With WWE Fastlane taking place this Sunday, Nathan Weller gives his insight and reviews this past week’s edition of WWE RAW, live from Orlando, Florida. Raw began with John Cena, who received his inevitable mixed reaction from the crowd. He claimed that this Sunday (at per-per-view WWE Fastlane) that everyone will see a different John Cena. Cena continued saying that he will win the United States Championship, this brings out Rusev and Lana. “John Cena, you have made a career of coming back after injuries, but after Rusev crushes you, there will be no coming back,” states Lana. “Cena, I will break your heart, your spirit and your will to live,” declares Rusev. Both Cena and Rusev exchanged verbal altercations, leading to a huge brawl. Cena decimated Rusev and then held the United States Championship above his head.
Match One: Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper
Ambrose carries a contract for Ambrose vs Barrett for an Intercontinental Championship match at WWE Fastlane. This was a great opening match between Ambrose and Harper. Harper looked like he had the match won when he hit Ambrose with a spinning sideslam, but Ambrose kicked out at two. Ambrose hit Harper with a stiff closeline, followed it up with dirty deeds for the win.
Luke Harper is a terrific worker. He moves so well for a big man and can be explosive with his power and his move set. Looking forward to see what Harper does next. Meanwhile, Ambrose looked really good, as he continued to build momentum in trying to secure an Intercontinental Championship match at Fastline. Time was of the essence.
Winner: Dean Ambrose via Pinfall
Match Two: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs Gold and Stardust
This was a pretty mediocre match. Most of the interest and focus was on Gold and Stardust and how they would work together, as they haven’t been on the same page. The New Day picked up the win as Kingston pinned Goldust courtesy of the trouble in Paradise. After the match, Stardust helped up Goldust as the brothers embraced in a hug. It appeared that the siblings were back on the same page, until Stardust attacked Goldust and left him lying on the canvass. This is fast turning into a captivating story line.
Winner: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) via Pinfall
Match Three: Roman Reigns vs Kane
Before the match, Daniel Bryan came out to ringside to join the announce table on commentary. This was a highly competitive and hard hitting match up, between Kane and Reigns. Every time Reigns looked to gain control of the match, Bryan and the crowd would start a ‘yes’ chant, this would distract Reigns allowing Kane to take advantage. During the match half the crowd started to chant, “you can’t wrestle,” while the other half chanted, “yes he can” – this flustered Reigns. The match went outside the ring, Kane started to take apart the announce table. As Kane tried to throw the table, Reigns countered and hit Kane with a spear for the countout victory. After the match, Reigns invited Bryan into the ring, instead Bryan started skipping around the ring chanting, ‘yes’.
The ending to this match was pretty disappointing. Reigns needed a better conclusion if he is to beat Daniel Bryan and main event Wrestlemaia.
Winner: Roman Reigns via Count Out
Match Four: Paige vs Summer Rae
Paige came out wearing different clothes, due to the Bellas stealing her wrestling gear before the fight. This was a decent Divas match. Paige ended up getting the victory by locking in the PTO forcing Rae to tap out. After the match the Bellas came out and got into a verbal altercation with Paige. “The thing between you and me Nikki is that, I don’t need an outfit to make me look good. On Sunday at Fastlane I’m going to win something that will make me look better, the Divas Championship,” asserted Paige.
Winner: Paige via Tap out
Match Five: Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler
Before the match Rollins grabs a mic. “Today is President’s Day. A day to remember the past, which is a waste of time, when the living breathing future is standing right in front of you,” proclaimed Rollins. Rollins says he is the most talented person on the earth, and he should be maineventing Wrestlemania, not dealing with people beneath him. Ziggler comes out, “Seth, Seth why are you so mad bro, didn’t you have a good Valentine’s Day?”
This match was an outstanding encounter between two of WWE’s best technical in-ring performers. Just as Ziggler was going to win via pinfall J&J security interfered, causing a disqualification. Ryback, Erick Rowan came to Ziggler’s aid, with the trio clearing the ring.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via Disqualification
Triple H made his way to the ring. A video is shown of what Sting has done since being a part of WWE, including what happened last week. Triple H says he finds it laughable that people are saying that he is afraid of Sting.
*WOOOOO* it’s Ric Flair…
“Ric, if you are here to tell me how good Sting is, save your breath, I know how good he is,” declared Triple H. “I’m only here to tell you, don’t take Sting lightly,” said the Nature Boy. Things started to get heated between Triple H and Flair, causing Triple H to push down Flair. “I promise you, whether he goes on his own or I beat it out of him, Sting will never show his face here again,” said Triple H.
Match Six: Darren Young and his partner vs The Ascension
The name of Young’s partner was never announced, so he remains an unknown. The match never got started as The Ascension pounded on Young and his partner. Titus O’Neil, Young’s former tag team partner, came down to help out Young. It looks like the Prime Time Players are back together.
Match Seven: Damien Mizdow vs Bad News Barrett
This wasn’t a long match. Similar to last week, every time Mizdow took control The Miz would distract him. This allowed Barrett to hit the bull hammer elbow for the win. A match between The Miz and Damien Mizdow can’t be far away. After the match Ambrose would attack Barrett, tying Barrett to the ring with a zip tie. Ambrose forced Barrett to sign the contract for a match between the two, with the Intercontinental Championship on the line, at Fastlane. It’s official.
Winner: Bad News Barrett via Pinfall
Match Eight: Jimmy Uso and Naomi vs Tyson Kidd and Natalya
This was a bit of a lacklustre match. The Divas were the highlight with the men taking a back seat. Naomi pinned Natalya to earn the win. Afterwards Tyson blamed his wife Natalya for the loss.
Winner: Jimmy Uso and Naomi via Pinfall
Main Event Match Nine: Daniel Bryan vs Big Show
Before the match, Reigns came down to ringside. The battle between Show and Bryan was really competitive. During the match Reigns was signing autographs, taking selfies, and handing out t-shirts to members of the crowd. Reigns tried to distract Bryan, it somewhat worked. As it looked like Bryan was closing in to win the match, Reigns got involved and caused a disqualification.
After the match, Bryan and Reigns engaged in a heated brawl and both men had to be separated and held back by officials.
This was an okay show. There were some good points, but equally disappointing moments.
- The Ziggler, Rollins match was the highlight – both guys are amazing athletes.
- The story line between Gold and Stardust is definitely a runner and it will be intriguing to see how that plays out.
- Ambrose looked great on his quest to the Intercontinental title.
- The first segment with Cena, Lana and Rusev was a bit lackluster and lacked punch.
- The New Day is a bit stale, they are all great athletes but they are missing something.
- Finally, the mix tag match wasn’t that great, it could have been good if they made it a six-man tag including Jey Uso and Cesaro.
My WWE RAW Rating: C
Image courtesy of Bleacher Report