Angelic Heel, Here…
Good things always come to those who wait, and the last RAW of 2014 was a VERY good thing. WWE Hall of Famer, Edge, and his BFF the Charismatic Superstar, Christian, were the guest hosts to ring out the year for those with the benefit of flash photography. The evening totally reeked of awesomeness as we saw champions fighting champions, championships on the line, long anticipated debuts and prayed for returns. It was an historic night. So let’s get this party started and see what the final RAW of the year had in store for the WWE Universe!
The night started out in style as the 7 time tag team champions, Edge and Christian came down to the ring. They were in top form as they bantered back and forth, and played to the crowd who had missed them. E and C announced that they would also be hosting a cross over segment called “The Cutting Edge Peep Show” which would feature none other than the undisputed, living breathing future of the WWE, Seth Rollins! The crowd was not pleased with this to which, Edge and Christian then placated the ignorant masses by also announcing that Mr. Money in the Bank would also be in a match against Roman Reigns.
But they were not finished with their announcements as they also gave us a champion vs champion match in, Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev! Just as those with the benefit of flash photography were about to be treated to a 5 second pose, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar honored us with his presence. And where Brock is, his advocate, Paul Heyman, was sure to follow. Down to the ring they went and oh what a treat to see a microphone in Heyman’s hands. The man blessed with the gift of gab informed the two former world champions that Brock could destroy them but wouldn’t as he had his eyes on a more worthy opponent. John Cena. And speak of the devil, and he appears! The former tag champions vanish from the ring (can’t blame them, I’d have run too being that close to Cena *shudders*) and the man I wished I could not see addressed Paul and the Champion.
He told Lesnar that his resolution was to take the championship from him and that he had a gift for Paul. John Cena then showed his true colors as he went to attack Heyman unprovoked, forcing Lesnar to come to his advocate’s protection! Cena, who had planned for this, turned his attention to the champ and set him up for an uncalled for Attitude Adjustment. But the Beast Incarnate used his power and skills to escape the move before it was delivered and rolled out of the ring, leaving Cena to posture and celebrate his attack with the blood thirsty WWE Universe!
Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via disqualification
How would Intercontinental Champion, Dolph Ziggler’s speedy show off style match against the United States Champion, Rusev’s power and brutality? Beautifully. It was no surprise that Rusev dominated through out the match. The super athlete was out to make a statement against his opponent he took control at the start. But Dolph, not one to be shown up, used his speed and agility to mount an offense that had the big Bulgarian reeling from time to time. Ziggler threw everything he had at the US Champion with multiple drop kicks (and yes, I love Dolph’s drop kick. Most beautiful in the WWE), multiple super kicks, and a Fame-asser to try and be the one to finally pin Rusev.
However, this only seemed to piss the hero of the Russian Federation off as he went into a rage and reigned down his fury in the form of kicks to the downed IC Champion. The referee ended up giving the DQ to Rusev in an attempt to stop the ruthless attack. But it was of not to be as Rusev simply applied the Accolade to Ziggler using the ropes to further the punishment and pain. Just when we thought it was all over for the Zig man, Ryback flew to the ring and ran Rusev off. This match was intense. The clashing of the two different styles and the way these men work together was a match made in Wrestling God heaven. And of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say, Dolph looked amazing in the match (if you follow me, you know what I’m talking about <.<)
There was a solid back and forth that kept you on the edge of your seat no matter which champion you were rooting for. On a few occasions, my heart was in my throat. I know I yelled at the TV begging for Dolph to hit a ZigZag that almost happened but didn’t (but oh if it had!) I was very satisfied with the end of this match. Perhaps maybe down the line we can be treated to another match from these two and perhaps a full blown feud for a title or two? Hey a girl can have her dreams man.
Ryback Addresses the WWE Universe
Admittedly, when RAW came back from break and Ryback was still in the ring I groaned. What could the Big Guy have to say that I would be interested in? And then he opened his mouth and actual words came out. Color me surprised Ryback knew how to put two words together let alone that he was intelligent on the microphone. He took us on an in depth journey of how he had become the insatiable man that we know. How he had come close to his dream only to have it torn away, the depression that followed and how he fought back to reclaim his dream. The Big Guy learned to turn negatives into positives. He then seamlessly, turned this into how he would feed on Rusev’s negativity and turn it into a positive. That it wasn’t a US vs Russia thing (thank the Wrestling Gods for that,) it was a “one big guy kicking another big guy’s ass thing.”
