Live from Baltimore, Maryland this is the Raw Deal for episode #1076. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
It's Old School Raw. The old Raw set is in place. The ring looks like the old ring with blue posts. The first man on the show? Woo! Ric Flair. Big ovation for the WWE Hall of Famer. They showed clips of Flair talking to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday. They won their playoff game on Sunday, so it worked.
Flair mentioned he's had some fun in Baltimore and then he got his catchphrases going. He spoke about legends being there. He did the Nature Boy strut. The music of Randy Orton started up and out walked the WWE World Heavyweight Champion with both championships. Orton gave Flair a hug.
Orton said tonight isn't about the legends and Hall of Famers, it's about him. He claimed that he was the greatest superstar of this generation and any other. Orton said he respected Flair, but he asked him to step aside because Orton had something to get off his chest. The crowd chanted "no" while Flair stood in the ring. Orton talked about the Rumble match versus Cena by saying he didn't like that The Authority is giving Cena a title match. He claimed he had nothing left to prove, so he asked The Authority to reverse their decision because he's proven that he's the man.
Flair said he isn't sure Orton is the man because when he competed he performed every night. That's why he has two Hall of Fame rings. Flair said all Randy does is cry about the rematch, so Flair told him to wrestle the man again. Orton mentioned that Flair had people watching his back the whole time.
Orton called Flair the most overrated superstar in history. The crowd didn't like that. Orton asked him to leave the ring. Flair said he's not leaving and Orton has to listen to him. He mentioned Orton was the most physically gifted young talent that came around in years, which is why they picked him for Evolution ten years ago. Flair basically told Orton to prove himself. Orton said he could go old school on Flair right now.
John Cena made his way down to the ring. He had jean shorts on because that's old school for him. He gave Flair a hug. Cena congratulated Orton for sinking to a new level of scumbag every time he opens his mouth. Cena didn't like that Orton was taking out his frustrations on Flair. Cena hyped up Flair's accomplishments. He suggested a fight with Orton. "If you're feeling froggy, jump, cuz I say let's dance Randall." He busted out the Randall for him. Orton left the ring. Cena hugged Flair to end the segment while Orton walked away holding both of his titles.
Analysis: It was nice to see Flair open the show because we don't see him too often, so it felt fresh. Orton's interaction with Flair was good for the most part. I like that they touched on history the way they did. Cena's involvement was fine. I figured that segment would lead to something like a tag match with Flair in Cena's corner or something like that, but no sign of a match for them.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield. JBL had a bright red jacket while Cole had a beige one. They're old WWF/E jackets. They mentioned that Jerry Lawler wasn't there because he's ill. His heart is fine. He's just sick. There were online reports that he went to the hospital, but it turned out to be nothing major. Good to hear that.
There was a video package to show how Daniel Bryan felt like he couldn't fight it anymore, so he joined the Wyatt Family. Up next we'll get more about this story when Bryan teams with Harper & Rowan.
I love that they have the old Raw theme song for this episode. It's a nice touch. All of the old graphics are there too.
Plug time: On Monday we posted a TJRWrestling staff predictions column featuring five predictions from all of our writers. We predict some good things for guys like Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn among others while I have a prediction about John Cena's title reigns this year. Be sure to check it out!
There was a "Did You Know" that told us that Roman Reigns was 7 years old when Raw debuted in 1993. I was 12. If that matters. Reigns is in the main event versus CM Punk later.
The Usos and Rey Mysterio were in the ring for a tag match. They're facing Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and new Wyatt Family member, Daniel Bryan. They were led by Bray Wyatt of course. Bryan had on a grey full length outfit. I think he borrowed it from Duke "The Dumpster" Droese.
Luke Harper, Erick Rowan & Daniel Bryan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Rey Mysterio & The Usos
Harper started for his team, but then he tagged in Bryan, who reluctantly went at it with Mysterio. He was very aggressive while Bray was laughing from the rocking chair. Bryan gave Rey a waist lock and Rey sent Bryan out to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Rowan hit Jey Uso with a fallaway slam. Bryan got some more offense in. It's a weird dynamic in this match with the fans still supporting Bryan even though he's teaming with the heels. Jey hit a superkick on Rowan and tagged in Mysterio. Rey hit a headscissors on Rowan and then he countered a power move into a hurricanrana. 619 by Mysterio on Rowan and Jimmy tagged in for a big splash, but Rowan moved out of the way. Bryan tagged in. Then Harper tagged himself in before Bryan could do anything. Harper went for a suplex on Jimmy, but Jimmy rolled through and covered Harper to win the match for his team. It went 9 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Rey Mysterio & The Usos
Post match, the faces left the ring while the Wyatt Family were mad about what happened.
