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Matt’s Monday Night RAW Recap – 2/23/2015

Despite
the fact that Roman Reigns is Batista 2.0, despite the fact that Daniel
Bryan is beyond over with the fans, despite the fact that that Reigns
has three moves to speak of and gets winded after 5 minutes, despite the
fact that he’s dull and has no marketability at ALL, and despite the
fact that the main event at WrestleMania is, possibly, one of the
least-anticipated main events in the history of that pay-per-view (with
fans cheering for Brock Lesnar by default), Vince and WWE Creative don’t
give a shit what you think and they’re gonna make Roman Reigns the next
big star come hell or high water.


I’d
like to think that WWE has a grand plan…but this company just doesn’t
seem to give a shit about much of anything and makes booking decisions
just to run contrary to what people like to see. If I had to guess, I’m
estimating that nobody will believe that Daniel Bryan could take out
Lesnar and, so, Reigns and Lesnar battle it out which results in a
Rollins cash-in at WrestleMania with Bryan eventually getting the belt
back.

Of course, I don’t know what direction this
company is going anymore. I still can’t explain a guest spot by “Grumpy
Cat” or how Cole botched the name and called him “Grumpy the Cat”.

Anyhow, my head hurts…let’s move on…

We are LIVE(!!!) from Nashville, Tennessee!!!

JBL, Cole and Booker are the guys on the mics…

Randy Orton comes out to a nice pop which should tell you starved this crowd is for something. For anything.
Last night, he returned and hit about 73 RKO’s to every single
Authority member in the ring. He says he’s been out the last four months
and he won’t talk anyone’s ear off. He says that he’s pissed at Seth
Rollins — which brings us to clips of last November when Rollins hit
the Curb Stomp on the steel steps.

He says that last
night, he was just getting started. Rollins thinks he escaped last night
on Fastlane — but it was merely a stay of execution. He calls out
Rollins — and out comes Triple H, Steph, Big Show and Kane instead.
Steph congratules him for returning against all odds. Steph says that,
last night, she saw the killer instinct in Randy Orton that made him
what he was. Orton’s not having it. He wants to bash Rollins’ brains in.

Steph says that him and Rollins can co-exist. She wants Orton to come home. Orton: “I’d rather kick some ass than kiss
some ass.” Show grabs a mic and says he knows how Orton feels. He says
that he joined the Authority and it was the best decision he made. Face
turn? What face turn? Show wants Orton on The Authority’s team. Orton
isn’t selling out. Steph says he’s not a good guy. He wants to reap the
rewards of his behavior. He’s done some awful things. She says she can’t
force him. She says she wants to have a “business conference” so that
he can come back home. She asks him he’s interested. Orton stands pat.
Everyone leaves the ring except Triple H…but he leaves as well.

Orton
tells them to stop…he’ll meet with them. Triple H leaves to set up a
WebEx or maybe a nice Skype. I can’t even keep up with this bullshit.

TONIGHT: HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF JOHN CENA???

ALSO TONIGHT: We will hear from Roman Reigns.

Crowd sufficiently murdered, we now begin our slew of matches…

Bad
News Barrett comes out while Cole takes us back in time to reminds us
the Dean Ambrose was disqualified last night at Fastlane for wrestling when the ref didn’t want him to.
Then he took Barrett’s belt anyhow, so he’s pretty much champion
because that’s how it works now. Barrett isn’t happy and wants the belt
returned.

MATCH #1: WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler (non-title)
R-Truth
is doing commentary because something, something, he beat Wade Barrett
so he matters now. Can’t wait for Sin Cara to sit in during the next Miz
match. Ziggler tries an armbar and pays for it as Barrett beats on him
and hits a snap suplex. Ziggler comes back with a neckbreaker and elbow
for two. Barrett comes back with a kick to the mid-section and follows
with a knee to the gut. Barrett puts on a Surfboard. Ziggler breaks but
Barrett kicks at him and then snaps him hard into the corner, getting a
two count. Barrett tries a boot to Ziggler’s head, but Ziggler hits a
dropkick and Barrett goes flying from the ring.

Barrett
has Ziggler in a headlock when we get back from break. Ziggler breaks
it and chops at Barrett. He punches away at Barrett in the corner and
tries a DDT but Barrett catches him for Wasteland. Ziggler counters into
the DDT anyhow and gets two. Ziggler tries the Zigg Zagg but Barrett
kicks him in the stomach and hits a powerbomb. Two count. He sets up the
Bullhammer but Ziggler dicks and rolls him up for two. Ziggler tries
the Fame-Asser but Barrett counters into Winds of Change and NEARLY gets
the pin. Barrett kicks at Ziggler and won’t listen to the ref. Ziggler
comes out of the corner and rolls him up for two. Barrett charges,
Ziggler evades and hits the Zigg Zagg for the win at 11:07.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zigg Zagg
RATING: **1/2. Not bad. Got better as it went along.

