Live from Los Angeles, California this is the Raw Deal for episode #1081. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

Big Show walked out with Betty White on the stage as the crowd cheered her. She said she was thrilled to be there. Show asked her what she was going to do, so she said she was going to kick some ass. Triple H's music started up as he walked out with Stephanie McMahon. Maybe they're jealous that somebody else gets to do a promo to start the show. They greeted Betty and then she left with Big Show.

As Hunter and Stephanie walked to the ring, the announce team of Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. Hunter was doing one of his blah blah blah promos that I was tuning out when Randy Orton walked out with his two titles.

Stephanie told Orton to go back to the locker room to prepare for his main event for later. Orton said he wanted to apologize for his actions. Stephanie was surprised by it. The fans were chanting "Daniel Bryan" during all of this. He mentioned that it was in that arena in Los Angeles where Orton cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE Title. Orton said he really wanted to be the face of WWE to do interviews and everything that comes with it.

Daniel Bryan's music started up and the crowd exploded with "yes" chants. He entered the ring with his goat face shirt. Bryan questioned Orton's claim that he was the heart and soul of the WWE. Bryan said Orton was a different body part entirely. Clever line, but the crowd didn't really react to it. Stephanie was pissed about people interfering with them when they're talking and they had to take it up with Director of Operations, Kane. Bryan said Kane wasn't there and reminded us that he beat Orton last week. Bryan said he wanted Kane in a match this week. Stephanie said Kane was sent home for the week.

Bryan wondered who was doing Stephanie and Hunter's performance approval. He called them stupid. Orton defended them and told Bryan he had to kiss the ground they walked on. Bryan mentioned when Orton handcuffed Triple H to the ropes and kissed Stephanie in front of him. That was about five years ago now. Orton wanted to punt Bryan. Hunter said he talked with Stephanie and they decided that Bryan would have the night off due to his agitated state. Bryan led the crowd in "no" chants. That didn't matter to The Authority because they just left.

Analysis: There's the 15 minute opening promo segment that we usually get from Raw. It really didn't accomplish much at all. Stephanie said the same boring stuff she always says. Orton did the same. Bryan fired up the crowd like nobody else can and they gave him the night off. After 15 minutes, we found out the best wrestler in the company would have the night off and really that was it. There was nothing else of note in that opening segment.

Coming up later Mark Henry is back, Cena vs. Orton again and a six man tag after the break.

(Commercial)

Full entrances for all six performers in the tag match were shown.

Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan

The faces were in control in the first two minutes. They went to break there.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the Wyatt Family had Goldust isolated in their corner.  He was able to hit a back elbow on Rowan to create some space. Rowan charged at Goldust by the ropes, Goldy moved and Rowan went crashing to the floor. Harper tagged in, but Goldy gave him a powerslam. The LA crowd was hot as they were chanting for the tag, which led to Mysterio tagging in. Headscissors by Mysterio and then a seated senton. Great counter into a spinning DDT by Mysterio for two as Wyatt made the save. Mysterio hit 619 on Harper. Wyatt was set up, but he moved out of the way. Cody took out Wyatt with a dive off the top. Rowan threw Cody into barricade and then Goldust took out Rowan with a dive. Great sequence there. Wyatt made the blind tag. Mysterio ran the ropes, Wyatt grabbed him and hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker for the win after about 9 minutes. That was an outstanding finish! Wow. So quick.

Winners by pinfall: Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan

Analysis: ** It was a short match that was exciting n the last two minutes. That finish was really special. Mysterio was running full speed, Wyatt caught him and hit Sister Abigail so quickly. It was all in one motion. You don't see it like that very often, so it made it stand out more than normal. It made sense that the heel team would go over since they're in a match at Elimination Chamber while the face team has no role there.

Post match, Wyatt told The Shield that they were toy soldiers trying to play in a war that they're not a part of. He said they were going to fail. Follow the buzzards.

Analysis: I agree with Wyatt. The Wyatt Family will win at Elimination Chamber.

