Mike Shannon’s WWE Raw Review – February 17, 2014
-We are LIVE from Denver, CO (home of thin air and even thinner defense).
-John Cena hits the ring to do his usual “this event is the most important thing ever!” promo while the crowd boos him. He promises we will see a new WWE champion after Elimination Chamber, thus guaranteeing that we won’t. “Don’t call him Antonio” Cesaro interrupts, fresh off his clean victory over Orton on Smackdown, and promises to be champion. It’s a shame that they wasted Cesaro’s win on a show that no one watches.
Cena verbally spars with Cesaro until Sheamus interrupts and you can see where this is heading. Sure enough, Christian heads out next and is followed closely by Randy Orton. I’m actually getting worried because they’re still keeping the two world title belts around…seems fishy. This “Face of WWE” storyline is so stupid and nonsensical that it actually insults the intelligence of wrestling fans and that’s very hard to do.
Daniel Bryan finally makes his presence felt and promises the “Yes” chants will rule the PPV. Kane comes out and announces that he is in charge tonight because why not? He books Cesaro against John Cena, Sheamus vs. Randy Orton and Christian vs. Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan vs. Christian
Captain Charisma plays the heel by jumping Bryan from behind and slamming him into the ring barrier. We take a break because something excited might actually happen and return with the match officially getting started. Bryan is selling an arm injury courtesy of Christian’s attack and Bryan hits him with a kneelift. An uppercut puts Christian to the floor but he blocks a Bryan dive with an uppercut of his own and goes to work on the shoulder.
Christian goes full heel mode by mocking the Yes chant and hitting a hammerlock slam. He gets two off an elbow and punishes the shoulder further with a tornado DDT onto the injured limb. He takes a little too much time posing though and Bryan dumps Christian to the floor. Bryan follows with a dive to the outside and we take another break. Seriously though, does JBL have to call that the “flying goat” every single time? It’s not clever, funny, or getting over.
We return with Bryan making his comeback and hitting the Yes Kicks for two. Daniel comes off the top with a splash but Christian knees him in the shoulder for two…that spot looked very awkward. Christian hits an elbow off the second and rope and he looks to finish but Bryan counters the Killswitch to a rollup for the win.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
-This was, as others would say, perfectly acceptable wrestling **1/2. However, Kane quickly announces that Bryan has one more match against him.
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
This Corporate Kane character is doing absolutely nothing for me. I just don’t see the point. Kane attacks Bryan’s injured shoulder and is now wrestling in dress pants and a wifebeater undershirt. JBL tries to put this match over as something special while the crowd sits on their hands. Kane works the shoulder to zero heat until Bryan makes a comeback with a missile dropkick. The Yes Kicks are countered and Kane tosses Bryan to the floor, where he introduces him to the ring barrier. Kane wraps Bryan’s arm around the ring post and doesn’t break at the count of five, so Charles Robinson calls for the lame disqualification.
Winner by DQ: Daniel Bryan
-They really didn’t need this segment to be that long if that was the finish they were going for. The “match” was really just an angle and could have been shortened to a 30 second beatdown but hey, gotta fill three hours somehow, right? Call this one a DUD for general boredom and nothing resembling a finish.
-Backstage, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have a little disagreement but Seth Rollins plays peacemaker yet again.
Santino Marella vs. Fandango
Emma is just dead in the water already. Santino does his usual powerwalking spot but gets floored and Fandango starts with his jobber offense. Fandango misses a kneedrop off the second rope and Santino hits a stunner. He preps the Cobra but Summer Rae runs interference. Emma takes her out with an airplane spin but Santino has to tend to her because she’s dizzy. This leads to some awkward flirting until Fandango breaks it up and hits a Falcon Arrow for the win.
-What, exactly, was the point of this? Emma is going to get over by being Santino’s comedy girlfriend? They should have left her on NXT…DUD.
Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
Henry floors Reigns early with a boot but Roman slugs back and hits an impressive Samoan drop for two. Henry fires off a headbutt and goes all Junkyard Dog with a Thump but Reigns boots him across the ring. Roman nails him with the Superman punch (that move is going to get over huge, mark my words) and finishes Henry with the spear for the squash win.
Winner: Roman Reigns
-Total squash for Reigns which is quite the booking move, *. Ambrose attacks Henry afterwards because he’s a big jerk while Reigns looks on in disgust. The Wyatts interrupt the beatdown with one of their awesome, creepy promos and Reigns invites them down to the ring. Surprisingly, the Wyatts accept and make their way into the ring. In a nice touch, Reigns is the first to step to Bray and the Wyatts retreat. A cool segment as Reigns continues to look like a million bucks.
-Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes and Goldust play with a WWE playset but Bad News Barrett walks in and KICKS THE TOYS… boo this man!
Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston
Neither guy gets an introduction because they are both jobbers. Swagger slams Kofi to the mat and a short-arm clothesline gets two. He sends Kofi into the buckle and hits a Swagger bomb for two. More offense from Swagger leads to crowd boredom until Kofi comes back with a dropkick and mounts his comeback while Cole sounds like an idiot. Kofi hits a weird splash on Swagger while Jack was bent at the waist (probably a messed up spot there) and hits the SOS for the apparent victory but Swagger’s foot was on the ropes. High cross body gets two but Swagger rolls through and applies the Patriot Lock for the submission victory.
Winner: Jack Swagger
-Hey, remember when Kofi Kingston beat Randy Orton? Yeah, that totally happened. The match was pretty basic as Swagger continues to do nothing special but still receives a push *1/2.
Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre vs. Big E
Apparently, Big E lost the rights to the name “Langston” in the same poker game that Cesaro lost “Antonio”. Whatever happened to the McIntyre push that was supposed to occur a few months ago? Did I imagine that?
Big E cleans house on the jobbers and gets rid of Drew before planting Mahal with a slam. Zeb Coulter distracts Big E on the house mic and mocks the Denver Broncos (easy target and cheap heat but it works). Despite the biting NFL analysis, Big E still manages to hit Mahal with a backbreaker. Coutler mocks Big E’s lack of historical knowledge while the heels hit a double suplex for two. Zeb’s commentary is more entertaining than the match. Big E makes his comeback and a pair of slams leads to a double Ultimate Warrior splash. He hits both guys with the Big Ending and gets the expected win.
Winner: Big E
-I understand what they were going for here and I was fine with it. Big E was put over big and Zeb provided the heat for Jack Swagger because Swagger couldn’t draw heat on a beach in Florida *.
-Alexander Rusev gets another vignette as I’m strangely getting attracted to his cold-hearted manager.
John Cena vs. Cesaro
I’m not liking the former Antonio’s chances this time around. They battle over a lockup and Cena hits a hiptoss, causing Cesaro to take a powder. Cesaro returns and works a headlock until catches Cena with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. They battle over an armbar and Cena charges but Cesaro low-bridges him and Cena hits the floor. Cena clotheslines Cesaro on the top rope but Cesaro catches him with a dropkick coming in and gets two. Cesaro returns the favor with his own necksnap on the top rope and he drops an elbow from the second rope for two. Cena comes back with a half-nelson slam for two but Cesaro quickly recovers and sends Cena to the floor again while we take a commercial break.
We return Cena actually firing off a hurricanrana but Cesaro catches him with a fallaway slam for another two count. Cesaro locks on a sleeper and clotheslines Cena down for two. This is the perfect match for someone like Jim Ross to call. He’d actually explain Cesaro’s psychology and explain why Cena is in trouble instead of Michael Cole just finding different ways to say the word “momentum”.
Cesaro goes back to the sleeper but Cena drives him to the corner and launches into his usual comeback. Cesaro counters the suplex though to the Big Swing but Cena turns it into an STF attempt. Cesaro actually counters that and impressively powers Cena from the mat into a gutwrench suplex for two. They mess up a spot in the corner so they repeat it and Cena ducks out of the way of a charge. Five Knuckle Shuffle hits but Cesaro counters the AA to a Very European Uppercut for two.
Cesaro tries for the Big Swing again but Cena does a situp and brings Cesaro down with a DDT in an awesome spot. Cena heads up top but Cesaro nails him with another uppercut and Cena takes a bump all the way to the floor. In yet another awesome power spot, Cesaro climbs the second rope and actually suplexes Cena from the apron and into a superplex for two. I love pro wrestling sometimes.
Cena locks in the STF out of nowhere but Cesaro turns it around and finally gets the Big Swing with 14 revolutions for two. Cesaro looks to finish but Cena goes to the AA and Antonio actually lands on his feet. Cesaro tries for a jacknife cover but Cena rolls through and hits the Attitude Adjustment for the hard fought win.
Winner: John Cena
-I bet you’re expecting me to complain about Cena winning but I’m going to surprise you by saying this was totally the right booking. Cesaro looked great, got a ton of offense, and the crowd was actually buying that he could actually win. I have no problem with the booking at the match was great ***3/4.