Analysis: **1/2 The finish was a bit off because when Jimmy rolled up Harper it wasn't perfectly done. It was fine, though. There wasn't a big crowd response for it because it came out of nowhere and it was a counter move rather than something Jimmy did on his own. It got the job done in terms of telling the story that the Wyatt Family may have a flaw with Bryan in it because Harper tagged himself in even though Bryan wanted to get in the match.
Later tonight it's Piper's Pit with Roddy Piper hosting The Shield. Also CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns
The announcers informed us that Batista is back on Raw in two weeks and he's also in the Royal Rumble match.
Raw GM Brad Maddox set up a rematch of Damien Sandow vs. Great Khali because Khali's shoulder was up last week. He set up a fan vote on the WWE App with one of these legends as the selection: Bob Backlund, Arn Anderson or Sgt. Slaughter. I'll download the App if I don't have to see Khali wrestle.
Director of Operations Kane showed up to Maddox questioning what Maddox said about him last week when he criticized him. Kane said if he laid his hands on Maddox he'd be fired, but if he did that then Kane would make sure Maddox wasn't seen or heard from again. If Kane got fired as DOO then he'd put that mask back on and make sure Maddox wasn't seen or heard from again.
Analysis: The WWE App vote isn't that interesting. I don't want another Khali match. Can I vote against that? Kane's segment with Maddox was fine. As I say every week, there are way too many people in charge of this show that it's become very confusing for the viewer.
Backstage, Big E Langston was waking with the IC Title on his shoulder. Nikolai Volkoff was singing, Ted Dibiase was shown with the Million Dollar Title (Aksana was there flirting with him) and then IRS showed up to tell Langston to pay his taxes.
Analysis: Nice cameos there. Of course, IRS has worked there since he retired and his sons Bray Wyatt & Bo Dallas have bright futures in the company.
On Wednesday night at 9:30pmET it's a big announcement by WWE that you can watch on WWE.com. It's expected that it will be the official announcement for the new WWE Network.
Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel
Ryback joined commentary for this one. He apologized for his hoarse voice by saying he was hanging out with Lilian Garcia. The joke is that HHH once called her a horse (said she looked like one) so he was making that joke. It's in poor taste. Average fan won't know what it means, though. I saw this match at Smackdown, but here we go again. Curtis hit the Mr. Perfect-like flipping snapmare. Cole asked how the name Rybaxel came about and Ryback said they combined their names. Hard hitting questions by Cole! Axel hit a back elbow. They went outside the ring with Langston regaining control. Ryback distracted him a bit, so Axel got a rollup for two. Langston hit his leaping clothesline and then the Big Ending for the win after 3 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big E Langston
Analysis: * It was similar to the match they had on Smackdown. Clean win for Langston. He's a midcard champion that doesn't lose non-title champions, so that's good for him. Ryback's commentary was pretty average. I'm not sure if this is leading to Langston vs. Ryback or where they are going with it.
Roddy Piper was walking backstage for Piper's Pit at the top of hour two.
When they came back from break they showed a shot of Baltimore from the 1970s.
The WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper entered for Piper's Pit to a very good ovation. He's one of the best talkers ever. Also one of the best heels ever. As a legend here he's a face, but his heel moments were my favorites.
Piper's Pit with The Shield
Piper said he was old school before old school was cool. Piper wanted to tell a story, but before he could talk the music of The Shield started up, which meant it was time for Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns to make their entrance through the crowd.
Ambrose wondered who gave the old man a live microphone. He told Piper that if The Shield was around in Piper's prime he wouldn't have made it to 112 years old. Roddy said it was Piper's Pit not Ambrose's Alley. Piper spoke about how he's been beat up, but his mind is fine. There's only one guy that can match him on the microphone: CM Punk. That led to a big "CM Punk" chant. Ambrose warned him to tread lightly. Rollins said it wasn't 1985 and that The Shield is too smart for his tactics. He figured that Piper was jealous of them because Ambrose is a better US Champion than Piper was.
