Saturday Syndies (sort of): Jan 31, 2015

Since the weather appears to have
cancelled Superstars, Part 2 of the Saturday Syndies will instead be
dedicated to the Rumble. Namely, I’m giving myself a challenge: make
the Rumble not suck. However, I’m imposing two restrictions. One, I
can’t swap anyone out or in the Rumble (which, by this definition,
means Curtis Axel is in); and two, Roman Reigns still has to win.
Could I do a Rumble that gets all the points across without causing
Philadelphia to riot? We’ll find out… but first, Main Event.
From Hartford, CT, on a delay. Your
hosts are Tom Phillips and Jerry Lawler, as JBL is probably snowed in
with any luck.

MATCH: The Miz and Damien Mizdow
v. Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston.

The hatred for New Day appears to have just been a Philadelphia
thing. Langston and Miz start. Langston stops a waistlock and judo
throws Miz, who stalls as the crowd wants Mizdow. Miz fires away,
upset at the chant, but gets tackled by Langston after some
reversals. A creative double-team high kick gets Kofi two. Miz with
a headlock and tackle, but runs into a back elbow for two. Miz gets
a jawbreaker as the announcers point out Miz is using the stunt
double wrong (much the way Scott Keith did elsewhere). Miz tries a
monkey flip, but Kofi lands on his feet and returns the favor for
two. Kofi is whipped in for a forearm to Miz, and Langston gets a
lariat for two as the heels “regroup”. Langston tosses Miz in
(and Mizdow by proxy), and he rolls all the way out (and Mizdow by
proxy), only to get tossed back in (as well as Mizdow by proxy).
Langston with multiple backbreakers, as Mizdow uses the ropes to
imitate this – even holding up on a few fake-outs in a great spot.
It gets two as well as an ovation. Langston with a cross-corner
shoulder ram, but Miz with a chop block on the second try as we go to
break.
That
Mizdow spot deserved to be on Raw.
We
return with Miz working Langston over in the corner and refusing to
tag, getting a front facelock. Langston throws him off, but Miz
comes back with a DDT for two. Miz stomps away and fakes a tag-in to
Mizdow, getting himself rolled up for two. Back to a low dropkick by
Miz and he works the knee viciously, into a kneebar. Langston fights
out, kicking Miz away, but Miz returns with a big boot for two. The
announcers are stunned Miz won’t tag as he works a chinlock.
Langston fights out, but his boot attempt is caught and Miz with a
hamstring kick and Figure-Four try. Langston kicks Miz into the
post, hot tag Kofi. Dropkick, leaping lariat, and New Day Boom Drop
follow. Cross-corner knee floors Miz and he goes up, but he’s
distracted by Mizdow and the crossbody misses. Miz tries the Million
Dollar Move, but Kofi shoves him off into Mizdow. Mizdow does the
move and tries the running clothesline, but Miz cuts him off and tags
him in, chastising him. Predictably, this leads to Trouble In
Paradise and the Midnight Hour to end it at 10:38 shown. Perfectly
Acceptable Wrestling. **1/2,
with the Mizdow backbreaker spot getting a half-star by itself.
MATCH: Curtis Axel v. Erick
Rowan.

Whoa, continuity! They even explain it in the intros. Axel offers
a handshake, but changes it to a slap and bails. (Axel even calls
himself the Royal Rumble winner during trash talk.) Rowan out, Axel
in, and Rowan returns with a clothesline. Rowan with a bulldog
buckle smash, then another. Axel slips out of a slam and bails, then
pulls on Rowan’s beard to get a Hotshot. Back in, he clips Rowan and
pounds away. Axel taunts Rowan in the ropes. Rowan fights to his
feet, but runs into a dropkick for one. Axel goes to the chinlock.
Blind charge eats elbow, and Rowan headbutts Axel down. A beal
follows, then an avalanche, and a few more for taste. Tackle leads
to the full nelson slam for the pin at 3:43. 1/2*
More of a Superstars match, if that makes sense, but Rowan needed
this win.
Sidenote:
the announcers are surprised Rowan did what he did at the Rumble and
are searching for answers. The fact that Harper and Wyatt were in
the ring waiting for him was seen as a nice side effect, but never
the main reason.
ARNOLD
SCHWARZENEGGER enters the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame.
Apparently, making HHH sell a beating is so rare that it puts you in
the Hall. (Sorry, easy joke.)
RAW Recap.
Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns have a side-by-side sitdown interview,
conducted by Paul Heyman. How will Reigns handle losing? Reigns
tells Lesnar instead: he knows who Lesnar is, but Lesnar doesn’t know
who Reigns is. So Reigns will win. A brawl nearly breaks out, but
it’s a staredown instead, followed by an angry handshake. “I don’t
respect you.” “But you will.” Nice.
Stone
Cold will interview HHH on Monday. I don’t think I’m exaggerating
too much when I say this could be more important than Raw.
MATCH: Dolph Ziggler v. Luke
Harper.