(Commercial)

Cole mentioned the attendance again saying it was sold out. They brag when it's sold out in big cities, but if it's in a smaller city sometimes they don't even say the name of the city. There was a video showing the 12 eliminations by Roman Reigns in the Royal Rumble match.

The Shield was interviewed by the lovely Renee Young. Roman Reigns said that actions always speak louder than words. Rollins said they speak in absolutes. Ambrose said they will absolutely beat the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber. She mentioned that Ambrose has barely defended the US Title. Ambrose said there weren't any contenders. Reigns questioned that. Ambrose said he would have an open challenge later on the show.

Analysis: That's a good way for the creative team to make fun of themselves for forgetting that the US Title actually existed.

Betty White was backstage with the divas, who all were smiling because of that's how they always are. The New Age Outlaws showed up to tell Betty that they were there to protect her. They took White away so they could go have some tea with her.

Analysis: Promo time for face divas? Shocking. And it's used to promote a show for a 92 year old woman instead of actually having a diva storyline.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton later on. They showed a video of a previous match they had. Hey WWE, we know they have had matches. They wrestle all the damn time. We're not idiots.  

Santino was accompanied by Emma for a match against Fandango after the break.

(Commercial)

Santino (w/Emma) vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)

I am perfectly fine with camera shots of Summer Rae or Emma during this match. The Miz walked out during the match to join the commentary to say that he's been in movies, yet he's not on the show while Twinkletoes and a guy whose act is older than Betty White are in a match. Then he left. Santino hit his hiptoss, but Fandango knocked him down with a punch and then hit the top rope leg drop. That's it after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Fandango

Analysis: 1/2* Very short match that didn't mean anything between two guys who barely get TV time. I figured there would be something post match with the girls fighting, but that didn't happen. Everybody just left. It was a very uneventful segment.

Backstage, Sheamus was interviewed by new backstage interviewer Byron Saxton. He's been in the company for several years, so good for him to be on the main show. Sheamus talked about teaming up with Christian tonight. He spoke about how winning in the Elimination Chamber is the last chance to headline WrestleMania 30. He doesn't care who is in his way. That match is after the break.

Analysis: Decent promo from Sheamus, but I don't think anybody believes he is winning at Elimination Chamber, nor should they think that.

(Commercial)

Christian got a pre-match promo backstage. He doesn't even get to talk in the ring. Sheamus entered. Zeb Colter walked out with the Real Americans for a promo. He complained about the foreigners in the ring. Antonio Cesaro said that at Elimination Chamber he's going to be the first Real American that's a WWE World Heavyweight Champion. We the people, indeed.

Christian & Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter

Three of the four guys are in the Elimination Chamber match. Swagger is not. The fans were chanting "we the people" at the start of the match. I enjoyed the Sheamus/Cesaro action early on the match. They hit hard. Looks great. They traded shots and the crowd loved it. So many forearm shots. JBL: "Let 'em fight. This is great!" It sure is. Cesaro used Swagger's interference to boot Sheamus off the apron and he went crashing to the floor. It's vintage floor to commercial time.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Christian was in for his team and he was on fire with some good nearfalls. Cesaro came back by tossing him into the air, then connecting with the uppercut to the chest for two. Swagger and Cesaro were able to focus on Christian in their corner as Swagger hit the Swagger Bomb followed by a leaping double foot stomp by Cesaro. When Cesaro set up Christian for the Cesaro Swing, the crowd cheered loudly. They chanted along with the swing, which was 10 revolutions. Christian was able to break free as the crowd was hot for the hot tag to Sheamus and Swagger tagged in on the other side. Sheamus was on fire with a shoulder block, high knee, forward roll, then clubbing forearm shots, a powerslam and then a big pose for a fired up crowd. Cesaro ran into the ring to hit Sheamus in the face with a forearm shot. Sheamus went after him, but Swagger was able to capitalize with the Patriot Lock. Cross body block by Christian off the top onto Swagger. Christian took out Cesaro with a Tornado DDT outside the ring. Sheamus finished off Swagger with the Brogue Kick for the win after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sheamus & Christian

Post match, Colter was mad at Swagger for losing to play up his loser gimmick.