Piper said he was sure that Rollins and Ambrose can't beat Punk. He focused on Reigns and even pinched his cheek. Piper wondered that if Reigns beats Punk then does that make him better than the others? The crowd chanted "yes" to that. Reigns stood up to say that he was going to beat Punk. He warned Piper by saying if he touched him again he would beat him down. CM Punk's music started up as The Shield focused in on Piper.
Punk ran out along with the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn aka the New Age Outlaws. Huge pop for that. The crowd went wild for it. Punk and the Outlaws cleared the ring of The Shield. Piper's music played to end it.
Analysis: That was a good segment with Piper wondering if Reigns is the best one should he beat Punk. Piper saying he was one of the best talkers ever with Punk as a guy on his level was cool to hear. It puts over Punk. I like that. That segment was a smart way to continue to angle where there are issues within The Shield. Seeing Punk run out there with the New Age Outlaws was unexpected, but a really nice surprise. It fits the theme of this show. No promo from the Outlaws was a bit disappointing. Perhaps it's coming later.
A video aired from last week that focused on the return of Brock Lesnar with Mark Henry on the receiving end of a Lesnar beating. Lesnar will be on Raw later.
Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio
The viewer asks: "This match again?" Me: "Yes it is." They showed some wins that Sin Cara (the former Hunico) has over Del Rio in the last month. The Sin Cara lights are still around in 2014. Can I vote against those on the App? Sin Cara with the headscissors. Do I have to say it's Hunico as Sin Cara? The other guy isn't coming back. Kick to the head by Sin Cara, but his Swanton off the top missed because Del Rio moved. Hard side kick to the head by Del Rio. That was enough for the win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: * It was a short match that felt rushed. Del Rio rarely wins matches using the side kick to the head, but he did here.
Post match, Del Rio did a promo about the Royal Rumble match. He mentioned Batista and said he would throw him over the top rope. Then everybody will be talking about the Royal Rumble match winner: Alberto Del Rio.
Analysis: He's not winning. It's nice to see people doing promos about the Rumble match, though.
They reminded us to vote on the ref for Sandow vs. Khali. Plenty of WWE superstars are on Twitter suggesting fans vote for Arn Anderson. He's worked in WWE as an agent since WCW ended, so obviously he's a favorite of many current WWE stars.
Cole let us know that Lawler had a stomach illness and was watching Raw backstage with the other legends.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan talked to Harper & Rowan. He wanted them to let him contribute and suggested he teams with one of them. Wyatt showed up to say that Bryan will be teaming with Wyatt next week.
Analysis: Did Wyatt's dad Irwin R. Schyster book that for him? What a nice guy. Hopefully Bray pays his taxes.
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
This is non-title. Zeb Colter's sign said "the best defense is a fence." Prevent those jumpers. Double front suplex by the Rhodes brothers. The heels isolated Goldust while Cole wanted JBL to bust out "the boyhood dream has come true" line that Vince McMahon used about Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12. Goldust made a comeback with the Goldi-rana on Cesaro before bringing in Cody, who got a dropkick for two. Disaster Kick by Cody on Swagger, but then he walked into a Cesaro uppercut. They went to break there.
Back from break, the Cesaro Swing happened on Cody during the break as the heels worked him over in their corner. Cody hit a kick on Swagger and dumped Cesaro over the top rope. Cesaro booted Goldust before Cody could tag him in. Cody tried to tag in his brother, but he was down. Cesaro hit an uppercut and then he missed a corner charge. Swagger tagged in, applied the Patriot Lock and Cody tried to counter it. Swagger wouldn't let go. That was really well done. Goldust saved his brother with a big boot to Swagger's face. Hot tag to Goldust, who had clotheslines for Swagger along with a Spinebuster. Top rope cross body by Goldust on both Real Americans. Powerslam on Swagger for two as Cesaro made the save. Cesaro was sent outside the ring. Swagger rollup for two. Goldust came back with the Final Cut for the win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Analysis: *** I thought this might be an opportunity for the challengers to get a win to earn a tag title shot at the Royal Rumble, but it didn't happen. I'm actually surprised that champions won a non-title match since that seems to be so rare in WWE lately. The action was very good as expected. Four good workers that know what they're doing and they've wrestled a bunch, so the chemistry is obviously there. My favorite part was how Cody kept fighting out of the Patriot Lock, but couldn't get it. It's a good thing that he was selling during it rather than simply taking the move. I'm not sure what team will get the next tag title shot and that's okay because the tag division is on fire.
