Mike Shannon’s WWE Raw Review – March 17, 2014
-Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone out there.
-We are LIVE from San Antonio, Texas (guaranteeing a Shawn Michaels appearance).
-Triple H is already in the ring and he’s pissed off because the crowd is making him destroy Daniel Bryan. Quickly, Batista interrupts and he is also pissed off because he didn’t come back to be in some stupid Triple Threat match. Out comes Randy Orton as well and he’s questioning Hunter’s decision making process as we get a 3/4 Evolution reunion. Orton requests a no-DQ match against Bryan tonight to teach him a lesson and gets it from Hunter.
Batista and Orton start arguing about who is to blame for Bryan’s popularity but Triple H verbally destroys both of them with semi-shoot comments. However, in a move that will send the internet into an absolute frenzy, Triple H states once he beats Bryan at Wrestlemania, he is going to be in the Triple Threat match and is going to win the title. This is trolling at its finest, I swear.
-After a break, Batista is leaving because coming back to WWE was a huge mistake.
The Real Americans vs. The Usos
The crowd chants for the heels as the Usos work over Swagger in the corner for a few near falls. Swagger thankfully reverses and tags out to Cesaro but Jey catches him with a right hand and more double teaming results. Cesaro catches Jey with a nasty looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and he gets to play Ricky Morton for this match. Swagger stupidly charges the corner though and Jey catches him with a boot, allowing a hot tag to Jimmy. Corkscrew senton gets two but a Zeb Coulter distraction allows Swagger to boot him to the floor and we take a break. Seriously, in the first match?
We return with the heels hitting a Vader bomb-double stomp combo for two as Cesaro’s moves continue to look vicious. Jimmy and Cesaro slug it out like men but Uso turns it around and backdrops Cesaro to the floor. An enzuigiri on Swagger allows Jey to get the hot tag and clean house on Cesaro before hitting the running butt for two. Cesaro tries for the Big Swing but gets nailed and one Uso tosses Cesaro into the air for a Samoan Drop from the other in a cool spot but it only gets two.
Jimmy heads up top but Swagger yanks him out of harms way and runs into a double superkick. Jey takes out Swagger with a dive over the ropes but when Jimmy tries the same Cesaro takes his head off with a European uppercut and nails the Neutralizer for the win.
Winners: The Real Americans
-The push of Cesaro continues as he’s booked to look like a million bucks each time and the crowd pops for his stuff big time. The match was good tag team fare but I wish they would stop with the stupid commercial breaks **3/4.
-This WWE Slam City isn’t a real thing, is it? They couldn’t even get the real guys to voice their characters, probably because they’d actually have to pay them for something on the WWE Network.
-Meanwhile, Kane reminds the Shield the need to keep in line.
-Unfortunately, they bring back my least favorite worker in the history of the company: Hornswoggle. Thankfully, Bad News Barrett quickly interrupts with some of his lame material and saves me. Yes, I’d rather listen to bad jokes from Barrett rather than Hornswoggle’s comedy antics.
Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neil
Christian is on commentary because why not? Sheamus attacks and they slug it out but Sheamus takes Titus down with a sloppy clothesline. Another one sends Titus to the floor and Sheamus comes off the apron with something that was supposed to resemble a shoulder tackle. O’Neil recovers and sends Sheamus into the post and adds a backbreaker on the floor. How does doing the backbreaker on the floor make it hurt any more than usual?
Titus hits an overhead slam while Christian says JBL looks like David Spade in a fat suit…big pop. Titus decides to abuse the midget a little bit much to my pleasure but, as usual, Sheamus has to show up and ruin all of my fun. Hornswoggle headbutts O’Neil in the groin which, for some reason, is not an immediate disqualification because who cares about the rules of the sport, right? The Brogue Kick finishes this mockery of professional wrestling and sends me to the refrigerator for another drink.
-This was just terrible and the only saving grace was Christian on commentary, DUD. Sheamus declares his entry in the Andre the Giant battle royal but Christian attacks because he’s evil.
John Cena Interview
John Cena hits the ring with his usual goofy schtick until admitting he’s afraid that we are all listening to Bray Wyatt and think Cena is fake. Wyatt responds via the Titantron and doesn’t care if he dies to prove that Cena is a false idol and sees him for what he truly is.