Commentary during intros: “Network Network Network Network
Network.” Crowd is behind Dolph right from the bell. Harper with
a kick to start, and he ragdolls Ziggler into the buckle. European
Uppercut follows, then a headlock. He gets a tackle on Dolph, and
after some reversals, misses a clothesine before turning a backslide
attempt into a throat thrust. Crowd begins a Wash Your Shirt chant,
which Lawler gets a kick out of. Blind charge eats the middle
buckle, and Dolph with a Stinger Splash and dropkick. Neckbreaker
follows, then the Heart Attack Elbow for two. Harper gets a big
elbow to send Dolph packing. On the outside, Harper catches a
superkick and slingshots Dolph into the post as we go to break.
We
return with a headlock on Dolph on the ground. Dolph looks like he’s
going to pass out in it, but fights to his feet. Harper shoves aside
a dropkick, though, to keep control. Guillotine slingshot follows,
getting two. Harper goes to the eyes, then uppercuts Dolph down. An
elbowdrop misses, and again as Dolph keeps rolling away. Dolph with
a jawbreaker and superkick for two. He avoids a charge and rolls
Harper up for two. Sky High DDT gets two (after a few reversals).
Zig Zag gets shoved away, and Harper tries a powerbomb only to get
sunset flipped for two. Big boot by Harper sets up an uppercut and
powerbomb for two. Harper’s up first and points the guns, but walks
into a superkick only to recover with a lariat for two. Not a fan of
that spot, but if it’s just Harper I guess I’ll live with it. Harper
misses a charge, and Dolph with the Famouser and Zig Zag for the pin
at 9:27 shown. Not their best effort. *3/4
Dolph celebrates with the crowd as the show ends.
*****

Now,
Andy PG attempts to fix the Royal Rumble. I’m putting my ego on the
line – again – so you can pick me apart the way you pick the WWE
apart. Let’s see how I do.
Luke
Harper

draws #1, but before #2 comes out, Erick Rowan emerges to attack his
former partner. After a minute or so of brawling, referees separate
the two and send Rowan to the back. Harper tries to recover as Dolph
Ziggler

gets sent out for #2. The two wear each other down, with Harper
getting a few elimination tries, but never fully succeeding. Big
E Langston

is next at #3 (the crowd inexplicably frosty towards him). He and
Harper exchange power moves like crazy as Dolph rests a little before
jumping on Harper’s back for a Zig Zag. R-Truth
is
#4 and forgoes his rap in order to charge into the ring. Harper goes
for the discus clothesline, but Dolph superkicks Harper and fires
him out of the ring, the first elimination.

Kane
enters at #5 and pinballs Ziggler around before everyone gathers up
on him. But they can’t get him out.
Bubba
Ray Dudley

fires up the crowd at #6, as he and Langston team up to do the Dudley
moves on Truth. 3-D flattens him, and Bubba eliminates
Truth from the match
.
Bubba and Kane square off in the ring, face to face, before Big
Show

enters at #7 and the Authority go nuts. Dolph is first to try, but
he gets punched right
over the top rope and out.

Kane grabs Big E and fires
him out of the ring.
It’s
down to Bubba Ray being pinballed by the Authority as the crowd is
begging for D-Von to be next, but it’s not going to happen as Big
Show press slams
Bubba Ray to the floor
,
leaving just the Authority in the ring.
Tyson
Kidd

is #8 and yeah, he’s not going to get much going here. Kane
chokeslams him and throws
him out of the ring, getting him the new record.

Stardust
is #9, continuing his streak of never drawing a double-digit number.
Usually, it’s because Cody has good stamina, but this time, he’s
getting sent out
by Kane in under a minute.

Zack Ryder
returns from injury at #10, though he’s reluctant to get in. Kane
slides out and throws him in, but Ryder gets a dropkick on Show to
tie him in the ropes. Ryder gets his offense in on Kane, including
the Broski Boot and Ruff Ryder, but he can’t get Kane out, as Kane
boots Ryder down. But Ryder has help… sort of, as Curtis
Axel

arrives at #11. This doesn’t change anything, as Kane catches Axel
in a chokeslam and frees up Show. Show KO Punches Axel and tosses
him to the floor.

Ryder is on the top rope and dives onto Show, who merely catches him
and throws him
onto Axel.