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome tag team match. They went all out for 15 minutes. There were hard hitting moments throughout. The crowd was really into everything they did and cheered loudly for Cesaro more than anybody in the match. Sheamus was absolutely on fire for his hot tag sequence. He's been gone so long that he feels fresh again, which is great for him. That kind of match is what you get when you give an opportunity to four really good performers and let them show what they can do in the time they're given.

Backstage, John Cena talked to Renee Young about how WWE was dominated by him and Orton in the last decade. In two weeks, they launch the WWE Network. Way to get that plug in. He also spoke about how important his match is with Orton because it's about their future. Tonight, he closes the rivalry with Orton. Cena said if anybody thinks they can carry on the future of WWE, know that they have to go through him to get it.

Analysis: It was a serious promo, but the line about this being the end of his rivalry with Orton made me chuckle. It feels like we've heard that before. He was fired up, though, so I give him credit for not making poop jokes.

(Commercial)

They replayed the start of Raw when Betty White said he was going to kick some ass. Old people are funny! Yay! She actually is one of the best and most successful female comedians ever. Pretty amazing that she's still active at 92 years old. If I make it past 75 I'll be pleased. Hopefully I'll be in Vegas by that point.

A 30 second Batista Bomb video aired. It's on youtube if you care. I do not.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. Before he got into the ring, Alberto Del Rio's music started. Ziggler made an angry face. It's rumored that Ziggler will form an angry team with Miz soon, so that's likely part of their storyline.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler hit the dropkick and then the heart stomping elbows as JBL asked King about his heart like he does every week. Fameasser by Ziggler for two. Del Rio hit about two moves and then hit a standing side kick to the head for the win. The match went about two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Alberto Del Rio

Analysis: 1/2* Poor Ziggler made to look like a loser again. It's getting tiresome.

Post match, Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker to Ziggler.

Batista entered in his ring gear to go after Del Rio. He gave him a Spear. Batista slammed Del Rio into the steel steps. He cleared off the announce table and threw Del Rio into the barricade at ringside. Batista Bomb through the table. Technically a Powerbomb through the table since the Batista Bomb is a sitout Powerbomb. Same idea, though.

Analysis: The crowd popped for the Powerbomb spot. They weren't really that hot for Batista when he came out, but they loved the attack and warmed up to him. That's a good way to book Batista. He needs to be physical like that. Promos are not a strength for him. He should be an ass kicking machine.

The Bella Twins narrated some WWE Network video and they were in stewardess outfits. I would have hit fast forward. Then the announcers talked about WWE Network some more. Why don't they mention that it's only in the US when they plug it? At least you have me to complain about that for you, my fellow non-Americans.

Next WWE Hall of Fame inductee is up.

(Commercial)

The WWE did you know bragged about WWE having 260,000,000 followers across 11 social media networks. Nobody likes a bragger.

Backstage, Triple H talked to Batista and said he can't go after people like Del Rio. He said it's a publicly traded company now. It was before. It has been for 15 years. Hunter said it's best for business to keep it under control. Batista talked about how Del Rio is his business right now. Hunter booked Batista vs. Del Rio at Elimination Chamber as we all expected. Batista seemed happy with that.

Analysis: Spoiler is that Batista wins at the Elimination Chamber.

The next WWE Hall of Fame inductee is Lita. That makes sense since they always try to put at least one woman in the Hall of Fame and last year it was Trish Stratus, who was her greatest rival.

Backstage, Betty White was drinking tea with the New Age Outlaws. They seemed eager for her to drink it, so she asked for lemons. Then both guys went to get lemons. She changed her glass with Billy's drink, so when Billy drank it she looked over at him and smiled without him knowing.

Analysis: Some spiked drink comedy for you right there. Oh crazy Betty.

Mark Henry is back tonight.