No Disqualification Match
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
The crowd seems reinvigorated to Bryan courtesy of Triple H’s announcement last week but I urge them to tread lightly. Orton attacks but Bryan quickly counters and wraps Orton’s leg around the ring post. Orton turns the tide and slugs away but a dropkick sends him to the floor and Bryan dives through the ropes to put Randy down. Orton surprises Bryan with a kendo stick from underneath the ring to reinforce that this match is no disqualification and we take yet another break.
We return with Orton punishing Bryan with the kendo stick and Orton suplexes him on top of the ring barrier before crotching Bryan on the ring post. Back inside the ring, Orton hits the Garvin Stomp but Bryan launches a comeback to a huge crowd pop and hits a running clothesline. Dropkick in the corner stuns Orton and they head up top where Bryan brings him down with a hurricanrana for two. Bryan gets hold of the kendo stick and beats the hell out of Orton in between kicks in a cool spot for two.
Orton crotches Bryan to gain control and brings Bryan down with a sweet superplex for two. Draping DDT hits but Orton plays to the crowd a little too long and Bryan takes a powder. Orton attempts to give chase but a kendo stick shot puts Randy on the floor where Bryan dropkicks him into the first row. Orton counters by slamming Bryan’s head on the ring barrier and nails Bryan with a chair shot. Suddenly, Batista reappears and spears Orton in the ring, knocking him senseless. Bryan takes Batista out with his running knee and pins Orton for the win.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
-Bryan gets yet another big win on television as they are building to the storyline that Bryan could steal the world title if Orton and Batista can’t put their differences aside. These two work very well together and the match was really good as a result and the crowd was into it the entire time. Call the whole thing ***1/2 but I wish they would have built to the finish a little more.
-In an effort to show us how to sign up for the WWE Network, JBL and Jerry Lawler prove they are bumbling old guys who have no idea how to use technology.
Paul Heyman Interview
In case you didn’t know, Paul Heyman is the advocate for BRAAAAAAAACK LESNARRRRRRRRR and he introduces an Undertaker vs. Lesnar hype video. Not really sure why they needed Heyman for this segment since he really didn’t do much to enhance the video.
-Meanwhile, Stephanie is pissed at Hunter because he hasn’t given this whole “winning the world title” thing much thought.
Fandango vs. Goldust
Goldust is apparently treating this like a comedy match as he mocks Fandango’s dancing and hits two kinds of atomic drops, inverted and non-inverted. Summer Rae protests but Goldust dances some more and she falls off the apron into Cody’s arms. Fandango attacks and hits a short-arm clothesline while Cody hits on Summer Rae. Fandango and his jobber offense bores the crowd until Goldust comes back with ugly flying headscissors for a double KO. They blow a suplex spot and Fandango tries to finish but Goldust dodges and hits the Final Cut for the win.
-Dustin is visibly upset over the blown finish after the match and he’s busted open to boot. The match was bowling shoe ugly and the blown finish makes this one a DUD.
The Shield Attack Kane
Kane has been thinking and decides that Bryan’s Occupy Raw movement couldn’t have been pulled off without some help. Since the event took place in Memphis, Jerry Lawler obviously helped Bryan with the stunt. The Shield force Lawler into the ring and Seth Rollins says they always do what is best for business before turning their attention to Kane. Kane attacks first and fights them off but Rollins nails him with a kick and Reigns spears Kane into next week. The Triple Powerbomb floors Kane and completes the Shield face turn until the inevitable break up.
Funkadactyls vs. AJ Lee and Tamina
Naomi is wearing a very “fashionable” eyepatch courtesy of Aksana suddenly thinking WWE was MMA. Cameron starts with Tamina and gets nailed with a clothesline for two. A pair of kneedrops get a near fall and AJ comes in to basically do nothing except apply a chinlock. Back to Tamina and Cameron hits her with the worst dropkick in the history of wrestling before making the hot tag to Naomi. Naomi hits a full nelson bomb for two on AJ but Tamina makes the save and AJ tries for the Black Widow submission. Naomi powers out and slams her before hitting a split-legged moonsault for the win.
-Cameron is just awful, Tamina is limited in her abilities, AJ looks like she doesn’t care, and Naomi can hit her rehearsed spots. AJ Lee blames Tamina for the loss and gets shoved down. Naomi hit her spots but the rest was a complete waste, 1/2*.