Can anyone stop the Authority?
Daniel
Bryan

is going to try at #12. He gets a huge flurry of offense, kicking
both men repeatedly, but attempting the running knee on Show leads
into a chokeslam from Kane. It looks like the Authority will dispose
of Bryan, but Dean
Ambrose

is in at #13 for the save. It revitalizes Bryan into trying to fire
back, including his corner flip into a dropkick as Ambrose gets his
tangle clothesline on Kane. But still, it doesn’t seem like enough.
Maybe #14 will help? Ryback
gets that number, and it looks good. In fact, it looks even better
when Ryback gets Show up and, in an incredible feat of strength,
tosses him out of
the ring for the elimination!

Kane is alone against three people who don’t like him, and that goes
poorly as he eats running knee, Shell Shock, and Dirty Deeds, with
Ambrose getting
the elimination of the Director of Operations.
The
Miz

draws #15, but is hesitant to enter given the star power in the ring.
Thankfully for him, Ambrose attacks Ryback first, meaning it’s not a
handicap match. Miz renews hostilities with Bryan in one corner.
Damien Mizdow
is next at #16 and immediately aids Miz on Bryan. Ryback and Ambrose
get the majority of the ring to show off, with the crowd likely
behind Ambrose as they go back and forth. Goldust
draws #17 and tries to pick off Ambrose to no avail. Meanwhile,
Daniel Bryan separates the Hollywood boys and manages to toss
Miz out of the ring.

Mizdow sees Miz on the floor and panics, wondering what he’s
supposed to do next, but before we find out, Bryan
tosses him out as well.
Cesaro
enters at #18 and goes right after Goldust, swinging him for 20+
rotations. But he can’t quite get Goldust out of the ring, as
Ambrose begins pounding away. Ryback and Bryan have a mini-match in
the corner. Adam
Rose

is next at #19 and helps his friend Cesaro attack Ambrose. Goldust
grabs Rose and tries to toss him out, but the Rosebuds surround the
area of elimination. No matter where Goldust goes, it does no good.
Cesaro nearly sneaks up on Goldust, but Ambrose stops him. Kofi
Kingston
enters
at #20 as Ambrose finally gets Rose over, but on the apron. Ryback
tosses Kofi over everyone and onto the Rosebuds, who surf him around
the ring and back in. However, this means that they forget about
Rose, who is
finally knocked to the floor by Ambrose.

Meanwhile, Cesaro gets the Neutralizer on Goldust and finally
eliminates the
painted one.
Diamond
Dallas Page
returns
at #21 and it’s Diamond Cutters all around, ending with Cesaro.
Fandango
is in next at #22 and takes advantage, attacking Ryback, Ambrose, and
Bryan in turn. He dances in the ring, but this allows Cesaro to
catch him from behind and swing him, too.  Kofi leaps for a monkey flip, but is caught by DDP and eliminated.  DDP gives the sign of the Cutter, but as he does, Ambrose charges and clotheslines him out. Boogeyman
draws #23 as the participants stare at him in confusion. Fandango
gets an alarm clock to the head as Boogeyman stands over him,
spitting worms on him. Sin
Cara

is next at #24 and doesn’t change much. So let’s go ahead to Rusev
at #25, who clears some deadwood. Boogeyman
is first out. Sin Cara soon follows.

Rusev stands over Ambrose and seems ready to eliminate him next, but
Roman Reigns
is in at #26 to save his Shield brother. People begin to charge the
prohibitive favorite, but it doesn’t help. Fandango’s
out. Cesaro’s out.

Reigns turns his attention to Rusev, but Ryback tries to get both
men eliminated. It doesn’t work, as Reigns Superman Punches Ryback
and tosses him out
too.
Jack
Swagger

draws the lucky #27 and goes right after Rusev, reliving their summer
rivalry. Bryan and Ambrose get to the center of the ring as everyone
else goes to a corner. The two exchange blows in a slugfest to fire
up the crowd. Bad
News Barrett
,
though, slides in at #28 and attacks both men with punches to take
over. He turns the pad inside out, but Bryan catches the Bull Hammer
and slaps on the Yes Lock. Titus
O’Neil

is in at #29… for only a few seconds, as Reigns
charges and knocks him right back out.

Ambrose breaks the Yes Lock, while Rusev slaps the Accolade on
Swagger… until Reigns comes off the ropes and spears Rusev
mid-hold. Bray
Wyatt

draws #30, so the final field is Bryan, Ambrose, Rusev, Reigns,
Swagger, Barrett, and Wyatt (in order of entry).
Wyatt
goes right after Bryan, knocking him down. He gives Sister Abigail’s
Kiss to Ambrose, then goes to the corner and does the Inverted Look.
Meanwhile, Rusev recovers and gets a big dropkick on Reigns, followed
by a leaping superkick that knocks Reigns to the floor THROUGH the
ropes. Rusev shouts at Reigns, which is his last mistake as Swagger
recovers and scores
a stunning elimination of Rusev!