Post-match,
Dean Ambrose hits the ring with the IC title and taunts Barrett with
it. Ziggler looks at him and at no time does Barrett get up and grab the
belt during the distraction. Mm-kay.

NEXT: A look at Sting FINALLY being called out at Fastlane.

LAST NIGHT AT FASTLANE: Triple H and Sting faced off. Now, they’ll fight at WWE.

TONIGHT: We will take a look at THEMANCALLEDSTING.

Randy
Orton is in his “business meeting” with the Authority. Rollins starts
telling Triple H to take care of Orton. Kane says he suggests a “more
direct approach” with Orton for everything he’s done. Steph tells him to
shut his Demon Whore Mouth. Rollins says they can’t trust Orton. Steph
says everyone can forgive Randy. She asks if he’s on board with them.
Orton shakes hands with Rollins. Yaaaaaay. Steph says that, tonight,
it’s Randy Orton and Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns.

Sheamus is back. Not right now, but he’s back.

MATCH #2: The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
OMG,
Konnor and Viktor cut a promo, trash-talking the goddamn Bushwhackers. 
They beat on Young to start, hitting a double shoulderblock. Young
tries to escape and make a tag but Konnor pulls him away and then
attacks Titus. Finally Young tosses Konnor across the ring. The
Ascension just slams Young to the mat and it’s a two count as Titus
makes the save. Konnor takes him out of the ring. Young rolls up Viktor
for the win at 3:03.
WINNERS: The Prime-Time Players
RATING: DUD. Man…now The Ascension won’t get their title shot against the Bushwhackers!

Post-match,
the Ascension attacks Young. Then they cut a promo, trashing the Killer
Bees. That last part was a joke. Really. I don’t blame you for thinking
I was telling the truth.

The Rock was a presenter at the Oscars with Zoe Saldana.

Roman
Reigns heads to the ring and it’s a Cena-type crowd. Reigns says that
he had a Number 1 Contender’s Match — and he won. So he’s going to
WrestleMania. Crowd isn’t happy. He says that he gets it. They were
rooting for Bryan, but to all his doubters — hold that thought. Here
comes Daniel Bryan. He says that Roman won the Rumble and he deserves
his shot at WrestleMania. He says, however, that he didn’t feel good
inside and he is the biggest Roman Reigns doubter there is. Crowd
doesn’t like that too much. He says that people like Daniel Bryan
because he has heart — which is why they don’t like Reigns. He says
that, last night, he had the opportunity to go to WrestleMania. He came
up short despite giving it everything he had. He doesn’t regret
anything. They fought and he was beaten. All he has left to do is to
congratulate Reigns. He says he’s proud to team with Reigns tonight. He
just wants Reigns to beat Lesnar. Crowd isn’t buying this at all as
Bryan leaves.

Paul Heyman shows up and he congratulates
Reigns. He says that Reigns was impressive. He says that, usually, his
money would be on Roman Reigns. He says that if it was Reigns vs. Andre
in ’87, Reigns vs. Austin or The Rock or pretty much anymore, his money
would be on Roman Reigns. Crowd is REALLY not buying this. He continues
to talk up Reigns but then says he’s the right guy in the right
place…but at the wrong time. He says he isn’t fighting a man at
WrestleMania, he’s fighting a beast. He says that Lesnar is unbeatable.
At the end of the main event at WrestleMania, the ref will call Lesnar
the winner.

Reigns tells Heyman to stand in the middle
of the ring. Heyman does so. Reigns wants Heyman to repeat what he said.
Reigns says he already came face to face with Lesnar. He says when he’s
done with Lesnar, Lesnar won’t like him anyways. Whatever that means.

Cole says that WWE Network is celebrating its one-year anniversary and they’re having a marathon.

TONIGHT: Reigns & Bryan face Rollins & Orton

ALSO: The Usos are cashing in their re-match clause and will face the new champions.

LAST NIGHT AT FASTLANE: The Usos lost the Tag Titles.