(Commercial)

Plug time: I hope you're checking out my WWE related columns for WhatCulture.com. I'm writing 10 feature columns per week and news commentaries as well. Some recent pieces include a list of moments when the fans rejected what they were seeing, 10 of the bloodiest matches ever and 10 silly moments in Kane history. Check it all out now and head back there daily for more.

The New Age Outlaws joined the announce team. Billy was coughing. Cole messed up the WWE Network announcement, but to be honest I tune it out by this point.

Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel

Rybaxel was working on Jimmy in their corner while Billy was feeling something in his stomach. He took off his headset. Axel hit a running knee attack on Jimmy and then tagged in Ryback. The announcers wondered what was wrong with Billy. Jey received the hot tag and he was on fire going after Axel with a Samoan Drop. Ryback went crashing into the steel post. Jey hit a top rope dive over the top rope to take out Ryback outside the ring. As he jumped over the top, Jimmy tagged in and Jimmy hit the top rope Superfly Splash on Ryback for the pinfall win after 5 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Jimmy & Jey Uso

Analysis: *1/2 The match was good for the time given. It was just a match to showcase the Usos, which is fine with me because they are the best team in WWE.

Post match, Billy ran away grabbing his belly as well as his butt. Everybody laughed at him. Oh you didn't know? Billy's gonna poop on somebody.

Ambrose defends the US Title up next.

(Commercial)

Dean Ambrose entered along with the other members of The Shield. His opponent? Somebody gonna get their ass kicked...it's Mark Henry. Good spot for Henry's comeback.

Mark Henry vs. Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins)

Ambrose was hesitant to get going, which made sense because Henry was destroying him by throwing Ambrose into the turnbuckle. Ambrose tried to attack the left arm of Henry that's in a brace, but Henry ended up giving him a hip toss over the top to the floor. There's the vintage floor to commercial break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Ambrose was able to gain control by giving Henry an arm bar. Reigns and Rollins were looking on from ringside. Henry slammed Ambrose off the top rope and then gave him a running powerslam. Ambrose went for his finisher. Henry pushed him off, caught him and gave him the World's Strongest Slam. He covered, but Rollins ran in for the DQ. The match went 7 minutes.

Winner by DQ: Mark Henry

Post match, The Shield continued the attack as Reigns hit a Spear on Henry outside the ring.

Analysis: *1/2 I thought there would be a title change. It seemed like a good spot for it with Henry coming in as a fresh challenger and Ambrose really doesn't need the US Title at this point in his career with The Shield breakup story happening.

The Wyatt Family showed up. The crowd was actually clapping along with their theme song. That's pretty cool. The Shield was standing on the other side of the barricade, but then they headed back towards the ring. The Wyatt Family walked towards the ring.

All three members of The Shield and all three members of The Wyatt Family jumped on the apron as the crowd chanted "yes" for it. Of course Reigns was the first to get in the ring and then Wyatt was about to, but he told Harper & Rowan to drop down. He followed suit. The crowd booed that. Why can't The Shield just chase after them? Because people rarely go after somebody when they step off the apron. That ended the segment.

Analysis: What a tease! The fans were ready for the showdown as was I. They are doing a really good job of building up to it. They've made it a point to keep them apart for weeks, which will only make their match at Elimination Chamber that much better. A brawl here could have worked really well, but a tease is fine because it gets people excited about the showdown at Elimination Chamber.

Replay of last month when Orton attacked Cena's dad. Orton vs. Cena later.

(Commercial)

There was a video about Bobo Brazil for Black History Month.