Back in the locker room, Diamond Dallas Page & Booker T were talking with DDP talking about his yoga program. He tried to teach Booker some yoga. Booker said he could do his own yoga and tried to lift his knee up, but he pulled something in his back. Ron Simmons showed up. "DAMN!"
The app results for guest ref are coming up.
Damien Sandow was in the ring. The Great Khali was led to the ring by Ranjin Singh because Khali with his former manager is a considered old school. He works for the WWE creative team if you don't know. WWE App results for referee: Slaughter 55%, Anderson 30%, Backlund 15%. I'm sure some don't like that result. I can't say I've ever cared about any WWE App vote because they're all predictable.
Damien Sandow vs. The Great Khali (w/Ranjin Singh)
Sandow was bumping his ass off for Khali's boring offense. A couple of clotheslines and a big chop to the head by Khali earned him the win. There was a problem, though, because Sandow's foot was on the bottom rope. The "match" went about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Great Khali
Post match, Sandow argued with Slaughter. He went for a punch, Slaughter avoided it and applied the Cobra Clutch to choke out Sandow. Slaughter danced with Khali and Ranjin while the announcers loved it. Of course they did. Old white guys dancing is hilarious to people who are unable to write good comedy.
Analysis: Poor Sandow being stuck in a feud with Khali. That whole thing was done to get the pop for Slaughter.
Brock Lesnar was shown walking backstage with Paul Heyman. Lesnar's shirt said: "Eat Sleep Conquer Repeat." That sounds like a plan.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their way down to the ring near the top of hour three. Heyman introduced himself as well as Brock Lesnar, who is the self proclaimed #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman said Lesnar didn't think old school meant that they should trot out legends. According to Lesnar, old school is when one man reigns supreme and every member of the locker room challenges that champion. Heyman mentioned guys like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin (biggest pop of the bunch) as men that reigned supreme. That's old school according to Lesnar and Heyman. Heyman mentioned that after the Royal Rumble, it doesn't matter if it's Orton or Cena that's WWEWHC because Lesnar will be coming after that man. Heyman said that last week Lesnar gave Mark Henry the biggest beating of his career. Whoever goes up against Lesnar will end up being a loser according to Heyman. He pointed at Lesnar's t-shirt: "Eat Sleep Conquer Repeat." Heyman said it a few times.
Mark Henry came out to face off with Lesnar again. They started brawling with Lesnar hitting some knee attacks to the ribs of Henry. He applied the Kimura Lock on Henry's left arm. Then he "broke" the arm. That's the assumption anyway. Lesnar wanted to do more, but Heyman called him off. Doctors went into the ring to tend to Henry.
Analysis: That "broken arm" angle usually means somebody is out for a couple of months, so perhaps Henry has some kind of injury again that will keep him on the sideline. I'm not sure what's up with Henry. I like that angle as a way to make Lesnar look like more of a beast.
As Lesnar was making his way towards the back, Big Show's music started up. Show walked towards Lesnar, who moved backwards towards the ring. Lesnar went into the ring. When Show went into the ring, Lesnar bailed to the floor. Show had a serious look on his face as he stared at Lesnar. Heyman tried to distract, but Show was ready when Lesnar went at him. Show tossed Lesnar across the ring. Lesnar and Heyman left the ring. Show kept staring without cracking a smile.
Analysis: That was an awesome segment with Lesnar retreating, which is not something we usually see from him. I'm a fan of serious Big Show whether it's as a face or heel. He got one move in on Lesnar as a way to get the advantage. I know Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer mentioned Lesnar vs. Show as a possibility at the Royal Rumble, so it looks like that's the plan. I would assume Lesnar gets the win there. It would be a credible win against a guy like Show. They also have a history that dates back to 2002. Of course their most famous moment was when the ring collapsed on Smackdown on their superplex spot. Seeing Show like this is much better than seeing him dancing in a diaper like he was two weeks ago.
There was a recap of the Flair/Orton/Cena segment from earlier.
This week on Main Event it's R-Truth & Xavier Woods vs. The Real Americans. Usually they don't even mention Main Event matches.