Honestly, this is exactly what Ryback needed to become relatable. I wasn’t a fan and could have cared less about him. Call me a big softy if you want but now I won’t dismiss him the way I would have. Do I like watching him in the ring? No I sure don’t. He lumbers around and he has the appearance of a He-man action figure from the 80’s. But now I don’t out right groan when I see him. That’s progress. I would like to see this side of him more. He has a decent personality and he showed that he wasn’t just some meat head that was constantly hungry for opponents to squash. But he is an intelligent man that fought to get where he is and over came some hardships. It’s an inspirational story that will definatly draw more people to the Ryback camp.
Natalya vs Nikki Bella
Winner: Nikki Bella via pinfall
Seems the main roster Divas are stepping up their game. The match between Nattie and Nikki, while short, was entertaining. Both women started off aggressive with Natalya quickly gaining the upper hand and taking it to the Diva’s Champion. The tides turned after the Queen of Harts knocked Bella from the apron and into Tyson Kidd’s arms. After a moment of confusion and a bit of confusion, Kidd set Nikki down, and Nattie threw her back in the ring.
However, her momentum lost due to the distract of Brie getting in Tyson’s face cost Natalya the match as Nikki hit the Rack Attack for the pinfall. I almost can’t believe I’m saying this again, but I wish this match had lasted longer. The meat of the story should be told in the ring, not out of it. I understand that this is a Total Diva’s thing, but why should the product in ring suffer simply to boost ratings on a reality TV show? But I will say, it was nice to see the main roster Divas show some of the aggression that make the NXT women so entertaining to watch. Even if it was only briefly.
The Miz & Damien Mizdow vs the Usos
Tag Team Title Match
Winner: The Usos via pinfall
The Tag Team Championships were on the line and the Usos were bound and determined that gold would be theirs for the second time to close out 2014. The action was fast and smooth as Jimmy and Jey worked their crazy twin powers of unity to wear down the Miz. The Hollywood A lister put up one helluva fight and kept up with the flying Usos but it was not enough. On the multiple occasions that he had the chance to tag in his partner, Miz instead, valiantly drew on his resilience and continued the fight. Thankfully, Mizdow was able to fulfill his use as a stunt double by taking a super kick to his money maker allowing Miz to escape that fate. However, it was not enough as a double superkick and a splash allowed the high flying twins to pick up the win and the tag titles.
The match was artfully done and worth watching. Mizdow of course provided many laughs as he, on one occasion, threw himself out of the ring following his idol. I thought it a bit interesting that the Usos are not above using tactics that they accused the Miz of by sending Naomi to him pre-match. Of course his head wasn’t in the game. The Miz was too happy for his close personal friend to be fully invested in the bout. In the end, the underhanded twin tactics proved his downfall and he was just too worn out mentally and physically to pull out the win for his team. I do look forward to when the former tag team champion cashes in the rematch clause in an attempt to find retribution for the wrong that had been done to him.
Bad News Barrett vs Cesaro
Winner: Bad News Barrett via pinfall
This match started with a very serious looking Cesaro. He stated that 2014 should have been his year, he had won the inaugural Andre the Giant battle royal (and he was a Paul Heyman guy dammit!) but the higher ups were concerned that he was not connecting with the WWE Universe. He stated that he wasn’t here to connect with the fans but to be a great wrestler and issued an open challenge to any in the back who thought that they could take him. Well, Cesaro, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news! (yeah, I did it. I also fan girl squeed seeing the Brit brawler) Bad News Barrett appeared, all healed up from his shoulder injury to reign all over the King of Swing’s spot light moment. The ensuing match that followed was hard hitting smash mouth fun.