Mr. T Hall of Fame Announcement
Everyone puts over Mr. T as this huge television star and yes, that was true at the time. However, I would much rather listen to Roddy Piper tell stories about how much of a jerk Mr. T was.
Big Show, Big E, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry vs. Ryback, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow and Alberto Del Rio
All of these guys are in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, so it’s crucial that we get them all on Raw to have a big brawl or else no one will buy the WWE Network! Ryback slugs away on Big E but gets caught with a shoulder tackle. They screw up a spot in the corner but Big E still hits Ryback with a belly to belly suplex for two. Mark Henry tags in and floors Curtis Axel with a big boot before bringing in Dolph Ziggler to a nice reaction. Axel catches him with a knee lift and Ziggler gets caught in the heel corner since WWE only wants to see him sell for whatever reason. Ziggler dodges Ryback and deals out dropkicks to everyone until we randomly take a commercial break.
We return with Dolph selling yet again and trapped in the heel corner. Ryback tries for a very delayed vertical suplex but Ziggler rolls him up for two. He’s quickly floored once again and plays babyface-in-peril while the crowd sits on their hands. Sandow catapults Ziggler to the corner but misses a blind charge and Dolph makes the hot tag to Big Show. The announcers put Show over as the favorite to win the Andre Battle Royal as he slowly cleans house on the heels. Everything breaks down as people get tossed to the outside with Ziggler taking his token huge bump until sandow is left alone with Big Show and you can probably guess how that goes.
Winners: Big Show, Big E, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry
-The heel team had no heat on them at all and it made for a boring match but, then again, this was only to put over the Big Show as the battle royal favorite. In other words, it was a waste of time. Call the thing *1/2 for Dolph’s selling and usual bumping.
Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston
This is a pretty weak match for 10:50 but, then again, this show isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Bray hammers away but runs into a boot on a blind charge but Kofi misses coming off the top and Bray turns him inside out with a cross body. Bray hits a good looking spinning gutbuster and a splash in the corner. Sister Abigail completes the squash with zero offense from Kofi.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
-Total squash as Kofi is apparently back to being a jobber to the stars after beating Randy Orton a few weeks ago *.
Triple H Confronts Daniel Bryan
Triple H calls out Bryan and promises him that everything that he did to Bryan was for business. Hunter promises that beating him at Wrestlemania isn’t personal and he offers a handshake. Bryan refuses but Triple H doesn’t blame him for that and he puts over Bryan quite a bit and says that Daniel has earned his respect.
However, Stephanie will not let Hunter get away with that and comes out screeching that she is pressing charges against Bryan for his takeover last week. This makes absolutely zero sense. Of course, Bryan doesn’t fight back and the police handcuff him like a wuss. Triple H breaks everything up and dismisses the police because “you’re not even real cops” and beats the hell out of Daniel Bryan himself. Triple H beats him around the ring and sends him shoulder-first into the announce table and ring barrier.
This beatdown goes on for far, far too long as Bryan looks like a total loser for not being able to fight back and having no one in the back to save him. Stephanie, of course, gets to play Queen of the Heels by having the camera on her every 30 seconds and mocking the crowd. Hunter puts Bryan’s head against the ring post and bashes him with a chair, which should probably kill him. Of course, we get a Pedigree to send us off the air with yet another Daniel Bryan embarrassment.
I swear, this show is the equivalent of beating your head against a wall for three hours and then having someone tell you that you’re wrong for not liking it. Seriously, how many times can you put over Triple H and Stephanie as the smartest and most evil human beings on Earth? We get it, they run the company and we are just marks who complain on the internet and don’t know how to book wrestling.
I might be a smart mark who writes online but I know when a television show is boring. Watching this one honestly felt like a chore and I found myself actually looking forward to commercial breaks to get a reprieve from the constant shilling and uninspired booking that I’ve seen a thousand times before. I know that comments will say how great this show was and how awesome the Triple H beatdown was because he used a chair and I don’t know wrestling, blah blah blah. The bottom line is this show was brutal.
Do me favor: Log on to WWE Network tonight and watch some Raws from 1998 or 1999. Some of those shows were pretty bad too but none of them felt as endless and hurried as these shows do. That’s because from 1993-2001, Raw was a wrestling show and then from 2002-present they changed it a television show about wrestling. There is a major difference between those two things and a main reason why these shows rarely do anything for me anymore.
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