AJ Lee, Alicia Fox & Aksana (w/Tamina Snuka) vs. Nikki, Brie Bella & Cameron (w/Eva Marie)

Naomi is injured after Aksana hit her in the eye with her knee last week in a spot that didn't look safe. Nikki did the worm and then a dropkick. John Cena's marking out. Looks like Brie slipped a bit on a corner charge, but it was fine and then she hit a dropkick off the middle rope. Spinebuster by Aksana. Brie got a rollup on Alicia and then Alicia applied a chinlock submission. Another dropkick from Brie. Hot tag to Cameron, who hit a Thesz Press, then a drop toe hold and some sloppy something. Headscissors by Cameron and then she hit a dropkick for Team Dropkick. Fox knocked her down with a hard shot. Cameron hit a "Girl Bye" DDT on Aksana for the win after about 5 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Nikki, Brie Bella & Cameron

Analysis: 1/2* Cameron and Aksana in a finishing sequence? Not that exciting. I will give credit to Cameron because it looks like she's improved. I like seeing people improve. If you're wondering, AJ Lee was standing at ringside not caring about the match. In many ways, she was like a lot of the viewers at home except we weren't at ringside. Can we get a divas storyline where a babyface diva actually gets to cut promos against the heel champion and it feels like an actual feud? Is that too much to ask?

A Be a Star video aired. There was a tale of the tape for Cena and Orton.

(Commercial)

The "Did You Know" told us that John Cena granted his 400th wish for Make a Wish and he's granted more wishes than anybody else.

There was an Alexander Rusev video along with Lana. He spoke in Bulgarian and as you know from watching WWE over the years, any language other than English is evil. If I ever meet Vince McMahon, I'll teach him some Greek swear words. He'd like that.

The Director of Operations Kane (along with his red tie) made his way down to ringside. He said he accepted his one week administration leave. Kane talked about how The Authority had nothing to do with what happened last week. Daniel Bryan's music started up. He ran down to ringside.

Bryan brawled with Kane in the ring, but Kane won that battle with a punch to the face. There goes the tie. That's good because Bryan can choke people with that. Bryan avoided an attack and hit the Flying Goat dive outside the ring as he brawled with Kane. Dropkick sent Kane over the barricade into the crowd. Kane left.

Analysis: With CM Punk gone, it looks like Kane has moved on to feuding with Daniel Bryan, which could lead to the Triple H/Daniel Bryan match at WrestleMania. I would prefer Bryan in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania. Elimination Chamber and the night after will be when we really find out what happens.

The main event is up next.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown it's Usos & Cody Rhodes/Goldust vs. New Age Outlaws & Ryback/Curtis Axel. Also Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro on Smackdown.

There was a brief video from Betty White backstage as she said she hasn't been around this many shirtless men in trunks since last night. She threw it to the main event. They only put her in a few segments, which is fine with me. She handled herself well.

John Cena made his entrance. Randy Orton entered last. A reminder that at Elimination Chamber, Orton defends the WWE WHC against John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro, Christian & Sheamus. Lawler doesn't see how Orton can survive. Probably the same way that a lot of other champions have survived over the years, Jerry. I forgot Lawler's commentary style is to act like you are watching your first match.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton

This is non-title of course. Cole told us it's important when in reality it isn't. It's 10:46pmET as it starts, so they should get at least 15 minutes for this match. Cena controlled the action in the first couple of minutes as Orton stepped out of the ring for a break. Back in the ring, bulldog by Cena. Orton was able to come back for a nearfall of his own as the "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chant was taking over as Cena hit a suplex. Cena missed a corner charge, so he was in pain. Back suplex by Orton onto the barricade at ringside.  Orton did his pose in the ring as Cena was in pain also in the ring and they went to break. No floor to commercial break? That's just crazy.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Orton was still in control until Cena hit a body slam. Cena hit a shoulder tackle, went for another, but Orton moved and Cena landed outside the ring. Suplex by Orton for two. Another nearfall for Orton. Cena made the comeback with the spinning suplex, then the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton countered the AA into his backbreaker variation. Cena countered the DDT off the ropes with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Orton fought out of the AA again with a Powerslam for two. Orton hit the DDT on Cena with Cena's legs hanging off the top rope. Orton seems to enjoy the booing from the crowd.