Nikki & Brie Bella vs. Aksana & Alicia Fox
Nikki hit a monkey flip on Alicia and then Alicia yanked Nikki outside the ring, which led to Nikki selling a knee injury. Aksana tagged in to work on Nikki's knee. The crowd didn't care about this at all. Nikki made the hot tag to Brie, who hit some dropkicks and a running knee on Aksana. Brie yells a lot on offense. Brie missed a missile dropkick off the middle rope and Aksana covered her. That's the finish? Apparently. It went four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Aksana & Alicia Fox
Analysis: 1/2* That was pretty boring. I think Brie only sold one move and she got pinned by it. When do you see somebody lose a match on a missed dropkick? I'd rather see Aksana hit a move before the pin because then at least she looks better while getting the victory. I'm not sure where things are headed in the divas division. There's no clear contender for AJ's Divas Title and this is the second Raw in a row with an Aksana win (Nikki beat her on Smackdown).
In the backstage area, we saw Rikishi, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty walking to the ring. It's Too Cool set for action.
Plug time: It's a TJR Radio night on Tuesday at 10pmET and you can listen live right here or use that same link to listen after the show is over at your own convenience. We'll talk 2014 WWE predictions, current storylines and answer questions like usual. Always a good time. Make sure you tune in.
It's time for some jobbing with 3MB in the ring. They're up against Rikishi & Too Cool.
Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay vs. 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal)
Rikishi is wrestling with an Usos shirt on, which is for the best and he supports his sons. Scotty & Grandmaster look to be in pretty good shape. Bulldog by Grandmaster, who is of course Brian Lawler the son of Jerry Lawler. McIntyre missed a corner charge so Scotty did a facebuster. He made the crazy eyes, which set up the Worm, which the crowd loved. McIntyre came back with a boot to the face. 3MB isolated Scotty in their corner. Cole asked JBL if he ever received the Worm or Stinkface, but JBL wasn't answering. Rikishi received the hot tag and he cleaned house. A side kick got two on Mahal. Double clothesline by Rikishi on McIntyre & Mahal. Grandmaster hit the Hip Hop Drop top rope leg drop. Jinder went for a sunset flip on Rikishi, but Rikishi sat on him and that was enough for the win. It went 6 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay
Post match, the winners danced.
Analysis: * It was a fun match for nostalgia sake. No stinkface for Rikishi, who wrestled in a t-shirt and leather pants. I'd say he made the right wardrobe choice. Maybe 3MB will win a match in 2014. Maybe not.
CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns coming up later.
Next week on Raw it's The Usos vs. Bray Wyatt & Daniel Bryan.
The WWE legends walked out including The Godfather (with no girls because it's PG) and all of the ones that were on the show earlier. They stood by the entrance ramp. Here's the rundown in order of introduction by Justin Roberts: Scotty 2 Hotty, Grandmaster Sexay, Booker T, Rikishi, Nikolai Volkoff, Sgt. Slaughter, Irwin R. Schyster, Bob Backlund, Ted Dibiase (he laughed of course), Arn Anderson, Roddy Piper, Ron Simmons, Diamond Dallas Page, The Godfather and Ric Flair. Flair got the biggest ovation of course.
With all the legends still out there, Wade Barrett showed up for some bad news. He ripped them for not being at a flea market to sign photos of themselves from 25 years ago. He said he would forget their names and so would the WWE Universe. That was it.
Analysis: I think the Bad News Barrett gimmick has really good potential, but what they're doing with it isn't working. It's cheap heat. I think they should mix in some comedy once in a while for it. As for the legends that were there, most of them work in WWE still or get called when WWE needs something, so it's not like it was a unique group that we rarely see.
CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns up next.
Batista is back on January 20th, so they showed a video about him.
This week on Smackdown it's Randy Orton vs. Big E Langston.
The WWE Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund showed up for a promo by the entrance. He shilled his hotline like in the old days. "It's only $5.99 per minute." It was a nice flashback to Mean Gene especially in WCW. He introduced the New Age Outlaws.
Road Dogg did the full entrance for the Outlaws. I mentioned it earlier, so here it is in full. It's still one of the best entrances ever. They were at the Slammys and they're here because they both work for WWE (Road Dogg is on creative team, Gunn is a trainer at NXT). Road Dogg introduced CM Punk for the main event. Very cool to see CM Punk enter in a Ribera jacket, which is from Japan. That's pretty classic.
CM Punk (w/New Age Outlaws) vs. Roman Reigns (w/Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins)
The story is that Punk has the Outlaws in his corner as backup to prevent interference from The Shield. Slow start. Shoulderblock by Reigns. He was in control as they went to break about two minutes into it.
