back
outside. Bray picks Ambrose up and runs him into the ringpost.

When
we come back, Bray is IN COMPLETE CONTROL, MAGGLE! He splashes Ambrose
in the corner, then clotheslines him when he gets back to his feet.
Ambrose gets to his feet again but Bray grabs him for Sister Abigail.
Ambrose escapes and hits the Rebound Clothesline. Ambrose starts
slugging away, then kicks Bray in the gut. He runs at Bray and Bray hits
a clothesline, knocking him down. Bray tosses Ambrose outside again and
starts kicking him. He drags Ambrose to the ambulance but Ambrose
fights back. Bray tosses him into the entrance stage, then clotheslines
him. Bray grabs the table and sets it up near the stage and goes to
retrieve Ambrose who kicks at Bray. Ambrose runs and clotheslines him.

Ambrose
gets to his feet using the rolling stretcher. Ambrose tosses Bray at
the ambulance but Bray reverses and Ambrose ends up inside instead. Bray
goes to close the door but takes a chair to the head. Do they ladders
in there, too? Ambrose tosses Bray into the ambulance and manages to
close one door. Bray kicks the other one open, closes the doors and
throws Ambrose into the ambulance. Bray tries to toss Ambrose into the
rolling stretcher and Ambrose comes back with another Rebound
Clothesline. Ambrose beats on Bray with the stretcher backboard. Ambrose
grabs the table and puts Bray on top of it. Ambrose goes on top of the
entrance ramp which puzzles Cole to no end. Ambrose climbs to the top of
the ambulance and hits a flying elbow through the table. Ambrose
clutches his hurt knee in pain as the crowd finally wakes up and yells
“THIS IS AWESOME”.

Bray lifts Ambrose to his feet but
Bray counters with Sister Abigail, nailing Ambrose with the doors of the
ambulance. Bray gets to his feet and opens up the ambulance doors. He
tosses Ambrose into the ambulance and closes one door. Ambrose kicks out
again so Bray grabs him and hits Sister Abigail on the concrete floor.
Bray tosses him into the ambulance again and, this time, closes the
doors to win the match at the 19:28 mark.
WINNER: Bray Wyatt
RATING: **. Long, needlessly drawn out and utterly pointless. These Ambrose/Wyatt no-DQ matches are getting worse with each go-round. And is Ambrose ever going to beat Wyatt?

Cole
recaps the fact that Rollins is now in the big title match at the Royal
Rumble which you can watch for $9.99 instead of $55 dollars! THAT JUST
MAKES MORE SENSE, MAGGLE!

EARLIER TONIGHT: Seth Rollins is now in the big title match at the Royal Rumble.

TONIGHT IS JOHN CENA APPRECIATION NIGHT!!!!1!!!!1!1!1!111!!!

THIS FRIDAY ON SMACKDOWN: Seth Rollins is on MizTV.

MATCH
#7: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) & Naomi vs.
The Miz, Damien Miz-dow & Alicia Fox in a Mixed Tag Team Match

Naomi
and Fox flail at one another. Naomi tosses her across the ring and
pulls at her hair. Fox tags Miz and Jey enters for Team Uso. Miz hits a
neckbreaker and gets two while Cole asks Booker to analyze Miz-dow as if
Booker’s never seen Miz-dow before. Miz puts Jey in a headlock but Jey
gets to his feet. Miz tosses him out of the ring…and then tags Miz-dow
before Miz tags himself back in three seconds later. Another Miz
headlock. Jey breaks again and both men end up clotheslining one
another. Tag to Jimmy who runs over Miz and kicks him. Samoan Drop by
Jimmy who goes for the Rikishi Splash. Fox stops him in his tracks,
getting in more ring time in one match than Miz-dow’s had in three
months. Naomi takes her out but Miz rolls Jimmy up for the pin at 4:11.
WINNERS: Team Miz
RATING: DUD. 

Ryback
and Rollins hit the ring for their match — oh, but wait. Here’s Kane
because this is now a Handicap Match because we just can’t have decent
matches.

