WWE RAW came to us live from Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, as the show opened with a tribute to the one and only Martin Luther King Jr. Michael Cole welcomed us as Jerry Lawler was also at ringside. That’s a good sight to see.
The show opened with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon making their way down to the ring. Stephanie welcomed the fans to the show, as Triple H took the microphone. Triple H talked about Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 30, and said the road to WrestleMania starts in just a week’s time! Triple H said it was his honor to welcome back someone who would be a part of the 30 men from the Royal Rumble match. He said this certain superstar was his friend and sometimes his foe. As the crowd anticipated the return of Batista, out came the WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton to a chorus of boos, as Stephanie and Triple H looked on disappointed.
Randy Orton made his way down to the ring and took a microphone as the crowd booed. Stephanie talked about Randy Orton losing to Kofi Kingston last week, and attacking John Cena’s father afterwards. Stephanie yelled at Randy Orton for beating up an “old, defenseless person”. I guess we need to forget the never ending Stephanie – Vince McMahon feud. Anyway, Stephanie plugged in the WWE Network, as Orton started talking. Orton said it was all Stephanie’s and Triple H’s fault. Orton blamed The Authority for everything going south. Orton said that without him, there would be no WWE Network. Orton said they brought in Lesnar, and now Batista to take his title away. Randy Orton said Stephanie and Triple H didn’t protect him, as Triple H chimed in. Triple H told Orton to lower his voice, and Stephanie warned Orton that if he didn’t play by their rules, he could lose the WWE World Heavyweight championship and his spot on the roster. Triple H told Orton to correct things against Kofi, and made a rematch between Orton and Kofi. Hunter also showed a camera backstage and said that was where Cena would enter tonight.
Batista’s music started as the crowd erupted. Batista made his way down to the ring as the crowd chanted his name. Batista posed on top of the turnbuckles and hugged Stephanie and Hunter. Orton extended his hand, but Batista said “Hello” to Randy. Batista warned Orton, saying that he will win the Royal Rumble and beat him or whoever holds the WWE World Heavyweight championship at WrestleMania 30 for the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Batista told Orton to deal with it and dropped the mic, making his way to the back.
Analysis: That was a good opening segment, but WWE could’ve done better with Batista’s return. Orton would go on to face Kofi Kingston once again in the main event of the night, although I’m not too excited about it. Nevertheless, that was a good build up to the Royal Rumble, and it’ll be interesting to see what unfolds as the night goes along.
The Shield vs. Big E Langston, Goldust and Cody Rhodes
Ambrose and Langston started things off as Big E dropped Ambrose with a big shoulder. Rollins came in but Big E gorilla pressed him and dropped him to the mat! Goldust tagged in and went at it with Rollins. Rollins took Goldust to the corner, but Cody tagged himself in and worked on Rollins outside the ring as WWE went into commercial.
Back from commercial and Reigns was in the ring, working over Cody Rhodes. Cody tried to make a comeback by Reigns cut him off. Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose exchanged tags, Triple teaming Cody Rhodes. Rollins covered Cody for a nearfall. Rollins worked over Cody, but missed with a big splash in the corner which gave Cody the window of opportunity, but Reigns came in and knocked Goldust off the apron. Cody nailed Reigns with a beautiful Disaster Kick and tagged in Big E Langston! Langston came in and unloaded on Ambrose and sent Reigns over the top rope! Reigns ran into Ambrose once again, as there appeared to be some tension between the trio.
Big E delivered a belly to belly suplex and went for the Big Ending but Rollins made the save, but Big E sent him crashing onto the floor. Goldust leaped onto Rollins and took him out with a senton! Ambrose came down from the top but Big E caught him, and threw him with an overhead suplex! Big E then splashed Ambrose for yet another nearfall as Reigns interrupted the count! Reigns then knocked Cody out with the superman punch, as Goldust came in, but was speared by Reigns! Big E ran over Reigns, but Ambrose took advantage with a knee to the gut as Rollins tagged in and came down with a stomp on Big E’s head to pick up the victory!
Winner (s): The Shield
Rating: *** ½
Analysis: You put some of the best workers in the opening match of the night and it usually turns out to be a great tag match. Goldust and Cody were as impressive as always, but Reigns was once again made to look great. His offenses on Goldust and Cody were amazing, and the end sequence was absolutely brilliant. The Shield once again picked up the victory, which is the right way to go. Heading into the Royal Rumble, Reigns looks to be a legitimate contender to win the bout and go to WrestleMania!
WWE then showed a video package about Daniel Bryan’s betrayal last week. Daniel Bryan was up next to defend his actions.
Daniel Bryan made his way out to a thunderous ovation as the Dayton crowd chanted “Yes”! Bryan took the microphone as the crowd started a “Daniel Bryan” chant. Daniel Bryan mocked the powers that be, saying “And some people say I shouldn’t be the face of this company”. Bryan said he had it planned all along, as the crowd chanted “Yes”. Bryan said he did what he did to get back at Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family. Bryan told Bray that he exposed him, and that he despised the trio. Daniel Bryan then challenged Bray Wyatt to a match at the Royal Rumble, and chanted “Yes” as the entire arena erupted along with Bryan.
Bray Wyatt appeared on the tron and called Bryan a traitor. Bray had some ominous words for Daniel, and asked Daniel Bryan to go home and tell his mother that he loves her, because come Royal Rumble, he won’t be able to do anything else. Bray Wyatt said the people only cheer for him because they kneel, and said Daniel Bryan will suffer at the hands of Bray Wyatt.
Analysis: That was an amazing promo by both the performers. Daniel Bryan, for what it’s worth, is probably the most over superstar since Stone Cold Steve Austin in ’99. None since then have been able to play with the fans, have the fans in the palm of their hands like Daniel Bryan does now. Bray Wyatt’s promo was captivating, and did justice to his character. I hope Bryan goes into the Rumble match as well and wins the whole things, because if anyone deserves to win it, it’s Daniel Bryan.
Fandango (With Summer Rae) vs. Xavier Woods
R – Truth was on commentary as Fandango went on the offensive early in the bout. Xavier made a comeback with some kicks, but missed a splash as Fandango moved, hitting the ropes. Fandango slammed Xavier and went to the top for the legdrop. Fandango came down with the leg drop to pick up the victory.
Rating: * ¼
Analysis: That was just a filler on the show. Truth and Woods can make a great tag team, but they’re left in the middle of nowhere, along with Fandango.
We then saw Emma once again in the crowd, dancing while holding the “#Emmataining” sign.
Backstage, Maddox was talking to Kane but Stephanie stormed in. Stephanie looked mad, and said Kane overstepped his boundaries on Smackdown! when he chokeslammed Punk. Stephanie told Kane to apologize to Punk, as the crowd started a “CM Punk” chant.
Kane came out to address what happened on Smackdown! last week. CM Punk came out to a loud ovation from the Dayton crowd, as Kane got on the microphone and explained his actions. He said his anger got the better of him last week, and apologized to Punk. Punk said he didn’t hear what Kane said, and Kane apologized once again. The crowd started a “One more time” chant as Punk decked Kane with the microphone and pushed him into the ropes. Punk threw Kane out of the ring, and an irate Kane took off his jacket, but Maddox came down to the ring. He brought Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, and said Punk would be facing either one of them.