Back from break, Punk was thrown into the ring post and landed hard outside the ring. Reigns worked over the ribs of Punk, but Punk hit a cross body block off the middle rope. Reigns came back with a bearhug and when Punk fought out of that, Reigns hit a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns went for the Superman Punch, but Punk rolled out of the way and hit a roundhouse kick. Jumping side kick by Punk, clotheslines and a neckbreaker for just one. The running knee in the corner by Punk for two and a second one got another nearfall. They battled on the turnbuckle, which was a battle Punk won and that led to the flying elbow off the top rope. Cole said "right on the chest of Ambrose." Wrong guy, Mike. It's Reigns. Ambrose jumped on the apron, so Road Dogg went at him, but Ambrose threw Dogg into the steps. Gunn hit a clothesline on Ambrose and then Rollins threw Gunn into the post. Punk hit a dive outside the ring on Rollins. Punk went to the top for a springboard attack, but Reigns drilled him with the Superman Punch. Punk kicked out at two. I thought that the finish. Awesome nearfall right there. Punk avoided the Spear and hit a rollup for two. Roundhouse kick for Punk got two. Punk went for the GTS, but Reigns slipped out. Running knee by Punk. He wanted the bulldog, but Reigns shoved him into Ambrose, who had jumped on the apron. When Punk turned around Reigns met him with a Spear and that led to the pinfall win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***1/4 The action was really slow early on and in the first ten minutes, but the last five minutes were excellent. They had some really good nearfalls in there with Reigns hitting that Superman Punch and Punk kicking out. Obviously the big story is that Reigns is the only member of The Shield that was able to beat Punk. Reigns is going to be pushed as a big star sooner rather than later, so it makes sense. Technically the win wasn't that clean since Ambrose jumped on the apron, but I don't mind it at all. It fits with the story. Punk can afford to lose once in a while. It's about making Reigns into a bigger deal, so in that sense it worked. Way to be helpful, Outlaws. They didn't offer much assistance.
Post match, Jake "The Snake" Roberts made his return! Awesome! I didn't expect that. He's in much better shape after dedicating himself to DDP Yoga and not drinking alcohol anymore. It's great to see him in a WWE ring again. He had a bag with him. The Outlaws and Punk dumped the heels from the ring. Punk gave Ambrose the GTS to knock him out in the ring. The crowd was chanting for a DDT, but instead Roberts dumped his snake from the bag. He put the snake on Ambrose, who had his eyes closed and sold it like he was out. He actually had a bit of a smirk on his face too. If it was me I'd be freaking out, but Ambrose didn't seem to mind. Jake put the head of the snake right on Dean's face. Raw ended with the babyfaces celebrating in the middle of the ring.
Analysis: That was a nice surprise. Roberts has been on Twitter for months talking about how he wants to be in the Royal Rumble match. I had no idea that he was talking to WWE or that he would return on this show, so when I saw him I was very happy. If he does return in the Rumble match the surprise is ruined a bit because he was on this show, but I don't mind one bit. I hope they put in the Rumble. It would be cool to see him hit a DDT again.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Roman Reigns
2. CM Punk
3. Jake Roberts - It was great to see him in a WWE ring again looking in good shape considering how things were for him before.
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2013 Average: 5.87
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5.5, 8, 7, 5.5
It gets a 6.5 out of 10 for having some pretty good matches and some nostalgic moments that were fun.
There were many points in the show where it was really dragging. Part of it is because they're really not going to push too many matches at the Rumble, so they're just filling time because they have to.
I'm shocked that Cena and Orton were barely on the show. They weren't on last week. I figured we'd see one of them in a match and they'd have some kind of brawl. Instead we got nothing. That surprised me.
You know who I didn't miss? Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. I'm glad they weren't on.
The Baltimore crowd wasn't very good. They were pretty dead in certain spots.
Check out the trailer to this new film entitled Meet Me There that stars Dustin Runnels aka Goldust. My good friend Brandon Stroud wrote it. You should also check out his WWE and sports writing at With Leather too.
It's a TJR Radio night on Tuesday at 10pmET and you can listen live right here or use that same link to listen after the show is over at your own convenience. We'll talk 2014 WWE predictions, current storylines and answer questions like usual. Always a good time. Make sure you tune in.
On Monday we posted a TJRWrestling staff predictions column featuring five predictions from all of our writers. We predict some good things for guys like Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn among others while I have a prediction about John Cena's title reigns this year. Be sure to check it out!
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org