-Meanwhile, Randy Orton promises to prove to Triple H that he deserves the Authority’s help. Orton claims that he carried Batista in Evolution but they pull the old “he’s standing behind me, isn’t he?” gag and Batista punks him out. Alberto Del Rio randomly appears in a neck brace and promises to make Big Dave pay for his injury. I don’t like his chances.
-Still backstage, Titus O’Neill cuts a standard heel promo and yells a lot.
Los Matadores & Sin Cara vs. The Wyatt Family
Rowen starts with one of the bullfighters and sends him flying with a shoulder tackle. Harper comes with general punch-kick stuff until Bray checks in with a suplex. The bullfighter (Uno?) stays trapped in the heel corner and Harper does his weird Gator Roll chinlock. Uno makes the comeback after an enzuigiri and makes the hot tag to Sin Cara. Springboard cross body gets one and flying headscissors puts Harper down. Handspring elbow gets two, saved by Rowen, and a brawl breaks out. Rowen hits the floor and both bullfighters take him out with a dive. Harper tries for a slingshot powerbomb but Cara takes him over with a hurricanrana. Sin Cara heads up top but misses whatever and Harper floors him with a clothesline. Bray tags in and hits Sister Abigail for the easy win.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
-Obviously, just a match to put the Wyatts over heading into Sunday but the babyfaces were game and had some energetic offense before the inevitable loss. I have no problem with this at all **.
Billy Gunn vs. Jey Uso
I guess it pays to be a friend of Triple H, huh? I bet a Sean Waltman appearance is just around the corner. Road Dogg is on commentary because wrestling is quite the effort for him at this point. Jimmy Uso also joins the announce table to guarantee people talking over one another.
Billy works Jey over in the corner but misses a charge and takes a break on the outside, necessitating Road Dogg leave to tend to his partner. Jey misses whatever off the top and Billy hits a clothesline, allowing Jey to work in his dad’s 360 sell. Billy slowly works over Jey and Road Dogg actually drops a “With My Baby Tonight” reference. Gunn misses the Fameasser and Jey rolls him up for the victory.
Winner: Jey Uso
-The commentary was more entertaining than the match and that’s not saying much. The Outlaws are a favorite of mine but they are done 1/4*.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
I warn you in advance: I am not going to have much patience for this match. Orton works a sign point into the first 30 seconds of the match, so you know it’s going to suck. They stall to start until Sheamus finally hammers away and hits a suplex. Randy runs away but suckers Sheamus in and runs him into the ring post. This is not off to a good start. Sheamus sends Orton into the announce table and hits a knee drop back inside for two. Sheamus misses an early Brogue Kick and ends up on the apron so Orton sends him into the ring post yet again as we take a commercial break.
We return with Sheamus suplexing out of a chinlock and clotheslining Orton to the floor (again?). Sheamus weakly hits the ring steps as the crowd chants for CM Punk. They head to top rope and Sheamus knocks Orton off before hitting a shoulder block off the top. Orton rolls out and hits a back suplex through the announce table and even that comes off as weak. Seriously, it’s like Orton just laid Sheamus on the table and it collapsed under his weight.
They tease a countout finish but Sheamus beats the count and Orton hits the Garvin stomp. Kneedrop misses though and Sheamus mounts a comeback to pretty much no reaction. Orton counters with a powerslam for two. Randy tries for the draping DDT but Sheamus backdrops him to the apron and lands the clubbing forearms. Sheamus looks for White Noise but it gets counter to Orton’s backbreaker as I feel like I’ve seen this match 3000 times before.
This time the draping DDT hits and Orton looks to finish but Sheamus counters to three Irish Curse backbreakers. He preps the Brogue Kick but the Shield randomly run in for yet another lame finish tonight.
-John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Cesaro run in to join the fray before the Wyatts hit the ring and brawl with the Shield. Chaos reigns as we head off the air and towards yet another pay-per-view. The match was nothing special at all *1/2.
Definitely check out the John Cena vs. Cesaro match as it was an excellent showcase for Cesaro and showed how Cena works his tail off when he needs to. The rest of the show was pointless filler as Batista couldn’t even be bothered to appear in the ring and Daniel Bryan was relegated to the opening segment. Add a boring main event to that mix and you get a show that really was a waste of two and a half hours. I don’t see how Elimination Chamber is going to have any buys but really, with the launch of the WWE Network a week away, I don’t think WWE cares that much.