MATCH #8: Ryback vs. Seth Rollins (w/ Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) & Kane in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Kane
and Ryback start with Kane beating on Ryback in the corner. Ryback
comes back, hitting a Spinebuster and Warrior Splash, thus killing half
of Ryback’s repertoire. Ryback hits about half a dozen Warrior Splashes
and gets two. Kane manages to tag Rollins who beats on Ryback in the
corner. Ryback comes back with chops and big club blows. Ryback goes for
a Spinebuster but Rollins leaves the ring. Kane comes in. Ryback dumps
him. Rollins gets back in the ring and Ryback clotheslines him out of
the ring. This actually gets a break. When we come back, it’s Kane and
Rollins double-teaming Ryback who comes back with a belly to belly
suplex. Kane tags in Rollins who hits a flying kick, getting two.
Rollins splashes Ryback in the corner. Rollins wraps Ryback in a
headlock but Ryback gets to his feet. Ryback puts Rollins in the corner
and Rollins tags Kane who comes in with a heavy clothesline and sitting
dropkicks. One count. Ryback breaks a headlock by Kane who tags in
Rollins. Rollins hits a second-buckle forearm and kicks Ryback in the
ribs. Ryback chops at Rollins but Rollins just puts Ryback on the ropes
and hits Ryback in the face from outside the ring. Kane tags in and
tries a suplex but Ryback reverses it. Kane makes the hot tag to Rollins
who misses a corner splash and clothesline, then gets backdropped and
powerslammed by Ryback. Ryback goes for a Powerbomb but Rollins fights
out, only to end up eating a Spinebuster. Ryback goes for the Meathook
but J&J distract him. Ryback hits the clothesline anyhow and goes
for Shellshock but Kane comes in for the Chokeslam. Ryback fights out
and goes for Shellshock but Rollins comes in and hits two Curb Stomps
for the win at 11:27.
WINNERS: Rollins and Kane via Curb Stomp
RATING: ***. Actually not as bad as I thought this would be and Ryback actually came off as a fighter.

DID YOU KNOW THAT CENA IS BEING HONORED TONIGHT?! CUZ HE IS!!!

MAIN EVENT: The Main Event is Paige vs. Nikki. Excuse me while I headdesk.

MATCH #9: Adam Rose (w/ Exotic Express) vs. Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Rose
locks up E only to get backdropped. Rose moves E to the corner and
stomps at him. Rose hits forearms and chops, then tries a Sleeper. E snap mares him to the mat and hits a Belly to Belly Suplex. He goes for a Warrior Splash but two Rosebuds jump E for a DQ FINISH?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
WINNER: Big E via DQ
RATING: DUD. Can we PLEASE go one match without some distraction/DQ/cheap finish? Is that TOO much to ask?

Post-match, the two Rosebuds reveal that they’re Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. They celebrate with Adam Rose and the Rosebuds.

Backstage, Triple H and Steph talk with Kane and Rollins BECAUSE THE AUTHORITY IS BACK IN POWER MAGGLE!

After
break, Triple H and Steph make their way down to the ring for
#CENAPARTY2015LOL. They introduce John Cena after Steph verbally lubes
the crowd. Cena comes out looking depressed. Triple H asks the crowd to
cheer Cena. The crowd cheers but Triple H won’t stop asking, adding
another minute to this heap of shit. Then he recaps the moment when Cena
brought the Authority back. They even show The Authority appearing out
of thin air.

Steph says nothing matters. Cena’s her
hero. Triple H says he knows that him and Cena have had problems in the
past. A lot is his own fault. When Cena first came to WWE, Triple H
thought he sucked. But then Cena changed and he became great. That’s
probably why he was so hard on Cena. He says that, last week, he saw
Cena change again. He dumped all of what he knew to save
#WHATSBESTFORBUSINESS. He appreciates Cena. Cena asks if Triple H is
finished. Triple H says he’s not even close…he’s gonna bring out some
guys who will appreciate Cena, too.

He brings out
Ryback, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler who get absolutely no pop since
everyone in the audience stopped giving a shit around the 2nd of 4
screwjob matches. Triple H welcomes them all once they hit the ring.
Triple H says they all appreciated Cena when they wrongly joined his
team at Survivor Series. They won the match. But, now, since the
Authority is back, that doesn’t matter. Triple H says they should
probably suspend him for 30 days with no pay. Steph says they should
probably deal with Ryback first. And Dolph was the one who put the final
nail in the coffin. Maybe it should be 30/60/90 days, respectively.

Triple
H and Steph leave the ring to talk amongst themselves. They get to the
entrance ramp — then declare that all three men are fired. Triple H
blames Cena for what just happened, then signals confetti to drop on the ring
while the Audio crew plays Sousa’s “Stars & Stripes Forever” because it’s suddenly July 4th.

The show ends with Cena looking as sick to his stomach as the audience.

OVERALL: DUD.
Yes, there was the Ambrose/Wyatt match but it was the same match we saw
two other times minus exploding TV’s and holograms. Ryback battled
through a nice match…but this whole show just overwhelmed any
positivity that was going for it. Case in point: a DQ finish for an Adam
Rose match. On top of that, shouldn’t Sting be getting involved
somewhere, somehow? Did we just forget about that now? Wasn’t he mostly
responsible for the outcome of the SS match? If he isn’t involved, why
does everyone keep referring to him on a weekly fucking basis? And the
roster is already paper thin with aged wrestlers like Big Show and Kane
who’re just mailing it in now. What’s the point of storyline-firing a
new guy and two of your more popular guys? And why fire them? They won.
Oh, this show…this show right here.

Er, that’s it.