MATCH
#3: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (challengers) (w/ Naomi) vs. Cesaro
& Tyson Kidd (champions) (w/ Natalya) for the WWE Tag Team
Championship

Jimmy and Cesaro start and the action spills out
of the ring. It’s a bit of a brawl with Jey helping his brother. Tyson
gets into trouble and hides behind Nattie, which doesn’t make her happy
at all. Back in the ring, Cesaro puts Jimmy in a headlock but Jimmy
breaks and it’s tags on each side. Jey hangs Tyson in the Tree of Woe
and a flying headbutt for two. Jey tries to follow up and Tyson sends
him out of the ring. Jimmy helps Jey up. Tyson tries to fly at the two
of them but the the Usos catch him and throw him into the crowd barrier.
Back in the ring, Jey hits a crossbody on Tyson. Two count. After
break, Cesaro has Jey in a headlock. Tyson tags in after Jey breaks but
misses the flying springboard elbow. Jimmy tags in and it’s the Sudden
Stop for two by Cesaro and Kidd. They destroy Jimmy with some nice
double-teaming. Cesaro can’t hit the Superplex and Jimmy falls
backwards. Tag to Jey who hits a Superfly Splash but Kidd interferes
with an elbow off the top rope. Kidd gets rolled up for two. Jey hits an
Enzuguri but misses the Rikishi Splash. Kidd puts his feet on the ropes
for a two count. Naomi’s had enough and pulls Kidd’s feet off the
ropes. Nattie is furious and shoves Naomi, which causes a big pop. Jimmy
goes for the Superfly but Nattie channels her inner Elizabeth and pulls
him off the rope for the DQ at 10:27.
WINNERS: The Usos via DQ
RATING: **. Never took off.
STILL CHAMPIONS: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd

Mr. McMahon is the feature cover story of Muscle & Fitness.

Backstage,
Miz is using a lint roller to clean his jacket. He berates Miz-dow,
then says he’ll win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania,
which is happening, I guess. Miz-dow is pleased to announce that he’s
getting calls left and right to star in stuff. He thanks Miz for all his
inspiration. Miz can’t believe it…then tells him to use the lint
roll.

LAST NIGHT: Bray Wyatt called out The Undertaker.

Bray
is backstage with a coffin. He wants to know what the Undertaker thinks
and feels when he closes his eyes. He says that Undertaker’s end
started last year when he lost to Brock. He tells Undertaker to find
him.

Stardust is out for action and Cole “reminds us” what happened last night as Dusty Hill of ZZ Top is show in the stands.

MATCH #4: Stardust vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger
isn’t happy Stardust and tweeted that Stardust is un-American because
he has no family or something. So, that’s why he’s here. Wrestling.
Right now. Like R-Truth. Star gets the early advantage as the crowd
chants “CODY”. This drives Star nuts and he stomps Swagger. Swagger
spears Star in the knee but misses the Swagger Bomb. Star tries the
Disaster Kick but Swagger locks in the Patriot Lock on a counter. Cody
quickly breaks. Goldust shows up. Swagger wins with the Patriot Lock on
the distraction.
WINNER: Jack Swagger via Patriot Lock
RATING: DUD.

Post-match,
the crowd chants for Cody as Goldust just shrugs at Star and points, which I thought was illegal this month, unless it was at a WrestleMania sign.

LAST NIGHT: Cena lost to Rusev.

NEXT: Cena tells us what’s up.

WrestleMania hits my ‘hood in 34 days…

Out
comes Cena. He says that Music City is riled up. Last night, he has to
give Rusev props: he took Cena to his limit. He got stuck in the
Accolade. He didn’t give up and he was “the first” to break that move.
Riiiiiiight. He says that he has no issue with losing. His issue is with
Rusev. Huh? He says that Rusev is a coward. Just to recap: Rusev’s
awesome and he won fair and square, which makes him a coward. Also, Cena
was the first to break the Accolade and he has no problem with Rusev
beating him and has a problem with Rusev.

Out comes
Rusev and Lana. Lana says that they told Cena he’d lose. Lana says “we
told you so” is her favorite American phrase because no other country
uses common phrasing. Lana says Cena let his country down. He gave up.
He was beaten by a superior athlete. Rusev shoots his mouth off and Cena
tell him to watch his mouth. Lana says that Cena gave up. Cena says
that he always gets up when he gets knocked down. He says that he will
beat Rusev and bring the U.S. Championship  back to the States. He wants
Rusev at WrestleMania. Rusev sneers and says Cena doesn’t deserve a
re-match and says that’s not happening. They walk off.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Randy Orton turned heel again. He just needs about a dozen more turns for the record held by Big Show.

Orton’s
backstage. Rollins shows up with Security. Orton tells them he doesn’t
want J&J there. Rollins tells them to leave. Orton says that he
doesn’t hate Rollins. They’re on the same page because that’s what’s
Best for Business™. Orton and Rollins shake hands.