Orton wanted the RKO, but Cena tripped him up and applied the STF submission in the middle of the ring. Orton was able to get his hand on the ropes.  Dropkick by Orton. Orton went for the Punt. Cena moved. Cena wanted the AA, but Orton slipped out of that and Orton hit the RKO. He covered, but Cena kicked out at two. Orton freaked out about it. That was a very quick sequence. Well done. Orton was stunned by it, so Cena was able to come back with the Attitude Adjustment. That got him a two count as Orton kicked out. Cena put Orton on his shoulders on the middle rope going for the AA, but Orton fought it off. Cena hit the leg drop off the top rope that hit Orton in the back of the head and dropped him face first. Orton sold it by popping right up, which was a bit weird. Cena capitalized with another Attitude Adjustment. That was enough for the pin after 21 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: John Cena

Analysis: ***1/2 It was similar to the Royal Rumble match in a lot of ways except the crowd was much more receptive to their work. They really worked hard and obviously the chemistry is good considering all the matches they've had over the years including house shows. It's the rivalry that will never end. I liked the finishing sequence although I don't really like how Orton popped right up after the leg drop to the back of the head. I know that he did it to just walk right into the AA in a dazed state, but it would be nice if they sold moves a bit more.

To end the show, Cena celebrated the win as the announcers put over the idea that he has momentum now.

Analysis: Orton lost clean to Bryan and Cena. That likely means Orton is winning at Elimination Chamber because it puts some doubts in the eyes of the viewer. I expect him to get a win over Cesaro on Smackdown and next week on Raw he should beat Sheamus too although I can see Sheamus winning. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. All I hope is that if Bryan loses that it's in some controversial way so that he can get in the WrestleMania 30 main event and a shot at the WWE WHC because anything other than that would just feel wrong.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Antonio Cesaro

2. Sheamus

3. John Cena

 

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 5

2014 Average: 6.42

2014 High: 8 (January 13)

2014 Low: 5 (February 3)

Last 5 Weeks: 5, 6.5, 6, 8, 6.5

 

Final Thoughts

I'm giving it a 6.5 out of 10. Two above average matches.

The first hour wasn't very good. There really wasn't much that happened in that hour, so I was a little bored heading into the second hour. Things did get better later on although it wasn't that exciting.

My favorite part of the show was that Christian/Sheamus vs. Real Americans tag team match. When you give four good workers 15 minutes of in-ring time and let them go all out they can really put on an entertaining match. That's what we got.

I'm tired of writing about Orton vs. Cena matches although I give them credit for having a very good match. I don't mind either guy. I'm just sick of seeing them against each other. Hopefully what Cena said about them not having more matches soon is true although I have my doubts.  

I enjoyed the tease between The Wyatt Family and The Shield. It was very intense. The fans are clamoring for that match now, which is the exact reaction WWE wants the fans to have. That's the best booked match for Elimination Chamber at this point.

The advancement in the Batista/Del Rio feud was very good just because it was Batista doing what he does best: kicking ass. That's what works for him, so that's what he should be doing.

I missed watching Daniel Bryan in a match. I've gotten so used to watching and enjoying a weekly Bryan match that when it doesn't happen I feel cheated out of it.

Elimination Chamber should be a very good PPV. The next night on Raw when WWE launches WWE Network will be a major show as well. There was nothing wrong about this show. It's just that it didn't have a special feel to it like those shows likely will have.

Finally, the LA crowd did a good job. They were loud for most of the night and some fun chants along the way too. It's nice when Raw is in a major city like that. They need to go to the bigger cities more often.

---------

 We'll bring it home with some plugs again.

Plug time: I hope you're checking out my WWE related columns for WhatCulture.com. I'm writing 10 feature columns per week and news commentaries as well. Some recent pieces include a list of moments when the fans rejected what they were seeing, 10 of the bloodiest matches ever and 10 silly moments in Kane history. Check it all out now and head back there daily for more.

Plug time: We have a 60 minute edition of TJR Radio this Tuesday at 10pmET/9pmCT. Link is right here and you can also use it any time after the show is done to listen to it at your own convenience.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton - mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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