BNB is a brawler through and through but he can be a technical wrestler just for the fun of it to match with the crisp style of Cesaro that can go brawler should he be bothered. There was a 5 rotation swing by the Swiss Superman that transitioned beautifully into a half crab. But it was Barrett who landed the Bull Hammer to his Swiss foe to pick up the triumphant win! I love watching both men in the ring. The back and forth of this match was a delight that show cased their strength and abilities. There was no one better to put a returning Wade Barrett in the ring with. I am so glad they didn’t put him against a Heath Slater or a Fandango. He deserved to a proper return and he got it in the match with Cesaro. Both men looked strong and I look forward to future matches between the two. They compliment each other and the fans win out every time these two men are in the ring together.
Luke Harper vs Jack Swagger
Winner: Luke Harper via pinfall
Before the match started, Luke harper gave us insight into why he is the way he is (was this bare your soul night or something? I missed that memo). It was an interesting way to introduce the match as he came out and had a match with Jack Swagger. The match was little more than a bar room brawl as both men powered through the other with hard hitting moves that would rattle anyone’s teeth. The two exchanged offensive momentum but it was Luke Harper that picked up the win with, as JBL called it, a Clothes Line from Smell. Jack looked incredible even though he lost. He had the fans behind him and showed his potential as something more than just feeder food for a stronger wrestler.
He looked as if he might win over the giant swamp rat. But hey, he’s Jack Swagger and since when does he actually win? We the People indeed. Luke Harper on the other hand, also looked great. He always amazes me with his athleticism by pulling off moves that are not typical of men his size. I know I keep asking for rivalries and feud (and not getting them) but what can I say when I really enjoy watching two people who are extremely talented able to show off what they can do. Even though it was not the fastest paced match, it help my interest. I wanted to see these two beat the holy living hell out of one another, and there’s not even a story between them. Just two guys who are in the squared circle, doing what they do best, Luke Harper being a dominant force to be reckoned with and Jack Swagger getting pinned.
Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns
Winner: Roman Reigns via Disqualification
The Big Show was on commentary showing support to his good friend, Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins. And his being ring side had NOTHING to do with the fact that him and Roman Reigns have been at each other’s throats lately. I believe him. I’d be ring side too given the chance to support the WWE’s future. The mood surrounding the match was electric. The stare down alone would have been worth the price of admission for me as I do so love to see these to fight it out. The two former business partners locked it up and Reigns dominated early throwing Rollins around. The bitter ex-Shield member even went so far as to bully Seth by smacking him in the back of the head in quick succession (what is it with these “good” guys really being nothing but big bullies?? RISE ABOVE HATE YA’LL!!) while in a hold.
The Architect, showed the WWE Universe why he earned the name, as he changed strategies mid match and began to wear the big Samoan down with holds that kept him grounded and short of breath. Roman was able to get back to his feet and dominate once more showing that his strength coupled with his skills was not to be taken lightly. It appeared that Seth was ,again, about to be charitable (tis the season) and let Roman spear him for the win, but Big Show jumped the gun and pulled the Big Dog out of the ring. The World’s Largest Athlete then demonstrated why he isn’t to be taken lightly either as he threw Reigns over the announce table as if he weighed nothing, and then dumped the entire table, equipment and all, on the helpless Roman. The win went to the powerhouse as a result of a disqualification, but Seth was the moral victor as he had NOTHING to do with the Big Show losing his temper on his former Shield mate. This match was a lot of fun.
It went back and forth as was to be expected given the chemistry between Roman and Seth. I found it very generous of Rollins to let Reigns throw him around, but it when it got to be a bit much, the undisputed living breathing future of the WWE would then put the big man in his place. Big Show getting involved left me with the hope, that once again, these two former business partners would again meet in the ring. I love watching them, and seeing Roman’s progression as a singles competitor has been exciting. As stated previously, put him in matches where he can shine and he will. I believe in Roman Reigns. That being said, I know that Seth Rollins is the future and he’s the one I stand behind above all others (shocker, I know.)
Daniel Bryan Segment
Daniel Bryan let the WWE Universe that he was at a crossroads in his career via Twitter before Raw began. This left the fans holding their collective breath praying that they weren’t about to become the biggest titty babies and cry as they listened to a retirement speech that would rival Edge’s. As he came to the ring, Bryan had tears in his eyes before he began to address the crowd. He stated how much of an honor it had been be in the ring and preform for everyone. How the Wrestlemania wins were as much our victories as they were his. When he began talking about his father passing and how he hadn’t been there for him, (I got a bit tight chested as I refused to let any form of liquid leave my eye sockets.) Then he spoke about his injury and how the doctors weren’t sure how to fix him and now he was at a crossroads.