NEXT: A look at Sting.

But, also next: Paige in action.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt is here and gets more heat than Roman Reigns, so there’s that.

And, now, a look at Sting.

MATCH #5: Paige & Emma vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella & Brie Bella
You mean Emma and Paige just stood in the middle of the ring this entire time?!
Brie and Emma start. Brie cheap shots Paige, knocking her off the mat.
Brie hits the Bella Buster for the win at 30 seconds. Wasn’t it worth
the wait?
WINNERS: The Bella Twins
RATING: DUD.

Post-match,
Paige attacks Brie. Nikki gets Paige off of Brie and the two leave. We
also get to hear the Bella theme three times. Ugh.

NEXT:
Cole reveals the next Hall of Fame entrant who we already know are the
goddamn Bushwhackers thanks to the 50 texts, Tweets and Cole, himself,
already telling us who it is.

Anyhow, we get that reveal which Cole claims is “from a report from a magazine” as if he had NO idea.

Curtis
Axel is in the middle of the ring to continue his AxelMania gimmick.
Ryback interrupts for a squash. But, first, he needs to yell into a mic.
Ryback says him and Curtis go way back. RybAxel was one of “the
greatest tag teams of all-time”. He’s gonna take Axel to Smashville
after “turning his upper lip south”. What in the holy hell is with the
monologues tonight?

MATCH #6: Curtis Axel vs. Ryback
Beating. Shellshock. Done at 0:46.
WINNER: Ryback via Shellshock
RATING: DUD.

NEXT: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton & Seth Rollins

AT SMACKDOWN: The Fired Three vs. The Authority (Rollins, Kane, Show) because the three newbz haven’t been embarrassed enough.

Seth Rollins is out to fight and we get clips of his feud with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. He introduces Randy Orton.

MATCH
#7: Seth Rollins (w/ J&J Security – Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury,
Kane, & Big Show) & Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns & Daniel
Bryan

Bryan and Rollins start. Series of counters and Bryan
knees Rollins in the gut on a whip. Bryan sets up for a Surfboard and
Reigns tags himself in. Rollins manages to tag Orton but Reigns hits a
running clothesline and tags Bryan. Orton drops Bryan, stomach-first, on
the top rope while Show, Kane and J&J applaud every few seconds
like they’re on Family Feud. Rollins gets into the ring and Bryan
dumps Rollins from the ring. He goes for a Flying Goat but Orton pulls
Rollins away. Orton pulls everyone in for a huddle and we go to break.

We’re
back and, despite the Authority totally telegraphing that they had a
plan, Reigns fell into it anyhow. Orton beats up Reigns, then tags
Rollins who punches away at Reigns. Reigns overcomes Rollins assault and
its a hot tag to Bryan who is all over Rollins. He hits a running
clothesline and some YES Kicks, but misses the Roundhouse. Bryan manages
to hit the YES Lock but Orton interferes. Orton and Reigns battle and
both men fall out of the ring. Bryan ejects Rollins from the ring and
hits a Flying Goat. Bryan goes top rope but Rollins stands up and knocks
him off.

Rollins tags Orton who throws Bryan into the
corner. Orton props Bryan up on the buckle. Bryan knocks Orton off but
misses the Flying Headbutt. Both men go for tags and both hit them.
Reigns knocks Rollins over with a clothesline as a fan starts a YOU
CAN’T WRESTLE CHANT. Reigns beats Rollins the corner and hits a Samoan
Drop. He sets up for the Superman Punch, hitting Joey Mercury who goes
for the distraction. Rollins hits an Enzuguri. Reigns and Orton trade
blows and Orton hits a powerslam in stride. Orton goes for a Rope DDT
but Rollins tags himself in. Orton hits the DDT anyhow, then leaves,
saying he’s done. Rollins set for the Curb Stomp but misses and Reigns
hits a Superman Punch. He sets up for the Spear but Bryan tags himself
in. Running Knee wins it at 16:12.
WINNERS: Bryan & Reigns
RATING: **. More of the same. 

Post-match,
Bryan and Reigns celebrate. Orton is outside, pissed as hell. Orton
gets into the ring and stalks Rollins. He lunges at Rollins and Noble
interferes, then eats an RKO. Orton helps Rollins up and nobody knows
what the fuck is going on. Orton just leaves.

Crowd is just dead as we go off the air.

OVERALL: **. A dull show. This show could have been so much more. WrestleMania SHOULD be more than what it already is. The card is a massive fixer-upper.

Before we go, these were the best quotes from the RAW Open Mic:

Er…that’s it.