Reigns slides in as Swagger does WE THE PEOPLE and tosses
him out
,
and now Rusev is furious and keeps the attack on Swagger. He clears
the main announce table, puts Swagger on it, climbs the barricade,
and splashes Swagger through the table. Officials send Rusev to the
back and check on Swagger, who is put on a stretcher for precaution.
Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt hits Reigns with Sister Abigail’s Kiss, then
climbs to the middle rope and conducts the crowd in song… which
allows Bryan to pop up and
dropkick Wyatt over and out.
Final
Four: Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Bad News Barrett
Barrett
is the first one up, and this time, the Bull Hammer connects on
Bryan. Ambrose dives onto Barrett, but Barrett catches him in
Wasteland. A Bossman Slam connects with Reigns, but Ambrose is back
up and gets a clothesline. He tries Dirty Deeds, but it’s too close
to the ropes, and Barrett
backdrops Ambrose out of the ring.

He waves good-bye to Ambrose, but when he turns around, he gets
Superman Punched by Reigns. Reigns slides out of the ring and lands
the Drive-By Dropkick on Barrett. Bryan’s in the corner, waiting for
Barrett to stand up, and when he does, it’s the running kneesmash.
Bryan winds up again, delivering a clothesline to
send Barrett over and out.

It’s Bryan against Reigns, and Bryan opens the ante with a tope
suicida through the ropes to Reigns.
The
two brawl around the ring before returning to it. They exchange
shots, and it looks like Reigns gets the better of it. He whips
Bryan into the ropes, but a double clothesline leads to a Double KO
as the Authority – with Rollins, Kane, and Show in tow – head to
ringside. Bryan is up first and stares at the Authority. It almost
costs him, as Reigns comes up from behind for the elimination, but
Bryan holds on. Now it’s Reigns that sees why and begins yelling at
Rollins. Bryan nearly tosses Reigns, too, but Roman holds on. It’s
back to square one, but Bryan keeps the advantage. Bryan lands the
kicks, but as he bounces off the ropes for the exclamation point,
Rollins catches Bryan and
drags him over and out!

Roman Reigns is the Rumble winner… but I don’t think he wants it
that way.
Reigns
proves it when he jumps outside the ring and confronts Rollins. The
two are nose-to-nose, but HHH tries to separate the two. Allegedly –
in reality, he’s setting Reigns up to be jumped from behind by Show
and Kane. They roll Reigns into the ring and it’s a 3 on 1. Bryan
recovers on the outside and, after realizing what happened, jumps in
off the top to knock over all three men. It doesn’t last, as Big
Show picks Bryan up and KO Punches him. It looks like a massive
beating…
…but
here comes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to even the odds! HHH and
Stephanie run for cover (as Rock races past them not giving them a
second thought) while Rock goes to town on Show and Kane. A big
spinebuster on Kane leads to the People’s Elbow. Bryan lands the
running knee on Show, which staggers him into a Rock Bottom. Seth
Rollins is all alone and slowly gets up, staring first at Rock, then
at Bryan. He turns around just in time for Reigns to spear him in
half. Bryan and Reigns team up to throw Rollins onto Show and Kane
on the outside, and it’s Rock, Bryan, and Reigns in the ring
celebrating. Reigns then shakes Bryan’s hand and whispers something
to him. We find out on Raw that he said “I’ll try to fix this
injustice.”
So
what do we get out of this? First, you have a six-man main event of
Reigns, Bryan, and Rock against Rollins, Kane, and Show, with the
stipulation added that if Bryan or Rock gets a pinfall, they are
added to WrestleMania’s main event. Meanwhile, Swagger and Rusev
have a Tables Match for the US Title (which is designed to get the US
Title off of Rusev so that it can be defended at Mania and Rusev can
go to face Cena). Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose have an
Intercontinental Title match. Meanwhile, the unpinned John Cena gets
one last shot at Brock Lesnar.  If neither Rock nor Brock will do Fastlane, slide Cena into Dwayne’s spot in the match.
And this is the lineup you throw out
to get people to stick around after a free month. Maybe not the
strongest, but it’s what I’d do.
*****

Matt
Perri will give you Raw. Tommy Hall has NXT, SmackDown, and Impact.
Scott Keith looks into his mailbag. Brian Bayless and Logan Scisco
go back in time. Dock Muraco reports from Japan. And all of you
continue the talk in the daily threads.
See
you in seven!