Was his career over? *dramatic pause* NO! (what?!)He then announced triumphantly that he was ready for action and that he would be entering the Royal Rumble! The leader of the Yes Movement then celebrating with the ecstatic fans ,whom he had just put through an emotional roller coaster. That goat faced troll just trolled me… I knew there was a reason I feel like smacking him around every time I see him. How dare he make me feel something in my cruel little black heart! I was looking forward to the retirement speech just so I could rub in all those teary eyed faces that Daniel Bryan really WAS a B+ player and never deserved the titles to begin with. Now he’s back? FARM ANIMALS DO NOT BELONG IN THE RING! I admit it was a good segment and he had me. I bet he had you too. Stupid goat…
The Ascension vs The Miz & Damien Mizdow
Winner: The Ascension via pinfall
Business is about to pick up in a big way in the tag team division. My beloved Ascension, from NXT, have risen and they destroyed Miz and Mizdow in spectacular fashion. Miz, was set to begin the match, but understandably tagged in Mizdow. Not because he didn’t want to take the brutal abuse about to happen, but because he had already been abused enough by those dastardly Samoan twins. The match was quick and ruthlessly efficient. It was with a Fall of Man that my boys picked up the easy win.
Konor and Viktor have emerged and the Usos better take notice. For that matter, the entire main roster tag division better take notice. The Ascension is here to stay! I do wish that they had taken their time with Miz and his stunt double. It would have been nothing to play with them just a smidge longer. Now, I will say, I’m not to keen on the face paint, but hey if they want to wear face paint and shoulder gear, who am I to tell them no? Business just picked up ladies and gents!
Cutting Edge Peep Show
Edge and Christian arrived in the ring to do their collective show, the Cutting Edge Peep Show. Their special guest, none other than the WWE’s standard barer, Seth Rollins. On his way out to the ring, Seth graciously invited both John Cena and Brock Lesnar to the share his spot light. Once in the ring with the two living legends, the future of the WWE gave a heart felt and humble thanks to both men, stating that they were huge influences to him getting started in the world of professional wrestling. He stated that if not for them, there would be no him. (yes, liquid left my eye sockets. It was truly moving.)
However, for some reason, the 7 time tag champions felt that Seth was insincere in his words and then insulted him repeatedly. Being the bigger man, Seth let it slide off and then invited his friend the Big Show out to join them. He then re-invited John Cena out to the ring as well (so nice of Seth to include him in the spot light.) Cena, thinking himself too good to grace the WWE Universe with his presence, refused to come out. This forced Rollins to use drastic measures to bring the leader of the Cenation to the ring. Rollins easily dispatched Christian and with the Big Show, was able to get Edge down on the ground, head against the golden briefcase and Seth’s boot poised above the fragile neck of his prey. Seth then threatened to break the Rated R Superstars neck if Cena didn’t show. Of course, seeing that it could be all about him saving the day, The face that thinks it runs the place, ran to the ring.
Seth stopped him and told John that he only wanted one thing from him and that if Cena didn’t want a paralyzed Edge on his conscience, that he would reinstate the Authority! John Cena, seeing that he had been out smarted by The Architect, had no other choice than to agree, and give power back to the only people who knew what is best for business. There were celebrations all around, and to let Cena know he had been serious and not to take him lightly ever again, Mr. Money in the Bank went to make an example of Edge anyway. That’s when Cena felt the need to intervene and he rudely took Seth out, allowing Edge to escape unharmed to return to his family.
Luckily, the Big Show was in the ring and he put a stop to that nonsense. Seth then curb stomped John Cena into oblivion and he, with the rest of the valiant men, went up the ramp to the stage where WWE’s power couple, Stephanie and HHH, arrived with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, to celebrate Seth Rollins’ perseverance and constant fight to bring them back. It was a sweet sweet night for the WWE Universe with an even sweeter victory for those who bought in. Order has been restored to the chaos. The wrongs of Survivor Series have been righted and I am so proud of Seth Rollins for proving nothing is impossible if you keep believing and if you NEVER GIVE UP!
– Angi Sanders